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Weekly News Bites #007 | Biden's Justice40 executive order, East Palestine derailment update, & Alex Murdaugh takes the stand.
Nibbles of news while you nibble on your toast
It’s FRIDAY, Feb. 24! YAY!
So much to cover this week!
McCarthy hands over Jan 6th footage to Tucker Carlson.
Biden signs a new executive order for climate change and clean infrastructure to go to marginalized communities.
The U.S. is getting ready to send more money to Ukraine.
Alex Murdaugh takes the stand and confesses he lied.
An update on what caused the East Palestine derailment.
Social media help a woman find some stolen clothes and so much more!
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Ok, that is enough. Time for some news bites!
The House Speaker, McCarthy, has given Tucker Carlson permission to view the Capitol surveillance footage from January 6th. This decision has been met with differing opinions from both sides of the political spectrum. Those on the Left believe that this move is an attempt to diminish the event's severity by labeling it as vandalism instead of an insurrection. Meanwhile, those on the Right contend that the Democrats have been deliberately withholding the footage for their own political gain. They are urging McCarthy to make the footage available to the public.
The state of Florida has proposed a new bill called the "Reverse Woke Act" that aims to make businesses financially responsible for any subsequent detransitions of individuals who have received transgender treatments. Supporters of the bill on the Right argue that it would protect Floridians from laws similar to the one passed in California, which funds nationwide care for transitioning individuals, including out-of-state patients. However, Left opponents believe this bill would unfairly burden employers with financial responsibility.
The Biden administration issued a new executive order called Justice40, which requires at least 40% of federal spending on climate change and clean infrastructure to go to marginalized communities. Justice40, the group partnering with the White House to implement the policies, has been described as openly Marxist due to some of Jacqueline Patterson, its leader's comments about redistributing the "means of production." Critics say the order effectively creates a new diversity, equity, and inclusion bureaucracy without input from Congress.
Former US President Donald Trump visited East Palestine and criticized President Joe Biden for touring Poland and Ukraine instead of addressing the crisis in Ohio. Meanwhile, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg visited Thursday, which marks his first visit since the train derailment. However, he drew criticism for taking too long to show up, with Buttigieg admitting that he should have expressed himself sooner. Buttigieg emphasized the importance of discussing rail safety regulation and accountability but struggled to answer questions, at one point admitting that he had "lost [his] train of thought."
The founder and CEO of Project Veritas, James O’Keefe, has been removed from his position by the board due to accusations of abusive behavior towards staff and misuse of company resources. Project Veritas is known for using undercover tactics to uncover stories, including exposing abuse at abortion clinics and revealing footage of Pfizer's R&D director admitting to modifying the Covid virus for their own purposes. Despite his termination, O’Keefe has stated that his work is far from over and has announced plans to create a new organization.
The aftermath of a train derailment continues to be felt, as Ohio Governor Mike DeWine recently declared that East Palestine, Ohio, will receive assistance from FEMA and resources from the CDC and the Department of Health and Human Services. The details of the train derailment, including its cause and the extent of the damage it caused, are unclear at this time.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released preliminary findings on their investigation into the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. The report stated that the crew was not warned about an overheated axle until just before dozens of cars went off the tracks. The NTSB plans to hold a field hearing this Spring to gather more information and hear from witnesses. The axle and its rolling bearings on train 32N's 23rd rail car had been heating up but did not reach the threshold for stopping the train and inspecting it until just before the derailment occurred. The train was going under the speed limit at the time of the incident.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued an order to the Norfolk Southern Railway to undertake the cleaning of an explosion site in East Palestine, Ohio. In collaboration with federal and state officials, they have pledged to remain in the town of 4,700 people until the entire area is free of any contamination. However, residents of the area are still expressing concerns about experiencing ongoing headaches and health issues, despite the efforts to clean up the site.
The Biden administration has introduced a new rule that cracks down on asylum seekers and allows border officials to deport those caught entering illegally. The rule proposes that migrants are ineligible for asylum if they enter the country illegally. It also allows border agents to deport anyone who failed to request protection from other countries officially they passed through on their way to the US. The administration hopes that this will direct migrants to seek asylum at designated border crossings or through other legal channels, reducing the reliance on human smuggling networks. Republicans have generally favored measures like this in the past, while Democrats say the rule is anti-immigrant and inhumane. The ACLU has already promised to sue the administration once the rule goes into effect in May.
AI is starting to pick who gets laid off. Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming more common to determine layoffs, with companies using software that analyzes performance data to make these decisions. A recent survey in the United States revealed that 98% of human resources leaders believe that software and algorithms will play a role in their layoff decisions this year. There are concerns if the data used by the AI is flawed, it could lead to people losing their jobs unfairly.
The latest charges against Mr. Bankman-Fried include allegations of conspiring to commit bank fraud and running an unlicensed money-transmitting business. Additionally, he is facing new counts of securities and commodities fraud. The recently unsealed indictment provides a detailed account of his alleged actions, which prosecutors claim resulted in a multibillion-dollar fraud. Mr. Bankman-Fried's spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment. While the FTX founder previously pleaded not guilty to eight charges, these new charges add to his legal troubles.
Asbury Revival. A private Christian college located in a small Kentucky town is currently experiencing a significant religious revival that some have described as the first of its kind since the 1970s. What began as a standard chapel service has grown into a continuous period of prayer and worship that has lasted for two weeks and has attracted tens of thousands of visitors, including individuals from as far away as Singapore and Indonesia. Additionally, reports indicate that students from 22 other schools have initiated comparable services on their own campuses after visiting Asbury.
