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US 5 things to know for May 4: Covid-19, immigration, US military, opioid trial, South China Sea

13:45  04 may  2021
13:45  04 may  2021 Source:   cnn.com

Beijing responds to U.S. alliances with 'wolf warrior' defiance. Will it backfire?

  Beijing responds to U.S. alliances with 'wolf warrior' defiance. Will it backfire? Beijing's rejection of criticism from America and its friends has grown shriller as the Biden administration demonstrates its ability to pull allies together.Those sentiments, spoken at the U.S.-China meeting in Anchorage last month by Yang Jiechi, the Chinese Communist Party's foreign policy czar, have been repeated incessantly by state media and commercialized by enterprising online sellers. They capture the hubristic defiance that has defined Chinese foreign policy over the last three months as Beijing challenges a Biden administration that is restoring America's global alliances.

May the Fourth be with you! A clever Star Wars pun has turned into a holiday for fans of the franchise, but exactly how it got started is still a bit of a mystery.

a group of people walking on a sidewalk: People wait in line to receive the Sinopharm vaccine from China at a school in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on April 30, 2021 as part of government campaign to halt the spiraling Covid-19 coronavirus cases. © Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP/Getty Images People wait in line to receive the Sinopharm vaccine from China at a school in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on April 30, 2021 as part of government campaign to halt the spiraling Covid-19 coronavirus cases.

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

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1. Coronavirus

Daily US Covid-19 case and death totals are now about one-fifth of what they were during their winter peaks, and many experts attribute some of the slowdown to climbing vaccine numbers. Nearly 83% of Americans 65 and older have received at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose, and nearly 70% are fully vaccinated. Now, health and state leaders want younger people to take the plunge. To that end, the FDA is poised to authorize Pfizer/BioNTech's vaccine in children ages 12 to 15 by early next week. Is someone you know still stymied by popular vaccine myths? Here are some useful rebuttals, including more on whether vaccines harm fertility (they don't). Meanwhile, in Brazil, Covid-19 has caused 1 out of every 3 deaths this year, and less than 10% of the Brazilian population has been vaccinated so far.

Biden can send signal of hope for people struggling during the opioid crisis

  Biden can send signal of hope for people struggling during the opioid crisis President Biden can send a signal of hope to American families who are suffering the ravages of the opioid epidemic by announcing that he will expand access to a proven, life-saving medication: buprenorphine. For more than 20 years, physicians and other qualified primary care practitioners who prescribe this medicine for opioid use disorder have been subject to special restrictions, including a requirement to evaluate patients in person before treatment can begin, special training and licensure, and oversight from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). These restrictions were rooted in stigma.

a close up of a device: Gray TNN/PT EC Men's Engagement SDR (3.01ct) © Tiffany & Co. Gray TNN/PT EC Men's Engagement SDR (3.01ct)

2. Immigration

President Biden will raise the refugee cap to 62,500 people this fiscal year after backlash following an earlier decision to maintain a Trump-era cap of 15,000. The elevated limit gets the administration back on track to its February promise of admitting more refugees. The vow was temporarily sidelined when a surge of migrants at the southern border moved Biden to reevaluate his policies. Nearly 6,000 undocumented immigrations were apprehended there daily in April, preliminary government data show. That means the continued influx is still higher than normal but appears to have plateaued. The Biden administration says it's still focusing on moving families and children out of US Border Patrol custody as fast as possible to alleviate overcrowding and long stays.

How to fight China in the South China Sea

  How to fight China in the South China Sea How can the U.S. military best position itself to defeat China in a major conflict in the South or East China Seas? © Provided by Washington Examiner The question deserves keen attention amid escalating tensions between the two superpowers. China claims the near entirety of the South China Sea as its own private swimming pool: a vast area enclosed by Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and China. This assertion of sovereignty is politically, legally, and geographically absurd.

3. US military

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley, the top US general, has dropped his opposition to major policy changes on how the military handles sexual assault and is open to removing the chain of command from involvement in investigations. An Independent Review Commission, created by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, is carrying out an urgent 90-day review of Pentagon policies and procedures on sexual assault. Milley until now had said sexual assault is a leadership issue and must be handled within the chain of command. But he dropped his opposition after seeing attempts to effectively reduce or end sexual assault within the ranks fail. A Defense Department survey estimated more than 20,000 sexual assaults in the military in 2018.

