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In our new wrap Friday, extreme heat in the Pacific Northwest kept temperatures at or above 100 degrees again with extreme condition expected through the weekend, another major inflation gauge is pointing to price hikes for some time to come, Exxon-Mobil and Chevron reported record profits, and shelling in the eastern Donetsk region killed scores of Ukrainian prisoners of war.
In the day's other news: Stifling heat across the Pacific Northwest kept temperatures at or above 100 degrees again. The extreme conditions could last through the weekend. If so, Seattle could set a record-topping 90 for six days in a row. Officials say the heat may have caused four deaths so far.
There's a new revelation in the January 6 investigation. The Washington Post reports that text messages from the Department of Homeland Security are missing from the period before the attack on the U.S. Capitol. The texts were sent by then-acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli.
The department says the messages were deleted after the officials turned in their phones. The chair of the January 6 Committee, Bennie Thompson, says it's extremely troubling that the same thing happened at DHS and the Secret Service.
The U.S. House of Representatives headed toward a vote this evening to restore a ban on semiautomatic weapons, often used in mass shootings. Democrats and Republicans split down party lines amid claims and counterclaims on the merits of a ban.
Rep. Michelle Fischbach (R-MN):
My colleagues are proving yet again that they want to strip law-abiding citizens of their Second Amendment rights. The latest so-called assault weapons ban is unconstitutional and will impact other aspects of American life.
Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA):
You have the right to keep and bear arms, but you don't have the right to own weapons that are used to mow people down indiscriminately. Rights come with responsibilities. And we have a responsibility to try and stop mass shootings.
A ban on assault-style weapons was enacted in 1994, but it expired in 2004. Previous attempts to renew it have failed, and the bill that passed today is expected to stall in the Senate.
Another major inflation gauge is pointing to price hikes for some time to come. An index watched by the Federal Reserve shows a June increase of nearly 7 percent from a year ago. And employee wages rose 1.6 percent. That could fuel new inflation if employers pass the cost to consumers.
More oil companies have reported record profits for the second quarter at a time when gas prices soared. ExxonMobil made nearly $18 billion, and Chevron took in almost $12 billion. At the same time, oil production fell slightly from April to May. The industry had suffered widespread bankruptcies and layoffs in the first year of the pandemic.
In Ukraine, shelling in the Donetsk region today killed scores of captured Ukrainian fighters, and each side blamed the other. The Russians said at least 53 Ukrainian prisoners died and 75 were wounded. The attack left burned rubble where jail cells had been.
Meanwhile, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited a Black Sea port, where Ukrainian grain shipments are set to resume.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukrainian President (through translator):
Our side is fully prepared. We sent all the signals to our partners, the U.N. and Turkey. And our military guarantees the security situation. As soon as the Turkish side and the U.N. signal that they believe they are ready to receive cargo and we are ready to export, everything will begin.
Zelenskyy said he believes the first shipments could sail by tomorrow.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russia's foreign minister spoke about a possible prisoner swap in a phone call today. Blinken says he again urged that Moscow release WNBA star Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, a corporate security executive. The secretary did not say how the Russians responded.
Pope Francis has closed out his six-day visit to Canada with a final apology to indigenous peoples. In Quebec City today, members of his audience shed tears as the pontiff said church missionaries helped oppress native people's for centuries. Later, he flew to the Arctic Circle to meet with survivors of residential schools. The pope returns to Rome tonight.
On the pandemic, the U.S. government agreed today to buy 66 million updated COVID vaccine doses from Moderna. The upgraded boosters will target the highly contagious Omicron variant. They will be stockpiled for the fall, when health officials say a new wave of infections may strike.
And on Wall Street, stocks closed out a winning month, buoyed by strong corporate earnings. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 315 points to close at 32845. The Nasdaq rose 228 points. The S&P 500 added 57. For the month, the Dow gained more than 6.5 percent. The Nasdaq rose 12 percent. The S&P 500 jumped 9 percent. That is its best showing since November 2020.
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