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Need2Know: Vaccine Mandates, Osaka Out & LeVar Burton Takes Jeopardy!

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Gold medalist Lydia Jacoby of the United States celebrates on the podium after the final of the women's 100-meter breaststroke at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Tuesday, July 27, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
Here are the headlines you Need2Know for Tuesday, July 27, 2021:

1. VAX MANDATES

The dam is starting to break when it comes to mandates, at least for public employees. NYC is mandating municipal workers -- teachers, cops, firefighters, etc. -- get vaccinated or face regular Covid testing. California is doing the same for its 240,000 state employees. The Dept. of Veteran Affairs is mandating vaccines for its healthcare workers, the first federal agency to do so. A group of nearly 60 medical groups have signed a letter calling for mandatory vaccinations in their industry, calling it “the logical fulfillment of the ethical commitment of all health care workers.” YAHOO NEWS

2. VAX FOR KIDS

The FDA has asked Pfizer and Moderna to expand their ongoing vaccine clinical trials in young children in order to increase the chances of detecting potentially rare side effects. It’s not clear if or how the expanded trials will affect the timeline for the vaccines to be authorized in kids under 12. Pfizer had previously said it expects to have the results for 5-to-11 year-olds by September, with results for younger ages to follow. NY TIMES

3. CLOSURE IN SURFSIDE

More than a month after the Champlain Towers South condo collapsed in Surfside, Fla., authorities have identified the remains of the last victim: Estelle Hedaya, 54.The final death toll stands at 98, making the disaster one of the worst accidental building failures in American history, and the largest non-hurricane emergency response in Florida history. MIAMI HERALD

4. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED?

President Biden announced the U.S. would formally end the combat mission in Iraq by the end of the year. Speaking alongside the Iraqi PM at the White House, Biden said American troops in Iraq would shift to an “advisory role,” which they’ve already essentially been in since defeating ISIS. The Pentagon plans to move an unspecified number of the 2,500 U.S. troops currently in Iraq while keeping the rest in place to train the Iraqi military. The largely symbolic announcement came after the head of CENTCOM declined to rule out airstrikes on the Taliban in Afghanistan after the military completes its withdrawal from that country. BBC
Raise your hand if you knew there were combat troops still in Iraq.

5. OLYMPICS LATEST

Naomi Osaka’s is out of competition in Tokyo after she was eliminated in the third round of the women’s tennis singles in straight sets. Monday was a big day for U.S. athletes from outside the “lower 48”: In the pool, Lydia Jacoby, the 17-year-old from Alaska, stunned teammate Lilly King to win gold in the women’s 100m breaststroke. In the ocean, Hawaii’s Carissa Moore took home the gold in the first-ever women’s surfing competition. Today, it’s all about the women’s gymnastics team final. That event is happening live this morning but will be replayed in primetime on NBC tonight. If you don’t want to be surprised, stay off social media today. MEDAL COUNT

6. EV WATCH

Tesla reported that it topped $1 billion in profit last quarter for the first time, blowing past Wall St. expectations. Sales of Tesla’s electric cars nearly doubled from the previous quarter, and the company brought in 10 times more money than the same period last year. CEO Elon Musk said Tesla has been  able to overcome the global semiconductor shortage by rewriting its vehicle software on the fly so that it could use alternative chips, but noted that the shortage remains a serious problem for the auto industry. Meanwhile, the luxury electric car company Lucid Motors, probably the closest thing to a 1:1 Tesla competitor, made its public debut on the Nasdaq. Lucid’s CEO told Cheddar to expect its first vehicle deliveries later this year: WATCH

7. CONFERENCE REALIGNMENT

The University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma have taken the first step in the process of leaving the Big 12 for the SEC. The Longhorns and Sooners gave the Big 12 Conference notice that they would not renew their media agreements after 2025, at which point they are expected to join the rival SEC, if not earlier. The maneuvering is the beginning of what is expected to be a consolidation of the conferences into a handful of superconferences, with the already dominant SEC becoming even stronger. ESPN
If not winning in the the Big 12 makes you qualified to join the SEC, Texas is a perfect fit. 

8. UNIVERSAL TURNS HEADS

Universal Pictures and Peacock have reportedly agreed to pay more than $400 million for the rights to a new Exorcist trilogy that will bring back Ellen Burstyn in her role as the mother of a possessed child, alongside Leslie Odom Jr. of Hamilton fame. The staggering sum is in the same ballpark as what Netflix recently paid for a pair of Knives Out sequels, suggesting that NBCUniversal is prepared to put big money into the streaming wars. The first film in the trilogy will go to theaters while the second and third are expected to debut on Peacock. EW
The power of cash compels you!

9. SPOTTED...

… LeVar Burton, kicking off his Jeopardy! guest hosting gig. Burton’s debut was overshadowed by a contestant who broke the record for the lowest score ever: SEE PIC.
...a new trailer for No Time to Die. If you feel like you’ve been seeing trailers for this movie for years now, it’s because you have. The first one dropped a lifetime ago in late 2019, before the 007 flick was repeatedly delayed due to the pandemic. Daniel Craig’s final turn as James Bond is due in theaters -- for real this time, maybe -- on Oct. 8: WATCH
We'll believe it when we see it....the name Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor -- aka Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s second daughter -- added to the official royal line of succession on the Buckingham Palace website two months after her birth: SEE IT

10. LEFTOVERS: UNITARDS FOR ALL

If you’ve been glued to the gymnastics events in Tokyo, you may have noticed that the German women’s team stands out for what they’re not wearing: the customary high-cut leotards. Germany’s female gymnasts are clad in ankle-length unitards after they decided as a team to make the change as protest against the “sexualization” of women in the sport. Outside of the Olympics, Norway’s beach handball team was fined by their ruling body last week after they ditched their bikini bottoms in favor of shorts, another planned protest that led to the singer Pink offering to pay each of the fines out of her own pocket in solidarity. AP
Listen to the N2K Podcast! Looking for more context and analysis on the big stories of the day? Check out our podcast! Hosts Jill and Carlo break down the headlines, every weekday morning Listen on Apple or Spotify, or watch on YouTube, and send us your feedback!
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