Peck seeks to fight off Ziccarelli challenge in Westmoreland district attorney race

For the first time in a quarter century, Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck has a race on his hands.

Republican Nicole Ziccarelli, fresh off a razor-thin defeat in a bid for state Senate last fall, insists it’s time to change leadership in the county prosecutors office.

“I respect the current district attorney very much, but after this much time, I believe we need a change in leadership and the time is now,” Ziccarelli said.

Peck, 74, of New Kensington has long political roots in Westmoreland County. His father served as county sheriff for more than a decade. After spending several years in the public defender’s office, Peck served as a part-time assistant district attorney and continued in that role until he was appointed to the top job. He won his first full four-year term in 1997.

He said the game hasn’t passed him by and his 40-years as a prosecutor is the steady hand county residents need.

“I don’t think this is any different from my past Republican or Democratic challengers who also had no experience in doing the job,” Peck said.

For Peck, that experience includes years in the courtroom as the office’s top prosecutor who has handled nearly every high-profile criminal case in the county since he was first appointed to the job by county judges. In 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic halted trials throughout much of 2020, Peck served as lead attorney in five murder cases that went before juries. All ended with convictions.

He said he has no intention of slowing down and will continue to try cases into a seventh term.

Ziccarelli said she sees the district attorney’s job, at least for now, as an administrative post.

Source: Peck seeks to fight off Ziccarelli challenge in Westmoreland district attorney race

Al Sharpton speech at border drowned out by protesters: ‘We don’t want his trouble’ | Fox News

Al Sharpton’s speech at the Haitian migrant encampment in Del Rio, Texas, on Thursday was drowned out by protesters who accused him of using the border crisis to stoke racism.

Sharpton took a tour of the migrant camp on the U.S. southern border in Del Rio to “meet and pray with refugees in the wake of the humanitarian crisis,” according to Wednesday press release from the civil rights organization National Action Network (NAN), which Sharpton founded in 1991.

After touring the situation with Democratic Del Rio Mayor Bruno Lozano, Sharpton held a press conference during which he accused Border Patrol of using tactics reminiscent of the slavery era, but his comments were overwhelmed by protesters who accused him of being “a disgrace” and “a racist.”

Among the phrases hecklers hurled at Sharpton were “Why are you stoking racism where it doesn’t exist?” and “How much money are you making out of this?”

“Del Rio is not a racist city,” someone shouted. “Del Rio is a loving, caring community. We don’t want your racism in Texas. Get out of here! Nobody wants to hear your racist nonsense in Del Rio!”

“He [incites] violence and riots,” said Kelsey French, the wife of a Border Patrol agent, according to local Fox 29. “He is not pro-cop. Our community is very cop. We support our men and women in the green and the blue and every color that they wear. We love them. We don’t want him here we don’t want his trouble. Amen.”

Source: Al Sharpton speech at border drowned out by protesters: ‘We don’t want his trouble’ | Fox News

Taiwan jets scramble again as China air force enters air defence zone | Reuters

TAIPEI, Sept 23 (Reuters) – Taiwan’s air force scrambled again on Thursday to warn off 19 Chinese aircraft that entered its air defence zone, Taiwan’s defence ministry said, the latest uptick in tensions across the Taiwan Strait.

The Chinese aircraft included 12 J-16 fighters and two nuclear-capable H-6 bombers, the ministry added.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Giles Elgood

Source: Taiwan jets scramble again as China air force enters air defence zone | Reuters

Jan. 6 investigation accelerates as it turns toward Trump – POLITICO

 

The House panel probing the Capitol attack is readying a wave of subpoenas and already getting results from its document requests.

Select panel Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said Wednesday that a list of subpoena targets would be released as soon as this week.

“There’s a lot that we have to unwind, and there are so many variables in the process,” Thompson said in an interview.

Thompson told POLITICO recently that he hopes to complete the committee’s inquiry this spring, an extraordinarily tight deadline for an investigation of such scope and scale. The panel is attempting to piece together Trump’s pre-Jan. 6 efforts to overturn his election loss, his attempt to mobilize the Justice Department in support of that crusade and the thinking behind his effort to call supporters to Washington on the day Congress gathers to certify presidential election results.

