Hot, hot, hot

·4 min read

Cuba is in crisis. The West is on fire. And Texas Democrats are fleeing the state.

It's Alex. Let's get to the news, ASAP.

But first, say this 10x fast: "buried bowling balls behind the back." OK, not super catchy, but this Michigan man unearthed more than 150 of the spheres during a home renovation.

The Short List is a snappy USA TODAY news roundup. Subscribe to the newsletter here or text messages here.

Heat dome or heat doom?

The record-breaking heat in the West was easing somewhat Monday, but a "heat dome" means temperatures could remain well above average highs all week, forecasters say. The weather is similar to what the region saw two weeks ago when extreme heat sweeping across the Pacific Northwest and western Canada broke records and fueled wildfires. The consequences are devastating. Currently, more than 300,000 acres are burning across six states. The largest, the so-called Bootleg Fire, has burned across 143,607 acres in Oregon and is 0% contained. In neighboring California, residents have been asked to reduce power consumption after the fire knocked out interstate power lines.

The heat is fatally affecting wildlife, toomillions of mussels, clams and other sea creatures have been cooked alive. And it's likely their deaths will affect entire ecosystems. For instance, one mussel can filter up to six gallons of water a day. "This can matter for plants that live in the water because the water needs to be clear so that the sun can get to the plant that's growing," said Alyssa Gehman, who studies the marine ecology community.

Athlete Sam Richardson uses a UV-Blocking Sun protection umbrella while speed-walking in Elysian Park in Los Angeles Wednesday, July 7, 2021.
Athlete Sam Richardson uses a UV-Blocking Sun protection umbrella while speed-walking in Elysian Park in Los Angeles Wednesday, July 7, 2021.

Cubans protest food and medicine shortages; Biden requests regime 'hear their people'

Thousands of Cubans demonstrated Sunday against food and medicine shortages as the country experiences its worst economic crisis in decades, exacerbated by a surge in COVID-19 cases coupled with a low vaccination rate. The protestors, many of them young people, chanted "We want freedom" and "We want vaccines" as they marched on Havana, the island's capital. Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel blamed the protests on U.S. efforts to provoke a social uprising and warned that protesters would face a strong response. "We are not going to hand over the sovereignty or the independence of the people," he said. President Joe Biden in a statement called on the Cuban regime to “hear their people and serve their needs at this vital moment rather than enriching themselves.”

A woman shouts pro-government slogans as anti-government protesters march in Havana, Cuba, Sunday, July 11, 2021. Hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets in several cities in Cuba to protest against ongoing food shortages and high prices of foodstuffs.
A woman shouts pro-government slogans as anti-government protesters march in Havana, Cuba, Sunday, July 11, 2021. Hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets in several cities in Cuba to protest against ongoing food shortages and high prices of foodstuffs.

What everyone's talking about

Don't mess with Texas (Democrats)

In a revolt against a GOP overhaul of election laws, dozens of Democratic lawmakers on Monday left Austin (and the state of Texas) before Republicans could pass a restrictive voting bill. By leaving just days after Gov. Greg Abbott convened a special legislative session, Democrats would again deny the GOP majority a quorum to pass bills. The move comes one month after Democratic lawmakers staged a walkout in the state House of Representatives to thwart the first Republican push for voting restrictions. The decision to hole up in Washington is aimed at ratcheting up pressure in the nation's capital on Biden and Congress to act on voting at the federal level.

Real quick

Did you get the J&J shot? Read this

The Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine is once again raising concerns. The Food and Drug Administration is planning to issue a warning about a possible link between that vaccine and the autoimmune disorder known as Guillain-Barré syndrome, the Washington Post reported. There have been about 100 instances of the possible connection between the vaccine and the syndrome, mostly among men and in many cases among those age 50 and older. Use of the J&J vaccine, hailed for its single-shot convenience, was paused for 10 days in April while federal health agencies investigated reports of six women developing rare but severe blood clots. The agencies later determined the vaccine's benefits outweigh its risks.

A break from the news

This is a compilation of stories from across the USA TODAY Network. Want this news roundup in your inbox every night? Sign up for The Short List newsletter here.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Cuba protests, wildfires, heat wave, Texas lawmakers: It's Monday's news