The Full Belmonte, 5/19/2022
The U.S. women's soccer team (Megan Rapinoe, center) celebrates capturing a record fourth Women's World Cup in 2019. Photo: Seth Wenig/AP
“The stars of America’s world-beating women’s soccer team are finally going to get paid exactly the same as the U.S. men’s team after an historic agreement that sets a new standard for the sport. The deal will mean equal World Cup prize money, equal appearance fees, and equal revenue-sharing, ‘so identical in every respect,’ said Cindy Parlow, president of U.S. Soccer. The USWNT have won FIFA women’s World Cup four times since its foundation in 1991, while lagging behind the far less successful U.S. men in pay and bonuses. NBC News said the new collective-bargaining agreement came after stars including Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan won a $24 million settlement from U.S. Soccer in February after an unequal-pay lawsuit. ‘For us as players, I’m just so proud of the way we stuck together, and really just kind of put our foot down,’ Rapinoe told the network. ‘This is really a huge win for us.’” Read more at Daily Beast
Dave McCormick with his wife Dina Powell, in Pittsburgh on primary night. Photo: Keith Srakocic/AP
“Dave McCormick's campaign tells me their data show a clear path to victory in the too-close-to-call GOP Senate primary in Pennsylvania.
‘Dave is going to win,’ strategist Jeff Roe tweeted.
McCormick — former hedge-fund CEO and official in the George W. Bush administration — expects to move ahead of Dr. Oz tomorrow when more absentee ballots are added to the tally, top advisers tell me.
McCormick yesterday closed the gap with Oz to 1,240 votes out of 1.3 million cast.
A recount is looking likely. Campaigns have deployed lawyers throughout the state.” Read more at Axios
Republican Senate candidate Mehmet Oz addresses supporters in Newtown, Pa., on May 17. (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
“Former president Donald Trump on Wednesday moved to baselessly discredit the too-close-to-call Republican Senate primary in Pennsylvania, urging his endorsed candidate, Mehmet Oz, to ‘declare victory’ over opponent David McCormick before all the votes are counted in a contest with far-reaching implications.
State election officials continued tallying ballots, including thousands submitted by mail, with Oz leading McCormick by just one-tenth of a percentage point — well within the threshold for an automatic recount. There was no evidence of any wrongdoing in the process, which is a normal part of every election.
Trump’s comments set off alarm among some Republicans and Democrats in the state. His words echoed his conduct after the 2020 election, but this time he was lashing out in an intraparty competition. In 2020, he falsely claimed victory in Pennsylvania and sought to stop mail-in ballots from being recounted. His efforts were unsuccessful, and Joe Biden’s victory was certified.” Read more at Washington Post
“In a show of support for the Ukrainian government, the US has reopened its embassy in Kyiv after it closed three months ago ahead of Russia's invasion. ‘We underscored our commitment to Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, pledged to continue our assistance, and started working toward the day we could return to Kyiv. Now, that day has come,’ US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said yesterday. Blinken also said the US will give Ukraine an additional $215 million in emergency food assistance to help the country fight its ongoing humanitarian crisis. On the battlefield, NATO doesn’t expect significant gains for either Russia or Ukraine in the coming weeks. ‘I think we'll be in a standstill for a while,’ a NATO military official with knowledge of the intelligence told CNN. Separately, President Joe Biden is scheduled to meet with the leaders of Finland and Sweden today after the two nations submitted their formal applications to become NATO members.” Read more at CNN
“The EU aims to end its dependence on Russian energy within five years. The bloc’s $317 billion plan involves negotiating gas supply deals with producers in the U.S., the Middle East and Africa, and massively expanding renewable energy construction. Separately, the EU proposed up to $9.5 billion in short-term funding to help Ukraine pay its bills.” Read more at Wall Street Journal
“Russian companies are finding creative ways to skirt sanctions.Businesses have tried everything from altering shipping routes and changing suppliers to moving their entire operations to Kazakhstan. Meanwhile, the U.S. is likely to prevent American investors from receiving payments on Russian debt, a decision that could push Russia toward default.” Read more at Wall Street Journal
“The House of Representatives voted 222-203 yesterday to pass a bill aimed at preventing domestic terrorism and combating the threat of violent extremism by White supremacists. The vote comes in the wake of a racially motivated mass shooting over the weekend at a supermarket in a predominately Black neighborhood in Buffalo, New York, that killed 10 people and wounded three others. The bill now heads to the Senate, where its fate is uncertain because most Republicans in Congress remain steadfastly opposed to any kind of gun control bills. The suspected shooter, Payton Gendron, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder, officials said, adding that other charges are forthcoming. He is scheduled to appear in court today for a felony hearing.” Read more at CNN
“Kathy Hochul, New York’s governor, said she would strengthen the ‘red flag’ law that failed to stop the Buffalo shooter from buying guns.” Read more at New York Times
