In Sudan, a 72-hour ceasefire appears to be largely holding, though there are reports of scattered gunfire and shelling in the capital Khartoum. Sudan’s army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces agreed to begin the three-day truce at midnight, following two days of negotiations brokered by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. At least 459 civilians have died since fighting between rival factions of Sudan’s military junta broke out on April 15, though the true toll is certain to be far higher. Water, food, medicine, electricity and communications remain in short supply, and damage to sanitation systems has spawned fears of waterborne diseases like cholera, as some residents have been forced to drink water directly from the Nile River. This is Rawan al-Waleed, who left her family behind in Khartoum as she fled to Egypt.
Rawan al-Waleed: “I left behind my brother, my family, the rest of my aunts and my friends. Yes, I survived, but I’m still worried about those I left behind. The situation is extremely catastrophic. There are no hospitals. Fifty-five hospitals are out of service. This is very bad. I don’t know how they are living.”
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization is warning of a high risk of biological hazards in Khartoum after fighters seized control of a national laboratory holding pathogens including measles and polio virus.
Ukraine’s military has advanced onto the eastern bank of the Dnieper River in the Kherson region as part of a long-anticipated spring counteroffensive against Russian forces. A spokesperson for Ukraine’s military refused to confirm the reports, but said heavy Russian shelling in the region had injured civilians and destroyed dozens of buildings, including a school.
China’s Foreign Ministry has walked back comments by a senior Chinese diplomat questioning the sovereignty of Ukraine and other former Soviet states. Lu Shaye, China’s ambassador to France, said on Friday the nations “do not have an effective status in international law.” That prompted several nations, including Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, to summon Chinese envoys to explain Beijing’s official position. In a statement, China’s Foreign Ministry said Lu’s comments were “not a political declaration but an expression of personal points of view during a televised debate.” We’ll have more on this story after headlines.
A new report finds worldwide military spending rose to an all-time high of over $2.2 trillion last year, largely driven by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The United States accounted for nearly 40% of total military spending, even though it has just over 4% of the world’s population. The U.S. also remained the world’s largest arms exporter, by far.
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will run for reelection in 2024. Biden made the official announcement this morning with a three-minute campaign video posted on social media.
President Joe Biden: “Freedom, personal freedom, is fundamental to who we are as Americans. There’s nothing more important, nothing more sacred. That’s been the work of my first term, to fight for our democracy — this shouldn’t be a red or blue issue — to protect our rights, to make sure that everyone in this country is treated equally.”
So far, Biden and Harris face two Democratic primary challengers: self-help author Marianne Williamson, who also ran in 2020, and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an environmental lawyer, anti-vaccine activist, and son of the former U.S. attorney general and assassinated 1968 presidential candidate. CBS News reports RFK Jr. was convinced to run by Trump’s former campaign manager Steve Bannon, who believes he will be a useful chaos agent in the 2024 race.
Fox News abruptly fired far right prime time host Tucker Carson on Monday. His departure was effective immediately. Interim presenters are replacing Carlson, who has not commented about the reason for his firing. The surprise exit of the top-rated host comes after text messages from Carlson were revealed in the Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit against Fox News for airing false claims of a stolen election that was just settled last week for $787 million. Later in the broadcast, we’ll look at how Tucker Carlson has been a major force driving Fox News’s extremism.
CNN has fired news anchor Don Lemon, ending his 17-year tenure at the network. Lemon was accused of sexism after he recently said 51-year-old Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley was “past her prime.” And Variety reported earlier this month Lemon had a history of threatening and mocking female staffers at CNN.
Here in New York, jury selection has begun in a civil trial against Donald Trump brought by author E. Jean Carroll. The former magazine columnist alleges Trump raped her in a dressing room at a department store in the mid-1990s. Carroll can bring the case decades later because New York opened a one-year window on the statute of limitations for adult survivors of sexual assault. The judge in the case has ruled two other women who say they were sexually assaulted by Trump can take the stand, as well.
The chair of the Senate Finance Committee has asked Texas billionaire and conservative activist Harlan Crow to provide Congress with a detailed list of undisclosed gifts and payments benefiting Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, including private real estate transactions and the use of Crow’s private jet and superyacht. In a letter sent to Crow Monday, Democratic Senator Ron Wyden wrote, “The secrecy surrounding your dealings with Justice Thomas is simply unacceptable. The American public deserves a full accounting of the full extent of your largesse towards Justice Thomas, including whether these gifts complied with all relevant federal tax and ethics laws.” Meanwhile, Bloomberg News is reporting Justice Thomas failed to recuse himself from a 2005 Supreme Court decision to reject a case which benefited the Trammell Crow Residential Company, a real estate firm named after Harlan Crow’s father that was partly owned by the Crow family. Harlan Crow was CEO and chair of the board at the time.
