Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: April 6, 2022

Zelensky says U.N. must take action against Russia for war crimes, Oklahoma lawmakers pass near-total abortion ban, and more

1

Zelensky challenges U.N. to take forceful action against Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told the United Nations Security Council in a Tuesday videoconference that Russian forces had committed war crimes in parts of Ukraine they recently left, likening them to Islamic State terrorists. "They cut off limbs, cut their throats," Zelensky said. "Women were raped and killed in front of their children." Zelensky, citing gruesome images of alleged atrocities in the town of Bucha, challenged the U.N. to take forceful action and kick Russia off the Security Council. Diplomats called for investigating Bucha civilian deaths that have ignited global outrage, but Russia's Security Council veto prevented them from doing anything. Russia's U.N. ambassador, Vasily Nebenzya, told the council Ukraine's evidence that Russian troops killed civilians in Bucha was "fake."

2

Oklahoma lawmakers approve bill to make performing abortions a felony

Oklahoma's Republican-controlled legislature approved a near-total abortion ban on Tuesday. The bill seeks to make it a felony to perform an abortion "except to save the life of a pregnant woman in a medical emergency." A violation would carry a prison term of up to 10 years and a $100,000 fine. Oklahoma is the latest Republican-led state to pass new abortion restrictions, setting up opportunities for the Supreme Court's newly strengthened conservative majority to roll back abortion rights guaranteed by the Roe v. Wade decision. Oklahoma's bill, which Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) is expected to sign, came after the state became a destination for women from Texas seeking legal abortions after their state banned the procedure after six weeks, before many women know they are pregnant.

3

Ivanka Trump testifies to Jan. 6 committee

Ivanka Trump, former President Donald Trump's daughter and former White House adviser, testified virtually Tuesday before the select House committee investigating the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. The committee's chair, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), said Ivanka Trump "came in on her own" without the need for a subpoena, and was helpful but not "chatty" during the interview. Ivanka Trump was one of the aides closest to her father as a mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol trying to prevent lawmakers from certifying Trump's loss to President Biden in the 2020 election. She is the first of Trump's children to speak to the committee. Her husband and fellow former White House adviser Jared Kushner testified days before her.

4

U.S., allies to impose new sanctions on Russia

The United States and its allies on Wednesday plan to announce new sanctions against Russia to "impose significant costs" over its invasion of Ukraine, an administration official told CNN. The new package of penalties to be imposed by the U.S., the European Union, and the Group of Seven industrialized nations will ban new investment in Russia and increase sanctions against Russian financial institutions and state-owned companies. It also will target Russian President Vladimir Putin's adult children. The U.S. also has been considering expanding sanctions on Sberbank, Russia's largest financial institution, and another large lender, Alfa Bank, the official said. The move comes amid international outrage over revelations of atrocities allegedly committed by Russian forces in northern Ukraine.

5

Obama returns to White House to push health-care reform 

Former President Barack Obama returned to the White House for the first time in five years on Tuesday to join President Biden as he signed an executive order telling federal agencies to find ways to improve Medicare and the Affordable Care Act. Biden also called for lowering costs of the federal health insurance programs. Biden called the Affordable Care Act, Obama's signature domestic policy achievement, the "most consequential piece of legislation" since the establishment of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. The Biden administration announced it would close the "family glitch," which blocks Obamacare premium assistance to people getting health care through a relative's work. Republicans accused Biden of trampling Congress' authority.

6

Another GOP lawmaker who backed Trump impeachment announces retirement

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) announced Tuesday that he would retire instead of seeking re-election in this year's midterms. Upton, one of the longest-serving GOP House members, is one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach then-President Donald Trump for allegedly inciting the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. He said in a statement that the nation cannot "tolerate any effort by any president to impede the peaceful transition of power." Upton is now the fourth of the 10 Republicans who voted for impeachment to retire, after Reps. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio), John Katko (R-N.Y.), and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.). Trump endorsed state Rep. Steve Carra, who was going to challenge Upton in the primary but dropped out, then backed Rep. Bill Huizenga, who Upton would have had to beat in a newly drawn district.

7

Biden to extend pause on student loan payments

President Biden plans to extend a pause on federal student loan payments until Aug. 31, The New York Times reported Tuesday, citing an administration official briefed on the matter. This will be the sixth delay on making people resume payments since the policy was enacted more than two years ago to help people manage the financial fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. Without another extension, payments are scheduled to resume in less than a month for tens of millions of borrowers. Seven million people have avoided collection steps, including paycheck garnishments, during the pause. The administration official said the latest delay will be announced this week. Progressive politicians and activists want the debt forgiven altogether.

8

Sacramento police make more arrests connected to mass shooting

Sacramento police said Tuesday they had arrested two brothers and a third man in connection with a mass shooting that left six people dead and 12 injured on Monday night. The first of the men, 26-year-old Dandrae Martin, was arrested Monday. His brother Smiley Martin, 27, was arrested on Tuesday. Smiley Martin, who had been named as a person of interest in the mass shooting, was among the people injured in the violence outside two crowded nightclubs. He remained in a hospital under police custody, but once he's well he will later be booked into Sacramento County jail for "possession of a firearm by a prohibitive person and possession of a machine gun." The third suspect, Daviyonne Dawson, 31, also was arrested on a gun possession charge.

9

'I-65 Killer' identified after 30 years

The Indiana State Police said Tuesday they had identified the "I-65 Killer" more than 30 years after he sexually assaulted and murdered three women working at motels along the highway. The agency said investigators used investigative genealogy, which enters crime scene DNA to genealogy databases to find offenders' genetic relatives, to identify the late Harry Edward Greenwell as the person they suspect with 99-percent certainty in the 1987 and 1989 murders of Vicki Heath, Margaret "Peggy" Gill, and Jeanne Gilbert at Days Inns in Kentucky and Indiana. Another woman survived a sexual assault at the Days Inn in Columbus, Indiana, and gave a description of the attacker to police. Greenwell died of cancer in 2013 at age 68.

10

Tiger Woods plans to play in Masters 

Tiger Woods said Tuesday that "as of right now" he plans to play in this week's Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia. If he competes, it will be his first competition since he almost lost his right leg in a serious car accident 14 months ago. "My recovery has been good," Woods said. Woods has won 15 majors, and he would be trying to tie Jack Nicklaus with his sixth Masters green jacket, the most ever. He said after a practice round with his son Charlie and good friend Justin Thomas that he isn't worried from a "golf standpoint," but walking the course will be a difficult challenge. "You know, 72 holes is a long road," he said.

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