First Thing: impeachment efforts against Cuomo take shape after sexual harassment scandal

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The New York governor Andrew Cuomo, who was found by the state’s top prosecutor to have violated the law by sexually harassing 11 women, continued to cling on to power on Wednesday while critics prepared for an impeachment.

Carl Heastie, the speaker of the state assembly, promised to move “expeditiously” to hold an impeachment investigation based on 179 witnesses and 74,000 items of evidence against Cuomo, the longest-serving chief executive of any US state.

“It is abundantly clear to me that the governor has lost the confidence of the assembly Democratic majority and that he can no longer remain in office,” Heastie said. The governor said he “never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances”.

Florida, a state comprising little more than 6% of the US population, was accounting for one in five of the country’s new cases, recording 50,997 in the three days to Tuesday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Now, the governor, Ron DeSantis, has come under fire for his handling of the new Delta variant wave, which prompted Dan Gelber, the mayor of Miami Beach, to describe the Republican governor as the “Pied Piper of Covid-19, leading everybody off a cliff.”

Seven months after the attack on the Capitol, senior Republicans in Congress are doing their best to absolve Donald Trump of responsibility and are attempting to shift the blame to the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, for the 6 January insurrection perpetrated by a mob of Trump supporters.

Loyalty to a defeated former president, as well as the political self-interest of Republicans keen to distance themselves from an insurrection they helped stoke with lies of a stolen election, take priority over truth and facts now, Hugo Lowell reports from Washington.

Cats in Britain are still dying in significant numbers from a serious illness that investigators believe may be linked to food fungi in widely sold cat food brands. UK vets have seen high numbers of cases of pancytopenia, a condition in which the number of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets decreases rapidly. Of the 528 cases the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) is aware of, 63.5% ended fatally, while batches of cat food have been recalled from retailers.

A series of genetic signals that influences the age women begin menopause has been identified, a discovery that could potentially extend women’s natural reproductive years, with the help of a predictive DNA test.

California’s largest wildfire rapidly expanded again on Wednesday after burning for nearly three weeks in remote mountains. Officials worry that hot, dry weather will further stoke the flames of the Dixie fire, which prompted an evacuation order for an additional 15,000 people, and create new fires across the state.

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After decades of working in retail, Angela Christodoulou had a eureka moment. Having turned 50, she decided to devote herself to rescuing koalas. “The first weekend in July was my record for collecting koalas. I rescued seven in the space of 24 hours.”

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