In Texas, Democratic lawmakers staged a dramatic walkout on Sunday night to prevent the Republican-controlled Legislature from passing a sweeping bill to rewrite election laws in Texas. Critics say the bill will lead to mass voter suppression, especially of Black and Latino voters, by eliminating drive-thru and 24-hour voting, as well as ballot drop boxes. The Republican bill would also make it easier for elections to be overturned even if there is no evidence of fraud. Just before the state’s legislative session ended, Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan announced the bill had failed because there were no longer enough lawmakers present to reach a quorum.
Peru’s government has admitted its COVID-19 death toll is nearly triple the number it previously reported. Peru’s new official toll of 180,000 deaths makes it the country with the highest per capita COVID death rate in the world.
Malaysia has entered a two-week nationwide lockdown as cases surge in Southeast Asian countries that had successfully tamped down the spread of COVID-19. Vietnam has begun mass testing and will limit public gatherings, after a surge that officials are blaming on a new, highly transmissible coronavirus variant.
China’s Guangdong province has ordered lockdowns after a sudden spike in cases.
In Geneva, officials at the World Health Organization called Monday for a new international treaty on pandemic preparedness. WHO Emergencies Director Mike Ryan said that in the fight against emerging diseases, pathogens have the upper hand.
Dr. Michael Ryan: “They sicken and kill us and disrupt every aspect of our lives. They exploit our interconnectedness. They expose our lack of coordination, our lack of solidarity, our societal inequities. In short, the pathogens are winning this fight right now. And that should not be the status quo, and it should not be something we accept.”
In Brazil, tens of thousands of protesters marched in over 200 cities and towns Saturday demanding the impeachment of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro. Brazil continues to average more than 60,000 new coronavirus infections each day, with an official death toll of more than 460,000.
The protests came as Brazil’s Senate continued a high-profile inquiry into Bolsonaro’s catastrophic handling of the pandemic and his government’s slow rollout of vaccinations. Joining Rio de Janeiro’s protests was Mônica Benício, whose fiancé Marielle Franco was murdered in 2018 by hitmen with close ties to the Bolsonaro family.
Mônica Benício: “It’s a duty to fight for democracy. This government is of no use to us. It doesn’t serve the people, and its political project is to kill us. We have taken to the streets because we have no alternative.”
In Colombia, right-wing President Iván Duque deployed over 1,000 army troops to the city of Cali over the weekend in response to ongoing, massive anti-government protests. Duque reportedly ordered some 7,000 soldiers to be sent to Cali and other regions in the coming days. On Friday, tens of thousands of people took to the streets across Colombia to mark one month since massive mobilizations began in late April, initially triggered by a now-withdrawn tax reform. Protests have continued against Duque’s policies, skyrocketing poverty and police violence in Colombia. On Friday, at least 13 people were reported dead in the city of Cali alone.
China’s government is relaxing reproductive limits to allow married couples to have up to three children. It’s the biggest change to China’s population control laws since the lifting of the one-child policy in 2016. A recent census showed a rise in the proportion of elderly people in China as the birth rate continued to fall, triggering fears that a shrinking labor force and aging population could damage China’s economy.
The Canadian government is facing pressure to declare a national day of mourning after the bodies of 215 children were found in British Columbia on the grounds of a school for Indigenous children who were forcibly separated from their families by the government. The bodies were discovered at the Kamloops Indian Residential School, which opened in 1890 and closed in the late 1970s. The Catholic Church ran the school up until 1969. We’ll have more on this story later in the broadcast.
Israeli opposition parties are nearing agreement on a governing coalition that would bring an end to Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year term as prime minister. On Sunday, Netanyahu’s chief rival, Yair Lapid, said he would work to form a national unity government with ultra-nationalist leader Naftali Bennett.
The news came as Netanyahu hosted Egypt’s spy chief in Jerusalem for talks on cementing a May 21 ceasefire that capped Israel’s 11-day assault on the Gaza Strip. The bombardment killed 256 Palestinians, including 66 children, and displaced more than 70,000 Gazans.
Here in the United States, thousands gathered in Washington, D.C., on Saturday for the National March for Palestine. This is Amani Barakat of Al-Awda: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition.
Amani Barakat: “Who among us today feels the liberation of Palestine is closer than ever?”
Crowd: “I do!”
