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Chinese fighter jet intercepts US spy plane, raises tensions: May 31 rundown

May 31


A recent encounter between a Chinese military jet and a U.S. spy plane has further exacerbated tensions, as both sides have accused the other of being the aggressor in the incident. And nine juveniles in California have been taken into custody in connection with an assault of three Marines that was captured on camera. These stories and more highlight the rundown for Wednesday, May 31, 2023.

Encounter between Chinese military jet, U.S. spy plane raises tensions

The U.S. Department of Defense has released video footage capturing what it describes as an “unnecessarily aggressive maneuver” by a Chinese J-16 fighter jet towards a U.S. Air Force spy plane. The video shows the Chinese fighter jet cutting directly in front of the nose of the U.S. aircraft, coming within a distance of 400 feet. The close proximity of the Chinese jet caused turbulence that affected the American aircraft.

According to the U.S. military, the spy plane was conducting “safe and routine operations” in international airspace over the South China Sea, emphasizing its right to be present in that area. The Pentagon released the footage in an effort to shed light on the encounter and highlight what they perceive as China’s aggressive actions.

China’s Foreign Ministry responded to the incident, accusing the U.S. of posing a “serious danger” and urging them to stop provoking China. The Chinese government disputed the U.S. military’s version of events and insisted that their actions were a response to the presence of U.S. surveillance activities near its territory.

This intercept comes at a time when tensions between the United States and China are already elevated. The U.S. has been attempting to arrange a high-profile meeting between representatives from both countries to ease tensions. However, recent reports suggest that China has rejected such a meeting, adding further strain to the already delicate relationship.

North Korea’s attempted spy-satellite launch ends in failure

North Korea recently made an unsuccessful attempt to launch its first-ever spy-satellite, which was intended to monitor U.S. military activities. However, the launch ended in failure, resulting in the satellite crashing into the sea.

Some parts of the satellite were reportedly recovered by South Korea, as the launch marked North Korea’s first attempt of this nature since 2016. The United States, South Korea, and Japan have “strongly condemned” North Korea for its plans to launch a spy-satellite. The countries expressed concerns about the implications of such a satellite, which could potentially gather sensitive information about their respective military operations.

Pyongyang’s National Aerospace Development Administration will reportedly investigate the “serious defects” which caused the crash and take action to overcome them before conducting a second launch in the near future. North Korea had said it would launch its first military reconnaissance satellite between May 31 and June 11 to boost monitoring of U.S. military activities.

9 teens arrested in connection with assault of 3 Marines in California

A brawl captured on camera over the Memorial Day weekend has brought attention to an assault on three Marines near a beach in Southern California. Video footage reveals the moments when the Marines were beaten by a crowd of people. Authorities have now taken nine juveniles into custody in connection with the assault.

The video shows one Marine walking away from a crowd before being punched, after which he charges back at the attacker, sparking the brawl. Law enforcement officials have made arrests in relation to the assault; however, the investigation remains ongoing, and further arrests may follow as more details are uncovered.

“This is considered an assault with a deadly weapon because of the number of suspects that we are investigating,” Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Frank Gonzalez said. “The weapons that were used were their feet while these victims were on the ground. So regardless of the victims choose prosecution or choose medical attention, the sheriff’s department is gonna investigate this to the fullest and try to determine who the suspects are.”

Congress faces critical deadline to reach debt limit agreement

With only five days remaining for Congress to secure an agreement on the nation’s debt limit and avoid a potential default, a crucial vote is expected in the House Wednesday evening, May 31, on a bipartisan bill hammered out by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and President Joe Biden.

Lawmakers will likely vote on amendments to the bill before the final vote, which is anticipated to take place around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. However, on the day the newly Republican-controlled House faces its first major vote, an increasing number of conservative members have expressed their opposition to the bill, arguing that the last-minute proposal falls short in reining in federal spending.

The current version of the bill proposes extending the debt limit through 2025 in exchange for cuts to IRS funding, stricter restrictions on government programs like food stamps, and energy permitting reform.

Minnesota becomes 23rd state to legalize recreational marijuana

Minnesota has now become the 23rd state to legalize recreational marijuana. Gov. Tim Walz, D, signed a bill that will permit adults aged 21 and older to possess marijuana. The new law is set to take effect on Aug. 1.

In addition to giving adults aged 21 and older to have the right to possess marijuana for personal use, the legislation establishes a comprehensive regulatory framework that will govern the licensing and operation of cannabis retailers and manufacturers. It also includes provisions for expunging low-level marijuana offenses from individuals’ criminal records.

Nevada’s Republican governor signs bill to protect abortion rights

Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo signed a bill to enshrine abortion rights in the state. This marks only the third time that a Republican governor has taken steps to protect access to abortion, following Vermont Gov. Phil Scott and former Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker.

Despite his personal pro-life stance, citing his Catholic faith, Lombardo has approved legislation that formalizes an existing executive order preventing the prosecution of abortion patients who travel to Nevada for the procedure.

During his campaign, Lombardo expressed his commitment to respecting the will of the voters, who supported codifying abortion rights up to 24 weeks in a 1990 referendum vote.

The legislation signed by Lombardo builds upon existing protections and safeguards for individuals seeking abortion services in Nevada. By codifying the executive order, the bill strengthens the legal framework surrounding abortion rights and aims to ensure that women who choose to undergo the procedure have access to safe and legal health care options.

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