Wagner Group and close air cover because of the proximity to the Russian border. They can also rely on separatist fighters and a well-financed network of citizen-spies who relay secret information to the invaders, often with devastating consequences.

Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine’s pro-Russia president, out of office. Mr. Yanukovych came from a Donbas steel town. In one stroke, Russia lost its ally and the Donbas elite its godfather. That is when the trouble started.

People flooded into the Donbas streets waving Russian flags. At first, said Alisa Sopova, a journalist for a Donbas newspaper at the time, “We were sure they were fake people brought in from Russia to pose for Russian TV.”

to speak so much Russian. A critical aspect of Ukrainian independence was reviving the Ukrainian language, marginalized during Soviet times. But those arguments were typically confined to social media posts or intellectual debates, until this moment.

“I’d go into the supermarket to buy some meat, and the shopkeeper tells me, ‘If you don’t speak Ukrainian, I’m not going to sell you any meat,’” Mr. Tsyhankov said. “I’ve been speaking Russian my whole life. How do you think that made me feel?”

done something similar in 2008 in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, two regions of Georgia, and before that the Russians had meddled in Moldova, backing the breakaway Transnistria region. The tools were generally the same: bankrolling pro-Russia political parties; deploying intelligence agents to foment protests; sowing disinformation through Russian TV.

Mr. Putin’s strategy was to turn strategic slices of the former Soviet Union into separatist hotbeds to hobble young nations like Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, all struggling to break free from Moscow and move closer to Europe.

Under the Kremlin’s wing, Donbas’s separatists killed Ukrainian officials, took territory and declared the breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic. When Ukrainian forces rolled in to quell the rebellion, some residents saw them as occupiers. They spoke a different language, hailed from a different region, embraced a different culture — or so went the pro-Russia narrative. In some villages, babushkas lay down in the roads blocking Ukrainian tanks, officers said, and in one, an especially cunning babushka kept stealing the soldiers’ helmets.

“It was frustrating,” said Anatolii Mohyla, a Ukrainian military commander. “We’d come to liberate them and they’d give us the finger.”

Mr. Putin dispatched thousands of Russian troops to support the separatists, later saying he had been “forced to protect” the Russian-speaking population. Towns like Chasiv Yar were occupied by separatist fighters, then liberated by Ukrainian troops a few months later. By 2015, the heavy fighting had died down. But it was not like Mr. Putin forgot about the Donbas.

He upped the ante in 2021, saying, “Kyiv simply does not need the Donbas.” And on Feb. 21 of this year, three days before he invaded Ukraine, Mr. Putin accused the Ukrainian government of perpetrating a “genocide.” He justified the most cataclysmic war in decades by citing the very tensions he himself stoked.

In early April, the agricultural land around Chasiv Yar began to thaw. Mr. Khainus, the pro-Ukraine farmer, drove out to check a sunflower field. A Ukrainian military vehicle raced up. A soldier leaned out the window and fired an assault rifle, the bullets skipping up in the dirt. Mr. Khainus slammed on the brakes.

A Ukrainian commander he recognized, a man whom Mr. Khainus said he had complained about before, jumped out. The commander greeted him with a punch to the head, Mr. Khainus said, and then smashed him in the face with a rifle butt.

He does not remember much after that. He shared photographs of himself lying in a hospital bed with two black eyes. Military and law enforcement officials declined to comment.

Mr. Khainus remains a supporter of the military, saying, “One stupid person doesn’t represent the army.”

But, he added wryly: “It’s one thing to be a patriot in Kyiv. It’s another to be a patriot in the Donbas.”

At 9 p.m. on July 9, four cruise missiles slammed into a dormitory at the old ceramic plant. The buildings crumbled as if they were made out of sand. Viacheslav Boitsov, an emergency services official, said there were “no military facilities nearby.”

But according to Mr. Mohyla and Oleksandr Nevydomskyi, another Ukrainian military officer, Ukrainian soldiers were staying in that building. The night before, they said, a mysterious man was seen standing outside flashing light signals, most likely pinpointing the position.

The military calls such spies “correctors,” and they relay navigational information to the Russians to make missile and artillery strikes more precise. Ukrainian officials have arrested more than 20 and say correctors are often paid several hundred dollars after a target is hit. The strike in Chasiv Yar was one of the deadliest: 48 killed, including 18 soldiers, the officers said.

“For sure there are Russian agents in this town,” Mr. Mohyla said. “There might even be spies in our unit.”

Few in Chasiv Yar are confident that the town will stay in government hands.

Mr. Khainus said the Russians were steadily moving closer to his sunflower fields. About a week ago, a friend’s house was shelled. A day later, in an online messaging channel, separatist supporters said Mr. Khainus should be next, calling him a “hero” — adding an epithet.

Is he scared?

“Why should I be?” he said. “They’re nobodies.”

Mr. Tsyhankov, the retired dump truck driver nostalgic for the Soviet times, seemed pained by all of the bloodshed but did not blame the Russians or the separatists. “They’re doing the right thing,” he said. “They’re fighting for the Russian language and their territory.”