“The stock market had a rough day yesterday, with the Dow tumbling 1,164 points, or 3.6% -- its worst trading day since June 2020. Markets have plummeted over the past month as the Federal Reserve telegraphed that it would regularly hike interest rates by half a percentage point for the foreseeable future to combat persistent inflation. Now, investors are calling for a three-quarter-point rate hike at the conclusion of the Fed's June meeting, despite Fed Chair Jerome Powell's assurances that an increase that high isn't on the table. Meanwhile, Asian markets opened sharply lower today, continuing Wall Street's downward spiral hours earlier.” Read more at CNN
“The Biden administration announced it is taking new actions to attempt to alleviate the nationwide baby formula shortage, including invoking the Defense Production Act. The act allows the government more control over industrial production during emergencies and will direct suppliers of formula ingredients to prioritize delivery to various manufacturers. In addition, President Biden announced that the Defense Department's commercial planes will be used to import formula from abroad. The House yesterday also passed a pair of bills aimed at addressing the nationwide formula shortage. One of the bills would provide $28 million in emergency funding to increase the number of FDA inspection staff and bolster additional resources for personnel working on formula issues. The other bill is aimed at ensuring that families in need can continue to buy baby formula with WIC benefits during a public health emergency or supply chain issues such as a product recall.” Read more at CNN
“Army Col. Yevgeny Vindman, who along with his twin brother raised alarm about President Donald Trump’s actions toward Ukraine, precipitating the first of two impeachments, suffered a ‘swift’ reduction in responsibilities advising the White House and probably was punished for speaking out, according to the findings of an investigation released Wednesday.
The Defense Department inspector general’s office determined it is ‘more likely than not’ that Vindman, an Army officer who in 2019 was assigned to the National Security Council, ‘was the subject of unfavorable personnel actions and that these were in reprisal for his protected communications’ with superiors.
The subject of Vindman’s concern was a call in which Trump implored Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to have the government in Kyiv open a corruption investigation of Trump’s political rival Joe Biden, who as vice president under President Barack Obama led much of the administration’s outreach to Ukraine and made numerous trips to meet with its leaders.
The inspector general’s office recommended no action be taken in Vindman’s case, noting that Army officials promoted him to his current rank last year and removed an unfavorable performance review that Trump administration officials had issued.
Vindman and his brother, Alexander Vindman, were among those dismissed from their jobs by national security adviser Robert O’Brien in February 2020 shortly after Trump’s first impeachment trial ended with a Senate acquittal. Trump stood accused of abusing his authority, by seeking to withhold military aid intended for Ukraine when Zelensky declined to direct an investigation of Biden, and then obstructing Congress’s efforts to investigate those claims.
Vindman said in a phone interview Wednesday night that he was gratified by the inspector general’s decision, but would like to see U.S. officials consider action against those cited in the report. His career was adversely affected by the situation, he said. He suggested that a review of whether they should keep security clearances might be one option.” Read more at Washington Post
“The Roman Catholic Church of New Mexico is offering the sum of $121.5 million in an attempt to pay off 375 creditors tied to a long and painful clerical sex abuse scandal in that state that has focused on the Santa Fe diocese—one of the oldest in the U.S. The settlement offer has to be approved by the sex abuse survivors who have been battling the church since Santa Fe filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2018 to protect itself from creditors. The settlement is just for the New Mexico church and does not count the considerable claims against religious orders who ran facilities where abuse allegedly occurred. ‘The church takes very seriously its responsibility to see the survivors of sexual abuse are justly compensated for the suffering they have endured,’ John C. Wester, archbishop of Santa Fe, said in a statement reported by the Associated Press. ‘It is our hope that this settlement is the next step in the healing of those who have been harmed.’ At least 74 priests have been named in the abuse and around $52 million has already been paid in out-of-court settlements.” [Daily Beast] Read more at Associated Press
““Pharma bro” Martin Shkreli was released from prison early. The former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, now Vyera Pharmaceuticals, has been transferred to a halfway house after completing programs that allowed for his sentence to be shortened, his lawyer said. Shkreli originally faced a seven-year term after being convicted of securities fraud in 2017. He also gained notoriety for raising the price of a lifesaving AIDS drug from $17.50 a tablet to $750 a tablet.” Read more at Wall Street Journal
“NEW YORK (AP) — Massachusetts on Wednesday reported a rare case of monkeypox in a man who recently traveled to Canada, and health officials are looking into whether it is connected to small outbreaks in Europe.
