5 things to know for May 17: Mideast violence, coronavirus, Capitol riot, US policing, Tigray

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Today is Tax Day in the United States — about a month later than usual. Here’s what’s changed besides the filing deadline.

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

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1. Mideast violence

A cycle of sirens, bombs, injuries and deaths continued as yesterday marked the deadliest day in the weeklong conflict in Gaza. Israel bombed a house there where a family was celebrating the end of Ramadan, as well as a building housing international news media. Meanwhile, Hamas missiles rained down on Tel Aviv. The escalation across Israel and the Palestinian territories is the worst violence since the 2014 Gaza War. The UN Secretary General said he’s “dismayed” by the rising civilian casualties. President Biden spoke Saturday with Israel’s Prime Minister and the Palestinian Authority President. Beyond the regional crisis, the conflict has created a rift among Democrats, who disagree over what the US should do and what its response might say about Biden’s commitment to human rights and social and racial justice.

2. Coronavirus

Leaders of all but one of India’s 36 states and territories have imposed coronavirus restrictions as cases keep mounting and calls grow for a second nationwide lockdown. Experts say a 10- to 15-day pause would give the health system time to recoup material and manpower, but the central government is resisting, even as UK researchers say early data gives “a degree of confidence” that existing vaccines work against the variant first spotted in India. China, meantime, suspended climbing at Mount Everest over Covid-19 fears. And Taiwan — an early success story — limited the size of gatherings in its capital as it battles its biggest outbreak since the start of the pandemic. In the US, experts warn about the unintended consequences of new mask guidance. With much of the country still unvaccinated, many more Americans may now be shedding their masks than the CDC recommended.

3. Capitol riot

The top Democrat and the top Republican on a key House committee have struck a deal to create a bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6 attack on the Capitol. The agreement breaks a monthslong logjam between House leaders about how to structure the independent panel, which would be modeled after the 9/11 Commission. House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, who’s been sparring with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over the proposal, is still reviewing it. GOP Rep. Fred Upton yesterday called out an effort by some of his GOP colleagues to downplay the Capitol insurrection, saying their “bogus” claims about the deadly attack show the need for a commission. The Justice Department has charged more than 400 people in the riot so far.

4. US policing

City council members in the Minneapolis suburb where Daunte Wright was killed have voted to drastically reduce the power of their police force. Wright, 20, died after he was shot by an officer who said she thought she was holding her Taser. The case prompted a fresh round of protests over police use of force against people of color. Under the new measure, all emergency calls related to physical or mental health or social need will go to a new community response unit instead of the police. Traffic enforcement also will be handled by a separate, unarmed force, and police will only be allowed to issue citations — not conduct arrests or searches — for nonmoving traffic infractions and other non-felony offenses. Meanwhile, organizers of New York City Pride have banned the NYPD from participating in the annual June parade, saying their appearance threatened members of the community who are “most often targeted with excessive force.”

5. Tigray

The US condemned Eritrea and Ethiopia for coordinating their troops to close off a key aid route to Ethiopia’s war-torn Tigray region. The move follows an exclusive CNN investigation that found Eritrean soldiers were blocking critical humanitarian aid to starving and wounded civilians. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken this weekend demanded both nations ensure their forces in Tigray cease and desist “this reprehensible conduct” and allow in humanitarian assistance. The top representatives on the House Foreign Affairs Committee have called on the Biden administration to use all diplomatic tools, including sanctions, to respond to the human rights abuses. Thousands of civilians are believed to have been killed since Ethiopia’s Prime Minister launched a military operation in November against the region’s ruling party.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

Here’s who stole the show at last night’s MTV Movie & TV Awards

“To All the Boys: Always and Forever” and “WandaVision” took home top honors.

Mexico’s Andrea Meza was crowned Miss Universe

She reigned at the pageant, which was delayed last year due to Covid-19, with Miss Brazil as runner-up and Miss Peru as second runner-up.

The search for a tiger that went missing in Houston is finally over

India, a 9-month-old male, “appears to be in very good health,” police said, and is now headed to a Texas sanctuary.

A pickle-flavored hard seltzer is coming after an April Fool’s joke

Actually making the icky-sounding beverage teased for a laugh quite a way to get yourself out of a … well, you know.

A rapper made his debut in an African basketball league the same weekend his album dropped

J. Cole has taken overachieving to a new level.

A roller coaster stalled out in Phoenix, stranding riders 20 feet in the air

After they were saved, a rescuer said, “Overall, they were in good spirits.” (And probably in need of some good spirits.)

HAPPENING NOW

A key Trump-related government memo may be released

The Justice Department has until today to decide to appeal a federal judge’s ruling or release a redacted DOJ memo recommending then-President Trump not be charged with obstruction of justice following the Mueller investigation. The memo, if released, would likely put new scrutiny on then-Attorney General William Barr’s handling of the special counsel’s probe.

TODAY’S NUMBER

81%

The proportion of filling stations in Washington, DC, that were out of gas yesterday, as the Colonial Pipeline got back up and running after a six-day shutdown. The pipeline flows at just 5 miles per hour, meaning it could take days or even weeks for gasoline, diesel and jet fuel to flow through to most places and replenish nearly empty storage facilities.

TODAY’S QUOTE

There was an affair almost 20 years ago which ended amicably. Bill’s decision to transition off the board was in no way related to this matter.

A spokesperson for Bill Gates, responding to a report in The Wall Street Journal that Gates’ 2020 resignation from Microsoft’s board of directors came after an investigation of a romantic relationship he had with a Microsoft employee. Gates’ wife filed for divorce this month.

TODAY’S WEATHER

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AND FINALLY

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