Adam Toledo remembered on 14th birthday, lunar eclipse, coronavirus surges globally: 5 Things podcast

On today’s 5 Things podcast: Adam Toledo’s family creates sanctuary for at-risk youth in honor of 14th birthday as Congress continues to work on a policing bill. Plus, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken heads to Egypt and Jordan as the U.S. considers how to move forward with Israel and Palestine, global coronavirus cases in 2021 are already higher than 2020, record temperatures are possible in the South and a super blood moon and total lunar eclipse can be seen in western skies.

Hit play on the podcast player above as you read along with the transcript below.

Taylor Wilson:

Good morning, I’m Taylor Wilson, and this is Five Things you need to know Wednesday, the 26th of May, 2021. Today, Adam Toledo, the teenager killed by a Chicago police officer, would have turned 14. Plus, the Secretary of State is in Egypt as cease-fire efforts continue following violence in Gaza and more.

Taylor Wilson:

Here are some of the top headlines:

  1. The prosecutor overseeing a criminal probe into former President Donald Trump and his business has convened a grand jury. Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance’s move indicates that he believes he has a case against Trump or someone else in Trump’s orbit. An investigation has been looking into potential tax and bank-related fraud.
  2. A Southwest Airlines passenger who allegedly struck a flight attended has been charged with felony battery. The flight attendant lost two teeth in the incident and the Flight Attendants Union wrote a letter to Southwest CEO pushing for more protections. The union said there were nearly 500 passenger misconduct incidents on Southwest between April 8th and May 15th.
  3. And John Cena issued a video apology after referring to Taiwan as a country while promoting the latest Fast and the Furious film. Taiwan has been self-ruled since 1949, but has never declared full independence.

Taylor Wilson:

Wednesday would have been Adam Toledo’s 14th birthday. Toledo, a Black 13-year-old at the time was shot and killed by a white Chicago police officer in late March. Video of his death showed Officer Eric Stillman respond to reports of shots fired. He then found and chased Adam down an alley. According to videos, Adam then tossed a gun behind a fence before turning to face Stillman with his hands up. The officer then fired in less than a second. Stillman has not returned to regular field duties. In mid-April, a group of Latino lawyers called for the Department of Justice to investigate the circumstances that led to and resulted in Toledo’s death. The killing also sparked protests in Chicago and around the country. And Mayor Lori Lightfoot called for changes to the city’s foot pursuit policy.

Taylor Wilson:

To mark his birthday, Adam’s family has announced the creation of Adam’s Place, a rural sanctuary for at-risk youth. It’ll be for kids aged 10 to 14 from Chicago and other Midwestern cities. Toledo’s family lawyers said it will help youths, “develop skills, values, and self-worth by learning to care for the natural world, others and themselves away from the dangers of urban streets.” Adam Toledo’s birthday comes a day after the one-year mark since George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis. His family met with President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and congressional leaders on Tuesday. Lawmakers continue to push for new policing legislation in Floyd’s honor. The Floyd family’s attorney Ben Crump said after Tuesday’s meeting that legislators are close on police reform, but that pressure needs to continue.

Ben Crump:

We are optimistic both Senator Scott and Senator Graham talked to the family for over an hour, talking about how they’re making progress, how both sides of the aisle are at the table and they’re trying to define specific terms because they feel that they are close, the closest they’ve ever been. And so we want to encourage them in the spirit of this day, and that’s why the family wanted to come and say let’s have a legacy that respects not only their brother’s blood on that legislation, but Breonna Taylor and all of the others who have been taken away unjustifiably. We have to make sure we don’t squander this opportunity.

Taylor Wilson:

President Joe Biden said after the meeting, that he’s optimistic on a new policing act.

President Joe Biden:

I’ve spoken with the negotiators. I’m hopeful that sometime after Memorial Day we’ll have an agreement on the George Floyd legislation.

Taylor Wilson:

The act would ban certain police tactics and also make it easier to prosecute law enforcement officers.

Taylor Wilson:

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will head to Egypt and Jordan on Wednesday. The countries have acted as mediators in fighting between Israel and Hamas militants. And Egypt particularly helped broker last week’s cease-fire. Israel killed at least 230 Palestinians in the conflict and Hamas killed at least a dozen people in Israel. The 11 days of violence also demolished huge parts of the Gaza Strip, including damage to 18 hospitals and several schools. The Biden Administration largely stayed in the shadows during the first week of violence. But President Joe Biden later pressed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to step down. All eyes are on how the Biden administration will next handle relations with Israel, a long time US ally. While there on Tuesday, Blinken said the US would reopen its consulate in Jerusalem. It had served as a de facto embassy for Palestine until former President Donald Trump closed it in 2019.

Taylor Wilson:

But during talks with both Israeli and Palestinian leaders, Blinken also made clear that the US has no immediate plans to pursue peace talks between the sides. During recent violence, the Biden administration approved $735 million in weapons to Israel, despite opposition from some progressive Democrats. The US says it plans to help Gaza rebuild, but the Biden office is making it clear that any assistance should be kept out of the hands of Hamas. The group opposes Israel existing at all, and both Israel and the US consider them to be terrorists. Instead, the US is backing the rival government of President Mahmoud Abbas. His Palestinian Authority administers areas in the West Bank, but he has little influence in Gaza, which Hamas ousted him from in 2007. Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke Tuesday of building economic growth in the occupied West Bank. But he said there will be no peace until Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

Taylor Wilson:

1.7 billion coronavirus vaccine doses have now been administered around the world. But the early months of 2021 were brutal for the pandemic, and parts of Latin America and Asia are still seeing new surges in countries with low vaccination rates. All of that contributes to more COVID-19 cases in 2021 already than in all of 2020. Through Sunday, the world reported 83.62 million cases so far in 2021. That’s compared to 83.56 million cases last year. Stateside, cases are dropping dramatically as vaccinations rise. There were 22,000 new cases on Tuesday in the US, that’s compared to a high of 300,000 on January 2nd. And even last month, there were days with more than 80,000 cases. State and local leaders continue to offer up incentives to get more people vaccinated. Ohio is rolling out weekly $1 million and scholarship prizes for those vaccinated, and Colorado announced a similar plan on Tuesday. 49.5% of Americans have now received at least one vaccine dose and 39.5% are fully vaccinated. If you still need your shots, you can head to vaccines.gov to find where vaccines are in stock near you and to schedule an appointment.

Taylor Wilson:

Record temperatures are possible in parts of the South Tuesday. A heat wave is scorching the region this week, and more than 70 daily heat records may be broken as a high pressure system dominates the Eastern part of the country. Cities including Atlanta, Charlotte, and Raleigh could all break records, and hot temperatures are expected to hang around the Southeast through the end of the week. Stay with the weather section on usatoday.com for more on what’s happening your area.

Taylor Wilson:

If you’re listening right now from the Western US, you may still have a chance to catch a total lunar eclipse early Wednesday morning. It happens when the earth is between the full moon and the sun. Unlike a solar eclipse, you don’t need special glasses or gadgets to see it. But binoculars or a telescope obviously help enhance your view. This eclipse also comes with a special treat, a super moon. The second and last one of 2021. That’s when the moon looks bigger than usual, since it’s a bit closer to Earth.

Taylor Wilson:

Thanks for listening to 5 Things. As always, you can find us wherever you get your audio. And on Apple Podcasts, please drop us five stars if you have a second. Thanks as always to Shannon Green and Claire Thornton for their work on the show. 5 Things is part of the USA TODAY Network.

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