5 things to know Thursday

Supreme Court justices to meet for first time since leaked Roe opinion

The Supreme Court’s nine justices will gather in private Thursday for their first scheduled meeting since the leak of a draft opinion that would overrule Roe v. Wade, the Associated Press reports. The meeting comes at a time where the future of abortion rights is at stake. Chief Justice John Roberts last week confirmed the authenticity of the opinion and stressed that the draft may not be the court’s final word. In his statement, Roberts also announced the launch of an investigation regarding who was responsible for the leak. Abortion law experts and people on both sides of the issue told the AP a major shift in the current abortion case seems less likely. The Senate failed Wednesday to pass a bill that would have made Roe v. Wade the law of the land. The effort failed 51-49 as Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., joined every Republican in opposition. 

Finland leaders announce support for NATO membership amid Ukraine war

Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin said in a joint statement Thursday they’re in favor of applying for NATO membership, paving the way for the alliance to expand amid Russia’s war in Ukraine. “NATO membership would strengthen Finland’s security,” the statement said. Tytti Tuppurainen, Finland’s minister for European Affairs, told USA TODAY while she was in Washington on Wednesday that the announcement will be followed by a debate in Finland’s parliament early next week and a vote that is almost sure to be “strongly in favor of membership.” She added that she hopes her country’s application will be approved swiftly. NATO members adhere to a collective defense that views an attack on one as an attack on all. But that security guarantee would not apply while Finland’s bid is under consideration. Tuppurainen said her nation, which shares an 830-mile border with Russia, is acutely aware of the threats Russian officials have made against Finland if it goes ahead with the NATO bid. 

May heat wave to shatter records across U.S.

Record high temperatures will be challenged across a 2,000-mile-long stretch of the U.S. this week thanks to an early season heat wave. The scorching heat that’s already been in place for several days in Texas will be coming to the Midwest, the northeastern U.S. and part of southeastern Canada, AccuWeather said. “Highs near 100 degrees in the south-central states, the 90s in parts of the Midwest and the 80s in portions of the Northeast will challenge record highs set as far back as the late-1800s in some cases,” said AccuWeather senior meteorologist Alex Sosnowski. Along with the heat will be summerlike humidity, a sharp change from recent chilly weather in the Midwest, Weather.com said.

Procession set to take body of slain Al Jazeera journalist to Jerusalem

Veteran Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, one of the channel’s best-known reporters, was shot and killed Wednesday while covering an Israeli military raid in the occupied West Bank. The broadcaster and two reporters with her blamed Israeli forces. Israel’s defense minister, Benny Gantz, promised a transparent investigation, and said he was in touch with U.S. and Palestinian officials. The Israeli military initially suggested that Abu Akleh, 51, a Palestinian Christian who was born and raised in Jerusalem, might have been killed by stray fire from Palestinians, but Gantz was more cautious Wednesday. Abu Akleh’s death could draw new scrutiny of Israel’s military justice system, which is being examined as part of an International Criminal Court war crimes probe. Abu Akleh, who was also a U.S. citizen, was respected in the Middle East and known for her coverage of life under occupation during her more than two decades reporting in the Palestinian territories. On Thursday, a procession was set to take Abu Akleh’s body for burial in Jerusalem. 

NFL to unveil its 2022 schedule in a huge TV special

The National Football League will unveil each 17-game schedule for all 32 franchises for the 2022 season – 272 games in total – Thursday night (8 p.m. ET, NFL Network and ESPN2). While some games, including five international games in London, Munich and Mexico City, a Week 2 Monday night doubleheader and one of the three Christmas Day games, have already been announced, Thursday will be when fans can mark their calendars for the games they most want to see. Among the games certain to draw attention are another Tom Brady-Patrick Mahomes duel when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Kansas City Chiefs and a rematch of the thrilling 2021 AFC playoff game between the Buffalo Bills at the Chiefs. The season opener also always garners significant interest as the Super Bowl champion begins the defense of its title in a high-profile home game. This year’s defending champ, the Los Angeles Rams, have 10 games against 2021 playoff teams on tap this year, including games against the Buccaneers, Chiefs and Bills.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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