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    The Senate is working through the night and into the morning as Democrats push their election-year economic package toward passage. The legislation is less ambitious than President Joe Biden’s original domestic goals. But it does embody deep-rooted party dreams of slowing global warming, moderating pharmaceutical costs and taxing big corporations. Debate began Saturday and by sunrise on Sunday, Democrats had swatted down a dozen Republican efforts to torpedo the legislation, with no clear end in sight. Despite unanimous GOP opposition, Democratic unity in the 50-50 chamber, along with Vice President Kamala Harris’ tiebreaking vote, suggested the party was on track for a morale-boosting victory three months from elections when congressional control is at stake.

      China says it carried out its fourth consecutive day of military drills in the air and sea around Taiwan in the wake of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the self-ruled island, despite international calls to calm the tensions. The People’s Liberation Army says the exercises focused on testing its long-range air and ground strikes. It did not say if it will continue the drills after Sunday. Taiwan said it continued to detect Chinese aircraft, ships and drones simulating attacks on the island. Taiwan’s official Central News Agency reported Taiwan’s army will conduct live-fire artillery drills in southern Pingtung County on Tuesday and Thursday in response to the Chinese exercises. Singapore's national security minister says the tensions have a negative impact on the region.

        A divided Senate has voted to start debating Democrats’ election-year economic bill. The sprawling measure contains many of President Joe Biden’s climate, energy, health and tax goals. United Democrats pushed the 755-page measure toward Senate approval early Sunday. Before reaching final passage, senators plodded through a nonstop pile of amendments that seemed certain to last hours. The package is a dwindled version of earlier multitrillion-dollar bills from Biden that Democrats failed to advance. The measure has become a partisan battleground over inflation, gasoline prices and other issues that polls show are driving voters. The House, where Democrats have a slender majority, could give the legislation final approval next Friday.

        The Marine Corps has its first African American four-star general. Gen. Michael E. Langley was promoted during a ceremony Saturday at Marine Corps Barracks Washington. Langley was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marines in 1985. He credits his father with telling him to “aim high” and predicts that his promotion to four-star rank will have an impact on younger people. The Marine Corps traces its roots to 1775, but the Marines rejected accepting Black men in their ranks until World War II. Langley's rank comes with the assignment to lead U.S. Africa Command, based in Stuttgart, Germany.

          U.S. Sen. Rand Paul's wife says her husband wants to subpoena the records of the country’s top infectious disease expert. Paul’s wife, Kelley, made the comments during the political speaking at the Fancy Farm picnic Saturday in western Kentucky. She waded into the dispute between her husband and Dr. Anthony Fauci while promoting her husband's bid for a third term. Sen. Paul is being challenged by Democrat Charles Booker, a former state lawmaker. He told the crowd that Paul votes against the interests of Kentuckians. Booker denounced Paul as a “terrible senator” and an “embarrassment” to the state.

            While Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear was consoling families displaced by historic flooding in the mountains of eastern Kentucky, Republicans at the state’s premier political event on the other side of the state were campaigning to oust him from office in 2023. They bashed Beshear’s pandemic restrictions but offered support for recovery efforts that the Democratic governor is leading in the wake of historic flooding and tornadoes. While his challengers aimed zingers at him, Beshear spent Saturday consoling families displaced by the flash flooding that swamped the Appalachian region more than a week ago. He visited two state parks where some of the suddenly homeless took refuge.

              Two marches have taken place through one of Italy's Adriatic beach towns, both seeking justice in the brutal daylight killing of a Nigerian man at the hands of an Italian stranger. But the marchers Saturday were divided by one word: Racism. One march organized by Nigerians living in Italy's Macerata province was led by the victim's tearful widow and joined by his brothers. Organizers of that march said they did not want the search for justice clouded by accusations of racism that they feel cannot be proven. The second march, along same route, was led by Black Italians from all over Italy. They demanded that Italian authorities reverse themselves and recognize the role that race played in the July 29 killing.

              Eli Lilly and Co. and the administration of President Joe Biden have condemned Indiana’s new ban on abortions. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre in a statement Saturday said Indiana's Republican legislators have “put personal health care decisions in the hands of politicians rather than women and their doctors.” Lilly says it's concerned the law will hinder the company's and Indiana’s “ability to attract diverse scientific, engineering and business talent from around the world.” The law lifts the ban in cases of rape or incest and to protect the life and physical health of the mother. It takes effect Sept. 15.

