WEEKLY ROUNDUP (3/1-3/7)

Monday: 

The Biden administration’s task force for reuniting migrant families has now announced that separated families will now be given the option to reunite. It remains unclear how the Biden administration and Homeland Security will navigate the many parents and children who have yet to be accounted for—who are essentially missing. The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that global Covid-19 cases have spiked for the first time in seven weeks. Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO technical lead for COVID-19, announced “We need to have a stern warning for all of us: that this virus will rebound if we let it, and we cannot let it.” Pope Francis has a planned trip to Iraq, he is the first pope to make a trip to the nation. Many have voiced fears, citing security and health concerns. He is expected to call for unity. Deann Walker, Texas’s top utility regulator, has resigned following the Texas power grid failure. The incident left millions without power and 80 people have been reported dead as a result. 

Tuesday:

President Biden has announced that the U.S. will have enough vaccines to vaccinate every adult in the United States by May. He also called upon States to prioritize vaccinations for teachers, it rests in the air which and if any states will require teachers to get vaccinated. Since the start of the pandemic, thousands of students have been reported missing from school systems across the country. There is not enough data to effectively conclude how big the problem is and under what circumstances this became a growing trend. A third woman has come forward alleging that Governor Cuomo presented himself in an inappropriate manner. Resultingly, many New York lawmakers across party lines are calling for his resignation. 

Wednesday:

News from The Pentagon emerged as it was announced that it has no immediate plans to change the way it approves emergency National Guard deployments in Washington, D.C. despite scrutiny heard at a hearing examining the failures that led to the violent riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6. Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott announced that the state would “100% reopen,” contradicting the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s safety guidelines. President Biden referred to the decision as “Neanderthal thinking”. Full quote: “And the last thing, the last thing, the last thing we need is the Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime everything’s fine, take off your mask, forget it. It still matters….It’s critical, critical, critical, critical that they follow the science.” Results of a study conducted showed that the SARS-CoV-2 RBD had a strong preference for binding to blood group A found on respiratory cells, but had no preference for blood group A red blood cells, or other blood groups found on respiratory or red cells. The SARS-CoV-2 RBD’s preference to recognize and attach to the blood type A may provide insight into the potential link between blood group A and COVID-19 infection.The study was published Mar. 3 in the journal Blood Advances. NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo repeatedly asked New Yorkers to withhold judgment on his alleged actions until an investigation can take place. An investigation is set to take place and will be overseen by Attorney General Letitia James who delivered a full report. Both US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and NY Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand have called for James to investigate but didn’t give insight into whether Cuomo should remain in his position as governor. 

Thursday:

Biden and Senate Democrats agree to increase eligibility requirements for the stimulus checks. NBC reports, “Every American who filed individually and makes up to $75,000 would still get the full amount before it begins to reduce at incomes above that. But rather than zero out at $100,000 earnings, as the last Covid-19 relief bill does, the Senate bill would cut off payments at $80,000, the sources said. For couples filing jointly, incomes up to $150,000 would still get the full amount. But rather than zero out at $200,000, the Senate bill would cut off payments at $160,000 in earnings. For taxpayers filing as heads of households, the new plan would make the full $1,400 available for those earning under $112,500, with the payment zeroing out at $120,000.” Governor Greg Abbot, who has garnered significant media attention following the Texas outages, has reported that his administration will not mobilize efforts to test migrants for Covid-19. This comes despite the fact that Texas has sent thousands of Covid-19 tests to the border. The Biden administration is now condemning the coup in Myanmar and is calling for the release of detained American journalists. In February, the administration began to take action by imposing sanctions. Three earthquakes have rocked New Zealand and has since spurred the threat of a tsunami in Hawaii. Many are now reminded of 2011, when an earthquake that hit the city of Christchurch in New Zealand killed 185 people. 

Friday:

The Senate passed a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill including $1,400 stimulus checks, $300 weekly unemployment benefits, and $14 billion to help vaccine distributions, as well as several other fundings. The legislation went out the Senate floor with a final vote of 50-49, with zero Republicans voting “yes”. The House of Representatives will hold a vote on Tuesday before President Biden can officially sign this bill into a law. The Biden administration is facing a drastic number of unaccompanied migrant children crossing the border. Partially caused by COVID-19, which has exacerbated poor economic conditions in Latin America increasing levels of poverty and income inequality. This past January alone, border control has taken roughly 5,700 unaccompanied children into its custody. In previous years, children will then be placed in the care of a relative. However, due to the pandemic, children are now sent over to the Department of Health and Human Services placing them in overcrowded facilities. During a law enforcement operation in Tennessee, authorities found 150 missing children aged 3 to 17. 93 of these children were under the care of the Department of Child Services. 5 children were potentially victims and human trafficking and many more were escaping family situations “dealing with abuse or exploitation”. Officials hope to find the remaining 90 children in the ongoing investigation. Bryan Riser, a police officer in Dallas has been charged with two counts of capital murder after a man revealed that he was instructed by Riser to kidnap and kill two people. Riser was arrested nearly 20 months after the witness came forward. The motives to kill the victims, Liza Saenz (31) and Albert Douglas (61), are currently unclear. According to the affidavit, Riser allegedly paid the man $9,500 to kill Douglas and later Saenz

Saturday:

The CDC has begun easing COVID-19 restrictions for those who have been vaccinated, officially allowing them to gather indoors without masks. Dr. Fauci claims that although vaccines do not eliminate risk of infection altogether, in small groups, the risk is low enough that it is now permitted. The White House has announced consideration of adding a “Third Gender” option to government forms, but is currently unsure whether or not an executive order is needed. Joe Biden celebrates International Women’s Day by signing two executive orders for gender equity, creating a Gender Policy Council and overturning Trump administration changes to Title IX, which addresses sex-based discrimination in education and the workplace. Despite Biden’s pro-immigration agenda, his administration has continued to add more beds for immigrant children in detainment facilities. This puts the children in grave danger of contracting COVID-19, as the facilities are now back at full capacity. Oil trader Mike Muller claims the USA is unlikely to ramp up their oil shale production, partly due to changes in administration and lagging demand from East Asia. Italian airline Neos has requested permission to restart flying back to the United States, and Alaskans propose the Alaska Tourism Recovery Act to aid cruise ship and airline industries suffering due to Canada’s rigid border ban. The USA’s first 3D-printed homes have hit the market in Austin, Texas, available for purchase at a starting price of $450,000. 

Sunday:

After an entire day of deliberation, in what the Sensate calls a “Vote-a-Rama,” the Senate passed Biden’s 1.9 trillion dollar stimulus bill. The Vote-a-Rama, which allows for open debate regarding amendments, ended at 2 a.m. Following the passing of the stimulus bill, Democrats have begun to weigh their chances of eliminating or at least making changes to the filibuster. President Biden’s communications director told CNN that Biden opposes ending the filibuster and that he maintains the belief that there is a path towards bipartisanship. At least 20 are dead and 600 are wounded following a series of explosions at a military base in Equatorial Guinea.

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