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US judge blocks Texas’ near-total abortion Ban
Americas

US judge blocks Texas’ near-total abortion Ban

 Texas Texas – A federal judge temporarily blocked a near-total ban, on Wednesday, on abortion in Texas – the stiffest such law in the United States.

The action was taken by US District Judge Robert Pitman. It prevents the state from exercising the Republican-backed law – which stops women from getting an abortion done after six weeks of pregnancy. Litigation over its legality continues.

“This Court will not continue this offensive deprivation of such an important right for one more day,” said Pitman in the ruling.

It merits a mention that the case is part of an intense legal battle over abortion access in the US, with numerous states pursuing restrictions.

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It is also pertinent to state that more abortion restrictions have been put to place this year than any other, as 19 statehouses have passed about 106 new limitations on the procedure. Furthermore, a dozen of the new restrictions include some type of a complete ban on abortion.

“Tonight’s ruling is a very important step in the direction of restoring the constitutional rights of women throughout the state of Texas,” said  Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, in a statement late Wednesday.

“Our fight has just begun, both in Texas and across this country where women’s rights are under severe attack,” she added. Critics of the law have said that at six weeks of pregnancy, most women do not even know that they are pregnant.

The law also makes no exceptions for pregnancies that are caused by rape or incest. It also allows ordinary citizens to enforce the ban, rewarding them with at least $10,000 if they sue anyone who helped provide abortion after a fetal cardiac activity is detected. Putting it in simple terms, this law enables people to become anti-abortion bounty hunters and act senselessly towards victims of rape and incest.

Justin Trudeau Defends Early Election Call, Trailing in Polls
Americas

Justin Trudeau Defends Early Election Call, Trailing in Polls

Canada’s Trudeau – facing a likely defeat in the September 20 snap election – defended, on Friday, his decision to declare an early election. Justin Trudeau said his main rival would weaken the country’s fight against COVID-19. Trudeau – the Liberal poster boy – heads a minority Liberal government and needs opposition support to pass any legislation he wants. Being forced to bow to them, he had hoped that the Canadians would reward his pandemic handling with a majority in the House of Commons.

Seeing his fractured support amongst the masses by what he calls “anti-vaxxers”, Trudeau has been made to defend his government’s policies for fighting climate change. Anti-vaccine protesters, in recent weeks, have followed the PM across the country, obstructing his events and, in one instance, getting so close to him to hurl gravel at him.

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Trudeau, on another occasion, had to cancel the event, citing security concerns. On Wednesday night, Trudeau appeared very frustrated when he answered those heading the movement to discredit vaccines.

“I want to salute all extraordinary hard-working journalists who have put science and facts at the core of what they do and have asked me tough questions, rest assured they are educating and informing Canadians citizens from a broad range of perspectives – and this is the last thing that you guys do,” he said.

But polls reveal that voters are not happy that Trudeau, 49, who held power for six years, called a snap election during a fourth wave of the pandemic. Erin O’Toole, the Conservative leader, holds a small lead over the Liberal leader. When asked whether he regretted the election call, Justin Trudeau told reporters:

“Absolutely not. What we all see is a clear contrast between all the contesting parties on how we want to move forward as a country.” The Canadian PM has struggled, so far, to turn the campaign toward policy issues, and he is running out of time.

Newsom Might Steer Victory In California With Biden Administration Help
Americas

Newsom Might Steer Victory In California With Biden Administration Help

California governor is getting all the possible help from the Biden administration to sail through the gubernatorial recall election. The White House was seen diving into the preparations, coming to democratic Governor Gavin Newsom’s aid. The recent visit by Vice President Kamala Harris and then Biden himself is proof of this. The intent has been to alleviate lingering concerns about Democratic turnout in the unusual September vote.

The results have shown as the weight is tilting towards Kavin Newsom itself. It has been a tough ride for Biden himself managing the Afghanistan withdrawal mishmash. What did not go in his favor of Kavin Newsom was his management of the Covid-19 situation in his state. But then, critics felt that his voting power is stronger than his closest opponent, a conservative radio talk host, Larry Elder.

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California remains to be far less Republican, so owing to the fact that he is indeed a Republican, there is more optimistic hope for his succession. Newsom has had some huge challenges to face in California which is one of the largest homeless populations and worst economically hit Covid-19 state in the country.

To save his situation, he was seen pledging to house and feed the world’s homeless population in the last week of July, during a whirlwind “Comeback California” tour that is designed to stave off this September recall by angry voters.

