Arms race? The European Union allowed an arms embargo imposed on Syrian rebels to expire over the weekend, fueling speculation that Western weapons will soon be headed to Syrian rebel forces. In response, Russia, which has defended Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime since the rebellion began in 2011, announced plans to send an advanced S-300 air defense system to the government. So far, no Western nations have pledged to send weapons to the rebels, even though groups have asked for military assistance for months. But disarray among the opposition forces has complicated the issue, with analysts warning the country could descend into political chaos if Assad is toppled.
Impermissible. George Zimmerman’s murder trial will begin June 10, as scheduled, after the judge denied a request for a delay. Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford, Fla., is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Treyvon Martin, the unarmed teen he shot during a nighttime confrontation. The judge also ruled Zimmerman’s defense team cannot bring up Martin’s past marijuana use, school suspensions, or alleged participation in fights. The ruling comes just days after the defense posted photos and messages from Martin’s phone, which talk about fighting, smoking pot, and conflicts with his mother. Martin’s phone also contained a photo of a .40-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun, according to the defense. Martin’s family claim Zimmerman profiled the teen and went after him for no reason as he walked through a gated neighborhood on his way to a convenience store. Zimmerman claims he shot Martin in self-defense after the teen attacked him.
Resistant bird flu. The new strain of bird flu in China is showing signs of drug resistance, a development health officials say is troubling. World health analysts already had concern the H7N9 virus could become a pandemic, even though it shows no sign of human-to-human transmission. Doctors had been treating patients with Tamiflu and another similar drug, but in three-out-of-14 patients studied in-depth, the drug proved ineffective. The virus has so far infected only 131 patients in China.
Stock market boom. Consumer confidence hit a five-year high in May, positive economic news that sent the stock market soaring this morning. Investors also responded to a better-than-expected report on the housing market, which showed home prices continuing to rebound in 20 key cities. The strong rally surprised analysts, who have predicted a pullback from the market’s record-high spiral of optimism. If the Dow continues its upward move, the market could close at all-time highs by the end of the day.