News Headlines 5/14/21

MASKS OFF! We’ve reached a turning point in the COVID-19 pandemic. Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention yesterday said that Americans who have been fully vaccinated can stop wearing masks indoors or out, and don’t have to worry about social distancing in most settings. About half of Americans have gotten at least one of the two vaccination shots needed for full protection. Even vaccinated people are still advised to use a mask in places like hospitals and nursing homes and while traveling by public transportation.

  • The CDC gives advice, but states and local governments set the rules. The agency said people must continue to follow local restrictions.
  • Meanwhile, India is facing a dire shortage of COVID-19 vaccine as cases of illness soar and hospitals remain overwhelmed. The variant found in India has now been identified in Great Britain, raising concerns about the nation’s ability to reopen on June 21 as planned.

GASOLINE IS FLOWING AGAIN: The flow of fuel moving through the Colonial Pipeline was approaching full capacity yesterday, President Joe Biden said yesterday, adding it might take a little time to get to the pumps. The shutdown of the pipeline caused panic buying and shortages through the eastern states that the pipeline serves. It also caused some price-gouging, with some stations posting prices of up to $9.99 a gallon.

  • Colonial Pipeline paid hackers a ransom of nearly $5 million to recover its stolen data, The New York Times reported.

MASS SHOOTING IN PROVIDENCE PARK: Nine people were injured in a shootout between two groups of young men in Providence, Rhode Island. The incident began with a drive-by shooting and gunfire was returned from the targeted house. All those involved were said to be well known to the police.

GAZA UNDER HEAVY FIRE: Gaza was hit with heavy artillery fire and airstrikes from Israel early today. As the Israeli military and Palestinian militants continued to exchange deadly fire, Israel’s defense minister warned that Israel has “many, many more targets” for its strikes unless the Palestinians desist. More than 100 people have been killed in Gaza, and at least seven Israelis have been killed in the worsening conflict.

ALL SURVIVE MID-AIR COLLISION: Two small planes collided in midair near Denver and, amazingly, everybody involved is fine. One of the planes was nearly ripped in half, and the pilot of the other plane had to deploy a parachute to get out. Both pilots and one passenger walked away from the crash.

(Headline News, FYI and Sports stories were compiled in part from reports by the Associated Press and Reuters.)