He publicly pledged $12 billion to combat homelessness on top of billions that have already been spent. Under his announcement, people will be taken care of, and anyone who wants to avail themselves of the California dream is welcome.

Maybe this has gone in his favor where he needs to have a 50percent vote majority to continue to serve as Governor. In a media statement Bollywood star and previous serving Governor Arnold. A. Schwarzenegger said that something similar had happened to him while serving and that Kavin Newsom indeed is on ‘dangerous grounds’ right now.

September 20 can be the rollout date for Covid booster vaccine in US
Americas

September 20 can be the rollout date for Covid booster vaccine in US

US officials are sharing optimism that the booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccine for all adults in the country can begin starting September 20. The goal is set by President Joe Biden as Covid-19 cases continue to surge across America with highly transmissible Delta variants. The only wait for the rollout is authorization by US health agencies without whose green flag the booster dose will not be rolled out, officials clarified. 

During CBS’s Face The Nation program when Dr. Anthony Fauci was asked if the 20 September rollout date for booster shot is still in plans, he said, “In some respects, it is. We were hoping that we would get both the candidates, both products, Moderna and Pfizer, rolled out by the week of the 20th. It is conceivable that we will only have one of them out, but the other one will follow soon thereafter.”

Pfizer has already submitted its data and Moderna has started the process of data submission related to the booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. 

Fauci continued, “We’re not going to do anything unless it gets the appropriate FDA regulatory approval, and then the recommendation from the [CDC] advisory committee.” He added that Moderna approval can be delayed by at least a few weeks. 

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The country is ready to receive booster doses as almost all the new cases of coronavirus infection in the US are of Delta variant. Experts hope the surge can be clamped down through booster dose. The vaccines have been shown to provide protection against severe symptoms, hospitalization, and death in Delta variant cases. 

White House chief of staff Ron Klain shared the views of Dr. Fauci and said that while the September 20 rollout date is a projection but not a strict rule. He reiterated that booster rollout has always depended largely on authorization by FDA and CDC. “I think what we said was that we would be ready as of the 20th,” Klain said. “I would be absolutely clear, no one’s going to get boosters until the FDA says they’re approved until the CDC advisory committee makes a recommendation.

Labor day holiday weekend travel concerns were raised by many health officials and experts that it may further increase the caseload. “As we head into Labor Day, we should all be concerned about history repeating itself. High or intense transmission around most of the country combined with population mobility with limited masking and social distancing has been a consistent predictor of major surges,” Dr. John Brownstein, a Boston Children’s Hospital epidemiologist.

The USA has fully vaccinated 53% of its population while 62% have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine. According to John Hopkins data, the US continues to lead in Covid-19 cases and deaths, with 39,908,072 confirmed infections and 648,121 known fatalities.

Supreme Court shot down Biden’s eviction moratorium
Americas

Supreme Court shot down Biden’s eviction moratorium

Yesterday Supreme Court struck down the Biden administration’s eviction moratorium in a 6-3 decision. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued the moratorium to cover counties with the substantial and high spread of Covid. The order was issued after a previous moratorium expired on July 31 during the Trump administration.

An official from the White House said on the matter that it would be one thing if Congress had specifically authorized the action that the CDC has taken. But that has not happened.Although, CDC has imposed a nationwide moratorium on evictions in reliance on a decades-old statute that authorizes it to implement measures like fumigation and pest extermination. Rather it also strains credulity to believe that this statute grants the CDC the sweeping authority that it asserts.

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Clearly, President Biden acknowledged that the moratorium would likely be struck down. He said that the bulk of the constitutional scholars say it’s not likely to pass constitutional muster. But at a minimum, by the time it gets litigated, it will probably give some additional time while we’re getting that $45 billion out to people who are in fact behind in the rent and don’t have the money.

Bob Pinnegar, who is the president and CEO of the National Apartment Association said that if there’s going to be a tsunami of anything, there’s a tsunami of debt out there. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the Biden administration was “disappointed” by the decision, but pushed other local authorities to prevent evictions on their own authority. Some states, including California and Maryland, have temporarily banned evictions during the height of the Delta variant.

