Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
Texas gunman posted on social media about attacking a school minutes before shooting, governor says
Just 30 minutes before opening fire in a Texas elementary school, gunman Salvador Ramos, 18, had made three separate posts on social media: The first said he was going to shoot his grandmother, a second that he had done so and a third that he was about to shoot up a school, the state’s governor said today.
Ramos had legally purchased the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle shortly after his 18th birthday and just days before he stormed a classroom at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, killing 19 children and two teachers, according to authorities.
As details of the latest mass killing to rock the U.S. emerged, grief engulfed the small town of Uvalde, population 16,000.
The dead included an outgoing 10-year-old, Eliahna Garcia, who loved to sing, dance and play basketball; a fellow fourth grader, Xavier Javier Lopez, who had been eagerly awaiting a summer of swimming; and a teacher, Eva Mireles, with 17 years’ experience whose husband is an officer with the school district’s police department. Here are more details about the victims of the massacre.
- Explainer: What we know so far about the Texas shooting
- Analysis: In a country where mass shootings are the norm, Americans have moved beyond outrage
- Opinion: A decade after Sandy Hook, the Texas school shooting shows the United States is still broken
- Steve Kerr calls lawmakers ‘pathetic’ for lack of action on gun violence after Texas school shooting
- Trudeau says all of Canada ‘grieves with our American friends’ after deadly Texas school shooting
In Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine, terrorized civilians recount war crimes and ‘chaos’
Officers at a police station in Beryslav district - a small corner of Ukrainian-controlled territory at the northern tip of Kherson Oblast in the country’s south - have been on the front lines of Russian occupation. Thousands of people fled the area; some have stopped at the police station to recount what they’d endured. Officers have opened hundreds of war crime cases at the station.
For those living under occupation, there is “an absence of any basic rights,” said Captain Mykola Marinik, who is deputy head of investigations in the district. “Rights belong to the person holding a gun. People have no ability to protect their freedoms, their property or their own lives.” Read the full story by The Globe’s Nathan Vanderklippe.
Meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin issued an order today to fast track Russian citizenship for residents in parts of southern Ukraine, while lawmakers in Moscow passed a bill to strengthen the Russian army. The order, applying to the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, could allow Russia to strengthen its hold on territory that lies between eastern Ukraine and the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia seized in 2014.
The Russian army is engaged in an intense battle for Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region. Lawmakers have agreed to scrap the age limit of 40 for individuals signing their first voluntary military contracts, in sign that Moscow is attempting to strengthen its military.
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ALSO ON OUR RADAR
U.S. Fed embraces 50-basis-point rate hikes in June, July to curb ‘very high’ inflation: All participants at the Federal Reserve’s May 3-4 policy meeting backed a half-percentage-point increase in its benchmark lending rate to combat inflation they agreed had become a key threat to the economy’s performance and was at risk of racing higher without action by the U.S. central bank, minutes of the session showed on Wednesday.
Federal government isn’t ruling out court challenge to Quebec’s Bill 96: Federal Justice Minister David Lametti says he first wants to see how it’s implemented, adding that the law could be enforced in a way that doesn’t violate constitutionally protected rights.
British PM Boris Johnson says he takes ‘full responsibility’ after damning final report into ‘partygate’ scandal: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has issued a renewed apology for the conduct of his staff after an internal investigation found widespread drinking, violations of COVID-19 restrictions and abuse of cleaning staff at Downing Street.
Victims’ families tell lawyers to boycott N.S. mass shooting inquiry over questioning of Mounties: The relatives of victims of the 2020 Nova Scotia mass shooting have told their lawyers to boycott the public inquiry investigating the tragedy, after its commissioners decided to prevent cross-examination of key Mountie witnesses.
Shortage of family doctors puts B.C. government on defensive: At a time when thousands of British Columbians are struggling to access a family doctor, and while family physicians who remain in practice are battling rising costs, physicians are feeling undervalued in the province.
