10 things you need to know today: May 24, 2021

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1. Belarus on Sunday scrambled a MiG-29 fighter jet and forced a Ryanair passenger plane to land in Minsk, then arrested an opposition journalist, Roman...
1.

Belarus on Sunday scrambled a MiG-29 fighter jet and forced a Ryanair passenger plane to land in Minsk, then arrested an opposition journalist, Roman Protasevich, who was on the plane. European leaders condemned Belarusian authorities. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said those responsible for the "hijacking must be sanctioned." The jetliner was over Belarus, about to enter Lithuanian airspace, when Belarus air traffic control ordered it to turn around, saying there might be explosives on board. Protasevich's popular social media Telegram channel Nexta exposed Belarusian police brutality during the anti-government demonstrations last year. As he was being led away, he reportedly said, "I'll get the death penalty here." [The Washington Post, The Guardian]

2.

The ceasefire between Israel and Hamas held for a third day on Sunday as Egyptian mediators shuttled between Israel and the Gaza Strip, which is ruled by Hamas. Mediators also talked to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank. Lynn Hastings, the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for the Palestinian territories, said the U.N. would appeal for aid to rebuild parts of Gaza damaged in the worst fighting in years, which left a dozen Israelis and more than 230 Palestinians dead. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday on ABC's This Week that President Biden remained committed to a two-state solution, "so that Israelis and Palestinians can live with equal measures of security, of peace, and of dignity." [Reuters, Politico]

3.

Three researchers at China's Wuhan Institute of Virology went to hospitals in November 2019 "with symptoms consistent with both COVID-19 and common seasonal illness," according to a previously undisclosed U.S. intelligence report cited in a Wall Street Journal report on Sunday. The details went beyond the content of a State Department fact sheet released near the end of former President Donald Trump's administration. The disclosure was…
Harold Maass
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