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Human Welfare

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Georgia still struggles with its history of slavery, segregation and racial injustice, but voters in the Deep South state have for the first time selected two Black candidates to represent the major parties in a U.S. Senate race. And it's Black voters who could prove decisive to the election outcome in November. Football legend Herschel Walker will represent the Republican Party in its efforts to unseat Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock after both men handily defeated primary challengers last week. Black candidates from the two parties have competed for Senate at other times in the recent past in other states, but the contest between Walker and Warnock is expected to be significantly more intense.

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An AP Fact Check is examining rhetoric from the National Rifle Association's annual meeting. The AP finds that speakers assailed a Chicago gun ban that doesn’t exist, ignored security upgrades at the Texas school where children were slaughtered and misrepresented national gun and crime statistics as they pushed back against any tightening of gun laws. Former President Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz were among the speakers who distorted the security situation at the Uvalde, Texas, school where a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers.

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One by one, speakers took the stage at the National Rifle Association’s annual convention in Houston and denounced the massacre of 19 students and two teachers at an elementary school across the state. And one by one, they insisted that changing U.S. gun laws or further restricting access to firearms was not the answer. The gathering comes just three days after the shooting in Uvalde. Hundreds of protesters shouted their anger at the NRA outside the meeting. In remarks to the group, former President Donald Trump called for an overhaul of school security and the U.S. approach to mental health problems while dismissing calls to disarm gun owners.

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San Francisco police say Friday that they shot and killed two homeless men in a confrontation last week after being called to help a man who was being attacked. Police Chief Bill Scott gave details of the shooting at a virtual town hall Friday after facing criticism for keeping nearly silent for over a week about what unfolded on May 19, including whether the men were struck by police gunfire, how the men died and how many officers had fired their weapons. Police say four officers fired weapons after the two men refused to drop their knives and one man moved to stab the other. Police said Michael MacFhionghain started to stab Rafael Mendoza, prompting the officers to fire.

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A high school honors student in Nevada says in federal court that he’s being bullied by students and harassed by campus administrators who search him for a gun every time someone identifies him through an anonymous school threats hotline. Graduating Reno High School junior Lucas Gorelick said Friday he thinks he's being targeted because of his Jewish heritage, his work with Democratic party candidates and his school achievements. His father compared using the anonymous SafeVoice system to say his son has a gun to “swatting,” or hoax police calls. A federal judge on Wednesday referred to school violence and declined to order school administrators to stop the searches.

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Onlookers urged police officers to charge into the Texas elementary school where a gunman’s rampage killed 19 children and two teachers. That's what a witness said Wednesday as investigators worked to track the massacre that lasted upwards of 40 minutes and ended when the 18-year-old shooter was killed by a Border Patrol team. Juan Carranza saw the scene from outside his house, across the street from Robb Elementary School in the town of Uvalde. Carranza said the officers did not go in. Minutes earlier, Carranza had watched as Salvador Ramos crashed his truck into a ditch outside the school, grabbed his AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle and shot at two people.

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Los Angeles is a heavily Democratic city, but voters this year could take a turn to the political right. A leading candidate for mayor is Rick Caruso, a billionaire former longtime Republican who sits on the Reagan Presidential Foundation board. He's promising to expand and not defund the police. Caruso is in a tight race with Democratic U.S. Rep. Karen Bass, who is a favorite of the party's progressive wing. Twelve names are on the ballot for the June 7 primary but several candidates have dropped out. Bass and Caruso, who is now a Democrat, could end up in a November runoff that would present a stark choice.

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A massive safety recall and supply disruptions have swept many leading formula brands off store shelves. Many parents are having problems finding formula, but some experts point out systemic inequities contribute to lower rates of breastfeeding among Black and Hispanic women, making their babies more dependent on formula. The majority of formula in the U.S. is bought by low-income families. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 20% of Black women and 23% of Hispanic women exclusively breastfeed through six months compared to 29% of white women. Overall, 26% of mothers in America breastfeed their babies.

