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HeadlinesJuly 20, 2023

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More Temperature Records Fall as U.S. Heat Wave Intensifies

Jul 20, 2023

An unrelenting heat wave across the southern United States is continuing today, with dozens of temperature records set to fall. In Phoenix, Arizona, where nighttime temperatures haven’t fallen below 90 degrees Fahrenheit since early July, forecasters are predicting a 20th consecutive day with high temperatures over 110 degrees. This week, more than 44 million people in 28 U.S. states and several Canadian provinces have been affected by smoke from a record number of wildfires.

Migrants Face Intense Heat in Mexico as They Wait to Apply for Asylum at U.S. Border

Jul 20, 2023

In northern Mexico, migrants stuck at the U.S. border waiting to apply for asylum are facing increasingly desperate conditions. Temperatures in the border city of Nuevo Laredo soared to nearly 110 degrees on Wednesday.

Carmen Sarmiento: “We need to be drinking cold beverages frequently to adjust our body temperature. But the rest of the day we feel low in energy, dehydrated. My daughter’s lips are chapped even though I give her hydration solutions and lip balm. She’s still quite affected.”

Receding Floodwaters in Northern India Prompt Warnings over Waterborne Diseases

Jul 20, 2023

In northern India, public health officials are warning of a high risk of waterborne diseases as floodwaters from unusually heavy monsoon rains begin receding. The swollen Yamuna River has caused extensive flooding across the holy cities of Vrindavan and Mathura. 

Pulkit Khare: “With this weather and the time of the year that we are in, there is high chances of spread of contagious diseases. So, especially the diseases related to gastro, the skin diseases, the viral infections, this is where we have to be on guard now that the water is receding.”

Meanwhile, the European Space Agency warns a massive heat wave gripping the continent won’t end anytime soon.

Russia Bombards Ukraine’s Black Sea Ports and Threatens Cargo Ships

Jul 20, 2023

In Ukraine, one person was killed and more than two dozen others were injured as Russia’s military launched a third straight night of attacks on the Black Sea port cities of Mykolaiv and Odesa. The attacks came as Russia’s Defense Ministry warned ships against sailing into Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, saying they will be considered parties to the Ukrainian conflict. The threat followed the Kremlin’s withdrawal from the Black Sea grain deal, which allowed safe passage of food and fertilizer from Ukraine. On Wednesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of directly targeting grain silos at Black Sea ports.

President Volodymyr Zelensky: “This terrorist attack proves that their target is not only Ukraine and not only the lives of our people. In the ports that were attacked today, there were about a million tons of food stored. It is precisely that amount that should have already been delivered to consumer countries in Africa and Asia.”

Kenyan Police Crack Down as Protesters Rally Against Tax Hikes and Inflation

Jul 20, 2023

In Kenya, local media report at least six people were killed Wednesday as a three-day protest against tax hikes and the soaring cost of living kicked off. The ongoing anti-government demonstrations have caused unrest in the capital Nairobi and other cities, shuttering schools and businesses. Last week, at least 14 people died in protests, at least 10 of whom were shot and killed by police. Opposition leader Raila Odinga called for protests after President William Ruto announced the tax increases last month. This is a protester from Kibera in Nairobi.

Ibrahim Stanley: “We came out on our own initiative. Nobody made us protest. We are out here because we are tired. If they want, they should just sell the country, and everyone get their share and plan for themselves.” 

Taliban Guards Attack Women Protesting Closure of Beauty Parlors and Salons

Jul 20, 2023

In Afghanistan, dozens of women held a demonstration in the capital Kabul Wednesday protesting against the Taliban’s decision to shut down thousands of beauty parlors and salons nationwide. Taliban officers responded by firing water cannons and deploying Tasers against the women, before shooting their guns into the air to break up the protest. 

Iraqis Storm Swedish Embassy in Baghdad to Protest Qur’an Burning in Stockholm

Jul 20, 2023

In Iraq, protesters stormed the Swedish Embassy in central Baghdad on Wednesday, starting a small fire before they were driven away by Iraqi police armed with electric batons. No embassy staff members were injured in the protest, which was condemned by the foreign ministries of both Sweden and Iraq. Protesters were angered over the burning of a Qur’an outside a mosque in Stockholm last month. 

Egyptian President Pardons Rights Researcher and Lawyer for Political Prisoner 

Jul 20, 2023

In Egypt, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has pardoned detained Italian Egyptian human rights researcher Patrick Zaki and lawyer Mohamed el-Baqer. Zaki’s pardon came just one day after he was sentenced to three years in prison for writing about the discrimination he has suffered as a member of Egypt’s Coptic Christian community. Mohamed el-Baqer is the lawyer for technologist, blogger and writer Alaa Abd El-Fattah, a leading activist in the 2011 revolution and Egypt’s most prominent political prisoner. El-Baqer was arrested in 2019 and sentenced to four years in prison in 2021 for his work defending El-Fattah. Click here to see all our interviews with Alaa Abd El-Fattah and our coverage of his case.


Morocco Invites Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to State Visit 

Jul 20, 2023

Morocco’s king has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for an official state visit. The invitation by King Mohammed VI was announced just two days after Israel recognized Morocco’s claim of sovereignty over Western Sahara, the territory it has occupied since 1975 in defiance of the United Nations and international law. 

Mass Protests in Peru Demand Departure of President Dina Boluarte

Jul 20, 2023

In Peru, tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Lima Wednesday to demand interim President Dina Boluarte step down. Boluarte came to power following the ouster of leftist President Pedro Castillo in December of last year. Dozens of protesters were killed in the ensuing crackdown by police and security forces.

Martha Mamani: “This government caused a genocide. It killed 80 innocent lives, and the people will never forgive this. This is the reason we’re here today. This is an immoral and incapable government. This government has only suppressed us.”

Demonstrators are also calling out persistent inequality and poverty in Peru.

Cost of Maintaining U.S.’s Nuclear Command Swells, Expected to Hit $117B Over Next Decade

Jul 20, 2023

A new report by a congressional watchdog highlights the growing price of maintaining the Pentagon’s nuclear command, control and communications systems. The Congressional Budget Office says the cost of operating, upgrading and maintaining U.S. nuclear command is expected to reach $117 billion over the coming decade — a $23 billion increase compared to an estimate made just two years ago.

The report was released as Vermont independent Senator Bernie Sanders proposed amendments that would cut the U.S. military budget by 10%, compared to the record $886 billion budget National Defense Authorization Act approved by the House of Representatives last week.

Chuck Schumer OKs Vote on Pentagon Abortion Policy as Tuberville Blocks Military Appointments

Jul 20, 2023

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Democrats would not block a vote on the Pentagon’s policy of paying for employees’ abortion-related travel, if it can end Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville’s months-long hold-up of military appointments. Tuberville recently came under fire for defending white nationalists in the military. 

U.S. Judge Upholds $5M Verdict in Favor of E. Jean Carroll, Denies Trump Request for New Trial

Jul 20, 2023

A federal judge has rejected former President Trump’s request for a new trial after a New York jury ordered Trump to pay $5 million to the writer E. Jean Carroll for sexually abusing her at a department store in the 1990s and defaming her. U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan on Wednesday rejected claims by Trump’s lawyers that the verdict was a “seriously erroneous result” and “a miscarriage of justice.” Kaplan wrote, “The finding that Ms. Carroll failed to prove that she was 'raped' within the meaning of the New York Penal Law does not mean that she failed to prove that Mr. Trump 'raped' her as many people commonly understand the word 'rape.' Indeed, as the evidence at trial recounted below makes clear, the jury found that Mr. Trump in fact did exactly that.”

Immigrant Teenage Student Dies of Poultry Factory Injury

Jul 20, 2023

In Mississippi, a 16-year-old immigrant died Friday after he was injured while working at a poultry plant in the city of Hattiesburg. Duvan Tomas Perez was a middle school student who came to the U.S. six years ago from Guatemala. Witnesses say the teen’s fatal injury came as he was cleaning heavy machinery that was left on, an apparent major safety violation. Several U.S. states have recently rolled back child labor laws, though Mississippi law does not allow minors to be employed in slaughterhouses and meat packing plants. Click here to see our recent interview with Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter Hannah Dreier about child labor in the U.S..

NYC Will Pay $13 Million to Settle Claims of Police Brutality During 2020 Protests

Jul 20, 2023

The city of New York has agreed to pay more than $13 million to settle a lawsuit brought by more than a thousand protesters who faced aggressive police behavior that violated their civil and constitutional rights during the 2020 uprising that followed the murder of George Floyd. The settlement announced today is the largest amount paid to protesters in a class-action suit in U.S. history. Researchers with the National Lawyers Guild combed through thousands of social media posts and police body-camera and helicopter videos. They documented numerous cases of improper use of force by NYPD officers, who were filmed beating protesters with batons, unleashing pepper spray and aggressively using a tactic called kettling to trap and arrest protesters en masse. Today’s settlement is separate from another case the city settled in March with hundreds of people who were kettled, beaten, detained and arrested by NYPD officers at a June 2020 protest in the Bronx.

Broadway Could Shut Down as IATSE Votes on Strike Covering Some Members

Jul 20, 2023

In labor news, members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, or IATSE, are voting this week to authorize a strike that could see Broadway and touring shows halted by the end of the week. The strike would affect some 1,500 union members working as stagehands, hair and makeup artists, and wardrobe personnel. Contract negotiations have stalled as workers fight for better healthcare, wages, and housing for touring crews.

Hollywood Strikes Continue Amid Reports of Shady Retaliation Tactics 

Jul 20, 2023

Hollywood remains effectively at a standstill as twin writer and actor strikes show no sign of ending. The WGA and SAG-AFTRA filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board this week against Comcast’s NBCUniversal, which the unions say blocked a sidewalk picketing area, forcing strikers to walk on busy roads. Meanwhile, L.A. City Controller Kenneth Mejia said the city did not issue any trimming permits for the shade-providing trees outside Universal Studios, which were trimmed down where union members are picketing amid a persistent heat wave. 

Stanford President Resigns After Freshman Reporter Shines Light on Manipulated Data

Jul 20, 2023

In Northern California, the president of Stanford University is resigning after a review of scientific research papers he authored or co-authored found they contained manipulated data. Marc Tessier-Lavigne, a renowned neuroscientist, will also retract or issue corrections on five papers. Tessier-Lavigne was previously an executive at the biotech company Genentech, where he published a 2009 study on Alzheimer’s which the review found had “multiple problems.” Tessier-Lavigne’s downfall was prompted by investigative reports authored by 18-year-old freshman reporter Theo Baker, a writer for The Stanford Daily newspaper, who dug into rumors in the science world about the falsified data. He spoke to a local ABC News affiliate about the case Wednesday.

Theo Baker: “All told, there are about a dozen papers on which Tessier-Lavigne is a co-author, a named co-author, that seem to have manipulated imagery. For five of those, he was the principal author. And he has now agreed, as a result of this report, that also led to him stepping down, to retract or issue lengthy corrections to all of these very widely cited papers. And that’s something that definitely wouldn’t have happened had our reporting not brought this into the fore and Stanford decided to investigate itself.”

Theo Baker became the first-ever college student to win a George Polk Award for his reporting on the case.

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