As he said goodbye, insisting that his guests take with them a jug of his homemade apple juice and some fresh green grapes, he shook his head at the enormity of it. “Why can’t we be friends with you guys, the Americans?” he asked. “Politics are keeping all of us hostage.”

Every night, the horizon in Chasiv Yar lights up with explosions. Ukrainian soldiers operate here almost as if they are on enemy territory, hiving themselves off from the public, watching their backs, traveling by night in long convoys of cars with the lights blacked out, the drivers wearing night vision goggles. According to separatist messaging channels, the Wagner mercenaries have reached the outskirts of Bakhmut, a major Donbas town. As for Soledar, it is now off limits to journalists, but volunteers there trying to rescue civilians say it is as deadly as ever.

People here used to describe the Donbas in simple terms like “beautiful,” “honest,” “unbreakable” and “free.”

Now it is destroyed, depopulated, sad and empty.

“It’s like the Rust Belt,” Ms. Sopova said. “It’s not needed anymore. All that industry is obsolete.”

Countless communities have risen in the Donbas. Many are now falling. Ms. Sopova glimpses a perhaps not so faraway future where the Donbas goes back to what it once was: a wild field.

Oleksandra Mykolyshyn contributed reporting.

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Record-Breaking Temperatures Continue Across The West

While even those lucky enough to have an air-conditioned home, you can’t count on it staying on in some of the worst heat the west has seen in years.

Hellish temperatures across the West — From California to Oregon, Nevada to Utah, temperatures are hitting triple digits in some of the country’s biggest cities, and a massive swath of the West is under some type of heat alert.

Almost the entire state of California is under an excessive heat warning. The state’s electric grid operator declared an energy emergency, warning of rolling blackouts if residents can’t conserve enough energy.

“We have all hands-on-deck ready to respond if there are outages, so that we can get the power restored as quickly and safely as possible,” Southern California Edison Spokesman David Eisenhauer said.

Near Los Angeles, crews are preparing spare transformers as state leaders expect the highest energy demand they’ve seen all year and potentially the most they’ve seen in five years.

In Long Beach, Deree Dickens charges his electric vehicle and worries about what that demand will mean in years to come, with leaders having just voted to ban the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035.

“We’ve had power issues in the state for years,” he said. “The power grid is already taxed and then you’re going to put greater demand, significantly greater demand, on it by having all electric cars. You know, I don’t see that as a recipe for success personally, at least not not in that time span.”

In the short term, volunteers in Salt Lake City are doing whatever they can to keep cool the homeless who don’t have a place to find refuge.

“It is life or death,” Unsheltered Utah Executive Director Wendy Garvin said. “We really worry about people in this heat. In some ways, the heat is worse than the cold of the winter. We see more deaths from heat stroke than we do freezing injuries or freezing deaths.”

While even those lucky enough to have an air-conditioned home, you can’t count on it staying on in some of the worst heat the west has seen in years.

“I actually had to put a fan in my daughter’s bed because it was that hot,” one San Diego mom said. “My other slept in our room. We had all the windows open, we had gym fans in our room. It was intense. It was intense heat.”

Source: newsy.com

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Trump Moves To General Election Mode With Pennsylvania Rally

The stakes are particularly high for Trump as he lays the groundwork for an expected 2024 presidential run amid a series of legal challenges.

Larry Mitko voted for Donald Trump in 2016. But the Republican from Beaver County in western Pennsylvania says he has no plans to back his party’s nominee for Senate, Dr. Mehmet Oz — “no way, no how.”

Mitko doesn’t feel like he knows the celebrity heart surgeon, who only narrowly won his May primary with Trump’s backing. Instead, Mitko plans to vote for Oz’s Democratic rival, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, a name he’s been familiar with since Fetterman’s days as mayor of nearby Braddock.

“Dr. Oz hasn’t showed me one thing to get me to vote for him,” he said. “I won’t vote for someone I don’t know.”

Mitko’s thinking underscores the political challenges facing Trump and the rest of the Republican Party as the former president was shifting to general election mode with a rally Saturday night in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, the first of the fall campaign.

While Trump’s endorsed picks won many Republican primaries this summer, many of the candidates he backed were inexperienced and polarizing figures now struggling in their November races. That’s putting Senate control — once assumed to be a lock for Republicans — on the line.

Among those candidates are Oz in Pennsylvania, author JD Vance in Ohio, venture capitalist Blake Masters in Arizona and former football star Herschel Walker in Georgia.

“Republicans have now nominated a number of candidates who’ve never run for office before for very high-profile Senate races,” said veteran Republican pollster Whit Ayres. While he isn’t writing his party’s chances off just yet, he said, “It’s a much more difficult endeavor than a candidate who had won several difficult political races before.”

The stakes are particularly high for Trump as he lays the groundwork for an expected 2024 presidential run amid a series of escalating legal challenges, including the FBI’s recent seizure of classified documents from his Florida home. Investigators also continue to probe his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

This past week, President Joe Biden gave a prime-time speech in Philadelphia warning that Trump and other “MAGA” Republicans — the acronym for Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan — posed a threat to U.S. democracy. President Biden has tried to frame the upcoming vote, as he did the 2020 election, as a battle for the “soul of the nation.” President Biden’s Labor Day visit to Pittsburgh will be his third to the state within a week, a sign of Pennsylvania’s election-year importance.

