• Some stories for this evening:
  • US and Canada heatwave: Pacific Northwest sees record temperatures
  • Outbreaks emerge across Australia in ‘new phase’ of pandemic
  • Global report: rise in Delta variant cases forces tougher restrictions
  • Erdogan takes first step in controversial Istanbul canal project
  • Biden walks back veto threat on bipartisan infrastructure deal
  • Dozens Came Down With Covid-19 on Everest. Nepal Says It Never Happened.

Welcome to the Overnight News Digest with a crew consisting of founder Magnifico, regular editors side pocket, maggiejean, Chitown Kev, eeff, Magnifico, annetteboardman, Besame, jck and Rise above the swamp. . Alumni editors include (but not limited to) Interceptor 7, Man Oh Man, wader, Neon Vincent, palantir, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse (RIP), ek hornbeck (RIP), rfall, ScottyUrb, Doctor RJ, BentLiberal, Oke (RIP) and jlms qkw.

Since 2007 the OND has been a regular community feature on Daily Kos, consisting of news stories from around the world, sometimes coupled with a daily theme, original research or commentary. Editors of OND impart their own presentation styles and content choices, typically publishing each day near 12:00 AM Eastern Time.  

Please feel free to share your articles and stories in the comments and consider this an open thread.

BBC

US and Canada heatwave: Pacific Northwest sees record temperatures

A sweltering heatwave has hit large parts of the US Pacific Northwest and Canada, sending records tumbling.

The US National Weather Service (NWS) has issued excessive heat warnings and watches across nearly all of Washington and Oregon state. Parts of California and Idaho are also affected.

Multnomah county, in Oregon, has warned of “life-threatening” heat.

Some cities have opened cooling centres, where residents can escape the heat in air-conditioned buildings.

The soaring temperatures are due to a dome of high pressure hovering over northwestern United States and Canada.

Experts say climate change is expected to increase the frequency of extreme weather events, such as heatwaves, however linking any single event to global warming is complicated.

BBC

A Covid outbreak in Sydney linked to the highly contagious Delta strain has grown to 110 cases, while infections emerged in other parts of the country.

Small outbreaks have been recorded in the Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australia states.

This is the first time in months that cases have emerged in various parts of Australia.

Federal and state governments will hold emergency talks about the situation on Monday.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said it was “a critical time” for the nation, as various states shut borders and enacted new restrictions to prevent further spread.

“I think we’re entering a new phase of this pandemic, with the more contagious Delta strain,” Mr Frydenberg told ABC News on Monday.

The escalation in Covid infections has prompted lockdowns in the cities of Sydney and

Darwin, as well as restrictions across four states.

The Guardian

Global report: rise in Delta variant cases forces tougher restrictions

Moscow has recorded the highest Covid-19 daily death toll of any Russian city so far, as the highly contagious Delta variant forced tougher restrictions on countries across the Asia-Pacific region and fuelled mounting concern over holiday travel in Europe.

Vaccinations have brought infection numbers down in many wealthy countries, and curbs on daily life continue to ease in much of the EU and US, but experts warn the fast-spreading strain means the pandemic – while slowing globally – is far from over.

The World Health Organization this weekend registered the lowest number of cases worldwide since February, but cautioned that the Delta variant, now present in 92 countries, is driving a deadly new wave in countries from Indonesia to Russia.

The Guardian

US strikes hit Iran-backed militia facilities in Iraq and Syria

The US has carried out airstrikes against Iran-backed militia in Iraq and Syria, in response to drone attacks against US personnel and facilities in Iraq.

The strikes on Sunday targeted operational and weapons storage facilities at two locations in Syria and one location in Iraq, the Pentagon said.

The Pentagon press secretary, John Kirby, described the airstrikes as “defensive”, saying they were launched in response to an “ongoing series of attacks by Iran-backed groups targeting US interests in Iraq”.

“The United States took necessary, appropriate and deliberate action designed to limit the risk of escalation – but also to send a clear and unambiguous deterrent message,” Kirby said.

Sunday’s strikes mark the second time the Biden administration has taken military action in the region. In February, the US launched airstrikes against facilities in Syria, near the Iraqi border, that it said were used by Iranian-backed militia groups.

Al Jazeera

Erdogan takes first step in controversial Istanbul canal project

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has taken the first step in the construction of a canal on the western edge of Istanbul, amid concerns over the environmental and economic effects of the project.

“Today we are opening a new page in the history of Turkey’s development,” Erdogan said on Saturday at a ground-breaking ceremony of Sazlidere Bridge over the planned route.

“We see Canal Istanbul as a project to save the future of Istanbul … to ensure the safety of life and property of Istanbul’s Bosphorus and the citizens around it,” he said.

The government has said that the project will ease ship traffic and reduce the risk of accidents in the Bosphorus Strait – one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes – which links the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea.

Dubbed by Erdogan as his “crazy project” when he first suggested building the canal in 2011, the 45km (28-mile)-long project linking the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea to the west of the Bosphorus includes the construction of new seaports, bridges, businesses, housing districts and artificial lakes.

The canal, estimated to cost $15bn, is expected to be completed within six years, Erdogan said.

Al Jazeera

     Biden walks back veto threat on bipartisan infrastructure deal

US President Joe Biden has endorsed a fragile bipartisan deal on infrastructure “without hesitation”, walking back from a threat to veto the plan if Congress failed to also pass a larger package to expand the country’s social safety net.

Biden said on Saturday that he did not mean to suggest in earlier remarks that he would veto the nearly $1 trillion infrastructure bill unless Congress also passed a $4 trillion package that he and fellow Democrats aim to approve along party lines.

Speaking on Thursday moments after fulfilling his hopes of reaching a bipartisan accord, Biden appeared to put the deal in jeopardy with his comment that the infrastructure bill would have to move in “tandem” with the larger bill.

Though Biden had been clear he would pursue the massive new spending for child care, Medicare and other investments, Republicans baulked at the president’s notion that he would not sign one without the other.

“If this is the only thing that comes to me, I’m not signing it,” Biden said then of the infrastructure bill. “It’s in tandem.”

By Saturday, Biden was seeking to clarify those comments.

New York Times

Dozens Came Down With Covid-19 on Everest. Nepal Says It Never Happened.

KATHMANDU, Nepal — In April at Mount Everest base camp, where climbers acclimatize to the extreme altitude before heading to the summit of the world’s highest peak, Jangbu Sherpa fell ill with a cough and fever.

At 17,590 feet, his symptoms quickly worsened. The expedition company that had hired Mr. Sherpa to help a Bahraini prince climb Everest had him airlifted to a hospital in the capital, Kathmandu, where he tested positive for the coronavirus.

He spent a week at the hospital and six days at home, and then was back at base camp. Experienced guides like him from Nepal’s high-mountain-dwelling Sherpa community were in short supply because of the pandemic, and the expedition company stood to lose thousands of dollars if the prince’s climb were canceled.

So, with his body still fighting the vestiges of the virus, Mr. Sherpa, 38, most likely became the first person with Covid-19 to stand on Everest’s pinnacle when he led the prince and 15 others there at dawn on May 11. But according to the Nepal government, there was never any Covid-19 on Everest. Tourism officials dismissed the accounts of climbers.

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