As federal officials investigate Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine and a possible link to rare blood clots, health experts are concerned that vaccine hesitancy could increase.
- The Independent
Joel Greenberg pleads guilty to sex trafficking as banner flown above court reads ‘tick tock Matt Gaetz’
A plane has flown a banner above US District Court in Orlando, Florida reading “Tick Tock Matt Gaetz” as the GOP congressman’s ally Joel Greenberg pleaded guilty to sex trafficking a minor, among other charges, potentially aiding prosecutors in a related investigation involving the Republican congressman. Mr Greenberg, a former Florida tax collector, appeared in court on Monday after admitting to introducing a “minor to other adult men, who engaged in commercial sex acts” with her, according to a lengthy plea agreement filed on 14 May. The other men were not named. Mr Gaetz was not named in court documents filed in US District Court on Friday.
- The Independent
Bill forces death row inmates to choose between firing squad and electric chair
- The Independent
‘Members of Congress aren’t able to cast votes, or feel that they can’t, because of their own security,’ Ms Cheney says
- The Independent
Bernie Sanders demands Biden take a ‘hard look’ at Israel aid as 28 Democratic senators demand ceasefire
Left-wing senator has previously called US support for Israel into question, including on issue of settlements in occupied territories
- The Independent
‘She’s literally going to be mooning the museum’
- The Independent
‘I am so proud of you. Keep dreaming with ambition and there is nothing you cannot achieve,’ the vice president writes
- The Independent
‘From the Desk of Donald J Trump’ site went down on Saturday
- The Independent
Neighbours decry ‘senseless murder’ as police say an 18-year-old suspect has been taken into custody
- The Independent
The Wyoming congresswoman says millions of Trump supporters have been ‘misled’ by former president
Oil major BP has lobbied for the EU to support natural gas, a move that exposes divergent views among investors and reflects a wider European dispute about the role of the fossil fuel in the transition to a lower-carbon world. The European Commission - aiming to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 - had planned to omit gas-fuelled power plants from a new list of investments that can be marketed as sustainable, but delayed the decision last month following complaints from some countries and companies. Britain's BP was among those lobbying against the plan.
- The New York Times
The Israeli missile that slammed into a Palestinian apartment exacted a shocking toll: eight children and two women, killed as they celebrated a major Muslim holiday, in one of the deadliest episodes of the war between Israel and Palestinian militants that has raged for nearly a week. Israel said a senior Hamas commander was the target of the Friday attack. Graphic video footage showed Palestinian medics stepping over rubble that included children’s toys and a Monopoly board game as they evacuated the bloodied victims from the pulverized building. The only survivor was an infant boy. “They weren’t holding weapons, they weren’t firing rockets, and they weren’t harming anyone,” said the boy’s father, Mohammed al-Hadidi, who was later seen on television holding his son’s small hand in a hospital. Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York Times “Oh, love,” he said to his son. Civilians are paying an especially high price in the latest bout of violence between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, raising urgent questions about how the laws of war apply to the conflagration: which military actions are legal, what war crimes are being committed and who, if anyone, will ever be held to account. Both sides appear to be violating those laws, experts said: Hamas has fired more than 3,000 rockets toward Israeli cities and towns, a clear war crime. And Israel, although it says it takes measures to avoid civilian casualties, has subjected Gaza to such an intense bombardment, killing families and flattening buildings, that it likely constitutes a disproportionate use of force — also a war crime. In the deadliest attack yet, Israeli airstrikes on buildings in Gaza City on Sunday killed at least 42 people, including 10 children, Palestinian officials said. No legal adjudication is possible in the heat of battle. But some facts are clear. Israeli airstrikes and artillery barrages on Gaza, an impoverished and densely packed enclave of 2 million people, have killed at least 197 Palestinians, including 92 women and children, between last Monday and Sunday evening, producing stark images of destruction that have reverberated around the world. In the other direction, Hamas missiles have rained over Israeli towns and cities, sowing fear and killing at least 10 Israeli residents, including two children — a greater toll than during the last war, in 2014, which lasted more than seven weeks. The latest victim, a 55-year-old man, died Saturday after missile shrapnel slammed through the door of his home in the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan. One Israeli soldier has also been killed. With neither side apparently capable of outright victory, the conflict seems locked in an endless loop of bloodshed. So the focus on civilian casualties has become more intense than ever as a proxy for the moral high ground in a seemingly unwinnable war. “The