First Thing: Trump’s hush-money trial resumes after Stormy Daniels testimony

<span>Trump is charged with falsifying business records in the run-up to the 2016 election.</span><span>Photograph: Steven Hirsch/Reuters</span>
Trump is charged with falsifying business records in the run-up to the 2016 election.Photograph: Steven Hirsch/Reuters

Good morning,

The hush-money trial against Donald Trump resumes today at the end of a dramatic week that included testimony from the adult film actor Stormy Daniels.

The relationship between Trump and Daniels is central to the case because Trump’s then lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, paid her $130,000 to keep quiet about their alleged sexual encounter during the 2016 election campaign. Prosecutors say that payment was an election expense.

Daniels’ testimony described their relationship in graphic detail and over lengthy periods of court time.

  • Remind me of the details? Trump is charged with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in connection with the payments, and has pleaded not guilty.

  • Is the trial impacting Trump’s electoral prospects? It doesn’t look like it. Trump is polling at an average 41.3% compared with Joe Biden’s 40.6%.

  • The other criminal cases. The hush-money case is the first of four criminal cases to reach a jury against Trump. The other three have hit serious delays, which could perhaps prevent them from starting before November’s presidential election.

Netanyahu says Israel will ‘fight with our fingernails’ in Gaza

The White House national security spokesperson, John Kirby, warned Israel that an all-out assault on Rafah would “strengthen Hamas’s hands”.

The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has vowed Israel will stand alone and “fight with our fingernails,” in defiance of US threats to further restrict arms deliveries if Israeli forces proceed with the Rafah offensive.

Meanwhile, the UN general assembly is set to show support for a Palestinian bid to become a full UN member – by recognising it as qualified to join and sending the application back to the UN security council to “reconsider the matter favourably”.

  • What’s happening in Rafah? Israel has intensified its bombardment of the city – where 1.4 million people are sheltering – leading to more than 100,000 people fleeing, UN officials say.

  • What does the international community think about an Israeli invasion of Rafah? The UN urged a ceasefire “to stop the unbearable suffering of Palestinians in Gaza and of the hostages and their families”. The UK said a Rafah offensive would break international law. Qatar called for “urgent international action to prevent the city from being invaded and a crime of genocide being committed”.

First faculty-led Gaza protest encampment in the US

The first faculty-led Gaza solidarity encampment in the US was established on Wednesday night at the New School campus in New York City.

Nearly two dozen professors and lecturers pitched tents and unrolled sleeping bags in an academic building in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, to protest against Israel’s attack on Gaza and their university’s financial ties to Israel.

More than 2,000 arrests have been made on US campuses in recent weeks. Encampments have spread to the UK, Spain, Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, Mexico, and Ireland – where students won divestment at Trinity College Dublin.

  • What members of the New School faculty are saying: “I’m seeing dead children on my screen every day. I’m seeing bodies pile up in the streets. I’m seeing mass starvation. So what are you seeing and how is that acceptable?” one faculty member said.

  • Why it’s significant: The move comes after New York police raided the student encampment protest at the college on 3 May, which led to the arrests of more than 40 students. Arrested students were also subsequently suspended from school.

Number of people killed in Brazil floods climbs to 107

Severe floods in southern Brazil have caused the deaths of 107 people, with at least 136 still missing and more than 165,000 displaced.

More rains are forecast in the coming days, raising fears that water levels will rise further in the inundated state capital of Porto Alegre and nearby towns, where streets have turned into rivers.

  • What’s the scale of the flooding? Rio Grande do Sul governor Eduaro Leite called it his state’s “biggest ever climate catastrophe”. One of the worst-affected cities is the state capital, Porto Alegre, which sits along the Guaíba river. The waterway hit a record level of 5.33 metres (17.5ft) on Sunday morning – even higher than during historic 1941 floods.

  • What is the cost of infrastructure damage? The state of Rio Grande do Sul will need at least 19bn reais ($3.68bn) to rebuild, Leite said. An estimated 1.3 million people have been affected in the state.

In other news …

  • Ukraine destroyed 10 drones Russia launched in an overnight attack in the Kharkiv region, but two people were injured and residential buildings were consumed by fire.

  • The UN agency for Palestinian refugees has temporarily closed its East Jerusalem headquarters, after “Israeli extremists” set fire to the perimeter following weeks of repeated attacks.

  • Two skiers, aged 23 and 32, were killed in an avalanche in the mountains of Utah, after several days of spring snowstorms.

Stat of the day: US police have killed 384 people so far in 2024

Police have killed 384 people in the US so far in 2024, an average of almost three a day, according to the Mapping Police Violence project. Black people are 2.9 times more likely to be killed by police than white people. It comes as the family of Roger Fortson – a Black US air force airman who was fatally shot by deputies who burst into his apartment in Florida – said they want to correct a false narrative from authorities.

Don’t miss this: The Chinese dissident who smuggled his writing out of prison

‘My poems were written in anger after Tiananmen Square. But what motivates most prison writing is a fear of forgetting,’ writes Liao Yiwu in this long read. ‘Today I am free, but the regime has never stopped its war on words.’

Climate check: Vermont poised to become first US state to charge big oil for climate damage

Vermont is poised to pass a measure forcing major polluting companies to help pay for damages caused by the climate crisis. It would make Vermont the first state to hold fossil fuel companies liable for planet-heating pollution. “If you contributed to a mess, you should play a role in cleaning it up,” one campaigner said.

Last Thing: The pub that moved brick by brick

The Vulcan was built in the 1830s and became an alehouse for Cardiff dock workers in 1853. It had its final night of trading in 2012. But from Saturday – after a brick-by-brick rebuild that includes antique stone and glass – pints will flow at the Vulcan again.

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