President Biden Raises Refugee Admission Cap to 62,500 People
In a move to reverse former President Donald Trump’s stricter admission cap on refugees, President Biden has raised the admission cap to 62,500 people in the next six months. Originally, Trump had administered a cap on 15,000 refugees. At first, Biden said he would stick to this figure, but changed his stance after receiving condemnation from Democrats on Capitol Hill. In a statement issued by the White House addressing this political reversal, Biden commented “This erases the historically low number set by the previous administration of 15,000, which did not reflect America’s values as a nation that welcomes and supports refugees.” The New York Times says that Biden’s statement acknowledged how Trump’s budget and staffing cuts during his presidency makes it more unlikely to handle resettling 62,500 refugees within the coming year. In his statement, Biden admitted “the sad truth is that we will not achieve 62,500 admissions this year,” he said. “We are working quickly to undo the damage of the last four years. It will take some time, but that work is already underway.”
Pfizer Vaccine to be Administered to Adolescents
The availability of the Pfizer vaccine is soon to more accessible to millions more Americans. The FDA is said to authorize the use of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine for adolescents aged 12-15 by early next week. Pfizer has recently released trial results in which show their vaccine to be at least as effective for adolescents as it is for the adult population. If granted access, the CDC will likely meet the following day to review the clinical trial data and announce public health recommendations for adolescent vaccinations. Over 100 million adults have already been vaccinated, and with the Pfizer vaccine becoming available to millions more, the level of public immunity is forecasted to rise, and the number of deaths and hospitalizations are to drop.
In order to target vaccinations to younger Americans, Biden announced on Tuesday that mass vaccinations sites would shift to more local settings. He also stated his goal of vaccination 70% of Americans by July’s Independence Day. To those who are unvaccinated, Biden plead: “This is your choice. Its life and death.” On Tuesday, the Biden Administration announced that tens of millions more Americans need to get vaccinated before the rate of the coronavirus will be low enough to return to normalcy.
Subway Overpass Collapse Results in the Death of 23 People
Late Monday night in Mexico City, the collapse of a subway overpass–and subsequent fall of an active train car– resulted in the deaths of 23 people. Dozens of more victims are suffering injuries. The accident occurred on Line 12, one of the newer tracks in Mexico’s subway system. The subway system has been plagued by safety concerns from the public after a severe earthquake in 2017. Over 70 people were transported to the nearby hospitals, most of them delivered to Belisario Dominguez Hospital. Mexico’s fire fighters, military, and forensics department all arrived on scene to aid in the rescuing and recovery of the accident’s victims. Currently, Line 12 will remain closed as authorities investigate the harrowing accident. The Mayor of Mexico City, Claudio Steinbaum, spoke to reporters on Tuesday morning: ” At this moment, we can’t speculate about what happened. There has to be a deep investigation, and whoever is responsible has to be held responsible.”
Derek Chauvin Files for New Trial Regarding Murder of George Floyd
The trial of the police officer involved in the killing of George Floyd, Derek Chauvin, was found guilty of one count of second-degree murder, one count of third-degree murder, and one count of second-degree manslaughter by Judge Peter Cahill. However, Chauvin’ lawyer, Eric Nelson, is now claiming that Chauvin’s rights were violated during the trial since Judge Cahill refused a change of venue regarding where the trial was help. As a result of such, Nelson claims that the pre-trial publicity deprived Chauvin of a fair trial. NPR reports that Nelson also has cited “prosecutorial and jury misconduct; errors of law at trial; and a verdict that is contrary to law.” In Nelson’s file motion that requests another trial, he argues that the court “abused its discretion” because of the nationwide publicity of the high-profile trial. Due to the mass publicity of the trial, Nelson says that the defense’s expert witnesses and jury felt “threatened of intimidated, felt race-based pressure during the proceedings.”
