Pipeline rebooted

The largest gasoline pipeline in America is returning to service, according to the company that runs it, after a cyberattack choked fuel supplies across the eastern U.S. Shortages are likely to continue for some time however, as supplies got more sparse overnight with stations as far north as New Jersey affected. For the industry though the news was different: oil prices are rising and energy companies like this one are doing just fine. David E. Rovella

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Here are today’s top stories  

So how did the Colonial Pipeline hack happen? The company did start looking for a cyber manager just two months ago, but the problem could be industrywide. A few years back, a private equity firm hired a cybersecurity company to inspect its own oil and gas operations. Everyone assumed the plant’s computer network was “air-gapped,” meaning its computers aren’t connected to the internet. But when they checked, it turned out that a worker on the night shift was connecting his Roku device to the internet to watch “CSI: Miami.”

Handicapping the U.S. recovery from a Covid-induced hard stop and sudden recession seems to be a tough task for economists. Estimates for two of the most widely followed reports this month, on jobs and now the consumer price index, have been miles off. April payrolls reported last week were more than 730,000 short of the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey. Meanwhile on Wednesday, government data showed price rises were roughly four times the consensus forecast. Did all the experts miss this key culprit in the inflation spike?

About those consumer prices. The inflation-fearful are beating their chests today with the biggest rise in the CPI since 2009. The index increased 0.8% over March, reflecting gains in almost every major category. While a few economists have pointed to the risk of inflation as a reason to cut short pandemic bailouts, the Fed and others have predicted such a rise, and contend it will be temporary.   

The S&P 500 Index slumped the most since February and bond yields jumped after the CPI report fueled concern that price pressures might slow the U.S. recovery. Here is your markets wrap.

U.S. House Republicans fired Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney from her leadership post Wednesday as her persistent criticism of former President Donald Trump deviated from the party’s hard-right turn. Led by House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy and his top lieutenant, Steve Scalise, the House GOP conference voted in secret. The congresswoman has been outspoken in her attacks on the party’s fealty to Trump, its propagation of falsehoods about the 2020 election which he lost, and efforts by some Republicans to set aside Joe Biden’s election and downplay or dismiss an unprecedented Jan. 6 attack on Congress by white supremacists and other Trump followers that left five dead.

Ingredients used to produce AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 shot in Brazil, where thousands are dying daily as fast-moving variants spread quickly, could run out by the end of the week, exacerbating an already weak vaccine campaign. Second only to the U.S. in deaths, some 425,540 Brazilians have died of the virus while more than 15 million have been infected. Here is the latest on the pandemic.

Forty-two people have been killed in Colombia during anti-government protests that began two weeks ago over intensifying poverty and inequality during the pandemic. Colombian police have been widely accused of using excessive force to crush demonstrations. In addition to those killed, almost 170 people remain missing. In Myanmar, where members of the military instigated a coup on Feb. 1, overthrowing a democratically elected government and shooting dead more than 700 civilians, including children, sanctions are unlikely to stop the massacre.  

Police with assault rifles near a protest in Bogota on May 12. Nationwide protests in Colombia are growing over a proposed health care bill, tax hikes and police brutality.

Photographer: Andres Cardona/Bloomberg

What you’ll need to know tomorrow 

What you’ll want to read in Businessweek

How to Sail the Greek Islands This Summer

On May 14, Greece will become the first country in the European Union to open its doors for summer tourism. All you need to enter is a negative PCR test. Interest in visiting has been so intense that Prior, a travel membership club, rushed to open an office in Athens last month. “We have a lot of confidence in Greece,” says Chief Executive Officer David Prior, who suggests travelers trade the country’s tried-and-true options for some of its countless underrated gems to avoid a crush of tourists this year.

View of Poros island and Galatas village on the Peloponnese peninsula in Greece.

Photographer: Cavan Images/Cavan Images RF

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