Source: Jan. 6 investigation accelerates as it turns toward Trump – POLITICO

Capitol Police chief warns of ‘chatter’ about possible violence during far-right rally

WASHINGTON — United States Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said Friday that there has been “chatter” about possible violence associated with the rally planned by far-right protesters outside the Capitol building Saturday.

Manger said during a briefing with reporters that Capitol Police leadership has been working over the last eight months to ensure there’s no repeat of the riot that occurred on Jan. 6 when supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol.

Source: Capitol Police chief warns of ‘chatter’ about possible violence during far-right rally

Mark Milley’s alleged China call ‘violated the law’, retired colonel says; ‘He has no statutory authority’ | Fox News

Retired Army colonel Douglas Macgregor told “Tucker Carlson Tonight” that if allegations Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Mark Milley assured China he would warn them if Trump were to launch a military strike, it would be a violation of the law.

If the allegations made by Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa about Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley assuring China they would be forewarned, should then-President Trump decide to launch a military attack, the top White House military advisor has violated the law and should be called before Congress to testify, according to retired Army Col. Douglas Macgregor.

Macgregor, who retired from the military in 2004 and became a senior Pentagon adviser to Trump-era Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller, told “Tucker Carlson Tonight” he was not as surprised as much of the public by the allegation Milley essentially undermined his boss, the then-president, and gave comfort to a rival nation.

Macgregor told host Tucker Carlson that he is not surprised by the allegation, but noted that Milley – as of 8 PM ET – has yet to offer his side of the story. The colonel added that Woodward – who has written other exposes on the Trump era – has a tendency to be “somewhat flexible in interpretation” of events and quotations.

Source: Mark Milley’s alleged China call ‘violated the law’, retired colonel says; ‘He has no statutory authority’ | Fox News

Woodward/Costa book:  Milley took secret action to protect nuclear weapons – CNN

Two days after the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, President Donald Trump’s top military adviser, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, single-handedly took secret action to limit Trump from potentially ordering a dangerous military strike or launching nuclear weapons, according to “Peril,” a new book by legendary journalist Bob Woodward and veteran Washington Post reporter Robert Costa.

Right after Trump lost the election, Milley discovered the President had signed a military order to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by January 15, 2021, before he left the White House.

The authors write, ‘Milley was overseeing the mobilization of America’s national security state without the knowledge of the American people or the rest of the world.’

Source: Woodward/Costa book: Worried Trump could ‘go rogue,’ Milley took secret action to protect nuclear weapons – CNNPolitics

Winner Takes All: California Recall Explained

For the second time in California history, the state’s governor is facing a recall. On Tuesday, voters will decide whether Gov. Gavin Newsom will stay in office. If a majority votes “yes” to oust him, California will have a new governor.

There are 46 candidates on the ballot, including radio talk show host Larry Elder, former San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer, and reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner. The special election was triggered after more than 1.5 million people signed the recall petition, which began circulating last year during the pandemic.

Opponents of Gov. Newsom have criticized his administration’s COVID-19 restrictions and made that a focal point of the recall. If he is recalled, Newsom would be the third governor in U.S. history to be removed from office in this manner.

This has happened before in California. In 2003, voters recalled Democratic Gov. Gray Davis. Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger won the special election and became the 38th governor of California. Schwarzenegger went on to win reelection in 2006, making him the last Republican to win a statewide election.

Californians will vote on two questions: Should Newsom be removed and if so, who should replace him? About 22 million ballots have gone out to registered voters. If a majority votes to remove Newsom, whichever candidate captures the most votes will become the next governor of California.

When Will Californians Know the Recall Election Results? – The New York Times

The polls close Tuesday at 8 p.m. Pacific time, and nearly 40 percent of registered voters have already cast ballots.

  • Californians have been voting early for weeks in the election to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom.

But it is unclear how long it will take to get a definitive answer on whether he will keep his job.

Depending on the number of early ballots and the amount of in-person voting on Tuesday, the math could be clear within a few hours of when the polls close at 8 p.m. Pacific time, election experts say. But if the race is tighter than expected, weeks could pass while the counting drags on.

Recall attempts are a fact of political life for governors of California. But they do not usually make it onto the ballot, and Californians have gone to the polls only one other time to determine whether the state’s top officeholder should be ousted. That was in 2003, when Gov. Gray Davis was recalled and replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Since then, the state’s voting rules and electorate have changed substantially.