narrative around civilian casualties takes on a bigger importance than normal, perhaps even bigger than the numbers, because it goes to the moral legitimacy of the two sides,” said Dapo Akande, a professor of public international law at the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford. The calculus of the war is brutal. Although Hamas fires unguided missiles at Israeli cities at a blistering rate, sometimes more than 100 at once, the vast majority are either intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome defense system or fall short inside Gaza, resulting in a relatively low death toll. Israel sometimes warns Gaza residents to evacuate before an airstrike, and it says it has called off strikes to avoid civilian casualties. But its use of artillery and airstrikes to pound such a confined area, packed with poorly protected people, has led to a death toll 20 times as high as that caused by Hamas, and wounded 1,235 more. Israeli warplanes have also destroyed four high-rise buildings in Gaza that it said were used by Hamas. But those buildings also contained homes and the offices of local and international news media organizations, inflicting enormous economic damage. It may not look it, but there are rules to govern the carnage. The laws of war — a collection of international treaties and unwritten laws, also known as international humanitarian law — govern the behavior of combatants. The killing of civilians is not, of itself, illegal. But combatants must abide by widely accepted principles, Akande said. Most importantly, they must discriminate between civilian and military targets, he said. After that, they must weigh the military advantage gained from any potential strike against the damage to civilians that it will cause. And when they attack, combatants must take all reasonable precautions to limit any civilian damage, he added. Unsurprisingly, applying those principles in a place like Gaza is a highly contentious affair. Israeli officials say they are forced to strike homes and offices because that is where Hamas militants live and fight, using civilians as human shields. Hamas is responsible for civilian casualties inflicted during those strikes, Israeli officials say, because it fires rockets close to schools, offices and homes. In a statement about the attack Friday that killed 10 family members, the Israel Defense Forces said it had “attacked a number of Hamas terror organization senior officials, in an apartment used as terror infrastructure in the area of the Al-Shati refugee camp.” Neighbors of the family, though, said no Hamas official was present at the time of the attack. Human rights groups, however, say that Israel routinely pushes the boundaries of what might be considered proportionate military force and that it has frequently breached the laws of war. “There’s been an utter disregard for civilian life that stems from the decades of impunity,” said Omar Shakir, Israel director for Human Rights Watch. Shakir and others said Israel’s staunch alliance with the United States, which gives the country $3.8 billion in military aid every year and offers reflexive diplomatic support, has shielded its actions from serious international censure for decades, emboldening it to commit abuses against Palestinians. On Saturday, President Joe Biden again asserted his “strong support for Israel’s right to defend itself.” The top prosecutor with the International Criminal Court, which in February announced an investigation into possible war crimes by both Hamas and Israeli soldiers, warned Friday that both sides in the current conflict could be subjects of future prosecutions. “These are events that we are looking at very seriously,” the prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, told the Reuters news agency. But the criminal court, which Israel and the United States do not recognize, faces a host of political and logistical obstacles, and it could be years before any Israeli or Palestinian is put on trial — if ever. Other bodies have adjudicated on previous rounds of fighting. In a report published last year, Human Rights Watch said Israel appeared to violate the laws of war when it killed 11 civilians during a flare-up in Gaza in November 2019. Palestinian militants, who fired hundreds of rockets into Israel at that time, also violated the laws of war, the report said. A spokesperson for the Israeli armed forces, Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, did not respond to several requests for comment for this article. But Lior Haiat, a spokesperson for Israel’s foreign ministry, said that his country did everything possible to minimize civilian casualties and that the true culprit was Hamas. “Every one of those missiles that are being launched from the Gaza Strip to Israel is actually a terror attack,” Haiat said. “But not only that — every one of those missiles is also a war crime.” In 2018, Israel’s defense minister then, Avigdor Lieberman, said, “The IDF is the most moral army in the world.” Some Israeli soldiers disagree. A scathing report by Breaking the Silence, an organization of leftist combat veterans, into the conduct of Israel’s army during its last major war against Hamas in 2014 accused the military of operating a “lenient open-fire policy” in Gaza. It said Israeli commanders had called for “brutal and unethical” actions there and encouraged soldiers to behave aggressively toward Palestinian civilians. The group’s executive