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"Will of the country": Scottish first minister vows independence referendum after election win

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced plans Saturday for a second independence referendum once the pandemic has abated following the country's parliamentary elections.

The big picture: Sturgeon's Scottish National Party won 64 seats, one seat short of an outright majority in the 129-seat Parliament. But most seats went to pro-independence parties.


  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed to block any second referendum push.

What they're saying: "There is simply no democratic justification whatsoever for Boris Johnson, or indeed for anyone else, seeking to block the right of the people of Scotland to choose our own future," Sturgeon said at a news conference.

  • "It is the will of the country."

Of note: Johnson's ruling Conservative Party won comprehensively in local elections held across England on Friday.

  • The opposition Labour Party fired its chair Angela Raynor following its dismal results. One bright spot for them was the re-election of London Mayor Sadiq Khan, the capital's first Muslim mayor and Labour Party member.

Least persuadable unvaccinated Americans are largely white and Republican

Data: Axios-Ipsos Poll; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

The most hardcore opponents of coronavirus vaccination — the group who say they'll never get one — tend to be older, whiter and more Republican than the unvaccinated Americans who are still persuadable, according to an analysis of our Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: As the Delta variant triggers more COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths, mostly among the unvaccinated, the Biden administration and even some high-profile GOP political and media figures are trying to figure out how to nudge the country's vaccination rate higher.

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Female Olympians push back against double standard in uniforms

Female Olympians in Tokyo are rejecting the uniforms that have long defined their sports, highlighting a double standard that exists how women dress in competition vs. men.

Driving the news: During their qualifying round Sunday, Germany's women's gymnastics team wore full-length unitards, eschewing the conventional leg-barring leotards worn by most female gymnasts.

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Simone Biles won't defend Olympic title at gymnastics all-around final in Tokyo

U.S. gymnastics great Simone Biles won't defend her Olympic title in the upcoming all-around final as she continues to focus on her mental health, USA Gymnastics announced Wednesday.

After further medical evaluation, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition. We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her bravery in prioritizing her well-being. Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many. pic.twitter.com/6ILdtSQF7o

— USA Gymnastics (@USAGym) July 28, 2021

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

DOJ declines to defend Mo Brooks in Eric Swalwell's Capitol riot lawsuit

The Department of Justice declined late Tuesday to represent Rep. Mo Brooks in a civil lawsuit against the Georgia congressman concerning the Capitol riot.

Why it matters: Brooks had argued he should have immunity in the suit, filed by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) against him, former President Trump, his son Donald Trump Jr. and lawyer Rudy Giuliani over the insurrection. He said he was acting as a government employee when he spoke at a rally before the insurrection.

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Katie Ledecky wins gold in first women's 1500m freestyle

Katie Ledecky took home the gold medal in the women's 1,500-meter freestyle swimming race Tuesday evening, becoming the first female swimmer to win the newly added division. Team USA's Erica Sullivan won silver.

Driving the news: The long-distance 1,500m race has traditionally only been available to men at the Olympics, and the Tokyo Games mark the first time that it has been open to women.

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Activision Blizzard CEO says company response to sexism lawsuit was "tone deaf"

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick sent a lengthy letter to employees late on Tuesday, listing steps the company will take to address widespread allegations of sexist and discriminatory conduct at the "Call of Duty" and "World of Warcraft" gaming company.

Why it matters: This was the most comprehensive message from the company, and a softer one than had been sent by Kotick's PR people and a top executive last week.

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Jake Ellzey defeats Trump-endorsed widow of congressman in Texas Senate seat race

Jake Ellzey won a special a runoff election for the U.S. House Seat in Texas on Tuesday night.

Why it matters: It's a blow for his opponent Susan Wright, widow of the late Rep. Ron Wright, who was endorsed by former President Trump.

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Democratic donor donor Ed Buck convicted of providing fatal meth doses to 2 men

Ed Buck, a wealthy political activist and Democratic donor, Tuesday of charges that he supplied fatal methamphetamine doses to two men during "party-and-play" encounters at his West Hollywood apartment, per the New York Times.

Of note: A federal jury found Buck guilty of all nine felony counts exactly four years on from when Gemmel Moore, one of his victims, was found dead from an overdose at his home. Buck could face life in prison over his convictions.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

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