First Thing: Primetime January 6 congressional hearings to begin

Good morning.

When the US House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection opens its hearings on Thursday evening, it will do so in prime time and with primetime production values. The seven Democrats and two Republicans – shunned by their own party – who sit on the panel are pulling out all the stops in an attempt to seize the public’s attention.

A former president of ABC News, James Goldston, a veteran of Good Morning America, will tightly choreograph the six public hearings into movie-length episodes. Democratic committee members have said they want a “story that will really blow the roof off the House”.

What about the Republicans? The party’s leadership is counting on the American people being so bored by January 6 and distracted by Ukraine, inflation and other worries that millions will avoid tuning in. But opinion poll research suggests they should not be too confident.

Trump to testify in probe into his business practices

Donald Trump stands with his children Ivanka and Donald Jr on 11 January 2017. Photograph: Timothy A Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Donald Trump will testify under oath in the New York attorney general’s investigation into his business practices on 15 July, according to a court filing released on Wednesday.

The former president’s daughter Ivanka Trump and son Donald Trump Jr will also testify.

It is the latest development in attorney general’s Letitia James’s three-year investigation, which has focused on whether the Trump Organization misrepresented the values of its real estate properties for financial gain. James has said investigators have found “significant evidence” so far.

Is the date for the testimonies fixed? The Trumps have until 13 June to submit a request for the court of appeals to postpone their testimony.

What has Trump said about the probe? The former president, who is not accused of criminal wrongdoing, has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and has called it a “witch-hunt”.

Sievierodonetsk battle will determine fate of eastern Ukraine, Zelenskiy says

A destroyed school after a strike in the city of Bakhmut. Photograph: Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images

The battle for the eastern city of Sievierodonetsk will decide the fate of Donbas, the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has said, as fighting continues after Russia pivoted its forces toward the country’s east.

While Zelenskiy claimed on Wednesday night that Ukraine had inflicted “significant losses on the enemy”, regional leaders earlier said that Ukrainian forces had been forced back to the fringes of the city. The Luhansk governor, Serhiy Haidai, said that much, though not all, of Sievierodonetsk was now under Russian control and that it was no longer possible to evacuate stranded civilians.

Ukrainian military advisers said that while Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk were not strategic cities, the army aimed to wear down Russian forces by fighting fiercely for them. They are the only parts of the Luhansk oblast not in Russian hands.

How many civilians remain in the frontline city? About 15,000 people, many of whom are elderly, are still in Sievierodonetsk and neighbouring Lysychansk.

A Ukrainian journalist directly addressed the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, about grain exports from Ukraine during a news conference in Ankara. Muslim Umerov asked Lavrov: “Apart from cereals, what other goods did you steal from Ukraine and who did you sell them to?”

With Ukraine and Russia producing 30% of the world’s wheat supply, the Guardian has this interactive visual guide to the impact of the war on the world’s food levels.

Twitter prepares to give Elon Musk data on fake accounts

Elon Musk warned he might walk away from Twitter if it fails to provide the data on spam and fake accounts he seeks. Photograph: Dado Ruvić/Reuters

Twitter is preparing to give Elon Musk data he has demanded on fake accounts after the world’s richest man threatened to walk away from buying the platform.

The social media company will reportedly give the Tesla chief executive access to data comprising more than 500 million tweets sent daily, as well as its “firehose” of daily traffic.

It comes after Musk warned on Monday that he could pull out of the $44bn deal if he was not provided with the data. The multibillionaire has questioned Twitter’s claim that fake and spam accounts make up less than 5% of its 229 million-strong user base.

What has Musk said about fake accounts? Musk has questioned whether advertisers are getting their money’s worth due to the issue of automated accounts.

What does Twitter say? It has not wavered from the 5% figure since 2014.

In other news …

Tens of thousands of Salvadorans have been arrested and imprisoned in recent months. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Stat of the day: Reserve, the Louisiana town where the cancer-risk rate is 50 times the national average

The Denka, formerly DuPont, factory in Reserve, Louisiana, which emits the human carcinogen chloroprene. Photograph: Emily Kask/AFP/Getty Images

In the Louisiana community of Reserve, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates the cancer-risk rate to be 50 times the US average. Now, a proposed legal settlement between the agency and residents in the so-called “Cancer Alley” region could slash toxic emissions linked to a synthetic rubber plant that emits the likely human carcinogen chloroprene.

Don’t miss this: Paula Rego’s extraordinary Abortion series

Paula Rego’s work often reflects feminist themes and critiques including issues such as the anti-abortion movement. Photograph: Eamonn McCabe/The Guardian

The work of Paula Rego, the internationally celebrated Portuguese-born British artist who died on Wednesday at the age of 87, is believed by many to have been influential in Portugal’s referendums on abortion. While Rego’s Abortion series was a “direct gesture of protest” against anti-abortion laws, it succeeded in refocusing the debate on women’s experience: away from primal gore and toward individual feeling.

Last Thing: an audience with Thailand’s octogenarian ‘Condom King’

Mechai Viravaidya has become a national treasure in Thailand. Photograph: Pornchai Kittiwongsakul/AFP/Getty Images

“We came up with a new alphabet. [We used] B for birth, C for condom, I for IUD [intrauterine device], V for vasectomy,” says Mechai Viravaidya, AKA Thailand’s “Condom King”. From putting on vasectomy festivals to condom-blowing competitions, the octogenarian and national treasure has more than earned his title. Viravaidya explains how, over almost 50 years, he has used humour to confront the serious issue of family planning in the country.

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