Heatwaves and Wildfires: The New Normal in a Warming World
In July 2023, the world witnessed an alarming pattern of extreme heatwaves and wildfires, as the effects of global warming continued to escalate. The Middle East endured an unprecedented heat index of 152 degrees Fahrenheit (66.7°C), a temperature so intolerable that it nearly surpassed the limits of human survival. Similarly, the US faced its own share of climate-related challenges. The western part of the country experienced an extreme heatwave, with temperatures peaking at a scorching 128 Fahrenheit (53 Celsius) in the California desert. The southern and western states, stretching from Florida to Texas, Arizona to California, and even Washington state, bore the brunt of dangerously hot weather that broke all records in terms of both intensity and duration. Near Athens, wildfires broke out amid a severe heatwave gripping the country. The situation became so dire that evacuations were ordered as the fires raged perilously close to the Greek capital. With experts warning that such extreme weather conditions are expected to become more prevalent due to global warming's impact on heat and humidity, urgent action is needed to mitigate the consequences of climate change and protect vulnerable communities worldwide.
Strategic Target: Attack on the Crimean Bridge
An attack on the bridge linking the Crimean peninsula to the Russian mainland occurred on July 17 th . The nearly 12-mile crossing, also known as the Kerch Bridge, is the longest in Europe and holds huge strategic and symbolic importance for Moscow. Russia blamed Ukraine for the attack but Kyiv has not said it was behind it. The Kerch Bridge is a vital supply line for Russia’s war effort in Ukraine and a personal project for President Putin. The attack on the bridge has likely disrupted Russian logistics in southern Ukraine and could have significant ramifications for the conduct of the war.
Tensions Rise: US Deploys Nuclear-Armed Submarine to South Korea
For the first time in decades, the US deployed a nuclear-armed submarine to South Korea. The Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine USS Kentucky arrived in Busan, South Korea on July 18, 2023. This move came just days after North Korea test-fired what it said was a solid-fueled intercontinental ballistic missile. In response to this deployment, North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into its eastern sea in what appeared to be a statement of defiance.
Hollywood Actors Take a Stand against AI
Hollywood actors went on strike over the use of AI in films. The US actors’ union, SAG- AFTRA, disagreed with Hollywood studios about using AI to create “digital twins” of actors. They are concerned that studios want to use AI to eliminate acting jobs by scanning and creating digital likenesses to use in perpetuity without fair compensation. Several actors have said that the strike is about a greater battle for workers’ rights amid the rise of generative AI.
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