5 things you need to know now
5 things you need to know now
  • Trump delivers insult-laden speech at Mar-a-Lago RNC gathering

  • Iranian nuclear facility suffers 'suspicious' blackout

  • China admits its COVID-19 vaccines aren't very effective

  • Nomadland's Chloé Zhao takes home top DGA prize

  • Matsuyama looks to close out Masters

Former President Donald Trump spoke for about an hour Saturday night at a Republican National Committee gathering at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, The Washington Post reports. In a familiar turn of events, Trump reportedly boasted about tossing his "boring" prepared remarks and improvised, hurling insults at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Dr. Anthony Fauci, while expressing disappointment in former Vice President Mike Pence for certifying the presidential election on Jan. 6. McConnell seems to have gotten the worst of it — at one point Trump called him a "dumb son of a b----" and a "stone cold loser," multiple sources said. Beyond the personal attacks, Trump reportedly continued to push false claims that he won the 2020 election, which he described, once again, as "rigged." He apparently did not directly address whether he may consider another presidential run in 2024.

Source: The Washington Post, Politico

A "suspicious" blackout struck Iran's underground Natanz nuclear facility on Sunday, just hours after starting up new advanced centrifuges capable of enriching uranium more quickly. Behrouz Kamalvandi, the spokesman for Iran's civilian nuclear program, told state television there were no casualties, damage, or contamination, but the reason for the power outage remains unclear. Israeli media outlets, meanwhile, suggested a cyberattack occurred. The Associated Press notes these reports did not offer sourcing for the evaluation, but "Israeli media maintains a close relationship with [Israel's] military and intelligence." Israel has previously been suspected of carrying out an attack on Natanz's centrifuge assembly plant in July, and Tehran blames its rival for killing Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the scientist who launched Iran's military nuclear program decades ago, last November. The blackout comes as world powers negotiate with Iran in Vienna over its nuclear deal.

Source: The Associated Press

China's COVID-19 vaccines "don't have very high protection rates," Gao Fu, the director of the Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Saturday. The comments serve as a "rare admission of the weakness of the vaccines" by Beijing, The Associated Press writes. "It's now under formal consideration whether we should use different vaccines from different technical lines of the immunization process," Gao said. China has already exported hundreds of millions of doses of two vaccines developed by state-owned drug makers, Sinovac and Sinopharm, to 22 countries, including Mexico, Turkey, Indonesia, Hungary, and Brazil. It appears China may turn its focus to the development of mRNA-based vaccines, like the safe and highly effective Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna shots, even though Gao and Chinese state media had previously questioned their safety and effectiveness, AP notes. Gao said other options, such as mixing different vaccines or adjusting dosing regimens, are on the table, as well.

Source: The Associated Press, The South China Morning Post

Director Chloé Zhao on Saturday won the top prize at the 73rd annual Directors Guild of America Awards for Nomadland. She is only the second woman, and the first woman of color, to earn the DGA award, Variety notes. Kathryn Bigelow won in 2009 for The Hurt Locker. Zhao will head into the 93rd Academy Awards later this month as the frontrunner to take home Best Director, while Nomadland remains a leading contender for Best Picture. In her virtual acceptance speech, Zhao spoke briefly, using most of her time to praise her fellow nominees, including Minari's Lee Isaac Chung, Promising Young Woman's Emerald Fennell, Mank's David Fincher, and Trial of the Chicago 7's Aaron Sorkin.

Source: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter

The 2021 Masters Tournament will head into the home stretch at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, on Sunday. Japan's Hideki Matsuyama leads the field after a brilliant 18-hole performance on Saturday. He's 11-under for the tournament, and has a four-stroke lead on a group of four golfers — Americans Will Zalatoris and Xander Schauffele, Australian Marc Leishman, and the U.K.'s Justin Rose. All five of the leaders will tee off for their final round after 2 p.m. ET on CBS. If Matsuyama is able to finish strong and snag the famed green jacket, it would mark his first major championship. The 29-year-old came closest when he finished second at the 2017 U.S. Open.

Source: ESPN