Fighting in Sudan’s capital Khartoum has intensified as the Sudanese army battles the Rapid Support Forces paramilitary group for strategic locations. The U.N.’s top humanitarian official, Martin Griffiths, arrived in Port Sudan this week, where he called on combatants to allow the distribution of critically needed relief shipments to millions of civilians trapped by the fighting.
Martin Griffiths: “We need access. We need airlift. We need supplies that don’t get looted. World Food Programme today, James, informed me six trucks of theirs, which were going to Darfur, were looted en route, despite assurances of safety and security. So it’s a volatile environment.”
The U.N. says the violence has forced 100,000 civilians to flee their homes, with critical shortages of food, water, medicine and electricity.
In Washington, D.C., President Biden signed an executive order Thursday authorizing sanctions against Sudanese leaders. The order came as U.S. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines told a Senate panel Sudan’s conflict is likely to be protracted, as both sides believe that they can win militarily and have few incentives to come to the negotiating table.
In Ukraine, the head of the Wagner Group says he will pull his Russian mercenary forces out of the besieged city of Bakhmut on May 10, after he blasted Russia’s military for failing to provide enough ammunition. Yevgeny Prigozhin said in a statement Wagner’s remaining troops would withdraw to logistics camps to “lick our wounds.”
Meanwhile, the Kremlin has accused the United States of planning what it said was a drone attack on Wednesday aimed at the official residence of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The White House dismissed the allegations as ludicrous.
A jury in Washington, D.C., has convicted four members of the far-right group Proud Boys of seditious conspiracy and other felonies for their role in the January 6 Capitol insurrection and for attempting to keep Donald Trump in power after the 2020 election. The Proud Boys verdict is seen as a major victory for the Justice Department. During two previous trials, six members of another far-right group, the Oath Keepers, were also convicted of sedition. We’ll have more on the Proud Boys after headlines.
ProPublica reports billionaire Republican donor Harlan Crow paid two years of private school tuition for the grandnephew of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who failed to report the payments on his annual financial disclosures. Tuition at the Hidden Lake Academy in Georgia cost over $6,000 a month. ProPublica previously reported Crow also paid money to Thomas and his relatives in an undisclosed real estate deal, and that Thomas accepted luxury travel from Crow virtually every year for decades, while failing to follow a federal law that requires him to publicly report most gifts.
The Washington Post reports conservative judicial activist Leonard Leo arranged for Clarence Thomas’s wife, Ginni Thomas, to be paid at least $80,000 for consulting work over a decade ago. Leo asked the Republican pollster at the time, Kellyanne Conway, to bill the payments to a nonprofit group Leo advises, and specified that Ginni Thomas’s name should be left off any paperwork. That same year, in 2012, the nonprofit filed a brief to the Supreme Court in the landmark case Shelby County v. Holder, in which Thomas cast the deciding vote in a 5-4 ruling that gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
In Pakistan, at least eight people were killed in two separate shootings in the town of Kurram Thursday. Gunmen stormed a government school, opening fire and fatally shooting five teachers and two construction workers. Another teacher was killed after their vehicle was ambushed on a nearby road. No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
In Serbia, President Aleksandar Vučić has vowed to completely disarm the country after at least eight people were killed in a mass shooting near the town of Mladenovac Thursday. The suspect opened fire from his moving vehicle. He was arrested earlier today. The latest massacre came just one day after a 13-year-old boy went on a rampage at a school in the capital Belgrade, killing eight students and a school guard. The boy was using guns that belonged to his parents, who have both been arrested. The attacks have sent shock waves through the Balkan nation, where mass shootings are extremely rare; the last one happened in 2013. Hours before Thursday’s shooting, protesters gathered outside the Education Ministry in Belgrade demanding justice for the school shooting victims.
Marija Mitrovic: “I am sincerely sorry that Serbia is now on a list of countries where things like this happen. … And it has changed the feeling of going to school for all children and everyone who works there. Some mothers had to send their kids back to class today. How can they explain to children that they can safely go to school? How can we explain it to them? There are no words for something like this.”
