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 10:52 AM
Updated: Apr 15, 2021 7:30 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.

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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.)

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2066989

Reported Deaths: 52611
CountyCasesDeaths
Kings27515910235
Queens2723029785
Suffolk1983523365
Nassau1813753158
Bronx1801106498
New York1359564416
Westchester1283032262
Erie872971765
Richmond734501794
Monroe651661057
Orange47547810
Rockland46511952
Onondaga37558668
Dutchess28937442
Albany24270348
Oneida22021503
Niagara19398349
Broome18127355
Saratoga14924165
Ulster13638250
Schenectady12835195
Rensselaer11002140
Putnam1048891
Chautauqua8703140
Chemung7435134
Oswego732390
Ontario723492
Steuben6639143
Sullivan647272
St. Lawrence641596
Cayuga611292
Jefferson576766
Wayne554667
Cattaraugus546586
Genesee5286121
Herkimer5054107
Clinton475133
Madison441488
Fulton428190
Livingston425658
Tompkins419350
Montgomery4146121
Columbia3944101
Cortland367960
Tioga361861
Warren352957
Wyoming344951
Allegany335384
Chenango335376
Otsego335347
Greene329775
Washington302755
Orleans299283
Lewis260734
Franklin250312
Delaware229037
Seneca196256
Schoharie163216
Essex156326
Yates115626
Schuyler102614
Hamilton3042
Unassigned13458
Out of NY0231
Utica
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Oneonta
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