Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: May 14, 2023

Ceasefire appears to hold between Israel and Gaza militants, Turkey heads to the polls with Erdogan looking to stay in power, and more


Ceasefire appears to hold between Israel and Gaza militants

A tense ceasefire between Israeli forces and militants from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) appeared to hold Sunday, at least for the most part. The truce comes following a series of rocket attacks from the PIJ-held Gaza Strip late Saturday night, causing Israel to launch a counterattack. The temporary peace agreement, which was brokered by Egypt, was penned after five days of deadly fighting between the two sides, with PIJ forces reportedly launching over 1,200 rockets into Israel and Israel retaliating with numerous strikes of their own. However, how long the truce will last remains to be seen, as roads were reportedly closed near the Gaza border for fear of possible landmines. 


Turkey heads to the polls with Erdogan looking to stay in power

Turkey held presidential and parliamentary elections on Sunday, in a fight at the ballot box that could potentially unseat Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after 20 years in power. Having served as prime minister from 2003 to 2014 and president since then, Turkey's autocratic strongman will likely face his biggest challenge yet, with polls showing many Turks are becoming disillusioned with Erdogan. His government's handling of a devastating earthquake this past February may have solidified the turn against him. Erdogan's main opponent, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, has received backing from a coalition of six opposition parties looking to unseat the president, who has pledged a peaceful transition of power if he loses. 


U.S. at high risk of default in early June, CBO says

The United States is at a "significant risk" of defaulting on its debts in the first two weeks of June, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said in a new report. This is likely to occur, the CBO said, unless Congress and the White House are able to reach a deal to raise the debt ceiling by June 1, though both sides still seem far apart. Republicans and Democrats have been deadlocked for months, with the GOP demanding spending cuts that President Biden has vehemently opposed. The early June warning is a ramp-up from prior CBO estimations, which reported that the U.S. would not run out of funds in the Treasury until July at the earliest. 


North Carolina governor vetoes anti-abortion legislation

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) on Saturday vetoed a bill that would restrict abortions in his state beyond the first trimester, which would essentially ban most abortions in North Carolina. Cooper lambasted the legislation as a "complicated and confusing monster bill." Cooper's veto sets up a likely confrontation with the North Carolina state legislature, which has a GOP supermajority that the governor said "took only took 48 hours to turn the clock back 50 years on women's health...let's be clear: This bill has nothing to do with making women safer and everything to do with banning abortion." An override attempt in the legislature is likely to begin in the coming days. 


Migrants reportedly encouraged to cross border before Title 42 ended

Migrants in El Paso, Texas, were encouraged by an online whisper network in Mexico to cross the U.S. border before Title 42 ended, NBC News reported Saturday. The U.S. code, which restricted immigration on the basis of national health, was lifted this past week, resulting in an influx of migrants at the border. However, just 6,200 migrants crossed illegally into the U.S. on Friday, Border Patrol said, in comparison to the 21,000 that crossed the prior three days. This is possibly due to a rumor mill in Juárez, Mexico, urging as many people to get into the United States as possible before Title 42 ended, NBC said. After that, the mill noted that entering the U.S. would be very difficult. 


Unusually early heatwave sends temperatures soaring in Pacific Northwest

An unusually early heatwave sent temperatures skyrocketing throughout the Pacific Northwest this weekend, with scorching weather in the region that is not typically seen until deep into the summer. Temperatures in Seattle are expected to reach 90 degrees on Sunday, only the seventh time since 1948 that this has occurred in May — and they have never come this early in the month. Portland and other nearby cities are expected to see similar scorchers, and parts of Western Oregon, Washington, and northern California were all under heat advisories. The blazing heat could also provide fuel to numerous wildfires that are burning in the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia.


Thai elections could represent turning point for fractious country

Polls closed in Thailand after a general election on Sunday, where the country's ruling military powers could be ousted from their positions amidst a push for a more stable government. This was only the second democratically held election in the country since 2014, during which Thailand's conservative, military-backed group took control. Since then, tensions have been steadily rising, with young Thais leading the charge for constitutional reform that would help change the military's role in running the country. Reforms to the nation's heavily criticized monarchy have been long called for as well. Photos showed Thais lining up for hours to vote even in scorching heat, in what is perhaps a preview of a governmental change to come. 


Death toll from Kenyan doomsday cult passes 200, officials say

The death toll from a Kenyan doomsday cult reached 201 on Saturday, officials said, coming after police exhumed 22 more bodies. The majority of these bodies showed signs of starvation, police said, and are believed to be linked to Paul Mackenzie, a pastor based in coastal Kenya. Mackenzie made international headlines when dozens of bodies from his congregation began being uncovered this past April, with almost all of them showing signs of severe malnutrition. Mackenzie allegedly told his followers they must starve themselves for Jesus, police said, and at least 600 people remain missing. Mackenzie has been in police custody since his arrest last month, and officials say they plan to charge him with terrorism. 


Sweden’s Loreen wins Eurovision Song Contest for the 2nd time

Swedish singer Loreen won the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday night, marking the end of an international celebration that brought together Europe's signature technopop style and continued support for Ukraine amidst their war with Russia. The singer began the championship night as the favorite but faced a last-minute challenge from Finnish idol Käärijä, a fan favorite. In the end, though, Loreen was able to capture the title, and win Eurovision for the second time, with her first coming in 2012. She became the first woman to win the contest twice, and her win also means that Sweden ties Iceland for the most Eurovision victories with seven each. 


Kelly Clarkson addresses claims of workplace toxicity at her show

Singer and television host Kelly Clarkson addressed her show's workplace culture on Saturday, saying she was "committed to creating and maintaining a safe and healthy environment at The Kelly Clarkson Show." Her statement comes a day after a bombshell report in Rolling Stone alleged that Clarkson's eponymous NBC show was a "toxic environment." Current and former staffers told Rolling Stone that working at the show was "traumatizing to their mental health" and made complaints of being "overworked" and "underpaid." However, the staffers said these issues were the fault of the producers, not Clarkson, who was described as "fantastic." The singer said it was unacceptable to "find out that anyone is feeling unheard and or disrespected."


10 states sue FEMA over flood insurance rate hike
FEMA State Disaster Recovery Center after Hurricane Ian
'a natural disaster of its own'

10 states sue FEMA over flood insurance rate hike

Will Moscow drone attacks turn Russians against Putin?
A building damaged by a drone attack in Moscow
Talking point

Will Moscow drone attacks turn Russians against Putin?

Are cannabis social equity programs a flop?
 Green cannabis leaf lying down on sound block and gavel
Talking point

Are cannabis social equity programs a flop?

Should good Samaritanism be legally required?
People holding hands.
Talking point

Should good Samaritanism be legally required?

Most Popular

Why are so many boomers homeless?
Homeless person and tents
Today's big question

Why are so many boomers homeless?

Xi Jinping tells national security team to prepare for 'worst-case scenario'
Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Chinese Troubles

Xi Jinping tells national security team to prepare for 'worst-case scenario'

Fossils uncovered in Australia are 107 million-year-old pterosaurs bones, scientists say
Reconstruction of Australian pterosaur.

Fossils uncovered in Australia are 107 million-year-old pterosaurs bones, scientists say