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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Nicola Slawson

First Thing: Biden decries gun violence as shootings across US mar Fourth of July festivities

Joe Biden with microphone
Joe Biden speaking on the South Lawn during a Fourth of July BBQ and concert with military families and other guests. Photograph: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Good morning.

A long holiday weekend of bloodshed has intensified after a heavily armed gunman in a bulletproof vest opened fire on the streets of Philadelphia on the eve of Fourth of July celebrations, in yet another mass shooting in the US, killing five people and wounding two boys before surrendering to the police.

Across the country, Texas was entering the holiday to news that another shooting had killed three people, in Fort Worth, occurring just before midnight during a gathering in a parking lot that also wounded eight.

In Chicago, five people were killed and at least 33 wounded in a rash of shootings across the city, coming one year after a shooter took seven lives at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois, near Chicago. Meanwhile, police in Kansas on Tuesday said 11 people had been hurt over the weekend when a gunman opened fire inside a Wichita nightclub.

Joe Biden decried the violence, in a statement from the White House yesterday, after he and the first lady, Jill Biden, returned from Camp David.

  • What did Biden say? The president said: “Our nation has once again endured a wave of tragic and senseless shootings in communities across America. Today, Jill and I grieve for those who have lost their lives and, as our nation celebrates Independence Day, we pray for the day when our communities will be free from gun violence.”

China floods: Xi Jinping urges action as rains destroy buildings and displace thousands

A man rows an inflatable ring in a flooded street
Chinese scientists have told people to expect ‘multiple natural disasters’ this month, including typhoons and high temperatures. Photograph: China News Service/Getty Images

China’s president, Xi Jinping, has called for stronger efforts to protect lives and property from severe flooding, as the country’s scientists warned July would bring more misery from extreme weather.

Heavy rain has displaced thousands of people in the centre of China, and destroyed bridges and other property. Video captured one building in south-west Chongqing crumbling into a raging torrent, and the national broadcaster reported a railway bridge collapsed after it was weakened by flood waters in the same region.

More than 10,000 people were also evacuated in recent days from homes in central Hunan province, where dozens of buildings collapsed and initial damage estimates reached nearly 600m yuan ($80m).

Flood warnings are now also in place for the north including Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces.

  • Is this a one-off? No. China regularly faces severe flooding, and as global warming produces more frequent extreme weather, problems are likely to intensify. Chinese meteorological authorities warned the country could expect “multiple natural disasters in July, including floods, severe convection weather, typhoons and high temperatures”, AFP reported.

  • What else is happening? Monday 3 July 2023 was the hottest day ever recorded globally, according to data from the US National Centers for Environmental Prediction. The average global temperature reached 17.01C (62.62F), surpassing the August 2016 record of 16.92C (62.46F), as heatwaves sizzled around the world.

Russian regions under fire from Ukrainian forces, say local governors

A local resident looks out from his house in the village of Novaya Tavolzhanka, near the border with Ukraine in the Belgorod region.
A resident looks out from his house in the village of Novaya Tavolzhanka, near the border with Ukraine in the Belgorod region. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Russia’s Kursk and Belgorod regions came under fire from Ukrainian forces across the border in the early hours of this morning, governors in the regions said.

There were no casualties but it was later reported that a woman was wounded in the attacks on Belgorod.

The Belgorod governor, Vyacheslav Gladkov, said that Russian defence forces had shot down three air objects, including a drone. Ukraine forces also fired 12 times from the Grad rocket launchers, he added. At least eight private houses were damaged in the attacks.

Separately, Roman Starovoyt, the governor of the Kursk region, north of Belgorod and also bordering Ukraine, said that a school and a house were damaged when the village of Tyotkino came fire, again without specifying the form of attack.

Neither the Guardian nor Reuters have independently verified the reports.

  • What else is happening? The Kremlin has suggested it could be open to a possible prisoner exchange involving the jailed Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, but reaffirmed that such talks must be held away from the public eye.

In other news …

A Palestinian woman walks on a damaged road in the Jenin refugee camp
A Palestinian woman walks down a damaged road in the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank. Photograph: Majdi Mohammed/AP
  • Israel has withdrawn its forces from the Palestinian city of Jenin after one of its biggest military operations in the occupied West Bank for years, which the Israeli army said was aimed at destroying militant infrastructure. Twelve Palestinians, at least five of them fighters, were killed.

  • A US federal judge restricted some agencies and officials of the Biden administration from meeting and communicating with social media companies to moderate their content, according to a court filing. Republicans said the ruling was necessary to stop the government from curbing dissenting views.

  • A South Carolina woman died yesterday after she was attacked by an alligator while walking her dog near a golf course, authorities said. The 69-year-old woman, who has not been named, was found dead in the Spanish Wells community of Hilton Head Island, the Beaufort county sheriff’s office said.

