Here's the biggest news you missed this weekend

·5 min read

CDC's relaxed mask guidance continues to make waves

The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday defended the government's latest easing of mask mandates, as Americans tried to digest how it will impact day-to-day life. Dr. Rochelle Walensky said "evolving science" drove the decision to allow those fully vaccinated for COVID-19 to shed their masks in most circumstances and denied that the move was political. More than a dozen states announced plans to fall in line with the CDC mask guidance either immediately or in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, some national store chains including Trader Joe's, Walmart, Costco and Publix announced they would no longer require vaccinated customers to wear masks except in states and cities that have local mandates. Universal Orlando and Disney World said guests will no longer be required to wear masks outdoors.

Conflict between Israel, Palestinians rages on; pressure for cease-fire grows

Fighting between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza City reached a new intensity this weekend, as Israeli airstrikes killed dozens of people and flattened several highrises, including a building that housed The Associated Press and other media. Press freedom groups condemned the attack on the building that houses the AP bureau and accused the Israeli military of trying to censor coverage of Israel's offensive. Palestinian medics said Israeli airstrikes on Sunday killed at least 42 people, making it the deadliest single attack since heavy fighting broke out between Israel and the territory’s militant Hamas rulers nearly a week ago.

Meanwhile, international mediators were working to broker a cease-fire, and President Joe Biden spoke directly with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. In a televised address, Netanyahu said the attacks were continuing at “full-force” and will “take time.“ Israel “wants to levy a heavy price” on the Hamas militant group, he said.

Rombauer wins Preakness; controversial Kentucky Derby winner, Medina Spirit, finishes third

Rombauer, who entered the the 146th Preakness Stakes on Saturday with 11-1 odds to win, blew past controversial Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit and Midnight Bourbon to win. Medina Spirit ran out of gas to finish third, two lengths behind second-place Midnight Bourbon, in the second race of the Triple Crown. After Medina Spirit faded down the stretch, there will be no talk of split sample drug tests and a disputed Triple Crown for the next three weeks. Pimlico, which welcomed 10,000 fans to the grandstand area, reported a record handle of $112.5 million over the 14 races on Preakness Saturday. The previous record was $99.9 million in 2019.

Real quick

Colonial Pipeline resumes 'normal operations'

Colonial Pipeline, the operator of the nation's largest gasoline pipeline that was hit by a ransomware attack earlier this month, announced Saturday it has resumed "normal operations," delivering fuel to its markets, including a large swath of the East Coast. Gas shortages, which spread around parts of the U.S. and all but emptied stations in Washington, D.C., improved after a peak on Thursday night. Some industry experts worry that Colonial Pipeline's decision to reportedly pay the attackers $5 million in ransom to regain control of their operations could spur even more criminal malware attacks on critical U.S. targets.

Kobe Bryant makes posthumous entry into Hall of Fame

Kobe Bryant's posthumous introduction into the Basketball Hall of Fame was always going to be emotional for the NBA world. On Saturday during the enshrinement ceremony, Vanessa Bryant gave a poignant speech on behalf of her late husband, who was introduced into the Hall of Fame alongside Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan. "You once told me, if you're going to bet on someone, bet on yourself. I'm glad you bet on yourself, you overachiever. You did it. You're in the Hall of Fame now," Vanessa Bryant said. "I love you forever and always, Kobe Bean Bryant." The Los Angeles Laker legend's enshrinement comes nearly 16 months after he and his 13-year-old-daughter, Gianna, died in a helicopter crash. The Basketball Hall of Fame on Sunday announced the next wave inductees, a class of 16 people headlined by Paul Pierce, Chris Bosh, Chris Webber and Jay Wright.

Vanessa Bryant speaks during Kobe Bryant's induction.
Vanessa Bryant speaks during Kobe Bryant's induction.

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This is a compilation of stories from across the USA TODAY Network. Contributing: Associated Press.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: CDC mask rules; Israel and Palestinians conflict: Weekend's biggest news

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