5 things to know for March 2: Ukraine, State of the Union, Texas, Covid-19, Baseball

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Originally Published: 02 MAR 22 06:51 ET
Updated: 02 MAR 22 06:53 ET

(CNN) — A growing list of energy companies, including BP, Shell, and now ExxonMobil, have announced they will leave Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. Unwinding their operations in the oil-rich country will have financial repercussions for the companies — but executives appear ready to accept the losses in order to stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine. Other companies — including Apple, Disney and Ford — are also dialing back operations in Russia. Here’s what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.

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1. Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is warning that his country — which has a much smaller military than Russia — needs more help to prevent the crisis from spreading across Europe. Key cities in Ukraine were attacked from several sides yesterday, with Russia launching rockets that struck buildings in the center of the capital Kyiv. After days of heavy fighting and shelling, Russian troops have taken the southern city of Kherson, according to Russian state media, but the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense denies those claims. CNN was unable to immediately verify Russia’s claims, although video and social media posts verified by CNN provided new evidence that the Russians are moving throughout the city apparently unimpeded. At least 136 people, including 13 children, have been killed since Russia invaded Thursday — and another 400 civilians have been injured, according to the United Nations, though it cautioned the real toll was likely to be much higher. Follow CNN’s full coverage of Russia’s attack on Ukraine here.

2. State of the Union

In his State of the Union speech last night, President Joe Biden slammed Russian President Vladimir Putin for starting a “premeditated and unprovoked war.” Biden also sought to rally a divided and weary country behind his revamped domestic agenda by laying out a plan to combat higher prices across the US. His economic proposals, though, garnered almost no applause from Republicans in the House chamber. But in a rare display of bipartisanship, several members of both parties dressed in blue and yellow — the colors of the Ukrainian flag. Biden mainly sought to convey the unity of NATO and the West in his speech, underscoring what US officials say has been unprecedented cooperation between allies to inflict economic pain on Putin.

3. Texas

Texas kicked off the nation’s 2022 midterm election calendar yesterday, holding the nation’s first primaries. Political contests in the state are poised to set the landscape for elections in November that could swing control of Congress to Republicans. The incumbent GOP attorney general Ken Paxton fell short of clinching a majority yesterday, setting up a showdown with Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush in May. The governor’s race is also being closely watched, as Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke, a former congressman and Senate and presidential candidate, will aim to defeat Governor Greg Abbott, a conservative two-term incumbent known for sliding to the right on controversial Republican issues.

4. Coronavirus

Americans can order another round of free at-home Covid-19 tests next week, Biden announced during his State of the Union address. In January, the government launched its effort to provide free rapid antigen tests to any household that requested them through the website COVIDtests.gov. Initially, there was a limit of four tests per residential address, but the website now says every home in the US can order an additional set of four tests. The Biden administration initially made 500 million free tests available, but fewer than 300 million have been ordered, according to the White House. Covid-19 has killed more than 952,000 people and infected about 79.1 million in the US since January 2020, according to data by Johns Hopkins University.

5. Baseball

Major League Baseball is postponing its March 31 Opening Day and canceling the first two series of regular season games, after team representatives and the MLB Players Association could not reach a deal on a collective bargaining agreement. That agreement determines players’ terms and conditions of employment. “I want to assure our fans that our failure to reach an agreement was not due to a lack of effort by either party,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said yesterday. The work stoppage stems from declining salaries among some MLB athletes and disagreements over how to divide up an estimated $11 billion in annual revenue. On the other side, owners say they have been battered by the decline of in-person attendance due to Covid-19, and are pushing to sign a new agreement to reflect those changes.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

How to talk to your kids about Ukraine, according to psychologists

It’s not an easy discussion, but a very important one. Here are tips to help your children understand — and open up — about the conflict in Ukraine.

Green Day and other acts cancel Russian concerts

Here’s a list of musicians who have canceled their shows.

From Ukraine to Maryland: How an American basketball player traveled 5,000 miles to make it home

It was a slow and scary trek for this basketball player who was overcome with relief when he finally made it to US soil again.

New satellite launches to track Earth’s wild weather and dangerous space storms

Experts say it has the most sophisticated and sharpest view yet of Earth’s Western Hemisphere — and it can spot wildfires before we do.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians says ‘door is never closed’ on Tom Brady

How entertaining would it be if the legendary quarterback decided to reverse his retirement decision? One can only imagine

TODAY’S NUMBER

460,000

That’s how many families are estimated to be stranded without reliable child care, exacerbating the nation’s worker shortage as parents continue to stay home, according to a new report by economists at Wells Fargo. Sweeping federal funding for child care was proposed by Biden and included in the Build Back Better bill passed by the House in November, but that plan is currently stalled in the Senate.

TODAY’S QUOTE

“My soul belongs to the Lord and my body and my honor belong to my country, to my family.”

— Ukrainian boxing champion Oleksandr Usyk, on his decision to return home and join the Ukrainian territorial defense battalion.

TODAY’S WEATHER

Check your local forecast here>>>

AND FINALLY

March is Women’s History Month

Take a moment to enjoy this poetic montage of powerful women across the decades. (Click here to view)

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