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US briefing: conflict in Yemen, climate change and finance, Notre Dame | US news


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Good morning, I’m Tim Walker with today’s essential stories.

President blocks bipartisan bill on US involvement in Yemen

Donald Trump has vetoed a bipartisan bill passed by both houses of Congress that would have put an end to US military support for Saudi-led forces in Yemen. The US provides billions of dollars in arms to a Saudi-led coalition fighting Iran-backed rebels in a conflict that has caused the world’s most pressing humanitarian crisis. But Trump, who has a close relationship with Saudi Arabia, said the congressional resolution was “an unnecessary, dangerous attempt to weaken [his] constitutional authorities”.

  • Novichok sceptic. Trump wrote off the 2018 chemical weapons attack on a Russian defector in Salisbury, England, as “legitimate spy games”, and was reluctant to expel suspected Russian spies in solidarity with the UK, according to a report by the New York Times.

  • North Korea. Satellite images of North Korea’s main nuclear site suggest the regime may be reprocessing radioactive material to make bomb fuel, a US thinktank has warned, underscoring the failure of Trump’s recent denuclearisation talks with Kim Jong-un.

Bank governors warn financial industry to face climate threat

Mark Carney at the IMF and World Bank spring meetings in Washington earlier this month



Mark Carney at the IMF and World Bank spring meetings in Washington earlier this month. Photograph: James Lawler Duggan/Reuters

The governors of the Bank of England and France’s central bank have issued a warning to the world’s financial industry that it must reform in the face of the existential threat from climate change. In a letter published in the Guardian on Wednesday, Mark Carney and François Villeroy de Galhau said the cuts to carbon emissions needed to avoid environmental catastrophe “requires a massive reallocation of capital”, and those industries that failed to adjust “will fail to exist.”

  • Green finance. The letter comes with the launch of a report by the Network for Greening the Financial System, an international group of central banks and financial regulators, which details the measures necessary for financiers to tackle climate change.

  • London protests. Climate activists led by the group Extinction Rebellion say they intend to escalate their protests to disrupt public transport, despite almost 300 arrests in the UK capital this week.

New interior chief met lawyer linked to Zinke scandal

Trump with his new secretary of the interior, David Bernhardt.



Donald Trump with his new secretary of the interior, David Bernhardt. Photograph: Joshua Roberts/Reuters

Trump’s new secretary of the interior, David Bernhardt, met a lawyer for the Native American tribe linked to one of the scandals swirling around his predecessor, Ryan Zinke, newly released agency records have revealed. In April 2018, Bernhardt met Marc Kasowitz, a former Trump lawyer whose firm represented the Schaghticoke tribal nation. The Schaghticoke opposed a request by two other tribes to operate a casino in Connecticut. Zinke’s decision to block that request is under investigation by a grand jury.

  • Conflict of interest. Bernhardt, who was confirmed as interior secretary last week, is a former energy lobbyist described by environmentalists as “a walking conflict of interest.”

Macron vows to rebuild Notre Dame within five years


Drone footage shows Notre Dame Cathedral fire damage – video

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, has promised Notre Dame Cathedral will be rebuilt “more beautiful than before” and within five years, in time for the 2024 Paris Olympics. But experts have said repairs to the fire-damaged landmark could take decades. More than €800m ($905m) has already been raised for the restoration, mainly thanks to pledges from French billionaires. Investigators working on a timeline of the fire said the structure came “15 to 30 minutes” from complete destruction.

Crib sheet

  • The US attorney general, William Barr, says he will block immigration judges from offering detained asylum seekers at the border the chance of release while their cases are heard, overruling a precedent set by the Bush administration in 2005.

  • Almost 193 million Indonesians are expected to vote on Wednesday in the world’s biggest direct presidential election, with ballot boxes being transported to 800,000 polling stations, including by canoe and elephant.

  • The United Conservative party has defeated the incumbent progressive government in Alberta’s regional election, pledging to boost the Canadian province’s flagging oil and gas sector and scale back environmental policies, thus setting the stage for a standoff with the federal government.

  • The profound lack of diversity in the artificial intelligence field risks perpetuating historic gender and racial biases and has reached “a moment of reckoning,” according to a report by a New York University research centre.

Must-reads

Police conduct an Active Shooter Response Training exercise at a middle school in Fountain, Colorado.



Police conduct an Active Shooter Response Training exercise at a middle school in Fountain, Colorado. Photograph: Dougal Brownlie/AP

Columbine at 20: how a single attack became the routine

Schools in Denver were on lockdown this week following threats from a woman reportedly “infatuated” by the 1999 Columbine attack. As the Colorado community prepares to mark 20 years since America’s first major school shooting, Amanda Holpuch asks how these brutal events became part of the nation’s psyche.

The trailblazing school for trans people

The Bachillerato Popular Trans Mocha Celis in Buenos Aires is the first school of its kind in the world, helping adults who never completes high school to obtain their diplomas in a programme tailored to the trans community. Natalie Alcoba met the students.

Legal weed struggles to light up in Canada

Six months after Canada became the first G7 country to legalise marijuana, the government’s cannabis stores and approved legal producers are struggling to meet demand, driving users back to the black market, as Leyland Cecco reports from Toronto.

Does everyone really love Mayor Pete?

The mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is the unlikely star of the Democratic presidential primary. But how popular is Pete Buttigieg in his home town? As David Smith discovered, his mayoralty is a success by several measures, but he still has some local critics.

Opinion

Since 2004, Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters has respected the cultural picket line established by the Palestinians, who appealed to artists not to perform in Israel. He says Madonna and others due to appear at the Eurovision song contest in Tel Aviv ought to do the same.


To perform in Israel is a lucrative gig but to do so serves to normalise the occupation, the apartheid, the ethnic cleansing, the incarceration of children, the slaughter of unarmed protesters.

Sport

Lionel Messi was on dazzling form as Barcelona swept aside Manchester United at the Camp Nou on Tuesday to proceed to the Champions League semi-finals. United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær admitted his club needed to rebuild after the 4-0 aggregate defeat, the heaviest in its history.

Meanwhile in Turin, a Cristiano Ronaldo goal was not enough to overcome giant-killers Ajax, who added a quarter-final victory over Juventus to their defeat of Real Madrid in the previous round. The match-winner came from their 19-year-old captain, Matthijs de Ligt.

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