10 things you need to know today: June 29, 2023

Crews recover Titan submersible debris, judges block bans on transgender care for minors in Kentucky and Tennessee, and more

Teenagers holding signs in support of trans kids in Kentucky
Federal judges on Wednesday temporarily blocked bans on gender-transition care for minors in Kentucky and Tennessee
(Image credit: Marcus Dorsey / Lexington Herald-Leader/ Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

1. Titan submersible debris and 'presumed human remains' recovered

Salvage crews brought up parts of the Titan submersible that imploded during a deep dive to the wreck of the Titanic. All five people on board died. "Presumed human remains" were found in the debris. The sub was lost about 90 minutes into a trip to carry wealthy tourists and adventurers to see the famous 1912 shipwreck, which sits in North Atlantic waters 12,500 feet deep. The debris, covered in white tarps, was unloaded from the Horizon Arctic ship in St. John's Canada. Five major pieces have been found near the Titanic's bow. The recovered parts included the submersible's two titanium end caps, including the sub's main porthole with its window missing, as well as the equipment bay and two landing legs.


2. Judges block bans on transgender care for minors in 2 states

Federal judges on Wednesday temporarily blocked bans on gender-transition care for minors in Kentucky and Tennessee. The rulings came in the latest court clashes over legislation passed recently by Republican-controlled legislatures targeting LGBTQ rights. Judge David Hale of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky temporarily blocked part of a Kentucky law seeking to bar treating transgender youths with puberty blockers and hormone therapy, keeping those options open for now. Hours later, Judge Eli Richardson of the Middle District of Tennessee issued a similar ruling. The laws had been scheduled to take effect within days. Richardson, who was nominated by former President Donald Trump, acknowledged that the decision would "likely stoke the already controversial fire" about transgender rights.

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The New York Times

3. Prigozhin says he aimed to capture Russian miliary chiefs

Russia's Wagner mercenary group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin aimed to capture Russia's military leadership, not overthrow the government, during a brief mutiny last weekend, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday, citing Western officials. He reportedly had to launch the plan prematurely after Russia's domestic intelligence agency discovered the plot. Prigozhin wanted to grab Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Gen. Valery Gerasimov, the chief of Russia's general staff, when they arrived for a scheduled visit to southern Russia near the border with Ukraine, where Prigozhin and his troops were a key part of Russia's war effort. Gen. Viktor Zolotov, commander of Russia's National Guard, said news of the preparations "were leaked from Prigozhin's camp."

The Wall Street Journal

4. Ukraine charges man in connection with Russian strike that killed 11 at pizza restaurant

Ukrainian authorities arrested a man Wednesday on suspicion of helping Russia direct a missile strike that killed at least 11 people and wounded 61 at a crowded pizza restaurant in eastern Ukraine. The attack in Kramatorsk was the latest in a series of Russian strikes that have targeted Ukrainian population centers. It came as the Kremlin tried to project an image of strength and stability after a short-lived mutiny by Russian Wagner Group mercenaries last weekend. Ukraine did not appear to have made a military push to exploit the internal turmoil in Russia, although the rebellion gave Ukrainian forces a morale boost as they continue their recently launched counteroffensive, according to The Associated Press.

The Associated Press

5. Canada wildfire smoke spreads in Midwest

Smoke from Canadian wildfires spread across the Midwest on Wednesday, with millions of Americans facing alerts for unhealthy air quality. Twenty U.S. states — from Minnesota and western New York as far south as Georgia — were covered by the alerts. Chicago, which was the city with the worst air quality worldwide earlier in the week, got a brief reprieve, as its air cleared somewhat thanks to a lake breeze. Wildfires have scorched more than 19.5 million acres in Canada so far this year, a record, and there are still nearly 500 wildfires burning across that country. Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson urged "particularly sensitive populations, including individuals with heart or lung disease, older adults, pregnant people, and young children," to stay indoors.

ABC News

6. Protester burns Koran in Sweden, Turkey condemns 'heinous act'

A man desecrated a Koran in a protest outside Stockholm's central mosque on Wednesday. As about 200 witnesses watched, the man allegedly wiped his shoes with the Islamic sacred book, put bacon in it, tore out pages, and burned it. Swedish police had granted permission for the protest, but later charged the unidentified man with agitation against an ethnic or national group. Turkey's foreign minister, Hakan Fidan, condemned the destruction of the Koran in a tweet, and said freedom of expression didn't justify permitting anti-Islam protests. Turkey condemned the Koran-burning protest as a "heinous act." Ankara has been holding up Sweden's application to join NATO over previous protests and Sweden's support for Kurdish groups Ankara considers terrorists.

Reuters CNN

7. France protests spread after fatal police shooting

Angry protests spread in France Wednesday over the fatal police shooting of a 17-year-old boy, identified only as Nahel M., during a traffic stop in a Paris suburb with a large immigrant population, renewing concerns about police abuses in minority communities. Police arrested 150 people as protesters for a second night burned cars and aimed fireworks at police in several low-income Paris suburbs, as well as in other cities, including Lyon and Toulouse. The anger erupted after police said an officer shot Nahel because officers feared he would run them over. But a video of the traffic stop posted online showed two officers standing by the car, with one pointing a gun at the vehicle. Someone says, "You are going to get a bullet in the head." The car then speeds away and the officer fires.

Le Monde France24

8. Yankees' Domingo Germán pitches perfect game

New York Yankees pitcher Domingo Germán threw the 24th perfect game in Major League Baseball history on Wednesday, retiring all 27 Oakland A's batters to lead the Yankees to an 11-0 win at Oakland Coliseum. Germán is the fourth Yankee to pitch a perfect game — Don Larsen threw one in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series, followed by David Wells in 1998 and David Cone in 1999. It was the first MLB perfect game since Félix Hernández of the Seattle Mariners threw one against the Tampa Bay Rays in 2012. The A's are 21-61, the worst record in the majors. Germán said the feat was "exciting," although in the last inning he "felt an amount of pressure that I've never felt before."

SFGate The New York Times

9. South Koreans suddenly become younger under new law

Over 50 million South Koreans suddenly became officially one or two years younger on Wednesday when a new law took effect, adopting "international age" and doing away with "Korean age" and "calendar age." South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol pushed the legislation, saying the use of three age systems created "unnecessary social and economic costs." Under Korean age, a person is considered one year old at birth with a year added every Jan. 1. Under calendar age, also called counting age, a person is considered zero years old when they're born with a year added every Jan. 1. With the widely used international age, a person is considered zero years old at birth with a year added on every birthday.


10. Simone Biles plans return to gymnastics competition

Gymnastics star Simone Biles plans to return to competition this summer for the first time since the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where she removed herself from several events to focus on her mental health. USA Gymnastics said Wednesday that Biles, a seven-time Olympic medalist and 2016 Olympic champion, will compete in the U.S. Classic outside Chicago in early August, which is considered a warmup for the national championships later that month. Biles, 26, has taken most of the last two years off to concentrate on her life outside the sport. Earlier this year, she married NFL defensive back Jonathan Owens. Her return comes as athletes intensify training ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympics.

The Spun The Associated Press

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Harold Maass

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at TheWeek.com. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, Fox News, and ABC News. For several years, he wrote a daily round-up of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and two sons.