Get a quick look at the news making headlines this morning.
- LA Times
For "The Underground Railroad," about the harrowing escape from slavery, director Barry Jenkins took a novel step: hiring a mental health counselor.
- Raleigh News and Observer
The driver told deputies “that she was transporting several containers of fuel that she was hoarding in the trunk.”
- The Independent
Trump lashes out as more than 150 senior Republicans threaten to form new party if GOP doesn’t disown him
Move came after Liz Cheney lost House leadership role for criticising ex-president’s election lies
- The Independent
Congresswoman from New York reacted sharply to ‘intimidation’ from Republican
- The Independent
Defiant Marjorie Taylor Greene hurls new insults at AOC after congresswoman reported her for hallway ambush
GOP congresswoman says Democrat ‘is a fraud and a hypocrite’ following calls for increased security
- The Independent
‘Bizarre, shameful, and untrue’: Letter from retired generals questioning Joe Biden’s health under fire
More than 100 retired military officers questioned President Biden’s health in a letter that Ms Clinton called ‘bizarre, shameful, and untrue’
"She saw it straight away. She could tell that I was hurting," Prince Harry told Dax Shepard, host of the "Armchair Expert" podcast.
- The Independent
Musk’s comments about dogecoin and bitcoin have led to a severe fall in both cryptocurrencies
- The Independent
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez raises alarm over security in Congress after Marjorie Taylor Greene accosts her
Democrat’s supporters say she ‘should get a restraining order against MTG’ following accosting in Congress
- The New York Times
BRUSSELS — American and Egyptian mediators are heading to Israel to begin de-escalation talks, but the antagonists face critical political decisions before they will agree to begin discussions on ending the violence. Both Israel and Hamas first have to find ways to spin a narrative of victory for their publics, analysts say, but the task will be easier for Hamas than for Israel. Israel’s caretaker prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has to calculate the impact of the fighting on his own political fortunes, made more complicated by the internal unrest between Jews and Israeli Arabs in numerous cities inside Israel. The crucial decision for Israel is whether “victory” requires sending ground troops into Gaza, which would extend the conflict and significantly increase the number of dead and wounded on both sides. Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York Times For the Palestinians, the indefinite postponement of elections last month by the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, created a vacuum that Hamas is more than willing to fill. Hamas argues that it is the only Palestinian faction that, with its large stockpile of improved missiles, is defending the holy places of Jerusalem, turning Abbas into a spectator. President Joe Biden has spoken to Netanyahu and repeated the usual formula about Israel’s right to self-defense, and he has dispatched an experienced diplomat, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Hady Amr, to urge de-escalation on both sides. But the United States does not talk to Hamas, regarding it as a terrorist organization, and Abbas has no real control over Gaza or Hamas. So in all likelihood, Amr will be talking to Egyptian security officials, given that Egypt has been the usual interlocutor in concluding rounds of warfare between Israel and Hamas. That includes the last two big blowups, in 2008 and 2014, when the fighting lasted more than 50 days. On Thursday, Egypt dispatched security officials to Tel Aviv, Israel, and to Gaza to begin discussions, according to the state-controlled newspaper Al-Ahram and the broadcaster Al-Arabiya. Officially, Egypt’s Foreign Ministry, which does not deal with Hamas, had no comment. On Tuesday, Egypt’s foreign minister, Sameh Shoukry, told a meeting of the Arab League that Egypt had reached out to Israel and other “concerned countries” to try to calm the violence but that Israel had not been responsive. Abdel Monem Said Aly, a long-standing analyst of Egyptian and regional relations in Cairo, said that “Egypt will do its best” in the interests of regional stability. But he warned that Netanyahu’s decision about whether to use ground troops would determine how long this round of violence lasted. “The issue is much more complicated than previously,” he said, citing internal Israeli and Palestinian politics and Egypt’s efforts “to steer the whole region to a different more stabilized future.” Egypt has leverage over Hamas because of its land border with Gaza, which Cairo can shut or relax at will. “And, of course, Egypt will talk to Saudi Arabia and the Emirates, those with money, about rebuilding in Gaza,” Said Aly said. “But the problem in Israel is not about talking to Mr. Netanyahu — that’s