National News Content

Officials, residents highlight needed reforms, challenges in election system

WXXI US News - 2 hours 31 min ago
A public hearing, sponsored by State Senator Samra Brouk, was held at the County office building Thursday in downtown Rochester. Brouk sits on the New York State Senate’s standing committee on elections. Among the speakers was Justin Young, representing the National Federation for the Blind’s New York Chapter. He is seeking more options for blind voters like remote ballot marking devices and delivery systems. These systems are often tablet based and some states and municipalities integrate them with voting systems. “We want to make sure that blind voters, and voters with print disabilities can vote privately, securely and make sure that their voices are being heard like everyone else in New York state,” said Young. Young would also like to see poll workers trained on what to expect when working with a blind or disablled voter. Judith Hunter is the chair of the rural Democratic conference of New York state. One of the election reforms that Hunter objects to is removing political parties

Justice Department Is Investigating Phoenix Police After Reports Of Excessive Force

WXXI US News - 2 hours 38 min ago
The Justice Department is launching an investigation of the Phoenix Police Department over allegations of excessive use of force and homeless abuse. "When we conduct pattern or practice investigations to determine whether the Constitution or federal law has been violated, our aim is to promote transparency and accountability," Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement announcing the investigation Thursday afternoon. "This increases public trust, which in turn increases public safety. We know that law enforcement shares these goals." Earlier this year, a local ABC investigation found some in the the department were circulating "challenge coins" that depicted a protester who had been shot in the groin area with the words "GOOD NIGHT LEFT NUT" on one side and "MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN ONE NUT AT A TIME" on the other. The coin also had the date of a 2017 protest when former President Donald Trump was speaking in Phoenix. Another incident this year involved video of a police

Dixie Fire Stirs Anxiety In The California Town Decimated In 2018 By The Camp Fire

WXXI US News - 2 hours 41 min ago
Out-of-control wildfires in northern California are burning homes and again forcing thousands to evacuate. One of the biggest concerns remains the Dixie Fire , the second largest wildfire in the U.S. It has now burned some 322,000 acres, including much of the northern Sierra Nevada town of Greenville. Until recently, the Dixie Fire had been burning in mostly remote wild lands. But that changed dramatically Wednesday as erratic winds sent the flames racing toward whole communities around the popular vacation enclave of Lake Almanor. By late afternoon, an ominous emergency alert broke into local radio here warning all Greenville, Calif., residents to leave immediately . "We lost Greenville tonight," said U.S. Rep. Doug LaMalfa in an emotional video to his constituents posted to Facebook. "There's just no words for how us in government haven't been able to get the job done." Only a dramatic change in the weather will stop wildfires like this in an era of climate change. They're also

State Assembly impeachment inquiry nears completion

WXXI US News - 3 hours 1 min ago
The New York State Assembly’s impeachment inquiry signaled Thursday that it is in the final stages, requesting attorneys for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to submit any additional evidence by the end of the day on Aug. 13. Articles of impeachment could be drawn up as soon as September. A spokesman for Cuomo said the governor intends to fully cooperate. Charles Lavine, the chair of the Assembly Judiciary Committee that is conducting the impeachment inquiry, directed attorneys to write a letter telling the governor’s lawyers that the investigation is “nearing completion” and “will soon consider potential articles of impeachment against your client.” Davis Polk Letter 8-5-21 by WXXI News on Scribd In the letter, the lawyers were asked to submit any additional evidence or written accounts that they would like the committee to consider by the close of the business day on Aug. 13. Judiciary Committee member Phil Steck said that in any investigation, the last step is to hear from the accused. “After the

'A complete surprise': State health department won't offer schools reopening guidance

WXXI US News - 3 hours 17 min ago
For months, Monroe County school superintendents have been awaiting firm COVID-19 reopening guidelines from the New York State Department of Health, but state officials said Thursday that they won't be issuing that guidance. "With the end of the state disaster emergency on June 25, 2021, school districts are reestablished as the controlling entity for schools,” state health commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said in a statement. Zucker said districts should develop plans to open in person in the fall as safely as possible, and that he recommends following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health departments. Rush-Henrietta Central School District Superintendent Bo Wright, who is also the president of the Monroe County Council of School Superintendents, was taken aback by the decision. "The announcement that there will be no direction at all from the state comes as a complete surprise," Wright said in a statement. With only four weeks left before the

New Fuel Regulations Will Help The Transition To Electric Vehicles

WXXI US News - 3 hours 55 min ago
The White House is announcing new rules for vehicle fuel economy and emissions, a key part of President Biden's climate policy. These regulations will aid in the transition toward electric vehicles.

