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Global Outrage After Rafah Camp Airstrike

Your unbiased daily news brief

Good Tuesday morning. The real-life Indiana Jones recently passed away at 94. Schuyler Jones was a fedora-wearing, globe-trotting anthropologist and professor who earned a doctorate at Oxford University, survived a helicopter crash in Algeria and aspired to find the Ark of the Covenant. You can read his incredible obituary here. Have a great day.

In Today’s Brief

  • California: Slingshot spree

  • Papua New Guinea: Devastating landslide

  • Congressional maps: Florida challenges

  • UK: Too many weak pours

  • Bill Walton: Dies at 71

... and more

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Top Tips

1) International outcry

An Israeli airstrike on a Rafah tent camp killed several dozen, prompting significant criticism from around the globe.

  • What happened: Israel said it carried out a strike targeting two senior Hamas officials in Gaza on the heels of a rocket attack on Tel Aviv. But a widespread fire engulfed a camp housing displaced Palestinian civilians in the process, reportedly killing 45 people. Israel and U.S. officials reportedly believe shrapnel from the successful strike on the Hamas targets hit a fuel tank, causing the blaze.

  • The response: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the strike "a tragic mistake," but vowed his country would not stop its efforts to destroy Hamas. Many world leaders and some U.S. politicians condemned the incident and called for an International Court of Justice order to halt Israel offensive in Rafah, where most civilians are located, to be implemented.

  • Big picture: President Joe Biden's response was far more muted than when Israel killed several World Central Kitchen workers in an errant airstrike in April. The National Security Council urged Israel to do more to protect civilians, but there was no indication the strike violated Biden's red lines and would lead him to stop military support.

2) Baltic backup

Six NATO members announced a new partnership in response to recent Russian trolling.

  • The news: Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Poland plan to establish a collective "drone wall" to defend their borders. The drones would be an added measure alongside physical infrastructure and surveillance systems; anti-drone systems will also be installed.

  • Recent events: The Kremlin's Baltic Sea shenanigans have been considerable. It has postured over unilaterally redrawing sea borders, including removing buoys placed by Estonia. A recent attack on western Ukraine prompted Poland to scramble fighter jets. Finland has accused Russia of flooding its shared border with migrants. Russia has also jammed GPS signals in the region, impacting commercial and military flights.

  • Big picture: Sweden is not part of the drone wall pact, but it is also a key player. Many analysts believe Putin could eventually make a move on Gotland, a strategic Swedish island in the Baltic, but that would also likely spark a direct confrontation with NATO. There are also fears the Kremlin would try to establish a land bridge connecting the Kaliningrad enclave to client state Belarus.

3) Closing time

It is getting late early in former President Donald Trump's hush money trial.

  • The news: The trial resumes today after several days off with the start of closing arguments. Once those are complete, Judge Juan Merchan will give the jury its instructions and their deliberations will begin. A historic verdict may be handed down this week.

  • State of play: Trump faces 34 counts; allegations he violated campaign finance laws by paying $130K to porn star Stormy Daniels to conceal an extramarital affair are at the center of the case. Most legal analysts have indicated they do not believe an acquittal is likely, but that the jury may fail to reach unanimity, sparking a mistrial.

  • Big picture: The trial does not appear to have damaged Trump's standing in polls against Biden to date. Some surveys have suggested a conviction could turn off voters, but that remains to be seen. If Trump is convicted, he could face jail time. But a sentencing would likely occur after November's election. The Manhattan District Attorney could opt to retry the case if there is a mistrial, but that too would likely happen after Election Day.