While Republicans were once seen as having a good chance of gaining control of both chambers of Congress in November amid soaring inflation, high gas prices and President Biden’s slumping approval ratings, Republicans have found themselves on defense since the Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade decision protecting abortion rights.

Some candidates, like Doug Mastriano, the GOP’s hard-line nominee for governor in Pennsylvania, are sticking with their primary campaign playbooks, hoping they can win by turning out Trump’s loyal base even if they alienate more moderate voters.

Mastriano, who wants to outlaw abortion even when pregnancies are the result of rape or incest or endanger the life of the mother, played a leading role in Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election and was seen outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, as pro-Trump rioters stormed the building.

But others have been trying to broaden their appeal, scrubbing from their websites references to anti-abortion messaging that is out of step with the political mainstream. Masters, for instance, removed language from a policy section of his website that labeled him “100% pro-life,” as well as language saying, “if we had had a free and fair election, President Trump would be sitting in the Oval Office today.” Others have played down Trump endorsements that were once featured prominently.

The shifting climate has prompted rounds of finger-pointing in the party, including from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who last month cited “candidate quality” as he lowered expectations that Republicans would recapture control of the Senate in November.

Florida Sen. Rick Scott, who leads the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said those who complain about the party’s nominees have “contempt” for the voters who chose them.

“It’s an amazing act of cowardice, and ultimately, it’s treasonous to the conservative cause,” he wrote in an op-ed in the Washington Examiner.

Trump, too, fired back, calling McConnell a “disgrace” as he defended the party’s candidate roster.

“There’s some very good people,” he said in a radio interview. “You know, takes a lot of courage to run and they spend their wealth on it and they put their reputations on the line.”

Democrats have also piled on.

“Senate campaigns are candidate versus candidate battles and Republicans have put forward a roster of deeply flawed recruits,” said David Bergstein, the Senate Democratic campaign committee’s communication director. He credited Trump with deterring experienced Republicans from running, elevating flawed candidates and forcing them to take positions that are out of step with the general electorate.

“All those factors have contributed to the weakness of the slate of Republican candidates they’ve been left with,” he said. A Trump spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.

In Pennsylvania, Republicans are hoping Oz’s shortcomings as a candidate will be overshadowed by concerns about Fetterman, who suffered a stroke just days before the primary and has been sidelined for much of the summer. He continues to keep a light public schedule and visibly struggled to speak at a recent event.

Republicans acknowledge that Oz struggles to come off as authentic and was slow to punch back as Fetterman spent the summer trolling him on social media and portraying him as an out-of-touch carpetbagger from New Jersey.

While Fetterman, whom Republicans deride as “Bernie Sanders in gym shorts,” leads Oz in polls and fundraising, Republicans say they expect the money gap to narrow and are pleased to see Oz within striking distance after getting hammered by $20 million in negative advertising during the primaries.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee is helping finance a new round of Oz’s television ads, and the Senate Leadership Fund, a McConnell-aligned super political action committee, says it added $9.5 million to its TV buy — boosting its overall commitment to $34.1 million by Election Day.

“Regardless of what people may have heard in the primary, they’re going to realize that Oz is the best choice for Pennsylvania,” said Pennsylvania Republican National Committeeman Andy Reilly.

A super PAC aligned with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., says it has made $32 million in television ad reservations in the state.

Oz has won over some once-skeptical voters, like Glen Rubendall, who didn’t vote for the TV doctor in his seven-way primary — a victory so narrow it went to a statewide recount — but said he’s come around.

“I’ve been listening to him speak, and I have a pro-Oz view now,” said Rubendall, a retired state corrections officer.

Traci Martin, a registered independent, also plans to vote for Oz because she opposes abortion, despite ads that aired during the primary featuring past Oz statements that seemed supportive of abortion rights.

“I hope he is (anti-abortion),” Martin said, “but the sad part is we live in an age when we see politicians say one thing and do another.”

 Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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Abortion Bans Have Unintended Medication Consequences

Laws to ban abortions have had unintended consequences for patients with autoimmune diseases.

Since the reversal of Roe v. Wade, doctors have been sounding the alarm about post-Roe affecting patients’ medications.  

“We’re also aware of patients having difficulty accessing methotrexate just because it happens to be a very effective alternative surgery for the treatment of ectopic pregnancies. I’m a dermatologist, I use it to treat certain autoimmune diseases, cancers, psoriasis — and some pharmacists and some states are refusing to stock or dispense methotrexate and other drugs,” said Dr. Jack Resneck, the president of the American Medical Association. 

Since that warning from the American Medical Association, some patients still struggle to get their meds like methotrexate. 

The drug slows down inflammation and cell growth. 

Patients take it most often in a low dose pill. 

It’s also given as an IV or injection. 

