Need2Know: Peace Deal, Trump Blocking USPS Money & Song of the Summer

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Tel Aviv City Hall is lit up with the flags of the United Arab Emirates and Israel as the countries announced they would be establishing full diplomatic ties, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020. In a nationally broadcast statement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the "full and official peace" with the UAE would lead to cooperation in many spheres between the countries and a "wonderful future" for citizens of both countries. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
August 14, 2020
Here are the headlines you Need2Know for Wednesday, August 14, 2020:
ISRAEL-UAE PEACE DEAL: Israel and the United Arab Emirates have agreed to establish formal diplomatic ties in a deal brokered by the White House. As part of the agreement, Israel will suspend a plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank. The UAE is the first Gulf Arab state to formalize a relationship with Israel, though the two countries have had a working relationship for years and have a common enemy in Iran. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said annexation is off the table for now, at the request of President Trump. AP
MAIL-IN VOTING:
TRUMP’S POSITION: President Trump admitted that he is opposing funding for the Postal Service because it would make it easier to vote by mail in November. “They need that money in order to have the Post Office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” Trump said in an interview with Fox Business. “But if they don’t get those two items that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting, because they’re not equipped to have it.” Later, he said he wouldn’t veto a stimulus bill that includes more money for the USPS. NY TIMES
MACHINES REMOVED: The USPS has reportedly started removing some mail-sorting machines at several processing facilities around the country. These are the machines that would sort mail-in ballots. The Post Office says it’s routine, though union officials say the removals are more widespread than normal. VICE
CDC'S DIRE WARNING: The director of the CDC warned that the U.S. is on the verge of “the worst fall, from a public health perspective, we’ve ever had.” Every American should be doing four things, he said: “wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands and be smart about crowds.” Wednesday was the deadliest day of the summer, with 1,499 deaths reported nationwide. California just became the first state to hit 60,000 cases, though Gov. Newsom says they are “turning the corner.” CNN
LAKE FIRE: A raging wildfire in southern California has grown to 11,000 acres, with 5 percent containment. The Lake Fire is burning about 60 miles north of L.A. Hot and dry temperatures are in the forecast for the weekend, which will make it difficult for firefighters to get the fast-moving blaze under control. Officials say 5,000 structures are threatened. CBS NEWS
GLIMMER OF HOPE IN LABOR MARKET: For the first time since the pandemic began, the number of workers filing for unemployment dropped below 1 million last week. It’s an encouraging sign for the economic recovery, though the stock market didn’t react much. The S&P 500 has been flirting all week with a record high, which it last set in February. If the index gains just 0.4 percent, it will officially be the shortest bear market in history. MARKETWATCH
APPLE VS. FORTNITE: Apple dropped Fortnite from the App Store after the company that makes the enormously popular game encouraged users to pay it directly, rather than through Apple, which takes a 30 percent cut. Hours later, the Google Play Store also removed the game. The move is a major escalation in one of the most contentious issues in tech: whether Apple’s dominant App Store is a monopoly. Epic Games says it’s suing in federal court to show that it is. THE VERGE
NBA PLAYOFFS: The strangest regular season in NBA history ends today and the first-round playoff matchups are set, at least for the most part. The Blazers and Grizzlies will meet tomorrow for a play-in game to determine the final seed in the West. The Suns went an amazing 8-0 in the bubble but still missed the playoffs, while the Spurs ended their incredible 22-season run of making the postseason. SCHEDULE & STANDINGS
BOX OFFICE EASING BACK: AMC will begin reopening movie theaters in the U.S. next Thursday, with a special one-day promotion to help get butts in seats -- any movie at any theater for 15 cents. The theater chain will reopen 100 locations, with 300 more to follow in the following two weeks. Meanwhile, two big Hollywood movies come out today -- but only in Canada. The SpongeBob Movie and Unhinged, starring Russell Crowe, open at 300 Canadians theaters. Because Canada is considered part of the domestic box office, both films will become the de facto highest-grossing movies of the summer. TECHCRUNCH
SPOTTED...
…Steve-O, of Jackass fame, duct-taped to a billboard in L.A. to promote his upcoming streaming special: SEE IT
...an epic save by Officer Erika Urrea of the Lodi, Calif. Police Department. Urrea rescued a man in a wheelchair who became stuck on the railroad tracks just as a train was approaching. Watch her pull him to safety with seconds to spare: SEE IT
LEFTOVERS: SONG OF THE SUMMER: Usually by mid-August, the Song of the Summer has been solidified. Last year it was Old Town Road; the year before, In My Feelings; the year before that, Despacito. With the pandemic splintering the world of pop music -- no concerts, no bars, no big parties to build consensus -- this year’s summer jam has been less obvious. The Billboard Hot 100 went six weeks in May and June with six different songs at No. 1 before DaBaby’s Rockstar rose to the top, where it stayed for the next six straight weeks. The smash hit was just dethroned this week by Harry Styles’ Watermelon Sugar, making a late surge. BILLBOARD
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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