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5 things for Monday, June 26: Senate health bill, Russia, disasters

Posted June 26

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1. Senate health bill

The big vote on the Senate's health care bill is supposed to be this week, but it's anybody's guess if it will happen. The GOP can only afford to lose two votes on the bill, but already five Republican senators have come out to say they can't support it right now. And two of those senators don't even think a vote should happen this week. Susan Collins of Maine and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin say they want everything to slow down on this to allow more time for debate and possible changes.

The Congressional Budget Office's assessment of the Senate bill may come as early as today. The CBO score on the House's version of the bill (which is very similar to the Senate bill) said if it became law, 23 million fewer people would have health insurance.

2. Russia

Guess who suddenly believes that the Russians hacked last year's US elections? That would be one Donald J. Trump. But guess whom he blames for it? That would be Barack Obama. The current President said the former President should have done more to stop Russia's meddling (a top Democrat actually agrees-with Trump on this one) since the Obama administration reportedly knew about it months before the election. Up until now, Trump has downplayed the notion of any Russian interference in the 2016 election.

3. Disasters

Across the globe, it was a weekend of horrific disasters:

In Pakistan, at least 153 people were killed when a fuel tanker truck exploded. The truck had crashed and was leaking fuel. People had gathered around it to collect the fuel in pots when something -- a cigarette, a cell phone, maybe the tanker's batteries -- set off the explosion.

In China, at least 10 people died after a landslide in a remote mountain village in Sichuan province. The search for about 100 missing people has been called off as authorities warn of more landslides.

In the Indian-administered portion of Kashmir, at least seven people died after falling from a cable car during strong winds.

In Colombia, at least six people died after a tourist boat capsized. Thirty-one people are missing.

4. Takata

The exploding airbag scandal has finally brought down Takata. The Japanese auto parts maker filed for bankruptcy-in Japan and the US. Takata's faulty airbag inflators, which can blast shrapnel into drivers and passengers, were linked to 11 deaths and resulted in tens of millions of recalls. The company admitted to manipulating and withholding key info, even after the aribags started exploding, and pleaded guilty to criminal charges that will cost it-$1 billion. With debts now zooming past $9 billion, the company threw in the towel.

5. SpaceX

What a weekend for SpaceX! Elon Musk's private space company successfully launched two rockets--- one from Florida's Kennedy Space Center and the other from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Both launches helped put communications satellites into orbit.-Sunday's launch marked SpaceX's ninth so far this year, setting a new record for most launches in a single year.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

People are talking about these. Read up. Join in.

Dirty money

About 80% of our cash carries cocaine -- and a whole lot of other icky, nasty things we'd rather not talk about.

Train spotting

A couple in Britain is-visiting every train station in England, Scotland and Wales -- some 2,563 of them -- because, well, they really like trains.

So ugly, she's cute

Meet Martha, the "drooling, snoring, gassy" winner of the World's Ugliest Dog contest.

Pretty poison

An airline in Thailand celebrated Britney Spears' concerts-by having some flight attendants recreate her sultry "Toxic" video.

Climbing the corporate ladder

Lots of workplaces have fitness centers. That's cute. A new 62-story skyscraper in London will have a "climbing window" for its employees.

WHAT'S FOR LUNCH

Modi meeting

President Trump welcomes Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the White House today. The subject of H-1B work visas is sure to come up, since Indians get about 70% of them each year.

NUMBER OF THE DAY

20

That's how old Harry Potter is. The very first book in J.K. Rowling's uber-popular series was published 20 years ago today,-on June 26, 1997.

AND FINALLY ...

Let's be friends

Cuteness alert! A St. Bernard puppy makes friends with a bunch of goats. You're welcome. (Click to view)

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