Though Serbia has strict gun control laws, thousands of illegal weapons flooded the streets following the Balkan Wars in the 1990s.
Back in the United States, in Georgia, at least three people were killed in two separate shootings Thursday. A gunman is accused of killing his mother and grandmother at their homes and a McDonald’s store manager in Moultrie. The suspect then took his own life. This came a day after another shooting in Atlanta left at least one person dead and four injured.
In Oklahoma, authorities said Wednesday they found the bodies of seven people at a home in Henryetta. A man who was convicted of rape and was facing a child sex abuse trial is suspected of shooting dead his wife, his three children, and two teenage girls who were there for a sleepover, before taking his own life. The youngest victim was 13 years old.
Meanwhile, in California, a former UC Davis student was arrested Thursday in connection with three recent stabbings, including the killings of an unhoused man and another college student. The 21-year-old suspect was charged with murder and attempted murder. The two victims have been identified as David Breaux, who was unhoused and a beloved figure in Davis, and UC Davis senior Karim Abou Najm.
In Washington, D.C., Vermont independent Senator Bernie Sanders called Thursday for a 32-hour workweek with no pay cuts for U.S. workers. Senator Sanders also said he’ll introduce legislation to more than double the federal minimum wage — from $7.25 to $17 an hour.
Sen. Bernie Sanders: “In the year 2023, in the richest country in the history of the world, nobody should be forced to work for starvation wages. That’s not a radical idea. If you work 40, 50 hours a week, you should not be living in poverty. It is time to raise the minimum wage to a living wage.”
In North Carolina, the Republican-led Senate has passed legislation that would ban most abortions after 12 weeks. Republicans quickly approved the measure, less than two days after it was introduced. Democratic Governor Roy Cooper has vowed to veto the bill, but the Legislature’s GOP supermajority likely has enough votes to override him. Under current North Carolina law, abortions are legal for up to 20 weeks of pregnancy. The state has been a safe haven for many people living in the South who need the procedure, as most states in the region banned abortions after the Supreme Court’s gutting of Roe v. Wade.
Here in New York, protests continue amid mounting anger over the killing of street performer Jordan Neely, who was choked to death by another subway passenger Monday while being held down by another two riders. Neely, an unhoused 30-year-old Black man, was crying out that he was hungry when he was fatally attacked on the train. No one has been arrested or charged despite the death being ruled a homicide by the medical examiner. Neely was a beloved fixture of the New York City subway for his performances impersonating Michael Jackson. A number of lawmakers have joined the chorus of voices condemning the vigilante-style murder and Mayor Eric Adams, who has demonized and cut services for unhoused people and mental illness while flooding the train system with police. New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams said in a statement, “Racism that continues to permeate throughout our society allows for a level of dehumanization that denies Black people from being recognized as victims when subjected to acts of violence. … Any possible mental health challenges that Jordan may have been experiencing were no reason for his life to be taken.”
As King Charles prepares for his coronation on Saturday, Indigenous leaders in former British colonies are calling on the monarch to apologize, pay reparations and “acknowledge the horrific impacts on and legacy of genocide and colonization of the indigenous and enslaved peoples.” They are also demanding the repatriation of the remains and cultural artifacts of Indigenous peoples. The letter to King Charles is signed by groups in Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Britain was one of the largest slave traders in the Atlantic in the 18th century. Senior Jamaican government official Marlene Malahoo Forte spoke with Sky News Thursday.
Marlene Malahoo Forte: “Why not a full apology? Is it because you may have to give back the wealth of the monarchy, taken from the people, taken from the places that were colonized, taken from the places where the people were enslaved? … It’s personal for our people, the policies that are racist and unjust by virtue of nationality and ethnic background and the color of your skin. It’s just not right.”
Minister Malahoo Forte said the coronation has accelerated plans for Jamaica to become a republic, with a referendum taking place as early as next year. The coronation ceremony will cost British taxpayers up to $125 million at a time where many are struggling to pay for basic living expenses. This week, the Home Office Police Powers Unit wrote to anti-monarchy groups planning peaceful protests, warning them about new criminal penalties and expanded police powers that were rushed into law ahead of the coronation.