First Thing: California to ban sales of new gasoline-powered vehicles

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California, the largest auto market in the US, is to phase out the sale of gas cars over the next 13 years in a bold plan to combat the climate emergency and reduce emissions.

The policy allows Californians to keep driving gas-powered cars, trucks and SUVs and buying used ones after 2035, but no new models would be sold in the state, the most populous in the country. California has seen historic wildfires amid summers of record-high temperatures in recent years.

The state has about 80,000 public charging stations and will need to expand that number to accommodate the surge in electric vehicles. Last year only 12% of new cars sold in California were zero-emission, according to regulators, and in the first three months of this year about 16% were electric.

  • What effect could the transition have? Transportation is the largest contributor to US greenhouse gas emissions, and swift uptake of zero-emission cars could save 110,000 American lives, $1.2tn in public health costs and reduce emissions by 92% by 2050.

Amy Coney Barrett’s secretive faith group urged female obedience to men

Amy Coney Barrett, who was successfully nominated for the supreme court by Donald Trump.
Amy Coney Barrett, who was successfully nominated for the supreme court by Donald Trump. Photograph: Jim Lo Scalzo/AFP/Getty Images

Women’s obedience and subservience to men has been strongly encouraged within a secretive Christian faith group, the People of Praise, of which the conservative supreme court justice Amy Coney Barrett is a member, according to a leaked video.

At a recent private People of Praise event to mark its 50th anniversary, Dorothy Ranaghan, the wife of the group’s founder, explained how some female followers cried intensely in reaction to the group’s early teachings on “headship” and the “roles of men and women ”.

Many former members of People of Praise are critical of the group’s dominance over members’ lives and say it calls for complete obedience of women to their husbands.

  • Strict gender-based roles. Adrian Reimers, a Catholic theological critic and early member of the People of Praise who was dismissed in 1985, has said men in the group “were quietly taught by their heads and leaders not to change or rinse out diapers” and that women’s emotions were “ distrusted”.

Texas judge throws out ban on young adults carrying guns

At US firearms store.  A Texas judge has scrapped the state's ban on 18- to 20-year-olds carrying handguns, ruling it has no historical tradition and is unconstitutional.
At US firearms store. A Texas judge has scrapped the state’s ban on 18- to 20-year-olds carrying handguns, ruling it has no historical tradition and is unconstitutional. Photograph: Erik S Lesser/EPA

The southern state’s ban on people aged 18 to 20 carrying handguns has been overturned by a federal judge, in the first major judicial decision on weapons since the supreme court in June ruled for the first time that the second amendment guarantees the self-defense right to publicly carry weapons.

The Firearms Policy Coalition, a gun owners’ rights group, last year filed a challenge to the Texas statute, saying the ban undermined the right for states to organize militias and that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed ”. It is similar challenging restrictions on young adults carrying guns in several other states.

On Thursday, Judge Mark Pittman, of the US district court in Fort Worth, ruled in the gun lobby’s favor. He said there was no historical tradition of stopping young adults from carrying guns in public and that “the undisputed historical evidence establishes that 18- to 20-year-olds were understood to be a part of the militia in the founding era”.

  • The age restriction applied only to handguns. Long guns can be bought in Texas once a person turns 18. The 18-year-old shooter who attacked a school in Uvalde, Texas, in May, killing 19 children and two teachers, used a semi-automatic rifle he had brought.

Unvaccinated Novak Djokovic confirms he will miss US Open

Novak Djokovic had been hoping for an exemption to the US's Covid vaccination rules.
Novak Djokovic had been hoping for an exemption to the US’s Covid vaccination rules.
Photograph: Rob Newell/CameraSport/Getty Images

The 21-times grand slam champion Novak Djokovic has officially withdrawn from the US Open after the US did not provide a framework for unvaccinated foreigners to enter.

“Sadly, I will not be able to travel to NY this time for US Open,” wrote Djokovic on social media. “Thank you #NoleFam for your messages of love and support. Good luck to my fellow players! I’ll keep in good shape and positive spirit and wait for an opportunity to compete again. See you soon, tennis world!”

During his run to the title at Wimbledon in July, Djokovic expressed his hope that US border policies may change to accommodate him, after he was detained in an Australian immigration facility in January and then deported from the country on the eve of the Australian Open.

  • Will Djokovic ever play in the US Open again? The tournament director, Stacey Allaster, described Djokovic’s absence as unfortunate but suggested he would be able to compete next year. “We look forward to welcoming Novak back at the 2023 US Open,” she wrote.

