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HeadlinesMay 20, 2024

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Iran in Mourning After Helicopter Crash Kills President and Foreign Minister

May 20, 2024

Iran has declared five days of mourning after Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian died Sunday in a helicopter crash near the border with Azerbaijan. The crash occurred amid heavy fog in a mountainous area; it took rescue workers many hours to reach the crash site. Raisi had led Iran since 2021 and was widely seen as a possible successor to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who is 85 years old. Iran will hold presidential elections in 50 days. Vice President Mohammad Mokhber has taken over as interim president. We’ll have more on Iran after headlines.

ICC Chief Seeks Arrest Warrants for Netanyahu, Gallant and Hamas Leaders

May 20, 2024

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has announced he is seeking arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and three leaders of Hamas: Yahya Sinwar, Ismail Haniyeh and Mohammed Deif. In an interview today with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, ICC prosecutor Karim Khan detailed the charges against Netanyahu.

Karim Khan: “We’ve applied for warrants. Of course, the judges must determine whether or not to issue them, but we’ve applied today. We’ll apply for warrants for Prime Minister Netanyahu and also Minister of Defense Gallant for the crimes of causing extermination, causing starvation as a method of war, including the denial of humanitarian relief supplies, deliberately targeting civilians in conflict.”

Karim Khan said the charges against the Hamas leaders include “extermination, murder, taking of hostages, rape and sexual assault in detention.” A panel of International Criminal Court judges will now decide if arrest warrants should be issued.

Israel Expands Deadly Attacks in Gaza, Occupies Al-Awda Hospital Amid Dire Fuel and Water Shortages

May 20, 2024

In Gaza, Israel is threatening to expand its attack on the southern city of Rafah despite widespread international condemnation. The U.N. estimates 800,000 Palestinians have fled Rafah in recent weeks. Many of the displaced had sought refuge in Rafah after losing their homes in other parts of Gaza. Over the weekend, Israeli strikes on the Nuseirat refugee camp killed at least 32 people, including 10 women and seven children. The overall official death toll has topped 35,400. Across Gaza, Palestinians say they have no safe place to go.

Umm Mahmoud Safy: “Are these America’s gifts for us, instead of pitying us, instead of telling Israel to 'Stop. Enough! That's injustice.’ Where are the Arab leaders? Where are the Muslim leaders? Where is the Islamic ummah? Where are the men of Islam? Where are the Arab men to see our conditions? … Let them stop the killing. Let them stop the destruction. Our houses have been destroyed. People can’t find a house to live in. People are displaced in tents. People have been suffering. What’s happening to us is injustice. This is enough. Someone needs to have mercy. No one is having mercy on us. No one has humanity.”

Israel is also laying siege to al-Awda Hospital in North Gaza. Doctors Without Borders reports the hospital has run out of drinking water. On Sunday, the U.N.'s top humanitarian chief, Martin Griffiths, said Israel's stranglehold on aid reaching Gaza is having “apocalyptic” consequences.

Netanyahu Facing Internal Opposition in His Coalition and on the Streets

May 20, 2024

Israeli opposition leader Benny Gantz has threatened to leave the coalition government unless Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu develops a plan for a post-war Gaza. This comes as protests continue in Israel calling for a ceasefire and a deal to release all of the remaining hostages — dead or alive — held in Gaza.

Biden Is Met with Protest as He Delivers Morehouse Graduation Speech

May 20, 2024

On Sunday, President Biden addressed the graduating class of Morehouse College, the prestigious Black college in Atlanta whose alum include Martin Luther King Jr. Some students turned their backs on the president to protest his Gaza policies. Morehouse valedictorian DeAngelo Fletcher, who had a Palestinian flag affixed to his graduation cap, called for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza.

DeAngelo Fletcher: “It is my stance as a Morehouse man — nay, as a human being — to call for an immediate and a permanent ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.”

President Biden was seen on video applauding DeAngelo Fletcher’s call for a permanent ceasefire. During his speech, Biden also called for an immediate ceasefire. Biden’s speech came just days after his administration notified Congress of its plans to send another $1 billion in arms to Israel, including tank ammunition, mortars and tactical vehicles.

