Your Thursday Briefing – The New York Times

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Your Thursday Briefing – The New York Times

Fires around the northern parts of Evia, Greece’s second-largest island, have destroyed more than 120,000 acres of pine forest, razed homes and displaced hundreds of people. More than 20 countries have offered assistance in battling the blazes, and the Greek prime minister has declared them “a natural disaster of unprecedented dimensions.”

A record-breaking heat wave that has touched temperatures of up to 46 degrees Celsius, or 115 degrees Fahrenheit, has also set off wildfires in Sweden, Finland and Norway, in yet another episode of extreme weather brought on by the man-made climate change that scientists have now concluded is irreversible.

Elsewhere in Europe, floods that used to come once in a millennium in Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands have killed at least 196 people. Some places in Italy reached more than 118 degrees Fahrenheit this week, while parts of the country were variously scorched by fire, battered by hailstorms or inundated by floods.

Extreme weather: Dozens of people were rescued and others were missing after floods tore through Turkey, submerging roadways and cutting off access to large areas.

Related: The heat wave that sizzled the Pacific Northwest appears to have been much deadlier than official estimates, according to a Times analysis. During one sweltering week in late June, about 600 more people died in Oregon and Washington than would have been typical.


Hospitals in the state are overwhelmed with coronavirus patients, with some resorting to overflow tents outdoors. More than 10,000 Texans have been hospitalized this week, and at least 53 hospitals were at maximum capacity in their intensive care units.

By the numbers: About one in five U.S. hospitals with intensive care units, or 583 total hospitals, recently reported that at least 95 percent of their I.C.U. beds were full.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In other developments:


Donald Trump may be forced to explain how he funded the purchase of two golf courses in Scotland, opening a path to a possible investigation.

The Scottish government had resisted pressure to demand financial details from Trump through an “unexplained wealth order,” a powerful legal instrument usually deployed against leading figures in organized crime or drug trafficking. But on Wednesday, a Scottish judge ruled that Avaaz, an online campaign group, should be given the right to challenge the government’s rejection of calls for such a move.

Though it remains far from clear that such an investigation will ever arise in this case, Wednesday’s court decision is nonetheless a setback for the former president, whose financial and tax dealings are under investigation in the U.S.

Quotable: “If you don’t think there is reasonable suspicion over these purchases, then I don’t think you’ve been paying attention,” said Nick Flynn, legal director of Avaaz. “It’s the collective responsibility of Scottish ministers to act on this.”

Election fraud: Byung Pak, a former U.S. attorney in Atlanta, told congressional investigators that he had resigned abruptly in January after a warning from Justice Department officials that Trump intended to fire him for refusing to say that widespread voter fraud had been found in Georgia.

New ruling: Trump’s accounting firm must give Congress his tax and other financial records from his time in the White House, a judge ruled yesterday.

Fourteen years ago, a mother organized a gender-nonconforming summer camp where children were free to express themselves. A photographer caught up with some of the kids a decade later, as they entered adulthood.

Elias, above, spent four summers at Camp I Am. “Back then, I was two different Eliases: School/Outdoors Elias and Dress-Up Elias,” he said. “At camp, I could be Dress-Up Elias the whole time.”

Before the pandemic, the Edinburgh Fringe, which opened on Friday and runs through Aug. 30, was surpassed by only the Olympics and the soccer World Cup in terms of audience size. But some locals had called for a smaller festival — a wish granted by the pandemic.

In 2019, when it was last held, the Fringe sold more than three million tickets for 3,841 shows at 323 venues. This year will see fewer than 850 shows presented, of which a third are online, after a $1.4 million government bailout to cover costs for the canceled event in 2020.

The Fringe is built on the principle of open access for performers, meaning any acts that pay a registration fee can present a show, Malcolm Jack writes — “a free-spirited alternative to the highbrow Edinburgh International Festival.”

Though slimmer, this year’s program is typically weird and wonderful: stand-up comics; a choral drama about migration staged on an out-of-town beach; and an educational walking tour, led by pelvic physiotherapist, titled, “Viva Your Vulva.”

Read more about this year’s unusual Fringe Festival.

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