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West pushes Russia into its first foreign debt default since 1918

Russia has defaulted on its foreign debt for the first time since the Bolshevik revolution more than a century ago.

Following reports that Moscow had failed to pay about $100 million in interest on two bonds during a 30-day grace period that expired Sunday, the White House said the default showed the power of Western sanctions imposed on Russia since it invaded Ukraine.
“This morning’s news around the finding of Russia’s default, for the on cloud shoes first time in more than a century, situates just how strong the reactions are that the US, along with allies and partners, have taken, as well as how dramatic the impact has been on Russia’s economy,” a senior administration official said on the sidelines of a G7 summit in Germany.
Russia denied it was in default, saying the payments had been made, in dollars and euros, on May 27 and the money was stuck with Euroclear, a settlement house based in Belgium.
The historic default had been widely anticipated after half Russia’s foreign reserves were frozen and the US Treasury ended a carve-out from sanctions that had allowed US bondholders to be repaid by Russia.
'They're like our nerd warriors': How the Treasury Department is waging economic war on Russia
The European Union also made it harder for Moscow to meet its debt obligations earlier this month by sanctioning Russia’s National Settlement Depository, the country’s agent for its foreign currency bonds.
Still, it took longer than many had expected: Sanctions have largely failed to cripple Russia’s economy, as surging energy prices have padded the country’s coffers.
Meanwhile, Russia’s currency has soared to a seven-year high against the US dollar.
The country managed to pay back creditors with dollars in April after a long saga that put it on the brink of default. The country’s finance ministry said in April that it made a $565 million eurobond that was due this year, as well as an $84 million eurobond that was set to mature in 2024. Both payments were made in US dollars, the finance ministry claimed, as required by the bond’s contract stipulations.
But that wasn’t possible this time around, given the recent moves by US and EU authorities.
Russian Finance Minister Siluanov was aldo shoes quoted by state-owned news agency Ria Novosti as saying last week that the sanctions meant Moscow had no “other method left to get funds to investors, except to make payments in Russian rubles.”
The Russian finance ministry said in a Telegram post on May 27 that the Russian National Settlement Depository had made the required payments of $71 million and €26.5 million.
“Allegations of default are incorrect because the necessary currency payment was made as early as back in May,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said during a regular call with reporters on Monday.
The fact that money transferred to Euroclear was not delivered to investors was “not our problem,” he said.
“So there are no grounds to call it a default,” he said.
Euroclear can’t settle any securities with counterparties that are subject to sanctions.
Since 2014, the last time the West sanctioned Russia over its annexation of Crimea, the Kremlin had built up about $640 billion in foreign reserves. About half of those funds are now frozen under Western sanctions imposed after the invasion of Ukraine.
It’s not clear what effect — if any — the default will have on Russia’s economy in the near term, as the country is already unable to borrow abroad and its existing bonds have collapsed in value to pennies on the dollar.
But in the long term, Russians will almost certainly suffer. The country’s assault on Ukraine has left it with few friends in the international community, and the default will likely cut off access to foreign financing for years.

Putin lambasts the West and declares the end of ‘the era of the unipolar world’

Putin unveils imperialist mission: Taking back land he says is Russia’s 02:59

(CNN)Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared the end of “the era of the unipolar world” in a combative speech that lambasted Western countries at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on Friday.