  • The Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey had a “panicked” look on his face after a man he met in a pub rejected him when he grabbed his crotch, a court has heard. The alleged victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told a police officer the Hollywood star had kissed his neck twice before grabbing him, while saying: “Be cool, be cool.”

  • French prosecutors have opened an investigation into the death of a 27-year-old man who was hit by a projectile at the time of the riots on Saturday, the Marseille prosecutor’s office has said. The man died on Saturday night while Marseille was engulfed in riots and pillaging.

Don’t miss this: The trauma of Cary Grant: how he thrived after a terrible childhood – as told by his daughter

Archive photo of Cary Grant with baby daughter Jennifer at La Groceria Restaurant.
‘Dad transformed himself in a very American can-do way’ … Cary Grant. Photograph: NY Daily News/Getty Images

It is more than 35 years since Cary Grant died and to talk to his daughter, the sadness is still, sometimes, immediate. Jennifer Grant was a baby when her parents divorced – her mother is the actor, Dyan Cannon – and she primarily lived with her father until his death, when she was 20. “When will I stop missing him?” wrote Grant in her 2011 memoir and although, of course, the answer is never, working on the TV show has helped her close the circuit between the father she knew and the incongruity of his concealed origins – a hardscrabble upbringing in England. Born into extreme poverty, Grant was told as a child his mother had died. She had actually been placed in a psychiatric institution. It was the start of a life of repression and extraordinary reinvention. “I think it’s a story that deserves to be told,” says Jennifer, 57. “It makes one appreciate Dad so much more. He had repressed so much – it was somewhat of a secret and it didn’t have to be.”

… or this: Turbulence is getting worse. So is my fear of flying. Can I cure it in time for a wedding?

Plane and illustration of terrified looking woman
‘So convinced am I that it’s the end, I start typing out my goodbyes to loved ones on the notes app.’ Composite: The Guardian/Getty Images/Alamy

“Why don’t you just take a Xanax?” That’s what most people suggest when I tell them I’m afraid of flying, writes Anna Codrea-Rado. I say I don’t because my doctor told me there’s an increased risk of blood clots. But that’s not the actual reason. I don’t take a sedative, or even drink, on a flight because I must be alert at all times. I can’t possibly be knocked out because when – sorry, if – something goes wrong, I need to be ready to fly the plane. (No, I don’t have a pilot’s licence). Turbulence is my biggest trigger. Even if I’ve managed to hold myself together through take-off, the moment we hit a bump I’m a goner. So convinced am I that it’s the end, I start typing out my goodbyes to loved ones on the notes app on my phone. Catastrophically for me, flights have been getting bumpier. Thanks to the climate crisis, clear air turbulence is now occurring more frequently. Up to 40% of the US population may have aviophobia. Is it possible to conquer it – and how?

Climate check: Improving soil could keep world within 1.5C heating target, research suggests

Closeup of tractor tilling a field
The level of carbon stored in the ground can now be assessed down to the level of individual fields, which could help farmers to sell carbon credits. Photograph: Image Source/Getty Images

Marginal improvements to agricultural soils around the world would store enough carbon to keep the world within 1.5C of global heating, new research suggests. Farming techniques that improve long-term fertility and yields can also help to store more carbon in soils but are often ignored in favour of intensive techniques using large amounts of artificial fertiliser, much of it wasted, that can increase greenhouse gas emissions. Using better farming techniques to store 1% more carbon in about half of the world’s agricultural soils would be enough to absorb about 31 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide a year, according to new data. That amount is not far off the 32 gigatonnes gap between current planned emissions reduction globally a year and the amount of carbon that must be cut by 2030 to stay within 1.5C.

Last Thing: ‘I dare you’ – Adele speaks out against fans throwing objects at musicians

Adele with microphone
Adele, who has been performing her residency at Caesars Palace, has spoken out about fans throwing objects at performers on stage. Photograph: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for AD

Adele has spoken out against the recent spate of people throwing objects at musicians on stage, telling her audience she would “kill you” if they tried. The British singer was filmed holding a T-shirt gun as she spoke to the audience at Caesars Palace, where she is performing her Las Vegas residency Weekends With Adele.

Last week during a performance by Pink, a fan threw a bag of their mother’s ashes on stage. “Have you noticed how people are like, forgetting fucking show etiquette at the moment? People just throwing shit on stage, have you seen them?” Adele said. “I fucking dare you. Dare you to throw something at me and I’ll fucking kill you.” After shooting a T-shirt into the crowd, she joked: “Stop throwing things at the artist when you can shoot things to people … I’ve been seeing these people. These people lost it, can you imagine?”

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