Complete article is at The Morning Dispatch.
Happy Thursday! Here’s some fun new conspiracy theory fodder: The sex of baby sea turtles is determined by the temperature of the sand in which eggs are incubated, and the warming globe is seemingly upsetting the balance: Approximately 99 percent of hatchlings analyzed in a recent Australian study were girls. One veterinary hospital in Florida hasn’t come across a male baby sea turtle in nearly five years.
Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories
- Ukrainian forces have reportedly begun a “major counterattack” against Russia in the southern part of the country, shelling a Russian-controlled airfield in Crimea on Tuesday. Ukrainian leaders have not publicly taken credit for the explosions—which reportedly sent Russian vacationers scrambling—but an official confirmed to the Washington Post Ukrainian special forces were responsible. The nine Russian military planes reportedly destroyed would represent the biggest such single-day loss for the Russian air force since the war began.
- Colonel Shi Yi—spokesman for China’s Eastern Theater Command—announced Wednesday the People’s Liberation Army had completed the military exercises that were held around Taiwan in response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island. Chinese forces had launched nearly a dozen missiles into the sea surrounding Taiwan, and Taiwanese officials accused them of rehearsing possible invasion scenarios. Shi said Chinese troops will still regularly organize combat-readiness security patrols in the Taiwan Strait and train for war preparedness.
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday the Consumer Price Index held steady from June to July, while increasing at an annual rate of 8.5 percent—a slight decrease from last month’s year-over-year rate of 9.1 percent. Increases in the cost of food and rent in July were largely offset by falling energy prices. Markets rallied after the report was released, with the S&P 500 reaching its highest level since early May and the Nasdaq Composite entering a bull market, up more than 20 percent from its recent low in mid-June.
- The Treasury Department reported this week the federal government ran a budget deficit of $211 billion in July 2022, a 30 percent decrease from July 2021—due primarily to pandemic-related stimulus programs expiring and tax revenues increasing as more Americans returned to work. Outlays for the month fell 15 percent year-over-year—from $564 billion to $480 billion—and government receipts increased 3 percent.
- According to a criminal complaint unsealed by the Justice Department on Wednesday, an Iranian national attempted to arrange the assassination of former National Security Adviser John Bolton in the past year—likely in retaliation for the United States’ January 2020 killing of Qassem Suleimani, an Iranian military leader. The Iranian national—who is still at large abroad and unlikely to be taken into custody—allegedly tried to pay individuals in the United States hundreds of thousands of dollars to carry out the hit in Washington, D.C. or Maryland. Although he was not mentioned by name in the complaint, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was reportedly also informed by the Justice Department that he was a target in the plot.
- Ahmad Abouammo—a 44-year-old dual U.S.-Lebanese citizen and former Twitter employee—was convicted by a federal jury Tuesday on charges of wire fraud, money laundering, and illegally acting as an agent of a foreign government. Abouammo was charged with spying for Saudi Arabia, collecting information on dissidents who used Twitter’s platform. The case represented the first publicly known instance of Saudi Arabia spying in the United States.
- President Joe Biden signed the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act into law on Wednesday, enacting the bipartisan legislation that will expand healthcare benefits to U.S. veterans exposed to toxic substances—like burn pits—during their military service.