Amani Barakat: “Do you think it’s time for Israeli settler colonialism, ethnic cleansing, apartheid, military occupation and Gaza’s blockade to be dismantled?”
In Florida, at least 21 people were injured and two people were killed early Sunday when three gunmen opened fire on a concert venue in Miami-Dade County. Surveillance video shows the three hooded and masked suspects rushing out of a stolen SUV with assault rifles and handguns. They opened fire indiscriminately on the crowd — some of whom fired back at them — before fleeing the scene just seconds later. Their SUV was found Monday submerged in a canal, and the suspects remain at large. According to the Gun Violence Archive, the U.S. saw over 200 mass shootings in the first 132 days of 2021.
House Democrats are planning to convene a select committee to investigate the January 6 insurrection, after Senate Republicans succeeded in stonewalling a bill that would have created a bipartisan commission to probe the Capitol assault. Just six Senate Republicans joined Democrats Friday in a vote to break a Republican-led filibuster. That prompted some Senate Democrats to renew their calls to eliminate the filibuster. But other Democrats — including Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema — remain opposed, while Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has not endorsed eliminating the filibuster.
Ex-President Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, called Sunday for a military coup d’état to overthrow the U.S. government — similar to the February coup in Burma that killed hundreds of people. Flynn is a former Army general who was pardoned by Trump for lying to the FBI. He was speaking at a weekend conference in Dallas convened by QAnon conspiracy theorists and other Trump supporters. Flynn fielded a question from an audience member who identified himself as a marine.
Audience member: “I want to know why what happened in [Myanmar] can’t happen here.”
Michael Flynn: “No reason. I mean, it should happen here. No reason. Right? That’s right.”
Michael Flynn now denies he was endorsing a coup. He also said that President Trump won the election and the Electoral College vote.
Arizona prison officials have revived a decades-old gas chamber and are planning to use hydrogen cyanide — the same deadly gas used by Nazis at Auschwitz and other extermination camps — to kill people on death row. That’s according to documents obtained by The Guardian, which show Arizona’s Department of Corrections spent over $2,000 buying ingredients for the gas. The department has also “refurbished” a gas chamber at a prison in the town of Florence that was built in 1949 and hadn’t been used in over two decades.
In Philadelphia, a Black man who spent nearly three decades behind bars for a crime he says he did not commit was released from prison Friday, after District Attorney Larry Krasner’s office said he had not received a fair trial. Eric Riddick was convicted of murdering his childhood friend in 1992 and sentenced to life in prison based on the testimony of a single eyewitness, who recanted the testimony in a 1999 affidavit. An investigation by a firearms expert in 2012 ruled out the possibility that Riddick could have been the shooter. Riddick won his release after agreeing to plead guilty to a lesser third-degree murder charge.
Illinois state lawmakers have passed a bill barring officers from lying to children during police interrogations. The first-in-the-nation legislation prohibits the use of false promises of leniency and false claims about the existence of incriminating evidence when officers are questioning people younger than 18.
A lawsuit filed by an imprisoned anti-fascist activist alleges guards at the McCreary federal prison in Kentucky allowed white supremacist gang members to beat him in 2018. Eric King is currently serving a 10-year sentence for throwing Molotov cocktails at an empty building in Kansas City, Missouri, in 2014 amid Black Lives Matter protests. King says he’s been targeted by over 40 correctional officers across multiple facilities throughout his imprisonment. He’s been held in solitary confinement for over 1,000 days and now faces an additional 20 years to his sentence for allegedly assaulting a federal officer, which King says was in self-defense.
In a statement published by The Intercept, King says, “I’m a human being with a family. I’ve been treated deplorably … denied access to my family and my lawyers, and subjected to physical and emotional torture. They’ve done this because of my beliefs, not because of my actions.”
Tennis superstar Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the French Open after being fined and threatened with disqualification for declining to take part in press conferences due to their effect on her mental health. Osaka says she’s been suffering from long bouts of depression since 2018. Sports researchers estimate one-third of athletes suffer from a mental health crisis at some point in their careers.
Prominent athletes of color have come forward to support Osaka, from Stephen Curry to Venus and Serena Williams. Osaka — who has a Japanese mother and a Haitian American father — is a four-time winner of Grand Slam tennis tournaments. She drew headlines last year when she wore the names of Black victims of police brutality on her face masks on the sidelines of the U.S. Open.