“It is something they take long-term unless they develop side effects or it is no longer clinically beneficial to them,” said Dr. Scott Joy, the chief medical officer of HCA Healthcare Physician Services Group. 

Doctors use methotrexate for a variety of health conditions, including breast, lung, head, neck and blood cancers.  

It’s also used to treat autoimmune diseases like MS, Crohn’s and lupus — conditions that can be chronic and often life-altering.  

Just ask Kamai Wright. 

Doctors diagnosed her with systemic lupus at 13.  

She’s suffered a stroke and lupus hurts her kidneys.  

She has a team to help her manage.  

“I have to have a lot of appointments and a lot of different doctors… I have rheumatologists, hematologists, nephrologists,” said Wright.  

So why is this drug in question? Because it can be used to end pregnancy, even for people not seeking abortions. 

Methotrexate is considered a teratogenic medicine; meaning it can cause fetal or embryonic developmental issues.  

Experts say the drug can be given to terminate ectopic pregnancies by stopping fetal cells from growing.  

“It’s something that we use in extreme caution, if not at all, in women who may be pregnant,” said Joy. 

Methotrexate is among a handful of drugs under scrutiny. 

Others include seizure prevention meds or acne treatments. 

Some of these medications have stricter rules for getting a prescription.  

“It makes the pharmacist understand the indication for the drug. That may be something that we start doing for patients with methotrexate. Clearly, good practice is to always do a pregnancy test and a younger patient before you’re starting methotrexate,” said Joy. 

Dr. Joy’s concern for patients is all about cost.  

“If someone was stopping methotrexate. We would have to jump to some of the more expensive medicines. But the price difference between a medicine like that and methotrexate is very significant and oftentimes is cost prohibitive for the patient to either start to continue,” said Joy. 

A month’s course of methotrexate pills can cost about $6.50. An alternative Dr. Joy suggests costs more than $6,000. 

Source: newsy.com

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Fetterman ‘Grateful’ As He Returns To Pa. Senate Race

Fetterman’s return after his stroke marks a significant development in the race to fill retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey’s seat.

Pennsylvania Senate candidate John Fetterman acknowledged he was lucky to be alive as he officially returned to the campaign trail Friday, more than 90 days after the Democrat suffered a stroke that threatened his life and political prospects in one of the nation’s premier Senate contests.

Fetterman spoke for nearly 11 minutes, haltingly at times, as he addressed several hundred voters packed inside a convention center on the shores of Lake Erie. It was the 52-year-old lieutenant governor’s only scheduled public rally this month as he gradually ramps up his public schedule.

“Tonight for me, it’s about being grateful — just grateful,” said Fetterman, who stood for the duration of his remarks. “Three months ago my life could have ended. It’s the truth.”

He said he may not have survived his stroke if he was in rural Elk County instead of being just 20 minutes away from a major stroke facility.

“Gisele saved my life,” he said, wearing his usual hooded sweatshirt and jeans.

Fetterman’s return marks a significant development in the race to fill retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey’s seat. The Pennsylvania contest offers Democrats perhaps their best pickup opportunity nationally as the two parties battle for Senate control in the November midterm elections. The chamber is now split 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris giving Democrats the narrowest of majorities with her tie-breaking vote.

Republican nominee Dr. Mehmet Oz, a celebrity heart surgeon endorsed by former President Donald Trump, has railed against Fetterman’s prolonged public absence throughout the summer.

Oz posted a fake “Have You Seen This Person?” poster online last month. He needled Fetterman again Friday in an interview with Newsmax.

“We’re doing very well, campaigning all over the Commonwealth, which is a far cry from my opponent, who refuses to leave his home,” Oz charged.

Fetterman’s physical appearance is a central element of his nontraditional political brand.

At 6 feet, 9 inches, he sports a shaved head and tattooed arms. He’s also an unapologetic progressive with a working-class background who supports legalizing marijuana, abolishing the Senate filibuster and establishing a national government health insurance program for everyone — “Medicare for all” in progressives’ campaign jargon.

Fetterman’s health has been a dominant issue in the Senate contest since the days before the May 17 primary, when his campaign revealed he had a stroke. He required surgery to implant a pacemaker with a defibrillator, and later disclosed that he also had a serious heart condition.

His doctor offered a blunt letter in early June detailing Fetterman’s decision not to take prescribed medication or see a doctor for several years after a 2017 health scare.

“If he does what I’ve told him, and I do believe that he is taking his recovery and his health very seriously this time, he should be able to campaign and serve in the U.S. Senate without a problem,” Dr. Ramesh Chandra wrote.

Fetterman is now taking his medication as prescribed, eating a low-sodium diet and walking 3 to 5 miles most days, campaign spokesman Joe Calvello said: “He’s following the doctor’s orders.”

On Friday night, Fetterman spoke haltingly throughout his remarks and sometimes fumbled his words. The crowd, which exceeded 1,300, according to the convention center staff, was energized throughout.

Calvello noted that Fetterman still has mild speech and hearing issues as he works his way back to full health.

“He’ll miss a word here or there when he’s speaking sometimes, or maybe in a crowded room he’ll miss hearing a word,” he said. “Besides that, he’s rock solid.”