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President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden will travel to Uvalde, Texas, on Sunday to console families and honor victims of Tuesday’s mass school shooting in which 19 children and two teachers were killed. The White House says the Bidens will “grieve with the community that lost twenty-one lives in the horrific” shooting at Robb Elementary School. Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the president would meet with the community leaders, religious leaders and victims’ families. Jean-Pierre, the parent of an elementary school student, delivered an impassioned plea at the White House for lawmakers to come together to address gun violence.

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Students processing the attack in Uvalde, Texas, that killed 19 students and two teachers  — yet another school shooting — returned to a common theme: They are the “lockdown generation.” Although mass shootings at schools are rare, gun violence among traumatized and stressed students has risen since the start of the pandemic — and many have become numb to the violence. Since the start of 2020, researchers at the Naval Postgraduate School have recorded 504 cases of gun violence at schools — a number that eclipses the previous eight years combined. The database includes students brandishing guns or opening fire in classrooms, bathrooms, cafeterias or gyms, and counts students who have used guns to take their own lives at school.

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Wednesday marked the second anniversary of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which sparked a global protest movement and calls for a racial reckoning to address structural racism that has created long-standing inequities impacting generations of Black Americans. But Floyd’s slaying, along with a series of killings of other Black Americans, also wrought a heavy emotional and mental health toll on Black communities that have been burdened and traumatized by centuries of oppressive systems and racist practices. Mental health advocates and experts say the racism that has caused much of the trauma is embedded within the fabric of the nation and can be directly linked to the mental duress experienced today.

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Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has been proclaimed the next president of the Philippines by a joint session of Congress following a landslide electoral triumph 36 years after his dictator father was ousted in a pro-democracy uprising. The Senate and House of Representatives also declared that his separately elected vice presidential running mate, Sara Duterte, won by a wide margin. She is the daughter of outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte, whose turbulent term ends on June 30. Marcos Jr. and Sara Duterte will lead a nation battered by COVID-19 lockdowns, crushing poverty, gaping inequality, Muslim and communist insurgencies, crime and political divisions further inflamed by the May 9 election.

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A witness says onlookers urged police to charge into the Texas elementary school where a gunman’s rampage killed 19 children and two teachers. Juan Carranza spoke Wednesday as investigators worked to track the massacre that lasted upwards of 40 minutes and ended when the 18-year-old shooter was killed by a Border Patrol team. Carranza lives across the street from Robb Elementary School in the town of Uvalde. He says women were shouting at officers: “Go in there! Go in there!” soon after the attack began. But he says the officers didn’t enter.

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Some relatives of the victims of the 2012 attack on the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, who channeled grief into advocacy have claimed success, gradually, in areas including gun safety, attitudes around gun violence, and mental health awareness. The massacre Tuesday at a school in Uvalde, Texas, has tested their resolve like no other. Like the Newtown gunman, the Texas attacker was a young man who shot an older family member he lived with before opening fire with a high-powered rifle inside a nearby elementary school, slaughtering small and defenseless children. For Michele Gay, whose daughter was killed in Sandy Hook, the Texas attack was all the more saddening given the work she's invested in the years since to promote school safety.

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Democrats in Congress are trying, again, to pass legislation to expand background checks for gun buyers in the wake of the shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. But the prospects seem dim in the 50-50 Senate as most Republicans don’t want to see significant changes in the nation’s gun laws. It’s a familiar scenario for Democrats, who have been trying to expand the checks and otherwise boost gun control laws since a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012. Nineteen children and two teachers were killed in Uvalde.

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The Associated Press and the PBS series “Frontline” have independently verified that Russia has destroyed or damaged at least 56 Ukrainian schools in a manner that indicates a possible war crime. But the destruction of schools is about more than toppling buildings and maiming bodies. It hinders a nation’s ability to rebound after the fighting stops, injuring entire generations and dashing a country’s hope for the future. Schools are designed as havens, places to grow, learn and make friends. But war can transform the architecture of childhood into something violent and dangerous -- a place that inspires fear.

