Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: May 26, 2022

Texas governor says attacker sent Facebook messages before school shooting, community holds vigil for Uvalde victims, and more

1

Governor: Texas gunman posted on Facebook he would attack school

The gunman who killed 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday posted private Facebook messages shortly before the attack, vowing to "shoot an elementary school," Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said. The 18-year-old shooter also texted a teenage girl in Germany about his plans. He was killed by Border Patrol agents after an hour-long standoff at the school. Witnesses said the gunman shot and wounded his grandmother, fled, and crashed his car near the school. He shot and wounded two police officers, rushed inside, then barricaded himself in a fourth-grade classroom with a semi-automatic AR-15-style rifle "and just started shooting children and teachers," Lt. Christopher Olivarez of the Department of Public Safety told CNN.

2

Community holds vigil for victims of Texas school shooting

More than 1,000 people packed into the Uvalde County Fairplex in southern Texas on Wednesday to mourn the 19 children and two teachers killed Tuesday by a gunman with a semi-automatic rifle. "We're gonna get through this, but it's not going to be easy," said Carlos Contreras, minister at the Primera Iglesia Bautista church. Authorities and relatives said the dead included 4th graders and a teaching team credited with shielding students. Felix and Kimberly Rubio said they saw their daughter Lexi, 10, receive A-honor-roll and citizenship awards at a ceremony hours before the shooting. "We told her we loved her and would pick her up after school," Kimberly Rubio wrote on Facebook. "We had no idea this was goodbye."

3

Witnesses told Jan. 6 panel Trump reacted approvingly to 'Hang Mike Pence!' chants

Witnesses have told the Jan. 6 committee that then-President Donald Trump reacted with approval when rioters attacking the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, started chanting "Hang Mike Pence!" According to one account, then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows left the dining room off the Oval Office and told colleagues Trump had complained that Pence, whom Trump criticized for refusing to reverse the election result, had been moved to a safe location. A member of Meadows' legal team told Politico the account was "totally incorrect regarding Meadows." Trump spokesperson Taylor Budowich said the Jan. 6 committee's "'leaks,' anonymous testimony, and willingness to alter evidence proves it's just an extension of the Democrat smear campaign" against Trump.

4

Russian lawmakers remove maximum age for military service

Russian lawmakers on Wednesday rushed through a law eliminating the upper age limit for contractual military service. The State Duma, or lower house, passed the bill on three readings in a single session. The upper house, the Federation Council, promptly approved the bill, sending it to President Vladimir Putin for his signature. The move comes as Russian forces suffer heavy casualties in Ukraine, which Russia invaded three months ago. Until the change becomes official, only Russians aged 18 to 40 and foreigners aged 18 to 30 can enlist as professional Russian soldiers. The bill's authors said the change would help attract medical personnel, engineers, and other specialists with "required skills."

5

Pennsylvania orders recount in GOP Senate primary

Pennsylvania acting Secretary of State Leigh Chapman on Wednesday officially announced a recount in the state's Republican primary for a U.S. Senate seat. Celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz, backed by former President Donald Trump, leads former hedge fund manager David McCormick by 902 votes, or 0.1 percentage points. State law calls for a recount any time two candidates are within 0.5 percentage points. The announcement came after a tense week in which McCormick's campaign sued to count ballots mailed in without a written date on the envelopes, as required, as long as they were received before Election Day. Oz, with backing from state and national Republican leaders, says the ballots should be rejected.

6

Fed minutes point to more rate hikes to tame inflation  

Federal Reserve officials said in their policy meeting earlier this month that they might have to raise interest rates high enough to weaken the economy to accomplish their goal of bringing inflation down from a four-decade high, according to minutes of the meeting released Wednesday. Policymakers said they could "assess the effects" of rapid rate hikes after several months, and slow the pace of the increases, depending on the state of the economy. During the May 3-4 meeting, the Fed raised its benchmark short-term interest rate by a half-point, instead of the usual quarter-point shift. Most of the central bank's leaders said further half-point hikes "would likely be appropriate" at June and July meetings.

7

Study: Coronavirus vaccines offer limited help against long COVID

Coronavirus vaccines may provide only limited protection against long COVID, according to a new paper published Wednesday in Nature Medicine. Six months after an initial COVID-19 diagnosis, vaccinated patients were 15 percent less likely than unvaccinated people to get long COVID, which the CDC says affects 1 in 5 adult U.S. COVID survivors. The research showed that vaccination reduced the risk of lung and blood clot disorders, but not other symptoms. "This was disappointing," said lead author Ziyad Al-Aly, chief of research and development service at VA Saint Louis Health Care System. "I was hoping to see that vaccines offer more protection." The data confirmed that vaccination significantly reduced the risk of serious illness and death, though.

8

Internal report blames Boris Johnson, other leaders for lockdown parties

An internal investigation released Wednesday blamed British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other government leaders for parties with "excessive alcohol consumption" that occurred in and around Johnson's Downing Street offices in violation of strict coronavirus lockdown rules set by his government. Senior civil servant Sue Gray's long-anticipated report described stark differences between the work and play habits of people in Johnson's government versus ordinary Britons, who stayed home during the 2020 and 2021 lockdowns, unable to visit people in nursing homes or attend funerals. "The senior leadership at the center, both political and official, must bear responsibility for this culture," the report said.

9

CBO warns inflation will remain high through 2022

High inflation could ease but will likely remain uncomfortably high for the rest of 2022, the Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday. The nonpartisan agency forecasts that the consumer price index will rise 6.1 percent for the entire year, down from a current four-decade high of 8.3 percent. The CBO said the rate would slow to 3.1 percent in 2023, still above the 2.3 percent long-term baseline, and wouldn't fall to targeted levels until 2024. "People's desire to consume more goods than businesses can produce is leading to a rise in prices," said Adam Ozimek, chief economist at the Economic Innovation Group.

10

Ex-reality TV star Josh Duggar sentenced to 12 years on child pornography charges

A judge in Arkansas on Wednesday sentenced former reality TV star Josh Duggar, 34, to more than 12 years in prison for his convictions on federal child pornography charges. Duggar, who appeared on TLC's 19 Kids and Counting, was arrested in 2021 and accused of downloading photos and videos of sexual child abuse. His legal team had requested a five-year sentence. Prosecutors had asked for 20 years. "While this is not the sentence we asked for, this is a lengthy sentence," U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes said Wednesday. Duggar's parents, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, who appeared with their 19 children in the TV series from 2008 to 2015, said they will "never stop praying for Joshua, and loving him."

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