Because of the safety concerns around the coronavirus pandemic, ballots were mailed early to all of the state’s 22 million or so registered and active voters in the 2020 election. Voters can return their completed ballots by mail, deposit them in secure drop boxes, vote early in person or vote at a polling place on Tuesday.

Source: When Will Californians Know the Recall Election Results? – The New York Times

Westmoreland Commissioner Chew pledges to cover lost drug court grant for weekend testing | TribLIVE.com

Westmoreland Commissioner Doug Chew said he will pay for weekend drug tests of participants in the county’s drug court program until a permanent funding source is secured.

In an email sent to county judges over the weekend, the first-term Republican from Hempfield pledged to help identify future funding sources for the testing program and that he would pay to keep it running when a state grant runs out at the end of September.

“This may not be solved overnight, but until I can either get another grant approved or another funding source, I’ll cover the weekend program costs,” Chew wrote in an email to the two drug court judges and other county officials on Sunday.

Chew did not respond to requests for comment on Monday.

County officials learned late last week that a state grant to pay for the drug testing program, which expires at the end of September, will not be renewed. They estimated the drug testing program costs about $750 each weekend.

Common Pleas Court Judges Christopher Feliciani and Megan Bilik-DeFazio on Friday emailed all three county commissioners and asked for funding help to cover drug court’s lost grant and a specific request to use money from the county’s budget until another permanent funding source can be found.

“In light of this recent development, our participants will be at an increased risk of relapse in the absence of weekend drug testing. Continued funding of expanded drug testing is not only critical for the (drug court) participants, but also their families, employers and all who are dependent upon them remaining clean and sober,” the judges wrote.

Chew said over the weekend that he did not know about the terminated grant when he responded Friday to the Tribune-Review about his reasons for diverting promised donations to drug court.

During his 2019 campaign for county commissioner, Chew pledged to donate 60% of his $81,000 annual salary to drug court. That pledge amounts to $48,600 each year.

This summer, amid criticism from Controller Jeff Balzer during a public meeting, Chew admitted he has yet to make any donations to drug court. He said he donated to other social service agencies and charities in lieu of his drug court pledge and claimed his money was not needed since no plans were in place to increase the number of participants enrolled. Drug court has been capped at 60 participants for the last several years.

Emails and text messages obtained by the Tribune-Review under the state’s Right-to-Know law revealed there were no communications between Chew and the judges in which his initial promise to donate to drug court was rejected.

Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293, rcholodofsky@triblive.com or via Twitter .

Source: Westmoreland Commissioner Chew pledges to cover lost drug court grant for weekend testing | TribLIVE.com

California Recall Election Live: Biden Campaigns for Newsom – The New York Times

Voting ends on Tuesday in the election to decide whether to remove Gov. Gavin Newsom from office, and if so, who should replace him.

According to Gov. Gavin Newsom, California residents have one day left to decisively reject a Republican takeover of the nation’s biggest and most powerful Democratic stronghold.

On Monday, President Biden is set to join the governor in Long Beach to make his case on behalf of Mr. Newsom — the last in a stream of national Democratic leaders to offer their support in the final days of the campaign to help Mr. Newsom keep his job.

Mr. Newsom’s leading rival, the conservative radio host Larry Elder, was making his own last push on Monday. The day before, he held a news conference with the actor Rose McGowan, who accused Mr. Newsom’s wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, of trying to bribe her to prevent her from publicly disclosing her sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein. A spokesperson for Ms. Siebel Newsom told ABC News that the allegation was “a complete fabrication.”

Source: California Recall Election Live: Biden Campaigns for Newsom – The New York Times

House Democrats propose hiking capital gains tax to 28.8%

The proposal differs from a prior Biden administration plan to raise the top combined rate to 43.4% for those with income over $1 million.

  • House Democrats proposed a top federal rate of 25% on long-term capital gains, according to legislation issued Monday by the House Ways and Means Committee. The top rate would be 28.8% when combined with a 3.8% surtax on net investment income.
  • The new rate would apply to gains realized after Sep. 13.
  • In 2022, it would kick in for single filers with taxable income over $400,000 and for married couples at $450,000, according to a Committee aide.

