10 things you need to know today: July 8, 2023

White House defends controversial delivery of cluster bombs to Ukraine, Yellen urges economic harmony between China and US, and more

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng.
(Image credit: Mark Schiefelbein - Pool/Getty Images)

1. Biden defends controversial delivery of cluster bombs to Ukraine

President Biden on Friday defended his decision to send cluster bombs to Ukraine, saying it was a "difficult" choice but necessary because "the Ukrainians are running out of ammunition." During an interview with CNN, Biden said that he had discussed the decision to send the weapons to Ukraine with Democratic allies on Capitol Hill, as well as extensively with his advisors. The munitions contain smaller explosive particles called bomblets, and are banned in many countries due to their propensity for harming civilians. A number of top Democrats lambasted Biden for his decision, with Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Mo.) saying, "The legacy of cluster bombs is misery, death, and expensive cleanup generations after their use."

CNN Politico

2. Yellen urges climate change harmony between China and US

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen continued her meeting with top Chinese officials on Saturday, where she urged the country to increase its investments in combating global climate change. Yellen is in China amidst ongoing efforts to thaw relations between the two international superpowers, and said that climate change "should be targeted efficiently and effectively." The secretary added that if China supported multilateral climate initiatives, such as the Green Climate Fund, "We could have a greater impact than we do today." There have not been any formal climate agreements hatched by the US and China since the Trump administration, though Chinese officials seemed receptive to Yellen's remarks, suggesting that this could potentially change.

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The New York Times BBC News

3. Dutch prime minister resigns following government collapse

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte resigned on Saturday, handing the reigns over to a caretaker government and paving the way for a general election later this year. Rutte's resignation comes one day after his cabinet collapsed, as lawmakers were unable to reach an agreement over the handling of asylum seekers entering the Netherlands. The issue has been at the forefront of Dutch politics for months, and the issue boiled over this past week when Rutte's conservative party was unable to gain support for a plan to reduce the flow of migrants. This included a controversial proposal to reduce the number of family members who are allowed to reunite with asylum-seekers, something opposition parties strongly opposed.

The Washington Post The Associated Press

4. El Paso Walmart mass shooter sentenced to 90 consecutive life terms

The man who killed 23 people during a racially motivated mass shooting at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart was sentenced to 90 consecutive life sentences on Friday. Patrick Crusius, 24, received the sentences for each of the 90 federal charges he previously pleaded guilty to, including hate crimes and firearms offenses. The sentencing comes nearly four years after the Aug. 3, 2019 mass shooting, during which Crusius entered the Walmart in East El Paso, a predominantly Latino community, and began firing, leading to one of the deadliest race-based attacks in U.S. history. He is also facing a potential death sentence in a separate state case, in which he has pleaded not guilty.

El Paso Times CNN

5. UPS inches closer to strike as contract negotiations break down

The parcel industry could go haywire this month, as UPS workers are threatening to strike after negotiations broke down between their union representatives and the company's management. Though the current union contract does not expire until the end of July, the sides now appear significantly far apart as workers seemingly prepare for the inevitable. Many UPS drivers have reportedly been holding practice pickets with signs that say, "Just practicing for a just contract." Sean O'Brien, president of the Teamsters Union that represents 340,000 UPS workers, told NPR that the company's employees "want to be rewarded for their hard work, especially in light of UPS making record profits during the pandemic."


6. Rep. Jamie Raskin passes on Senate seat, announces House reelection run

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said Friday that he would not run for his state's open Senate seat, instead choosing to launch his bid for reelection in the U.S. House of Representatives. In a statement, Raskin, 60, said, "I believe the best way for me to make the greatest difference in American politics in 2024 and beyond is this: to run for reelection to the House of Representatives in Maryland's extraordinary 8th District." Speculation had brewed that Raskin, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, could run for the Maryland Senate seat being vacated by Ben Cardin. Beyond political reasoning, Raskin is also continuing to battle lymphoma which is currently in remission.

Politico TIME

7. Paris protests over police force banned following riots

French authorities on Friday banned protesters from marching in Paris over the controversial use of police force throughout the country. Organizers had attempted to overrule the ban in court, but have since moved the protest to a different location in Paris after that challenge failed. However, police then banned that protest as well, saying they had not mobilized enough officers to ensure a peaceful demonstration. The decision has created more anger in the wake of the police-involved shooting of Nahel Merzouk, a 17-year-old whose death at the hands of an officer sparked a wave of violent protests across France. Further demonstrations are still being planned in other cities throughout the country.

The Guardian Reuters

8. Newsom drops fight over parole for Manson family member Leslie Van Houten

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said Friday that he would not challenge the parole of Manson family member Leslie Van Houten, paving the way for her release after more than 50 years in prison. Van Houten had been granted parole by a state appellate court, and Newsom said in a statement that he was "disappointed" by the court's decision, but "will not pursue further action as efforts to further appeal are unlikely to succeed." The court's move overrules a previous order by Newsom to block the release of Van Houten, who is serving a life sentence for helping members of the Manson family cult kill a Los Angeles couple in 1969.

Los Angeles Times

9. Afghan man who helped US forces during war is killed in Washington

An Afghan man who served as an interpreter for U.S. forces during the war in Afghanistan survived the conflict, only to be shot and killed in Washington, D.C., this past week. The man, Nasrat Ahmad Yar, 31, was reportedly working a nighttime shift as a Lyft driver on July 3 when he was shot by four armed assailants, police said. The circumstances of the shooting are unclear, but surveillance video captured by police allegedly shows the four suspects fleeing the scene. Yar was a father of four who moved to Alexandria, Virginia, less than a year ago. He had assisted US forces for years in Afghanistan, and only left following the country's 2021 fall to the Taliban.

CBS News The Associated Press

10. Victor Wembanyama scores just nine points in NBA Summer League debut

San Antonio Spurs phenom Victor Wembanyama had a muted start to his NBA career, scoring just nine points in his Summer League debut on Friday night. Wembanyama, the first selection in the 2023 draft, is considered one of the best basketball prospects ever, but shot just two for 13 from the field, a rate of around 15%. Though the Spurs beat the Charlotte Hornets 76 68, Wembanyama admitted after the game that his performance was lackluster, saying he's "just gotta get acclimated to the new style of play … Next time, I'm going to do better." A number of NBA legends, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, were in attendance for the game.

Yahoo! Sports

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Justin Klawans

Justin Klawans is a staff writer at The Week. Based in Chicago, he was previously a breaking news reporter for Newsweek, writing breaking news and features for verticals including politics, U.S. and global affairs, business, crime, sports, and more. His reporting has been cited on many online platforms, in addition to CBS' The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

He is also passionate about entertainment and sports news, and has covered film, television, and casting news as a freelancer for outlets like Collider and United Press International, as well as Chicago sports news for Fansided.