President Joe Biden will sign veterans health care legislation on Wednesday that ends a long battle to expand benefits for people who served near burn pits. It's a personal issue for Biden. His son Beau was a major in the Delaware Army National Guard, and he died of cancer after his service in Iraq. Burn pits were used in Iraq and Afghanistan to dispose of chemicals, cans, tires, plastics, medical equipment and human waste. The legislation will help veterans get disability payments without having to prove their illness was the result of their service. Other health care services will be expanded as well.
Kenyans are waiting for the results of a close but calm presidential election in which the turnout was lower than usual. This is likely the final try by longtime opposition leader Raila Odinga, who on his fifth attempt was backed by former rival and outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta. The other top contender is Deputy President William Ruto, who fell out with the president earlier in their decade in power. Voters have expressed little hope of real change and frustration with rising prices and widespread corruption in East Africa’s economic hub. Official results are due in days, though there's some anticipation a winner might be known Wednesday.
The U.S. has renewed credibility on global climate issues and will be able to inspire other nations in their own efforts, experts say, after the Democrats pushed their big economic bill through the Senate on Sunday. The legislation is the single biggest investment in climate change in U.S. history, putting about $375 billion towards climate change-fighting strategies such as investments in renewable energy production and tax rebates for consumers to buy new or used electric vehicles. The impending passage of the first ever significant climate legislation in the U.S. changes the outlook internationally, including in China, India and other high-emitting nations, several experts said.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has reshuffled his Cabinet in a bid to distance his administration from the conservative Unification Church over its ties to the assassinated leader Shinzo Abe and senior ruling party members. The Cabinet renewal was the second in just 10 months since Kishida took office. Abe’s assassination on July 8 and its impact on politics increased uncertainty as public support for Kishida’s Cabinet plunged. Kishida said that a “strict review” of candidates’ ties to the church would be a “prerequisite” in the new lineup. Seven ministers were removed including Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi, Abe’s younger brother. The church leader regretted Kishida's actions and said the church and party members shared strong anti-communist feelings.
British children’s author and illustrator Raymond Briggs, whose creations include “The Snowman” and “Fungus the Bogeyman,” has died. He was 88. Brigg’s family said he died Tuesday. Briggs' books “Father Christmas,” “Fungus the Bogeyman” and “The Snowman, were all adapted for television and have delighted generations of children. He also wrote and illustrated “When the Wind Blows,” a story about the aftermath of a nuclear attack on Britain, and “Ethel & Ernest,” a poignant graphic novel based on the lives of Briggs’ parents. Francesca Dow of Penguin Random House children’s books, says Briggs' books “are picture masterpieces that address some of the fundamental questions of what it is to be human.”
Former President Donald Trump says he will be questioned under oath Wednesday in the New York attorney general’s long-running civil investigation into his dealings as a real estate mogul. Trump posted on his Truth Social account that he is in New York City for the deposition. The New York civil investigation is being led by Attorney General Letitia James and involves allegations that Trump’s company misstated the value of prized assets and misled lenders and tax authorities. FBI agents recently searched his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida as part of an unrelated federal probe into whether he took classified records when he left the White House.
Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of shelling Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, stoking international fears of a catastrophe. The Zaporizhzhia plant is in southern Ukraine, on the banks of the Dnieper River. Russian troops overran it early in the war but have left the Ukrainian staff in place to keep operating the plant. The chief of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency has warned that the situation surrounding the plant “is completely out of control," and he has urgently pleaded with both sides to allow experts to visit the complex to help stabilize it. The fighting around has fueled fears of a disaster like the one in 1986 at Ukraine's Chernobyl plant, where a reactor exploded and spewed deadly radiation, contaminating a vast area in the world’s worst nuclear accident.
Serena Williams says she’s stepping away from tennis soon to focus on having a second child. And her lengthy explanation, in an essay for Vogue, is resonating with many women in sports and beyond. They say they can relate only too well to the trailblazing athlete’s words: “Something’s got to give.” Many say they agree with Williams that it’s essentially unfair that women have to make such choices when male athletes don’t, and are recalling their own tough decisions in the struggle to “have it all.” Williams has strongly hinted she’ll retire after this month’s U.S. Open.
