From today’s episode of the 5 Things podcast: Start of Russian partial ceasefire in Ukraine
It’s unclear how long the move, designed to aid civilian evacuations, will last. Plus, Washington Deputy Editor Ledyard King talks about low voter turnout in the Congressional primaries, deadly tornadoes tear through Iowa, money and tech reporter Terry Collins breaks down the rise cash home purchases and the national gasoline average exceeds $4.
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Hello. I’m Taylor Wilson and here are 5 things you need to know Monday, March 7, 2022. Today, a temporary ceasefire in Ukraine. Additionally, gas prices may soon reach record highs and more.
Here are some of the main titles:
- Israel fired several missiles at Syrian military positions near Damascus earlier in the day, killing two civilians. It was the first Israeli attack inside Syria since Russia, a supporter of President Bashar Assad, invaded Ukraine.
- Florida firefighters continue to battle two massive wildfires in the state’s Panhandle. A fire covers more than 9,000 acres.
- And Major League Baseball is set to cancel another week of regular-season games shortly after yesterday’s labor negotiations showed little progress. The first week of the season has already been canceled.
Russia continues to bomb cities across Ukraine.
[Sounds of shelling in Ukraine, woman in a Mariupol hospital]
These are the scenes inside a hospital in Mariupol on the southeastern coast of the country. The town has been hit by Russian attacks over the past week and is now in desperate need of food, water, medicine and other supplies. Russian and Ukrainian forces had agreed to an 11 a.m. ceasefire to allow the evacuation of civilians. But Russian attacks quickly closed the humanitarian corridor again over the weekend. The International Committee of the Red Cross estimates that around 200,000 people are still trying to flee the city.
Yet Russia and Ukraine have apparently agreed to a more national ceasefire as of this morning. It should apply to civilians in Kiev, Mariupol, Kharkiv and Sumy according to a Russian task force, although it is not clear if the fighting will stop beyond the mentioned areas or when the ceasefire will cease. will end. The West continues to largely support Ukraine with aid and arms shipments, as well as massive sanctions against Russia, but no NATO troops have been sent to Ukraine. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, however, said yesterday that NATO countries now have the green light to send fighter jets as part of their military aid. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is growing frustrated at not getting more support and has called for a no-fly zone over Ukraine. NATO has so far ruled out this possibility for fear of starting a wider war.
Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to justify the invasion by pointing the finger at Ukraine. He repeated some of those comments to Turkish President Recep Erdogan yesterday. Putin launched the invasion with false accusations against Ukraine, saying it was led by neo-Nazis bent on undermining Russia with the development of nuclear weapons.
A new round of redistribution reduces the number of competitive seats in the House. This means that the congressional primaries matter more than ever. The problem is that 80% of voters do not participate. USA TODAY Washington Deputy Editor Ledyard King explains what is being done to try to get higher turnout.
There are a number of groups there, what I call good government groups. These are people who want to increase the turnout vote in different ways. There is one couple in particular. Unite America is one, another is the Bipartisan Policy Center. And they recognize how the primaries are essentially the deciders of who can go to Capitol Hill and be in Congress. And some of the things they want to do is open the primaries. So, for example, right now most states have what they call a closed or partially closed primary. That is, not all voters can participate. For nine states, for example, if you’re a Republican, you can vote in the Republican primary. If you are a Democrat, you can vote in the Democratic primary. But if you’re an independent, you can’t vote for either. If you’re a Democrat, you can’t vote in a Republican primary. If you’re a Republican, you can’t vote in a Democratic primary. These are examples of closed primaries and the Bipartisan Policy Center, for example, wants all states to open up.
They also want to make the main date a day of the year. Election day, November, is always the first Tuesday. Well, on the main timeline, it’s all over the map. It’s over several months and it sometimes changes from election to election, so people are confused. People, who are already not interested in the process, don’t really know when their main dates are. So these groups want to make sure there is a day in the primary where everyone knows when it is so they can go vote. And they also want to make sure that all the elections take place on the same day. For example, federal elections are sometimes not held on the same…primaries, i.e. they are not held on the same day as state and local office primaries. So it’s a hodgepodge of dates and election offices and they want to stick to one. They like to have a day when everyone comes to vote.
