Ukraine is claiming it has recaptured over 3,000 square miles of territory from Russia during a counteroffensive largely targeting the Kharkiv region. Earlier today, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the city of Izium, which Ukrainian forces retook over the weekend. Despite Ukraine’s advances, Russia still occupies about one-fifth of Ukraine’s territory. On Tuesday, President Biden declined to say if he saw Ukraine’s latest offensive as a turning point in the war.
President Joe Biden: “It’s clear the Ukrainians have made significant progress, but I think it’s going to be a long haul.”
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has introduced legislation to ban abortions nationwide after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
Sen. Lindsey Graham: “Here’s what I think. I think we should have a law at the federal level that would say after 15 weeks, no abortion on demand, except in cases of rape, incest, to save the life of the mother. And that should be where America is at.”
Graham’s nationwide abortion ban proposal shocked many in Washington, including some Republicans who say the issue should be addressed by states, not the federal government. Under Graham’s bill, states could still impose harsher bans on abortion. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted on Tuesday, “The nationwide abortion ban proposal put forth today is the latest, clearest signal of extreme MAGA Republicans intent to criminalize women’s health freedom in all 50 states and arrest doctors for providing basic care.”
In West Virginia, lawmakers have passed a near-total ban on abortion. If Republican Governor Jim Justice signs the bill as expected, West Virginia will become the second state, after Indiana, to enact a new abortion ban following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe. Republican lawmakers said they hope the bill results in the closure of West Virginia’s only abortion clinic. Indiana’s near-total abortion ban goes into effect on Thursday.
Voters went to the polls in New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Delaware Tuesday for the final primaries before the November 8 midterm elections. The closely watched Republican Senate primary in New Hampshire is too close to call. Retired Army Brigadier General Don Bolduc appears to be have beaten New Hampshire state Senate President Chuck Morse. The race has not been called, but Morse has conceded. Bolduc is a far-right Trump supporter who has echoed the former president’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen. During a previous run for office, he decried his opponents as “liberal, socialist pansies.” According to the group Open Secrets, the Senate Majority PAC and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spent nearly $3.3 million helping Bolduc who will face incumbent Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan in November. Former Trump staffer Karoline Leavitt has won the Republican primary in New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District. The 25-year-old has also claimed Trump won the 2020 election. She defeated another former Trump aide, Matt Mowers, who had been endorsed by prominent Republicans including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. According to the website FiveThirtyEight.com, there will be about 200 Republicans on the ballot in November who have fully denied the legitimacy of the 2020 election.
On Capitol Hill, Democrat Mary Peltola has been sworn in as Alaska’s new representative in Congress after she beat Sarah Palin in a special election last month. Peltola, who is Yup’ik, is the first Alaska Native to serve in Congress.
Rep. Mary Peltola: “It is the honor of my life to represent Alaska, a place my elders and ancestors have called home for thousands of years, where to this day many people in my community carry forward our traditions of hunting and fishing. I am humbled and deeply honored to be the first Alaska Native elected to this body, the first woman to hold Alaska’s House seat. But to be clear, I am here to represent all Alaskans.”
In London, thousands of people are lining the streets to watch a procession carrying the casket of Queen Elizabeth II from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall, where her body will lie in state until her funeral on Monday. We will go to Northern Ireland after headlines to look at how the Queen is remembered there.
Labor Secretary Marty Walsh is meeting with railroad companies and top union officials today as more than 110,000 rail workers threaten to go on strike Friday to protest deteriorating working conditions. A strike could disrupt supply chains nationwide. On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the Biden administration is working on plans if a strike begins.
Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre: “We are working with other modes of transportation, including the shippers and truckers, air freight, to see how they can step in and keep goods moving in case of this rail shutdown. The administration has also been working with relevant agencies to assess what supply chains and commodities are most likely to face severe disruptions and available authorities to keep goods moving.”
In other labor news, teachers in Seattle have voted to suspend their five-day strike. Schools are scheduled to reopen today, after a tentative agreement was reached between the school system and the Seattle Education Association.
William Ruto has been sworn in as Kenya’s new president following last month’s election. Last week, the Kenyan Supreme Court rejected a challenge from his opponent, Raila Odinga. On Tuesday, Ruto vowed to confront the climate crisis.
President William Ruto: “Among the central concerns of my government will be climate change. In our country, women and men, young people, farmers, workers and local communities suffer the consequences of climate emergency. It is not too late to respond. To tackle this threat, we must act urgently to keep global heating levels below the 1.5 Celsius, help those in need and end addiction to fossil fuels.”
In Pakistan, the death toll has topped 1,400 from catastrophic flooding that has left a third of the country under water and devastated key agricultural areas. Authorities now say it could take six months for the water to recede in some areas. More rain is forecast in some of the hardest-hit areas. Authorities are also racing to protect a key power plant north of Karachi that provides power to millions of people. Patients in makeshift hospitals say they are getting sick from a lack of drinkable water.
Mohammad Murad: “Floods inundated our homes, and we came down here. The water which is supplied through the water tanker here is not clean. The children are falling sick by drinking this water. They suffer from cold, cough and skin problems. There are no good arrangements for drinking water here.”
Twitter’s former security chief testified before Congress Tuesday and warned of major security flaws on the social media platform. Peiter “Mudge” Zatko told lawmakers that China and India had agents working inside Twitter and that the company’s security protocols were inadequate.
Peiter Zatko: “What I discovered when I joined Twitter was that this enormously influential company was over a decade behind industry security standards. The company’s cybersecurity failures make it vulnerable to exploitation, causing real harm to real people. And when an influential media platform can be compromised by teenagers, thieves and spies, and the company repeatedly creates security problems on their own, this is a big deal for all of us.”
The right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is on trial again, this time in Connecticut, for claiming the 2012 Sandy Hook mass shooting was a hoax. Last month, a jury in Texas ordered Jones to pay nearly $50 million to a Sandy Hook family. Now a jury is hearing a case brought by 13 family members of victims, and an FBI agent, who accuse Jones of defamation.
Former independent counsel Ken Starr has died at the age of 76. In the 1990s, the right-wing judge headed an investigation of President Bill Clinton that led to Clinton’s impeachment in 1998. Starr later served as president of Baylor University. He resigned in 2016 over the university’s cover-up of rape and sexual assault by football players. He also served on the defense team for sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and for Blackwater mercenaries accused of killing civilians in Iraq. In 2020, Ken Starr joined Donald Trump’s defense team during Trump’s first impeachment trial.