5 things to know for May 19: Ukraine, Tsunami warning,

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CNN  — 

The Biden administration has an ambitious goal to reduce the country’s homelessness by 25% before 2025. In a move to accelerate those efforts, federal officials this week launched a new initiative to swiftly house unsheltered people in some of the nation’s hardest-hit cities.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will travel to Japan to attend the G7 summit in person, a stark display of confidence and Western solidarity as he tries to keep crucial support from allied nations flowing. The war in Ukraine is at the top of the agenda for the three-day summit, where leaders made a strong statement of unity in support of Ukraine and unveiled new measures to choke off Russia’s ability to fund and supply its war. This comes as Kyiv’s long-anticipated counteroffensive appears imminent as the Ukrainian military says it has made gains along the front lines in recent days. But there’s speculation the counteroffensive may have already started.

A 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck the South Pacific today, triggering a tsunami warning for nearby nations including Vanuatu, Fiji and Kiribati. The US Tsunami Warning Center initially issued a tsunami alert for coasts within about 620 miles of the epicenter but lifted the alert three hours after the quake struck the region. The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency also confirmed no tsunami threat was expected for the western US state. The South Pacific is one of the most seismically active areas of the world due to high rates of convergence between the Australia and Pacific tectonic plates that are constantly pushing against each other, according to the USGS.

A week after Sen. Dianne Feinstein returned to the Senate after a roughly three-month absence, questions are swirling about her fitness for office. The 89-year-old Democrat had been recovering from shingles at home in California and had been absent from Capitol Hill since February. Feinstein’s office confirmed on Thursday that she experienced broader health complications following her shingles diagnosis, contradicting an earlier denial from the senator herself. Those complications “included Ramsay Hunt syndrome and encephalitis,” her spokesperson told CNN. Feinstein’s long-awaited return on May 10 not only meant that the Senate Democratic Caucus would be at full attendance — since both Feinstein and Pennsylvania Sen. John Fetterman had been absent for much of the spring — but that the one-seat margin Democrats held on the powerful Judiciary Committee would be reconstituted to help advance President Biden’s judicial nominations.

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U.S. Senator Feinstein’s shingles worse than acknowledged

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is sounding optimistic about the direction of debt limit talks, telling CNN he sees how they can get to a deal and that he wants a bill on the floor next week. “We’re not there … but I see the path,” McCarthy said. After Tuesday’s meeting with President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and congressional leaders from both parties, McCarthy and Biden agreed to more direct talks between their two teams. Those talks, McCarthy said, have made a positive difference. The speaker said he’s spoken to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer about the timing in the House and Senate to pass a bill to avert default, saying it would take four days in the House and seven in the Senate. 

Disney is scrapping plans to build a $1 billion office complex in Florida, citing “changing business conditions,” according to a memo provided by a Disney spokesperson. The decision comes at a time when the company is openly feuding with Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is expected to officially enter the 2024 GOP presidential race next week. The head of the state’s Democratic Party slammed the governor’s “unhinged personal vendetta against Disney” for costing Florida 2,000 jobs and millions in additional revenue. Analysts say the move raises the question of whether Floridians are paying a big price for DeSantis’ political ambitions.

Disney cancels plans for a new billion-dollar Florida development amid its ongoing feud with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis

Starbucks is changing its ice cubes

For some, this may seem inconsequential. But for many drink aficionados, the debut of “nugget ice” is like a holiday.  

World’s richest man weighs which of his 5 children will take over empire

Like Logan Roy at the beginning of the HBO series “Succession,” the richest man in the world will soon decide which one of his children will take the reins of his empire.

The top 10 US beaches for 2023, according to ‘Dr. Beach’

You can experience crystal-clear water and “some of the finest sand in the world” without leaving the US, coastal scientist Stephen Leatherman says.

By recreating old photos, these children of immigrants step into their parents’ shoes

This reflective photo series uses archival images of immigrant parents to inspire similar shots of their adult children, who were born or raised in the US.

China issues $2 million dollar fine for joke about army

A comedian has apologized for making this costly punchline.

Which US state announced a ban on TikTok this week?

A. Alabama

B. Montana

C. Mississippi

D. Kansas

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Andy Rourke, the former bassist for the English rock band The Smiths, has died after a battle with pancreatic cancer, a former bandmate announced today. He was 59.

$200 million

That’s approximately how much Hyundai and Kia have agreed to pay to vehicle owners to settle a class action lawsuit over claims that many of the companies’ cars and SUVs are too easy to steal. The settlement will be distributed to up to 9 million owners whose vehicles have been stolen to help cover their out-of-pocket losses.

“Next year is my last year.”

— Tennis champion Rafael Nadal, announcing Thursday that he has withdrawn from the French Open and may conclude his tennis career next year. This is the first time the 22-time grand slam champion will miss the competition since making his debut in 2005. Additionally, Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios — the runner-up at Wimbledon last year — will also miss the French Open, his agent told CNN, after he was injured during a robbery earlier this month. 

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Elephant Encounter in 360 – Ep. 2 | The Okavango Experience Video Elephant Encounter in 360 - Ep. 2 | The Okavango Experience

Elephant encounter in 360 video

With the help of virtual reality, you can click and move through this video to get an up-close view of wild elephants roaming southern Africa. 

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