Table of Contents
- New York governor resigns in wake of damning report on sexual harassment
- Senate Democrats poised for voting rights push to counter Republican restrictions
- In other news …
- Stat of the day: children accounted for 15% of new Covid cases reported last week
- Don’t miss: the inside story of how PSG convinced Lionel Messi to sign a stunning deal with them
- Climate check: wildfires in Algeria leave more than 40 dead
- Last Thing: has lockdown made drinking dangerously aspirational?
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The US Senate passed a giant bipartisan infrastructure bill in the early hours of Wednesday morning, with 19 Republicans joining the entire Democratic caucus to push it through.
The vote was a victory for Joe Biden, and a key affirmation of his strategy to push bipartisanship in his legislative agenda. The White House said the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act would create “millions of jobs”, update the nation’s power grid as well as support greener policies such as expanding networks of charging stations for electric cars, and boosting train travel and electric buses.
“Today, we proved that democracy can still work,” Biden declared at the White House, noting that the 69-30 vote included even the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell.
The $1tn bill could still face some opposition in the House of Representatives from progressive legislators who have said they would withhold their support until the Senate passes a separate $3.5tn package more focused on social welfare policies, such as childcare and elderly care.
Democrats said they expect the bill, which tops off at 2,700 pages, to touch nearly every corner of American life.
New York governor resigns in wake of damning report on sexual harassment
Andrew Cuomo prepares to board a helicopter after announcing his resignation. Photograph: Seth Wenig/AP
New York will get its first female governor after Andrew Cuomo bowed to pressure and resigned with two weeks’ notice, paving the way for the lieutenant governor, Kathy Hochul, to take over.
In a dramatic public announcement on Tuesday, Cuomo said he was stepping down after an investigation by the state attorney general found he sexually harassed multiple women, most of whom worked for him, and that he had retaliated after some made complaints. Cuomo has denied any wrongdoing.
The governor, who had presented himself as a champion of the #MeToo movement sparked by accusations against the now-convicted film mogul Harvey Weinstein, used the opportunity to criticize attorney general Letitia James’s report and warned New Yorkers about the dangers of “a bias or a lack of fairness in the justice system”.
He added he thought his behavior was acceptable, but acknowledged that the 11 women James said he harassed were probably “truly offended” and said “for that I deeply, deeply apologize”.
Senate Democrats poised for voting rights push to counter Republican restrictions
Senator Raphael Warnock, a key figure on voting rights efforts, speaks to reporters at the Capitol in Washington. Photograph: J Scott Applewhite/AP
Top Democrats in the Senate are determined to make another attempt to push through voting rights legislation to counter a wave of Republican-led ballot restrictions across the nation, before the chamber breaks up for a summer recess.
The Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, is expected to reintroduce the Democrats’ election reform bill, known as the For the People Act. The measures are not expected to garner any Republican support, so the move will probably be a repeat of the defeat in June.
Given the united Republican opposition, it is unclear whether the move by Senate Democrats will do much more than attempt to encourage voting rights activists, who have watched with alarm that the issue appeared to have taken a backseat, Hugo Lowell reports.
In other news …
Michael Spavor was arrested in 2018 after Canada’s detention of a senior executive at tech giant Huawei. Photograph: AP
Stat of the day: children accounted for 15% of new Covid cases reported last week
As the spread of the Delta variant pushes the numbers of children with Covid to new highs in the US, experts are urging the federal government to fast-track vaccine approval for those under the age of 12. Last week alone, children accounted for 15% of new cases, with almost 94,000 cases reported, data indicates.
Don’t miss: the inside story of how PSG convinced Lionel Messi to sign a stunning deal with them
PSG’s president, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, and Lionel Messi at a press conference at Parc des Princes, Paris. Photograph: Sarah Meyssonnier/Reuters
A phonecall at 10pm last Thursday set the ball rolling on a move that had seemed impossible hours earlier, before news broke that Lionel Messi would not be staying at Barcelona, his longtime club he said he did not want to leave. Fabrizio Romano reports how PSG managed to persuade the distraught superstar, who had been due to sign a new five-year contract with Barcelona, to move to Paris instead.
Climate check: wildfires in Algeria leave more than 40 dead
Smoke rises from a wildfire in the forested hills of the Kabyle region, east of Algiers. Photograph: Ryad Kramdi/AFP/Getty Images
More than 40 people have died as wildfires sweep through parts of Algeria. Dozens of fires have hit the Kabyle region 60 miles (100km) east of the capital, Algiers, with remote villages and limited access to water complicating efforts to contain the blazes. The death toll includes 25 soldiers who were killed as they worked to rescue people in Béjaïa and Tizi Ouzou.
Last Thing: has lockdown made drinking dangerously aspirational?
A negroni cocktail with dry gin, red vermouth and red bitter, orange slice and ice cubes. Photograph: 5PH/Alamy
Drinking booze at home was once a guilty pleasure. Now, ginfluencers smile from our Instagram feeds, the #cocktail hashtag inspires people to take a sophisticated liquor tray seriously, and social media is awash with snaps of colourful aperitifs. But is the trend healthy? Guardian columnist Gaby Hinsliff wonders whether gin o’clock is turning into unhappy hour.
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