It’s a breakthrough. Loyalists of firebrand Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who stormed the Iraqi Parliament yesterday, slapping lawmakers and dancing on the dais for social media posts — but leaving nearby Green Zone diplomatic compounds alone — have left the building. Organizers announced their departure, but promised to return Tuesday to assure the approval of technocrats to Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s cabinet. As the crisis reached its climax, two ISIS-claimed car bombs killed at least 32 in the southern city of Samawa, reminding that nation of other struggles that lay ahead.
The Presidential Daily Brief
It’s better than nothing. The “regime of calm” proclaimed yesterday by the Assad regime around Damascus, with encouragement from the U.S. and Russia, doesn’t include Aleppo, where 10 days of violence have claimed more than 250, many from attacks on a mosque and a hospital. Kremlin officials announced today that the Assad regime extended the 24-hour break for another day, and is negotiating to add Aleppo to the unilateral declaration. Human rights monitors report that Aleppo is relatively calm today — allowing faint hope that its long-suffering residents might catch a break.
They’ve set a new course. After big losses in four out of the five Northeast primaries last Tuesday, and amid rumors of major staff layoffs, Bernie Sanders has been all but mathematically eliminated from winning the Democratic presidential nomination. In recent interviews, the candidate has shifted his rhetoric from talk of victory to taking the race “to California,” the final state before his party’s nominating convention. It’s still unclear what his ultimate goal is — influencing the party platform or honoring his base supporters — but winning the White House may be off the table.
They’re up in arms. Military brass past and present predict mass resignations if Donald Trump is elected president. His outlandish statements — calling avoiding STDs in the 1980s “my personal Vietnam” and advocacy for torture, among other pronouncements — have the Pentagon and intelligence agencies on edge. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs has already said Trump’s ideas on torture and retaliation “aren’t legal.” And while an exodus of political appointees is, as a former Pentagon aide put it, “just politics,” when a top general resigns, “it’s a crisis.”
His money’s where his mouth is. After suggesting the World Bank should be abolished for the damaging austerity it promoted, Jim Yong Kim was elected president of the institution in 2012. The billions it doles out can help, he says, but when countries like India have outgrown their dependency and only 10 percent of the world’s population lives in extreme poverty, the bank’s relevance remains questionable. So he’s switching gears, tackling transnational issues such as climate change, public health and Europe’s refugee crisis, while opponents say he may ultimately accomplish his original goal.
German ‘Alternative’ Party Makes Anti-Islam Stance Official, Ted Cruz Wrests More Delegates From States He Lost
Right-wing German party adopts anti-Islam platform. (BBC)
Ted Cruz wins over more delegates Virginia, Arizona. (Washington Times)
Texas flooding kills woman and her four great-grandchildren. (USA Today)
Kurdish splinter group claims deadly car bomb in southern Turkey. (Reuters)
Moderates make gains in Iranian legislative elections. (WSJ) sub
Thousands expected at U.S. May Day demonstrations. (NBC LA)
What happens when a Spanish-speaking mom unseats a powerful member of her own party? Well, look no further than the California State Assembly, where 43-year-old Patty López, an immigrant with little formal schooling and no political expertise, worked her way from a factory assembly line to elected office. Having sold tamales to finance her campaign two years ago, she’s passed bills concerning child care and foster kids. But this year, the party establishment is fighting back, hoping to force this “consummate outsider” out of their clubhouse.
They’re worth more dead. Congo’s Garamba National Park was home to 22,000 elephants just 35 years ago. But 95 percent of them are now gone, and rangers with outdated guns are fighting rebel groups aiming to profit from illegally sold tusks. While they fight and die for the pachyderms on the ground, Kenya staged the largest ivory burn ever yesterday, attended by celebrities including actress Liz Hurley. Destroying the $30 million cache may help convince upwardly mobile Asian consumers to value the majestic animals more than cream-colored carvings — before they’re wiped out for good.
They can’t let it ride. When the Holland Tunnel linking New York City to New Jersey opened nearly 90 years ago, the future of transportation looked bright. But today, the American Society of Civil Engineers says it would cost around $3.6 trillion to repair America’s crumbling infrastructure, and experts insist more roads haven’t done much to alleviate traffic. Instead, they suggest that a hybrid approach of ridesharing, bicycle friendly cities, public transportation and driverless vehicles may be the only route ahead for policymakers and commuters alike.
There’s just enough sugar. Queen Bey’s groundbreaking visual album Lemonade is about empowering African-American women, declares writer Dominique Matti, even though her husband’s alleged betrayal is its central story. By demanding Jay Z answer for his infidelities, Beyoncé is standing up for Black women who too often shove their feelings aside, she writes. With this new work, the megastar is telling women of color that it’s enough to own their pain, Matti says, while ensuring that anyone who hurts them can taste the bitterness they feel.
They were branded as hooligans. But a generation after 96 Liverpool fans were fatally crushed entering Sheffield’s Hillsborough Stadium, a two-year inquest — Britain’s longest — has repudiated that story. The cause wasn’t rowdiness, but covered-up mistakes by police and other authorities, like opening a gate to a crowded area and neglecting the care of victims — 58 of whom might otherwise have survived. Now vindicated in their insistence that the victims weren’t responsible for the 1989 tragedy, loved ones are moving forward with a lawsuit against police.