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Heat wave continues, Louisiana leaps into the culture wars, Trump knows his VP pick: Weekend Rundown

Heat wave scorches millions and makes commutes a hot mess

The summer heat is taking a toll across the U.S., even causing problems for many commuters.

The heat wave is expected to continue across the Central and Southern Plains to the East Coast into Monday and Tuesday, with heat advisories in effect for more than 100 million people.

AP; Getty Images

Washington, D.C., had its highest temperature since 2012 on Saturday as the capital hit 100 degrees for the first time in over a decade.

Meanwhile, in the Northeast, extreme heat coupled with strained infrastructure, malfunctions and mechanical problems on Amtrak and New Jersey Transit brought agony and massive delays for tens of thousands of commuters. The root cause is still being investigated. Rail experts noted that extreme heat could strain infrastructure and warned that the public can expect delays and cancellations caused by extreme weather.

“In the case of mass transit, especially fixed-rail transit, there are particular concerns,” said Clinton J. Andrews, the director of the Center for Urban Policy Research at Rutgers University. “The first is that both the tracks, which are made of steel, and the catenary wires, which provide power to electric trains, tend to expand during a heat wave.”

Louisiana leaps into the culture wars

Jeff Landry during the Tennessee Republican Party’s Statesmen’s Dinner at Music City Center in Nashville, Tenn.
Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry at the Tennessee Republican Party’s Statesmen’s Dinner in Nashville on June 15.Andrew Nelles / USA Today Network via Reuters

A new Louisiana law mandating that the Ten Commandments be posted in every public classroom moved the state to the forefront of a culturally conservative wave typically associated with states such as Florida and Texas.

In his first six months in office, Gov. Jeff Landry has pushed a broad conservative agenda from abortion rights to criminal justice to education. But the Ten Commandments display would have been unlikely in Louisiana even when a Republican last held the office eight years ago.

Landry “sees this cultural struggle. He’s this culture warrior,” said Pearson Cross, a political science professor at the University of Louisiana. “He’s comfortable in this, and he believes that being attacked or having to defend on these particular issues is a good thing. It demonstrates his bona fides because he’s taking on the woke left.”

Landry also signed into measure a law last month that puts two medications used to induce abortions on the state’s list of controlled dangerous substances, again placing Louisiana in a unique position.

Palestinians reel from repeated strikes on ‘humanitarian zones’

The Israel Defense Forces have repeatedly struck Al-Mawasi despite having designated it a safe humanitarian zone, including two strikes last week.

Asma Al-Sarafendi told NBC News’ crew in Gaza that she and her family were awakened by aircraft overhead Wednesday before flames engulfed the area around their tent. “People screaming, people on fire, men taking the children outside,” she said, describing the moments that followed. “We were all injured.”

The IDF did not respond to a request for comment to confirm it attacked the area in Al-Mawasi on Wednesday.

A video shows a Palestinian resident of Jenin on the jeep.
A video shows a Palestinian resident of Jenin on the jeep.Reuters

A video showing Israeli troops driving with a wounded Palestinian man strapped to the hood of a military jeep after a raid in the occupied West Bank has sparked outrage, prompting accusations of egregious mistreatment and human shielding, amid the Israeli military’s intensifying operations in the territory.

The IDF said the incident violated military protocol and is under investigation.

Meet the Press

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said Sunday that former President Donald Trump should pick a running mate who “will help him win” and indicated that she has not been formally vetted for the position.

“I haven’t received any paperwork. No, I haven’t,” Noem said on NBC’s “Meet the Press”, adding, “I’ve had conversations with the president, and I know that he is the only one who will be making the decisions on who will be his vice president.”

Trump said Saturday that he knows who his pick will be but that “nobody knows” his choice yet. He added that the person will “most likely” attend Thursday’s debate. His shortlist is thought to consist of Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Sen. JD Vance of Ohio and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum.

President Joe Biden’s campaign co-chair Mitch Landrieu hinted that Biden will hit Trump on his legal troubles during the debate. “I’ll let the president say what he’s going to say, but the fact of the matter is that the sky is blue sometimes and Donald Trump is a convicted felon,” Landrieu said.

You can watch the full interview here.

