Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: August 7, 2022

Senate expected to pass Democrat tax and climate bill, major Indiana employers slam new abortion law, and more


Senate expected to pass Democrat tax and climate bill

The Senate voted 51-50 late Saturday to move forward with a tax and climate bill that includes several elements of President Biden's original Build Back Better agenda. The final vote on the legislation could take place Sunday, with Vice President Kamala Harris expected to cast the tie-breaking vote in her party's favor. The bill, known as the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, aims to increase revenue by over $700 billion. Around $430 billion of that money will go to green energy subsidies and to extending a pandemic-era expansion of the Affordable Care Act. The rest will be used to reduce the deficit.


Major Indiana employers slam new abortion law

Two large corporations based in Indiana — pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and engine manufacturer Cummins — criticized the state's restrictive new abortion law on Saturday. Eli Lilly said in a statement that the company "will be forced to plan for more employment growth outside" Indiana, while a spokesperson for Cummins stated that restrictions on abortion would "impede" the company's "ability to attract and retain top talent." Each company employs around 10,000 people in the Hoosier state. Indiana's new abortion law, which Gov. Eric Holcomb signed Friday, bans all abortions except in cases of rape, incest, lethal fetal abnormality, or serious health risk to the mother.


Head of Amnesty International's Ukraine branch resigns over report criticizing defenders

Oksana Pokalchuk, the leader of Amnesty International's Ukrainian branch, resigned on Friday amid controversy over a report that accused Ukraine's military of using civilians as human shields by stationing troops in residential areas. Zelensky accused Amnesty International of attempting "to grant amnesty to the terrorist state," while Pokalchuk said the report had become "a tool of Russian propaganda." Amnesty International said in a statement Saturday that its "investigations into Russian war crimes, and those into the Ukrainian military's tactics, were carried out by the same experts from Amnesty International's Crisis Response Programme" and that the organization believes "it is crucial to respond impartially."


Trump outlines policy agenda in CPAC speech

Former President Donald Trump delivered a speech Saturday at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas, Texas, outlining a policy agenda for Republicans to pursue after reclaiming control of Congress in November and taking back the White House in 2024. Trump reiterated his call for the swift execution of drug dealers and proposed a massive expansion of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He also drew attention to the culture war issues roiling American education. "School prayer is banned but drag shows are allowed ... You can't teach the Bible but you can teach children that America is evil and that men are able to get pregnant," Trump said.


Palestinian militants launch rockets at Jerusalem as Israeli airstrikes continue

The flare-up between Israeli forces and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) that began on Friday continued Sunday, with PIJ fighters launching rockets at Jerusalem while Israel conducted additional airstrikes and arrest raids in the Gaza Strip. Israel has not reported any casualties, and an Israeli army spokesperson said the Iron Dome missile shield has intercepted 97 percent of the rockets launched at Israel. 32 Palestinians have reportedly been killed, including six children, several PIJ fighters, and two of the group's leaders. Hamas, Palestine's largest militant group, has not joined in the fighting.


Russia launches attacks on Donetsk cities Bakhmut and Avdiivka

Russian forces on Saturday began an assault on the cities of Bakhmut and Avdiivka, both located in Donetsk Oblast. "In the Donetsk direction, the enemy is conducting an offensive operation, concentrating its main efforts on the Bakhmut and Avdiivka directions," the Ukrainian General Staff wrote on Facebook. The U.S.-based Institute for the Study of War assessed on Saturday that Russia had "attempted to gain more advantageous tactical positions around" a series of "settlements along the eastern arc of Bakhmut," all of which were located "within 12km of the outskirts of Bakhmut."


Elon Musk challenges Twitter CEO to 'public debate about the Twitter bot percentage'

Billionaire Elon Musk said Saturday that he would be willing to go ahead with his $44 billion dollar acquisition of Twitter of the company could prove to his satisfaction that its data about the percentage of bot accounts on the platform is accurate. "If Twitter simply provides their method of sampling 100 accounts and how they're confirmed to be real, the deal should proceed on original terms," Musk wrote on Twitter. He also challenged Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal to a "public debate about the Twitter bot percentage." Twitter sued Musk when he tried to back out of the deal last month. Musk countersued. A Delaware court date is set for October.


One dead, 17 missing, and 121 injured after lightning sets fire to Cuban oil facility

A lightning strike at a Cuban oil storage facility set off a series of explosions and a fire Friday night that injured 121 people and left 17 firefighters missing. Authorities said an unidentified dead body was found Saturday as the fire at the Matanzas Supertanker Base continued to rage. Around 800 people have been evacuated from the neighborhood closest to the fire. Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel said on Twitter that he had received offers of aid from the United States, Mexico, Venezuela, Russia, Nicaragua, Argentina, and Chile.


Flash flood strands about 1,000 people in Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park was closed on Saturday after flash floods left around 1,000 visitors and staff stranded in the park. The park received 1.46 inches of rain on Friday, the most ever recorded in August and nearly 70 percent of Death Valley's average annual rainfall. The California Department of Transportation issued a warning on Saturday that would-be visitors "should not attempt to get around any closure to access the park." National Park Service public affairs officer Abby Wines said Friday that, although roads into and out of the park were closed, "no one is stopping" stranded visitors who find alternative ways out.


Archbishop of Canterbury announces compromise on same-sex marriage in the Anglican Communion

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby proposed a compromise on the divisive issue of same-sex marriage on Tuesday as once-in-a-decade Lambeth Conference came to a close this weekend. Over 650 bishops from 165 countries were in attendance. Welby is the head of the global Anglican Communion, the world's third-largest Christian body, but unlike the Roman Catholic pope, he does not hold direct authority over the entire communion. Under Welby's proposal, the Anglican Communion would retain its 1998 resolution defining marriage as between one man and one woman but would not take action to punish provinces that deviated from that teaching. His speech outlining the policy reportedly received a standing ovation from liberal and conservative bishops alike.


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