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HeadlinesMay 18, 2022

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In Visit to Buffalo, Biden Denounces White Supremacy as a “Poison”

May 18, 2022

President Biden visited Buffalo, New York, Tuesday, three days after an 18-year-old white supremacist shot dead 10 people at a supermarket in a predominantly Black neighborhood. Biden denounced the attack as an act of domestic terrorism and described white supremacy as a poison.

President Joe Biden: “Look, we’ve seen the mass shootings in Charleston, South Carolina; El Paso, Texas; in Pittsburgh; last year in Atlanta; this week in Dallas, Texas; and now in Buffalo — in Buffalo, New York. White supremacy is a poison. It’s a poison running through — it really is.”

Biden’s trip to Buffalo comes as more details emerge about how the gunman spent months plotting to carry out the mass shooting. Multiple news outlets are reporting the gunman used the online platform Discord to share details about his plot with a small group of people about 30 minutes before the massacre. No one who saw the messages is known to have alerted law enforcement to the imminent attack.

Dallas Police Investigate Koreatown Shooting as a Hate Crime

May 18, 2022

In Texas, police have arrested a man in connection to last week’s shooting at a hair salon in the Koreatown neighborhood of Dallas. Three Korean women were injured in the shooting. Authorities are investigating the shooting as a hate crime. The suspect’s girlfriend said her partner had delusions about Asian people.

Report: Guns Produced in U.S. Nearly Tripled Since Year 2000

May 18, 2022

A new report by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives shows there has been a massive surge in guns made and sold in the United States over the past two decades. The number of guns produced in the United States has jumped from about 4 million in 2000 to over 11 million in 2020. Demand for semiautomatic handguns has grown the fastest. By one count, there are now over 400 million guns in the United States — that’s more than one gun for every adult and child living in the country.

Primary Results: Trump-Endorsed Mastriano Wins in Pennsylvania; Cawthorn Loses in North Carolina; Charles Booker Becomes First Black Candidate to Win Major Party Senate Nomination in Kentucky

May 18, 2022

Voters went to the polls for primary elections in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Oregon, North Carolina and Idaho on Tuesday. In Pennsylvania, state Senator Doug Mastriano won the Republican gubernatorial primary. Mastriano is a far-right politician who was endorsed by Donald Trump. Mastriano is an election denier who took part in the January 6 protests outside the Capitol and funded charter buses to take supporters to Washington, D.C., ahead of the insurrection. He has long claimed Trump won the 2020 election. If Mastriano wins in November, he could appoint Pennsylvania’s next secretary of state to oversee elections.

Pennsylvania’s closely watched Republican Senate primary is too close to call. Television doctor Dr. Mehmet Oz, who was backed by Trump, has a narrow lead over hedge fund executive Dave McCormick. The winner will face Democrat John Fetterman, who defeated Congressmember Conor Lamb even though Lamb had been endorsed by much of Pennsylvania’s Democratic establishment. Fetterman, who is Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor, had to miss his victory party on Tuesday night. He suffered a stroke on Friday and spent Election Day in a hospital, where he had a pacemaker implanted.

In other races, the progressive candidate Summer Lee has declared victory over Steve Irwin in a closely watched congressional race in Pennsylvania, but the race has not yet been called. Irwin received major funding from AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and the Democratic Majority for Israel. Lee is aiming to become the first Black woman to represent Pennsylvania in Congress.

In North Carolina, the Trump-backed Republican Congressmember Madison Cawthorn lost on Tuesday. The 26-year-old was seen as a rising star of the Republican Party, but his campaign faltered following a number of scandals, including allegations of insider trading.

Meanwhile, in Kentucky, Charles Booker has won the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, becoming the first Black candidate in Kentucky to win a major party nomination for Senate. He will face Republican Senator Rand Paul in November.

Finland and Sweden Apply to Join NATO

May 18, 2022

Finland and Sweden formally applied to join NATO today, ending decades of neutrality. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg described the event as a historic moment.

