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Today’s Headlines: A 500-million-dose donation

President Biden speaks at a lectern to a group of U.S. service members.
President Biden speaks to U.S. service members at Royal Air Force Mildenhall in Suffolk, England, on Wednesday after his arrival for a week of summits and meetings in Europe.
(Patrick Semansky / Associated Press)

President Biden will announce that the U.S. will donate 500 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to impoverished nations.

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A 500-Million-Dose Donation

The United States will buy 500 million doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to donate to impoverished nations, signaling a massive new investment in the worldwide inoculation campaign, according to a person familiar with the initiative.

President Biden will announce the plan today while attending the annual summit of the Group of 7, made up of the leaders of seven of the world’s largest democracies, in Cornwall, England. The Pfizer doses will be provided to COVAX, an international partnership for distributing vaccines to low-income countries. COVAX will provide the vaccines to 92 countries and the African Union, which comprises 55 nations.

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The donation represents a cornerstone of the U.S. effort to bring the global pandemic to an end and counter the influence of authoritarian countries such as Russia and China, which were quicker to provide vaccines overseas. Biden initially focused on providing enough vaccines to Americans, which drew criticism from humanitarian organizations that said the world’s wealthiest nation shouldn’t be sitting on the sidelines.

Experts say ramping up international vaccine distribution will save lives by curtailing COVID-19 outbreaks and stem the emergence of new, potentially more dangerous variants that could spread more quickly from country to country.

More Politics

— Biden arrived in the United Kingdom on Wednesday to begin a week of summits and meetings in three countries. Here are five storylines to watch as the G-7 unfolds through this weekend.

— The president could be facing a make-or-break moment at home in his push for a major infrastructure investment proposal while he’s traveling in Europe this week on his first overseas diplomatic trip since taking office.

— Biden vowed “no blank checks” for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi, but Egypt’s recognition of Israel — and help on Gaza — has long fed a U.S. alliance despite human rights abuses. Now, former President Trump’s “favorite dictator” is Biden’s burden.

For more news and analysis, sign up for our Essential Politics newsletter, sent to your inbox three days a week.

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To Mask, or Not to Mask?

With California’s full economic reopening days away, there remains one question that has not been fully resolved in the minds of many eager to get back to normal life: To mask, or not to mask?

Beginning Tuesday, most of California’s mask rules imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic — covering customers’ trips to the store, the gym and restaurants — will disappear for those who are vaccinated.

There is growing evidence of the shots’ power to prevent serious disease and blunt transmission of the coronavirus, and health officials are increasingly unified in their belief that those who are fully inoculated can safely resume many activities without wearing face coverings.

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Yet after more than a year of playing it safe, some are still planning to wear masks in crowded indoor public places when they cannot be sure that everyone around them has been vaccinated. And while the unvaccinated are still required to mask up in most settings, there historically hasn’t been much government enforcement tied to such mandates.

Back in Mom and Dad’s Home

The pandemic pushed millions of young adults to live with their parents as college campuses shuttered, businesses reduced their hours and social isolation wore down people’s mental health. In July, 52% of Americans 18 to 29 years old lived with a parent, making it the most common living arrangement for people in that age group and the highest level recorded in at least a century, according to the Pew Research Center.

The experience wasn’t always easy, as families forced together also grappled with financial struggles, domestic strife and the threat of contracting an illness that has killed nearly 600,000 Americans.

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But for some lucky families, the unexpected time together often felt like a gift, a bonus year to bond with parents and siblings in ways that can resemble a friendship among peers more than a parent-child relationship.

At the Border, Apprehensions Are Up

One day last week, dozens of Mexicans and Central Americans made their way across the Rio Grande and up the riverbanks into Texas’ Rio Grande Valley. U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents were changing shifts — prime time for people smugglers attempting to evade authorities.

But agents were waiting. Some families and youths traveling alone hoped to claim asylum and turned themselves in. Many of the adults hid in the rain-soaked fields until agents tracked them down using night-vision goggles, dogs and helicopters. Several of the men sprinted through cotton fields until the mud sucked their shoes off and they collapsed on farm roads, exhausted and defeated. It was a familiar scene.

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On Monday, Vice President Kamala Harris made a strong statement in Guatemala telling desperate would-be migrants, “Do not come” to the U.S. border, and warning that they’d be “turned back.”

