Budget, origins of viruses, summer reading: your Thursday evening briefing

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Good night. Here is the last one.

1. President Biden to propose a budget of $ 6 trillion this will bring the United States to the highest federal spending levels since World War II.

The budget proposal, which will be officially released tomorrow, underscores the administration’s belief that the fiscal position is manageable and that, given historically low interest rates, the time has come to make major investments to combat the climate change, reduce inequalities and make the US economy more competitive.

Documents obtained by The Times call for an increase in total spending to $ 8.2 trillion by 2031, with deficits exceeding $ 1.3 trillion over the next decade. Biden plans to fund his program by raising taxes on businesses and high incomes.

While the budget is just a demand of Congress, Biden faces some of the best chances of any president in recent history of securing approval for much of his program as Democrats control political leaders. two rooms.

In the Senate, Republicans countered Biden’s $ 1.7 trillion infrastructure plan with $ 257 billion in new spending.

2. The Santa Clara Transit Shooter had three semi-automatic handguns and 32 high-capacity magazines, and was “very deliberate” in killing his colleagues, police said.

Police were still searching for a motive for the 57-year-old gunman, who shot and killed nine co-workers at a rail yard in San Jose, Calif., On Wednesday. The guns appeared to be legally purchased in California. Here is the last one.

The shooter committed suicide as sheriff’s deputies rushed into the yard from their neighboring headquarters. The victims were between 29 and 63 years old. Here is what we know. Above, a woman mourns her colleagues.

3. Many scientists have welcomed an investigation into the origins of the pandemic, but most still believe that a leak from a lab in Wuhan, China is unlikely.

Virologists still lean widely towards the theory that infected animals – perhaps a bat or other animal raised for food – spread the coronavirus to humans outside of a laboratory. President Biden said he plans to release the results of the intelligence report, although officials said the investigation is likely to extend beyond the 90-day deadline. Some researchers warn that the answers may not come anytime soon, if ever.

4. The army of several rural outposts in Afghanistan surrenders to the Taliban as US troops leave the country.

Since the United States began withdrawing its troops on May 1, soldiers and police at outposts and bases in four provinces have surrendered their weapons and equipment in exchange for safe passage to an area. controlled by the government. The tactics removed hundreds of government forces from the battlefield, secured strategic territory, and harvested weapons, ammunition and vehicles for the Taliban – often without firing a shot.

“We told them, ‘Look, your situation is bad – reinforcements are not coming,’ said a village elder sent by the Taliban to negotiate the surrenders.

5. Tens of thousands of people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo flee one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world.

After a fire crack opened on Saturday, sending a torrent of lava rushing down Mount Nyiragongo towards the city of Goma and killing more than two dozen people, local authorities ordered as many as one million. of people to evacuate, fearing a new eruption.

Separately, during a visit to Kigali, President Emmanuel Macron said France had a duty to “recognize its share of the suffering it has inflicted on the Rwandan people”, when acting as an ally of the government led by the Hutus responsible for the genocide. Macron’s visit to Rwanda was also an attempt to find business partners in new corners of Africa, where China, Russia and Turkey are vying for influence.

6. Highways have radically reshaped cities, destroying downtown neighborhoods and dividing many black communities. Today, nearly 30 cities are considering eliminating them.

Some, like Syracuse and Detroit, have pledged to replace sections of the freeway with neighborhoods within walking distance. Others, like Dallas and New Orleans, above, are facing pressure from residents and activists to deal with the pollution, noise and safety risks associated with mega-roads.

President Biden’s infrastructure plan proposed spending $ 20 billion to help reconnect neighborhoods divided by highways. But rebuilding a neighborhood from scratch is neither easy nor quick.

7. The Tasmanian demons are back. Whether they can survive is another question.

About 3000 years ago, the demons of Tasmania were wiped out on the Australian mainland. This month, researchers working at a wildlife sanctuary discovered seven hairless pink joeys – a successful step in a conservation project that aims to bring them back.

It is still unclear how the animals would behave outside the fenced-in New South Wales reserve where they were born. Marsupials face declining numbers in the only place they exist in the wild: the island of Tasmania, south of mainland Australia.

But one conservationist said it was a first step for demons “to breed and survive, and they did.”

8. “A Quiet Place Part II” – The sequel to John Krasinski’s blockbuster alien invasion – is bolder and louder.

This new installment is, like its predecessor, wonderfully played and intuitively driven, our review writes, but it has also largely replaced the silent horror of the original with full action.

“A Quiet Place Part II” hits theaters tomorrow, making it one of the first big movies to come out in the not quite post-coronavirus era. Reception can reveal whether moviegoers are ready to return to the movies. We discussed the project with Krasinski recently.

In other film-related news, Howard University has renamed its College of Fine Arts in honor of Chadwick Boseman, who died of cancer last year.

9. Summer is almost here. It’s time to plan your literary escape.

Thrillers that bite your nails. A story of Antarctic ghosts. A trip to 19th century England. Our editors and reviewers have selected 73 books for your summer reading list.

10. And finally, who wants to be an astronaut?

So many companies are planning trips to the International Space Station that it might start to look more like a Hollywood soundstage or a hotel for wealthy tourists than an orbiting laboratory.

The Discovery Channel wants to launch its new reality show – “Who Wants To Be An Astronaut?” – in which 10 people will compete for a chance to fly to the ISS on a SpaceX rocket. Separately, the Russian space agency plans to send an actress and filmmaker for a film next year. Above, the SpaceX Crew Dragon.

Closer to home, Virgin Galactic and Blue Orbit hope to take tourists on suborbital flights that will provide a few minutes of weightlessness. Axiom Space, a Houston-based company, aims to launch its first flight in January, carrying three passengers who spend $ 55 million each.

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Travis Durham

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