In other news…

Women gather outside the supreme court in Madrid in 2019 after five men were found guilty of raping an 18-year-old woman
Women gather outside the supreme court in Madrid in 2019 after five men were found guilty of raping an 18-year-old woman.
Photograph: Susana Vera/Reuters
  • Spanish lawmakers have passed a bill that stipulates sexual consent must be affirmative and cannot be assumed to have been given by default or silence. It is referred to as the “only yes means yes law” and was drawn up after the “wolf pack” gang-rape in 2016.

  • An 80-metre concrete obelisk in the Latvian capital commemorating the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany has been felled by the government, in the latest symbol of a turning tide against Russia in former USSR constitute nations since the invasion of Ukraine.

  • The justice department is likely to today file a redacted version of the document granting permission to search Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida and sixteen sensitive government papers. The affidavit contains key information about the investigation into the unauthorized retention of government secrets.

  • The UK energy regulator has raised the price cap by 80%, taking the average gas and electricity household bill to £3,549 a year. The massive increase – which will leave the cap at almost triple what it was a year ago – could lead to deaths because people cannot afford to heat their homes, at least one expert has warned.

Stat of the day: Long Covid keeping 2-4m Americans unemployed

A 'now laughing' sign outside a McDonald's restaurant in Augusta, Georgia.
A ‘now laughing’ sign outside a McDonald’s restaurant in Augusta, Georgia. Photograph: Brian Snyder/Reuters

About 16 million Americans of working age have long Covid and up to 4 million are out of work as a result, according to a report. Long Covid is affecting employment in other countries too: the Bank of England recently attributed the workforce shrinking by 440,000 largely to “increases in long-term sickness”.

But many workers are not being supported. In the US, more than 25% of private sector workers do not have any form of paid sick leave, and some people have reported being fired for taking sick leave. The report’s authors estimate there are 10.6m unfilled jobs. The report estimates the dollar amount of the lost wages is between $170bn and $230bn a year.

Don’t miss this: Elton John on helping Britney Spears sing again

Britney Spears and Elton John in 2013 at the Elton John Aids Foundation's Oscars viewing party.
Britney Spears and Elton John in 2013 at the Elton John Aids Foundation’s Oscars viewing party.
Photograph: Michael Kovac/Getty Images for EJAF

After being freed from her globally condemned 13-year conservatorship, it was unclear if Britney Spears would ever perform again. Now she’s back with a duet with Elton John. “She sang fantastically,” he said. “Everyone was saying they don’t think she can sing any more. But I said she was brilliant when she started so I think she can. And she did it, and I was so thrilled with what she did.”

The pair had Las Vegas residencies at the same time, hers at Planet Hollywood and his at Caesars Palace – though they did not often cross paths and lived contrasting lives.

Spears said she was put on lithium for rejecting some new choreography during the residency, and was granted a weekly allowance amounting to a fraction of what she was earning for her controllers. But then she canceled the residency at the end of 2017, announced a hiatus, and the #FreeBritney movement went mainstream.

Climate check: ‘Grandmothers are our weather app’

Hindu Oumarou Ibrahim
Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim founded the Association for Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad and she has been a chair for Indigenous people’s activities at the last four UN climate summits.
Photograph: NurPhoto/Getty Images

Chad is on the frontline of the climate crisis, with temperature increases predicted to be 1.5 times higher than the global average. Desertification has shrunk farming and grazing lands and nomad groups and farmers are being pushed into conflict while government and military land grabs have further reduced access to water, writes Alice McCool.

To help mitigate tensions, the activist Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim is working with communities to produce maps to enable them to agree on the sharing of natural resources. “Our best app is our grandmothers because they can just observe the cloud positions, the bird migration, the wind directions, or the little insects, and say, ‘oh, it’s going to rain in two hours’,” she said.

Last Thing: ‘I’m 65 and have $300,000 in student debt’

'From an initial loan payoff of $75,000 per year, my debt rose to $300,000.'
‘From an initial loan payoff of $75,000 per year, my debt rose to $300,000.’ Photograph: Bryan Olin Dozier/NurPhoto/Rex/Shutterstock

On Wednesday, the White House announced it would erase $10,000 for borrowers who make less than $125,000 a year, and $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients. “Sadly, this news does almost nothing for me and millions of others,” writes Lystra Small-Clouden.

“It falls far short of what economic and racial justice demands. That’s why I have joined over 250 people, all over age 50, who are pledging to strike our student loans when payments resume. Our numbers are growing every day.

“As a single, Black, immigrant woman, I always told my four kids that education was the most important part of their upbringing … My debt is an economic drain but it’s also an emotional one. I have been stressing over it for 12 years now, and the stress has taken a very real toll on my physical health.”


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