Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: July 25, 2022

Myanmar junta executes four democracy activists, the House Jan. 6 committee pushes to interview more Trump Cabinet members, and more

1

Myanmar junta executes 4 democracy activists

Myanmar's military junta has executed four democracy activists it accused of "terror acts," state media reported Monday. A junta spokesman later confirmed the news, which sparked condemnation from human rights activists. Phyo Zeya Thaw, 41, and Kyaw Min Yu (also known as Ko Jimmy), 53, were convicted on terrorism charges in closed-door trials last fall. The other two executed men, Hla Myo Aung and Aung Thura Zaw, were convicted of killing an alleged military informant. The executions were the first in the country in more than three decades. The activist Assistance Association of Political Prisoners says security forces have killed more than 2,100 people since last year's coup, a figure the junta disputes.

2

House Jan. 6 committee to interview more Trump Cabinet members

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack said Sunday it would interview more members of former President Donald Trump's Cabinet, as well as other prominent supporters. The committee also is prepared to subpoena conservative activist Virginia "Ginni" Thomas, who is married to conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, as the panel continues to look into Trump's role in inspiring the violence. "We anticipate talking to additional members of the president's Cabinet," said Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the committee's vice chair. "We anticipate talking to additional members of his campaign. Certainly, we're very focused as well on the Secret Service." The committee held eight public hearings in June and July, and plans to reconvene in September.

3

Ukraine continues push to resume grain shipments despite Russian missile strike

Ukraine on Sunday continued trying to restart grain exports from its Black Sea ports under a deal brokered by Turkey and the United Nations, but a government economic advisor said continued Russian attacks on the port city of Odesa could put the goal of restoring grain shipments to pre-war levels beyond reach. Ukraine's military said Russian warships fired four missiles at Odesa on Saturday. Air defense forces shot down two, but two hit near a pumping station at the port. Russia said Sunday it used high-precision missiles to strike a Ukrainian warship and a weapons storage area in Odesa. Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelensky, said the strikes, a day after the deal was signed, demonstrated Russia's "barbarism." 

4

Poll: 2 in 3 Americans back term limits for Supreme Court justices

Sixty-seven percent of respondents in a new Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll favored term limits for Supreme Court justices. A similar majority backed a mandatory retirement age. Eighty-two percent of Democrats and 57 percent of Republicans backed term limits. Forty-three percent said they had hardly any confidence in the high court, a sharp rise from the 27 percent record three months ago. The survey was conducted weeks after the Supreme Court issued rulings expanding gun rights and overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that made abortion legal nationwide. Just over half of the poll's respondents said the abortion decision made them "angry" or "sad."

5

Volcano erupts in southern Japan

The Sakurajima volcano erupted Sunday night in southern Japan, prompting evacuations and triggering the country's highest volcano warning level. The eruption blasted rocks and boulders up to a mile and a half away, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. No injuries were immediately reported. People within two miles of the volcano's main craters were ordered to leave. The volcano sits in Kagoshima Bay, and fleeing residents escaped by ferry across a narrow strait to the main part of Kagoshima, a city of 590,000. Sakurajima has become active again in recent years after erupting many times in recent centuries. A 1914 eruption, one of Japan's largest in the 20th century, killed dozens of people.

6

Boat capsizes in Bahamas, killing 17 Haitian migrants

A boat carrying dozens of Haitian migrants capsized in the Bahamas on Sunday, killing at least 17 people. Rescuers recovered 17 bodies and saved 25 people, Bahamian Prime Minister Philip Davis said. One of the people who died was an infant. As many as 60 people were believed to have been on board when the vessel overturned, possibly in rough seas. Many more passengers remained missing, Police Commissioner Clayton Fernander said. Two Bahamians were detained on suspicion of operating a human smuggling operation. Immigration Minister Keith Bell said survivors told investigators they paid $3,000 to $8,000 for a spot on the boat as they sought to flee Haiti, where gang violence and rising kidnappings have contributed to a deteriorating security situation.

7

California wildfire spreads fast near Yosemite

California's Oak fire, the state's largest fire of the year so far, continued to burn out of control on Sunday in the Sierra Nevada foothills west of Yosemite National Park. The fast-moving blaze has forced thousands of people to flee their homes. It had burned 10 structures as of late Sunday and was threatening several mountain communities. More than 6,000 people were ordered to evacuate over the weekend but many stayed behind, even though the fire had burned more than 14,000 acres in its first two days, fueled by high temperatures and low moisture levels. "We urge people to evacuate when told," said Adrienne Freeman with the U.S. Forest Service. "This fire is moving very fast."

8

Heat wave brings record daily highs to parts of Northeast

Temperatures reached daily record highs of 99 degrees Fahrenheit in Boston, 99 degrees in Philadelphia, and 96 degrees in Providence, Rhode Island, on Sunday as a heat wave intensified in the Northeast. In New York City, where the temperature neared a record daily high, the medical examiner's office confirmed one heat-related death over the weekend. NBC Philadelphia reported that a 73-year-old man died of heat-related complications in Pennsylvania. Tens of millions of people live in areas under excessive heat warnings and advisories. A cold front heading into the Northeast on Monday and Tuesday could ease what forecasters called "dangerously hot conditions."

9

Denmark's Jonas Vingegaard wins Tour de France

Danish cyclist Jonas Vingegaard won the Tour de France on Sunday, finishing the 21st and final stage of the race in Paris' Champs-Elysees with a time of 79 hours 33 minutes and 20 seconds, 2 minutes and 43 seconds ahead of Slovenia's Tadej Pogacar. Britain Geraint Thomas finished the three-week event in third, 7:22 behind the winner. Vingegaard's victory came in his second Tour de France appearance, and just his third year as a professional. Pogacar was seeking a third-straight Tour de France victory, but he never caught up with Vingegaard after the Dane, last year's runner-up, took the leader's yellow jersey from him in the Alps.

10

Jordan Peele's 'Nope' posts biggest debut for an original film since 2019

Jordan Peele's Nope brought in a solid $44 million at the domestic box office over the weekend. The haul was at the low end of expectations but still enough to give it the biggest opening for an original studio film in more than three years, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The last original movie to do better was Peele's Us, which brought in $71 million in its March 2019 debut. Peele was once best known for the comedy sketch show Key & Peele, but he transitioned into directing horror films with 2017's Get Out, a pop culture phenomenon that won him a screenwriting Oscar.

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