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[Weekly Review]

Weekly Review

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It was reported that President Biden’s dogs will be temporarily relocated to Delaware after one of them, Major, bit a Secret Service agent.

On the one-year anniversary of the official declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic, President Joe Biden delivered a prime-time address to the nation in which he announced that all American adults will be eligible for vaccination by May 1, and expressed hope that Americans would be able to congregate, in small groups, for barbecues on the Fourth of July.1 Biden signed into law the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which provides for a third round of stimulus checks; further funding for COVID-19 testing and vaccination; aid for struggling state and local governments, small businesses, and schools; and an expansion of the child tax credit, which was expected to cut child poverty by half and overall poverty by a third.2 3 4 The bill was compared by the Republican senator Mike Lee of Utah to a document “written in hell by the devil himself.”5 Fellow Republican senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina criticized a provision in the bill that provides aid to black farmers as “reparations,” and Florida’s Marco Rubio dismissed as “a joke” polling that suggested that three quarters of Americans, and some 60 percent of Republicans, supported the bill.6 7 It was reported that President Biden’s dogs will be temporarily relocated to Delaware after one of them, Major, bit a Secret Service agent.8

A district judge in Texas, where nearly 200 people are dying each day from COVID-19, ruled that the state attorney general could not force the city of Austin to repeal its mask mandate; the Canadian grocery chain Sobeys faced criticism for forcing people trying to sign up for COVID-19 vaccinations to allow their personal information to be used “for marketing purposes”; and the Philippine National Police, in an attempt to prevent the spread of COVID-19, announced a countrywide ban on public displays of affection, including kissing, hugging, and holding hands.9 10 11 The Kentucky Senate passed a bill that would criminalize the taunting or insulting of police officers, and the Oklahoma House of Representatives passed a bill that would provide legal cover to motorists who run over protesters.12 13 “I simply want to make sure people on both sides of any issue are kept safe,” said Republican state representative Kevin McDugle, one of the bill’s co-authors. A nine-year-old burglary was solved by German police who matched DNA from a prisoner in France to a partially consumed sausage found at the crime scene.14

A JPEG file created by the digital artist known as Beeple called Everydays—The First 5000 Days, a collage including all the art that Beeple has posted online since 2007, sold for $69.3 million; another Beeple work, Crossroad—a 10-second animated video of people strolling around a massive, nude Donald Trump collapsed in a field—sold for $6.6 million.15 A blockchain company called Injective Protocol burned a 2006 Banksy screen print entitled Morons, which was intended to satirize the art market, and then sold the work for $380,000 as a digital token.16 “We view this burning event,” said a company spokesperson, “as an expression of art itself.” Netflix was exploring new measures to prevent password sharing; a man in St. Louis was stabbed in the face by his nephew for refusing to divulge his Netflix password; and the government-funded Canadian Energy Centre mounted a campaign against the 2020 animated Netflix film Bigfoot Family, alleging that the film, in which the eponymous cryptids lead an effort to stop an oil company from destroying the creatures’ native valley with a bomb, was “full of lies and misinformation.”17 18 19 A group of scientists proposed that sperm, egg, seed, and spore samples from some 6.7 million species be sent to the moon aboard a lunar ark, after which they would be stored within a network of lava tubes, as a “modern global insurance policy” in the event of the complete collapse of Earth’s ecosystems.20 The first walrus spotted in Ireland was suspected of having been carried across the Atlantic Ocean after falling asleep on an ice floe, and animal-rights groups protested the opening of a hotel at China’s Harbin Polarland theme park, where rooms face a pen housing several captive polar bears; the hotel was fully booked for the duration of the initial trial period.21 22

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