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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Clea Skopeliti

First Thing: Manchin agrees deal on major Democrat domestic bill

Senator Joe Manchin on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Senator Joe Manchin indicated that he would support a narrower package that excluded climate policies. Photograph: Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters

Good morning.

Senator Joe Manchin, the West Virginia Democrat who has repeatedly thwarted his party’s most progressive ambitions while making millions in the coal industry, has signed on to a bill that would pay down the national debt, reduce healthcare costs and address the climate crisis.

The U-turn came after Manchin indicated he would support a narrower package that excluded climate policies. The new bill, named the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, includes “realistic energy and climate policy”, according to the senator, who said it “invests in the technologies needed for all fuel types”, including renewable sources and nuclear but also fossil fuels.

The bill is expected to raise $739bn through a 15% corporate minimum tax, prescription drug savings and other means. The Democrats’ compromise with Manchin means it no longer includes surtaxes on the wealthiest Americans.

  • What does it mean for the climate? The bill, which will invest $396bn in energy security and fighting the climate crisis, would cut carbon emissions by about 40% by 2030.

  • Meanwhile … Manchin, who chairs the senate committee on energy and natural resources, has taken more campaign contributions from oil, gas and coal companies than any other senator.

Centrists to launch Forward, new US political party

Andrew Yang
Andrew Yang, who ran as a Democratic presidential candidate in 2020, will be the new party’s co-chair. Photograph: Marco Bello/Getty Images

Dozens of former Republican and Democratic officials will form a new national political party with centrist policies to appeal to voters disillusioned with America’s two-party system.

The new party, called Forward, will initially be co-chaired by the former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang and Christine Todd Whitman, the former Republican governor of New Jersey.

The party, which will launch on Thursday and has no specific policies yet, has said the key pillars of its platform are to “reinvigorate a fair, flourishing economy” and to “give Americans more choices in elections, more confidence in a government that works, and more say in our future”.

  • How likely is it to succeed? Historically, third parties have not done well in the US, but can occasionally affect presidential elections: analysts say the Green party’s Ralph Nader cost Al Gore the 2000 race.

Russian forces capture Ukraine’s second-biggest power station

Smoke rises over Kyiv
Smoke rises over Kyiv after Russian missile strikes on the Ukrainian capital’s outskirts. Photograph: Reuters

Russian forces have fired a barrage of missiles at northern regions of Ukraine from neighbouring Belarus, hitting targets in the Chernihiv region, outside Kyiv, and around the city of Zhytomyr, according to Ukrainian and Belarusian officials.

The strikes comes as Ukraine’s counteroffensive in the country’s south appears to be succeeding, with British defence and intelligence officials saying on Thursday that it had virtually cut off the Russian-occupied southern city of Kherson and made Russian troops near the Dnieper River “highly vulnerable”.

Ukraine is fighting to recapture Kherson, which fell to Russia in the early days of the invasion, with the UK’s intelligence statement saying that regaining Kherson “would severely undermine Russia’s attempts to paint the occupation as a success”.

  • It comes after Russian forces retook Ukraine’s second-biggest power plant, with a Ukrainian presidential adviser saying Moscow was conducting a “massive redeployment” of troops to three southern regions.

In other news …

  • The man accused of the Fourth of July attack in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park has been indicted by a grand jury on 117 felony charges. Robert Crimo, 21, is accused of killing seven people and wounding dozens of others.

  • Shell’s profits swelled to record levels of nearly £10bn between April and June after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, surpassing its previous high, set between January and March, by 26%. The company promised to give shareholders payouts worth £6.5bn.

  • The Indiana state attorney general has launched an investigation into the doctor who performed an abortion on a 10-year-old rape victim, who was forced to travel from Ohio for the procedure. Dr Caitlin Bernard’s lawyer said: “It’s unclear to us what is the nature of the investigation and what authority he has to investigate Dr Bernard.”

  • Asia’s wealthiest woman has lost more than half her $24bn fortune in the past year as China’s real-estate sector crisis continued to deepen, a billionaire index showed on Thursday. It came as Chinese authorities began taking a tougher line with excessive debt in the property sector in 2020.

Stat of the day: one in three people killed by US police were fleeing

Marchers in Newark, New Jersey hold placards
Marchers in Newark, New Jersey, demand justice for Jayland Walker. Walker, who was unarmed, was shot 46 times in Akron, Ohio, during a police chase.
Photograph: Michael M Santiago/Getty Images

Nearly one in three people killed by US police since 2015 were attempting to flee when officers shot or used lethal force against them, data reveals. Police have killed more than 2,500 fleeing people in the past seven years, according to Mapping Police Violence. In many cases, the encounters began as routine traffic stops.

Don’t miss this: the American men getting vasectomies post-Roe

Medical scissors in gloved hand
Online queries such as ‘how much is a vasectomy’ and ‘is a vasectomy reversible’ took off after the supreme court decision was leaked. Photograph: ivstiv/Getty Images

There has been a rise in American men exploring vasectomies after the fall of Roe v Wade, with one urologist describing a “definite uptick”, while daily web searches jumped by 850%. One man who decided to undergo the procedure said he wanted to do it in case it later became restricted: “They might come for that one. So I was like, ‘I’m just gonna get this done while I still can.’”

Climate check: the vicious cycle of air conditioning and global heating

Air conditioning units on apartment block
Demand for air conditioning is booming. Photograph: seraficus/Getty Images

Demand for air conditioning is booming as the climate crisis causes temperatures to rise – and that is further increasing global heating. About one-fifth of the total electricity used in buildings around the world is because of air conditioning, with much of that coming from power stations, creating greenhouse gases. Units can also leak hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants, greenhouse gases thousands of times more powerful than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period.

Last Thing: ‘imprudent’ priest uses inflatable mattress as altar during mass in sea

Shirtless priest with inflatable holding mass in sea with young people in bathing suits
‘It was absolutely not my intention to trivialise the eucharist,’ said Father Mattia Bernasconi. Photograph: Twitter

An Italian priest who celebrated mass in the sea using an inflatable mattress as an altar has been placed under investigation. Father Mattia Bernasconi, 36, had planned to hold the ceremony, during a week-long summer camp for students, under the trees by a beach, but failed to find shade in the heat. Instead, the priest and congregation gathered in the water – all clad in bathing suits.

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