Monday Sunrise Briefing: A climate of fire and rain

Here are three news events - Europe flood recovery and a global spyware investigation - from this past weekend (while you may have been building a shed or throwing a pot, and enjoying an offline life). Also, what to look for in the news this week.

REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen
Police officers and volunteers clean up the debris Sunday after flooding in Bad Muenstereifel, Germany, July 18, 2021.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged quick financial aid Sunday and a redoubled political focus on curbing climate change as the death toll from once-in-a-century floods in Western Europe climbed above 190. Search, rescue, and cleanup efforts continued in parts of Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands this weekend.  In the U.S., high winds fanned the largest wildfire in the country, torching dry forests and prompting evacuations in Oregon on Sunday, one of 70 major blazes burning across the West. In California, a growing wildfire south of Lake Tahoe jumped a highway, prompting more evacuation orders. Firefighters say they’re facing conditions more typical of late summer or fall.

2. Privacy breach. Military grade spyware sold to governments to track terrorists and crooks is being used to spy on many other civilians, including at least 1,000 journalists, human rights activists, business executives, and politicians in 50 countries, according to an investigation by 16 media outlets. The targeted journalists included those working for the Associated Press, The Washington Post, Reuters, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, Le Monde, and The Financial Times. Out of some 50,000 phone numbers leaked to the Paris-based nonprofit Forbidden Stories and the human rights group Amnesty International, most were for Mexican cellphones and cellphones in the Middle East. The Israel-based private company, NSO Group, which sells the spyware, said the report is “full of wrong assumptions and uncorroborated theories.”

REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
A team sport. UAE Team Emirates rider Tadej Pogacar of Slovenia and his team celebrate on the podium in Paris, Sunday July 18, 2021, after winning the Tour de France cycling race.


Look Ahead

MONDAY, July 19

Justice watch. ​​The first Capitol riot defendant to be sentenced for a felony is expected to come before a judge Monday. Paul Hodgkins, pleaded guilty to entering the Capitol to obstruct Congress on Jan. 6, a charge that could send him to prison for as long as two years.

TUESDAY, July 20

New horizons. Amazon's founder Jeff Bezos, accompanied by three others, is scheduled to fly to the edge of space in his company’s Blue Origin rocket. A mystery person, who paid $28 million for the 11-minute joyride, isn’t going due to "scheduling conflicts."


Transparency watch. President Joe Biden is scheduled to hold a town hall event in Cincinnati. It will be hosted by CNN at 8 p.m., and is expected to focus on the pandemic, the economy, and immigration.  

FRIDAY, July 23

Athletic excellence. The Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics are scheduled to begin with opening ceremonies, as well as archery, equestrian, rowing, and shooting events. 

Generosity Watch

Jeremy Wade/Facebook
California pilot Jeremy Wade on a July 6 stopover in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on his way to deliver a stray dog, Razzle, to his family in Arkansas.

Razzle’s odyssey began in 2011, when he went missing in Arkansas. A decade later, in May, the bedraggled black miniature schnauzer was finally found in California by the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office. His family, the McRaes, was traced via an embedded microchip. But it took a couple of months of healing before Razzle was ready to travel. 

Razzle’s rescuers thought he might be too frail for a 1,600-mile trip in a commercial air cargo hold. That’s when Jeremy Wade, a private pilot, stepped in. On July 6, he took Razzle in his Cessna 182 for a five-and-a-half hour flight from Northern California to Santa Fe, New Mexico, then refueled, and flew another five hours to Heber Springs, Arkansas. "He's now a very old dog, but now he can have the sunset of his life back home with his family in the Ozarks,” wrote Mr. Wade on Facebook. 

Thanks to Mr. Wade’s generosity, Razzle has finally returned to the loving arms of the McRaes.

Hidden Gem

Start your week with a recent audio story that inspired Monitor listeners:

For this performer, when all else fails? Reinvent yourself.

Sneak preview

In tonight’s Daily Edition, watch for our story that examines the meaning of the Nobel Peace Prize. 

Finally, check out the Monitor’s selected stories from Friday's subscription-only Daily Edition:

  1. As birth rates dip, some conservatives warm to the child tax credit
  2. In Senate, an urgent bridge-building effort
  3. US exit leaves a roiling Afghanistan in China’s court
  4. Frontline worker, pandemic mom: How one nurse did it all
  5. Paging through summer: 10 cool reads for hot days

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