5 things to know for March 22: Ukraine, Supreme Court, China crash, Tornadoes, Capitol riot

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Originally Published: 22 MAR 22 06:39 ET
Updated: 22 MAR 22 06:40 ET

(CNN) — You get a booster! You get a booster! You get a booster! Do you remember Oprah Winfrey’s iconic TV moment when she gave her entire studio audience new cars? Well, scientists are channeling that same energy with coronavirus vaccines. Some public health experts say it’s looking more and more like Covid-19 shots could be distributed on a yearly basis, similar to how flu shots are recommended each fall.

Here’s what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.

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1. Ukraine

Mariupol, the Ukrainian city once home to more than 450,000 people, has been “reduced to ashes,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said, as new images show Russian military vehicles and tanks scattered across the southern port city. US officials have also confirmed that Russia has used hypersonic missiles during the invasion. These weapons — which travel at least five times the speed of sound and are nearly impossible to intercept — were likely used by Russia to send a message to the West about their capabilities, multiple sources told CNN. This comes as President Joe Biden and fellow world leaders will hold a set of emergency summits in Europe this week, but few observers believe the talks will yield an end to the bloodshed in Ukraine. While Biden will be near the region, the White House says he has “no plans” to visit Ukraine. Separately, cybersecurity officials say there is evolving intelligence that Putin’s next escalation could be a direct cyberattack on the US. Biden issued an urgent warning to American business leaders yesterday, telling them to strengthen their companies’ cyber defenses immediately.

2.Supreme Court

The confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson will resume later today. In the first day of hearings yesterday, Jackson assured senators that she takes her “duty to be independent very seriously.” If confirmed, Jackson would become the first Black woman to serve on the high court. Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois helped put Jackson’s nomination in historical context yesterday, noting that of 115 Supreme Court justices, 108 have been White men. Democrats celebrated the groundbreaking nature of Jackson’s nomination and praised her unique experience and legal record. Republicans, meanwhile, used their opening statements to focus on past contentious Supreme Court confirmation hearings, but promised that Jackson’s hearings won’t be a repeat of the heated process that Justice Brett Kavanaugh went through. Senators from both sides of the aisle will have an opportunity to question Jackson on her experience today. Democrats hope to confirm Jackson by early April.

3. China plane crash

No survivors of a China Eastern Airlines plane crash have been found as search efforts entered a second day today, Chinese state media said. The Boeing 737-800 — carrying 132 people — crashed Monday in a remote, mountainous region in the south of the country as it flew from Kunming to Guangzhou. Chinese officials have declared it the country’s worst air disaster in more than a decade. The cause of the crash is not yet clear, and authorities have not released any additional information on the casualties. Investigators at the site, facing difficult terrain and poor weather, have not located the plane’s so-called black boxes — the flight data and cockpit voice recorders — which could hold crucial clues to how the disaster unfolded.

4. Severe weather

Dozens of homes and other buildings were badly damaged as severe storms and tornadoes moved through Texas yesterday. The storm system is expected to hit the Deep South today, forecasters say, warning additional damage is likely. There were 20 tornado reports across Texas and Oklahoma, the National Weather Service said. More than 54,000 customers were without power in Texas this morning, largely in the Houston area. Around 8.5 million people from eastern Texas to northwestern Louisiana and southwestern Arkansas are currently under tornado watches, and hail up to 1.5 inches in diameter is possible, CNN meteorologists say. Officials in Texas are now setting up shelters for displaced families as they try to assess the full scope of the damage. The line of severe weather struck as the state was already dealing with more than 170 wildfires over the past week, which have burned more than 108,000 acres, fire officials said.

5. Capital riot

Vice President Mike Pence was taken to a loading dock under the US Capitol during the January 6 riot, a US Secret Service inspector testified yesterday. This detail — revealed during the second trial for a defendant charged in the Capitol attack — is the first time that federal law enforcement has confirmed where Pence went after he was evacuated from the Senate chamber during the attack. One key point prosecutors worked to prove during the trial yesterday was how rioters jeopardized the security perimeter around Pence. It’s an important distinction for the prosecution of certain rioters who are charged with entering and remaining in a restricted area, as well as disorderly conduct. Meanwhile, the first January 6 defendant to go on trial has asked a federal judge to throw out his conviction and to schedule a new trial, in what’s expected to be an important test case for scores of US Capitol riot prosecutions to come.

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Were you struggling with some Apple services yesterday?

If so, it was because a number of the company’s services — including the App store, Apple Music, and iCloud — were all hit by a brief outage.

TODAY’S NUMBER

$0

That’s how much Obamacare premiums are for low-income Americans this year who missed signing up for 2022 Affordable Care Act coverage. Those with incomes less than 150% of the federal poverty level — $19,320 for an individual and $39,750 for a family of four — can now enroll in plans with $0 premiums through a special enrollment period, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services told CNN exclusively yesterday. Most people will be able to select plans with no premiums, while others may have to pay a few dollars.

TODAY’S QUOTE

“Survived Hitler, murdered by Putin.”

— Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, on the death of 96-year-old Holocaust survivor, Borys Romanchenko, who was killed Friday by a Russian strike on the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. Romanchenko survived the concentration camps at Buchenwald, Peenemünde, Dora and Bergen-Belsen during World War II, according to his memorial. Kuleba called Romanchenko’s death an “unspeakable crime” on Twitter.

TODAY’S WEATHER

Check your local forecast here>>>

AND FINALLY

Elephant crashes the pool party

What would you do if an elephant wanted to hang out at the pool with you? (Click here to view)

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