WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden White House is amplifying the push for its $2.3 trillion infrastructure package with the release of state-by-state breakdowns that show the dire shape of roads, bridges, the power grid and housing affordability.
The figures in the state summaries, obtained by The Associated Press, paint a decidedly bleak outlook for the world's largest economy after years of repairs being deferred and delayed. They suggest that too much infrastructure is unsafe for vehicles at any speed, while highlighting the costs of extreme weather events that have become more frequent with climate change as well as dead spots for broadband and a dearth of child care options.
President Joe Biden is scheduled to meet Monday afternoon with Republican and Democratic lawmakers and can use the state summaries to show that his plan would help meet the needs of their constituents.
Drawn from an array of private and public data, the reports show there are 7,300 miles of highway in Michigan alone that are in poor condition. Damaged streets in North Carolina impose an average yearly cost of $500 on motorists. Iowa has 4,571 bridges in need of repair. There is a roughly 4-in-10 chance that a public transit vehicle in Indiana might be ready for the scrap yard. Pennsylvania's schools are short $1.4 billion for maintenance and upgrades.
The administration is banking that the data will confirm the everyday experiences of Americans as they bump over potholes, get trapped in traffic jams and wait for buses that almost never correspond to published schedules. There is already a receptive audience to the sales pitch, and the strategy is that public support can overcome any congressional misgivings.
Iran blames Israel for sabotage at Natanz nuclear site
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iran on Monday blamed Israel for a sabotage attack on its underground Natanz nuclear facility that damaged the centrifuges it uses to enrich uranium there, warning that it would avenge the assault.
The comments by Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh represent the first official accusation leveled against Israel for the assault Sunday that cut power across the facility.
Israel has not directly claimed responsibility for the attack. However, suspicion fell immediately on it as Israeli media widely reported that a devastating cyberattack orchestrated by Israel caused the blackout.
If Israel was responsible, it would further heighten tensions between the two nations, already engaged in a shadow conflict across the wider Middle East. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who met Sunday with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, has vowed to do everything in his power to stop efforts to revive a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.
At a news conference at Israel's Nevatim air base Monday, where he viewed Israeli air and missile defense systems and its F-35 combat aircraft, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin declined to say whether the Natanz incident is likely to impede the Biden administration's efforts to re-engage with Iran on its nuclear program.
EXPLAINER: Iran atomic sites targeted by diplomacy, sabotage
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iran's nuclear program has been targeted by diplomatic efforts and sabotage attacks over the last decade, with the latest incident striking its underground Natanz facility.
The attack Sunday at Natanz comes as world powers try to negotiate a return by Iran and the U.S. to Tehran's atomic accord. The sabotage threatens to upend those negotiations and further heighten regional tensions across the Mideast.
FROM 'ATOMS FOR PEACE' TO PROLIFERATION
Iran's nuclear program actually began with the help of the United States. Under its "Atoms for Peace" program, America supplied a test reactor that came online in Tehran in 1967 under the rule of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. That help ended once Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution overthrew the shah.
Prosecution case nears end in ex-cop's trial in Floyd death
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The trial of a former Minneapolis police officer charged in George Floyd 's death enters its third week Monday, with the state nearing the end of a case built on searing witness accounts, official rejections of the neck restraint and expert testimony attributing Floyd's death to a lack of oxygen.
Derek Chauvin, 45, who is white, is charged with murder and manslaughter in Floyd's May 25 death. Police were called to a neighborhood market where Floyd, who was Black, was accused of trying to pass a counterfeit bill. Bystander video of Floyd, pinned by Chauvin and two other officers as he cried "I can't breathe" and eventually grew still, sparked protests and scattered violence around the U.S.
Chauvin attorney Eric Nelson argues that Floyd's death was caused by drug use and underlying health conditions including a bad heart. He's expected to call his own medical experts after the prosecution wraps its case, expected early this week. Nelson hasn't said whether Chauvin will testify.
The second week of the trial was dominated by technical testimony, beginning with senior Minneapolis Police Department officials, including Chief Medaria Arradondo, testifying that Chauvin's restraint of Floyd violated department policy.
Prosecutors say Floyd was pinned for 9 minutes, 29 seconds. Police officials testified that while officers might sometimes use a knee across a person's back or shoulder to gain or maintain control, they're also taught the specific dangers for a person in Floyd's position — prone on his stomach, with his hands cuffed behind him — and how such a person must be turned into a side recovery position as soon as possible.
Asia Today: India overtakes Brazil as 2nd-worst hit country
NEW DELHI (AP) — India reported another record daily surge in coronavirus infections Monday to overtake Brazil as the second-worst hit country.
The 168,912 cases added in the last 24 hours pushed India's total to 13.5 million, while Brazil has 13.4 million, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
India also reported 904 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking its total to 170,179, which is the fourth highest toll, behind the United States, Brazil and Mexico.
India is experiencing its worst surge of the pandemic, with a seven-day rolling average of more than 130,000 cases per day. Hospitals across the country are becoming overwhelmed with patients, and experts worry the worst is yet to come.
