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Sen. Klobuchar Pushes for Passage of Big Tech Antitrust Bill as Time Runs Short (Maria)

The author writes, “A US congressional leader on antitrust, Senator Amy Klobuchar, on Tuesday called for Congress to pass a bill to rein in Big Tech, as prospects of it becoming law seemed to be dimming. Supporters have been pressing Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to schedule a vote on the bill that would ban self-preferencing by Big Tech platforms. … Klobuchar, a lead sponsor along with Republican Chuck Grassley, has said she has the 60 votes required to pass the measure. ‘We must pass legislation to put rules of the road in place for dominant tech companies,’ Klobuchar said in a statement Tuesday.”

Manchin Wasn’t the Only One to Kill Climate Action (Russ)

From The Washington Post: “There is an entire political party — the GOP — that has shown roughly zero interest in addressing climate change, assuming its leaders even recognize that the planet is warming. Manchin’s vote wouldn’t be so crucial if even one Republican senator were willing to break ranks and work with Democrats on a compromise. But for some reason Republican politicians have mostly received a pass as the media by and large framed legislative sclerosis as a Manchin-centric phenomenon. Perhaps this is just the bigotry of low expectations: Republicans haven’t produced an agenda for any other significant policy challenge, so why pressure them on the biggest challenge of all?”

What Pregnancy and Childbirth Do to the Bodies of Young Girls (Dana)

The author writes, “After the account a 10-year-old Ohio girl crossing state lines to get an abortion drew national attention last week, some prominent abortion opponents suggested the child should have carried her pregnancy to term. But midwives and doctors who work in countries where pregnancy is common in young adolescent girls say those pushing for very young girls to carry pregnancies to term may not understand the brutal toll of pregnancy and delivery on the body of a child.”

The Economic and Societal Effects of COVID-19 on Our Brains (Sean)

From The Brookings Institution: “Brain Capital conceptualizes brain health (e.g., the lack of mental illness and neurodegenerative disease) and brain skills (e.g., education) as essential to the knowledge economy. … COVID-19 has had enormous negative effects on individual, societal, and worldwide Brain Capital. We are in the infancy stages of understanding COVID-19’s short- and long-term effects on the brain. However, what we do know is alarming. While COVID-19 is mainly a respiratory illness, long-COVID-19 is increasingly being revealed as a neuropsychiatric disorder.”

Ukraine War: Putin Visits Iran in Rare International Trip (Sean)

The author writes, “Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Iran for only his second foreign trip since he launched the invasion of Ukraine in February. Mr Putin met with Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi in Tehran. He will meet Iran’s supreme leader and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan later. Grain exports, Syria and the Ukraine conflict are on the agenda. The visit is a chance to deepen ties with Iran, one of Russia’s few remaining international allies.”

Russia’s Bright, Shiny Anti-Sanctions Weapon: Inside the Billion-Dollar Business of ‘Blood Gold’ (Howard)

From Grid: “Imagine a 20 foot-by-20 foot cube of solid gold, weighing 2,300 tons. This is what you would get if you melted down the approximately $140 billion in gold reserves held by Russia’s central bank. This gold stash — not actually a giant cube, but around 150,000 gold bars — is as much a weapon in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as any fighter jet or tank. Or at least, it was supposed to be.”

1.4 Million-Year-Old Fossil Hints Modern Human Faces Were Present Earlier Than Thought (Mili)

The author writes, “An ancient upper jawbone discovered in Spain reveals the unique facial features of an individual who may be the oldest known ancient human relative in Europe. A team of paleoanthropologists unearthed the fossil in June at Sima del Elefante (Spanish for ‘Pit of the Elephant’), an archeological site in the Atapuerca Mountains near the city of Burgos in northern Spain that’s known for its rich fossil record. The fragmented skull is believed to be the oldest of its kind ever found in Europe and includes part of the upper jawbone (maxilla) and a tooth of a hominid who lived approximately 1.4 million years ago.”