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7-year-old girl dies in Great Smoky Mountains National Park after tree falls on her tent

According to a news release from the National Park Service, a 7-year-old girl was killed after a tree fell on her tent while she and her family slept in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Park rangers responded to an emergency in the Elkmont Campground at around 12:30 a.m. on July 27 after the tree fell on the girl, who is from Georgia. Other family members, including her father and two siblings, were not injured. The large, red maple tree was about two feet in diameter.

The Elkmont Campground is located between Gatlinburg and Townsend. Emergency responders from Gatlingburg Fire Department, Gatlingburg Police Department and the National Park Service responded to the site, the release said. The campsite affected and adjacent campsites were closed, while Elkmont Campground remains open.

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House passes $280B bill to provide incentives for manufacturing semiconductor chips

On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a $280 billion bill to provide incentives for production of semiconductors and other investments in science and technology. The House passed ‘The Chips and Science Act’  by a vote of 243-187.  The bill passed the Senate on Wednesday with a 64-33 vote; it will now go back to President Biden to be signed into law.

The $280 billion Chips and Science Act will subsidize domestic semiconductor manufacturing while also investing billions of dollars in science and tech innovation. It provides $52 billion in federal grants for semiconductors manufacturing and research. Roughly $100 billion is provided over five years for regional tech hubs to support start-up companies. The bill is expected to make the chip supply chain more resilient after having experienced shortages that adversely impacted the economy.

That bill invests $369 billion in energy and climate change spending over 10 years while raising an estimated $313 billion from the corporate minimum tax and $124 billion through IRS enforcement of reformed tax code. It raises another $14 billion in revenue by closing the carried interest loophole for high income individuals, resulting in a deficit reduction of more than $300 billion.

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Post Malone and Doja Cat release the video for ‘I Like You’

Post Malone and Doja Cat have unveiled the music video for their single “I Like You (A Happier Song)”. The appears is off Post’s album Twelve Carat Toothache, available now.

The GRAMMY Award-nominated rapper will also be hitting the road on his Twelve Carat Tour across North America this fall. The trek, featuring special guest Roddy Ricch, kicks off September 10th in Omaha and wraps with a series of shows in Los Angeles in mid-November.

Take a look at the video for “I Like You” – here.

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Take a look at The Weeknd in the animated video for ‘How Do I Make You Love Me?’

The Weeknd turns into a zombie in his new animated video for “How Do I Make You Love Me?”, the fourth clip from his fifth studio album, Dawn FM.  The Weeknd has previously released videos from Dawn FM including “Sacrifice,” “Gasoline” and “Out of Time.”

Along with the How Do I Make You Love Me? video, The Weeknd also unveiled the track’s first remix by Swedish House Mafia’s Sebastian Ingrosso and Salvatore Ganacci.   In addition, the Canadian native is still on the road with his massive 2022 stadium tour, which will wrap-up on Sept. 22 in his hometown of Toronto.

Take a look at the video for How Do I Make You Love Me?here.

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Suspect in mass shooting at Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Ill. is indicted on 117 counts

The suspect accused of the mass shooting at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Ill., which killed seven people and injured dozens of others, has been indicted on 117 counts.

Prosecutors announced Wednesday that the suspect, Robert Crimo III, faces 21 counts of first-degree murder, which breaks down to three counts of first-degree murder for each victim who died. According to the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office, the 21-year-old is also facing 48 counts of attempted murder and 48 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm for each parade victim who was injured by a bullet or shrapnel. Crimo was initially charged with seven counts of murder after his arrest; he will appear in court next week to be arraigned on the new charges. He is currently being held without bond.

Crimo confessed to opening fire on the parade crowd from a nearby rooftop. Authorities believe Crimo had planned the mass shooting for weeks, saying he used a “high-powered” weapon and fired more than 70 rounds into the crowd of parade participants and attendees before dropping his rifle. Crimo was granted a permit for his weapon and had passed four background checks in 2020 and 2021. Crimo’s father, former Highland Park mayoral candidate Robert Crimo Jr., sponsored his son’s gun application for a license in December 2019; the suspect bought the gun legally in Illinois.

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United States makes ‘substantial proposal’ to bring home WNBA star Brittney Griner from Russia

Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed on Wednesday that the United States has made a “substantial proposal” to bring home WNBA star Brittney Griner, as well as another American currently detained in Russia. Blinken did not elaborate on the details of the proposal while taking questions from reporters at the State Department, telling reporters: “We put a substantial proposal on the table weeks ago. Our government has communicated repeatedly and directly on that proposal, and I’ll use the conversation to follow up personally and, I hope, move us toward a resolution.” Blinken said he would discuss the proposal with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the coming days.

CNN reported that the proposal involves exchanging Viktor Bout, a convicted Russian arms trafficker, for Griner and Paul Whelan, a former Marine and former security executive serving a 16-year hard labor sentence at a Mordovia prison camp.  Bout is currently serving a 25-year U.S. prison sentence after being found guilty in 2011 of conspiring to sell millions of dollars worth of weapons to a designated foreign terrorist organization based in Colombia to be used to kill Americans in that country.

The 31-year-old Griner pleaded guilty to possessing less than a gram of hash oil when she arrived and was taken into custody at the Moscow airport on Feb. 17.  She testified in Russian court Wednesday that she had not intended to bring hash oil vape cartridges with her to Russia, saying that her rights were not read to her and she didn’t understand what was going on during her arrest.  Griner testified that she uses medical cannabis after a knee injury, but did not use it before tournaments, adding that she has a medical marijuana prescription from the state of Arizona.