The latest surge also coincides with the shortage of vaccines in some Indian states, including western Maharashtra state, home to financial capital Mumbai, which is the worst hit state and has recorded nearly half of the country's new infections in the past two weeks.
Chilly weather doesn't dampen UK joy at lockdown easing
LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged people to "behave responsibly" as shops, gyms, hairdressers, restaurant patios and beer gardens reopened after months of lockdown.
Monday brought the easing of restrictions that have been in place in England since early January to suppress a surge in coronavirus infections linked to a more transmissible new variant first identified in the southeast of the country.
Long lines formed outside some stores, including a branch of Nike Town in London's busy Oxford Street, and pubs and restaurants with outdoor space reported a flood of bookings.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said businesses that have endured months of enforced closure were "excited and desperate" to welcome customers back.
At a hairdresser in Birmingham, customer Amy Smith said she was thrilled to be getting a trim at last.
Muslims navigate restrictions in the second pandemic Ramadan
CAIRO (AP) — For Ramadan this year, Magdy Hafez has been longing to reclaim a cherished ritual: performing the nighttime group prayers called taraweeh at the mosque once again.
Last year, the coronavirus upended the 68-year-old Egyptian's routine of going to the mosque to perform those prayers, traditional during Islam's holiest month. The pandemic had disrupted Islamic worship the world over, including in Egypt where mosques were closed to worshippers last Ramadan.
"I have been going to the mosque for 40 years so it was definitely a very, very, difficult thing," he said. "But our religion orders us to protect one another."
Still, "It's a whole other feeling, and the spirituality in Ramadan is like nothing else."
Egypt has since allowed most mosques to reopen for Friday communal prayers and for this Ramadan it will let them hold taraweeh, also with precautions, including shortening its duration.
US colleges divided over requiring student vaccinations
BOSTON (AP) — U.S. colleges hoping for a return to normalcy next fall are weighing how far they should go in urging students to get the COVID-19 vaccine, including whether they should — or legally can — require it.
Universities including Rutgers, Brown, Cornell and Northeastern recently told students they must get vaccinated before returning to campus next fall. They hope to achieve herd immunity on campus, which they say would allow them to loosen spacing restrictions in classrooms and dorms.
But some colleges are leaving the decision to students, and others believe they can't legally require vaccinations. At Virginia Tech, officials determined that they can't because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has only allowed the emergency use of the vaccines and hasn't given them its full approval.
The question looms large as more colleges plan to shift back from remote to in-person instruction. Many schools have launched vaccination blitzes to get students immunized before they leave for the summer. At some schools, the added requirement is meant to encourage holdouts and to build confidence that students and faculty will be safe on campus.
"It takes away any ambiguity about whether individuals should be vaccinated," said Kenneth Henderson, the chancellor of Northeastern University in Boston. "It also provides a level of confidence for the entire community that we are taking all appropriate measures."
Prince Philip vs Philip of 'The Crown': Fact and fiction
LOS ANGELES (AP) — In "The Crown," a dishy naval officer captures the heart of a future queen. But he chafes at playing royal second fiddle and crosses the boundaries of decorum and, maybe, fidelity. He eventually finds his way as a trusted partner and family patriarch.
How does the Netflix drama's portrayal of Prince Philip, who died at age 99 on Friday, compare with the man himself and the life he lived with Britain's Queen Elizabeth II?
Prince Philip dwelled in his wife's shadow, and the same goes for Philip in "The Crown," as the title makes plain. But some episodes take a fuller measure of the man, or at least the character (played in succession by Matt Smith and Tobias Menzies, with Jonathan Pryce in the wings).
Peter Morgan, creator of the series that's in a lull before its fifth and penultimate season arrives in 2022, has said "The Crown" is the product of historical research and imagination, and includes scenes not to be taken as fact.
Barring a tell-all from the parties involved, for instance, we don't know if Philip was as rigid in his approach to parenting son Charles as he was sensitive with daughter Anne, as "The Crown" has it. Or what to make of the drama's dainty hints of marital infidelity by Philip.
Prime minister leads celebrations of Matsuyama's Masters win
TOKYO (AP) — Led by Japan's prime minister, the country celebrated golfer Hideki Matsuyama's victory in the Masters — the first Japanese player to win at Augusta National and pull on the famous green jacket.
"It was really wonderful," Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said with his country struggling to pull off the postponed Tokyo Olympics in just over three months. "As the coronavirus drags on, his achievement moved our hearts and gave us courage."
Masashi "Jumbo" Ozaki, who tied for eighth in the Masters in 1973, said he hoped more Japanese male golfers would be inspired by Matsuyama.
"This is a great achievement for the Japanese golf world," he said in comments on Japanese media. "And it came about because of Mr. Matsuyama's own ability to take up challenges, his courage and all the effort that went into that."
Isao Aoki finished second to Jack Nicklaus in the 1980 U.S. Open, the previous best finish by a Japanese male golfer in a major.