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Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore is calling for stronger gun legislation in the wake of the mass shooting in Texas that killed 21 people, mostly children. Speaking on a climate panel Wednesday at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, Gore said the latest mass shooting represented a “uniquely American form of devastation.” Gore, who shared a Nobel Peace Prize with the U.N.’s top body of climate scientists for their work on climate change, made the remarks on a panel on “greenwashing.” Gore also made a parallel between the failure to pass comprehensive gun control legislation in the U.S. with the seeming inability of Congress to pass major climate change legislation.

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The gunman who killed 19 elementary school children and two teachers in Texas added to the state's grim recent history of mass shootings. More than 85 people have been killed in five of Texas' worst mass shootings since 2017. The victims have included worshippers at a church, shoppers at a Walmart and drivers on a highway. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott made no immediate mention after Tuesday's shooting in Uvalde about how or whether Texas would respond to this latest mass shooting on a policy level. But since he became governor in 2015, the state has only gotten more relaxed when it comes to gun laws.

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An anguished and angry President Joe Biden is calling for new restrictions on firearms after a gunman massacred at least 19 children at a Texas elementary school. “We have to act,” Biden told the nation Tuesday night from the White House, after years of failure to pass new laws. He spoke after arriving home from a five-day trip to Asia that was bookended by “horrific” mass tragedy. Just two days before he left on his trip, he met with victims’ families after a hate-motivated shooter killed 10 Black people at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York.

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State Rep. Bee Nguyen is advancing to a runoff in the Democratic primary for Georgia secretary of state. It was too early to tell which of the other four Democrats she will face in the June 21 contest. Nguyen has served in the state House since winning a 2017 special election to succeed Stacey Abrams in a district that includes parts of DeKalb County just east of the Fulton County line and some parts of the city of Atlanta. She is also a vice chair of the state Democratic Party. Abrams is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor after narrowly losing the election to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in 2018.

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Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock will face Republican football legend Herschel Walker for a coveted Senate seat in Georgia after both handily defeated primary challengers to set up a historic, high-stakes showdown. Warnock easily defeated beauty industry professional Tamara Johnson-Shealey in Tuesday’s primary. Walker, who is backed by former President Donald Trump, defeated five GOP challengers in his race, clearing the 50% mark needed to avoid a runoff. The GOP is trying to take back the seat Warnock won last year, helping Democrats squeak out a congressional majority. Former President Donald Trump has thrown his heft behind Walker.

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Connecticut U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy came to Congress representing Sandy Hook. Now he is begging his colleagues to finally pass legislation that addresses the nation’s continuing gun violence problem. During an impassioned speech on the Senate floor as the latest school shooting unfolded, he said hearts in his state where 26 school children and educators were killed a decade ago are breaking for the families in Texas. The Democrat gave an impassioned speech, urging his colleagues to finally find a compromise.

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North Carolina Senate Republicans have unveiled a wide-ranging proposal they say would help parents stay informed about what their children are being taught and how they’re being treated by doctors. The measure also would tread into contentious LGBTQ matters that have caused divisive debate elsewhere. The legislation unveiled Tuesday would bar public school curriculum for kindergarten through third grade from containing instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity. Republicans contend the prohibition is more limited than a new Florida law. The measure will get heard Wednesday in committee. It would have to pass both chambers before heading to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's desk.

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The Department of Justice has opened an investigation into how Kentucky cares for mentally ill adults in the Louisville area. The probe will look into potential violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Investigators are looking at whether the state subjects adults with serious mental illness “to unnecessary institutionalization." The probe is separate from a DOJ investigation announced last year into potential racial bias and civil rights violations by Louisville’s police force. Michael Bennett, the U.S. Attorney in Louisville, says states must "provide appropriate community-based services to people with disabilities.” Kentucky’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services says it was notified about the probe Tuesday morning.

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Delaware Gov. John Carney has vetoed a bill to legalize possession of up to one ounce of marijuana by adults for recreational use. Tuesday's veto came after Carney's repeated concerns in recent years about legalizing recreational pot. Those concerns did not dissuade fellow Democrats from pushing the legislation through the General Assembly. Carney said he supports the medical marijuana industry and agrees that decriminalization was appropriate. But he said promoting or expanding the use of recreational marijuana is not in the best interests of the state, and that questions remain about the long-term health, economic and societal impacts of recreational marijuana use.

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