Wall Street closed higher Wednesday, boosted after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s latest monetary policy meeting showed policymakers unanimously felt the U.S. economy was very strong as they grappled with reining in inflation without triggering a recession. Canada’s main stock index also rose, reaching its highest level in more than a week, as higher oil prices boosted energy shares and stronger-than-expected bank earnings bolstered financials.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 191.66 points, or 0.6%, to 32,120.28, the S&P 500 gained 37.25 points, or 0.95%, to 3,978.73 and the Nasdaq Composite added 170.29 points, or 1.51%, to 11,434.74.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX Composite Index ended up 97.55 points, or 0.5%, at 20,383.75, its highest closing level since May 17.
The Canadian dollar traded for 77.90 cents US compared with 77.97 cents US on Tuesday.
With Bill 96, François Legault is trying to tiptoe out of Canada’s constitutional order
“But the overall response to Bill 96 in the rest of Canada has been one of overwhelming uninterest. While language has long been the hottest political issue in Quebec, and its protection is seen as sacrosanct, it hardly registers outside it.” – The Editorial Board
Hong Kong’s ‘autonomy’ era is all but over, only halfway through
“What is important to bear in mind is that what has happened in Hong Kong is only a symptom showing where China is heading.” – Dennis Kwok
The history of Cantopop is the history of Hong Kong – and perhaps its grim future
“If, as John Lennon once said, “music reflects the state that the society is in,” its fade and absence should surely refract as sharply. And so Ms. [Denise] Ho’s arrest signals something deeper: the loss of a unique culture, in a place undergoing a forced identity crisis.” – Adrian Lee
Biden’s visit to Asia highlights the continent’s ‘Finlandization’ – a desire to steer clear of conflict between Russia and the West
“The term “Finlandization” describes a commitment to strategic neutrality that a small country might make, in order to avoid provoking a much larger and more powerful neighbour ... Even as Finland abandons Finlandization though, many Asian countries may well be set to adopt it.” –Takatoshi Ito
Avoid crowded airports and security delays with these three cross-border trips
If news of chaos and long wait-times at airports has you rethinking your summer travel plans, you may want to consider a road trip, instead. One way to fulfill your wanderlust without emptying your wallet (entirely) would be to visit a U.S. border town, many of which have exciting new developments happening. Less than 90 minutes from Vancouver, Bellingham, Wash., has a new waterpark, beaches and walking trails to enjoy. There’s also plenty to explore in Buffalo, like the recently-restored Buffalo Heritage Carousel, now operated by solar power at the newly revitalized waterfront venue Canalside.
TODAY’S LONG READ
Telesat is in race to deliver high-speed satellite internet, but it’s going up against two of the world’s richest men
Every spring and fall, over the course of several days, Nunavut’s government employees lose telecommunications abilities for up to 12 minutes at a time. Most of the territory’s internet connectivity is beamed via a single satellite locked in place 36,000 kilometres above the Earth. A couple times a year, the sun’s angle overpowers the satellite’s signal, shutting down communications.
That satellite, Telstar 19 Vantage, launched by Ottawa-based Telesat in 2018, brought slightly faster internet speeds than an earlier one did, but it suffers from lag time, and its limited capacity means the government’s connectivity needs far outweigh what the satellite can provide, which means users need to ration internet.
Dan Goldberg, chief executive officer of Telesat, has been working toward a solution. A few years ago, Goldberg announced plans to launch low-Earth-orbit (LEO) communications satellites, which whiz around the planet multiple times a day but at lower altitudes, allowing them to offer speedy and reliable internet. Telesat called the endeavour Lightspeed: It’s a $6.5-billion network of 298 initial satellites aimed at serving enterprise customers such as governments, telecoms, and companies in the marine and airline industries. Despite many opportunities, the project has encountered various barriers. As the program moves forward, nothing less than the future of the company is tethered to Goldberg getting the Lightspeed rollout right. Read the full story by Jason Kirby.