AP News in Brief at 11:04 p.m. EDT

Israeli strikes on tent camps near Rafah kill at least 25 and wound 50, Gaza health officials say

DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israeli forces shelled tent camps for displaced Palestinians outside Gaza's southern city of Rafah on Friday, killing at least 25 people and wounding another 50, according to the territory's health officials and emergency workers.

This was the latest deadly attack in the Gaza Strip, where hundreds of thousands have fled fighting between Israel and Hamas. It comes less than a month after an Israeli bombing triggered a deadly fire that tore through a camp for displaced Palestinians in southern Gaza, drawing widespread international outrage — including from some of Israel’s closest allies — over the military’s expanding offensive into Rafah.

Witnesses whose relatives died in one of the bombardments near a Red Cross field hospital north of Rafah told The Associated Press that Israeli forces fired a second volley that killed people who came out of their tents.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said the hospital was flooded with casualties, including 22 dead and 45 wounded, and condemned the firing of “high-caliber projectiles” a few meters (yards) from the facility. Hundreds of people live in tents nearby, including many of the hospital staff, the ICRC said.

According to Ahmed Radwan, a spokesperson for Civil Defense first responders in Rafah, witnesses told rescue workers about Friday's shelling at two locations in a coastal area that has become filled with makeshift tents. The Health Ministry in Gaza reported the number of people killed and wounded in the attacks.


Millions baking across the US as heat prolongs misery with little relief expected

A relentless heat wave continued to bake most of the United States on Friday, with numerous areas expected to see record-breaking temperatures and forecasters warning there would likely be little relief through the weekend for most areas.

The steamiest conditions on Friday were expected in parts of Ohio and Indiana, where heat indexes were likely to soar past 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 degrees Celsius) and remain there most of the day. But the Midwest was not the only area being baked, as heat and excessive heat warnings and advisories has been issued across the northeast, the mid-Atlantic and in some western states.

Idaho officials said two people in their 60s have died of heat-related causes — the state's first heat-related deaths of the year. Health officials did not release additional information about the victims Friday, including where they died.

Millions of residents across the country have had their lives disrupted by days of unusually high temperatures.

In Michigan, utility crews from several states were working feverishly Friday to restore power to thousands of suburban Detroit customers, two days after severe storms knocked out their power, leaving residents suffering amid a heat wave expected to linger through Saturday.


FEMA is ready for an extreme hurricane and wildfire season, but money is a concern, Mayorkas says

WASHINGTON (AP) — The head of the Homeland Security Department said Friday that the agency tasked with responding to disasters across the country is prepared as it goes into what is expected to be an intense hurricane and wildfire season but he's concerned about looming budget shortfalls.

As parts of the U.S. are sweltering under potentially record-breaking temperatures, Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said extreme heat could qualify as a major disaster under a law governing how the federal government responds to natural disasters but that local communities historically have been able to deal with major heat waves or wildfire smoke without needing federal financial assistance.

Mayorkas spoke to The Associated Press during a visit to the headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency for a briefing about the hurricane season, which started on June 1. Experts think this year could be one of the busiest Atlantic hurricane seasons on record as climate change causes storms to become more intense. Already Tropical Storm Alberto, the season's first named storm, brought heavy rain to parts of Mexico.

Mayorkas said one reason FEMA is prepared is that the agency staff has gotten so much practice responding to disasters as climate change has intensified.

“They have exercised these muscles regrettably year after year. As the impacts of climate change have been more and more evident, we have seen and experienced increasing frequency and gravity of extreme weather events,” Mayorkas said.


Escape from killer New Mexico wildfire was 'absolute sheer terror,’ says woman who fled the flames

Belinda Bukovitz was jolted into action by the sound of police outside her home shouting through a loudspeaker: “Go now, go now, go now!” Realizing this was not like other wildfires that had threatened her mountain village before, she, her husband, son and two cats bundled into three separate cars and fled.

The smoke was at the end of the street when they tore out of the driveway. Panic set in as the usually sleepy two-lane streets of Ruidoso became gridlocked, with cars inching along bumper to bumper, sometimes taking as long as an hour to go a single mile. As they crept forward, smoke from one fire was ahead and smoke from another behind. Bukovitz had no idea where the flames were.

“It was absolute sheer terror, like I thought we were going to die,” she said, voice cracking. “I remember at one point thinking, the river’s over to my right, and I thought my son was about probably five cars behind me. I thought I will get out and go get him, and I will just get in that water. I don’t know if that would help, but that was my plan because I just I didn’t know how fast it was coming.”

The South Fork and Salt fires that raged in south-central New Mexico this week prompted thousands of people like Bukovitz to flee for their lives and destroyed or damaged an estimated 1,400 structures — about half of them homes, according to Ruidoso Mayor Lynn Crawford.

Officials were still taking stock on Friday as firefighters took advantage of rain and cool temperatures to keep the blazes from growing, but large swaths of some neighborhoods were lost. At least two people died.


Teamsters president will speak at the Republican National Convention

CHAPIN, S.C. (AP) — The president of the Teamsters Union is set to speak at next month's Republican National Convention, as Donald Trump angles to chip away at President Joe Biden's support among the blue-collar workers who are expected to play a major role in the general election, particularly in crucial Midwestern swing states like Wisconsin and Michigan.

In a post on his Truth Social platform, Trump said that Sean O'Brien had “accepted my invitation to speak at the RNC Convention in Milwaukee."

Teamsters spokesperson Kara Deniz said Friday that O'Brien had requested a speaking slot at both major party conventions and accepted Trump's invitation for the RNC, marking the first time a Teamsters president would speak at the GOP event.

