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President Joe Biden this week took a huge step toward achieving a hallmark legislative accomplishment. After months of arduous negotiations, the Senate voted to begin work on the bipartisan infrastructure bill that the president has declared was nothing less than evidence that government itself still worked. But the triumph was shadowed by the surging coronavirus that has forced the restoration of mask guidelines, imperiled the nation’s economic recovery and threatened Biden’s political standing as his party prepares to defend its ultra-slim margins in Congress.

By the end of the U.S. head count last year, the Census Bureau lacked data for residents in almost a fifth of the nation's occupied college dorms, nursing homes and prisons. That required the statistical agency to make calls to the facilities to collect information or use a last-resort statistical technique to fill in the gaps. According to new documents released in a lawsuit, the Census Bureau lacked information on residents living in 43,000 of the 227,000 occupied group quarters. They make up a small share of the overall population but can have a big impact in college towns or areas with a large prison population.

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Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is vowing he “won’t let grass grow under our feet” as the department begins to implement new vaccine and testing directives. But Pentagon officials are scrambling to figure out how to implement the changes across the vast military population and determining which National Guard and Reserve troops would be affected by the orders. The Pentagon has two missions: It must develop plans to make the vaccine mandatory for the military, and it has to implement new requirements for federal workers who will have to either attest to a COVID-19 vaccination or face frequent testing and travel restrictions.

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New Zealand won the women’s rugby sevens title at the Tokyo Olympics by beating France 26-12. It was a gold medal five years in the making for a New Zealand lineup that lost to Australia in the 2016 final when rugby sevens made its Olympic debut in Rio de Janeiro. Top-ranked New Zealand entered the Tokyo Games as the world sevens series and World Cup Sevens champions but had some close calls on the way to the final. Alowesi Nakoci scored two tries and made two try-saving tackles as Fiji beat Britain 21-12 in the bronze medal playoff. It was the first Olympic medals ever for Fijian women.

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Several thousand health care workers and their supporters have gathered in the Hungarian capital, Budapest, to demand wage increases and better conditions for those working in the country’s ailing public health system. The crowd said the COVID-19 pandemic had only worsened the already precarious situation of health care workers while their demands for pay hikes and reduced working hours had gone unheeded by the government. Workers like nurses and orderlies say a recent overhaul of the public health care system has given doctors better wages while leaving nurses and others with long working hours and low pay. 

Ian Kinsler, Danny Valencia, Ryan Lavarnway and Ty Kelly are immersing in their Jewish heritage and helping build baseball in Israel. The major league veterans are playing for Israel this week at the Olympics. Peter Kurz, a native New Yorker, helped recruit the players. Some of their teammates have far less experience, such as 42-year right-hander Shlomo Lipetz, whose day job is director of music programming at New York’s City Winery. An organization backing the team is helping build fields in Israel. After losses to South Korea and the United States, Israel faces an elimination game against Mexico on Sunday. 

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A most trying Olympic year for Simone Manuel came to a disappointing end. The American sprinter failed to advance to the 50-meter freestyle final in Tokyo. She finished tied for 11th in the semifinals. The top eight made the final. The chaotic sprint was Manuel's only individual event in Tokyo.  She didn’t qualify at the Olympic trials in the 100 free and wasn’t able to defend her title won five years ago at the Rio de Janeiro Games. Manuel revealed earlier this year that she'd been diagnosed with burnout, and was forced to miss a chunk of training time. She still earned a bronze relay medal in Tokyo.