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Good evening. Here’s the latest.
2. President Biden, unfettered by the distraction of his predecessor’s impeachment trial, is turning up the volume on his $1.9 trillion pandemic relief plan.
The president is traveling to Wisconsin and Michigan to rally support for his bill, which includes sending direct checks to Americans. House Democrats are finalizing details with a possible vote on final legislation at the end of next week. Current unemployment benefits are set to lapse in mid-March.
Just as one deadline approaches, another one is not far behind: The U.S. is set to withdraw its remaining 2,500 troops from Afghanistan by May 1. It’s not clear what Mr. Biden, long a critic of Afghan deployments, will do. But it marks a critical decision point for the president.
3. Adam Kinzinger, the six-term Illinois congressman, stands as enemy No. 1 — to his party and his own family.
The Republican congressman voted both to impeach former President Donald Trump and to strip Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene from her committee posts. His family sent him a handwritten two-page letter saying he was in cahoots with “the devil’s army” for breaking with the president. But he is betting his political career on a push for the G.O.P. to leave Mr. Trump behind.
The Senate will hold its first public inquiry next week into the security failures that led to the breach of the Capitol.
This evening, Mr. Trump made a slashing and lengthy attack on Senator Mitch McConnell, who excoriated the former president after his acquittal. In a statement, Mr. Trump called Mr. McConnell a “dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack” and argued that the party would suffer political losses if he remained in charge.
4. U.S. doctors say they’ve seen more young people with a rare and potentially dangerous inflammatory syndrome related to Covid-19, and more of them are getting critically ill.
For unknown reasons, the illness known as Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, or MIS-C, strikes some young people like Mayson Barillas, 11, above, usually several weeks after infection by the coronavirus. Doctors told us that more patients are now very sick compared with during the first wave of cases.
Teenagers contract the coronavirus almost twice as often as younger children do but vaccines authorized in the U.S. are mostly for adults. Immunizing them is a critical part of slowing the spread of the virus and reaching herd immunity, but enrolling them in clinical studies has proved difficult.
5. Andrew Cuomo’s self-made image as America’s Covid-19 governor appears to be on rocky footing.
Mr. Cuomo conceded on Monday that his administration’s lack of transparency about how it counted coronavirus-related deaths in New York State’s nursing homes had been a mistake. The state excluded from the toll deaths of nursing home residents that occurred in hospitals or outside the facilities. Lawmakers in both parties are calling for the Democratic governor to be investigated and stripped of the emergency powers granted during the pandemic.
6. Canada is introducing a sweeping bill that would allow cities to ban handguns. Last year, the country outlawed assault weapons.
The package of amendments includes making it easier for officials to cancel gun licenses and to allow friends and relatives of gun owners who believe there is potential for violence to ask that their weapons be taken away.
The proposed measures, which are expected to be adopted by Parliament, fulfill promises that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made after more than 20 people were killed in Nova Scotia last year in the deadliest rampage in the country’s history.
7. Bars are closed. Parades are canceled. But Mardi Gras in New Orleans, held today, still had festive flare despite the pandemic: Artists turned the city’s houses into elaborate floats.
Floats have paraded through the city on the last Tuesday before Lent since 1857. With the help of local organizations, artists found a way to keep the celebration going. Take a tour for yourself (beads not included).
The party is also canceled in Rio de Janeiro. Brazil’s most famous Carnival has endured years of war, hyperinflation and despotism. But with a pandemic raging, vaccinations are in and glitter and samba are out.
8. The old guard and the new guard of women’s tennis will face off once again.
Serena Williams dispatched Simona Halep at the Australian Open to inch closer to another shot at tying the record for Grand Slam single titles, a performance that Billie Jean King described as “one of the most perfectly executed matches I’ve ever seen.”
Next on her revenge tour: Naomi Osaka in a star-studded semifinal on Thursday. But the Williams that Osaka will face bears little resemblance to the Williams that Osaka beat in straight sets in the U.S. Open final in 2018. “If Osaka dreamed of facing Williams at her best here, she fell asleep happy,” our reporter in Melbourne writes.
Daniil Medvedev heads to a quarterfinal match tonight. The elite tennis player has honed a quirky and creative mix of spins and surprise — and is forever looking out for another trick.
And how do men indulge in self-care? The super-producer and developer of skin care products Pharrell Williams shared his routine with us.
10. And finally, meet America’s 63rd national park.
The New River Gorge has been prized for decades as one of southern West Virginia’s more spectacular natural places and more recently as a premier destination for adventure sports. Long stretches of violent rapids can reach a Class 5 level (the most difficult for white-water boaters); the canyon walls offer miles of cliffs for rock climbing and bike routes are scattered throughout the park.
Now, the roughly 72,000 acres of land flanking 53 miles of gorge are under the federal government’s highest protection, thanks, in part, to the latest pandemic relief bill. The legislation enshrines the right for visitors to continue to use one of the park’s most famous features — the New River Gorge Bridge — at least once a year for BASE jumping, which is banned in every other national park.
Have an adventurous night.
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