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This Week: May 24

Photo credit: Helen Quach

By Lauren Miller, Sofia Alcomendas, Olivia Miller, and Sharla Steinman

May 29, 2024 12:42 p.m.

Podcasts contributors Sofia Alcomandas, Lauren Miller and Olivia Miller discuss the death of Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi, the New York trial of former president Donald Trump and more. Sharla Steinman, the city and crime editor, joins the show.

Olivia Miller: Today is Friday, May 24th, and you are listening to This Week by Daily Bruin Podcasts.

This is Daily Bruin’s weekly news podcast for college students. Thanks for joining us for another episode. Today we will be discussing the death of Iranian President Raisi, the New York criminal trial of former President Trump and more. I’m Olivia Miller and I’m a podcast contributor and the host for today.

Sofia Alcomendas: My name is Sofia Alcomendas. I’m a podcast contributor and the international correspondent today.

Lauren Miller: And I’m Lauren Miller, a podcast contributor and today’s national correspondent and Olivia’s older sister.

OM: And later on in this episode, we’ll be joined by Sharla Steinman, the city and crime editor for the Daily Bruin. So before we get into the news, does anyone have any fun weekend plans?

LM: So Olivia and I are, we have our parents coming to visit us. They just got back from a trip in Puerto Rico. So we’re all gonna get dinner and then go to the mall.

OM: And we’re going to a Lag Baomer party.

LM: Yep, so we’re very excited about that. That’s our weekend plans for Olivia and I.

OM: What about you, Sofia?

SA: I’ll be visiting a Swedish candy store and I’m really excited to try Bub’s because they look really good.

LM: Ooh, that sounds delicious. You have to let us know how it goes and if you recommend.

OM: Now let’s get into the news. First we are going to Sofia. What is the top international story of this week?

SA: Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi was killed in a helicopter crash on Monday. The president, the foreign minister, and seven others were found dead in a mountainous region in the northwest of Iran. The helicopter was returning from an inauguration of a joint project dam with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev. Search operations were made difficult by the terrain and challenging weather conditions, which complicated the use of aerial images in locating the crash. Once the debris was discovered by on-ground rescue teams, it was confirmed there was no signs of life from anyone on board.

OM: What caused the helicopter crash?

SA: The IRNA’s state news agency reports that the helicopter crashed because of a technical failure. This may have arisen as a result of decades of international sanctions causing the country’s aviation fleet to atrophy. The president and foreign minister were known as hardliners, and Iranian authorities are eager to present a sense of order and control despite the uncertainty that the country faces following the crash.

OM: So what’s going to happen with Iran now?

SA: According to the Iranian constitution, the first vice president takes on the president’s role until an official election can be held within 50 days. Diplomatic condolences have been sent by the US, Russia, and neighboring allied countries. Some Iranian citizens are apathetic, with an anonymous citizen saying, quote, “we’re too busy with economic and social issues to worry about such news.” This crash comes at a difficult time for Iran. Tensions are on the rise with Israel and the future leadership of the country is uncertain because the Supreme Leader is 85 and President Raisi, who many saw as a Supreme Leader’s successor, is now dead.

OM: What else is going on around the world?

SA: We have a few updates from the war in Gaza. The International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for Israel’s Prime Minister and Minister of Defense and three Hamas leaders. The ICC’s chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, requested warrants for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity during the Israel-Hamas war. Khan requested warrants for Netanyahu and Golan, asserting that they bear the responsibility for intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population and weaponizing starvation. The prosecutor argues that quote, “nothing can justify willfully depriving human beings including so many women and children the basic necessities required for life.” The prosecutor also believes that the October 7th attacks and the taking of 245 hostages are enough grounds for convictions of war crimes for Hamas leadership. Little is known about how this will affect the ongoing war, as the court is only as effective as the country is allowed to be.

OM: What other stories are we following?

SA: Ireland, Norway and Spain announced that they will recognize a Palestinian state. The country’s claim support for Palestine is not against Israel or for Hamas, but instead a recognition of statehood for Palestinians to ensure a peaceful future. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu denounced each country’s supportive move as a quote, reward for terrorism. The Israeli Foreign Minister added that there will be serious consequences. While the announcement was historic, it is mainly symbolic, and other countries within the UN need to offer their support to build momentum for change. And for our final update on the war in Gaza, the UN has halted aid distribution in Raffah.

Food distribution in the southern city of Raffah has been suspended due to security concerns as Israeli military operations expand. Around 400,000 people are believed to be sheltering in Raffah, with nowhere else to go. The UN warned that humanitarian efforts across Gaza are near and collapse because of a lack of support from Natenyahu. Getting aid to civilians in need has also proven difficult, and many have said that the U.S. Military’s new floating pier is not a suitable substitute for the missing aid.

