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The death toll from an unprecedented summer heat wave in Europe has topped 1,100 as temperature records across the continent are expected to fall again today. Fire crews are battling huge wildfires in Portugal, France and Spain. Meanwhile, Britain remains under a “national emergency” alert with temperatures poised to hit 40 degrees Celsius today for the first time in U.K. history. That’s about 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
In London, doctors and nurses with Extinction Rebellion on Monday placed stickers on the windows of JPMorgan’s offices reading “in case of medical climate emergency break glass.” The activists then carefully broke the glass panes in an act of nonviolent civil disobedience. In a statement, nurse Maggie Fay, who took part in the action, said, “The world is heating because of our use of fossil fuels and JP Morgan is funding this climate catastrophe. My code of conduct states that I must 'Act without delay if [I] believe that there is a risk to patient safety or public protection.' That danger is here and it is now.”
In China, forecasters are predicting scorching temperatures will return this week, with hundreds of millions set to experience triple-digit heat.
On Monday, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said the Paris climate accord’s goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels was on “life support.” He was speaking at a climate conference in Berlin.
Secretary-General António Guterres: “No nation is immune. Yet we continue to feed our fossil fuel addiction. What troubles me most is that, in facing this global crisis, we are failing to work together as a multilateral community. Nations continue to play the blame game instead of taking responsibility for our collective futures.”
Russian forces continued their relentless bombardment of Ukraine Monday, with Russian shells falling on the city of Sumy in the north and cluster bombs falling on Mykolaiv in the South, where at least two people were injured. In the Black Sea port city of Odessa, at least six people, including a child, were injured by a Russian missile attack that burned residences to the ground.
In Washington, D.C., Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska is meeting Jill Biden at the White House today and is set to deliver an in-person address to the U.S. Congress on Wednesday.
The Russian independent channel known as TV Rain held its first broadcast Monday since Russian authorities ordered it off the air in March over its coverage of the invasion of Ukraine. TV Rain broadcast on its YouTube channel from exile in Latvia, which borders Russia. Its return to broadcasting came days after Latvia’s president said he will order mandatory military service for men between the ages of 18 and 27.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Tehran for talks with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The talks are officially aimed at shoring up the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against anti-government rebels, but the trio are expected to discuss a deal that would allow Ukraine to resume grain exports through the Black Sea.
Russia’s state-owned fossil fuel giant Gazprom has warned customers in Europe it won’t guarantee gas supplies through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. The Russia-to-Germany pipeline has been idled since July 11 for scheduled maintenance, and Gazprom says a technical issue involving a turbine will delay any restart for at least another five days. The announcement brought fresh concerns over Europe’s gas supplies heading into the winter.
On Monday, European Union officials signed a deal with Azerbaijan to double gas imports over the next five years. Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron welcomed United Arab Emirates leader Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed to Paris Monday, where the two signed a strategic deal to partner on energy projects.
In Washington, D.C., the Biden administration said Monday the jailing of U.S. citizen and civil rights attorney Asim Ghafoor by a court in the United Arab Emirates had nothing to do with his past work as a lawyer for Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post columnist whose murder in 2018 was ordered by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Ghafoor was arrested during a stopover in Dubai and sentenced to three years in prison and an $800,000 fine on charges of money laundering and tax evasion. UAE officials say the United States had requested his arrest — an allegation denied Monday by State Department spokesperson Ned Price.
Ned Price: “What I can say is that we see no indication at this point that his detention has anything to do with his association with Jamal Khashoggi, but we are still gathering information. Again, as I said, we’ve raised this case at senior levels, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that Mr. Ghafoor is treated fairly and humanely.”
Here in the United States, COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths are continuing to rise. Officially, the U.S. is recording about 125,000 new cases each day, but public health officials warn that’s only a small fraction of the true number of infections — with most positive at-home tests going unreported. The latest surge is being driven by the fast-spreading BA.5 Omicron subvariant, which is adept at reinfecting people who’ve recovered from a previous bout of COVID. The surge also comes as much of the U.S. has abandoned public health measures like physical distancing and masking in public.
