In Uvalde, Texas, funerals are underway for the 19 children and two teachers killed one week ago when a gunman attacked the Robb Elementary School with an assault rifle he purchased just days after his 18th birthday. Over the weekend, the Justice Department announced it would review the local police response to the massacre. Authorities now admit there were 19 police officers inside the elementary school shortly after the attack began, but they decided not to confront the gunman. Instead, they stood outside the classroom for about 50 minutes. During that time, at least two students and teachers repeatedly called 911 begging for help.
On Sunday, President Biden visited Uvalde, joining a memorial for the victims at Robb Elementary School before attending Mass at a local Catholic church. Biden said after the visit he hoped “rational Republicans” would agree to bipartisan gun legislation.
Meanwhile, Texas Democrats are demanding Republican Governor Greg Abbott take action on guns. On Friday, Texas Democratic state Senator Roland Gutierrez — whose district includes Uvalde — interrupted Abbott at a press conference, demanding he call a special legislative session to pass new gun controls.
Sen. Roland Gutierrez: “I don’t know how to express the loss of the families that I’ve talked to. And I know you feel it, too. We have to do something, man. Your own colleagues are telling me, calling me and telling me an 18-year-old shouldn’t have a gun. This is enough. Call us back, man. Call us back.”
Gov. Greg Abbott: “Next question.”
According to the Gun Violence Archive, at least eight people were killed and 55 others wounded in mass shootings around the United States over Memorial Day weekend.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has proposed new gun control laws in the wake of mass shootings in the United States. On Monday, Trudeau introduced legislation that would require most owners of military-style assault weapons to turn over their firearms to a government buyback program. Trudeau also announced new regulations limiting access to handguns.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: “What this means is that it will no longer be possible to buy, sell, transfer or import handguns anywhere in Canada. In other words, we’re capping the market for handguns. … We need less gun violence. We cannot let the guns debate become so polarized that nothing gets done. We cannot let that happen in our country.”
In Texas, thousands of protesters gathered outside the National Rifle Association’s annual convention in Houston over the weekend, condemning the gun lobby group for its opposition to gun control. The NRA gathering was held just three days after the mass shooting in Uvalde, less than 300 miles away. On Friday evening, former President Trump read the names of the Uvalde victims before delivering a keynote address to the NRA in which he demanded federal funding for more police officers and lethal weapons in schools.
Donald Trump: “Classroom doors should be hardened to make them lockable from the inside and closed to intruders from the outside. And above all, from this day forward, every school in America should have a police officer or an armed resource officer on duty at all times.”
According to the Federal Election Commission, the NRA spent over $30 million on Trump’s successful 2016 presidential campaign. Other speakers at the weekend NRA convention included Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas; South Dakota Republican Governor Kristi Noem; and Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott, who appeared in a prerecorded video. Musicians Larry Gatlin, Lee Greenwood, Larry Stewart and Don McLean canceled planned appearances after the Uvalde shooting.
In eastern Ukraine, Russian forces have entered the city of Severodonetsk and are battling Ukraine’s army block by block. Witnesses report as many as 200 shells are falling on the city every hour, preventing rescue crews from counting the growing number of dead. Among those killed was French journalist Frédéric Leclerc-Imhoff, who was hit by shrapnel from a Russian shell that pierced the armored evacuation vehicle he and his colleagues were riding in. Ukraine’s government says at least 32 media workers have been killed since Russia invaded in February. Reporters Without Borders Director General Christophe Deloire condemned Russia for the deaths.
Christophe Deloire “It’s absolutely revolting to see that in this conflict there has been a continuous disdain for the Geneva Convention, that civilians are being shelled, that journalists — who are civilians — are being shelled, even though they have the right to protection according to international law.”
The European Union has pledged to impose an embargo on most — but not all — of the oil it imports from Russia by the end of 2022. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced the emerging deal in Brussels on Monday.
Ursula von der Leyen: “This is very important. Thanks to this, council should now be able to finalize a ban on almost 90% of all Russian oil imports by the end of the year. This is an important step forward.”
The EU’s embargo would still exempt oil delivered from Russia by pipelines. It also grants Hungary a near-total exemption, after authoritarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán refused to cut back on Russian oil imports.