Source: House Democrats propose hiking capital gains tax to 28.8%

Illinois meat store responds to Biden admin accusing producers of illegally fixing prices | Fox Business

The owner of an Illinois retail and wholesale meat store told FOX Business he has been increasing prices for his products as the industry grapples with higher raw material costs, global supply chain challenges and a rebound in demand.

This as the Biden administration announced it plans to take a tougher stance toward meatpacking companies the White House argues are causing higher prices for meat at grocery stores.

Richard Whittingham, the owner of R. Whittingham & Sons Meat Co., told Jeff Flock during an interview on “Cavuto: Coast to Coast” on Thursday that he doesn’t blame the processors for the spike in prices, but acknowledged that “competition never hurts anybody,” noting that “that is what built our country.”

In a Wednesday blog postPresident Biden’s top aides blamed the four companies that control much of the meat processing market in the U.S. for the price spikes.

In the post, the aides acknowledged that “factors like increased consumer demand have played a role” in higher prices, but argued that “the price increases are also driven by a lack of competition at a key bottleneck point in the meat supply chain: meat-processing.”

The aides wrote that “Just four large conglomerates control the majority of the market for each of these three products, and the data show that these companies have been raising prices while generating record profits during the pandemic.”

The post pointed to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which noted that just four firms “control approximately 55-85% of the market” for beef, pork, and poultry, pointing out that the figure reflects “dramatic consolidation of the industry” over the last 50 years.

Japan, Vietnam sign defense transfer deal amid China worries

TOKYO (AP) — Japan can now give defense equipment and technology to Vietnam under an agreement signed Saturday, as the two countries step up their military cooperation amid worries about China’s growing military influence.

Japan’s Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said the deal elevates their defense partnership “to a new level” and that Japan and Vietnam plan to deepen defense ties through multinational joint exercises and other means. Details about the transfer of specific equipment, including naval vessels, will be worked out in subsequent talks, the ministry said.

Kishi’s meeting with his Vietnamese counterpart, Phan Van Giang, in Hanoi coincided with a two-day visit to the Vietnamese capital by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. He wrapped up his visit by saying China plans to donate 3 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine to Vietnam.

The agreement comes two weeks after the U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris travelled to Vietnam to strengthen ties with the Southeast Asian nation. During the tour, Harris urged countries to stand up against “bullying” by China in the South China Sea.

Source: Japan, Vietnam sign defense transfer deal amid China worries

Israeli jets strike Gaza after 2nd rocket attack in 24 hours | The Times of Israel

 

The Israel Defense Forces overnight Saturday-Sunday carried out another round of retaliatory airstrikes in the Gaza Strip, following two rocket attacks on southern Israel in less than 24 hours.

The military said the raids targeted a Hamas underground rocket production workshop, weapons storage site, training facility, and tunnel. The IDF said it holds Hamas responsible for all rockets emanating from the enclave.

Earlier Saturday night, Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip fired a rocket at southern Israel, raising the specter of renewed conflict. The rocket was intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. The attack triggered sirens in the town of Sderot and surrounding communities in southern Israel.

A 29-year-old man sustained a light head wound after he fell while running to a bomb shelter. He was taken to Ashkelon’s Barzilai Medical Center for treatment, medics said.

Shortly after 11 p.m. on Friday, Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip fired a single rocket towards Israel that was intercepted by the Iron Dome system, the army said. The rocket triggered warning sirens in the Eshkol region and local residents reported hearing several explosions. There were no reports of injuries or damage.

Source: Israeli jets strike Gaza after 2nd rocket attack in 24 hours | The Times of Israel

Trump makes surprise visit to New York police and firefighters on 9/11

Former President Trump made a surprise visit with New York City police and firefighters Saturday to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks.

In remarks to assembled guests, the former president sharply rebuked President Biden and the US pullout from Afghanistan.

“It was gross incompetence and I hate to talk about it on this day,” Trump said.

Trump praised New York’s Finest, telling the crowd, “if they let you do your job you wouldn’t have crime in New York!”

As some in the crowd nodded their heads, The Donald jokingly warned them to “just stand and just be perfect.”

Source: Trump makes surprise visit to New York police and firefighters on 9/11

Biden Declassifies Secret FBI Report Detailing Saudi Nationals’ Connections To 9/11

The families of 9/11 victims say the FBI document validates their claim that Saudi Arabia played a role in the attacks

The Biden administration has declassified a 16-page FBI report tying 9/11 hijackers to Saudi nationals living in the United States. The document, written in 2016, summarized an FBI investigation into those ties called Operation ENCORE.

