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Here are the week’s top stories, and a look ahead.
1. As the search for victims of a collapsed Florida condo building stretches into a fourth day, news has surfaced of a report from 2018 that warned of major structural damage.
Five people have been confirmed dead, and as many as 156 people remain unaccounted for at the Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Fla. Debris must be moved piece by piece to ensure that the unstable pile of rubble doesn’t collapse further, and smoke and debris from the collapsed building are posing health risks. Here’s what we know so far.
2. President Biden has promised to put racial equity at the center of everything he does. But his efforts are running into legal and political obstacles.
A small-business program that prioritized applications from women and people of color has had to change its rules after a lawsuit was filed on behalf of white restaurant owners. This week, a judge stopped an Agriculture Department program to forgive the debts of Black farmers and other minority farmers that had been intended to redress years of discrimination.
Republicans are also promising to attack the president’s equity efforts on the campaign trail and tie it to a broader culture war during the 2022 midterm elections.
In other politics news: A Times analysis looks at how deceptive campaign fund-raising often ensnares older Americans into making contributions. Over four months last year, one 90-year-old man unknowingly made 400 donations totaling nearly $11,500.
3. The coronavirus is devastating education in Latin America.
Deep into the second year of the pandemic, Latin America has suffered the longest school shutdown of any region in the world. By one estimate, 100 million children across the continent are still in full or partial distance learning, and the consequences are alarming: With economies still reeling, students are leaving school in large numbers, experts say, sometimes to work wherever they can.
In the U.S., many parents worried about the side effects from the coronavirus vaccine have held off from allowing their children to get them. Some states and cities are seeking to relax medical-consent rules, and some defiant teens are taking matters into their own hands.
5. Johnson & Johnson will pay New York $230 million under a settlement that ensures it will get out of the opioid business in the U.S.
The agreement came just days before opening arguments in a sweeping trial of several defendants, including the drug company. That trial will be the first of its kind to go before a jury, and the first to target the entire opioid supply chain, from drugmakers to distributors to a pharmacy chain.
The money is not intended to compensate people harmed by the opioid crisis but rather for abatement, including education and addiction treatment, said Letitia James, New York’s attorney general. The company said that the settlement was not an admission of wrongdoing. The opioid epidemic has killed more than 800,000 Americans in the last 20 years.
6. Many Native people were forced into the most undesirable areas of America. Now, climate change is forcing them to face the loss of home, again.
While other communities struggle on a warming planet, Native tribes are experiencing an environmental peril exacerbated by policies — first imposed by white settlers and later the U.S. government — that forced them onto marginal lands that are becoming uninhabitable.
In Canada, the government forcibly removed at least 150,000 Indigenous children from their homes from the 1880s through the 1990s, and sent them to residential schools designed to assimilate them. Two recent discoveries of what Indigenous groups say are the remains of hundreds of those children have strengthened their resolve to hold the country accountable for its brutal past.
7. Wimbledon, the oldest of all the major tennis tournaments, begins tomorrow. The seedings look a little different this year.
For the first time, Wimbledon seedings did not take into account a player’s past performance on grass, adhering instead exclusively to the world rankings. Serena Williams, still chasing a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title, has a promising draw. Novak Djokovic, the world No. 1 and the reigning men’s singles champion, is heavily favored to defend his title.
Some big names will miss this year’s tournament, including Simona Halep, Dominic Thiem, Rafael Nadal, Naomi Osaka and others.
And on ice, the Tampa Bay Lightning will play the Montreal Canadiens in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup tomorrow night. Tampa Bay has a chance to repeat as the champion, while Montreal will look for its first title since 1993.
8. “We have a voice, we have contributed to history and to culture in this country.”
Lee Soulja, an artist and founder of NYC Center for Black Pride, is part of a group of unsung heroes who have been opening doors for other L.G.B.T.Q. people of color through their art, activism, entrepreneurship and mentorship. We spoke to them about creating a legacy of empowerment.
9. This may be the perfect summer cocktail.
For our wine critic, Eric Asimov, pastis is the ideal summer aperitif. Popular in the south of France, pastis is both the name of an anise-flavored spirit and an easy drink that requires adding only cold water to that liqueur. And the preparation has built-in entertainment — adding water to the spirit quickly makes it turn milky and pearlescent in a transformation known as the louche.
“Drinking a pastis in summer,” Asimov writes, “gives one the wisdom to understand that repose, not unwarranted exertion, is the preferred course of action.”
Committing just a few key ratios to memory can make at-home mixology a breeze. Here are three equal-parts drink recipes to get you started.