The high-profile Senate contest has been playing out on television and social media despite Fetterman’s extended absence.

Fetterman, who has dominated Oz in fundraising, has been running television ads promoting his candidacy for months. The Democrat has also drawn millions of views from creative social media posts, including one featuring a character from the infamous MTV show “Jersey Shore” telling Oz to come home. Oz is a former New Jersey resident, and it has been a major issue throughout the campaign.

“He’s a New Jersey resident. He doesn’t live here. He’s not about us. He doesn’t care about us,” Fetterman said.

He concluded his remarks the way he opened them — with gratitude.

“Three months ago, I may not have made it. But now, I’m standing right here in Erie,” he said as the crowd erupted.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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Ukrainian Minister Says Russia Blocking Access To Medicines

By Associated Press
August 13, 2022

The war in Ukraine has caused severe disruptions to the country’s state-run health service, in addition to the destruction of hospitals.

Ukraine’s health minister has accused Russian authorities of committing a crime against humanity by blocking access to affordable medicines in areas its forces have occupied since invading the country 5 1/2 months ago.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Ukrainian Health Minister Viktor Liashko said Russian authorities repeatedly have blocked efforts to provide state-subsidized drugs to people in occupied cities, towns and villages.

“Throughout the entire six months of war, Russia has not (allowed) proper humanitarian corridors so we could provide our own medicines to the patients that need them,” Liashko said, speaking at the Health Ministry in Kyiv late Friday.

“We believe that these actions are being taken with intent by Russia, and we consider them to be crimes against humanity and war crimes that will be documented and will be recognized,” the minister said.

The Ukrainian government has a program that provides medications to people with cancer and chronic health conditions. The destruction of hospitals and infrastructure along with the displacement of an estimated 7 million people inside the country also have interfered with other forms of treatment, according to United Nations and Ukrainian officials.

The war in Ukraine has caused severe disruptions to the country’s state-run health service, which was undergoing major reforms, largely in response to the coronavirus pandemic, when Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his troops to invade on Feb. 24.

The World Health Organization said it recorded 445 attacks on hospitals and other health care facilities as of Aug. 11 that directly resulted in 86 deaths and 105 injuries.

But Liashko said the secondary effects were far more severe.

“When roads and bridges have been damaged in areas now controlled by the Ukrainian forces… it is difficult to get someone who had a heart attack or a stroke to the hospital,” he said. “Sometimes, we can’t make it in time, the ambulance can’t get there in time. That’s why war causes many more casualties (than those killed in the fighting). It’s a number that cannot be calculated.”

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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Scorching Heat Wave In U.S. Northwest Forecast To Last Longer

The Oregon county that includes Portland said there has been an uptick in the number of people visiting emergency rooms for heat-related symptoms.

The scorching heat spell in the Pacific Northwest is now expected to last longer than forecasters had initially predicted, setting parts of the normally temperate region on course to break heat wave duration records.

“We warmed up the forecast for the latter part of this week,” said David Bishop, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Portland, Oregon. His office is now forecasting up to 101 degrees Fahrenheit for Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Portland already hit 102 F on Tuesday, a new record daily high, prompting the National Weather Service to extend the excessive heat warning for the city from Thursday through Saturday evening.

Seattle on Tuesday also reported a new record daily high of 94 F.

The duration of the heat wave puts Oregon’s biggest city on course to tie its longest streak of six consecutive days of 95 F or higher.

Climate change is fueling longer heat waves in the Pacific Northwest, a region where weeklong heat spells were historically rare, according to climate experts.

Heat-related 911 calls in Portland have tripled in recent days, from an estimated eight calls on Sunday to 28 calls on Tuesday, said Dan Douthit, a spokesperson for the city’s Bureau of Emergency Management. Most calls involved a medical response, Douthit added.

Multnomah County, which includes Portland, said there has been an uptick in the number of people visiting emergency departments for heat-related symptoms.

Emergency department visits “have remained elevated since Sunday,” the county said in a statement. “In the past three days, hospitals have treated 13 people for heat illness, when they would normally expect to see two or three.”

People working or exercising outside, along with older people, were among those taken to emergency departments, the statement added.

On Wednesday, the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office said at least two people have died from suspected hyperthermia during the heat wave. One death occurred in Portland on Monday, the Multnomah County Medical Examiner’s Office said.

The state medical examiner’s office said the heat-related death designation is preliminary and could change after further investigation. The official cause of death may not be confirmed until several months later.

People in Portland’s iconic food cart industry are among those who work outside. Many food trucks have shut down as sidewalks sizzle.

Rico Loverde, the chef and owner of the food cart Monster Smash Burgers, said the temperature inside his cart is generally 20 degrees hotter than the outdoor temperature, making it 120 F inside his business this week.

Loverde said he closes down if it reaches above 95 F because his refrigerators overheat and shut down. Last week, even with slightly cooler temperatures in the mid-90s, Loverde got heat stroke from working in his cart for hours, he said.

“It hurts, it definitely hurts. I still pay my employees when we’re closed like this because they have to pay the bills too, but for a small business it’s not good,” he said Tuesday.

