Biden announced new sanctions on Russia, thousands of animals have died in the wake of the toxic Ohio train derailment

On today’s episode of the 5 Things podcast: President Joe Biden has announced new sanctions on Russia and about 200 other individuals and entities, including Russian banks and players in third party countries. Alex Murdaugh returns to the stand in his double murder trial and thousands of animals have died in the wake of the toxic Ohio train derailment. Also, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been fined for hiding billions of investments. Finally, millions of men are leaving the workforce. What does it mean for the economy?

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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 these are 5 Things you need to know, Saturday, 25th February 2023.

Today, new sanctions against Russia, plus the latest from the trial of Alex Murdaugh, and thousands of animals are dead in the wake of the Ohio train derailment.

President Joe Biden has announced new sanctions against Russia. He and other leaders of the Group of Seven nations reaffirmed their support for Ukraine yesterday on the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion. They affirm that they’re committed to new coordinated economic actions. These include limiting Russia’s access to equipment and machinery that supports the country’s military, and taking actions against third country actors who are supporting Russia.

The White House said yesterday that the US will sanction another 200 individuals and entities. They include Russian banks, the country’s defense technology industry, and players in third party countries trying to avoid US sanctions. President Biden visited Europe this week, including an unannounced stop in Ukraine. There he pledged nearly half a billion dollars in additional security assistance for the country, although he still resisted their request for F16 fighter jets. For more on the war in Ukraine one year later, check out a special edition of 5 Things that we released yesterday. You can find it right here on this feed.

Alex Murdaugh returned to the stand yesterday in his double murder trial, and he was pressed again about what he did the day his wife and son were killed. The lead prosecutor, Creighton Waters, pressed Murdaugh on inconsistencies in his memory. That came a day after Murdaugh revealed for the first time that he was at the scene where they were shot before they died. On Thursday, he was admitted to lying to investigators about the last time he saw Maggie and Paul Murdaugh alive in June of 2021, though he continues to deny that he killed them.

Prosecutors allege that he did kill them to gain sympathy and buy time to cover up a slew of financial crimes that were about to be discovered. Murdaugh said he believes their murders were actually connected to a 2019 boat crash. In that incident, his son Paul, crashed his family’s boat into a bridge killing 19 year old Mallory Beach. He was awaiting trial when he was killed. For more from the murder trial, stay with USAtoday.com.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources estimates that more than 43,000 animals have died in and around East Palestine, Ohio as a result of the toxic train derailment earlier this month. So how concerning is this? I spoke with Canton Repository reporter, Paige Bennett to find out. Paige, welcome to 5 Things.

Paige Bennett:

Hi. Thanks for having me.

Taylor Wilson:

Thanks for being here. Officials in Ohio have released data on how many animals died in the wake of the East Palestine derailment. Paige, what do the numbers say?

Paige Bennett:

We found out recently from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources that about 43,000 fish died in the train derailment in East Palestine. Of that 43,000, about 38,000 of them were minnows, and then there were about 5,500 other species, which included fish, crayfish and amphibians.

Taylor Wilson:

How did officials actually calculate these numbers?

Paige Bennett:

They have been on the ground since the days following the derailment, and they set up four different stations where they were doing collections in the waterways around East Palestine. From their initial observations, they had gotten a number of around 3,500 dead fish through sampling. Their actual sample number ended up being slightly below that, but they took that sample number and then applied it to a mathematical calculation to get that 43,000 number.

Taylor Wilson:

Paige, what do we know about animals who eat other animals that might have been poisoned from this disaster?

Paige Bennett:

Officials are saying that there’s no concern right now about any of the land animals that were in contact with any of these animals. There’s been some anecdotal reports of animals in and around the area getting sick and dying, but no official word on anything like that. They did have three dead birds and an opossum that were from the area they sent to the Department of Agriculture for testing. But those came back negative of any chemical poisoning, so there’s no concern of that right now.

Taylor Wilson:

Can we expect any other issues for animals in the area in the coming months and years from this disaster?

Paige Bennett:

Officials are saying not right now. There’s no sign of suffering with any of the aquatic or land animals in the area. In fact, they said that some fish have actually started to return to Leslie Run, which is one of the waterways in the area that was affected.

Taylor Wilson:

What do these animal deaths mean for humans in this part of Ohio and Pennsylvania?

Paige Bennett:

They said there’s really no comparison that they can make with humans. There’s no particular concern that they have about it affecting any future animals in the area. They’re pretty much saying that everything is as of right now it seems like it’ll be okay.

Taylor Wilson:

How are local residents reacting to this news about the animals?

Paige Bennett:

There is some concern and some just general skepticism among locals. I know there’s been several lawsuits against the train company, but there is one that’s alleging that animals as far as 20 miles away have been getting sick and dying, but nothing evidential from the officials yet.

Taylor Wilson:

Paige Bennett from the Canton Repository in Ohio. Fantastic insight on a disturbing problem. Thanks so much, Paige.

Paige Bennett:

No problem.

Taylor Wilson:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has been fined after federal regulators accused the church of failing to properly disclose its stock market investments worth billions of dollars and other details. The Securities and Exchange Commission said the Mormon Church’s investment manager with the church’s knowledge went to great lengths to avoid disclosing that church’s investments. The SEC says that the church was concerned disclosure of its portfolio might lead to negative consequences like a drop in donations. Some have estimated a church investment portfolio might be worth more than $100 billion. The church has agreed to pay $1 million in fines, while the nonprofit investment firm Ensign Park will pay $4 million.

Millions of men are leaving the workforce. Employers continue to struggle to fill some positions, and the share of Americans working or looking for jobs is at 62.4%, well below its pre-pandemic level of 63.4%. Much of this shortfall can be attributed to older people who retired early during the pandemic, but a less publicized factor is that men aged 25 to 44 have been dropping out of the workforce for decades. That number rebounded from 2017 to 2019 right before COVID hit, but it’s since slid back down. Right now, about 88.5% of that group is working or job hunting down from 89.2% before the pandemic.

An economist, Justin Begley, estimates nearly three million additional men would be in the workforce if the participation rate was at its 1990 level. There’s a number of reasons why so many American men may have stopped working. Some may have done so to raise children while their spouse works, although economists have also put lots of stock on manufacturing jobs moving overseas. You can read the full story with a link in today’s show notes.

Be sure to check out the Sunday edition of 5 Things tomorrow with host James Brown. This week, do dogs smile? You can find that episode right here on this feed. I’ll be back Monday with more of 5 Things from USA Today.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Biden announces new sanctions on Russia, dead animals in wake of toxic derailment.

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