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Sanctions on Russia, trucker protests target DC: 5 Things podcast

Second Amendment


On today’s episode of the 5 Things podcast: West unveils sanctions on Russia

The moves come after Russia ordered troops to eastern Ukraine this week. Plus, Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page talks about healthcare worker burnout in the late pandemic, trucker protests head for the capital, national correspondent Kevin McCoy reports on Second Amendment battles in courts nationwide and the Major League Baseball work stoppage hits Day 84.

Podcasts: True crime, in-depth interviews and more USA TODAY podcasts right here.

Hit play on the player above to hear the podcast and follow along with the transcript below. This transcript was automatically generated, and then edited for clarity in its current form. There may be some differences between the audio and the text.

Taylor Wilson:

Good morning. I’m Taylor Wilson and this is 5 Things you need to know Wednesday, the 23rd of February, 2022. Today, sanctions on Russia, plus healthcare worker burnout, and more.

Taylor Wilson:

Here are some of the top headlines:

  1. The three white men who murdered Black man Ahmaud Arbery in 2020 were found guilty of federal hate crimes yesterday. The verdict affirmed what family members and civil rights leaders said from the beginning, Arbery was chased down and killed because he was Black.
  2. At least four people are dead after a military contracted helicopter crashed at a missile range facility in Hawaii yesterday. It’s not clear whether those killed were civilians or military personnel.
  3. And climate activists earlier today blocked roads leading to Germany’s three biggest airports, gluing themselves to the ground.

Sanctions are going into effect against Russia from countries around the world. The response comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops this week into two pro-separatist regions of Ukraine. Germany made one of the first big moves, taking steps to stop the process of certifying the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which links Russian energy to Germany and other parts of Europe. Chancellor Olaf Scholz:

Taylor Wilson translating Olaf Scholz:

The situation today is fundamentally different. Therefore, in view of the latest development, we have to reassess the situation also with regard to Nord Stream 2.

Taylor Wilson:

And British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced sanctions on Russian finance.

Boris Johnson:

Today, the UK is sanctioning the following five Russian Banks: Rossiya, IS Bank, General Bank, Promsvyazbank, and the Black Sea Bank. And we are sanctioning three very high net worth individuals: Gennady Timchenko, Boris Rotenberg and Igor Rotenberg. Any assets they hold in the UK will be frozen. The individuals concerned will be banned from traveling here, and we will prohibit all UK individuals and entities from having any dealings with them.

Taylor Wilson:

As for the US, President Joe Biden announced sanctions against Russian oligarchs and more.

Joe Biden:

Who in the Lord’s name does Putin think gives him the right to declare new so-called countries on territory that belonged to his neighbors? This is a flagrant violation of international law, and it demands a firm response from the international community. So today, I’m announcing the first tranche of sanctions to impose costs on Russia in response to their actions yesterday. These have been closely coordinated with our allies and partners and we’ll continue to escalate sanctions if Russia escalates.

We’re implementing full blocking sanctions on two large Russian financial institutions: VEB and their military bank. We’re implementing comprehensive sanctions on Russian’s sovereign debt. That means we’ve cut off Russia’s government from Western financing. It can no longer raise money from the West and cannot trade in its new debt on our markets or European markets either.

Starting tomorrow and continuing in the days ahead, we’ll also impose sanctions on Russian’s elites and their family members. They share in the corrupt gains of the Kremlin policies and should share in the pain as well.

Taylor Wilson:

Putin had called for pledges from the West that Ukraine and other former Soviet states not join the NATO Alliance, but many Western leaders have accused him of plans to expand the Russian empire, something Putin shrugged off yesterday.

Taylor Wilson translating Vladimir Putin:

We see and also have anticipated speculations on this issue, that Russia wants to restore the empire within the empire’s borders. This is totally false.

Taylor Wilson:

For his part, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he would consider breaking diplomatic ties with Russia and did recall Ukraine’s ambassador from Moscow. He said he was calling some of the country’s military reservists, but that there was still no need for a full military mobilization. While Putin moved some troops into Ukrainian territory, most still remained stationed around the country’s borders.

America’s healthcare workers are reporting major levels of burnout and even anger in year three of the COVID-19 pandemic’s worst effects. But despite the complications of COVID-related politics and rising abuse from patients and their families, polling shows that many actually still love their jobs. Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page reports.

