5 things to know for May 21: Middle East, Severe weather, Trump trial, Climate, Italy earthquakes

ChatGPT unveiled five fictional voice assistants last year — Breeze, Cove, Ember, Juniper and Sky. Now, the company behind the AI tool is pausing one of the synthetic voices after it received criticism from actor Scarlett Johansson for being “so eerily similar” to hers.

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

1. Middle East

The International Criminal Court is seeking arrest warrants on charges of war crimes for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his defense minister, and three Hamas leaders. President Joe Biden slammed the court’s efforts as “outrageous,” saying the move puts the terrorist organization and a top US ally on equivalent footing. If the ICC were to grant an arrest warrant for Netanyahu and his defense minister, the decision would make it extremely difficult for them to travel to any of the 124 countries that are party to the court’s laws, including top US allies such as Britain and Germany. Notably, France on Monday broke away from its Western allies — including the US, the UK and Italy — to express support for the ICC.

2. Severe weather

More than 22 million people in the Midwest are under severe weather threats today as a relentless storm system rips through the region. Large hail, heavy winds and a few tornadoes are possible, forecasts show. The biggest area of concern is concentrated in much of Iowa, northwest Illinois, southwest Wisconsin and northern Missouri, which are under a Level 4 of 5 threat. Though they are not in the bullseye of the storm, cities including Chicago, Milwaukee, Kansas City, Omaha and Madison are also at risk of seeing severe weather. Lower chances of severe storms stretch from Texas to Michigan, including Dallas, Oklahoma City, St. Louis, Minneapolis, and Detroit.

3. Trump trial

The prosecution rested its case against former President Donald Trump on Monday in his criminal hush money trial, which is nearing a conclusion as soon as next week. Trump’s ex-lawyer Michael Cohen wrapped up his testimony with an admission that he stole $60,000 from the Trump Organization for a payment he made on Trump’s behalf to a tech company. Analysts say this could potentially damage his standing with the jury. Prosecutors have used Cohen to try to convince jurors that Trump falsified business documents to cover up a payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election, which they claim impacted the outcome.

4. Climate

Ocean water is rushing miles underneath Antarctica’s “Doomsday Glacier,” new research shows, meaning global sea level rise projections could be significantly underestimated. The Thwaites Glacier, which already contributes 4% to global sea level rise, holds enough ice to raise sea levels by more than 2 feet. But because it also acts as a natural dam to the surrounding ice in West Antarctica, scientists have estimated its complete collapse could ultimately lead to around 10 feet of sea level rise — a catastrophe for the world’s coastal communities. New data helped to create an X-ray of the glacier and could help improve the accuracy of its forecasted timeline.

5. Italy earthquakes

A 4.4 magnitude earthquake struck Italy’s Campi Flegrei supervolcano Monday, causing damage in the town of Pozzuoli, the epicenter, and as far away as Naples. Cracks in walls and falling cornices were reported, Italy’s Fire Brigade spokesman told CNN. The quake is part of an ongoing “seismic storm” that has seen more than a dozen events over 2.0 magnitude in the past 48 hours. The last major eruption of the supervolcano was in 1538, which resulted in the creation of a new bay on the southern Italian coast. More than 500,000 people live in the red zone directly adjacent to Campi Flegrei, according to the Italian Civil Protection agency, which has been working this year to update evacuation plans in the event of a major disaster.


Funeral services begin for Iranian president killed in helicopter crash
Funeral ceremonies for the late Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi are getting underway following his death in a helicopter crash. Authorities in Iran have launched an investigation to determine what caused the aircraft to smash into a remote mountainside during foggy weather on Sunday.


Elvis’ granddaughter fights Graceland foreclosure sale
Elvis Presley’s granddaughter is suing to stop a foreclosure sale of the late singer’s historic Memphis home, Graceland, scheduled this week. Here’s what we know.

‘The Apprentice’ premieres at Cannes Film Festival
A new film about former President Donald Trump’s real estate dealings in New York in the 1980s premiered to applause and controversy at the Cannes Film Festival on Monday. Read a quick synopsis.

Travis Kelce reveals his favorite Taylor Swift era
NFL star Travis Kelce was asked about his favorite musical era of his girlfriend Taylor Swift’s career. This was his clever response.

After suffering flat tires, one man developed a magnetic solution
Alex Benigno, also known as Atlanta’s “Magnet Man,” created a solution to clean up metal debris from his bike route and beyond. Watch the video here.

How high-tech tracking is keeping tabs on wildlife
Researchers are using advanced technology to follow wildlife in real time from a distance. See how they collect the vital data.


$1 billion
That’s how much Red Lobster is in debt, the company said Monday when announcing it had filed for bankruptcy. The seafood restaurant is known for bringing affordable shrimp and lobster to middle-class America but has recently been squeezed by the explosive growth of fast-casual chains.


“Disruptive cyberattacks from adversarial nation states have impacted water systems of all sizes, including many small systems.”

— The EPA, announcing it will step up inspections of water facilities in the US amid an increase in cyberattacks. A spate of cybercriminal and state-backed hacks against US water facilities in the last six months has alarmed senior US officials as many bad actors attempt to disrupt the treatment, distribution and storage of water for communities.


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Chasing Life With Dr. Sanjay Gupta - CNN
Chasing Life With Dr. Sanjay Gupta - CNN

Is there a science to happiness?
Have you ever wondered: What does it mean to be truly happy? In the new season of CNN’s Chasing Life podcast, Dr. Sanjay Gupta is setting out to better understand happiness and what the science tells us about the best ways to achieve it. Listen to the podcast here.

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