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5 things to know for April 15: Covid, White House, voter suppression, Russia, China

Bernard Madoff, whose name became synonymous with financial fraud, died while serving a 150-year sentence in Federal Prison. He was 82 years old.

Posted: Apr 14, 2021 9:37 AM
Updated: Apr 15, 2021 6:30 AM


It's Tax Day in the US, but don't freak out! You still have a month to file your 2020 return. There are other changes to this tax season you should know about, too.

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

(You can also get '5 Things You Need to Know Today' delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. Coronavirus 

Vaccine advisers to the CDC put off making any decision about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine when they met yesterday, saying they need more information about a rare type of blood clot reported by half a dozen recipients. This means, as Dr. Anthony Fauci stressed, that the recommended pause on the J&J vaccine is just that: a pause, not a cancellation. The federal government is helping those scheduled for a J&J vaccine get set up with an alternative. As other vaccinations continue, the US could have 300 million excess vaccine doses by July, according to researchers. Currently, 10 nations that are home to less than half the world's population have used three-quarters of Covid-19 vaccine doses, but many poorer countries still don't have a supply at all.

2. White House 

President Biden's push to get bipartisan support for his high-dollar infrastructure plans are falling flat. The White House has invited key Republicans to the Oval Office this week, but members are skeptical of the scope and cost of his roughly $2 trillion plan. Of course, Democrats have the legislative tools to pass a bill without a single Republican vote. Meanwhile, the administration is continuing its rollback of Trump-era policies by moving to reverse a rule barring certain federally funded health care providers from referring patients for abortions, a step long demanded by abortion rights groups. The White House has also addressed a recent request for more AAPI inclusion, naming Erika Moritsugu to a senior-level Asian American and Pacific Islander liaison position.

3. Voter suppression

Hundreds of executives from high-profile companies like Amazon, Google and Starbucks, have signed a statement opposing discriminatory voting legislation. While it doesn't name a specific state, the statement continues the recent wave of pushback from major corporations following the passage of a controversial voting law last month in Georgia. Officials in Fulton County, which covers most of Atlanta, passed a resolution yesterday that will allow Georgia's most populous county to explore legal challenges to the law. Still, similar bills are rolling on in other states. Arkansas' Republican-controlled legislature just passed a handful of bills that are similar to Georgia's law, including a provision that would effectively criminalize handing out water or food to those waiting in line to vote.

4. Russia

The Biden administration is expected to announce sanctions targeting Russian individuals and entities in response to the SolarWinds hack and election interference. The punishments, which could be announced as soon as today, also include new financial restrictions and the expulsion of as many as a dozen Russian diplomats from the US. The sanctions have been a long time coming, in part because the White House wanted more sanctions than the State Department first proposed, a US official said. The US is trying to walk a fine line with Russia, keeping lines of diplomatic communication open while also addressing growing demonstrations of aggression. All 30 members of the NATO alliance have expressed concern about the massive buildup of Russian forces near Crimea and along Ukraine's borders, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

5. China

The FBI opens a new investigation into China 'every 10 hours,' FBI Director Christopher Wray said. In comments to the Senate Intelligence Committee, he said more than 2,000 FBI investigations tie back to the Chinese government, and no other country represented more of a threat to US economic security and democratic ideals. China and the US have clashed on several fronts recently, including over alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang and political crackdowns in Hong Kong. John Kerry, the US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, landed in Shanghai this week to meet with counterparts ahead of an environmental summit this month. The meetings will test whether the US and China can work together on some issues, like climate change, while butting heads on others.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

Kanye West's $1M Yeezys may be the world's most expensive sneakers

And they're not even new! 

What to expect at next Sunday's Oscars

The festivities will be shiny yet stoic. Just like the little statuette itself. 

The vaccine passport debate isn't new. It started in 1897 during a plague pandemic

For better or worse, history always repeats itself.

France cuts 2 nuclear-powered submarines in half to make one new one

Is ... is that allowed?! 

HAPPENING LATER

Ex-officer is due in court

Kim Potter, the former officer charged with second-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of Daunte Wright during a traffic stop Sunday in Minnesota, is due to make her first court appearance today.

