5 things to know for March 18: Ukraine, Texas crash, Immigration, Covid-19, Cuba



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1. Ukraine

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is showing no signs of letting up, with at least one Russian missile striking a location in Lviv — less than 50 miles from the Polish border. Elsewhere in Ukraine, the city of Mariupol is under siege and suffering 50 to 100 attacks daily, its city council said. Casualties were also reported in Kyiv today after debris from a downed rocket sparked a fire at a residential building. In addition to the Ukrainian lives lost since the attack began, thousands of Russian troops have also been killed, US and NATO officials told CNN. Russia now appears to be struggling to resupply those forces as troop morale is dropping. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian resistance is holding on, backed by world leaders who are condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression. In his latest pointed attack against Putin, President Joe Biden called him a “murderous dictator” and “pure thug.” Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed a bill to suspend normal trade relations with Russia, the latest effort by US lawmakers to inflict economic pain on the Kremlin for its unprovoked invasion. Follow CNN’s full coverage of Russia’s attack on Ukraine here.

2. Texas crash

A 13-year-old boy was behind the wheel of a pickup truck involved in a head-on collision in Texas that killed nine people, including six University of the Southwest golfers and their coach, a National Transportation Safety Board official said yesterday. The crash occurred after the college students were returning home from a golf tournament. Two survivors of the crash, both students, are still hospitalized. Preliminary reports indicate a spare tire on the pickup truck failed, causing the vehicle to pull into oncoming traffic on a two-lane roadway. Both vehicles were likely moving close to the posted speed limit of 75 mph, an official said. The University of the Southwest — a small Christian school with an enrollment of about 1,100 students — is planning a memorial assembly for next week.

3. Immigration

The Biden administration is preparing for the potential of mass migration to the US-Mexico border when a Trump-era pandemic emergency rule ends. The influx is expected because officials are considering the possibility of terminating a public health order known as Title 42, which border authorities have relied on to turn away migrants, sources familiar with the discussions said. Internal documents, first reported by Axios, estimate around 170,000 people may be coming to the US border and some 25,000 migrants are already in shelters in Mexico. The Department of Homeland Security has asked department personnel to volunteer at the Mexico border in response.

4. Coronavirus

Only about 1.7 million people in the United States — less than 1% of the total population — live in counties where the CDC still recommends universal indoor masking. While this is a positive step toward normalcy, scientists are paying close attention to the uptick in Covid-19 cases in Europe and Asia as a possible indicator of what could happen in the US. Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden’s chief medical adviser, told CNN yesterday that the US “generally follows what goes on in the UK by about two to three weeks.” In the UK, cases are rising due to the increased transmissibility of the virus and the waning immunity of vaccines, Fauci said. Covid-19 is also making a resurgence in China, and the country’s leader vowed to ‘minimize’ the economic impact of the spike in cases. Separately, Moderna said it has asked the FDA to allow a fourth vaccine dose for any adults who’ve gotten an initial vaccine booster.

5. Cuba

Cuba’s Supreme Court has sentenced more than 100 protesters in Havana to prison terms that ranged between four and 30 years for violence committed during demonstrations last year. Last July, hundreds of Cubans across the country defied the communist-run government and took to the streets to protest chronic shortages and lack of basic freedoms. The Cuban government is now handing out lengthy prison sentences to those who participated. Shortly after the protests started, police and special forces went door to door looking for those who took part. Cuban courts are now trying hundreds of protesters in mass trials that have been criticized by international observers for their lack of transparency and due process.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

SNL star Pete Davidson will no longer fly to space

*Sigh* Some of us were really counting on an epic comedy skit from space. Maybe next time.

Swimmer Lia Thomas becomes first transgender athlete to win an NCAA Division I title

With success comes criticism. The conversation continues about whether Thomas has a competitive advantage on the women’s team

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to keep Dolly Parton on nominee list despite her opting out

Dolly rejected the nomination, but the organization won’t let her bow out from possibly receiving the honor. Awkward…

Record-breaking suspension bridge set to open in China

Don’t click here if you’re scared of heights. It’s a long way down.

Britney Spears deletes her Instagram account again

HAPPENING LATER

Biden to speak with Chinese President Xi Jinping

President Joe Biden will speak with Chinese President Xi Jinping today for their first known discussion in months. The planned call comes days after a US diplomatic cable suggested China has expressed some openness to providing Russia with requested military and financial assistance as part of its war on Ukraine. 

QUIZ TIME

Which social media platform has banned users in Russia?

A. Instagram

B. TikTok

C. Twitter

D. Myspace

Take CNN’s weekly news quiz to see if you’re correct!

TODAY’S NUMBER

47

That’s how many vehicles were involved in a pileup on Interstate 57 in Missouri yesterday, leaving six people dead. Photos from the scene show several tractor-trailers and their contents scattered along the road. The investigation into the cause of the accident is ongoing, but it is believed that foggy conditions contributed to the crash.

TODAY’S QUOTE

“It’s the most audacious hostage taking by a state imaginable.”

— Journalist Jason Rezaian, on US basketball star Brittney Griner’s ongoing detention in Russia. Griner was arrested on February 17 on allegations of drug smuggling at a Moscow airport. Concerns have been swirling for weeks about Griner’s unknown condition in detention, but a source close to the situation told CNN yesterday that she is well. A Moscow court has extended the arrest of Griner until May 19, according to a Russian state news agency. In 2014, Rezaian was detained in Tehran and spent 544 days in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison. He says he sees many parallels between his case and Griner’s.

TODAY’S WEATHER

AND FINALLY

Main character energy

This kid won his school’s talent show dancing to Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.” We love the confidence! (Click here to view)



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