5 things to know for May 21: Trump, Yemen, US storms, Ford, China & drones

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President Donald Trump told reporters his administration is blocking former White House Counsel Don McGahn from testifying before the House Judiciary Committee to set a precedent for future administrations.

Posted: May 21, 2019 5:50 AM
Updated: May 21, 2019 5:50 AM

Thought about the kilogram lately? Probably not. Well, you should know it's been changed, slightly. Here's what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get "5 Things You Need to Know Today" delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. President Trump

A federal judge ruled that an accounting firm must turn over Donald Trump's financial records (from before he was President) to the House oversight committee. US Judge Amit Mehta said Congress is well within its right to investigate the President. Trump's legal team plans to appeal, and the President blasted the ruling, calling it "crazy." Trump and his Cabinet are fighting off a number of House subpoenas, as Democrats try to get their hands on the President's tax records. Mehta's ruling will likely be more fodder for other judges to consider.

Meanwhile, ex-White House counsel Don McGahn won't appear today before the House Judiciary Committee because the White House says former senior advisers are exempt from having to appear before Congress. US Rep. Jerry Nadler, the committee's chairman, promised McGahn would pay a heavy price for defying the panel's subpoena and threatened to hold him in contempt.

2. Yemen

The UN threatened to suspend aid to hungry people in Yemen if thefts or "diversion" of food by Houthi rebels continues. A CNN investigation exposed the thefts. David Beasley, head of the UN's World Food Programme, said as much as $15 million worth of food a month was not making it to the desperate people for whom it was intended and was instead going to rebel fighters or backers. Children are dying as a result, Beasley said. The UN's goal was to feed 12 million people, about half of Yemen's population. But CNN's investigation featured entire villages where no supplies had made it for weeks because of theft by the Houthi rebels who control much of the country. A deputy foreign minister for the rebels rejected claims aid was being diverted.

3. Weather

More than 50 million people in the central US will be at risk today for some form of severe weather, including flash flooding, hail and damaging winds. This follows a day when at least 19 tornadoes swept through Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri and Arkansas. There's damage to homes, cars and businesses but thankfully no reports of injuries. Oklahoma will feel the brunt of today's bad weather. The National Weather Service issued a flash flood emergency for Tulsa, which has already gotten 5 inches of rain and could get 3 more. Water rescues have been reported throughout the state.

4. Ford

Ford is cutting 7,000 jobs. Workers will be notified of the job cuts starting today. The elimination of the white-collar jobs, about 10% of Ford's salaried staff, is part of the automaker's attempt to restructure and trim costs. The cuts will save Ford about $600 million a year. The company is spending billions to change the way it does business, hoping to increase its sales overseas and focus more on electric and autonomous driving technology.

5. Drones and China

Love to fly drones? Well, you could be inadvertently sending data to the Chinese government. Wait, what? Homeland Security issued a warning about this, saying Chinese-made drones could be sending sensitive flight data to their manufacturers in China. It's believed that almost 80% of drones used in the US and Canada are made by DJI, a company in Shenzhen, China. Drone users are encouraged to switch off the device's internet connection and remove secure digital cards if the products were manufactured in China. The US Army banned drones made by DJI two years ago over fears the company was sharing info with the Chinese government.


Saying thanks

Two years ago, a firefighter rushed to help when a Minnesota woman's daughter had a seizure. She just said thank you by giving him her kidney.

Buzzy bedroom

A couple couldn't figure out what that buzzing noise was in their house in Spain. Maybe it had something to do with the 80,000 bees inside a wall.

I'm walking here

New York's thinking about making it illegal to use mobile devices while crossing the street. Isn't getting from Point A to Point B difficult enough in the city?

'For-now parents'

"Sesame Street" has a new Muppet. She's named Karli, and she'll help kids learn about the unique love of foster families.

There's an app for that

If this German company has its way, ordering up a flying taxi will be as easy as ordering up an Uber ride.


High noon

Abortion-rights protesters trying to stop the recent wave of anti-abortion laws will hold #StopTheBans protests today at noon local time in nearly 50 states.



The number of games James Holzhauer has won so far on "Jeopardy!" The sports gambler from Las Vegas has won a total of $1.7 million.


"I can't say I feel 100% Indian or 100% American; I always feel 100% a New Yorker."

Actress Sakina Jaffrey, who grew up in Manhattan, reflecting on her experience as the daughter of Indian parents who settled in the West


'Cheapest instrument in the world'

Money may not grow on trees, but apparently musical instruments do. Meet the man who's been playing leaves -- yes, leaves -- for years. (Click to view.)

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