Biden promises to muster every resource to bring all Americans stranded in Afghanistan as Taliban takes control of the country
Americas

Biden promises to muster every resource to bring all Americans stranded in Afghanistan as Taliban takes control of the country

 “We will get you home.” This is US President Joe Biden’s promise to stranded American citizens in Afghanistan and their families. As Taliban has taken control of the country forcing its way into the capital Kabul, panic has been the driving force across the world. Western countries have been trying to evacuate their citizens and some Afghans that had been working with their troops, but a lot is still left to do as thousands in the country have been left at the mercy of the insurgent group that is known for its merciless practice and special targeting of women.

Amid mounting pressure to bring back American citizens, President Biden said that US is ready to “mobilize every resource” to bring them to Kabul airport and thereafter to US soil.

President Biden has been under attack and criticism for his decision of hastily withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan, bringing an end to the 20 year long war. But the calculations of Biden administration were clearly off the path and mis-anticipated. A force of less than 100,000 Taliban fighters very conveniently took over control from more than 300,000. In only couple of months the Taliban took over Afghanistan bringing the country to brink of another humanitarian catastrophe. The embattled President continues to defend his decision and asserts that it hasn’t hurt US relations with its allies.

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But the current scenario in Kabul and rest of Afghanistan is worse than ever. Reports continue to come that Taliban fighters are not letting people, including American citizens to pass checkpoints to reach the airport. Even US Embassy in Kabul has said that government “cannot ensure safe passage to the airport” for American citizens. But President Biden insisted while speaking from White House on Friday, “Let me be clear. Any American who wants to come home, we will get you home.”

However, he noted, “Make no mistake, this evacuation mission is dangerous. It involves risks to our armed forces and it’s being conducted under difficult circumstances. I cannot promise what the final outcome will be or that it will be without risk of loss. But as commander-in-chief, I can assure you that I will mobilize every resource necessary.”

This is far from reality, as the various videos shared on social media platforms indicate. Heart wrenching. Emma Vaughn, a spokesperson for the Republican national committee, said, “Joe Biden created a disaster in Afghanistan, and Americans and our allies are paying the price. Biden’s claims that Americans can safely get to the Kabul airport and that our allies support his management handling of the crisis are verifiably false. Americans deserve accountability and transparency, not continued lies and failure.”

Brazil’s top court to probe Bolsonaro’s allegations of voting fraud
Americas

Brazil’s top court to probe Bolsonaro’s allegations of voting fraud

Brazil’s top electoral court ( TSE ) has announced to open an investigation into President Jair Bolsonaro’s allegations of fraud in next year’s elections.

Bolsonaro is expected to be seeking a second term in the 2022 polls. He, however, has repeatedly said the country’s electronic voting system is exposed to manipulation.

His critics say that he, like former U.S. President Donald Trump, is sowing seeds of doubts with his unfounded claims to pave him the way for not accepting defeat in 2022.

The TSE decided to ask the Supreme Court to investigate whether Bolsonaro’s allegations fell into the category of a crime – as he attacked the electoral system on social media and threatened Brazil’s democratic procedure.

Bolsonaro also accused the court’s members of the conspiracy in maintaining a voting system that would benefit former leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva return to power.

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Bolsonaro has called for the adoption of printed receipts that can be counted if an election result stands disputed. He said a paper trail would change the current all-electronic voting system. Bolsonaro also announced not to accept the result of next year’s presidential election if the system is not changed.

Supporters of the president, over the weekend, demonstrations in several cities backing his proposal.

On Monday, a group of 18 active and former Brazilian Supreme Court justices said the election system is free of fraud.

The judges said in a statement, “Brazil has eliminated a history of election fraud”.

They maintained that since the electronic voting system was adopted in 1996, the country has never had a documented fraud case in any election.

The judges countered Bolsonaro by saying that printed ballots are less safe than electronic voting, and the chance of fraud would be higher if Brazil gets back to hand-operated counting of 150 million printed ballots.

A congressional committee is set to vote on the proposal to introduce paper ballots on Thursday.

US Senate works to push $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill
Americas

US Senate works to push $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill

The new infrastructure bill can impact the lives of several people. The $1 trillion infrastructure agreement between the Republicans and Democrats has a $500 billion spending and can impact Americans drastically. Since it has several goodwill projects under it, thus it can benefit people both the current and future generations. It includes working towards fast internet, clean drinking water, more roads, bridges, and public transit. Furthermore, it can reconnect communities that were previously divided by badly connected highways. 

In addition to these, the bill proposes a $7.5 billion funding for nationwide electric vehicles. Moreover, $21 billion for cleaning up the environment including abandoned gas wells, mines, and brownfield sites. Additionally, it gave the confirmation that $205 billion is redirecting to coronavirus relief funds. 

