As the war in Ukraine enters its sixth month, Russia and Ukraine signed deals on Friday to reopen Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea in an effort to increase grain exports. The deals were brokered by the United Nations and Turkey. U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres praised the development.
Secretary-General António Guterres: “And let there be no doubt: This is an agreement for the world. It will bring relief for developing countries on the edge of bankruptcy and the most vulnerable people on the edge of famine.”
On Saturday, just a day after the deal was reached, Russia attacked the Black Sea port of Odessa. Ukraine said the missile attack damaged infrastructure, including a grain warehouse. Russia said the missiles were targeting Ukrainian military assets, including a docked warship and a warehouse housing U.S.-supplied anti-ship missiles. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky decried the attack on Odessa as “barbarism” and said it “destroyed the very possibility” of dialogue with Russia.
In related news, some U.S. lawmakers are calling on the Pentagon to send military advisers to Ukraine. Republican Michael Waltz of Florida and Democrat Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey made the call after meeting with Zelensky in Kyiv on Saturday. The New York Times recently reported the CIA already has personnel inside Ukraine.
Burma’s military junta has executed four men who had been jailed for opposing last year’s military coup. These are believed to be the first executions in Burma in over three decades. One of the prisoners, Kyaw Min Yu, was the prominent pro-democracy activist also known as Ko Jimmy. He was a student leader in the 1988 uprising and has spent many years in jail. Another one of the prisoners executed was Phyo Zeya Thaw, a former rapper who became a lawmaker in Aung San Suu Kyi’s party.
Pope Francis has arrived in western Canada for what he has called a “pilgrimage of penance.” The pope is embarking on a six-day visit of Canada to apologize for the abuse of Indigenous children who were removed from their homes and sent to church-run residential schools where they faced psychological, physical and sexual abuse. Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission has described the practice, which went on for decades, as a form of “cultural genocide.” The commission determined that more more than 4,000 Indigenous children died from neglect or abuse in residential schools. This is Tony Alexis, chief of the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation.
Tony Alexis: “As the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis’s apology is an acknowledgement of the church’s role in the harm and pain caused to Indigenous peoples living in Canada. For some, our people, Pope Francis’s apology will not be enough. Healing is not linear. This apology will be a fundamental step towards forgiveness, closure, healing and reconciliation for many others. Much like Wakamne, the healing abilities, it is fitting that the pope’s visit to this healing place will bring healing to so many.”
The World Health Organization has declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made the announcement Saturday morning.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: “There are now more than 16,000 reported cases from 75 countries and territories, and five deaths. … WHO’s assessment is that the risk of monkeypox is moderate globally and in all regions, except in the European region, where we assess the risk is high.”
Monkeypox is rarely fatal but can cause fever, rashes and extremely painful lesions. It’s most often spread through close, intimate physical contact.
A federal jury has convicted former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon on two counts of contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate with the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol. After Trump lost the 2020 race, Bannon helped devise ways to overturn the election and keep Trump in the White House. Bannon, who is expected to appeal, is scheduled to be sentenced in October. He faces up to one year in prison.
This comes as Republican Congressmember Liz Cheney says the January 6 committee might subpoena Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, if she refuses to answer questions about her role in the effort to overturn the election.
The editorial pages of The Wall Street Journal and New York Post, which are both owned by Rupert Murdoch, have slammed Donald Trump for refusing to call off his supporters as they attacked the Capitol on January 6. In its editorial, the New York Post wrote, “It’s up to the Justice Department to decide if this is a crime. But as a matter of principle, as a matter of character, Trump has proven himself unworthy to be this country’s chief executive again.”
China has reportedly issued stark warnings to the Biden administration over a planned trip by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan. China has publicly threatened to take “strong measures” if Pelosi makes the trip in August, but according to the Financial Times, China is privately warning the Biden administration that it may respond militarily. Pelosi’s trip has also faced opposition from within the Biden administration. National security adviser Jake Sullivan reportedly opposes the trip out of a concern it could escalate tension in the region. If the trip goes ahead, Pelosi would become the most senior U.S. official to visit Taiwan in 25 years.
At least 17 Haitians, including an infant, have died after a boat capsized near the Bahamas. The boat was carrying dozens of people who were trying to seek refuge in the United States. Twenty-five people were rescued. Bahamian officials said they have arrested two individuals from the Bahamas on suspicion of human smuggling. This comes as Haiti faces a dire economic crisis amid increasing violence between rival armed groups. In Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince, more than 300 people, including many children, have taken refuge in a high school to escape the violence. According to the United Nations, more than 934 people have been killed in Port-au-Prince so far this year. The U.N. has also documented nearly 700 kidnappings.
More than 1,100 people have been rescued in recent days as they attempted to cross the Mediterranean on boats to seek refuge in Europe. The German group Sea Watch says it carried out five rescue operations over a 24-hour period and saved over 440 people. Meanwhile, the Italian Coast Guard said it rescued nearly 700 who were packed on a fishing boat off the coast of Libya. Five deaths were reported.
In Tunisia, early turnout was light today as voters went to the polls to decide on whether to accept a new constitution put forward by President Kais Saied that would give his office sweeping new powers. Many opposition groups are boycotting today’s vote, which comes exactly one year after Saied ousted the prime minister and suspended parliament in a move decried by critics as a coup.
In California, some 2,000 firefighters are battling a large wildfire near Yosemite National Park that exploded in size over the weekend. The Oak Fire has burned nearly 16,000 acres and is 0% contained.
In New Mexico, two people were killed and a third is missing after flash flooding struck an area that recently burned in the state’s largest wildfire on record. Elsewhere in New Mexico, a stretch of the Rio Grande river outside of Albuquerque has run dry for the first time in four decades. This follows three consecutive years of extreme drought in the region.
This comes as a heat wave continues across much of the United States. More than 85 million people were under a heat warning or heat advisory on Sunday. In New Jersey, the city of Newark hit an all-time record high of 102 degrees on Sunday, capping Newark’s first-ever streak of five consecutive days of triple-digit heat.
Here in New York City, activists declared Friday a “Climate Emergency Day” as they observed the famous Climate Clock in Union Square ticking down from seven years to six years. The clock marks the estimated time left to keep global heating below 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Speaking with ABC’s “This Week,” former Vice President Al Gore said on Sunday that extreme weather events will get even worse without immediate action on climate.
Al Gore: “If we don’t stop using our atmosphere as an open sewer and if we don’t stop these heat-trapping emissions, things are going to get a lot worse. More people will be killed, and the survival of our civilization is at stake.”
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has opened a probe into police officers in the city of Oakland after they were filmed chasing a Black man to his family’s home and kicking in the front door before beating, tasing and violently arresting him. Twenty-five-year-old Brandon Calloway suffered multiple injuries to his arm, head and left eye in the assault, which left him needing eight stitches. Calloway’s father says the beating left his son with “severe psychological trauma.” The violent arrest was captured on video by Calloway’s girlfriend, who was screaming for the police to stop attacking her boyfriend. The video went viral on social media. The attack began after officers alleged Calloway drove 32 miles an hour in a 20-mile-per-hour zone and rolled through a stop sign.