Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Katherine Pompilio
Tuesday, May 10, 2022, 2:18 PM

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President Biden signed into law a modern-day version of the World War II era Lend-Lease Act intended to increase shipments of U.S. military aid to Ukraine, reports CNN. The legislation—entitled the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022—authorizes the Biden administration to ramp up shipments of lethal aid to assist Ukraine in its fight against Russia. The new law allows for the U.S. to bypass certain restrictions to lend or lease military equipment to Ukrainian forces in a more timely manner. 

The head of the U.N. Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine reported that the number of civilians killed during the war with Russia is likely “thousands higher” than the number reported, writes the Washington Post. The U.N. envoy reports that it has confirmed 3,381 civilians have been killed. The leader of the U.N. monitoring mission Matilda Bogner told reporters that the “black hole” of information that complicates determining the real death toll of Ukrainian civilians is the besieged city of Mariupol, from which Bogner says information has been difficult to access and corroborate. Despite unclear information, Ukrainian officials estimate that the death toll of Ukrainian citizens in Mariupol alone is approximately 20,000. 

The United Nations released data indicating that food insecurity in Afghanistan has reached “catastrophic levels,” reports the Hill. An analysis of the data conducted by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Program revealed that 19.7 million Afghans—47 percent of the total population—are “facing high levels of acute food insecurity.” The U.N. reported that Afghans suffering through food insecurity are mostly concentrated in the country’s northeast. Leading causes of food insecurity in Afghanistan include: economic decline, drought, the high cost of food and the global impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaska resigned amid political unrest, according to the New York Times. Rajapaska issued his resignation hours after his supporters clashed with peaceful protestors in streets of the country’s capital, which left dozens of protestors injured and resulted in a nationwide curfew. After the clash, violence continued in Colombo, as mobs set homes and property belonging to members of Rajapasksa’s cabinet ablaze. Rajapaska’s family’s ancestral home and his father’s memorial were also burned down. 

The Senate passed legislation to provide police protections for the immediate family members of Supreme Court justices, reports the Wall Street Journal. The legislation was quickly passed in the wake of a leaked controversial draft decision indicating that the court could overturn the landmark abortion rights case Roe v. Wade. After the leak of the draft decision, protesters gathered outside the private home of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in suburban Chevy Chase, Maryland. The Supreme Court building is also surrounded by metal security fencing to protect it against potential threats. 

The Justice Department announced it would provide $40 million in funding for widespread community policing efforts, writes the Hill. According to the Justice department, the fund allocates up to $10 million for community crisis intervention teams, $15 million for de-escalation training, $8 million for accreditation efforts, $5 million for crime fighting projects, and $2 million for tolerance, diversity and anti-bias training. 

Members of the far-right conspiracy group QAnon are intercepting migrant children at the southern border of the United States, according to the New York Times. Many armed QAnon members have reportedly set up camp along the Southern border to temporarily take in migrant children traveling the the United States. Many members of the group hold the belief that the children are traveling to the U.S. and becoming victims of sex trafficking. Margo Cowan, a public defender and immigration advocate, spoke about the group’s intercept of the children saying, “We believe the conduct of this group is illegal and extremely dangerous.” 

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast which featured a discussion between Stephanie Pell and Sejal Zoga about Immigration Customs Enforcement’s Intensive Supervision Appearance Program, which uses various kinds of tracking technologies as a way of keeping tabs on individuals who are not detained in ICE custody. 

Katherine Pompilio announced this week’s Lawfare Live which will feature a discussion between Benjamin Wittes, Carrie Cordero and Adam Klein about the latest in Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act news. 

Kiernan Christ discussed the Fediverse. 

Tanner Larkin explained how Beijing is promoting an alternative conceptualization as a form of "normfare" to challenge the liberal international order.

Jordan Schneider shared an episode of ChinaTalk in which he was joined by Hal Brands and Emily Jin to discuss Brands’s book entitled “The Twilight Struggle: What the Cold War Teaches Us about Great-Power Rivalry Today.”

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