10 things you need to know today: July 26, 2021
Fauci warns U.S. is heading in "wrong direction" against pandemic, Pelosi names 2nd Republican to Jan. 6 panel, and more
Fauci warns U.S. is heading in 'wrong direction' on pandemic
The United States is "going in the wrong direction" in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said Sunday on CNN's State of the Union. Fauci said he was "very frustrated" over the "unnecessary predicament" the nation faces with COVID-19 cases soaring as the virulent Delta variant spreads rapidly in regions with the highest percentages of unvaccinated people. Fauci said public health officials were actively considering recommending that even vaccinated Americans wear masks to help prevent new infections. "This is an issue predominantly among the unvaccinated, which is the reason why we're out there, practically pleading with the unvaccinated people to go out and get vaccinated," Fauci said.
Pelosi names 2nd Republican to Jan. 6 select committee
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Sunday named a second Republican, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) to serve on the select committee investigating the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump. Pelosi said Kinzinger, an outspoken Trump critic, "brings great patriotism to the committee's mission: to find the facts and protect our democracy." Kinzinger, a 43-year-old Air Force veteran, was one of seven House Republicans who joined Democrats in voting to impeach Trump in January for inciting the insurrection. Another of those Republicans, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), has already been appointed to the panel by Pelosi. House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) withdrew his five nominees after Pelosi rejected two of them.
French lawmakers require virus passes for restaurants, travel
France's parliament on Monday approved a law requiring special virus passes in order to enter restaurants and travel domestically. Lawmakers also required that all health workers be vaccinated. President Emmanuel Macron said the measures were needed to protect vulnerable populations and hospitals, and avoid new lockdowns as coronavirus infections surge. He appealed for national unity, and criticized "people who are in the business of irrational, sometimes cynical, manipulative mobilization" against vaccination. But the passing of the laws sparked protests and deepened political tensions over the pandemic response. The "health passes" — which indicate full vaccination, a recent negative COVID test, or recent recovery from infection — initially will apply to adults, but will be extended to cover everyone 12 and up starting Sept. 30.
U.S. men's basketball team loses to France, snapping Olympic winning streak
The U.S. men's basketball team suffered a stunning 83-76 defeat to France on Sunday in its opening game at the Tokyo Olympics. The upset broke a 25-game Olympic winning streak that started in 2004 for Team USA. The U.S. had an eight-point lead with four minutes to play before falling apart. Evan Fournier hit a 3-pointer to put France up for good with one minute left in the game. The U.S. lost a chance to regain the lead with five missed shots in a single possession. "It's a hell of a win," Fournier said. "Our country is going to be extremely proud. But it's just one game, to be honest."
California's Dixie Fire threatens thousands of buildings
California's largest wildfire, the Dixie Fire, threatened more than 10,700 buildings as it continued to spread through its 12th day. The fire, the largest among dozens burning in the West, has already destroyed 16 structures, including homes and businesses, and scorched more than 190,000 acres, according to Cal Fire. Firefighters were being hampered by the remote location of the blaze and steep terrain, officials said. The fire on Saturday jumped Highway 70 and Highway 89, forcing fire crews to focus on protecting the communities of Paxton and Indian Falls. "It's scary," said Cindy Pierson, who was forced to evacuate her home. "I've never been through anything like this."
Pelosi, key Republican split on timing of infrastructure deal vote
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Sunday on ABC that the House would not vote on a bipartisan infrastructure package until it passes the Senate. "We are rooting for the infrastructure bill to pass, but we all know that more needs to be done." Pelosi supports passing the $1 trillion deal at the same time as a $3.5 trillion spending package. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), a leading negotiator on the bipartisan package, said in a separate ABC appearance that Pelosi's position was "entirely counter" to President Biden's commitment to a bipartisan effort to get the proposal through the House and the Senate. The infrastructure bill, he said, "has nothing to do with the reckless tax-and-spend extravaganza (Pelosi's) talking about."
Tunisia's president dismisses prime minister, freezes parliament
Tunisian President Kais Saied on Sunday dismissed Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi and froze parliament for 30 days following demonstrations over the country's coronavirus crisis and economic troubles. "We have taken these decisions ... until social peace returns to Tunisia and until we save the state," the president said. Political opponents called the moves, taken on Tunisia's Republic Day holiday, an attempted coup. The president, prime minister, and parliament share executive power in the North African nation, the only lasting democracy from the Arab Spring. Thousands of Tunisians applauded Saied's announcement, ignoring a coronavirus curfew to cheer and wave flags in the streets of Tunis, the capital.
U.S. men win 4x100-meter freestyle relay; Ledecky settles for silver
Dominant male swimmer Caeleb Dressel led the U.S. to a gold medal in the men's 4x100-meter freestyle relay at the Tokyo Olympics on Monday. Dressel sprinted the U.S. to an early lead. Blake Pieroni, Bowen Becker, and Zach Apple kept the team ahead with a time of 3:08.97, edging out silver medalist Italy and bronze medalist Australia. Defending Olympic champion and world-record holder Katie Ledecky led the women's 400-meter freestyle by a body length at the midway point, but Australia's Ariarne Titmus chased her down to win the gold in 3:56.69, the second-fastest time in history. Ledecky won the silver in 3:57.36, the fourth-fastest time ever in the event.
Thunderstorms causes flash flooding in London
Severe thunderstorms caused "significant flooding" in London on Sunday, disrupting public transportation, a Transport for London spokesperson said. Flash floods caused "severe" problems on the North Circular Road, one of the major thoroughfares surrounding Britain's capital. Multiple stations on the subway network known as the Tube were closed. "With multiple bus routes on diversion and some Tube and rail services affected and stations closed, we strongly advise that customers check for the latest information before they travel to ensure they have a safe and smooth journey," the TfL spokesperson said. The heavy rains also caused problems at hospitals in flooded areas, with a spokesperson for Barts Health NHS Trust encouraging patients to "attend alternative hospitals where they can."
Civil rights leader Bob Moses dies at 86
Bob Moses, a 1960s civil rights leader, died Sunday at his Florida home. He was 86. Moses was an organizer of the 1964 "Freedom Summer" in which hundreds of students went to the South to register voters. He was arrested and jailed many times, and survived beatings and an incident in which three Klansmen fired shots at a car he was in, hitting the driver. Moses later launched his "second chapter in civil rights work," founding the Algebra Project in 1982 with the help of a MacArthur Fellowship. The project focused on teaching math to foster equality. "Bob Moses was a giant, a strategist at the core of the civil rights movement," said the head of the NAACP, Derrick Johnson. "Through his life's work, he bent the arc of the moral universe towards justice, making our world a better place."