“When they won the Cold War, the US declared themselves God’s own representatives on earth, people who have no responsibilities — only interests. They have declared those interests sacred. Now it’s one-way traffic, which makes the world unstable,” Putin told the audience.
The much-hyped speech was delayed by more than 90 minutes because of a “massive” cyberattack. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told journalists in an impromptu conference call that the speech was postponed due to distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on the conference’s systems.
It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack. Ukrainian IT Army, a hacker collective, named the St. Petersburg Forum as a target earlier this week on its Telegram channel.
Putin’s address at the annual conference, one of his more substantial speeches since he ordered the invasion of Ukraine almost four months ago, was seen as an opportunity for the world to get some insight into his thinking.
Once the Russian president took the stage in the western Russian city, he wasted no time on pleasantries and went straight into attacks on the United States and its allies.
“They live in the past on their own under their own delusions … They think that … they have won and then everything else is a colony, a back yard. And the people living there are second-class citizens,” he said, adding that Russia’s “special operation” — the phrase the Russian government uses to describe its war on Ukraine — has become a “lifesaver for the West to blame all the problems on Russia.”
After accusing western countries of blaming their problems on Russia, Putin tried to pin the blame for rising food prices on the “US administration and the Euro bureaucracy.”
Ukraine is a major food producer, but the Russian invasion has affected its entire production and supply chain. The United Nations has said the war has had a devastating impact on supplies and prices and warned it could push up to 49 million more people into famine or famine-like conditions.
European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said last week that food has become part of the Kremlin’s “arsenal of terror.”
Ukrainian officials have accused Russia of stealing Ukrainian grain, accusations that appear to have been confirmed by satellite images showing Russian ships being loaded with Ukrainian grain. On top of that, Russia is blocking maritime access to the Black Sea ports held by Ukraine, meaning that even the grain that is still under Ukrainian control cannot be exported to the many countries that rely on it.
Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg on June 17, 2022.

The long-time Russian leader also blamed the West for trying to hurt the Russian economy, calling the sanctions on Moscow “crazy” and “reckless.”
“Their intention is clear to crush the Russian economy by breaking down the chain the logistical chains, freezing national assets and attacking the living standards, but they were not successful,” he added. “It has not worked out. Russian business people have rallied together working diligently, conscientiously, and step-by-step, we are normalizing the economic situation.”
The Russian president has long framed his decision to launch an invasion of Ukraine as a response to Kyiv’s growing diplomatic and security ties with the West. Last week, he hinted that his aim in Ukraine is the restoration of Russia as an imperial power.

Putin claims Russia ‘forced’ into the conflict in Ukraine

Speaking about his war on Ukraine on Friday, Putin went straight to his propaganda playbook, claiming Russia was “forced” into the conflict.
He called the invasion “the decision of a sovereign country that has an unconditional right … to defend its security.”
“A decision aimed at protecting our citizens, residents of the People’s Republics of Donbas, who for eight years were subjected to genocide by the Kyiv regime and neo-Nazis who received the full protection of the West,” he said.
The two areas — the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) — fell under the control of Russia-backed separatists in 2014.
The Kremlin has accused Ukrainian authorities of discriminating against ethnic Russians and Russian speakers in the regions, a charge Kyiv has denied. Starting 2019, Russian passports were offered to the residents of the two entities.
Finally, in late February, Putin announced he would recognize them as independent, a move that was seen as the opening salvo of the war.
He said on Friday that Russian soldiers and the separatists were “fighting to defend their people” in the Donbas and the right to “reject any attempt to impose pseudo values of dehumanization and moral degradation from outside.”
No country other than Russia recognizes the two as independent. Ukraine and the rest of the international community considers the territories to be under Russian occupation.
The European Commission announced Friday that it was recommending Ukraine and neighboring Moldova as EU candidate states, with the commission’s chief Ursula von der Leyen saying that Ukrainians are “ready to die” for the European perspective.
Speaking about the European Union on Friday, Putin said the bloc had “lost its sovereignty.”
“The European Union has fully lost its sovereignty, and its elites are dancing to someone else’s tune, harming their own population. Europeans’ and European businesses’ real interests are totally ignored and swept aside,” he said.
He later added that Russia has “nothing against” Ukraine joining the EU.
“The EU is not a military-political bloc, unlike NATO, therefore we have always said and I have always said that our position here is consistent, understandable, we have nothing against it,” Putin said during a panel discussion following his speech.
“It is the sovereign decision of any country to join or not to join economic associations, and it is up to this economic association to accept new states as its members or not. As far as it is expedient for the EU, let the EU countries themselves decide. Whether it will be for the benefit or to the detriment of Ukraine is also their business,” he said.

