5 things to know for May 12: Coronavirus, Congress, Gaza, pipeline hack, voting

About 37 million Americans are expected to travel for Memorial Day, a big boost from last year’s record low. And a huge majority plans to drive — not fly.

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

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1. Coronavirus

A CDC advisory panel is set to meet today to discuss whether to recommend use of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine in 12- to 15-year-olds. If it does, these vaccinations could begin swiftly (though some already have, after the FDA gave its authorization). A pediatrics group found nearly a quarter of new Covid-19 cases are in kids, so vaccinating them and getting vaccines approved for even younger groups, could be a big help. And remember that B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant first discovered in the UK that experts worried would take over in the US? It now accounts for 72% of coronavirus genetic sequences in the US. Meanwhile, the global pandemic death toll could be as high as 6.9 million, a study finds. That’s more than double the reported total.

2. Congress

Rep. Liz Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican, is expected to be ousted from her position as chair of the House GOP conference when the body meets today to vote on her fate. Cheney has been a vocal critic of former President Trump and his supporters, and has called out fellow Republicans for supporting his false claim that the 2020 election was somehow stolen from him. Cheney gave a defiant speech last night on the House floor, shaming colleagues who will vote to strip her of her post and calling Trump’s hold on the GOP “a threat America has never seen before.” Many House GOP members are eager to move on from talking about things like the Capitol riot and want to consolidate their party’s message in order to try to take back the House in the midterm elections.

3. Gaza

At least 35 people are dead in Gaza after the latest exchange of airstrikes between Israeli and Palestinian forces last night. Palestinian militants in Gaza fired hundreds of rockets into Israel, which responded with ramped up airstrikes on the coastal enclave, as unrest has spread to cities and towns beyond Jerusalem. Israel declared a state of emergency in the central city of Lod and called up 5,000 reserve troops to active duty to enhance its operation in Gaza. The US and the European Union have both called for a de-escalation of violence, while several countries in the Middle East, including Turkey, have condemned the Israeli police response to tensions in Jerusalem. The UN denounced both the Israeli airstrikes and the Palestinian rocket shelling.

4. Pipeline hack

States including Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia and Florida have declared emergencies as gas demand soars due to the ongoing Colonial Pipeline crisis. The company is still working to get its system fully operational again following a security hack, and the shutdown has caused serious shortages up and down the East Coast. Some gas stations are fully out of fuel, while others have been set upon by snaking lines of cars. Federal and state leaders have warned businesses against price gouging. Federal officials also say they are considering more ways to ease fuel delivery, like shipping fuel to nearby coastal ports. Even American Airlines has had to add stops on two long-range flights out of Charlotte because of the disruption.

5. Voting

A sweeping Democratic-backed elections and campaign finance overhaul faced a clash in the Senate Rules Committee, making it clear that Republican opposition to the voting rights bill isn’t flagging anytime soon. The panel was deadlocked on passing the bill, known as the For the People Act. Democrats are hoping to still move it forward as a way to mitigate Republican state-level efforts to restrict voting access. One such effort just passed in Arizona, where Gov. Doug Ducey signed into law a controversial bill that could remove tens of thousands of voters from the state’s early mail-in voting list, which allows a voter to automatically get a ballot by mail for every election.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

2 New York mayoral candidates guessed a house in Brooklyn costs … $100K or lessĀ 

It’s OK to laugh at how wrong they are … or cry.

One reason there’s a chicken shortage? Disappointing roosters

“Well, THAT’s rude.” — the roosters, probably

A monstrous-looking fish normally found thousands of feet deep in the ocean washed up on a California beach

Jump-scare warning: It looks exactly like you’d think a monstrous fish normally found thousands of feet deep in the ocean would look.

How to cautiously hug in the pandemic, now that it’s allowed in the UK

Also good advice for those whose love language is not physical touch.

Voyager spacecraft detects ‘persistent hum’ beyond our solar system

Interstellar beings, if you’re trying to contact us, we’re kind of sorting through our own problems right now.

TODAY’S NUMBER

178,000

That’s how many migrants were encountered at the southern US border in April. That’s the highest one-month total in two decades. An overwhelming majority — 110,000 — were single adults subject to quick expulsion to Mexico or their home countries under a Trump-era pandemic emergency rule.

TODAY’S QUOTE

“We will move fairly quickly on that matter to go before the court to make our arguments to get the videos released.”

Harry Daniels, an attorney for the family of Andrew Brown Jr., who was fatally shot last month by police in North Carolina. Video footage of the shooting has been in debate in the case, and after viewing it, Brown’s family says it’s recommitted to pursuing its release.

TODAY’S WEATHER

Check your local forecast here>>>

AND FINALLY

You can learn a lot of things from the flowers

It’s been raining constantly here in Georgia. Hopefully it will make the flowers bloom as beautifully as they do in this time lapse. (Click here to view.)