Toshiba has reported a 44% improvement in profit in the last quarter as the Japanese technology giant revamps its brand image and seeks to reassure investors about its management. Quarterly sales rose 2%. Toshiba has promised to boost annual sales by forging ahead with clean energy, infrastructure projects, data services, devices and storage businesses. The company said Wednesday that demand for electronic devices and storage and digital solutions, including from the auto sector, was healthy. In March, investors rejected a company-backed reform proposal to split Toshiba into two businesses. An earlier plan that also was scrapped called for a three-way split.
The semiconductor shortage is hitting another of the world's automakers, despite demand for product. Honda’s fiscal first quarter profit has fallen 33% from last year. A global computer chip shortage, a pandemic-related lockdown in China and the rising costs of raw materials hurt the Japanese automaker. Tokyo-based Honda says its profit totaled 149.2 billion yen, or $1.1 billion, for April-June. Quarterly sales slipped 7%. Honda kept its profit forecast for the full fiscal year through March 2023 unchanged. Manufacturers have been scrambling to secure alternative suppliers. Honda sold about 815,000 vehicles last quarter, down from 998,000 a year earlier.
Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific Airways says losses in the first half of the year narrowed as a relaxation in quarantine rules boosted passenger numbers. But it cautioned that quarantine restrictions on its crew were limiting the airline’s ability to increase flight capacity. The company reported losses of about $637 million in the first six months, down from $964.5 million in the same period last year. Hong Kong relaxed strict quarantine rules from 14 to seven days in mandatory hotel quarantine earlier this year, and to just three days from Friday. It still remains one of the few places in the world, together with mainland China, to require mandatory quarantine for inbound travelers. The city’s airline is lagging behind competitors like Singapore Airlines.
China’s 11 million university graduates are struggling in a bleak job market this summer as repeated shutdowns under China’s zero-COVID lockdowns forced companies to retrench and driven many restaurants and other small employers out of business. When Liu Qian entered the job market, she said she felt as if her future had been smashed and didn’t know if she could piece it together. The 26-year-old graduate sent out more than 100 job applications and saw two openings she had interviewed for eliminated before landing a job. Countless others are still looking. China’s job drought echoes the difficulties of young people worldwide to find work in depressed economies.
A Chinese envoy says Australia’s recent change of government is a chance to “reset” its troubled relationship with China, but the new administration must “handle the Taiwan question with caution.” Chinese Ambassador to Australia Xiao Qian said Wedesday he was “surprised” that Australia had signed a statement with the United States and Japan that condemned China’s firing of missiles into Japanese waters in response to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan last week. Xiao would not say when the live-fire military exercises near Taiwan might end. He told the National Press Club an announcement will be made at a “proper time.” The Chinese Foreign Ministry has accused Australia of "interfering in China’s internal affairs.”
Minnesota congresswoman Ilhan Omar won a closer-than-expected Democratic primary race against a centrist challenger who questioned Omar's support for the “defund the police” movement. Former Minneapolis City Councilmember Don Samuels kept things close throughout Tuesday night. Meanwhile, another progressive, Becca Balint, won the Democratic House primary in Vermont, positioning her to become the first woman representing the state in Congress. A key race also unfolded in western Wisconsin, where Democratic Rep. Ron Kind’s retirement after 26 years in office opens up a seat in a district that has been trending Republican. There, Republican Derrick Van Orden secured his party's nomination. He'll face Democratic state Sen. Brad Pfaff in November's general election.
After an uneven start, Donald Trump’s tour of revenge ousted Republican members of Congress, unleashed an army of Trump-backed “America First” candidates to beat back the establishment and strengthened his grip on the party. Ron Johnson, the most vulnerable Republican senator up for reelection, will take on Wisconsin’s Democratic lieutenant governor in November in one of this year’s most closely watched Senate contests.Meanwhile, a member of the Squad of progressive lawmakers survived a tough primary challenge from a Democratic rival running on a pro-police platform, while voters in Vermont are poised to send a woman to Congress for the first time in the state’s 231-year history.
The ambush killings of four Muslim men in New Mexico shook the community but inspired a flood of information, including a tip that led to the arrest of a local Muslim man originally from Afghanistan. Authorities say Muhammad Syed was arrested on Monday. He's charged with killing two people and is considered the prime suspect in the other two slayings. One shooting occurred in November and the other three within days of each other, including one last Friday. Police say Syed knew the victims and may have had an interpersonal conflict but the motive for the killings remains under investigation. It wasn’t immediately clear whether Syed had an attorney to speak on his behalf.
