U.S. President Donald Trump presented sumo champion Asanoyama, dressed in a loin-cloth, a four-foot, 60-pound trophy on Sunday after playing a round of golf and dining on double cheeseburgers with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The Associated Press reports that Trump donned dark-colored slippers when he entered what is known as the sacred mound where sumo wrestlers battle. First Lady Melania Trump was not allowed to join him in accordance with Japanese tradition that prohibits women from entering the ring. Trump was allowed to sit on a low-back chair instead of sitting cross-legged ring side as tradition mandates. “That was something to see these great athletes,” Trump said before dining at a Hibachi restaurant. On Monday, he will be the first foreign official to meet Japan’s newly-crowned emperor at a lavish ceremony.
At least two people are dead and an unknown number are missing after a deadly tornado tore through the Oklahoma City suburb of El Reno overnight Saturday. El Reno Mayor Matt White told the Associated Press that the American Budget Value Inn was badly damaged in the storm, which also ripped through a mobile home park and car dealership. White described the scene at the mobile home park as “horrific,” the Associated Press reports. “We have absolutely experienced a traumatic event,” White said early Sunday. “We’ve had an incident where a tornado has basically hit a mobile home park and a hotel, and some other local businesses.”
Iraqi foreign minister Mohammed al-Hakim said on Sunday that he would take on the tough challenge of mediating between the U.S. and Iran. He made the offer at a joint news conference in Baghdad with Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who did comment or agree to accept the help. “The sanctions against sisterly Iran are ineffective and we stand by its side,” al-Hakim said. “We are trying to help and to be mediators.” Tensions between the U.S. and Iran have escalated in recent weeks after the Trump administration beefed up its military presence in the Persian Gulf in response to a yet-unidentified threat from Iran.
Vice President Mike Pence told the graduating class of West Point Military Academy on Saturday that they should expect to see combat during their careers. “It is a virtual certainty that you will fight on a battlefield for America at some point in your life,” Pence said during his first commencement address at the academy. “You will lead soldiers in combat. It will happen. Some of you may even be called upon to serve in this hemisphere.” The statement comes a day after the Trump administration announced plans to send another 1,500 troops to the Middle East amid rising tensions with Iran. Pence told the more than 980 graduating cadets that some of them would join the “fight against radical Islamic terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq,” which will be aided by the president's proposed $750 billion defense budget for 2020. “(The United States) is once again embracing our role as the leader of the free world,” Pence said.
A key component of malware wreaking havoc on American cities was created by the National Security Agency, The New York Times reports. The NSA first lost control of the malware, called EternalBlue, in 2017. Since then, EternalBlue has been used by cybercriminals around the world. The tool has now made its way back to its birthplace—Baltimore, Maryland. Cybercriminals have begun to target vulnerable city governments, such as Baltimore, which is located only a short drive from NSA headquarters where the malware was developed.
Along with several other cities across the country, Baltimore has been fighting a cyberattack by digital extortionists using EternalBlue. On May 7, attackers froze thousands of computers in the city, shut down email, disrupted real estate sales, water bills, health alerts and many other government services. The NSA and FBI still don't know whether the attackers, who call themselves the Shadow Brokers, are foreign agents or disgruntled employees. Baltimore officials have refused to pay a ransom of $100,000 in Bitcoin in order to free files, leaving the city in gridlock.
A mile-wide potentially catastrophic asteroid, complete with its own rotating moon, passed by earth early Sunday morning. The space rocks, called 1999 KW4 by NASA, will be visible until June 7. The larger rock, which is about one mile wide, is shaped like a spinning top, and the smaller rock, about a third of a mile long, is oblong shaped. This is the fourth time this particular asteroid system, which was first spotted in 1999, has passed by earth. It will be some 3.2 million miles away at its closest approach. EarthSky says that North American asteroid hunters may be able to spot the space rocks near the constellation Hydra on May 27.
President Trump took to Twitter over Memorial Day weekend to remind his followers that they were the real victims of actor Jussie Smollett’s allegedly staged attack months ago in Chicago. While all charges against the Empire actor were dropped after police said he orchestrated a hate crime attack against himself, Trump wanted to set the record straight in noting that a “hate crime” really did occur—against him and his base. “In addition to great incompetence and corruption, The Smollett case in Chicago is also about a Hate Crime,” Trump tweeted. “Remember, ‘MAGA COUNTRY DID IT!’ That turned out to be a total lie, had nothing to do with ‘MAGA COUNTRY.’ Serious stuff, and not even an apology to millions of people!”
Smollett reported in January that he was the victim of an attack by two men who shouted “This is MAGA country” and put a rope around his neck. After police began to investigate the alleged incident, they said holes in his story began to emerge and he was charged with over a dozen felony counts. The next month, in a shocking twist, prosecutors dropped all the charges. The decision was met with fierce backlash across the country, including from the president. At the time, Trump called the move an “embarrassment to our country.”
One person was killed and ten others were shot at a Virginia block party late Saturday, local media reported, citing police. Details were scarce on the total number of victims and the extent of their injuries, but local station WTKR cited the Chesapeake Police Department as saying victims had been rushed to three different area hospitals. One of those hospitals, Sentara Norfolk General, told the news station it had treated eight men for gunshot wounds. The gunfire reportedly broke out at an apartment complex where residents had gathered to celebrate Memorial Day. The area was blocked off late Saturday as police continued to investigate the circumstances of the shooting. No suspects were in custody as of Saturday night.
Germany's anti-Semitism commissioner warned the country's Jewish population on Saturday to avoid publicly wearing yarmulkes, traditional Jewish head coverings also called kippahs, due to a rise in anti-Semitic crimes. “I cannot advise Jews to wear the kippah everywhere all the time in Germany,” Felix Klein said. The number of attacks against Jewish people in Germany increased 10 percent from 2017 to 2018, and the number of reported violent crimes rose from 37 to 62 over the same period, according to published figures.
Last year, a 19-year-old male attacked two people wearing yarmulkes with a belt in broad daylight in Berlin, and the attack was allegedly fueled by anti-Semitism. Weeks later, a man wearing the Star of David was also beaten in Berlin. The string of attacks prompted Germany's Jewish community to ask the government to implement an anti-Semitism oath for groups seeking public funding. German Justice Minister Katarina Barley called the uptick in attacks “shameful for our country.”