10 things you need to know today: May 22, 2017

Trump arrives in Israel after speech denouncing "Islamic extremism," Kim Jong Un orders missiles into mass production, and more

President Trump speaks in Riyadh
(Image credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

1. Trump arrives in Israel after Saudi speech denouncing 'Islamic extremism'

President Trump delivered a high-profile address in Saudi Arabia on Sunday, calling on Muslim nations to do more to fight "the crisis of Islamic extremism." Trump urged Muslim nations to join forces with the U.S. in the fight against terrorists. "This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects, or different civilizations," Trump said, using terms sharply different from his harsh campaign rhetoric about Muslims. "This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life and decent people, all in the name of religion — people that want to protect life and want to protect their religion. This is a battle between good and evil." On Monday, Trump moved on to Israel, where he will meet separately with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas aiming to restart the stalled peace process.

The Washington Post Reuters

2. Kim Jong Un orders mass missile production after latest test

North Korea's KCNA state news agency said on Monday that the country's latest intermediate-range ballistic missile test a day earlier had been a success, and that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had ordered rapid mass production and deployment of the weapon. KCNA said the test, the second in a week, confirmed reliable late-stage guidance of the warhead, a significant step as North Korea pursues its goal of building nuclear-tipped missiles capable of reaching the U.S. Pyongyang has defied international demands that it curb its nuclear and missile programs, which it claims are necessary to counter U.S. aggression. The United Nations Security Council is due to meet Tuesday to discuss the latest test.

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3. Turkish president says state of emergency to continue

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced Sunday that the state of emergency imposed after last year's failed coup would continue until Turkey had secured "welfare and peace," signaling that what initially was billed as a temporary measure could last indefinitely. Under the state of emergency, Erdogan and his cabinet can rule by decree without oversight by lawmakers. Erdogan's government has used the special powers to arrest more than 40,000 people accused of links to the coup plot. The government also has fired or suspended more than 140,000 public employees and shut down 1,500 civil groups.

The New York Times

4. Trump budget to include big cuts to anti-poverty programs, Medicaid

President Trump is expected to propose massive cuts to Medicaid and anti-poverty programs, such as food stamps, when he releases his first major budget proposal this week, news outlets reported Sunday, citing White House documents and people familiar with the plan. The White House will issue its formal budget request on Tuesday, calling for $274 billion in cuts over 10 years to means-tested anti-poverty programs. Trump's budget proposal also reportedly will follow through on a bill House Republicans passed to cut Medicaid, the state-federal program providing health care to low-income Americans, by more than $800 billion over 10 years. The White House also is expected to request giving states more flexibility to impose work requirements for beneficiaries in anti-poverty programs.

Bloomberg The Washington Post

5. Ford to replace CEO Mark Fields

Ford Motor is expected to announce Monday that CEO Mark Fields is retiring, people briefed on the move tell The Associated Press and The New York Times. Fields, 56, reportedly will be replaced by Jim Hackett, the head of the Ford subsidiary that works on autonomous vehicles and former chief executive of office-furniture company Steelcase Inc. Fields is being pushed out after presiding over a 40 percent plunge in the company's stock price in three years as chief executive. He has been at the company 28 years. Investors criticized him for lagging behind peers in creating electric vehicles and advancing toward self-driving autos, while also letting some core products grow stale. Hackett, who has led Ford's mobility unit since last year, was credited with reversing Steelcase's declining fortunes, in part by foreseeing the shift from cubicles to open office floor plans.

The Associated Press The New York Times

6. New York governor asks Trump for help fixing Penn Station

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) called on President Trump to provide federal aid to restore Penn Station, and save the key link in the Northeast Corridor hub from the "impact of the state of disrepair." Cuomo said Penn Station in central Manhattan had reached "a tipping point" due to its aging tracks and other crumbling infrastructure. Cuomo, a Democrat, asked Trump, a Republican, to help find and finance transportation alternatives for people to use while the massive station undergoes repairs after a flurry of problems, including two derailments. "As a New Yorker, I think you know the severity of the situation," Cuomo said in a letter to Trump.

The Associated Press

7. American climber dies on Mount Everest

An American climber, Roland Yearwood of Alabama, died on Mount Everest on Sunday, the Everest Parivas trekking company, which sponsored his climb, said. His death in an area called the "death zone" because of its thin air came a day after 26-year-old Indian climber Ravi Kumar went missing in the same area. Yearwood, 50, was among three people to die on the world's highest mountain in the past month. The Everest Parivas trekking company said it wasn't immediately clear whether Yearwood died trying to reach the peak, or returning from it. He was part of a 16-member team led by U.S. climber Dan Mazur.


8. Sheriff David Clarke denies plagiarism report

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, a strong supporter of President Trump who recently said he had accepted a job as an assistant secretary in the Department of Homeland Security, denied that he plagiarized part of his master's thesis on homeland security, as CNN reported on Saturday. CNN reported that Clarke had failed to properly attribute sources 47 times in his 2013 thesis for the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. Clarke tweeted that the CNN reporter, Andrew Kaczynski, was a "sleaze bag" with a political agenda. The school removed his thesis from its website, a standard step when it investigates reports of plagiarism.

ABC News The Guardian

9. Swiss voters approve ban on new nuclear plants

Swiss voters on Sunday backed a government plan to ban new nuclear plants and provide billions of dollars in subsidies for renewable energy. The binding referendum won the support of 58 percent of voters, who have final say on major policy issues in Switzerland. The binding referendum was called in a bid to help bail out struggling utilities. "The results shows the population wants a new energy policy and does not want any new nuclear plants," Energy Minister Doris Leuthard said. "The law leads our country into a modern energy future." The plan calls for a four-fold increase in solar and wind power by 2035. Backers and opponents of the proposal differed widely on how much it would cost the average family, with Leuthard saying it would cost families very little, while critics put the cost at $3,290 annually per family.


10. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus holds final show

The iconic Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus held its final show on Sunday, ending a 146-year history with a sold-out performance at the Nassau Coliseum outside New York City. The circus, which billed itself as "The Greatest Show on Earth," had faced mounting criticism from animal rights activists over its treatment of big cats and elephants, and it stopped using elephants in its shows last May. "It'll be in the memories of many people for years to come," Ringling Bros. Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson. "It doesn't feel good, of course, you know that such a storied institution is at its end, but everything comes to an end."

NBC News

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Harold Maass

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at TheWeek.com. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, Fox News, and ABC News. For several years, he wrote a daily round-up of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and two sons.