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Face masks have largely disappeared from places like grocery stores and schools in the third year of the Covid-19 pandemic — but they remain quite popular in medical offices. A study published this week says masking in health care settings might still be a good idea, even after the expiration of pandemic rules and social distancing measures.
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Special counsel John Durham released his final report on Monday in which he casts doubt about the FBI’s decision to launch a full investigation into connections between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia during the 2016 election. In the 300-plus page report, the Trump administration appointee determined that the FBI also used “raw, unanalyzed, and uncorroborated intelligence,” to launch the investigation into Trump and Russia but used a different standard when weighing concerns about alleged election interference regarding Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Durham sharply criticized the FBI and Justice Department throughout but did not recommend any new charges against individuals or any “wholesale changes” to the way politically sensitive investigations are handled.
2. New Mexico shooting
The teenage gunman who killed three people and wounded six others in Farmington, New Mexico, on Monday appeared to target victims randomly and used at least three guns in the attack, including an AR-15-style rifle, police said. The 18-year-old gunman roamed through the neighborhood and “randomly fired at whatever entered his head to shoot at,” including houses and cars, before police arrived and fatally shot him, according to Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe. Authorities have yet to identify the shooter or victims and are expected to hold a news conference today. Monday’s violent attack is among more than 220 mass shootings this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
3. Gas prices
Gas is almost $1 cheaper than a year ago when prices were racing toward $5 a gallon. The national average currently stands at $3.53 a gallon, according to AAA. That’s down 29% from the June 2022 record of $5.02 a gallon. There are multiple reasons for the cheaper gas — and not all of them are good. Fears of a recession have helped keep a lid on oil prices. The Federal Reserve’s war on inflation, marked by 10 straight interest rate hikes, has also driven down oil and other commodities. Meanwhile, the Biden administration this week announced plans to buy 3 million barrels of crude oil, marking the start of a yearslong process to replenish America’s depleted emergency oil stockpile. When faced with spiking gas prices, President Joe Biden aggressively drained the reserve to knock down the high prices at the pump that voters despise.
4. Debt limit
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen reaffirmed Monday that it’s likely the US could default on its debt as early as June 1 if Congress doesn’t act soon. “We have learned from past debt limit impasses that waiting until the last minute to suspend or increase the debt limit can cause serious harm to business and consumer confidence, raise short-term borrowing costs for taxpayers, and negatively impact the credit rating of the United States,” Yellen wrote to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who is set to meet again today with President Biden to continue their negotiations. Analysts say the pressure is high on House Republicans and the White House to reach an agreement, as the jobs, benefits and financial security of millions of Americans could suffer if the showdown isn’t resolved soon.
5. Artificial intelligence
Sam Altman, the CEO and co-founder of OpenAI, the artificial intelligence company behind viral chatbot ChatGPT, is set to testify before Congress today. His appearance is part of a Senate subcommittee hearing on the risks artificial intelligence poses for society, and what safeguards are needed for the technology. Earlier this month, Altman was one of several tech CEOs to meet with Vice President Kamala Harris and, briefly, President Biden as part of the White House’s efforts to emphasize the importance of ethical and responsible AI development. This week’s hearing may cement his stature as a central player in AI’s rapid growth and arms race for the best technology, but could also add to scrutiny of Altman and his company.
Soccer match ends with absurd long-range goal
Santiago Ramírez, the goalkeeper for Mexico’s Atlético Morelia, scored from inside his own penalty area! Watch the video here.
Martha Stewart is a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model
The lifestyle businesswoman, 81, is the oldest swimsuit model to grace the magazine’s cover.
‘The Bear’ Season 2 trailer will leave you hungry for more kitchen chaos
FX released the first trailer for Season 2 of the award-winning show — and the drama is piping hot.
Amazon is changing its deliveries behind the scenes
The company is unpacking a new plan that may decrease shipping times.
Reba McEntire joins ‘The Voice’
As Blake Shelton wraps up his final season as a coach, fans were happy to learn he’ll be passing the torch to country music legend Reba McEntire.
That’s how much Wells Fargo has agreed to pay its shareholders to settle a lawsuit accusing the bank of overstating its progress in recovering from scandals. Since 2016, Wells Fargo has paid or set aside billions of dollars to resolve regulatory probes and litigation concerning its business practices. These included that it opened about 3.5 million accounts without customer permission and charged hundreds of thousands of borrowers for auto insurance they did not need.
“He was filled with out of control rage.”
— Virginia Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly, describing the man who attacked his staff Monday with a metal baseball bat. The 49-year-old suspect stormed into Connolly’s district office in Fairfax and injured two people, officials said. The attacker also caused damage in the office, shattering glass in a conference room and breaking computers along the way, Connolly said.
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Kayaker in Hawaii gets frightening surprise
A fisherman was nearly knocked out of his boat by an aggressive tiger shark. Watch the close encounter here.