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5 things to know for May 14: Covid-19, US policing, immigration, Afghanistan, Tigray

Another cold start to the day in the Eastern US is contrasted by hot, dry conditions in the West. We are also monitoring storms forming in the Central US. CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam has the weekend forecast.

Posted: May 15, 2021 6:01 AM
Updated: May 15, 2021 6:01 AM

The Colonial Pipeline is up and working again, but gas shortages -- and the ensuing gas panic -- probably won't be resolved for a few more days.

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

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

1. Coronavirus

People in the US who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 do not need to wear masks or practice social distancing indoors or outdoors, except in certain circumstances, according to new guidance from the CDC. This news is a game changer, and some states and businesses are already reconsidering their mask policies in response. However, experts say there's still a long road ahead for those who haven't been vaccinated, and questions remain for people with compromised immune systems or households with unvaccinated children or other members. Meanwhile, the fate of the Tokyo Olympic Games is still in the air. A doctor's union in Japan has urged the government to cancel this summer's competitions, citing the country's low vaccination rate.

2. Policing

The state trial for the three former Minneapolis police officers accused of aiding and abetting the murder of George Floyd has been postponed until next March so a federal trial can take place first. J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao all have pleaded not guilty to two state charges. A federal grand jury last week indicted all of the officers, including Derek Chauvin, in connection with Floyd's death, alleging they violated his constitutional rights. Meantime, the Supreme Court is tackling a different case that could provide more guidance on the legal doctrine of qualified immunity that shields law enforcement from some liability. The case was brought by the parents of Nicholas Gilbert, who say their son died in police custody in St. Louis after officers put their weight on his back as he was shackled facedown.

3. Immigration

The Biden administration is looking to identify vulnerable migrant families in Mexico and admit them to the US instead of expelling them under a Trump-era border policy known as Title 42. The policy was enacted at the start of the pandemic, and critics say it puts migrants and asylum-seekers in harm's way, exposing them to potentially dangerous conditions in Mexico. Because of Title 42, many migrant families have opted to separate from their children, since the rule does not apply to minors. Two large emergency intake sites in Texas that have sheltered unaccompanied children during this year's influx of arrivals will close by early June, marking some of the first closures as the number of kids in border facilities drops.

4. Afghanistan

China is conflicted over the US troop withdrawal in Afghanistan. At a forum of Central Asian leaders this week, China's foreign minister said Beijing supports the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan. But a spokesperson for China's foreign ministry earlier had criticized the decision, calling it abrupt and saying it will lead to instability. China supported the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, even though it typically dislikes foreign intervention. However, Afghanistan under Taliban rule had become a source of instability on China's border. Now, China is facing two possibilities: The US withdrawal could mean greater Chinese military engagement in the region, or it could once again plunge Afghanistan into war and chaos, leaving China off-balance.

5. Tigray

A top House Foreign Affairs Committee member is calling on the Biden administration to enact sanctions in response to the ongoing human rights abuses in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. A CNN investigation found that soldiers from neighboring Eritrea were blocking critical humanitarian aid to starving and wounded civilians, sometimes even disguising themselves in old Ethiopian military uniforms. Thousands of civilians are believed to have been killed since Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched a military operation in November against the region's ruling party, the Tigray People's Liberation Front. Both Ethiopian and Eritrean forces have been accused of enacting mass killings and widespread sexual violence.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

Removed from royal display, Meghan and Harry waxworks join Madame Tussauds' 'party zone'

Ain't no party like a wax statue party cause a wax statue party is ... probably pretty quiet.

Birkin bags hit record prices even as the world ground to a halt

Would you like an entire luxury car or a purse? The price points are the same.

Letter written by Einstein featuring his famous equation goes up for auction

It features one of the few handwritten examples of E=mc2, which is wild.

The 'Friends' reunion is finally coming to HBO Max

Also known as "The one that people have been waiting for FOREVER"

Scientists bring to life nearly 100 baby sharks through artificial insemination

Remember those tiny growing sharks you'd stick in water, and they'd get really big overnight? It's kind of like that.

TODAY'S NUMBER

2 million

That's about how many Americans will lose unemployment benefits early as 16 states have announced they will stop providing enhanced federal jobless payments. The latest Republican-led states to make the call? Georgia, Arizona and Ohio.

TODAY'S QUOTE

"I don't look at this as the end at all. It's the start of a new chapter, and hopefully, my fans will go with me wherever I go."

Ellen DeGeneres, discussing plans to end her daytime show in 2022

TODAY'S WEATHER

Check your local forecast here>>>

AND FINALLY

A lil' dancey dance

Turnip the tortoise can't help but give a little wiggle during her shower. (Click here to view.)

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We'll be sunny with slightly above average temperatures again on Wednesday afternoon. The threat of thunderstorms will keep our fire danger high today, with more widespread thunderstorms Thursday. Dangerous heat returns this weekend and will persist through at least the start of next week.
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