10 things you need to know today: May 16, 2021
Israeli airstrike kills 33 in Gaza, U.N. Security Council to meet, discuss Israel-Hamas conflict, and more
Israeli airstrikes kill 33 in Gaza, target home of Hamas leader
An Israeli airstrike killed at least 33 people in Gaza early Sunday, local health officials said, marking the deadliest individual attack since the current hostilities between Israel and Hamas began last week. Since the onset of the fighting, at least 181 people have reportedly been killed in Gaza, including 52 children, while more than 1,200 people have been injured. In Israel, 10 people, including two children, have reportedly been killed by Hamas rocket attacks, which continued Sunday. The Israeli military on Sunday also said it bombed the home of Yahya Sinwar, Hamas' political leader, but did not say whether he was killed in the strike.
U.N. Security Council to meet, discuss Israel-Hamas conflict
The United Nations Security Council is scheduled to meet and discuss the current hostilities between Israel and Hamas on Sunday for the first time, while the United States stepped up its diplomatic efforts this weekend. President Biden spoke on the phone Saturday with both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas about a possible cease-fire, while his envoy, Hady Amr, traveled to Israel and met with senior officials, including Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz. Meanwhile, the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation held an emergency meeting about the fighting on Sunday. Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki reportedly opened the discussion by vowing that Palestine will "resist" Israel "to the last day." Netanyahu similarly said Saturday that Israel will continue to strike Gaza "until we reach our targets," so it remains to be seen what affect the seemingly increasing international pressure will have on the situation.
Bryant, Duncan, Garnett headline Basketball Hall of Fame inductees
Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, and the late Kobe Bryant were inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, on Saturday. The trio make up what may be one of the great Hall of Fame classes of all time. The night was particularly emotional because of Bryant, who was killed in a helicopter crash along with his teenage daughter, Gianna, and seven others last year. His wife Vanessa, accompanied on stage by Bryant's hero Michael Jordan, gave a speech on her husband's behalf, which ended with the audience chanting his first name. "There will never be anyone like Kobe," Vanessa Bryant said of the longtime Los Angeles Lakers star. Aside from the NBA legends, all-time WNBA great Tamika Catchings, two-time NBA champion coach Rudy Tomjanovich, three-time Final Four coach Eddie Sutton (who died last year), and Barbara Stevens, who won more than 1,000 games coaching women's college basketball, were enshrined.
Cheney won't say if she'll leave GOP if Trump is 2024 nominee
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), who was ousted last week from her position as the chair of the House Republican Conference, told Jon Karl on ABC News' This Week that she regrets voting for former President Donald Trump in the 2020 election, although she clarified that "I was never going to support" President Biden. Karl asked Cheney if she would remain in the Republican Party if Trump becomes the nominee again in 2024. She didn't address that question, specifically, but said she "will do everything I can to make sure he's not the nominee. And, you know, everything necessary to make sure that he never gets anywhere close to the Oval Office again."
Myanmar junta reportedly attacks town resisting coup
Myanmar's military junta battled the Chinland Defense Force, a militia made up of residents from the town of Mindat in Myanmar's western state of Chin, this weekend, forcing the CDF to retreat from the town, a spokesman for the group said. The CDF opposes the February military coup which sparked daily, sometimes-deadly pro-democracy protests across the country. The CDF spokesman told Agence France-Presse that at least five members were killed and more than 10 others were wounded in the fierce fighting with the Junta. The Chin Human Rights Organization said "Mindat is now under siege and is bracing for an all-out assault by the junta troops from air and by land." The U.S. Embassy in Myanmar said it was aware of reports of the military shooting civilians in Mindat and called for evidence of atrocities to be sent to U.N. investigators.
Arizona GOP election official: Trump's latest statement 'unhinged'
Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer, a Republican who leads the Arizona county's election department, on Saturday called the latest statement about the 2020 presidential election from former President Donald Trump "unhinged." Trump claimed Saturday that "the entire database of Maricopa County ... has been DELETED! This is illegal and the Arizona State Senate, who is leading the forensic audit, is up in arms." Richer called Trump's statement a "plain-as-day lie" and urged his fellow Republicans to help him convey that message. "We can't indulge these insane lies any longer," he tweeted. "As a party. As a state. As a country." The Arizona Senate took possession of more than 2 million Maricopa County ballots and election equipment last month for a much-criticized, slow-moving hand recount of the presidential race, which President Biden won.
Arson suspected as fire grows in Los Angeles area
A brushfire in the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Pacific Palisades and Topanga Canyon grew to nearly 800 acres on Saturday, forcing some area residents to evacuate their homes. Authorities believe the fire was set by an arsonist, and they've begun a search for a suspect. As of Saturday night, the blaze, aided by wind gusts, reportedly grew out of hand and was zero percent contained, as firefighters attempted to battle it with water-dropping helicopters since the steep terrain in the area makes it difficult to attack from the ground. The Los Angeles Fire Department said the area the fire is burning has received very little rain over the last decade, creating very dry vegetation. There's hope that an expected drizzle Sunday morning will help firefighters put out the flames.
Damon Weaver, child reporter who interviewed Obama at 11, dies at 23
Damon Weaver, who was just 11-years-old when he interviewed former President Barack Obama in the White House in 2009, died earlier this month, multiple outlets reported Saturday. He was 23. No cause of death was provided. Weaver's sister, Candace Hardy, confirmed the news. Weaver is one of the youngest people to interview a sitting president; Obama had high praise for his skills at the time, and he went on to interview celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and NBA star Dwyane Wade. Before sitting down with Obama, Weaver covered his inauguration, and earlier interviewed President Biden, who at the time was Obama's running mate.
Tiger seen wandering Houston streets turned into police, will be transferred to sanctuary
A Tiger that had been seen wandering the streets of a Houston neighborhood in viral videos last week has been found unharmed and will be transferred to an animal sanctuary Sunday, Houston police said. Houston Police Commander Ron Borza identified Gia Cuevas and her husband, Victor Hugo Cuevas, as the tiger's owners. He said that Gia Cuevas turned the tame animal over to the authorities after a friend tipped police off about its location. Gia Cuevas is not facing any charges at this time, though Borza said an investigation is ongoing and "in no way shape or form should you have an animal like that in your household." Victor Cuevas, who was allegedly seen with the tiger in the videos, was taken into custody, however, after a judge revoked his bond on a pending, unrelated murder charge from 2017. It is illegal to own a tiger in Houston.
Rombauer upsets Medina Spirit to win Preakness
Rombauer upset Kentucky Derby-winner Medina Spirit to win the Preakness on Saturday, spoiling the latter's chances of capturing horse racing's Triple Crown. Rombauer's odds were 11-1. Medina Spirit, aside from winning the first leg of the Triple Crown and entering the Preakness as the favorite, was the center of attention Saturday because he failed a post-Derby drug test. While the horse was cleared to run at Baltimore's Pimlico Race Course after passing multiple pre-race drug tests, skepticism surrounded his trainer, Bob Baffert. Ultimately, Medina Spirit finished in third behind Rombauer and Midnight Bourbon, who had 3-1 odds.