5 things to know Monday

Russia announces Ukraine cease-fire, amid heavy shelling

Russian troops continued to pummel Ukrainian cities Monday, even as Russia announced a cease-fire and the opening of humanitarian corridors. The limited cease-fire announcement Monday came a day after hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian civilians attempting to flee to safety were forced to shelter from Russian shelling of cities. Officials from both sides planned a third round of talks Monday. Russian forces continued their offensive, opening fire on the city of Mykolaiv, Ukraine’s General Staff said Monday. Rescuers said they were putting out fires in residential areas caused by rocket attacks. NATO countries supporting Ukraine against the Russian invasion will have a “green light” to send fighter jets as part of their military aid, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday.  Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s call for a no-fly zone over his country continues to draw no support. Zelenskyy said in a video address on Sunday that “the world is strong enough to close our skies.” He also appealed for stronger sanctions on Russia.

Seven dead after tornadoes tear through central Iowa

Communities in central Iowa were in mourning Monday after two tornados killed at least seven people, including two children. Authorities in Madison County said six people were killed and four injured Saturday when a tornado touched down near Winterset, a hamlet of less than 6,000 people on the southwest edge of the Des Moines metropolitan area, around 4:30 p.m. Two children under the age of five and four adults were killed. Another tornado struck less than an hour later in Lucas County, about 54 miles southeast of Des Moines, killing one person and causing multiple injuries, officials said. Officials reported a number of homes were damaged or destroyed and roads were blocked by downed lines. At one point, power outages affected more than 10,000 customers in the Des Moines area. The storms are the deadliest in Iowa since May 2008, when a tornado destroyed nearly 300 homes and killed nine people in the city of Parkersburg. Another tornado a month later killed four boys at the Little Sioux Boy Scout ranch in western Iowa.

Soaring gas prices top $4 per gallon

The national average price for gas has topped $4 a gallon for the first time in over a decade as gas costs continue to rise in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. As of Sunday afternoon, the national average of a regular gallon of gas is $4.009, according to the American Automobile Association. That’s up 8 cents from Saturday and up 40 cents from last week. The record high for the national average is $4.11, set on July 17, 2008, according to AAA. The record high for the national average is $4.11, set on July 17, 2008, according to AAA. Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at fuel-savings app GasBuddy, said in a tweet on Sunday the national average could reach up to $4.10 by Tuesday, adding to the possibility the all-time record is broken by the end of the week.

Americans can order more COVID tests from the government

Americans will be able to order more free coronavirus tests from the government starting this week. President Joe Biden announced during his State of the Union address that even if you’ve already ordered free tests, “you can order more from covidtests.gov.” Americans were able to start ordering the free tests from the Covidtests.gov website on Jan. 18, part of the Biden administration’s purchase of 500 million tests announced in December. Initially, the program allowed for four free at-home tests per residential address. Starting this week, “every home in the U.S. will be able to order an additional set of 4 tests,” the government website says. A credit card isn’t needed to order the tests on the government site and there is no cost. Once ordered, tests are expected to be mailed within seven to 12 days. 

57th Academy of Country Music Awards stream live with Dolly Parton as co-host

In an event described as “a show so big, only a stadium can hold it,” the 57th Academy of Country Music Awards will be presented Monday in Las Vegas. This year’s show, at at Allegiant Stadium, will make history as the first major awards show to stream live exclusively. The pre-show starts at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT, on Amazon Prime Video (which is available for a 30-day free subscription), followed by the awards show proper at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. The event will be presided over by country icon Dolly Parton, who co-hosts with reigning new male and female artists of the year Jimmie Allen and Gabby Barrett. The show will feature a slew of performances, including Jason Aldean, Lady A, Chris Stapleton and Carrie Underwood. Kelly Clarkson will also perform “I Will Always Love You” as a Dolly Parton tribute. 

Contributing: The Associated Press

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