Investors have been encouraged by higher U.S. corporate profits and the global spread of coronavirus vaccinations. But the delta variant’s spread has prompted some governments to reimpose controls on business and travel. On Friday, Wall Street rose to a new record after the U.S. government reported unexpectedly strong July hiring.
Late nights, early mornings await Senate on infrastructure
Washington (AP) — Senators are laboring in the U.S. Capitol toward eventual passage of a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package. They are resigned to staying as long as it takes to overcome Republican holdouts who want to drag out final votes on the bill, one of President Joe Biden’s top priorities. The measure has widespread support.
But Tennessee Republican Sen. Bill Hagerty is refusing to yield hours of required debate time, saying he wants to slow the march to Biden’s infrastructure packages. That means late-night and early morning sessions in a dayslong slog. Final passage may come on Tuesday.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act would provide what Biden has called a “historic investment” in public works programs, the first part of the president’s his rebuilding agenda. Once voting wraps up, senators immediately will turn to the budget outline for a $3.5 trillion package of child care, elder care and other programs that is a much more partisan undertaking and expected to draw only Democratic support.
Canada begins allowing vaccinated US citizens to visit again
UNDATED (AP) — Canada is lifting its prohibition on Americans crossing the border to shop, vacation or visit, but the United States is keeping similar restrictions in place for Canadians.
The reopening today is part of a bumpy return to normalcy from COVID-19 travel bans. The border has been closed to nonessential travel since March 2020 to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The U.S. has said it will extend its closure to Canadians making nonessential trips until at least Aug. 21, which also applies to the Mexican border. The lopsided rules on one of the world’s longest and busiest land borders is unsurprisingly being met with cheers and jeers.
UN-CLIMATE CHANGE REPORT
UN science panel to release key report on climate change
BERLIN (AP) — A U.N.-appointed panel of experts is releasing a key report today summarizing the latest authoritative scientific information on climate change.
The report will provide governments with up-to-date facts on the current impact and future risks of global warming ahead of a U.N. climate summit in November.
It will also examine how various options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will affect the pace of climate change over the coming decades.. Almost 200 countries have signed up to the Paris climate accord, which aims to keep global warming below 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century.
NORWEGIAN CRUISES-VACCINE LAWSUIT
Judge: Norwegian cruises can require proof of vaccination
MIAMI (AP) — A federal judge on Sunday night granted Norwegian Cruise Line’s request to temporarily block a Florida law banning cruise companies from asking passengers for proof of coronavirus vaccination before they board a ship.
A U.S. district judge granted the preliminary injunction in a lawsuit challenging the state’s “vaccine passport” ban, which was signed into law in May by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis. The state’s attorney has said the law’s aim is to prevent discrimination against passengers who don’t get vaccinated.
Norwegian says vaccine proof is needed to safely resume its cruises. A Norwegian cruise is set to depart from Miami on Aug. 15. It will be the company’s first voyage from Florida since the pandemic halted its operations.
With coronavirus rising, ‘The Suicide Squad’ opens softly
NEW YORK (AP) — Moviegoing, once expected to be closer to semi-normal levels by now, continues to be battered by the pandemic, the delta variant of the coronavirus and in-home streaming. The latest casualty: James Gunn’s “The Suicide Squad,” a critically acclaimed, carnage-ridden would-be smash that disappointed with $26.5 million in estimated ticket sales.
The Warner Bros. movie, which was released simultaneously on HBO Max, could claim one pandemic record: the top R-rated opening.
But “The Suicide Squad,” featuring the “Guardians of the Galaxy” director’s first DC Comics film, had seemed poised to be a bigger hit — and may have been if the delta variant wasn’t keeping a lot of moviegoers home.
As recently as a month ago, the outlook for movie theaters was brightening. Marvel’s “Black Widow” set a pandemic-best mark with a $80 million domestic debut.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-MASK MANDATES
Weary US businesses confront new round of mask mandates
UNDATED (AP) — Businesses large and small are reinstituting mask mandates and some are even requiring vaccines of their customers as U.S. coronavirus cases rise. After a largely mask-free summer, it’s a reversal no one wanted to see, brought on by the fast-spreading delta variant and new guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
But business owners and workers say they will do what they can to keep their doors open and not slow the economic gains of the last few months.
After lifting mask recommendations for fully vaccinated people in May, the CDC changed course in late July, recommending masks for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people in areas of higher transmission.
The shifting guidance has caused confusion over which rules to enforce and how. Walmart and Target, for instance, recently began requiring masks for employees __ but not customers __ in areas where virus transmission rates are high. McDonald’s is requiring masks for both employees and customers. Home Depot’s mask mandate is nationwide.