Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: May 29, 2022

Biden to visit Uvalde, Ukrainian troops fight to maintain foothold in Luhansk, and more

1

Biden to visit Uvalde: 'we all must be there for them'

President Biden will visit Uvalde, Texas, on Sunday, where he plans to meet with faith leaders, community leaders, and families who lost loved ones in the school shooting that took the lives of 19 students and two teachers on Tuesday. "The president and first lady believe it is important to show their support for the community during this devastating time and to be there for the families of the victims," White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Thursday. Biden said on Wednesday that "[a]s a nation, I think we all must be there for them. Everyone."

2

Ukrainian troops fight to maintain foothold in Luhansk

Russian forces launched an assault on the eastern Ukrainian city of Sievierodonetsk on Sunday, hoping to capture one of the last pockets of Ukrainian-controlled territory in Luhansk Oblast. Luhansk Governor Sergiy Haidai said the Russian shelling was so intense that it was not possible for Ukrainian forces to assess their losses. Sievierodonetsk Mayor Oleksandr Striuk estimated that around 1,500 civilians had been killed. According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the bloody close-quarters battle for Sievierodonetsk shows Russia's desperation to "squeeze at least some result" out of its largely unsuccessful invasion.

3

Harris calls for assault weapons ban at funeral for victim of Buffalo shooting

Vice President Kamala Harris spoke on Saturday at the funeral of 86-year-old Ruth Winfield, one of the 10 people killed when a racially motivated mass shooter armed with an assault rifle opened fire at a Buffalo grocery store on May 14. "Let's have an assault weapons ban," Harris said. She also encouraged listeners not to "allow small people to create fear in our communities." Speaking to reporters later, Harris described the AR-15-style rifle the killer used as a "weapon of war" that has "no place in civil society."

4

Trump backs Cheney challenger at Wyoming rally

Former President Donald Trump held a rally in Wyoming on Saturday to boost Harriet Hageman, who is challenging anti-Trump Rep. Liz Cheney in August's Republican primary. Trump said that Cheney, one of two Republicans serving on the committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, has "gone crazy." Trump also denounced Cheney and her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, as "warmongers" and "diehard globalists" who "have been plunging us into new conflicts for decades."

5

Tensions flare in Jerusalem ahead of Israeli nationalist march

Israeli police clashed with Palestinian protesters at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque on Sunday as tensions built ahead of an annual Israeli nationalist march through the Old City. The flag-waving procession commemorates Israel's capture of Jerusalem's Old City during the 1967 Six-Day War. Police reportedly locked some Palestinians inside a mosque on the Temple Mount as Jewish visitors arrived for daily tours. The Palestinians hurled rocks and shot fireworks at Israeli police, who threw stun grenades in response. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett rejected calls for the parade to be postponed or relocated in order to reduce tensions.  

6

Democratic governors push new gun control legislation

With new gun control legislation unlikely to pass at the federal level, Democratic Govs. Phil Murphy of New Jersey, Kathy Hochul of New York, and Gavin Newsom of California have all proposed tougher firearms restrictions. Murphy has urged state legislators to raise the minimum age for purchasing long guns from 18 to 21 and to pass a bill exposing gun manufacturers to civil lawsuits. Hochul wants to make it illegal for anyone under 21 to purchase an AR-15-style rifle. In California, one bill would restrict the marketing of firearms to minors while another would allow victims of gun violence to sue gun makers and sellers.

7

Ukrainian church with ties to Russia expresses 'disagreement' with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow

A council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Moscow Patriarchate issued a series of resolutions on Friday in which the church expressed "disagreement with the position of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia regarding the war in Ukraine." Kirill has been a staunch supporter of the war. Archpriest Nikolai Danilevich, the deputy head of the UOC-MP's Department for External Church Relations, said the church had removed "All references to the connection of the UOC with the Russian Orthodox Church" from its statutes. Despite the apparent rebuke, Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev of the ROC wrote that "unity" between the two churches had been "preserved."

8

Report: Uvalde shooter frequently made online threats

Salvador Ramos, who allegedly murdered 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday before being killed by law enforcement, frequently made violent threats during online interactions, according to an investigation by The Washington Post. The Post "reviewed videos, posts and text messages sent by Ramos and spoke with four young people who'd talked with him online, who spoke on the condition of anonymity." In one video posted in a chatroom on the streaming and social networking app Yubo, Ramos can be heard saying, "Everyone in this world deserves to get raped." Users reported that Ramos frequently threatened girls with sexual assault and talked about "shooting up schools."

9

Russian ambassador to the U.K. says reports of war crimes are 'a fabrication'

Russian ambassador to the United Kingdom Andrei Kelin dismissed reports that Russian forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine as "a fabrication" during an interview with journalist Clive Myrie that aired Sunday on BBC. Kelin also said his country will not use tactical nuclear weapons against Ukraine. "We have very strict provision on the issues of the use of tactical nuclear weapon, and it is mainly when the existence of the state is endangered," Kelin said, adding that Russia can achieve its objectives in Ukraine with a "limited conventional operation."

10

Shanghai to ease COVID lockdowns

Shanghai's vice mayor said Sunday that "unreasonable" COVID restrictions on businesses will be removed on June 1, allowing the city of 25 million to move back toward normalcy after a harsh two-month lockdown that led to widespread mental health issues and made it difficult for residents to obtain food and other basic necessities. The city will also reduce taxes on car purchases, expedite approvals of construction projects, and speed up the issuance of government bonds in order to boost the local economy. "We will fully support and organize the resumption of work and production of enterprises in various industries and fields," Shanghai Vice Mayor Wu Qing told reporters.

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