Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: May 8, 2022

Up to 60 feared dead after Russia bombed Ukrainian school, NYC subway shooting suspect indicted on terrorism charge, and more

1

Up to 60 feared dead after Russia bombed Ukrainian school, local governor says

As many as 60 people may have been killed when Russian forces bombed a Ukrainian school, the local governor said Sunday. The school, located in Bilohorivka in the Russian-claimed Luhansk Oblast, was reportedly bombed on Saturday afternoon as around 90 people took shelter inside. "The fire was extinguished after nearly four hours, then the rubble was cleared, and, unfortunately, the bodies of two people were found," Governor Serhiy Gaidai wrote on Telegram. The full death toll will not be known until the rubble is cleared. As of Sunday morning, 30 people had been rescued.

2

NYC subway shooting suspect indicted on terrorism charge

Frank James, who allegedly shot 10 people in a New York City subway platform last month, has been indicted on two federal charges: committing a terrorist attack on a public transit system and discharging a firearm while committing a violent crime. Federal law considers violent attacks against mass transit to be inherently terroristic, meaning prosecutors will not need to prove a particular ideological motive. James could face life in prison for either charge. On his social media accounts, James said he struggled with mental health, criticized Mayor Eric Adams' plan to expand the presence of mental health professionals on the subway, and asked "black Jesus" to "kill all the whiteys."

3

Muslim women in Afghanistan must wear head-to-toe coverings in public, Taliban orders

The Taliban government of Afghanistan announced Saturday that Muslim women would be required to wear head-to-toe coverings in public. "This is not a restriction on women but an order of the Quran," said Akif Muhajir, a spokesperson for the Taliban's Ministry of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice. The new rule only allows a woman's eyes to be exposed, meaning women must either wear a burqa or combine a veil and headscarf with a long robe called an abaya. Punishments for breaking the rule will be inflicted not on the women, but on their male guardians. Observers note that the Taliban's treatment of women could make it more difficult to secure badly needed foreign aid.

4

Abbott is 'attacking the people of Texas,' O'Rourke says after Houston abortion rights rally

Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke attended a large rally in Houston on Saturday to protest the Supreme Court's draft decision that would overturn the constitutional right to an abortion. Thousands of people gathered at Discovery Green, a park in downtown Houston. Speaking to journalists after the rally, O'Rourke accused Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), who is running for a third term and supports the state's near-total ban on abortion, of "attacking the people of Texas" and ignoring the will of "the vast majority of Texans" who "want to protect the right of every woman to make her own health care decisions."

5

Nationalist party Sinn Fein wins in Northern Ireland

Sinn Fein on Saturday secured a plurality of seats in Northern Ireland's legislative assembly, becoming the first Irish nationalist party to do so. The party, which originated as the political wing of the Irish Republican Army, took 27 of the assembly's 90 seats with the Democratic Unionist Party — which supports remaining with the United Kingdom — in second place with 24. Sinn Fein plans to appoint party leader Michelle O'Neill as first minister and has no plans to take immediate steps toward unifying Ireland. In 2019, O'Neill said that the U.K.'s departure from the European Union would lead to Irish unification "within a generation" and that the "genie is out of the bottle on Irish unity."

6

At least 32 dead and 19 still missing after Havana hotel explosion, Red Cross official says

Workers spent Saturday night searching for survivors amid the rubble of Cuba's Hotel Saratoga after an explosion ripped through the Havana landmark on Friday. Dr. Julio Guerra Izquierdo, an official from Cuba's health ministry, said Saturday night that at least 27 people had been killed, while Gloria Bonnin of the Red Cross told state media the death toll was at least 32 and said 19 people were still missing. Izquierdo added that 81 people were injured and that among the dead were four children and a pregnant woman. Authorities say the explosion was caused by a gas leak.

7

Harris warns graduates of 'unsettled' world in commencement speech at HBCU

Vice President Kamala Harris delivered the commencement address at Tennessee State University, a historically Black school, on Saturday. She told graduates that the "world that you graduate into is unsettled" and that "long-established principles now rest on shaky ground." As examples, she cited the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the likely overturning of Roe v. Wade (1973), and the spread of online misinformation. She also praised graduates for persevering in their education during the COVID-19 pandemic and told them "there is no limit to your capacity for greatness."

8

Security official who led crackdown on protesters wins rigged Hong Kong election

John Lee, Beijing's chosen candidate to replace Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, was elected to office on Sunday with more than 99 percent of the vote following an election in which he was the only candidate. Votes were cast by a 1,500-member committee, the members of which were carefully vetted by China's central government. As a high-ranking security official, Lee led the crackdown against pro-democracy protesters in 2019 as the Chinese Communist Party sought to bring Hong Kong, which had continued to enjoy relative autonomy and Western-style freedoms since rejoining China in 1997, under direct control.

9

Rich Strike beats 80-1 odds to win Kentucky Derby

Rich Strike won the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, beating 80-1 odds to pull off the biggest upset since 1913. Rich Strike almost didn't compete at all and was entered into the race only after another horse was "scratched out" — removed from competition due to signs of unsound condition — on Friday. Epicenter and Zandon finished second and third, respectively. Former President Donald Trump attended the race, where a super PAC supporting him was throwing a $75,000-a-head political fundraiser. Trump's appearance on the big screen overlooking the track was greeted with cheers, boos, and a brief "U.S.A." chant.

10

Benedict Cumberbatch mocks Alito's medieval mindset in new SNL cold open

Benedict Cumberbatch appeared as a 13th-century courtier in Saturday Night Live's most recent cold open, mocking Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito for quoting a medieval treatise to illustrate the history of abortion in English common law in his draft ruling overturning Roe v. Wade. After several jokes on the theme that old ideas are inherently ridiculous and wrong, Cumberbatch suggested punishing a woman who had an abortion by "put[ting] her in a boat and let[ting] her sail off the cliff at the edge of the world." When a second courtier suggested exceptions for rape and incest, a third objected that "those are the only kinds of sex."

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