10 things you need to know today: July 25, 2023

Israeli lawmakers pass judicial reform as protests escalate, DOJ sues Texas over border buoys, and more

Protesters in Israel behind a gate
Israel's parliament approved a key part of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's controversial judicial reforms
(Image credit: Kobi Wolf / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

1. Israeli lawmakers approve judicial reform despite escalating protests

Israel's parliament, the Knesset, approved a key part of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's judicial reforms on Monday despite huge crowds of protesters calling the measure a threat to the country's democracy. Police used barbed wire and water cannons to contain demonstrators gathered outside parliament. The bill, which strips the country's Supreme Court of the authority to block government decisions, passed 64-0 after opposition lawmakers walked out. Former Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid vowed to file a petition on Tuesday asking the Supreme Court to block the bill. Thousands of military reservists have threatened to refuse to serve if the measure is enacted.

Haaretz CNN

2. DOJ sues Texas over border buoys

The Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Monday after he refused to remove floating barriers the state has placed in the Rio Grande to deter undocumented migrants trying to enter the United States from Mexico. The Biden administration had given Abbott until Monday to commit to pulling up the potentially dangerous buoys. Abbot, a Republican hard-liner on immigration, said Texas was justified in doing whatever necessary to deter an "invasion" of immigrants. The Justice Department had set a Monday deadline for the state to pledge to remove the barriers, which the federal government and Mexico say are illegal and violate treaties.

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The Dallas Morning News CBS News

3. Russian drones strike Ukrainian port across Danube from Romania

Russian drones struck a Ukrainian port town across the Danube River from Romania, destroying a grain hangar in an apparent broadening of Moscow's attacks on Ukraine's agricultural exports. Russia has targeted Ukrainian ports since ending a deal that had allowed Ukraine to export grain safely through the Black Sea as Russia's invasion of the country continues. The blasts across the river from NATO member Romania marked the closest Russia has come to triggering a potential direct confrontation with the defense alliance. Russia on Monday warned that it would retaliate forcefully to weekend drone strikes that hit a Moscow office building and an area close to the Defense Ministry's headquarters.

The New York Times Reuters

4. Scientists: Heat waves 'virtually impossible' without climate change

This month's deadly heat waves in the American Southwest and southern Europe would have been "virtually impossible" without the increase in world temperatures since 1800 that scientists blame on the burning of fossil fuels, according to a study published Tuesday. The analysis by the World Weather Attribution network, a coalition of scientists that does rapid assessments of climate change's role in extreme weather, found that climate change and a stagnant atmosphere made the European heat wave 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit hotter, and the one in the United States 3.6 degrees hotter. Several climate scientists said that judging by tree rings and other stand-ins for temperature records, this month was probably the hottest on Earth in 120,000 years.

The Washington Post

5. Judge sentences Arkansas man to 52 months in prison for Jan. 6 assault

Arkansas truck driver Peter Stager was sentenced to 52 months in federal prison on Monday for assaulting a police officer, Blake Miller, with a flagpole during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol by a mob of then-President Donald Trump's supporters. Miller was lying face down surrounded by a mob of rioters with "no means of defending himself" during the assault, prosecutors said in court documents. Stager is among nine men accused of attacking Miller and fellow officers Carter Moor and Andrew Wayte on the steps outside a tunnel at the Capitol's Lower West Terrace. Officers have likened the violent spree to a medieval battle. Stager was caught on video after the assault saying, "Death is the only remedy for what's in that building."

The New York Times

6. Greta Thunberg arrested at another climate protest

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg was arrested for trying to block access to an oil facility on Monday, just hours after a court fined her for disobeying police during a demonstration at the site last month. Thunberg, 20, admitted the facts in the earlier case but denied she was guilty of a crime, arguing that fighting the fossil fuel industry is a form of self-defense. "We cannot save the world by playing by the rules," she said after the verdict was announced. "If the court sees our actions of self-defense as a crime, that's how it is," said Irma Kjellström, a spokesperson for the environmental group Reclaim the Future who was present at the June protest.

The Associated Press

7. Tour companies fly travelers home from Greek islands amid fires

Tour operators flew more than 2,000 tourists home from the Greek island of Rhodes on Monday after they were forced to flee their hotels because of wildfires. Greece's government said more repatriation flights were scheduled through Tuesday in the biggest evacuation the country has ever conducted. Fires that started last Wednesday forced more than 19,000 people to leave homes and hotels on the island over the weekend. More people were evacuated due to fires on the island of Corfu, another tourism hot spot. "For the next few weeks we must be on constant alert ... The climate crisis is here," Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told parliament.


8. Carlee Russell apologizes, admits she wasn't abducted

Carlee Russell, who went missing in Alabama after a 911 call about a toddler walking along a highway, has admitted to Hoover, Alabama, police that she was not abducted, her attorney, Emory Anthony said in a statement sent to Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis on Monday. Anthony wrote that Russell had authorized him to say "there was no kidnapping" and she "did not see a baby on the side of the road." The lawyer said Russell "apologizes for her actions to the community, the volunteers who were searching for her, to the Hoover Police Department and other agencies, as well as to her friends and family." Anthony didn't say where Russell was during the 48 hours she was missing.

Al.com CNN

9. Miami-Dade police director suffers self-inflicted gunshot wound

Miami-Dade County, Florida, Police Director Alfredo "Freddy" Ramirez was hospitalized in stable condition on Monday after shooting himself following a domestic disturbance at a Tampa hotel, police sources said. Ramirez, a Democratic candidate for sheriff in the 2024 election, was in Tampa with his wife to attend a law enforcement convention. Ramirez, 52, suffered a gunshot wound to the head along I-75 south of Tampa, and was rushed to a hospital for surgery shortly after the reported domestic dispute, after the JW Marriott staff asked him and his wife to leave. Michael Lewis, an elected sheriff from Maryland, said he heard that police were called after Ramirez and his wife had a "heated discussion" outside the hotel.

The Miami Herald USA Today

10. Jason Aldean's controversial 'Try That in a Small Town' rises to No. 2

Jason Aldean's "Try That in a Small Town" jumped to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week after Country Music Television pulled its video over objections to the lyrics and images in the video. Fans streamed the song and video 11.7 million times in a week, up from 987,000 streams in the week before the video erupted. The video features footage of protests projected onto a Columbia, Tennessee, courthouse where an 18-year-old Black man, Henry Choate, was lynched in 1927. "Stomp on the flag and light it up," Aldean sings in the song, "Well, that (expletive) might fly in the city, good luck / Try that in a small town." Critics called the song "pro-lynching." Aldean says he was targeted by "cancel culture."

The Associated Press Today

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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.