First Thing: Iran says Salman Rushdie and supporters to blame for attack

·7 min read
<span>Photograph: Murdo Macleod/The Guardian</span>
Photograph: Murdo Macleod/The Guardian

Good morning.

Salman Rushdie and his supporters are to blame for the attack in which he was stabbed repeatedly at a public appearance in New York state, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesperson has said.

Freedom of speech did not justify Rushdie’s insults upon religion in his writing, Nasser Kanaani said in a press briefing on Monday.

Iran had no other information about Rushdie’s alleged assailant except what had appeared in media, he added.

The prize-winning writer spent years under police protection after Iranian leaders called for Rushdie’s killing over his portrayal of Islam and the prophet Muhammad in his novel The Satanic Verses.

  • Has the other man who was injured in the attack spoken out? Yes, Ralph Henry Reese who was on stage with Rushdie has described the lead-up to the attack and what was going through his head when the assailant first jumped on stage.

  • How is Rushdie doing? Salman Rushdie’s “road to recovery has begun” but “will be long”, the novelist’s agent has said.

GOP governors rebuke party members’ ‘outrageous rhetoric’ over Trump search

An aerial view of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate is seen Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022, in Palm Beach, Fla. Court papers show that the FBI recovered documents &nbsp;labeled “top secret” from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
View of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida. Photograph: Steve Helber/AP

A handful of Republican governors have criticized the “outrageous rhetoric” of their party colleagues in the US Congress, who have accused federal law enforcement officers of a politicized attack on former president Donald Trump after executing a court-approved search warrant on his Florida home this week.

The Maryland governor, Larry Hogan, a Republican moderate, described attacks by party members as both “absurd” and “dangerous”, after a week in which certain Republicans compared the FBI to the Gestapo and fundraised off the slogan: “Defund the FBI.”

Speaking to ABC News yesterday, Hogan described the comparisons of the FBI to Nazi Germany’s secret police, made by the Florida senator Rick Scott, as “very concerning to me, it’s outrageous rhetoric”.

“It’s absurd and, you know, it’s dangerous,” he added, especially after an armed man enraged by the raid was killed in Ohio when he tried to invade an FBI office. “There are threats all over the place and losing faith in our federal law enforcement officers and our justice system is a really serious problem for the country.”

  • How did one wild week in Washington change the game for Biden and Trump? It was a tale of two presidents: Biden at his zenith, gaining praise for a “hot streak” and earning comparisons with the master legislator Lyndon Johnson; Trump at his nadir, under criminal investigation for potential violations of the Espionage Act and earning comparisons with the 1920s gangster Al Capone.

US lawmakers to meet Taiwan president as China tensions simmer

Pelosi meets Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen
US lawmakers were expected to meet Taiwan’s president days after China reacted to a similar visit by the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi. Photograph: Taiwan Presidential Office/Reuters

US lawmakers were set to meet Taiwan’s president days after China reacted to a similar visit by the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, with huge military drills that raised fears of conflict.

The unannounced two-day trip came after Beijing sent warships, missiles and jets into the waters and skies around Taiwan, a self-ruled democracy that China’s leaders claim and have vowed to one day seize.

The five-member congressional delegation – led by Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts – was due to hold a meeting with President Tsai Ing-wen on Monday morning followed by a banquet at the foreign ministry.

Their visit would focus on trade, regional security and climate change, Washington’s de facto embassy in Taipei said.

Taiwan’s foreign ministry hailed the visit as another sign of a friendship between Taipei and Washington “that is not afraid of China’s threats and intimidation”.

  • How has Beijing responded? State news agency Xinhua published a commentary after the lawmakers’ arrival Sunday with the headline “US politicians should stop playing with fire on Taiwan question”.

In other news …

  • More than seven decades has passed since families were torn apart by the horrors of partition. Now social media is helping long-lost relatives discover each other after a lifetime separated by the India-Pakistan border. Lines of cross-border communication have been opened up in innovative ways including dating apps, YouTube channels and Instagram hashtags.

  • A fire sparked by an electrical fault at a packed church in a working-class district of Greater Cairo has killed at least 41 people and injured another 45, Egyptian officials have said. Flames and smoke blocked an entrance to the church, causing a crowd crush, security sources told Reuters.

  • A man drove into a barricade near the US Capitol in Washington DC early yesterday morning, fired several shots into the air after his vehicle ignited, and then shot himself to death, according to police. Officials were quick to note they had not determined a motive for the man’s actions.

  • Researchers have successfully altered the blood type of three donor kidneys in a gamechanging discovery that could significantly improve the chances of patients waiting for a transplant finding a match. The development could particularly benefit minority ethnic groups.

Don’t miss this: ‘I felt I was being assessed on my skin colour’

From Rio to Reykjavik, London to Shanghai, Black women face a maternal health crisis. Six mothers share their stories of pregnancy, birth – and racism. One, Shakia Stewart, said: “The fact that Black women are four times more likely to die during pregnancy than white women is not down to a few bad apples – if it was, it would be easier to fix. The fact is, those who have the power to change things don’t care enough to do so, because the issues don’t directly affect them. So there is a lack of training, education and understanding, which means health professionals like that consultant can’t see how or why their words or actions are the wrong ones.”

… or this: Why were eight Ohio relatives killed the same night?

This aerial photo shows one of the locations being investigated in Pike County, Ohio, as part of an ongoing homicide investigation, Friday, April 22, 2016. Several people were found dead Friday at multiple crime scenes in rural Ohio, and at least most of them were shot to death, authorities said. No arrests had been announced, and it’s unclear if the killer or killers are among the dead. (Lisa Marie Miller/The Columbus Dispatch via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
One of the crime scenes in Pike county, Ohio, where members of the Rhoden family were killed in 2016. Photograph: Lisa Marie Miller/AP

When eight members of the Rhoden family were murdered in rural Ohio, in 2016, Edward “Jake” Wagner and other members of the nearby Wagner family denied any involvement. For the next five years, the Wagners continued to dismiss the idea that they had any knowledge of why a person – or persons – had invaded the Rhodens’ compound one spring night and killed them with silenced guns as they slept. Then on 22 April 2021, exactly five years after the murders, Jake Wagner stood in a courtroom and told a judge: “I am guilty, your honor.” The case alleging has torn apart a rural county.

Climate check: Europe’s rivers run dry as scientists warn drought could be worst in 500 years

In places, the Loire can now be crossed on foot; France’s longest river has never flowed so slowly. The Rhine is fast becoming impassable to barge traffic. In Italy, the Po is 2 metres lower than normal, crippling crops. Serbia is dredging the Danube. Across Europe, drought is reducing once-mighty rivers to trickles, with potentially dramatic consequences for industry, freight, energy and food production – just as supply shortages and price rises due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine bite.

Last Thing: Goats and sheep deploy their appetites to save Barcelona from wildfires

A goat grazes at the natural park of Collserola near Barcelona
A goat grazes at the natural park of Collserola near Barcelona. Photograph: Pau Barrena/AFP/Getty Images

Swapping sirens for bells and equipped with voracious appetites, Barcelona’s newest firefighting recruits began delicately picking past hikers and cyclists in the city’s largest public park earlier this year. The four-legged brigade – made up of 290 sheep and goats – had just one task: to munch on as much vegetation as possible. Their arrival turned Barcelona into one of the latest places to embrace an age-old strategy that’s being revived as officials around the world face off against a rise in extreme wildfires.

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