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Start your week smart: US-Canada border, Ukraine, London bar, Walmart, Afghanistan

By Alexandra Meeks, CNN

It’s Super Bowl Sunday! Millions of people will tune into the matchup between the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals later today, but for many viewers, it’s all about the commercials — some of which cost a record $7 million for just 30 seconds of airtime.

Here’s what else you need to know to Start Your Week Smart.

The weekend that was

• A major border crossing between Canada and the US remained partially impeded this morning despite police efforts to end a blockade by Canadian protesters who oppose Covid-19 mitigation measures in the country.

• President Joe Biden warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that the US and its allies will respond “decisively and impose swift and severe costs” on Russia should Putin decide to invade Ukraine.

• A mezzanine floor collapsed at a bar in east London on Saturday, leaving more than a dozen people injured.

• Walmart, the largest private retailer in the US, is dropping its mask mandate for vaccinated employees.

• President Biden signed an executive order Friday allowing $7 billion in frozen assets from Afghanistan’s central bank to eventually be distributed inside the country and to potentially fund litigation brought by families of victims of the September 11 terror attacks.

The week ahead


Happy Valentine’s Day! We hope your heart is full of happiness, and your stomach is stuffed with sweets. -XOXO, The 5 Things Team

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is scheduled to hold talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky amid rising tension at the Ukraine-Russia border. Scholz says the US and Germany will act together if Moscow launches an invasion. Scholz is expected to travel to Russia the following day.


Traders on Wall Street will be closely watching the release of the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last meeting for any additional clues on the timing of future interest rate hikes to combat rising inflation.

The second phase of France’s Covid-19 restrictions are due to be lifted, including the re-opening of nightclubs, the resumption of standing concerts, and the consumption of food and drinks in stadiums, cinemas and on public transportation. Tourism officials are hoping the loosening of constraints will prompt increased travel to France, which has had some of the most stringent Covid-19 restrictions in the world.


February 18 is the deadline for the Senate to vote on a temporary government funding measure passed by the House last week. The stopgap bill, known as a continuing resolution, would extend funding through March 11 and avoid a government shutdown.

Former Minnesota police officer Kim Potter, who was found guilty on two counts of manslaughter in the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright during a traffic stop, is scheduled to be sentenced. Minnesota guidelines recommend a sentence of roughly between 6 and 8.5 years in prison.

Want more 5 Things?

This week on the Sunday edition of the 5 Things podcast, CNN Senior Data Reporter Harry Enten gets us ready for tonight’s Super Bowl: Why do we root for underdogs? Are the Bengals really an unlucky franchise? What’s America’s favorite game time snack? We dig into the data around America’s most popular sporting event. Listen here!

Tonight’s big event

Super Bowl LVI

Get ready for some football! The Los Angeles Rams will face the Cincinnati Bengals on their home field at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, with the kickoff set for 6:30 p.m. ET. The Bengals have reached the Super Bowl twice before, both times in the 1980s, but have never won the coveted title. The Rams last Super Bowl win was in 2000. Today’s game will also feature a star-studded halftime show with performances from hip-hop icons Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar.

Photos of the week

Check out more moving, fascinating and thought-provoking images from the week that was, curated by CNN Photos.

What’s happening in entertainment

‘Marry Me’ shines the spotlight on Jennifer Lopez

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Jennifer Lopez is back on the big screen in “Marry Me.” CNN’s Brian Lowry says the movie trades in the standard “meet cute” rom-com formula for “meet dumb.” Lopez still gets ample opportunities to sing a hummable soundtrack, but even within the genre’s parameters, the silly premise deals the movie a blow from which it never entirely recovers.

What’s happening in sports

If football isn’t your thing, perhaps puppies are! The fur-ocious Puppy Bowl XVIII begins today at 2 p.m. ET on Discovery+ and Animal Planet. More than 100 incredible adoptable puppy players will sport either ‘Team Ruff’ or ‘Team Fluff’ in the pawsome pre-Super Bowl event!

NASCAR’s Daytona 500, also known as the “Great American Race,” will kick off next Sunday at the Daytona International Speedway in Florida. It’s a 200-lap race where 40 drivers will compete for bragging rights and more than $1 million in prize money.

Quiz time!

Take CNN’s weekly news quiz to see how much you remember from the week that was! So far, 75% of fellow quiz fans have gotten an 8 out of 10 or better this week. How well can you do?

Play me off

Remixed oldies are here to stay!

Megastars Elton John & Dua Lipa are topping the charts with their catchy single “Cold Heart.” Check out this eclectic re-imagination of one of Elton’s classic hits. (Click here to view)

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