OREGON’S BOOTLEG FIRE BIGGEST OF 70-PLUS WESTERN WILDFIRES: Oregon’s Bootleg Fire, which grew on Sunday (July 18th) to an area about equal to the size of Los Angeles, is the largest of more than 70 major wildfires burning in the western part of the country. Some 2,000 people have had to evacuate due to the Bootleg Fire, which has burned down 167 buildings and is just 22 percent contained. The weather forecast isn’t helping amid the hot, dry conditions on the ground, with the National Weather Service saying lightning is possible through today in northern California and southern Orgeon, stating, “any thunderstorm has the potential to ignite new fire starts.”
AS U.S. COVID CASES CONTINUE TO RISE, SURGEON GENERAL SAYS HE’S CONCERNED: Coronavirus cases are now rising in every state, driven by the highly-contagious delta variant and a significant percentage of people remaining unvaccinated, particularly concentrated in some states and regions, and U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said yesterday (July 18th) that he’s concerned about what’s still ahead. Murthy said on CNN’s State of the Union, “I am worried about what is to come because we are seeing increasing cases among the unvaccinated in particular. And while, if you are vaccinated, you are very well protected against hospitalization and death, unfortunately that is not true if you are not vaccinated.” He says that more Americans need to be convinced to get vaccinated, saying, “It is our fastest, most effective way out of this pandemic.”
DEATH TOLL FROM EUROPEAN FLOODING UP TO AT LEAST 183: The death from last week’s catastrophic flooding in Germany and Belgium as well as parts of the Netherlands and Switzerland rose to at least 183 on Sunday (July 18th), at least 156 of them in Germany. About 150 people are still unaccounted for in that country. At least 27 are dead in Belgium with 103 missing, and the death toll there is expected to rise. The flooding was caused by record rainfall that caused rivers to overflow their banks, with whole communities devastated. The waters began to recede in some areas as of Saturday and rescue and recovery efforts were being carried out.
U.S. FATHER AND SON SENTENCED TO PRISON IN JAPAN FOR HELPING EX-NISSAN CHAIRMAN FLEE: An American father and son were sentenced to prision Monday (July 19th) in Japan, accused of helping former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn escape to Lebanon while he was awaiting trial in Japan on corruption charges. Lebanon doesn’t have an extradition treaty with Japan. Michael Taylor was sentenced to two years in prison and his son, Peter Taylor, was sentenced to one year and eight months. In the December 2019 escape that the Taylors were accused of assisting, Ghosn hid in a big box that had air holes in it so he could breathe, which supposedly contained audio equipment, that was flown to Lebanon in a private jet. The defense argued the Taylors has been used by Ghosn, and they apologized during their trial, saying Ghosn had misled them about Japan’s criminal justice system. The judge said they’d done it for the $1.3 million Ghosn paid them. The Taylors were arrested in Massachusetts in May 2020 and extradited to Japan in March.