'Start Here' podcast: Teacher rebellion

Tens of thousands of teachers in Oklahoma are leaving their classrooms empty.

It's Monday, April 2, 2018. Here are some of the stories we're talking about on ABC News' new daily podcast, "Start Here."

1. 'Teacher Rebellion' in Oklahoma

When West Virginia teachers went on strike last month, schools across the state sat empty for nine days. They got a 5 percent pay raise -- their first in years.

West Virginia recently ranked No. 48 in teacher salary, according to the National Education Association. Oklahoma ranks No. 49. Starting today, many school districts across the state are cancelling classes as tens of thousands of teachers descend on the state Capitol. The latest in a wave of protests now being called "the teacher rebellion." We talk to one of the teachers speaking out, and ABC's Erielle Reshef says more states could be next.

2. EPA director's condo case continues

On Friday, we brought you the ABC News exclusive that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt had stayed in a posh DC townhouse, and the co-owner of that townhouse was the wife of a big-time energy lobbyist. And the question, of course, was there any special arrangement? Did Pruitt get any favors from anyone connected to the energy industry? Well, this weekend, new details started emerging.

Bloomberg News reported that over six months, Pruitt paid about $6,000 to the limited liability corporation that owned the place. Bloomberg also reviewed canceled checks from the deal. But those checks, they said, were sporadic and for different amounts.

A source familiar with the arrangement now tells ABC News that's because Pruitt didn't pay a monthly rent. Instead, he paid 50 bucks a night -- just for the nights he stayed there. He was allowed to rent just one of the condo's two bedrooms -- and he worked directly with that energy lobbyist to craft the deal.

A source familiar with neighboring condos' leases tell us that other apartments in that complex have rented for as much as $5,000 a month.

An EPA spokesman says this was not a gift, this was a lease and it broke no regulations. Its chief ethicist agreed.

But, some ethics experts say favorable deals don't always have to be free, and that Pruitt should have been paying fair market prices.

And then of course, there's the political fallout. ABC News political director Rick Klein says Pruitt's job may be in jeopardy, as President Donald Trump is in a "firing mood."

3. China bites back on tariffs

In the last couple weeks, Trump has promised new tariffs against countries he says give Americans a raw deal, including China.

First there was steel and aluminum. Then, $60 billion worth of tariffs on Chinese technology and manufacturing goods. Well, then China decided to bite back.

Today, those retaliatory tariffs from China are in effect. So what impact will they have on the American economy? Leland Miller, who runs China Beige Book, says the impacts won't be felt right away but the markets are right to be concerned.

4. Deadly unrest in Gaza

Millions of Americans were celebrating Easter and Passover this weekend, but on the first day of Passover, Israel's military responded to protests in Gaza.

It ended up being the single deadliest day in years. Fifteen were killed, and more than 700 wounded, when soldiers fired into a crowd with live ammunition.

And while we hear about clashes in Gaza all the time, ABC's Jordana Miller in Jerusalem says this is different, bigger and could happen again soon.

"Start Here" is a daily ABC News podcast hosted by Brad Mielke featuring original reporting on stories that are driving the national conversation. Listen for free at Apple Podcasts – also available on TuneIn, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play Music, iHeartRadio and the ABC News app.

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