DISASTERS: The death toll from the heavy rain and flooding in central China has risen to 25 - including 12 people who were killed when a subway was submerged. In the Chinese province of Henan, nearly 10,000 people were trapped on passenger trains after water covered the tracks. Meanwhile, British Columbia has declared a state of emergency over raging fires in the Canadian province. Thousands of people were forced to evacuate. Speaking of which, PG&E (as in the utility biz) is planning to put 10,000 miles of power lines underground in an attempt to prevent new blazes. This comes after the utility’s equipment was blamed for starting a fire that destroyed the town of Paradise and killed 85 people in 2018. And in other news, people are taking to the streets of Iran to protest severe water shortages. Stay tuned.
POLITICS: A lot is going on in Washington, DC. Quick refresher: not too long ago, Senate Republicans shot down a plan to form a bipartisan “9/11-type commission” to take a magnifying glass to the January 6th Capitol attack. In response, House Dems voted to create a select committee to investigate the attack. 5 Republicans were set to join that committee, including Reps Jim Jordon (R-OH) and Jim Banks (R-IN) - both of whom challenged Prez Biden’s victory against Donald Trump. So yesterday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said ‘um no’ and barred Jordon and Banks from the committee. Now, it looks like Republicans are boycotting it altogether. Tension, high. In other news, Republicans just blocked that $600 billion bipartisan infrastructure bill in the Senate. Not yet clear what’s next for the bill.
HEALTH: Lately, tons of states have been suing big drug bizes over the opioid epidemic, which has left hundreds of thousands of Americans dead. So yesterday, the US’s three major drug distributors - along with Johnson & Johnson - reached a $26 billion (yes, with a b) deal with states to end allllll legal liability in the crisis. That money would apparently go toward things like addiction treatment and prevention services. Oh, and the bizes are also negotiating a separate deal with Native American tribes, a group that’s been hit especially hard by the epidemic. In other news, a judge just temporarily blocked an Arkansas law banning gender confirming treatments for transgender youth - plus a West Virginia ban on trans athletes in women’s sports. The rulings mark a big victory for LGBTQ+ rights advocates.