The partially redacted report paints a closer relationship than had been previously known between two Saudis in particular — including one with diplomatic status — and some of the hijackers. Families of the 9/11 victims have long sought after the report, which painted a starkly different portrait than the one described by the 9/11 Commission Report in 2004.

While the Commission was largely unable to tie the Saudi men to the hijackers, the FBI document describes multiple connections and phone calls.

Source: Biden Declassifies Secret FBI Report Detailing Saudi Nationals’ Connections To 9/11

Entire police department resigns in Missouri | TheHill

An entire Missouri police department, including the police chief and his officers, resigned leaving the city of Kimberling without immediate authority.

Citing problems like an inadequate pay rate and not having the right tools to do the job, the department has local leaders struggling to find replacements, especially when rhetoric against law enforcement is high amongst some, Fox News reported.


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“It will be a struggle to fill the police department back up with qualified officers, but hopefully they can start working on that soon and get that accomplished,” Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader said of the resignations at the Kimberling City Police Department, noting that most police stations are understaffed.

What preempted the mass exodus, according to Rader, was Kimberling City Police Chief Craig Alexander’s resignation on Aug. 23. He wanted changes from the town’s mayor and he wanted to better himself, Fox News reported.

Soon after, Alexander’s resignation was joined by three officers and a sergeant, with their reasons for quitting being the absence of a police clerk to assist the department, not having qualified officers in the department, and wanting new opportunities with a better pay rate, according to NBC Springfield, Missouri.

It is being reported that some of the Kimberling City Police Officers left to join the Branson West Police Department, which caught Mayor Bob Fritz of Kimberling City off guard.

“I didn’t know there were that many openings in Branson West because we didn’t see an advertisement for police,” Fritz said, referring to Alexander and officer Shaun McCafferty taking jobs at the Branson West Police Department.

“[The resignations were] unexpected and the short notice disappointing,” the mayor said.

Source: Entire police department resigns in Missouri | TheHill

Biden calls Xi as US-China relationship grows more fraught

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden spoke with China’s Xi Jinping on Thursday amid growing frustration on the American side that high-level engagement between the two leaders’ top advisers has been largely unfruitful in the early going of the Biden presidency.

Biden initiated the call with Xi, the second between the two leaders since Biden took office. It comes at a moment when there is no shortage of thorny issues between the two nations, including cybersecurity breaches originating from China, Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and what the White House has labeled as “coercive and unfair” trade practices by the Chinese.

But Biden’s aim with the 90-minute call was less focused on any of those hot-button issues and instead centered on discussing the way ahead for the U.S.-China relationship after it got off to a decidedly rocky start in his tenure.

Source: Biden calls Xi as US-China relationship grows more fraught

Members of Congress and Their Staff Are Exempt From Biden’s Vaccine Mandate

The president’s executive orders apply to employees of the executive branch and federal government contractors.

Biden issued two executive orders on Thursday requiring vaccination against COVID for federal workers and contractors who work for the federal government. He also asked the Department of Labor to issue an emergency order requiring businesses with more than 100 employees to ensure their workers are vaccinated or tested on a weekly basis.

However, Biden’s order on federal workers applies to employees of the executive branch. The House of Representatives and the Senate belong to the separate legislative branch, and the courts to the judicial branch of the federal government.

Source: Members of Congress and Their Staff Are Exempt From Biden’s Vaccine Mandate

Biden plan for forced vaccinations doesn’t include illegal immigrants | Fox News

Biden announced a sweeping plan that could force millions of unvaccinated Americans to get the COVID-19 shot

“We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin,” Biden said of the roughly 80 million Americans who have yet to get the shot. “While America is in much better shape than it was seven months ago when I took office, I need to tell you a second fact: We’re in a tough stretch and it could last for awhile.”

But Biden stopped short of mandating the vaccine for illegal immigrants attempting to cross America’s border, even though about 30% of immigrants held at federal detention facilities are refusing to be vaccinated — and they have the option to refuse

Meanwhile, more than 18% of migrant families who recently crossed the border tested positive for COVID before being released by Border Patrol. Another 20% of unaccompanied minors tested positive for the virus.

