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Need2Know: Vaccine Momentum Slows, Climate Summit & Yanks Bad, Knicks Good

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Artist and environmental activist Kong Ning wearing her latest gown collection with a theme "Kiss the earth" posing on a globe in support on Earth Day in Beijing, Thursday, April 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Here are the headlines you Need2Know for Thursday, April 22, 2021:

COVID-19: VAX SLOWING

The U.S. vaccine drive appears to be losing momentum. For the third day in a row, fewer than 3 million doses were administered -- even as all adults are now eligible. The 7-day moving average is trending back toward 3 million after going as high as 3.4 million. There are now roughly 60 million unused doses in the national supply. India, where the vaccine rollout has slowed to a crawl, just broke the pandemic record for most new infections reported by any country in a single day: 312,731.BLOOMBERG

CHAUVIN VERDICT FALLOUT

The Justice Dept. is launching a civil investigation into the Minneapolis Police Dept., the first step in a process that often leads to court-mandated reforms. The announcement by Attorney General Merrick Garland came a day after Derek Chauvin was sent to jail as he awaits sentencing for the murder of George Floyd. Chauvin has been separated from the general population at a Minnesota jail for his own safety and is being held in solitary confinement. STAR TRIB

SPRING FREEZE

Spring has been here for a month, but winter’s giving the country one last wallop. Over 70 million Americans are under a freeze warning this morning, from the Plains to the Northeast. Temps are 10 to 20 degrees below average for the eastern half of the country. The Cleveland region reported up to seven inches of snow; Paducah, Kentucky reported its latest snowfall on record and interior New England and upstate New York could see lingering flurries today. Denver is digging out from its “second winter” that dropped 10 inches over the last week. The good news is that the freeze won’t last long and temps are expected to rise to above average across the East in time for the weekend. CNN

CLIMATE SUMMIT

President Biden hosts 40 world leaders for a virtual summit on climate change today, Earth Day, where the U.S. is expected to pledge to cut emissions in half by 2030. In addition to the usual cast of allies,  Presidents Xi of China, Putin of Russia and Bolsonaro of Brazil are expected to join the summit. Pope Francis will be in attendance, too, as will the king of Saudi Arabia. NY TIMES

EARTH DAY

On this Earth Day, there are perhaps more reasons to feel optimistic about the future of the planet than there have been in some time. The pandemic showed what can happen when humans stop emitting greenhouse gases at scale (blue skies in India, vehicle emissions dropping by half in NYC). The pace of innovation gives other reasons to be hopeful: the price of renewable energy sources like solar and battery power is now cheaper than fossil fuel in most places. Researchers are making promising progress on all sorts of new technologies, from bendable concrete that’s infused with CO2 to lab-grown meat that doesn’t emit methane. Of course, there’s always things you can do, too. We even made a list: READ IT

CADDY OF THE FUTURE

Cadillac officially unveiled the 2023 Lyriq, a high-end electric crossover that marks the beginning of a new life for the storied brand. As of now, every new Cadillac that’s introduced in North America will be fully electric, the automaker says. The Lyriq goes on sale early next year with a sticker of $60,000 and an impressive range of 300 miles. CAR & DRIVER

BIZARRO WORLD

Something strange has been happening in the world of New York sports. The Yankees are downright horrible and the Knicks are downright...good. The Yanks have lost six of their last seven games and are stuck dead last in the AL East. Meanwhile the Knicks, having rediscovered defense, are the hottest team in the NBA, cruising on an eight-game winning streak. It’s the team’s longest streak since 2014 and they’re on pace to make the playoffs for the first time since 2013. To top it off for N.Y. sports fans, the Mets are in first place in the NL East. RINGER

HERE'S YOUR HOST...

The list of guest hosts for the final episodes of Jeopardy!’s first post-Trebek season is out: LeVar Burton -- many fans’ choice for permanent new host -- will finally get a turn at the lectern. Other rotating hosts include George Stephanopoulos and Robin Roberts of ABC News, David Faber of CNBC, and Joe Buck of Fox Sports. Each host will get a two-week run and the episodes will air mid-summer. TVLINE

SPOTTED...

…Whoopi Goldberg, on the cover of Variety’s Oscars issue, for the 30th anniversary of her history-making Best Supporting Actress win for Ghost (the first time the Academy had given an Oscar to a Black woman in 50 years): SEE IT

LEFTOVERS: NATTY POPS

First it was White Claw with the extra-hard seltzer, now comes Natty Light with the extra-hard popsicles. The beer brand long associated with college parties and bad decisions is releasing a line of alcohol-infused ice pops, just in time for your vaccinated summer. Naturdays Frozen Icicles are 8% ABV and come in two different lemonade flavors. While each  ice pop has twice as much booze as a can of light beer, they’re also a sixth the volume -- meaning one popsicle is the alcohol equivalent of about a third of a beer. FOOD & WINE
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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