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5 things to know for August 1: Trump, Wildfires, Ford recall, Space Command, Niger

KIFI

By Alexandra Meeks, CNN

(CNN) — A sturgeon supermoon will light up the sky tonight, creating a luminous spectacle for millions around the world. This type of lunar phenomenon occurs when the moon nears its closest point to Earth while appearing full — and it only happens three to four times per year.

Here’s what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.

1. Trump

Former President Donald Trump is facing a swarm of criminal accusations unprecedented for an active presidential candidate, but his lead in the 2024 GOP presidential primary race has solidified. Trump is pulling in more than 50% of support in the national primary polls — or more than all his competitors combined. The former president’s closest primary competitor, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, has fallen below 20% nationally. No other contender is at or above 10%. Despite Trump’s two indictments and two impeachments, several polls show he remains competitive in a potential rematch with President Joe Biden. A poll last week had Biden and Trump tied percentage-wise, while other pollsters show Biden only narrowly ahead. Additionally, a new poll this week found Fox News viewers remain loyal to Trump, with only 5% of respondents who get their news from the network saying they believe that Trump has “committed serious federal crimes.”

2. Wildfires

The US wildfire season has been pacing below average in terms of acres burned so far this year. As of this week, 1.1 million acres have burned across the county in 2023, according to the National Interagency Fire Center — well below the 5.7 million acres that had burned to date in 2022. While the wildfire season has started out slowly, fire officials are monitoring much of the Western US and Pacific Northwest, where vegetation remains dry and hot — leaving room for easy wildfire spread. Canada, on the other hand, is in the middle of its worst fire season on record. More than 30 million acres of Canadian land — an area roughly the size of Mississippi — have been scorched by wildfires this year. Hundreds of Canadian fires are also spreading rounds of hazardous smoke across much of the northern tier of the US, as many of the blazes are being allowed to burn unchecked.

3. Ford recall

Ford has recalled more than 870,000 F-150 trucks because the electronic parking brake could engage unexpectedly, including while the vehicle is being driven. That could cause a loss of control and possibly a crash. The recall, recently posted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s recall website, applies to some 2021 through 2023 model year F-150 trucks with single-pipe exhaust systems. Ford will begin mailing recall notices to owners in September. So far, Ford is aware of 299 instances of the parking brake activating unintentionally and 19 of those incidents occurred while the vehicle was being driven. The automaker said it is not aware of any accidents or injuries resulting from the issue.

4. Space Command

President Joe Biden has decided that the headquarters of US Space Command will remain in Colorado and not move to Alabama, reversing a decision by then-President Trump. US Space Command is currently housed in Colorado Springs, but the Air Force recommended near the end of Trump’s presidency that it be moved to Huntsville, Alabama. According to a US official, several issues factored into Biden’s decision, including “quality-of-life for servicemembers and families, including quality of schools and military housing.” But the official added that “the most significant factor considered was impact to operational readiness to confront space-enabled threats during a critical time in this dynamic security environment.” The move will likely anger Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, who continues to hold up more than 300 military nominations over the Pentagon’s abortion policy.

5. Niger

US troops in Niger have been restricted to an American military base in the country as the Biden administration works to restore democratically-elected President Mohamed Bazoum to power. Bazoum was reportedly seized by members of the presidential guard on Wednesday, sparking international condemnation and renewed uncertainty in a volatile part of Africa beset by coups and militant extremism. The US has not yet formally decided if the situation constitutes a coup — a designation that would require the US to cut foreign and military assistance to the Nigerien government, which could have serious consequences for the fight against terrorism and stability in the region. Meanwhile, France is preparing to evacuate its citizens today due to the “situation in Niamey,” where pro-military supporters continue to rally outside the French Embassy in the Nigerien capital, the French Foreign Ministry said.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

The best photos of the 2023 Women’s World Cup
We’ve entered the final round of matches in the group stage at the Women’s World Cup, with nations vying for a place in the knockout round. View awesome photos captured at the tournament and keep up with the current standings here.

People think this bear is human
Video of an oddly human-like bear at a Chinese zoo went viral, fueling conspiracy theories that an imposter might be masquerading in its place!

Giant ‘X’ sign removed after being installed atop company headquarters following Twitter’s rebrand
The unpermitted sign has been dismantled after the city of San Francisco received 24 complaints, including concerns about its structural safety and flashing lights at night.

AMC Theaters just had its best week in history
Thanks to “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer,” the world’s largest theater chain earned its largest single-week admissions revenue since the company’s founding in 1920.

E-cigarette company Juul says its “next-generation” vape can verify a user’s age
Juul, with its troubled history in US markets, is hoping its new platform can restrict underage access.

IN MEMORIAM

Paul Reubens, the actor who found fame as the quirky man-child character Pee-wee Herman, has died following a private battle with cancer, his publicist announced Monday. He was 70. His popular series “Pee-wee’s Playhouse” earned 22 Emmy Awards during its run on CBS from 1986 to 1991. Reubens was nominated for 14 Emmy Awards during his career, winning twice.

Also on Monday, the entertainment world was shocked and saddened by the sudden death of Angus Cloud, a rising actor best known for his role in the HBO drama “Euphoria.” He was 25. While a cause of death has not yet been determined, Angus was battling mental health issues and “intensely struggled” with the loss of his father last week, according to a family statement.

Editor’s Note: If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts or mental health matters, please call or text the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline to connect with a trained counselor or visit the Lifeline site.

TODAY’S NUMBER

30,000
That’s roughly how many truck drivers are out of work after Yellow Corp., a 99-year-old trucking company, announced Sunday it will shut down its business. Industry analysts say the closure of Yellow shouldn’t cause a significant disruption in supply chains, but it is bad news for its customers, who generally used Yellow because it offered some of the cheapest rates in the trucking sector.

TODAY’S QUOTE

“The use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine — or anywhere — would be disastrous for the world and would have severe consequences for Russia.”

— The White House, criticizing senior Russian defense official Dmitry Medvedev on Monday for suggesting Moscow may resort to nuclear weapons if Ukraine is successful in its counteroffensive.

TODAY’S WEATHER

Check your local forecast here>>>

AND FINALLY…

Take a ride in a historic train car 
Thanks to restoration efforts, train lovers can now experience a ride on the 20th Century Limited, also known as the “most famous train in the world” during the 1940s.

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