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Wednesday, May 29th

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Senate Democrats to investigate Trump’s reported big oil ‘deal’

Senate Dems to investigate Trump big oil deal

Powerful Senate Democrats have launched an investigation into an alleged quid pro quo offer from Donald Trump to fossil fuel executives.

At a meeting at his Mar-a-Lago home and club last month, the former president reportedly told oil bosses he would immediately roll back dozens of environmental regulations if elected, and requested $1bn in contributions to his presidential campaign. It would be a “deal” for the executives because of the costs they would avoid under him, he reportedly said.

On Thursday morning, the chairmen of two Senate committees each sent letters to eight oil companies and top fossil fuel trade group the American Petroleum Institute.

The letters from Sheldon Whitehouse, the Senate budget committee chairman, and Ron Wyden, the Senate finance committee chair, accused the companies of engaging in a quid pro quo with Trump and requested additional details about the meeting.

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Florida Bans Rainbow Lights on Bridges During Pride Month, Declares “Freedom Summer”

Pride colors banned in Florida

In Florida, the rainbow will only have three colors during Pride month this year: red, white, and by-god blue.

Earlier this month, the Sunshine State effectively announced that it was banning the lighting of bridges in rainbow colors during June by annexing the month as part of its so-called “Freedom Summer.” Between May 27 to September 2 this year, bridges from Jacksonville to Miami Beach will only be permitted to display the colors of the traditional American flag.

In an announcement on X, Florida Transportation Secretary Jared Perdue claimed the red, white, and blue lights would demonstrate that, under the leadership of Gov. Ron DeSantis, Florida is “the freest state in the nation.” (Just not free enough to celebrate Pride month however they want, of course.)

“As Floridians prepare for Freedom Summer, Florida's bridges will follow suit, illuminating in red, white, and blue from Memorial Day through Labor Day!” he wrote.

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Gaza aid pier mission involving US troops is off to a chaotic start

Gaza pier aid off to chaotic startAn effort involving the U.S. military to surge much-needed humanitarian aid to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip is off to a chaotic start, with aid trucks being overrun and at least one person feared dead over the weekend, prompting a pause in aid distribution.

U.S. soldiers and sailors built a floating pier off Gaza and stabbed it into a Gaza beach on Friday with the help of Israeli forces.

The plan, announced by President Biden in his State of the Union address and using a capability known as Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore, or JLOTS, has been touted as another way to get food to Gazans caught between the Israeli military and the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which attacked Israel on Oct. 7.

It involves no U.S. troops on the ground in Gaza, as the U.S. military’s efforts have involved building the massive floating platform and pier that was installed last week.

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Billions from Russia's frozen assets will go to help Ukraine's military, the EU says

Billions from Russia's frpzem assets gpomg tp Ukraine

The European Union plan to use as much as $3.25 billion in profits from Russian sovereign assets — frozen by sanctions due to Russia's war on Ukraine — to fund Ukraine and its military.

"Russia must pay for its war damages," Czech Republic Minister of Foreign Affairs Jan Lipavský said as he shared the monetary amount on X.

The European Council approved sending the money to Ukraine on Tuesday, roughly two months after reaching a consensus on using revenue from hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of assets immobilized after Russia launched a full-scale war on its neighbor in February of 2022.

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Rudy Giuliani, late to arraignment, says he wasn't hiding from prosecutors

Guiliani late to arraignmentIt was unclear to spectators in the courtroom Tuesday if Rudy Giuliani would show up for his arraignment.

He'd been uncooperative with prosecutors in Arizona's fake electors case so far and just received his summons Friday night — after his 80th birthday party in Florida.

When court got underway around 8:45 a.m., there was no sign of Giuliani in the gallery, and there was nothing identifying him on the screen where some defendants were appearing virtually.

Giuliani, who called into the hearing, apologized for being late. He got the time wrong, he said.

Commissioner Shellie Smith, who has heard all of the defendants' pleas so far in the case but will not be the trial judge, acknowledged Giuliani then took a few minutes before proceeding with his arraignment.

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Farm owners in California mass shooting to pay workers $450,000

Farm owners to pay $450,000 to workers after mass shooting

The owners of two mushroom farms in northern California where a disgruntled employee shot and killed seven people last year will pay a total of more than $450,000 in back wages and damages to 62 employees.

In an announcement released on Monday following an extensive investigation, the US labor department said the payment is an element of administrative settlements reached by the department’s wage and hour division with California Terra Garden and Concord Farms.

The government’s announcement comes after the incident in which the accused gunman, 67-year old Chunli Zhao, opened fire on two farms in Half Moon Bay, a small community approximately 30 miles south of San Francisco, on 23 January 2023, killing seven workers and injuring another.

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Alaskan rivers turning orange due to climate change, study finds

Alaska rivers turning orange

Dozens of rivers and streams in Alaska are turning rusty orange, a likely consequence of thawing permafrost, a new study finds.

The Arctic is the fastest-warming region in the globe, and as the frozen ground below the surface melts, minerals once locked away in that soil are now seeping into waterways.

“It’s an unforeseen impact of climate change that we’re seeing in some of the most pristine rivers in our country,” said Brett Poulin, study author and assistant professor of environmental toxicology at University of California Davis.

The permafrost thaw is exposing minerals to oxygen in a process known as weathering, which increases the acidity of the water and dissolves metals like zinc, copper, cadmium and iron – the most apparent metal that gives the rivers a rusty color visible even from satellite images. The study highlights the potential degradation of drinking water and risk to fisheries in the Arctic.

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Mike Johnson’s woes continue after exodus of staff in run-up to elections

Mike Johnson

The Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, Mike Johnson, is reeling from a sudden staff exodus as he struggles to keep his position and the GOP’s tiny majority in the run-up to November’s elections.

In the latest in a spate of resignations, Johnson’s well-connected communications director, Raj Shah, a former White House deputy press secretary under Donald Trump, has confirmed he is leaving, Axios reported. He is expected to depart by the end of the summer.

News of his impending departure comes a day after it was announced that three top policy staff members, Brittan Specht, Jason Yaworske and Preston Hill, had quit and would leave by the end of May.

All three worked for the previous speaker, Kevin McCarthy, who was ousted in an internal party coup last October, but were retained by Johnson when he ascended to the speaker’s chair.

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Two killed and three injured in workplace shooting in Pennslyvania

Two killed and three inred in Pa/ workplace

Two people are dead and three others are injured following a workplace shooting in Chester, Pennsylvania.

The incident occurred at around 8.30am on Wednesday at Delaware County Linen, a family-owned linen business located approximately 30 minutes away from Philadelphia.

The Delaware county district attorney, Jack Stollsteimer, said at a press conference on Wednesday: “A disgruntled employee has walked into a linen shop … and shot five people, five co-workers,” per NBC 10. Stollsteimer added that the shooting occurred inside and outside the business and that a handgun was used.

A suspect was arrested in Trainer, a city near Chester and was taken into custody, the Chester police commissioner, Steven Gretsky, said. Police said the suspect attempted to flee the scene in a black Hyundai but was stopped by a police officer. The suspect has not been publicly identified by authorities.

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