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Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories

Complete story is in the Morning Dispatch

  • Russian forces over the weekend appear to have taken full control of the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine, with Ukrainian troops withdrawing from the city of Lysychansk in order to avoid being surrounded. Russia is sustaining heavy casualties in its revised quest to control Ukraine’s Donbas area, but its forces continue to plod along methodically, grinding down the opposition. Ukrainian officials claimed Russia fired missiles at a residential area in Odessa on Friday, killing at least 21 people, including civilians and children.
  • At least six people were killed and dozens more injured when a gunman opened fire at a 4th of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois, on Monday. After evading arrest for several hours, a 22-year-old “person of interest” was captured last night and taken into custody.
  • Three people were killed—and nearly 30 others wounded, many “lightly”—after a 22-year-old Danish man opened fire at a shopping mall in Copenhagen on Sunday. The shooter—who police say was “known to people in the psychiatric field”—was charged with manslaughter and will be held in custody in a psychiatric ward for 24 days to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.
  • Dr. Peter Marks—director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research—told Reuters late last week the FDA will not require pharmaceutical companies to submit new clinical trial data on COVID-19 vaccines updated for Omicron’s BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants in order to authorize those shots. By relying on existing data from vaccines designed to protect against Omicron’s BA.1 strain—as well as animal studies—regulators hope to expedite the authorization process and roll out boosters ahead of a likely fall surge.
  • Supreme Court Marshal Gail Curley sent letters to Maryland and Virginia officials last week—including Govs. Larry Hogan and Glenn Youngkin—requesting they crack down on the continued protests outside Republican-appointed Supreme Court justices’ homes by enforcing what Curley says are existing anti-picketing laws. A spokesman for Hogan pushed back, claiming the state statute Curley cites is possibly unconstitutional and that Hogan and Youngkin tried months ago—to no avail—to get Attorney General Merrick Garland to address the situation on a federal level.
  • State Department spokesman Ned Price said Monday that, following an “extremely detailed forensic analysis,” the U.S. Security Coordinator (USSC) determined Palestinian-American reporter Shireen Abu Akleh was “likely” killed by gunfire from Israeli military (IDF) positions—though a “definitive” conclusion could not be reached. “The USSC found no reason to believe that this was intentional,” Price continued, “but rather the result of tragic circumstances during an IDF-led military operation against factions of Palestinian Islamic Jihad on May 11, 2022, in Jenin, which followed a series of terrorist attacks in Israel.” Palestinian Authority officials rejected the findings, claiming Israeli troops intentionally shot Abu Akleh.
  • Eurozone inflation reached 8.6 percent year-over-year in June, up from an 8.1 percent annual rate in June and 7.4 percent in April. Energy and food prices accounted for the bulk of the increase; stripping those out, core inflation declined slightly for the first time since January.
  • The U.S. manufacturing sector continued to expand in June, but growth slowed last month to its lowest level since June 2020, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing purchasing manager’s index.
  • Pete Arredondo—the police chief of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District—told The Uvalde Leader-News he is resigning from his seat on the town’s city council so as not to be a “distraction” after May’s school shooting and what many Uvalde residents have criticized as law enforcement’s lackluster response. Arredondo had already been placed on leave last month in his role as UCISD chief of police. 
  • Texas’ Supreme Court ruled on Friday the state can enforce an abortion restriction that’s been on the state’s books since at least 1925, blocking an order from earlier in the week that would have temporarily allowed abortions to resume in the state in a limited capacity. 
  • State legislators in New York advanced the Concealed Carry Improvement Act over the weekend, sending to Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul legislation reforming the state’s gun control laws in the wake of last month’s Supreme Court ruling. If Hochul signs it into law as expected, New Yorkers applying for concealed carry permits will need to display “good moral character,” pass a firearm safety course, and provide data from their social media accounts as part of strengthened background checks.
  • WNBA star Brittney Griner’s trial in Russia began on Friday, months after she was arrested at an airport near Moscow and charged with carrying hashish oil in her luggage. Russia is reportedly looking to use Griner—whom the United States has designated “wrongfully detained”—as a bargaining chip in a potential prisoner exchange to free a prominent Russian arms dealer.
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