Kentucky floods death toll up to 37. 2020 election deniers in GOP state primaries. Taliban under scrutiny after US kills Al-Qaeda leader in Kabul. Pelosi lands in Taiwan, increasing China tensions.
Kentucky floods: death toll up to 37; “hundreds” remain unaccounted for 5 days after storm
In eastern Kentucky, first responders, aid workers, and members of the National Guard are continuing work in the flood-stricken areas. Part of their task is to bring supplies to residents who have remained in their homes, many of whom are without power and safe drinking water.
Meanwhile, police and sheriff’s deputies are venturing into remote hollers with downed trees and flooded out roads in the mountainous area, searching for the hundreds of people who remain unaccounted for five days after the area received a foot of rain in 48 hours. Often, they find the “missing” person alive and safe, but unable to make contact with loved ones without cell phone or internet service. In other cases, they find bodies.
So far, the death toll stands at 37, including 5 children. The welfare and whereabout of hundreds of people remain unknown. Gov. Andy Beshear expects the death toll will continue to rise over the coming days.
In addition to the task of sheltering and feeding those who have lost their homes, Beshear worries about what the weather will bring in the coming days. Not only is more rain in the forecast, temperatures will rise significantly by the end of the week. Thousands of people remain without power or any means to cool their homes. The state is setting up emergency cooling centers to help people escape the heat.
2020 election deniers on GOP ballots in several state primaries
Since the 2022 primary season began, a group called States United has been tracking 2020 election deniers running for GOP nominations for three key state-level offices: governor, attorney general, and secretary of state. So far, election deniers have lost more GOP nomination races than they’ve won. But already in five states, Michigan, Indiana, New Mexico, Alabama, and Nevada, election deniers have managed to secure the Republican nomination for one of these key posts.
In today’s Arizona primary, there is potential for a sixth. There are four GOP candidates for secretary of state, two of which are 2020 election deniers. Shawnna Bolick, a Republican state representative, proposed legislation last year that would have allowed the state legislature to overrule the popular vote when selecting presidential electors. However, it was another GOP candidate, Oath Keeper Mark Finchem, that ultimately received Trump’s endorsement. In Arizona, as in most states, the secretary of state is the highest-ranking election official.
The number of election deniers running for high state offices has democracy experts worried. Many of those running, and who have received Trump’s endorsement, have openly advocated for disregarding the popular vote to favor the candidate of their choosing. It would only take one such fanatic to win in November to potentially throw the 2024 presidential election into turmoil.
Taliban under scrutiny after US kills Al-Qaeda leader in Kabul
A few days ago, a drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, killed Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri. The upscale house where Zawahri had been living is in the heart of Kabul’s government district, prompting speculation that he was under the Taliban’s protection. The news has severely undermined what little credibility the Taliban had on the international stage. Since taking over the country in August last year, the Taliban have been seeking recognition and legitimacy in hopes that western countries might be more open to doing business with them.
Pelosi lands in Taiwan, stirring up more trouble right when we don’t need it
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has landed on an Air Force aircraft in Taiwan. There had been much speculation after Pelosi announced her tour of Indo-Pacific countries. Pelosi had canceled a planned trip to the island in April after contracting COVID.
The news has infuriated Beijing, which considers Taiwan to be a breakaway state that will be ultimately reunited with China. Pelosi is now the highest-ranking US official to visit since former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich traveled there in 1997. The significance is not lost on Beijing. The Chinese government sees increasing US support for the island and its pro-independence government as a provocation. Chinese President Xi Jinping has promised “severe consequences” should Pelosi visit. Whether or not these “consequences” take the form of military action, it will be difficult to repair already strained US-Chinese relations after this stunt.
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