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DeSantis kicks off presidential campaign in Iowa as he steps up criticism of Trump

DeSantis kicks off presidential campaign in Iowa

WASHINGTON - Ron DeSantis plans to kick off his presidential campaign in Iowa today, the start of a busy week that will take him to 12 cities in three states as he tests his pitch as the most formidable Republican challenger to former President Donald Trump.

The Florida governor’s two-day trip to the leadoff caucus state - starting at a suburban Des Moines megachurch and ending at a Cedar Rapids racetrack - comes after a stumbling online announcement last week that formalized his long-anticipated entry into the growing Republican field. It will be followed by stops in early primary states New Hampshire and South Carolina.

DeSantis’ scheduled Tuesday evening stop at Eternity Church in Clive is a conspicuous nod to the evangelical Christians who wield outsize influence in Iowa’s Republican presidential caucuses. His visit will give voters an opportunity to meet the new candidate just as he has been stepping up his criticism of Trump.

9 injured in shooting near beach in Hollywood, Florida

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. - Nine people were injured Monday evening when gunfire erupted along a beach boardwalk in Hollywood, Florida, sending people frantically running for cover along the crowded beach on Memorial Day.

Several of the victims were taken to a children’s hospital, police spokesperson Deanna Bettineschi said.

The nine victims included six adults and three children, according to Yanet Obarrio Sanchez, a spokesperson for Memorial Healthcare System. All of the victims were in stable condition, she said.

However, Bettineschi said four children between the ages of 1 and 17 were hit along with five adults between 25 and 65. One was in surgery late Monday while the others were stable, she said.

It was not immediately clear if the hospital was counting the 17-year-old as an adult.

Impeachment trial of Texas’ Ken Paxton will be no later than Aug. 28

AUSTIN, Texas - A historic impeachment trial in Texas to determine whether Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton should be permanently removed from office will begin no later than August in the state Senate, where the jury that would determine his future could include his wife, Sen. Angela Paxton.

Setting a schedule was one of the last orders of business lawmakers took Monday during an acrimonious end to this year’s legislative session in Texas, where the impeachment laid bare fractures in America’s biggest red state beyond whether Republicans will oust one of the GOP’s conservative legal stars.

It drags Republicans - who for years have pushed fast-changing Texas farther to the right - into a summer of unfinished business and soured feelings that are likely to spill into 2024’s elections.

The stakes are also raised for Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who couldn’t get his full agenda through the GOP-controlled legislature on time. He almost immediately called lawmakers back to work for the first of “several” special sessions in the coming months.

Teenager walks at brain injury event weeks after getting shot in head

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Ralph Yarl - a Black teenager who was shot in the head and arm after mistakenly ringing the wrong doorbell - walked at a brain injury awareness event in his first major public appearance since the shooting.

The 17-year-old suffered a traumatic brain injury when he was shot while trying to pick up his younger brothers in April, the Kansas City Star reported.

Yarl walked with family, friends and other brain injury survivors Monday at Going the Distance for Brain Injury, a yearly Memorial Day race at Loose Park in Kansas City, Missouri.

“It takes a community. It takes a family. It takes a support group, all of that,” Yarl’s mother, Cleo Nagbe, said ahead of the race, adding: “Let’s raise more awareness to stop the things that cause brain injuries and should not be causing them, especially gun violence.”

Russia says drones lightly damage Moscow buildings before dawn

KYIV, Ukraine - A rare drone attack jolted Moscow early Tuesday, causing only light damage but forcing evacuations as residential buildings were struck in the Russian capital for the first time in the war against Ukraine. The Kremlin, meanwhile, pursued its relentless bombardment of Kyiv with a third assault on the city in 24 hours.

The Russian Defense Ministry said five drones were shot down in Moscow and the systems of three others were jammed, causing them to veer off course. It called the incident a “terrorist attack” by the “Kyiv regime.”

The attack, causing only what Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin called “insignificant damage” to several buildings, brought the war home to civilians in Russia’s capital.

North Korea says it will launch its first military spy satellite in June

SEOUL, South Korea - North Korea said Tuesday it would launch its first military spy satellite in June and described space-based reconnaissance as crucial for monitoring U.S. “reckless” military exercises with South Korea.

The statement came a day after North Korea notified Japan’s coast guard that the launch, sometime between May 31 and June 11, might affect waters in the Yellow Sea, East China Sea and east of the Philippines’ Luzon Island. Japan’s defense minister warned its forces to shoot down the satellite or debris, if any entered Japanese territory, and its coast guard issued a safety warning for ships that would be in the affected seas during the expected launch, citing a risk of falling debris.

Trial opens for accused gunman in Pittsburgh synagogue massacre

PITTSBURGH - The federal jury trial of the suspect in the nation’s deadliest antisemitic attack got underway Tuesday morning, four and a half years after the shooting deaths of 11 worshipers at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

Twelve jurors and six alternates - chosen Thursday after a month of questioning of more than 200 jury candidates - are hearing the case against Robert Bowers. The jurors include 11 women and seven men.

Bowers, 50, could face the death penalty if convicted of some of the 63 counts he faces in the Oct. 27, 2018, attack at the Tree of Life synagogue building. The attack claimed the lives of 11 worshipers from three congregations sharing the building, Dor Hadash, New Light and Tree of Life.

- The Associated Press

FILE - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, center, poses for a photo with audience members during a fundraising picnic forRep. Randy Feenstra, R-Iowa, May 13, 2023, in Sioux Center, Iowa. DeSantis is kicking off his presidential campaign in Iowa at the start of a busy week that will take him to 12 cities in three states as he tests his pitch as the most formidable Republican challenger to former President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall. File)
FILE - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a fundraising picnic for U.S. Rep. Randy Feenstra, R-Iowa, Saturday, May 13, 2023, in Sioux Center, Iowa. In the coming weeks, at least four additional candidates are expected to launch their own presidential campaigns, joining a field that already includes DeSantis, Scott, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, tech billionaire Vivek Ramaswamy and several longer-shots like conservative talk radio host Larry Elder. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)