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5 things to know for August 5: Coronavirus, Texas van crash, Iran, Mexico, Bill Gates

By Dominic Rech, CNN

A firefighter in Dallas has been charged after allegedly faking his family’s Covid-19 diagnoses and taking paid leave to go to a resort.

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 

Efforts to get more Americans vaccinated against Covid-19 are growing more urgent as an expert warns that if vaccination rates don’t increase, the dangerous Delta variant could continue to evolve. “The next variant is just around the corner, if we do not all get vaccinated,” Adm. Brett Giroir, the coronavirus testing czar under President Trump, told CNN. A surge in the Delta variant combined with low vaccination rates has sent the US backward in the pandemic, and messages from President Biden’s health officials have sometimes been muddled or contradictory. Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ battle with Biden is only complicating matters in a state that has seen coronavirus-related hospitalizations rise 13% from their previous peak in July 2020. Globally, the picture is bleak too. The Delta variant is ravaging the world and pushing Southeast Asian nations to the breaking point.

2. Texas van crash 

At least 10 people were killed and 20 others taken to hospitals after a van crashed yesterday on a highway near Encino, Texas, a state Department of Public Safety spokesperson said. There were 30 people inside a white Ford passenger van when the driver tried to make a right turn and “veered off the roadway and struck a metal utility pole and stop sign,” Sgt. Nathan Brandley told CNN. The driver and nine passengers were pronounced deceased at the scene, the department said. At least some of those in the van were believed to be undocumented immigrants, officials told CNN affiliate KRGV.

3. Iran

Ebrahim Raisi is set to be inaugurated today as Iran’s next president, signaling the start of a new harder-line era that could herald major shifts in the Islamic Republic’s policies at home and abroad. After eight years of Hassan Rouhani’s moderate administration, Iran now turns to Raisi, an ultra-conservative judiciary chief whose views are fully in line with the thinking of the country’s powerful clergy and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the final say on all major matters of state. Raisi’s inauguration comes at a pivotal time, with Iran in indirect negotiations with the United States over how to revive the 2015 nuclear agreement.

4. Mexico 

Mexico has filed a lawsuit against 11 gun manufacturers over firearms that flow from the United States across the border and into criminal hands in Mexico, court documents obtained by CNN show. The suit was filed in federal court in Boston and aims “to put an end to the massive damage that the Defendants cause by actively facilitating the unlawful trafficking of their guns to drug cartels and other criminals in Mexico.” Mexico alleges the defendants design, market, distribute and sell guns in ways that routinely arm drug cartels in Mexico. “Defendants design these guns to be easily modified to fire automatically and to be readily transferable on the criminal market in Mexico,” the suit read. Smith & Wesson, Colt and Glock are among named defendants. The companies did not respond immediately to CNN’s request for comment.

5. Bill Gates

Microsoft founder Bill Gates says he regrets the time he spent with Jeffrey Epstein. “It was a huge mistake to spend time with him, to give him the credibility of being there,” Gates said. Epstein, the wealthy financial manager who was accused of child sex trafficking, was found dead in a New York jail cell in 2019. Speaking yesterday with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Gates said he only met with Epstein in the hopes of raising more money to deal with global health issues. “I had several dinners with him, you know, hoping that what he said about getting billions of philanthropy for global health through contacts that he had might emerge,” Gates said. “When it looked like that wasn’t a real thing, that relationship ended.”

BREAKFAST BROWSE

Star Wars hotel comes with out-of-this-world price tag

You might need more than the Force to be with you if you’re staying here. You may have to shell out $6,000 for two nights. Ouch.

Australian Olympians criticized for ‘excessive alcohol consumption’

The Australians have been condemned for “unacceptable” behavior on their flight home from Tokyo 2020.

Giraffes are as socially complex as elephants

We have truly misunderstood our long-necked friends, and we are sorry.

Hubble captures a stunning image of squabbling galaxies

If you thought the rivalry with your sibling was a big deal, you might want to check this out. A triplet of galaxies is locked in a gravitational tug-of-war.

Lizzo is pregnant with Captain America’s baby … right?

Wrong. Lizzo and Chris Evans are having fun with a rumor on TikTok. There is no “little America”… (just yet).

OLYMPICS UPDATE

Simone Biles has thanked a Japanese gym for allowing her to privately train and overcome her struggle with “the twisties,” a mental block in gymnastics where competitors lose track of their positioning midair. Biles said she would “forever be thankful” to Juntendo University “for allowing me to come train separately to try to get my skills back.”

Follow the latest Olympic updates and highlights here.

TODAY’S NUMBER

$1.7 billion

That’s Rihanna’s estimated net worth, according to Forbes. It makes her the wealthiest female musician and the second-richest woman in entertainment behind Oprah Winfrey.

TODAY’S QUOTE

“I believe mentorship is one way to help women regain confidence and rebuild their economic strength.”

To mark her 40th birthday, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, has launched a mentorship program to support women getting back into the workforce after the pandemic. The duchess has asked 40 activists, athletes, artists and world leaders to participate.

TODAY’S WEATHER

Check your local forecast here>>>

AND FINALLY

‘Death’ by Chocolate Eclair 

Hungry? This is a chocolate eclair like you have never seen before. Here’s how you make it. (Click here to view.)

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