By AJ Willingham, CNN
Happy Valentine’s Day, and happy Conveniently Call In Sick to Work Day for all the Los Angeles Rams fans out there. Super Bowl LVI certainly got hearts a-flutterin’, didn’t it?Here’s what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.
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Urgent warnings of an imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine intensified again this weekend, with some US officials estimating the conflict could boil over as soon as this week. National security adviser Jake Sullivan said an invasion could happen “any day now.” President Joe Biden spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in separate calls this weekend, telling both the US would respond “decisively” to any Russian escalation. The threat of a Russian invasion has been looming for weeks now, and the consequences could stretch across the world. In addition to the frightening prospect of mass violence in Eastern Europe, an invasion could create significant economic problems in the US and complicate an already fraught political landscape.
2. Pandemic protests
The Ambassador Bridge, North America’s busiest land border crossing, has reopened after a nearly weeklong blockade by “Freedom Convoy” truckers protesting Canada’s new Covid-19 vaccination mandates. The bridge, which connects Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, is essential to the robust movement of goods between the US and Canada. Police started arresting protesters involved in the blockade on Friday after a judge ordered them to leave. However, groups of demonstrators are still creating gridlock and choking businesses in other areas of the capital city of Ottawa. Similar protests against pandemic measures have broken out in other parts of the world. “Freedom Convoy” protesters blocked traffic in Paris this weekend, and in New Zealand, police attempted to flush out protesters by playing grating Barry Manilow hits and the “Macarena.”
The US is “actively working” for the release of an American citizen who was detained by the Taliban in Afghanistan in early December, national security adviser Jake Sullivan says. At least eight Westerners, including the one American, have been arrested by the Taliban in Afghanistan during different incidents in the last two months. This marks a sharp escalation of Taliban actions against Westerners living in the country, and reveals yet another ripple of the the US’ completed military withdrawal from the country last August. The US National Security Council called the detentions “unacceptable” and said the US has been in contact with the Taliban as it urges the group to release the detainees.
4. Capitol riot
Rudy Giuliani has been engaging with the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, and the committee still expects him to “fully cooperate” with its subpoena. Former President Donald Trump’s one-time lawyer was one of four witnesses scheduled to appear before the committee last week who had their depositions rescheduled. That decision, combined with previous protests by Giuliani against the subpoena, created some concern that he may take the path of some other Trump loyalists who have defied subpoenas from the committee at risk of legal action. However, Giuliani’s lawyer has reportedly signaled to the committee he is willing to cooperate.
Russian teen figure skater Kamila Valieva has been cleared to continue competing at the Beijing Winter Olympics despite testing positive for a banned substance in December. The decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport has been decried by others in the global sports community, including the World Anti-Doping Agency and the US and Canadian Olympic Committees. A Russian anti-doping agency allowed the 15-year-old to continue working toward the Olympics after December’s failed drug test despite concerns from international sports bodies, including the International Olympic Committee. The controversy has drawn comparisons to other doping scandals that have trickled out of the country in recent years. The head of the United States Anti-Doping Agency said, with this scandal, Russia has “hijacked” this year’s Games.
How about that Super Bowl halftime show?!
Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, 50 Cent, Eminem and Kendrick Lamar brought immaculate early 2000s energy.
Snoop Dogg’s Team Fluff wins the Puppy Bowl
A tough break for pal Martha Stewart’s Team Ruff, but both squads really left it all out on the field.
Vanessa Carlton’s smash hit ‘A Thousand Miles’ turns 20 years old
The piano riff at the beginning is considered one of the most iconic and identifiable song openings ever. It’s also three seconds long, which means if it played constantly in your head for an entire day (which it will), it would loop 28,800 times.
Idaho promotes a potato-scented perfume
Root vegetables are reliable and hardy, which are very sexy qualities.
British zoo hopes that music by Marvin Gaye will put monkeys in the mood
If all else fails, a little spritz of potato perfume should do the trick.
A jury for the federal hate crimes trial of the men convicted of killing Ahmaud Arbery in 2020 is set to be selected today in Brunswick, Georgia. The federal case against the three men hinges on whether or not Arbery’s murder was racially motivated.
Team USA’s Kaillie Humphries has won gold in the first-ever monobob event. The monobob is an individual version of bobsleigh exclusive to female athletes. Its inclusion is seen as a victory for gender equality, since men and women now have two bobsled events each.
That is the value of the total sales of NFTS, or non-fungible tokens, in 2021. However, platforms that broker sales of the inscrutable digital assets are running into issues, like scams, counterfeits and people selling NFTs of assets that don’t belong to them.
“ADL is deeply concerned with the increase in bias incident frequency and severity currently blanketing the NY/NJ region.”
A statement from the Anti-Defamation League after several anti-Semitic incidents were reported in the New York City area. Over the last two weekends there have been two reports of assaults against Jewish people, and several discoveries of anti-Semitic graffiti. The New York Police Department’s Hate Crime Task Force is investigating the incidents.
Inside your heart-shaped box
Fancy a star-shaped cucumber or square melon? These fun-shaped fruits and veggies are grown via a very ingenious set of molds. Valentine’s Day gift idea: Grow a watermelon in the shape of a heart and watch your beloved’s eyes light up with wonder and the slightest hint of concern! (Click here to view)
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