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    An attorney who held key roles in the George W. Bush administration and was a senior investigator for the U.S. House committee probing the Jan. 6 insurrection is running for a Missouri U.S. Senate seat as an independent. John F. Wood announced his candidacy Wednesday for retiring GOP Sen. Roy Blunt’s seat. Wood says he's a lifelong Republican but thinks both parties' primaries are a race to the bottom. The announcement comes as some Republican leaders worry that former Gov. Eric Greitens might prevail in the Aug. 2 Republican primary then lose in November because of the scandals that pushed him from office in 2018. To get on the November ballot as an independent, Wood would need to submit petitions signed by 10,000 registered voters by Aug. 1.

      The European Union’s executive branch has proposed a ban on the sale of flavored heated tobacco products as part of its plan to fight cancer. The European Commission said in a statement Wednesday that its proposal comes in response to a significant increase in the volume of such products sold across the 27-nation bloc. A recent commission study showed a 10% increase in sales of heated tobacco products in more than five member nations. The ban would not cover all vaping devices, only those delivering heated tobacco. Many e-cigarettes only contain nicotine.

        Tulsa attorney Gentner Drummond has knocked off incumbent Attorney General John O’Connor in the Republican primary in the race for Oklahoma attorney general. With no Democrat and only a Libertarian on the November ballot, Tuesday’s victory for the 58-year-old Drummond means he is almost certain to be Oklahoma’s next attorney general. The 67-year-old O’Connor was Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt’s hand-picked successor after former Attorney General Mike Hunter resigned last year. Drummond is a former fighter pilot who served eight years in the military before getting his law degree from Georgetown University and returning to Oklahoma.

          The latest testimony about the events surrounding the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol has Donald Trump rebuffing his own security’s warnings about armed protesters in the crowd gathering for a rally near the White House. A former White House aide also tells the House committee investigating the attack that Trump desperately attempted to join his supporters as they marched to the Capitol. In her testimony Tuesday, Cassidy Hutchinson described an angry, defiant president who grabbed at the steering wheel of the presidential SUV when the Secret Service refused to allow him go to the Capitol. Trump has dismissed her as “a total phony.”

            Tensions are high in India’s western Udaipur city. On Tuesday, police arrested two Muslim men accused of slitting a Hindu tailor’s throat and posting a video of it on social media, representing a dramatic escalation of communal violence in a country split by deep religious polarization. The man was stabbed inside his tailoring shop Tuesday by two cleaver-wielding attackers who later claimed responsibility for the killing and accused Lal of blasphemy. They also threatened to kill Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Police are investigating whether the killing had any links to terrorism. The killing comes after months of rising tensions between Hindus and Muslims, and has raised fears it will spark increased violence.

              Sri Lanka’s economy, which a few years ago enjoyed strong growth that provided jobs and financial security, is now in a state of collapse, dependent on aid from India and other countries as its leaders desperately try to negotiate a bailout with the International Monetary Fund. What’s happening in this country of 22 million is worse than typical financial crises in the developing world: It’s a complete economic breakdown that has left ordinary people struggling to buy food, fuel and other necessities and has brought political unrest and violence and is veering quickly into a humanitarian crisis.

                A multinational task force designed to seize Russian oligarchs' wealth has blocked and frozen $30 billion in sanctioned individuals’ property and funds in its first 100 days. The Treasury Department says that’s on top of yachts, other vessels and luxury real estate that have been impounded as well as $300 billion in Russian Central Bank funds that have been immobilized. The seizure program is one of several efforts designed to drain Russia of its resources as President Vladimir Putin continues his invasion of Ukraine. But civil rights advocates have raised concerns about potential overreach.

                The Dutch prime minister has condemned a violent protest by farmers outside the home of the country’s agriculture minister. A small group of farmers clashed Tuesday night with police stationed outside the minister's home and spread manure on a nearby street. At another protest, farmers attacked a police car. The demonstrations are part of increasingly bold actions against a government plans to rein in pollution. A proposal approved by lawmakers Tuesday seeks to reduce emissions of pollutants like nitrogen oxide and ammonia by 50% by 2030. Farmers also have torched bails of hay near roads and blocked highways with tractors. Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Wednesday: “You can demonstrate, but in a civilized way.”

                Twenty-five years after Britain handed Hong Kong over to mainland China, the city is in limbo. Beijing has been expanding its influence and control over this vibrant, bustling global business hub, curbing freedoms it promised to respect for at least 50 years after taking sovereignty over the former British colony. Freedom of the press has come under attack and pro-democracy newspapers openly critical of the government have been forced to close. Hong Kong residents still enjoy greater autonomy and more civil liberties than other Chinese, but many protests are now banned. As one expert puts it, Hong Kong's in a “middle ground," without leverage to determine its future, while Beijing is “learning as it goes."

