First things first: Senate passes $739 billion health and climate bill |

Good morning.

Senate Democrats approved their health and climate spending package on Sunday, sending the legislation to the chamber and moving Joe Biden one step closer to a major legislative victory before the crucial midterm elections in November.

If signed into law, the bill, formally known as the Inflation Reduction Act, would allocate $369 billion to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and invest in renewable energy sources. Experts have estimated that the bill’s climate provisions will cut America’s planet-warming emissions by about 40% by 2030, compared to 2005 levels.

Democrats have promised that the bill will lower health care costs for millions of Americans by allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices and cap Medicare beneficiaries’ prescription drug prices at $2,000 a year. Those who receive health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act marketplace are also expected to see lower premium costs.

  • Will Biden be able to meet his goal of cutting emissions in half by 2030? Reducing global-warming US emissions by about 40% by the end of the decade, compared to 2005 levels, would put the US very close to the goal.

China to resume military exercises off Taiwan after suspending talks with the US

A military fighter jet flies over the Taiwan Strait as seen from the 68-nautical-mile scenic spot, the closest point in mainland China to Taiwan Island, in Pingtan, southeast China's Fujian province, on Friday. August 2022. China says it is canceling or suspending dialogue with the US on issues ranging from climate change to military relations to counter-drug efforts in retaliation for a visit this week to Taiwan by House Speaker of US Representatives, Nancy Pelosi.  (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
A military fighter jet flies over the Taiwan Strait in China’s Fujian province on August 5. Photograph: By Han Guan/AP

China’s military has announced new exercises near Taiwanincluding anti-submarine attack and sea raid operations, a day after they were supposed to end their main live-fire exercises targeting the territory.

The Defense Ministry also defended the postponement of military talks with the US in protest at Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei last week, which raised concerns about possible accidents turning into conflicts.

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) posted online that it would carry out anti-submarine strikes and sea strikes on Monday, after an unprecedented four days of exercises on the autonomous island.

Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian defended the decision to suspend military channels, saying in an online post on Monday: “The current tense situation in the Taiwan Strait is totally provoked and created by the US side of its own accord. initiative, and the US side must bear all the responsibility and the serious consequences of it.

“The bottom line cannot be broken, and communication requires sincerity,” Wu said.

  • Why is China so angry? Pelosi’s visit last week angered China, which regards Taiwan as its own and responded by test-firing ballistic missiles on Taipei for the first time, as well as abandoning some lines of dialogue with Washington.

  • What has the US said about China’s actions? Pentagon, State Department and White House officials condemned the move, calling it an irresponsible overreaction.

Has the love affair between Trump and Fox News soured?

Donald Trump with Fox News' Tucker Carlson and Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene at the LIV Golf event at his Bedminster golf club last weekend.
Donald Trump with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson and Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene at the LIV Golf event at his Bedminster golf club last weekend. Photo: Justin Lane/EPA

For years, Donald Trump and Fox News were in love.

The former president would call the right-wing news channel seemingly whenever he wanted. Fox News anchors cheered every Trump statement. Trump religiously watched the channel and in 2019 alone he sent 657 tweets in response to Fox News or Fox Business.

Since then, however, things seem to have changed. Trump, as the New York Times has pointed out, has not been interviewed on Fox News for more than 100 days.

The network largely ignored a recent speech by Trump, and in a sign that Fox News has acknowledged that alternative Republican presidential candidates are available, a speech by Mike Pence was broadcast live, in its entirety.

With the news channel embroiled in a $1 billion lawsuit with Dominion Voting Systems over its claims that the voting machine company rigged the 2020 election, Trump’s continued lies about voter fraud appear to have rattled Rupert Murdoch. , the media titan who owns Fox News.

In other news …

Caroline Kennedy speaking at the Solomon Scouts and Coastwatchers memorial service to mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Guadalcanal in Honiara, Solomon Islands.
Caroline Kennedy speaking at a memorial service to mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Guadalcanal in Honiara, Solomon Islands. Photograph: Dion Isaacson/AUSTRALIA DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS/AFP/Getty Images
  • A visit to the Solomon Islands by top US diplomats included a poignant personal moment, while Caroline Kennedy, the new US ambassador to Australia, met the children of two men who saved his father’s lifeJohn F Kennedy, during World War II.

  • Actress Anne Heche was “stable” in hospital amid a wave of support from fans and other stars. after an accident in which he drove his car into a Los Angeles house, causing serious burn injuries herself as well as damaging the house, which has become “uninhabitable”.

  • Three Muslim men have been killed in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in a span of just 10 days, stoking fear in one of America’s smallest Muslim communities as police warned deaths may be related. Authorities have said there is a “strong possibility” the victims were targeted because of their race and religion.

  • A truce between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad has gone into effect in the Gaza Strip after three days of cross-border fighting sparked by surprise Israeli airstrikes. The President of the United States, Joe Biden, welcomed the agreement yesterday, calling on all parties to “fully implement the ceasefire.”

Don’t Miss This: Japan Laments Lack Of Progress On Same-Sex Marriage

Tokyo Rainbow Pride Parade 2022 TOKYO, JAPAN - APRIL 24: Participants march in the Tokyo Rainbow Pride Parade on April 24, 2022 in Tokyo, Japan.  The LGBT community and its supporters marched through the Shibuya and Harajuku areas on the last day of the Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2022 event. (Photo by Yuichi Yamazaki/Getty Images)
Participants march in the Tokyo Rainbow Pride parade in April. Photograph: Yuichi Yamazaki/Getty Images

In June, the Japanese capital became the latest city to recognize same-sex couples, and recent elections to the upper house featured a record four candidates from the LGBT community. However, Japan’s official resistance to same-sex unions is as fierce as always. It is the only G7 country that denies LGBT couples the right to marry. Advocates hope an upcoming ruling in the Tokyo district court will help spur progress on an issue that already has public support.

Climate control: ‘There are no safe levels of pollution’

Smoke from a wildfire burning in the town of Lind in Washington state.
Smoke from a wildfire burning in the town of Lind in Washington state. Photograph: AP

As the climate crisis brings drought and dry landscapes, wildfires in the western US. spreading smoky air to millions of people, even those who live far from where the fires burn. The problem is becoming so pronounced that some television forecasters in California now include “smoke puffs” in their reports. Scientists warn that current health policies do not effectively protect people against the dangers of smoke inhalation. Smoke from wildfires accounted for up to 50% of all hazardous small particle air pollution in the western US in recent years, research shows, and the problem is growing.

Latest: Meet Casper the Ghostly Octopus

This image provided courtesy of NOAA's Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Hohonu Moana 2016, shows a possible new species of octopus.  Scientists say they have discovered what could be a new species of octopus while searching the bottom of the Pacific Ocean near the Hawaiian Islands.  Michael Vecchione of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says in a statement Friday, March 4, 2016, that on February 27 a team found a small, light-colored octopus at a depth of about 2.5 miles in the ocean near Necker Island.  (NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Hohonu Moana 2016 via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT,
Scientists are puzzled by Casper’s paleness and short arms. Photograph: AP

A white octopus sat on the bottom of the sea, gently waving its short, stubby arms and staring with glowing eyes into the camera of a deep-sea robot. It was 2016, in Hawaiian waters, at a depth of 4,290 meters (2.6 miles). No one had ever seen an octopus like this, and certainly not that deep. Based on his ghostly appearance, he was nicknamed Casper. That first glimpse of Casper threw up a lot of tantalizing mysteries. Why is he so pale? Another puzzle is the short arms. scientists are slowly learning the secrets of the cephalopod.

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