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HeadlinesJuly 11, 2023

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Turkey Drops Opposition to Sweden’s Membership as NATO Summit Opens in Lithuania

Jul 11, 2023

Leaders of Western military powers have gathered in Vilnius, Lithuania, for NATO’s annual summit, with Russia’s war in Ukraine central to the discussions. On the eve of the summit, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he would drop his opposition to Sweden’s bid to join NATO, clearing the way for its accession as the alliance’s 32nd member. Following that announcement, the Biden administration said it would move ahead with the transfer of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey, pending congressional approval. Earlier today, President Biden spoke briefly to reporters alongside NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. 

President Joe Biden: “And this historic moment, the adding of Finland and Sweden to NATO, is consequential. And your leadership really matters.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is scheduled to meet with President Biden at the summit on Wednesday. Ahead of the meeting, he accused NATO members of ignoring Ukraine’s bid to join the alliance, writing, “It’s unprecedented and absurd when time frame is not set neither for the invitation nor for Ukraine’s membership. … It seems there is no readiness neither to invite Ukraine to NATO nor to make it a member of the Alliance.” We’ll have more on the NATO summit and Russia’s war in Ukraine after headlines.

Kremlin Says Putin Spoke with Wagner Group Leaders, Including Prigozhin, After Mutiny 

Jul 11, 2023

Russia launched missile and drone attacks on Ukraine’s capital Kyiv and the southern port of Odesa overnight. The airstrikes followed a Russian attack on a humanitarian aid distribution center in southeastern Ukraine that killed seven people. In Russia, the Kremlin said Monday the embattled leader of the Wagner mercenary group met in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin last month, five days after his forces launched a failed mutiny. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin was part of a three-hour meeting on June 29 involving nearly three dozen other Wagner leaders.

Dmitry Peskov: “The commanders provided their account of what happened. They stressed the fact that they are loyal supporters and soldiers of the head of state and the commander-in-chief. They said they were ready to carry on fighting for their motherland.”

Historic Floods Hit Northeastern U.S. as Heat Wave Bakes Southern States

Jul 11, 2023

President Biden has declared a state of emergency in Vermont, where authorities have closed off downtown areas of the capital Montpelier after two months’ worth of rain fell in less than 48 hours. Vermont’s rivers are expected to crest today at about 20 feet above normal — the state’s worst flooding since 1927.

In New York, Governor Kathy Hochul said this week’s storms dumped up to eight inches of rain, causing flash flooding in parts of the Hudson Valley and Finger Lakes regions. Hochul called it a once-in-a-thousand-year weather event caused by climate change.

Gov. Kathy Hochul: “My friends, this is the new normal. And we in government, working with our partners on the ground, have to work with our communities to build up resiliency, to be prepared for the worst, because the worst continues to happen.”

In Arizona, excessive heat warnings remain in effect, with forecasters warning Phoenix is poised to break its record of consecutive 110-plus-degree days.

In Florida, forecasters predict heat indexes in parts of the state are set to exceed 110 degrees Fahrenheit, or 43 degrees Celsius, by the end of the week. A marine heat wave has pushed ocean temperatures off Florida’s coast as high as 96 degrees — more than five degrees above normal.

On Monday, the World Meteorological Organization reported the first week of July was the hottest week ever recorded on Earth. We’ll have more on the climate crisis after headlines and speak with a meteorologist who’s quit his job after facing death threats in Iowa for talking about climate change.

Witnesses Say Palestinian Shot by Israeli Troops Was Left to Bleed Out at Checkpoint

Jul 11, 2023

In the occupied West Bank, Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian man Monday, alleging he threw a handmade explosive device at soldiers and fired on them at a checkpoint outside an illegal Israeli settlement west of Ramallah. Eyewitnesses disputed the account by Israel’s military, saying 33-year-old Bilal Ibrahim Qadah was shot from behind as he drove his car. Witnesses also said Israeli soldiers blocked paramedics from reaching Qadah, leaving him to bleed to death. Nearly 200 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire this year, including 33 children.