TODAY'S NUMBER

21%

That's the proportion of Americans polled by Monmouth University who say they will 'likely never' get a Covid-19 vaccine. This troubling number could pose a huge hurdle on the national path to herd immunity.

TODAY'S QUOTE

'The pain experienced by the victims of Mr. Madoff's fraud is not diminished by his death, nor is our work on behalf of his victims finished.'

Irving Picard, the court-appointed trustee charged with recovering assets stolen by Bernie Madoff, the infamous Ponzi schemer. Madoff died yesterday at 82 while serving a 150-year sentence in federal prison.

TODAY'S WEATHER

Spring lets winter get the last laugh as snow is forecast across parts of the US

Nature is the ultimate trickster god.

Check your local forecast here>>>

AND FINALLY

Explore the smelliest, weirdest flower in the world

It doesn't look pretty. It doesn't smell pretty. Its name leaves something to be desired. Yet somehow, the corpse flower is one of the most fascinating and revered flowers on earth. (Click here to view.)

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 313942

Reported Deaths: 7240
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21580258
Hinds20330415
Harrison17879309
Rankin13594278
Jackson13429246
Madison10088217
Lee9970174
Jones8370163
Forrest7670152
Lauderdale7188241
Lowndes6387146
Lamar622486
Lafayette6184118
Washington5332133
Bolivar4801132
Oktibbeha462198
Panola4582106
Pearl River4506146
Marshall4435103
Warren4386121
Pontotoc420172
Monroe4107133
Union410076
Neshoba4030176
Lincoln3962110
Hancock378486
Leflore3493125
Sunflower335990
Tate333384
Pike3316105
Scott315773
Alcorn312768
Yazoo311469
Itawamba299777
Copiah296865
Coahoma295179
Simpson294988
Tippah288168
Prentiss279760
Adams278782
Marion269080
Leake267473
Wayne262641
Grenada261386
Covington258281
George247848
Newton246261
Winston227081
Tishomingo226667
Jasper221048
Attala214273
Chickasaw207757
Holmes188873
Clay185254
Stone182433
Tallahatchie178541
Clarke177980
Calhoun170532
Yalobusha164238
Smith162334
Walthall133945
Greene130533
Lawrence128524
Montgomery126742
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123042
Carroll121828
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107033
Tunica105226
Claiborne102430
Benton99525
Humphreys96533
Kemper95728
Franklin83623
Quitman80716
Choctaw76318
Wilkinson67230
Jefferson65528
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 531404

Reported Deaths: 10985
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson765501522
Mobile41036805
Madison34789503
Tuscaloosa25788453
Montgomery24340589
Shelby23449249
Baldwin21154308
Lee15882171
Calhoun14511314
Morgan14306279
Etowah13843353
Marshall12232223
Houston10570281
Elmore10068205
Limestone9974151
Cullman9676194
St. Clair9661243
Lauderdale9427241
DeKalb8831186
Talladega8227176
Walker7241277
Autauga6926108
Jackson6814112
Blount6678137
Colbert6306134
Coffee5519119
Dale4838111
Russell441538
Chilton4296112
Franklin426082
Covington4129118
Tallapoosa4023152
Escambia393677
Chambers3573123
Dallas3551152
Clarke351161
Marion3122101
Pike310977
Lawrence300398
Winston274473
Bibb260964
Geneva250477
Marengo249564
Pickens234461
Barbour231057
Hale223077
Butler216069
Fayette212562
Henry188844
Cherokee185245
Randolph180542
Monroe177540
Washington167339
Macon159650
Clay156756
Crenshaw152557
Cleburne148941
Lamar142535
Lowndes138853
Wilcox127130
Bullock122841
Conecuh110529
Perry107726
Coosa107628
Sumter104732
Greene92534
Choctaw60724
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Partly Cloudy
73° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 73°
Columbus
Cloudy
70° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 70°
Oxford
Partly Cloudy
70° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 70°
Starkville
Cloudy
68° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 68°
A few showers linger early in the morning. But these should gradually push away from our area, leaving us mostly cloudy and cool through the midday and afternoon hours. Some clearing may occur later in the afternoon, leaving us mostly clear by Thursday morning.
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