Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: May 31, 2022

Biden calls for "rational" gun control as mass shootings continue, the EU bans most Russian oil imports, and more


At least 8 die in mass shootings over holiday weekend

There were at least 12 mass shootings across the United States over the three-day Memorial Day weekend, The Washington Post reported Monday. The shootings — defined as events with four or more victims shot or killed — left at least eight dead and 55 injured in Colorado Springs, Colorado; Fresno, California; Malabar, Florida; Chicago; Taft, Oklahoma; and elsewhere, according to the Post. President Biden, just back from a trip to console families of the 19 children and two teachers killed in last week's deadly Uvalde, Texas, school shooting, repeated his call for tougher gun-control laws, saying banning assault-style weapons like the one the attacker used in Uvalde, Texas, would be a "rational" place to start.


EU agrees to Russian-oil embargo

European Union leaders agreed Monday to ban most imports of Russian oil. The embargo covers oil delivered by sea, with an exemption for crude transported by pipelines that secured landlocked Hungary's support to win the required unanimity. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the move, intended to punish Russia for invading Ukraine, would "effectively cut around 90 percent of oil imports from Russia to the EU by the end of the year." Europe gets about a quarter of its oil from Russia. U.S. crude futures jumped by more than 3 percent early Tuesday after the agreement was announced. Prices had already surged to a two-month high as China tentatively lifted COVID-19 shutdowns in Shanghai, signaling increased demand.


Funeral visitations begin for Uvalde school shooting victims

Funeral visitations began Monday for the first two of the 19 children killed in the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting. The gathering honoring Amerie Jo Garza, 10, was held at a funeral home across from Robb Elementary School, where a gunman killed the fourth-graders and two teachers. Visitation for Maite Rodriguez, also 10, was held at the town's other funeral home. Funerals for 11 children and teacher Irma Garcia are scheduled this week. "I wouldn't wish this on anyone," said Rolando Rodriguez, whose 10-year-old grandson Jose Manuel Flores Jr. was one of the children killed. Out-of-towners flocked to Uvalde over Memorial Day weekend to pay their respects at makeshift memorials.


Biden calls for remembering fallen soldiers' sacrifices

President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, their spouses, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin marked Memorial Day by attending a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery to honor fallen American service members. Biden, following tradition, laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns, saying he knew life would never be the same for the families of the 7,054 service members who died in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. "Today, we renew our sacred vow … to remember," Biden said. Earlier, Biden and first lady Jill Biden visited the Delaware grave of Biden's son Beau, a veteran and former federal prosecutor, to mark the seventh anniversary of his death from cancer.


Holiday weekend travel jumps but remains below pre-pandemic levels

Travel jumped over the Memorial Day weekend, rebounding from a sharp drop in the last two years during a holiday weekend marking the unofficial start of summer. "We're approaching pre-pandemic numbers," said Andrew Gobeil, a spokesperson for Atlanta's Hartsfield–Jackson International Airport, the world's busiest airport. Los Angeles International Airport expected about 200,000 passengers per day, a 40 percent increase over the 2021 holiday weekend but still down 25 percent compared to 2019. "We're not back to normal here," said Heath Montgomery, an airport spokesperson. More than 39 million Americans are expected to travel at some point over the weekend, one of the busiest travel periods of the year.


NRA leaders re-elect Wayne LaPierre as CEO despite scandals

T​he National Rifle Association announced Monday that its board of directors voted 54-1 to re-elect scandal-plagued Wayne LaPierre as the powerful gun-rights activist group's CEO and executive vice president. The vote came during the NRA's annual meeting, suggesting that the group would not shift direction after recent mass shootings at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and a grocery store in Buffalo, New York. LaPierre faced a challenge from former congressman Lt. Col. Allen West, but West got just one vote. New York Attorney General Letitia James sued in 2020 seeking to disband the NRA over alleged corruption. A judge dismissed James' attempt to break up the group but allowed her to pursue her claims of corruption against James and other NRA leaders.


French journalist killed covering evacuations in Ukraine's Luhansk province

French journalist Frédéric Leclerc-Imhoff was killed Monday while covering the war in Ukraine for BFM TV. Leclerc-Imhoff, the latest of at least 23 journalists killed in Ukraine since Russia attacked in late February, was documenting the evacuation of the besieged city of Severodonetsk, the focus of a brutal Russian offensive in the eastern Luhansk province. French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed Leclerc-Imhoff's death, saying the journalist was killed on a humanitarian bus intended for civilians fleeing the relentless shelling. Luhansk's regional governor, Serhiy Haidai, said on Telegram that Leclerc-Imhoff died after being hit in the neck with grenade shrapnel when an armored evacuation vehicle came under enemy fire on the way to pick up 10 people from the area.


Last of 22 bodies found at Nepal crash site

Search crews recovered 21 bodies Monday from an airplane crash site in the Himalayas before pausing the search due to weather, with one person still missing, Nepal officials said. Workers found the last body and the plane's black box on Tuesday. The Canadian-made De Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft operated by Tara Air went down Sunday in bad weather, crashing in rocky terrain at an elevation of 14,500 feet. There were 19 passengers — 13 Nepalis, four Hindu pilgrims from India, and two German trekkers — and three crew members on board. "No one is alive," said Narendra Shahi, an international mountain guide who participated in the rescue operation. "The plane has crashed into pieces. It's so heartbreaking."


Hurricane Agatha hits Mexico's Pacific coast

Hurricane Agatha hit southern Mexico's Pacific coast on Monday as a powerful Category 2 storm, whipping tourist beaches and fishing towns with 105 mile-per-hour winds and heavy rains. Agatha was the first named storm of the year in the eastern Pacific or Atlantic basins, and the strongest hurricane on record to make landfall in May in the eastern Pacific. Agatha made landfall five miles west of Puerto Angel and pushed northeast. National emergency officials opened more than 200 shelters and mobilized a task force of more than 9,300 people to help the population as forecasters warned of flooding from storm surge and heavy rains.


Canadian government proposes ban on military-style rifles, handgun sales

Canada's government on Monday proposed a ban on handgun sales and possession of "military-style assault weapons." The legislation includes a buyback program to encourage people to comply and hand over banned guns. The moves would add to already strict firearm controls that the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been tightening since a gunman killed 22 people in rural Nova Scotia in 2020, the deadliest shooting rampage in the nation's history. "As a government, as a society, we have a responsibility to act to prevent more tragedies," Trudeau said Monday. "We need only look south of the border to know that if we do not take action, firmly and rapidly, it gets worse and worse and more difficult to counter."


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