First Thing: Bipartisan bill clears way for bolstering US gun laws |

Hello.

The US Senate passed a bipartisan gun violence bill 65 to 33 after mass shootings in Texas and New York, in a development that would have been inconceivable just a month ago.

The bill, which was backed by 15 Republicans including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, follows years of thwarted GOP attempts at gun reform. It aims to make it harder for dangerous people to get guns, though it falls short of calls from Democrats to ban the most dangerous guns.

But tempering that measure of progress, the bill came as the right-wing Supreme Court issued a ruling expanding Americans’ right to bear arms in public. Judges struck down a New York law that required individuals to prove they needed to carry a gun before obtaining a license to do so.

The Senate legislation — which, significantly, comes in an election year — does not include a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines used in recent killings. While Democrats have long sought to ban these weapons, the legislation is a compromise, allowing each side to appeal to its core.

“This is not a panacea for all the ways gun violence affects our nation,” Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said. “But it’s a long overdue step in the right direction.”

What would the $13 billion package do?

  • Strengthen background checks on younger gun buyers.

  • Prevent more perpetrators of domestic violence from having access to firearms.

  • Help states put in place red flag laws that make it easier for authorities to take guns from people deemed dangerous.

  • Fund local programs for school safety, mental health and violence prevention.

Barr worried Trump might not have left office if the DoJ hadn’t debunked fraud allegations

William Barr (top center) testifying at a House Select Committee hearing.
William Barr (top center) testifying at a House Select Committee hearing. Photograph: Michael Reynolds/EPA

Donald Trump might not have left office if the Justice Department hadn’t immediately investigated and refuted his lies about voter fraud in his loss to Joe Biden, the former attorney general has claimed. former President William Barr.

The shocking statement, released Thursday by the Jan. 6 commission, was part of a hearing that focused on Trump’s efforts to pressure senior justice officials to facilitate his bid to overturn the result of the elections. “I’m not sure we would have had a transition at all,” said Barr, who resigned in December 2021 after publicly rejecting Trump’s bogus fraud allegations.

The House Select Committee also revealed that Republicans Matt Gaetz and Mo Brooks had sought presidential pardons for other members of Congress involved in the coup attempt.

Ukrainian forces will have to leave Sievierodonetsk, governor says

Serhiy Gaidai said troops in the city had already been ordered to move to new positions
Serhiy Gaidai said troops in the city had already been ordered to move to new positions. Photograph: Reuters

Ukraine will have to withdraw its troops from the mainly Russian-occupied city of Sievierodonetsk, the regional governor said, after a month of brutal fighting in the eastern battlefield city.

“Staying in shattered posts for several months just to stay there doesn’t make sense,” Serhiy Haidai told TV. He did not say where the soldiers would go.

If Sievierodonetsk falls into Russian hands, Lysychansk will be the only city in the Luhansk region still under Ukrainian control. Underlining the strategic importance of Sievierodonetsk, Volodymyr Zelenskiy recently said: “In many ways, the fate of Donbass is decided there.

In other news…

The Croix-des-Bouquets prison in Port-au-Prince.
The Croix-des-Bouquets prison in Port-au-Prince. Photography: Dieu Nalio Chery/AP
  • Dozens of inmates died of malnutrition in Haiti’s overcrowded prisons between January and April, according to a UN report. Eight more people are believed to have died of starvation this week in a prison that ran out of food two months ago.

  • The Conservative Party of the United Kingdom suffered two bruises byelectoral defeats, with one seat for Labor and another for the Liberal Democrats. The results – a blow to Boris Johnson’s authority – led to a party co-chairman resigning.

  • Dozens of protesters gathered outside the offices of the Brazilian indigenous protection agency Funai in Atalaia do Norte demanding justice for the murders of Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira. It is feared that the investigation may slow down.

  • Netflix cut 300 jobs in a second round of layoffs after losing subscribers for the first time in more than a decade. The job losses come on top of the 150 jobs cut last month.

Statistics of the day: 135 of the 148 countries of the South are classified as “highly indebted”

Signs for oil and gas companies stand near a road in Añelo, Neuquen Province, Argentina
Signs for oil and gas companies stand near a road in Añelo, Neuquen Province, Argentina. Photograph: Emiliano Lasalvia/AFP/Getty Images

The external debt of countries in the South has increased over the past three decades: between 1990 and 2019, it rose on average from around 90% of their GDP to 170%. The pandemic has exacerbated this trend: 135 of the 148 poorest countries are now classified as “severely indebted”.

Don’t miss this: Herbie Hancock: ‘Miles Davis told me: I don’t pay you to get applause’

Herbie Hancock performs at the Bonnaroo music and arts festival on June 19 in Manchester, Tennessee.
Herbie Hancock performs at the Bonnaroo music and arts festival on June 19 in Manchester, Tennessee. Photography: Amy Harris/Invision/AP

At 82, jazz legend Herbie Hancock will be one of the oldest musicians to perform on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury Festival. Hancock talks to the Guardian about musical experimentation, the future of jazz and his collaboration with Miles Davis, who, encouraging his band to improvise on stage, once told him: “I don’t pay you to play just to to be applauded.”

Climate control: Excessive heat adds to the toll of Arizona’s opioid epidemic

A homeless encampment in Phoenix.
A homeless encampment in Phoenix. Photography: Caitlin O’Hara/Guardian

Opioid-related deaths in Arizona rose 80% last year compared to 2018, and soaring temperatures are making conditions even more dangerous. Nearly two-thirds of drug deaths in Arizona occur in Maricopa County, where extreme heat plays a significant role, with the homeless population at particular risk.

Last thing: Doop Snogg – how a fake Snoop Dogg tricked an NFT conference

Left: Doop Snogg, center with white hat, a Snoop Dogg impersonator in Times Square.  Right: The real Snoop Dogg wearing an NFT shirt.
Left: Doop Snogg, center with white hat, a Snoop Dogg impersonator in Times Square. Right: The real Snoop Dogg wearing an NFT shirt. Composite: Fair.xyz, ImageSpace/Rex/Shutterstock

He was walking around with a tag that read “Doop Snogg,” a detail that crypto fans who rushed to the impersonator for a selfie didn’t notice. In surrealism, extremely Story of 2022, a crypto startup hired a lookalike of the rapper to grab attention at an NFT conference in New York (and ultimately succeeded).

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