Biden on abortion rights, Griner trial in Russia, war in Ukraine: 5 things to know Friday

·5 min read

Biden to meet some governors about abortion, will 'have announcements'

President Joe Biden said Thursday he would support changing filibuster rules in the Senate to make it easier to codify a right to abortion and a right to privacy into federal law following last week's Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade. Biden called the ruling "outrageous" and "destabilizing" and said Congress must overturn it by writing Roe v. Wade into law. "And if the filibuster gets in the way – it's like voting rights – it should be we provide an exception for this," he said during a news conference in the Spanish capital Madrid, where he wrapped up a six-day trip to Europe. The president has been under pressure to take as much executive action as possible to protect abortion rights, although his options are limited. Biden added he will have more announcements on how his administration plans to protect abortion rights after he meets Friday with governors from states that moved to protect them following the high court's ruling.

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WNBA star Brittney Griner to go on trial in Russia with long sentence looming

American basketball star Brittney Griner is set to go on trial in a Moscow-area court Friday, about 4 1/2 months after she was arrested on cannabis possession charges at an airport while traveling to play for a Russian team. The seven-time WNBA All-Star center for the Phoenix Mercury and two-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted of large-scale transportation of drugs. Fewer than 1% of defendants in Russian criminal cases are acquitted, and unlike in the U.S., acquittals can be overturned. Griner was arrested at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport less than a week before Russia sent troops into Ukraine, which aggravated already-high tensions. On Monday, the court in the Moscow suburb of Khimki extended Griner's detention for another six months after she appeared for a preliminary hearing held behind closed doors. In May, the U.S. State Department reclassified Griner as being "wrongfully detained" by the Russian government.

At least 18 killed in missile strike on Ukraine apartment building

At least 18 people were killed and 30 wounded in a missile strike on an apartment building in southern Ukraine's Odesa region, authorities said Friday, a day after Russian troops abandoned their positions on Snake Island off the coast of Odesa that has become a symbol of stiff Ukrainian resistance to Russia's invasion. Sergei Bratchuk, a spokesman for Odesa's military administration, said the strike on the nine-story apartment building was launched by aircraft in the Black Sea. At least two of the dead were children and three kids were rescued from the rubble. On Monday, at least 18 people were killed and dozens were injured in a missile strike on a shopping mall in Kremenchuk, in central Ukraine. One-thousand people were in the mall when the missile struck and at least 20 people remain missing. Russian President Vladimir Putin denied Wednesday that Russian forces targeted the mall, claiming his country doesn't hit civilian facilities and alleging the airstrike was directed at a nearby weapons depot.

Texas migrant tragedy: Two people linked to truck's registration to appear in court

The death toll after a hot and unventilated tractor-trailer was found abandoned in San Antonio has reached 53 people in what officials are calling likely the deadliest smuggling incident in U.S. history. Records show two Mexican citizens – 23-year-old Juan Claudio D'Luna-Mendez and 48-year-old Juan Francisco D'Luna-Bilbao – are scheduled to appear in court Friday, with both facing a charge of possessing a weapon while in the U.S. illegally. Neither has been charged in the suspected smuggling conspiracy, court records show. The criminal complaints for both men say federal authorities linked the men to the truck by tracing the address on the vehicle's registration. Authorities say both men admitted to possession of illegal firearms not manufactured in the state of Texas and to overstaying their visas, according to the complaints.

Flying for July 4 weekend? Airlines warn passengers to prepare for issues

From flight delays and cancellations to crowded airports and schedule changes, the air transportation system is struggling to get back to normal after the pandemic-era slump. It isn't expected to improve heading into the July 4th holiday weekend, which is sure to bring even bigger crowds to the airports. Demand for flights is up, and airlines are stretched thin. For travelers, it's more important than ever to be patient and ready for changes. Starting Friday, several major U.S. airlines, including American Airlines and Delta will be cutting daily flights throughout the rest of the summer. "From July 1-Aug.7, we'll reduce service by approximately 100 daily departures, primarily in markets in the U.S. and Latin America that Delta frequently serves," Delta announced on its website. American Airlines is cutting daily flights between the same dates to "improve operational reliability" for customers and employees.

Contributing: The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Biden on abortion rights, Brittney Griner, Odesa: 5 things to know Friday