A spring heat wave is expected to hit swaths of the U.S. this week. The Supreme Court’s nine justices will meet in private for the first time today since the leak of a draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade. Finland’s leaders announced support for NATO membership, paving the way to potentially expand the alliance amid Russia’s war in Ukraine. Veteran Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was shot and killed while covering an Israeli military raid in the occupied West Bank. The NFL will reveal its 2022 schedule in an epic TV special.
I’m Nicole, bringing you Thursday’s news. 🕯 Today we are are remembering our beloved friend and colleague, Dustin Barnes.
🌅 Up first: The Senate failed Wednesday to pass a bill would have made Roe v. Wade national law. The means the first attempt to enshrine the right to abortion failed following a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn the landmark decision. The effort failed 49-51, and Republicans decried the bill as a radical step that would go much further than what Roe guarantees. Polls show most Americans support abortion rights, and Democrats hope the fight over access will drive them to victory in the midterm elections. The vote allows Democrats in the Senate to draw a distinct comparison between themselves and Senate Republicans, most of whom are anti-abortion.
🟣 Anti-abortion forces across the country cautiously are celebrating a possible victory nearly five decades in the making.
More news to know now:
🔥 The largest wildfire in the U.S. has prompted more evacuations in New Mexico while another fire in California raced through coastal bluffs of multimillion-dollar mansions.
🏢 A nearly $1 billion tentative settlement has been reached in a class-action lawsuit brought by families of victims and survivors of last June’s condominium collapse in Surfside, Florida.
🚨 Thousands of dollars, several firearms and multiple vehicles: Here’s what it took for two fugitives to last 11 days on the run.
🍼 Parents are scrambling for alternatives amid a national baby formula shortage.
⚫ Opinion: Paris Hilton, in an article for USA TODAY, advocates for federal law to end institutional child abuse.
🐛 Your air conditioner is full of mold and bugs – here’s how to clean it.
🎧 On today’s 5 Things podcast, travel reporter Bailey Schulz looks ahead to an expensive summer. You can listen to the podcast every day on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or on your smart speaker.
Supreme Court justices to meet for first time since leaked Roe opinion
The Supreme Court’s nine justices will gather in private Thursday for their first scheduled meeting since the leak of a draft opinion that would overrule Roe v. Wade, the Associated Press reports. The meeting comes at a time where the future of abortion rights is at stake. Chief Justice John Roberts last week confirmed the authenticity of the opinion and stressed that the draft may not be the court’s final word. In his statement, Roberts also announced the launch of an investigation regarding who was responsible for the leak. Abortion law experts and people on both sides of the issue told the AP a major shift in the current abortion case seems less likely. The Senate failed Wednesday to pass a bill that would have made Roe v. Wade the law of the land. The effort failed 51-49 as Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., joined every Republican in opposition.
🟣 What happens if Roe v. Wade is overturned? What we know about the Supreme Court’s leaked draft opinion.
🟣 Why was Roe v. Wade never codified in Congress? Democrats since Clinton “kind of dropped it.”
🟣 Across the U.S.: If Roe v. Wade is overturned, here’s how abortion laws in each state will stand.
Finland leaders announce support for NATO membership amid Ukraine war
Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin said in a joint statement Thursday they’re in favor of applying for NATO membership, paving the way for the alliance to expand amid Russia’s war in Ukraine. “NATO membership would strengthen Finland’s security,” the statement said. Tytti Tuppurainen, Finland’s minister for European Affairs, told USA TODAY while she was in Washington on Wednesday that the announcement will be followed by a debate in Finland’s parliament early next week and a vote that is almost sure to be “strongly in favor of membership.” She added that she hopes her country’s application will be approved swiftly. NATO members adhere to a collective defense that views an attack on one as an attack on all. But that security guarantee would not apply while Finland’s bid is under consideration. Tuppurainen said her nation, which shares an 830-mile border with Russia, is acutely aware of the threats Russian officials have made against Finland if it goes ahead with the NATO bid.
🟡 Guns, bomb shelters and anti-radiation meds: More people in Finland prepare for war with Russia.
🟡 ”This has broken my life”: Russian artists demand free speech, flee their homeland for places like Finland to protest the Ukraine war.
👉 More news: Russian-appointed authorities in the southern Ukraine city of Kherson announced plans Wednesday to seek annexation.
Just for subscribers:
📰 Native American children forced to attend boarding schools experienced violence and trauma, according to a new federal report.
🏈 Meet the second Black agent – and the first Black woman – to solely represent a white quarterback in the NFL draft.
⛽ Gas hit a record high this week. Here’s how to manage the cost of a road trip.
🔔 Blaming Republicans is not always a winning strategy for Biden, experts say.
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May heat wave could shatter records across U.S.