Pete Buttigieg And Michael Regan On What The Infrastructure Deal Does For The Climate

WXXI US News - 3 hours 55 min ago
The infrastructure bill making its way through Senate is 2,700 pages of proposed spending on roads, trains, broadband and more. The White House is also taking steps to set automobile fuel standards.

After 17 seasons with FC Barcelona, Lionel Messi is leaving

WXXI US News - 4 hours 10 min ago
It's official: Argentine soccer player Lionel Messi will leave FC Barcelona. The departure comes less than a month after Messi and Barcelona verbally agreed to a five-year deal , which included a substantial pay cut for Messi. His previous salary was around $32 million. "Despite having reached an agreement between FC Barcelona and Leo Messi and with the clear intention of both parties to sign a new contract today, it cannot be formalized due to economic and structural obstacles (in Spanish LaLiga regulations)," FC Barcelona said in a statement . "Faced with this situation, Lionel Messi will not continue linked to FC Barcelona." Messi, one of the top players in soccer history, had expressed frustration with the Spanish soccer club last August, when he stated that he wanted to leave Barcelona. The 34-year-old ended his 21-year contract with the club in June and has remained a free agent July 1. Josie Fischels is an intern on NPR's News Desk. Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https:/

RPD Officer Denny Wright honored after serious injuries suffered when responding to a call in 2019

WXXI US News - 4 hours 25 min ago
A Rochester Police Officer who was seriously injured nearly two years ago while responding to a domestic incident, received top honors Thursday at the Public Safety Building. Dozens of officers, family and friends gathered to honor Officer Denny Wright, who received the police department’s Medal of Valor and Purple Heart because of what happened in October 2019 on Peck Street. Wright was responding to a call about family trouble, and 28-year-old Keith Williams is accused of stabbing the officer multiple times. Wright is blind now, and said if he could, he would be willing to go back to the house where this all happened to see if he could get a better result. But at this point, he is just glad to be alive and to still be able to enjoy his family. “In the front of this building, there is a memorial next to the flagpole. It contains names of officers who died in the line of duty. Because of these people here, these officers and civilians and the hospital, my name is not on that stone,"

N.J. Governor Calls Out Anti-COVID Vaccine Protesters As 'Ultimate Knuckleheads'

WXXI US News - 4 hours 27 min ago
Fed up with a group of demonstrators protesting mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy lashed out on Wednesday during a public bill signing. YouTube "These folks back there have lost their minds — you've lost your minds," Murphy said, calling out to the protesters. "You are the ultimate knuckleheads, and because of what you are saying and standing for, people are losing their life. People are losing their life and you have to know that. Look in the mirror." The governor had come to Union City to sign legislation that would allocate money to prevent evictions and give utility assistance. Murphy said on Monday that around 80% of positive tests in New Jersey between July 12 and 19 were from people who were not vaccinated or not fully vaccinated. Nearly 60% of people in the state are fully vaccinated. New Jersey's confirmed COVID-19 cases are on the rise. The state reported 1,345 new cases on Thursday, the highest single-day total in nearly three months . In line with

Dome Arena vaccination site to close Aug. 15; relocating to downtown Rochester

WXXI US News - 5 hours 21 sec ago
The state vaccination site for the COVID-19 vaccine that has been at the Dome Arena in Henrietta is moving downtown. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Thursday that the vaccination site at the Dome Arena will move to the SUNY Rochester Educational Opportunity Center (REOC) at 161 Chestnut Street as of Monday, August 16. Second dose appointment information with details on the new site for people who got their first dose at the Dome Arena will be texted and emailed to the contact information on file for all individuals. Cuomo said it’s part of ongoing efforts to right-size the state’s mass vaccination sites and target areas of need. The state is continuing to evaluate the remaining mass vaccination sites. The governor said it’s part of the state’s plan to focus resources in convenient areas to encourage vaccinations for those who have not yet received the vaccine. The COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker Dashboard is available to update New Yorkers on the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine and

'Dark Money' Is Funding The 2020 Election Challenge — And Could Challenge 2024

WXXI US News - 5 hours 27 min ago
President Biden was sworn into office more than six months ago, but officials in Maricopa County, Ariz., are still searching for evidence that Biden's victory in their state was based on massive voter fraud — even after multiple audits found no issues . New Yorker writer Jane Mayer says the Arizona audit is an unprecedented undertaking, with potentially explosive consequences for American democracy. Mayer notes that although the audit appears to be the work of local extremists, it's actually being funded by sophisticated national organizations whose boards of directors include some of the country's wealthiest and highest-profile conservatives. "The 2020 election is long since over in most people's minds and settled and decided," Mayer says. "But these groups are doubling down in the money they're putting into, and the effort they're putting into, trying to push the idea of fraud — potentially in order to challenge the 2022 midterms and the 2024 election." Mayer writes about what she

