The U.N. Security Council is meeting today to discuss the crisis in Syria, including a deadly alleged chemical weapons attack over the weekend that killed dozens of people. Early this morning, two Israeli F-15 warplanes have reportedly bombed a Syrian air base used by Iranian forces. There are reports 14 died in the strikes, including Iranian nationals. Israel is said to have launched the raid from Lebanon’s airspace.
The Israeli bombing came after a suspected chemical weapons attack killed at least 60 people in the Syrian town of Douma, the last rebel-held town in Eastern Ghouta. The Syrian opposition blamed the Assad government for carrying out the attack on Saturday, but Syria denied having any role. The chemical attack came one day after Syrian forces launched an air and ground assault on Douma. While international officials are still investigating what happened, President Trump took to Twitter to directly accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of playing a role. He wrote, “President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad.” He went on to warn there would be a “Big price…to pay.”
This all comes as today marks John Bolton’s first day as President Trump’s national security adviser. We’ll have more on the updates in Syria after headlines.
In Gaza, hundreds of mourners gathered Saturday for the funeral of Palestinian journalist Yaser Murtaja, who was fatally shot by the Israeli army while covering protests along the Israel-Gaza border on Friday. Photos show the 30-year-old journalist was wearing a flak jacket clearly marked ”PRESS” at the time of the shooting. He’s one of at least nine Palestinians who were killed by the Israeli army during its brutal crackdown against Friday’s protests. The Palestinian Health Ministry says 31 people in total have been killed since Palestinians kicked off a 6-week-long nonviolent protest late last month, dubbed “The Great March of Return.” This is Murtaja’s brother, Mutasem, speaking after his brother’s killing.
Mutasem Murtaja: “I was next to him at the protest. Targeting the journalist was very clear, to the point that they targeted the two of us directly using snipers and gas bombs.”
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has drawn outrage for saying there are no innocent civilians in Gaza. On Sunday, Lieberman told Israel’s public radio, “There are no innocent people in the Gaza Strip. … Everyone’s connected to Hamas, everyone gets a salary from Hamas, and all the activists trying to challenge us and breach the border are Hamas military wing activists.” Both the International Criminal Court and the United Nations have rebuked Israel in recent days and warned its actions on the border with Gaza could violate international human rights conventions. We’ll have more on the protests in Gaza later in the broadcast.
In Brazil, former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has turned himself in to police and has begun serving a 12-year prison sentence for a highly controversial corruption conviction. His surrender came after a two-day standoff, during which he spent the night in São Paulo’s steelworkers’ union building to avoid his incarceration. Lula’s jailing comes after the Supreme Court rejected Lula’s bid to stay out of jail while he appealed his conviction, effectively removing him from Brazil’s presidential election later this year, where he was the front-runner. We’ll go to Brazil for more on Lula’s jailing later in the broadcast. We’ll speak with The Intercept’s co-founder Glenn Greenwald.
U.S. officials say North Korea has said its leader, Kim Jong-un, will be prepared to discuss denuclearization during a proposed upcoming meeting with President Trump in May. The meeting, if it takes place, will be the first time a sitting U.S. president has met with a North Korean leader. Kim Jong-un is also slated to meet with his South Korean counterpart, President Moon Jae-in, in a face-to-face gathering at the so-called truce village in the Demilitarized Zone on April 27.
In the United States, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, known as ICE, has carried out its biggest workplace raid in a decade, arresting nearly 100 immigrants working in a meat-processing plant in rural Tennessee. Thursday’s raid against Southeastern Provision came after ICE agents raided 7-Eleven stores nationwide. This is the son of one of the workers arrested in the raid, speaking at a news conference on Saturday.
Child of man arrested in ICE raid: “My dad was supposed to come home when I came home from school. He did everything with me. He played soccer. He helped me with my homework. He did everything. All that I ask is that, yourself, is to help us and pray for everybody that doesn’t have their families, and please unite them back together.”
Texas has deployed 250 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border, following President Trump’s announcement last week he would send troops there. Arizona has also announced it will send 150 National Guard troops. The National Guard soldiers will not have the power to arrest people trying to cross the border without authorization. Yet, critics say the presence of the National Guard troops will free up Border Patrol to do heavier policing and establish more checkpoints and patrols. President Trump had initially called for active-duty military members to be deployed to the border, not National Guard troops.
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is facing increasing scrutiny, after the Associated Press revealed the agency has spent nearly $3 million on Pruitt’s security detail, including 18 full-time agents. The EPA and President Trump have claimed that Pruitt has faced death threats. But an investigative reporter with BuzzFeed filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the EPA seeking all records of death threats against Pruitt. The EPA’s response was that there are zero records of death threats against Pruitt.
CNN is reporting President Trump is preparing for a possible interview with special counsel Robert Mueller in the ongoing investigation into whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to sway the 2016 election. Trump has not yet officially agreed to the interview with Mueller. Meanwhile, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has announced Mike Pompeo’s confirmation hearing for secretary of state is scheduled for Thursday.
In Hungary, far-right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has won a third consecutive term, after leading a xenophobic, anti-immigrant campaign. During Sunday’s elections, Orbán’s party won two-thirds of the seats in Parliament, giving him even more power to reshape Hungary’s constitution. This is Prime Minister Viktor Orbán speaking Sunday.
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán: “There is a big battle behind us. We have won a crucial victory, got a chance, gave ourselves a chance to defend Hungary.”