Meanwhile, the U.S. government’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said Monday he will retire by the end of President Biden’s first term in office. Fauci is 81 and recently recovered from COVID-19.
U.S. public health officials are warning of a severe shortage of vaccines needed to combat a growing outbreak of monkeypox. The CDC has confirmed over 1,800 cases of the viral disease since it was first detected in the U.S. in May, though a severe shortage of test kits means the true number of cases is likely far higher. More than 1.5 million U.S. residents qualify for a vaccine, but so far the Biden administration has released just over 130,000 doses from a national stockpile. Meanwhile, Forbes reports that logistical, bureaucratic and technical errors have slowed the distribution of nearly 7 million additional doses — which could take months to arrive. Monkeypox isn’t fatal but can cause fever, rashes and extremely painful lesions. It’s most often spread through close, intimate physical contact. So far, U.S. monkeypox cases have disproportionately affected men who have sex with men, though anyone can get the disease.
In Ghana, health officials have confirmed two people who died of a hemorrhagic fever in June were infected with the deadly Marburg virus. It’s the first time the virus has been observed in Ghana and just the second outbreak of Marburg in West Africa after a single case was detected in Guinea last year. Marburg is related to the Ebola virus. It circulates among fruit bats and primarily spreads between humans through direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected people. There are no vaccines or therapeutics to treat Marburg infections, which are often fatal.
In reproductive rights news, Congressmember Cori Bush of Missouri and Minnesota Democratic Senator Tina Smith have introduced a bill that would codify into federal law access to medical abortion. This comes as Republican states across the country are attempting to restrict the distribution of abortion pills.
In related news, the Mississippi abortion clinic at the center of the Supreme Court case that gutted Roe v. Wade has been sold and has no plans to reopen in the state. This comes after the Jackson Women’s Health Organization announced it would move its abortion care to a clinic in Las Cruces, New Mexico. It was Mississippi’s last abortion clinic.
In West Virginia, a judge has blocked the state’s 150-year-old abortion ban. Lawyers for the Women’s Health Center of West Virginia argued the statute, which dates back to the 1800s, was void because it hadn’t been enforced in over 50 years, and the state has since enacted other laws that allow abortions.
Meanwhile, in Idaho, the state’s Republican Party rejected adding language to their abortion platform that states the procedure should be allowed to save the pregnant person’s life.
In Florida, a prosecutor is seeking the death penalty for the gunman who pleaded guilty to killing 17 people, including 14 students, in the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. This is prosecutor Michael Satz speaking Monday.
Michael Satz: “I’m going to speak to you about the unspeakable, about this defendant’s goal-directed, planned, systematic murder, mass murder, of 14 children, an athletic director, a teacher and a coach.”
In Buffalo, the white 18-year-old gunman charged with killing 10 Black people in a racist mass shooting at a Buffalo supermarket has pleaded not guilty to 27 counts of federal hate crime charges. Attorney General Merrick Garland has not ruled out seeking the death penalty in the case — even though President Biden promised as a candidate he would work to end capital punishment.
In Brazil, far-right President Jair Bolsonaro held a meeting Monday with dozens of diplomats, claiming — without evidence — Brazil’s electronic voting system is vulnerable to fraud in October’s presidential election. Bolsonaro spoke from Brazil’s capital, Brasília.
President Jair Bolsonaro: “What I want the most with the elections is transparency, because we want the winner to be the one who was really voted for. … Ours isn’t a trusted system, because it cannot be audited. It’s impossible to make an audit of elections here in Brazil.”
Bolsonaro is seeking a second term and is trailing behind Brazil’s former leftist President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who’s currently leading in the polls. Bolsonaro opponents and electoral officials fear he’s laying the groundwork to attempt to overturn October’s election results.