              President Joe Biden's doctor says the 79-year-old president has tested negative for COVID-19 but will continue to isolate at the White House until a second negative test. Dr. Kevin O’Connor writes in his latest daily update that the president, “in an abundance of caution,” will abide by the “strict isolation measures” in place since his “rebound” infection was detected July 30, pending a follow-up negative result. Biden came down with the virus a second time three days after he had emerged from isolation from his initial bout with COVID-19. Biden’s travel has been on hold. But he plans to visit Kentucky on Monday to view damage from catastrophic flooding and meet with families.

              Voters in Kenya are choosing a successor to President Uhuru Kenyatta next week after his decade in power. The race is close and could go to a runoff for the first time. One top candidate in Tuesday's election is Raila Odinga. The longtime opposition leader is making his fifth run for the presidency with the support of his former rival Kenyatta. The other top candidate is William Ruto, Kenyatta’s deputy. He had a falling out with the president years ago. Both Ruto and Odinga have focused their campaigning on domestic issues. Key issues in every election include widespread corruption and the economy. Kenyans have been hurt by rising prices for food and fuel in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

              Russian forces have began an assault on two key cities in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region. They also kept up rocket and shelling attacks Saturday on other Ukrainian cities, including one close to Europe’s largest nuclear power plant. That's according to Ukraine’s military and local officials. Both cities of Bakhmut and Avdiivka had been considered key targets of Russia’s offensive across Ukraine’s east. Russian shelling also killed five civilians and injured 14 others in the Donetsk region. Local officials said three civilians were also injured after Russian rockets fell on homes in Nikopol, a city across the river from the Europe's largest nuclear power station. The head of the International Atomic Agency has warned that the fighting seriously endangers safety at the plant.

              A federal appeals court will hear arguments in November over Alabama’s efforts to outlaw the use of gender-affirming medications to treat transgender minors. Alabama is asking a federal appeals court to lift an injunction and let it enforce a law that would make it a felony to give puberty blockers or hormones to transgender minors to help affirm their gender identity. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has tentatively set arguments in the case for the week of Nov. 14 in Montgomery. Families and advocacy groups challenged the ban as an illegal intrusion into family and medical decisions.  Alabama has maintained the ban is needed to protect children.

              Some South Carolina lawmakers who oppose abortion are being cautious when it comes to tightening the state's already restrictive laws even further. The U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, paving the way for states to enact total bans if they choose to do so. South Carolina currently has a law banning abortion after cardiac activity is detected, at about six weeks of pregnancy. Lawmakers called a special session after the high court's decision in June to discuss the issue. But some are hesitating after seeing voters in conservative Kansas overwhelmingly reject a measure that would allow the legislature to tighten restrictions or enact a total ban.

              The Justice Department’s legal effort to block the merger of book publishing giants Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster is more than just a showcase for the Biden administration’s tougher approach to corporate consolidation. The trial going on in federal court in Washington is also a rare moment for the publishing industry itself to be placed in the dock. Through the trial's opening week, industry executives, along with agents and authors such as Stephen King have shared opinions, relived disappointments and revealed financial figures they would otherwise have preferred to discuss privately or confide on background with reporters.

              Taiwan says China’s military drills appear to simulate an attack on the self-ruled island after Chinese warships and aircraft crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait following U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei. Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense said Saturday that its armed forces issued an alert, dispatched air and naval patrols around the island and activated land-based missile systems in response to the situation. Taiwan’s army also detected four unmanned aerial vehicles flying in the vicinity of the offshore county of Kinmen close to mainland China and responded with warning flares. Pelosi’s trip to Taipei infuriated Beijing, which cut defense and climate talks with the U.S. Taiwan also reported massive cyberattacks on its official websites.


              Content by Brand Ave. Studios. The annual Amazon Prime Day is coming July 12 and 13, and per usual will offer discounts on many of your favorite things.

