June 27

By Samanta Cam

Fllowing is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.

Biden meets Afghan leaders as U.S. troops leave, fighting rages U.S. President Joe Biden meets Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his former political foe, Abdullah Abdullah, on Friday to discuss Washington’s support for Afghanistan as the last U.S. troops pack up after 20 years of war and government forces struggle to repel Taliban advances. The Oval Office meeting may be as valuable to Ghani for its symbolism as for any new U.S. help because it will be seen as affirming Biden’s support for the beleaguered Afghan leader as he confronts Taliban gains, bombings and assassinations, a surge in COVID-19 cases and political infighting in Kabul.

U.S. lawmakers reach policing reform deal, give no details

A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers said on Thursday they had reached an agreement on a framework for a policing reform bill, after weeks of talks. “There is still more work to be done on the final bill, and nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to,” Republican Senator Tim Scott, Democratic Senator Cory Booker and Democratic Representative Karen Bass said in a joint statement. “Over the next few weeks we look forward to continuing our work toward getting a finalized proposal across the finish line.”

Hawaii to drop virus test, quarantine for vaccinated domestic travelers

Hawaii will from July 8 drop a requirement for pre-travel coronavirus testing and quarantine upon arrival for domestic travelers who have been fully vaccinated in the United States, Governor David Ige said on Thursday. “Hawaii is expected to reach a 60% fully vaccinated rate by July 8. Because of that, we will be able to safely relax some of the travel and social restrictions currently in place”, the governor said on Twitter.

‘Normalizing’ UFOs – retired U.S. Navy pilot recalls Tic Tac encounter

Retired U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Alex Dietrich has found herself in the glare of media attention ahead of a highly anticipated government report on UFOs, a subject she says she has little interest in, despite actually encountering one on the job. “I don’t consider myself a whistle blower … I don’t identify as a UFO person,” the former fighter pilot told Reuters in a Zoom interview, days before the report, expected to feature her own experience and dozens of others like it, was due for presentation to Congress.

Race to find survivors as death toll in Miami condo collapse rises, 159 missing

Rescue workers frantically scoured the rubble of a collapsed apartment block in a Miami suburb for signs of life on Friday, after the oceanfront condo dramatically crumpled in a matter of seconds leaving four people dead and 159 unaccounted for. Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said that the number people missing had risen from the initial 99, and that three more bodies were pulled from the wreckage overnight. Another person was reported to have died on Thursday.

Biden touts vaccines in North Carolina as U.S. injections slow

President Joe Biden urged more Americans to take advantage of COVID-19 vaccinations on a trip to North Carolina on Thursday as the rate of inoculations slows despite a nationwide effort to get shots in arms to stop the spread of the coronavirus. “The data couldn’t be clearer … if you’re vaccinated, you’re safe,” Biden told a Raleigh crowd that planned to visit neighborhoods to advocate for getting the vaccine. “You are still at risk of getting seriously ill or dying if you in fact have not been vaccinated.”

Assange’s fiancée urges Biden to free WikiLeaks founder to show U.S. has changed

President Joe Biden must let Julian Assange go free if he wants the United States to become a beacon for a free press once again and put the legacy of Donald Trump behind it, the fiancée of the WikiLeaks founder told Reuters. Washington has sought the extradition of Assange over his role in one of the biggest ever leaks of classified information, accusing him of putting lives in danger by releasing vast troves of confidential U.S. military records and diplomatic cables.

Ex-policeman Derek Chauvin to be sentenced for George Floyd’s murder

Former Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin will be sentenced on Friday for murdering George Floyd in May 2020 after a trial that was widely seen as a watershed moment in the history of U.S. policing. A jury found Chauvin, 45, guilty on April 20 https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-race-georgefloyd-idCAKBN2C716I of unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter.

One city ‘ready to explode’ as U.S. murder rates surge in pandemic

Elijah Ross stood watch last Friday by the candles, flowers, liquor bottles and balloons at a memorial for his 31-year-old friend, Eric Ruise, among the latest victims of a murder spree gripping the city of Rochester, New York. It had been two days since Ruise was gunned down in a barrage of bullets, from multiple shooters, outside a pharmacy. Ruise had been recently released from prison. He had committed, Ross said, to be a better father to his 10-year-old daughter, Jumyria.

Democrats’ two-step infrastructure plan draws Republican ire

Hours after President Joe Biden declared “We have a deal” to renew the infrastructure of the United States, the Senate’s top Republican lashed out at plans to follow the $1.2 trillion bipartisan bill with another measure funding what Democrats call “human infrastructure.” Biden and top congressional Democrats – House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer – had long signaled their plan to link the bipartisan deal with another bill including spending on home health care and child care.