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Here are the headlines you Need2Know for Wednesday, August 31, 2022:


The U.S. economy is a mixed bag lately, but consumers at least are starting to feel more optimistic. A closely watched index tracking consumer confidence posted its first gain in three months, showing a healthy uptick in the number of Americans who view labor and business conditions in a positive light. At the same time, the latest job openings came in much higher than expected, suggesting the labor market remains strong. Finally, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices showed a deceleration in home prices, which is good news for homebuyers facing a historically unaffordable market. That's three good headlines in a row. Let's see if the U.S. economy can keep it up. 


MISSISSIPPI: Water is everywhere and nowhere both at once in Jackson, Miss. Flooding around the state capital may have contributed to knocking out service at a major water facility. People aren't getting clean drinking water and there isn't enough water pressure for some to flush toilets or for crews to fight fires.

PAKISTAN: The U.N. is appealing to the world for $160 million in aid for flooding in Pakistan that has affected 33 million people. More than 1,100 people have died and a million more have been displaced from their homes. "Today, it’s Pakistan. Tomorrow, it could be your country," said U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres. 
People are brought across a swollen river via a suspended cradle in Pakistan. [AP Photo/Naveed Ali]


The first U.S. death from monkeypox was confirmed in Texas yesterday. While the infection is generally not life-threatening, the state's health department stressed that it is a serious, often painful disease, especially for those who are immunocompromised. As of Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention counted 15 deaths related to monkeypox worldwide. For context, the agency's current count for confirmed cases is around 48,400 around the globe and 18,100 in the U.S.


President Joe Biden on Tuesday called for a ban on the sale of assault weapons as part of his broader Safer America Plan. The push comes in the wake of recent mass shootings and the passage this summer of the most significant gun reform legislation in decades. Biden reassured the crowd in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., that he is not interested in taking people's guns and praised "responsible gun owners."
Meanwhile, at the state level, a sweeping new law is about to make it much harder to carry a gun in New York. The law will impose more stringent standards for issuing concealed carry permits, and establish "sensitive” places such as churches, parks and tourist destinations where guns are strictly forbidden. 


If you're a New Yorker and in the market for a can of whipped cream, you might want to bring your ID — at least until the scope of a recent state law is clarified. Grocery and convenience stores recently started enforcing an age requirement of 21 years or older for purchases of the nitrous oxide cartridges found in aerosol cans, in an effort to curb minors’ use of nitrous oxide — laughing gas — referred to as "whip-its" when abused as a narcotic. However, state Sen. Joe Addabbo, who drafted the bill, tweeted that the legislation is being misinterpreted. 
Whip-its are nothing to laugh about!


Greenland is on track to lose more than 3% of its ice sheet, potentially triggering a 10.6-inch rise in the sea level, and scientists say there is nothing that can be done to stop it. A new study doubles previous forecasts of how much Greenland's melting ice could raise the world's oceans, which could result in more coastal flooding and erosion and more incidences of extreme weather. This forecast is also a best-case scenario. The study’s authors say that if the Earth has more years of extreme melt like in 2012, sea levels could rise 30 inches.
This zombie tale is too horrifying to imagine.


Elon Musk has filed another request to kill the $44 billion deal to buy Twitter, citing a whistleblower account from former chief security officer Peiter “Mudge” Zatko. Zatko made several allegations about the platform's security and business practices, which Musk's legal team says should allow him to bail out of the sale. 
Next time, be careful what you wish for, Elon.

8. SNAP TO LAY OFF 1,000

More trouble in Silicon Valley: Snap is planning to lay off over 1,000 employees, or about 20% of its workforce. The social media app recently posted a miss on both revenue and earnings, and its stock price has fallen 80% since the beginning of the year. The announcement also comes amid a wave of downsizing and layoffs at other tech firms, which are taking the brunt of a stock market downturn fueled by Federal Reserve rate hikes.


ROCK DENIES OSCARS: Comedian Chris Rock said during a Sunday night show in Phoenix that the Oscars invited him back to host the 2023 ceremony, but that he refused, joking that it would be like returning to the scene of a crime. As few will ever forget, Rock was famously slapped by actor Will Smith at last year's ceremony. 
The slap seen, heard and felt around the world.

SHE-HULK CAMEO: Rapper Megan Thee Stallion has confirmed an upcoming cameo appearance in Marvel's She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. Apparently, she is involved with a catfishing case from another dimension, though that's about all we know at the moment. 


New Yorkers trying to find a table at the hottest restaurants might need to brush up on their crypto-knowledge. Dame, a seafood restaurant in downtown Manhattan, is allowing patrons who purchase a $1,000 NFT or non-fungible token to skip the line and get a table. NFTs are mostly used for financial speculation, but now some NYC restaurants are using them to offer exclusive access to guests who can shell out for a digital asset. 
Try the house salad with non-fungible dressing.


Mikhail S. Gorbachev, who died yesterday in Moscow, “ranks as a towering figure” in the late 20th century. The last leader of the Soviet Union, his radical reforms helped end the Cold War and reverse the nuclear arms race, and he introduced "glasnost" (openness) and "perestroika" (restructuring) to ease Communist Party controls that eventually, but inadvertently, brought about the collapse of the U.S.S.R. Still, it was his “greatest legacy.” He was 91.

NYC REVEALED: The Hidden Side of Grand Central Terminal

New York City's stunning Grand Central Terminal has attracted tourists and commuters alike for over a century, but keeping it on track requires hundreds of conductors, station managers and rescue workers. Check out the unique history and modern challenges in the latest episode of NYC Revealed!