Monkeypox is typically limited to Africa, and rare cases in the U.S. and elsewhere are usually linked to travel there. A small number of confirmed or suspected cases have been reported this month in the United Kingdom, Portugal and Spain.” Read more at AP News
“After months of focusing on the biggest conflict in Europe since WWII, President Joe Biden embarks Thursday on a five-day trip to Asia , turning his attention to the region of the world he had previously hoped to prioritize. The trip, to South Korea and Japan, will be another opportunity for Biden to showcase the global solidarity he’s helped build against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and to repeat his often-argued case for democracy over authoritarianism. That message will be aimed at China, whose growing economic and military prowess makes it – in the view of the administration – the only country capable of seriously disrupting the international system. Biden will meet with the South Korean and Japanese leaders as well as the heads of state from Australia and India. In addition to reassuring Indo-Pacific allies that his attention has not strayed, Biden will try to strengthen an economic alliance with the region.” Read more at USA Today
“U.S.-Venezuela relations. The United States is set to ease energy sanctions on Venezuela in a bid to encourage talks between the Maduro government and opposition groups and as it seeks to boost global oil production to bring down prices. Anti-Maduro politicians and their U.S. allies oppose the move; as Isadora Zubillaga argued in FP earlier this week, ‘ignoring Maduro’s dictatorship in the hopes of lowering domestic U.S. energy prices is not only ethically problematic but counterproductive and ineffective.’
The move comes a day after Washington relaxed Trump-era restrictions on Cuba, which included lifting a cap on remittances and improving visa processing services.” Read more at Foreign Policy
A Russian soldier on trial for war crimes.Nicole Tung for The New York Times
“In a Kyiv courtroom, a 21-year-old Russian soldier pleaded guilty to killing a citizen on a bicycle.” Read more at New York Times
“North Korea’s coronavirus outbreak. North Korean officials said the country was approaching 1.5 million suspected coronavirus cases on Tuesday, a number that accounts for roughly 6 percent of the population, as World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus expressed said he was ‘deeply concerned’ that the outbreak could get worse.
Ankit Panda, writing in Foreign Policy on Monday, highlighted the challenges Pyongyang now faces with a raging COVID outbreak amid an existing food crisis. As Biden prepares to visit South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol this weekend, Panda argues that the two men should extend unconditional aid to the north—as long as it’s willing to accept it—to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe.” Read more at Foreign Policy
“As global emissions continue to surge, setting the world on a course to barrel past critical climate targets, the planet is rapidly becoming a place of brutal extremes—one of record heat waves, torrential rain, and searing droughts.
It’s a troubling prospect, one that is especially catastrophic for already vulnerable populations around the world. Climate change is a leading cause of hunger, second only to conflict, according to the World Food Programme, and the deepening climate crisis threatens to plunge millions more people into food insecurity.
With climate change, extreme weather events like drought have become more frequent and intense. The vast majority of the people facing hunger—roughly 80 percent—reside in regions that are susceptible to these climate extremes, which can then impact food production, availability, and accessibility.
Take East Africa, where climate change has helped fuel a devastating drought that has ravaged populations already strained by the pandemic’s aftershocks and prolonged conflict. The result has been dire: An estimated three million livestock have been killed while harvests have been destroyed. Every 48 seconds, a person is estimated to be dying of starvation in Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya, according to a new report by Oxfam and Save the Children.
‘This is the worst drought that these countries have faced in 40 years,’ said Lia Lindsey, a senior humanitarian policy advisor at Oxfam America. ‘As we see greenhouse emissions increasing, we’re seeing the severity of extreme weather events, like drought in this area, increase not only in frequency, but also in severity.’
If nothing is done, aid agencies warn, these populations could soon face widespread famine. Across Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia, over 23 million people are currently confronting acute hunger; half a million people are living under famine-like conditions. ‘The worst case scenario is really, severely concerning,’ said Lindsey.
South Asia has also been living through its own climate nightmare, as the region struggles to cope with a blistering heat wave that has forced school closures and blackouts. It will likely only be a preview of what is yet to come: With climate change, intense heatwaves in Pakistan and India are now 100 times more likely to occur, according to a new study.