Source: Biden plan for forced vaccinations doesn’t include illegal immigrants | Fox News

Protests continue in Westmoreland County over state’s mask mandate in schools

Protests continued at multiple school districts in Westmoreland County Wednesday as dozens of students and parents voiced their frustrations over the state’s mask mandate in schools.

Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 spoke with the Derry Area School District about how the district is handling frustrated families.

“I understand that frustration,” Derry Area Assistant Superintendent Greg Ferencak said. “We started off with a masks optional, but highly recommended and now we have to switch and there’s some confusion.”

Ferencak said the district’s original health and safety plan called for a change in policy in the event of a state or federal mandate. A small group of students and parents protested the decision to mandate masks in Derry each of the last two days.

“We are trying to let the voices of the students be heard and trying to be reasonable with them,” Ferencak said.

Ferencak said a failure to comply with the mandate could come with consequences for the district, including a loss of funding.

“We could be held liable for not following them through various complaints, willful neglect of duty, you name it,” Ferencak said.

Source: Protests continue in Westmoreland County over state’s mask mandate in schools

Biden announces new vaccine mandates that could cover 100 million Americans – CNNPolitics

 

(CNN)President Joe Biden on Thursday imposed stringent new vaccine rules on federal workers, large employers and health care staff in a sweeping attempt to contain the latest surge of Covid-19.

The new requirements could apply to as many as 100 million Americans — close to two-thirds of the American workforce — and amount to Biden’s strongest push yet to require vaccines for much of the country.
“We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us,” Biden said, his tone hardening toward Americans who still refuse to receive a vaccine despite ample evidence of their safety and full approval of one — the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine — from the US Food and Drug Administration.
He said vaccinated America was growing “frustrated” with the 80 million people who have not received shots and are fueling the spread of the virus. And he acknowledged the new steps would not provide a quick fix.
“While America is in much better shape than it was seven months ago when I took office, I need to tell you a second fact: We’re in a tough stretch and it could last for awhile,” Biden said in an early evening speech from the White House.
At the center of Biden’s new plan is directing the Labor Department to require all businesses with 100 or more employees ensure their workers are either vaccinated or tested once a week, an expansive step the President took after consultation with administration health officials and lawyers. Companies could face thousands of dollars in fines per employee if they don’t comply.
Biden also signed an executive order requiring all government employees be vaccinated against Covid-19, with no option of being regularly tested to opt out. The President signed an accompanying order directing the same standard be applied to employees of contractors who do business with the federal government.
He also said 300,000 educators in federal Head Start programs must be vaccinated and called on governors to require vaccinations for schoolteachers and staff.
And Biden announced he would require the 17 million health care workers at facilities receiving funds from Medicare and Medicaid to be fully vaccinated, expanding the mandate to hospitals, home care facilities and dialysis centers around the country.
“We have the tools to combat the virus if we come together to use those tools,” Biden said at the outset of what was billed as a major speech to tackle the latest phase of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The new rules amount to the most dramatic steps to date to get more Americans vaccinated. Once cautious of vaccine mandates, the Biden administration is now wholly embracing them as vaccine hesitancy persists among certain groups.
Administration officials acknowledged the requirement for large employers could be challenged in court. But they said their hope was to provide cover of federal rules to businesses who want to require vaccines for employees.
The new rules come as the Delta variant tears through communities across the country, causing upticks in hospitalizations and deaths particularly in areas where vaccination rates remain low.

Source: Biden announces new vaccine mandates that could cover 100 million Americans – CNNPolitics

Guaranteed Basic Income Pilot Gets Pittsburgh City Council’s Initial Approval – CBS Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh City Council passed a guaranteed basic income pilot that will give 200 people $500 a month.

In Pittsburgh, it’s called ACE, or the Assured Cash Experiment.

Two hundred low-income individuals will get $500 a month for two years, including 100 African American women and another 100 individuals of any race and gender randomly selected from low-income zip codes (15204, 15208, 15210, 15214, and 15219).

Pittsburgh will use $2.5 million from the American Rescue Plan to fund this project.

“Guaranteed basic income has happened in other cities. Other cities have used their ARP funding to do this pilot,” Lindsay Powell, the Mayor’s deputy chief of staff, told City Council on Wednesday.

