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    The main union for Atlantic City casino workers has reached agreements on new contracts with four casinos, avoiding a threatened strike. Thursday's deal provides what the union president calls “the best contract we've ever had.” It also provides labor peace that will avoid a strike on Fourth of July weekend, one of the casinos’ busiest weekends of the year. Local 54 of the Unite Here union reached tentative agreements with the Borgata, which is owned by MGM Resorts International, and three Caesars Entertainment casinos: Caesars, Harrah’s and the Tropicana. The new pacts appear to greatly increase the likelihood of a deal getting done with Hard Rock as well.

      Asian benchmarks are mostly lower, echoing a decline on Wall Street, after a quarterly report by Japan’s central bank rekindled worries about the world’s third largest economy. Recent data suggest global growth is slowing as countries grapple with renewed waves of coronavirus outbreaks, soaring prices and the war in Ukraine. In the Bank of Japan “tankan” survey, the headline index for large manufacturers was 9, down from 14 the previous quarter, the second straight quarter of declines. However, a survey by a Chinese business magazine, Caixin, showed China’s factory activity expanded in June at its strongest rate in 13 months as the country eased pandemic restrictions, allowing manufacturing and other business activity to resume.

        New York Democrats are considering enshrining abortion rights in the state constitution following the overturn of Roe v. Wade. It possibly could be part of a broader amendment that would also prohibit discrimination based on gender expression. Lawmakers held a special legislative session Thursday that Gov. Kathy Hochul called primarily to pass an emergency overhaul of the state’s gun permitting rules after they were struck down by a Supreme Court Court ruling. But the Democrats were talking privately about whether to also use the emergency session to launch the process of amending the state constitution to protect the right to abortions.

          Delaware lawmakers have wrapped up legislative session with action on secondary bills after a successful push by Democrats to enact higher-profile measures tightening gun ownership laws and expanding access to abortions. Gov. John Carney put an exclamation point on Thursday's session end, signing a package of gun control measures that fellow Democrats rammed through the General Assembly in the wake of recent mass shootings in other states.  Lawmakers on Thursday also put the finishing touches on record-setting spending plans. They consist of a $5.1 billion operating budget, a $1.46 billion capital budget, and $69.4 million in grants to community organizations, nonprofit groups and volunteer fire companies.

            The U.S. Supreme Court has allowed enforcement of a 2021 Arizona law that lets prosecutors bring felony charges against doctors who knowingly terminate pregnancies solely because the fetuses have a genetic abnormality such as Down syndrome. Thursday's decision comes in the wake of the high court’s June 24 decision that said women have no constitutional right to obtain an abortion. It has no immediate effect because Arizona providers stopped all abortions following last Friday’s Supreme Court ruling. It was unclear if a pre-statehood law banning all abortions was enforceable, but Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich said Wednesday it can be. Democratic attorney general candidate Kris Mays says Brnovich “just took us back to 1901.”

              One death and nearly two dozen hospitalizations are being tied to a new listeria outbreak of unknown origin. Health officials said Thursday that they have not identified a food that might be spreading the deadly bacteria. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is telling the public to be alert to symptoms and the possibility of infection. CDC officials say nearly all the 23 people known to have been infected in the outbreak either live in, or traveled to, Florida about a month before they got sick. The agency says one person from Illinois died.

              Hours before I began to write this column, I was backing my car into a parking spot at church. Just ahead of me was an older garage on the church campus that was being remodeled. New vinyl siding is being installed, and my guess is all of the trim is going to be wrapped in pre-painted aluminum coil stock.

              COMMENT: Your column from a couple of weeks ago was like the Marx Brothers’ bit from “A Day At The Races” when Groucho bought a racing form. He was informed that he also needed a breeder’s guide, a tip sheet, then a code book and a master code book to understand the Racing Form.

              Young buyers in any generation have a hard time buying homes because they tend to earn less, and have less in savings or existing equity than older buyers. But Gen Z—the population of Americans born between 1997 and 2012—faces even greater challenges: student debt, increasing rents, and unpr…

              North Korea is suggesting its COVID-19 outbreak began in people who had contact with balloons flown from South Korea. The highly questionable claim appeared to be an attempt to hold its rival responsible amid increasing tensions. Activists for years have flown balloons across the border to distribute propaganda leaflets, and North Korea has expressed fury at the activists and at South Korea's leadership for not stopping them. A state media report Friday said officials were ordered to deal vigilantly with “alien things” and balloons blown across the border. Global health authorities say the coronavirus is spread by people in close contact who inhale airborne droplets and it's more likely to occur in enclosed spaces than outdoors.

              The Supreme Court's decision eliminating the constitutional right to abortion is causing anxiety for people in same-sex marriages, particularly those with children. The decision last week overturning Roe v. Wade didn't directly affect the 2015 ruling that paved the way for gay marriage. But lawyers say now they're getting questions from same-sex couples worried about the legal status of their marriages and keeping their children. Alabama lawyer Sydney Duncan has received dozens of emails and calls in just a few days. Justice Clarence Thomas has called on colleagues to reconsider cases that allowed same-sex marriage, gay sex and contraception.

              Chinese President Xi Jinping has defended his vision of the “one country, two systems” framework against accusations by the U.S., U.K. and others that Beijing has undermined the freedoms and autonomy promised to Hong Kong for 50 years. His presence in Hong Kong after not traveling during the coronavirus pandemic came as the city marked 25 years as a semi-autonomous Chinese region following its handover from Britain in 1997. X said the framework allowing Hong Kong to have its own laws and government was a good system that should be maintained while he also emphasized that Beijing had “comprehensive jurisdiction” and there would be no tolerance for foreign meddling in Hong Kong’s affairs.

              A Navy investigation is revealing how shoddy management and human error caused fuel to leak into Pearl Harbor’s tap water last year. The leak poisoned thousands of people and forced military families to evacuate their homes for hotels. The investigation is the first detailed account of how jet fuel from the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, a massive World War II-era military-run tank farm in the hills above Pearl Harbor, leaked into a well that supplied water to housing and offices in and around the sprawling base. The report listed a cascading series of mistakes from May through November 2021 when fuel got into a drinking water well.

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              You don’t need to keep multiples of everything stuffed in your closet. Try this minimalist method like @smallspacebiglife and only keep one of these objects.

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