              The head of Amnesty International’s Ukraine chapter has resigned, saying the human rights organization shot down her opposition to publishing a report that claimed Ukrainian forces had exposed civilians to Russian attacks by basing themselves in populated areas. In a statement issued Friday night, Oksana Pokalchuk accused her former employer of disregarding concerns of local staff members who had pushed for the report to be reworked. The report released Thursday drew angry denouncements from top Ukrainian officials, who accused the authors of equating the Ukrainian military’s defensive actions to the tactics of the invading Russians. Russia has justified attacks on civilian areas by alleging that Ukrainian fighters had firing positions at the targeted locations.

              Ugandan authorities have suspended the work of a prominent LGBTQ rights group, calling it an illegal entity. Sexual Minorities Uganda has been the East African nation’s most prominent support group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people since 2004. Its leader, Frank Mugisha, said Saturday that authorities who oversee non-governmental organizations advised him to suspend activities, saying his group lacked needed documentation. “This means that the life-saving work we do is on hold," he said, adding: “The background, of course, is homophobia and transphobia.” The NGO Bureau said in a statement that the group needed to stop work “with immediate effect” because it’s neither a company nor an NGO.

              U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says China should not hold talks on important global matters such as the climate crisis “hostage,” after Beijing cut off contacts with Washington in retaliation for U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan earlier this week. Blinken also said in a news conference Saturday in Manila that the U.S. aims to deescalate tensions, which have flared after China launched war drills just off Taiwan and took other retaliatory steps. Pelosi’s trip to the self-governed island outraged China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory to be annexed by force if necessary. Blinken says China's shutting down cooperation on climate change “doesn’t punish the United States — it punishes the world.”

              A ship bringing corn to Lebanon is offering hope after becoming the first to depart a Ukrainian Black Sea port since Russia invaded. The war has threatened food supplies in countries like Lebanon, which has the world’s highest rate of food inflation and depends on the Black Sea region for nearly all of its wheat. The shipment is a key first step to get food trapped in Ukraine to Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia where people are going hungry. But the small scale means the initial shipments won't draw down food prices or ease a global food crisis soon. Experts also say most of the trapped grain is for animal feed, not for people to eat.

              The Pinal County Board of Supervisors has named a replacement for the elected recorder as it continues to address a series of primary election problems. The five-member board voted unanimously Friday to name Assistant Recorder Dana Lewis to the position that handles early ballot mailing, voter rolls and recording of deeds and other documents. Lewis replaces former Recorder Virginia Ross, who stepped down Thursday to take over as elections director. Members of the public who spoke at an emergency meeting Friday praised the board's action, saying it would restore trust in the elections. Many voters complained about Tuesday's primary election. About 20 of the county’s 95 polling sites ran out of ballots.

              Ukrainian military personnel are fortifying their positions around the eastern city of Sloviansk in expectation of a fresh Russian attempt to seize the strategic point in the fiercely fought-over Donetsk region. As heavy ground fighting continues on the front line only miles to the east, southeast and north of Sloviansk, members of the Dnipro-1 Regiment are digging in after a week of relative calm. The last Russian strike on the city occurred on July 30. While the lull provided Sloviansk’s remaining residents a reprieve after regular shellings between April and July, some unit members say it could be a prelude to renewed attacks.

              Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says Democrats have made changes in their giant economic bill that include paring part of their proposed minimum tax on huge corporations. Schumer described some of the revisions Friday as Democrats lined up the votes needed to deliver a campaign-season victory to President Joe Biden on his domestic agenda. Schumer also said bargainers dropped a proposed tax boost on hedge fund executives after pivotal centrist Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona said she would otherwise vote “no.” Schumer said the package would instead levy new taxes on companies that buy back their own stock.

              Cambodia’s foreign minister says efforts by Myanmar’s neighbors to help restore peace and normalcy to the strife-torn Southeast Asian nation were hindered by the country’s recent executions of four political activists. Prak Sokhonn, speaking in his capacity as special envoy to Myanmar of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, warned Saturday that further executions would force the regional grouping to reconsider how it engages with fellow member Myanmar. His remarks suggest that ASEAN is prepared to downgrade its engagement with Myanmar’s military government, whose top members are already not welcome at ASEAN meetings because of their failure to cooperate with a plan agreed upon last year to work toward restoring peace.

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