Quick Tips

U.S. News

  • An 81-year-old California man was arrested for allegedly terrorizing a neighborhood with slingshot attacks. Police in Asuza say he broke car windshields and windows and narrowly missed people; the spree may have lasted a decade (More)

  • Four inmates escaped from a Louisiana jail over the weekend; two remained on the run as of last night. The men went through a fence at the Tangipahoa Parish Jail; guards were unaware until alerted by an inmate's family (More)

  • A United Airlines flight caught fire at O'Hare Airport in Chicago. The Airbus A320 plane's engine caused the Seattle-bound flight to abort its takeoff; no one was injured (More)

World News

  • Officials in Papua New Guinea told the United Nations that over 2K people were buried alive by a recent landslide. The Oceanic country has asked for international assistance; over 150 homes were destroyed in the disaster (More)

  • Iran's stockpile of highly enriched uranium has grown 17%, according to a UN watchdog. The International Atomic Energy Agency watchdog reportedly found refinement of the material is approaching weapons-grade in its latest inspection (More)

  • The U.S. is expected to end a prohibition on offensive weapon sales to Saudi Arabia. President Biden banned the sales in 2021 after criticizing the Gulf country's then-war in Yemen and military actions that killed civilians; a truce was reached in 2022 (More)

Campaign News

  • Progressive civic groups are challenging voting districts in south Florida, arguing they are unconstitutional. Republicans hold all four House districts in question, as well as seven state legislative districts (More)

  • Texas Rep. Tony Gonzales faces a Republican primary runoff today that has drawn national attention. Gonzales has criticized House GOP hard-liners and supported gun violence legislation (More)

  • Almost 70% of post-Super Tuesday presidential television ad spend has been in the seven key battleground states, according to NPR. Almost 30% of total spend has been made in Pennsylvania (More)

Business & Markets

  • Over 70% of beer and wine orders at United Kingdom bars and pubs are underpoured, according to a report. The Chartered Trading Standards Institute estimates beer drinkers lose about $113 annually while wine drinkers lose $146 (More)

  • BP, Shell and EOG Resources have placed bids to explore for gas and oil in Trinidad and Tobago. The Caribbean island nation will announce winners in four months; it is Latin America's largest producer of liquefied natural gas (More)

  • Canada ordered the dissolution of two domestic companies on unspecified national security grounds. Bluvec Technologies and Pegauni Technology must cease all operations under a law governing foreign investment (More)

Entertainment & Sports

  • Basketball Hall of Famer Bill Walton died at 71 of cancer. The colorful big man was a three-time national player of the year and two-time NCAA champion at UCLA, then won a pair of NBA championships before becoming a broadcaster (More)

  • Celine Dion is reportedly considering recording a television special. The singer has not performed since announcing a stiff person syndrome diagnosis in 2022; a documentary on her life will be released next month (More)

  • Washington Commanders kicker Brandon McManus has been accused of sexual assault on a team plane while playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Two women allege in a lawsuit he made physical contact on the NFL team’s return flight from a game in London last season (More)

Quick Hitters

  • Feel Good: A man was overcome with emotion after his grandson gave him a gift he never expected. His 1950s pickup truck was fully restored and running again after sitting broken for 40 years.

  • Go Deep: Room service has long been a luxury associated with a hotel stay. Delivery services like Uber Eats are threatening to make it obsolete, leading to both collaboration and competition.

  • True Crime: In the early 2000s, Taco Bell commissioned an artist to create three paintings to display in each of its locations. People started stealing them, creating a black market where some purloined prints fetch up to $10K.

  • Take Note: Ivy League psychologists are studying what it takes to raise children properly. Here are some of their tips.

  • Life Hack: Digital devices and technology can be a gift and a curse. Here is how to achieve a balance that allows you to be your happiest in everyday life.

  • OPTIMIZE ME: Researchers “found convincing evidence that higher intake of ultra-processed foods was associated with 50% increased risk of cardiovascular disease-related death, a 48% to 53% higher risk of anxiety and common mental disorders, and a 12% greater risk of type 2 diabetes.”

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Looking Ahead …

Tesla's vote on whether CEO Elon Musk's $56B pay package should be reinstated is about three weeks away. A major proxy advisory firm is campaigning for a no vote by the electric vehicle manufacturer’s shareholders on June 13.

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