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Good evening. Here’s the latest.
1. President Biden is stepping up his drive for Americans to get their Covid-19 shots as the worrisome Delta variant spreads in states with low vaccination rates.
As of Thursday, 65 percent of adults have had at least one shot, according to the C.D.C. It is increasingly likely that the U.S. will be just shy of meeting Biden’s July 4 goal of having 70 percent of Americans partly vaccinated against the virus. On Friday, Biden warned that those who fail to get the shots risk becoming infected by “a variant that is more easily transmissible, potentially deadlier and particularly dangerous for young people.”
Part of the vaccination lapse can be attributed to Johnson & Johnson: Production problems and a brief pause on the use of its one-dose vaccine kept it from becoming the game changer that health officials across the country believed it would be.
2. U.S. Catholic bishops passed a controversial proposal on communion that seeks to deny President Biden the sacrament because of his stance on abortion.
Flouting a warning from the Vatican, the group voted overwhelmingly to draft a statement on the sacrament of the Eucharist. The decision is aimed squarely at Biden, the nation’s second Catholic president, who has regularly attended Mass throughout his life. The move reveals a uniquely American Catholicism increasingly at odds with Rome, our religion reporter writes.
The bishops are expected to vote on the forthcoming statement in November, ahead of the midterm elections, and anti-abortion advocates already see political opportunity in the bishops’ plan.
3. Many Iranians abstained from voting in a presidential election in which the hard-line conservative candidate appears poised to win.
Some argued that their votes would be meaningless in an election that they view as manipulated in favor of Ebrahim Raisi, Iran’s judiciary chief, who is close to the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Those who did turn up at the polls faced technical problems with electronic voting. The full results are expected on Saturday.
In other international news, the U.N. General Assembly condemned Myanmar’s military coup in a rare rebuke, demanding an end to the five-month-old takeover.
4. The stock market suffered its biggest daily decline in more than a month as investors adjusted their expectations for interest rates.
The S&P 500 fell 1.3 percent, the fourth consecutive daily drop, bringing losses for the week to 1.9 percent — the worst showing in nearly four months. Wall Street’s focus has been on the Federal Reserve and the potential for it to increase interest rates or take other steps to cut back its emergency support for the economy.
The central bank said this week that it had no immediate plans to change its policy, but it did release projections that showed most officials expected interest rates to start to rise in 2023.
5. Republican-controlled state legislatures are seeking to thwart President Biden’s gun control proposals.
In Missouri, a new law threatens a $50,000 fine for police officers who enforce certain federal gun laws. While the bill would most likely have little immediate impact on enforcement, it does aim to guard against any future gun control legislation from Washington. At least eight other Republican-controlled state legislatures have taken similar steps, like in Texas, above.
In other G.O.P. news, Republicans in Arizona have attacked Katie Hobbs, the Democratic secretary of state, for opposing their efforts to overturn the presidential election. But it has appeared to backfire. Her star power in the state has risen rapidly, and she is now running for governor.
6. Russia and other post-Soviet states are using English courts to pursue enemies.
With lawyers and private investigators in London, Russia and other autocratic governments have weaponized Britain’s courts to wage legal warfare against wealthy tycoons who have fallen out of favor and fled abroad in the decades since the fall of the Soviet Union. Above, the Royal Courts of Justice in London.
An investigation by the Times and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reveals how hefty legal fees and questionable tactics in the English courts, including broad authority to examine evidence obtained corruptly, have created an environment where leaders like President Vladimir Putin of Russia can legitimatize their brutal form of politics.
7. Juneteenth is a national holiday now. Can it still be Black?
It’s a question Kevin Young, the director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, asks in a guest essay. “Can it be both serious and playful” and “rooted in tradition while telling the full story of America and Black life in it?”
“I believe in an America that can do all of those things,” Young writes.
In many communities, Juneteenth is observed with pageants to crown a Miss (and Mr.) Juneteenth, and these events also play a part in educating Americans about equality and freedom, said Opal Lee, who has dedicated her life to making Juneteenth an official national holiday.
“I want people to realize that this is not a Texas thing and it’s not a Black thing, because none of us are free until we are all free and, heaven knows, we are not free yet,” she said.
8. “The art of losing isn’t hard to master.”
Elizabeth Bishop begins her 1976 poem “One Art” with those words, forming the first of 19 lines that describe the anguish of loss and the capacity to endure misfortune.
In our latest Close Read, two of our critics examined each word of the poem — which still has the power to make many of its readers weep — and what they might have meant to the woman writing them.
Another language expert, Francesco Lepore, has turned his mastery of Latin and his experience as a Vatican priest into a career as an author, a columnist and a gay rights activist. His column in Latin gives readers the latest on “Ioannes Biden” and “bito nummario” (or bitcoin in English).
9. Give sponge cake a chance.
Its name doesn’t stir the heart, and it is often dry and tasteless, but done right, sponge cake is tender and bouncy and perfect for soaking up flavors from whatever it’s paired with. The Food contributor Claire Saffitz shared some of her tips for getting a sponge just right, including using oil and cake flour and cooling the cakes upside down.
For something savory, Melissa Clark offers a take on a retro party staple: spinach dip. Her version gets a fresh, garlicky upgrade just in time for summer gatherings.
And if you’re celebrating Juneteenth tomorrow, Nicole Taylor, author of the forthcoming cookbook “Watermelon and Red Birds,” selected these dishes for the holiday.
10. And finally, how would you spend 24 hours in a Waffle House?
As punishment, a man who finished last in his fantasy football league was able to find out. On Thursday night, Lee Sanderlin, 25, walked into a Waffle House in Brandon, Miss., and brought the world on his journey. He tweeted while dutifully serving his sentence, regaling Twitter users with his musings on boredom and gastrointestinal distress.
For every waffle he ate, his sentence was reduced by an hour. At 6:37 a.m., Sanderlin said he had served his time, nine waffles and 15 hours later, and assured that he had tipped the staff well. Shortly after 7 a.m. he emerged into the daylight.
Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency/news feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor.
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