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Need2Know: CDC on Defense, Gas Shortages & Cicada Invasion

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A note posted at a gas pump indicates the pump is out of premium gasoline at a Costco Warehouse fuel station, Tuesday, May 11, 2021, in Ridgeland, Miss. State officials warn that any shortages seen at individual gas stations are a result of people "panic buying," and not the Colonial Pipeline shutdown itself. They call on residents to limit unnecessary travel and to only buy as much gasoline as they need. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Here are the headlines you Need2Know for Wednesday, May 12, 2021:

MIDEAST VIOLENCE

Hamas militants launched a barrage of rockets toward Tel Aviv after an Israeli airstrike leveled an apartment complex in Gaza. Israel launched dozens more airstrikes overnight as Gaza militants fired rockets back in the worst escalation of violence since the 2014 war. The death toll in Gaza rose to 43 Palestinians, including 13 children and three women, according to the Health Ministry. Five Israelis, including three women and a child, were killed by rocket fire. AP

COVID-19: LATEST DEVELOPMENTS

The WHO is warning that one of the virus variants circulating in India appears to be the most contagious mutation seen so far. The B.1.617 strain was already deemed a “variant of concern” by the WHO, but it’s not clear to what extent that variant is driving the surge in India. In the U.S., where daily cases are holding below 40,000, the CDC is defending its public guidance amid growing impatience that the agency is being too slow to relax its recommendations as the pandemic recedes. The federal government is partnering with Uber and Lyft to make all rides to and from vaccination sites free until July 4. NY TIMES

CHENEY'S LAST STAND

House Republicans will vote today on whether to oust one of their leaders, Rep. Liz Cheney, over her failure to support former President Trump. Cheney delivered a defiant speech ahead of the vote, framing it as a turning point for the GOP. She said: “I will not sit back and watch in silence while others lead our party down a path that abandons the rule of law and joins the former president’s crusade to undermine our democracy.” More than 100 Republicans are preparing to release a letter threatening to form a third party if the GOP doesn’t make a break from Trump. NBC NEWS

RUSSIA SCHOOL SHOOTING

Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed to overhaul the country’s already-strict gun laws after a school shooting left nine people dead, including seven students. The Kremlin says it will introduce new restrictions on semi-automatic guns like the one used in the shooting. School shootings had been rare in Russia until relatively recently. Experts believe a growing subculture of Russian teens who fetishize the Columbine massacre on social media is to blame for the outbreak of U.S.-style shootings. DAILY BEAST

STOCKS FALL

The Dow saw its worst day since February during one of the wilder trading sessions of the year so far. A major sell-off in tech sparked by renewed concerns about inflation and sky-high valuations spread to other sectors before investors went back into tech stocks like Amazon and Facebook, leaving the rest of the market in the red. After all the wild swings, the Nasdaq ended Tuesday flat while the Dow lost close to 500 points. CHEDDAR

GAS SHORTAGES

The effects of the continued pipeline outage are now showing up at gas pumps across the Southeast and mid-Atlantic. A fifth of Atlanta-area service stations are dry, according to GasBuddy, which recommends that people in areas seeing outages not fill up their tanks unless absolutely necessary. With more than 1,000 stations out of gas, the White House is urging people not to panic buy, saying the pipeline will be back at full capacity soon. Here’s a detailed look on the hacking group believed to be behind the pipeline attack: READ IT

A'S THREATEN MOVE

The city of Oakland, Calif. could go from having three pro sports teams to zero if the Athletics split town, which they are now threatening to do with the blessing of the MLB. The A’s are in a dispute with the city over a new waterfront ballpark that they’ve been trying to get built for 20 years to replace the aging Oakland Coliseum, widely considered to be the all-around worst and ugliest stadium in America. MERCURY NEWS

BACK TO THE MUSIC

The world got a preview of what a post-COVID world can look like at the BRIT Awards, broadcast from London’s O2 Arena in front of a crowd of 4,000 with no masks or social distancing required. Dua Lipa was the big winner; she used her acceptance speech to call on UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to approve a pay raise for healthcare workers. Taylor Swift took home the Global Icon award and Coldplay debuted their new song from the banks of the River Thames: WATCH

SPOTTED...

…Olivia Rodrigo, meeting her idol Taylor Swift for the first time in the flesh, backstage at the BRITs:  SEE PIC
…Vladimir Putin, putting on a clinic during an amateur ice hockey gala event in Sochi. The Russian president scored eight goals: WATCH

LEFTOVERS: CICADA INVASION

The last time this many cicadas emerged from their subterranean dwellings, John Kerry was running for president, Usher’s Yeah! was the top song in the country, and, no joke, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez were planning their wedding. The East Coast is about to be home to one of the biggest mating rituals in the natural world as the periodical cicadas, known as the Great Eastern Brood or Brood X, come out to play for the first time in 17 years. The Brood X cicadas are one of the insect’s largest groups -- there are trillions of them -- and there are already reports up and down the coast of their romantic howlings keeping people up at night. GUARDIAN
Listen to the N2K Podcast! Looking for more context and analysis on the big stories of the day? Check out our podcast! Hosts Jill and Carlo break down the headlines, every weekday morning Listen on Apple or Spotify, or watch on YouTube, and send us your feedback!
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