NPR reports that according to Nelson’s file motion, the court abused its discretion by:
- When it failed to sequester the jury for the duration of the trial, or in the least, admonish them to avoid all media
- When it permitted the State to present cumulative evidence with respect to use of force
- When it failed to order that a record be made of the numerous sidebars that occurred during the trial
- When it submitted instructions to the jury that failed to accurately reflect the law with respect to second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and authorized use of force
NPR’s Carrie Johnson reports on how infrequently officers are called to conduct while in uniform, “Some studies show only seven police officers since 2005 have been convicted of murder for their actions on the job. That’s even though about 1,000 or 1,100 people a year die at the hands of police.” The way in which Derek Chauvin’s initial trial ended was a long-awaited plea for justice that many Americans felt finally acknowledged and held accountable the perpetrators of police violence and systemic racism in the nation. Ultimately, it is up to Judge Peter Cahill to decide whether to open trial again for Chauvin.
Facebook’s Suspension of Donald Trump Continues
Since the Capitol insurrection on January 1, Facebook has suspended Trump’s usage of the platform. The length and permanence of the suspension has been hotly debated lately, especially since Facebook doesn’t have a standard policy or punishment regarding indefinite suspensions. On Wednesday, a team of journalists, activists, and lawyers upheld the social media company’s ban of Trump. Their discussion ended any immediate return of Trump to the platform, and sparked debate concerning freedom of speech online. Facebook’s Oversight Board cited their reasoning for banning Trump in January, stating that Trump “created an environment where a serious risk of violence was possible. At the time of Mr. Trump’s posts, there was a clear, immediate risk of harm and his words of support for those involved in the riots legitimized their violent actions.” After Facebook reviews its action, Trump may be able to return to the platform later down the line. Other social media giants, including Twitter and YouTube, also locked Trump’s accounts after the Capitol chaos. Trump has responded to the rulings with agitation, stating that “free Speech has been taken away from the President of the United States because the Radical Left Lunatics are afraid of the truth.” The New York Times reports that Facebook responded to their ruling in a statement, stating that the company is “‘pleased’ that the board recognized that its barring of Mr. Trump in January was justified. It said it would consider the ruling and ‘determine an action that is clear and proportionate.’”
Liz Cheney May Be Sequestered from G.O.P.
Rep. Liz Cheyney has received backlash from Republican lawmakers in the GOP party due to her public criticisms of former President Donald Trump. After Trump’s insurrection at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, she voted to impeach him from office. This vote to impeach Trump increased tensions between Cheyney and the members of the GOP leadership and other Republican lawmakers. Notably, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy questioned Cheyney’s ability to carry out her position in office, stating “I have heard from members concerned about her ability to carry out the job as conference chair, to carry out the message. We all need to be working as one if we’re able to win the majority.” At the Conservative Political Action Committee, Cheyney was asked if Trump should speak at the conference. She replied, “I’ve been clear in my views about President Trump and the extent to which following Jan. 6 I don’t believe that he should be playing a role in the future of the party or the country.” While her party oppositions have landed Cheyney in controversy, Sen. Mitt Romney tweeted on Tuesday, recognizing her honesty and dedication to her stance: “Every person of conscience draws a line beyond which they will not go: Liz Cheney refuses to lie.”
Olympians And Officials to Be Offered Pfizer Vaccine
The International Olympic Committee announced on Thursday that, in an effort to quell public safety concerns, athletes and official will be offered the Pfizer vaccine before arriving in Japan. Through utilization of domestic inoculation programs, vaccines are to be administered to patients in their home countries. However, there is no requirement for athletes, coaches, officials, or others attending the game to be vaccinated. So far, approximately only 1% of Japan’s residents have been fully vaccinated, according to The New York Times’ database. In a statement put out by the International Olympic Committee, it was notes that “any additional doses delivered by Pfizer and BioNTech will not be taken out of existing programs, but will be in addition to existing quotas and planned deliveries around the world.” Hopefully, the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer will bring celebration, instead of crisis.