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Need To Know.
Royal Wedding.
After nearly six months of wedding prep coupled with intense media scrutiny, Prince Henry of Wales is set to marry American actress Meghan Markle tomorrow in St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. Markle, best known for her role in the TV series Suits, is an atypical match for British royalty - the 36-year-old Markle is older than Harry by three years, is biracial, divorced, and from a middle-class American family. British tabloids have been criticized for repeatedly portraying Markle's family, many of whom are estranged and not attending the wedding, in a negative light. Coverage of the wedding itself begins at 4:30am ET (9:30am local time) tomorrow morning, and you can see the full schedule here. If you're excited for the Royal Wedding, you can pick through the wedding party. If you're really excited, try and decipher the seating chart

If you're really really excited, we recommend the commemorative swimsuits

US Birth Rates Hit 30-Year Low.
The number of US births hit the lowest levels seen in three decades in 2017, according to a statistical release yesterday from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Just over 3.85 million births occurred in the US in 2017, down 2% from 2016 and the lowest since 1987. Birth rates declined for women between 15 and 39 years of age, but rose for women aged 40-44. The total fertility rate, a measure estimating number of births a group of 1,000 women would have during their lifetime, dropped 3% from 2016 to about 1,764. That number is 16% below the replacement rate, which is the number of children a generation must have to fully replenish itself - a problem for programs like social security that depend on new workers to fund its coffers. 

The study also noted that a full one-third of US births were delivered via cesarean delivery - one of the highest rates in the world. 

Kilauea Volcano Spews Ash Six Miles High. 
Hawaii's Kilauea explosively erupted yesterday, creating a plume of volcanic ash that went nearly six miles into the sky. The explosion followed repeated warnings from geologists that an explosive event was imminent. Kilauea is what's known as a shield volcano (see 101 here), with lava spread out in a thin layer miles in diameter around the central core. Fissures had been opening for weeks (link w/ video), as lava slowly pushed its way through the cracks as seismic activity continued to rock the region. Yesterday's explosive event - which could be the first of several - was the result of the lava level in the core falling below the level of groundwater. As a result water begins to seep in to the core, creating pressurized steam that builds up underneath rocks and debris (interactive diagram here). In addition to giant boulders being tossed from the summit, residents must worry about clouds of noxious gas like sulfur dioxide, which causes respiratory failure, being emitted from the crater. 

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In The Know.

Politics & World Affairs.

Gina Haspel confirmed as CIA director, becomes first female to lead Agency (More)
11 new cases confirmed as Ebola outbreak reaches Congolese city of Mbandaka; city is home to 1 million residents and major transportation hub (More)
White House to prohibit federally-funded family planning clinics from discussing abortion options with patients; rule was created under Reagan but never implemented (More)

Business & Markets.

Grocery Giant Kroger buys a stake in UK-based e-commerce grocer Ocado (More)
Education tech provider PluralSight pops 33% on first day as a public company, jolts to $2.5B valuation (More) | BJ's Wholesale Club files for IPO at an expected valuation of $2-3B (More)
PayPal to buy iZettle - Swedish provider of smartphone credit card processing tech - for $2.2B (More)

Science & Technology.

Robots automate the assembly of mini-organs made from stem cells, will help accelerate mass production of synthetic organs (More)
Researchers find that long-term social isolation causes the brain to increase production of neurochemical linked to increased aggressiveness and depression (More)
FDA approves first-ever migraine prevention medication, a monthly injection that reduces the number of "headache days" for chronic and episodic migraines (More)

Sports, Entertainment & Culture.

Kentucky Derby winner Justify is favored to win Preakness Stakes on Saturday; full odds and preview (More)
Warner Bros. wins rights for Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda's In The Heights film adaptation (More)
Fox News announces Suzanne Scott as its first female CEO (More)
Weekend Reads.

Gaza and Hamas. 

Council on Foreign Relations | Elliott Abrams. Against the backdrop of increasing violence between Gaza protesters and Israeli forces, a look at tactics used by Hamas, which include mixing fighters into civilian protests in an effort to prompt violence. (Read)

We Depend on Plastic - Now We're Drowning in it. 

National Geographic | Laura Parker. It made modern life possible, but more than 40 percent of it is used just once. Now it’s choking our waterways with no end in sight. (Read)

How Fortnite Captured Teens' Hearts and Minds. 

The New Yorker | Nick Paumgarten. Unsure what Fortnite is, but hearing about it everywhere? Here's how nearly 50 million players have become addicted to the popular video game. (Read)

The Rise of Older Mothers. 

The Atlantic | Olga Khazan. As highlighted in the data discussed up top, nearly everyone is having fewer kids - except older women. Whether that's a problem depends on how you look at it. (Read)
37% of Americans satisfied with the direction of the country, highest since 2005 (polling via Gallup).

...Also, what Americans think are the biggest problems facing the country.

How to know whether to rent vs buy in different US cities

Google parent company Alphabet working on smart diapers

How much time American families spend in their cars.

The top 25 most in-demand job skills (per LinkedIn).  

A list of things that keep tripping the global network of nuclear explosion detectors

Chrissy Teigen and John Legend announce birth of baby boy.

Clickbait:  Texas high school basketball star turns out to be 25-year-old man.

Historybook: Pope John Paul II is born (1920); Jackie Cochran is 1st woman to break the sound barrier (1953); HBD Tina Fey (1970); Mount St. Helens erupts, killing 57 (1980); Facebook raises $16B; largest US IPO for tech company (2012).
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- Pope John Paul II

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