Cleanup and recovery efforts gained pace in South Korea’s greater capital region Wednesday. Skies cleared after two days of record-breaking rainfall that unleashed flash floods, damaged thousands of buildings and roads and killed at least nine people. While lifting heavy rain warnings for Seoul and the neighboring metropolitan areas, South Korea’s weather agency forecasted 4 to 12 inches of rain in the country’s southern regions through Thursday. Seven people remain missing in Seoul and nearby Gyeonggi Province following the heavy rains that swamped the region Monday and Tuesday. Streets had turned into car-clogged rivers, sending floods cascading into subway stations, and displacing more than 1,800 people from their homes.
Native Americans in Massachusetts are calling for a boycott of a popular living history museum featuring Colonial reenactors portraying life in Plymouth, the famous English settlement founded by the Pilgrims who arrived on the Mayflower. Members of the state’s Wampanoag community say Plimoth Patuxet Museums doesn’t provide a “bi-cultural” experience telling both the European and Indigenous stories equally as it purports to do. They say the Native American side of the outdoor museum remains small, needs repairs and is staffed by few Native workers. A museum spokesman said the organization is planning several changes to the site but declined to elaborate.
Serena Williams is famous for her 23 Grand Slam singles titles. That is more than any other tennis player accumulated in the sport's professional era. But mere numbers can't capture everything Williams has represented during a distinguished career that began when she was a teenager in the 1990s and is remarkable for not just the successes but also the longevity, including a record 10 major championships after turning 30. What Williams has done without a racket in her hand is also rather noteworthy, whether it was her off-court interests or her stands on key issues in tennis and society at large.
Terrell Bonds owes his latest NFL opportunity to the revived USFL where he played 10 games this spring. He's got lots of company as the NFL starts its first week of preseason games Thursday night. Bonds is among at least 41 players from the USFL’s inaugural season signed by 26 of the NFL’s 32 teams. Wide receiver has been the most popular position followed by cornerback as NFL teams look for help during training camps. Bonds is with the Tennessee Titans after playing in college at Tennessee State. He used to talk of playing for the Titans. Bonds says he's thankful to see it actually come true.
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler conceded her race in Washington state's top two primary for the 3rd Congressional District. The six-term incumbent was one of two Republican members of Washington's congressional delegation who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump and drew an intraparty challenger. Trump had endorsed former Green Beret Joe Kent, who was leading Herrera Beutler after several days of vote counts. The district is in southwest Washington, across the border from Portland, Oregon.
Longtime Wisconsin Secretary of State Doug La Follette has won his Democratic primary, advancing to a general election in which Republicans hope to win back the seat and give it power over elections. In Minnesota, Republican Kim Crockett has advanced to face Democratic Secretary of State Steve Simon. Crockett has called the 2020 election “rigged” and campaigned on rolling back changes that have made it easier to vote. Races for secretary of state this year have drawn tremendous interest and money largely because of unfounded attacks on the 2020 election results.
High in the Himalayas, the achingly beautiful territory of Kashmir has played a pivotal role in shaping the foreign policy of India, which has fought two wars with Pakistan over the region's sovereignty since the two countries gained independence from British colonial rule. As India celebrates 75 years of independence, New Delhi's focus has shifted significantly toward China. Again, the change is anchored in disputed Kashmir — this time in the Ladakh region where the two Asian giants are locked in a tense military standoff.
Democratic Gov. Tim Walz and Republican challenger Scott Jensen scored easy victories Tuesday in their primaries to set the stage for their fall matchup in Minnesota’s top race this fall. Meanwhile, business lawyer Jim Schultz won the GOP primary to take on Democratic Attorney General Keith Ellison. Walz is seeking his second term under the same “One Minnesota” slogan he used four years ago, but in a more polarized environment. Jensen and the GOP are seeking to turn his management of the COVID-19 pandemic against him. Both men easily overcame little-known or perennial candidates to formalize a race that’s been underway for months. In the Republican attorney general primary, Schultz beat Doug Wardlow, who narrowly lost to Ellison in 2018.