First Thing: Nikki Haley to vote for Trump in 2024 election U-turn

<span>Nikki Haley speaks at the Hudson Institute in Washington yesterday.</span><span>Photograph: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA</span>
Nikki Haley speaks at the Hudson Institute in Washington yesterday.Photograph: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA

Good morning.

Nikki Haley, who emerged as Donald Trump’s most enduring rival and trenchant critic during the Republican primary elections, has said she intends to vote for the former US president in November.

Haley was speaking at the Hudson Institute thinktank in Washington yesterday, her first public appearance since dropping out of the race in March. She was asked whether Joe Biden or Trump would do a better job on national security issues.

The former ambassador to the UN and South Carolina governor ran through a list of priorities when choosing a president, ranging from the need to back allies and hold enemies to account, to supporting capitalism and freedom while reducing the national debt. “Trump has not been perfect on these policies,” Haley said. “I have made that clear many, many times. But Biden has been a catastrophe. So I will be voting for Trump.”

  • Any other one-time Trump foes who will nevertheless support him? Haley joins the ranks of the US Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell; Trump’s former attorney general turned critic William Barr; and Chris Sununu, the New Hampshire governor.

  • What has Trump himself been up to? On social media and in a Tuesday fundraising email, Trump falsely said the Department of Justice was ready to kill him. Trump was apparently referencing the FBI order for a search warrant in August 2022 of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in search of classified documents Trump had allegedly taken. The FBI took the unusual step of responding, describing the language in the warrant as “a standard policy statement limiting the use of deadly force. No one ordered additional steps to be taken and there was no departure from the norm in this matter.” The Washington Post has previously reported that FBI agents picked a day for the raid when Trump would not be at Mar-a-Lago and told the Secret Service ahead of time.

US ‘concerned’ by Israel’s isolation, Biden national security adviser says

The US is concerned about Israel’s growing diplomatic isolation among countries that have traditionally supported it, Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said yesterday.

Sullivan’s remarks followed the announcement by Ireland, Spain and Norway that they would next week formally recognise a Palestinian state. They also came amid efforts by the Biden administration and Congress to coordinate a response to a decision by the international criminal court to seek an arrest warrant for Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and defence minister, Yoav Gallant, over Israeli actions in Gaza.

“As a country that stands strong in defense of Israel in international forums like the United Nations, we certainly have seen a growing chorus of voices, including voices that had previously been in support of Israel, drift in another direction,” Sullivan said, adding that “we do not believe that that contributes to Israel’s long-term security or vitality”.

Five dead as tornadoes rip through Iowa

Five people died and at least 35 were hurt as powerful tornadoes ripped through Iowa on Tuesday, with one carving a path of destruction through the town of Greenfield, where officials said four died.

The tornado left a wide swath of obliterated homes, splintered trees and crumpled cars in the town of 2,000 about 55 miles (90km) south-west of Des Moines. The twister also ripped apart and crumpled massive power-producing wind turbines several miles outside the town.

  • Is this a one-off? No. In fact, April had the second-highest number of tornadoes on record in the country, and the climate crisis is heightening the severity of storms around the world.

In other news …

  • UK political party leaders Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer kick off their election campaigns today, six weeks before the country goes to the polls after Sunak called a surprise general election for 4 July in a high-stakes gamble.

  • China has launched two days of military drills surrounding Taiwan, as what it called “punishment” for the “separatist acts” of holding an election and inaugurating a new president.

  • Nine people were killed and at least 50 injured when a stage collapsed at a campaign event for the Mexican presidential candidate Jorge Álvarez Máynez, local officials said.

  • French security forces will remain in New Caledonia as long as necessary, Emmanuel Macron has said, after France’s president arrived in the Pacific territory in an urgent attempt to calm tensions following more than a week of riots that have left six dead.

Stat of the day: epidural in labor can reduce risk of serious complications by 35%, study finds

Having an epidural during labor can reduce the risk of serious childbirth complications by 35%, according to research that suggests expanding access to the treatment may improve maternal health. An epidural is an injection in the back to stop someone feeling pain in part of their body. Making them more widely available and providing more information to those who would benefit from one was even more important than previously thought, researchers said.

Don’t miss this: ‘The New York-Dublin Portal is a testament to international idiocy. I couldn’t love it more’

“There was a specific kind of brainless, base energy at the Dublin-New York Portal on Tuesday afternoon that recalled something from my childhood,” writes Megan Nolan, from the scene. “At first I could not quite think what it was, and then I realised that it was the feeling of being in an all-girls school and converging with the all-boys school. This would happen occasionally, back in Ireland where I grew up – we would be in plays or science competitions that involved overlap with the boys’ schools (in fact this was why we wanted to be in said plays and science competitions). There would always come a moment when we would all be revealed to one another and gawp at the spectacle of our equivalents, so like us and yet so alien.”

… or this: ‘It’s basically inaccessible without a phone’: are kids losing their love for music?

A whole age group of kids – let’s call them “pre-phone children” – are now unable to access music of their choosing. In fact they have virtually no musical autonomy at all, not helped by plummeting investment in music tuition. As Naomi Alderman, the novelist, game writer and author of bestselling sci-fi novel The Power, sees it: “So much of our technology is coded up by 25-year-olds working for companies run by 37-year-olds. They maybe have not raised children to adulthood and don’t have friends who have, so the question ‘How do I give my kid easy access to some but not all of my music?’ hasn’t come up.”

Climate check: young Alaskans sue state over fossil fuel project they claim violates their rights

Eight young people are suing the government of Alaska – the nation’s fastest-warming state – claiming a major new fossil fuel project violates their state constitutional rights. The state-owned Alaska Gasline Development Corporation has proposed a $38.7bn gas export project that would roughly triple the state’s greenhouse gas emissions for decades, the lawsuit says. Scientists have long warned that fossil fuel extraction must be swiftly curbed to secure a livable future.

Last Thing: Seinfeld star Michael Richards ‘not looking for a comeback’ 20 years after racist outburst

The Seinfeld actor Michael Richards has addressed the racist outburst that in effect ended his career almost 20 years ago, saying he was “immediately sorry” but that he’s “not looking for a comeback”. The actor – who won three Emmys for his portrayal of Cosmo Kramer from 1989 to 1998 – has stayed largely out of the spotlight since 2006 when he was filmed yelling the N-word at a group of Black people who heckled him during a standup set at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles. “I was immediately sorry the moment I said it on stage,” Richards said about that night in an interview with People magazine, published on Wednesday. “I’m not looking for a comeback.”

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