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HeadlinesJuly 07, 2023

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Earth’s Average Temperature Hits All-Time High for Third Consecutive Day

Jul 07, 2023

The world’s average surface temperature has soared to its highest level ever recorded, surpassing record levels of heat measured just one day earlier — and the day before that. This week’s string of record-shattering hottest days came as climate scientists warned last month was the hottest June ever recorded, with 2023 on track to become the hottest year in human history. Meanwhile, a new report in the journal Nature Communications warns changing weather patterns and extreme heat due to the climate crisis will exacerbate the global food crisis, with lower crop yields anticipated in the near future. We’ll have more on the climate crisis after headlines with Guardian reporter Oliver Milman and environmentalist Bill McKibben.

Climate Protesters Disrupt Wimbledon Tennis Matches, Shut Down Welsh Coal Mine

Jul 07, 2023

In the United Kingdom, members of the climate action group Extinction Rebellion shut down operations at the nation’s largest coal mine Wednesday in a nonviolent civil disobedience action. The open-pit mine in South Wales had been operating without a license. Elsewhere in the U.K., climate protesters disrupted play at the Wimbledon tennis tournament twice on Wednesday, throwing orange confetti on the court and displaying T-shirts reading “Just Stop Oil.” On Thursday, youth climate activists disrupted a speech by U.K. Labour Party leader Keir Starmer, accusing him of U-turning on his pledge to fund a transition away from fossil fuels.

Climate activist 1: “Young people want action.”

Climate activist 2: “Which side are the Labour Party on?”

Keir Starmer: “We are on the side of economic growth.”

Climate activist 2: [inaudible]

Keir Starmer: “Will you just let me” —

Climate activist 1: “We need a Green New Deal right now.” 

Keir Starmer: — “please, get on with this? Thank you very much.”

Climate activist 1: “Stop making U-turns, Keir. We need a Green New Deal.”

Keir Starmer: “We have already — will you just let me finish this, and I’ll come and talk to you about it? Thank you very much.”

Climate activist 2: “We spoke” [inaudible] —

Climate activist 1: “We’ve tried to speak to you about it, but you haven’t replied to us, Keir.”

Climate activist 2: “You haven’t replied. Give us an opportunity.”

Climate activist 1: “We need a Green New Deal right now.”

In Sweden, Greta Thunberg and other youth climate activists have been charged with “disobeying the police” for peacefully blocking oil tankers at a port in Malmö last month. If convicted, the protesters face fines and up to six months in prison. 

Biden Administration Will Arm Ukraine with Banned Cluster Munitions

Jul 07, 2023

The Biden administration is announcing it will ship cluster munitions to Ukraine as part of a Pentagon military aid package. The weapons are banned under the Convention on Cluster Munitions, an international treaty signed by more than 100 states — though not by Russia, Ukraine or the United States. Investigators with Human Rights Watch have documented how cluster bombs used by Russia and Ukraine have repeatedly killed and injured civilians. The group warns unexploded bomblets left behind after cluster attacks will continue to pose a risk to civilians for years to come. 

NBC News: Former U.S. Officials Hold Secret Talks with Russians over Ukraine War

Jul 07, 2023

Former senior U.S. national security officials have held secret talks with prominent Russians believed to be close to the Kremlin, with the aim of laying the groundwork for negotiations to end the war in Ukraine. That’s according to a report by NBC News, citing half a dozen unnamed sources who were reportedly briefed on the discussions. The State Department said the Biden administration did not sanction the discussions and denied encouraging them. 

Rocket Fire from Southern Lebanon Prompts Cross-Border Shelling by Israel

Jul 07, 2023

Israel’s military fired artillery shells on a pair of villages in southern Lebanon Thursday, after two missiles were fired toward Israel. There have been no reports of injuries in the exchange of fire, which came after Israel carried out one of its largest military operations in decades on the occupied West Bank city of Jenin. 

“An Honest Mistake”: Israeli Police Officer Acquitted of Killing Autistic Palestinian

Jul 07, 2023

An Israeli court has acquitted a police officer over the shooting death of an unarmed, autistic Palestinian man in occupied East Jerusalem. Iyad al-Hallaq was a 32-year-old special needs student who attended and worked at a school near where he was shot dead in Jerusalem’s Old City. His killing in May 2020 drew comparisons to the police killing of George Floyd in the United States. On Thursday, a judge threw out the charges against the officer — whose name was not made public — calling the killing an “honest mistake.” Iyad’s mother, Rana al-Hallaq, said the family was surprised by the ruling.

Rana al-Hallaq: “It’s injustice. I never saw injustice like this against a young man like my son. My son is buried in the cemetery, and the killer is free and can travel around.”