Multnomah County said its four emergency overnight cooling shelters were at half capacity on Tuesday with 130 people spending the night. But anticipating more demand, officials have decided to expand capacity at the four sites to accommodate nearly 300 people. The overnight shelters will remain open at least through Friday morning.

William Nonluecha, who lives in a tent in Portland, sought out shade with some friends as the temperature soared on Wednesday afternoon. Nonluecha was less than a minute’s walk from a cooling shelter set up by local authorities but wasn’t aware it was open. He said the heat in his tent was almost unbearable.

His friend Mel Taylor, who was homeless last year but now has transitional housing, said during last summer’s record-breaking heat wave a man in a tent near his died from heat exhaustion and no one realized it. He’s afraid the same thing might happen this summer.

“He was in his tent for like a week and the smell, that’s how they figured out that he was dead,” Taylor said. “It’s sad.”

Residents and officials in the Northwest have been trying to adjust to the likely reality of longer, hotter heat waves following last summer’s deadly “heat dome” weather phenomenon that prompted record temperatures and deaths.

About 800 people died in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia during a 2021 heat wave that hit in late June and early July. The temperature at the time soared to an all-time high of 116 F in Portland and smashed heat records in cities and towns across the region. Many of those who died were older and lived alone.

Other regions of the U.S. often experience temperatures of 100 degrees. But in regions like the Pacific Northwest, people are not as acclimated to the heat and are more susceptible to it, said Craig Crandall, a professor of internal medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

“There’s a much greater risk for individuals in areas such as the Northwest to have higher instances of heat-related injuries and death,” Crandall said.

Crandall said people who are continually exposed to heat have certain bodily adaptations allowing them to cool off more efficiently. A main acclimation response is an increase in the amount of sweat released from sweat glands.

“The combination of lack of air conditioning and not being exposed to the heat and not having those adaptations” can put people in the Northwest more at risk during heat waves compared to warmer parts of the country, he said.

Portland officials have opened cooling centers in public buildings and installed misting stations in parks. TriMet, which operates public transportation in the Portland metro area, is offering free rides to cooling centers for passengers who cannot afford to pay.

Officials in Seattle and Portland on Tuesday issued air quality advisories expected to last through Saturday.

Further south, the National Weather Service issued a heat advisory on Wednesday for western Nevada and northeast California that is set to last from the late Thursday morning until Saturday night. Across the region, near record daytime high temperatures will range from 99 to 104 degrees F.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press

Source: newsy.com

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Kyiv Nightlife Comes Back Amid Urge for Contact. ‘This Is the Cure.’

KYIV — The rave had been planned for weeks, with the space secured and the D.J.s, the drinks, the invites and the security all lined up.

But after a recent missile strike far from the front lines killed more than 25 people, including children, in central Ukraine, an attack that deeply unsettled all Ukraine, the rave organizers met to make a hard, last-minute decision. Should they postpone the party?

They decided: No way.

“That’s exactly what the Russians want,” said Dmytro Vasylkov, one of the organizers.

a city that already enjoyed a reputation for being cool, it gets easier to find a party. A hip-hop event the other night became a sea of bobbing heads. The party was held outdoors. For a spell, it started raining. But that didn’t matter. The party was on. On the dance floor, bodies were bumping.

Pink Freud, a bar, the war keeps coming up. Small talk between a young woman and Mr. Chehorka, the bartender, who also works as a psychotherapist, led to a conversation about hobbies that led to a discussion about books that led, inexorably, to the Russians.

Mr. Chehorka told the young woman that he was selling his large collection of Russian language books because he never wanted to read Russian again.

“This is my own war,” he explained.

He added that he felt the city’s whole psyche had changed. “Kyiv’s different now,” he said. “People are more polite, more friendly. They’re not drinking as hard.”

A yearning for close connection, for something meaningful amid a seismic, terrifying event that won’t end, is what brought two dozen people to a recent“cuddle” party.

Cuddle parties started before the war, but the people who came two Sundays ago — a mix of men and women from their early 20s to mid-60s — said they really needed them now.

The cuddlers gathered in a large, tent-like structure near the river, and as new age music played, they lied on floor cushions in a big warm heap. Some stroked their neighbor’s hair. Others clutched each other tightly, eyes closed, like it was the last embrace they’d ever share with anyone. After about 15 to 20 minutes, the heap stirred awake.

The cuddlers opened their eyes, untangled themselves, stood up and smoothed out their pants. The whole idea is to seek bodily comfort from curling up with a stranger. They found new cuddling partners and new positions.

The instructor was clear that none of this was supposed to be sexual or romantic. But still, it looked like a G-rated orgy.

This cuddling is another dimension of Kyiv’s party scene at the moment: Many social gatherings are specifically engineered to provide solace.

Maksym Yasnyi, a graphic designer, just held a 24-hour yoga party, which he said was “really cool” but it wasn’t like going out before the war.

“Before the war, Kyiv nightlife was sparkling with different colors,” he said. “You could spend the whole night going from party to party. If I allow myself to think about this, I’ll make myself really upset.”

