10 things you need to know today: May 25, 2022
A gunman kills 19 students and 2 adults at Texas elementary school, Kemp and Raffensperger beat Trump-backed Georgia rivals, and more
Gunman kills 19 students, 2 adults at Texas elementary school
A gunman killed at least 19 students and two adults at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday, in the deadliest elementary-school shooting in Texas history. Police identified the attacker, who was killed in a shootout with law enforcement officers, as Salvador Ramos, 18. Investigators said Ramos shot and wounded his grandmother and fled in a car that crashed outside the school. Armed with two rifles, he allegedly entered the school of about 600 2nd- to 4th-graders and opened fire. Ambulances rushed several wounded people to hospitals. President Biden offered assistance to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, and renewed a call for gun reform. "Why are we willing to live with this carnage?" Biden asked.
Kemp, Raffensperger beat Trump-endorsed rivals in Georgia GOP primaries
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger won Republican primaries in Georgia, one of five states that held primaries on Tuesday. Both beat challengers backed by former President Donald Trump, who tried to thwart their reelection bids because they refused to help him overturn his 2020 election loss to President Biden in the state. Kemp trounced former Sen. David Perdue and will face Stacey Abrams, who ran unopposed in the Democratic primary, in a rematch of a 2018 race Kemp narrowly won. Raffensperger beat Trump-endorsed Rep. Jody Hice. "Even in the middle of a tough primary, conservatives across our state didn't listen to the noise," Kemp said.
NATO calls Russia's Ukraine invasion a 'big strategic mistake'
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told participants at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Tuesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin had "made a big strategic mistake" by ordering his military to invade Ukraine. Tuesday marked three months of fighting, with no immediate hope for peace. Russia has suffered huge losses and abandoned an attempt to seize the capital, Kyiv. It is now focusing on expanding areas in eastern Ukraine that pro-Russian separatists controlled before the war. Russia intensified its offensive in the Donbas region, and tried to surround Ukrainian fighters in Severodonetsk, Lysychansk, and Rubizhne. Russian forces are bombarding Severodonetsk mercilessly, local commanders report. If Russia captures the city, it will control the Luhansk region, Britain's Foreign Ministry said.
University of California to pay record settlement in sexual abuse case
The University of California system agreed Tuesday to pay another $374.4 million to settle lawsuits filed by hundreds of women who accused a former UCLA gynecologist of sexual assault. The agreement covers 312 former patients who say the doctor, James Heaps, abused them during what were supposed to be medical examinations between 1983 and 2018. The latest settlement brings the total payouts in cases involving Heaps to nearly $700 million, the most ever paid by a public university to settle sexual abuse allegations. Heaps specialized in cancer treatment. Some of the plaintiffs were cancer patients. A few had late-stage, terminal cancers. One died before a Los Angeles Superior Court judge approved the settlement.
Biden expected to sign police reform executive order
President Biden on Wednesday is expected to sign an executive order to reform federal policing, two years after the death of George Floyd. Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer who pinned him to the ground for nine minutes, restricting his breathing. Biden will direct federal agencies to revise their use-of-force policies and create a database of officers fired for misconduct. He will also restrict the transfer of most military equipment to police agencies, The New York Times reported. The White House started working on the order last year when police reform failed in the Senate. A leaked draft reportedly drew an angry reaction from policing groups, but the White House made the final version more centrist.
Iraqi national arrested in alleged plot against Bush
Federal law enforcement agents on Tuesday arrested an Iraqi national, Shihab Ahmed Shihab Shihab, on charges connected to an alleged plot to assassinate former President George W. Bush, the Justice Department announced. Shihab, who lives in Columbus, Ohio, was accused of planning to help smuggle four Iraqis into the United States. According to court documents, he also drove through Bush's Dallas neighborhood doing reconnaissance. Bush's chief of staff, Freddy Ford, said in a statement that the former president "has all the confidence in the world in the United States Secret Service and our law enforcement and intelligence communities." The FBI learned of the alleged plot from confidential informants, and there was no indication Bush was ever in danger.
NOAA predicts 7th straight unusually active hurricane season
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warned Tuesday that the looming Atlantic hurricane season will likely be unusually active. The agency's annual hurricane season outlook predicted 14 to 21 named storms, with six to 10 reaching hurricane strength. Three to six could become major hurricanes, Category 3 or greater. This would be the seventh straight year of above-average activity. The last two seasons used up the list of 21 storm names, an unprecedented burst of activity. The 2020 season was the most active Atlantic hurricane season on record. This year's forecast is based on increasing Atlantic and Caribbean temperatures, plus a La Niña event bringing cooler waters to the tropical Pacific.
U.S. births edge higher after pandemic plummet
U.S. births increased by 1 percent last year compared with 2020, although there were still fewer births than in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic hit, according to a government report released Tuesday. There were nearly 3.7 million births reported in the U.S. last year, up from 3.6 million the year before but 86,000 fewer than in 2019. U.S. births were falling for more than a decade before the coronavirus crisis started. Officials speculated that last year's rise was partly due to couples who had delayed trying to get pregnant early in the pandemic. Deliveries were extremely low in January but picked up later in the year, said Brady Hamilton of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Airbnb halts rentals in China
Airbnb will stop offering homes and experiences inside China and instead focus on helping Chinese tourists find accommodations in other countries, an Airbnb official said Tuesday. The announcement also confirmed a Monday report by CNBC that Airbnb would maintain an office in Beijing with hundreds of employees. San Francisco-based Airbnb launched operations in China in 2016 but has faced increasing domestic competition. The company also saw a sharp drop in bookings due to China's strict COVID-19 lockdowns, which are still affecting many cities. Other foreign internet companies such as Yahoo and eBay previously withdrew from China due to the dual challenges of local rivals and government regulations.
MSNBC hires Jen Psaki
Former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has joined MSNBC, where she will appear on cable and streaming programs and host her own show, the network said Tuesday. Psaki's program, scheduled to launch in early 2023, will "bring together her unique perspective from behind the podium and her deep experience in the highest levels of government and presidential politics," MSNBC said. "Breaking down the facts and getting to the bottom of what's driving the issues that matter most to people in this country has never been more important," Psaki tweeted. Psaki, who served in the White House for President Biden's first 16 months in office, is also expected to participate in NBC and MSNBC coverage of the midterms and the 2024 presidential election.