Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: May 23, 2022

Report says Southern Baptists mishandled sex-abuse cases, Ukraine convicts Russian soldier in 1st war crimes trial of invasion, and more

1

Report says Southern Baptists mishandled sex-abuse allegations 

The Southern Baptist Convention on Sunday released a report concluding that top officials often ignored survivors of sexual abuse by Southern Baptist ministers and other church employees. The third-party investigation, conducted by an organization called Guidepost Solutions for the SBC, found that for nearly two decades, victims and other church members reported abuse "only to be met, time and time again, with resistance, stonewalling, and even outright hostility" by Southern Baptist leaders more focused on protecting the institution, the largest Protestant denomination in the United States. Leaders also allegedly lied about whether church administration could keep a database of abusers to help prevent future crimes, when they had kept a secret list for years.

2

Russian soldier sentenced to life in 1st Ukraine war crimes trial

A Ukrainian court on Monday sentenced a 21-year-old Russian soldier to life in prison for killing a Ukrainian civilian, in the first war crimes trial since Russia invaded Feb. 24. Sgt. Vadim Shishimarin pleaded guilty to fatally shooting the civilian, 62-year-old Oleksandr Shelipov, as he was pushing his bicycle in a northeastern Ukraine village near the Russian border early in the invasion. Shishimarin testified that an officer ordered him to fire, saying the civilian might have been using his cellphone to tell Ukrainian forces where the Russians were. Shelipov "died on the spot," yards from his home, said Ukraine's prosecutor general, Iryna Venediktova. During the trial, Shishimarin asked the victim's widow to forgive him.

3

Biden says U.S. would defend Taiwan against China

President Biden said Monday the U.S. would defend Taiwan militarily if China ever invaded. "That's the commitment we made," Biden said. The statement veered from the traditional U.S. "strategic ambiguity" on how far the U.S. would go to protect Taiwan, which China considers a renegade province. "We agreed with the One China policy, we signed on to it," Biden said, "but the idea that [Taiwan] can be taken by force is just not appropriate." He said the need to stand up for Taiwan was "even stronger" following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The 1979 Taiwan Relations Act calls for the U.S. to make sure Taiwan has the means to defend itself, but doesn't require U.S. intervention. A White House official insisted Biden was merely reemphasizing the 1979 pledge to help Taiwan defend itself.

4

Polish leader visits Kyiv as Ukraine rules out ceding land to Russia 

Polish President Andrzej Duda on Sunday made his second visit to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv since April. Duda said Ukraine does not have to make concessions to Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop Russia's invasion. Ukrainian officials ruled out ceding territory in any ceasefire deal, and Duda expressed support, saying, "Only Ukraine has the right to decide about its future." Duda's visit came as Russia pushed to expand the territory Russia-backed separatists have held in the Donbas region since 2014. Russia has declared full control over the strategically important port city of Mariupol, where the last Ukrainian defenders surrendered at a steel plant last week.

5

Biden unveils Asia-Pacific trade deal

President Biden on Monday announced a trade deal with 12 Asia-Pacific nations to counter China and boost economic engagement in the region, five years after then-President Donald Trump withdrew from the sweeping Trans-Pacific Partnership. Biden, making his first trip to Asia as president, announced the new Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity in Tokyo after meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. "Biden hopes IPEF will blunt criticism that he had not included a trade component in his security-heavy Indo-Pacific strategy," the Financial Times reports. The agreement includes India, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

6

Military jet brings 1st baby formula shipment from Europe 

U.S. military aircraft flew from Germany to Indianapolis with 78,000 pounds of baby formula on Sunday. The 132 pallets of hypoallergenic, prescription Nestlé Health Science formula will go to babies who are intolerant of protein in cow milk in parts of the country facing the most severe shortages of infant formula, a Biden administration told CNN. The shipment, which was trucked from Switzerland to Germany before being loaded onto the U.S. C-17 cargo jet, will feed 9,000 babies and 18,000 toddlers for a week. "It is a large shipment of very specific and specialized formula," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who was present for the delivery in Indianapolis.

7

Australia swears in Anthony Albanese as prime minister

Australian Governor-General David Hurley swore in Labor leader Anthony Albanese as Australia's 31st prime minister on Monday, after Australians voted Saturday to replace the center-right Liberal Party with the center-left Labor Party after nine years. Albanese took over as votes were still being counted to determine whether his party, which so far has 72 seats in the 151-seat House of Representatives, will have a majority or need to cobble together a coalition government. Albanese will travel to Tokyo with new Foreign Minister Penny Wong, the first foreign-born Australian foreign minister, to meet with President Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi — the leaders of the so-called Quad nations.

8

Florida health officials investigating nation's 3rd possible monkeypox case

Health officials in Florida announced Sunday they were investigating a "presumptive" monkeypox case, the third possible U.S. case of the rare virus. The Florida Department of Health in Broward County said this case appears to be related to international travel. The first case was reported in a Massachusetts man who tested positive for monkeypox after visiting Canada. Monkeypox spreads via close contact with an infected individual. Early symptoms usually include fever, chills, exhaustion, headache, and muscle weakness, followed by swollen lymph nodes. President Biden told reporters on Sunday that the cases are something "to be concerned about." National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters the U.S. has a supply of vaccines that can be deployed to treat monkeypox.

9

Fetterman released from hospital after winning Pennsylvania Democratic Senate primary

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) was discharged from Penn Medicine Lancaster General Hospital on Sunday after two weeks of treatment for a stroke he suffered on May 13. Doctors implanted a pacemaker and Fetterman was able to walk out of the hospital. While he was hospitalized, Fetterman won the Pennsylvania Democratic Senate primary, beating Rep. Conor Lamb by a 2-to-1 margin. Fetterman will face the winner of the Republican primary between celebrity physician Mehmet Oz and former hedge fund CEO David McCormick, which remains too close to call and is headed for a likely recount. "I am going to take the time I need now to rest and get to 100 percent so I can go full speed soon and flip this seat blue," Fetterman said in a statement.

10

Justin Thomas wins his 2nd PGA Championship

Justin Thomas, 29, won his second PGA Championship on Sunday, starting the final round seven shots behind leader Mito Pereira then holding off 25-year-old rising star Will Zalatoris in a playoff. Young players continue to dominate golf's older stars: The last four winners of major championships have been in their 20s — Thomas, Scottie Scheffler (the Masters), Collin Morikawa (British Open), and Jon Rahm (U.S. Open champion). Phil Mickelson, who became the oldest major champion last year when he won the event at age 50, decided not to defend the title, and Tiger Woods, 46, withdrew before Sunday's final round after finishing three rounds in last place as he continued his comeback attempt after a devastating car crash 15 months ago.

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