Here are the headlines you Need2Know for Friday, August 27, 2021:


President Biden vowed that the U.S. would hunt down the perpetrators behind two explosions at the Kabul Airport in Afghanistan. “We will not forgive, we will not forget,” Biden said. “We will hunt you down and make you pay.” Biden has asked the Pentagon to develop retaliatory plans in response to the worst day of casualties for U.S. forces there in a decade. Evacuations will continue as the planned pullout date of August 31 approaches. REUTERS


CASES SLOW: Although COVID-19 cases are still on the rise, the pace of infection is showing signs of a slowdown. Even at 152,000 cases per day over the past week, infection rates have dropped over the last two weeks. New cases increased by 11% over the past seven days compared to a previous week-long jump of 30% just two weeks ago. CNBC

STURGIS SUPERSPREADER: Cases in western South Dakota are ticking up and officials think it could be in connection with the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally held from August 6 through 15, which was potentially a superspreader event. More than one in three tests in Meade County are coming back positive, and seven-day case counts have increased by 3,400 percent. THE DAILY BEAST 

JAPAN HALTS MODERNA: Amid rising case numbers, Japanese authorities have announced they're halting the use of over 1.6 million Moderna doses after some vaccination sites reported they found tainted vials. Unspecified contaminants have been found in around 40 doses at eight locations. Authorities are now pulling the lot that included those doses, along with two other lots produced in the same factory. NY TIMES


CA WILDFIRES: At least 14 large fires are currently burning across California, and conditions aren’t improving. The state is facing hot temperatures and shifting wind patterns, which are causing the fires to change direction and grow in size. The Caldor Fire has grown to more than 213 square miles southwest of Lake Tahoe, and the Dixie Fire, the second-largest in state history, continues to burn, but is 45% contained. The South Fire about 45 miles east of Los Angeles is still burning, as is the 9-day-old French Fire in the southern Sierra Nevada region. AP

HURRICANE WATCH: Tropical Storm Ida formed yesterday afternoon over the Caribbean Sea, and forecasters already say it's likely that it could strengthen into a major hurricane and hit the central Gulf Coast late Sunday or early Monday.  ACCUWEATHER


New video released by a team of federal investigators shows that the Surfside Condo in Miami had extensive corrosion and overcrowded concrete reinforcement. Densely packed steel reinforcement can be seen in various sections of the building, and one area where a column met the building’s foundation was riddled with corrosion. An investigation is underway. The building collapsed in June, killing 98 people. NPR


The Supreme Court has rejected the Biden administration’s eviction moratorium, with the majority opinion saying the CDC exceeded its authority when putting the moratorium in place. This puts hundreds of thousands of tenants at risk as the federal government struggles to speed up the dispersal of billions of dollars to those who are behind in rent due to the pandemic. It will most likely take a while before anyone is impacted due to a backlog of eviction cases, but tenant groups in the South are bracing for the worst. NY TIMES


Instagram says it's improving its search functions in the future, making it easier to find results that aren’t just account, location or hashtag-focused. When users input a keyword, results will also showcase photos and videos, similar to TikTok’s search function. Instagram head Adam Mosseri said the search bar improvements are “designed for inspiration and discovery.” THE VERGE


The U.S. Department of Education is canceling more student debt, this time for people who attended ITT Technical Institute, a for-profit school that is now defunct. 115,000 borrowers will have $1.1 billion in debt canceled. ITT Tech is accused of misrepresenting itself and steering students into pricey private loans, and many didn’t finish their degrees and left the school. Biden’s Education Department has now canceled $9.5 billion in student debt for 563,000 borrowers.  CNBC


Two U.S. teens have broken world records at the Paralympics and won gold for their efforts. Swimmers Anastasia Pagonis and Gia Pergolini, both 17, broke world records in their respective races: Pagonis beat out the competition (and broke her own record) in the women’s 400 meter freestyle, and Pergolini won it all in the women’s 100 meter backstroke, breaking the world record simultaneously. NBC SPORTS.


… The first trailer for “Spencer,” the highly-anticipated drama about Princess Diana, has been released ahead of its premiere at the Venice Film Festival. Kristen Stewart stars as Lady Di.  WATCH

… Scientists in Egypt have discovered a fossil identifying a new species of a 10-foot long, four-legged whale that lived around 43 million years ago. SEE IT


Wendy’s is giving everyone’s favorite Frosty companion an upgrade: their new COVID-era, delivery-friendly fries will retain more heat and stay crispier, longer. The new fries will be available in September, and while they’ll look the same, the flavor will be different. The fast food chain says they’re keeping a bit of potato skin on the fries to add flavor, and using a batter system to maintain crisp.  CNN

Listen to the N2K Podcast! Looking for more context and analysis on the big stories of the day? Check out our podcast! Hosts Jill and Carlo break down the headlines, every weekday morning Listen on Apple or Spotify, or watch on YouTube, and send us your feedback! Note: The podcast is taking a break until September 7: We'll see you then!

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