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good evening. Here are the latest as of late Monday.
1. Ukrainian forces are massing for a high-profile counteroffensive to retake Kherson.The first city to fall to Russian forces.
Kherson has become an important bastion for Russia, which uses it as a base to launch a series of offensives across much of Ukraine. Regaining control of the city could also restore Ukraine’s momentum and boost the morale of its troops after months of vicious fighting.
In other news from Ukraine:
Home prices have risen more than 21 percent from a year ago due to Russian attacks on critical infrastructure and occupation of industrial and agricultural areas.
Ukraine is pressing ahead with plans to resume much-needed grain exports across the Black Sea despite a Russian missile attack on the port of Odessa.
2. Pope Francis apologizes for “evil” inflicted on indigenous peoples in Canada.
“I humbly apologize,” Francis told a large crowd of locals at the site of a former church-run residential school. About 130 such facilities were gruesome centers of sexual, mental and physical abuse, forced assimilation, cultural destruction and death for more than a century.
From the 1880s to the 1990s, the Canadian government forcibly removed at least 150,000 Indigenous children from their homes and sent them to residential schools for assimilation. Catholic orders were responsible for running 60 to 70 percent of the schools, where thousands of children died.
3. California’s largest wildfire of the year is slowing down.
After growing explosively, the Oak Fire in the Sierra Nevada foothills raged yesterday, with firefighters able to defend communities a dozen miles from Yosemite National Park. The fire burned a total of 16,800 acres and destroyed seven structures.
Officials have warned of a potentially devastating 2022 fire season in the state’s parched landscape. So far, California has been able to avoid the kind of megafires it has experienced over the years. But July is early in the state’s traditional fire season.
On the other side of the country: The National Weather Service said the Northeast heat wave that set a record Sunday is in its “final phase.” But the Pacific Northwest is next.
4. Migrant smuggling has developed along the US-Mexico border. A network of freelance “coyotes” into a billion dollar business.
While migrants have long faced kidnapping and extortion in Mexico’s border towns, there has been an uptick in such incidents recently on the U.S. side, according to federal officials. Over the past year, federal agents have raided dozens of immigrant safe houses on an almost daily basis.
Tighter U.S. border restrictions due to pandemic public health rules have encouraged more migrants to turn to smugglers. Fees typically range from $4,000 for immigrants from Latin America, to $20,000 for those from Africa, Eastern Europe or Asia, one expert said. According to a federal agency, the smuggling industry’s annual revenue grew from $500 million to $13 billion in 2018.
5. Myanmar’s military government executes four pro-democracy activists.
The country’s first executions in more than 30 years were seen as an attempt to strike fear into a resistance movement that has been fighting the junta since a coup last year. All four were sentenced to death without lawyers during closed-door trials.
Western leaders have called on the military to release political prisoners and stop its torture. “These despicable acts will be a turning point for the international community,” said Thomas Andrews, the UN special representative for human rights in Myanmar.
6. The Democratic Republic of Congo is auctioning vast tracts of land for oil and gas exploration. As the world backs away from fighting climate change and scrambling for fossil fuels.
Oil and gas blocks extend into the Congo Basin’s carbon-trapping tropical peatlands and rainforests, which protect the planet by storing carbon, and Virunga National Park, the world’s most important gorilla sanctuary. are
Congo has taken notice of the world’s drive to produce more energy in the wake of Russia’s attack on Ukraine, said Tosi Mpano Mpano, the country’s chief representative on climate issues and adviser to the minister of hydrocarbons. “Our priority is not to save the planet,” he added.
7. The new Jackie Robinson Museum is about much more than baseball.
Robinson did great work in the field, but a long-planned center in Lower Manhattan has focused as much attention on his civil rights work and his legacy as one of the most important figures in American history. .
His widow, Rachel Robinson, has long envisioned the museum as a way for people to learn about the courageous work her husband helped transform American society with. After years of delays, the museum is set to open to the public in September.
In other baseball news, The Seattle Mariners are the only major league franchise to never make the World Series. Our columnist hopes this will be the year the curse is broken.
8. Musicians often talk about finding the divine in their work. Maggie Rogers actually went to Harvard to study it.
The singer-songwriter graduated from Harvard Divinity School in May with a master’s degree. As she was studying, she was also completing her second album, “Surrender”, which was part of her thesis. He told our reporter that the album is “joy with teeth”.
BeyHive, submit: In anticipation of Beyonce’s seventh solo studio album, “Renaissance,” out Friday, our critics and reporters debate which of her past works best reveal her artistic vision.
9. The collaboration between Kanye West and Gap could be a new model for fashion. – or a corporate creative cautionary tale.
More than two years after Gap signed a deal with the rapper’s fashion line, Yeezy, the products are finally available in physical stores — but only after French luxury house, Balenciaga got on board. We see why it took so long.
10. And finally, a dinosaur royal rumble.
In February, a team of scientists rocked paleontology when they proposed that Tyrannosaurus rex was actually three separate species – T. rex, T. imperator and T. regina. Now another group of researchers is striking back, in what is likely to be a king-sized taxonomic debate for years to come.
The disagreement highlights a fundamental problem with dinosaur research: Without dinosaur DNA, the lines between one fossil species and another are blurred. But fossils can also be misleading because bones can become distorted after being buried underground. Meanwhile, neither side seems ready to surrender.
Have a larger-than-life night.
Brent Lewis Images compiled for this briefing.