director, Avner Gvaryahu, said that the Israeli military did not intentionally set out to kill civilians but that it routinely uses disproportionate force. He pointed to the use of artillery in recent days to hit targets with munitions that can kill anyone in a radius of up to 150 meters, or almost 500 feet. “It speaks volumes to the fact that we are not doing everything in our power to prevent civilian casualties,” Gvaryahu said. Others push back on Israel’s insistence that Hamas is to blame for the civilian casualties because it operates from residential areas. In a densely populated place like Gaza, “there is almost no way to fight from it without exposing civilians to danger,” said Nathan Thrall, author of a book on Israel and the Palestinians. Thrall noted that the headquarters of the Israel Defense Forces was in a residential part of Tel Aviv, beside a hospital and an art museum. Human rights researchers say Hamas strictly controls information about civilian deaths in Gaza to hide its losses and failures. Although the casualty list provided by the local Ministry of Health — the source for the figure of 197 deaths over the past six days — is generally accurate, they say, Hamas will not say how many of the dead are militants or were killed by Hamas missiles that fell short and exploded inside Gaza. But others have found evidence. During the fighting in 2019, Human Rights Watch reported, at least two Palestinian rockets landed inside Gaza, killing one civilian and injuring 16 others. Perhaps the greatest tragedy about civilian deaths, said Adil Haque, a professor at Rutgers Law School specializing in international law and armed conflict, is that they have become a way for belligerents to show their strength before inevitably agreeing to yet another cease-fire. “Civilians are trapped between two sides,” he said. “Hamas wants to show it can survive the Israeli onslaught, and Israel wants to show that it is the stronger party. “Both sides are able to stop if they want,” he added. “But neither is willing to stop first.” This article originally appeared in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company
- The Independent
The woman demanded Gates’s wife should read her letter alleging a sexual relationship with him
- The Independent
‘I don't think we can allow the stigma to keep us from having an answer’, says senator
- The Independent
Abortion rights advocates warn Trump-appointed conservative majority could undermine decades-long precedent
- The Week
The Associated Press said Sunday it wants an independent investigation of Israel's decision to raze its longtime office building in Gaza City. Israel said it leveled the 12-story al-Jalaa tower, which also housed Al-Jazeera and other media organizations, on Saturday because it was being used by Hamas for military intelligence and weapons development. AP executive editor Sally Buzbee pointed out Sunday that Israel has not provided any evidence Hamas was using the building. Nor was AP aware, it its 15 years in the office, it was sharing a building with Hamas, she said. "We heard Israelis say they have evidence; we don't know what that evidence is," Buzbee told CNN. "We think it's appropriate at this point for there to be an independent look at what happened yesterday — an independent investigation." Reporters Without Borders (RSF), a Paris-based media watchdog organization, asked the International Criminal Court to investigate Israel's bombing of the media tower and its evident "intentional targeting of media organizations and intentional destruction of their equipment" as a possible war crime. Israel said it will provide evidence that Hamas was using the building to the U.S. through intelligence channels. "We're in the middle of fighting," Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said Sunday. "That's in process and I'm sure in due time that information will be presented." AP reporter Fares Akram described fleeing the al-Jalaa tower after being told he had 10 minutes to vacate the office, probably forever: What did I need? I grabbed my laptop and a few other pieces of electronics. What else? I looked at the workspace that had been mine for years, brimming with mementos from friends, family, and colleagues. I chose just a handful: a decorative plate bearing a picture of my family. A coffee mug given me by my daughter, now living safely in Canada with her sister and my wife since 2017. A certificate marking five years of employment at AP. I started to leave. Then I looked back at this place that had been my second home for years. I realized this was the last time I might ever see it. It was just after 2 p.m. I looked around. I was the last person there. I put on my helmet. And I ran. [Fares Akram, The Associated Press] You can read the rest of Akram's account at The Associated Press, and watch a video of the hurried evacuation below. More stories from theweek.com7 scathingly funny cartoons about Liz Cheney's ousterThe White House is apparently overrun with fliesUFOs are very real, 60 Minutes reports, they're still unidentified, and they aren't American
Democrat Joe Biden has promised to undo many of Donald Trump's immigration policies.
- CBS News
After shooting a mountain lion, Patrick Montgomery told a park officer, who ran background check and saw that he is a convicted felon.
- Business Insider
McCarthy has spent years corralling his caucus behind Trump and helped oust Liz Cheney from GOP leadership, but could he actually become speaker?
