5 essential things you need to know this week: Eurovision, LGBTQ+ refugees and Buffalo shooting
The fallout surrounding the Supreme Court’s leaked Roe v Wade ruling is ongoing, while the war in Ukraine continues to cause death and destruction this week.
In addition to that, Black people in Buffalo, New York, are trying to make sense of a mass shooting which saw a self-confessed white supremacist killing 10 people.
As always, it might feel like there’s a lot going on in the world – but we’ve got you covered. To kick off the week, here are five stories you need to know about right now.
1. ‘Voting irregularities’ at Eurovision have left fans stunned
Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra stormed to victory at the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday night (14 May), with the UK coming in second – but a cryptic media release issued by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) about the voting process has left fans scratching their heads.
During the grand final, the EBU said its voting partner had detected “irregular voting patterns” among the juries in six countries during the second semi-final.
The EBU hasn’t yet provided any detailed answers on what went on behind the scenes – we’ll hopefully get more answers as the week moves on.
2. Ukrainian troops defending Kharkiv have reached the Russian border
The war in Ukraine continues to rage on, but the embattled country is continuing to make gains against Russia.
On Monday (16 May), governor Oleh Sinegubov claimed troops in Kharkiv had reached the border with Russia. Reuters, which reported the news, was unable to independently verify the news.
Meanwhile, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said in a meeting with member countries on Sunday (15 May) that Ukraine could win the war and that Russia’s attack was “not going as Moscow had planned”.
“They failed to take Kyiv. They are pulling back from around Kharkiv. Their major offensive in Donbas has stalled,” Stoltenberg said.
“Ukraine is not achieving its strategic objectives. Ukraine can win this war.”
3. Roe v Wade fallout continues
There was uproar when it emerged that the Supreme Court was considering overturning Roe v Wade, the historic decision that legalised abortion across the United States.
The fallout has only continued since then. Speaking on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday (15 May), Nebraska governor Pete Ricketts said he hopes to pass a statewide abortion ban without exceptions for extreme circumstances such as sexual assault or incest if the ruling is overturned.
Ricketts’ comments are a chilling indication of just how bad things could get in America for all pregnant people if the Supreme Court pushes ahead with its draft ruling.
Meanwhile, house speaker Nancy Pelosi has said the Supreme Court is “dangerous to families and to freedoms in our country”.
Also speaking on CNN’s State of the Union, Pelosi said: “Beware in terms of marriage equality, beware in terms of other aspects.
“Understand this. This is not just about terminating a pregnancy. This is about contraception, family planning.”
4. Black residents in Buffalo, New York are devastated after a mass shooting
There was widespread horror in Buffalo, New York, after an 18-year-old self-confessed white supremacist opened fire in the town, killing 10 people.
The teenager, who has been arrested, reportedly drove more than 200 miles to open fire on the residents of Buffalo, New York. The mass shooting is being investigated as “an act of racially motivated violent extremism”, according to BBC News.
Speaking in Buffalo after the shooting, US president Joe Biden said “hate remains a stain on the soul of America”.
Meanwhile, Black residents of the town spoke to The Guardian about their fears for the future after the shooting.
5. Home Office refuses to back away from Rwanda plan
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The UK Home Office has faced strident criticism from human rights groups and asylum advocacy organisations ever since it announced its plans to send refugees who arrive via the English Channel to Rwanda. Despite this, it has refused to back down.
Last week, there was significant controversy when the Home Office issued a document stating there was “some evidence of discrimination and intolerance” towards LGBTQ+ people in Rwanda.
Despite this, the government said it had no concerns about “persecution or serious harm” if it was to send LGBTQ+ asylum seekers there.
Last week, a senior official at the Home Office told MPs that undocumented Ukrainian refugees who travel to the UK via Ireland could be among those deported to Rwanda.
The controversy is likely to continue over the coming week – however, the Home Office looks unlikely to budge on its plan.