The News Today.

Records Fall in Tokyo

Breaking news: Reports as of this writing suggest star American gymnast Simone Biles will compete in the individual balance beam event, marking her return to the Olympic floor.

It was a busy weekend at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, with a number of records falling or being challenged across multiple events.

In the pool, American Katie Ledecky became one of the most decorated female swimmers in Olympic history, picking up her sixth individual gold. Ledecky is undefeated in every 800-meter freestyle race she’s competed in over the past 11 years and sits behind only Michael Phelps in swimming gold medals. Separately, Australian swimmer Emma McKeon tied the women’s record for most medals in any event in a single Olympics, picking up seven (four gold, three bronze).

On the men’s side, American Caeleb Dressel joined Phelps and legend Mark Spitz as the only US men’s swimmers to win at least three individual gold medals in the same Olympics (he tacked on two more team gold medals).

On the track, Jamaican Elaine Thompson-Herah extended the country’s sprinting dominance, posting a 10.61-second 100-meter dash. The time topples a 33-year-old Olympic record set by Florence Griffith Joyner. Thompson-Herah — who celebrated short of the finish line (see video) — was joined by teammates Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson, with Jamaica sweeping the podium in the event.

Italy’s Lamont Marcell Jacobs took over the title of World’s Fastest Man following the retirement of Usain Bolt, posting 9.8 seconds in the men’s 100-meter dash.

See the full schedule of today’s events here, and check the current medal count, currently led by China, the US, and Japan.

Florida Grapples with COVID-19

Florida reported more than 21,600 new COVID-19 cases Friday, its highest single-day total since the beginning of the pandemic. The infections contributed to a weekly total in the state exceeding 110,000 cases, with more than 400 deaths reported last week.

The caseload accounts for almost one-third of the new cases reported in the US. The country’s seven-day rolling average of new COVID-19 cases neared 80,000 yesterday, a nearly 600% increase from the beginning of the month. Deaths across the US, which typically lag a rise in new infections, have risen by roughly 75% over the same timeframe (see data).

Three-quarters of Floridians over age 85 have received at least one vaccine dose (see data), while almost 84% of those aged 75–84 have taken their first shot. More than half of all US deaths have come from those aged 75 years of age and above.

In related news, preliminary data show vaccinated individuals who contract the delta variant — while almost always experiencing mild symptoms — may carry similar viral loads in nasal passages to those who are unvaccinated, suggesting they may help drive transmission of the virus.

Debt Ceiling Drama

Protracted congressional negotiations are expected after a two-year deadline suspending the US debt limit expired over the weekend. It marks the end of an agreement included in a budget deal struck in 2019. Treasury officials said they would be able to cover obligations until sometime in October.

The limit refers to the maximum amount the federal government is allowed to borrow under statutory law to finance operations. The ceiling can only be raised via legislative order and currently sits above $22T. Absent a raise, the country would technically default on its debt obligations, which historically has offered the minority party an opportunity to leverage its passage in exchange for priorities. See a breakdown of the federal budget here.

Kind of know what the debt ceiling is, but kind of don’t? Start here.

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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

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> Olympics: World №1 Novak Djokovic misses out on medals after loss in tennis bronze-medal match (More) | Venezuelan Yulimar Rojas breaks 26-year-old triple jump world record (More) | Italy and Qatar high jumpers share gold medal (More)

> Saginaw Grant, Native American actor best known for “The Lone Ranger,” dies at 85 (More) | NYC’s Broadway theaters to require proof of vaccines and masks at all 41 of its venues (More)

> The US tops Mexico 1–0 in extra time to win 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup and their seventh Gold Cup title ever (More)

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Science & Technology

> Study pinpoints blood marker suggestive of which vaccinated or previously infected patients are most likely to be reinfected by the coronavirus (More)

> Scientists identify a natural barrier to the regeneration of inner ear sensory cells; study suggests a path to addressing age-related hearing loss via gene therapy (More)

> US rejects Blue Origin’s protest of a contract for a 2024 crewed mission to the moon as part of the Artemis program; Blue Origin, led by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, argued NASA violated contracting law by providing the sole award to Elon Musk’s SpaceX (More)

Business & Markets

> Federal rent moratorium lapses; roughly 3.6 million Americans could face eviction in the next months after landlords challenged the order in court (More)

> Price of US goods and services — the common measure of inflation — rose 0.4% in June, below expectations of 0.6% growth and slower than May’s growth of 0.5% (More)

> Payments giant Square to acquire Australian “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) provider Afterpay for $29B in all-stock deal (More)

Politics & World Affairs

> An estimated 200,000 people protest across France, demonstrating against upcoming requirements for COVID-19 vaccine passports to enter a range of venues; similar protests break out in Italy and Switzerland (More) | Republican-led House committee report supports lab leak theory as origin for the coronavirus (More)

> Justice Department says IRS must turn over former President Donald Trump’s tax records to Congress; federal judge gives Trump legal team until Wednesday to respond (More) | Separately, handwritten call notes allege Trump urged Justice Department officials to challenge the 2020 election results; read here (More)

> Myanmar military officials extend military takeover, saying elections won’t be held until August 2023 (More)


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The Olympics’ best TikToks.

Take Zoom calls on your television.

See the 33 new sites added to the World Heritage list.

Spend a night in the Grand Canyon’s glass tent.

One in five flight attendants has been involved in a “physical incident.”

Japanese artist creates mini dioramas for a decade.

Welcome to New Zealand! Avoid a societal collapse with us.

London’s widely mocked Marble Arch Mound closes after two days.

Clickbait: Scientists say goose flying upside-down is just showing off.

Historybook: Declaration of Independence is signed (1776); American actress Myrna Loy born (1905); RIP Alexander Graham Bell (1922); Author and activist James Baldwin born (1924); Iraq invades Kuwait, leading to Gulf War (1990).

Tokyo, Olympics, Harvey School Ice Hockey, Prezi, Tik Toc, You Tube, Instagram, Manhattan College, Twitter, Metropolitan Magazine, SoundCloud, Behance, Pinterest, Gimme Shelter Productions, MLB, LinkedIn, 1440 News, No Bull With Raging Robert.



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robert massimi

robert massimi


Drama critic for Nimbus Magazine, Metropolitan Magazine and New York Lifestyles Magazine. Producer, editor and writer.