Now, when it hits 10, Kyiv radiates a nervous energy. People drinking on the street, or out by the river, check their watches. They cap the clear plastic bottles of cider they were swigging, get up and walk quickly.

Cars move faster. More run yellow lights. The clock is ticking.

Uber prices triple, if you can find one.

Some young people, seeing the impossibility of hailing a ride, say bye to their friends and duck their heads and start running home, desperate to beat curfew.

At the stroke of 11, Kyiv stops. Nothing moves. The sidewalks lie empty.

All that energy that was building, building, building, suddenly plunges into a stunning, citywide hush.

Oleksandra Mykolyshyn contributed reporting.

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Trump-Backed Dan Cox Wins Maryland Governor Primary Over Hogan’s Pick

Despite being a win for Trump, Cox’s victory over former Hogan Cabinet member Kelly Schulz could be a blow to Republicans in November.

Dan Cox, a far-right state legislator endorsed by former President Donald Trump, won the Republican primary for Maryland governor on Tuesday, defeating a moderate rival backed by outgoing Gov. Larry Hogan.

Cox will face the winner of the highly competitive Democratic primary in the November general election. Wes Moore, a bestselling author backed by Oprah Winfrey, had an early lead Tuesday night, with the focus starting to turn to mail ballots that won’t be counted until later in the week.

Despite being a win for Trump, Cox’s victory over former Hogan Cabinet member Kelly Schulz could be a blow to Republican chances to hold on to the governor’s mansion in November. Hogan, who was prohibited from running for a third consecutive term, was a rare two-term Republican governor in a heavily Democratic state, and he had endorsed Schulz as the successor to his bipartisan style of leadership.

Cox has been a thorn in Hogan’s side over the last few years, suing over the governor’s stay-at-home orders and regulations in the early days of the pandemic and seeking unsuccessfully to impeach him for COVID-19 orders Cox called “restrictive and protracted.”

Cox alluded to his fight with Hogan in his victory speech Tuesday night, telling a cheering crowd: “We will never again give over our bodies, our churches and our businesses to a lockdown state.”

The Republican primary was viewed as a proxy battle between Trump and Hogan, who offered vastly different visions of the party’s future as they consider 2024 campaigns for the White House. Hogan, one of Trump’s most prominent GOP critics, urged the party to move on from his divisive brand of politics, while Trump spent much of his post-presidency elevating candidates who promote his lies about a stolen 2020 election.

One of those candidates was Cox, who organized busloads of protesters to Washington for the “Stop the Steal” rally that preceded the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Cox has also said President Joe Biden’s victory shouldn’t have been certified and tweeted that former Vice President Mike Pence was a “traitor.” Cox later deleted the tweet and apologized.

Democrats were likely giddy over Cox’s win in the Republican primary. The Democratic Governors Association plowed more than $1 million behind an ad intended to boost Cox, seeing him as an easier opponent in November.

Trump, too, was gleeful, saying in a statement shortly before the race was called: “RINO Larry Hogan’s Endorsement doesn’t seem to be working out so well for his heavily favored candidate. Next, I’d love to see Larry run for President!”

Cox joins Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania and Darren Bailey in Illinois as ultraconservative state legislators endorsed by Trump who have gone on to win their Republican nominations for governor. All three fought against their governors’ COVID-19 policies, staunchly oppose abortion rights and raised questions about the legitimacy of the 2020 election.

In Maryland, it could potentially take days, or even longer, to determine the winners in the most closely contested races, including the Democratic primary for governor. Maryland law prohibits counties from opening mail ballots until the Thursday after election day.

In one of the earliest called races of the night, Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen beat back a primary challenge just months after suffering a minor stroke. He is favored in November to win a second term against Republican Chris Chaffee, who launched a failed congressional bid in 2014.

Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, who is awaiting trial on federal criminal charges, was trailing in early returns in her three-way Democratic primary as she seeks a third term.

Mosby is charged with perjury and making false statements on loan applications to purchase properties in Florida. She rose to national prominence in 2015 when she pursued criminal charges against six police officers in the death of Freddie Gray, a Black man who suffered a spinal injury after police handcuffed, shackled and placed him head-first into a van. None of the officers was convicted.

In the Democratic primary for governor, the top candidates included Moore, the former CEO of the Robin Hood Foundation, an anti-poverty organization; Tom Perez, a former U.S. labor secretary and former Democratic Party chair; and Peter Franchot, the state’s four-term state comptroller.

Laura Kretchman, a 41-year-old high school teacher, said she voted for Moore, swayed in part by his endorsement from the state’s teachers union. She said she’s impressed by Moore’s accomplishments after rising above childhood challenges and being raised by a single mom.

“I teach children at a school that also come from difficult upbringings, so I’d like to see maybe what he can bring to helping those students that are struggling and challenged,” said Kretchman, an Annapolis resident.

Other voters said they preferred a long resume of government service. That’s why Curtis Fatig, 67, voted for Perez. “He’s not a newcomer,” Fatig said.