Jens Stoltenberg: “And I warmly welcome the requests by Finland and Sweden to join NATO. You are our closest partners, and your membership in NATO would increase our shared security.”

If NATO approves Sweden and Finland as members, it would more than double the border between NATO countries and Russia. Current members of NATO share a 750-mile border with Russia. Finland alone has an 830-mile border with Russia.

Russia: Nearly 1,000 Ukrainian Fighters Surrendered at Mariupol Steel Plant

May 18, 2022

In news from the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, the Russian military says nearly 1,000 Ukrainian fighters surrendered in total this week at the Azovstal steel plant, where they had been holed up for weeks. Ukraine has not confirmed the numbers. The fighters who surrendered include members of the far-right Azov Battalion. Ukrainian officials have called for a prisoner swap, but some Russian politicians are calling for the soldiers to be put on trial or executed.

Report: Ukraine-Russia Talks Collapse; European Leaders Push for Ceasefire

May 18, 2022

The New York Times reports talks to end the war in Ukraine have collapsed, with Russian and Ukrainian negotiators further apart from an agreement than at any other point during the war. Russia claims Ukraine still has not responded to a draft peace agreement it submitted on April 15. The Times reports Ukraine has been bolstered by a flood of weapons from the United States and its allies. The U.S. Senate is expected to vote today to approve an additional $40 billion in military and economic aid to Ukraine.

Meanwhile, leaders of France, Germany and Italy are publicly calling for negotiations to end the war. On Friday, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz wrote on Twitter, “There must be a ceasefire in Ukraine as quickly as possible.” Scholz made the comment after a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Last week French President Emmanuel Macron told the European Parliament that Europe’s duty should be to achieve a ceasefire, not wage war with Russia. Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has also embraced pushing for negotiations to reach a ceasefire.

U.S. Considers $500 Million Military Aid Package for India

May 18, 2022

Bloomberg is reporting the United States is preparing to offer India $500 million in military aid as part of an effort to reduce India’s dependence on Russian arms. India is currently the world’s largest purchaser of Russian weapons. President Biden is expected to meet with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi next week at a summit in South Korea.

Pentagon: No One to Be Held Accountable for U.S. Airstrike That Killed 70 Civilians in Syria

May 18, 2022

The Pentagon has decided not to hold anyone accountable for an airstrike in the Syrian town of Baghuz in March 2019 that left as many as 70 women and children dead. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered a full review of the incident after The New York Times disclosed details of the strike last year. According to the Times, the death toll was almost immediately apparent to military officials, with one legal officer flagging the attack as a possible war crime, but the Pentagon covered up key details about the strike. The bombing was carried out by a classified special operations unit known as Task Force 9. Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby spoke on Tuesday.

John Kirby: “We’re admitting that, yes, we killed some innocent civilians, women and children, in 2019 in Baghuz, Syria. It’s all out there for you to see. We’re admitting that we made those mistakes, that we killed, that our operations ended up in the killing of innocent people.”

U.S. Eases Venezuela Oil Sanctions

May 18, 2022

The U.S. Treasury Department has eased some sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry as part of an effort to increase oil supplies to Europe. Bloomberg reports the agreement could also eventually lead to the U.S.-based company Chevron resuming operations in Venezuela. The announcement comes just over two months after the Biden administration sent senior officials to Caracas. U.S. officials say the sanctions were lifted to promote talks between the government of Nicolás Maduro and opposition leaders.

Justice Dept. Requests Jan. 6 Committee’s Witness Deposition Transcripts

May 18, 2022

The Justice Department has asked the House committee investigating the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol to hand over its transcripts of witness depositions, but the panel has rejected the request. The chair of the panel, Congressmember Bennie Thompson, told reporters that the depositions were the property of the committee.

Study: Pollution Kills 9 Million Annually

May 18, 2022

A new study in The Lancet Planetary Health journal finds that pollution kills 9 million people across the globe annually, with the death toll attributed to emissions from cars and industry rising 55% since the year 2000. The study claims that pollution kills approximately the same number of people per year as cigarette smoking and secondhand smoke combined.

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