4. Opioid trial

A landmark trial in the US opioid crisis is now underway in West Virginia. Cabell County and its county seat, Huntington, have accused three major prescription opioid distributors of creating a public nuisance by failing to monitor, divert and report suspicious orders under the Controlled Substances Act. The complaint alleges the companies distributed a combined total of over 57 million doses of hydrocodone and oxycodone to the community of about 100,000 people between 2006 and 2014. Overall, West Virginia also had one of the highest opioid-involved overdose death rates in the country in 2018. This is the first federal case to go forward among thousands of opioid lawsuits and could set the tone for future litigation related to the crisis.

Biden immigration moves under scrutiny from left and right

  Biden immigration moves under scrutiny from left and right President Biden's moves on immigration have opened him up to criticism from the right and the left, both for the Trump policies he nixed and those he's retained.Biden took quick action early in his presidency by rescinding Trump's travel ban and freezing construction of the border wall, sparking backlash from Republicans in the process. But he's also frustrated many progressives by going back and forth on whether to raise the refugee cap, and has relied heavily on a Trump-era law that allows for swift deportation of migrants.

5. South China Sea

"Get the f**k out." That's what Philippine Foreign Minister Teodoro Locsin told the Chinese government in a tweet demanding China's vessels leave disputed waters. The Philippines has been protesting what it calls the "illegal" presence of hundreds of Chinese boats inside the country's 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone in the South China Sea. China claims almost the entire South China Sea, through which about $3 trillion of shipborne trade passes each year. The Philippines has filed dozens of diplomatic protests to China since President Rodrigo Duterte took office in 2016, but Duterte himself has taken a more gentle tone toward the country's maritime rival in exchange for Beijing's promises of billions of dollars in investment, aid and loans.

THIS JUST IN ...

Tragedy in Mexico City

An overpass carrying a subway train collapsed late last night in Mexico City, killing at least 23 people, local government officials said. At least 65 people have been hospitalized.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

How to choose the safest sunscreen for your family

China Sends First 'Homemade' Aircraft Carrier to Contested South China Sea

  China Sends First 'Homemade' Aircraft Carrier to Contested South China Sea The Shandong carrier group's combat drills in the South China Sea come on the back of the Liaoning carrier group's recent departure from the area.The Shandong carrier group departed its naval base in Sanya, in the southern province of Hainan, for its first deployment of the year just a few days after the country's first aircraft carrier, Liaoning, returned to home port in the East China Sea.

After months of lockdown, you definitely want to avoid a face-melting "Raiders of the Lost Ark" moment.

Mysterious new tarantula-like spider identified in the Florida Everglades

Respectfully, we don't need any more mysterious new tarantula-like spiders.

Tiffany & Co. launches engagement rings for men

Every engaged person should feel a little glam if they want to!

Used car sales are soaring

If you were looking to offload your old reliable ride, now is the time.

Hubble telescope spies rare giant star battling against self-destruction

Aren't we all rare giant stars, battling against self-destruction?

TODAY'S NUMBER

$5 billion

That's how much Verizon is getting in a deal to sell Yahoo and AOL to private equity firm Apollo Global Management. The deal, due to close in the second half of 2021, signals Verizon's exit from the media business.

TODAY'S QUOTE

"After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage."

Bill and Melinda Gates, who announced in a statement they are ending their 27-year marriage. The couple said they will keep working together at their philanthropy, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

TODAY'S WEATHER

Check your local forecast here>>>

AND FINALLY

The best movie score ever

Get into the true Star Wars Day spirit by watching the GOAT himself, John Williams, conduct the soaring opening theme from the beautiful Musikverein in Vienna. (Click here to view.)

NHL's COVID protocol-related absences for May 7, 2021 .
Players in the COVID protocol are: Colorado's Devan Dubnyk and Washington's Evgeny Kuznetsov.Anaheim – TBA

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