CORONAVIRUS: Recently, the Center for Global Development (as in the Washington research institute) released the findings from a study on coronavirus in India. It’s bad news. See: 3.4 million to 4.7 million more Indians than would usually be expected died between January 2020 and June 2021. FYI, the official coronavirus death toll in India stands at about 414,000. Meanwhile, the delta variant reportedly accounts for 83 percent of new coronavirus cases in the US. That’s up from 50 percent just a couple weeks ago. This comes as cases in the US have reached nearly 38,000 per day - up from 11,000 per day not long ago. And in other news, New York City will now require vaccination orrrrr weekly testing for public health workers.
WORLD: Say hello to Thomas Barrack. He’s a close advisor to ex-Prez Donald Trump - not to mention the chair of his inaugural committee. Oh, and he was also just arrested and charged with illegal foreign lobbying, obstruction of justice, and making false statements to federal law enforcement agents. In other words: Barrack attempted to influence the foreign policy decisions of the 2016 Trump presidential campaign and admin on behalf of the United Arab Emirates...while keeping the fact that he was, you know, working with the UAE hush hush. Barrack will reportedly plead not guilty. In other news, the US is pointing fingers at China for hacking nearly two dozen pipeline bizes from 2011 to 2013. Tension, high. And meanwhile, Haiti just arrested 3 police officers as part of the investigation into the prez’s assassination.
USA: The Bootleg Fire is continuing to grow. It’s expected to burn about between 450,000 and 500,000 acres before crews contain it. If you’re wondering just how big that is, the fire is actually generating its own weather patterns. Yes, really. As in it’s changing winds, creating clouds, and possibly forming fire tornadoes. Effects of the Bootleg Fire have also been spotted as far away as New York, where smoke caused the sun to look red. Meanwhile, a new study found that health care is the US’s largest source of debt in collections (aka agencies that work to get past-due debts from borrowers). Hint: collection agencies held $140 billion (yes, with a b) in unpaid medical bills last year - about twice as much as was previously known. And people in states without expanded Medicaid tended to owe more than those with it.