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5 things to know for August 1: Extreme heat, Ukraine, Covid-19, Kentucky, Sudan

By Alexandra Meeks, CNN

Amid growing wildfire concerns, many adventure seekers are breaking the rules to visit Hyperion — the world’s tallest living tree. The forbidden area in California’s Redwood National Park is experiencing such a boost in popularity that officials recently issued a stern warning: Anyone caught near the tree can face up to six months in jail and a $5,000 fine.

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

(You can get “5 Things You Need to Know Today” delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. Extreme heat

Much of the Northwest remains under heat alerts today following a week of extreme temperatures that turned deadly. In Oregon, officials believe at least six deaths over the past week were heat-related. Parts of Washington, Montana, and Idaho also recently saw record-breaking temperatures, and officials are warning critical fire conditions are in the forecast today. In Europe, meanwhile, officials are urging citizens to cut back on air conditioning despite recent heat waves due to higher prices for energy and a Russian threat to cut off gas supplies. Separately, as many families try to stay safe in the heat, batches of a popular brand of sunscreen are being recalled. An internal review of Banana Boat Hair & Scalp Sunscreen Spray SPF 30 found some samples contained trace levels of benzene, which is classified as a human carcinogen.

2. Ukraine

The first grain ship to leave the Ukrainian port of Odesa under a UN-brokered deal to help ease the global hunger crisis departed today, according to Ukrainian and Turkish officials. This is the first grain shipment from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports since Russia began its invasion of the country in February. “This is such an important step… but (Russia) now needs to (honor) their side of this deal and let grain ships pass safely,” UK Ambassador Melinda Simmons tweeted today. It took months of negotiations for Ukraine and Russia to reach a deal on allowing the safe passage of grain and oilseeds — some of Ukraine’s most important exports. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called the ship’s departure a “relief for the world.”

3. Covid-19

President Joe Biden tested positive for Covid-19 again Saturday morning, per a letter from presidential physician Dr. Kevin O’Connor. Biden first tested positive on July 21 but received negative test results from Tuesday to Friday last week. Biden’s latest case is likely a “rebound” Covid-19 positivity that the doctor noted is “observed in a small percentage of patients treated with Paxlovid.” Biden has experienced “no reemergence of symptoms, and continues to feel quite well” and will, as a result, not resume treatment, the White House said. The President will reinitiate strict isolation protocols, just days after celebrating his return with remarks from the White House Rose Garden. Separately, the US Department of Health and Human Services recently said Moderna and Pfizer booster shots updated to target Omicron subvariants could be available by September.

4. Kentucky flooding

At least 28 people have died due to flooding in Kentucky as rescuers continue to search for missing people and the region braces for more rain. The catastrophic flooding last week was unprecedented, officials said, inundating houses and sweeping some from their foundations. “This is one of the most devastating deadly floods that we have seen in our history,” Gov. Andy Beshear said Sunday. “It wiped out areas where people didn’t have that much to begin with.” A flood watch is in effect through at least this morning for parts of southern and eastern Kentucky, according to the National Weather Service. Officials believe thousands have been affected, and efforts to rebuild some areas may take years.

5. Sudan

Thousands of protesters rallied in Sudan on Sunday calling for an end to military rule, following a CNN investigation that exposed Russia’s plundering of gold in the African nation. Clashes erupted after hundreds of demonstrators attempted to head to Sudan’s presidential offices but were met by police, who responded by firing tear gas. The investigation, based on multiple interviews with high-level Sudanese and US officials and troves of documents reviewed by CNN, painted a picture of an elaborate Russian scheme to take Sudan’s riches in a bid to fortify Russia against robust Western sanctions. Evidence seen by CNN also suggests that Russia colluded with Sudan’s military, enabling billions of dollars in gold to bypass the Sudanese state and deprive the poverty-stricken country of hundreds of millions in state revenue.


The chase for the second-largest Mega Millions jackpot has ended

One lucky ticket buyer near Chicago won the $1.34 billion jackpot … but the winner has yet to claim the prize, according to the Illinois Lottery.

A popular South Korean influencer, who looks like a person, isn’t human

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This is what it’s like living in Soviet-era housing blocks today

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Want to get paid to go to the beach?

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Winner of Tour de France Femmes cycling race

Congrats to Dutch cyclist Annemiek van Vleuten for earning the prized yellow jersey! It was the first women’s Tour de France since 1989.


NBA legend Bill Russell, an 11-time NBA champion with the Boston Celtics and the first Black head coach in the league, passed away “peacefully” Sunday, according to a family statement from his verified Twitter account. He was 88.

Actress and singer Nichelle Nichols, best known for her groundbreaking portrayal of Lt. Nyota Uhura in “Star Trek: The Original Series,” has died at age 89, according to a statement from her son, Kyle Johnson. Nichols died from natural causes, he said on Sunday.


$2.1 million

That’s the value of the liquid methamphetamine, totaling 110 pounds, that was seized at a Texas border crossing last week. US Customs and Border Protection officers found it using imaging systems and a dog team, according to a statement. The meth was discovered in a 2012 Dodge that arrived from Mexico, officials said. The driver — an unidentified 41-year-old US citizen — was turned over to immigration agents.


“After a thorough examination of the issues, the Trustees concluded that the actions of one Bin Laden family member should not tarnish the whole family.”

— A source close to the Prince of Wales’ Charitable Fund, commenting on a report Sunday that claimed Britain’s Prince Charles brokered a deal in 2013 to accept £1 million pounds in charitable donations from family members of Osama bin Laden. Clarence House, the residence of the heir, disputed claims that Prince Charles personally accepted the donation. Instead, they insist the decision to accept the money was made by the charity’s Trustees.


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Fluffy Highland calves!

These adorable creatures will definitely lift your mooo-d. (Click here to view)

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