Pittsburgh joins a couple dozen cities experimenting with guaranteed cash assistance, and the early results are promising, says Michele Abbott, who will run the Pittsburgh program.

Source: Guaranteed Basic Income Pilot Gets Pittsburgh City Council’s Initial Approval – CBS Pittsburgh

Biden dismisses protesters who heckled him as he toured storm-damaged northeast: ‘They don’t understand’ | Fox News

President Joe Biden addressed hecklers who shouted at him about his chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, claiming that they don’t actually live in the area he was touring and suggesting that they were upset about his climate change position.

After New York Sen. Chuck Schumer introduced Biden as the man who will “lead us out of darkness in this present moment,” the president began his remarks in New York City by saying he received a warm reception in the area he had been touring.

HURRICANE IDA DEATH TOLL RISES TO AT LEAST 66 NATIONWIDE AS RECOVERY EFFORTS CONTINUE

“None of them were shouting or complaining,” Biden said. “Every one of them were thanking me as if it was something special… that I was here.”

Earlier in the day, Biden was heckled by protesters on the other side of a fence where he toured storm-damaged New Jersey with several people castigating him for his handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal.

Source: Biden dismisses protesters who heckled him as he toured storm-damaged northeast: ‘They don’t understand’ | Fox News

Women join protests on Kabul streets in defiance of Taliban rule

“People need to express their anger, men and women, they must not stay silent,” one protester said.

Hundreds of Afghans, many of them women, protested in Kabul on Tuesday, chanting slogans against neighboring Pakistan and expressing support for rebels in the last part of the country resisting Taliban rule.

Video posted online showed protesters near the Pakistani Embassy in Kabul holding signs saying “#SanctionPakistan” and “#StandWithPanjshir.” Elsewhere on a street near the Iranian and Turkish embassies, video emerged of Taliban fighters firing into the air to disperse the protests.

Several journalists covering the demonstration were arrested, according to the Associated Press. In one case a reporter had their microphone taken by fighters waving Kalashnikov rifles, who then beat him with it and broke it, the AP reported.

Panjshir province, around 60 miles north of Kabul, has drawn resistance fighters from across Afghanistan since the Taliban seized power last month. Pakistan has been accused of assisting the Taliban.

Source: Women join protests on Kabul streets in defiance of Taliban rule

Tens of thousands protest in Switzerland to legalize same-sex marriage

BERLIN — Tens of thousands protested in Switzerland on Saturday for the legalization of same-sex marriage in the Alpine country.

The protests came ahead of a national referendum on Sept. 26 on the legalization of gay marriage, which has already been introduced in many other European countries including Germany, Austria, France and the Netherlands.

Public broadcaster SRF reported that tens of thousands participated in the Zurich Pride parade which had the slogan “You can do it. Marriage for everyone now.”

So far, same-sex couples in Switzerland can only get official approval for civil unions, which are not on equal footing as marriages. If a majority votes for the legalization of same-sex marriage in Switzerland this would also allow couple to adopt children. In addition, lesbian couples would have easier access to sperm donations if they wanted to start a family and it would be easier for foreign partners to get Swiss citizenship.

Source: Tens of thousands protest in Switzerland to legalize same-sex marriage

New Zealand supermarket stabbing: Government to toughen anti-terror laws – BBC News

New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern has vowed to toughen anti-terror laws following Friday’s knife attack in Auckland by a man who was under police surveillance.

“We must be willing to make the changes that we know may not necessarily have changed history, but could change the future,” she said at a news briefing.

The man, a Sri Lankan national, stabbed seven people in a supermarket. Three of them are in a critical condition.

The attacker, a known supporter of Islamic State, was shot dead by police.

He has now been identified as Ahamed Aathil Mohamed Samsudeen, a 32-year-old Tamil, who arrived in New Zealand in 2011 and sought refugee status.

Ms Ardern, who described the stabbings as a “terrorist attack”, said she expected that changes to the country’s counter-terrorism legislation would be backed by parliament by the end of September.

The legislation is expected to make it easier to convict someone for planning a terror attack.

Samsudeen had been arrested a number of times before Friday’s incident. But Ms Ardern said that every legal avenue to keep him out of the community had been exhausted.

Source: New Zealand supermarket stabbing: Government to toughen anti-terror laws – BBC News