Israel Trade Deal, Canada, and Burned-Out Exorcists Everything you need to know for today in five minutes.

Good morning. It's Wednesday, June 1, and we're covering a historic Middle East trade deal, Canada's move toward increased gun regulation, and much more. Have feedback? Let us know at [email protected].



Israel Inks Trade Deal

Israel and the United Arab Emirates signed a free trade agreement yesterday, aimed at boosting economic ties and increasing annual bilateral trade to more than $10B over the next five years. The deal is the first of its kind that Israel has struck with an Arab nation and marks another milestone after the two countries formally established relations in 2020 when signing the Trump-era Abraham Accords (see background). 


The agreement exempts or reduces roughly 96% of the trade between the two Middle Eastern countries from tariffs. Bilateral trade between Israel and the UAE reached $885M in 2021—almost three times the volume of Israel's trade with Egypt last year, despite a peace agreement between the two in place since 1979. 


Observers say the UAE's pact with Israel signals deepening ties over shared concerns about a nuclear Iran, rather than pressing Israel to end its conflict with Palestine, which has divided the Arab world (see 101). 

Shanghai Lifts Lockdown

Authorities in Shanghai have begun to relax COVID-19 restrictions in China's largest city, following four straight days of no virus-related deaths and with new cases at the lowest level since March. Shanghai's reopening comes after a two-month lockdown, fueled by the BA.2 omicron variant, which had led to significant economic disruption and isolation among the city's 26 million residents. 


Under the relaxed rules, people in low-risk areas can leave their homes as long as they test negative within a 72-hour period. Also in low-risk areas, businesses reopened, public transportation resumed, and restrictions on private vehicles were lifted. Shopping centers and grocery stores may reopen at 75% capacity, though dining in restaurants remains prohibited. 


Shanghai reported 29 new COVID-19 cases Monday after averaging about 18,000 new cases per day in April. Nationwide, new cases average about 3,300 per day (see data).


Separately, see current US COVID-19 stats here.

Canada Eyes (More) Gun Control

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduced legislation Monday that would freeze the sale of handguns in the country. The move would allow current owners to possess and use them, while capping the number of handguns in the country. The bill also removes licenses from people involved in domestic violence or criminal harassment, creates a new “red flag” law, limits the size of magazines, and more.


It would mark Canada's most significant gun-control measure since a ban on 1,500 types of semiautomatic rifles was enacted in 2020 after a mass shooting in Nova Scotia that claimed 22 lives. Observers expect parliament to approve the bill; the regulations would take effect this fall.


Unlike the US, the country's constitution does not enshrine a right to bear arms. See a comparison of gun deaths by country here.


The move follows a deadly mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, last Tuesday. In that case, officials clarified another key detail yesterday, saying the gunman did not enter through a door left propped open, as previously reported.

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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with Beam

> South Korean K-pop group BTS visits White House, meets with President Joe Biden to discuss rise in anti-Asian hate crimes (More)


> Season Four of "Stranger Things" breaks Netflix record with 287 million viewership hours across seven episodes; final two episodes to be released July 1 (More) | Emmy-winning director Cary Fukunaga accused by multiple women of inappropriate conduct (More)


> Coco Gauff, 18, advances to her first Grand Slam semifinal after besting fellow American Sloane Stephens at the French Open (More) | See latest French Open bracket (More)

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Science & Technology

> In medical first, doctors successfully rehab a damaged liver inside a machine mimicking the human body before transplanting it into a cancer patient; patient has recovered and survived for at least 12 months post-surgery (More)


> New class of antibiotics shown to be effective in treating drug-resistant tuberculosis; the disease kills an estimated 1.5 million people annually (More)


> Tooth analysis suggests competition in the food chain with more agile great white sharks contributed to the extinction of megalodon sharks (More)

Business & Markets

> US stock markets start the week down (S&P 500 -0.6%, Dow -0.7%, Nasdaq -0.4%) following last week’s rally (More)


> President Biden met with Fed Chairman Jerome Powell yesterday to discuss addressing high inflation (More) | Inflation in the 19 eurozone countries hits record 8.1% growth (More)


> Victoria’s Secret shares up 7% in after-hours trading after beating expectations (More) | Salesforce shares also up 7% in after-hours trading after lifting 2022 earnings guidance (More

Politics & World Affairs

> Two Russian soldiers sentenced to more than 11 years in jail in Ukraine for shelling civilians; marks the second war crimes trial against captured Russian forces (More) | See updates on the war here (More)


> Michael Sussmann, a 2016 Clinton campaign lawyer, acquitted of lying to the FBI; the case was the first brought by Special Counsel John Durham's probe into the origin of Russian election meddling claims (More)


> Supreme Court clerks asked to turn over cellphone records, sign affidavits in probe over leak of draft opinion suggesting the court will overturn Roe v. Wade (More) | Court temporarily suspends Texas' social media content moderation law (More)



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What do Americans know about international affairs?


Much of Tonga is still without internet.


When baby foxes get ahold of the GoPro


Taco Bell faces a Mexican pizza shortage.


Vietnam opens the world's longest glass-bottom bridge. (via YouTube)


Archaeologists in Argentina unearth "Dragon of Death" fossil.


Taiwan goes salmon crazy for free sushi.


... and the debate over whether Swedes should feed guests.


Clickbait: Even exorcists are burned-out.


Historybook: Marilyn Monroe born (1926); HBD Morgan Freeman (1937); RIP Helen Keller (1968); CNN debuts as world’s first 24-hours news network (1980); General Motors Corp. files for bankruptcy, fourth-largest US bankruptcy in history (2009).


"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."

- Helen Keller

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