Iran’s military has seized a pair of Greek oil tankers in the Persian Gulf. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps says it took the action after Greece recently impounded an Iranian tanker and confiscated its oil, reportedly at the request of the United States, citing European Union sanctions. This comes as talks between the Biden administration and Iran aimed at restoring the 2015 Iran nuclear deal have stalled.
In Brazil, at least 91 people are confirmed dead, with many more missing, due to massive floods and landslides caused by heavy rains in the northeastern state of Pernambuco. Poor communities living in favelas in the city of Recife were among the most impacted, with landslides wiping away homes built on hillsides. Similar disasters have been recently reported in the mountains of Rio de Janeiro and other regions of Brazil as the country experiences more severe rainfall caused by the climate crisis.
In Mexico, Hurricane Agatha made landfall in the southern state of Oaxaca Monday afternoon, becoming the strongest storm ever to make landfall in May in the eastern Pacific. The region, which is home to many beach towns and fishing villages, was hit with torrential rains, causing mudslides and power outages.
The South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu has declared a climate emergency. Vanuatu’s Parliament unanimously passed the resolution Sunday, introduced by Prime Minister Bob Loughman, saying the climate catastrophe is “undermining the fundamental human rights of present and future generations.” Speaking to Parliament Sunday, Prime Minister Loughman said Vanuatu is already disproportionately impacted by rising sea levels, devastating tropical cyclones and other severe weather patterns triggered by the climate crisis.
Prime Minister Bob Loughman: “The Earth is already too hot and unsafe. We are in danger now, not just in the future. Catastrophic heat waves and bushfires, droughts and crop failures and cyclones and coastal flooding are affecting Vanuatu and reaching around the globe. Coral systems are dying, and the world is now facing the sixth mass extinction in history.”
In Colombia, leftist presidential candidate Gustavo Petro will face off right-wing businessman Rodolfo Hernández in a runoff election in June. Petro won Sunday’s first election round with just over 40% of the votes — less than the majority needed to declare a first-round victory. In a surprising result, far-right candidate Hernández placed second. Hernández is a real estate tycoon who once called himself a follower of Adolf Hitler. Petro is a former guerrilla member who has vowed to fight worsening inequality in Colombia with landmark policies including a tax reform and redistribution of pension savings. His running mate is the Goldman Prize-winning environmental activist Francia Márquez Mina, who could become Colombia’s first Black vice president. Both Petro and Mina have received several death threats throughout their campaign. We’ll have more on Colombia’s presidential election later in the broadcast.
China has begun to ease COVID-19 restrictions in some of its largest cities. On Monday, workers in two districts of the capital Beijing were allowed to return to offices after authorities lifted some work-from-home rules and reopened public transit. Meanwhile, officials in Shanghai say they’re preparing to lift a strict two-month lockdown on June 1. Chinese President Xi Jinping has ruled out ending China’s “zero-COVID” strategy as the nation struggles to stamp out its worst wave of coronavirus infections since early 2020.
In New York, another prisoner at the Rikers Island jail has died. New York’s Department of Corrections says 20-year-old Emanuel Sullivan was found bleeding from the nose and unresponsive in his cell on Saturday afternoon. The cause of death is reportedly under investigation. Sullivan is the 22nd Rikers prisoner to die since 2021 and the sixth Rikers prisoner to die this year. In response, community organizer and Rikers survivor Edwin Santana said in a statement, “This tragedy should show every judge, prosecutor, and elected official who has ignored this truth before — Rikers is a death sentence. We don’t need plans to create plans, we need action, and that action must include releasing people from the custody of an agency that cannot or will not keep them alive.”
In labor news, at least 100 Starbucks stores have formed unions across the country. The historic milestone comes after two Starbucks in Seattle and one in Birmingham, Alabama, voted to unionize last week. Starbucks executives have responded with a campaign of retaliation against union efforts. The National Labor Relations Board says more than a dozen Starbucks workers have been illegally fired as workers at hundreds of stores have filed for union elections since December, when a Starbucks in Buffalo, New York, became the first unionized store in the United States.