The News Memo
BREAKING: U.S. economy added 263,000 jobs (estimate:190,000) in April and the unemployment rate fell to 3.6%, the lowest rate since Dec 1969. Avg. hourly earnings rose 3.2% over the last 12 months.
Good morning. It is a heavy week of news. Here's what you need to know:
+GetSmart (the toothpaste blob you put on your toothbrush actually has a name)
Chaos In Venezuela: Protests To Oust Maduro Slow After 3 Days
What’s going on in Venezuela?
The battle for power continues in Venezuela, as opposition leader Juan Guaido has re-intensified public protests against sitting president, Nicolas Maduro. Guaido released a video early Tue (Apr 30) morning, surrounded by some military officials and Leopoldo Lopez, urging people to take to the streets in demonstrations. Lopez, a key opposition leader who was under house arrest since 2017, was released on Tue by security forces loyal to Guaido.
Guaido’s primary objective was to rally support from military officials. The WSJ reported that the opposition held secret talks with high-ranking members of Maduro’s regime in the past weeks. In the end, however, it appeared few were persuaded to leave Maduro.
Meanwhile, Maduro rallied pro-government protests the same day. After Tuesday’s protests, Maduro said he had stopped an “attempted coup” and said protesters would not go unpunished.
Protests continued on Wed and Thur (May 2), with many turning violent (video). Guaido said the protests are an "irreversible process" and will continue "to achieve freedom.” However, as of today (May 3), the demonstrations have slowed and it appears both sides have reverted to a stalemate.
Countries who support Guiado
More than 50 countries support Guaido, including the U.S., U.K. and most Latin American countries.
Countries who support Maduro
Primarily, Maduro has the backing of Russia and China.
What to watch moving forward
The U.S. has said all military options are on the table, although a peaceful solution is prefered, as Russia has warned against using physical force. The battle for power will likely hinge on who the top military officials decide to support.
Mueller Criticised AG Barr’s Summary of Investigation
AG William Barr testified before the Senate in a contentious hearing on Wednesday in an effort to learn more about the handling of the Mueller report. Because there are so many dates and details, below is a timeline will all you need to know:
Robert Mueller delivers the final special counsel report to the AG, William Barr.
Barr releases the 4-page summary of the key findings of the 448 page report to Congress and the public, claiming the report did not establish evidence of Trump/Russia Collusion and the obstruction of justice claims would not be prosecuted.
Mueller writes a letter to Barr criticising his 4-page summary:
“[Barr’s Summary] did not fully capture the context, nature and substance of this Office’s work and conclusions…there is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation. This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations.”
April 9: Barr testifies before the House, saying he is unaware of Mueller having concerns with his 4-page summary.
April 16: The full 448-page report is released by Barr to congress and the public.
Wed May 1: Barr testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, just hours after Mueller's letter to Barr was made public. In his testimony, Barr said Mueller’s letter was “a bit snitty” and was “probably written by one of his staff people.”
Democrats press Barr on why he said he was unaware of Mueller’s concerns about his summary in his April testimony (this video summarizes the argument well).
Thur May 2: Barr refuses to testify to the Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee over a dispute about who would be allowed to question Barr. Nancy Pelosi says Barr lied to the House in his April testimony, saying “that’s a crime.”
Justice Department misses a deadline to turn over the unredacted Mueller Report to Congress. Democrats threaten to hold Barr in contempt for missing deadline.
[Coming] May 15: Democrats plan to have Mueller himself testify before Congress.
Argument from Democrats
Some say Barr is a “lackey” of President Trump and tried to frame the findings of the Mueller Report by releasing a “love letter” summary, which used Trump’s rhetoric in saying there was “no collusion.” Many are calling for Barr to resign from his post and if not, impeachment of the Attorney General is on the table.
Argument from Republicans
Republicans have stated that the job of the AG is to explain criminal activity, not political banter that may be embarrassing or politically harmful to the defendant (President Trump in this case). Senators like Ted Cruz from Texas, argued that Barr didn’t cover anything up, because the full Mueller report is available to anyone.
California Synagogue Shooting Leaves One Woman Dead
On Saturday (April 27), a 19 year old male entered the Chabad Poway Jewish Synagogue and began shooting worshippers, before eventually fleeing the scene. After fleeing the scene, the shooter called the police, described his crime and self-surrendered to law enforcement.
The shooter was a successful athlete and student, and his parents said that he and his five siblings were raised in a home where they “rejected hate and taught that love must be the motive for everything we do.”
The rabbi of the synagogue, Yisroel Goldstein, whose index finger was shot off in the attack, wrote a remarkable opinion letter to the NYTimes, vowing his religious practice would not be intimidated by violence: “I pray that my missing finger serves as a constant reminder to me. A reminder that every single human being is created in the image of God...and a reminder, most of all, to never, ever, not ever be afraid to be Jewish.”
University of North Carolina-Charlotte Shooting Leaves 2 dead, 4 injured
A 22 year old male entered an anthropology classroom and began shooting students. He was apprehended by police and has been charged with two counts of murder and four counts of attempted murder.
Led in handcuffs by law enforcement, the shooter told reporters, “I just went into a classroom and shot the guys.”
Riley Howell, a 21 year old student at UNC-C who died in the shooting, is being hailed as a hero. Howell charged the shooter and tackled him to the ground, slowing the assailant. A North Carolina police chief said: “Absolutely, Mr. Howell saved lives.” Lauren Westmoreland, Howell’s long-time girlfriend said, “He is my hero. But he’s just my angel now, as well.”
The wavy blob that sits on top of the toothbrush head has a name: Nurdle
Toothpaste companies such as Colgate, Glaxo, have settled lawsuits regarding who has the right to show the “nurdle” in marketing materials.
*The News Memo is edited by Madeline Krumel