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Thursday's Mini-Report, 8.19.21

Today's edition of quick hits.

Today's edition of quick hits:

* A striking development in Afghanistan: "Protesters took to the streets to rally against Taliban rule for the second day on Thursday, this time marching in Kabul, including near the presidential palace. At one demonstration in the city, about 200 people had gathered before the Taliban broke it up violently."

* I wish I knew what Alabama will do now: "There wasn't a single I.C.U. bed available in Alabama on Wednesday, a possible sign of what other states may confront soon amid a deadly surge of new infections in parts of the United States with low vaccination rates."

* Next door in Mississippi: "The latest sign of the increasing strain on Mississippi's hospital system came Wednesday, as state health officials announced that off-duty emergency medical technicians and certified paramedics would be allowed to provide aid to patients in the state's hospitals. Hospital administrators across the state are scrambling to fill a nearly 1,500-person staffing shortage."

* On Capitol Hill: "Three U.S senators on Thursday announced they had tested positive for Covid in a series of breakthrough infections. All three senators said they had been vaccinated."

* Encouraging: "More than one million Americans received a dose of Covid-19 vaccine on Thursday, a benchmark the nation has not met in nearly seven weeks amid a resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic."

* Hurricane Grace "struck Mexico's Caribbean coast just south of the ancient Mayan temples of Tulum early Thursday, pushing a dangerous storm surge. Heavy rain and strong winds threatened to destroy flimsier homes and keep tourists off white sand beaches until it crosses the Yucatan Peninsula."

* Student loan debt: "The Biden administration announced Thursday it will automatically erase student loan debt for more than 300,000 Americans with severe disabilities that leave them unable to earn significant incomes. The move will wipe out more than $5.8 billion in debt, according to the Education Department, and it marks the start of a broader overhaul of a program that has been criticized for having overly burdensome rules."

* Keep an eye on this one: "President Joe Biden's Justice Department is stepping up its fight against a new state law in Missouri that aims to invalidate many federal gun regulations, saying the measure has impeded law enforcement efforts to work with state and local police and is also unconstitutional."

* ConocoPhillips' Willow Project: "A federal judge on Wednesday threw out Trump administration approvals for a large planned oil project on Alaska's North Slope, saying the federal review was flawed and didn't include mitigation measures for polar bears."

* Another notable ruling: "A Texas statute outlawing an abortion method commonly used to end second-trimester pregnancies was upheld Wednesday by a federal appeals court in New Orleans."

* Park Service: "The White House said President Joe Biden would nominate Charles F. Sams III to be director of the National Park Service, moving to fill a post that has gone without a Senate-confirmed leader since 2017.... A member and former executive director of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, in Oregon, where he lives, Sams would be the first director of the agency to be an enrolled member of a Native American tribe, Interior spokeswoman Melissa Schwartz said."

* I hope this helps: "Getting vaccinated against Covid-19 is 'an act of love,' Pope Francis says in a public service ad that will start circulating online and on television on Wednesday."

See you tomorrow.