Record high temperatures will be challenged across a 2,000-mile-long stretch of the U.S. this week thanks to an early season heat wave. The scorching heat that’s already been in place for several days in Texas will be coming to the Midwest, the northeastern U.S. and part of southeastern Canada, AccuWeather said. “Highs near 100 degrees in the south-central states, the 90s in parts of the Midwest and the 80s in portions of the Northeast will challenge record highs set as far back as the late-1800s in some cases,” said AccuWeather senior meteorologist Alex Sosnowski. Along with the heat will be summerlike humidity, a sharp change from recent chilly weather in the Midwest, Weather.com said.
🔥 Global warming: 50-50 chance Earth will hit key threshold by 2026.
Procession set to take body of slain Al Jazeera journalist to Jerusalem
Veteran Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, one of the channel’s best-known reporters, was shot and killed Wednesday while covering an Israeli military raid in the occupied West Bank. The broadcaster and two reporters with her blamed Israeli forces. Israel’s defense minister, Benny Gantz, promised a transparent investigation, and said he was in touch with U.S. and Palestinian officials. The Israeli military initially suggested that Abu Akleh, 51, a Palestinian Christian who was born and raised in Jerusalem, might have been killed by stray fire from Palestinians, but Gantz was more cautious Wednesday. Abu Akleh’s death could draw new scrutiny of Israel’s military justice system, which is being examined as part of an International Criminal Court war crimes probe. Abu Akleh, who was also a U.S. citizen, was respected in the Middle East and known for her coverage of life under occupation during her more than two decades reporting in the Palestinian territories. On Thursday, a procession was set to take Abu Akleh’s body for burial in Jerusalem.
ICYMI: Some of our top stories yesterday
📈 Soaring inflation slowed in April. Will shoppers finally get some relief?
💧 Rapidly receding waters of Lake Mead are revealing a history of secrets.
🥍 Body camera footage contradicts a sheriff’s account of how officers acted on a women’s lacrosse team bus.
😲 A South Carolina man died of a heart attack – while burying the body of a woman he killed.
💻 A Texas law that allows any state resident banned from social media platforms for their political views to sue will go into effect.
🛶 ”Mayhem at Lake George” lived up to its name as a wild video showed fights breaking out.
📰 Highlight from the USA TODAY newsroom The U.S. is about to hit a grim pandemic milestone: 1 million people who died in the deadliest event in American history. There is no typical victim of COVID-19, a virus that does not discriminate among children, young adults or senior citizens. But deaths come more readily to the elderly, the infirm and low-income people. There are a few flaws with how this historic landmark is reported; The U.S. count bypasses the global casualty numbers, which range from 6 million to 24 million, depending on which data is used. It’s also possible that the U.S. hit this high mark weeks ago but it’s just not been recorded. And many public health experts argue the 1 million benchmark didn’t have to happen – if every qualified U.S. resident had gotten a vaccine, hundreds of thousands of lives would have been saved.
🔴 “It wears on your spirit”: As the U.S. approaches 1 million COVID-19 deaths, a hard-hit Georgia county reckons with loss.
Did you hit a paywall? Daily Briefing is free, and made possible by financial support for our journalism. These stories linked above are subscriber-only. Please consider subscribing!
NFL to unveil its 2022 schedule in a huge TV special
The National Football League will unveil each 17-game schedule for all 32 franchises for the 2022 season – 272 games in total – Thursday night (8 p.m. ET, NFL Network and ESPN2). While some games, including five international games in London, Munich and Mexico City, a Week 2 Monday night doubleheader and one of the three Christmas Day games, have already been announced, Thursday will be when fans can mark their calendars for the games they most want to see. Among the games certain to draw attention are another Tom Brady-Patrick Mahomes duel when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Kansas City Chiefs and a rematch of the thrilling 2021 AFC playoff game between the Buffalo Bills at the Chiefs. The season opener also always garners significant interest as the Super Bowl champion begins the defense of its title in a high-profile home game. This year’s defending champ, the Los Angeles Rams, have 10 games against 2021 playoff teams on tap this year, including games against the Buccaneers, Chiefs and Bills.
🏈 NFL power rankings: How did 2022 draft alter league landscape heading into next season?
📷 Photo of the day: Aftermath of explosion at hotel in Havana, Cuba 📷
At least 30 people were killed by a powerful explosion at a luxury hotel in Havana, Cuba nearly a week ago. The Hotel Saratoga, a five-star 96-room hotel in Old Havana, was preparing to reopen after being closed for two years when an apparent gas leak ignited, blowing the outer walls into the busy, midmorning streets just a block from the country’s Capitol building on Friday.
Authorities said the cause of the explosion at the hotel owned by Grupo de Turismo Gaviota SA was still under investigation, but believed it to have been caused by a gas leak. At least 54 people were injured.
Click here to see photos of the explosion’s aftermath.
Contributing: The Associated Press
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism