[guest post by Dana]
First news item
Much to the consternation of the Trump camp, but good for her:
Nikki Haley ‘s path to the GOP nomination is rapidly shrinking following recent losses in Iowa and New Hampshire. But she’s vowing to stay in the race indefinitely, backed by thousands of committed donors, a key slice of the party’s moderate wing and a new willingness to attack the mental fitness and legal baggage of 2024 Republican front-runner Donald Trump. And the harder Haley fights, the more Republican officials fear she may hurt his long-term prospects in the all-but certain general election ahead against Democratic President Joe Biden…“I am not going anywhere,” she told reporters on Thursday. “We have a country to save. And I am determined to keep on going the entire way. As long as we can keep closing that gap, I’m gonna keep staying in.”
Second news item
NY governor wants illegal migrants deported after attacks on law enforcement:
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said Thursday that the reported migrants who were recorded on video assaulting two police officers over the weekend in Times Square should be deported.
“Get them all and send them back,” she said in response to a question about the people who have been arrested in connection with the assaults. “You don’t touch our police officers. You don’t touch anybody.”
She made similar remarks Wednesday after a reporter asked her whether the people should be deported.
“I think that’s actually something that should be looked at, I mean, if someone commits a crime against a police officer in the state of New York and they’re not here legally. Definitely worth checking into,” said Hochul, a Democrat.
In 2023, by executive order, and without legislation, the governor declared New York a “sanctuary” state.
Third news item
Grace Powell was 12 or 13 when she discovered she could be a boy.
It was classic gender dysphoria, a feeling of discomfort with your sex.
Reading about transgender people online, Powell believed that the reason she didn’t feel comfortable in her body was that she was in the wrong body. Transitioning seemed like the obvious solution. The narrative she had heard and absorbed was that if you don’t transition, you’ll kill yourself.
After going through cross-sex hormone treatment at 17, she had a double mastectomy and transitioned to a transgender man before leaving for college. Unfortunately, she now has regrets:
At no point during her medical or surgical transition, Powell says, did anyone ask her about the reasons behind her gender dysphoria or her depression. At no point was she asked about her sexual orientation. And at no point was she asked about any previous trauma, and so neither the therapists nor the doctors ever learned that she’d been sexually abused as a child.
“I wish there had been more open conversations,” Powell, now 23 and detransitioned, told me. “But I was told there is one cure and one thing to do if this is your problem, and this will help you.”
Fourth news item
Leaders from Hamas and Islamic Jihad held a call on Friday to discuss a proposal for a potential hostage deal and ceasefire, according to a statement.
The statement noted that the leaders agreed that any deal should incorporate the following:
Complete end to the aggression
Withdrawal of the occupation army outside the Gaza Strip
Lifting of the siege and reconstruction…
Hamas has called for the release of thousands of Palestinian prisoners and the complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza, something Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he would not agree to. On Tuesday, Netanyahu also vowed to press on until Israel’s goal of eliminating Hamas in Gaza is complete.
Fifth news item
The European Union agreed a funding deal worth more than $50 billion for Ukraine in a crucial summit on Thursday that comes at a pivotal moment in the war.
The funds had been blocked since December after Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban had vetoed the deal at a previous summit. Failure to have reached an agreement would have been a major blow to Ukraine, at a time when its outmanned and outgunned forces are struggling on the battlefield amid a renewed Russian assault. Meanwhile, military aid from the United States has dried up amid an ongoing battle in Washington over future funding for Kyiv.
An official text, published by the EU Council, said that the 27 member states had approved €50 billion ($54 billion) to be sent to Ukraine from 2024 to 2027. It detailed €33 billion “in the form of loans” and €17 billion in “non-repayable support” that could be “generated from frozen Russian assets. The text makes multiple mentions of the money being used as part of Ukraine’s path to joining the bloc.
Joe Biden has requested a further $61 billion in funding for Kyiv but has so far been stonewalled by Republican hardliners on Capitol Hill who say US support lacks a clear end game.
The US president’s top diplomat issued a bleak warning over the situation on Monday, saying Ukraine’s gains over two years of grinding war were in doubt if Congress did not act.
He said: “Without it, simply put, everything that Ukrainians achieved and that we’ve helped them achieve will be in jeopardy”.
“Absent that supplemental [funding], we’re going to be sending a strong and wrong message to all of our adversaries that we are not serious about the defence of freedom, the defence of democracy,” he said.
Sixth news item
‘Yes, we were romantically involved, but that shouldn’t disqualify me‘:
The Fulton county district attorney, Fani Willis, and Nathan Wade, a special prosecutor working on the case against Donald Trump and 14 other defendants, confirmed for the first time on Friday they had a romantic relationship. But they denied any wrongdoing and Willis said she should not be disqualified from the case.
Seventh news item
Special counsel Jack Smith’s team has questioned several witnesses about a closet and a so-called “hidden room” inside former President Donald Trump’s residence at Mar-a-Lago that the FBI didn’t check while searching the estate in August 2022, sources familiar with the matter told ABC News…
According to sources, some investigators involved in the case came to later believe that the closet, which was locked on the day of the search, should have been opened and checked.
As investigators would later learn, Trump allegedly had the closet’s lock changed while his attorney was in Mar-a-Lago’s basement, searching for classified documents in a storage room that he was told would have all such documents.
Eighth news item
Another Russia critic stealthily moved to solitary confinement:
Lawyers for Russian opposition figure Vladimir Kara-Murza Jr., who is serving a 25-year sentence for treason, revealed Tuesday he has been transferred to another prison in Siberia and placed in solitary confinement again over an alleged minor infraction…One of his lawyers, Maria Eismont, told Russia’s independent Novaya Gazeta newspaper that she received a letter in which he said he was transferred to Penal Colony No. 7 in the city of Omsk and placed in a restricted housing unit for at least four months. In the letter, a copy of which his other lawyer, Vadim Prokhorov, posted on Facebook, Kara-Murza said prison officials on Friday accused him of disobeying a command that he said wasn’t even given to him…
Kara-Murza, who twice survived poisonings that he blamed on Russian authorities, has rejected the charges against him as punishment for standing up to Putin and likened the proceedings to the show trials under Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.
Have a good weekend.