Planners for the Democratic National Convention said Friday that no final decisions about programming had yet been made for the August event.

“We are building a convention in Chicago that will tell our story to the American people, including the stories of labor and union leaders and workers that President Biden has been delivering for as the most pro-union president in modern history," party spokesperson Matt Hill told The Associated Press.


How Biden and Trump are taking very different approaches to preparing for next week's debate

NEW YORK (AP) — President Joe Biden begins an intense period of private preparations Friday at Camp David for what may be the most consequential presidential debate in decades.

The 81-year-old Democrat's team is aware he cannot afford an underwhelming performance when he faces Republican rival Donald Trump for 90 minutes on live television June 27. Biden's team expects aggressive attacks on his physical and mental strength, his record on the economy and immigration and even his family.

Trump, 78 and ever confident, will stay on the campaign trail before going to his Florida estate next week for two days of private meetings as part of an informal prep process.

The ex-president's allies are pushing him to stay focused on his governing plans but expect him to be tested by pointed questions about his unrelenting focus on election fraud, his role in the erosion of abortion rights and his unprecedented legal baggage.

The CNN debate will be full of firsts, with the potential to reshape the presidential race. Never before in the modern era have two presumptive nominees met on the debate stage so early in the general election season. Never before have two White House contenders faced off at such advanced ages, with widespread questions about their readiness.


Shooting at grocery store in Arkansas kills 3 and wounds 10 others, police say

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A shooter who opened fire Friday at a grocery store in Arkansas left the store and parked cars riddled with bullet holes as bystanders ducked for cover both indoors and in the parking lot, killing 3 people and wounding 10 others, authorities said.

The wounded included two law enforcement officers who exchanged fire with and shot the suspect, state police said. The shooting occurred about 11:30 a.m. at the Mad Butcher grocery store in Fordyce, a city of about 3,200 people located 65 miles (104 kilometers) south of Little Rock.

“It’s tragic, our hearts are broken,” Col. Mike Hagar, director of the Arkansas State Police and public safety secretary, told reporters Friday.

Police identified the suspected shooter as 44-year-old Travis Eugene Posey of New Edinburg. He was taken to jail and charged with three counts of capital murder, while other charges are still pending. No court date had been set, according to the inmate roster.

A state police spokesperson did not know if Posey had an attorney, and the Ouachita County Sheriff’s Office said it had no information.


El Salvador death toll rises to 19 as heavy rains continue

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — The torrential rains hitting El Salvador caused the deaths of another six people on Friday when two girls and four adults were killed after being buried in their homes. Wall collapses and landslides on the outskirts of the capital brought a total of 19 dead.

​​Two weather systems — one along Guatemala’s Pacific coast and the other in the Gulf of Mexico that developed Tropical Storm Alberto — have brought saturating rains to southern Mexico and Central America.

The Civil Protection authorities of El Salvador issued a red alert and the country's Congress declared a state of national emergency for 15 days because of the severity of the rains.

The death of the two girls, ages 5 and 7, was confirmed by the country’s Rescue Commands and the Civil Protection, which alerted residents to the danger of landslides because of the accumulation of water that can cause walls to collapse.

According to the official report, a wall collapsed on the girls' house and after several hours of work, they recovered their lifeless bodies. The parents of the minors were rescued alive and taken to a local hospital.


Climate change makes India's monsoons erratic. Can farmers still find a way to prosper?

BENGALURU, India (AP) — Each year from June to September, a heavy band of rain makes its way from India's southwest coast to its northeastern borders, quenching farmers' thirsty fields.

India's monsoon season is arguably the single most important weather phenomenon for the country, and a good monsoon can noticeably boost the nation's economy and the livelihoods of its 120 million farmers. But human-caused climate change is making the rainfall more erratic, making it difficult for farmers to plant, grow and harvest crops on their rain-fed fields.

“Either it rains too much within a short time or it doesn’t rain at all,” said Vijay Jawandhia, a 77-year-old farmer in western Maharashtra state. Jawandhia grows cotton, soya bean and various other crops that require a relatively cool climate and constant irrigation for the first few weeks after sowing. “We planted our cotton seeds after a good monsoon was predicted but it rained just two days and stopped after, so now we’re worried our crops will fail again.”

The Indian Meteorological Department had predicted good rainfall from the monsoon clouds earlier this year, but extreme heat in northern India stalled the rain's progress. The agency revised its predictions in June, saying the rainfall this year will be less than previously expected.

Many are looking for ways to adapt to this new, unpredictable reality. Experts suggest growing crops that need less water, better and more localized forecasting methods and protection against unexpected weather. But changing centuries-old ways of tending to the land won't be an easy task.


Hawaii settles lawsuit from youths over climate change. Here's what to know about the historic deal

HONOLULU (AP) — About two years after 13 children and teens sued Hawaii over the threat posed by climate change, both sides reached a settlement that includes an ambitious requirement to decarbonize the state's transportation system over the next 21 years.

It's another example of a younger generation channeling their frustration with the government's response to the climate crisis into a legal battle.

Navahine v. Hawaii Department of Transportation is the world’s first youth-led constitutional climate case addressing climate pollution from the transportation sector, according to statements from both sides.

The lawsuit said one plaintiff, a 14-year-old Native Hawaiian, was from a family that farmed taro for more than 10 generations. However, extreme droughts and heavy rains caused by climate change have reduced crop yields and threatened her ability to continue the cultural practice.

The complaint said rising sea levels also threaten to put their lands underwater.

The Associated Press