easy — but the winds inside Israel itself and the big competition between different brands of conservatism.” On the Palestinian side, he said, “There is a similar vacuum of political legitimacy, and Hamas will score by raising up Palestinian public opinion and increasing guilt in Islamic countries about the Palestinians and getting more legitimacy for future elections.” Said Aly fears the events will increase Islamic radicalism both in Gaza and in Israel, among its young Arab population. “Of course, Egypt will talk to everyone,” he said. “We will talk of the problems of the whole region, and we won’t exclude the Palestinian issue. But how much anyone can help now is not clear.” Hamas also has reason to mistrust Egypt and its leader, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, according to Michele Dunne, a former American official and director of the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment. El-Sissi sees Hamas as a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, which remains powerful in Egypt, and in 2014 he did little to discourage Israel from invading Gaza in hopes of destroying Hamas. The violence can take a long time to subside, said Mark Heller of the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University. “At some point Israel reminds itself that there is no way it can bring about a decisive outcome at a tolerable cost to itself,” he said, “and Hamas realizes that the costs and risks to its own political viability and control over Gaza become too much.” At that point, Heller said, Hamas agrees to “what they say is always a temporary cease-fire, not a peace, and usually gets some sort of payoff, I suspect this time from the Qataris.” Egypt is usually the interlocutor “and the fig leaf” for negotiations between Hamas and Israel, which both sides deny but that are going on almost continuously over many smaller issues, he said. Egypt is mindful that it needs to patch fences with Biden after the departure of former President Donald Trump, said Daniel Levy, president of the U.S./Middle East Project. “I think Cairo wants to demonstrate its importance to Biden,” he said, noting the beginning of reconciliation talks with Qatar and Turkey. Qatar, a rich emirate, bankrolls both Hamas and the Arab news operation Al-Jazeera, and Turkey has been a strident supporter of Hamas. That had put them at odds with Egypt. But with the election of Biden, Egypt has gingerly followed Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in trying to calm relations with Qatar and Turkey. Muslim countries have criticized Israel’s actions, but in largely perfunctory fashion so far, given that many of their leaders distrust Islamist radicalism. Many Arab countries have sidelined the Palestinian issue and are looking past Abbas to see, and try to manipulate, who will succeed him as head of Fatah and the Palestine Liberation Organization. But for now, with so much Israeli attention on the internal strife between young Jewish and Arab citizens, Levy said, many things are up in the air, and the struggle over Gaza can seem less important. It may also divert the Israeli security forces, making a ground incursion less likely. “This strife is an extremely disorienting and worrisome development and a matter of far greater concern, frankly, than Hamas,” said Heller. “The army can take care of Hamas, but we need something to take care of Israeli society, and right now we don’t have that.” This article originally appeared in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company
China has targeted Muslim religious leaders, according to a new report, charging many with extremism.
- The Independent
The House Speaker says the ethics committee should review the incident
Last month, a ghostly grey business jet took off from central Sweden and headed across the Baltic on a routine spying mission. The converted Gulfstream, caught on a tracking website, was flown by the Swedish Air Force and patrolled an area thick with Russian radar signals off the militarised coast of Kaliningrad. Apart from a couple of unobtrusive bulges underneath, Sweden's two Gulfstream-based S102B Korpen spy planes look like any other sleek corporate jet.
- Lexington Herald-Leader
The running of the 146th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore this week will now occur under very disappointing circumstances. Before a single horse has even taken a stride, the second leg of thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown has been tainted by doping.
- Associated Press
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office said Wednesday that a court order against Johnson over an allegedly unpaid debt is “totally without merit.” Private Eye magazine uncovered an October 2020 county court judgment against Johnson for 535 pounds ($755). The court record, which names the debtor as Boris Johnson of 10 Downing St. in London, doesn't disclose the identity of the creditor.
Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene reportedly shouted at the Democrat in a Capitol Hill corridor
- The Daily Beast
Reuters/Ibraheem Abu MustafaTwenty-one media outlets were reportedly destroyed this week as Israel pummeled Gaza with airstrikes that obliterated two tower blocks.The Israeli airstrikes in Gaza have been blamed for the vast majority of deaths in the rapidly worsening conflict. According to the Associated Press, 83 Palestinians—including 17 children—have now been killed, and seven people have been reported dead in Israel. Violence broke out overnight with multiple videos showing rival Arab and Jewish mobs dragging people out of their cars and attacking them on the streets.The non-profit Reporters Without Borders said in a statement that it believes 21 media outlets had their offices razed when Israeli airstrikes hit two tower blocks in Gaza City. The Al-Jawhara Tower was said to be home to 14 media outlets, and the larger Al-Shorouk Tower housed seven. Both were destroyed in this week’s Israeli strikes, with one falling on live television on Wednesday.The Israel Defense Force justified its strikes by claiming it was mere coincidence that the media offices had been obliterated as they were targeting weapons stores that were “hidden inside civilian buildings.”🔴 War, live on televisionAstonishing live coverage from Youmna Al Sayed in #Gaza, as she anticipates the bombing of a media building behind her… and then it happens.@afinighan picks up in the studio while she takes cover.🇮🇱 💥 🇵🇸 pic.twitter.com/rRx9xRmXCj— Kamahl Santamaria (@KamahlAJE) May 12, 2021 Reporters Without Borders also stated that seven journalists were hit by rubber bullets fired by Israeli troops on Sunday, and a video showed a Palestinian freelancer being attacked by Israeli cops.“Palestinian journalists, who were already struggling to work in the conditions imposed by the Israeli authorities, are once again on the front line when tension erupts,” said Reporters Without Border in a Thursday statement. “We urge the Israeli authorities to desist from this disproportionate use of forces against Palestinian reporters, who should on no account be treated as if they were parties to the conflict.”Israeli airstrikes continued in Gaza overnight Thursday, while Gaza militants shot around 100 rockets into Israel. As the conflict worsens, United Airlines, Delta Airlines, and American Airlines have canceled flights to Israel, and train travel between Tel Aviv and Lod has been temporarily suspended, according to the Jerusalem Post. Meanwhile, the Israeli military has started packing the Gaza border with ground troops.Mehdi Hasan and Ayman Mohyeldin Are Doing Something Radical for Cable TV: Presenting the Palestinian SideThe violence has also spilled onto the streets, with civilian mobs attacking both Arabs and Jews in cities across Israel. According to Haaretz, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday he may deploy troops to clamp down on the mob violence in the nation’s cities, and Defense Minister Benny Gantz said he’s ordered a massive police presence to move in and attempt to “cool off” the most volatile neighborhoods.Israeli President Reuven Rivlin called for an immediate end to the “madness” of street violence, reportedly saying, “We are endangered by rockets that are being launched at our citizens and streets, and we are busying ourselves with a senseless civil war among ourselves.”However, there is little sign of the violence abating. Egyptian negotiators held fresh in-person talks with Hamas leaders in Gaza and Israeli officials in Tel Aviv on Thursday, but no progress has been reported.In statements Thursday, a spokesman for Hamas’ military warned Israel, “Our conflict will reach you whenever you turn any aggression against our people.” Netanyahu said, “It will take more time, but... with great firmness, we will achieve our goal to restore peace to the State of Israel.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
- Associated Press
Just weeks ago, the Gaza Strip’s feeble health system was struggling with a runaway surge of coronavirus cases. This week's violence between Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers has killed 103 Palestinians, including 27 children, and wounded 530 people in the impoverished territory. Israeli airstrikes have pounded apartments, blown up cars and toppled buildings.
- The Independent
‘It’s wrong’: AOC hits out at Biden’s Israel statement as Democrats demand end to Palestinian displacement
‘Even our allies must be held accountable for human rights violations,’ congressman says
NGOs tell BBC Newsnight they're unable to send oxygen concentrators to people who need them.