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5 things to know for May 19: Ukraine, Buffalo shooting, Stocks, Baby formula, Soccer


By Alexandra Meeks, CNN

Many Americans say life has at least partially returned to a pre-pandemic normal, but experts warn that when it comes to Covid-19, the US is not out of the woods yet. A third of people in the US currently live in areas with high or medium community levels and should consider masking indoors based on their own Covid-19 risk, the director of the CDC said yesterday.

Here’s what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.

(You can get “5 Things You Need to Know Today” delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. Ukraine

In a show of support for the Ukrainian government, the US has reopened its embassy in Kyiv after it closed three months ago ahead of Russia’s invasion. “We underscored our commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, pledged to continue our assistance, and started working toward the day we could return to Kyiv. Now, that day has come,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said yesterday. Blinken also said the US will give Ukraine an additional $215 million in emergency food assistance to help the country fight its ongoing humanitarian crisis. On the battlefield, NATO doesn’t expect significant gains for either Russia or Ukraine in the coming weeks. “I think we’ll be in a standstill for a while,” a NATO military official with knowledge of the intelligence told CNN. Separately, President Joe Biden is scheduled to meet with the leaders of Finland and Sweden today after the two nations submitted their formal applications to become NATO members.

2. Buffalo shooting

The House of Representatives voted 222-203 yesterday to pass a bill aimed at preventing domestic terrorism and combating the threat of violent extremism by White supremacists. The vote comes in the wake of a racially motivated mass shooting over the weekend at a supermarket in a predominately Black neighborhood in Buffalo, New York, that killed 10 people and wounded three others. The bill now heads to the Senate, where its fate is uncertain because most Republicans in Congress remain steadfastly opposed to any kind of gun control bills. The suspected shooter, Payton Gendron, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder, officials said, adding that other charges are forthcoming. He is scheduled to appear in court today for a felony hearing.

3. Stocks

The stock market had a rough day yesterday, with the Dow tumbling 1,164 points, or 3.6% — its worst trading day since June 2020. Markets have plummeted over the past month as the Federal Reserve telegraphed that it would regularly hike interest rates by half a percentage point for the foreseeable future to combat persistent inflation. Now, investors are calling for a three-quarter-point rate hike at the conclusion of the Fed’s June meeting, despite Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s assurances that an increase that high isn’t on the table. Meanwhile, Asian markets opened sharply lower today, continuing Wall Street’s downward spiral hours earlier.

4. Baby formula

The Biden administration announced it is taking new actions to attempt to alleviate the nationwide baby formula shortage, including invoking the Defense Production Act. The act allows the government more control over industrial production during emergencies and will direct suppliers of formula ingredients to prioritize delivery to various manufacturers. In addition, President Biden announced that the Defense Department’s commercial planes will be used to import formula from abroad. The House yesterday also passed a pair of bills aimed at addressing the nationwide formula shortage. One of the bills would provide $28 million in emergency funding to increase the number of FDA inspection staff and bolster additional resources for personnel working on formula issues. The other bill is aimed at ensuring that families in need can continue to buy baby formula with WIC benefits during a public health emergency or supply chain issues such as a product recall.

5. US Soccer

After a long fight, US Soccer has agreed to a landmark equal pay deal for women. Under the new agreement, US Soccer will become “the first Federation in the world to equalize FIFA World Cup prize money” awarded to the teams for participating in World Cups. “This is a truly historic moment,” US Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone said yesterday. US Soccer will share a portion of its broadcast, partner and sponsorship revenue with a 50/50 split of that share divided equally between the US women’s and men’s national teams, according to the agreement. The deal also encompasses other areas such child care, parental leave, short-term disability, mental health impairment, travel and equal quality of venues and field playing surfaces. Earlier this year, US Soccer and the US Women’s National Team reached a $24 million agreement to end a dispute over equal pay dating back to 2019.


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That’s how many North Korean cargo planes flew to China and back on Monday as the country battles a fast-spreading outbreak of Covid-19. While it is unknown what the planes were carrying, the rare trip came after China pledged to help North Korea with its outbreak, which experts have warned could cause a major humanitarian crisis in the isolated and impoverished nation. North Korea officially confirmed its first Covid cases last week. The country had not previously acknowledged any cases, and has kept its borders tightly shut since January 2020.


“As long as we are fortunate enough to be breathing, we will breathe in, breathe through, breathe deep, breathe out. And I’m a doctor now, so I know how breathing works.”

— Pop superstar Taylor Swift, delivering a commencement speech at New York University’s 2022 graduation ceremony. Swift received an honorary “Doctor of Fine Arts” degree from the university. She was first announced as the commencement speaker for NYU back in March to mass excitement from fans of the 11-time Grammy winner. Some people even tried to buy tickets to the ceremony from graduating students.


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A Virtual Vacation to Paris

Sip your coffee and enjoy this time lapse of one of the most stunning cities in the world. Let’s call it a virtual vacation! Bon voyage! (Click here to view)

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