By Alexandra Meeks, CNN
I’m a coffee person, but if you prefer starting your mornings with orange juice, I have some sour news. OJ prices are surging because the orange crop this year is set to be the smallest in more than 75 years.
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1. Voting rights
Voting rights are the focus on Capitol Hill this week as Senate Democrats seek to advance legislation that would impact voting procedures nationwide ahead of the midterm elections. Several Republican-controlled states have enacted new restrictions on such things as mail-in voting and early voting in the name of election security — measures Democrats fear may affect turnout, especially in battleground states. In response, Democrats are considering measures to counter such restrictions, including making Election Day a federal holiday and setting minimum national standards for voting by mail. Prospects are slim, however, as Democrats do not have the votes to break a Republican filibuster and pass the legislation.
The federal government has launched its website to sign up for free Covid-19 tests. COVIDtests.gov allows people to order a maximum of four tests that will be shipped directly to their households within 7 to 12 days. The Biden administration will also make 400 million N95 masks available to Americans for free starting next week, a White House official told CNN. The masks — which are coming from the Strategic National Stockpile — will be made available at a number of local pharmacies and community health centers, the official said, adding that the program will be “fully up and running by early February.” Separately, The White House announced yesterday that the US Department of Education has completed distribution of $122 billion in school Covid-19 relief funding to states.
3. Capital riot
The House committee investigating the attack on the US Capitol has subpoenaed and obtained records of phone numbers associated with one of former President Donald Trump’s children, Eric Trump, as well as Kimberly Guilfoyle, who is engaged to Donald Trump Jr., sources tell CNN. It appears to be the first time the select committee has issued a subpoena targeting a member of the Trump family, marking a significant escalation of the investigation into the former president’s role in the insurrection. The records obtained by the committee show incoming and outgoing calls, and the calls’ date, time and length. The records also show a log of text messages, but not the substance or content of the messages. Such information can be a critical investigative tool for the committee in piecing together a road map of who was communicating before, during and after January 6.
4. Trump Organization
New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office says it needs the testimony of former President Donald Trump and two of his adult children, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, to determine their knowledge of what investigators say they have identified as numerous “misleading statements and omissions” in the Trump Organization’s tax submissions and financial statements used to obtain loans. In a court filing yesterday, investigators stated the office “intends to make a final determination about who is responsible for those misstatements and omissions.” The Attorney General’s office emphasized it is zeroing in on miscategorized assets, misstatements about the processes Trump and his associates used to reach valuations, and even the size of the Trump Tower penthouse.
5. Antitrust Laws
The Federal Trade Commission and US Justice Department announced yesterday they are reviewing guidelines for corporate mergers and will announce updated rules by the end of the year. The move is an effort to combat the concentration in a range of industries that can reduce competition and consumer choice. Decades of less aggressive antitrust enforcement has led to an increase in merger filings, which nearly doubled from 2020 to 2021. The FTC and the Department of Justice have recently cracked down on the tech industry for antitrust violations, filing a lawsuit targeting Google’s dominance in search and advertising, and a separate suit aiming to break up Meta, Facebook’s parent company.
Disney’s animated film “Encanto” draws praise from families and therapists alike
You’ve done it again, Disney. Thanks for making me smile, laugh and cry all in under two hours.
A 555.55-carat black diamond from space is going on sale
The rare gem called “The Enigma” will be auctioned next month and I’m beyond obsessed.
Stunning images of the Wolf Moon, the first full moon of the year
Did you see it? It seriously looked like it should’ve been in a movie with howling wolves.
Cate Blanchett dressed up as her daughter’s teacher to homeschool during the pandemic
The actor refused to break character, even at home. Now that’s commitment.
White Castle cancels ‘fine dining’ on Valentine’s Day
What could possibly be more romantic than $1 burgers? The fast food chain is canceling this tradition and opting for socially distanced festivities instead.
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André Leon Talley, the former longtime creative director for Vogue and a fashion icon in his own right, has died at age 73, according to a statement on his official Instagram account. Talley was a pioneer in the fashion industry, a Black man in an often insular world dominated by White men and women.
That’s the number of US immigration cases currently backlogged due to a spike in arrivals, pandemic-related delays and court closures. Immigration courts, which fall under the Justice Department, have been faced with an overwhelming number of cases piling onto the docket, and without the resources to address them, immigrants are waiting longer to learn if they face deportation.
“The relocation of the capital city to Kalimantan is based on several considerations, regional advantages, and welfare. With the vision of the birth of a new economic center of gravity in the middle of the archipelago.”
Suharso Monoarfa, Indonesia’s Minister of National Development Planning, on Indonesia naming its new capital Nusantara. Lawmakers approved the shift from the urban region of Jakarta to a jungle-covered area known as Kalimantan due to concerns over Jakarta’s congestion and rapidly sinking political center.
Happy National Popcorn Day
Do you celebrate weird and obscure holidays like this? Or are they too corny? Either way, here’s how popcorn is made! (Click here to view)
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