DISASTERS: All eyes are on Cyclone Amphan. The storm has now weakened to the equivalent of a Category 3 hurricane, but it still marks the most powerful cyclone in 20 years. And it’s just started to make landfall. The coastline of India and Bangladesh - where 2.6 million people have been evacuated, and where 1 million Rohingya refugees live - is expected to be hit hardest, with Cyclone Amphan bringing high winds of 120 mph, torrential rains, and storm surges. Stay tuned. Speaking of which, two dams failed in Michigan yesterday, causing severe floods and flash flood warnings. In response, thousands of people were forced to evacuate. Authorities say some towns could soon be under nine feet of water.
WORLD: Recently, Hungary passed a bill banning people from legally changing gender. You read that right. The country’s parliament voted 134-56 to define gender on the basis of “sex at birth” and barred transgender and intersex people from changing their gender on identity docs. Intro backlash from a number of rights groups, who say the move could lead to increased intolerance and discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community. Meanwhile, a new analysis says daily global carbon emissions dropped by 17 percent due to recent coronavirus restrictions. That could be the largest worldwide drop in history - one that reportedly hasn’t been seen since World War II.
POLITICS: Quick refresher: the 2020 US primary elections are technically still on. But they’ve been complicated by the coronavirus pandemic as states work to keep infections down. Cue debates over vote-by-mail. Dems are all for it and say it expands access to voting for those who want to stay home amid the pandemic - while Republicans worry that it could lead to voter fraud. So yesterday, a federal judge weighed in….and ruled that Texans can request absentee mail-in ballots to vote from home. No word yet on whether other states will follow. In other news, the Federal Election Commission has a new member. Meet James “Trey” Trainor, a Texas Republican who worked on the Trump campaign in 2016.