Roe v. Wade, CPI report, Lake Mead, Kherson. It’s Wednesday’s news. – USA TODAY

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The Senate failed to make Roe v. Wade the law of the land. As water levels drop in Lake Mead and bodies are found, it begs the question: what else is under the water?

🕯 And we’re remembering our beloved Short List editor, Dustin Barnes.

👋 It’s Julius and Laura with Wednesday’s news.

But first, a location scouting trip turned into a major rescue operation when a group of hikers in Indiana found a dog who had been stuck in a cave for days.

The Short List is a snappy USA TODAY news roundup. Subscribe to the newsletter here or text messages here.

What other secrets are buried in Lake Mead?

A body in a barrel, ghost towns, a crashed B-29. That isn’t just a list of random things – they’re under the waters of Lake Mead, which flooded a vast area of the desert when the Hoover Dam was built in the 1930s. Now the lake is draining due to drought – and it’s revealing secrets long buried. This month, authorities discovered two bodies after they were exposed by dropping water levels. One body was found in a barrel, and police believe the person was likely shot in the mid-1970s or ’80s. Experts say they expect more discoveries because the lake is so close to Las Vegas. The reservoir also sits atop lost cities and ghost towns, some which are now poking out of the water.

Senate fails to pass vote that would make abortion legal across US

The Senate on Wednesday failed to pass a bill that would make Roe v. Wade the law of the land. Democrats were unable to overcome a filibuster on the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2022. The effort failed 49-51 with West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin joining every Republican in opposition, meaning the measure would have failed even if it had mustered the 60 votes needed to send the measure to the floor for an up-or-down vote. The bill was not expected to pass, but Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., framed the vote as a way to put every member of the Senate on the record about their stance on abortion in the wake of the leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade.

What everyone’s talking about

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US drug overdose epidemic worsened in 2021, new report shows

The nation’s drug overdose epidemic worsened in 2021 in the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics figures released Wednesday show a record 107,622 drug overdose deaths in 2021, a 14.9% increase from 93,655 overdose deaths the year before. While prescription painkillers and heroin drove the nation’s overdose epidemic last decade, the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl is now responsible for most overdose deaths. Although the numbers are subject to change as medical examiners finish death investigations and report all cases, experts say the figures underscore the dangerous reach of predominately illicit drugs and drug combinations.

Russia may annex occupied city in Ukraine

Russian-appointed authorities in the southern Ukraine city of Kherson announced plans Wednesday to seek annexation by Russia – and the Ukrainian response was that those authorities might as well ask to join ‘Mars or Jupiter.” Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the Russian regional military-civilian administration, also said that, by the end of May, a bank for converting money to Russian rubles will start operating in the region and ultimately will be integrated into the Bank of Russia. Kherson, a Black Sea port city of almost 300,000, is one of few major Ukraine cities to be under Russian control. Ukraine presidential adviser Mykhailo Podoliak dismissed the annexation plan.

Real quick

Inflation slowed in April, hinting that surge in consumer prices have peaked

Inflation stayed elevated in April but eased off its 40-year high, signaling that a stomach-churning surge in consumer prices since last summer may have peaked. The consumer price index increased 8.3% annually, down from 8.5% in March, as a drop in gasoline prices offset a continuing run-up in food, rent and other costs, the Labor Department said Wednesday. April’s pullback in the annual reading was the first since last August and halted five straight months of fresh 40-year highs. And much of the slowdown in the yearly measure reflected a 6.1% monthly drop in gas prices. Pump costs, however, have shot higher again in May, with regular unleaded hitting a record $4.37 a gallon Tuesday, according to AAA.

☀️ It’s a scorcher: The calendar might say May, but the weather says July. Record-high temperatures will be challenged across a 2,000-mile-long stretch of the U.S. this week thanks to an early-season heat wave. Check out what the weather is doing in your neck of the woods with a local forecast. And stay hydrated!

🕯 Remembering Dustin

Today, we’re rounding out The Short List a little differently. I need to introduce someone to you — and it’s not easy. Our editor of The Short List, Dustin Barnes, has died. He was 38. Dustin was a tremendous colleague and a very good friend. And every day, he carefully read, polished and edited this newsletter before it went out for all the world to see. You didn’t know it, but Dustin’s influence touched every part of The Short List. We loved to share jokes, write silly fake headlines (we called them “forbidden headlines”) and a million other little things you don’t really think about until someone is gone.

Dustin loved Mariah Carey. Loved. No. 1 fan. He had two cats, Vodka and Tonic. He was smart, loyal, handsome and wickedly hilarious. There are a million more things that could be said about Dustin, but right now, we’re simply missing him. We’re listening to Mariah Carey and smiling through tears. He might be a little annoyed we’re all being so mushy. But we’re thanking him for making us all better. Read more about him here.

A break from the news

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