How far off the ground do you have to be? Belarus shocked the world last weekend by tricking a Ryanair flight to land in Minsk, where it arrested a well-known dissident. European nations quickly severed air links into and over what’s been dubbed the continent’s last dictatorship. But it still has the support of Russia, which banned European flights that avoid Belarus, where strongman Alexander Lukashenko may not technically have violated any international aviation rules. Now the free world, having recently seen video of another dissident’s fatal collapse in his jail cell, can only hope that a better fate awaits hijacked blogger Roman Protasevich.
They were marked. Samuel James Cassidy reportedly told one co-worker not to worry, but he “killed all who he wanted” Wednesday and “made sure they were dead.” He murdered nine people in the San Jose transit yard where he worked, then killed himself. It shouldn’t have surprised border authorities who searched Cassidy, who had an arrest record, when he returned from abroad in 2016, the Wall Street Journal reports. They found a notebook declaring hatred of his employer, along with “books about terrorism.” While gun rights advocates note that Cassidy used high-capacity magazines outlawed in California, many others are demanding more firearms restrictions.
“We have to be prepared.” Thus did President Joe Biden this week announce a $1 billion boost to emergency funding ahead of next Tuesday’s start of hurricane season. But each of 22 major weather events last year cost as much. No one is prepared for what’s generally accepted as the consequence of climate change. That helps explain Wednesday’s urgency among shareholders at both ExxonMobil, which elected two environmentally conscious board members, and Chevron, which enacted a carbon-reduction plan, while a Dutch court on the same day ordered Shell to drastically cut its carbon footprint, sparking another kind of storm.
Set aside since a Democrat became president in January, the Senate’s filibuster is back. The venerable parliamentary tool allows the minority party to block legislation without 60% approval. It stopped Democrats — and six defecting Republicans — from creating a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. GOP leaders called the commission a partisan tactic to publicize the deadly attack and former President Donald Trump’s incitement of supporters who paralyzed government’s legislative branch just as it was confirming Trump’s election defeat. But one of the defectors, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, called the block “short-term political gain” over confronting the realities of Jan. 6.
A mass grave with the remains of 215 children has been unearthed at the site of a school in Canada where indigenous children were culturally assimilated. President Biden yesterday released the nation’s biggest post-World War II budget — $6 trillion — that expands domestic spending including elder home care and universal preschool. And an Iowa jury on Friday convicted Cristhian Bahena Rivera, the farmworker who became a rallying cry for anti-immigration politics, of first-degree murder in the brutal 2018 stabbing of universlity student Mollie Tibbetts.
In the Week Ahead: The French Open tennis tournament begins Sunday. Americans hoping to enjoy the outdoors on Memorial Day may be disappointed by storms and unseasonably low temperatures Monday. And firearms regulation advocates will wear orange Friday for National Gun Violence Awareness Day.
Meet The Hustler. Bethenny Frankel tells Carlos the story behind her relationship with boyfriend Paul Bernon, as well as her tumultuous childhood and the journey to becoming an entrepreneur. And she recalls her breakthrough moments on The Apprentice: Martha Stewart and The Real Housewives of New York City, which led to a series of shows built around her dynamic character. Watch now and get to know this author of four self-help books and founder of lifestyle brand Skinnygirl and disaster relief organization Bstrong.
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These wounds aren’t healing. The 100th anniversary of Oklahoma’s Tulsa Race Massacre has become ground zero for America’s racial reckoning. One observance planned for Monday, featuring singer John Legend and voting rights champion Stacey Abrams, was cancelled after a row about reparations. The mayor insists payments to survivors of the white mob that killed perhaps 300 Black residents and destroyed Tulsa’s prosperous Greenwood neighborhood on May 31 and June 1, 1921, would divide the city. Now the Department of Homeland Security is warning that white supremacists might attack such observances, which begin today, further demonstrating that deadly hatred lives on.
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2. The Arab Women on a Superhero Quest
By day, they’re mild-mannered graphic artists or illustrators. But it’s in their off-hours that the magic happens among a significant proportion of the Middle East’s animated film and comic book authors, OZY reports. Women are drawing their way into the hearts of Arab comic fans, with Muslim women superheroes who sometimes fight the patriarchy head-on, or undermine it with humor. And they’re tackling difficult subjects — like the European refugee crisis that’s featured in artist and publisher Lena Merhej’s next graphic novel — with many winning prizes for their work and powering toward the day when their exploits can supplant their day jobs.
You never get off the “Heat List.” In 2013, police visited Robert McDaniel, of Chicago’s impoverished Austin neighborhood and told him their experimental spreadsheet predicted he’d be involved in a shooting, eerily mirroring the sci-fi film Minority Report. They offered help to prevent his statistical fate, but what he got were suspicious stares from neighbors. Then, he told a journalist from The Verge, he was kneecapped. The program, adopted in varying forms in New York and Los Angeles, was scientifically discredited. But that didn’t help McDaniel, who last summer survived another shooting, proving, he says, that the data’s prophecy was self-fulfilling.
Maybe it was too soon. This year the NBA finally began letting limited crowds into arenas, and players welcomed the cheers, even smack-talk, to egg them on. But this week, a spectator in Philly dumped popcorn on Washington guard Russell Westbrook as he limped into the lockers Wednesday, the same day Atlanta’s Trae Young was spat upon and Memphis guard Ja Morant’s parents were verbally abused in the stands. The offenders were removed, even permanently banned, but many lamented this player-fan rift. As LeBron James put it, “Heckling, that’s great. … But there’s a line.”
Chances are, you’ve never heard of Lakshadweep. It’s a series of 36 islands near the Maldives, and India’s government says it wants to develop them into a similar vacation destination. But many of the 65,000 islanders oppose the plan, which they say comes with sectarian laws, like a ban on beef, that Hindu nationalist officials are imposing on a population that’s 97 percent Muslim. That includes excluding locally elected officials from development decisions that could evict residents. National officials deny this, claiming they’re bringing jobs to the territory, but locals say they’re already being purged from Lakshadweep’s tourism authority.
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