The 7 things you need to know for Friday, April 8


Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed to the Supreme Court.

  • The Senate voted 53 to 47 yesterday to make Jackson the first Black woman on the high court and the eighth justice in the court’s 233-year history who is not a White man.
  • Her background: Jackson, 51, graduated from Harvard Law and has been a federal judge for the past nine years. Before that, she was a public defender.
  • What’s next? She’ll be sworn in when Justice Stephen Breyer retires this summer.


An airstrike hit a crowded train station in eastern Ukraine.

  • What we know: At least 39 people were killed and 87 injured this morning in the Donetsk region, officials say. Thousands of civilians were there trying to evacuate the area, where Russia is refocusing its attacks.
  • On the global stage: The UN suspended Russia from its Human Rights Council yesterday over growing evidence of atrocities in Ukraine.


Life expectancy in the US dropped again last year.

  • The numbers: It declined to 76.60 years in 2021, according to a new analysis. That’s down from 76.99 in 2020 and 78.86 in 2019.
  • What this shows: Life expectancy hasn’t improved despite effective coronavirus vaccines. Last year’s drop came largely among White Americans, which could be tied to vaccine hesitancy and resistance to pandemic restrictions, the report said.


Alabama passed two bills limiting the rights of transgender kids.

  • The details: They would make it a crime for doctors to provide gender-affirming care to trans minors, restrict the bathrooms and locker rooms the kids can use, and forbid teachers from discussing gender or sexuality until after fifth grade. The governor is expected to sign the bills into law.
  • The bigger picture: They’re the latest in an unprecedented wave of bills targeting the rights of LGBTQ people across the nation.


Methane emissions jumped by a record amount again last year.

  • Why this matters: The powerful greenhouse gas is the second-biggest contributor (behind carbon dioxide) to human-caused global warming.
  • Carbon emissions also continued rising in 2021, according to these new NOAA numbers.
  • What this shows: The world faces a huge challenge as it tries to cut these emissions enough to meet shared goals and prevent catastrophic climate change.


Medicare will limit payments for a controversial new Alzheimer’s drug.

Lego wants to build a kid-friendly metaverse.

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