Cox’s victory on Tuesday serves as a win for Trump, who has a mixed endorsement record in this year’s midterm elections. But in such a heavily Democratic state, his candidate faces an uphill battle heading into the fall.

Some Republican voters said Trump’s endorsement persuaded them to vote for Cox. Others said it didn’t matter.

David Gateau, 63, said he voted for Cox because he believes “Maryland is extremely liberal and we need to get back to some values.” Trump’s endorsement, he said, wasn’t really a factor.

“I think Hogan was more of a RINO than he was a Republican governor, and I think our state reflects that,” Gateau said.

Cameron Martin, 22, said Trump’s endorsement was the “main reason” he voted for Cox, but added that he feels like Cox shares his Republican values and that “he will best represent me.”

Maryland’s only open congressional seat was in the 4th Congressional District, a heavily Democratic Black-majority district. Former county prosecutor Glenn Ivey won the Democratic primary, defeating former Rep. Donna Edwards, who previously held the seat.

The incumbent in the 4th District, Rep. Anthony Brown, left his seat to run for attorney general. He won the Democratic primary on Tuesday night, defeating Katie Curran O’Malley, the former first lady, a former Baltimore judge and the daughter of former Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. Brown was Gov. Martin O’Malley’s lieutenant governor.

Candidates were on the ballot for all 188 seats in the Maryland General Assembly, which is controlled by Democrats.

The Maryland primary was delayed by three weeks because of lawsuits challenging the state’s congressional and state legislative maps.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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2022 Midterms: What To Watch In Maryland’s Primary Elections

By Associated Press
July 18, 2022

Maryland is gearing up for primary elections for governor, U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.

The Republican race for Maryland governor in Tuesday’s primary election pits a candidate backed by outgoing Gov. Larry Hogan against a rival endorsed by Donald Trump.

It’s an early showdown on Hogan’s home turf as he weighs a 2024 White House bid, potentially against the former president.

On the Democratic side, the crowded candidate field includes the former head of the national Democratic Party, a bestselling author, the current state comptroller and a former U.S. education secretary.

U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen is facing a primary challenge as he seeks a second term following a stroke. In the U.S. House, Maryland has one open seat after the incumbent decided to seek a different office.

What to watch:

GOVERNOR

Democrats are eager to win back the governor’s office. Hogan is a rare two-term Republican governor in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-1.

The Democratic primary for governor is shaping up as a competitive three-way race among former U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez, who previously served as chair of the Democratic National Committee; author Wes Moore, who held a virtual fundraiser with Oprah Winfrey; and state Comptroller Peter Franchot, who had wide margins of victory in his four terms as state tax collector.

Voters are casting ballots with the potential for history to be made in November: Moore or former U.S. Education Secretary John King could become the state’s first Black governor, and Perez could become the first Latino chief executive in the state.

For the GOP, Kelly Schulz is running as Hogan’s hand-picked successor to carry on his legacy. Schulz served as a labor secretary in Hogan’s administration and later as the head of the state’s commerce department. She is a former state legislator from Frederick County.

Schulz, the only woman in the field, would be Maryland’s first female governor if she were to win in November. She contends she is the only Republican in the primary who could tap into Hogan’s unusual political success in a heavily Democratic state.

She is running against Dan Cox, a state legislator who has been endorsed by Trump. Early in the pandemic, Cox sued over Hogan’s stay-at-home orders and regulations, saying they were unconstitutional. The lawsuit was later dismissed by a judge, who said that Hogan had a duty as governor to protect public health.

Cox also filed a resolution of impeachment against Hogan, accusing him of violating the rights of residents by issuing orders that were “restrictive and protracted” during the pandemic. Lawmakers rejected the effort.

He helped organize busloads of protesters to go to Washington for the “Stop the Steal” rally that preceded the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection. Cox has said he didn’t march to the Capitol afterward, and he condemned the violence.

U.S. SENATE

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat, is seeking his second term. He first won election to the chamber in 2016, replacing retiring Sen. Barbara Mikulski, who was then the longest-serving woman in congressional history.

Van Hollen suffered a minor stroke in May but said doctors had told him there would be no long-term effects or damage. He said he experienced lightheadedness and acute neck pain while delivering a speech and sought medical care once he returned home.

Van Hollen has just one challenger in his Democratic primary: Michelle Smith, a Freedom of Information Act policy analyst with the U.S. Agency for International Development. Van Hollen previously served seven terms in the U.S. House.

Ten Republicans are seeking the GOP nomination, including Chris Chaffee, who ran unsuccessfully against U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer in 2014.

Van Hollen, who is expected to win his primary, would be a strong favorite in November. Maryland has not had a Republican U.S. senator in the last 35 years.

U.S. HOUSE

The state has eight congressional districts but only one open seat this cycle.

Democratic Rep. Anthony Brown, who has represented Maryland’s 4th Congressional District, is stepping down after three terms to run for attorney general. Former Rep. Donna Edwards, who held the seat from 2008 to 2017, is running to get her job back representing the Black-majority district in the suburbs of the nation’s capital. She will face former county prosecutor Glenn Ivey.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press. 

Source: newsy.com

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