Death Valley, CA, now the hottest place on earth at 125.6 degrees F.
GA high court rejects Trump bid to block election interference case.
Expect grain prices to rise after Russia pulls out of Ukraine deal.
Iran resurrects morality police headscarf patrol.
Death Valley, CA, now the hottest place on earth at 125.6 degrees F
The Southwestern US continues to swelter under a blistering days-long heatwave that has shattered records in several locales. Yesterday a temperature of 125.6 degrees Fahrenheit was recorded in Death Valley, CA, which routinely sees some of the highest temperatures in the US year-round. A display outside the Furnace Creek Visitor Center recorded an unofficial temperature of 130 degrees yesterday. Despite the dangerous heat and warnings from authorities, tourists have continued to flock to Death Valley.
The state of Texas has already reported 12 heat-related deaths this year, and its most populous city Houston has just recorded its first heat death of the year. Demands on the state’s power grid to run air conditioners has strained its key power provider ERCOT to the limit.
Waters around Florida have also recorded huge temperature spikes that have caused concern for the marine life. The typical water temperature reaches as high as about 88 degrees, but a temperature of 97 degrees was recorded in recent days. These temperatures are not survivable for many species of fish that frequent the area. Scientists are particularly concerned about the fate of coral reefs. Extreme heat can affect the spawning of coral and will cause reefs to bleach out and die.
GA high court rejects Trump bid to block election interference case
The Georgia Supreme Court has rejected a request from attorneys representing Donald Trump to suppress potential criminal prosecutions for 2020 election interference in Fulton County. The court’s decision was unanimous.
Trump’s attorneys were seeking to quash a report produced by a special grand jury earlier this year. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis empaneled that special grand jury last year to investigate attempts by Trump and his allies to overturn his 2020 election loss in Georgia.
The special grand jury had subpoena power but could only investigate and issue recommendations rather than returning indictments as a normal grand jury does. The panel interviewed over 70 witnesses including various Trump allies and employees and state Republican operatives. Their charging recommendations remain under seal, so we don’t know yet what charges they recommended and against whom. However, there have been hints that Trump himself may be a target in the case, though he did not testify in that probe.
Fulton County announced last week that it would empanel two grand juries to bring criminal cases in the district. One of these grand juries will have the task of reviewing the special grand jury’s recommendations and issuing indictments. Trump’s attorneys had asked the state Supreme Court to block the newly-seated grand jury from reading that report and to bar DA Fani Willis from participating in any prosecution against him.
Expect grain prices to rise after Russia pulls out of Ukraine deal
Russia announced today that it was withdrawing from a deal brokered by the UN last year to allow shipments of Ukrainian grain to traverse the Black Sea. For several months, ships carrying Ukrainian grain were allowed to leave Ukrainian ports for export to the world market. Under the terms of the deal, Turkish authorities inspected these ships to ensure there were no weapons or other contraband aboard.
The deal has now expired and Russia says it will not continue with a new deal without renegotiation. Many impoverished countries in the Middle East and Africa depend on cheap grain from Ukraine to feed the hungry. Those supplies, on which millions of people rely, are now in jeopardy.
If Ukrainian grain is blocked from the market, it will also cause global grain prices to rise as nations looks for new suppliers to meet demand.
Iran resurrects morality police headscarf patrol
Ten months ago, a young Kurdish woman called Mahsa (or Zhina) Amini died in the custody of Iran’s morality police after they had detained her for “improperly” wearing her headscarf. Under Iran’s theocratic government, conservative Muslim dress for women is strictly and often enforced. Amini’s death sparked months of anti-morality police protests which quickly became a nationwide call for total regime change. Iran’s police responded with deadly crackdowns which killed at least 500 protesters and led to the arrests of over 20,000 people.
Though the protests eventually died down, it became noticeable that more Iranian women had ceased wearing their headscarves in public. Now the Iranian authorities have announced that it will be bringing back morality police patrols (which had previously stood down) and that they will resume enforcing strict dress codes for women, including headscarves.