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Daily Digest: Summer storms claim 18 lives, Familiar power in Mexico, Flesh-eating bacteria victim leaves hospital

Here is your daily digest for Monday, July 2:


Nearly 20 dead after heavy storms cut power in East

East Coast states continue to feel the effects of unrelenting heat Monday, as millions of people struggle without power for a third day.

Nearly 2 million customers from North Carolina to New Jersey and as far west as Illinois were without power, and utility officials said many will not see power for several more days.

The heat wave that began last week is expected to drive temperatures into the 100s across the Southeast through the middle of this week, USA Today said.

Since Friday, severe weather has been accountable for at least 18 deaths, most from trees falling on homes and cars.

A huge summer storm left damage in 11 states, killing more than a dozen people, toppling trees and knocking out traffic lights.

Power outages have prompted concerns of traffic problems as commuters took to roads with darkened stoplights, The Associated Press said.

Heat warnings have been issued for parts of Alabama, Florida, the Carolinas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri and Ohio. 


Old guard PRI back in power in Mexico

Enrique Pena Nieto brought a familiar face back to power in Mexico Sunday, promising a government that will be modern, responsible and open to criticism.

Though the Institutional Revolutionary Party’s candidate had a clear margin of victory in the preliminary count from Sunday’s election, it was not the mandate the party had anticipated from pre-election polls, The Associated Press said.  At one point, Nieto reportedly had the support of more than half of Mexico’s voters.

According to a representative count of the ballots, Nieto still won 38 percent of the votes, more than 7 points above his nearest opponent.  He went to work to win over the two-thirds who didn’t vote for him, many of whom rejected his claim that he represented a reformed and repentant party, the AP said.

“We’re a new generation.  There is no return to the past,” he said in a victory speech.  “It’s time to move on from the country we are to the Mexico we deserve and that we can be … where every Mexican writes his own success story.”

Top challenger Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador refused to concede and said he would wait for a full count and legal review.  He won roughly 31 percent of the vote but said he has “information that indicates something different from what they’re saying officially.”

Critics said the party’s 71-year rule was characterized by authoritarian and corrupt practices, CBS News said.  It was also known for building Mexico’s institutions and social services.

Now the party has sought to portray itself as a group that has been modernized and does not seek a return to its old ways. 

Nieto appears to be doing what many thought would never happen again: the return of a strong and dynamic PRI, according to Eric Olson of the Washington-based Mexico Institute.

"The question: How will they govern?" he said.


Georgia woman with flesh-eating disease out of hospital

Aimee Copeland, the 24-year-old Georgia woman who has fought flesh-eating bacteria for two months, was released from a hospital Monday.

Copeland will enter a rehab facility for an undetermined amount of time before returning home after surgeons amputated most of her hands, one of her legs and her remaining foot in an effort to stay ahead of the infection, CNN said.  She also had multiple skin grafts after tissue was removed from her abdomen.

“Aimee is very excited, like a kid going off to college,” her father, Andy, said Monday, “but she realizes that rehab will be arduous.  But she says she will handle it.”

After moving from the Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital in Augusta, Ga. to an inpatient rehabilitation clinic, Copeland will learn to move herself with the aid of a wheelchair.

Copeland was diagnosed with the devastating infection, called necrotizing fasciitis, after she suffered a deep cut May 1 when she fell from a broken zip-line along Georgia's Tallapoosa River, according to The bacterial infection emits toxins that cut off blood flow to parts of the body. It can destroy muscle, fat and skin tissue.

Last week doctors upgraded Aimee’s condition from serious to good, a huge advance for a patient with multiple amputations.  Andy has chronicled her recovery in a blog,

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