After Months Of Delay, The Census Data For New Voting Maps Is Coming Out Aug. 12

WXXI US News - 5 hours 27 min ago
After months of delays, the 2020 census results used to redraw voting districts around the country will finally be released on Aug. 12, the U.S. Census Bureau said Thursday. In a tweet , the federal government's largest statistical agency confirmed that the detailed demographic data will be posted on its website four days sooner than Aug. 16, the previously announced deadline the bureau had agreed to meet as part of a lawsuit by Ohio over the data's release schedule . The coronavirus pandemic and interference by the administration of former President Donald Trump have forced the bureau to put out new redistricting data about five months later than its original schedule in order to run more quality checks. That lag has eaten into the time to prepare new voting maps in many parts of the U.S., cranking up the pressure on mapmakers in what is usually a contentious and highly partisan process of redistributing political representation based on the population totals from the once-a-decade

Connections: What's new and hot on TV?

WXXI US News - 5 hours 38 min ago
Vulture published a list of 25 notable new releases over the next two weeks. It includes movies, art, books, music, theater, and TV shows. The last category is the focus of this hour: what's new and hot in TV? We talk about a number of popular shows that are making their return, as well as new series that could become favorites. Experts say competition among streaming services is fierce. What about cable? Is appointment viewing still a thing? Our guests take a look at the current TV landscape and weigh in on the future of the medium. Our guests: Todd Sodano , associate professor of media and communication at St. John Fisher College Deprina Godboldo , associate producer for Condé Nast Maddie Ullrich , Ph.D. student in visual and cultural studies at the University of Rochester

Connections: Should we stop abusing the animals we eat?

WXXI US News - 5 hours 40 min ago
California will soon see the vast majority of its pork supply disappear. That's because voters overwhelmingly passed a law in 2018 calling for better standards for animals raised for slaughter. Most pigs are still kept in cramped cages that won't comply with the new rules. The impact will go beyond the pigs; bacon is big business, and restauranteurs are concerned with narrowing menus. Meanwhile, states like New York are considering their own animal welfare laws. Our guests discuss it: Chris Hartman, founder and president of Headwater Food Hub Chris Lindstrom , co-founder of CurAte, and host of the Food About Town and In Good Spirits podcasts Andrea Parros, owner and operator of The Red Fern Greg Hartt, co-owner of Stonecrop Farm

As China Cracks Down, Hong Kong Residents In The U.S. Have Been Given Temporary Haven

WXXI US News - 6 hours 7 min ago
The White House is granting Hong Kong residents who are in the U.S. temporary "safe haven," letting them remain and work in the country for at least 18 months without fear of deportation. The move, announced Thursday, comes in response to China's imposition of a national security law in Hong Kong that severely curbs free speech and the right to protest guaranteed by the agreement that handed back the city to Beijing in 1997 after a century of British rule. Under the rule change , the Department of Homeland Security will temporarily defer removal from the U.S. of Hong Kong residents who wish to remain. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in statement that it was meant to show "strong support for people in Hong Kong in the face of ongoing repression by the People's Republic of China." "Given the politically motivated arrests and trials, the silencing of the media, and the diminishing the space for elections and democratic opposition, we will continue to take steps in support of

To Remember The Moment, Try Taking Fewer Photos

WXXI US News - 6 hours 16 min ago
The sun is setting at the end of a gorgeous day at the beach — the light is just right, illuminating your kids' faces as they play in the waves. You reach for your phone because you want to remember this perfect moment. But before you do, here's a bit of surprising science that avid photo-takers need to know: Taking photos is not the perfect memory-retention tool you think it is. Snapping too many pictures could actually harm the brain's ability to retain memories, says Elizabeth Loftus, a psychological science professor at the University of California, Irvine. So you get the photo but kind of lose the memory. It works in one of two ways, Loftus explains: We either offload the responsibility of remembering moments when we take pictures of them, or we're so distracted by the process of taking a photo that we miss the moment altogether. But photo-takers, don't despair just yet. If you're more intentional about the photos you take, they can actually help you capture that moment you're

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Delta Blues

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts.

The U.S. is experiencing another surge of covid-19, particularly in Southern states where vaccination rates are generally lower than in other regions. But partisan fights rage on over what role government should play in trying to tamp down the highly contagious delta variant.

Meanwhile, Democrats spent the week fighting amongst themselves about how to extend a moratorium on evictions, after the Supreme Court said Congress would need to act.

This week’s panelists are Julie Rovner of KHN, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Rachel Cohrs of Stat and Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet.

