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5 things you need to know this morning: March. 2, 2021

Start your day off right with five things you need to know this morning.

Five things you need to know

1. Hundreds of kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls released

Hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls have been returned after they were kidnapped by gunmen last week. The group of almost 300 girls was taken from a boarding school in Jangebe, which is in the northwest of Nigeria. The governor of Zamfara state said the release of the girls "gladdens my heart."

2. Top US doctor wars of 'potential fourth surge' of COVID-19 as variants spread

The head of the US Centres for Disease Control has warned that new COVID-19 variants could lead to a "potential fourth surge" in the number of cases in the country. Dr Rochelle Walensky said about 70,000 new cases and 2,000 deaths a day had been recorded in the US last week. Those numbers are "very high," she stressed.

3. Winston Churchill painting owned by Angelina Jolie sells for over $12M

A painting by Winston Churchill has been sold for over $12 million. The work, titled "The Tower Of The Koutoubia Mosque," was painted in Morocco during the Second World War. It was previously owned by the actress Angelina Jolie.

4. New York's governor accused of sexual misconduct by 3rd woman

Things keep getting worse for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. The once-feted Democratic big hitter is being urged to resign by members of his own party after a third woman came forward to accuse him of sexual impropriety. It comes after the governor was accused of a disastrous mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York, including covering up the number of deaths in nursing homes to avoid criticism from then-President Donald Trump.

5. US sanctions Russian officials over poisoning of opposition leader

The US has announced sanctions against Russian officials over the poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Navalny came close to death after being targeted with a nerve agent in Siberia last year. US intelligence operatives said the Russian government – led by dictator Vladimir Putin – ordered the poisoning.

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