5 things to know for April 4: Trump arraignment, Gas prices, Spy balloon, Finland joining NATO, TikTok
(CNN) Fifty years ago this week, the first cell phone call was made on a sidewalk in New York City with a device the size of a brick. Every decade since that day in 1973 has seen the once-heavy phone evolve into a thinner, faster and smarter device that continues to reshape industries, culture and the way we connect with each other — and ourselves. Here’s what else you need to know to speed up and get on with your day.
Here’s what else you need to know to speed up and get on with your day.
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1. Trump’s engagement
Donald Trump, the first former president in history to face criminal charges, will go on trial today after being indicted last week by a grand jury in Manhattan. The expected voluntary surrender of a former president and 2024 White House candidate will be a unique affair as the nation waits to see how the unprecedented moment unfolds. Upon his arrival in court this afternoon, Trump will be booked by investigators, which will include being fingerprinted. Normally, it would be a mug shot, but it remains unclear if that will happen. Trump is not expected to be handcuffed as he will be surrounded by armed federal agents for his protection. He will then be brought into the courtroom where the indictment will be revealed and he will be formally faced with the charges. After he is indicted, sources say Trump will immediately return to Mar-a-Lago, where he has scheduled an event this evening to speak publicly.
2. Gas prices
The national average for a gallon of regular gas in the US currently stands at $3.51, according to AAA. However, some analysts predict the price will rise relatively quickly to around $3.80 or $3.90 after OPEC and its allies recently announced a surprise move to cut oil production. OPEC+, which collectively supplies most of the world’s crude oil, announced on Sunday that it will cut output by more than 1.6 million barrels a day starting in May — a move that sent oil prices soaring on Monday. “I think OPEC is reawakening the inflation monster,” said Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis for OPIS, which tracks gas prices for AAA. Although Americans may soon see an increase at the gas pumps, prices are likely to remain well below the record levels seen in 2022, when gas hit $5 a gallon.
3. Spy balloon
The Chinese spy balloon that crashed over the US earlier this year was able to capture images and gather some intelligence signals from US military sites, a source tells CNN. The balloon was able to transmit the information to Beijing in real time, the source said, and the US government still does not know for sure whether the Chinese government could delete the balloon’s data after receiving it. This raises the question of whether there is intelligence the balloon was able to gather that the US still does not know about. However, the intelligence community has not been overly concerned about the information the balloon was able to gather, the person said. The FBI is still examining the balloon, but so far officials have been able to gather additional information about how the device worked, including the algorithms used to software the balloon and how it is powered and designed.
Finland will join NATO as its 31st member today, more than doubling the size of the US-led military alliance with Russia. Finland’s admission comes days after Turkey’s parliament voted to ratify the country’s membership, clearing the final hurdle to its NATO membership and ending months of delays. The Nordic country’s admission to the alliance represents a blow to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has long sought to undermine NATO and, before invading Ukraine, urged the bloc to refrain from further expansion. On Monday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said it will be historic when the alliance raises the Finnish flag for the first time at its headquarters today, adding “It will be a good day for Finland’s security, for Nordic security and for NATO as a whole.”
Australia has joined other Western countries in banning the use of TikTok on government equipment as the Chinese-owned video app comes under increasing pressure over claims it poses a security concern. The decision puts Australia in line with its allies in the US, Britain and Canada, which have already announced similar restrictions, while New Zealand’s parliament ordered the app to be removed from all devices with access to the legislature. Days earlier, NATO also officially banned staff from downloading the app to their NATO-provided devices. TikTok Chief Executive Shou Chew has said the company is moving its data to the US to be stored on American soil, but Western governments remain skeptical. This comes as half of Americans support a US government ban on TikTok, while 22% oppose the idea and more than a quarter are unsure, according to a Pew Research Center poll released last week.
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That’s about how many people from Texas to Wisconsin are at risk of severe weather today as another powerful storm threatens to bring more dangerous tornadoes to the region. Forecasts show the storm system moving through some of the same areas in the Midwest and South where at least 50 deadly tornadoes touched down over the weekend.
“I’m not thinking about what’s happening in St. Petersburg, or in Moscow… I’m thinking about our country. And our cities.”
— Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, declining to comment on Sunday’s blast in St. Petersburg, Russia, which killed one of the country’s prominent military journalists and injured 32 others. A hearing has been scheduled today for an anti-war activist who was arrested in connection with the explosion.
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The sneaky sandwich thief
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