5 things to know for August 5: US mass shootings, Hong Kong protests, Iran, Sudan

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Posted: Aug 5, 2019 8:10 AM
Updated: Aug 5, 2019 8:10 AM

Are you feeling helpless after the double mass shootings that horrified the nation? Trust us, we understand. But you don't have to be paralyzed with sadness and anxiety. Here are concrete things you can do to help the victims of the shootings in El Paso and Dayton. And here's what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get "5 Things You Need to Know Today" delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. El Paso mass shooting

One weekend. Two shootings. 29 people dead. Welcome to America in 2019.

The nation is reeling from a pair of mass shootings and once again grappling with what to do about the plague of gun violence. The first happened Saturday at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. A gunman  -- who police say had posted a racist, anti-immigrant "manifesto" online -- killed at least 20 people and injured 26 others. The store was packed with families searching for back-to-school deals. It took police six minutes to respond after the first reports of an active shooter were called in. When they arrived on the scene, the suspect got out of his vehicle unarmed and just walked over to them. He's been arrested and charged with capital murder. Federal authorities are treating the shooting as a case of domestic terrorism, and the gunman could face the death penalty. It's one of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in US history.

2. Dayton mass shooting

We all went to bed Saturday night trying to process the senselessness of the Texas shooting, only to wake up to another horror: another mass shooting. This one happened just 13 hours later in an entertainment district in Dayton, Ohio. A gunman wearing body armor approached the outside of a bar and opened fire. He killed nine people -- including his own sister -- and injured at least 31 others in a shooting that lasted less than a minute. Police officers on patrol nearby rushed over and killed the shooter. Authorities say they've found writings indicating the gunman had an interest in killing people. His classmates said he had a "hit list." A preliminary assessment of the writings did not indicate any racial or political motive.

President Trump later weighed in, telling reporters that, "Hate has no place in our country," and that "perhaps more has to be done" to address gun violence. The President has used incendiary language at rallies across the country; many Democrats and others on the left say his political rhetoric is fueling an atmosphere that emboldens white supremacists to commit acts of violence. Trump will address the nation this morning at 10 a.m. ET, but it's unclear if he will announce any concrete proposals to fight gun violence.

Click here for the latest on the El Paso and Dayton shootings.

3. Hong Kong protests

There have been nine consecutive weekends of protests in Hong Kong. Just last night protesters swarmed Causeway Bay on Hong Kong Island and blocked key roads. Police responded with tear gas. Now the political unrest is rushing into the work week. A huge day of strikes and protests is set to happen today. Major sectors of Hong Kong will likely grind to a halt since people of all kinds -- like teachers, finance employees, civil servants -- are poised to take part in the demonstrations, which have gone on since June over a now-suspended extradition bill. Already more than 100 flights have been canceled or delayed. Click here to keep up with the latest on the unrest in Hong Kong.

4. Iran

Looks like the tensions with Iran won't be deescalating anytime soon. Iran says it seized a foreign oil tanker last week it claimed was smuggling fuel to the Arab states. The ship has seven crew members. It's not clear at this point what the nationalities of the ship and crew are. Iran's seizure last month of two tankers -- one Panamanian-flagged and one British -- marked an escalation in the standoff between the Islamic Republic and Western powers after President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal last year.

5. Sudan

Better news may be on the horizon in Sudan. An agreement was reached over the weekend between Sudanese opposition groups and the Sudan Transitional Military Council on a final Constitutional Declaration. That should finally clear the way for eventual civilian rule in the country, which has been run by the military ever since President Omar al-Bashir was pushed out in a military coup earlier this year. Sudanese citizens then protested the military and demanded it hand power over to a civilian-led body. The military responded with a bloody crackdown on a pro-democracy sit-in that left 118 people dead. But now the two sides hope to work out the details for a ceremony to sign the new constitutional declaration.


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