Haiti’s interim prime minister has declared a “state of siege” and imposed martial law following Wednesday morning’s assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. The first lady, Martine Moïse, was injured in the attack and was airlifted to a hospital in Miami, where she is reportedly in critical but stable condition. Haitian police say they’ve arrested two suspected assassins and killed four others in a gunfight. Video from the scene shows the heavily armed attackers claimed to be from the U.S. DEA — the Drug Enforcement Administration. U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price dismissed those claims Wednesday and condemned the assassination of President Moïse.
Ned Price: “Those who seek to accomplish their political goals through violence and by subverting the rule of law will not succeed in thwarting the Haitian people and their desire for a better, for a brighter future.”
The U.S. twice supported coups that removed Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide from power — first in 1991, then again in 2004.
It is unclear who is currently in charge of Haiti. Shortly before his assassination, Moïse announced plans to install a new prime minister to replace interim Premier Claude Joseph. Two men are now claiming to be prime minister.
The World Health Organization says the global death toll from COVID-19 has topped 4 million people — though the true figure is likely far higher.
Indonesia recorded its highest-ever one-day death toll Wednesday, with the Delta coronavirus variant fueling a surge in cases that’s broken the healthcare system. Only about 5% of Indonesia’s 270 million people are fully vaccinated.
Japan has declared a COVID-19 state of emergency for Tokyo throughout the upcoming Summer Olympics. Officials had already banned foreign spectators at the games and are discussing whether to abandon plans to allow domestic fans.
In the United Kingdom, where just over half of all people are fully vaccinated, daily coronavirus cases have passed 30,000 for the first time since January. Prime Minister Boris Johnson still plans to lift most restrictions for England on July 19.
In the United States, coronavirus infections have increased by 35% over the last two weeks, according to a New York Times count. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the highly transmissible Delta coronavirus variant now represents over half of all new infections in the U.S.
At least one person was killed and several others injured Wednesday after Tropical Storm Elsa made landfall on Florida’s northern Gulf Coast. Over the weekend, Elsa crashed through the Caribbean, killing at least three people and causing major damage to homes and other buildings. California is bracing for dangerously high temperatures, with a heat wave forecast to bring highs of 115 degrees Fahrenheit in the Central Valley and more than 120 degrees to some desert areas. This comes as new data show North America just experienced the hottest June ever recorded, with temperatures averaging more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
In Minnesota, Indigenous-led water protectors continue to take nonviolent direct action to stop construction of Enbridge’s Line 3 tar sands pipeline. On Tuesday, activists locked themselves to drilling equipment and built blockades on access roads in a bid to stop Enbridge from drilling under the Willow River. Water protectors say construction crews appeared to puncture an aquifer, discharging drilling mud and chemicals into the river. This is Winona LaDuke, an Anishinaabe activist and executive director of Honor the Earth.
Winona LaDuke: “The rivers belong to the fish. They belong to the animals, and they belong to the people. And they don’t belong to Enbridge. So, we the people protect the rivers.”
If completed, Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline would account for carbon emissions equivalent to 50 new coal-fired power plants.
U.S. troops and diplomatic workers in Iraq and Syria came under fire in at least three separate drone and rocket attacks over a 24-hour period. One attack targeted the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad’s Green Zone. In a separate assault, rockets fired at an Iraqi air base in western Iraq left two U.S. troops injured Wednesday. They were the latest attacks on U.S. forces since late June, when President Biden ordered airstrikes in Syria and Iraq targeting an Iranian-backed militia.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights says Colombian authorities used “excessive and disproportionate” force to quell massive mobilizations against the right-wing government of President Iván Duque. Since the protests began, over 80 people have died, many at the hands of police and paramilitary forces. Commissioner Antonia Urrejola called on Colombia Wednesday to make structural changes to its militarized police force.
Antonia Urrejola: “The commission found that on repeated instances in different regions of the country, that the state’s response to protests was characterized as an excessive and disproportionate use of force. In many cases, the action included lethal force. The Inter-American Commission received serious complaints on the indiscriminate use of firearms against protesters, and from people who aren’t participating in the protests.”
Back in the United States, the newly formed Atlanta Homeless Union has been protesting all week outside of Atlanta’s City Hall. Earlier this week, police violently removed their encampment and arrested at least six people. The group of unhoused activists are demanding housing, healthcare, clean water, and a seat at the table in determining policies that impact their lives. In a statement, the group is calling on city officials to stop relying on “band-aid solutions” and to listen to those “closest to the problem.”
Attorneys general from 36 states and Washington, D.C., have filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google, accusing the company of unlawfully stamping out its competition. The lawsuit says Google has paid off developers to keep them loyal to Google’s platform and paid off other tech companies to prevent them from creating app stores that would compete with the dominant Google Play store. Google collects a commission of up to 30% on app purchases.
Former President Trump has sued the CEOs of Google, Facebook and Twitter in a class-action lawsuit. Trump is seeking “punitive damages” for what he says is censorship, and for platforms that have banned him to restore his accounts.
In other Trump news, legal experts say more indictments against Trump allies are likely, after the Manhattan district attorney last week charged the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, with criminal tax fraud.
Meanwhile, a Washington, D.C., court has suspended Rudy Giuliani’s law license, two weeks after a similar move in New York. The suspensions are related to Giuliani’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
In Surfside, Florida, search-and-rescue crews have given up hope of finding survivors in the rubble of the Champlain Towers South condominium, two weeks after the oceanfront apartment building collapsed. This is Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.
Mayor Daniella Levine Cava: “At this point, we have truly exhausted every option available to us in the search-and-rescue mission. So today is about beginning the transition to recovery, so that we can help to bring closure to the families who have been suffering and waiting for news.”
Crews have found the remains of at least 54 people, and 86 remain unaccounted for. On Wednesday, a grand jury agreed to investigate the building’s collapse.
In Minneapolis, Darnella Frazier — the teenager whose recording of George Floyd’s murder was seen around the world — says her uncle was struck and killed by a police car during a car chase. Her uncle, 40-year-old Leneal Lamont Frazier, was not involved in the chase. Darnella Frazier said of the tragedy, “Another Black man lost his life in the hands of the police! … [T]oday has been a day full of heartbreak and sadness. … [T]he police made a bad decision by doing a high speed chase on a residential road. That bad decision cost my uncle his life.”
In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo has declared a gun violence emergency. The state is allocating nearly $140 million to programs aimed at combating gun crimes, including increasing access to employment. The New York Times reports gun crime rose by as much as 75% in major New York cities since the start of the pandemic. The new measures will also open a path for civil lawsuits against gun manufacturers and distributors and stops people with warrants from purchasing firearms.
The United Kingdom’s High Court has granted the Biden administration the right to appeal a lower court’s ruling blocking the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States. This comes as The Wall Street Journal reports U.S. officials have given assurances to the U.K. that Julian Assange wouldn’t be held in a “supermax” prison if extradited to the U.S. On Wednesday, Assange’s fiancée Stella Moris called on the Biden administration to end its pursuit of Assange.
Stella Moris: “The lawyers of Julian were spied on. Their offices were broken into. Even our 6-month-old baby was targeted while he was in the embassy. And now the High Court has limited the grounds on which they are allowed to appeal. So the case is falling apart. … If the Biden administration is serious about respecting the rule of law, the First Amendment and defending global press freedom, the only thing it can do is drop this case. This case is the most vicious attack on global press freedom in history.”
Assange faces up to 175 years in prison in the U.S. for violations of the Espionage Act related to the publication of classified documents exposing U.S. war crimes.