First thing: Unprecedented wildfires hit Alaska and Europe experiences record heat | American News


Alaska has seen more than 500 wildfires since early April, which have forced the evacuation of mining camps, villages and remote cabins.

By June 15, more than one million acres (405,000 hectares) in the state had already caught fire, roughly the area that would normally burn for an entire fire season. By mid-July, more than 3 million acres of land had burned, putting the state in danger of breaking its 2004 record of 6.5 million acres (2.6 million hectares) burned.

Today, 264 individual fires are burning across the state. “This is unprecedented,” said Rick Thoman, a climate scientist at the International Arctic Research Center in Fairbanks, fires this year.

Meanwhile, firefighters continued to battle blazes across southern Europe as scorching temperatures moved north and Britain braced for what could be its hottest day on record , with experts blaming the climate crisis and predicting more frequent extreme weather to come.

  • Is it really all because the climate crisis? Thoman says rising temperatures are playing a big part. “It’s not just Alaska,” he says. “Throughout the Arctic and sub-Arctic, you’re seeing this increase in fires. Given the lightning strikes, the drought, the early snowmelt, there’s no doubt that global warming plays a huge role in this.

  • What’s happening in France? Meteorologists have warned of a ‘thermal apocalypse’ in western France as more than 8,500 more people fled their homes to escape a large wildfire sparked by a scorching heat wave in southern France. Europe which has already claimed hundreds of lives.

Steve Bannon appears in court as contempt of Congress trial begins

Steve Bannon leaves court after appearing in contempt of Congress. Photography: Patrick Semansky/AP

With jury selection nearing completion, the first closing arguments are set to take place Tuesday in the federal trial against Steve Bannon, the former Trump strategist charged with contempt of Congress after failing to comply with a committee subpoena. of the House on January 6.

Bannon appeared in federal court on Monday as his trial officially began in Washington. The far-right provocateur – one of the main architects of Trump’s attempts to nullify the 2020 election – is trying to argue that he did not willfully fail to comply with the subpoena, which demanded documents and testimonies.

DC District Court Judge Carl Nichols is expected to proceed with opening arguments in the contempt trial once the final 12-person jury, with two alternates, is made up of a pool of 22 potential jurors, which was reduced from an initial pool of 60 DC Residents.

  • What was he accused of? Bannon is charged with two counts of criminal contempt of Congress. He was returned to the Justice Department by the House of Representatives after his failure to testify and turn over documents as required by a subpoena from the select committee late last year.

  • Why did the panel want Bannon to testify? The panel noted that he spoke to Trump the day before the Capitol attack and helped Trump’s “war room” at the Willard Hotel strategize on how to stop Congressional certification. of Joe Biden’s election victory.

Pro-Israel extremists are spending millions to transform the Democratic primaries

Representative Donna Edwards of Maryland.
Representative Donna Edwards of Maryland. Extremist groups spent millions to oppose his first offer. Photograph: J Scott Applewhite/AP

Pro-Israel lobby groups poured millions into a Democratic primary for a Maryland congressional seat, in the latest attempt to block an establishment candidate who has voiced support for the Palestinians.

A rise in political spending by organizations funded by extremist supporters of Israel, led by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac), has reshaped the Democratic primaries in recent months, even as the debate over the country rarely features as a major issue in the elections.

Critics accuse AIPAC and its allies of distorting Democratic politics in part because so much of the money used to influence primary races comes from billionaire Republicans.

AIPAC spent $6 million in Tuesday’s contest in Maryland, more than any other organization, to oppose Donna Edwards, who served eight years as Maryland’s first black woman elected to Congress before losing a Senate bid in 2016.

  • Why do they want Edwards to lose? She angered some pro-Israel groups during her tenure as representative for failing to back resolutions in favor of Israel over its 2011 war in Gaza and other positions. She also supported the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran when it was strongly opposed by the Israeli government and thus AIPAC.

