President Joe Biden signed a bill targeting zero emissions to make up half of U.S. car sales by 2030. The number of children testing positive for COVID-19 dramatically increased. And a three-week-old wildfire destroyed a California mountain town.
👋 Hey, hey! Laura here with some electrifying news for you.
But first, these pics have got me over the moon. 🌙 Just in time for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 15 mission, a treasure trove of amazing remastered photos of astronauts exploring the surface of the moon during that mission was released. Check them out here.
Biden hits the gas on electric
Vroom, vroom! President Biden said "there's no turning back" on the future of an electric auto industry Thursday as he signed an executive order setting a target for zero-emissions vehicles to account for half of all automobiles sold in the U.S. by 2030. It's an ambitious goal that hinges on major investments by the federal government on charging stations and other infrastructure – part of a series of actions Biden announced aimed at jump-starting a dramatic shift toward electric vehicles as part of the administration's broader agenda to tackle climate change and compete with China. The White House estimated the new Environmental Protection Agency rules would save around 200 billion gallons of gasoline and reduce 2 billion metric tons of carbon pollution, resulting in $900 in savings for consumers over a vehicle lifespan. Officials said the fuel efficiency and emissions standards would result in about $140 billion in net benefits over the life of the program.
Biden pushes U.S. electric vehicle revolution — a sticking point in GOP infrastructure talks.
Who really needs an electric car with 500 miles of battery range? Nobody or maybe everyone.
More kids are getting COVID-19
As the school year approaches in most of the country, there's increasing evidence — both numerical and anecdotal — of children's vulnerability to the coronavirus and its highly transmissible delta variant. The American Academy of Pediatrics said as of July 29, almost 4.2 million children have tested positive for the virus since the pandemic began, nearly 72,000 of them in the last week – almost twice as many as the previous week. For perspective, about 79,000 Americans of all ages tested positive in a week of late June.
📈Today's numbers: The U.S. has had more than 35.3 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and 614,800 deaths. More than 165.8 million Americans — 49.8% of the population — have been fully vaccinated.
👉 Catch up on the latest COVID-19 news: Moderna reports vaccine 93% effective after six months; 'Delta plus' variant is 'not a problem,' experts say.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says he will 'stand in the way' of Biden on COVID-19 restrictions.
The delta variant is 'ripping through the unvaccinated' and crowding hospitals in Florida, Texas.
What everyone's talking about
I knew she was trouble when she walked in: Taylor Swift teases fans with clues to new 'Red' songs.
An 81-year-old man called 'River Dave' didn't want to leave his cabin in the woods. Then it burned down.
'I failed big': How 'The Suicide Squad' star John Cena makes the most of his 'second chance' in Hollywood.
Let's talk about (queer) sex: The importance of LGBTQ-inclusive sex education in schools.
In a report, N.Y. trooper on Andrew Cuomo's security detail describes how she was harassed.
DOJ watchdog report: Did Giuliani have inside info on Hillary Clinton probe in 2016?
Hot mess at the airport
Spirit Airlines bedlam, day five: Spirit Airlines apologized to passengers Wednesday after days of staggering flight cancellations and said cancellations should ease in the days to come as it reboots its operation. Help didn't arrive on Thursday. Blaming its operational meltdown on a series of issues, including weather, technology outages and staffing shortages, Spirit canceled 402 Thursday flights – 51% of its scheduled flights – as of 11:30 a.m. EDT. It is the fifth consecutive day of frustration for passengers on the budget airline, with cancellations this week now topping 1,700. Earlier in the week, American Airlines canceled hundreds of flights as it struggled to recover from summer storms, but its operations have since stabilized.
Frontier passenger taped to seat: Accused of groping, punching airline's crew.
Airline cancel or delay your flight? Here's what airlines owe you – and how to get it.
'We lost Greenville tonight'
A 3-week-old wildfire engulfed a Northern California mountain town, leaving much of the downtown in ashes, while a new wind-whipped blaze also destroyed homes as crews braced for another explosive run of flames Thursday in the midst of dangerous weather. The Dixie Fire, swollen by bone-dry vegetation and 40 mph gusts, raged through the town of Greenville on Wednesday evening. A gas station, hotel and bar were among many fixtures gutted in the town, which dates to California’s Gold Rush era and has some structures more than a century old. It wasn’t immediately known how many buildings were demolished, but photos and video from the scene indicate the destruction was widespread. "We lost Greenville tonight," U.S. Rep. Doug LaMalfa, who represents the area, said in an emotional Facebook video. "There’s just no words."
'Going to be a long haul': Massive Dixie Fire merges with Fly Fire, tears through small town as California burns.
From fire clouds to fire tornadoes: This is how wildfires can create their own weather.
Photos show widespread devastation from wildfires sweeping western states.
A woman passed out after drinking. Court docs say a man dumped her in the cold to die.
As record Florida manatee deaths climb, state and feds prepare for another deadly winter.
USWNT escapes with bronze at Tokyo Olympics thanks to two vets.
Hillsong megachurch founder Brian Houston charged with concealing child sex offenses.
2 million dehumidifiers recalled for burn and fire risks: Whirlpool, Haier among brands.
At least 10 dead after van crashes in Texas
Authorities on Thursday are still investigating a van crash that killed at least 10 people and injured 20 others in South Texas. The crash occurred Wednesday at a highway intersection in Encino, Texas, when the top-heavy van tipped over after the driver lost control on a curve, authorities said. The van was designed to hold 15 passengers, but a suspected 29 migrants who entered the country illegally were inside. The crash comes less than six months since two other deadly crashes killed multiple migrants in cramped vehicles on highways near the border.
A break from the news
🎢 This Colorado theme park is putting its newest roller coaster on a mountaintop.
🏡 The real estate market could get even more competitive if foreign buyers return.
💪 In the weight-loss industry, body shaming is out and body positivity is in.
💰 Which is better for budgeting, apps or spreadsheets?
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Electric vehicles, COVID-19 in kids, Spirit Airlines, Greenville wildfire. Thursday's news.