Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: May 16, 2022

Hundreds hold vigil, protest at site of Buffalo racist attack, Sweden joins Finland in signaling plan to join NATO, and more

1

Hundreds hold vigil, protest in Buffalo at site of racist attack

Hundreds of people gathered Sunday near the Jefferson Avenue Tops Markets to hold a prayer vigil for the victims of a deadly mass shooting there that police are calling a racist hate crime by a white supremacist. The vigil evolved into a Black Lives Matter protest and an expression of anger against gun violence. The white 18-year-old arrested for the shooting, which left 10 people dead, had researched the predominantly Black neighborhood's demographics and traveled 200 miles to the area with the "express purpose" of murdering as many Black people as he could, officials said. The suspect, Payton Gendron, reportedly posted a racist manifesto and made threatening comments at his high school last year.

2

Sweden's government backs applying to join NATO

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson announced Sunday that her party, the Social Democrats, had decided that Sweden should join NATO. The Social Democrats voted in a Sunday meeting to support working toward applying to join the Western military alliance, setting up a vote in parliament. Hours earlier, Finland formally announced it will seek to join NATO. Andersson said Sweden's military non-alliance had served it well for 200 years, but Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine showed the policy "will not serve us well in the future." The invasion demonstrated that the Kremlin is "prepared to use violence to achieve their political objectives and that they don't hesitate to take enormous risks," Andersson said.

3

1 dead, 5 critically wounded in California church shooting

A gunman killed one person and critically injured five others Sunday during a lunch banquet at a Laguna Woods, California, Taiwanese church. A witness said the pastor hit the attacker with a chair when the man paused to reload, and members of the Geneva Presbyterian Church congregation tackled and hogtied him. Undersheriff Jeff Hallock said the churchgoers' "heroism and bravery" prevented further bloodshed. As many as 40 congregants were attending the lunch after a church service. Police said they believed the suspect, a 68-year-old Asian man, was originally from Las Vegas. The attack shook the quiet Orange County suburb. "Things are just breaking down in society right now," resident Patricia Wallace said. "It's just so sad."

4

McConnell expects vote on $40 billion Ukraine aid package this week

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Sunday that he expects senators to advance the new $40 billion Ukraine aid package on Monday, followed by a final vote to approve the funding on Wednesday. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) held up the money last week, but McConnell, who made a surprise visit to Kyiv on Saturday, said "it's important for the United States to help, important for the free world to help." McConnell said the Ukraine aid is "not charity" but a necessary step to protect U.S. interests by showing that a "ruthless thug" can't "march through Europe" unchecked. McConnell also said he would support designating Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.

5

Nebraska governor vows to push abortion ban if Roe overturned

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) told CNN's State of the Union on Sunday he will call a special legislative session to pass a total abortion ban if the Supreme Court strikes down the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that established abortion rights nationwide. Ricketts said he doesn't want to allow exceptions for rape or incest. The comments came a day after abortion-rights protesters held rallies nationwide calling for keeping abortion legal. Expectations of a Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe mounted last week after the leak of a draft opinion by a five-justice conservative majority in which Justice Samuel Alito indicated the court was poised to reverse Roe and uphold a Mississippi abortion law tightening abortion restrictions.

6

U.S. to remove 5 inactive groups from terrorist list

The United States plans to take five defunct extremist organizations off its list of foreign terrorist organizations, The Associated Press reported Sunday. The groups include "the Basque separatist group ETA , the Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo, the radical Jewish group Kahane Kach, and two Islamic groups that have been active in Israel, the Palestinian territories, and Egypt," AP reported. The Islamist groups are the Mujahidin Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem, an umbrella group of jihadist organizations in Gaza, and Gama'a al-Islamiyya, or Islamic Group–IG, an Egyptian Sunni Islamist movement that battled Egypt's government in the 1990s. The five groups have been blamed for killing hundreds or thousands of people.

7

Shanghai to let businesses resume limited operations

Shanghai officials on Sunday detailed their plan to reopen businesses, including shopping malls and supermarkets, in China's largest city on a limited basis under an ongoing COVID-19 lockdown. Shanghai's deputy mayor, Chen Tong, said the city would allow limited operations starting Monday, under a transitional phase "from emergency response to normalized prevention and control." Daily new infections in the city of 25 million people have dropped from a high of more than 20,000 last month to about 1,200 on Saturday. Despite the falling infection rates, neighborhood-level authorities in many areas have increased restrictions in recent days out of fear new cases could spike again.

8

Goldman's Blankfein: Prepare for possible recession

Goldman Sachs Senior Chairman Lloyd Blankfein on Sunday warned that the United States faces a "very, very high risk" of recession. "If I were running a big company, I would be very prepared for it," Blankfein said on CBS's Face the Nation. "If I was a consumer, I'd be prepared for it." Blankfein said the Federal Reserve still has "very powerful tools" available to cool down the economy and contain inflation without cutting off growth completely, so a recession isn't "baked in the cake." The comments came as the investment bank's economists cut their growth forecast for 2022 to 2.4 percent, down from 2.6 percent, and their 2023 estimate to 1.6 percent from 2.2 percent.

9

Harris heads delegation to UAE after Emirati president's death 

Vice President Kamala Harris is traveling to the United Arab Emirates on Monday to lead a presidential delegation expressing condolences on the death of the country's president, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Harris is scheduled to meet in the capital city, Abu Dhabi, with the new president, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, her office said in a statement. Harris "will underscore the strength of the partnership between our countries and our desire to further deepen our ties in the coming months and years," her press secretary, Kirsten Allen, said. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the two countries would continue working together to build "a more peaceful and secure region and world."

10

Pennsylvania Senate candidate John Fetterman suffers stroke

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D), who is running for the state's Democratic Senate nomination, announced on Sunday that he suffered a stroke on Friday. "The good news is I'm feeling much better, and the doctors tell me I didn't suffer any cognitive damage," Fetterman said in a statement. "I'm well on my way to a full recovery." Fetterman canceled events on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, but said he expected to be released from the hospital soon. The primary is on Tuesday. Polls are sparse, but show Fetterman leading his most prominent Democratic rival, Rep. Conor Lamb, by double digits. Lamb said he wished Fetterman a "full and speedy recovery."

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