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Welcome to the Overnight News Digest with a crew consisting of founder Magnifico, regular editors side pocket, maggiejean, Chitown Kev, eeff, Magnifico, annetteboardman, Besame and jck. Alumni editors include (but not limited to) Interceptor 7, Man Oh Man, wader, Neon Vincent, palantir, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse (RIP), ek hornbeck (RIP), rfall, ScottyUrb, Doctor RJ, BentLiberal, Oke (RIP) and jlms qkw.

OND is a regular community feature on Daily Kos, consisting of news stories from around the world, sometimes coupled with a daily theme, original research or commentary. Editors of OND impart their own presentation styles and content choices, typically publishing each day near 12:00 AM Eastern Time.  

Please feel free to share your articles and stories in the comments.

Chicago Tribune: Chicago’s National Museum of Mexican Art gets $8 million from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott by Doug George

The National Museum of Mexican Art announced late Tuesday that it had received a donation of $8 million, the largest single gift in the Pilsen museum’s 39-year history.

The unrestricted money came from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott and her husband Dan Jewett as part of their well-publicized donations of $2.74 billion, given to hundreds of organizations their charity team identified as equity-oriented, nonprofit projects working in areas that have been neglected. The gifts also included $40 million to UIC.

“Arts and cultural institutions can strengthen communities by transforming spaces, fostering empathy, reflecting community identity, advancing economic mobility, improving academic outcomes, lowering crime rates, and improving mental health,” Scott said in a blog post.

In the Tuesday announcement, museum founder Carlos Tortolero called the gift transformational for the museum. “This generous gift will have a lasting and transformative impact on our organization and the community we serve,” he said in a statement.

New York Times: U.S. Nears 600,000 Virus Deaths Despite Progress From Vaccines by Dan Levin and Julie Bosman

It is a number that once seemed unimaginable.

In the next few days, the United States will surpass 600,000 deaths from Covid-19, the highest known death toll in the world. The milestone approaches even though virus cases and deaths in this country have sharply fallen, vaccinations have been distributed widely, and many people have shed their masks and resumed prepandemic lives, including in New York and California, which both fully reopened on Tuesday.

Yet the coronavirus remains agonizingly present for those who knew the hundreds across the country still dying of it each day.

In April, one of the victims was Toni Gallo, 67, of Valparaiso, Ind., who had been sick with the virus for five months. “The world has lost a loving shining star,” her obituary read. On May 26, the coronavirus claimed the life of Frank Sanchez Jr., a 61-year-old Army veteran from Nekimi, Wis.; he was a union leader and lover of music who had built a successful D.J. business with his wife. Last week, Officer Ryan Barham, 43, of the Susanville, Calif., police died from the virus, the department announced.

CNNModerates win the day in close vote over Southern Baptist presidency by Michael Warren

Washington (CNN)Alabama pastor Ed Litton will be the next president of the Southern Baptist Convention following a narrow election win Tuesday — a victory for the more moderate establishment against a conservative insurgency in an ongoing fight within the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.

The vote comes as the SBC has been grappling with questions about racial reconciliation, gender roles within the clergy and how to handle sex abuse cases. Litton defeated the favored candidate of conservative Southern Baptists, Georgia pastor Mike Stone, in a runoff, receiving support from 52% of the delegates (called “messengers”) to the SBC’s annual meeting in Nashville.

“My prayers and congratulations are with Pastor Ed Litton as Southern Baptists continue to serve our churches and our communities,” said Stone in a statement Tuesday evening.

The outcome was uncertain in the days and even hours before the vote, which took place at one of the largest annual meetings in SBC history. More than 13,000 messengers voted in person Tuesday, a year after the 2020 meeting was canceled due to the Covid pandemic.

Washington Post: Senate passes bill to make Juneteenth, day commemorating the end of slavery, a federal holiday by Mike DeBonis and Felicia Somnez

The Senate on Tuesday unanimously passed a measure that would establish a federal holiday for Juneteenth, the day that marks the end of slavery in the United States.

The bill now heads to the Democratic-led House, where it is likely to be approved, although the timing remains uncertain.

