Wednesday morning news - June 22, 2022
Texas’s top law enforcement officer is calling the Uvalde response an “abject failure,” the Supreme Court says Maine cannot withhold tuition assistance from students at rural religious schools, thousands of British railway workers are on strike, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland made a surprise visit to Ukraine, two American citizens were captured by Russian forces while fighting in Ukraine
For WORLD Radio, I'm Kristen Flavin.
Uvalde response » “Abject failure” - That’s how Texas’ top law enforcement officer described the police response to the school shooting last month in Uvalde. Colonel Steve McCraw is director of the Texas Department of Public Safety. He testified before the state Senate on Tuesday.
McCraw: The only thing stopping a hallway of dedicated officers from entering room 111 And 112 was the on scene commander who decided to place the lives of officers before the lives of children.
Police had enough officers on the scene to storm the school three minutes after the shooter got in … But those same police officers, armed with rifles of their own, spent the next forty minutes looking for a key to an unlocked room, McCraw said.
McCraw: The door was unsecured. And we've gone back and checked in our interviews and did anybody touch the door and try it, you know about, you know, do you need a key? How about trying the door to see if it's unlocked. And of course, no one had.
Meanwhile, the shooter killed 19 children and two teachers.
Pete Arredondo, the police chief for the Uvalde school district, later said he didn’t consider himself the officer in charge as the crisis unfolded. He also testified on Tuesday before a Texas House panel behind closed doors.
SCOTUS school choice » The Supreme Court decided Tuesday that the state of Maine cannot refuse tuition assistance to rural students attending private, religious schools. WORLD’s Josh Schumacher reports.
JOSH SCHUMACHER, REPORTER: The 6-3 ruling follows two other recent decisions from the court in favor of religious groups that were barred from government benefits. Families sued the state for excluding religious schools from a government-funded tuition program for students who live in areas with no public schools. The court said the government cannot deny benefits to the schools—or any organization—simply because they are religious.
The justices are separately weighing another religious freedom case focusing on football coach Joe Kennedy’s right to kneel at midfield to pray after games.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Josh Schumacher
Britain rail strike » Tens of thousands of Britain’s railway workers walked off the job Tuesday. That brought the train network to a crawl and left tens of thousands of commuters stranded.
The workers are protesting low pay, poor working conditions, and lack of job security. Here’s Mick Lynch, Secretary-General of the National Union of Rail.
LYNCH: We're faced with 1000s of job cuts. Despite what Grant Shapps says, there's been no guarantee that these redundancies won't be compulsory. We've seen the four or 5,000 jobs already go from the railway.
When the pandemic forced commuters to stay home, the government began subsidizing the transportation industry. Now, those subsidies are going away… But the commuters aren’t coming back. That means that transportation companies have to start slashing jobs to keep costs down.
Some are calling this strike completely unnecessary. Here’s Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport for the United Kingdom.
SHAPPS: They called the strike on the false pretense with their members of taking themselves off the pay freeze which of course the whole of the public services had for the past couple of years, and that pay freeze was coming to an end anyway.
The strikes are scheduled to pause today but will resume on Thursday and Saturday.
Attorney general makes unannounced visit to Ukraine » U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland made a surprise visit to Ukraine, where he promised to help hold war criminals accountable. Garland met with Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova to work on a plan.
GARLAND: The United States is sending an unmistakable message: there is no place to hide we will we and our partners will pursue every avenue available to make sure that those who are responsible for these atrocities are held accountable.
Garland appointed Eli Rosenbaum, who’s been with the Department of Justice for nearly 40 years, as Counselor of War Crimes Accountability. He’ll be responsible for heading up the initiative. Ukrainian officials said that in the last 24 hours, six civilians were killed and 16 more were wounded.
Bombardments continue to pulverize the cities of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk in eastern Ukraine.
American vets captured by Russia » Two American citizens captured fighting in Ukraine are sitting in a cell awaiting trial as mercenaries.
Normally, prisoners of war are protected from torture and unfair trial under the Geneva Convention but by calling them mercenaries, their Russian captors can get around those rules. A Russian spokesperson said the military could sentence the American fighters to death.
Former Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said:
KIRBY: It’s appalling that a public official in Russia would even suggest the death penalty for the two American citizens that were in Ukraine.
Both of the captured soldiers are veterans from Alabama. 39-year-old Alexander J. Drueke went to Ukraine to teach Ukrainian troops how to use U.S. weapons and the 27-year-old Andy Tai Huynh volunteered to fight alongside Ukrainian troops.
The men went missing June 8th. It is unknown when or how they will be released.
I’m Kristen Flavin. For more news, features, and analysis, visit us at wng.org.
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