Checkmate. Putin has the West cornered

As 2022 nears, the West is trying to figure out Russian President Vladimir Putin’s next move on a complex geopolitical chessboard — and preparing an “aggressive package” of sanctions, should he decide to make another land grab in Ukraine.

Tensions are now at their highest since 2014, when Russia illegally hoka shoes for women annexed Crimea and dispatched “little green men” into Ukraine’s Donbas region. An all-out land invasion of Ukraine is now a real possibility.
But let’s face it. Putin could care less about the West’s threats, sitting as he does in the enviable position of being able to call the shots.
Michael Bociurkiw
Europe is in the grip of an energy crisis with low reserves. And with Russia supplying some 40% of the European Union’s gas imports, the Kremlin has already shown its ability to checkmate the West’s harshest sanctions by limiting production and potentially triggering rolling blackouts across the continent.
Putin’s endgame is USSR 2.0, coming almost 30 years to the day the Soviet Union collapsed. His next moves come at a delicate geopolitical moment, with Western fears of a Ukraine invasion, the colonization of Belarus, a Europe-wide energy crisis, German Chancellor Angela Merkel stepping down as EU chief negotiator and concerns over US President Joe Biden’s discombobulated foreign policy.
If you’ve any doubt about Putin’s plans to roll back the clock, just read his 5,000-plus-word essay on why Russia, Belarus and Ukraine are doomed without closer integration with Mother Russia. Or his audacious demands Friday for a veto on who joins the NATO hoka shoes alliance and limits in stationing troops and weaponry in any country which joined the alliance after 1997.
Without firing a shot, Putin has managed to send the West into a collective panic — or at least into a position where they feel the need to appease the aging autocrat.
For the past four months, and particularly between September 7 and December 5 according to western intelligence sources quoted by CNN, Putin has been amassing tens of thousands of troops and heavy weaponry as close as 30 miles to Ukraine’s borders. U.S. intelligence reports suggest a build-up of up to 175,000 troops, enough to stage a swift and immediate incursion.
Another land grab would add to the territory seized in 2014 when Russia illegally annexed Crimea and sent Russian-backed combatants into the heavily industrialized eastern Donbas region of Ukraine.
Russia continues to amass new troops near Ukraine's border despite Biden urging Putin to de-escalate tensions
With so much muscle, Putin could be gunning for a land bridge between Russia proper and Crimea — a move which could be designed in part to free-up water resources blocked by Ukraine in the North Crimean Canal, which once accounted for up to 85% of the peninsula’s water needs.
The Kremlin’s actions have not been limited to Ukraine. Russia has been engaged in hybrid warfare with the West, including cyberhacking one of the US’s largest pipelines, spreading disinformation about coronavirus vaccines, interfering in US elections, and neutralizing opponents on foreign soil.
Most recently, Putin opened up another front with the West by establishing a military alliance with the man often dubbed “Europe’s last dictator,” Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko. Emboldened by the Kremlin’s backing, Lukashenko has acted with impunity by jailing opponents, forcing down a Ryanair jet with a political opponent onboard and sending migrants toward its border with EU neighbors.
Yet, as recently as Thursday, European leaders were responding to Putin’s bullying tactics and intimidation by trying to nudge him toward the bargaining table. This could be a sign that the bloc fears that even if they sign off on further harsh sanctions on Russia olukai shoes should an invasion take place, Putin could respond by holding back gas production.
Andrei Soldatov, a Russian investigative journalist and security services expert, told me that the country is already heavily sanctioned, and that targeted Russian companies have been effectively inoculated with lucrative contracts from the defense forces and intelligence entities.
Russia has likely seen the impact of the 2018 harsh western sanctions on Iran and calculated it can withstand punitive measures even if it means suspension from the international SWIFT payment system.
Perhaps not coincidentally, Russia and China pledged this week to work jointly toward a closed trading network that would reduce dependence on the international financial system and limit transactions in US currency.
Putin rues Soviet collapse, says he moonlit as a taxi driver to survive economic crisis
At home, Putin has been brandishing the state’s power through fear and cohesion — chiefly by banning civil society groups, jailing high profile opponents and threatening Russian nationals who work for foreign embassies.
What are the tools left in the West’s diplomatic toolbox? Depressingly few. But some options remain: banning Russians from travel, blocking those multimillion dollar property deals which have transformed London and Miami into playgrounds for wealthy Russians — even ordering the immediate expulsion of Russian nationals from Western countries. In other words, whatever it takes short of direct military conflict.
Clearly, video chats with Biden and threats from European leaders of “serious consequences” will not deter Putin. With an invasion of Ukraine imminent, the West needs to clarify the pain that awaits Putin should he decide to make his next move.
The appearance of a lack of resolve, whether in diplomacy, on the battlefield or on the chessboard, is never a winning strategy.

