The Senate narrowly passed a bill to suspend the debt ceiling on Thursday night, sending the legislation to Joe Biden’s desk and averting a federal default that could have wreaked havoc on the US economy and global markets.
The final vote was 63 to 36, with 46 Democrats and 17 Republicans supporting the bill while five Democrats and 31 Republicans opposed. Sixty votes were needed to pass the bill.
“Tonight’s vote is a good outcome because Democrats did a very good job taking the worst parts of the Republican plan off the table,” the Senate’s Democrat majority leader, Chuck Schumer, said after the vote. “And that’s why Dems voted overwhelmingly for this bill, while Republicans certainly in the Senate did not.”
Biden applauded the Senate’s accomplishment and promised to sign the bill as soon as it reached his desk, with just days to go before the 5 June default deadline.
What did Biden say? “Tonight senators from both parties voted to protect the hard-earned economic progress we have made and prevent a first-ever default by the United States … Our work is far from finished, but this agreement is a critical step forward, and a reminder of what’s possible when we act in the best interests of our country.”
What did Kevin McCarthy get out of the deal? As part of the negotiations over the bill, the Republican House leader successfully pushed for modest government spending cuts and changes to the work requirements for the supplemental nutrition assistance program and the temporary assistance for needy families program. Those changes were deemed insufficient by 31 Republican senators, who echoed the criticism voiced by the 71 House Republicans who had opposed the bill a day earlier.
Kyiv shoots down more than 30 missiles and drones in early morning strikes
Ukrainian authorities lifted air raid alerts across most of the country on Friday, and officials in Kyiv said defences appeared to have shot down more than 30 Russian missiles and drones.
Moscow has launched around 20 separate missile and drone strikes against Ukrainian cities since the start of May. Kyiv’s military authorities wrote on Telegram that Russia had launched drones and cruise missiles at the same time.
“According to preliminary information, more than 30 air targets of various types were detected and destroyed in the airspace over and around Kyiv by air defence forces,” they said.
Kyiv’s mayor, Vitali Klitschko, who earlier reported two separate waves of attacks, wrote on Telegram that there had been no calls for rescue services. Ukraine regularly says its defences knock down the majority of Russia’s missiles and drones.
Why is the the New Start arms control treaty in the news? The US has said it will stop providing Russia with some of the notifications required under the New Start arms control treaty from Thursday, Reuters reports, including updates on its missile and launcher locations, to retaliate for Moscow’s “ongoing violations” of the accord.
Trump repeats his usual lies in Fox News town hall, but the big one is missing
Fox News hosted a town hall event in Iowa with Donald Trump on Thursday night, allowing the former president to repeat his well-worn grievances and lies. Remarkably though, the pre-taped hour-long prime-time special hosted by Sean Hannity excluded any mention of Trump’s conspiracy theory that the 2020 election was stolen from him.
The first instalment of the broadcast came two weeks after CNN broadcast a chaotic, lie-laden town hall with Trump that has been harshly criticised by journalists within and outside the network.
Fox News pre-taped the event, allowing it to edit out lies that could provoke further lawsuits.
The network has good reason to tread carefully. It recently agreed to a $780m settlement with Dominion Voting Systems over its broadcasting of Trump’s election lies, and it is still facing a defamation lawsuit from Smartmatic, another voting technology company.
What did the footage show? The network plans to air more footage from the town hall Friday evening, but the broadcast steered Trump away from the 2020 election, instead directing him to discuss Biden’s mental acuity, the border wall, and a host of other topics that reliably rile up Fox views and Trump’s base.
In other news …
Joe Biden tripped and fell after handing out the last diploma at a graduation ceremony at the US Air Force Academy on Thursday. The president, 80, was quickly helped up and walked back to his seat unassisted. The White House said he was fine.
Elon Musk has been accused of insider trading in a proposed class action lawsuit by investors. They say the Tesla CEO manipulated the cryptocurrency Dogecoin, costing them billions of dollars. Investors said Musk used Twitter posts, paid online influencers, his 2021 appearance on NBC’s Saturday Night Live and other “publicity stunts” to trade profitably.
A former actor who alleges Bill Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her and another woman at his home in 1969 has sued him under a new California law that suspends the statute of limitations on sex abuse claims. Victoria Valentino, 80, says she was an actor and singer 54 years ago, when she met Cosby, who is now 85.
Shanghai has reported a record high May temperature of 36.7C, breaking the previous record by 1C. The new high on 29 May was recorded during a heatwave that has been affecting southern and eastern Asia since mid-April.
Stat of the day: Blood test for 50 types of cancer could speed up diagnosis, study suggests
A blood test for more than 50 forms of cancer could help to speed up diagnosis and fast-track patients for treatment, a study suggests. NHS trial results of the liquid biopsy, published at the world’s largest cancer conference in the US, suggest the Galleri blood test has the potential to spot and rule out cancer in people with symptoms.
The test detects tiny fragments of tumour DNA in the bloodstream. It alerts doctors as to whether a cancer signal has been detected, and predicts where in the body that signal may have originated.
Experts welcomed the findings but said more research would be needed before the test, made by the California company Grail, could be rolled out in healthcare systems.
Don’t miss this: Bruno Pereira and Dom Phillips were killed in the Amazon. A year later their Indigenous allies risk death to carry on the work
A year after the killings of Bruno Pereira and Dom Phillips, which laid bare the environmental devastation inflicted under Brazil’s former president Jair Bolsonaro, indigenous leaders and their allies such as the Brazilian activist Sydney Possuelo are intensifying their battle to protect the world’s greatest rainforest and the peoples who have lived there since long before European explorers arrived in the 16th century.
The activists are defiant in the face of the many dangers of confronting the environmental criminals and organised crime groups who have tightened their grip on the Amazon region, writes Tom Phillips. “If they kill me, I’ll go to heaven because I’m defending my territory,” said Daman Matis, 27, who helps to police a riverside government protection base on one of the waterways that illegal gold miners use to invade protected indigenous lands.
Climate check: US deal could plug Turkmenistan’s colossal methane emissions
The US is in negotiations with Turkmenistan over an agreement to plug the central Asian country’s colossal methane leaks. Turkmenistan was responsible for 184 “super-emitter” events in which the powerful greenhouse gas was released in 2022, the highest number in the world. One caused pollution equivalent to the emissions from 67m cars.
US officials hope that some leaks from Turkmenistan’s oil and gas industry could be halted by the start of the UN’s Cop28 climate summit in late November. Success would represent a major achievement in tackling the climate crisis, given that methane emissions cause 25% of global heating.
A surge since 2007 may be the biggest threat to keeping the global temperature within 1.5C of its pre-industrial level and seriously risks triggering catastrophic tipping points, according to scientists. Tackling leaks from fossil fuel sites is the fastest, simplest and cheapest way to slash methane emissions.
Last Thing: US air force denies running simulation in which AI drone ‘killed’ operator
The US air force has denied it has conducted an AI simulation in which a drone decided to “kill” its operator to prevent it from interfering with its efforts to achieve its mission.
An official said last month that in a virtual test staged by the US military, an air force drone controlled by AI had used “highly unexpected strategies to achieve its goal”.
Col Tucker Hamilton described a simulated test in which a drone powered by artificial intelligence was advised to destroy an enemy’s air defence systems, and attacked anyone who interfered with that order.
But in a statement to Insider, the US air force spokesperson Ann Stefanek denied any such simulation had taken place.
The US military has embraced AI and recently used artificial intelligence to control an F-16 fighter jet.
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