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Friday. Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories

Complete article found on The Morning Dispatch.

Happy Friday! Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin made clear Thursday he won’t vote for Senate Democrats’ proposed climate and tax pl—wait, did people seriously still think that was going to happen?  

  • A Russian missile strike Thursday killed at least 23 people in a business center and residential buildings in Vinnytsia, a central Ukrainian city far from the front lines. Russia also fired at least ten missiles into the southern city of Mykolayiv. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called the Vinnytsia strike “an audacious act of Russian terror.”
  • Sri Lankan parliamentary speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena confirmed Thursday embattled President Gotabaya Rajapaksa—who fled the country earlier this week—officially resigned over email yesterday after months and months of public protests. Yapa Abeywardena said the country’s lawmakers will select a new president within a week. 
  • President Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid signed a declaration on Thursday that, among other measures, commits to keeping Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Lapid pushed at a press conference to establish “a credible military threat” to stop Iran’s progress toward nuclear weapons, while Biden stressed that the U.S. will continue pursuing a nuclear agreement with Iran through diplomacy. But, he added, “we are not going to wait forever.”
  • China’s National Bureau of Statistics reported this morning the country’s gross domestic product grew at just a 0.4 percent annual clip in the second quarter, as millions of Chinese people spent much of the past several months locked down in pursuit of Beijing’s COVID-zero policy. The data, if accurate, would make Q2 2022 China’s weakest quarter since the first months of the pandemic more than two years ago. China on Thursday reported its highest number of new COVID-19 cases since late May.
  • The House voted 329-101 on Thursday to pass the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2023, okaying $839 billion in spending—$37 billion more than the Biden administration requested. The Senate has yet to vote on its own version of the bill.
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Thursday that the Producer Price Index—a measure of what suppliers and wholesalers are charging their customers—increased 1.1 percent in June on a seasonally adjusted basis, up from 0.9 percent in May and 0.4 percent in April. On an annual basis, PPI inflation remained near record highs at 11.3 percent.
  • The Department of Justice announced Thursday that a federal grand jury has indicted the man accused of murdering 10 black people in a Buffalo grocery store in May on hate crimes and firearms violations. If convicted, he could face life in prison or the death penalty. “The Justice Department fully recognizes the threat that white supremacist violence poses to the safety of the American people and American democracy,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. The supermarket is set to reopen today.
  • An armed 48-year-old man was arrested earlier this week after allegedly threatening to kill Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal outside her home in Seattle last Saturday night. Neighbors told police they heard the man yell that Jayapal should “go back to India.” The man was released Wednesday due to insufficient evidence, but an investigation remains ongoing and the Associated Press reported Seattle police obtained a temporary Extreme Risk Protection Order requiring the man to surrender his firearms.
  • Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Thursday sued to block enforcement of the Biden administration’s recent guidance telling health providers that life- or health-saving abortions are protected by the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, regardless of state abortion restrictions. The lawsuit alleges the guidance “flagrantly disregard[s] the legislative and democratic process,” and seeks to “transform every emergency room in the country into a walk-in abortion clinic.”
  • The average number of daily confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States has increased 12 percent over the past two weeks as the Omicron BA.5 subvariant became the dominant strain in the country, while the average number of daily deaths attributed to the virus—a lagging indicator—held more or less steady. About 32,500 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in the U.S., up from approximately 27,000 two weeks ago.
  • The Labor Department reported Thursday that initial jobless claims—a proxy for layoffs—increased by 9,000 week-over-week to 244,000 last week, the highest level this year but not far off historic lows.

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