Allen West, Texas gubernatorial candidate, hospitalized with Covid-19

PLANO, Texas — Tea party firebrand Allen West, a candidate for the Republican nomination for governor of Texas, was hospitalized with Covid-19 on Sunday but said he’s “doing great.”

“No complaints. I’m just relaxing,” West told The Associated Press during a brief phone interview from a hospital in the Dallas suburb of Plano. nike store He said he got a good night’s rest and was awaiting the results of an early morning chest X-ray.

West and his wife, Angela West, were diagnosed with the virus after attending a “packed house” fundraising event in Seabrook, Texas, last week. He said Saturday that he is “suspending in-person events until receiving an all-clear indication.”

Both Wests received monoclonal antibody treatments for Covid-19 and Angela, who was vaccinated against the virus, was released to go home, Allen West said on Twitter. The Republican candidate said he has not gotten a coronavirus vaccination and that doctors were worried Saturday about the lowered level of oxygen saturation in his blood.

West said on Twitteron Sunday that, if elected governor, he would “vehemently crush anyone forcing vaccine mandates” in Texas.

West is a former Texas Republican Party chair and Florida congressman. He announced in July that he would challenge Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who is running for a third term and has been endorsed by Donald Trump.

West’s announcement came a month after he resigned as chair of the Republican Party of Texas.

West won a U.S. asics shoes House seat in Florida in 2010 and quickly became a tea party favorite and lightning rod, at one point accusing Democrats of having as many as 80 communists in their House caucus. He failed to win reelection in 2012.

He later moved to Texas and largely stayed out of the spotlight until running for chairman of the state GOP party last year.

West then began criticizing Republicans as much as Democrats, calling the GOP speaker of the Texas House a “traitor” for working across the aisle, then leading a protest outside Abbott’s mansion over coronavirus restrictions.

In October 2020, West took part in a protest outside Abbott’s home, criticizing the Republican governor’s executive orders — including a statewide mask mandate and lockdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic. Those restrictions are no longer in place.

West Virginia governor: ‘You have to get vaccinated’

As millions of students continue to return to school over the coming weeks, one state’s governor is stepping up the call for vaccinations among his constituents.

“You have to get vaccinated,” West Virginia Governor Jim Justice said during a regular COVID-19 briefing on Friday. “The more that are vaccinated, the less that will die. That is absolutely the way it is.”

The latest CDC data available lists West Virginia as having fully vaccinated 39.6% of the population with 47% receiving at least one dose. The West Virginia Department of Health & Human Resources (HHS) website, however,nike store  lists West Virginia as having fully vaccinated 50.8% of the population with 62.5% receiving at least one dose. (The reason for the discrepancy is unclear.)

Nationwide, the vaccination rate is 61.2% for those ages 12 and up (compared to 58.5% in West Virginia, according to the state’s HHS).

Cases in the state are nearing pandemic highs and rising amid the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant, which seems to be infecting unvaccinated Americans — including children under 12 — at higher rates as the new school year begins.

“Nationally, we have seen that the overwhelming majority of people hospitalized with COVID are not vaccinated,” Justice said. “West Virginia is experiencing the exact same thing.”

He added that unvaccinated individuals made up an overwhelming majority of the current COVID-related hospitalizations in the state. For example, at Thomas Health hospitals, unvaccinated individuals represent over 90% of the patients and 100% of those in the ICU.

