President Biden and the leaders of 17 other nations called on Hamas on Thursday to release all of the hostages seized during its Oct. 7 terrorist attack on Israel, an effort to raise international pressure on the group’s leader in Gaza to agree to a U.S.-brokered deal. “The fate of the hostages and the civilian population in Gaza, who are protected under international law, is of international concern,” the leaders said in a joint statement organized and released by the White House, noting that the more than 130 hostages remaining in Gaza include citizens of their countries. - NYT

Mass arrests, outrage and turmoil rippled across U.S. college campuses as authorities clamped down on a growing number of pro-Palestinian demonstrations. Students at Emory University, Northwestern University, Cornell University, George Washington University, Princeton University and the City College of New York set up solidarity encampments on Thursday morning, the latest to join a fast-growing list of prestigious institutions. Students are calling for an end both to the Israel-Hamas war and their universities' investment in companies that profit from it or, more broadly, do business with Israel. Dozens of protesters have been arrested since Wednesday night, including at the University of Southern California, the University of Texas at Austin and Emerson College. - NPR


India began voting on Friday in the second phase of the world’s biggest election, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his rivals raise the pitch of the campaign by focusing on hot-button issues such as religious discrimination, affirmative action and taxes. Almost one billion people are eligible to vote in the seven-phase general elections that began on April 19 and concludes on June 1, with votes set to be counted on June 4. Modi is seeking a record-equalling third straight term on the back of his economic record, welfare measures, national pride, Hindu nationalism and personal popularity. Surveys suggest he will easily win a comfortable majority. - Reuters


Fewer than 60 multinationals are responsible for more than half of the world’s plastic pollution, with six responsible for a quarter of that, based on the findings of a piece of research published on Wednesday. The researchers concluded that for every percentage increase in plastic produced, there was an equivalent increase in plastic pollution in the environment. “Production really is pollution,” says one of the study’s authors, Lisa Erdle, director of science at the non-profit The 5 Gyres Institute. An international team of volunteers collected and surveyed more than 1,870,000 items of plastic waste across 84 countries over five years: the bulk of the rubbish collected was single-use packaging for food, beverage, and tobacco products. Less than half of that plastic litter had discernible branding that could be traced back to the company that produced the packaging; the rest could not be accounted for or taken responsibility for. - Guardian

Journalist Terry Anderson has died. Anderson, a former Associated Press reporter who was kidnapped and held hostage in Lebanon for six years, knew firsthand the threats journalists may face while seeking to report freely, and was an outspoken and dedicated advocate for press freedom. “Terry was part of the CPJ family for over 25 years,” said Jacob Weisberg, CPJ chair. “He took that responsibility seriously – joining CPJ to advocate on behalf of journalists at risk around the world at the highest levels. Our thoughts are with his family and especially with his daughter Sulome, herself a journalist.”


The PEN America Literary Awards were canceled after writers protested the organization’s response to Gaza. Meanwhile, a bizarre memoir from the short-lived British P.M. Liz Truss reveals details from her private talk with the Queen - Air Mail

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