One of the concerns of good government groups, in particular, is that with the primaries having become so important, it may mean that the most extreme candidates walk out of these elections. Because if only the Republican Party votes, or the Democratic Party, it’s the base of each party that tends to come out. Well, the base of each party tends to go for the most extreme, most vocal, most polarizing candidate. And there’s a concern that we’re going to have a Congress with a lot more polarizing candidates, yes, even more than there are today, because the primaries are where the action is. And in November, the seats are so red or so blue that the opponent doesn’t really matter.
For the full Ledyard article, check out the description for today’s episode.
At least seven people have died in central Iowa after a pair of tornadoes tore through the area over the weekend. Two children are among those killed. Six of those killed were in and around the small hamlet of Winterset, bordering the Des Moines metro area. Another tornado hit an hour later Saturday in Lucas County. The storms are the deadliest in Iowa since 2008, when a tornado killed nine people.
There is currently an increase in cash home purchases that comes during a seller’s market that has exploded during the pandemic. Some experts say coming with cash can be the best way to win a bidding war or avoid one altogether. Producer, PJ Elliott, spoke with Money and Tech reporter, Terry Collins, to find out more.
Most homebuyers seek to enter the market using all-cash companies, such as Ribbon, Orchard, Flyhomes and better.com. Maybe coming in with all the money might be the best way to win a bidding war.
And it’s a tough market. It’s an example of the extreme and the heat of the housing market right now, where you could have a mortgage, a pre-approved loan for a mortgage, but that may not be enough because the seller may want everything cash. And some offers even go up, on top of all cash, up to maybe $20-30,000 more. So, that’s fair, that’s a snapshot of how competitive the housing market is right now, probably the most we’ve seen in at least over a dozen years.
Will this all-monetary bubble burst or will it stick around and become the new normal?
Oh, I think it’s a trend. I think that’s a trend, that I think right now you can see what’s happening in the southeast and southwest regions. And I’m sure as things go on it tends to spread, so I won’t be surprised to see it start to happen. Then places like the east coast and the west coast and businesses like Ribbon are now hoping to expand to meet that demand due to housing shortages.
So what about people who don’t have enough money, how can they buy houses?
Right now, ooh, it’s a tough market. If you want to go home right now, I think you should have multiple wishlist lists of what you think you can afford, what you would like, and what may be out of reach. Maybe push the ones that are out of reach now, unless you’re really determined and need to try to save more. But if you need the immediacy of wanting to have a home within the next 90-120 days or more, you should try to find viable alternatives, besides likely happening already if you’re pre-approved and that you can pay a loan and things like that.
Because it’s really competitive right now. An all-cash offer, as some have said in my story, can help you skip the line if you have it, because that’s what sellers are looking for right now. If the offer is there and they’re looking more towards that than someone who has a conventional loan and such. It’s just a request for now. There is such a shortage of houses. Demand is strong, just insufficient supply. And right now, paying cash seems to be one of those viable options for sellers in a seller’s market. As an example of the current situation of offers and cash purchases, these cash purchases represent 30% of the current market, the door-to-door sales market, compared to approximately 19% two years ago, according to the National Association . real estate agents.
The national average gas price has officially topped $4 a gallon. This is the first time in more than a decade that this has happened following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and international sanctions against Russia. As of this morning, according to AAA, the national average is $4 and six and a half cents. That’s up 14 cents from Saturday and 40 cents from a week ago. The national average record was $4 and 11 cents set on July 17, 2008. And experts say that record could be broken by the end of the week.
Thank you for listening 5 things. You can find us seven mornings a week, year-round, right here where you’re listening right now. Thanks as always to PJ Elliot for his excellent work on the series. And I’m back tomorrow with 5 more things from USA TODAY.