Among the takeaways from this week’s episode:

  • The surge caused by the delta variant has put public health officials in a difficult position. While extolling the value of the vaccines and urging people to get a shot, they have suggested it would allow the public to go back to a more normal life. But now — because large pockets of the country have low vaccination rates, which is allowing the delta variant to take hold — officials are urging mask-wearing again. The switch in messaging has the potential to undermine confidence in the inoculations.
  • The Biden administration’s move this week to extend the covid eviction moratorium appears to be an effort to buy time so that federal officials can push states to get money already approved by Congress out to tenants and landlords. But the Supreme Court has already said the administration doesn’t have authority to extend the moratorium, so it may be a race between federal officials trying to get money moving and opponents of the moratorium trying to get their case before the high court.
  • Food and Drug Administration officials say they are working furiously on an application by drugmaker Pfizer to grant its vaccine final approval. All the vaccines being used in the U.S. have received only emergency authorizations, not the more formal and rigorous full FDA approval. But that process is always time-consuming because federal officials must comb through a manufacturer’s data, re-crunch the numbers and inspect production sites. FDA had said they would try to get that done in six months — a fairly rapid pace for normal approvals. But the hope that final approval will persuade more people to get a shot is pushing the agency to speed up even more.
  • All that work is ongoing even though the Biden administration still has not named anyone to be the next FDA commissioner.
  • Tension is building over the need for covid vaccine boosters. Several countries, including Israel and Germany, have said they will begin using booster shots for vulnerable populations, but the World Health Organization has asked countries to not begin giving boosters until more people around the globe have access to the vaccine. U.S. officials and drugmakers said evidence suggests the initial shots are still working well and boosters are not required at this time.
  • Despite playing down the need for boosters, government officials and industry are preparing behind the scenes for the possibility of starting a campaign and getting additional vaccines to people who need them.
  • The FDA last week approved allowing pharmacists to automatically substitute a biosimilar — or copy of a brand-name insulin — for patients’ prescriptions. Although the biosimilar is like a generic drug, it’s not clear whether this move will quickly lead to lower costs for patients.

Plus, for extra credit, the panelists recommend their favorite health policy stories of the week they think you should read, too:

Julie Rovner: NPR’s “Vaccination Status Questions Do Not Violate HIPAA, Consumer Health Expert Explains,” by Kelsey Snell and Deven McGraw

Rachel Cohrs: Axios’ “Justice Department Goes After Kaiser Permanente’s Medicare Advantage Plans,” by Bob Herman

Sarah Karlin-Smith: KHN’s “12,000 Square Miles Without Obstetrics? It’s a Possibility in West Texas,” by Charlotte Huff

Alice Miranda Ollstein: Task & Purposes’ “‘We Are All Suffering in Silence’ – Inside the US Military’s Pervasive Culture of Eating Disorders,” by Haley Britzky

To hear all our podcasts, click here.

And subscribe to KHN’s What the Health? on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts.

KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operating programs at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization providing information on health issues to the nation.


This story can be republished for free (details).

Categories: National News Content

Winter Is Coming: The Beijing 2022 Olympics Start In Less Than 6 Months

WXXI US News - 6 hours 42 min ago
We're still in the final days of the Tokyo Summer Olympics — but thanks to the one-year delay of these Games, the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics are now less than six months away. "All venues and facilities for Beijing 2022 are close to complete," organizers said in a recent update. Those structures range from luge tracks and skating rinks to snowboard courses. The 12 ice and snow venues are scattered between Beijing and neighboring Hebei province, which includes a large mountain resort. Test events were held at those venues this year to fine-tune them for competition, organizers said. While many facilities are brand-new, some may look familiar : The famous "Water Cube" that hosted Olympic swimming in 2008, for instance, is now the "Ice Cube," to host curling. The coronavirus will once again affect the Olympics With the COVID-19 pandemic showing few signs of abating, Beijing Olympics officials are working to "make improvements based on epidemic prevention and control policies," said Liu

Powerful U.S. Labor Leader Richard Trumka Dies

WXXI US News - 7 hours 15 min ago
Updated August 5, 2021 at 5:27 PM ET Richard Trumka, the longtime head of the powerful AFL-CIO and a close ally of Democratic Party leaders, has died. He was 72. Speaking before a White House event Thursday, President Biden said that Trumka died of a heart attack while on a camping trip with family. "He wasn't just a great labor leader, he was a friend," Biden said. "He was someone I could confide in. You knew whatever he said he'd do, he would do." "The labor movement, the AFL-CIO and the nation lost a legend today," the 12.5 million-member organization said in announcing his passing. "Rich Trumka devoted his life to working people, from his early days as president of the United Mine Workers of America to his unparalleled leadership as the voice of America's labor movement." Liz Shuler, the federation's secretary-treasurer, wrote on Twitter that even as the AFL-CIO mourns Trumka's death, "we will stand on his shoulders to continue the fight for workers, and for the fair and just
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