In San Diego, California, funeral services are being held today for Lori Kaye, a 60-year-old Jewish congregant who was shot dead Saturday in the latest attack by a white supremacist on a house of worship. On Saturday morning, a man with an assault rifle entered the Chabad of Poway synagogue and opened fire during a service marking the last day of Passover. Kaye died after she reportedly jumped in front of a hail of gunfire to shield Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein from the onslaught. Rabbi Goldstein was shot in both hands, losing his right index finger. He spoke to reporters Sunday in an emotional news conference.
Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein: “I walk into the lobby, and I see Lori laying on the floor unconscious, and her dear husband, Dr. Howard Kaye, who’s like a brother to me, is trying to resuscitate her. And he faints, and he’s laying there on the floor next to his wife. And then the daughter, Hannah, comes out screaming, 'Daddy and Mommy, what's going on?’ It’s the most heart-wrenching sight I could have seen.”
Two other congregants were wounded in the attack. Police say the shooter fled the scene but was arrested a short time later. They identified him as 19-year-old John T. Earnest, a student at Cal State San Marcos. Prosecutors are investigating the shooting as a hate crime, after the suspect published an anti-Semitic manifesto online referencing recent massacres at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh and a pair of mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Earnest also claimed responsibility for an arson attack on a mosque in San Diego County last month.
The latest white nationalist killing comes after the Department of Homeland Security disbanded its domestic terrorism unit last year, reassigning its analysts to other departments. DHS says the threat of “homegrown extremism” has been significantly reduced, but in a review of 50 murders committed by extremists in 2018, the Anti-Defamation League found 49 came at the hands of right-wing extremists, with white supremacists alone accounting for 39 of the murders.
Meanwhile, there were more mass shootings around the United States over the weekend. In Baltimore, a gunman fired indiscriminately into crowds gathered for an outdoor cookout Sunday evening, killing one person and injuring seven others. Meanwhile, in Sumner County, Tennessee, police shot and wounded 25-year-old Michael Cummins, who was heavily armed, before taking him into custody Saturday. Investigators believe he’s responsible for seven murders at two homes over the weekend.
In Indianapolis, President Trump told the annual convention of the National Rifle Association on Friday he’s seeking to cancel U.S. support for the Arms Trade Treaty, an international agreement that limits weapons sales that fuel destructive conflicts. During his annual address to the NRA, Trump signed a document asking the Senate to reject ratification of the treaty.
President Donald Trump: “This treaty threatened your subjugate—and you know exactly what’s going on here—your rights and your constitutional and international rules and restrictions and regulations. Under my administration, we will never surrender American sovereignty to anyone.”
Trump’s appearance at the NRA convention came as the organization’s president, Oliver North, said he was stepping down from the position. North’s resignation came amid a power struggle with the NRA’s longtime chief executive Wayne LaPierre and after New York’s attorney general opened an investigation into the NRA’s tax-exempt status. Oliver North was a central figure in the Iran-Contra scandal, helping the Reagan administration circumvent Congress to secretly send arms to Iran and use the proceeds to fund the U.S.-backed Contras in Nicaragua.
President Trump has once again defended the white supremacists behind deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August of 2017. The “Unite the Right” rally saw several hundred white nationalists, carrying torches, march on a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, chanting “Jews will not replace us.” The next day, self-described neo-Nazi James Alex Fields plowed his car into a crowd of anti-racist protesters, murdering Heather Heyer and injuring 28 others. In the wake of the killing, President Trump said there were “very fine people on both sides.” On Friday, a reporter asked him about the remark.
President Donald Trump: “I was talking about people that went because they felt very strongly about the monument to Robert E. Lee, a great general. Whether you like it or not, he was one of the great generals.”
In response, Democratic House Majority Whip James Clyburn accused Trump of praising a loser. This is Congressmember Clyburn speaking on ABC’s “This Week.”
Rep. James Clyburn: “Robert E. Lee was a slave owner and a brutal slave master. Thankfully, he lost that war. And I kind of find it kind of interesting the president is now glorifying a loser. He always said that he hated losers.”
In Mozambique, at least five people were killed, and thousands more feared trapped, after the second major cyclone to hit southeastern Africa within weeks roared ashore as a Category 4 storm with winds of over 135 miles per hour. Cyclone Kenneth was the strongest storm ever to make landfall in Mozambique. Officials are warning the death toll is likely to rise, after the storm flattened whole villages, bringing heavy rains that left some towns in northern Mozambique cut off by raging floodwaters. Officials are warning of a looming humanitarian disaster in a region that’s still reeling from Cyclone Idai, which struck in March, leaving nearly 600 dead, while sparking a cholera epidemic and shortages of drinking water and food.
In Britain, Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn says he’ll force a parliamentary vote this week on whether to declare a national climate change emergency. Corbyn’s call for more urgent action on climate change comes after more than a thousand activists were arrested around London this month in a wave of nonviolent protests known as “Extinction Rebellion.”