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Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema said that they have most of the text done so, they will update it as we get those last pieces finalized. He is also of the opinion that they do not want to overbuild the charging infrastructure and not have the vehicles to be using it. It is better to pay for new charging stations in rural communities since it is the only thing holding back people from buying electric vehicles now, are their concerns overcharging.

The US Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer mentioned that it’s been decades since such a “significant standalone investment” has been passed by Congress. He added that he hopes to pass both the bipartisan infrastructure bill and a budget resolution before the August recess. The infrastructure bill includes $110 billion for roads and bridges, $39 billion for public transit and $66 billion for rail. The government also plans to spend $55 billion for water and wastewater infrastructure and $17 billion for ports and $25 billion for airports to reduce congestion and maintenance backlogs.

Slain Haitian President’s security official taken into custody
Americas

Slain Haitian President’s security official taken into custody

A security official of slain Haitian President Jovenel Moise was taken into custody by police on suspicion of involvement in the assassination plot.

The arrested top official served as general security coordinator when Jovenel Moïse was assassinated.

Jean Laguel Civil now joins more than two dozen suspects detained by Haiti National Police as the probe, into the July 7 attack at Moïse’s private home, progresses.

On July 7, in the middle of the night, Jovenel’s private residence in Port-au-Prince was mobbed by a group of more than 20 mostly Colombian mercenaries.

Reynold Georges, Civil’s attorney, called his client’s arrest politically motivated even though it wasn’t immediately clear if Civil had been charged with anything.

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The arrest of the Presidential Security Coordinator Jean Laguel Civil comes nearly three weeks after Moise was killed.

Civil’s arrest followed the detention of another member of Moise’s security detail, Dimitri Herard.

A July 10 memo signed by Herard narrating out the events of the assassination night was leaked on social media on Tuesday. Its authenticity, however, could not be confirmed.

In the three-page document, Herard said that he had received a call for help from Moise at about 1:39 a.m. on July 7. He, then, made for the president’s residence and ordered reinforcements.

Herard said he received information of “many detonations” near Moise’s home and advanced towards it with other officials. Near the entrance, they were faced by men draped in black who ordered them to retreat – saying the group formed a part of an operation by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Herard’s group was outnumbered heavily and concerned that the men might have held the president, his group retreated. They, then, as per the memo, began planning an assault on their adversaries but learnt just after 3 a.m. that the president was dead.

Three Colombians, in the ensuing battle on the afternoon of July 7, were killed as a result.

US forces to end combat in Iraq by year end
Americas

US forces to end combat in Iraq by year end

 United States of America President Joe Biden has announced that US combat forces in Iraq are going to end their mission in Iraq by end of this year. The announcement followed Biden’s meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi at White House. The US troops will however continue to provide advise and train the Iraqi military according to the arrangement.

At present there are 2.500 US troops in Iraq that are helping the forces in country to combat remaining Islamic State group. The number of troops will remain same in Iraq but their active role will end in combat mission – a move likely to help PM Mustafa al- Kadhimi.  

Pressure over US presence in Iraq

Qasem Soleimani, the Iranian general and leader of Iran backed Shia Muslim militia, was killed in a US drone attack last year in Baghdad. Since then Iran aligned political parties in Iraq have been pressurizing US forces withdrawal from country. This is despite continuing threat from the Sunni jihadist group in Iraq.

US has meanwhile accused Shia Muslim militia, backed by Iran, of carrying out drone and rocket attacks on Iraqi military bases histing the US led coalition forces. This is attempt to pressurize the forces to leave.

President Biden brings end to another overseas US war

This marks another overseas US war to an end by President Joe Biden. US troops withdrawal from Afghanistan was ordered by Biden. Both wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan, had begun under former President George W Bush. In 2003, US forces had invaded Iraq to eliminate President Saddam Hussein.

In 2011 US forces withdrew, only to return back three years later at Iraqi government request when IS group overran large parts of the country. “Our role in Iraq will be dealing with being available to continue to train, to assist, to help and deal with ISIS as it arrives,” Biden added at the meeting. “But we’re not going to be, by the end of the year, in a combat mission.”

During meeting with Iraqi PM at White House, President Biden said “Our counter-terrorism co-operation will continue even as we shift to this new phase.” Mr Kadhimi responded, “Today our relationship is stronger than ever. Our co-operation is for the economy, the environment, health, education, culture and more.”

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