First Thing: Biden visits Uvalde after mass shooting | | The Guardian

First Thing: Biden visits Uvalde after mass shooting

President and first lady seek to comfort community as DoJ launches investigation into the police’s response. Plus, how the side hustle ate the hobby

Joe and Jill Biden visit a memorial at Robb elementary school.

Good morning.

Joe Biden has visited Uvalde, Texas, seeking to comfort a community devastated by the latest American mass shooting, which claimed the lives of 19 elementary school children and two teachers.

The visit yesterday marked the second presidential visit related to a massacre within two weeks after a racist attack in Buffalo, New York, as Democrats in Washington offered tentative hope of bipartisan gun reform legislation in Congress.

Onlookers cheered Biden but also called out to the Democratic president and the visiting Texas Republican governor Greg Abbott about taking action to make America safer for their children.

Joe and Jill Biden, both wearing black, paid their respects at a makeshift memorial site outside the Robb elementary school in Uvalde, laying a bouquet of white flowers amid a mass of candles, flowers, and photographs of the victims.

  • Will any gun control measures be brought in? Senators in Washington DC offered cautious optimism over a legislative deal on a package of small-scale gun safety measures. Meanwhile, Democrats in some blue states are making efforts to reinvigorate gun control proposals.

  • What else is happening? The US government yesterday announced a federal investigation into the police response as anger mounted over why armed officers waited more than one hour in the hall outside the classroom.

Trump calls Capitol attack an ‘insurrection hoax’ as public hearings set to begin

Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Wyoming on Saturday in support of Harriet Hageman.

As the House committee investigating the attack on the US Capitol by extremist supporters of Donald Trump prepares to start public hearings next week, the former president called the insurrection on January 6 2021 a hoax.

Trump spoke at a rally in Wyoming on Saturday night in support of the Republican primary challenger in the midterm elections to congresswoman Liz Cheney. Cheney sits on the committee and has been vilified by Trump since she voted in favor of his historic second impeachment over the insurrection.

Addressing the sub-capacity crowd at a rally in Casper for Republican candidate Harriet Hageman, Trump criticized Cheney, saying: “As one of the nation’s leading proponents of the insurrection hoax, Liz Cheney has pushed a grotesquely false, fabricated, hysterical partisan narrative.

“Look at the so-called word insurrection, January 6 – what a lot of crap.”

  • When will the committee hold public hearings? It is due to hold a series of public hearings beginning 9 June and expects to present a report before the midterm elections in November.

  • What else is happening? Separately, the Department of Justice is also investigating events on and surrounding the Capitol attack, led by the US attorney general, Merrick Garland.

Sievierodonetsk bombing so intense, casualties cannot be assessed, officials say

A howitzer of pro-Russian troops fires in the direction of Sievierodonetsk, Ukraine.

Officials in eastern Ukraine say Russian shelling of Sievierodonetsk has been so intense that it has not been possible to assess casualties and damage, as Moscow closes in on the largest city still held by Ukraine in the Donbas.

“The situation has extremely escalated,” said Serhiy Haidai, the governor of Luhansk region, on Sunday. Witnesses said the city was being bombed “200 times an hour” as Russian forces try to cut off reinforcement lines and surround its remaining defenders.

Ukrainian authorities have described conditions in Sievierodonetsk as reminiscent of Mariupol, the southern port city that fell on 20 May after almost three months of relentless assault.

“Some 90% of buildings are damaged. More than two-thirds of the city’s housing stock has been completely destroyed. There is no telecommunication,” the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said in a televised speech.

  • What losses has the Russian army incurred? Russia has likely suffered devastating losses among its mid and junior ranking officers in the conflict, according to the UK ministry of defence. “The loss of large proportion of the younger generation of professional officers will likely exacerbate its ongoing problems.” the latest report said.

  • What else is happening? Here’s what we know on day 96 of the invasion.