Unanimous Senate passage was an anticlimactic culmination to a long effort to commemorate Juneteenth, the day that enslaved Black people in Galveston, Tex., received news on June 19, 1865, that they had been freed by the Emancipation Proclamation — more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln had signed it.

“Juneteenth commemorates the moment some of the last formerly enslaved people in the nation learned they were free,” said Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.). “Making Juneteenth a federal holiday is a major step forward to recognize the wrongs of the past — but we must continue to work to ensure equal justice and fulfill the promise of the Emancipation Proclamation and our Constitution.”

Guardian: Israel carries out Gaza Strip airstrike after militants release incendiary balloons by Oliver Holmes and Quique Kierszenbaum

Israel has launched airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, the first since a truce ended 11 days of cross-border fighting last month, in response to incendiary balloons launched from the Palestinian territory.

The flare-up in violence, a first test for Israel’s new government sworn in three days ago, followed a march in East Jerusalem on Tuesday by Jewish nationalists that had drawn threats of action by Hamas, the ruling militant group in Gaza.

The Israeli military said its aircraft attacked Hamas armed compounds in Gaza City and the southern town of Khan Younis in the early hours of Wednesday, and was “ready for all scenarios, including renewed fighting in the face of continued terrorist acts emanating from Gaza”.

The strikes, the military said, came in response to the launching of the balloons, which the Israeli fire brigade reported caused 20 blazes in open fields in communities near the Gaza border.

DW: Coronavirus pandemic worsened corruption in EU: survey

The coronavirus pandemic has worsened corruption across the European Union, Transparency International said on Tuesday.

In its annual Global Corruption Barometer report for the EU, the anti-graft watchdog called health care a “hotspot for corruption,” adding that graft is of “particular concern during the current COVID-19 pandemic, when citizens urgently need medical support and vaccinations.”

Transparency International, headquartered in the German capital of Berlin, surveyed more than 40,000 people in the EU’s 27 member states between October and December 2020.

The survey found that 29% of the bloc’s residents have used personal connections such as well-connected friends or family to receive medical attention and 6% of people paid an outright bribe to receive health care.

Bribery rates in health care were highest in Romania (22%) and Bulgaria (19%), while relying on personal connections occured most often in the Czech Republic (54%) and Portugal (46%).

AlJazeera: Haiti: Thousands displaced as gang violence, insecurity escalate

Thousands of women and children have been displaced by gang violence in the Haitian capital this month, the United Nations’ child rights agency has said, warning that a growing number of families in Port-au-Prince now lack clean water and other necessities.

In a statement, UNICEF said on Tuesday nearly 8,500 women and children have been displaced in two weeks, as clashes between rival gangs broke out in the areas of Martissant, Fontamara and Delmas. Hundreds of houses have been burned down or damaged in the fighting.

“Every time, clashes between armed groups are more violent and every time more women and children are forced to flee their homes,” Bruno Maes, UNICEF’s Haiti representative, said.

“Since the beginning of this year, insecurity has been escalating. But the capital city is now facing an urban guerrilla, with thousands of children and women caught in the crossfire. The displaced families I’ve talked to have lost everything and urgently need clean water, food, personal hygiene items, mattresses, blankets and clothes.”

Politico Europe: EU swaps Trump’s well-done steak (with ketchup) for Biden’s prime ribeye by David M. Herszenhorn

For the EU, Joe Biden’s first overseas trip as U.S. president was like having big brother come home from university — just in time to confront the neighborhood bully.

After four days at busy leaders’ summits of the G7 and NATO, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel finally got a chance to sit down with Biden on Tuesday for their own quiet conversation about EU-U.S. relations, before sending him off to Geneva where he will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Their collective message: We love you, Joe. Now go get him.

The meeting on Tuesday was nothing short of a lovefest, with perhaps the only disagreement being who was happiest, Biden or the Europeans, that Donald Trump is no longer president of the United States.

“Well, Mr. President, dear Joe, we are so pleased to welcome you in Brussels,” von der Leyen said, as she joined Michel to greet Biden on the red carpet of the Council’s Europa building. “You are back in Brussels and America is back on the global scene. It’s great news. It’s great news for our alliance. It’s also great news for the world. And we are really delighted to work with you to tackle together some global challenges.”

Don’t forget Hunter’s News Roundup tonight.

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