Start your day smarter with the most important world news, plus intriguing and offbeat stories.
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Start your day smarter with a dossier on the most important world news, rounded off with a shot of intriguing and offbeat stories. Like the president, you deserve no less.
Jul 05, 2022
Six people were killed by a rooftop sniper at a Fourth of July parade near Chicago. Russia has seized control of Luhansk — but what are its long-term prospects in Ukraine? Sydney suffered its third major floods this year, just two years after a crippling drought and devastating bushfires. And sources say China is planning to spend its way out of economic stagnation. All this and more in today’s PDB.
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Rooftop Sniper Kills 6, Injures Dozens at Illinois July Fourth Parade
What started as a carefree day of flag-waving and marching bands in the Highland Park suburb of Chicago swiftly turned chaotic as the pop-pop-pop of gunfire shattered the morning calm. Attendees scattered in every direction — leaving behind a jumble of strollers, camping chairs and kids’ bikes. Also the bodies of the deceased. “I think for an average person … to see somebody’s body literally blown apart by these high-powered guns with these horrible bullets, the image might be a hard thing for them to process,” said Dr. David Baum, a local obstetrician who rushed to help. A 21-year-old person of interest was arrested late Monday. (Sources: AP, NYT)
Russia Won a Major Battle Yesterday — But What of the War?
The withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from the besieged city of Lysychansk gave Moscow total control of Luhansk province. Now the Kremlin is turning its attention to neighboring Donetsk. President Vladimir Putin is hoping his attritional tactics will eventually “lead to a slump … in the Ukrainian resistance,” said U.S. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines. But some analysts are putting their money on Ukraine — provided it continues to receive modern weapons from the West. “Overall, local military balance in Donbas favors Russia, but long term trends still favor Ukraine,” wrote Michael Kofman of the CNA think tank in Virginia. (Source: AP)
Major Flooding Puts 50,000 Sydney Residents Under Evacuation Order
A La Niña weather event caused Australia’s largest city’s third floods this year as parts of Sydney received 31.5 inches of rain in four days. Two years ago a La Niña brought relief from crippling drought and devastating bushfires. The island nation’s extreme weather patterns offer a glimpse of life in a climate-changed world. Roads have been cut off, thousands are without power and flooding has killed 20 people this year. “It rose real quick, quicker than usual,” said Tyler Cassel, who paddled from his home in a canoe. “It’s actually one of the scariest floods I have been a part of.”(Sources: Al Jazeera, BBC)
Sources Say China Plans $75 Billion Infrastructure Fund
It worked in the past and they’re hoping it’ll work again. In a bid to stimulate its flagging economy, China will set up a state infrastructure fund in the third quarter, sources told Reuters Tuesday. The new fund would cap a raft of economic support measures announced in recent weeks. China’s strict zero-COVID policy has meant it’s taken longer than most to shake the pandemic blues — and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine hasn’t helped. Returns on traditional projects like roads, railways and airports aren’t what they used to be, so the fund will likely focus on 5G, data and artificial intelligence projects. (Source: Reuters)
Here are some things you should know about today:
Blamed. U.S. officials have concluded that Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was likely killed by Israeli gunfire, but they said there was “no reason to believe” her shooting was intentional.(Source: NPR) Arrested. Thirteen people were arrested for driving too slowly in protest against the U.K.’s high fuel prices. Convoys of motorists driving at 30 mph clogged highways in England, Scotland and Wales. (Source: BBC) Charged. The 22-year-old man accused of killing three people at a Copenhagen mall Sunday was ordered to be held in a closed psychiatric ward after being formally charged with manslaughter and intent to kill. (Source: Reuters)
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Transport Accounts for 20% of CO2 Emissions in Food Supply Chain
The first comprehensive estimate of the global food industry’s carbon footprint makes for scary reading. By analyzing 2017 data from 74 countries, researchers at the University of Australia found that food transportation added 3.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere — 7.5 times more than previously thought. Wealthy countries, where refrigerated trucks are the norm and imports are common, generated nearly 50% of global emissions, despite being home to only 12% of the population. Moving fruit and vegetables produces twice as much carbon as growing them — but plant-based diets are still much better for the planet than meaty ones.(Source: Nature)
TikTok Trend Sees Teens Don Suits to Watch ‘Minions’ Movie
Some theaters have banned teenagers in formal attire from watching Minions: The Rise of Gru, as followers of the #gentleminions trend have been accused of shouting and throwing things during the film. TikTok’s been flooded with footage of hordes of suited-up boys flocking to the film and mimicking the steepled-fingers pose of supervillain Felonious Gru. One British town’s only cinema took the drastic step of canceling all screenings due to “stunningly bad behavior.” But Stace Woods of Surrey commended the “so well-behaved” #gentleminions for politely stopping their worship of a giant poster of Gru so her kids could pose for a picture. (Source: BBC)
Eiffel Tower Riddled With Rust and in Dire Need of Repair
Paris’ Iron Lady was meant to be dismantled and taken away after 20 years — but 133 years after its installation for the 1889 world’s fair, it’s still standing. Just about. According to a leaked report, the tower is plagued by rust and in desperate need of major repairs. Authorities had initially planned to do things properly, stripping back the paint and starting afresh. But lost revenue during the pandemic means they’ll just be giving it a $63 million repaint ahead of the 2024 Olympics. “If Gustave Eiffel visited the place he would have a heart attack,” said one unnamed manager at the tower.(Source: The Guardian)
Wiener Takes All
Familiar Faces Win Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest
It was business as usual as the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July hot dog eating contest returned to its normal location outside Nathan’s flagship shop in Brooklyn’s Coney Island neighborhood. Joey “Jaws” Chestnut wolfed down 63 hot dogs and buns to claim his 15th title. And after skipping last year’s edition because she was pregnant, Miki Sudo made a triumphant return to claim the women’s title with a tally of 40 dogs — in front of her infant son. “I want to set an example,” she said, “to do things that you love and push yourself to your absolute limits.” (Source: AP)
Don’t You Forget About Me
Griner Sends Biden Desperate July Fourth Letter From Russian Prison
“As I sit here in a Russian prison, alone with my thoughts and without the protection of my wife, family, friends, Olympic jersey, or any accomplishments, I’m terrified I might be here forever,” wrote Brittney Griner, who was arrested Feb. 17 for alleged possession of cannabis oil. The Biden administration considers the Phoenix Mercury center to be “wrongfully detained” — but fewer than 1% of defendants in Russian criminal cases are acquitted. “On the 4th of July, our family normally honors the service of those who fought for our freedom, including my father who is a Vietnam War Veteran,” Griner added. (Source: AP)
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