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Have a good evening. Here is the last Wednesday at the end of the day.
1. The Biden administration announced an ambitious goal to produce nearly half of the country’s electricity from the sun by 2050.
Such an expansion, presented in a new report from the Department of Energy, is in line with what most climatologists believe is necessary to avoid the worst effects of global warming. It would require a vast transformation in the country’s technology and energy industries, and in the way Americans live.
The Department of Energy said its calculations showed the price of solar panels had fallen so much that they could produce 40% of the country’s electricity by 2035 – enough to power all American homes – and 45% by 2050. Solar energy contributed less than 4%. of the country’s electricity in 2020.
In other climate news, Tropical Storm Mindy has formed in the Gulf of Mexico and is expected to move through the Florida panhandle tonight, posing a threat of flooding. And most of New Orleans’ lights are back, a big step in the city’s recovery from Hurricane Ida.
2. Despite drastic job losses and long queues at food banks, a vast expansion of federal aid prevented food insecurity from growing last year, the government reported.
Biparty legislation signed by President Donald Trump has offered billions of dollars in emergency funding, preventing the expected increase in hunger that has accompanied past recessions. But some groups still suffered, including black Americans and Southern households and those with children. The food insecurity gap between black and white households widened by 14.6 percentage points.
In other coronavirus news:
3. A day after the Taliban appointed an interim cabinet to rule Afghanistan, the dizzying challenges that accompanied the group’s victory were growing.
Protesters have been abused in overcrowded prisons. Several Afghan journalists said they were arrested while covering a protest today and beaten in detention. A Taliban official said the protests must now be approved in advance and warned journalists not to cover them as they are “illegal”. A day later, the demonstrators were on the streets again.
And the humanitarian crisis only got worse, with food and cash shortages preventing people from getting basic supplies. Aid workers who remained in Afghanistan, many of them women, are on a difficult path.
4. Over the past half century, university graduates have become a strong democratic bloc. Those without a degree, by contrast, flocked to Republicans.
In an analysis from The Times, Nate Cohn examines how American politics has realigned itself along cultural and educational lines, and away from the class and income divisions that have defined the two parties for much of the 20th century. Overall, 41% of people who voted last year were four-year college graduates, according to census estimates, up from 5% in 1952.
If America had six political parties, which one would you belong to? Take our Opinion quiz to find out.
5. A statue of Robert E. Lee was hoisted from its pedestal in Richmond, Virginia. It was one of the largest Confederate monuments in the country.
The Southern Civil War General’s Memorial was erected in 1890, the first of six monuments that became symbols of white power along Main Boulevard in Richmond, the state capital of Virginia and the former capital of the Confederation. Today it has become the last of these monuments to be removed. The pullout, prompted in part by the murder of George Floyd, comes after more than a year of legal wrangling.
“This city belongs to all of us, not just some of us,” said one activist. “Now we can try to determine what happens next. We are creating a new legacy.
8. “I had one goal in my career, and that was to win more than anyone. We were doing.“
Derek Jeter thanked the crowds of fans in Cooperstown, NY, and those watching at home as he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Now general manager of the Miami Marlins, Jeter played 20 years for the New York Yankees, anchoring the team to shortstop for a generation and winning five World Series championships.
He joined former outfielder Larry Walker and former wide receiver Ted Simmons at Cooperstown for the induction of the 2020 class. Union leader Marvin Miller, who died in 2012, was also inducted.
In tennis at the US Open, Emma Raducanu and Belinda Bencic advanced to the women’s semi-finals. Novak Djokovic will face Matteo Berrettini at 8:15 p.m. EST for a berth in the men’s semi-final.
9. Throughout his career, Colson Whitehead has shown an ability to evolve into new genres. He does it again.
After a speculative mystery, postmodernist satire, post-apocalyptic zombie tale and back-to-back Pulitzers with “The Underground Railroad” and “The Nickel Boys”, Whitehead’s last detour is a detective novel, “Harlem Shuffle”, about a furniture salesman who dreams of becoming the upper middle class of Harlem.
Born and raised in New York City, Whitehead writes and speaks about the city with the mixture of affection and exasperation of a native. “I am describing a Harlem that was in decline in the 1950s and 1960s,” he said on a Harlem walking tour. “And now he’s gentrified and revitalized. And this is the city. He is still put down. By September 11, by Covid, and we’re bouncing back. ”
Whitehead wrote this essay a month after the September 11 attacks. Many come back to read it year after year.
10. And finally, from “Blue’s Clues” to student loans.
One day in 2002, Steve Burns packed his backpack, said goodbye to a speckled blue dog and a piece of cartoon furniture, and disappeared on a one-dimensional school bus bound for college. And with that, an era of the children’s television series “Blue’s Clues” was suddenly over.
On Tuesday, Burns returned to a Twitter video. Putting on the same striped lime green rugby jersey he wore, he addressed his now adult viewers, eliciting feelings of childhood comfort amid global crises. He acknowledged her “abrupt” departure and urged viewers to think their own way: “Look at all you’ve done and all you’ve accomplished during this time. And it’s just – it’s so amazing.