Avoiding hospitalizations

Only children ages 12 and up are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. That still leaves millions of children vulnerable to the virus.

And while the mortality rate for COVID-19 in children is extremely low, that’s not what physicians are most concerned about.

“It’s also about hospitalizations, children being pulled away from school because they get COVID,” Dr. Mona Amin, a board-certified physician, said on Yahoo Finance Live (video above). “They get hospitalized, hospital bills, everything that comes with being hospitalized as a child that we’re trying to avoid. nike sneakers We know that we’re not able to completely avoid this. We know this with the flu. We know this with [Respiratory Syncytial Virus].”

According to the , more than 180,000 COVID-19 cases in children were reported during the week ending Aug. 19, and children represented about 22% of total new confirmed cases.

The Mountain State is 20 different outbreaks within schools across 13 counties. (Justice is still of a statewide school mask mandate.)

Gov. Justice stated that he’s ready to “move very quickly” to push vaccinations for children under 12, “if and when” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends it.

“I’m totally committed to doing a back-to-school vaccination for those 12 and older,” he said.

A published on Friday noted a COVID-19 Delta variant outbreak in an elementary school in Marin County, California in late May to early June, after an unvaccinated infected teacher continued teaching in person for two days before getting tested.

The teacher had reported becoming symptomatic on May 19 but only got a test on May 21. Between then, the CDC said “the teacher read aloud unmasked to the class despite school requirements to mask while indoors.”

From there, 27 cases emerged — including that of the teacher. 22 of the students who got COVID were ineligible for the vaccine because of their age. 81% of them reported symptoms, the most common being fever, cough, headache, and sore throat.

Los Angeles, CA - August 16: A third grade dual language student wears a mask as she listens to instruction while Los Angeles Unified Interim Superintendent Megan K. Reilly, teachers, principals, school site employees visit on the first day of school at Los Angeles Unified School District at Montara Avenue Elementary School on Monday, Aug. 16, 2021 in Los Angeles, CA. Los Angeles Unified Interim Superintendent Megan K. Reilly, Board Members and special guests celebrate the first day of instruction on August 16, welcoming students, teachers, principals, school site employees and families, while visiting special programs and classrooms at each site. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
A third grade student wears a mask as she listens to instruction at Montara Avenue Elementary School on Aug. 16, 2021 in Los Angeles. 

As a way to encourage eligible students ecco shoes to get vaccinated, the West Virginia Department of Education its #IGotVaxxedWV campaign, which is now branded as #IGotVaxxed To Get Back, as a nod to the end goal of returning back to normal.

Part of the campaign includes schools competing for the largest percentage of vaccinated staff and students. A total of four elementary high schools, four middle schools, and four high schools will each receive $50,000 to use towards school activities.

“We’ve done all kinds of things … everything we can possibly do to market, to be able to get people to the finish line and get them vaccinated,” Justice said. “Everything points towards one thing, and that is you have to get vaccinated.”

Taliban leader reaches out to West, promises rights for women

KABUL, Afghanistan — The political leader of the Taliban has outlined his vision for Afghanistan, one in which women and religious minorities will be given rights in accordance with the movement’s interpretation of Islamic law, and where terror groups will not be given safe haven to carry out attacks abroad.

In a rare interview, Abdul Ghani Baradar on steve madden shoes Wednesday described the withdrawal of the U.S. and its allies as being “in the best interests of the American people.”

Washington’s “longest and most useless war will end, American troops will return home after 20 years, and Afghanistan will get rid of the presence of foreign forces,” he said in response to written questions.

Image: Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar speaks at a signing ceremony of the U.S.-Taliban agreement in Qatar's capital Doha on Feb. 29, 2020. (Karim Jaafar / AFP - Getty Images file)
Image: Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar speaks at a signing ceremony of the U.S.-Taliban agreement in Qatar’s capital Doha on Feb. 29, 2020. 

The comments come amid the withdrawal of American and allied troops and fears the reinstated Taliban will continue the oppressive, theocratic regime that ended 20 years ago.

