7 things to know for Thursday, April 21


Ukraine is still holding its last foot in Mariupol.

  • The latest news from the key port city: Fighters and civilians entrenched in a steelworks refused to surrender to Russian forces. Russia said today it would not attack the facility but would prevent anyone from escaping.
  • What else to know: Russia expands its campaign in eastern Ukraine, capturing several small towns.


The Biden administration will fight to restore the transit mask mandate.

  • The last: The Justice Department said yesterday it would appeal a ruling that abruptly ended the warrant on planes and other transportation this week.
  • Does this change anything? Not immediately. The battle could eventually end in the Supreme Court, which has been skeptical of federal pandemic restrictions.
  • In other transit news: The FAA has made permanent its “zero tolerance” policy for unruly airline passengers, a growing pandemic problem.


Republicans continue to suggest that gay rights advocates care for children.

  • What is happening? In recent weeks, politicians have escalated baseless attacks on the LGBTQ community. In a fundraising email, a state senator accused a Democrat of wanting to “sexualize kindergarteners.”
  • Why? They are trying to piss off voters ahead of November’s midterm elections.
  • Larger image: It’s part of a larger movement, which has included a nationwide wave of anti-LGBTQ bills.


Thousands of student loans could have already been forgiven.

  • Numbers: About 7,700 federal loans may have been eligible for cancellation since September 1, 2020, according to a new report. Only 157 had been pardoned last June.
  • The problem: The Department of Education has not accurately tracked some income-driven repayment plans that offer cancellation after 20 or 25 years, according to the report.
  • And now? The Biden administration on Tuesday announced a new student loan forgiveness waiver to address those failures.


Supply chain issues aren’t the only reason food prices are rising.

  • A huge factor: The war in Ukraine. This drives up the prices of corn, fertilizer and meat.
  • How? It’s complex. But one factor is the US decision last week to allow the sale of high-ethanol gasoline this summer. This means that more corn will be used for fuel rather than animal feed.
  • What else? The California drought, bird flu and more mean prices are rising at rates not seen since the 1980s.


Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her 96th birthday today.

Rudy Giuliani appeared on “The Masked Singer” last night.

About Marco C. Nichols

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