As these climate impacts become more pronounced, the implications for global hunger will be enormous. By 2030, the number of people in India at risk of hunger could spike by 23 percent because of the climate crisis, according to a new report by the International Food Policy Research Institute. Around the world, the report said, there would be roughly 70 million more people at risk than there would be without climate change.” Read more at Foreign Policy
“Testing ties | While Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Sara Duterte joined forces to pull off the biggest Philippine election win in four decades, it remains to be seen if they can stay united for the next six years. Signs of tension emerged just days after the vote, when Marcos picked Duterte as his education secretary even though she had publicly sought the defense portfolio.” Read more at Bloomberg
Search-and-rescue workers in March sorted through aircraft debris at the China Eastern crash site in southern China.
PHOTO: LU BOAN/XINHUA NEWS AGENCY/ASSOCIATED PRESS
“The China Eastern crash was likely intentional. Flight data indicates someone in the cockpit pushed the Boeing 737-800 jet into a near-vertical descent, according to people familiar with U.S. officials’ preliminary assessment of what led to the disaster. Chinese authorities leading the investigation so far haven’t flagged any mechanical or flight-control problems with the plane that crashed in southern China on March 21, killing 132 people.” Read more at Wall Street Journal
“Spain’s menstrual leave plan. Spain could become the first country in Europe to offer menstrual leave after its left-wing government approved a draft bill offering monthly leave to women experiencing period pain on Tuesday. The bill would also strengthen the country’s abortion laws and provide free period products in public institutions.
If made law, Spain would join Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Zambia as one of the few countries that have adopted the policy.” Read more at Foreign Policy
“A town in southern Japan is suing a man after he allegedly gambled away more than $350,000 in coronavirus relief funds delivered to him in error.
The man was slated to receive a 100,000 yen ($770) cash payment as part of a program for 463 low-income households in the town of Abu. Instead, all the money came to his account.
The man, who has since gone into hiding, said through his lawyer that the money had been lost on online gambling.
Norihiko Hanada, the town’s mayor, said he is ‘deeply sorry’ for the mistake and that his office ‘will do our utmost to take back the large amount of public money’.” Read more at Foreign Policy
“Chris Wallace will host a Sunday evening show on CNN, after recently moving to the network to launch a show on its now-defunct streaming service CNN+, Axios' Media Trends author Sara Fischer scoops. Go deeper.” Read more at Axios
A circus audition in Las Vegas.Roger Kisby for The New York Times
New circus, no animals
“In 2017, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus ended its 146-year run. The nostalgic circus faced sagging sales and a growing public distaste for the exotic animal acts — lions, tigers and elephants — once synonymous with its show. The company announced yesterday that it would return in 2023, without animals, Sarah Maslin Nir reports.
The revamped show will focus on narrative and human feats — not unlike Cirque du Soleil. In fact, Ringling has hired Giulio Scatola, a veteran of Cirque du Soleil, as a director for the new production. Scatola said he was influenced by ‘America’s Got Talent,’ where contestants’ stories are as significant as their crafts.
The company’s business model was in need of an update, anyway: Touring cross-country with a crew of 500 people and 100 animals in mile-long trains, as it did for over a century, costs a lot. The circus has since sold off those trains, and performers will drive or fly from city to city and stay in hotels. Logistics are far easier when there’s no longer a need to check in Dumbo.
Go behind the scenes at auditions for the show in Las Vegas.” Read more at New York Times
Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images
“At the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., former cadets toss their hats yesterday to celebrate becoming commissioned officers.
Vice President Harris delivered the commencement address.” Read more at Axios
Bryson Dechambeau played the practice round at Southern Hills on Tuesday with a heavily strapped left wrist. Photograph: Eric Gay/AP
“Bryson DeChambeau has decided to withdraw from this week’s PGA Championship as he continues his recovery from surgery to repair a bone in his left wrist, with the 28-year-old insisting that over a four-day tournament his wrist ‘is just not able to hold up.’
DeChambeau, who has been limited to six worldwide starts this year because of wrist and hip injuries, underwent surgery on his left hand days after missing the cut at the Masters last month. One month later, he posted a video of his full swing – seemingly at full force – hitting golf balls into a net in his back yard.
The big-hitting American, whose prodigious length off the tee has prompted many to wonder whether he is pushing his body too hard, played a practice round at Southern Hills on Tuesday with a wrap on his left wrist.” Read more at The Guardian
“Lives Lived: Ray Scott was an insurance salesman when the idea for a bass fishing tour came to him. His Bassmaster Classic tournament helped turn the hobby into a professional sport. He died at 88.” Read more at New York Times