Weekly Roundup (3/15-3/21)


A one-year-old boy is fighting for his life in the intensive care unit after being shot in the head by a police officer on March 3rd. While at a gas station, Daisha Smalls (the 1-year-old’s mother), was approached by a suspect on the run from police officers. He demanded that she give him her car and moments later police officers were shorting at her car. Two men from the January Capitol storming have been arrested for assaulting U.S. Capitol officer Brian Sicknick. The two men reportedly used bear spray on Sicknick—following the storming Sicknick passed away. It remains unclear whether or not the use of the bear spray played a role in the death. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is focused on passing gun control legislation, meanwhile Gun Control Groups have focused their efforts on influencing Senate Democrats. On Monday, the Senate voted to confirm Deb Haaland as Interior Secretary with a vote of 51 to 40. There remains stiff resistance from Senate Republicans who have concerns over her views on fossil fuels.


A Georgia prosecutor has launched a criminal investigation, taking aim at former President Trump. The investigation surrounds President Trump’s “attempts to influence the administration of the 2020 Georgia general election” U.S air travel has reached new heights since the start of the pandemic. Close to a million and a half people were screened at TSA security checkpoints on both Thursday and Friday. These are figures that we have yet to see since almost a year ago. Public records are now showing that 440 autoworkers at a Tesla facility tested positive for Covid-19 between May and December of last year. That came at a time when Elon Musk refused to close down one of his plants. 


Eight people of Asian descent were killed at three metro-Atlanta, GA spas in the span of about an hour yesterday. The 21-year-old caucasian male shooter, Robert Aaron Long was taken into custody after a car chase. The shooter claims that the killings were based off a “sex addiction” and was not racially motivated. A US intelligence report has determined that Russia attempted to interfere in the 2020 election to help Donald Trump and hurt Joe Biden.  One of the biggest bombshells of the report includes that Trump and his closest allies publicly embraced Russia’s disinformation campaign against Biden. A Japanese court ruled that the country’s failure to recognize same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Homosexuality has been legal in Japan since 1880, and the country is relatively liberal compared to other Asian nations. Covid-19 cases are rising by more than 10% in 14 states this week compared to last week. The states are, in order:  Michigan, Delaware, Montana, Alabama, West Virginia, New Hampshire, Hawaii, Mississippi, Maine, Nevada, Connecticut. North Dakota, Idaho, and Maryland. Nationally, the number of new cases has continued to decline. 


The House of Representatives held a vote to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. At its time of introduction, in 1994, it was championed by now-President Joe Biden and sought to broaden the scope of protection for women who have been affected by violent crimes, this included reshaping means of prosecution and investigation. Democrats are expected to increase the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%. During his term, President Trump dropped the tax from 35% to 21%. Democrats are now taking this measure to finance infrastructure plans, this will likely come with resistance from Republicans. As Brazilian citizens and hospitals struggle with the effects of Covid-19, their government is now saying that aid can not be extended. A former chief of staff of President Bolsonaro said “there’s simply no money to extend Covid aid. It would blow up the spending cap rule and we can’t do it.” Miami Beach has launched and extended their curfew until Sunday. This comes during spring break—thousands of students have settled in Miami Beach stirring up concerns of public safety.


The Biden administration is facing pressure from activists to drop its support for Haitian President Jovenel Moise’s plans to hold elections during times of ongoing crisis. Currently,  Moise plans on holding constitutional referendums in June and presidential and legislative elections in September and November. Concerns arose following a spike in gang violence that prevents candidates from campaigning in populous areas. Additionally, it is unclear how the Haitian government intends to proceed with ensuring the credibility and fairness of this election. Following Trump’s alleged claims of voter fraud, Republican lawmakers have introduced 250 bills in 43 states that limit voting rights. Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock gave his first speech on the Senate floor denouncing these voter suppression laws as “Jim Crow in new clothes.” He also urged his fellow lawmakers to pass the For The People Act that would greatly expand voting excess. US and Chinese officials met in Anchorage, Alaska for the first time under the Biden administration. It ended in a heated exchange in which China claimed the US was being “condescending” while the US claimed China to be “intent on grandstanding”. The US is especially worried about China’s interests abroad.


A current aid from Governor Cuomo’s office has now alleged that she has experienced sexual harassment. The woman noted that Cuomo had looked down her shirt and made inappropriate comments to her. President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams, Senator Jon Ossof, and other legislators met in Georgia. Discussions mainly surrounded voting rights and ways to move past barriers in front of voting accessibility. Following the shooting at a massage parlor in Atlanta that killed 8 people (6 of them being women of Asian descent), FBI Director Christopher Wray has alleged that the shooting did not appear to be racially motivated. Despite several differences that came up in discussion with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi, Chinese officials have reported that the U.S. and China are set to work together on climate initiatives. 


The Governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy recently passed a law legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. And while the legalization has come with a lot of support, it has still drawn some criticism. CBS New York reports: “Among the complaints is a provision barring police officers from contacting parents of minors caught with marijuana on their first offense.” The provision is reported to be under review. Thai police officers have now been using tear gas and rubber bullets to break up recent pro-democracy protests. These protests are taking aim at the futility of their monarchy and free speech. While it has already been reported that Miami Beach installed an 8 p.m. curfew owing to the influx of college spring-breakers, it has now been announced that over fifty arrests have been made and several firearms have been confiscated. An aid to President Trump has announced that he is set to release his own social media network in the coming months. This appears to take aim at other platforms, many of which have banned President Trump. More information about this endeavor is expected to be released in the near future. President Biden has said that he plans to visit the U.S.-Mexico border “at some point.” Though he noted that “I know what’s going on in those facilities,” many see his vagueness as unpromising.

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