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Start your week smart: Ukraine, Sydney, Uvalde, White nationalists, Tesla

By Andrew Torgan, CNN

This Fourth of July weekend is shaping up to be quieter than most. Much of the US is likely to see the chance of rain through Monday, putting a damper on fireworks displays. It’ll be a different story in the West, where severe drought conditions have led many cities to cancel fireworks shows altogether due to the risk of sparking wildfires.

Here’s what else you need to know to Start Your Week Smart.

The weekend that was

• Russia is claiming to have taken control of Lysychansk, the last city in the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine that was still under Ukrainian control. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reported to President Vladimir Putin that the military had taken over Lysychansk and a number of nearby settlements, according to the country’s Ministry of Defense.

• Thousands of residents have been ordered to evacuate southwest Sydney, Australia’s biggest city, with torrential rain and damaging winds pounding the east coast and threatening floods in areas that were hammered in March.

• Uvalde school district police chief Pedro “Pete” Arredondo has resigned his separate position on the Uvalde city council in the wake of the massacre at Robb Elementary School in May, according to a resignation letter he sent to the city.

• A large group of people carrying flags and shields marched along downtown Boston’s Freedom Trail on Saturday, according to the Boston Police Department — and video footage of the group obtained by CNN shows the flags bearing the symbol of the White nationalist Patriot Front group.

• Covid lockdowns in China resulted in a rare drop in production and sales for Tesla in the second quarter. The electric automaker reported that completed sales dropped nearly 18%, to about 255,000 vehicles in the second quarter compared with the first three months of the year. Production fell 15% to 259,000.

The week ahead


Happy Independence Day! It’s the 246th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. All non-essential federal, state and city government offices will be closed in the US, along with banks, schools, stock and bond markets, and post offices.

Coney Island, however, will be open for business as thousands of fans are expected to watch Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest. Defending world champion Joey Chestnut broke his own record last year, devouring 76 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes.

And If you need a little diversion before your holiday festivities begin, take CNN’s Summer Quiz!


A second hearing is scheduled for two-time US Olympic basketball gold medalist and WNBA star Brittney Griner, who has been detained in Russia on drug smuggling charges since her arrest at a Moscow airport on February 17. Griner, who plays in Russia during the WNBA’s off-season, went on trial at a court near Moscow last Friday and potentially faces up to 10 years in prison.

July 7 is also World Chocolate Day, which — as legend has it — marks the introduction of chocolate to Europe from Central America in 1550. This year’s celebrations are likely to be marred by the recent temporary shutdown of an enormous chocolate factory in Belgium due to a salmonella outbreak.


Amid a backdrop of soaring inflation, a stock market that’s reeling, and a slowdown in economic growth, the government will release its employment report for June on Friday. Job growth has been a rare bright spot for an economy decimated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Employers added 390,000 jobs in May and 436,000 in April.

Want more 5 Things?

This week on the Sunday edition of the 5 Things podcast, CNN’s Alexandra Field takes us to Missouri to examine how the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is playing out on the ground in the Midwest. Listen here.

Photos of the week

Check out more moving, fascinating and thought-provoking images from the week that was, curated by CNN Photos.

What’s happening in entertainment

Celebrate with CNN!

Join us in commemorating our nation’s independence with “CNN’s The Fourth in America” special, including musical performances and firework shows, live on Monday beginning at 7 p.m. ET. Hosted by CNN’s Dana Bash, Ana Cabrera, Don Lemon and Sara Sidner, “CNN’s The Fourth in America” special will feature performances from AJR, Ava Max, Alessia Cara, Avril Lavigne, the B-52’s,  Def Leppard, the Doobie Brothers, Gloria Estefan, Jason Derulo, Jimmie Allen, Journey, The Lumineers, Machine Gun Kelly, Maren Morris, Old Dominion, Pitbull, Santana, Third Eye Blind, T-Pain, Willie Nelson and more.

Hammer time…

Actor Chris Hemsworth returns to the Marvel Cinematic Universe on Friday in “Thor: Love and Thunder.” The movie features Academy Award winners Christian Bale and Russell Crowe as villainous Gorr and god-ruler Zeus, respectively, along with some of the gang from “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Thor’s ex-girlfriend Jane Foster, played by Natalie Portman, returns to the franchise as another version of Thor.

What’s happening in sports


The Grand Slam tennis tournament continues today with the Round of 16. On Saturday, Polish tennis player Iga Swiatek, ranked world No. 1 by the Women’s Tennis Association, was defeated by France’s Alizé Cornet, ending her 37-match winning streak.

Quiz time!

Take CNN’s weekly news quiz to see how much you remember from the week that was! So far, 46% of fellow quiz fans have gotten an 8 out of 10 or better this week. How well can you do?

Play me off

‘America the Beautiful’

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Ray Charles’ utterly moving rendition of an American classic with roots that stretch back to the 1890s. Feel free to turn this one up. (Click here to view)

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