Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: July 20, 2022

Europe's heat wave hits U.K. with its hottest day ever, the House passes a bill to protect same-sex marriage, and more

1

Heat wave hits U.K. with its hottest day ever

A heat wave ravaging Europe brought temperatures of 104.5 degrees Fahrenheit to the United Kingdom, shattering the country's record for its highest temperature ever registered. Before Tuesday, Britain's record high was 101.7 degrees, set in 2019. The heat wave has fueled wildfires from Portugal to the Balkans, and caused hundreds of heat-related deaths. Stephen Belcher, the chief scientist at Britain's Met Office weather agency, said such extreme temperatures would be "virtually impossible" without climate change, and he warned that similar heat waves could hit Europe every three years without big carbon-emission cuts. Many homes and businesses in normally cool Britain lack air conditioning, so the heat has disrupted travel, health care, and schools.

2

House passes bill protecting same-sex marriage

The House on Tuesday passed legislation seeking to protect same-sex and interracial marriage. Democrats said a federal law was necessary to safeguard marriage equality because the recent Supreme Court ruling overturning 1973's Roe v. Wade and the national right to abortion could signal that other constitutional protections are at risk. Bill co-sponsor Rep. David Cicilline (D.-R.I.) said "millions of LGBTQ families ... are worried about the Supreme Court's intention to rip away more freedoms." Forty-seven Republicans joined all Democrats in approving the Respect for Marriage Act, which faces an uncertain future in the 50-50 Senate. Rep. Mike Johnson (R.-La.), one of the 157 Republicans who voted against the legislation, said Democrats were grandstanding and the "bill is completely unnecessary."

3

Biden signs executive order to discourage hostage-taking abroad

President Biden signed an executive order Tuesday empowering the federal government to impose sanctions on anyone involved in hostage-taking, part of a push to deter the wrongful detention of Americans abroad. "This executive order reflects the administration's commitment not just to the issues generally but to the families in particular," a senior administration official said. The order creates a new State Department travel advisory to warn U.S. travelers about wrongful detention risks, and makes it easier for relatives of hostages to get information on their cases. Biden's order came after he faced criticism for not making progress on getting WNBA star Brittney Griner released in Russia, where she pleaded guilty to drug charges earlier this month.

4

Secret Service says it can't restore purged Jan. 6 texts

The Secret Service has determined it won't be able to restore purged texts from Jan. 5 and Jan. 6, 2021, to give to the House select panel investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, The Washington Post reported Tuesday, citing a senior official briefed on the matter. The National Archives said Tuesday it was seeking information on "the potential unauthorized deletion" of agency communications, and asked the Secret Service to report back within 30 days. The Jan. 6 committee last week issued a subpoena for the texts, which members said over the weekend they expected to receive within days. Investigators say the texts could help determine what then-President Donald Trump said and did as his supporters attacked the Capitol.

5

Mississippi's last abortion clinic drops lawsuit against state ban

Mississippi's last abortion clinic, Jackson Women's Health Organization, on Tuesday withdrew its lawsuit asking a court to block a state law banning most abortions. The move came after clinic owner Diane Derzis told The Associated Press she had sold the facility and wouldn't reopen even if a state court ruled in her favor. "If the clinic is not in a position to reopen in Mississippi, it no longer has a basis to pursue this case in the courts," said Rob McDuff, a Mississippi Center for Justice attorney who was on the clinic's legal team. The clinic, which was known as the Pink House for its bright paint job, plans to open a new facility soon in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

6

Trump-backed candidate wins Maryland GOP gubernatorial primary

Far-right Maryland state legislator Dan Cox won Tuesday's Republican primary to replace term-limited Gov. Larry Hogan (R), beating the state's moderate former labor secretary, Kelly Schulz, The Associated Press projected. Hogan had endorsed Schulz; former President Donald Trump backed Cox. The primary victory by Cox, who once tweeted that then-Vice President Mike Pence was a "traitor" for accepting the certification of the 2020 election result, was a boost to Trump's influence with GOP voters. But it could hurt the GOP's chances of holding on to the governor's seat in the heavily Democratic state. Cox is considered the underdog against the winner of a tight Democratic primary between former Labor Secretary Tom Perez, Oprah-endorsed author Wes Moore, and state Comptroller Peter Franchot.

7

Indiana doctor threatens defamation lawsuit against state AG

Dr. Caitlin Bernard, the Indiana physician who provided an abortion for a 10-year-old abuse victim from Ohio, has notified Indiana's Republican attorney general, Todd Rokita, that she is considering a defamation lawsuit over Rokita's criticism of her work as an abortion provider. "He is wrongly accusing her of misconduct in her profession, so we want that smear campaign to stop," attorney Kathleen DeLaney told NPR on Tuesday. "We want him and his office to stop intimidating and harassing health-care providers generally who are simply doing the job that they went to medical school to do." Rokita has said he was investigating whether Bernard properly reported the abuse and abortion to the state. Several news organizations obtained records showing she filed all required paperwork.

8

Trump, DeSantis in statistical tie among Michigan primary voters

Former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) are in a statistical tie in Michigan among likely GOP midterm primary voters, according to a poll commissioned by The Detroit News and a local NBC affiliate. Trump beat DeSantis 45-42 in a hypothetical 2024 GOP presidential primary, but the 3-point gap was within the poll's 4.4 percent margin of error. College-educated Republicans favored DeSantis 51 percent to 37 percent; those with a high school diploma but no college supported Trump 55 percent to 29 percent. Trump lost Michigan by just under 3 percentage points in 2020 but he continues to baselessly claim the state's 16 electoral votes were stolen from him.

9

House Democrats arrested at Supreme Court abortion-rights protest

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) and several other progressive House Democrats were arrested Tuesday outside the Supreme Court as they protested the court's decision overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that had made abortion legal nationwide. The lawmakers chanted "we won't go back" and "our body, our choice" as they marched to the Supreme Court from the Capitol. Seventeen lawmakers were arrested, including Ocasio-Cortez and Reps. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), according to Capitol Police. Before the arrests, police informed the protesters the demonstration was illegal and anyone who didn't leave would be arrested. The demonstration was part of Democrats' ongoing response to the ruling, which has triggered tighter abortion restrictions, including outright bans, in a dozen red states.

10

Netflix loses subscribers, but fewer than expected

Netflix on Tuesday reported a second straight quarter of subscriber losses for the first time in its history, although the second quarter loss was smaller than expected. The streaming video company said it lost 970,000 paid subscribers, down from a projected two million. Netflix estimated it would gain one million new subscribers in the new quarter. The news sent Netflix shares rising 6 percent in after-hours trading. The stock has fallen by two-thirds this year as the company lost some of the customers it gained earlier in the coronavirus pandemic, when entertainment options outside the home were limited. Netflix said in a letter to shareholders that it would soon roll out its lower priced ad-supported subscription tier in "a handful of markets" where ad spending is strong.

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