U.S. President Joe Biden wore his heart on his sleeve on Thursday when he spent hours talking to relatives of those missing in the Surfside Condo collapse. The president recalled his feelings when his first wife and infant daughter were killed in a car crash years ago, adding that the families are “going through hell.” Chances of finding any survivors a week after the collapse are slim, but Biden said some families were still praying for a miracle. Eighteen people are now confirmed dead, while about 145 remain missing. “The waiting ... is unbearable,” he told families, adding that investigators are looking into what caused the collapse.
2. New York Prosecutors Play Trump Card: Indict Organization
It’s a taxing time for former President Donald Trump. Yesterday his company and its chief financial officer were indicted in a criminal case for an alleged tax scheme. New York prosecutors charged the company with 10 counts and Allen Weisselberg with 15 counts in connection with the alleged scheme, which dates back to 2005. Weisselberg was brought to court in handcuffs, where he pleaded not guilty. Trump slammed the move, saying: “The political witch hunt by the radical left Democrats … continues.” While the ex-president himself was not indicted, the charges still threaten him as prosecutors exert pressure on Weisselberg to cooperate.
3. New Zealand PM Calls Opposition Leader a ‘Karen’
Things got heated in New Zealand’s parliament this week after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared to suggest the opposition leader was a “Karen.” The term has become widely used to criticize a certain type of white woman who uses her privilege to get her way. During a hate speech debate on Wednesday, the Ardern administration proposed harsher penalties for inciting discrimination, while the opposition argued it would undermine freedom of speech. Judith Collins, leader of the center-right National Party, asked whether calling someone a “Karen” would now also be considered a crime. Ardern shot back: “These laws will not protect that member from such a claim,” drawing laughter in parliament. The government has a majority, so could push through the changes despite opposition concerns.
4. New Tax Rules for Global Companies Backed by 130 Nations
Some 130 countries yesterday agreed to a global minimum tax rate for international companies, in what would be the biggest changes to international taxation in a century. It’s a boost for the Biden administration’s domestic revenue plans, and all G20 nations, including former holdouts China and India, are now on board. Companies headquartered in their countries will have to pay a minimum 15% tax rate, which will reduce tax avoidance. Ireland, however, which is home to a lot of large U.S. tech companies, objects to the deal. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development says the aim is to implement the new rules in 2023.
There are “serious concerns” over America’s use of the death penalty, Attorney General Merrick Garland said yesterday as he issued a moratorium on federal executions. Women took to the streets of Istanbul in protest yesterday after Turkey withdrew from a global treaty to prevent gender-based violence. And the Supreme Court has upheld voting restrictions in Arizona.
Coronavirus Update: Health officials in Los Angeles County have urged people to start wearing masks indoors again due to the risk posed by the delta variant. South Korea had the highest number of COVID-19 cases since January on Thursday as the more contagious delta variant spreads.
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You’ve seen Lily Rabe grace the small screen on all 10 seasons of American Horror Story. Today, the acclaimed actor of the stage and screen joins The Carlos Watson Show and opens up about her favorite moments from AHS, how her mother introduced her to her current partner, Hamish Linklater, and the pleasures of working with George Clooney. Plus stay tuned for a one-of-a-kind look at L.A.’s most iconic comedy establishment The Comedy Store — credited with the rise of Whoopi Goldberg, David Letterman, Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, Joe Rogan and countless others — through the eyes of comedians Pauly Shore and Erik Griffin. Watch now.
Forget “wolf warriors.” Police in China are asking members of the public to adopt “coward dogs” who failed to qualify for intensive canine-cop training. Fifty-four dogs, mainly German shepherds and Belgian Malinois, failed to make it onto the force due to “cowardice,” “weak limbs” and “weak retrieving abilities,” police said. Chinese netizens were quick to joke that it’s a dog’s life. “There’s so much pressure and such fierce competition to get a government job, even for dogs,” one person wrote on Weibo. The hounds will be auctioned off next week, with bidding starting at about $30.
2. Branson to Beat Bezos, Announces Space Race Date
The billionaire businessman space race is heating up. Virgin’s Richard Branson has announced July 11 as the date he’ll take off, looking to beat his space-tourism rival, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, whose own trip is set for July 20. Branson will be accompanied by a crew of five, while Bezos has announced he’ll be going with his brother as well as female aerospace pioneer, 82-year-old Wally Funk. Virgin Galactic has already sold 600 tickets for $250,000 each, while Tesla’s Elon Musk is also looking to conquer the space market, with several private missions lined up.
3. Check Mate: US Preteen Now Chess’ Youngest Grandmaster
If you were glued to hit Netflix show The Queen’s Gambit, amazed at the high-stakes world of professional chess, check out the real-life game’s new grandmaster — 12-year-old Abhimanyu Mishra. Mishra, who’s from New Jersey, beat Russian Sergey Karjakin, a former chess prodigy, in Budapest this week. The American started playing at age 2 and became the youngest international master at the tender age of 10. The preteen tweeted: “Finally checkmated the biggest opponent … Thanks everybody for all your love and support.” He now heads to the World Cup in Sochi, which starts next week.
4. British Opinion Divided Over Princess Diana Statue
There have been mixed reactions after a new statue of Princess Diana was unveiled by her sons, Princes William and Harry, in the gardens of Kensington Palace yesterday on what would have been her 60th birthday. A critic for the left-wing Guardian called it “an awkward, lifeless shrine,” while the right-wing Telegraph criticized the accompanying poem as “an embarrassment.” Most eyes at the unveiling however were on the princes, who had a public falling out earlier this year after Harry and his wife Meghan Markle gave an interview to Oprah criticizing “the firm.” However, Queen Elizabeth recently invited the couple to her 2022 Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
5. Sha’Carri Richardson’s Olympic Dream in Peril After Drug Test
The U.S. was on a high after Sha’Carri Richardson made it into the Olympics, but now the sprinter could miss the Tokyo Games after testing positive for marijuana. The 21-year-old faces at least a one-month ban, which could be set to begin at the time of her positive test. In that case she might make it since track and field at the Olympics only begins on July 30. While the athlete hasn’t addressed the news directly, yesterday she tweeted: “I am human.” World Athletics bars the consumption of cannabis under its anti-doping rules. It is unclear whether she will appeal the test result.
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