5 things to know for May 12: Ukraine, Abortion, Inflation, Overdose, California Fire

This is what you need to know to Catch up and get on with your day.

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1. Ukraine

Finland’s president and prime minister have announced their support for joining NATO, bringing the Nordic nation, which shares an 800-mile border with Russia, one step closer to membership in the US-led military alliance. Since the end of World War II, Finland has been militarily non-aligned and neutral to avoid provoking Russia. The war in Ukraine, however, has changed the calculus enough that joining NATO now seems like the best way forward, regardless of Russia’s reaction. Finland’s western neighbor Sweden is also expected to announce its intention to join the alliance soon. Russia has warned both countries against joining NATO, saying there would be consequences. Separately, prosecutors in Ukraine have launched a war crimes investigation after Russian soldiers were caught on surveillance video shooting unarmed civilians.

2. Abortion

A key vote on a Democratic-led bill aimed at preserving access to abortion across the country failed in the Senate yesterday. The bill’s failure comes as the Democratic Party faces enormous pressure to take action on abortion rights amid fears that the landmark Roe v. Wade will soon be overruled. The final tally was 49-51, with Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia joining Republicans in voting against the measure and preventing it from moving forward. President Joe Biden yesterday lashed out at Senate Republicans for blocking passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act. “This inaction comes at a time when the constitutional rights of women are under unprecedented attack, and it goes against the will of the majority of the American people,” Biden said.

3. Inflation

US inflation took a breather last month for the first time since August. Prices continued to rise, but at a slower pace than in previous months. The consumer price index rose 8.3% in the 12 months ending in April, slightly more than economists had forecast, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said yesterday. It was a decline from the 8.5% recorded in March, which had been the highest level in more than 40 years. Yesterday’s data suggests that the peak of inflation is behind us, just as economists, the Federal Reserve, the White House and the American people expected. But some economists say the war in Ukraine, bad weather and new Covid-related lockdowns in China are likely to keep prices high through the summer. Food costs have also continued to rise over the last 12 months, with the biggest increases seen in some staples such as eggs, milk, citrus and margarine.

4. Drug overdose

Drug overdoses in the US were deadlier than ever in 2021, according to provisional data from the CDC. Nearly 108,000 people died from drug overdoses last year, and about two-thirds of those deaths involved fentanyl or another synthetic opioid. “This is a devastating milestone in the history of the overdose epidemic in the United States,” said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Overdose deaths have been on the rise for years in the US, but they surged amid the Covid-19 pandemic, which accelerated trends already headed in the wrong direction. Experts say that changing course will require concentrated efforts, and it will take time, both strategically and ideologically.

5. California wildfire

At least 20 homes caught fire yesterday in an affluent area of ‚Äč‚ÄčOrange County, California, as a wildfire grew rapidly and spread to residences that were destroyed or damaged, authorities said. Photos show the fire tearing through mansions and burning their interiors in one neighborhood. The fire, which grew to about 200 acres last night, was fueled by wind gusts reaching up to 30 mph in the area, according to close observations from the National Weather Service. That’s on top of dry conditions of a severe drought underway across the region, according to the latest report from the US Drought Monitor.


They find a fragment of the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs

Now here’s some notable space news! NASA has described the discovery as “mind-boggling”.

This actor stuck his hand to a Starbucks counter to protest vegan milk charges

You may know him as one of the stars of HBO’s “Succession.” Now it’s trending to protest Starbucks’ surcharge on dairy alternatives.

Volkswagen brings back the Scout as an electric SUV

Hot on the heels of the beloved VW minibus comes the Scout. Maybe VW will resurrect the Beetle next…

Largest white diamond ever auctioned falls short of expectations

This diamond is the size of a golf ball, but despite its grandeur, it sold millions below its highest estimate.

China’s rover makes surprising discovery of water at Mars landing site

Fun fact: Scientists say Mars was once hot and humid billions of years ago, but something changed and caused the planet to become the arid, icy desert it is today.


$997 million

That’s the value of the interim settlement reached with families of victims of a residential building collapse in Surfside, Florida, that killed 98 people last year, according to an attorney for the plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit. A large portion of the Champlain Towers South building collapsed in the middle of the night on June 24, 2021. The victims ranged in age from 1 to 92 years old.


“Fuck off!”

— Broadway legend Patti LuPone, yelling at audience members who refused to properly wear their masks at a Broadway show after-event. The widely released video shows the two-time Tony Award winner launching the sharp rebuke from the stage, prompting two audience members to leave the theater, a representative for the event said. Masks are currently required in all 41 Broadway theaters.


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A baby elephant doing baby elephant things

Enjoy this 20 second video of cute awkwardness! (Click here to see)

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