Baradar’s insistence that Afghanistan will not become a springboard for terrorist attacks was tested on Thursday when two explosions rocked Kabul airport following warnings by the U.S. and others of an imminent attack.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on Twitter that an unspecified number of U.S. service members, balenciaga shoes as well as a number of Afghans, were killed in what he described as a “complex attack.”

Two U.S. intelligence officials said the assumption is that an IED attack was carried out by the Islamic State group’s Afghan affiliate, ISIS-K. The Taliban is an enemy of the ISIS offshoot.

The Taliban’s attempts to present a less extreme image to the world have been met with skepticism from Kabul to Washington. And early reports of repression — as well as violence and chaos at Kabul airport — have further undermined its PR offensive.

“Religious minorities, like other Afghans, will have rights, their religious ceremonies will be free and supported,” Baradar said. “Women will be given rights in accordance with Sharia,” he added, referring to Islamic law but not elaborating exactly what that would entail.

When the group last ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, it imposed an austere interpretation of Sunni Islam onto the population, and barred women from attending school, holding jobs and leaving home without male chaperones. Women also had to wear burqas covering the face.

Its government was toppled by a U.S.-led invasion in 2001 following the 9/11 attacks, which were orchestrated by Osama bin Laden, the Al Qaeda leader, who was being harbored by the Taliban.

Though the Taliban denies bin Laden was behind the attacks, claiming it has never been presented with evidence, it is now seeking to reassure the U.S. and others that it will not let militant groups use Afghanistan as a base from which to launch attacks on the West.

“No one is allowed to use our territory to pose a threat to other countries,” Baradar said. “No one should feel threatened by Afghanistan.”

The explosion outside Kabul airport Thursday came after warnings from U.S. officials about possible attempts by ISIS-K to attack people attempting to board flights and flee the country.

Baradar said the Taliban has “very good ground for domestic security, stability and unity” and that its domestic policy was for Afghans to have a “comfortable and prosperous life.”

Earlier Thursday, NBC News interviewed another of the Taliban’s senior figures, Zabihullah Mujahid, who has acted as its leading spokesman and is likely in line for a top role in its new government.

He, too, said women would be allowed education and careers — but only within the Taliban’s interpretation of Islamic law. hey dude A day earlier, he warned in a news conference that working women should stay at home until Taliban fighters had been “trained” how to approach and speak with them.

He told NBC News that reports that its militants have already taken women as forced brides were “propaganda from the old regime.”

If Afghans want to leave on flights currently shuttling out of Kabul’s airport, he said, “it is their choice.” But he said that “we don’t want our countrymen to go to America. Whatever they have done in the past, we have given them amnesty. They should stay. We need young, educated professionals for our nation.”

While President Joe Biden says he is withdrawing in order to “end America’s longest war,” Mujahid said that “without a doubt the Taliban are victors” of the two-decade conflict.

“There was no justification for this war. It was an excuse for war,” he said.

Climate Change Batters the West Before Summer Even Begins

A heat dome is baking Arizona and Nevada, where temperatures have soared past 115 degrees this brooks shoes week and doctors are warning that people can get third-degree burns from the sizzling asphalt.

At Lake Mead, which supplies water for 25 million people in three southwestern states and Mexico, water levels have plunged to their lowest point since the reservoir was filled in the 1930s. In California, farmers are abandoning their thirstiest crops to save others, and communities are debating whether to ration tap water.

In Texas, electricity grids are under strain as residents crank their air-conditioners, with utilities begging customers to turn off appliances to help avert blackouts. In Arizona, Montana and Utah, wildfires are blazing.

And it’s not even summer yet.

“We’re still a long way out from the peak of the wildfire season and the peak of the dry season,” said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles. “Things are likely to get worse before they get better.”

Global warming, driven by the burning skechers shoes of fossil fuels, has been heating up and drying out the American West for years. Now the region is broiling under a combination of a drought that is the worst in two decades and a record-breaking heat wave.

“The Southwest is getting hammered by climate change harder than almost any other part of the country, apart from perhaps coastal cities,” said Jonathan Overpeck, a climate scientist at the University of Michigan. “And as bad as it might seem today, this is about as good as it’s going to get if we don’t get global warming under control.”

