5 things to know for April 26: Covid-19, White House, SCOTUS, police violence, Oscars

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The US has begun to withdraw troops from Afghanistan ahead of the White House’s September 11 deadline, marking the beginning of the end of America’s longest war.

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1. Coronavirus

Countries are pledging aid to India as it fights a deadly pandemic wave. India today reported 352,991 new cases and 2,812 virus-related deaths, marking the world’s highest daily caseload for the fifth straight day. Covid-19 cases have risen astronomically in India since March. In response, the US will deploy supplies and support, including ventilators, PPE and rapid diagnostic test kits. The UK, Germany and neighbor Pakistan, as well as tech giants Microsoft and Google, have also pledged supplies and relief. Meanwhile in the US, the CDC and FDA have lifted the pause on use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after weeks of deliberation amid a handful of reported blood clot cases. The vaccine label is now updated to warn of blood clot risks.

2. White House

President Biden is preparing to lay out all he’s accomplished in his first 100 days in office. In an address Wednesday to a joint session of Congress, Biden will likely tout his pandemic promises: 100 million administered Covid-19 shots pledged — and 200 million delivered. With a Democratic-controlled Congress, he also sent out the $1,400 emergency checks that were delayed for months under the previous administration. However, Biden still faces more legislative challenges. There’s the $2 trillion infrastructure bill being debated on both sides of the aisle. And there’s the looming call for federal action on police reform. This week, Biden will also unveil the next phase of his plan to rebuild the American economy, which will bring Democratic demands to include health care improvements in the deal.


The Supreme Court is entering what the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg used to call “the busy season.” The court has not yet released some of the most significant opinions of this term, including challenges to the Voting Rights Act and NCAA amateur rules, plus cases on religious liberty and the power of unions. Republican-led states are also trying to get the court to invalidate the entire Affordable Care Act — the third time the court has heard a significant challenge to the law. Also on the SCOTUS radar: the possible retirement of 82-year-old Justice Stephen Breyer. His departure would allow Biden and Senate Democrats to replace him with a much younger liberal.

4. Police violence

A North Carolina sheriff says he wants body camera footage of Andrew Brown Jr.’s fatal shooting to be made public and will file a motion for it as early as today. Brown, a 42-year-old Black man, was shot and killed Wednesday by sheriff’s deputies as they tried to serve him with an arrest warrant. Meantime, body camera footage of a police shooting last week in Virginia has been released. An unarmed man named Isaiah Brown was shot by a sheriff’s deputy about an hour after the same deputy gave the man a ride home. These incidents, along with last week’s police shooting of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant in Columbus, Ohio, are casting even more scrutiny on police practices at a time when calls for police reform are ringing through the country. Capitol lawmakers are expressing optimism that bipartisan cooperation on a police reform bill may lead to real results.

5. Oscars

The 93rd Academy Awards last night proved to be a historic one for women and people of color. “Minari” star Yuh-jung Youn became first Korean actress to win for best supporting role while Chloé Zhao took home Best Director for her critically-acclaimed “Nomadland,” which depicts a woman in her 60s traveling through the American West as a van-dwelling nomad. Zhao is the first Asian woman and only the second woman overall to win in this category. “Nomadland” also scored the all-important Best Picture award. There was a bit of an upset in the Best Actor category. Sir Anthony Hopkins won over fan favorites Riz Ahmed and the late Chadwick Boseman. At 83, Hopkins is the oldest Oscar winner ever.


The best (and most talked-about) Oscar red carpet looks 

Because the Oscars is really two events: the awards and the outfits.

Late rapper DMX was honored in a lavish, emotional celebration of life

His family, friends and fans sent the legend off right.

‘Funky pickles’ seized by Customs and Border Protection turn out to be $4 million worth of meth

Hmmm, “funky” indeed …

Mars helicopter achieves fastest, farthest flight yet

We’re all rooting for you, little copter! 

Hundreds of people named Josh met for a pool noodle battle in Lincoln, Nebraska

When historians study how the pandemic changed our brains, this will probably be a data point.


20 million

That’s how many manufacturing jobs around the world could be lost to robots by 2030, according to a marketing forecaster.


“There’s actually racism built into the very algorithms that we use.”

Naomi Nkinsi, a medical student at the University of Washington who was shocked to learn about the practice of “race correction” in medicine, which is the use of a patient’s race in scientific equations that can influence how they are treated. Read more about its history here.


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Hearing history 

What does the oldest piano in the world, dating back to 1720, sound like? Unsurprisingly, it very much resembles its evolutionary predecessor, the harpsichord. (Click here to view.)