News Wrap: Oak Fire near Yosemite begins to slow as heat wave hits Pacific Northwest

In our news wrap Tuesday, rising humidity slowed the spread of the Oak Fire burning near Yosemite National Park as a new heat wave scorches the Pacific Northwest, heavy rains inundated the St. Louis area, the Senate is set to pass a $280 billion bill to boost the semiconductor industry, the European Union agreed to ration natural gas this winter, and President Biden's COVID symptoms improve.

Read the Full Transcript

  • Judy Woodruff:

    A new heat wave is scorching the Pacific Northwest of the United States tonight, as the East Coast finally gets relief. Forecasts call for highs of 110 degrees in Eastern Washington state and Oregon today. And Oregon's governor declared an emergency. Along the coast, Portland faced readings of 100 and Seattle headed into the 90s.

    Meanwhile, rising humidity again slowed the spread of the Oak Fire burning near Yosemite National Park. It is now only 26 percent contained.

    The heaviest rainfall in more than a century, meantime, flooded the St. Louis area today. Some sections got more than 11 inches in a matter of hours. The resulting flash floods submerged roads and threatened homes. And one person was killed. The deluge followed a period of extended drought.

    The U.S. Senate is set to pass a bipartisan bill worth $280 billion to boost the semiconductor industry. Senators agreed today to limit debate and take a final vote later this week. At the same time, General Motors blames shortages of computer chips and parts for a 40 percent plunge in profits since a year ago.

    Russia says that it will officially withdraw from the International Space Station. The country's space chief says that, instead, Moscow will focus on building its own orbiting outpost. Today's announcement had been expected with tensions running high over the war in Ukraine.

  • Yuri Borisov, CEO, Roscosmos (through translator):

    As you know, we are working within the framework of international cooperation the International Space Station. Of course, we will fulfill all our obligations to our partner, but the decision to leave after 2024 has been taken.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    We will take a closer look at the implications of all this later in the program.

    The European Union agreed today to ration natural gas this winter. It came a day after Russian energy giant Gazprom cut the gas flow through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to 20 percent capacity. Germany's economic minister said the E.U. bloc will not bow to pressure.

  • Robert Habeck, German Economic Minister (through translator):

    We have now seen it very clearly that the strategy is to keep the price high in Europe and to let the political price get higher and higher, and thus to divide Europe and to split off solidarity with Ukraine.

    This council today has sent a strong, decisive signal. Europe will not be divided.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The draft E.U. legislation calls for voluntary reductions of 15 percent from August through March.

    Pope Francis held a huge outdoor mass in Canada today one day after apologizing for the mistreatment of generations of indigenous schoolchildren. An estimated 50,000 people turned out in Edmonton, Alberta. The pope praised the indigenous tradition of showing respect for elders, but he made no further mention of his apology.

    Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones went on trial in Texas today for lying about the Sandy Hook school massacre in 2012. The attack left 20 children and six adults dead, but Jones claimed that it was a hoax to increase gun control. The trial will decide how much he pays in damages to one of the families. The school was in Connecticut. Jones and his Infowars program are based in Texas.

    President Biden's physician now says that his COVID symptoms are almost resolved. And the president himself said today he's feeling great. There's also new research that concludes that the pandemic likely began at a live animal market in Wuhan, China, and not at a government lab in the same city. The findings appear in the journal "Science."

    In economic news, consumer confidence in July was the lowest in a year-and-a-half amid worries about inflation, and new home sales in June hit their lowest in more than two years, driven by rising mortgage rates.

    On Wall Street, stocks fell after Walmart warned that high prices have forced shoppers to cut back. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 228 points to close at 31761. The Nasdaq fell 220 points. That's nearly 2 percent. The S&P 500 was down 1 percent.

Listen to this Segment