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Wednesday, Sep 22nd

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COVID-19 Cases Among Children Continue To Hit Near-Record Highs

Children with covid reach record high

The weekly case count did drop slightly ― from 243,373 the previous week to the latest tally of 225,978 ― but pediatric cases overall made up 25.7% of all cases reported in the country, up from 15.5% the week prior.

This latest boom in COVID-19 infections among children has primarily been seen in the South, according to the report, as government officials in that region have largely fought against mitigation efforts such as mask mandates and vaccination requirements.

“Child cases are high in places where community cases are high,” Dr. Sean O’Leary, vice chair of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases, told HuffPost. “Where we’re seeing the highest rates in the entire population, the child cases go up.”

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Gabby Petito’s Death Determined To Be Homicide

Gabby Petito's death declared a homicide

The death of Gabby Petito, the 22-year-old lifestyle blogger who was found dead after she was missing for several weeks, has been found to be a homicide.

Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue determined Petito’s death was a homicide. The cause of her death “remains pending final autopsy results,” the FBI’s Denver office said Tuesday.

The FBI said Sunday it had found what it believed were Petito’s remains near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. The coroner’s office confirmed Tuesday that the remains were those of Petito.

Petito’s disappearance made national headlines earlier this month after her fiancé, 23-year-old Brian Laundrie, returned to Florida in his van alone after going on a cross-country road trip with Petito. Social media posts showed the couple traveling across multiple states and snapping selfies of themselves along the way.

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The FBI’s Domestic Terrorism Caseload Has ‘Exploded,’ Director Chris Wray Tells Congress

Chris Wray : Domestic terrorism cases doubled

The FBI has more than doubled its domestic terrorism caseload in little more than a year and a half and doubled the amount of bureau personnel working on domestic terrorism investigations, FBI Director Chris Wray testified Tuesday.

“The domestic terrorism caseload has exploded,” Wray said during an appearance before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

“Since the spring of 2020 ... we’ve more than doubled our domestic terrorism caseload, from about 1,000 to around 2,700 investigations,” Wray said. “We’ve surged personnel to match, more than doubling the amount of people working that threat from the year before.”

The stark jump is in part due to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, which has resulted in more than 600 arrests (with hundreds more arrests in the works).

Wray, responding to Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), said the domestic terrorism caseload had been on the rise in the years before the Jan. 6 attack.

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Memo shows Trump lawyer's six-step plan for Pence to overturn the election

Trump lawyer's plan to overthow electionA conservative lawyer working with then-President Donald Trump's legal team tried to convince then-Vice President Mike Pence that he could overturn the election results on January 6 when Congress counted the Electoral College votes by throwing out electors from seven states, according to the new book "Peril" from Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa.

The scheme put forward by controversial lawyer John Eastman was outlined in a two-page memo obtained by the authors for "Peril," and which was subsequently obtained by CNN. The memo, which has not previously been made public, provides new detail showing how Trump and his team tried to persuade Pence to subvert the Constitution and throw out the election results on January 6.
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Texas restaurant tells couple with immunocompromised baby to take off masks or leave

President Biden urges unity in first UN speech amid tensions with allies

President Biden at UN

In his first address to the United Nations, US President Joe Biden has urged global cooperation through "a decisive decade for our world".

His calls for unity come amid tensions with allies over the US' Afghanistan withdrawal and a major diplomatic row with France over a submarine deal.

The US also announced it was doubling its climate finance pledge by 2024.

Reaffirming his support for democracy and diplomacy, Mr Biden said: "We must work together like never before."

The 76th General Assembly in New York City takes place against the backdrop of a climate crisis and a once-in-a-century pandemic, both of which have sharpened global divides.

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VA: LGTBQ veterans discharged over sexual orientation to get full benefits

Vets discharged for being trans to get full benefitsThe Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on Monday announced a new policy allowing LGBTQ veterans who were discharged from the military for reasons relating to sexual orientation, gender identity or HIV status to become eligible for full benefits.

Those who were given other than honorable discharges for these reasons can now receive home loan guaranties, pensions, health care and other benefits previously denied to them, according to the department.

"Today, the Department of Veterans Affairs is working to reverse the harm done to all LGBTQ+ Veterans," the VA statement read, which was released on the tenth anniversary of the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

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GOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016

DOJ indicts two GOP operativesTwo GOP political operatives have been indicted for their involvement in a scheme to solicit an illegal campaign contribution from a Russian national in 2016.

Jesse R. Benton, 43, and Roy Douglas “Doug” Wead, 75, were both charged with counts related to illegal campaign contributions by a foreign national and filing false records to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

The indictment against Benton, who is from Kentucky, and Wead, who is from Florida, was unsealed in federal court in Washington, D.C. on Monday.

Benton previously served as the chief strategist of the pro-Trump Great America PAC and worked on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) 2014 campaign. Wead was previously an adviser to a number of presidential campaigns and served in the George H.W. Bush White House.

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‘Devastating’: Florida Republicans worried about 2022 as they crafted election law

Florida election law connected to fear of 2022 Florida Republicans this spring insisted a contentious new election law curtailing access to ballot boxes was needed to prevent electoral fraud. It was not, they said, an attempt to gain a partisan advantage.

But a raft of internal emails and text messages obtained by POLITICO show the law was drafted with the help of the Republican Party of Florida’s top lawyer — and that a crackdown on mail-in ballot requests was seen as a way for the GOP to erase the edge that Democrats had in mail-in voting during the 2020 election. The messages undercut the consistent argument made by Republicans that the new law was about preventing future electoral fraud.

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