5 things you need to know now
5 things you need to know now
  • Supreme Court to take up a major abortion case challenging Roe v. Wade

  • U.S. to send 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines abroad in June

  • Blinken says he hasn't seen evidence Hamas was using destroyed AP building in Gaza

  • AT&T to combine WarnerMedia with Discovery

  • CDC: Schools should keep mask and social distancing requirements

The Supreme Court on Monday announced it will take up its first abortion case since Justice Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation gave the court a 6-3 conservative majority. Many legal scholars and analysts believe the ruling on the challenge to a struck-down Mississippi law that seeks to ban nearly all abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy could significantly affect Roe v. Wade. Lower courts said the law was unconstitutional under Roe, which forbids states from banning abortions before fetal viability. The court will hear arguments in the case during its next term, which starts in October. A decision is not expected until the spring or summer of 2022, reports The New York Times.

Source: The New York Times

President Biden will announce Monday that the United States will export 20 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines by the end of June, Bloomberg reports. Those doses are on top of the 60 million doses of the vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca already earmarked for export. The AstraZeneca vaccine has not received authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, so the U.S. wouldn't be able to distribute the doses produced in the country anyway. As the vaccination rate plateaus in the U.S., the White House will reportedly increasingly turn its attention to helping curb the coronavirus pandemic abroad. It's not yet clear where exactly the exported vaccines will go, or how the U.S. will decide which countries get them.

Source: Bloomberg

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday the State Department requested "additional details" from Israel regarding "the justification" of its air strike on a tower in Gaza that housed offices for several media outlets, including The Associated Press and Al Jazeera. But Blinken said he has "not seen any information provided." Israel, which warned occupants to evacuate the building before the strike, has said Hamas was also using the tower for military purposes, making it a legitimate target. On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the evidence would have been passed to the U.S. through intelligence channels. Blinken's comments don't necessarily dispel that possibility. While he hasn't personally seen the evidence, he said "we will leave it to others to characterize if any information has been shared and our assessment of that information."

Source: The Associated Press, Axios

AT&T on Monday announced it has reached a deal to spin off WarnerMedia and combine it with Discovery, creating a new standalone company. Discovery CEO David Zaslav will lead the new company, which The New York Times reports would be "bigger than Netflix or NBCUniversal." The $43 billion deal, CNN writes, would "combine two treasure troves of content," including the streaming services HBO Max and Discovery+. The deal also includes CNN. This move "positions the new company to be one of the leading global direct-to-consumer streaming platforms," AT&T CEO John Stankey said. The deal is subject to regulatory approval, but the companies expect it to take effect in mid-2022.

Source: CNN, The New York Times

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention clarified over the weekend that it is still recommending schools stick to current guidelines and continue to have students wear masks and social distance until the end of the school year. On Thursday, the CDC said fully vaccinated Americans don't have to wear masks inside or outdoors, but young people between the ages of 12 and 15 only became eligible for vaccination last week. Because most kids aren't vaccinated, the CDC said "systems and policy adjustments may be required for schools to change mask requirements for students and staff while continuing to ensure the safety of unvaccinated populations." CDC data shows that as of Sunday, more than 123 million Americans over age 12 are fully vaccinated — about 44 percent of the population.

Source: ABC News