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5 things to know for May 18: Primaries, Covid, Ukraine, Buffalo shooting, Immigration


By Alexandra Meeks, CNN

Prices at the pump are on the rise — again. The average cost of gasoline in California hit $6 a gallon yesterday for the first time, and that price could spread nationwide by the end of the summer, analysts at JPMorgan said.

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. Primaries

Voters in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Kentucky, Idaho and Oregon cast their ballots yesterday to pick their party nominees for the 2022 midterms. High-profile Senate races in the swing states of Pennsylvania and North Carolina have captured national attention, with control of the 50-50 chamber on the line in November. There are also a number of US House races that could determine whether Democrats continue to hold their five-seat majority. In Pennsylvania, the Republican primary battle was neck-and-neck early this morning as Mehmet Oz, the celebrity doctor backed by former President Donald Trump, and Dave McCormick, a former hedge fund executive, continue to battle for the top spot. The winner of that race will face Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who cruised to victory in the Democratic primary despite being hospitalized after suffering a stroke days earlier.

2. Coronavirus

More than one million people have now died of Covid-19 in the US since the pandemic’s start, according to data from Johns Hopkins University — and experts believe the true toll of the disease is even higher. About three-quarters of all Covid-19 deaths have been among seniors, according to CDC data. Last week, President Joe Biden issued a proclamation marking a million deaths and ordered the American flag to fly half-staff, writing that the nation “must not grow numb to such sorrow.” Yesterday, the White House also announced US households are now able to order “an additional eight free at-home tests at — bringing the total number of free tests available to each household since the start of the program to 16,” the administration said.

3. Ukraine

The evacuation mission at the Azovstol steel plant in Mariupol is nearing an end, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said yesterday. According to Ukrainian officials, it will soon mark the conclusion of Ukrainian forces’ “combat mission” at the complex, which was for weeks the last major holdout in a city otherwise occupied by Russian troops. Meanwhile, Finland and Sweden handed in their applications to join NATO today, the US-led military alliance’s secretary general said, in a formal step toward ending decades of neutrality. Separately, UN Secretary-General António Guterres will announce a plan to speed up the world’s switch to renewable energy today, saying that the war in Ukraine is a wake-up call for the globe to ditch fossil fuels, according to prepared remarks.

4. Buffalo shooting

The 18-year-old White man who allegedly carried out a racially motivated mass shooting at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket on Saturday created a private chat room on the communications app Discord and invited people to view his chat logs approximately 30 minutes before he opened fire, a Discord spokesperson told CNN yesterday. The posts, which showed Payton Gendron had been planning the shooting for several months, ultimately became public when he invited people to join, the spokesperson said. New details are also emerging about the weapon believed to be used in the shooting — a legally obtained AR-15 style rifle. Law enforcement officials said there appear to have been no red flags that would have prevented the 18-year-old from obtaining the three guns said to be found in his possession — the one used in the attack and two guns in his car.

5. Immigration

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas acknowledged yesterday that the agency has “not seen a significant decrease” in migrants coming to the US-Mexico border despite its efforts to restrict the flow. In an exclusive interview with CNN’s Priscilla Alvarez, Mayorkas said, “We’re seeing about a seven-day average of over 7,500 people, so we have not seen a significant decrease in the flows.” In April, US Border Patrol stopped border crossers 201,800 times, a 4% drop from March, according to newly released data. But numbers remain at historic highs, straining resources. Mayorkas’ remarks come amid uncertainty over the future of the pandemic restriction known as Title 42. The public health authority, which allows officials to turn migrants away at the US-Mexico border, is set to end on May 23 — but an ongoing lawsuit may prevent those plans.


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That’s how many people Mexico has officially registered as missing or disappeared, according to data from the Interior Ministry’s National Registry of Missing People. From 1964 to present day, more than 24,700 are women, and more than 74,700 are men. The gender of 516 people is unknown. The figure has risen by more than 20,000 people in the past two years alone, according to the data, which was met with outrage and urgent calls for better systems for search and rescue.


“I do not have an explanation.”

— Deputy Director of Navy Intelligence Scott Bray, when asked to identify a spherical object moving at high speed in declassified video shared yesterday during a House subcommittee hearing on “unidentified aerial phenomena,” popularly known as UFOs. During the hearing, key lawmakers warned that UFOs must be investigated and taken seriously as a potential threat to national security.


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