In Paris, protesters gathered Sunday to denounce the visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the ongoing Saudi-led war in Yemen. The crown prince and French President Emmanuel Macron met for dinner at Paris’s Louvre museum Sunday night, even as Macron is facing increasing pressure to reduce France’s military support for Saudi Arabia and the ongoing war. This is Sadek Alsaar, the head of the group Salam for Yemen, which organized the protest.
Sadek Alsaar: “Halt the bombardment, halt the embargo, which have caused a lot of deaths, notably 10,000 people, a third of which are civilians. More than 63,000 children have died due to the embargo, separate from those deaths by direct bombardment and combat. We are taking advantage of the visit of the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, to say, 'Stop the massacre, stop the embargo upon the Yemenis.'”
The United Nations is continuing to warn of a worsening humanitarian crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, saying 4.5 million have been displaced and 2 million children are facing severe malnutrition amid a surge in violence as President Joseph Kabila tries to hold on to power, more than a year after the end of his term. This is Filippo Grandi, the United Nations high commissioner for refugees, appealing for more international aid.
Filippo Grandi: “I want to make a strong appeal to the international community. Africa is far away, is far away from the rich countries. Many of these refugees will not trek for thousands of miles and cross the sea and arrive in Europe to remind the world of their existence, as the Syrians did, as others did. They stay here, they suffer here, but they are equally in need.”
The United Nations is slated to hold a major donor conference next week to raise funds for the Democratic Republic of the Congo. President Kabila’s administration is boycotting the event and denying his country is facing a humanitarian crisis.
In Canada, Kinder Morgan has suspended most of its work on the $5.8 billion Trans Mountain pipeline, following massive indigenous-led protests against the project. If built, the pipeline would triple the amount of oil flowing from Alberta’s tar sands to the coast of British Columbia. Kinder Morgan now says that if legal challenges are not resolved by May 31, it will abandon plans to build the proposed pipeline.
In Indonesia, the port city of Balikpapan has declared a state of emergency, after a massive oil spill spread along the coast of the island of Borneo, killing five people and contaminating an area larger than the city of Paris. The Indonesian oil and gas company Pertamina has admitted the oil spill began after one of its underseas pipes burst.
Meanwhile, in the United States, in South Dakota, an oil spill from the Keystone pipeline last November has turned out to be twice as big as initially reported. New data shows more than 400,000 gallons of crude oil spilled onto farmland—twice the amount reported by Keystone pipeline owner TransCanada last year.
The popular motivational speaker Tony Robbins has been forced to issue an apology about his comments on the Me Too movement, after a video went viral of a sexual abuse survivor confronting him at his speech last month, after Robbins claimed women use the Me Too movement to gain significance by playing the victim. This is a clip of the video, in which Nanine McCool confronts Tony Robbins.
Tony Robbins: “I’m not knocking the Me Too movement. I’m knocking victimhood. Raise your hand if you follow me. And I’m not suggesting you have to agree with me. I’m just suggesting you consider what its impact is. Look at these people, and see what is empowerment. Anger is not empowerment. What you’re seeing is people making themselves significant by making somebody else wrong and getting certainty. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It just won’t make them happy.”
Nanine McCool: “You are a leader and an influential man.”
Tony Robbins: “Yes.”
Nanine McCool: “And you are doing a disservice, in my opinion, to the Me Too movement. You are doing a disservice to the Me Too movement.”
Tony Robbins: “I can’t do a disservice, because every woman in this room that believes whatever she believes will continue to do it.”
Nanine McCool: “It’s not just about what women believe. It’s about what people believe. Just as you were talking to me as a man to a woman, I’m not talking to you as a woman to a man. I’m talking to you person to person.”
Tony Robbins: “I understand. What are you telling me different from what I said? I told you some people misuse it, and you’re telling me you don’t. I’m not saying you do.”
Nanine McCool: “But you characterized the entire movement.”
Tony Robbins: “I didn’t attack the movement. I said some people misuse it.”
Nanine McCool: “Because that’s what I heard.”
After widespread outrage, Robbins issued a statement reading, in part, “My comments failed to reflect the respect I have for everything Tarana Burke and the #MeToo movement has achieved. I apologize for suggesting anything other than my profound admiration for the #MeToo movement.”
Meanwhile, in India, actress Sri Reddy staged a high-profile #MeToo protest on Saturday, marching to the offices of the Telugu Film Chamber of Commerce in Hyderabad, where she took off most of her clothes to denounce sexual harassment in the Indian film industry. She is one of several Indian actresses who have come forward in recent weeks to say they have been touched without their consent, sexually harassed and forced to demean themselves to get work in the industry.
Comedian Bill Cosby’s case is back in court today in Pennsylvania, where he’s facing a retrial on criminal sexual assault charges he drugged and sexually assaulted Andrea Constand, the former director of operations for the women’s basketball team at Temple University, at Cosby’s home in 2004. Constand is one of about 60 women who have accused Cosby of sexual assaults dating back decades. Last summer, a jury deadlocked over whether to convict the comedian on three counts of aggravated indecent assault in Constand’s case.
And in New York City, one person has died after a fire tore through parts of Trump Tower on Saturday. Six firefighters were also injured battling the blaze. New details reveal there was no sprinkler system in the apartment of 67-year-old resident Todd Brassner, who died from the fire. The New York Daily News has reported that as a real estate developer, Donald Trump helped lead the effort against legislation that would have required sprinklers in all residential buildings in New York City.