Newly released data show that migrants were stopped 180,034 times across the southern border last month — nearly eight times the total during May 2020 and among the highest monthly totals in recent years.

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FROM THE ARCHIVES

In 1936, the U.S. Army coastal defense fired a 14-inch railway gun during target practice near Oceanside. Spectators stuffed cotton in their ears for protection.

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As The Times reported then, “The rifles hadn’t been fired for eight years because of the cost of shells and damage to windows in their previous location at Los Angeles Harbor.”

an artillery blast
June 12, 1936: An Army coastal defense 14-inch railway gun is fired during target practice near Oceanside.
(J. H. McCrory / Los Angeles Times)

CALIFORNIA

— Los Angeles is poised to ban landlords from harassing tenants under a new law meant to beef up legal protections for renters facing coercion and mistreatment. City lawyers will draw up the ordinance after the Los Angeles City Council backed the plan Wednesday.

— Unions are the powerhouse supporting California’s troubled bullet train. A big test awaits as officials and lawmakers decide the project’s future.

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— A hit-and-run crash possibly involving street racing left two dead in Palmdale early Wednesday. Investigators are searching for the driver of a black Dodge Challenger, which rear-ended a Toyota Corolla around 12:30 a.m.

— A Garden Grove police officer has been charged with threatening and striking homeless people while on duty in two incidents last year.

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NATION-WORLD

— The Keystone XL crude oil pipeline sponsor said that it is pulling the plug on the contentious project after Canadian officials failed to persuade Biden to reverse his cancellation of its permit on the day he took office.

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— Since 1988, the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s annual endangered places list has spotlighted sites across America at risk for destruction. This year’s list is devoted entirely to sites linked to the histories of people of color.

El Salvador’s Legislative Assembly has approved legislation making the cryptocurrency bitcoin legal tender in the country, the first nation to do so, just days after President Nayib Bukele made the proposal at a Bitcoin conference.

— The U.S. Treasury Department slapped sanctions on the daughter of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and a top army official, after the arrests of two more potential opposition candidates for the presidency.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

— Here’s how Compton’s Charm La’Donna found the courage to go from star choreographer to hip-hop MC.

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— Director Kate Herron and writer Michael Waldron break down the first episode of the new Disney+ series, “Loki,” starring Tom Hiddleston as the God of Mischief.

— To pandemic or not to pandemic? Writers’ rooms across Hollywood had a difficult choice to make in how to proceed in shows like “Superstore,” “black-ish” and “Law & Order: Organized Crime.”

“Kim’s Convenience” has officially closed up shop, and its stars are opening up about their frustrations with the show’s approach to Korean Canadian representation behind and in front of the camera.

BUSINESS

— The White House has dropped Trump-era executive orders intended to ban the popular apps TikTok and WeChat. Biden administration officials said they will conduct their own review to identify national security risks with software applications tied to China.

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— For items including clothing, cereal and trash bags, prices are going up fast. But many companies aren’t saying that, at least not in a language most shoppers would recognize.

— A slide in banks and industrial companies nudged stocks on Wall Street to modest losses Wednesday after an early gain. Stocks championed by hordes of online retail investors, the “meme” stocks, as they have become known, were volatile once again.

SPORTS

Justin Turner’s two homers and the Dodgers’ bullpen held off the Pirates, while the Angels dominated the Royals again to complete their first three-game sweep of the season.

— Be like Kawhi: Tyronn Lue is hoping for more energy from the Clippers in Game 2 tonight.

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OPINION

— Columnist LZ Granderson analyzes corporate America’s shameful both-siderism on gay rights.

— Contributing Opinion writer Jean Guerrero breaks down what Kamala Harris’ callous message to migrants really means.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

— Fifty Black women have been killed by U.S. police since 2015. Not one of the officers has been convicted. (Insider)

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A’Ziah King’s Twitter tale of a strip-club road trip gone awry is now a big buzzy movie produced by A24. Now she’s ready to make her story her own again. (Vulture)

ONLY IN L.A.

We promise it’s not a corny bar joke but a pretty cool origin story for L.A.’s newest craft beer. What happens when some geeks walk into a bar to talk about their obsessions — native plants, pollinators and farming? Well, they discover the guy who owns the bar is a kindred spirit and totally into inventing craft beers. And from there, Eagle Rock Brewery’s Local Source beer was born. Here’s how you can try it.

Comments or ideas? Email us at headlines@latimes.com.


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