On today’s episode of the 5 Things podcast: Civilian evacuations from Mariupol steel plant begin
Ukrainian forces continue to defend the complex amid Russia’s invasion. Plus, reporter Chris Woodyard tells us about Russia’s impact on energy markets, a special grand jury begins weighing evidence surrounding former President Donald Trump’s election interference, reporter Morgan Hines talks about how much to spend on a wedding gift and the NHL Playoffs begin.
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.
Good morning. I’m Taylor Wilson and this is 5 Things you need to know Monday, the 2nd of May 2022. Today’s civilian evacuations in Mariupol, plus shaken world energy markets, and more.
Here are some of the top headlines:
- European Union energy ministers will meet today to discuss Russia’s move to cut gas supplies to Bulgaria and Poland. They’ll also debate new sanctions over Russia’s war in Ukraine.
- Three University of Oklahoma meteorology students died while storm-chasing in Kansas over the weekend. They died in a car crash late Friday.
- Eid al-Fitr begins today for many around the world. The holiday marks the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
Civilians have begun evacuating the steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine. They’ve been holed up there, along with the last Ukrainian forces in the city, largely overrun by Russia’s military. Video posted online by Ukrainian forces yesterday showed elderly women and mothers with small children climbing over a steep pile of rubble and later boarding a bus. The Azov Regiment, along with marines, police officers, border guards, and others are defending the plant, though Russian forces have it surrounded. Deputy Commander of the Azov Regiment, Sviatoslav Palamar, described the scene.
Taylor Wilson translating for Sviatoslav Palamar:
“As for the evacuation of civilians and difficulties, I can say there is rubble. We have no special equipment. It’s hard for soldiers to pick up slabs, weighing tons only with their arms. They had to hammer it. The Azovstal plant territory is covered with holes by bombs, which have hit it.”
The regiment was founded by white supremacists, but has in recent years joined the broad Ukrainian fight against Russia on the front lines in Ukraine’s east. And experts say the regimen has mostly moved on from its hateful past, and at least open support of fascism. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, meanwhile, said more than 100 civilians from Mariupol were expected to arrive in Ukraine-controlled Zaporizhzhia later today.
Russia’s decision to use its natural gas exports as an economic weapon is shaking up world energy markets in ways that will hit American consumers. Reporter Chris Woodard has more.
If you think Russia’s invasion of Ukraine really doesn’t affect your own life that much here in the US, consider what’s happening with diesel prices. Prices starting heading straight up this week. By Friday, diesel had hit an all-time high of $5.18 a gallon. Whether you are a farmer or a trucker, those kind of prices are a terrible hit, and it also means prices are going to go up for all of us at the supermarket or discount store. Why did they go up? Well, one of the big reasons is because traders bid up prices after Russia cut off natural gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria.
It seems like a strange connection, not one that would normally cause a rise in diesel prices, but the reasoning goes like this. Other European countries are afraid Russia will cut them off too, for supporting Ukraine after Russia’s invasion and brutality. So, they are stocking up on fuels like diesel on the hope that that could help take some of the sting off if Russia cuts off their own natural gas supplies. The move, and the reaction shows it’s not just gasoline that has the world energy market so interconnected. It’s pretty much everything.
Check out Chris’s full story in today’s episode description.
A special grand jury will appear today in Fulton County, Georgia to begin weighing evidence and testimony surrounding election interference by former President Donald Trump. A major focus of the inquiry, which began last year, has been Trump’s January 2nd, 2021 phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, when Trump urged him to tilt the Georgia State tally in his favor. In addition to the Georgia probe, the New York Attorney General is continuing to develop a civil case over Trump’s financial practices, and a special House committee is investigating Trump’s links to the January 6th insurrection.
It’s May, and that means wedding season is here, but a big part of weddings that can be challenging is the cost that comes with attending, plus issue of how much to spend on a gift. Reporter Morgan Hines says that can vary.
On average, people spend about $120 on a wedding gift, according to a survey by The Knot, but the appropriate range of what someone might spend can really vary. So, for example, Sara Margulis, the CEO and co-founder of site Honeyfund, told me that, that range can be pretty wide. People spend from $50 to $500 and beyond, and the average gift on that registry site runs between $125 and $150. But even experts aren’t able to give an exact act answer in terms of how much you should spend on a wedding gift. It depends on a number of factors. So, you can use those factors to try to determine what you feel comfortable with spending on a wedding gift. So, the factors that matter, for example, are your relationship with the couple and the location, whether that be of the wedding or where the couple lives, because cost of living can vary.
But, you know, there are other factors to consider too, depending on what kind of guest you are. So, for example, if you’re attending a destination wedding, you have other costs to consider such as tickets for a plane, train or bus, a hotel room and other costs as well. So, sometimes when you attend a destination wedding, your gift to the couple is actually your presence, but some other experts recommend that you still provide a small gift to the marrying couple. Then, if you’re in the wedding party, there are other expenses as well. So, being part of a wedding party can sometimes give you leeway to buy either a less expensive gift or none at all. But, other experts say that that doesn’t automatically excuse you from purchasing a gift. So, again, it’s not a bad idea to bring a small gift, too.
Regardless of the situation, you need to be comfortable with what you’re spending. So, stick to your budget. One expert told me that that’s really important, because you don’t want to overspend, and start to develop underlying animosity for the couple that you’re celebrating because of what you’re spending on their gift.
You can find Morgan on Twitter @MorganEMHines.
The National Hockey Leagues Stanley Cup playoffs begin today. Things open up with the one-seed Carolina Hurricanes hosting the wild card Boston Bruins. Then a two-three matchup between the Toronto Maple Leafs, and two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning are trying to become the first team in 40 years to win three consecutive Stanley Cups. The last team to pull off the feat was the New York Islanders, who won four in a row, from 1980 to 1983. In the nightcap, it’s another two-three out west between the St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild before yet another two versus three seed in the Los Angeles Kings versus the Edmonton Oilers. You can tune into the playoffs on the ESPN networks, ABC TNT, and TBS.
And you can find 5 Things on whatever your favorite podcast app is. Thanks to P.J. Elliott for his great work on the show, and I’m back tomorrow with more of 5 Things from USA TODAY.