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Friday's Mini-Report, 7.23.21

Today's edition of quick hits.


Today's edition of quick hits:

* A good move: "Homeowners with certain government-backed mortgages could get their monthly payments reduced by 25 percent if they are still struggling to make payments, the White House said on Friday as part of efforts to help keep people housed amid the pandemic."

* Some officials' frustrations are growing: "Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey had a few choice words for the 'unvaccinated folks' in the state and blamed them for the rise in Covid-19 cases. 'Folks are supposed to have common sense,' she told a reporter in response to a question about what it's going to take for people to get vaccinated. 'But it's time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks. It's the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down,' she continued."

* Afghanistan: "The U.S. military has conducted a half-dozen airstrikes against the Taliban in the past 30 days, including several since the symbolic end of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan with the departure ceremony for the U.S. commander last week, two defense officials said."

* Iraq: "U.S. and Iraqi officials are finalizing a shift in the U.S. military mission in Iraq to a purely advisory role by the end of the year, marking the official end of the U.S. combat mission in the country, according to a U.S. official and two people familiar with the issue."

* That's a lot of money: "A federal judge in Los Angeles on Friday ordered the release on a $250 million secured bond of Thomas Barrack, the private equity investor charged with illegally lobbying his close friend ex-President Donald Trump for the United Arab Emirates."

* Taking the fight to save democracy seriously: "Representative Hank Johnson, Democrat of Georgia, was among a group of protesters arrested on the Capitol complex on Thursday while demonstrating for voting rights and against the filibuster in the Senate."

* A rare bipartisan bill becomes law: "President Biden on Thursday signed a measure supporting service programs for crime victims, hailing the legislation as providing survivors 'the help they need to put their lives back together and move toward healing and toward justice.' ... The measure will provide new revenue streams for the Crime Victims Fund and will increase funding for state victim compensation programs, which can help victims cover the cost of counseling and medical bills, temporary housing and other expenses."

* A welcome shift: "Tennessee's top health official said Friday that the state is resuming its vaccination advocacy efforts after a 'pause' to review marketing materials geared toward teenagers promoting inoculations against Covid-19, an initiative that provoked outrage among conservative politicians."

* Climate crisis: "Wildfires are raging across a drought-stricken West. Cities up and down the East Coast are living with poor air quality. Vast swaths of Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland are covered in muck from massive floods. Torrential rain has stricken central China, inundating subway tunnels in Henan province. The toll in death and misery continues to rise. Yes, it is too early to say for sure that climate change is behind each of these latest instances of alarming weather. But that does not mean humanity can ignore the distinct possibility that they are related."

* Smart: "In a memo distributed today by the league office, a copy of which PFT has obtained, the NFL has informed all teams that any regular-season cancellations arising in the 2021 season due to a COVID spike from a given team's 'non-vaccinated players/staff,' the club with the outbreak will forfeit the game and will be deemed to have played 16 games for purposes of draft order and waiver priority. For playoff seeding, the forfeit counts as a loss -- and the opposing team will be credited with a win."

* It's about time: "Forty-two years after the bust of Confederate General and early Ku Klux Klan leader Nathan Bedford Forrest was installed in the Tennessee Capitol, the statue of the former slave trader was removed from the building Friday, loaded onto a truck and driven away."

Have a safe weekend.