5 things to know for August 16: Primaries, Gas prices, Air travel, Recalls, Ukraine

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Originally Published: 16 AUG 22 06:43 ET
Updated: 16 AUG 22 07:37 ET

(CNN) — NASA’s Artemis I rocket is scheduled to launch on a historic mission later this month that will go beyond the moon and return to Earth. While no human crew will travel aboard the spacecraft this trip, it will be carrying some special items — including mannequins, toys and even an Amazon Alexa.

Here’s what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.

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1. Primaries

Primary season continues today as voters in Wyoming and Alaska are set to head to the polls. In Wyoming, Republican Rep. Liz Cheney — vice chair of the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol and the GOP’s most outspoken critic of former President Donald Trump — is trying to hold on to her seat. But if the latest polling is any guide, she faces a major uphill battle. Cheney is one of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach the former President last year and also lost her party leadership position after repeatedly criticizing Trump. Today, she is running against a primary challenger backed by Trump in a state where he won 70% of the vote in the 2020 election. Experts say this race underscores how Trump’s hold on the Republican Party is tightening even as the former President’s legal challenges are mounting. Separately, voters in Alaska are casting ballots today in two separate elections for the same seat, and Sarah Palin is among those on the ballot.

2. Gas prices

Here’s some good news: the average price of gas could drop below $3 a gallon in much of the US by the end of the year. Gas prices have fallen for 62 consecutive days and will likely continue to steadily decline. The national average for a gallon of regular gas stood at $3.96 Monday, down $1.06 — or 21% — since hitting a record high on June 14. The average price is somewhat inflated in some high-priced states, such as California, where the average is $5.37 a gallon. But even in states with high gas prices, the average price is down more than $1 a gallon since the June peak. Plus, as students return to school and the summer driving season comes to an end, gas prices will likely decline even further, according to Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis for OPIS, which tracks prices for AAA.

3. Air travel

As flight cancellations feel increasingly commonplace in the US, a growing number of airlines are cutting even more flights amid surging demand. American Airlines recently slashed 16% of its flight schedule, or 31,000 flights during November, according to data from Cirium, an aviation analytics company. Schedule data provided by Cirium shows the largest cuts are between Chicago O’Hare and Dallas-Fort Worth, as well as between Boston and Philadelphia. American Airlines’ trimmed schedule comes just a few months after United Airlines cut its schedule in New Jersey and after Delta cut its summer schedule early in the season. According to a CNN analysis, the New York Metropolitan area leads the nation in flight cancellations, with Newark Liberty International Airport and LaGuardia Airport claiming the top two spots.

4. Recalls

Millions of baby swings and rockers that pose a risk of asphyxiation or other injuries to infants have been recalled, according to an announcement Monday from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. 4moms, which manufactures products for young children, recalled certain versions of its MamaRoo Baby Swing and RockaRoo Baby Rockers following two reports of entanglement incidents, the commission said. Baby swings and rockers have been involved in a number of recent recalls. The Kids II Rocking Sleepers were linked to five infant deaths and the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play sleepers were connected to more than 30 infant deaths over 10 years. Separately, about 13,000 pounds of frozen pizza made by Home Run Inn Frozen Foods is being recalled after some customers complained of finding metal in the pizza, the USDA said in a statement. And approximately 5,760 cases of Capri Sun Wild Cherry beverages have been recalled after possibly being contaminated with cleaning solution.

5. Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on the world to introduce tough sanctions in response to Russia’s increased shelling around Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. “Any radiation incident at the Zaporizhzhia NPP can be a blow to the countries of the European Union, and to Turkey, and to Georgia, and to countries from more distant regions,” Zelensky said Monday. “If a catastrophe occurs due to Russia’s actions, the consequences can hit even those who remain silent for the time being,” he added. Meanwhile, Russia’s defense minister said today that the advanced US-supplied arms to Ukraine are not having a “significant impact” on the war. Ukrainian officials, however, have previously said these arms and other multiple rocket systems are “affecting the course of the war” — a view shared by top US military personnel and diplomatic officials.

HAPPENING LATER

Biden to sign Inflation Reduction Act into law today

President Joe Biden will sign a sweeping $750 billion health care, tax and climate bill into law at the White House today — marking a major victory for his administration and the Democratic Party ahead of the midterm elections. The Inflation Reduction Act accomplishes several key Biden legislative agenda items and represents the largest climate investment in American history.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

A baby hippo at the Cincinnati Zoo just got its official name after a contest

After 200,000 suggestions, an adorable baby hippo received an equally cute name. Watch the video here!

‘Stranger Things’ cafe opens in Tokyo

Of course, a pop-up cafe inspired by the Netflix horror drama “Stranger Things” has to have an “Upside Down.” Take a peek inside.

WeWork’s former CEO has a new startup, reportedly valued at more than $1 billion

When one door closes, another one opens. After being ousted from his CEO role at WeWork, Adam Neumann’s new company is being positioned as a solution to the nation’s housing crisis.

‘Better Call Saul’ series finale review

The extra-long “Better Call Saul” series finale premiered Monday — and it did not disappoint. Here’s a recap of the show … but first, spoilers ahead!

Taiwan’s new $220 million arts center radically rethinks theater design

More than a decade since it broke ground, this long-awaited venue in Taiwan has opened to the public and rethinks the way theaters should operate.

TODAY’S NUMBER

100 million

That’s how many Americans will be impacted by an “extreme heat belt” in the next 30 years, increasing both the intensity and frequency of the hottest days of the year, according to a study published Monday by a climate research group. Specifically, most of the region from Texas to the Great Lakes will experience temperatures above 125 degrees during the hottest stretches of the year.

TODAY’S QUOTE

“The fact that this investigation implicates highly classified materials further underscores the need to protect the integrity of the investigation.”

— The Justice Department, stating in a filing Monday that it opposes the release of key details that led to the search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate last week. The DOJ said some continued secrecy is needed to protect the investigation and therefore, it will not unseal the affidavit which outlines why the search was necessary. Several media organizations, including CNN, had asked for the affidavit to be unsealed after the search was conducted.

TODAY’S WEATHER

Check your local forecast here>>>

AND FINALLY

Hold on! It’s National Roller Coaster Day!

Watch this video of a couple who travels the world riding roller coasters together. It’s a marriage that’s seen a lot of ups and downs — in the best way. (Click here to view)

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