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More dry storms for the West

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By AJ Willingham, CNN

The Bootleg Fire in Oregon has burned more than 360,000 acres and is so big that it’s creating its own weather.

Here’s what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.

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1. Coronavirus

Ominous signs of a coronavirus backslide are piling up in the US. The American Academy of Pediatrics released new guidance yesterday recommending everyone over the age of 2 wear a mask while in school, regardless of vaccination status. That’s a stricter position than the one the CDC took earlier this month. One reason for the tighter precaution? Many school-aged children are not eligible for a Covid-19 vaccination yet, and recent virus surges have overwhelmingly affected unvaccinated people. The average of new daily cases in the US this week is up 66% from last week and 145% from two weeks ago. The Dow also fell about 725 points yesterday in the biggest drop of the year as Delta variant fears spread to investors.

2. Cyberattacks

The US and its allies in Europe and Asia have accused China of widespread malfeasance in cyberspace, including through a massive hack of Microsoft’s email system and other ransomware attacks. That’s a significant escalation of the White House’s fight against cyberattacks, but the Biden administration hasn’t yet decided how, or if, it will punish Beijing for these alleged hacks. China called the accusations “politically motivated smears.” Meanwhile, a ​​major law firm with an array of high-profile corporate clients announced it was hit by ransomware in February. Campbell Conroy & O’Neil said the hack may have leaked critical information like Social Security numbers, health insurance information and even biometric data (which can be things like fingerprints).

3. Infrastructure

President Biden’s much-touted bipartisan infrastructure bill is in peril as Democrats try to muster a united front to pass it in the Senate and Republicans grow impatient with the process. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has set up a test vote tomorrow for the bill. But Senate GOP leaders are threatening to block that vote unless negotiators writing the bill can strike a deal. In June, the White House and a bipartisan Senate group agreed to a $579 billion framework to build roads, bridges, railroads and airports, along with water, power and broadband infrastructure projects. But lawmakers have squabbled over how to pay for it, and the plan has been pared down several times.

4. Haiti

Haiti’s acting Prime Minister Claude Joseph has agreed to step down amid a power struggle that has gripped the nation since the shocking July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moise. Joseph has been negotiating with his political rival Ariel Henry over who should lead. Now, Henry will become prime minister, Joseph will retain his original role as Haiti’s foreign minister and work begins to reform Haiti’s hollowed-out governing bodies. Henry has promised Haitians a new coalition government and is being urged to set up elections as soon as possible. But some activists and civil groups worry that in the current political environment, free and fair elections just aren’t possible.

5. Condo collapse

Search crews are reaching the bottom of the wreckage of the collapsed condo building in Surfside, Florida, but they say they won’t stop until every victim is located. As the community mourns, investigators and structural engineers are preparing to take a hard look at the collapse, which won’t be fully possible until search efforts conclude. Experts say there are several possible theories for how the collapse occurred. The disaster has ignited new fears among other residents in the area — and the roughly 30 million condo residents across the country — about the structural integrity of their buildings.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

Most romantic relationships start as friendships, study finds

If you’re looking for some courage to, ah, make a confession, here it is!

2020 was a record year for stress, hitting moms with kids at home hardest

Today in “News that is Surprising to Absolutely No One” ….

3 women said they found out they had the same cheating boyfriend, so they converted a school bus and went on a road trip

The friendships? The vibes? The 30-year-old remodeled school bus? You’re looking at a feel-good film right here.

100-pound tropical fish discovered on a beach in Oregon

Aah! Last year we had to put a stop to scary bugs; is this year gonna be scary fish?

Coffee won’t give you dangerous heart flutters, study says 

Time to move on to another low-grade health anxiety!

TODAY’S NUMBER

60,000

That’s how many people can partake now in the Hajj in Saudi Arabia. The limit is one of several coronavirus precautions countries are taking during Eid al-Adha, one of the most important festivals of the Islamic calendar, marking the height of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. Eid Mubarak.

TODAY’S QUOTE

“You know, we have lots of problems here and now on Earth and we need to work on those, and we always need to look to the future.”

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, on criticism that his Blue Origin flight and other billionaire-backed space ventures are a waste of funds that could be used to help a struggling planet. Bezos and his team blast off for a short space flight today around 9 a.m. ET. Here’s how to watch.

TODAY’S WEATHER

Check your local forecast here>>>

AND FINALLY

Talk about virtual learning!

Do you kind of know what string theory is but, you know, not really? This short breakdown is actually fascinating — promise! (Click here to view.)

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