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5 things to know for June 17: Extreme heat, Gaza, Marijuana pardons, Gun violence, Airline scare


By Alexandra Banner, CNN

(CNN) — The countdown to the first 2024 presidential debate has begun. President Joe Biden and his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, will face off next week on CNN in the most critical debate clash in years.

Here’s what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.

1. Extreme heat

Nearly 200 high-temperature records could be tied or broken this week as an expansive heat wave grips the Midwest and Northeast. The heat arrived in the South and Midwest as many families celebrated Father’s Day outdoors on Sunday, prompting alerts to stay cool amid 90-degree temperatures in some areas. The most extreme heat risk is now in place from the Great Lakes into the Northeast, according to the National Weather Service. This includes the major metropolitan areas of Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, New York City and Boston. Meanwhile, windy conditions in Southern California are potentially fueling the flames of the Post Fire in Los Angeles County. The blaze has charred nearly 15,000 acres and was only 2% contained as of midday Sunday.

2. Gaza

The Israeli military has announced a “tactical pause” of military activity along a route in southern Gaza to allow aid to be distributed but stressed it would not halt its offensive in Rafah. Aid has been delivered to the embattled enclave by land, sea and air since the war began, but few entry points remain operational. This has triggered a spiraling humanitarian crisis, with many human rights groups repeatedly sounding the alarm over “unspeakable” living conditions for Palestinians. Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has disbanded the country’s war cabinet, an official told CNN. The decision comes after opposition leader Benny Gantz resigned last week, citing Netanyahu’s failure to devise a strategy for the war and the future governance of Gaza.

3. Marijuana pardons

Maryland’s Democratic governor is expected to pardon more than 175,000 marijuana convictions today, according to a report from The Washington Post. The pardons “will automatically forgive every misdemeanor marijuana possession charge the Maryland judiciary could locate in the state’s electronic court records system,” the Post said. This comes as cannabis, and specifically how it is viewed by the public and politicians, has undergone a sea-change during the past decade. In November 2023, a record 70% of Americans surveyed by Gallup said they supported cannabis legalization. In 2014, the share was 51%.

4. Gun violence

The US saw another weekend of gun violence in several communities, extending the list of around 220 mass shootings in the country so far this year. Two people were killed and 14 others were injured following a shooting at a Juneteenth celebration in Round Rock, Texas, on Saturday, police said. Round Rock is located about 20 miles north of Austin. Authorities said Sunday evening they were actively searching for a suspect. In Michigan, at least nine people — including two children — were wounded after an apparent “random” shooting at a crowded splash pad in Rochester Hills. The 42-year-old shooter has been identified but his motive remains unclear.

5. Airline scare

A federal investigation is underway after a Southwest Airlines flight plunged toward the ocean off the coast of Hawaii. The incident occurred on April 11 but only came to light publicly on Friday after Bloomberg reported Southwest sent a memo to pilots about the incident. Bloomberg reported the memo indicated a “newer” first officer was flying at the time and inadvertently pushed forward on the control column. The Boeing 737 Max 8 flew as low as 400 feet before rapidly climbing, flight tracking data shows. In a brief statement to CNN, Southwest acknowledged the incident but did not address the memo or why the incident took place.


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