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Good morning. It's Thursday, May 2, and we're covering campus tensions, a new chapter for the United Methodist Church, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

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Need To Know

Clashes at UCLA Protests

The University of California, Los Angeles, canceled classes yesterday after brawls broke out between opposing groups of protesters on campus. According to reports, counter-protesters attacked pro-Palestinian protesters with sticks and poles late Tuesday night, with someone throwing fireworks into the camp. Clashes continued for hours before police intervened, with people using pepper spray, throwing chairs, and beating someone to the ground. It is not clear how many people were injured or arrested. See photos of the incident here; view video here (warning—sensitive content).


Pro-Palestinian protesters had been stationed at UCLA for close to a week amid nationwide university protests calling for divestment from Israeli companies, among other demands. At Columbia University, New York police made over 100 arrests and blamed outside agitators for escalatory tactics at protests, including taking over Hamilton Hall (see previous write-up).


Separately, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was in Israel yesterday as the US pursues a cease-fire and hostage release to stave off Israel's promised invasion of Rafah in southern Gaza. See all updates here.


Gay Clergy Ban Reversed

The legislative body of the United Methodist Church voted to repeal a 40-year ban on the ordination of gay clergy yesterday, one of several rule changes around sexuality adopted at their General Conference. The church is the second-largest Protestant Christian denomination in the US with roughly 5 million members, with another 5 million located abroad, primarily in Africa.


The 692-51 vote upends a church rule first implemented in 1984 that barred LGBTQ+ members from being ordained (see history). For decades, the conference—which meets every four years and acts as the church's highest authority—upheld the bans while recognizing the civil rights of LGBTQ+ individuals.


In recent years, some church officials opted not to enforce the rules. A process of so-called disaffiliation began in 2020, where traditional Methodist congregations could opt to leave the conference while retaining their church property. Roughly a quarter of the conference—7,600 communities—did so during a three-year window. More votes are expected ahead of the conference's conclusion tomorrow. 


Rates Hold Steady

The Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged yesterday after a Commerce Department report last week showed consumer prices rose 2.7% year-over-year in March, above the central bank's 2% target.


Yesterday's announcement marks the sixth straight meeting in which Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell kept the benchmark federal funds rate steady at 5.25%-5.5%, a 23-year high. The news comes after Powell weeks ago indicated multiple rate cuts could come this year. He has since backtracked as key inflation data show persistent price increases, particularly in the service industry, including restaurants and auto repair services. Powell said yesterday the board is unlikely to hike interest rates at the next policy meeting. Analysts are now looking to September or November as the earliest point the Federal Reserve might lower rates. 


Separately, the Labor Department yesterday reported US job openings fell to their lowest in three years, dropping 325,000 to 8.5 million. 

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In The Know

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> Harvey Weinstein to face retrial this fall after a New York appeals court overturned his 2020 rape conviction last week (More)

> Paul Auster, novelist best known for his "The New York Trilogy" series, dies at 77 (More) | Brian McCardie, actor known for roles in "Line of Duty" and "Rob Roy," dies at 59 (More)

> TV producer Dan Schneider files defamation lawsuit against "Quiet on Set" docuseries producers for implying he sexually abused children on the set of various children's TV shows (More)

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Science & Technology

> Endurance exercise has noticeable impact on nearly all bodily tissues and roughly 35,000 biological molecules, even organs not associated with exercise; study is part of effort mapping exercise-related health benefits at the cellular level (More)

> Intel engineers demonstrate ability to read single electron qubits—the unit of information in quantum computers—in silicon; marks a key step toward high-throughput manufacturing of quantum computing devices (More) | How quantum computing works (More)

> Neuroscientists map brain circuit believed to play a critical role in human consciousness; network spans at least five regions of the brain (More)


Business & Markets

> US stock markets close mixed (S&P 500 -0.3%, Dow +0.2%, Nasdaq -0.3%) as investors weigh latest round of economic data (More)

> Exxon Mobil Corp. reportedly reaches agreement with Federal Trade Commission over the oil giant's nearly $60B acquisition of Pioneer Natural Resources; deal bars Pioneer's former chief executive officer from joining Exxon's board (More) | See previous write-up (More)

> Johnson & Johnson proposes paying $6.5B over 25 years to settle thousands of current and future US lawsuits that claim its baby powder and other talc-based products caused ovarian cancer (More)


Politics & World Affairs

> Arizona state lawmakers pass law repealing Civil War-era law banning nearly all abortions; Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) to sign (More) | Florida law banning most abortions at six weeks of gestation takes effect (More) | See map of abortion laws by state (More)

> Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R, GA-14) announces plan to force a floor vote next week to oust House Speaker Mike Johnson (R, LA-4); Democrats have announced intention to side with Republicans to defeat the vote (More

> Saudi women's rights activist Manahel al-Otaibi sentenced to 11 years in prison for online posts calling to loosen dress code and male guardianship laws (More)



> The History of Online Forums and Posts

Ars Technica | Jeremy Reimer. From the very first computers to Facebook posts, here's how the evolution of computers since the 1960s transformed our ability to message large groups online. (Read)


> Mr. Apology

Criminal | Staff. (Podcast) In 1980, posters appeared throughout New York City, urging people to leave a phone message apologizing for their regrets. The result was a range of admissions, compassion, and community. (Listen)

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Historybook: Leonardo da Vinci dies (1519); Playwright Tennessee Williams wins Pulitzer Prize for "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" (1955); Fashion designer Donatella Versace born (1955); Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson born (1972); Osama bin Laden is killed by US special operations forces (2011).

"We live in a perpetually burning building, and what we must save from it, all the time, is love."

- Tennessee Williams

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