Temperatures in Britain topped 104 degrees Fahrenheit for the first time ever on Tuesday as a climate change-fueled heat wave scorched much of Europe. The BBC reports the London Fire Brigade had its busiest day since World War II as fires broke out across London in the record heat. At one point firefighters were battling 12 blazes simultaneously. Major wildfires in England, France, Germany, Portugal and Spain have burned thousands of acres in recent days. In Portugal, authorities say the heat wave has killed at least 1,000 people. Hundreds more have died in Spain. On Tuesday, the head of the World Meteorological Organization warned the climate crisis will only intensify extreme heat waves.
Petteri Taalas: “In the future, these kind of heat waves are going to be normal, and we will see even stronger extremes. We have already pumped so much carbon dioxide to the atmosphere that the negative trend will continue for the coming decades. And so far, we haven’t been able to reduce our emissions globally.”
President Biden is traveling to Massachusetts today to give a major address on the climate crisis. Climate activists have been pushing Biden to declare a national climate emergency, but the Associated Press said the president will not take that step today, which would have granted him additional powers to address the crisis. Biden will be speaking in the Massachusetts town of Somerset at a former coal plant that’s being turned into a wind energy plant.
Voters went to the polls Tuesday for a primary election in Maryland. The Trump-backed far-right state legislator Dan Cox won the Republican gubernatorial primary. Last year Cox helped organize buses to Washington on January 6 when he called Vice President Mike Pence a traitor for not supporting Trump’s efforts to overturn the election. If elected, Cox has vowed to conduct a forensic audit of the 2020 election. He also wants to ban abortion in Maryland and end what he describes as “sexual indoctrination” in schools. The Democratic Governors Association spent over $1 million helping elevate Cox’s message as part of an effort to help the primary campaigns of far-right candidates that Democrats hope will be more vulnerable in the November general election. The Democratic gubernatorial primary remains too close to call.
In another closely watched race in Maryland, the corporate attorney Glenn Ivey has defeated former Congressmember Donna Edwards in the Democratic primary for an open seat in Maryland’s 4th Congressional District. A new super PAC run by AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, spent nearly $6 million on the race to defeat Edwards. Ivey outspent Edwards seven to one.
CNN is reporting the U.S. Secret Service has only provided a single text exchange to the House January 6 committee and the Department of Homeland Security inspector general after requests for the agency to hand over all text messages from 24 individuals around the time of the January 6 insurrection. The Secret Service is claiming all of the messages have been purged. The DHS inspector general said in a letter to lawmakers last week that the erasure took place shortly after oversight officials requested electronic communications from the agency.
Prosecutors in Georgia have revealed they may bring criminal charges against 16 Republicans who acted as fake electors as part of Donald Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election. While Joe Biden won more votes in Georgia, the fake electors submitted false certifications to the National Archives claiming Trump had won the state. Similar efforts were done in six other states where Trump lost: Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Republicans facing possible prosecution in Georgia include state Senator Burt Jones, who is Governor Brian Kemp’s running mate for lieutenant governor, and David Shafer, the chair of the Georgia Republican Party.
In news from Capitol Hill, the House has passed a bill to protect the right to same-sex and interracial marriage. Every Democrat and 47 Republicans supported the Respect for Marriage Act. It remains uncertain if Democrats have enough votes to pass the legislation in the Senate. The House vote comes as concern is growing that the Supreme Court will move to overturn its 2015 decision legalizing same-sex marriage across the country. On Saturday, Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas said the Supreme Court was “clearly wrong” when it legalized same-sex marriage.
On Tuesday, 17 Democratic lawmakers were arrested outside the Supreme Court while protesting the court’s recent decision overturning Roe v. Wade.
Protesters: “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now! If we don’t get it? Shut it down! If we don’t get it? Shut it down! If we don’t get it? Shut it down! If we don’t get it? Shut it down! If we don’t get it? Shut it down!”
Among those arrested were Congressmembers Cori Bush of Missouri, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Assistant House Speaker Katherine Clark of Massachusetts. In a statement, Clark said, “The extremist Republican Party is determined to take us back in time and take away our rights. I refuse to stand on the sidelines as their rampage continues.”
In Indiana, the doctor who recently provided abortion care to a 10-year-old rape survivor from Ohio is moving to sue Indiana’s Republican Attorney General Todd Rokita for defamation. Last week, Rokita appeared on Fox News and falsely accused the doctor, Caitlin Bernard, of having a “history of failing to report” abortions to the state. The lawsuit alleges Rokita made the false statement as part of an effort to “heighten public condemnation of Dr. Bernard, who legally provided legitimate medical care.”
Sri Lankan lawmakers have voted to elect former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as president following last week’s resignation of Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa after mass protests rocked the country. Wickremesinghe is a six-time former prime minister who was a close ally to the former president. Protesters decried his selection as Sri Lanka’s new leader.
Buwanaka Perera: “I think it’s a sad day, though. It’s a sad day not just for the people of this country, but for all of the world, I guess, because it seems that the entire world is sort of accepting this most unethical manner of leadership, because this is someone who did not win an election. He’s someone who was rejected by the people’s mandate. And then, such a person — how ethical is it for someone like him, let alone lead a government, lead a country, be the head of a state?”
Pakistan’s ruling coalition has rejected calls for early national elections by former Prime Minister Imran Khan following an election in Pakistan’s most populous state where members of Khan’s party won 15 of 20 seats up for grabs. Khan was ousted from power in April in what he described as a form of “U.S.-backed regime change.” Supporters of Khan say the election results show he remains Pakistan’s most popular leader.
Russian President Vladimir Putin traveled to Iran Tuesday to meet the leaders of Iran and Turkey. It was Putin’s first trip to a country outside the former Soviet Union since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei backed Russia’s actions in Ukraine. He told Putin, “if you had not taken the helm, the other side would have done so and initiated a war.” Russia and Iran also discussed a proposed $40 billion deal for Russia to help develop gas and oil fields in Iran.
The U.S. launched airstrikes in southern Somalia on Saturday. The U.S. military claims the strikes killed two members of the militant group al-Shabab. The U.S. justified the attack saying it was done “in defense of designated partner forces.” In May, President Biden approved a Pentagon plan to redeploy up to 500 U.S. troops to Somalia. The move reversed a withdrawal ordered by then-President Trump during his final days in office.
In San Bernardino, California, the family of a Black man shot dead by police is calling for charges to be filed against the officers involved. On Saturday, two officers jumped out of an unmarked police car and within seconds shot 23-year-old Robert Adams in the back as he tried to run for cover. Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing the family, shared security camera footage of the shooting, which he described as a “horrific execution.” In a statement, Crump said, “Robert appeared to be simply walking around the parking lot when officers exited their unmarked vehicle firing their weapons at him immediately. Robert never had a chance to explain himself.” A spokesperson for the San Bernardino Police Department said Adams “fit the description” of a tip police were investigating, but the spokesperson admitted to The Guardian that the officers had no knowledge of who Adams was or his background when they shot him.
In labor news, Chipotle has permanently closed a restaurant in Augusta, Maine, just a month after workers filed to form a union. An attorney for the labor union Chipotle United described the actions of the company as “union busting 101.”