Later on Sunday, protesters gathered in Detroit, where President Biden addressed an NAACP dinner.

We will speak to two Morehouse professors later in the program. One turned her back on Biden, and another held up a flag of the Democratic Republic of Congo behind the president.

U.K. High Court Rules Julian Assange Can Appeal U.S. Extradition

May 20, 2024

In news from Britain, the High Court in London has granted permission to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to appeal his extradition to the United States. The decision came after a critical hearing in London that Assange did not attend due to health reasons. Assange has been held in London’s Belmarsh Prison for five years. If extradited and convicted in the U.S., he faces up to 175 years in prison. We’ll have more on this later in the show.

Congolese Military Says It Thwarted Coup Attempt Led by Opposition Leader Malanga

May 20, 2024

Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo say they thwarted an attempted coup in the capital Kinshasa on Sunday. Armed men attempted to storm the presidential palace, as well as the home of a key lawmaker, in an attempt to overthrow President Félix Tshisekedi’s government. Around 50 people involved in the plot were arrested, including three U.S. citizens. The apparent coup leader, Congolese opposition figure Christian Malanga, died during the attack. Malanga had lived in exile in the United States for over a decade.

Pres. William Lai Inaugurated in Taiwan, Tells China to Stop Its Intimidation

May 20, 2024

In Taiwan, new President William Lai Ching-te delivered a defiant message to China after he was sworn in earlier today.

President Lai Ching-te: “I also want to urge China to stop intimidating Taiwan politically and militarily and to take on the global responsibility with Taiwan to work hard on maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and in the region, to ensure the world is without the fear of war breaking out.”

In response, Beijing said, “Taiwan independence is a dead end.” China also announced sanctions against a number of U.S. companies “involved in arms sales to Taiwan.”

Pres. Luis Abinader Wins Reelection in Dominican Republic

May 20, 2024

In the Dominican Republic, President Luis Abinader easily won a second term in Sunday’s election. Abinader has taken a hard-line approach to immigration, increasing raids and deportations of Haitians, and shutting down migration from Haiti despite the dire humanitarian situation in the neighboring country. He also began construction of a 100-mile concrete wall along the border with Haiti.

Russian Attacks in Kharkiv Kill 11 as Ukraine Asks NATO, U.S. for Help Training Its Army

May 20, 2024

At least 11 people died in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region on Sunday as Russia intensifies its offensive in northeastern Ukraine. This comes as Ukrainian officials have asked the United States and other NATO nations to send troops to Ukraine to help train new recruits. On Thursday, the chair of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Charles Brown, hinted such a plan is being discussed. He said, “We’ll get there eventually, over time.”

Mercedes-Benz Workers Vote Against Unionizing with UAW

May 20, 2024

In Alabama, workers at two Mercedes-Benz plants voted against joining the United Automobile Workers. Fifty-six percent of the nearly 5,000 votes rejected the UAW after a massive pressure campaign by Mercedes and Republican leaders, including Alabama Governor Kay Ivey. UAW President Shawn Fain said the result will not deter the union in its bid to organize the South.

Shawn Fain: “I’m not scared at all. I mean, I believe workers want unions. I believe they want justice. And we’re going to keep doing what we do, and I think we’re going to keep winning.”

Man Who Broke Into Nancy Pelosi’s House and Attacked Her Husband Sentenced to 30 Years

May 20, 2024

In California, the man who broke into the home of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and attacked her 82-year-old husband with a hammer has been sentenced to a total of 30 years in prison. During the trial, David DePape admitted he wanted to take Nancy Pelosi hostage to interrogate her, but she wasn’t home when he broke into her home just before the 2022 midterm elections.

Houston Storm Death Toll Climbs to 7

May 20, 2024

In Texas, the death toll from last week’s storms in Houston rose to seven people. Some 240,000 customers still did not have electricity by Sunday evening as the area now contends with a heat wave, with temperatures topping 90 degrees yesterday. President Biden has issued a disaster declaration for the region.

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