Biden to honor forgotten victims of Tulsa race massacre
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden will take part in a remembrance of one of the nation's darkest — and largely forgotten — moments of racial violence when he helps commemorate the 100th anniversary of the destruction of a thriving Black community in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Biden's visit Tuesday, in which he will grieve for the hundreds of Black people killed by a white mob a century ago, comes amid a national reckoning on racial justice. And it will stand in stark contrast to the most recent visit to Tulsa by a president, which took place last year.
Biden will be the first president to participate in remembrances of the destruction of what was known as "Black Wall Street." In 1921 — on May 31 and June 1 — Tulsa's white residents and civil society leaders looted and burned to the ground the Greenwood district and used planes to drop projectiles on it.
Up to 300 Black Tulsans were killed, and thousands of survivors were forced for a time into internment camps overseen by the National Guard. Burned bricks and a fragment of a church basement are about all that survive today of the more than 30-block historically Black district.
America's continuing struggle over racial justice will continue to test Biden, whose presidency would have been impossible without overwhelming support from Black voters, both in the Democratic primaries and the general election.
Hundreds gather at historic Tulsa church's prayer wall
TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Hundreds gathered Monday for an interfaith service dedicating a prayer wall outside historic Vernon African Methodist Episcopal Church in Tulsa's Greenwood neighborhood on the centennial of the first day of one of the deadliest racist massacres in the nation.
National civil rights leaders, including the Revs. Jesse Jackson and William Barber, joined multiple local faith leaders offering prayers and remarks outside the church that was under construction and largely destroyed when a white mob descended on the prosperous Black neighborhood in 1921, burning, killing, looting and leveling a 35-square-block area. Estimates of the death toll range from dozens to 300.
Barber, a civil and economic rights activist, said he was "humbled even to stand on this holy ground."
"You can kill the people but you cannot kill the voice of the blood."
Although the church was nearly destroyed in the massacre, parishioners continued to meet in the basement, and it was rebuilt several years later, becoming a symbol of the resilience of Tulsa's Black community. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2018.
New Vatican law criminalizes abuse of adults, even by laity
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has changed church law to explicitly criminalize the sexual abuse of adults by priests who abuse their authority and to say that laypeople who hold church office can be sanctioned for similar sex crimes.
The new provisions, released Tuesday after 14 years of study, were contained in the revised criminal law section of the Vatican's Code of Canon Law, the in-house legal system that covers the 1.3-billion strong Catholic Church.
The most significant changes are contained in two articles, 1395 and 1398, which aim to address major shortcomings in the church's handling of sexual abuse. The law recognizes that adults, too, can be victimized by priests who abuse their authority, and said that laypeople in church offices can be punished for abusing minors as well as adults.
The Vatican also criminalized the "grooming" of minors or vulnerable adults by priests to compel them to engage in pornography. It's the first time church law has officially recognized as criminal the method used by sexual predators to build relationships with their victims to then sexually exploit them.
The law also removes much of the discretion that had long allowed bishops and religious superiors to ignore or cover-up abuse, making clear they can be held responsible for omissions and negligence in failing to properly investigate and sanction errant priests.
Who benefits? US debates fairest way to share spare vaccine
WASHINGTON (AP) — In April, the Biden administration announced plans to share millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses with the world by the end of June. Five weeks later, nations around the globe are still waiting — with growing impatience — to learn where the vaccines will go and how they will be distributed.
To President Joe Biden, the doses represent a modern-day "arsenal of democracy," serving as the ultimate carrot for America's partners abroad, but also as a necessary tool for global health, capable of saving millions of lives and returning a semblance of normalcy to friends and foes alike.
The central question for Biden: What share of doses should be provided to those who need it most, and how many should be reserved for U.S. partners?
The answer, so far at least, appears to be that the administration will provide the bulk of the doses to COVAX, the U.N.-backed global vaccine sharing program meant to meet the needs of lower income countries. While the percentage is not yet finalized, it would mark a substantial — and immediate — boost to the lagging COVAX effort, which to date has shared just 76 million doses with needy countries.
The Biden administration is considering reserving about a fourth of the doses for the U.S. to dispense directly to individual nations of its choice.
4-time Slam champ Osaka out of French Open, cites anxiety
Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open on Monday and wrote on Twitter that she would be taking a break from competition, a dramatic turn of events for a four-time Grand Slam champion who said she experiences "huge waves of anxiety" before speaking to the media and revealed she has "suffered long bouts of depression."
Osaka's agent, Stuart Duguid, confirmed in an email to The Associated Press that the world's No. 2-ranked tennis player was pulling out before her second-round match at the clay-court tournament in Paris.
The stunning move came a day after Osaka, a 23-year-old who was born in Japan and moved with her family to the U.S. at age 3, was fined $15,000 for skipping the postmatch news conference after her first-round victory at the French Open. She also was threatened by all four Grand Slam tournaments with possible additional punishment, including disqualification or suspension, if she continued with her intention — which Osaka revealed last week on Twitter — to not "do any press during Roland Garros."
