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Americans need to make a choice to avoid a looming coronavirus surge, a CNN medical expert says: Get vaccinated, or actually follow through on safety precautions like masking and social distancing. That choice is playing out elsewhere, as well. COVAX, the global vaccine-sharing initiative, signed deals with two Chinese pharmaceutical companies for more than half a billion Covid-19 vaccines by the first half of next year to try to combat the spreading Delta variant. In Seoul, South Korea, the Health Ministry has implemented an unusual gym restriction: no fast music, which it reasons can lead to rapid breathing. Back in the US, the FDA warned of a possible increased risk of a rare neurological complication known as Guillain-Barré syndrome tied to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The FDA says it hasn’t established that the vaccine could cause the syndrome — just an increase in reports.
2. Voting rights
Texas state House Democrats left the state yesterday in an effort to block Republicans from passing a restrictive new voting law during a special legislative session. The session was specifically called to discuss more voter restrictions after state Democrats walked out in the final hours of the regular session to quash a similar piece of legislation. Already this year, Republican-led states including Florida, Georgia and Iowa have enacted restrictive new voting laws. Democrats in Congress have pushed measures that would expand access to the ballot box nationwide, but GOP opposition in the Senate has kept efforts from advancing. This afternoon, President Biden is set to give a major speech in Philadelphia on voting rights.
3. White House
In addition to voting rights, there are new developments (and new complications) for other big Biden administration priorities. Senate Democrats unveiled a $3.7 billion proposal to supplement security funding at the Capitol and beyond following the January 6 Capitol riot. This expanded plan, put forth by Sen. Patrick Leahy, would also provide funding to help Afghan supporters of the US military obtain visas as the US ends its combat presence there. Meanwhile, Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill is in danger of becoming less bipartisan. Some initial GOP backers now say they may vote against it due to misgivings about how the bill would be funded and worries that Democrats would also pass a larger version of the bill without Republican support.
Several men involved in the assassination of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise previously worked as US law enforcement informants, according to people briefed on the matter. At least one man, who was arrested, worked as an informant for the US Drug Enforcement Administration. Several more of the 28 people in custody are allegedly Colombian mercenaries hired through a Florida-based security company. Top foreign officials, including members of the US National Security Council and Colombia’s chief of national intelligence, have visited Haiti since Moise’s death. Key questions about last week’s attack remain notably unanswered, like how the attackers got into the country, how they were armed and furnished with vehicles, and why none of Moise’s security detail or residential staff were injured amid the abundant gunfire.
Japan warns that growing military tension around Taiwan and the economic and technological rivalry between China and the US are threatening peace and stability in East Asia. Japan’s annual defense white paper also pointed to China as Japan’s main national security concern. Beijing has increased military activity around Taiwan, which is near the western end of the Japanese archipelago. Over the weekend, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also asserted a firm US stance on China’s claims to the South China Sea. He reaffirmed the US commitment to protecting the Philippines’ armed forces from attack in the region, and he observed the fifth anniversary of a ruling rejecting China’s expansive territorial claims over the waterway.
Netflix and Paris Hilton have teamed up for a cooking show
Of course, it’s going to be “so hot.”
Martin Lawrence’s daughter and Eddie Murphy’s son are dating
Yes, it’s real life for these two nice young people, but admit it … this would make a great movie plot for their dads, too.
Puppies ‘get’ us more than human-raised wolf puppies do, study finds
More than 14,000 years of hanging with humans will do that to ya.
Tick season is here. Here’s what you need to know
Anything to avoid those panicked tweezer or lit match moments (along with the necessary “Get it off! Get if off!”)
It’s so hard to get a house right now, some people are dropping out of the market
Hmm, maybe those billionaires going to space have the right idea. Property values on the moon can’t be that bad, can they?
“This England team deserve to be lauded as heroes, not racially abused on social media.”
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, on reports of online racist abuse of some England soccer players following their heartbreaking Euro 2020 final defeat this weekend
That’s how much a copy of Super Mario 64 recently sold for, smashing the record for the most expensive sale ever of a video game at auction.
This owl has a letter for you! Is it an invitation to study at Hogwarts or, well, an electricity bill? (Click here to view.)
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