Here are the highlights from the 2021 Academy Awards on April 25, which included historic wins for director Chloé Zhao and actress Yuh-Jung Youn.
- Business Insider
Israel accused of tricking major news outlets into reporting a fake Gaza invasion to lure Hamas fighters into tunnels that were targeted for massive airstrikes
Reports that Israeli troops had entered Gaza apparently prompted fighters to rush to the tunnels under the enclave where they were bombed by 160 jets.
- Business Insider
Astonishing footage filmed by a plane passenger shows Hamas rockets being intercepted mid-air by Israel's Iron Dome
A passenger on board an El Al flight to Tel Aviv captured Israel's missile-defense system intercepting Hamas' rockets from his window seat.
The 2021 Miss Universe National Costume Show took place on Thursday. The most daring costumes had see-through fabric and dramatic headpieces.
- USA TODAY
Disney World no longer requires masks outdoors, but you'll still need to wear a mask to enter parks and inside
Disney World guests will no longer need a mask outdoors starting May 15 but will need to wear masks when entering parks, on rides, indoors and more.
- Business Insider
Earth's stratosphere has been shrinking for 40 years. That could one day screw with orbiting satellites.
The stratosphere - the layer of Earth's atmosphere between 7.5 and 31 miles up - is shrinking due to greenhouse-gas emissions, a new study found.
- The Independent
Alleged serial killer arrested as he attempted to hack his way back into motorhome of man he stabbed in neck and wrist
The elephants' bodies were found by villagers in the Kandoli protected forest reserve.
- Business Insider
China has landed a spacecraft on Mars for the first time, delivering a water-hunting rover to the red planet
The Zhurong rover is almost ready to start scanning Mars' volcanic-rock fields for hidden water ice. Such reserves could help future Mars astronauts.
- LA Times
After an injury-riddled run and with playoff seeding on the line, the Lakers might have LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Dennis Schroder in lineup against Pacers.
Singapore was one of the safest places to live in the world just two weeks ago. Now it's moving back under heavy COVID restrictions.
A sudden surge in locally transmitted cases has prompted the city's government to roll back and reinstate more restrictive COVID rules.
- Business Insider
The UK Prime Minister failed to pay the money to an undisclosed creditor, court records revealed.
- The Independent
Rep Doug Lamborn ‘gave his son the necessary access to live in a storage area in the basement of the US Capitol,’ the lawsuit alleges
BELGRADE (Reuters) -Slovenian President Borut Pahor called on Friday for the European Union to speed up the process of admitting the six countries of the Western Balkans to the bloc, calling it a crucial step for the preservation of stability in the region. Europe and the United States say that the Western Balkans, comprising Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia, will ultimately join the EU, after the ethnic wars of the 1990s.
"Another Round" won the Oscar for best international film this year. An American remake with Leonardo DiCaprio has since been announced.
"Sister, Sister" stars Tia and Tamera Mowry now work together on the "Twintuition" book series. They've also continued acting.
- Yahoo News
“If you’re vaccinated and you’re outside, put aside your mask,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, a top medical adviser to the Biden administration, said on Thursday.
- Miami Herald
The question, posed to the NHL’s most recognizable television analyst, was simple: Can you remember a Florida Panthers team as good as this one?
- Business Insider
Just 45% of House Republicans say they've been vaccinated while 100% of congressional Democrats say they've gotten the shot
Opposition to the COVID-19 vaccines is widespread among Republicans and is hindering the US's efforts achieve herd immunity.
40-year-old Heat veteran played for the 1st time all season, started a fight, and delighted teammates by getting ejected in 3 minutes
Udonis Haslem made the most of his only three minutes of the season, confronting Dwight Howard, then getting ejected.