As a result of logistical challenges in the surrounding area, it was recently announced that the revival would be relocated off-campus. Despite this, Asbury will continue to stream portions of the services still being conducted for young adults in Hughes Auditorium through Thursday.
An activist group attempts to disbar attorneys over election fraud cases. A progressive activist group called The 65 Project has initiated efforts to disbar many attorneys who represented Republicans in cases related to election fraud. The group has filed ethics complaints against attorneys who defended public figures, including Donald Trump and Kari Lake, and elected attorneys general in states like Texas and Missouri. The 65 Project is focused on removing attorneys from the bar who they believe were involved in promoting false allegations of election fraud during the 2020 US presidential election. It is unclear what the ultimate outcome of these efforts will be.
The National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a State Department-funded non-profit, has severed ties with the Global Disinformation Index (GDI), a group accused of blacklisting conservative news outlets. NED provided $545,750 to GDI for overseas activities to develop risk ratings for ad companies. However, critics argue that the funding could have supported domestic blacklisting and censorship. Republican congressmen and senators have called for further investigation. The move comes in response to reporting that detailed GDI's activities in producing a blacklist of conservative news outlets to starve them of advertising dollars.
William Thomas, also known as Lia Thomas, is suspected of having autogynephilia (AGP), which is a sexual disorder characterized by a man's sexual arousal when exhibiting feminine traits. Various reporters have delved into Thomas' Instagram activity and found troubling images and videos that suggest AGP tendencies.
Rachel Levine, assistant secretary for health in the Biden administration, discussed the potential revenue that could be generated by a gender clinic social worker who could advocate for child sex change procedures in emails with a pediatrician, according to documents reviewed by the Daily Caller. Financial motives appear to play a major role in advocacy for cross-sex medical procedures. Levine also worked with LGBT activists to block legislation that would have barred state funding from paying for child sex changes.
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Heart attack rate spikes among youth. A recent study conducted by the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles has received widespread attention for indicating a 30% increase in heart attack deaths among individuals aged 25 to 44 over the initial two years of the pandemic. The cause of this spike is currently unknown, although some researchers have suggested a possible connection to COVID-19 exposure.
Additionally, some individuals have theorized that the increase in heart attacks may be an adverse consequence of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. However, further investigation and research are necessary to confirm or disprove these theories.
Southern Turkey experienced another earthquake, this time measuring 6.4 magnitudes, weeks after the devastating 7.4 magnitude earthquake. As a result of the latest quake, buildings collapsed, and eight people sustained injuries, exacerbating the region's already heightened seismic activity, which is said to be the most severe in decades.
On the one-year anniversary of the initial Russian invasion, President Joe Biden made a surprise visit to Kyiv. During his visit, Biden pledged an additional half a billion dollars of aid to Ukraine. This aid is intended to support Ukraine's military and help the country rebuild its infrastructure in areas affected by the ongoing conflict.
Today U.S. President Joe Biden will hold a virtual meeting with G7 leaders and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. During the meeting, new sanctions will be announced against those who are aiding Russia's war effort. The same group met last year and imposed the first round of sanctions hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched the invasion of Ukraine. The new sanctions will target Russian banks, technology, and defense sectors, impacting both individuals and companies involved in the conflict.
On Thursday, the White House national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, announced that the United States would give Ukraine an extra $2 billion in security aid.
China's President Xi Jinping is scheduled to visit Moscow soon. This visit follows a recent visit by China's top diplomat Wang Yi to the Kremlin, during which he expressed China's intention to strengthen its relationship with Russia in opposition to Western powers. President Xi wants China to be more active in the ongoing global conflict.
US and European officials have noticed a change in China's stance on its support for Russia in the war against Ukraine. Officials claim that China may break its self-imposed restraint on weapons supplies to Russia, providing lethal support for the war effort. China has not confirmed or denied these allegations, but the US is already the largest source of weaponry for the Ukrainian battlefield. Tensions are escalating between Beijing and Washington over the Western campaign to pressure Russia. While China has been buying Russian oil and selling commercial items with military applications to help Moscow, Western analysts are skeptical about China's ability to mediate the conflict due to its bias toward Russia.
Alex Murdaugh takes the stand. Richard "Alex" Murdaugh, a former South Carolina attorney who is on trial for murdering his wife and son, admitted to lying to investigators about his whereabouts on the night of the killings but maintained his innocence in a dramatic testimony on Thursday. The trial has been ongoing for four weeks, and Murdaugh took the stand to deny any involvement in the murders of his wife and son. The lead prosecutor focused on Murdaugh's financial crimes during the cross-examination to establish his dishonesty, and the prosecution will continue its examination on Friday.
Fashion designer Asya Khamsin claimed that Sam Brinton was photographed wearing custom-made outfits that she lost at a Washington Airport in 2018. One of the outfits worn by Sam Brinton in an old Vanity Fair article. Last December, Sam Brinton was removed from their position as a nuclear official in President Joe Biden's administration following allegations of felony charges for stealing luggage from multiple airports.
Alec Baldwin and Rust armorer’s charges were downgraded. Following arguments from their legal teams that their cases were incorrectly filed under New Mexico firearm law, charges against actor Alec Baldwin and the armorer from the movie "Rust" set have been downgraded. The charges were initially related to the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the film set. As a result of the downgrade, Baldwin and the armorer will no longer face the possibility of a five-year prison sentence, which had been on the table under the original charges.
Baldwin entered a not-guilty plea on Thursday to a charge of involuntary manslaughter over the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.