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Today’s top stories
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Wednesday updated its 2021 Atlantic hurricane seasonal forecast, slightly increasing expectations for the number of named storms and powerful hurricanes.
Why it matters: With the U.S. already reeling from extreme heat and wildfires, disaster response agencies are overstretched. A particularly destructive and active hurricane season could overwhelm some of its response capacity.
The district attorneys for Manhattan and Westchester County on Wednesday requested evidence related to New York Attorney General Letitia James' investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), according to a letter obtained by NBC News.
Why it matters: The district attorneys are investigating if alleged conduct highlighted in an independent report published by James' office that occurred in their jurisdictions was criminal in nature.
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Puck, a splashy new digital media company, is coming out of stealth mode, Axios has learned. The company debuted its landing page, puck.news, on Wednesday, and will officially launch its website in September.
Why it matters: The company has been quietly building a roster of top talent, but hadn't confirmed its branding or exact business plans up until now.
Rep. Julia Letlow (R-La.), whose husband, Luke, died of COVID-19 in December, made an emotional, urgent plea on "CBS This Morning" for more Louisiana residents to get the coronavirus vaccine as the state faces a surge in new cases.
Driving the news: "He and I had prayed for weeks prior about the possibility of the vaccine and we were so excited that it was coming out and that it was going to be widely available," Letlow said in an interview that aired Wednesday. "And he missed it by two weeks."
The World Health Organization on Wednesday called for a moratorium of coronavirus vaccine booster shots through at least September to allow for poorer countries to have access to doses.
What they're saying: "We cannot and should not accept countries that have already used most of the global supply of vaccines using even more of it while the world’s most vulnerable people remain unprotected," said WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a press conference.
Members of Politico's newsroom are actively mounting an effort to unionize with the NewsGuild, sources tell Axios.
Why it matters: Politico's newsroom is one of the largest newsrooms to have resisted organizing efforts in the past. A successful unionization drive would be a major win for newsroom labor groups.
Fluctuating between feelings of sadness, grief and anger, Beirut residents on Wednesday marked the one-year anniversary of the port explosion that killed more than 200 people and injured thousands of others.
The big picture: No senior official has been held accountable for the blast, which was caused by a large amount of ammonium nitrate stored unsafely at the port for years, per Reuters.
The college sports landscape has changed more this summer than at any other point in history, as the NCAA grapples with new rules and shifting power dynamics.
The state of play: When NCAA competition resumes this fall, everyone involved — from student-athletes and coaches, to universities and fans — will be entering a new world.
An upset in Ohio on Tuesday night is giving moderate, Biden-aligned Democrats momentum vs. the party's vocal left ahead of next year's midterms.
Driving the news: In a special primary for U.S. House in the Cleveland area, Cuyahoga County Council member Shontel Brown pulled out a surprise victory for the Democratic establishment in Cleveland.
New York City yesterday became the first city in the U.S. to require proof of coronavirus vaccination for indoor dining and other leisure activities, a measure popular among public health experts but previously squashed by political backlash to "vaccine passports."
Why it matters: Employers and now local governments are starting to ensure that remaining unvaccinated will have consequences for everyday life, testing the resolve of those who say nothing could persuade them to get a shot.
🤼🏿♀️ "Making history": Mensah-Stock first Black woman to win Olympic wrestling gold
🛹: 2 teens and girl, 12, sweep board at women's park skateboarding
🥇: Sydney McLaughlin breaks own world record to win gold in 400m hurdles
📈: Simone Biles' exit brings global attention to mental health
🦠: Greece's artistic swimming team to miss Olympics after COVID outbreak
🏃🏾♂️: Tampa teen phenom Erriyon Knighton eyes gold in Tokyo
🛫: Belarus sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya departs Tokyo for Vienna
Go deeper: Full Axios coverage
Startups are getting close to being able to sell cultivated seafood products that have been grown from fish cells in a lab-like facility, rather than caught in the wild or farmed.
