Monday morning news: May 27, 2019

Tornadoes strike Oklahoma, killing two and injuring dozens » More tornadoes hit the Southern Plains on Sunday.

The first twister struck near Oklahoma City. It leveled a Budget Inn motel and tore through a mobile home park, killing at least two people and injuring dozens.  

WHITE: We transported 16 from the scene, 13 vehicle transfers on top of that. Those were all from minor to critical condition. 

El Reno, Oklahoma Mayor Matt White heard there.

He said aside from the injuries, the tornado left heartbreaking destruction in its wake.

WHITE: Pray for the families. People have absolutely lost everything. You’re not going to believe the devastation. You’ve seen some of the pictures of those poor families that were in that trailer house. 

The city established a GoFundMe site to help those affected—the City of El Reno Tornado Relief Fund.

Hours after the first twister struck, another touched down near Tulsa, Oklahoma. It knocked down trees and power lines and heavily damaged numerous businesses. Officials said on Sunday they had no reports of serious injuries there.

Voters elect new parliament in European Union » All voters in 28 European Union countries have elected a new shared parliament. Turnout appeared to be the highest there in two decades.

It appears mainstream parties may hold onto their majority in the 751-seat assembly when all the votes are counted. But populist parties calling for more sovereignty from the EU and some calling for tighter immigration controls made big gains.   

In Italy, Interior Minister Matteo Savini’s League party now appears to be the country’s top party. Projections on Sunday suggested it won 30 percent of the vote.

And in France, Marine Le Pen’s Nationally Rally party appears set to claim victory over that of pro-EU President Emmanuel Macron.

Britain wasn’t supposed to take part in the European Parliament elections at all.  But it had to organize a last-minute campaign after delaying its exit from the EU.

And the winner appeared to be the Brexit Party led by anti-EU figurehead Nigel Farage. But early projections also showed a big surge for the strongly pro-European Liberal Democrats.

Lawmakers clash over attorney general authority in probe of Russia investigation origins » Meantime, back in Washington, lawmakers clashed on Sunday over President Trump’s decision to allow the attorney general to possibly release declassified information related to the origins of the Russia probe.

The president told reporters last week…

TRUMP: Everything that they need is declassified, and they’ll be able to see how this hoax – how the hoax or witch hunt started and why it started. 

Critics say they’re worried that William Barr will selectively release information to bolster the president’s view that the probe was politically motivated.

And California Congressman, and Democratic White House hopeful, Eric Swalwell said he thinks the move will hurt the intelligence community.

SWALWELL: He is asking our intelligence community to essentially not do the job that we are asking them to do the next time they may see something like this. This is to put a chilling effect in place. 

But Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham on Sunday dismissed those concerns. He said the investigation is about ensuring U.S. intelligence and law enforcement acts impartially and within the law.

GRAHAM: We’re not compromising national security here. We’re trying to create a system to make sure this never happens again. 

Graham said he’s insisting the government release “of all the documents around the FISA warrant.” That warrant granted permission to surveil the Trump campaign.

HHS proposes rollback of Obama-era transgender rule » The Department of Health and Human Services is proposing a rollback of an Obama-era rule that extended sex discrimination protections to transgender people.

The 2016 rule said a person’s sex can be defined as their gender identity. And that was defined as—quote—“male, female, neither, or a combination of male and female.”

Several states and healthcare groups sued and a federal court put the rule on hold, finding it likely in conflict with existing laws. And a second federal court agreed.

Director of the HSS Office for Civil Rights, Roger Severino, explained the proposed change.

SEVERINO: It says the scope of discrimination on the basis of sex would no longer include gender identity. And in terms of practical effect, from HHS’ perspective, it maintains the current status quo because we have not been able to enforce those provisions since the injunction came into effect. 

Severino said “When Congress prohibited sex discrimination, it did so according to the plain meaning of the term.” He added that the proposed move would align HHS rules with the “text of the laws passed” by Congress.

The move drew sharp rebukes from Democrats. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the action shows—quote—“utter contempt for the health, safety and humanity of women and transgender Americans.”

Stanley Cup Final begins tonight » The Boston Bruins host the underdog St. Louis Blues tonight for the start of the Stanley Cup Final.

Boston will be making their third Finals appearance in the last nine seasons. They won the cup in 2011, beating Vancouver and lost to Chicago two years later.

The Blues have never won the Stanley Cup. And for St. Louis, the best-of-seven series will be a rematch of their last Finals appearance—also against Boston—a half-century ago. The Bruins swept the Blues in 1970.

Puck drops tonight in Boston just after 8pm Eastern Time.

(KWTV-KOTV via AP) This image made from video provided by KWTV-KOTV shows two funnel clouds formed in Crescent, Okla., Monday, May 20, 2019. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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