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ICC Israel and Hamas arrest warrants; Target price cuts : NPR


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Today’s top stories

The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court is seeking arrest warrants against senior Hamas officials and top Israeli officials for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the Oct. 7 attacks and the ongoing war in Gaza. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the push as a “travesty of justice” in a statement. President Biden called it “outrageous” and said, “Whatever these warrants may imply, there is no equivalence between Israel and Hamas.” Israel is not a party to the international treaty that governs the International Criminal Court, known as the Rome Statute. But the court has previously ruled it maintains legal jurisdiction over the Palestinian territories, including the Gaza Strip.

The International Criminal Court building in The Hague, Netherlands, on April 30.

Anadolu/Anadolu via Getty Images


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The International Criminal Court building in The Hague, Netherlands, on April 30.

Anadolu/Anadolu via Getty Images

  • If arrest warrants are issued, Netanyahu could be branded as a “world pariah,” like Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, who faces an ICC arrest warrant, NPR’s Daniel Estrin tells Up First. “This could have a snowball effect,” he says. It could affect international sanctions against Israel and affect the genocide case against the country.  Estrin adds that arrest warrants could pressure Ismail Haniyeh, a Hamas official in Qatar, but likely less so for Hamas leaders hiding in Gaza.

Scarlett Johansson’s legal team is demanding that OpenAI disclose how it developed the voice for its AI personal assistant. The actress says it sounds uncannily like herself. At a live demonstration last week, many observers compared the AI voice to Johansson’s character in Her, a science fiction film about a man who falls in love with the female voice of his computer’s operating system. OpenAI said the voice wasn’t patterned after Johansson but that it was disabling it.

  • OpenAI’s CEO, Sam Altman, twice approached her about licensing her voice, but she declined, NPR’s Bobby Allyn reports. In a statement, she wrote she was “shocked, angered and in disbelief” when she heard the voice demos. Allyn says more and more creatives are pushing back on generative AI, which works by “gobbling up” creative work and generating something new from the data. Johannson has called on lawmakers to pass legislation to ensure individual rights are protected in the AI era. 

More than 1,000 French police have arrived in New Caledonia, an overseas territory in the South Pacific, following deadly rioting over a proposed change to France’s Constitution that would give voting rights to an increasing number of non-Indigenous residents of the archipelago. A pro-independence coalition made up of the indigenous Kanak people objected to the constitutional amendment, saying it would dilute their voice. Though the violence has calmed, the airport is still closed, and some tourists remain stranded.

  • The territory, located 10,000 miles away from France, has had a fragile peace in the last decade, but tensions between pro- and anti-independence factions persist, NPR’s Eleanor Beardsley reports. French President Emanual Macron faces pressure to cancel the measure. But there are geopolitical stakes, as New Caledonia is “pivotal to France’s standing as a main Western player” in a region where China is expanding its presence. 

From our hosts

This essay was written by Michel Martin, Morning Edition and Up First host.

Troops on Detroit’s Linwood Avenue in 1967.

ny Spina/Detroit Free Press via ZUMA Press


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ny Spina/Detroit Free Press via ZUMA Press


Troops on Detroit’s Linwood Avenue in 1967.

ny Spina/Detroit Free Press via ZUMA Press

I was a little kid during the 60s — old enough to know something was going on but not old enough to understand it. My parents weren’t “activists,” so unlike some of my peers, I don’t have any memories of being taken to marches and such.

Don’t get it twisted: They kept up with the news, belonged to their respective trade unions and never missed an election. But they were not the type to discuss what they considered grown folks’ business with us, except for the occasional “You’re as good as anybody, don’t let anybody tell you different,” “Push ahead, just keep pushing” and my personal favorite — when we saw the scary images of Black folks being set upon with fire hoses or dogs: “Don’t worry, they’ll all be gone when you grow up.”

Here’s what I do remember: My Dad, a firefighter, not being able to come home for days and when he did, being so tired he could barely get his uniform off before he fell asleep. The dents in his helmet; he said somebody had thrown bricks. Him calling my mom to tell her to fill up containers with water, something about the electricity maybe going out that might make it hard to get water to cook or bathe. To her credit, she made a game out of it.

Jelani Cobb’s new documentary, The Riot Report, is about those days and what came to be known as The Kerner Commission. They tried to explain not just what happened, but why. It is enlightening to consider what’s changed, and disturbing to consider what hasn’t.

Picture show

Rwanda’s post-genocide transformation has been remarkable, but uneven.

Jacques Nkinzingabo for NPR


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Jacques Nkinzingabo for NPR


Rwanda’s post-genocide transformation has been remarkable, but uneven.

Jacques Nkinzingabo for NPR

Last month, Rwanda marked 30 years since the genocide in which nearly one million people, most of them ethnic Tutsis, were killed. Today, the country projects an image of post-genocide harmony. Life expectancy and tourism are up. But while the country’s transformation has been incredible, it’s also been uneven. See photos of Rwanda’s evolution and read about what type of leader is needed for Rwanda to continue to grow and heal.

3 things to know before you go

The tiny Devils Hole pupfish has managed to adapt to very extreme conditions, and the critically endangered species is rebounding.

Courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/O. Feuebacher


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Courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/O. Feuebacher


The tiny Devils Hole pupfish has managed to adapt to very extreme conditions, and the critically endangered species is rebounding.

Courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/O. Feuebacher

  1. The critically endangered Devils Hole pupfish is making a resurgence after a very close brush with extinction. The fish’s entire habitat consists of a pool in Death Valley National Park with a surface area of about 10 feet by 60 feet. (via LAist)
  2. Target will reduce prices on 5,000 common items — including milk, meat and fresh fruit — to help shoppers save money. Prices have been cut on about 1,500 products already, and more will come throughout the summer.
  3. Red Lobster, America’s largest seafood chain, has filed for bankruptcy after a series of bad decisions by its executives, including an ill-fated all-you-can-eat shrimp promotion. 

This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi.



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