Protests Erupt as Israeli Lawmakers Advance Bill to Gut Judiciary

Jul 11, 2023

In Israel, thousands of people have blocked highways in protest after the far-right coalition led by Benjamin Netanyahu renewed its push to dramatically limit the power of the judiciary. Early this morning, 64 members of Israel’s 120-member Knesset voted in favor of legislation that would put strict limits on the oversight powers of Israel’s Supreme Court. The bill must still receive two more votes before it can be written into law. At least 10 sit-in protesters were arrested for nonviolently blocking entry to the Knesset ahead of the vote. This is protester Deborah Galili of Tel Aviv.

Deborah Galili: “What this government is doing is not OK. Democracy is under attack. Israeli rights are under attack. The rights of Israeli citizens are under attack. And we’re here to protect that and to say, 'Stop the coup. Stop the judicial coup.'”

U.S. and Israel Launch Joint War Games

Jul 11, 2023

Israeli and U.S. military forces have begun joint exercises in Israel and over the Mediterranean amid rising tensions with Iran. The war games include live-fire drills and the midair refueling of nuclear-capable fighter jets.

Rights Groups Condemn Tunisia’s Government for Abandoning Asylum Seekers at Libyan Border

Jul 11, 2023

In Tunisia, rights groups are urging the government to stop the mass deportation of sub-Saharan migrants and refugees and to provide humanitarian aid to hundreds of asylum seekers who were forcibly rounded up and abandoned by Tunisian authorities at the Libyan border. Footage published by Al Jazeera shows hundreds of refugees trapped in the heavily militarized remote region of Ben Guerdane at the Tunisian-Libyan border. Many were forced to drink seawater after days without food or fresh water, and those wounded received no medical care. Human Rights Watch has collected the testimonies of dozens who’ve said they were sexually assaulted or raped — at times facing abuse from authorities on both sides of the border. Tunisia’s President Kais Saied has denied the reports, claiming refugees are being treated humanely.

Iowa’s GOP-Controlled Legislature Convenes Special Session to Consider Abortion Ban

Jul 11, 2023

Reproductive rights advocates are gathering in Des Moines, Iowa, today as the Republican-controlled state Legislature is convening a special session to ban nearly all abortions after just six weeks of pregnancy. This comes after Iowa’s Republican Governor Kim Reynolds called on state lawmakers to return to the Capitol exclusively to pass the new measure. Current Iowa law allows abortions for up to 20 weeks of pregnancy. 

Nebraska Mother Pleads Guilty to Helping Daughter with Criminalized Abortion

Jul 11, 2023

In Nebraska, a woman has pleaded guilty to providing her 17-year-old daughter with abortion pills last year and then helping her dispose of the fetus. Jessica Burgess admitted to providing the abortion when her daughter, Celeste, was 29 weeks pregnant. Last year, Nebraska law still allowed abortions for up to 20 weeks. In May, Republican Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen signed a bill banning the procedure after 12 weeks. Burgess is scheduled for sentencing in September.

Sen. Tuberville Stalls Confirmation of Top U.S. Generals over Reproductive Healthcare Benefits

Jul 11, 2023

The Marines Corps is operating without a Senate-confirmed commandant for the first time in more than 160 years after Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama again refused to hold a vote on a nominee over his opposition to the Defense Department’s policy to cover the travel costs of employees forced to cross state lines to obtain an abortion. Tuberville has for months held up the promotion and confirmation of hundreds of high-ranking generals and admirals, including members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“Freedom of the Press Has Gone Up in Smoke”: Protesters Demand U.S. Drop Charges Against Assange

Jul 11, 2023

In Washington, D.C., protesters are demanding the U.S. government drop its espionage charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and for his immediate release from a British prison as he faces extradition from the U.K. to the U.S. Ben Cohen, co-founder of the ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s, and Jodie Evans, co-founder of the antiwar group CodePink, were arrested in the peaceful action last Thursday. Ben Cohen spoke to the crowd as he set fire to a copy of the Bill of Rights, saying, “Freedom of the press has gone up in smoke.”

Ben Cohen: “If the U.S. is allowed to continue this prosecution, the precedent that it sets is that the U.S. can arrest any journalist, of any nationality, in any country around the world, if they print something that the U.S. doesn’t like.”

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