Politics in brief

Biden’s debate push: The Biden campaign and its allies plan to hold 1,600 events and run a new slate of ads ahead of the debate.

Performance boosters: GOP Rep. Ronny Jackson of Texas, a former White House physician, suggested that Biden should submit to drug tests immediately before and after the debate.

Gun control cases: The Supreme Court upheld a law that bars domestic abusers from possessing firearms, but other pending cases could reshape the scope of the right to bear arms.

OB-GYNs in Congress: Two physicians specializing in obstetrics and gynecology are running for Congress for the chance to become the only pro-abortion-rights OB-GYNs on Capitol Hill.

Russia blames U.S. for Ukrainian strikes

Russia blamed Washington for a deadly strike on a strategic port in occupied Crimea on Sunday, claiming U.S.-supplied missiles were used. The strike killed at least five people and injured dozens in one of the biggest attacks on the Russian-annexed peninsula in recent months.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said that four U.S.-provided Army Tactical Missile System rockets were intercepted over the city of Sevastopol but that fragments from the fifth rocket led to “numerous casualties among civilians” on the ground. NBC News could not independently confirm what type of weapons were used.

A shooting scene on a street in Makhachkala in southern Russia and plumes of smoke rising from a building in Derbent, Russia, on Sunday.
A shooting scene on a street in Makhachkala in southern Russia and plumes of smoke rising from a building in Derbent, Russia, on Sunday.Reuters

In two cities in Russia’s North Caucasus region of Dagestan, gunmen opened fire at a synagogue, two Orthodox churches and a police post Sunday, killing six policemen and injuring 12, according to the Russian state news service Tass.

Noah Lyles speeds his way onto Olympic team

Noah Lyles has won the men’s 100-meter with a time of 9.83 at the U.S. track and field trials, earning him a spot on his second Olympic team.

Lyles is seeking to become the “fastest man on Earth,” a title an American hasn’t held in 28 years and one that belongs to Jamaica’s Usain Bolt (9.58).

Sha'Carri Richardson poses with her gold medal at the 2024 U.S. Olympic Team Track & Field Trials.
Sha’Carri Richardson poses with her gold medal in Eugene, Ore., on Saturday.Patrick Smith / Getty Images

Sha’Carri Richardson will finally get her shot at gold. Richardson, one of the U.S.’ biggest track and field stars, won the 100 meters in 10.71 seconds at the Olympic trials Saturday.

The Paris Olympics will be a chance at redemption for Richardson for missing out on the Games in 2020. She won the trials that year but wasn’t allowed to compete after she tested positive for THC. She said on NBC’s “TODAY” show that she ingested it after her mother died.

The next wave of obesity drugs is coming soon

Drug companies are racing to develop GLP-1 drugs that could provide major health benefits beyond those offered by Ozempic, with data on 27 different drugs expected to be presented at the American Diabetes Association conference in Orlando, Florida.

“We’re seeing lots and lots of different drug candidates in the pipeline, from very early-stage preclinical all the way through late-stage clinical,” said Dr. Marlon Pragnell, the ADA’s vice president of research and science. “It’s very exciting to see so much right now.”

In addition to weight loss, some of the experimental drugs may improve liver and heart function while reducing side effects common to the existing medications, such as muscle loss.

Can novelty popcorn buckets fill movie theaters?

Hand entering the Dune popcorn bucket with Barbie popcorn bucket, Despicable Me 4 popcorn bucket and Wolverine popcorn bucket surrounding it.
Domenick Fini / NBC News

A possibly too-NSFW-looking popcorn bucket lid for “Dune 2” kicked off a new wave of wacky popcorn tins and exclusive merchandise in movie theaters.

Collectible popcorn holders for “Despicable Me 4” and “Deadpool & Wolverine” are already making waves online, while the most recent bucket, AMC’s light-up “Inside Out 2” memory orb popcorn and drink vessel, was sold out by Saturday morning when the movie hit theaters last weekend, according to a spokesperson for the theater chain.

The rise of more creative movie theater merchandise is a reaction to the post-pandemic “eventification” of moviegoing in which crowds flocked back to theaters, a media analyst said, best exemplified by the “Barbenheimer” phenomenon and the release of Taylor Swift’s and Beyoncé’s concert films last year.

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