5 things to know for August 2: Al Qaeda, Taiwan, Extreme weather, Ukraine, Uvalde

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Originally Published: 02 AUG 22 06:33 ET
Updated: 02 AUG 22 07:28 ET

(CNN) — A glimmer of relief is emerging at the checkout aisle: the return of discounts. Major retailers — including Walmart, Best Buy and Target — stocked up on merchandise months ago to prepare for supply chain shortages. But now, with extra goods sitting on their shelves, many stores are increasing promotions and lowering prices to entice inflation-weary shoppers.

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1. Al Qaeda

The US killed al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in a drone strike, President Joe Biden said Monday in a speech from the White House. Zawahiri, the world’s most wanted terrorist and one of the masterminds of the 9/11 terror attacks, was killed after months of highly secret planning by Biden and a tight circle of his senior advisers. Throughout the complex effort to plan the strike, Biden repeatedly tasked his officials with ensuring that civilians — including members of Zawahiri’s family — were not killed. None were, according to the White House. “People around the world no longer need to fear the vicious and determined killer,” Biden said. The moment was a political win for the President, as he emphasized the US “will always do what is necessary” to ensure the security of Americans.

2. Taiwan

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to visit Taiwan as part of her tour of Asia, according to a senior Taiwanese government official and a US official, despite warnings from Biden administration officials who are worried about China’s response to such a high-profile visit. The stop — a first for a US House speaker in 25 years — comes at a time when US-China relations are strained. US Defense Department officials are now working around the clock on monitoring any Chinese movements in the region and securing a plan to keep her safe. While the expected stop in Taiwan is not currently on Pelosi’s itinerary, China has warned against the “egregious political impact” of the planned visit to the self-governing island that China claims as a part of its territory. Chinese officials have also reiterated that its military “won’t sit by idly” if Beijing feels its “sovereignty and territorial integrity” is being threatened.

3. Extreme weather

Extreme weather has thrashed parts of the US over the past week — one of the many signals that climate change is here now, scientists say. Recovery efforts are underway after two devastating floods, one in Kentucky and another in Missouri. The death toll in Kentucky rose to 37 on Monday and the governor said hundreds remain unaccounted for. Missouri is also trying to recover after St. Louis was drenched with 9 inches of rain last week, setting the city’s highest daily rainfall total since 1915. Meanwhile, a severe drought has fueled California’s largest wildfire of the year so far — the McKinney Fire — which burned so hot that massive pyrocumulus clouds erupted into the atmosphere. Climate scientists say more of these extremes are expected as the planet continues to warm. The biggest single contributor to the climate crisis is fossil fuels, but many countries are delaying their phaseout plans in response to the energy crunch caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

4. Ukraine

The US announced an additional $550 million security assistance package for Ukraine on Monday to “meet Ukraine’s critical security and defense needs,” according to a statement from the Pentagon. The assistance, which is being drawn from US stockpiles, includes 75,000 rounds of artillery ammunition and an undisclosed amount of additional ammunition for advanced rocket systems to help defend Ukraine. The aid comes as the Ukrainian military has repelled Russian advances in the eastern Donetsk region near the strategically important city of Bakhmut. However, Russian shelling has intensified in the city of Mykolaiv, where Russian forces hit a university dorm overnight, Ukrainian officials said. Recent attacks in this area are being described by the city’s mayor as the “strongest” since the start of the war.

5. Uvalde

More than a dozen major news organizations have filed a lawsuit against the Texas Department of Public Safety to obtain public records relating to the Robb Elementary School massacre in Uvalde, Texas. The coalition includes CNN, the Texas Tribune, and many of the state and the country’s biggest news outlets. The news organizations have been fighting for weeks to obtain information on behalf of the public amid falsehoods and stonewalling from Texas officials in the aftermath of the mass shooting. Separately, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott met privately with families in Uvalde on Monday to discuss school safety. But some expressed skepticism regarding the governor’s visit to the town, where questions and frustrations remain over the official response to the May 24 massacre that left 19 students and two teachers dead.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

Doorbell ‘ringing’ bear

Watch this doorbell cam footage of a bear casually walking up to a woman’s front door. U-bear eats? Is that you?

Help wanted: $78,000 a year to taste candy while sitting on your couch

This may be the sweetest job opening ever.

Angelina Jolie’s daughter is headed to Spelman College

Zahara Jolie-Pitt is headed to an HBCU in Atlanta. Check out the lovely photo Jolie shared of Zahara with her new Spelman sisters.

Passenger fined $1,874 after two undeclared McMuffins found in luggage

I guess you can call that a not-so-happy meal.

How the world’s biggest four-day workweek test changed people’s lives

What do you think about a four-day work schedule — with no cut to your pay? Thousands of people in the UK tested it for two months. Here’s what they’re saying about it.

TODAY’S NUMBER

7 years

That’s how long a man was sentenced to serve in prison on Monday for participating in the Capitol insurrection on January 6, 2021. The rioter, Guy Reffitt, received the longest insurrection-related sentence to date for bringing a gun to the US Capitol and threatening House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Reffitt, a recruiter for a right-wing militia, was the first Capitol rioter to go to trial rather than take a plea agreement.

TODAY’S QUOTE

“Anyone who has a recalled product in his or her possession should dispose of it immediately or return it to the place of purchase for a refund.”

— A beverage recall issued by food company Lyons Magnus, warning 53 drink products should be thrown out or returned due to possible Cronobacter bacterial contamination. The voluntary recall includes certain lots of beverages, liquid coffee, pediatric nutritional supplements, protein shakes, nutritional shakes and thickened liquids. Products included in the recall include some branded as Oatly, Stumptown, Glucerna, Intelligentsia, Aloha, Kate Farms and Premier Protein, according to an announcement from the company.

TODAY’S WEATHER

Check your local forecast here>>>

AND FINALLY

Gardener catches cute groundhog eating his vegetables

This groundhog steals veggies from a garden — and eats them right in front of the gardener’s security camera. He’s a little menace, but still pretty cute. (Click here to view)

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