5 things you need to know now
5 things you need to know now
  • Biden, Netanyahu hold call amid Israel-Palestine violence

  • Walmart, other retailers to lift mask requirements for vaccinated people

  • China successfully lands rover on Mars, state media says

  • Footage shows South Carolina sheriff's deputies tasing Black man who died in custody

  • Kentucky Derby-winner Medina Spirit cleared to run in Preakness

President Biden on Saturday spoke with both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas over the phone, as Israel and Hamas continued to exchange fire Saturday. The White House didn't divulge much information about the calls, save for Press Secretary Jen Psaki tweeting that "we have communicated directly to the Israelis that ensuring the safety and security of journalists and independent media is a paramount responsibility." Her comments were in response to an Israeli airstrike that destroyed a building in Gaza housing offices of several media outlets, including The Associated Press and Al Jazeera. The Israeli military warned people to evacuate and said Hamas was using the building for military purposes, making it a legitimate target. Netanyahu's office said he told Biden that Israel is doing the utmost to avoid hitting civilians. At least 140 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli airstrikes, while nine people have been killed by Hamas rockets in Israel.

Source: The Associated Press, Axios

Walmart, Sam's Club, Costco, Trader Joe's, and Publix on Friday were among the first major retailers to announce that shoppers fully vaccinated against COVID-19 would no longer have to wear masks in their stores, unless required by state or local law. The change in company policies comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidelines earlier this week to say that it's safe for vaccinated people to go maskless indoors in most cases. People who have not received their shots will still need to wear face coverings, though it's not clear how the stores will verify who has been vaccinated. Several other major retailers, including Apple and Target, are keeping their mask requirements in place for now, but said they could update the policies soon.

Source: CNBC, USA Today

The China National Space Administration successfully landed its Zhurong rover on Mars on Saturday, state media reports, making China the third country after the United States and Soviet Union to touch down on the Red Planet (the 1971 Soviet mission failed shortly after landing.) Zhurong will eventually be deployed from the lander for a three-month mission in search of evidence of ancient life on Mars' surface, much like the multiple NASA rovers that have scoured the planet over the years, including Perseverance, which made its way to Earth's neighbor earlier this year. The landing is considered a major advancement for China's space program.

Source: CNN, The South China Morning Post

South Carolina officials on Friday released hours of police body-camera footage, which shows a Charleston County sheriff's deputy repeatedly tasing Jamal Sutherland, a 31-year-old Black man, before he died in custody in January. Sutherland was arrested after a fight broke out at the psychiatric facility were he was receiving mental health treatment, and the next morning two deputies were trying to remove him from his cell for a bond hearing when one deployed a taser. Sutherland was pronounced dead over an hour later, and the county coroner's office said the cause of death was an "excited state with adverse pharmacotherapeutic effect during subdual process." Charleston County Sheriff Kristin Graziano said she has implemented changes to bond hearing protocol, including allowing detainees to waive their appearances at hearings and adding technology to allow for remote hearings. She also promised to improve the department's response to mental health needs.

Source: CNN, NBC News

Medina Spirit, the winner of the Kentucky Derby, has been cleared to run in the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of horse racing's Triple Crown, on Saturday after passing three prerace drug tests. Medina Spirit, trained by Bob Baffert, failed a post-Derby drug test, which led to Baffert's suspension from Churchill Downs and skepticism about whether the horse would run at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore this weekend. Medina Spirit's stablemate and fellow Baffert trainee, Concert Tour, also passed the three tests agreed upon by Baffert and Maryland racing officials. The race will begin at 6:47 p.m. ET on Saturday. As of Friday night, Midnight Bourbon had supplanted Medina Spirit as the betting favorite.

Source: ESPN