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Sen. Tim Scott to deliver Republicans' rebuttal to Biden's joint address

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) will deliver his party's response to President Biden's joint address to Congress next week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced on Thursday.

Why it matters: The pick is a big deal in the post-Trump GOP as Republicans navigate what the future of the party will look like. Scott, the only Black Republican in the Senate, is widely seen as a rising star in the party who is well-liked by pro-Trump Republicans as well more moderate members.


  • The selection comes as Scott is working closely with Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) on a potential bipartisan police reform deal in the wake of the Derek Chauvin trial.

What they're saying: “Sen. Tim Scott is not just one of the strongest leaders in our Senate Republican conference. He is one of the most inspiring and unifying leaders in our nation. As Sen. Scott likes to say, he is living his mother’s American dream, and he has dedicated his career to creating more opportunity for our fellow citizens who need it most," McConnell said.

  • “He is a conservative optimist with the right vision for a stronger, more united country," McCarthy added. "Today’s Republican Party is a growing coalition of working Americans who value freedom in pursuit of the American dream. No member in Congress epitomizes the essence of today’s Republican Party more than my friend and colleague Sen. Scott."
  • “We face serious challenges on multiple fronts, but I am as confident as I have ever been in the promise and potential of America," Scott said. "I look forward to having an honest conversation with the American people and sharing Republicans’ optimistic vision for expanding opportunity and empowering working families.”

China makes history with successful Mars landing

A Chinese lander carrying a rover successfully touched down on Mars for the first time, state media reports.

Why it matters: This is the first time China has landed a spacecraft on another planet, and it launches the nation into an elite club of only a few space agencies to successfully make it to the Martian surface.

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UN: 10,000 Palestinians flee homes in Gaza as Israel-Hamas fighting escalates

The United Nations warned Friday that ongoing fighting between Israel and Hamas "has the potential to unleash an uncontainable security and humanitarian crisis," in not only the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel, but "the region as a whole."

The big picture: More than 125 Palestinians, including 31 children have been killed in Gaza since fighting began Monday, per the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Seven people, including one child, have been killed in Israel, according to Israeli authorities.

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Bernie Sanders: The U.S. must recognize that "Palestinian rights matter"

The United States must encourage an immediate cease-fire in the Middle East and adopt an "evenhanded approach" that recognizes Palestinians and Israelis have a right to "live in peace and security," Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) wrote in a New York Times opinion on Friday.

Driving the news: Violence escalated this week after Israelis intensified efforts to evict Palestinians from their homes in Jerusalem. Hamas fired rockets and Israel massed troops, leaving more than 125 Palestinians and seven people in Israel dead.

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Uber launches new anti-racism efforts, hires new inclusive design lead

Eager to show progress on the pledge to make its platform and business anti-racist, Uber on Friday announced new anti-racism driver and rider campaigns, as well as fresh internal hiring practices, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Uber is one of the biggest ride hailing companies in the world. Its decisions impact the millions that use the platform, where drivers and riders alike say they have experienced racism.

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Ex-Gaetz associate admits to sex trafficking, agrees to cooperate with federal prosecutors

Joel Greenberg, a former associate of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), agreed to cooperate with federal investigators and admitted to a variety of federal charges including sex trafficking a minor, New York Times reported Friday citing court papers.

Why it matters: Investigators believe Greenberg introduced women to Gaetz for paid sex and are looking into the Florida congressman's alleged sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl. Greenberg could be a key witness as federal prosecutors decide whether to charge Gaetz.

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White House: User fees for infrastructure deal would "violate" Biden's tax pledge

The White House on Friday said that Republicans' idea to impose user fees for infrastructure spending would "violate" President Biden's promise not to raise taxes on Americans making less than $400,000 annually.

What they're saying: "The president's pledge and his commitment, his line in the sand, his red line, whatever you want to call it, is that he will not raise taxes for people making less than $400,000 a year," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said. "User fees that have been proposed out there would violate that."

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City of Columbus, Andre Hill's family agree to $10M settlement over the fatal police shooting

Columbus, Ohio, on Friday reached a $10 million settlement with the family of Andre Hill, an unarmed Black man who was fatally shot by police as he walked out of a garage while holding a cellphone.

What they're saying: "We understand that because of this former officer's actions, the Hill family will never be whole," City Attorney Zach Klein said in a statement. "No amount of money will ever bring Andre Hill back to his family, but we believe this is an important and necessary step in the right direction."

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"Mass Effect": Gaming's biggest space opera returns

The iconic spacefaring adventure "Mass Effect" is back today with "Mass Effect: Legendary Edition," a single, remastered version of all three games.

Why it matters: There is no series like "Mass Effect" — even when it comes to BioWare's other choice-driven RPGs like "Dragon Age." "Mass Effect" is a big ol' space adventure first and foremost, but it’s also about loyalty, love, and tough calls.

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