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Tuesday, Jul 23rd

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US priest’s sexual assault accusers felt they ‘could not say no’, police say

Anthony Odiong

Two women let Roman Catholic priest Anthony Odiong become close to them because they believed he would provide them with spiritual advice they could use to confront difficult times in their lives.

But rather than simply minister to them, Odiong abused his position to have sexual intercourse with one of the women, police now allege. And he allegedly managed to pressure the other woman into letting her husband sodomize her despite her faith-based objections to that kind of encounter – while also successfully urging her to relay her experience to him.

Those graphic details were revealed in warrants obtained by Waco, Texas, police on Thursday that charged Odiong with two counts of violating a state law which criminalizes sexual activity between clergymen and adults who emotionally depend on their spiritual advice.

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Two US astronauts stuck in space as Boeing analyzes Starliner problems

Astronauts trapped un spaceBoeing’s public relations crisis is now out of this world: the company’s Starliner spacecraft with two astronauts onboard – are currently stuck in space.

After what started as an eight-day mission, US astronauts Sunita “Suni” Williams and Barry “Butch” Wilmore have now spent the better part of a month in the International Space Station as engineers work out the problems with Starliner.

It remains unclear when exactly the astronauts will be able to make their return to Earth. A Boeing spokesperson said they have “adjusted the return of Starliner crew flight test until after two planned spacewalks on Monday 24 June and Tuesday 2 July” and that they “currently do not have a date for the return, and will evaluate opportunities after the spacewalks”.

The spokesperson also noted “the crew is not pressed for time to leave the station since there are plenty of supplies in orbit, and the station’s schedule is relatively open through mid-August”.

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Wildfire smoke prematurely killed over 50,000 Californians in a decade – study

50,000 Californians prematurely died because of wildfires

More than 50,000 people have died prematurely in California over a decade due to exposure to toxic particles in wildfire smoke, according to a new study.

Wildfires create smoke containing PM2.5, tiny particles roughly one-thirtieth of a human hair that can embed themselves deep in the lungs and enter the bloodstream. The particles have been linked to numerous health conditions and premature death. Previous research has found that the wildfire smoke is exposing millions of people in the US to the harmful pollutant.

In a study published in Science Advances this week, researchers used a new epidemiological model to examine the impacts of wildfire PM2.5 exposure between 2008-2018: a period that includes some of the state’s most destructive and deadly fire seasons. There were at least 52,480 premature deaths attributed to exposure to the inhalable particulate matter from wildfires, and at least $432bn in health expenses associated with the exposure, according to the study.

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Wisconsin AG Josh Kaul charges Kenneth Chesebro, other Trump aides, in fake elector scheme

Wisconsin fske electors chargedWisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul has filed felony forgery charges against an aide and two attorneys who worked for former President Donald Trump in 2020 for their part in designing and executing a plan to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election by submitting false slates of electors for Trump.

The charges are the first to be filed by state prosecutors against anyone involved in the scheme that involved 10 Wisconsin Republicans meeting in the state Capitol in December 2020 to sign paperwork falsely claiming to be electors for Trump, despite Trump's loss to Biden.

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What to make of the new COVID variants, FLiRT

FLiRT variant

As much as we would all love to ignore COVID, a new set of variants that scientists call “FLiRT” is here to remind us that the virus is still with us.

The good news: as of last Friday, the CDC says that the amount of respiratory illness in the U.S. is low.

The not-so-great news: the U.S. has often flirted with summer COVID waves because of travel and air-conditioned gatherings.

Dr. Ashish Jha, the dean of the Brown University School of Public Health and former White House COVID-19 response coordinator, returned to All Things Considered to speak with host Ailsa Chang about what the new variants could bring.

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UCLA threatens to withhold degrees from pro-Palestinian student protesters

UCLA student protesterres may lose diplomas

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has threatened to discipline and withhold degrees from at least 55 students involved in pro-Palestinian demonstrations, according to faculty members supporting the students.

Students who were arrested on 2 May when police forcefully raided the Gaza solidarity encampment received letters on Friday from administrators accusing them of violating the student code of conduct and warning them of a range of potentially serious sanctions. In the letters, copies of which have been reviewed by the Guardian, assistant deans write that the students failed to respond to police’s dispersal orders and engaged in “disorderly behavior”, “disturbing the peace” and “failure to comply”.

The students are required to attend a meeting to discuss the “allegations” against them, according to the letters, and “no degree may be conferred until any pending allegations and any assigned sanctions and conditions have been completed”.

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‘Bodies everywhere’: the horrors of Israel’s strike on a Rafah camp

Rafah fire: bodies everywhere It took nearly half an hour for the first ambulances and firefighters to reach the stretch of blazing tents in the Kuwait peace camp in Rafah on Sunday night. The crowding and rubble that slowed the passage of emergency vehicles fuelled the spread of flames through the temporary homes of the displaced.

Zuhair, a 36-year-old lawyer, had been sitting on a road near his own tent, watching the news with friends as the last glimmers of twilight faded from the sky, when an explosion shook the area at about 8.45pm.

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