Researchers have found India’s death toll from COVID-19 may be 10 times higher than the country’s official tally. A new report by the Center for Global Development finds there have been as many as 4.7 million excess deaths in India since the start of the pandemic. India’s official death toll from the pandemic is 414,000. This comes as COVID cases surge across the globe. Indonesia reported over 1,300 deaths Monday — the highest single-day toll since the start of the pandemic. But public health experts fear the actual toll is far higher. In Japan, the number of COVID cases linked to the Olympic Games has now reached 71. The opening ceremony is set to take place on Friday in Tokyo, where COVID cases are at a six-month high.
In the United States, COVID-19 cases have tripled over the past month as the highly contagious Delta variant rapidly spreads across the country, particularly in areas with low vaccination rates. Cases are now rising in all 50 states. On Monday, President Biden urged everyone eligible to get vaccinated.
President Joe Biden: “If you’re unvaccinated, you are not protected. So, please, please get vaccinated. Get vaccinated now. It works. It’s safe. It’s free. It’s convenient.”
On Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended all students over the age of 2, as well as teachers and staff, wear masks when they return to school — even if they have been vaccinated. However, many states have already banned school mask mandates. In related news, a federal judge has ruled Indiana University can proceed with its plan to require all students to get vaccinated before returning to campus. Twitter has temporarily suspended Republican Congressmember Marjorie Taylor Greene for posting misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines.
Acting Haitian Prime Minister Claude Joseph says he plans to transfer power today to Ariel Henry, a neurosurgeon who was appointed by President Jovenel Moïse shortly before he was assassinated on July 7. Both Joseph and Henry had claimed power following Moïse’s death. Over the weekend, the United States and other members of the so-called Core Group threw its support behind Henry, who will become Haiti’s seventh prime minister in four years. On Monday, State Department spokesperson Ned Price defended the Biden administration’s intervention. He was questioned by the Associated Press’s Matt Lee.
Ned Price: “We are taking the side of the Haitian people. We’re taking the side of”—
Matt Lee: “No, you took the side of the guy who was named but hadn’t taken office.”
Ned Price: “We are taking the side of the Haitian people. This is a dialogue that has been ongoing between various Haitian political stakeholders.”
Matt Lee: “Ned, whether you want to admit it or not, there was a shift in what you had been saying. Prior to that statement, you were all in support of the acting prime minister, and then, all of a sudden, on Saturday, you and the other members of the Core Group came out in support of Mr. Henry.”
Ned Price: “Matt, we are supporting the inclusive dialogue that Haiti’s political actors are undertaking themselves.”
In Iraq, at least 35 people died Monday in an explosion at a market in the Sadr City neighborhood of Baghdad. The market was packed with shoppers preparing for the Eid al-Adha festival. More than 60 people were injured. ISIS claimed responsibility.
In Afghanistan, three rockets landed near the presidential palace in Kabul earlier today while Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and other top officials were taking part in outdoor Eid prayers. The incident was aired live on television. There were no immediate reports of injuries. The Taliban denied responsibility for the blasts.
Ben & Jerry’s has announced it will stop selling its ice cream in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, saying it is “inconsistent with our values.” Supporters of BDS — the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement — hailed the decision, which comes after years of pressure by groups including Vermonters for Justice in Palestine. This is Mahmoud Nawajaa, coordinator of the Palestinian BDS National Committee.
Mahmoud Nawajaa: “This announcement is so important and came after years of pressure on the company to end its involvement in the Israeli violation of the international law and our Palestinian rights.”
Israel’s new foreign minister, Yair Lapid, blasted Ben & Jerry’s decision, claiming it was a “disgraceful capitulation to anti-Semitism.” Ben & Jerry’s ice cream was founded in Vermont by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, both of whom are Jewish.
A Moroccan court has sentenced independent journalist Omar Radi to six years in prison. He was arrested last year on what press freedom advocates call “retaliatory charges.” For years Radi has been targeted by Moroccan authorities for his reporting on corruption and human rights. Last year, Amnesty International revealed Moroccan authorities had hacked his phone using Pegasus spyware from the Israeli company NSO Group. We will have more on Pegasus and Omar Radi later in the show.
A Florida man who took part in the January 6 insurrection has been sentenced to eight months in federal prison. Paul Hodgkins was filmed wearing a Trump 2020 T-shirt and carrying a Trump flag on the floor of the U.S. Senate after Trump supporters attacked the Capitol in an effort to disrupt the counting of electoral votes. Hodgkins is the first Capitol rioter convicted of a felony to be sentenced. Federal prosecutors had asked for an 18-month sentence.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has recommended five Republicans to serve on the select committee investigating the January 6 attack. All five voted against impeaching Trump after the insurrection. Three of the Republican lawmakers — Jim Jordan of Ohio, Jim Banks of Indiana and Troy Nehls of Texas — also voted to overturn the 2020 election.
In Oregon, the Bootleg Fire has grown to over 350,000 acres. It is the largest wildfire in the United States this year and the third largest in the history of Oregon. There are now 80 fires burning in 13 states, including seven other large fires in Oregon.
In Washington, D.C., over 100 women were arrested Monday outside the Supreme Court during a protest calling for voting rights and economic justice. Those arrested included the Reverend Liz Theoharis, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, who helped organize the Women’s Moral March.
Rev. Liz Theoharis: “We are all too aware that the extremist politicians who are suppressing and stealing our ability to vote are the same politicians who deny living wages, refuse to expand healthcare, exploit immigrants and LGBTQIA people and women. And so we march.”
Leyna Bloom has made history by becoming the first trans model to appear on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. On Monday, Bloom tweeted, “This moment heals a lot of pain in the world. We deserve this moment; we have waited millions of years to show up as survivors and be seen as full humans filled with wonder.”