Here are the headlines you Need2Know for Tuesday, May 18, 2021:


COVID cases have declined in all 50 states for the first time since the pandemic started, with the declines particularly notable in the Northeast. New York is lifting some mask requirements, while New Jersey is mandating that students return to classrooms in the fall. President Biden said the government will donate 20 million doses of the Pfizer, Moderna and J&J vaccines, the first time the U.S. has dipped into its own approved vaccine supply to send abroad. REUTERS


President Biden has expressed support for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas for the first time, while also stressing Israel’s right to self-defense. Biden discussed a ceasefire with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after the UN Security Council met but made no progress on ending the conflict. Gen. Mark Milley, the top U.S. military commander, said he’s worried the fighting is risking a broader destabilization in the region if it continues much longer. Meanwhile, Israel and Hamas continue to trade fire without signs of abating. AP


The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case on abortion rights that, given the Court’s 6-3 conservative “supermajority,” could dramatically change the right to an abortion under Roe v. Wade. The case involves a Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy and has been blocked by lower courts under the landmark precedent set in Roe. The justices are expected to hear the case in the fall and issue a ruling next year. SCOTUSBLOG


Parents: keep an eye on your bank account starting July 15. That’s when the IRS will distribute the first expanded child benefits passed as part of President Biden’s stimulus package to about 39 million American families. The direct cash payments -- $300 per child under 6 and $250 per child aged 6-17 for qualifying families -- will come via direct deposit on or around the 15th of each month through the end of the year. The benefit tapers off for single parents with incomes above $75,000 or couples making $150,000. Democrats have said they want to make the cash payments permanent. SEE IF YOU QUALIFY


With the WarnerMedia-Discovery merger official, AT&T is getting out of the content business entirely and effectively admitting that its 2018 acquisition of Time Warner was a failed experiment. The new joint venture will be run by Discovery CEO David Zaslav, who has not said whether he’s planning to combine HBO Max and Discovery+ or whether they will stay as two separate streaming platforms. There’s a major consolidation happening in media right now as the remaining content companies try to compete on streaming with the likes of Netflix and Disney, with the latest reports that NBCUniversal is sniffing around ViacomCBS and MGM is trying to sell itself to Amazon. AXIOS


Apple is bringing high-fidelity “lossless” audio to Apple Music’s entire catalog starting next month at no additional cost for subscribers. The premium audio allows you to hear music in a wider dynamic range, as it was intended to be heard in the studio by the artist. Lossless audio is noticeable if you’re a true audiophile listening via high-quality wired headphones in a quiet place, but for the ways most people listen to music it’s hard to tell the difference. That’s especially true because Apple even admits that its AirPods can’t support true lossless technology. Spotify is also prepping a hi-fi format to debut later this year. 9TO5MAC


At long last, the NBA playoffs are upon us. The league is doing a play-in tournament to secure the final two spots after finding success with the format during last season’s bubble. Tonight, it’s Charlotte vs. Indiana followed by Washington vs. Boston. Tomorrow is the West play-in, with San Antonio taking on Memphis followed by the Lakers defending their title against the Warriors and red-hot Steph Curry. The first-round games start Saturday (and yes, the Knicks are in for the first time since 2013). ESPN


NBC has a funny problem. For the first time in at least 50 years, the Peacock Network has no 30-minute comedies on its fall schedule. Brooklyn Nine-Nine, the series that NBC rescued after Fox canceled it, is premiering its final season after the Olympics. When that’s done in September, the network will go heavy on the drama-- three hours straight of Law & Order on Thursdays -- for the fall season. At the same time, NBC’s stalwart SNL just put up its worst ratings ever for last weekend’s episode, with just 3.5 million viewers tuning in. The season finale is Saturday. THR


...Ariana Grande, marrying boyfriend Dalton Gomez in a “tiny and intimate” ceremony last weekend at her Montecito estate. PEOPLE

…two of the child stars from School of Rock, dating in real life. A fan went deep into the bowels of Instagram to discover that Caitlin Hale and Angelo Massagli, who played students Marta and Frankie in the 2003 Jack Black comedy, are a (very cute) couple: SEE PICS


Working long hours is killing hundreds of thousands of people a year, according to the WHO. In a new study, researchers found that people working 55 hours or more a week are 35 percent more likely to suffer a stroke and 17 percent more likely to die of heart disease compared to people putting in 35 to 40 hours a week. That amounts to about 750,000 people a year across the world -- and that was before the pandemic rejiggered work-life balance for millions. NPR

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!

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