U.N. Secretary-General Condemns Deadly Israeli Assault on Palestinians in Jenin

Jul 07, 2023

In the occupied West Bank, Israeli soldiers shot and killed at least two Palestinian men during an early-morning raid today on the city of Nablus. At least three Palestinians were wounded in the assault. Separately, Israeli forces chased down and killed a Palestinian man after he allegedly shot and killed a soldier protecting an illegal settlement near Nablus.

At the United Nations, Secretary-General António Guterres condemned the massive two-day assault on Jenin by Israel earlier this week that killed at least 12 Palestinians and left more than 100 people injured. Guterres called Israel’s airstrikes during the raid “inconsistent with the conduct of law enforcement operations” and said that as the occupying power, Israel has a responsibility to ensure that the civilian population is protected. 

U.N. Pushes for International Security Force in Haiti Amid Spiraling Instability and Gang Violence

Jul 07, 2023

Members of the U.N. Security Council, including the United States, have voiced support for deploying a multinational armed force to Haiti. Thursday’s meeting follows a trip to Haiti by U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, who appealed for the international community to “act now” on Haiti.

Secretary-General António Guterres: “Predatory gangs are using kidnappings and sexual violence as weapons to terrorize entire communities. And I have heard appalling accounts of women and girls being gang-raped and of people being burned alive. … We are not calling for a military or political mission of the United Nations. We are calling for a robust security force deployed by member states to work hand in hand with the Haitian National Police to defeat and dismantle the gangs and restore security across the country.”

Haitian officials have requested the international force, but many in Haiti have opposed such a presence due to the disastrous history of U.N. and foreign interventions in the country.

This all comes as Haiti today marks two years since the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse. A Haitian government watchdog released a letter yesterday slamming the lack of accountability and the stalled investigation of the killing, reinforcing a culture of impunity and corruption that has endangered all Haitians.

Janet Yellen Criticizes Chinese Business and Trade Policies During Trip to Ease Tensions

Jul 07, 2023

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is in Beijing for a four-day trip aimed at easing tensions between the U.S. and China. Yellen is meeting with Chinese Premier Li Qiang today. Yellen has criticized China’s “punitive actions” and obstacles imposed on U.S. companies, including export controls on minerals and denying market access. The U.S. has imposed its own restrictions on China, focusing on its technology trade with the U.S. This is Secretary Yellen.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen: “The U.S. seeks healthy economic competition with China. But healthy economic competition, where both sides benefit, is only sustainable if that competition is fair.”

Climate change envoy John Kerry is set to visit China next week to resume talks on the climate crisis. China and the U.S. are the world’s two biggest polluters, as well as the two largest investors in clean energy.

FDA Greenlights Alzheimer’s Treatment Leqembi

Jul 07, 2023

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a drug to slow the cognitive decline of patients with mild dementia and other symptoms of early Alzheimer’s disease. Approval of the intravenously administered drug Leqembi clears the way for Medicare and other health insurers to begin covering the extremely expensive treatment.

45% of U.S. Tap Water Contaminated by “Forever Chemicals”

Jul 07, 2023

The U.S. Geological Survey has found that nearly half of the country’s tap water likely contains at least one type of PFAS, also known as “forever chemicals.” PFAS are found in everyday products such as personal care items, clothing, cleaning products, as well as food. They have been linked to a host of environmental and health problems, including certain kinds of cancer. Studies have shown nearly all Americans have “detectable levels” of PFAS in their blood.

One-Fifth of United Methodist Congregations to Split from Church Amid Rift over LGBTQ Members

Jul 07, 2023

Over 6,000 conservative congregations of the United Methodist Church, about one-fifth of the total number in the U.S., are preparing to leave the denomination over rifts about the role of LGBTQIA people in the church. This comes amid growing defiance of the church’s policies prohibiting same-sex marriage and the ordination of LGBTQIA people. More conservative members decided to launch the separate Global Methodist Church as states like Texas, Alabama, Kentucky and Ohio have seen the largest number of departures. Progressive congregations are expected to propose new church laws that allow same-sex marriage and the ordination of LGBTQ people in 2024.

Nepal Paves Way to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

Jul 07, 2023

Nepal’s Supreme Court has issued a temporary order greenlighting the registration of same-sex marriages for the first time. LGBTQIA activists and couples across Nepal celebrated the decision.

Surendra Pandey: “So far, we are very happy. If it becomes permanent, we will be even happier.”

Maya Gurung: “We hope the permanent marriage regulation order will come as soon as possible. Things for us will be the same as for other men and women. That would be ideal.”

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