Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: July 11, 2022

Trump ally Steve Bannon offers to testify to Jan. 6 panel, Russian rockets hit Ukraine apartment building, and more

1

Trump ally Steve Bannon offers to testify to Jan. 6 panel

Former President Donald Trump's one-time strategist, Steve Bannon, has told the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack that he will drop his refusal to testify, The New York Times reported Sunday. Until Saturday, he had vowed to make the criminal contempt case against him for refusing to comply with the panel's subpoena into the "misdemeanor from hell" for the Justice Department, according to the Times. Bannon, an ally in Trump's effort to overturn his election loss, faced up to two years in jail and fines if found in contempt. Trump authorized him to testify, Bannon's lawyer told the committee in a letter, first reported by Britain's The Guardian. The committee holds a hearing Tuesday focused on extremist groups.

2

Russian rockets hit Ukraine apartment building, killing at least 15

Russian rockets hit a five-story apartment building in Ukraine's Donetsk region, killing at least 15 people, Donetsk Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said Sunday. Rescuers sifted through the rubble searching for survivors after the Saturday strike. Two dozen people could be trapped by debris, authorities said. Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of Ukraine's presidential office, said via Telegram that crews rescued six people. "I was thrown into the bathroom, it was all chaos, I was in shock, all covered in blood," said a survivor, who gave her name as Venera. Russia said its forces attacked Ukrainian army hangars where U.S.-produced artillery, M777 howitzers, were stored near Kostyantynivka in Donetsk.

3

Slain former PM Shinzo Abe's ruling party wins big in Japan elections

Japan's governing Liberal Democratic Party appeared to have won big in Sunday's parliamentary election after last week's assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Early upper-house votes showed Abe's governing party and its coalition partner, Komeito, winning at least 143 seats, a solid majority in the 248-member chamber. Abe was shot while stumping for a colleague. Police in western Japan transferred the alleged killer to a local prosecutors' office as the investigation continued. The suspect, Tetsuya Yamagami, allegedly believed Abe was linked to the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church, which Yamagami resented because his mother's donations to the church ruined her financially. 

4

Leaked Uber files suggest company used covert tech to thwart raids

Leaked documents suggest Uber used a "kill switch" and other covert technology to prevent European regulators from examining the ride-hailing company's business practices as it challenged taxi services around the world, according to more than 124,000 documents known as the Uber files that were leaked to Britain's The Guardian. During this period, The Washington Post reported Sunday, Uber faced raids so frequently that it provided a Dawn Raid Manual instructing employees how to react if authorities arrived, with directives such as "Move the Regulators into a meeting room that does not contain any files" and "Never leave the Regulators alone," the Post reported.

5

Biden considers declaring public health emergency to increase abortion access

President Biden said Sunday he might declare a public health emergency to allow federal resources to be used to increase abortion access in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide. The White House has said it doesn't see this as "a great option," but Biden said it was important for abortion-rights forces to do whatever they can to counter the decision, as red states impose new abortion bans or tighten restrictions. "Keep protesting. Keep making your point," Biden said near his family's Delaware beach house. He said he lacked the power to reinstate Roe but the administration is doing a "lot of things to accommodate the rights of women."

6

Abbott Labs reopens Michigan baby-formula plant

Abbott Laboratories has restarted baby-formula production at its Sturgis, Michigan, plant, company spokesperson John Koval confirmed Sunday. The news came three weeks after a shutdown prompted by severe thunderstorms disrupted the push to ease a nationwide shortage. Koval said production of Abbott's EleCare formula for babies with digestive issues had resumed, according to The Wall Street Journal. Shipping will start back up within weeks, he said, and production of Similac formula will start again as soon as the company can manage. The company had announced on June 15 that it temporarily stopped operations at the plant to clean and sanitize it after flooding caused by the storm.

7

Yosemite fire threatens giant sequoias

The Washburn fire in Yosemite National Park over the weekend continued to threaten the Mariposa Grove, home to about 500 ancient sequoias, including the famous 200-foot-tall Grizzly Giant. The tree is the second largest in the park. President Abraham Lincoln signed legislation in 1864 first safeguarding the Mariposa Grove and Yosemite Valley for "public use, resort, and recreation." This was "the first time that the federal government set aside scenic natural areas to be protected for the benefit of future generations," according to the Los Angeles Times. The Washburn fire was first reported on Thursday afternoon near the Washburn Trail at the southern end of the park, and by Sunday it had burned 1,591 acres.

8

WNBA All-Stars honor Brittney Griner

WNBA players honored Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner, jailed in Russia on drug charges since February, during the women's basketball league's All-Star Game in Chicago on Sunday. The players lined up after halftime in matching No. 42 jerseys with Griner's name on the back, and several stars hugged Griner's wife, Cherelle Griner, who was seated at courtside. Griner, a seven-time All-Star and two-time Olympic gold medal winner, had been playing for a Russian team during the WNBA's off-season when she was arrested and accused of carrying vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage at an airport near Moscow. She pleaded guilty last week, but the State Department has said she was "wrongfully detained."

9

Djokovic wins 7th Wimbledon title

Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic won his seventh Wimbledon men's singles title on Sunday, beating Nick Kyrgios 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (3). It is Djokovic's fourth straight Wimbledon championship. Djokovic is now one behind Roger Federer's record eight total Wimbledon wins. It was Djokovic's 21st major title, just behind Rafael Nadal's record 22. "It's weird. I felt like he didn't do anything amazing today," said the unseeded Kyrgios. "But he was just so composed." Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan on Saturday won the women's singles title, beating Ons Jabeur 3-6, 6-2, 6-2. It was her first major tournament victory. "Happy that it finished, to be honest," the 23-year-old said, "because really, I never felt something like this."

10

Thor: Love and Thunder posts 3rd biggest box office debut of 2022

Marvel's Thor: Love and Thunder debuted with an estimated $143 million at the domestic box office this weekend. That's the third biggest opening of the year behind Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness' $187 million and Jurassic World Dominion's $145 million. It's also the biggest opening of the Thor series, surpassing Thor: Ragnarok's $123 million debut. The debut represented the latest in a string of successes for the Marvel franchise, although moviegoers polled by CinemaScore gave the film a B+ rating, which is unusually low for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thor: Ragnarok, for comparison, received an A.

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