In other news …

Kevin Spacey
  • British authorities are pursuing the return of Kevin Spacey from the US to face sexual assault charges. An official familiar with the process said the UK would seek the actor’s formal extradition unless he decided to come back voluntarily.

  • Ronnie Hawkins, the Arkansas-born rock’n’roll legend who mentored the young Canadian and American musicians later known as the Band, has died. Hawkins, described in tributes as the most important rock’n’roller in Canadian history, died at the age of 87 after an illness.

  • For the first time in 33 years, church services to commemorate the Tiananmen Square crackdown will not be held in Hong Kong, erasing one of the last reminders of China’s bloody suppression of the 1989 protests. They have been cancelled over fears of falling foul of Hong Kong authorities.

  • The sharp polarisation between mainly western liberal democracies and the rest of the world in perceptions of Russia has been laid bare in an annual global poll. Within Europe, 55% of those surveyed said they were in favour of cutting economic ties, whereas in Asia there was a majority against.

Stat of the day: After 14 years of work and about $5bn spent, can California’s high-speed rail project ever get back on track?

An elevated section of the high-speed rail under construction in Fresno, California, in 2017.

In the depths of the 2008 recession, Californians were sold on a beautiful dream: a bullet train that would whisk them between Los Angeles and San Francisco in less than three hours, writes Andrew Gumbel. Fast-forward to the present, and the dream is all but dead. The California project is still technically up and running, but it is so far behind schedule that it has yet to lay a single mile of track, despite 14 years of work and about $5bn spent. Can it ever get back on track?

Don’t miss this: Six women on being abused by fashion agent Jean-Luc Brunel

Jean-Luc Brunel at the Karin agency in Paris in 2001.

Jean-Luc Brunel killed himself in prison in February. The 75-year-old had spent 14 months in custody, awaiting trial on charges of rape of minors and sexual harassment, which he denied, along with any participation in Jeffrey Epstein’s sex-trafficking. Here, six former models speak out about him, his friend Epstein – and an industry that seemed to turn a blind eye. All say their careers were affected by what they allege took place in Paris. They say Brunel was at the heart of a network of sexual abuse in the industry that still needs to be exposed.

… or this: how the side hustle ate the hobby

My side hustle ate my hobby illustration

“My mum started crocheting a few years ago. Retirement, coupled with the arrival of her first grandchildren, compelled her to pick up the hooks, and soon she was churning out more blankets than she knew what to do with,” writes Victoria Pearson. “My siblings and I urged her to sell them online. ‘We’ll set you up on Instagram! We can call the account ‘Sewn by Sue’.” Our mother, folding her most recent creation, scoffed at the idea. “Why would I ruin a perfectly good activity by turning it into a business?’”

Climate check: Deaths of three Chicago women prompt urgent heat warnings

Veldarin Jackson Sr talks about receiving the call that his mother, Janice Reed, had died, with his wife, Adjoa Jackson, left, in Chicago.

Temperatures barely climbed into the 90s and only for a couple of days. But the discovery of the bodies of three women inside a Chicago senior housing facility this month left the city looking for answers to questions that were supposed to be addressed decades ago and are causing alarm as the planet heats. “Hotter and more dangerous heatwaves are coming earlier, in May … and the other thing is we are getting older and more people are living alone,“ said Eric Klinenberg, a sociologist.

Last Thing: Alexa, why have you charged me £2 to say the Hail Mary?

Patricia Collinson

Every morning for a week devout Catholic 87-year-old Patricia Collinson asked her Alexa speaker to recite the Hail Mary, which she was delighted about. What she was less delighted to learn was that she had unwittingly ordered a premium subscription payable through Amazon to a private company called Catholic Prayers. The Alexa was set up by my sister, Catherine, and is attached to her Amazon account. “Thank goodness she didn’t ask Alexa to say the Rosary,” my sister joked, referring to the set of prayers that includes 53 Hail Marys.

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#model #modeling selected by Livio Acerbo – original source here