5 things to know for July 26: Coronavirus, Capitol riot, infrastructure, wildfires, Tunisia

As the new school year approaches, administrators are dealing with serious teacher shortages. Some schools are even bringing in international teachers to round out their staff.

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1. Coronavirus

People in the US who aren’t fully vaccinated should avoid bars or restaurants because of the increased risk of contracting Covid-19, a CNN medical analyst says. The advice, which mirrors the same advice we were getting about a year ago, is another sign of the US’ pandemic backslide. Dr. Anthony Fauci said yesterday the country is “going in the wrong direction” as vaccination rates fall and models project a worst-case scenario of 4,000 deaths a day if things don’t improve. The vaccine divide is a political one: Polling shows many Americans in conservative states remain deeply skeptical of the vaccine and many say they’ll never get one. However, more conservative leaders are joining the calls to get vaccinated as the Delta variant rips through vulnerable communities.

2. Capitol riot

A growing number of Republicans want House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and GOP leadership to punish Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for accepting a position from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to serve on the select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection. Many seemed content to let Cheney serve on the committee without much of a fight, but things got more complicated when Pelosi announced yesterday that Kinzinger had also accepted her invitation. McCarthy and other House GOP members could strip Cheney and Kinzinger of their other committee assignments, but it’s not clear if McCarthy wants to fight that fight. He and Pelosi already locked horns last week when she rejected two of his chosen committee appointees. The GOP leader withdrew all five of his picks in response.

3. Infrastructure

A group of senators held a flurry of meetings over the weekend in hopes of getting a viable bipartisan infrastructure bill done today. The key is making sure key Democrats feel like their issues are represented, like Sen. Tom Carper, who has concerns over lack of funding for water projects, while appeasing as many Republicans as possible — who are generally grumbling over the cost. The bipartisan effort is one part of a two-track strategy to advance the White House’s sweeping economic agenda, as Democrats lay the groundwork to advance a $3.5 trillion package expanding the social safety net.

4. Wildfires

At least 86 active wildfires have charred nearly 1.5 million acres across the US, mostly in western states. About 3 million people are under excessive heat warnings in parts of Montana, Oregon, and Idaho, but most warnings will end by Tuesday and monsoon rains could soon provide relief in some of the drought-stricken areas. Some of the larger blazes are exhibiting what is called “extreme fire behavior.” These ultra-hot areas essentially create their own weather, complete with alarming rotational patterns, wafting smoke and pyrocumulus clouds. These clouds and haze patterns can travel long distances, and in the case of the western wildfires, have even made it as far as New York City.

5. Tunisia

Tunisia is in turmoil after President Kais Saied dismissed Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi, ousted the rest of the government and froze the activities of parliament. The drastic move came after a day of protests against the government following a spike in Covid-19 cases and growing anger over chronic political dysfunction and economic malaise. Critics and opposition leaders say Saied’s actions amount to a coup, while Saied says what he did was supported by Tunisia’s constitution. Tens of thousands of his supporters crowded the streets in the capital city of Tunis and in other cities to celebrate the decision. This upheaval poses the biggest challenge to the North African nation since the 2011 revolution that triggered the Arab Spring and ousted an autocracy in favor of democratic rule.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

US men’s basketball team defeated by France for first Olympic loss since 2004

It’s all fun and games until one of your country’s most dominant teams loses a few.

Is it cultural appropriation to wear another country’s national dress when you travel?

An interesting answer to an interesting question.

DEA agents seize cocaine disguised as a cake

Please don’t smuggle cocaine in the form of baked goods (or in the form of anything else, for that matter).

Kraft Macaroni & Cheese ice cream debuts and quickly sells out

The photo of this ice cream activated my fight or flight response.

Acid-shooting whip scorpions are roaming a national park in Texas

NO! MORE! SCARY BUGS! 2021!!!

Olympics update

Two days after lighting the cauldron at the Opening Ceremony, tennis star Naomi Osaka handily won her first match on Sunday. Meanwhile, Kimia Alizadeh, an Iranian taekwondo athlete competing for the Refugee Olympic Team, made her mark by defeating two-time UK Olympic gold medalist Jade Jones.

Follow the latest Olympic updates and highlights here

TODAY’S NUMBER

62%

That’s how many women in the UK military have experienced bullying, sexual harassment and discrimination during their career, according to a landmark parliamentary report.

TODAY’S WEATHER

Check your local forecast here>>>

AND FINALLY

Sugar fix

Does anyone else sometimes see a video or image of a food and immediately start craving it? On an unrelated note, here’s how jelly beans are made. (Click here to view)

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