In May the US economy struggled to rebound amid shortages, there were more mass shootings, a ransomware attack on a major gas pipeline, fighting in the Middle East, Covid surges in India and Brazil, while America observes the one-year anniversary of the death of George Floyd. Read more news from May 2021 below.
The Economy, Stock Market, Jobs and Unemployment
US economic growth was thwarted by a lack of available workers, even while the stock market reached a new all-time high. Some say the federal $300 per week unemployment supplement, combined with state unemployment payments, keeps people from working. But the shortage of affordable childcare with kids still home from school is keeping workers home.
Eviction Moratorium Protection Ends
A federal judge struck down the national eviction moratorium, potentially leaving millions of Americans at risk of losing their homes. Some 1 in 5 renters across the U.S. are behind on their payments amid the coronavirus pandemic, and states are scrambling to disburse more than $45 billion in rental assistance allocated by Congress.
Child Tax Credit Expanded and Paid Monthly for One Year
39 million American families will receive monthly child payments beginning next month as part of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, which expanded the child tax credit for one year and made it possible to pre-pay the benefits on a monthly basis. Nearly 88% of children are set to receive the benefits without their parents needing to take any additional action. Qualified families (couples earning $150,000 or less) will receive a payment of up to $300 per month for each child under 6 and up to $250 per month for children between the ages of 6 and 17.
China adopts three child policy
China has announced that it will allow couples to have up to three children, after census data showed a steep decline in birth rates.
Tourists and Satellites Crowd Outer Space
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is now ready to take people into space aboard the six-person capsule from a West Texas launchpad. Meanwhile, SpaceX Starlink Internet satellites appeared over Seattle as a string of pearls in the sky, and could be seen over Kansas City too. Starlink and competitors plan to launch thousands more small satellites, with low orbits covering farther south and reaching the entire US soon.
Florida and Texas Pass New Voting Restrictions
Florida and Texas joined Georgia in passing new restrictions on voting. Republicans say the laws are needed to limit fraud, echoing claims that the last Presidential election was stolen. The Governor of Florida signed the law during a live, exclusive broadcast on Fox News. Democrats say that efforts to further restrict mail-in and early voting is a direct response to actions that led to high turnout during the 2020 elections, helping them succeed at the ballot box.
Ransomware Attack Plugs Major Gas Pipeline
The Colonial gas pipeline that stretches from Houston refineries to the Northeast stop flowing after a Russian hacker group lauched a cyber attack. The pipeline carries 45% of the East Coast’s supply of diesel, petrol and jet fuel. Panic buying and long lines were short-lived, as the pipeline resumed service after the company paid $4.4M ransom in cryptocurrency. A few days later, Ireland’s health service shut down its IT systems after a ransomware attack by “international criminals” canceled appointments and elective surgeries at several hospitals.
Mother’s Day Weekend Mass Shootings
At least 15 died and 30 were injured in nine mass shootings across the US over Mother’s Day weekend, according to CNN. Meanwhile, Texas passed a “constitutional carry” law, allowing anybody without violent crime convictions to carry a handgun without a license, background check, or training. Texas already has more than 1.6 million handgun license holders, but supporters say it allows Texans to defend themselves in public while abolishing unnecessary impediments to the constitutional right to bear arms.
One Year Anniversary of the Death of George Floyd
It’s been one year since George Floyd was murdered by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in an incident that was caught on video in excruciating detail. Millions of people who had seen the footage – many of whom had been cooped up in their homes due to the deadly COVID-19 pandemic – poured into the streets in an unprecedented show of protest demanding change in policing. 16 million to 26 million people in America participated in at least one BLM protest following Floyd’s death, making it the largest social movement in U.S. history.
Police in Portland, Oregon, declared a riot after 200 people – many dressed in black – gathered for the occasion. Some lit a dumpster on fire and sprayedtagged the justice center with graffiti on the city’s Justice Center, while some yelled, “Burn the building down.” Others smashed windows and threw objects at police.
Social media played a huge role in quickly spreading the word of Floyd’s death and in organizing demonstrations with lightning speed. Google searches for “Black Lives Matter,” police reform,” “protests” and even broader terms like “police” were searched on Google more a year ago than at any other point in the search engine’s 22-year history. It also gave rise to the “defund the police” movement, seeking to reallocate funding from policing to mental health, domestic violence and homelessness, among others. Police are often the first responders to all three.
Hamas Fire Rockets at Israel After Conflicts at Common Holy Site
Israel carried out hundreds of air strikes targeting tunnels and leveling tower apartment buildings, and Palestinians fired thousands of rockets towards Tel Aviv. The fighting follows weeks of rising tension stoked by violent confrontations between Israeli police and Palestinian protesters culminating in clashes at a site in Jerusalem that is holy to both Muslims and Jews.
Sports and LBGTQ
The nation is divided about whether transgender male-to-female athletes should be allowed to compete in school sports as girls. Caitlyn Jenner, formally Olympic gold medallist Bruce Jenner, who is running for governor of California, came out…….against it.
Meanwhile, the first transgender model appeared in the swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated.
Covid-19 News in May 2021
The US ended the month with 33 million total cases and 594,000 deaths. Half of the adults in the United States, more than 129M people over the age of 18, are now fully vaccinated. But the CDC is warning unvaccinated Americans to distance and continue wearing masks over Memorial Day holiday weekend.