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5 things to know for July 12: Floods, Actors strike, North Korea, GOP primary, Abortion

By Alexandra Meeks, CNN

(CNN) — Multiple wills were found in Aretha Franklin’s Detroit home after her death in 2018, causing a family battle over the late singer’s estate. A jury this week decided a 2014 handwritten will found under her couch cushion should stand as the document of record.

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

1. Floods

Thousands of homes and businesses in the Northeast US are inundated with muddy water following days of heavy rainfall and devastating floods. In Vermont’s capital, Montpelier, streets turned into rivers and water nearly reached ceilings in the downtown area, where a travel ban was issued and a citywide boil water notice is in place. President Joe Biden has approved an emergency declaration for Vermont, authorizing FEMA to deliver equipment and resources. In New York, where emergencies were declared in several counties, the damage has exceeded tens of millions of dollars, officials said. Several cities in the region are now shifting into a recovery phase, but officials say the threat isn’t over. More rain is expected to return to New England later this week and could bring more flooding to areas where the ground is already too saturated to absorb any more water.

2. Actors strike

SAG-AFTRA, the union representing 160,000 actors, is prepared to launch a strike today unless a deal is reached over contract negotiations with studios and streaming services. The union has agreed to come to the bargaining table with federal mediators, but it remains to be seen if a deal can be quickly reached over an appropriate living wage and other key issues. If the actors do go on strike, they would join 11,000 members of the Writers Guild of America, who have been on strike for two months. Production of many movies and TV shows has already been shut down by the current writers strike. An actors strike would bring most remaining productions to a halt, other than on some independent films not associated with studios.

3. North Korea

North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile today that flew for more than 70 minutes, Japan’s Defense Ministry said, marking a potential new round of confrontation with the US and its allies. The launch follows several other recent weapons tests by North Korea, which have raised alarm among international observers and experts as the country ramps up its efforts to develop weapons capable of potentially striking major US cities. Today’s launch, which landed in waters off Japan, comes after Pyongyang earlier this week threatened to shoot down US military reconnaissance aircraft engaging in what it called “hostile espionage” activities near its territory.

4. GOP primary

Republican presidential candidates are testing novel ways to raise money as they scramble for a spot on next month’s debate stage. To qualify for the debate on August 23 in Milwaukee, candidates must meet both polling thresholds and a fundraising floor: At least 40,000 unique donors, including at least 200 contributions from 20 states. North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum is offering $20 gift cards to people who donate at least $1 to his presidential campaign. Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy has promised grassroots fundraisers a 10% cut of the money they bring into his campaign. Other candidates are simply pleading for $1 donations or offering campaign swag at steep discounts. The unique fundraising strategies are now raising questions about whether some approaches run afoul of federal campaign finance laws.

5. Abortion

Republican lawmakers in Iowa passed a bill Tuesday that would ban most abortions in the state as early as six weeks into pregnancy. The bill now heads to the desk of Gov. Kim Reynolds for her signature. According to the bill, physicians will be prohibited from providing most abortions after early cardiac activity can be detected in a fetus or embryo, commonly as early as six weeks into pregnancy — before many women know they are pregnant. Former Vice President Mike Pence posted his support of the legislation on Twitter, writing, “Grateful to see Iowa Republicans and Governor @KimReynoldsIA standing for life!” Meanwhile, Democratic backlash was swift, with state House Minority Leader Jennifer Konfrst saying in a statement, “Women are not free when they cannot make their own healthcare decisions. And after today, women won’t be free.”


Biden and G7 leaders to announce ‘substantial’ aid package to Ukraine
President Joe Biden and G7 leaders are set to make a “major announcement” today with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on boosting Kyiv’s military capabilities, a US official said at the NATO Summit in Lithuania. The package will offer additional assistance to the war-torn country as Zelensky expressed frustration that there is no clear timeline for Ukraine to join the NATO alliance.


See Joaquin Phoenix as ‘Napoleon’ in new trailer
Oscar-winning actor Joaquin Phoenix has stepped into the shoes of famous leader Napoleon Bonaparte, starting with the French Revolution. Watch the trailer here.

BBC journalists are unflinching in coverage of company scandal
Reporters at the British broadcaster are not shying away from covering a scandal facing one of its own top anchors.

Taylor Swift fans encounter another snafu on Ticketmaster
Once again, concertgoers took to social media to express their “Bad Blood” with the ticketing service.

Tensions build over controversial golf merger
PGA Tour officials say they had no choice but to reach a deal with Saudi-funded LIV Golf to keep some measure of control over the sport in the US.

Several shark species are facing extinction
Conservation groups say they are ramping up their mission to save the apex predators before they are lost to history.


$17.5 billion
That’s how much California has spent over the last four years combatting homelessness. But, in the same time frame, the state’s homeless population actually grew. Experts say getting people into permanent housing — not just off the street — needs to be the focus to see sustainable improvement.


“Updates are needed to protect the public’s health.”

— The CDC, announcing Tuesday that it is changing how dogs are imported into the US. The proposed updates aim to prevent rabies from arriving from overseas and place the most restrictions on people seeking to import dogs from “high-risk” countries. The last time the agency proposed guidelines on dog imports was in 1956, nearly 70 years ago.


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One horse inspired the invention of movies
It all started in 1872 with a sole question: When a horse gallops, is there a point when all four of its hooves are off the ground at the same time? Watch how cameras were used to find the answer. (Click here to view)

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