5 things to know for July 23: Abortion, Afghanistan, coronavirus, economy, Cuba

5 things to know for July 23: Abortion, Afghanistan, coronavirus, economy, Cuba

Water thieves are running rampant during California’s drought, sometimes tapping into fire hydrants and waterlines to make off with truckloads.

Here’s what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.

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1. Abortion

Mississippi’s attorney general has urged the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision legalizing abortion nationwide prior to viability, which can occur at around 24 weeks of pregnancy. Attorney General Lynn Fitch called the 1973 decision “egregiously wrong” and asked the high court to allow a controversial Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks to go into effect. The case reignites the debate surrounding abortion and comes as other states, emboldened by the conservative SCOTUS majority, are increasingly passing restrictive abortion-related regulations. Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act was passed in 2018 but was blocked in federal court. Now that the state has asked the Supreme Court to overturn precedent, all eyes will be on conservative justices to see how far they’ll go.

2. Afghanistan

The United Nations is warning that the threat from jihadi terror groups is expanding, suggesting they thrive where pressure against them is waning. In Afghanistan, where the US is wrapping up its military withdrawal, the UN warns of a potential “further deterioration” in the security situation. In recent months, the US has made efforts to mitigate the potentially dangerous side effects of the withdrawal. The House just approved legislation to expand and streamline a visa program for Afghan translators and other personnel who worked with the US military and are now trying to leave Afghanistan. This week, the US military carried out two strikes against the Taliban in support of Afghan forces to target captured equipment.

3. Coronavirus

Biden administration officials are ramping up the urgency of their messaging on Covid-19 as the dangerous Delta variant continues to spread. The administration is also sending $100 million to rural health clinics to boost vaccine education and access, and it’s using another $1.6 billion in the American Rescue Plan for testing and other resources in high-risk areas. Only 48.8% of the US population is fully vaccinated, and the seven-day average pace of full vaccinations is around 252,000 — far below the 500,000 daily average seen at the beginning of July.

4. Economy

Soaring inflation, rising prices and the threat of another Covid-19 surge are threatening the US economic recovery, and now lawmakers in Washington are facing another hurdle: the debt ceiling. If Congress doesn’t raise it, the federal government will likely run out of cash by October or November, according to the Congressional Budget Office. A default would be disastrous because of the nation’s strong fiscal reputation. It would also send markets tumbling and lift borrowing costs. Meanwhile, the CDC’s national eviction moratorium is about to expire at the end of the month, which could lead to millions of renters losing their homes. The employment story isn’t rosy either. Unemployment claims unexpectedly jumped last week to the highest level since mid-May.

5. Cuba

The Biden administration has sanctioned a key Cuban official and a government special forces unit known as the Boinas Negras for human rights abuses, marking the administration’s first significant response to historic protests that have gripped the island nation. The Boinas Negras is an elite Cuban special forces unit that the government has deployed to crack down on protesters. Some Cuban-American groups and lawmakers have called on the administration to provide a strong response to the unrest, and Biden says this week’s sanctions are just the start. Protests broke out in Cuba this month amid economic turmoil and a worsening pandemic crisis.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

Crocs sues Walmart, Hobby Lobby and others for allegedly copying its popular shoe

Often imitated, never duplicated.

You may be waiting longer for your Domino’s pizza

The first rule of pizza delivery: Don’t wait until after you’re already hungry to order the pizza. That way lies suffering.

Twitter is having an inexplicably awesome 2021

Since we can’t yell at each other in person as much, guess we’re just doing it online.

There will probably be a shortage of back-to-school supplies

Don’t get stuck clamoring over the last ugly backpack in the store.

Cockatoos in Australia have taught each other how to open trash can lids for forbidden feasts

We’d be angry if we weren’t so impressed (and if they didn’t look so darn proud of themselves!)

TODAY’S NUMBER

18

That’s how many states have enacted new laws that make it harder to vote, according to a new tally by the liberal-leaning Brennan Center for Justice that tracks state activity through July 14.

TODAY’S QUOTE

“This is going to enable us to provide more help and support to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, trafficking and other crimes all across America.”

President Biden, during the signing of the VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act of 2021, a bipartisan bill that aims to provide assistance for crime victims, including counseling expenses, medical bills and lost wages.

OLYMPICS UPDATE

The opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics starts at 7 a.m. ET (that’s 8 p.m. local time). French President Emmanuel Macron and first lady Jill Biden are there, along with about 950 other VIPs.

Follow the latest Olympic updates and highlights here.

TODAY’S WEATHER

Check your local forecast here>>>

AND FINALLY

Do it again, human!

If you’ve never seen an eel being pet before, today is your lucky day! (Click here to view.)

The-CNN-Wire
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