Why it matters: Developing cultivated animal protein that could compete with conventional products is a promising way for people to eat what they want without killing animals or damaging the planet.
With the Chinese government accelerating moves against its own tech industry, China is — for now — prioritizing Communist Party control of the domestic economy over aggressive international competition.
Why it matters: China and the U.S. are both playing a long game, with tech as the playing field, companies as the pieces and domination of the global economy as the stakes.
5 events to watch today...
- 🏀 Women's basketball: Spain takes on France in the quarterfinals. Watch at 8 a.m. ET on NBC Sports.
- 🧗♀️ Women's sport climbing: The new Olympic event gets underway at 10 a.m. ET on USA Network.
- 🏊 Men's swimming: Marathon swimmers race in the 10km open water event at 5:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports.
- 🏐 Women's beach volleyball: Watch Team USA's April Ross and Alix Klineman take on Switzerland in the semifinals at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.
- 🛹 Men's skateboarding: The men's park competition gets underway at 8p.m. ET on CNBC.
Simone Biles' withdrawal from Olympics gymnastics events generated significant public interest in mental health, according to exclusive data from NewsWhip.
Why it matters: The Tokyo Games offered the ultimate platform for the topic to get global attention, with much of the world watching the same story.
Banks are coming under fire from all sides for their role in funding fossil fuel companies, even though most have pledged to pull back over the coming decades.
What's happening: Despite pressure from activists, shareholders and Democratic politicians to finally divest from carbon-spewing businesses as the planet warms, the biggest American banks are still energetically backing dirty energy.
Day 12 of the Tokyo Olympic Games saw American Sydney McLaughlin break her own world record to win gold in the women's 400-meter hurdles final on Wednesday.
Of note: Japan won a third Olympic skateboarding gold, as two teenagers and a 12-year-old swept the podium for the inaugural women's park skateboarding event.
President Biden spoke out Tuesday against Republican governors who've sought to block vaccine and mask mandates, as COVID-19 cases spike across the U.S.
Why it matters: Biden has tried to avoid making the pandemic a partisan issue, but the Washington Post notes the White House "has grown increasingly frustrated" with Republican leaders looking to obstruct health measures.
TOKYO — Two teenagers and a 12-year-old girl swept the podium for the inaugural women's park skateboarding event on Wednesday, with Japanese 19-year-old Sakura Yosozumi clinching gold.
Why it matters: While Yosozumi won with her high-flying acrobatics amid the brutal midday heat, her 60.09 was only a point ahead of 12-year-old Kokona Hiraki, also of Japan. Hiraki and 13-year-old British bronze medalist Sky Brown are among the youngest Olympic medalists of all time.
Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya left Japan on Wednesday, aboard a plane bound for Vienna after refusing national team orders to fly home amid concerns for her safety.
Driving the news: The 24-year-old Olympian had sought refuge at the Polish embassy in Tokyo, where she was granted a humanitarian visa. But she changed flights at the last minute and boarded an Austrian Airlines flight for Vienna, an airport official told reporters.
Shontel Brown, the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party chair and a county councilwoman, on Tuesday won the Democratic primary in the race for former Rep. Marcia Fudge's seat, after opponent Nina Turner conceded.
Why it matters: Brown could become the third consecutive Black woman to represent the 11th District.
U.S. hurdler Sydney McLaughlin clinched an Olympic gold medal in the women's 400m hurdles final at the 2020 Tokyo Games — breaking her own world record to finishing in 51.46 seconds on Wednesday morning local time.
The big picture: McLaughlin edged into silver teammate Dalilah Muhammad, who was defending her own gold from the 2016 Rio Games. The Netherlands' Femke Bol took Bronze.
Coal lobbyist Mike Carey won the Republican nomination for Ohio's 15th congressional district on Tuesday, AP reports.
Why it matters: Carey became the favorite in the race after former President Trump endorsed him in June. The seat was previously held by Steve Stivers, who left in May to become president and CEO of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.