Susan Page:

Here’s one thing that’s amazing. We’re going into year three of COVID, and these healthcare workers who have been on the frontlines are really positive about their jobs. Three out of four say they love their jobs, and 80% of them say they’re satisfied with their jobs. They have job satisfaction. That’s pretty amazing. On the other hand, they’re feeling pretty battered. One out of four say they are likely to leave the healthcare field sometime in the near future. That’d be a big exodus of medical expertise. And a third are not sure they would have chosen healthcare as their field if they had to do it all over again.

We’re at a time when I think a lot of Americans see light it at the end of the tunnel when it comes to COVID. We see mask rules being lifted, for instance. We see COVID cases going down. Healthcare workers are not yet convinced that’s true. Only about one in five say this pandemic is mostly under control or entirely under control. Most of them say we’re still in the middle of things. And by two to one they say Americans are not doing enough these days to take care of their own health, by doing things like wearing masks and socially distancing, and especially getting vaccinations.

The biggest frustration, I think, that these healthcare workers have is the number of patients they have who have not been vaccinated. When they talk to these patients, they are more likely to hear from them that they are defiant about vaccines, that they don’t believe in vaccines than they are to hear them express regret that they didn’t get a vaccine, which of course, might have prevented them from getting COVID.

Taylor Wilson:

For Susan’s full story, check out a link in today’s episode description and you can find her on Twitter @SusanPage.

A series of trucker protest convoys are headed for Washington. Complaints at the heart of demonstrations vary, but center on issues with COVID-19 restrictions, including vaccine mandates. The Freedom Convoy said it plans to shut down the Capital Beltway, which surrounds DC today, and the People’s Convoy will leave California today with plans to arrive in Washington in early March. It’s not clear whether the protest will bring the same kind of chaos that paralyzed both Canada’s capital of Ottawa and order towns in recent weeks. The Pentagon says it’s approving the deployment of nearly a thousand unarmed troops to prepare for the convoys.

Escalating Second Amendment court battles could soon dramatically reorder the country’s relationship with firearms. Gun rights groups are filing lawsuits that challenge local, state, and federal restrictions on the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, and they’re winning. National Correspondent Kevin McCoy has more.

Kevin McCoy:

Well, we looked at six gun groups that filed lawsuits between the beginning of 2016 and the end of 2021. There’s the National Rifle Association, which is probably the best known of all, the Second Amendment Foundation, and the Firearms Policy Coalition, the Gun Owners of America, the California Rifle & Pistol Association, which is a California affiliate of the National Rifle Association, and the National Association for Gun Rights.

There’s a case that was filed by a different affiliate of the National Rifle Association, and it’s called New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen. It was filed in federal courts, and it has made its way all the way up to the US Supreme Court, which heard arguments in it last November. Now, that case is expected to result in a decision this coming summer, and it focuses on an issue in the Second Amendment.

The Second Amendment in the past was focused mainly on militias, but the Supreme Court changed that in 2008 under a ruling called the Heller decision. It said that the Second Amendment extends to self-defense. Now, the case that’s before the Supreme Court now takes that a step farther. It argues that the New York State prohibition on licensing of people, unless they can show good cause, then they can’t be allowed to get a firearms license to take a firearm away from their home for self-defense. Now, the court during the arguments seem to favor knocking down that law. If that happens, it’s going to change the law across the country probably. There are about five different lawsuits that have already been teed up by these groups that are on hold pending the decision by the Supreme Court.

If the Supreme Court says that yes, you do have the right under the Second Amendment to carry a firearm away from your home for self-defense without having to prove that you have good cause for it, then you’re going to have that kind of a change in all states. When you talk to people who are opposed to like absolute gun rights, they say, “Well, that means that you’re going to have more firearms in crowded cities, rural areas, every place.”

Taylor Wilson:

Check out the full story on USATODAY.com.

Major League Baseball and its players’ union will meet again today to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement. Less than a week remains in what both sides say is a Monday deadline to allow the season to start on time on March 31st. The league has already canceled the first week of spring training. Players did make a slight shift toward management yesterday on their proposal for increased salary arbitration eligibility. The union is also asking for increases in the Minor League minimum salary among other issues. Today is the 84th day of the second longest work stoppage in baseball history.

Thanks for listening to 5 Things. We’re here seven mornings a week on whatever your favorite podcast app is. Thanks, as always, to PJ Elliott for his great work on the show, and I’m back tomorrow with more of 5 Things from USA TODAY.



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