- The Daily Beast
REUTERSOn Tuesday, the For the People Act, democracy-reform legislation Democrats believe would expand voting access, saw a preview of its fate. The 900-page bill, dealing with everything from election administration to congressional ethics, was the subject of a full day of debate in a Senate committee with nearly 100 proposed amendments. A total of 10 passed, while the rest went down in flames on largely party-line votes. Its future on the Senate floor looks no better: It will be forced for consideration, debated for hours, and will still fail.Rather than squabbling over next steps or surrendering, however, the Democrats have a more realistic option that would solve election administrators’ need for funding and would boost the health of elections in a way that is truly for the people.How? By putting election funding into their infrastructure package.How This Voting Rights Bill Could Turn the Next Election Into a Clusterf*ckThe need for this alternative strategy is obvious. S1, the Senate’s version of HR1, faces a bleak path: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) can now force the bill to the floor as part of his power-sharing agreement with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Once there, they will have an easier time amending the bill in ways that failed in committee, because Vice President Kamala Harris can break ties. But, there’s no guarantee Harris will be able to serve that role. There aren’t 50 Democrats on board with this bill, and Joe Manchin (D-W.V) — the most powerful man in the senate — is, I’m told by staffers, carrying water for a small handful of other Democrats who do not want this bill to pass but are keeping quiet for fear of being punished by leadership. While the Democratic Party is attempting to sell this bill as supported by a unified front, it is very clearly not. And even if it were, they will still need 10 Republicans or filibuster reform, both of which appear unlikely.The For the People Act may be dead on arrival, but election funding does not have to be. While Republicans assail the infrastructure package, niggling with what “infrastructure” really means anyway, no one could feasibly argue that elections are not infrastructure — federal policy designates it, along with power and water, as “critical infrastructure.”This idea was initially pitched by the Center for Tech and Civic Life — which in 2020 carried out the largest private grant program to elections officials in U.S. history. Unlike the For the People Act, this plan was written in direct coordination with hundreds of bipartisan elections officials, who have, for years, been begging for consistent federal funding. Routing funds through the infrastructure plan provides Congress a real ability to equip local officials to give voters the elections they deserve.“We’ve heard that robust, consistent funding is the most critical need election departments have today, and the lack of adequate, predictable funding is perhaps the greatest barrier election officials face in doing their best work,” they wrote in a statement announcing the initiative. This is because Congress has funded elections as a secondary thought for years, infusing millions of dollars in reaction to crises: after the hanging chad debacle in 2000, after the cybersecurity failures of 2016, and during the pandemic of 2020. There has never been an effort to consistently fund elections offices such that they can plan ahead for necessary improvements.A predictable disbursement of cash to local officials — even with clear parameters for policy priorities — would allow states like Louisiana, which needs machines right now, to buy them. But it would also allow states like Georgia, which just invested millions into new machines, to bank money away for when they will need to upgrade their machines in eight to 10 years. Democrats are serious about their desire for automatic voter registration, updating machines and upgrading physical and digital security. All of these things can be provided for in the infrastructure bill, by offering specific funding for specific plans. This process will not allow Democrats to be as prescriptive in their policymaking, that’s true, but it will become much easier to get Republicans on board — many of whom already live in and represent states with existing automatic voter registration procedures or more stringent security protocols. The money could be specifically allocated to additional polling locations, or to incentivize states to adopt paper-backed machines and begin to do rigorous auditing — all things with at least some bipartisan consensus.That elections were left out of the infrastructure package to begin with, for many local election officials, is a head scratcher.“Elections are clearly infrastructure,” Tiana Epps-Johnson, who heads CTCL, told me. “In order for our elections to improve, they need the funding to plan into the future. This would allow for that.”In contrast, the For the People Act, as evidenced by the debacle of a committee markup, will not.Even internally, Democratic staffers on the various committees responsible for the drafting of the bill acknowledged that it began as a messaging bill while they were in the minority. It was introduced in 2019 as a priority, but because Democrats did not yet hold the majority in the Senate, it was meant to send a signal only. It was introduced again in the House as HR 1 in 2021 to demonstrate their emphasis on voting rights. The bill was then introduced in the newly Democratic-controlled Senate, with almost none of the changes demanded by elections officials, who, as I previously reported, harbored deep reservations about how they could realistically carry out these reforms. Never fear, Democrats said, they would work out the changes in committee.In the committee markup session, Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) introduced a manager's amendment addressing the feasibility of the massive election policy changes in the bill. These tweaks to loosen deadlines and add waivers to the mandates were welcomed by election administrators, who saw them as the first step of a good-faith effort to make the bill workable.“They really did listen to election officials’ concerns,” said one former local official, now active in these negotiations. “I don’t believe they wanted to pass a bill that has unintended consequences, but one that ensures all eligible voters have the same opportunities to successfully participate.”But Klobuchar’s amendment failed, dashing their hopes again. Both Schumer and McConnell showed up to this markup session, a rare event for Senate leadership, demonstrating how important both parties believe the issue to be. But while Republicans present as a solid bulwark against the bill, Democrats are arguing amongst themselves as to strategy and the contents of the bill.If Democrats cannot get a basic amendment addressing basic feasibility concerns passed through a committee they control, it seems their success on the floor isn’t as high as they might claim in public statements. It’s a strategy that’s difficult for local elections officials to digest: Democrats have strapped all of their hopes on voting rights to a single bill that their own party cannot come to a consensus on, and what little funding is made available to elections officials will go down with that ship. Meanwhile, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act — which Manchin has signaled he supports and may well get a small amount of Republican buy in — has been left ignored.Including elections — an obviously critical piece of American infrastructure — in the infrastructure package gives Democrats and interested Republicans a clear opportunity to at least begin to fix the problems that plague our system, even if they cannot fix all of them at once.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.