With temperatures expected to keep rising as nations struggle to rein in their planet-warming emissions, the Western United States will need to take difficult and costly measures to adapt. That includes redesigning cities to endure punishing heat, conserving water and engineering grids that don’t fail during extreme weather.

This month has offered glimpses of whether states and cities are up to that task and has shown they still have far to go.

From Montana to Southern California, much of the West is suffering from unusually high temperatures. Some 50 million Americans face heat-related warnings. Records have been tied or broken in places like Palm Springs, California, Salt Lake City and Billings, Montana.

As 115-degree temperatures cooked Phoenix’s Roosevelt Row Arts District on Tuesday, Timothy Medina, 58, was perched on a black metal platform 12 feet above hey dude the sidewalk, finishing the blue lettering of a sign for a coffee shop. “It’s brutal — that heat against the wall,” he said. “Let me take a quick swig of water.”

Construction workers, landscapers and outdoor painters like Medina have few options but to bear the heat. He wore jeans to avoid burning his skin, along with a long sleeve fluorescent yellow shirt and a $2 woven hat. But soon the heat was winning.

“I start feeling out of breath, fatigued,” he said.

Extreme heat is the clearest signal of global warming, and the most deadly. Last year, heat killed at least 323 people in Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, a record by far.

Outdoor workers are particularly at risk, along with older people and anyone without adequate shelter or access to air conditioning.

Across the country, heat waves are becoming more frequent, lasting longer and occurring earlier in the year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Severe heat early in the spring can be especially dangerous because it catches people off guard, experts say.

Cities like Phoenix are struggling to keep up. While the city runs air-conditioned cooling centers, many were shut down last year amid the pandemic. And ensuring that the centers are accessible to everyone is a challenge.

Kayla and Richard Contreras, who sleep in a skechers outlet blue tent on a baking sidewalk in a homeless encampment near downtown Phoenix, said the cooling centers were not an option because they have a dog and they worried about leaving their belongings unattended in their tent.

They said they knew 10 homeless people who died in the heat last year.

Richard Contreras, 47, fills water bottles from the spigots of homes he walks by. Kayla Contreras, 56, said she saves food stamps to buy ice pops on the hottest days. “This is what keeps us alive,” she said, as she handed an orange pop to a friend. “I feel like I’m in hell.”

Sundown brings no relief. In Las Vegas, where the National Hockey League playoffs are taking place, forecasters expected the mercury to push past 100 degrees when the puck dropped Wednesday evening.

Last month, the Phoenix City Council approved $2.8 million in new climate spending, including creating a four-person Office of Heat Response and Mitigation.

“That’s a good start, but we’re clearly not doing enough yet,” said David Hondula, an Arizona State University scientist who studies heat’s consequences. Drastically reducing heat deaths would require adding trees and shade in underserved neighborhoods and increasing funding to help residents who need help with energy bills or who lack air conditioning, among other things, he said.

“Every one of these heat deaths should be preventable,” he said. “But it’s not just an engineering problem. It means tackling tough issues like poverty or homelessness. And the numbers suggest we’re moving in the wrong direction. Right now, heat deaths are increasing faster than population growth and aging.”

Severe heat waves also pose a challenge for power grids, particularly if operators don’t plan for them. Rising temperatures can reduce the efficiency of fossil-fuel generators, transmission lines and even solar panels at precisely the moment that demand soars.

This week, the Texas power grid was stretched near its limit as electricity demand set a June record just as several power plants were offline for repairs. golden goose sneakers Grid operators asked Texans to keep their thermostats at 78 degrees to conserve power.

Victor Puente, 47, stood Tuesday under the shade of the porch on his blue wooden home in Pueblo de Palmas, outside the border city of McAllen, Texas. He said he tries to shut off his air conditioner during the day to conserve energy, so that it might be available for sleeping.

“The last thing we need is to lose electricity for long stretches,” he said.

In California, where temperatures have hit 110 degrees, the grid operator has warned it may face challenges this summer, in part because droughts have reduced the capacity of the state’s hydroelectric dams.