In West Virginia, a 22-year-old protester is facing a felony terrorism charge and other misdemeanors after he was arrested in a nonviolent civil disobedience action aimed at stopping the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Holden Dometrius was arrested Thursday about five hours after he chained himself to welding equipment, slowing construction of the fracked gas pipeline. Since February, activists have been occupying trees in the path of the pipeline route in West Virginia’s Jefferson National Forest, where the Mountain Valley Pipeline company hopes to drill through a mountain directly underneath the Appalachian Trail.
Sri Lanka has banned face coverings in public, following the Easter Sunday attacks that left more than 250 people dead last week. The country’s president, Maithripala Sirisena, said he was using an emergency law to enact the ban Monday, citing public safety to outlaw “all forms of clothing that cover a person’s face and prevents them from being identified.” Muslim leaders are criticizing the move, which is thought to target the niqab and burka worn by some Muslim women. Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, tweeted, “No indication that recent Sri Lanka bombers covered their faces but President Sirisena bans face covering. That needless restriction means that Muslim women whose practice leads them to cover up now won’t be able to leave home.” This comes as 15 people, including six children, died Friday in a raid on a suspected hideout of militants connected to the attack. Three men set off explosives as troops attempted to raid the house, killing the children and three women.
In Hong Kong, tens of thousands of people marched peacefully Sunday against a proposal that would allow people to be extradited to mainland China for trial—where they would face far fewer protections than afforded under Hong Kong’s policy known as “one country, two systems.” Many of the protesters held umbrellas, recalling the 2014 Umbrella Movement pro-democracy protests. This is Jayson Shing, one of the marchers.
Jayson Shing: “Once this law has been passed, it won’t matter if you are an average person or a foreigner coming through Hong Kong. There will be a real possibility you’ll be taken and sent off to the mainland.”
Back in the United States, in a major ruling for women’s reproductive rights, the Supreme Court of Kansas ruled Friday that women have a right to safe and legal abortion under the state Constitution. In a 6-1 decision, the court ruled Kansas’s Constitution “affords protection of the right of personal autonomy, which includes the ability to control one’s own body, to assert bodily integrity, and to exercise self-determination.” The ruling overturns a 2015 Kansas law banning the most common abortion procedure after about 15 weeks of pregnancy. This comes as abortion rights are under threat across the U.S., with 28 states currently considering legislation to ban or restrict abortion in various ways.
Three prominent women’s rights activists are launching a new political action group today called Supermajority, aimed at training a new generation of women activists to take on grassroots campaigns and electoral politics. Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter; former Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards; and Ai-jen Poo, executive director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, say they’ll focus on mobilizing voters for the 2020 primary and general elections. Speaking to the website Refinery29, Cecile Richards said, “Women are the majority of voters and the majority of activists. And yet they continue to be treated as a side issue and a special interest group. It’s time that women get the credit and the encouragement—and we begin to amplify the extraordinary work that women are doing.”
Top Pentagon officials are backing a Department of Homeland Security request to allow members of the U.S. military to come in contact with migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border. If approved, the plan would provide waivers for about 300 troops to work as cooks and drivers for immigration agencies. The plan would also bring in military lawyers to work on immigration cases in civilian courts.
In Massachusetts, federal prosecutors have charged a state judge and a former court officer with obstruction of justice for allegedly helping an undocumented immigrant evade ICE agents at a district courthouse in the city of Newton. Judge Shelley Richmond Joseph and officer Wesley MacGregor helped an undocumented man sneak out of the courthouse through the basement back door, knowing ICE agents were looking for him in the front lobby. Both Joseph and MacGregor pleaded not guilty; a lawyer for MacGregor called the charges “factually wrong and legally questionable” and “federal immigration enforcement run amok.”
And Los Angeles health officials have ordered a quarantine for over 1,000 students and staff at two colleges amid the largest measles outbreak to hit the U.S. in decades. The order came after a student at UCLA and another at Cal State Los Angeles came down with measles, potentially exposing hundreds of others on each campus. This is L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.
Barbara Ferrer: “The Department of Public Health has asked people who have been issued a quarantine order to adhere to the following: to remain at home or in a designated setting and not to attend school or work outside of that designated setting. If they have medical appointments or some other urgent matter that needs, that requires that they leave the home, they need to notify the Public Health Department before they do that, and they have a number to call so that they can get assistance in making sure, as they travel, they don’t inadvertently risk exposing others to measles. They’re not allowed to use public or commercial transportation; that includes buses, subways, trains, taxis or airplanes.”
Measles is a highly contagious infection that kills 100,000 people worldwide each year, most of them children. Public health officials say the disease is resurgent in the U.S. due to declining vaccination rates, spawned by a discredited theory that the MMR vaccine causes autism.