Hard Numbers: Iranian atheists hanged, Lithuania’s costly NATO summit, Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, Russian drones over Kyiv, lollipops and wine in the Aussie bush
2: Two Iranian men were hanged at the Arak Prison in central Iran on Monday for “burning the Quran” and “insulting the Prophet of Islam” in violation of the state’s strict blasphemy laws. Yousef Mehrad and Sadrollah Fazeli Zare were arrested in 2020 for allegedly running an anti-religion Telegram channel. Each year, Iran carries out the most executions of any state after China.
6.48 million: Lithuania is facing criticism for letting costs spiral as it prepares to host a July NATO summit. The cost of just renting (mostly brand new) cars for the shindig – which will be attended by political heavyweights including President Joe Biden and Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky – is set to exceed 6.48 million euros ($7.13 million).
3: At least 13 Palestinians — including three commanders of the Islamic Jihad militant group — were killed Tuesday in Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip. It's the deadliest clash between the two sides since intense fighting last August ended with an Egyptian-brokered truce. The Islamic Jihad will surely respond by firing rockets into Israel.
35: Ukraine shot down more than 35 Iranian-made drones over Kyiv on Monday night as Russia continued to ramp up attacks on Ukrainian cities. (For more on how Iran came to be Russia’s most important arms dealer, see here.) Meanwhile, many Russian cities have canceled May 9 military parades for Victory Day, fearing Ukrainian attacks.
5: An Australian woman lost in the bush in the state of Victoria after her car got stuck in mud survived for five days by drinking a bottle of wine and sucking on a few lollipops found in her car. The woman said she’s not a drinker and that the wine was in the car to deliver as a gift, but desperate times call for desperate measures.