In other news…

Waves crash over two-story buildings in Hawaii.
‘Historic’ waves crash into two-story buildings in Hawaii. Composition: Isabella Sloan via Storyful
  • Towering waves on Hawaii’s south coast crashed into homes and businesses, spilled onto highways and upended weddings over the weekend. The big waves, some more than 20 feet (6 meters) high, came from a combination of a strong southerly swell, particularly high tides and rising sea levels.

  • Thieves in California stole millions of dollars worth of jewelry and gemstones after they broke into an unattended security vehicle as it returned from a jewelry show, police said. The robbery took place at a remote Southern California rest area last week after the two armed guards left the vehicle.

  • Vladimir Putin arrived in Tehran for his second visit outside Russia since the start of the war in Ukrainewhere he will discuss with his Turkish and Iranian counterparts the lifting of the Ukrainian grain blockade, the future of Syria and the chances of reviving the Iranian nuclear agreement.

  • Japanese police are looking for a wild monkey that attacked 10 people in a fortnight. The attacks began on July 8 in the Ogōri district of Yamaguchi prefecture in the southwest. In the most serious incident, he badly scratched a baby after he invaded a family home.

Stat of the day: £187m of British royal family wealth hidden in secret wills

From left to right;  King Edward VIII, Duke of Windsor, Alexander William George Duff, Duke of Fife, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Margaret
From left to right; King Edward VIII, Duke of Windsor; Alexander William George Duff, Duke of Fife; Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh; and Princess Margaret. Composite: Hulton Archive/W and D Downey/Tim Graham Photo Library/Kypros/Getty ImagesGetty Images

Generations of the Royal Family have withheld details of assets worth more than £180million thanks to a series of legal demands which were granted in great secrecy. The assets are described in 33 wills which have been written by members of the Windsor family for over a century. The family have been able to keep the contents of wills secret by winning a special exclusion from a law that normally requires UK wills to be published, allowing them to avoid the public seeing what kinds of assets – such as property, jewelry and cash – were accumulated.

Don’t miss this: 50 years later, the truth behind American Pie

Don McLean in 1974.
“This film was a concerted effort to raise the curtain” … Don McLean in 1974. Photography: Michael Putland/Getty Images

Over the years, journalists have subjected American Pie to a Talmudic level of scrutiny, while its songwriter, Don McLean, has dished out information about its intent. In contrast, a new documentary offers the first line-by-line deconstruction of the song’s lyrics, as well as the most detailed analysis yet of its musical evolution. “I said to Don, ‘It’s time for you to reveal what 50 years of journalists wanted to know,'” said Spencer Proffer, who produced a new full-length documentary on the song. “This film was a concerted effort to lift the curtain.”

Climate control: this heat wave gutted the idea that small changes can cope with extreme weather

Firefighters try to control a forest fire in Louchats, in the south-west of France.
Firefighters try to control a forest fire in Louchats, in the south-west of France. Photography: Thibaud Moritz/AFP/Getty Images

“Can we talk about it now? I mean the subject that most of the media and most of the political class have avoided for so long. You know, the only subject that ultimately matters is the survival of life on Earth,” writes George Monbiot. “We haven’t seen anything yet. The dangerous heat is already becoming normal in southern Europe and would be counted among the coolest days during hot spells in parts of the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, where heat is becoming a threat regular for life. Systems need to change urgently – and the silence needs to be broken.

Last thing: defending asylum seekers: refugees learn the art of comedy

Microphone on stage
“Comedy is a way to send strong messages to people without them getting bored.” Photograph: Edward Herdwick/Alamy

In Athens, a handful of rookie standups are on the mic after taking part in a series of comedy workshops. Migration is the unusually hilarious topic at the heart of this comedy show, performed by refugees and asylum seekers as part of Refugee Week. Explaining its appeal, one of the organizers, Vasileia Vaxevani, says: “The conversation is always, ‘Oh, that poor immigrant or refugee, that poor Afghan, that poor Syrian.’ But these amateur comedians are “real people, they have interesting stories.” , they had whole, funny lives,” he says.


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