                Nobel Peace Prize laureate Maria Ressa says her Rappler news website is operating as usual and will let Philippine courts decide on an order to close the outlet. The case is seen as part of an assault on press freedom under President Rodrigo Duterte, who leaves office Thursday and will be succeeded by Ferdinand Marcos Jr. Ressa said Rappler won't succumb to political tactics. The shutdown order came after the Philippines’ Securities and Exchange Commission affirmed the revocation of Rappler’s license. Rappler’s attorney said the SEC’s decision will be challenged in the courts and he was confident Rappler would prevail. A Human Rights Watch official said the case was retaliation for Rappler's “fearless reporting” about drug killings and Duterte and Marcos’ use of disinformation.

                Australia’s new government is putting climate change at the top of its legislative agenda when Parliament sits next month for the first time since the May 21 election, with bills to enshrine a cut in greenhouse gas emissions and make electric cars cheaper. Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen told the National Press Club on Wednesday a bill will be introduced to commit Australia to reducing its emissions by 43% below 2005 levels by 2030 when Parliament sits on July 26. Another bill would abolish import tariffs and taxes for electric vehicles that are cheaper than a luxury car threshold. Bowen says legislating the 43% target would create greater confidence.

                Sen. Mike Lee has won Utah’s Republican primary by brushing off attacks from two challengers who didn’t vote for former President Donald Trump in 2020. The second-term Republican and Trump loyalist defeated former state lawmaker Becky Edwards and political operative Ally Isom in Tuesday’s primary. Both criticized him for his unwavering loyalty to Trump and uncompromising lawmaking style. Lee now advances to the November election to face off against independent candidate Evan McMullin. McMullin is a former Republican who left the party after Trump’s ascendance and has won backing from the state Democratic Party.

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                Suburban Chicago personal injury lawyer Kathy Salvi has won the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Illinois. Salvi topped a field of seven candidates Tuesday to win the nod to take on first-term incumbent Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth in November. Duckworth is a veteran of the Iraq War and is very popular in Illinois. Salvi campaigned on a pledge to work to unify the warring factions of her party. She maintains Duckworth is beatable because the fall election will be a vote about the success or failure of the Biden administration.

                Colorado Republicans have rejected an indicted county clerk as their nominee for secretary of state, choosing a former local official who ran on a platform of taking politics out of running elections. In spurning Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, Republican primary voters appeared to reject the conspiracy theories and false claims that have spread among conservatives since the November 2020 presidential election. Over the last year, Peters has appeared regularly with prominent allies of former President Donald Trump, who claims without evidence that the election was stolen from him.

                All four members of the U.S. House from Utah defeated Republican primary challengers Tuesday. First-term Congressman Blake Moore won the nomination over two challengers in District 1, and Chris Stewart, John Curtis and Burgess Owens each defeated a single challenger. The Democratic nominations for those races are not contested. This primary election is the first since the GOP-dominated state Legislature approved new redistricting maps that further split up Democratic-leaning Salt Lake City, effectively shoring up Republican advantages in each of the state’s four districts.

                Voters in Colorado’s Republican primaries have decisively rejected right-wing candidates for U.S. Senate, governor and secretary of state as the party prepares to challenge Democrats’ stranglehold on the state’s top offices. Voters on Tuesday also selected their November nominees in the state’s eight congressional districts, with a new, northern Colorado swing district in play after the state gained a seat with redistricting. In a state that’s trended purple over the past decade, Colorado’s congressional delegation includes two Democratic senators, with three-term Sen. Michael Bennet seeking re-election this year. Democrats hold a 4-3 advantage among U.S. representatives. Also on the statewide ballot are uncontested primaries for attorney general and state treasurer.

                Two of Congress’ staunchest conservatives repelled more centrist challengers to lock up Republican nominations on Tuesday. That happened even as the party’s voters chose to turn out a six-term incumbent in Mississippi. Illinois Republican Rep. Mary Miller, who called the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade a “historic victory for white life” during a weekend rally with former President Donald Trump — her spokesperson said she misspoke — defeated fellow GOP incumbent Rodney Davis. Another Trump ally, Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert, one of Congress’ most polarizing members, easily beat back a challenge from a more mainstream Republican. Mississippi Republican Rep. Steven Palazzo, a six-term incumbent, lost to Sheriff Mike Ezell.

                Nebraska state Sen. Mike Flood has won a special election to replace former U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, a fellow Republican who was sentenced to two years of probation earlier in the day for a conviction on charges that he lied to federal agents. Flood beat Democratic state Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks in the state’s Republican-leaning 1st District, which includes Lincoln and dozens of smaller towns in eastern Nebraska. Flood, a former speaker of the Nebraska Legislature, will serve the rest of what would have been Fortenberry’s ninth term. He’ll be a strong favorite to win a new term in November, when he faces Pansing Brooks again in the general election.

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