Happy Wednesday! There was an egregious oversight in yesterday’s newsletter, and we can’t tell you how sorry we are.
Yesterday was World Penguin Day, and those lovable flappers received nary a mention in Tuesday’s TMD. Here’s some make-up content:
Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories
- Fighting reportedly disrupted a U.S.-mediated ceasefire in Sudan on Tuesday as Sudan’s army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces battle for control of the country. A morning lull in the fighting did, however, allow thousands to flee Khartoum. The U.N. special envoy to Sudan said Tuesday neither side seems open to serious negotiations to permanently end the violence.
- The Taliban has killed the suspected architect of the August 2021 attack at the Kabul airport that killed 13 United States service members and more than 150 Afghans, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Tuesday. The terrorist was associated with ISIS-K, an Islamic State affiliate operating in Afghanistan and a Taliban rival. American officials said the U.S. was not involved in the operation against the individual, whose name remains classified.
- An Iran-linked hacking group breached a U.S. city’s website before the 2020 election, possibly intending to alter unofficial vote tallies on the website on Election Day, Army Maj. Gen. William J. Hartman, head of U.S. Cyber Command’s Cyber National Mission Force, said at a cybersecurity event Tuesday. Hartman added the U.S. booted the hackers before they could do any harm.
- Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, signed a law Tuesday banning the sale, manufacture, and distribution of 50 kinds of semiautomatic weapons, making his the 10th state to ban assault weapons sales. The Second Amendment Foundation has filed a federal lawsuit challenging the new restrictions.
- Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts declined Tuesday to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee after Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the Democratic chair of the committee, invited Roberts to speak at a hearing scheduled for May 2 to discuss instituting ethical standards for Supreme Court justices. “Testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee by the Chief Justice of the United States is exceedingly rare, as one might expect in light of the separation of powers concerns and the importance of preserving judicial independence,” Roberts wrote in his refusal.
- Jury selection began Tuesday in writer E. Jean Carroll’s civil suit against former President Donald Trump. Carroll—who is suing for battery and defamation under a new law in New York allowing sexual assault victims to sue their alleged assailants even after the statutes of limitations have expired—alleges Trump raped her in the dressing room of a New York City department store in 1996. Trump—who denies Carroll’s claims—was not present in the Manhattan court Tuesday but has not ruled out testifying.
- Shares in First Republic Bank fell almost 50 percent yesterday after a first-quarter earnings report showed it lost around $100 billion in deposits last month as small and mid-size banks stumbled in the wake of Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse. Shares are down 90 percent overall since early March, indicating the industry has not fully recovered from the instability last month.
- Manufacturing giant 3M said Tuesday it will lay off 6,000 people in addition to the 2,500 manufacturing roles it cut in January. The company behind Post-it Notes and Scotch tape announced the layoffs as sales of its products declined compared to 2022.
- Harry Belafonte—iconic singer, actor, and civil rights activist—died Tuesday at 96 of congestive heart failure. Belafonte, the son of two West Indian immigrants, brought calypso music to the top of the Billboard charts with songs like “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song),” and “Jump In The Line.” The first black performer to win an Emmy, he was active in the civil rights movement of the 1960s, including through a close friendship with Martin Luther King Jr.
Biden 2024: Good Enough?
In the run-up to last November’s midterm elections, President Joe Biden was so bogged down—by runaway inflation, the end of Roe v. Wade, backlash from the Afghanistan withdrawal, Russia’s gains in Ukraine, his stalled legislative agenda—that it wasn’t certain he’d run again. Mainstream pundits mused about his possibly fading mental acuity and his definitely fading approval ratings, with one poll showing a dismal 33 percent approval rating and more than six in 10 Democratic primary voters shopping for a different 2024 candidate, most citing his age.
That was then. “When I ran for President four years ago, I said we are in a battle for the soul of America—and we still are,” Biden said in his campaign launch video released Tuesday morning. “The question we are facing is whether in the years ahead we have more freedom or less freedom, more rights or fewer.”