5 things to know for April 5: Covid-19, voter suppression, Facebook, Russia, Jordan

Why researcher is concerned about Japan's cherry bloom

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

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1. Coronavirus

2. Voter suppression

Tensions between the GOP and Georgia businesses are growing over Georgia’s new restrictive voting law. Late last week, Major League Baseball decided to move the 2021 All-Star Game out of Atlanta, which was set to host the popular annual event this summer. It’s a huge move with an estimated  $100 million in lost state revenue. However, Georgia GOP legislators have stood firm in their defense of the law, and have shown they’re not afraid to fight against the giant corporate entities criticizing them. After the CEO of Delta criticized the voting law, Georgia’s GOP-led House voted to revoke a jet-fuel tax break that benefited the company. The next battlefront for voter suppression could be Texas, where the state’s Senate recently passed a bill limiting poll times, banning drive-through voting and cutting voting accessibility.

3. Facebook

The personal information of about half a billion Facebook users, including their phone numbers, have been posted to a website used by hackers, cybersecurity experts say. This includes more than 32 million accounts in the US, 11 million in the UK and 6 million in India. Possible details exposed on the site include things like full names, locations, birthdays, email addresses, phone numbers, and relationship statuses. Facebook says the data was shared in 2019, and the issue leading to the leak was fixed later that year. However, the data could still be of value to hackers and cyber criminals like those who engage in identify theft.

4. Russia

Russia is amassing major military power in an unexpected location: The Arctic. New satellite imagery reveals the country is testing its newest weapons in a region freshly ice-free due to climate change in a bid to secure its northern coast and open up a key shipping route from Asia to Europe. Weapons experts have expressed particular concern about one Russian “super-weapon,” the Poseidon 2M39 torpedo. This unmanned stealth torpedo could cause radioactive waves that would render parts of the target coastline uninhabitable for decades. The climate crisis is quickly and dramatically changing the geography of areas to Russia’s north, which has US military officials concerned that the country will continue to stake a claim over emerging land, and gain control over sea routes and tactical ground.

5. Jordan

Jordan’s government has accused former crown prince Hamzah bin Hussein, the half-brother of the country’s current ruler King Abdullah II, of plotting to “destabilize” the country. The nation’s deputy prime minister said the government has intercepted communications from Hamzah, his inner circle, and foreign entities that allegedly show the former crown prince trying to mobilize Jordan’s public against the state. Between 16 and 18 people have already been arrested over the alleged plot, and Hamzah says he has now been forced into isolation with his family. The situation reveals a big rift among Jordan’s ruling family, but some of the most powerful countries in the world are on the current king’s side. The US and a growing list of Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, have voiced their backing of King Abdullah.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

Here’s a list of all the SAG Awards winners from last night 

Which of your recent TV and movie obsessions made the cut? 

Stanford has won its first national championship since 1992 

Courtesy of their storied women’s basketball program, who came out on top in this year’s NCAA tournament

Mariah Carey let our one of her famous high notes as she got her Covid-19 vaccine

A loose cow trotting along an Atlanta-area interstate tied up traffic for an hour

‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ is the biggest hit of the pandemic

HAPPENING LATER

The Chauvin trial resumes

The trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin will resume today after last week’s emotional testimony. An attorney for George Floyd’s family says the trial has been painful to watch for them, a sentiment shared by scores of Black Americans.

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TODAY’S NUMBER

$1 million

That’s how much music artist The Weeknd, whose real name is Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, is donating to Ethiopian relief efforts through the UN World Food Programme. Thousands of civilians are believed to have been killed, raped and abused during the course of Ethiopia’s five-month-old conflict.

TODAY’S QUOTE

“Getting vaccinated is a moral obligation, one that can save your life and the lives of others.”

President Joe Biden, in an Easter message with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden. The Bidens echoed the sentiments of faith leaders like Pope Francis in encouraging congregations and communities to get vaccinated so they can gather safely. 

TODAY’S WEATHER

AND FINALLY

Up, up, up!

Now is the time for planting and growing. And then in a few excruciating weeks, you’ll have a tomato plant! Or, you could just watch it all in fast-forward.

Source: CNN – US News

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