She framed the matter as a mental health issue, saying that it can create self-doubt to have to answer questions after a loss.
"First and foremost we are sorry and sad for Naomi Osaka. The outcome of Naomi withdrawing from Roland Garros is unfortunate," French tennis federation president Gilles Moretton said Monday. "We wish her the best and the quickest possible recovery. And we look forward to having Naomi in our tournament next year."
UN watchdog: Access to key Iranian data lacking since Feb 23
VIENNA (AP) — The United Nations' atomic watchdog hasn't been able to access data important to monitoring Iran's nuclear program since late February when the Islamic Republic started restricting international inspections of its facilities, the agency said Monday.
The International Atomic Energy Agency reported in a confidential document distributed to member countries and seen by The Associated Press that it has "not had access to the data from its online enrichment monitors and electronic seals, or had access to the measurement recordings registered by its installed measurement devices" since Feb. 23.
While the IAEA and Iran earlier acknowledged the restrictions limited access to surveillance cameras at Iranian facilities, Monday's report indicated they went much further. The IAEA acknowledged it could only provide an estimate of Iran's overall nuclear stockpile as it continues to enrich uranium at its highest level ever.
Iran started limiting inspections in a bid to put pressure on the government of U.S. President Joe Biden to lift crippling sanctions reimposed after then President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran unilaterally in 2018.
Under the deal, the IAEA placed around 2,000 tamper-proof seals on nuclear material and equipment. Those seals communicated electronically to inspectors. Automated measuring devices also provided real-time data from the program.
Son's grief, guilt become tribute honoring COVID-19 victims
NEW YORK (AP) — Though Brian Walter knows he tried to protect his parents from the coronavirus, doubts torment him.
Did he grab a wrong bottle of orange juice, one covered with infectious droplets? Did he get too close to his dad? What if he had worked a different shift — would things have been different?
Did he bring about his father's death?
The New York City Transit employee was deemed an essential worker needed to keep the city running last year when it became the epicenter of the pandemic. He shared a meal for St. Patrick's Day with his parents, then decided that he should stay away for their safety. They kept a sanitizing station outside their shared home where he would leave groceries that his mom would disinfect.
Still, they got sick. And he can't escape the gnawing feeling that he exposed his father to the virus.
Australian court upholds ban on most international travel
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — An Australian court on Tuesday rejected a challenge to the federal government's draconian power to prevent most citizens from leaving the country so that they don't bring COVID-19 home.
Australia is alone among developed democracies in preventing its citizens and permanent residents from leaving the country except in "exceptional circumstances" where they can demonstrate a "compelling reason."
Most Australians have been stranded in their island nation since March 2020 under a government emergency order made under the powerful Biosecurity Act.
Libertarian group LibertyWorks argued before the full bench of the Federal Court in early May that Health Minister Greg Hunt did not have the power to legally enforce the travel ban that has prevented thousands of Australians from attending weddings and funerals, caring for dying relatives and meeting newborn babies.
LibertyWorks lawyer Jason Potts argued that Australians had a right to leave their country under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that Australia had ratified.
London school fights COVID fallout with laptops, bean bags
LONDON (AP) — Nik Geraj's voice fills with pain as he talks about how he struggled to help his daughter study during the coronavirus lockdowns that shut her school for more than four months over the past year.
Before the pandemic, 6-year-old Mia was doing well. But she had a hard time during lockdown, missing her friends and teachers at Holy Family Catholic Primary in southeast London. Geraj, a former refugee from Albania, and his wife Mai Vu, who comes from Vietnam, weren't able to fill the gaps.
"She really missed out," he said. "I don't think I did such a good job. I tried. The missus tried.''
Plagues, fires, war — London has survived them all. But it has never had a year quite like this. The coronavirus has killed more than 15,000 Londoners and shaken the foundations of one of the world's great cities. Amid a fast-moving mass vaccination campaign, The Associated Press looks at the pandemic's impact on London's people and institutions.
AP PHOTOS: Shattered rooms show Gaza war's toll on children
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The latest Gaza war is over, but its wreckage still litters the purple bedroom of 9-year-old Shrouq al-Masri and her 4-year-old sister, Razan.
Their toys are coated with gray dust, the ceiling is bent and buckled, and the cracks in the walls slice through the cartoons that decorated them.
The two girls survived the early morning airstrike that destroyed a nearby building on May 19, two days before a cease-fire ended the war. But like so many children in Gaza, they will carry the memory of its horrors and devastation.
The 11-day war was the fourth fought between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that has ruled Gaza since 2007. It featured the same waves of predawn Israeli airstrikes, the same continuous rocket fire out of the impoverished territory, and the same lopsided casualty toll, with Palestinians making up the vast majority of the more than 250 killed.
And like the others, it took a heavy toll on children. At least 66 Palestinian children were killed, as well as a 5-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl on the Israeli side. Countless more were awakened in the night by explosions.