5 things to know for July 16: Extreme weather, Covid, infrastructure, Cuba, Lebanon

5 things to know for July 16: Extreme weather, Covid, infrastructure, Cuba, Lebanon

The US government is offering up to $10 million to anyone with information on who is behind the recent rash of cyberattacks on the country’s critical infrastructure.

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1. Extreme weather

Dozens are dead and more than 1,000 people are assumed missing after flash floods ripped through parts of Western Europe. Rescue and recovery efforts are underway in Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, where rivers swelled and swept through towns, dragging entire structures away in the flow. These photos show the stunning scale of destruction. The floods were caused by the heaviest rainfall there in more than a century. Across the Atlantic, an opposite threat looms: About 71 large wildfires are now scorching 1 million acres across the US, and their smoke can be seen from California all the way to New York. Also in the New York City area, millions are under a heat advisory as the heat index (the “feels like” temp) could hit 103 degrees today.

2. Coronavirus 

Covid-19 cases are surging in almost every state, and CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen says it’s time to “do something dramatic” to protect the country from a tragic fall season. Hospitals are filling up in places like Arkansas, where only 35% of the population is fully vaccinated. Los Angeles County, the nation’s most populous county, will reinstate its mask mandate this weekend, requiring masking indoors regardless of vaccination status. The Delta variant is also fueling huge surges in the Middle East and North Africa. Tunisia has been hit especially hard and is reimposing lockdowns. The North African nation now has the highest Covid-19 mortality rate in the Eastern Mediterranean region and on the African continent. And in Iraq, less than 1% of the population has received a coronavirus vaccine dose.

3. Infrastructure

The bipartisan infrastructure bill and the Democratic-backed $3.5 trillion budget resolution germinating in the Senate could provide Democrats with a last chance to tackle immigration reform in this Congress. Lawmakers are looking to set aside $120 billion for a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients, farm workers, essential workers and people with Temporary Protected Status. But it’s not clear yet how they will decide who qualifies for these protections. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer set a deadline for next week to force his caucus to agree on both the budget package and the infrastructure bill. It’s essentially an attempt to strong-arm negotiations and is further frustrating Republicans already put off by the rapid pace and high price tags of these measures.

4. Cuba

Cuba is temporarily lifting restrictions on travelers bringing food, medicine and hygiene products into the country in an apparent response to rare anti-government protests that have rattled the island nation since last weekend. Thousands have gathered to protest chronic shortages of basic goods, curbs on civil liberties and the government’s handling of the pandemic. These desperate conditions have led to rising migration and economic toil. President Biden expressed support for Cuban citizens and railed against the Cuban government, calling it a “failed state.” He also said the US is looking into ways to reinstate internet access in Cuba. Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel says US trade sanctions are to blame for his country’s economic conditions.

5. Lebanon

Lebanon’s Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri has stepped down just nine months after he was tasked with forming the country’s next government. Hariri says he removed himself because President Michel Aoun didn’t accept his latest Cabinet lineup. Lebanon hasn’t had a government since its caretaker Prime Minister stepped down after the deadly Beirut port explosion in August 2020. The power vacuum has exacerbated a financial tailspin and a rapid decay of the country’s infrastructure, with power outages that sometimes exceed 22 hours a day. Really, problems have been brewing since an uprising against Lebanon’s ruling elite in October 2019. Protests erupted after Hariri’s announcement this week as people expressed their despair and frustration with the political infighting.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

Someone spent $28 million for a seat on the Bezos space flight, and now they’re bailing due to ‘scheduling conflicts’

What are they doing that’s more important than $28 million … and going to SPACE?!

Why salad bars may never come back

It’s very strange to think that, in the future, we may actually be nostalgic for grocery store salad bars.

‘Space Jam: A New Legacy’ lets LeBron James jump into Michael Jordan’s shoes

Speaking of space and nostalgia …

These are the most popular emojis in the world

They’re actually pretty tame! Good job, world.

Microsoft is bringing back Clippy

“It looks like you want to have a nosy coworker pre-installed directly on your office software. I can help with that!”

TODAY’S NUMBER

$7.25

That is the federal minimum wage. There is no state, county or city in the country where a full-time, minimum-wage worker working 40 hours a week can afford a two-bedroom rental, according to a report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

TODAY’S QUOTE

“(T)hings like an officer’s language or tone of voice, just very human parts of their communication, matter for community members’ trust in the police.”

Nicholas Camp, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan  and lead author of a study on interactions between police and civilians during traffic stops. The study found officers conduct themselves differently during traffic stops with Black and White drivers, exhibiting less warmth and respect in their voices when talking to Black drivers.

TODAY’S WEATHER

Check your local forecast here>>>

AND FINALLY

You got me!

This orangutan is absolutely charmed by a magic trick, and we are absolutely charmed by the orangutan. (Click here to view.)

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