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5 things to know for May 30: Presidential race, Flag controversy, Gaza, Volcano eruption, Price cuts


By Alexandra Banner, CNN

(CNN) — Many Hollywood actors are wary of announcing 2024 presidential endorsements amid a hyper-divisive political landscape. Instead, they might align themselves with specific issues rather than a candidate this year, multiple publicists and agents told CNN.

Here’s what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.

1. Presidential race

The Biden campaign is calibrating a more aggressive strategy to reach American voters as former President Donald Trump’s historic hush money trial nears its end. President Joe Biden slammed his presumptive 2024 opponent at a Philadelphia rally on Wednesday and reaffirmed that he would appoint progressives to the Supreme Court if elected to a second term. In an explicit warning about the stakes of the upcoming election, Biden suggested that he expects vacancies on the high court over the next four years because some of the nine justices have entered their seventies. Meanwhile, speculation is rising that Trump may select a running mate off the public’s radar, despite touting several potential vice presidential picks for months. At the same time, the Trump team is railing against his hush money trial, which will resume for a second day of jury deliberations in the coming hours.

2. Flag controversy

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito told lawmakers in a letter Wednesday that he will not recuse himself from cases involving the 2020 presidential election or the January 6, 2021, US Capitol riot despite concerns about two controversial flags that have flown on his properties. The New York Times published a photo this month of an inverted American flag raised at Alito’s Virginia home in 2021 — a symbol for former President Donald Trump’s supporters who falsely claimed widespread fraud in the presidential election. Alito said the upside-down US flag was raised by his wife. Additionally, an “Appeal to Heaven” flag was seen on display at his vacation property last summer, according to reports. That flag, which has a history dating to the Revolutionary War, has also become a symbol for Trump supporters.

3. Gaza

The war in Gaza will likely continue through at least the end of the year, an Israeli official warned Wednesday, seemingly dismissing the idea that the fighting would end after Israel’s planned military offensive in Rafah. “We expect another seven months of fighting to deepen our achievements and achieve our goal of destroying the military and governmental capabilities of Hamas and Islamic Jihad,” Israel’s national security adviser said. The death toll in Gaza has surpassed 35,000 since the war broke out on October 7 after Hamas killed at least 1,200 people in Israel, according to UN data. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday that Israel must weigh “incremental gains” with “unintended horrific consequences” of military action in Gaza.

4. Volcano eruption

A volcano in southwestern Iceland dramatically erupted Wednesday for the fifth time since December. The lava flow is once again threatening to cut off the town of Grindavík and prompt evacuations at the world-famous Blue Lagoon. Dramatic video and images from the scene showed fountains of red-hot lava shooting into the air along a two-mile fissure. Grindavík, a town of about 3,000 people, was mostly evacuated before a previous eruption in December. Residents and responders who remain have been urged to leave the area while they still can, though police told a local broadcaster that a few locals are refusing to evacuate.

5. Price cuts

Several major retailers are slashing prices across the board to lure back inflation-weary shoppers who have pulled back on spending. Walgreens announced Wednesday that it is cutting prices on 1,500 items — joining competitors including Target, Walmart and Amazon that also recently lowered prices on thousands of household goods. Industry experts say that US households aren’t shopping like they used to, and high prices are forcing Americans to choose between wants and needs. Some retail chains have been forced to declare bankruptcy and shutter their doors as a result. One example is 99 Cents Only, which filed for bankruptcy in April and closed all of its 370 locations. Dollar Tree said Wednesday that it acquired 170 of those leases to offer discount products to more Americans beginning in the fall.


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