In North Dakota, Republican Governor Doug Burgum has signed into law a near-total ban on abortion that would only allow people to get the procedure in cases of rape or incest during the first six weeks of pregnancy. The legislation is one of the most severe anti-abortion measures in the country. Reproductive rights advocates say most people don’t even know they’re pregnant at six weeks.
In Montana, protesters rallied inside the state Capitol Monday in support of Democratic transgender state Representative Zooey Zephyr after Republican lawmakers blocked her from speaking on the House floor for a third day. Zephyr raised her microphone into the air as her supporters interrupted proceedings for nearly half an hour, leading to the arrest of at least seven people.
Speaker Matt Regier: “Our guests will come to order. Sergeant-of-arms, will you please clear the gallery?”
Protesters: “Let her speak! Let her speak! Let her speak! Let her speak! Let her speak! Let her speak! Let her speak!”
Republicans have denied Zephyr’s repeated requests to debate on proposed anti-trans legislation, after last week she told them they would have “blood on their hands” if they banned gender-affirming healthcare for trans children and youth.
In Tennessee, Grammy-winning rapper and singer Lizzo invited dozens of drag performers on stage during a concert in Knoxville Friday night, protesting Republicans’ efforts to ban public drag performances in the state. Tennessee Republican Governor Bill Lee signed the measure into law in February, but it was blocked by a federal judge the following month who argued it was too vaguely written.
President Biden on Monday welcomed Tennessee Democratic Representatives Justin Pearson, Justin Jones and Gloria Johnson to the White House for a discussion on gun reform. The lawmakers became known as the “Tennessee Three” after facing Republican-led expulsion votes from the state Legislature for supporting recent student protests calling for gun control after six people, including three 9-year-old students, were killed in a mass shooting at a Nashville elementary school in March. Pearson and Jones, who were the only two formally expelled, were unanimously reappointed to the Tennessee House of Representatives by local officials in Memphis and Nashville earlier this month. This is Jones speaking Monday from the Rose Garden.
Rep. Justin Jones: “We lifted this issue above the partisan divide, that this is not left or right, but we talked to the president about how this is a moral issue, an issue of conscience, an issue in the South, where we are trying to build a multiracial democracy and challenge these extreme forces that rather than passing an assault weapons ban, they assaulted our democracy, as we saw when we were expelled from the state Legislature.”
In Pennsylvania, the trial for the man accused of killing 11 worshipers at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh in 2018 began Monday. The mass shooting was the deadliest antisemitic attack in U.S. history.
In Kentucky, the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office has hired the former Louisville police detective who fired the shot that killed 26-year-old Black emergency room technician Breonna Taylor in her own home during a no-knock raid in March 2020. Myles Cosgrove was fired from the Louisville Metro Police Department in January 2021 for violating use-of-force procedures and failing to use a body camera.
In northwestern Pakistan, at least 17 people were killed and more than 50 others wounded Monday as a pair of explosions tore through an ammunition depot run by Pakistan’s counterterrorism office in the Swat Valley. Most of the dead were police officers, though at least four were civilians. A police spokesperson said the blast was triggered when ammunition caught fire, likely due to an electrical short circuit.
The 2022 Goldman Environmental Prize recipients have been announced. In Brazil, Indigenous leader Alessandra Korap won for leading a campaign against the mining giant Anglo American, safeguarding 400,000 acres of Amazon rainforest.
Alessandra Korap: “It was a huge victory. We realize that we are like little ants. When the little ants join forces, we get stronger. And we got stronger, until we won the battle against Anglo American.”
Here in the United States, environmental activist and fourth-generation shrimper Diane Wilson received a Goldman Prize for winning a historic $50 million settlement in a case against Formosa Plastics for dumping toxic waste on Texas’s Gulf Coast. The 2019 civil settlement was the largest in the history of the Clean Water Act. This is Diane Wilson.
Diane Wilson: “Formosa makes a trillion pellets, or 'nurdles,' a day, and they lose a lot of the powder and the pellets through 10 stormwater outfalls. And so, Formosa was discharging this plastic everywhere. And they have been doing this for 27 years.”