WASHINGTON: Antiwar fast nears second month

Before British Prime Minister could share tea with President Bush, July 25, he had to run a gauntlet of peace activists who blocked a White House entrance. Under the banner of CodePink, demonstrators, including Ann Wright, a retired Army colonel, sat down in the driveway and refused to move. Police arrested five of the several dozen participants in the day’s events.

Antiwar activists have been camped out here since July 4 and, borrowing a page from Mahatma Gandhi and Cesar Chavez, they have been fasting to end the war and occupation of Iraq — to bring the troops home “fast,” they say. Thousands have joined the fast nationwide.

On Aug. 15, the White House fast will relocate to Camp Crawford, near the Bush compound in Texas, to join Gold Star mother Cindy Sheehan and peace activists. Sheehan’s son Casey was killed in Iraq in 2004.

FRESNO, Calif.: Death toll climbs from heat

A record-setting, two-week heat wave in California has claimed at least 126 lives. Loralee Cervantes, coroner here, said the 50-person refrigerator in the morgue is full, mostly with people aged 65 to 80. “I’ve never seen these kinds of numbers,” she said.

The temperature outside was 110.

This is just a preview of what’s to come if we do not change our behavior, warns Jet Propulsion Laboratory climatologist Bill Patzert. In the past century, he said, with skyrocketing use of fossil-based fuels, “we have had an extreme makeover.” Average temperatures have risen 3 degrees during the day and a whopping 7 degrees at night. Global warming is no joke.

In Missouri, 13 people died while the region struggles to restore power following massive storms on July 19 and July 21. The heat index, which adds the impact of humidity to air temperature, reached 115 degrees.

Idahoans are sweating through the third straight summer of high heat and drought. University scientists say that soaring temperatures has resulted in early snowmelt, reducing hydroelectric power and increasing the number of forest fires.

Meanwhile, on the East Coast, some residents of Queens in New York City sweltered in the dark for 10 days when Con Ed’s power network there collapsed. Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg praised the giant utility corporation for its work, but Queens resident Christos Padadopoulos was furious. “Angry, that’s not the half it,” he said. “I’m angry with the mayor and Con Ed.”

MIAMI: Synagogues, Jewish businesses defaced

“This is a significant attempt to harass and intimidate the Jewish community,” said Art Teitelbaum, director of the southern area Anti-Defamation League. “It’s an anti-Semitic incident but it’s a challenge for everyone.”

Teitelbaum spoke to reporters as workers cleaned up Congregation Shaaray Tefilah and Young Israel of Greater Miami. On July 30, four men were seen spray-painting swastikas, “KKK” and “You’re Next” across the two synagogues. One man was arrested and is in custody.

The same night, two businesses — Judaica Enterprises and Kosher World — were also hit. Police said they believe it was a random act, but Yitzie Spalter, owner of Kosher World, said, “I don’t believe it was kids. They were too organized to come to two temples in the neighborhood and two Jewish stores.”

The Anti-Defamation League reports that anti-Semitic attacks have increased in south Florida from 173 in 2004 to 199 in 2005.

CINCINNATI: Ohio labor backs ‘Medicare for All’

Ohio steelworkers, electrical workers and other manufacturing workers know the impact of having hard-won health care coverage ripped away with one stroke of a corporate pen. They rallied 589 delegates to the state’s AFL-CIO convention and joined Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Connecticut labor calling for passage of HR 676, the Conyers Medicare for All bill, a single-payer health care program.

“The U.S. health system continues to treat health care as a commodity distributed according to the ability to pay, rather than as a social service to be distributed according to human need,” the resolution read in part. “Insurance companies and HMOs compete not by increasing quality or lowering costs, but by avoiding covering those whose needs are greatest.”

The resolution will be sent to the Ohio congressional delegation and calls upon all member unions and their communities to take action for passage of HR 676.

National Clips are compiled by Denise Winebrenner Edwards (