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First Thing: impeachment efforts against Cuomo take shape after sexual harassment scandal

·5-min read
<span>Photograph: Reuters</span>
Photograph: Reuters

Good morning.

The New York governor Andrew Cuomo, who was found by the state’s top prosecutor to have violated the law by sexually harassing 11 women, continued to cling on to power on Wednesday while critics prepared for an impeachment.

Carl Heastie, the speaker of the state assembly, promised to move “expeditiously” to hold an impeachment investigation based on 179 witnesses and 74,000 items of evidence against Cuomo, the longest-serving chief executive of any US state.

“It is abundantly clear to me that the governor has lost the confidence of the assembly Democratic majority and that he can no longer remain in office,” Heastie said. The governor said he “never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances”.

  • On Wednesday, several trade unions that had been among Cuomo’s main advocates abandoned him, as did another big supporter, the sexual and reproductive health provider Planned Parenthood.

  • A poll indicated that 59% of all New Yorkers thought the governor should resign, although this fell to 52% of registered Democratic voters.

Florida governor under pressure amid surge in Covid cases

Florida governor Ron DeSantis
The ‘Pied Piper of Covid-19, leading everybody off a cliff’? Florida governor Ron DeSantis. Photograph: Wilfredo Lee/AP

Florida, a state comprising little more than 6% of the US population, was accounting for one in five of the country’s new cases, recording 50,997 in the three days to Tuesday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Now, the governor, Ron DeSantis, has come under fire for his handling of the new Delta variant wave, which prompted Dan Gelber, the mayor of Miami Beach, to describe the Republican governor as the “Pied Piper of Covid-19, leading everybody off a cliff.”

  • While Florida continues to set records for new cases and hospital admissions, DeSantis maintains the increase is “seasonal” and opposes lockdowns or new restrictions.

Top Republicans rush to protect Trump from Capitol attack fallout

Elise Stefanik waits to speaks to the media on 27 July 2021.
No 3 House Republican Elise Stefanik: ‘Nancy Pelosi bears responsibility.’ Photograph: Joshua Roberts/Reuters

Seven months after the attack on the Capitol, senior Republicans in Congress are doing their best to absolve Donald Trump of responsibility and are attempting to shift the blame to the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, for the 6 January insurrection perpetrated by a mob of Trump supporters.

Loyalty to a defeated former president, as well as the political self-interest of Republicans keen to distance themselves from an insurrection they helped stoke with lies of a stolen election, take priority over truth and facts now, Hugo Lowell reports from Washington.

  • “The president bears responsibility,” the House Republican leader, Kevin McCarthy, had originally said of Trump in the immediate aftermath of the attack, and demanded that he “accept his share of responsibility”.

  • But last week, the No 3 House Republican, Elise Stefanik, blamed Pelosi for the violence on 6 January. “The American people deserve to know the truth: that Nancy Pelosi bears responsibility, as speaker of the House, for the tragedy that occurred on January 6,” Stefanik claimed falsely from the steps of the Capitol.

In other news …

In this file photo, handguns are displayed at the Smith &amp; Wesson booth at the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show in Las Vegas.
Handguns are displayed at the Smith & Wesson booth at a Las Vegas trade show. Mexico has launched legal action against US gunmakers and distributors. Photograph: John Locher/AP

Stat of the day: At least 528 cats in the UK have died from a mystery illness over past few months

Gray fluffy cat with yellow eyes in the kitchen waiting for food.
Batches of cat food have been recalled in the UK because of a mystery illness. Photograph: Anastasiya Tsiasemnikava/Alamy

Cats in Britain are still dying in significant numbers from a serious illness that investigators believe may be linked to food fungi in widely sold cat food brands. UK vets have seen high numbers of cases of pancytopenia, a condition in which the number of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets decreases rapidly. Of the 528 cases the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) is aware of, 63.5% ended fatally, while batches of cat food have been recalled from retailers.

Don’t miss: a genetic secret determining the age women start menopause has been discovered

A series of genetic signals that influences the age women begin menopause has been identified, a discovery that could potentially extend women’s natural reproductive years, with the help of a predictive DNA test.

Climate check: California’s largest wildfire explodes again

house in flames
Flames consume a home on Highway 89 as the Dixie fire tears through the Greenville community of Plumas County, California, on 4 August. Photograph: Noah Berger/AP

California’s largest wildfire rapidly expanded again on Wednesday after burning for nearly three weeks in remote mountains. Officials worry that hot, dry weather will further stoke the flames of the Dixie fire, which prompted an evacuation order for an additional 15,000 people, and create new fires across the state.

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Last Thing: Changing one’s life to rescue koalas? ‘It’s a dream come true’

After decades of working in retail, Angela Christodoulou had a eureka moment. Having turned 50, she decided to devote herself to rescuing koalas. “The first weekend in July was my record for collecting koalas. I rescued seven in the space of 24 hours.”

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