OM: Thank you for those updates, Sophia. Now we’re going to shift to national news. Lauren, what is the top story of the week?

LM: The trial of former U.S. President Donald J. Trump is wrapping up in New York. The New York criminal trial centers around former President Trump, who faces 34 fraud-related charges. These charges allege he concealed the reimbursement of hush money payments facilitated by his former attorney Michael Cohen to the adult film actress Stormy Daniels. These hush money payments are believed to have transpired in the lead up to the 2016 presidential election, potentially as a means to prevent damaging information from surfacing during the campaign.

OM: What’s happened in the case so far?

LM: Michael Cohen was on the stand for four days where he described how Donald Trump supposedly falsified business records to conceal payments to Stormy Daniels. The defense attorney claims that there is no evidence from any of the witnesses who testified that there was criminal intent.

OM: So what’s going to happen now?

LM: The final chapter of the proceedings will occur next week with closing arguments from both sides. Then the jury will deliberate. Remember, only one juror needs to side with the defense in order to find the former president not guilty.

OM: What’s the Bruin angle?

LM: The outcome of this case could have implications on the November election. While Trump is unlikely to be disqualified from the ballot, he could be hurt or emboldened by the outcome.

OM: What else is going on across the country?

LM: The Supreme Court upheld the South Carolina redistricting map. Some believe that the new South Carolina map is racially gerrymandered and hurts black voters. The ruling is not expected to change much for the election that is upcoming.

OM: What other stories are we following this week?

LM: The NCAA and the five biggest conferences have agreed to a deal that allows schools to pay their players. The NCAA and the conferences are planning to go forward with a multi-billion dollar agreement to settle three pending antitrust cases. It is reported that the NCAA will pay more than $2.7 billion in damages to previous and current athletes. The parties have agreed upon a revenue sharing plan in which each of the schools will be allowed to share approximately $20 million per year with its players.

OM: Thank you for those updates, Lauren. Now we’re turning to Sharla for the Daily Bruin news story of the week. Thanks for joining us,

Sharla Steinman: Sharla. Yeah, of course. Thanks for having me, Olivia. Today I’m going to be talking about a story that my news editor, Dylan Winward and I actually put out yesterday morning. Protesters set up an encampment on the Kirkoff Patio. On their Instagram story, Students for Justice in Palestine called upon students to support their protest.

According to a UCPD officer, the university ordered private security and UCPD to restrict access to Kirchoff Hall, Moore Hall, and Ackerman because of the encampment.

OM: So the university has called in security personnel. What else is the administration doing?

SS: Well, yesterday Gene Block was testifying before the House Education and Workforce Committee regarding the previous UCLA encampment, which was attacked by counter protesters on April 30th and then forcibly disbanded on May 2nd. Associate Vice Chancellor for Strategic Communication, Mary Osako, said in an emailed statement, our safety personnel are on site and actively monitoring the situation. Students continue to gather around the encampment and more officers continue to join others in front of the barricades. The encampment was cleared by police around 1pm and protesters marched towards Murphy Hall then Dodd Hall, also meeting up with other rallies that were going on yesterday, including a rally held by the United Auto Workers 48-11. Students and protesters then gathered and occupied in Dodd Hall. UAW 48-11 called on UCLA members to begin striking starting Tuesday. The strike comes after the union filed several unfair labor charges against the UC. They claim that the university failed its responsibility as an employer when it allowed law enforcement officers to use force against members of the union during the sweep of the first Palestine solidarity encampment at UCLA earlier this month. Protesters remained in Dodd Hall until police dispersed the crowd at around 5.30pm.

OM: Thanks for coming on, Sharla.

SS: Thanks for having me, Olivia.

OM: Thanks for joining us today. Come back next Friday for another episode of This Week.

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Lauren Miller
Olivia Miller | Podcasts producer
Miller is the 2024-2025 Podcasts producer. She was previously a 2023-2024 contributor to the Podcasts section. Miller is a fourth-year communication and sociology student from San Diego.
Miller is the 2024-2025 Podcasts producer. She was previously a 2023-2024 contributor to the Podcasts section. Miller is a fourth-year communication and sociology student from San Diego.
Sharla Steinman | City and Crime Editor
Steinman is the 2023-2024 city and crime editor. She was previously a city and crime contributor. She is also a fourth-year political science student.
Steinman is the 2023-2024 city and crime editor. She was previously a city and crime contributor. She is also a fourth-year political science student.
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