10 things you need to know today: July 24, 2023

Drones hit Moscow and Crimea as Russia continues Odesa strikes, Israelis protest ahead of judicial reform vote, and more

Protesters in Israel waving Israeli flags
Labor and business leaders in Israel threatened to shut down the economy if a controversial judicial overhaul passes
(Image credit: Kobi Wolf / Bloomberg via Getty Images )

1. Drones hit Moscow, Crimea as Russian missiles strike Odesa

Drones struck two non-residential buildings in Moscow and a Russian ammunition depot in occupied Crimea early Monday. One of the drones in Moscow shattered glass on the top two floors of an 18-story office building. The other hit a highway near the Russian Defense Ministry, which said it jammed the drones electronically, causing them to crash. Moscow said there were no casualties or extensive damage. Russia blamed the attacks on Ukraine, which made no immediate comment. On Sunday, Russia launched strikes that damaged cultural sites, including a historic Orthodox cathedral, in Odesa, a port city that has faced a string of missile attacks since Russia ended a deal that allowed Ukraine to export grain through the Black Sea.

ABC News

2. Israelis protest ahead of vote on part of controversial judicial overhaul

Israelis continued massive demonstrations overnight ahead of a binding vote in parliament on part of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's controversial judicial overhaul. Labor and business leaders threatened to shut down the economy if the bill passes. Netanyahu on Sunday was rushed to a hospital, where doctors fitted the conservative leader with a pacemaker. The operation occurred hours before lawmakers were scheduled to start debate on a part of the proposed judicial reform package that will limit the right of the country's Supreme Court to overturn government decisions and appointments. Antigovernment protesters camped out near Israel's parliament, the Knesset, in a show of ongoing resistance to the legislation, which opponents say will weaken Israel's democracy.

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The New York Times

3. 19,000 tourists flee wildfire on Greek island

About 19,000 tourists had to flee their hotels on the Greek island of Rhodes on Sunday due to a wildfire. It was the biggest evacuation effort in Greek history, officials there said. The fire in the central and southern parts of Rhodes is the biggest of several still burning in the country. Amy Leyden, a British tourist, was among those told to immediately leave to save their lives. "It was just terrifying," she told Sky News. "We've got our 11-year-old daughter with us and we were walking down the road at two o'clock in the morning and the fire was catching up with us." Belgian tourist Cedric Guisse said his group "really just took out identity cards, water, and something to cover our faces and head."


4. Spain conservatives fall short of majority in inconclusive election

Spain's conservative Popular Party won the most seats in Sunday's parliamentary elections but fell short of a predicted majority needed to form a government, even with the backing of the far-right Vox party. The Socialist Party did better than expected, coming in second with 122 seats in what is likely to be a hung parliament. PP leader Alberto Núñez Feijóo thanked supporters for turning out despite "unbearable temperatures, and said it was up to him to form a government. "Let nobody be tempted to blockade Spain again." Spain's Socialist prime minister, Pedro Sanchez, thanked voters, saying they had "defeated" the Popular Party and Vox by depriving them of a majority, because his party won "more seats than four years ago." Yolanda Díaz, leader of left-wing Sumar party, said "democracy won."

BBC News El Pais

5. Blinken: Ukraine has taken back half of land seized by Russia

Ukraine has reclaimed half of the territory seized by Russia since it invaded last year, but faces a "very hard fight" to liberate any more of its land, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday. "These are still relatively early days of the counteroffensive. It is tough," Blinken told CNN. "It will not play out over the next week or two." Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy conceded last month that his country's long-awaited counteroffensive had made progress that was "slower than desired." Western military officials knew all along that Ukraine lacked the training and weapons to make quick gains against Russia's fortifications and air power, and now the fighting risks sinking into a stalemate with heavy losses and high costs, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Reuters The Wall Street Journal

6. China school gym roof collapses, killing 11

The concrete roof of a school gymnasium collapsed as a middle-school girls' volleyball team practiced in the northeast China city of Qiqihar, killing 11 people. There were 19 people in the gym, and 15 were caught under the falling rubble. An angry father said in a video that went viral on social media that the government sent police to keep watch on the parents, but made no effort to provide updates on the condition of the children and their coach, who also was buried in the debris. Authorities blamed the accident on the illegal piling of perlite, a form of volcanic glass, on the roof by a construction company working on a building project next door. Police detained the construction company's leaders.

BBC News Reuters

7. NBA governors approve Jordan's $3 billion sale of Hornets

The NBA Board of Governors has approved basketball legend Michael Jordan's plan to sell the Charlotte Hornets for about $3 billion, The Associated Press reported Sunday, citing a person familiar with the matter. Jordan, the professional basketball league's only Black majority owner, sealed the deal to sell the team to a group headed by Gabe Plotkin and Rick Schnall in June, but the board must approve all team sales. Plotkin has been a Hornets minority stakeholder since 2019. Schnall is part-owner of the Atlanta Hawks but had to sell his stake. Jordan won six NBA titles as a player with the Chicago Bulls, but the Hornets have never approached that kind of success, going 423-600 on his watch.

The Associated Press

8. Ecuadorian mayor assassinated as violence mounts ahead of election

An Ecuadorian mayor, Agustin Intriago of the Pacific port city of Manta, was assassinated Sunday a month ahead of a presidential election in the South American nation. Police said Intriago, 38, was fatally shot while he inspected public works. He was the second politician attacked in a week amid a surge in violent crime. Interior Minister Juan Zapata said via Twitter that a woman also was killed. Four people were wounded, including two suspects. President Guillermo Lasso vowed to bring anyone involved in the brazen attack to justice. "I can't believe this has happened, former President Rafael Correa tweeted. The mayor of another city, Duran, survived an attack by gunmen in May, but a police officer was killed in that attack.

Reuters Bloomberg

9. Vingegaard wins second straight Tour de France

Danish rider Jonas Vingegaard won his second straight Tour de France on Sunday. Vingegaard entered the final, mostly ceremonial stage of the storied race with a large lead over his main rival, 2020 and 2021 winner Tadej Pogačar, making his victory more or less guaranteed ahead of the finish on the famed Champs-Élysées in Paris. Vingegaard and his Visma-Jumbo teammates posed for photos and drank champagne on the ride to Paris. "I could not have done it without my team," Vingegaard said. "Tonight we will celebrate, have a good dinner. It will be a nice evening. Thanks to my opponents, who have been amazing. It's been an amazing three weeks fighting with you guys."


10. 'Barbenheimer' pulls off biggest weekend of pandemic era

"Barbenheimer" — the one-two box office punch of "Barbie" and "Oppenheimer" — drove the biggest weekend of movie-going in the pandemic era and the fourth biggest weekend in history, providing a key boost for the summer movie season. "Barbie" — a fantasy comedy about the iconic doll — brought in $155 million in its opening weekend, giving Greta Gerwig a record for a woman director, surpassing 2019's "Captain Marvel," co-directed by Anna Boden, at $153 million, and 2017's "Wonder Woman," directed by Patty Jenkins, at $103 million. "We have a pink unicorn here," said Jeff Goldstein, the president of domestic distribution at Warner Bros. Christopher Nolan's "Oppenheimer" — about the father of the atomic bomb — added $80.5 million.

Variety The Washington Post

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