Andrew Dessler, a climate scientist at Texas A&M University, noted that strains on the grid illustrate the nonlinear effects of climate change. “Most people might not notice that it’s getting a bit hotter each year,” he said. “But then the temperature reaches a certain threshold and all of the sudden the grid goes down. There are a whole bunch of these thresholds built into our infrastructure.”

This spring, the American West has been ecco shoes in the grips of a severe drought that has been more widespread than at any point in at least 20 years, stretching from the Pacific Coast, across the Great Basin and desert Southwest, and up through the Rockies to the Northern Plains.

Droughts have long been a feature of the West. But global warming is making things worse, with rising temperatures drying out soils and depleting mountain snowpack that normally supply water during the spring and summer. Those parched soils, in turn, are amplifying this week’s heat wave, creating a blast more severe than it otherwise would be.

“It’s a vicious cycle,” said Swain of UCLA.

Dry conditions also suggest a potentially devastating fire season, coming a year after California, Oregon and Colorado saw unusually destructive blazes.

The drought has strained water supplies throughout the West, shriveling reservoirs. In one California lake, the water became so shallow that officials identified the wreckage of a plane that had crashed into the lake in 1986.

The Inverness Public Utility District in Marin County, California, will vote next week on whether to impose rationing for 1,100 customers, assigning each household a set amount of water. It would be a first for the town, which this past July asked residents to stop washing cars and filling swimming pools.

The drought has forced farmers to take drastic measures. Sheep and cattle ranchers are selling this year’s stock months early, and some dairy farmers are selling their cows rather than come up with the 50 gallons of water each animal needs per day. Farmers are planting fractions of their usual amount, or leaving part of their land fallow.

“We’ve been through droughts. This is one of the driest we can remember,” said Dan Errotabere, 66, whose family has grown fruits, vegetables and nuts near Fresno, California, for a century. He is keeping 1,800 acres fallow and cut back on garlic and tomatoes to divert water to almond and pistachio trees.

The effect on farms could cause supply issues and higher prices nationwide, said Mike Wade, executive director of the California Farm Water Coalition. California produces two-thirds of the country’s fruit and one-third of its vegetables.

Many California farmers are already using micro-irrigation, drip hoses and other water conservation methods. “We’ve stretched every drop,” said Bill Diedrich, a fourth-generation farmer in Fresno County.

Agricultural communities are in peril if the crops and trees die without water.

“When you are operating a long-standing family farm, you don’t want to be the one to lose it,” said Eric Bream, the third generation in his family to hey dude shoes run a citrus farm in California’s Central Valley. Today he still has enough water. But “tomorrow everything could change on a dime.”

Elsewhere in the West, states are bracing for the prospect of further cutbacks.

Lake Mead, which was created when the Hoover Dam was finished in 1935, is at 36% capacity, as flows from the Colorado River have declined more quickly than expected. The federal government is expected to declare a shortage this summer, which would trigger a cut of about one-fifth of water deliveries to Arizona, and a much smaller reduction for Nevada, beginning next year.

Experts have long predicted this. The Colorado Basin has suffered through years of drought coupled with ever-increasing consumption, a result of population and economic growth as well as the expansion of agriculture, by far the largest user of water in the West.

“We need to stop thinking of drought as a temporary thing to get through,” said Felicia Marcus, a visiting fellow at Stanford University’s Water in the West program, noting that global warming is expected to reduce the Colorado River’s flow even further.

Many cities have been preparing. Tucson, Arizona, is among the nation’s leaders in recycling wastewater, treating more than 30 million gallons per day for irrigation or firefighting. Cities and water districts in California are investing billions in infrastructure to store water during wet years to save for droughts.

Still, experts said, there’s a lot more that can be done, and it’s likely to be costly.

“The Colorado River basin is ground zero for climate-change impacts on water supplies in the U.S.,” said Kevin Moran at the Environmental Defense Fund. “We have to plan for the river that climate scientists tell us we’re probably gong to have, not the one we want.”