Greece Wildfires Kill 74; Israel Shoots Down Syrian Warplane; Trump Plans $12 Billion Bailout For Farmers; Laos Dam Collapse; Goldfish Crackers and Ritz Cheese Crackers Recall; Deadly Protests in Nicaragua
Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Tuesday, July 24. Ready for news?
Greece Wildfires Kill 74
In Greece, wildfires killed at least 74 people in seaside resort towns near Athens.
The fires started Monday afternoon and trapped many people who tried to escape by going to the beach, but the smoke and the fires overwhelmed some of them, with them dying.
There were very strong winds, about 50 mph, that caused the flames to spread fast.
There was a group of 26 people, including children, who passed away lying together on a cliff by the water.
A Red Cross official said the group tried to escape, but they didn’t make it in time, and they embraced because they saw the end nearing.
Some survivors said they had to jump in the sea to escape the smoke, and that it was still dangerous because of strong currents and zero visibility. Some drowned.
Coast guard boats and other boats rescued about 700 people from the shore and 19 others from the sea. They also pulled out four dead bodies from the sea.
Over 180 people were injured.
Pictures show a street full of burnt and charred cars, burnt homes, many emergency workers, and people looking shocked. The air was full of smoke. Over 100 homes and over 200 vehicles were burnt.
It is not known what caused the fires. News reports say a dry winter and the hot, dry summer caused the area to be in “tinder-box conditions,” with fires easily spreading out.
There are still some areas burning with firefighters and aircraft working to stop it, pouring water and fighting back. Weather forecasts say there will be heavy rains on Wednesday.
Greece Prime Minister Tsipras said it is a difficult night for Greece.
Israel Shoots Down Syrian Warplane
The Israeli military today launched two Patriot missiles towards a Syrian military jet that was in the Golan Heights area, which Israel occupies.
The jet crashed in Syrian land. It is not known if the pilot is alive or not.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said they noticed an increase in “internal fighting” in Syria near the border. They said they were tracking the jet and decided to shoot at it when it went two kilometers into Israeli airspace.
Syria said the jet was in Syrian airspace and was in an operation against Syrian rebels when they were hit. They said the “Israeli enemy” supported the “terrorists.”
Reuters news said there is an increase in military action in Syria at areas near the Israel border. An article says that the Syrian military, backed by Russia, is dropping bombs against rebels. They also say there are Iranian soldiers, who also back Syria, in the area.
The region is historically a sensitive area between Israel and Syria.
This is the first time since 2014 that Israel shot down a Syrian jet.
In February, Syria launched a missile that hit an Israeli jet.
Trump Plans $12 Billion Bailout For Farmers
The Trump administration will give $12 billion in emergency aid to U.S. farmers who were affected by Trump’s tariffs (trade taxes) against other countries and their tariffs against the U.S.
The $12 billion will be divided in three areas — direct assistance, a food purchase and distribution program, and a trade promotion plan. This will be coordinated by the Department of Agriculture.
This is based on a program that was created during the Great Depression in the 1930’s which allows the money to be borrowed from the Treasury Department to support farmers.
Two Republican Senators, Rand Paul (Ky) and Bob Corker (Tenn) said it is welfare for farmers.
Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said several businesses in the state told him that Trump’s tariffs have benefited other countries who have lower prices.
Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) said Trump’s trade war is cutting the legs out from farmers. He said the tariffs and bailouts aren’t going to make America great again, that it would only make it 1929 again.
Today Trump said in a speech in Missouri that people have to be patient because we are making tremendous progress and the farmers will benefit the most.
On tariffs — Trump tweeted this morning that tariffs were the greatest, that it forces other countries to be fair or be hit with tariffs. Trump said countries will come to Washington to negotiate.
Trump has previously threatened to add more tariffs on imported cars, trucks, and auto parts. The increases would affect imports that totaled $335 billion last year.
Some people say the current $12 billion bailout for farmers is a temporary solution. They are concerned about the future as other countries will steer away from the U.S., not make purchases from the U.S. because of rising prices.
Laos Dam Collapse
In Laos, a dam that was under construction cracked and collapsed. Water overflowed and surged through six villages.
At least 20 people are dead and many more are missing and feared dead.
Over 6,600 people are now homeless. Pictures of the area show people stuck on their homes’ roofs as flooded, brown waters surrounded them. Some houses were swept away.
The dam collapse — people say it was because of continuous rainstorms caused waters to fill up in the reservoir, fracturing the dam and causing the overflow.
The dam was supposed to start generating and “sell” electricity, to export it to other countries in 2019. But there’s this chaos.
Laos’ PM Sisoulith is at the area to provide support to emergency responders.
Goldfish Crackers and Ritz Cheese Crackers Recall
There is a recall for Goldfish Crackers and Ritz cheese crackers.
Four types of Goldfish Crackers are being recalled by Pepperidge Farms because of fears of salmonella contamination from the whey powder in it.
They are — see this.
Flavor Blasted Xtra Cheddar, Flavor Blasted Sour Cream and Onion, Goldfish Baked with Whole Grain Xtra Cheddar, and Goldfish Mix Xtra Cheddar + Pretzel.
If you bought that specific kind of Goldfish Crackers, you should throw them or return them to the store where you bought them for a refund.
There have been no reports of illnesses from Goldfish crackers, but the company said they are doing the recall to be careful.
The second — Ritz crackers’ company Mondelez International also announced a recall of their crackers with cheese a few days ago. They are Ritz bits with cheese or Ritz cheese crackers.
Just like Goldfish Crackers, there have been no reports of illness, they said the recall is to be careful.
Salmonella is a bacteria that can cause diarrhea, fever, cramps, vomiting, and sometimes cause serious and deadly infections, with the most vulnerable young children or those with weaker immune systems.
You can see a full list of the recalled crackers at the link in the transcript.
Deadly Protests in Nicaragua
In Nicaragua, there have been massive protests for over three months. People are objecting the Nicaraguan government’s plans to cut welfare benefits.
The protests has become deadly, with over 300 people killed. Some were shot. Many blame the Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega for allowing paramilitary groups to kill people.
Ortega said he does not control the paramilitary groups. He put the blame on lawmakers who were against him. He also blamed drug cartels, saying they were responsible for supporting the paramilitary groups. He refused to accept responsibility for it.
Ortega has controlled Nicaragua for 22 out of the past 39 years. There were some counter-protesters who showed support for Ortega. There is a division.
Many protesters have called him to step down, but Ortega said he will not step down before the 2021 elections and said that we’ll see who is voted in.
Some protesters said they are prepared for civil war. There are news reports that say over 400 people are imprisoned for protesting.
That is all for today. See you tomorrow and stay with the light!