Griner’s trial is expected to last until at least early August, and a Russian judge has ordered her detained for the entire length of the trial.  She faces as many as 10 years in prison if she’s convicted on the drug charges.

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Lizzo’s ‘About Damn Time’ hits No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100

Nearly three years after her hit single “Truth Hurts” topped the Billboard Hot 100 charts, Lizzo has another No. 1 hit with “About Damn Time, ” the first single from Lizzo’s new LP, Special. 

Lizzo’s “About Damn Time” became the first song released by a female act in 2022 to lead the Hot 100 this year. Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” (1994) and Adele’s “Easy on Me” (2021) have also made it to No. 1 since January.

Lizzo took to her social media accounts to celebrate, tweeting, “We got the #1 song in the country YALL! 🥹.”  On her Instagram page, Lizzo uploaded a 14-second video of herself popping a champagne bottle with the caption “IMA BE DRUNK BY 5.” 

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Shawn Mendes cancels remainder of 2022 tour amid mental health struggles

Shawn Mendes has canceled the remaining dates on his ‘Wonder’ world tour to prioritize his mental health, after postponing the show for three weeks earlier this month.

The 23-year-old singer wrote on social media“As you guys know, I had to postpone the past few weeks of shows since I wasn’t totally prepared for the toll that being back on the road would take on me. I started this tour excited to finally get back to playing live after a long break due to the pandemic, but the reality is I was not at all ready for how difficult touring would be after this time away. After speaking more with my team and working with an incredible group of health professionals, it has become more clear that I need to take the time I’ve never taken personally, to ground myself and come back stronger. “

Mendes kicked off the Wonder tour in June and was scheduled to perform across North America, Europe and the United Kingdom through August 2023.  Mendes said in his statement: “We were hopeful that I might be able to pick up with the rest of the dates after some much needed time off, but at this time I have to put my health first as my first priority. This doesn’t mean I won’t be making new music, and I can’t wait to see you on tour in the future.  I know you all have been waiting so long to see these shows, and it breaks my heart to tell you this but I promise I will be back as soon as I’ve taken the right time to heal. I love you all and thank you all so much for supporting me and sticking by me on this journey.”

Shawn Mendes Cancels Entire Tour To Work On His Mental Health

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At least 1 person is dead after historic St. Louis rainfall results in flash flooding and evacuations

At least one person is dead after historic rain fell on St. Louis, Missouri overnight Monday through Tuesday, leading to widespread flash flooding that left St. Louis motorists stranded and residents evacuating their homes. According to the National Weather Service in St. Louis, the city had recorded 8.06 inches of rainfall by early Tuesday, surpassing the previous daily record of 6.85 inches on Aug. 20, 1915.

Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson confirmed there was one fatality after a person was pulled from a submerged vehicle. The person’s identity was withheld until family members could be notified, he said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon. About 70 people had to be rescued or assisted as rain drenched the city, Jenkerson said, adding,  “We’ve had a tremendous amount of cars that have been door-deep and also roof-deep in some of these low-lying areas. Now we’re seeing the weight of the water cause some issues with buildings. We’re having some partial roof collapse. Some of the vacant buildings are also suffering from the stress of this water.”

At least six people and six dogs were rescued by boat from flooded homes, the fire department said. Firefighters responded to about 18 homes because of substantial flooding. More than a dozen people chose to shelter in place, it tweeted. Numerous roads were also closed in metropolitan St. Louis, including parts of Interstate 70. Video showed cars stranded on the flooded interstate and firefighters rescuing drivers from their vehicles.

Gov. Mike Parson issued a state of emergency, allowing state agencies to work directly with local jurisdictions.  He said in a statement: “With record rainfall impacting the St. Louis region and the potential for additional rain and isolated thunderstorms, we want to ensure that our communities have every resource available to respond and protect Missourians. We urge Missourians to follow the direction of local authorities and emergency managers, never drive in floodwaters, and always use common sense to prevent injury.”

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President Biden discusses $22 billion investment in virtual meeting with South Korea’s SK Group

Due to his ongoing recovery from his COVID-19 diagnosis, President Joe Biden met virtually on Tuesday with representatives of the South Korean conglomerate SK Group to introduce $22 billion of new investment in manufacturing. The White House said the new investment comes on top of $7 billion previously announced by the organization. The SK Group owns SK hynix, the world’s second-largest memory chipmaker, and SK On, the electric vehicle battery maker.

Biden appeared on a television monitor as U.S. officials and business representatives from South Korea gathered in the Roosevelt Room.  As the president continues to isolate following his COVID-19 diagnosis last week, he said: “I’m feeling great. I hope it comes across that way. … I hope I look as good as I usually do, which is not that good.

Chairman of SK Group, Chey Tae-Won commended South Korea’s ongoing relationship with the United States while discussing the $22 billion in new investment in the United States in manufacturing and tech, which he said represented more than $30 billion total. Said Chey:  “Tomorrow, we commemorate 69 years since the end of the Korean War. So the American and Korean relationship is deep and longstanding. Today, we are here to talk about the investment in the U.S.”  Biden replied:  “Today’s announcement is further proof America is back to working with our allies. We’re going to continue to invest in the education side of this, so you can have the best trained and best equipped workers.”

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