10 things you need to know today: May 1, 2023
Ukraine strikes oil depot in occupied Crimea, JPMorgan Chase buys struggling First Republic, and more
Ukraine strikes oil depot in Crimea in counteroffensive preparation
A drone attack that started a massive fire at an oil depot in Russian-occupied Crimea is part of Ukraine's preparations for "the broad, full-scale offensive that everyone expects," Natalia Humeniuk, a spokeswoman for Ukraine's military, said Sunday. The attack took place Saturday in Sevastopol, a port city where the Russian Navy's Black Sea Fleet is based. Humeniuk said it was important for Ukraine to damage Russia's logistical capacity before the counteroffensive gets fully underway. Russia responded with strikes against Pavlograd deep in Ukrainian territory in the central Dnipropetrovsk region.
FDIC seizes First Republic, sells it to JPMorgan Chase
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation early Monday took control of troubled First Republic Bank and accepted JPMorgan Chase's bid to buy it. Several financial institutions, including PNC Financial Services Group, put in bids before a Sunday deadline in an auction held by the FDIC, the independent agency that insures bank-customer deposits. The sale came after First Republic shares plummeted from $122.50 on March 1 to about $3 per share at the close of trading on Friday. First Republic's assets took a beating as interest rates rose, and its financial situation worsened as customers withdrew deposits after two other mid-size lenders collapsed last month. The FDIC announced the deal hours before markets opened.
Erdogan: Turkish intelligence forces killed ISIS leader in Syria
Turkish intelligence forces killed Islamic State leader Abu Hussein al-Qurayshi in a raid in Syria over the weekend, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday. "This individual was neutralized as part of an operation by the Turkish national intelligence organization in Syria yesterday," Erdogan told broadcaster TRT Turk in an interview. Syrian sources told Britain's Guardian newspaper that the operation was conducted in Jandaris, a town in northern Syria controlled by Turkey-backed rebel groups. The previous ISIS leader, Abu al-Hassan al-Hashemi al-Qurayshi, was killed in October by the Free Syrian Army rebel coalition, according to the U.S. The ISIS leader before that, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, killed himself and his family as U.S. forces surrounded him in February 2022.
Vigilantes strike back against Haiti gangs
Vigilantes have killed dozens of gang members in Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, in an outburst of violence that started last week. Armed civilians have shot and hacked at known criminals with machetes, dragging their bodies into streets and burning them with flaming tires. Gangs have taken over 80 percent of the capital, according to the United Nations, kidnapping people for ransom and bringing businesses in many neighborhoods to a halt as residents waited in vain for police to regain control. "We're already dead, so we might as well die fighting," one resident in the Turgeau neighborhood told human rights activist Vélina Élysée Charlier.
2nd U.S.-run convoy in 2 days gets Americans out of Sudan
The U.S. government organized a second convoy in as many days to transport U.S. citizens to Port Sudan to escape the conflict in Sudan, where rival military factions are fighting for control in the capital, Khartoum. "We are assisting U.S. citizens and others who are eligible with onward travel to Jeddah, where additional personnel are ready to assist with consular and emergency services," State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said Sunday in a statement posted on Twitter. The violence, which broke out in early April between the army and Rapid Support Forces paramilitary force, has killed hundreds of people, including two Americans.
Paraguay's Colorado Party continues domination in national elections
Santiago Peña, the presidential candidate of Paraguay's long-governing Colorado Party, kept his conservative party on top with a dominant finish in Sunday's elections, despite a leftward shift across Latin America in recent years. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Peña, a conservative economist, had 43 percent of the vote, with his closest challenger, Pact for a New Paraguay candidate Efrain Alegre, trailing far behind with 27 percent. The Colorado Party also held on in congressional elections, winning majorities in the Senate and the lower house. Outgoing President Mario Abdo Benítez called Peña "president-elect." If his victory is officially confirmed, Peña will become president on Aug. 15.
Stephen Curry sets Game 7 scoring record as Golden State advances in NBA playoffs
Stephen Curry scored 50 points to lead the Golden State Warriors to a 120-100 victory against the Sacramento Kings in Game 7 of the NBA Western Conference quarterfinal on Sunday night. Curry's point total set a Game 7 record. "There is a reason he is a two-time MVP, a Finals MVP, because he pushes us over the top in moments like this," teammate Klay Thompson said. "When he's in the zone like that, you try to just get him in his spots, get him the ball, and get out of the way. This is a Game 7 I will forever remember as the Steph Curry game." The Warriors advance to the conference semifinal against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Report: China releasing citizen journalist who posted pandemic info
Chinese authorities on Sunday were scheduled to release Fang Bin, a so-called citizen journalist who disappeared three years ago after spreading videos online showing crowded hospitals and bodies early in the COVID-19 outbreak in the country, The Associated Press reported, citing a relative and another person familiar with his case. The AP couldn't immediately confirm that he had been freed. Fang Bin and other citizen journalists helped expose conditions in China in early 2020, embarrassing Chinese officials and prompting criticism of Beijing's early response. Fang's case was part of a government crackdown on complaints about Beijing's handling of the pandemic.
Pope Francis urges Hungarian people to welcome migrants
Pope Francis on Sunday urged Hungary to offer "open doors" to migrants. The plea came during an open-air mass in the capital, Budapest, as Francis ended a visit to the country, which is currently run by a nationalist and anti-immigration government. Prime Minister Viktor Orban was among the 100,000 people present for the service. The pontiff said it is "sad and painful" when people seeking refuge are turned away because they are "unlike us." Francis, 86, also prayed for the "beleaguered Ukrainian people and the Russian people" and for "a future of hope, not war."
Super Mario Bros. Movie surpasses $1 billion worldwide
The Super Mario Bros. Movie has become the first 2023 film to surpass $1 billion in ticket sales at the worldwide box office. As of Sunday, it had brought in $490 million in North America and $532 million internationally. In 26 days since its release, the animated film became the fifth movie since the start of the pandemic to reach the billion-dollar landmark, after Spider-Man: No Way Home, Top Gun: Maverick, Jurassic World Dominion, and Avatar: The Way of Water. It's also the first animated film since before the pandemic to join the $1 billion club, and one of the most successful animated films in history.