- The Daily Beast
REUTERSLawyers for Rudy Giuliani slammed prosecutors on Monday for secretly obtaining electronic access to the former New York City mayor’s accounts—likening the operation that resulted in the April 28 FBI raid of his home and office to that of a drug cartel takedown.“Unfortunately for Giuliani, and even more unfortunately for the attorney-client privilege and executive deliberation privilege, and the public’s perception that those privileges are real, the SDNY simply chose to treat a distinguished lawyer as if he was the head of a drug cartel or a terrorist, in order to create maximum prejudicial coverage of both Giuliani, and his most well-known client—the former President of the United States,” the letter filed Monday on behalf of Giuliani states.The letter is the first legal response from Giuliani’s team since the April 28 raid on Donald Trump’s former attorney’s Manhattan home and office. Federal prosecutors have asked the U.S. Southern District of New York to appoint a special master to review the evidence seized during the raid to ensure material that falls under attorney-client privilege isn’t released.Giuliani’s lawyers, however, claimed Monday that the government’s push for a special master amounts to a “do over” after prosecutors failed to seek one in what they say was a similar search during the Trump administration.When prosecutors seized contents of Giuliani’s iCloud account with an undisclosed 2019 search warrant, his attorneys claim that they assembled their own “secret taint team” to determine whether the information in the former New York City mayor’s iCloud account benefited from attorney-client privilege rather than asking a judge to appoint an independent special master to make those determinations.Trump Has Blown Off Rudy Giuliani’s Pleas for Help as Feds CircleThey further allege that “the fruits of that 2019 search were certainly used in some part to secure the 2021 largely duplicative search warrant.” As a result, Giuliani’s attorneys have asked a federal judge to halt the appointment of a special master in the 2021 warrant to provide more time for them to review the circumstances and evidence supporting the 2019 search.Giuliani’s team also complained about the government’s non-disclosure order issued alongside its fall 2019 iCloud warrant, in which prosecutors claimed that the existence of the warrant must remain secret because of the risk that Giuliani “might destroy evidence or intimidate witnesses.” His lawyers called the allegation “false” and “extremely damaging to Giuliani’s reputation” and demanded that the government reveal the evidence it used to back up the assertion.Giuliani’s attorneys claim that prosecutors intentionally waited until the Biden administration took office and “senior members of the Justice Department had been removed and replaced by Biden appointees” to carry out the raid on their client’s apartment. As evidence, they claim that prosecutors applied for a warrant to search Giuliani’s devices twice before, once in November 2020 and again in January 2021, and were denied.As previously reported by The Daily Beast, Giuliani’s attempts to get out of legal trouble have prompted the former mayor to unsuccessfully seek help from his former allies—including Trump. The former president, however, has been unwilling to help his embattled friend as the feds ramp up their probe into whether Giuliani’s work with Ukrainian officials during the last administration was illegal.A separate letter was filed Monday on behalf of Victoria Toensing, a former top DOJ official and Giuliani associate who was also the subject of a search warrant on April 28. The letter, filed by her legal team, asks the government to return the materials seized during the raid at her D.C. home and asks that she be permitted “to effectively assert her client’s privilege protections and otherwise comply with her ethical obligations to inform them that the Government is in possession of potentially privileged and confidential materials.”“To do so, Ms. Toensing should be afforded the same opportunity to review and assert the privilege that she and her clients would have had if this information were pursued through a subpoena as it normally would have been under similar circumstances,” the letter states, adding that prosecutors should disclose what information is under review so that Toensing may protect her clients.Trump-Supporting Lawyers diGenova and Toensing Teamed Up With Giuliani to Dig Up Ukraine Dirt on Biden: ReportThe letter also mentions a December 2019 Google search warrant that was looking for information about Toensing’s client. Toensing’s lawyer said that while that search warrant was limited in scope, prior to Giuliani’s iCloud search warrant that “contained no such limitation even though it too contained privileged and confidential information concerning the same pending DOJ matter.”“Moreover, neither warrant excluded such information from Google or iCloud production obligations, nor would either third party be equipt to do so if it did,” the letter mentions, adding that both warrants could leak information about an unrelated criminal matter.Toensing’s lawyers also slammed the government’s request for a special master for the raid, adding that the information obtained in April is “virtually identical to those previously seized.” The lawyer now wants the data previously obtained to be returned and information on what prosecutors know.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. 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- USA TODAY
Paul Ryan excoriates planned GOP effort to challenge Biden's Electoral College win as 'anti-democratic and anti-conservative'
Former House Speaker Paul Ryan issued a rare statement Sunday, calling the GOP effort to reject Joe Biden's Electoral College win "anti-democratic."