First Thing: AOC calls Kamala Harris’s comments to Guatemalan migrants ‘disappointing’ |

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has condemned Kamala Harris for telling undocumented migrants from Guatemala not to come to the US – calling her comments “disappointing”.

In her first foreign trip as vice-president, Harris visited the Central American country on Monday and told anyone considering going to the US-Mexico border: “Do not come.”

Progressive New York congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez criticized the remarks, saying it was “disappointing to see”. Human rights groups also spoke out, urging the Biden administration to recognize Guatemalan people’s right to seek protection.

“First, seeking asylum at any US border is a 100% legal method of arrival,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “Second, the US spent decades contributing to regime change and destabilization in Latin America. We can’t help set someone’s house on fire and then blame them for fleeing.”

  • During a visit to Mexico on Tuesday, Harris also faced questions about why she did not visit the US-Mexico border during the trip. In April, more than 178,000 migrants arrived at the border – the most in a single month for two decades.

  • Meanwhile, in Washington, the Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer is planning to force key votes to win over Democrats who are opposed to curbing the filibuster.

  • The Senate has overwhelmingly approved a bill to boost computer chip and artificial intelligence technology amid growing competition from other countries, particularly China.

Arizona’s ballot audit is being backed by secretive donors that appear to be linked to Donald Trump’s inner circle

Maricopa County ballots cast in the 2020 general election being examined and recounted by contractors working for Florida-based company, Cyber Ninjas, in Phoenix ,in May. Photograph: Matt York/AP

An unprecedented review of 2.1m ballots in Arizona appears to be being backed by dark money groups linked to Donald Trump’s inner circle.

Republicans in the Arizona state senate authorized the inquiry but allocated just $150,000 to fund it – the overall cost of it is unknown. A review by openSecrets and the Guardian has found that the effort is being funded by private donors whose identities are being hidden from public view.

Among the organisations that appear to have provided funding for the inquiry are Voices and Votes, run by Christina Bobb, an anchor for the rightwing media network One America News, who reportedly spoke to Trump about the review and emailed Karen Fann, the president of Arizona state senate, affidavits on behalf of Rudy Giuliani last year.

  • What’s the context? For weeks, observers have warned that the unprecedented inquiry is not following proper procedures and does not look like a neutral audit, write Sam Levine and Anna Massoglia. Meanwhile, Trump – who has reportedly told close allies he expects to be “reinstated” as president this summer – has become increasingly interested in the audit and has called for a similar effort in Pennsylvania.

  • Republicans are out to create the rigged voting system they claim to be victims of, writes Lawrence Douglas.

  • Meanwhile, in Idaho, the Republican lieutenant governor and gubernatorial candidate, Janice McGeachin, was endorsed by a rightwing militia leader. A video obtained by the Guardian shows Eric Parker saying that she told him “you’re going to have a friend” in the governor’s office.

Wildfires have scorched more than 138,000 acres in Arizona

Smoke rising from the Telegraph Fire above Blue Lake, Arizona on Monday.
Smoke rising from the Telegraph Fire above Blue Lake, Arizona on Monday. Photograph: Mark Henle/AP

Nearly 1,000 firefighters are battling two wildfires in Arizona that have so far burned more than 138,700 acres.

Fueled by gusty winds and high temperatures, the Telegraph and Mescal fires, at 0% and 23% containment respectively, are both believed to be human-caused.

  • “Today was incredibly scary across the region,” said Mila Besich, the mayor of Superior, Arizona, adding that the fire was “very unpredictable”.

  • It comes as the American west is suffering drought ahead of what is predicted to be another record-breaking fire season.

In other news …

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in July 2020 and June 2021.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in July 2020 and June 2021. Composite: KCNA/Reuters
  • Photographs of Kim Jong-un looking noticeably slimmer have prompted speculation over the North Korean leader’s health. NK News said that in pictures of Kim during his first public appearance in a month, he appeared to have lost “a significant amount of weight”.

  • A trans woman who is fighting for freedom after being detained by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) for more than two years has said she fears that she and other detainees have been forgotten by the Biden administration. Maura Martinez, 41, who is in jail in San Diego, said returning to Nicaragua “would mean death to me”.

  • San Francisco may have become the first big American city to attain Covid-19 herd immunity, according to experts. The city is still recording some cases, but they don’t appear to be leading to wider outbreaks. “That is what herd immunity looks like,” said Dr George Rutherford, a professor of epidemiology at University of California, San Francisco.

  • A Salvadorean woman has been freed after nearly 10 years in prison where she was serving a 30-year sentence on charges of terminating her pregnancy and violating El Salvador’s extreme abortion ban. Sara Rogel was arrested in 2012 when she was a 22-year-old student after going to hospital with bleeding injuries.

Stat of the day: the 25 richest Americans reportedly paid a “true tax rate” of just 3.4% between 2014 and 2018.

Amid growing wealth and income inequality, an investigation by ProPublica found that the wealthiest figures in the US – including Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Warren Buffett – paid the meagre sum despite their collective net worth soaring by more than $400bn in that timeframe. The non-profit news organization, which used Internal Revenue Service data to investigate tax returns, found that in 2007 and 2011, the Amazon founder Bezos paid no federal taxes, despite being a billionaire.

Don’t miss this: salmon face extinction in the US west

In the Snake River, which runs through Wyoming, Idaho, Washington and Oregon, salmon are headed to a point of no return – largely due to four dams that are getting in the way of their migration. Their extinction would have a devastating impact on Native American communities, writes Hattie Golden.

… or this: the Barcelona street sellers taking on Nike with their own brand of trainers

Street vendors in Barcelona have set up an ethical streetwear co-operative. Rather than selling cheap copies of designer items, they will sell their own brand of trainers under the name Top Manta. “We have always been criticised and persecuted for selling copies, but now we have our own brand,” brand spokesman Lamine Sarr tells Stephen Burgen.

Last Thing: Bennifer is back

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck in the 2003 film Gigli.
Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck in the 2003 film Gigli. Photograph: Allstar/COLUMBIA

They dramatically broke up just days before their wedding in 2004. But now, 17 years on, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez are reportedly back together. Benjamin Svetkey writes about why the rumoured reunion of aughts it couple “Bennifer” is so cheering. “Like the cicadas, Bennifer has risen anew.”

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