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Russia sanctions top the agenda as G-7 summit begins: May 19 rundown


During the first day of the G-7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan, world leaders discussed imposing tougher sanctions against Russia, while providing more support for Ukraine. And The Walt Disney Company has decided to cancel the construction of a nearly $1 billion new corporate campus in Florida amid ongoing disagreements with Gov. Ron DeSantis. These stories and more highlight the rundown for Friday, May 19, 2023.

World leaders discuss Russia sanctions as G-7 summit gets underway

President Joe Biden is currently in Japan, engaging in discussions with world leaders as the G-7 summit commences. The first day of the summit saw a focused agenda, with an emphasis on escalating sanctions against Russia and providing increased financial support to Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is preparing to join the “Group of 7” this weekend, seeking additional arms and aid from allies as the conflict in Ukraine enters its 15th month. In a joint statement, the G-7 leaders expressed their commitment to restricting exports that could potentially benefit Russia across their countries.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who represents Hiroshima in Japan’s lower house of parliament, said he chose the city for the summit to focus attention on arms control. Hiroshima, and another Japanese city, Nagasaki, were destroyed during the U.S. nuclear attacks 78 years ago that brought an end to World War II.

Meanwhile, addressing the ongoing tensions between China and the global economy is another pressing issue on the summit’s agenda. International trade, security concerns, and the sluggish pace of global growth are also among the key topics to be discussed by world leaders during this meeting.

Jack Teixeira court hearing raises concerns over national security breach

The Massachusetts Air National Guardsman accused of leaking highly classified documents that have continued to surface online, exposing national security secrets, will appear in court Friday, May 19. The judge will assess whether 21-year-old Jack Teixeira should be released on bail or have his bail denied, while the Justice Department argues that he poses a flight risk. Conversely, Teixeira’s attorney contends that he should be released into his parents’ custody.

Prosecutors have argued that if released on bail, Teixeira could “further disseminate classified information” and “take refuge with a foreign adversary.” Meanwhile, Teixeira’s father testified during an April 27 detention hearing that he was prepared to serve as a third-party custodian pending his son’s release.

The court hearing coincides with the emergence of new court documents, shedding light on the multiple warnings given by Air National Guard officials to Teixeira regarding his alleged unauthorized access to highly classified material. These documents reveal instances where Teixeira took notes and clandestinely removed them from the workplace. As recently as January, Teixeira was found accessing sensitive information unrelated to his primary duties as an IT specialist, according to the disclosed documents.

Alarming questions arise as these documents indicate that despite officials being aware of Teixeira’s unauthorized access to top-secret information, he retained his security clearance. This revelation raises concerns about potential gaps in security protocols and the potential risks posed by unauthorized individuals with access to classified material.

Police release body camera footage of New Mexico shooting incident

Police recently released new body camera footage capturing the events of a deadly shooting that claimed the lives of three individuals and left six others injured in Farmington, New Mexico. The incident occurred when a teenager began firing indiscriminately in a residential neighborhood.

The newly released body camera footage reveals officers responding to the sound of gunfire, their weapons drawn as they rush towards the scene. Two officers sustained injuries while attempting to apprehend the shooter. Sergeant Rachel Discenza’s own body camera captured the moment she was struck and fell to the ground after being shot.

At one point during the ordeal, the shooter seemingly taunts the officers, daring them to kill him. He removes his body armor and decides not to flee, choosing instead to stand in a church parking lot. The officers ultimately determined that lethal force was necessary, killing the suspect and ending a shooting rampage which involved firing over 140 rounds from an AR-15 rifle.

Disney cancels Florida campus plans amid conflict with DeSantis

The Walt Disney Company has decided to abandon its plans to construct a new corporate campus in Central Florida, just 20 miles away from Walt Disney World. The decision comes as the entertainment giant continues to face disagreements with Gov. Ron DeSantis, R, and ongoing business struggles. The proposed campus was intended to house 2,000 employees relocating from Southern California.

According to a Disney spokesperson, the cancellation can be attributed to “changing business conditions.” The nearly $1 billion campus was projected to bring more than 2,000 jobs to the area with average salaries of $120,000.

DeSantis and the state legislature have been engaged in a contentious battle with Disney over a state law banning classroom discussions on sexual orientation and gender identity in early grades. As a result of Disney’s opposition to the law, DeSantis intervened by passing legislation that stripped Disney World of its self-governing status and appointed a new board of supervisors.

“Nothing ever came of the project, and the state was unsure whether it would come to fruition,” DeSantis press secretary Jeremy Redfern said. “Given the company’s financial straits, falling market cap and declining stock price, it is unsurprising that they would restructure their business operations and cancel unsuccessful ventures.”

Salman Rushdie makes public appearance following knife attack

Novelist Salman Rushdie, known for his advocacy of free speech and his contentious relationship with Iran, has made his first public appearance since a harrowing incident in which he was attacked on stage by a man wielding a knife. Rushdie sustained grave injuries, having been stabbed 10 times during the assault.

The author attended and spoke at the 2023 PEN America Literary Gala, donning an eye patch to conceal the eye he lost during the incident. Rushdie thanked Henry Reese of the City of Asylum project in Pittsburgh, for tackling his assailant and also acknowledged audience members who also stepped in during the attack. This marked Rushdie’s first public speech since August.

“It’s nice to be back — as opposed to not being back, which was also a possibility. I’m glad the dice rolled this way,” Rushdie said at the event, adding that “terror must not terrorize us. Violence must not deter us.”

ChatGPT number one in the App Store after iOS version release

OpenAI’s generative artificial intelligence tool ChatGPT will now become more compatible with smartphones, as for the first time the company released an iPhone version on Thursday. The free software is now available in the U.S. for iOS devices through Apple Inc.’s App Store, and is set to expand into other countries in the coming weeks.

The AI chatbot has already become the number one app in the App Store after only one day. OpenAI has said that a version for Android devices will be released in the future.

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