- 1. Abortion rights protests kick off planned 'summer of rage'
- 2. Ukraine 'appears to have won the Battle of Kharkiv,' think tank says
- 3. Child abuse investigations into parents of trans kids can resume, Texas court rules
- 4. Mike Pence backs incumbent GA governor against Trump-endorsed challenger
- 5. Elon Musk says he's 'still committed' to buying Twitter but deal is now 'temporarily on hold'
- 6. Jen Psaki delivers final press briefing before leaving to join MSNBC
- 7. Draft decision leak shattered trust on the Supreme Court, Clarence Thomas says
- 8. Erdoğan: Turkey does not support Finland, Sweden joining NATO
- 9. Stocks rally Friday after midweek dip
- 10. Brittney Griner's detention in Russia extended for another month
1. Abortion rights protests kick off planned 'summer of rage'
Organizers of nationwide abortion rights protests said they expect hundreds of thousands of people to show up on Saturday at events in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and other major cities. Abortion rights groups have reportedly organized more than 300 "Bans off Our Bodies" marches to protest the leaked draft Supreme Court decision that would overturn Roe v. Wade (1973). "For the women of this country, this will be a summer of rage. We will be ungovernable until this government starts working for us, until the attacks on our bodies let up, until the right to an abortion is codified into law," Women's March President Rachel Carmona said.
2. Ukraine 'appears to have won the Battle of Kharkiv,' think tank says
A Ukrainian counteroffensive seems to have driven Russian forces back from Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city. A senior U.S. defense official told reporters Friday that Ukraine had reclaimed towns and villages in the vicinity of Kharkiv. The U.S.-based Institute for the Study of War said that Ukraine "appears to have won the Battle of Kharkiv" and that Russian high command has "likely decided to withdraw fully" due to Ukrainian counterattacks and the "limited availability of reinforcements."
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3. Child abuse investigations into parents of trans kids can resume, Texas court rules
The Texas Supreme Court unanimously ruled Friday that child abuse investigations into the parents of transgender children can continue, but that the governor and attorney general cannot directly order such investigations. The ruling came after Gov. Greg Abbott (R) ordered the state's Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate the family of a 16-year-old transgender girl identified as "Mary Doe." Abbott had called on state officials to consider medically accepted treatments for transgender youth — such as hormones, puberty suppressants, and gender-affirming surgery — as potential abuse in cases involving minors. Mary Doe's family filed a lawsuit when investigators began requesting medical records related to their daughter's treatment.
4. Mike Pence backs incumbent GA governor against Trump-endorsed challenger
In his latest break with former President Donald Trump, former Vice President Mike Pence will rally with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) a day before the state's May 24 primary. Kemp, who is up for re-election, is being challenged by the Trump-backed former Sen. David Perdue (R), who ran for Senate and lost in 2020. Catherine Davis, Kandiss Taylor, and Tom Williams are also vying for Kemp's spot. "Brian Kemp is one of the most successful conservative governors in America," Pence said in a statement, calling Kemp a "friend" and "a man dedicated to faith, family, and the people of Georgia."
5. Elon Musk says he's 'still committed' to buying Twitter but deal is now 'temporarily on hold'
Elon Musk's deal to buy Twitter is now on hold, according to the Tesla CEO. On Friday, Musk tweeted that his planned purchase on Twitter is "temporarily on hold pending details supporting" a calculation that spam and fake accounts represent less than five percent of users on the platform. Twitter's stock quickly took a hit after Musk's announcement, which he followed up by saying he is "still committed" to the acquisition. Last month, Musk said that spambots were the "single most annoying problem on Twitter." The social media company in April accepted Musk's offer to purchase it for about $44 billion, $54.20 per share, but the deal hasn't officially been completed.
6. Jen Psaki delivers final press briefing before leaving to join MSNBC
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki shed tears on Friday as she delivered her final press briefing before leaving to join MSNBC. During her farewell, Psaki said she first met President Biden and first lady Jill Biden after the 2020 election. "[W]hat we talked about for the majority of our conversation was the importance of returning integrity, respect, and civility to the White House," she said. She also warned her successor, Karine Jean-Pierre, that the job of press secretary "can be repetitive" and advised her to "always provide the context and all the details because you never want to be a meme with one line."
7. Draft decision leak shattered trust on the Supreme Court, Clarence Thomas says
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said Friday that the leak of a draft decision that would overturn Roe v. Wade (1973) was "tremendously bad" and had damaged the atmosphere of trust on the Supreme Court. "The institution that I'm a part of, if someone said that one line of one opinion would be leaked by anyone, you'd say, 'Oh, that's impossible. No one would ever do that,'" Thomas said at a conference in Dallas hosted by the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute. Thomas cited the close friendship between ideologically opposed Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsberg as an example of the "family" the court once resembled. "This is not the court of that era," he added.
8. Erdoğan: Turkey does not support Finland, Sweden joining NATO
The government of Turkey does not support Finland and Sweden joining NATO, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Friday. "We are following the developments regarding Sweden and Finland, but we are not of a favorable opinion," Erdoğan said in Instanbul. "Scandinavian countries are guesthouses for terrorist organizations," he added. Erdoğan's comments throw a potentially huge wrench in both Finland and Sweden's possible membership, considering all 30 NATO allies must approve a candidate country's application. Sweden has not yet made final its intention to apply, though a decision is expected soon. Finland announced its plans to move forward with accession on Thursday.
9. Stocks rally Friday after midweek dip
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose over 450 points, around 1.5 percent, on Friday, rallying after a drop of almost 900 points on Wednesday and Thursday. The Nasdaq and S&P 500 experienced similar reprieves, jumping 3.8 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively, on Friday. Cryptocurrency values fell after a pair of so-called "stablecoins" — TerraUSD and Luna — collapsed, a development that could temper venture capitalists' enthusiasm for crypto.
10. Brittney Griner's detention in Russia extended for another month
Brittney Griner's detention in Russia has been extended once again. The WNBA star's lawyer said Friday that her pre-trial detention has been extended by one month following a hearing in Moscow. The attorney, Alexander Boykov, said this extension suggested the case may soon go to trial. A court most recently extended Griner's detention another two months in March. Boykov also said Friday the court denied an appeal to transfer Griner to house arrest. In February, Griner was detained at the airport in Russia after cannabis vape cartridges were allegedly found in her suitcase. The United States recently classified her as being "wrongfully detained."
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