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Revamped White House Website Aims For Inclusivity And Accessibility

Thu, 01/21/2021 - 8:00am
Wednesday's inauguration ushered in new occupants of the White House, as well as a revamped White House website. Shortly after President Biden and Vice President Harris took office, sharp-eyed Internet users noticed several major changes relating to the inclusivity and accessibility of the executive branch's official site. Among them are a new feature allowing users to include their pronouns when submitting contact forms and a relaunch of the Spanish-language website. The White House contact form now includes gender-inclusive pronouns and prefixes, such as "they/them" and the gender-neutral title "Mx." The LGBTQ organization GLAAD amplified the news in a tweet and issued a statement praising the Biden administration for "taking immediate steps towards inclusion." A message visible in the site's source code invites techies to join the U.S. Digital Service , a technology unit within the White House that was launched in 2014 with the stated mission to "deliver better government services

Reinfections More Likely With New Coronavirus Variants, Evidence Suggests

Thu, 01/21/2021 - 7:44am
Back in April, COVID-19 hit the city of Manaus, Brazil, extremely hard. In fact, the outbreak there was arguably the worst in the world. One study, published in the journal Science , estimated that so many people were infected that the city could have reached herd immunity — that the outbreak there slowed down because up to 76% of the population had protection against the virus. Now the city of Manaus is seeing another massive surge in cases. This time around, the outbreak appears even larger than the first one, says Marcus Vinicius Lacerda , an infectious disease doctor at the Fundação de Medicina Tropical Doutor Heitor Vieira Dourado in Manaus. "You have much more people becoming infected and that includes people inside their [newly diagnosed patients'] households," he says. The surge is so large that hospitals have run out of oxygen, and patients on ventilators, who need extra oxygen to breathe, have literally suffocated in hospital beds. "I'm really afraid. I'm seeing lots of

6 Takeaways From President Biden's Inauguration

Thu, 01/21/2021 - 7:00am
President Biden. That's going to take some getting used to after these past four years. The new president was sworn in Wednesday and made an inaugural address aimed at unity. Biden didn't sugarcoat, however, the hurdles to bringing Americans together, and he leaned into the challenges the U.S. faces, as he sees it. Here are six takeaways from Biden's inauguration: 1. A starkly different tone was set. If there's one thing that stood out most, it was the tone that Biden struck. Gone was the tension, defiance and grievance of Donald Trump. Instead, America saw a staid and humble President Biden. Instead of igniting flames of division, he was trying to take the temperature down . "We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue," Biden said. "Rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal. We can do this if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts. If we show a little tolerance and humility, and if we're willing to stand in the other person's shoes, as my mom would say,

Twin Suicide Bombings In Baghdad Market Kill At Least 32, Wound Over 100

Thu, 01/21/2021 - 6:30am
Updated at 10:35 a.m. ET Twin suicide bombings at a Baghdad market killed at least 32 people and injured 110 others on Thursday, according to Iraq's health ministry. Of the injured, 36 are being treated in hospitals. Two suicide bombers detonated their vests when security forces pursued them through the busy Tayaran Square market. The first claimed he was ill, causing a crowd to form around him before he detonated the bomb he wore, a security official told The Associated Press . An interior ministry spokesman tweeted that the second bomber set off his device after people gathered around those dead and wounded from the first bombing. There was no immediate claim for the bombings, which have become rare in the Iraqi capital since the Islamic State group was largely defeated in the country in 2017. The last took place in January 2018, according to the AP. Maj. Gen. Tahsin al-Khafaji, a Joint Operations Command spokesman, said it was a "terrorist act perpetrated by a sleeper cell of the

Democratic National Committee Will Examine Future Of Iowa Caucuses

Thu, 01/21/2021 - 6:22am
Members of the DNC have their first meeting of the Biden era on Thursday. They will consider whether Iowa should keep its place at the front of the presidential nominating process.

Current, Deadly U.S. Coronavirus Surge Has Peaked, Researchers Say

Thu, 01/21/2021 - 6:12am
The devastating fall and winter wave of coronavirus infections that is causing so much misery across the U.S. appears to have finally peaked, according to several researchers who are closely tracking the virus. While another surge remains possible, especially with new, more infectious variants on the horizon, the number of new daily infections in the current wave appears to have hit a high in the past week or two and has been steadily declining in most states since, the researchers say. "Yes, we have peaked in terms of cases," says Ali Mokdad, who has been tracking the pandemic at the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. "We are coming down, slowly. This is very good news — very good news." And while hospitals in some places are still being overwhelmed, the overall number of hospitalized patients also appears to have reached a peak and begun to decline slightly. It's down from a peak of over 132,000 patients on Jan. 6 to 122,700 as of Wednesday.

News Brief: Biden Signs Executive Orders, COVID-19 Surge Peaks

Thu, 01/21/2021 - 6:12am
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Biden Signs 15 Executive Actions, Many To Unravel Trump Policies

Thu, 01/21/2021 - 6:12am
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

President Biden's White House Introduces Initiatives On Immigration

Thu, 01/21/2021 - 6:12am
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bipartisan Group Of Lawmakers Promises To Put Country Ahead Of Party

Thu, 01/21/2021 - 6:12am
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Detroiters Are Divided Over Trump's Commutation Of Ex-Mayor's Sentence

Thu, 01/21/2021 - 6:12am
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Memorable Inauguration Images Include Bernie Sanders' Mittens

Thu, 01/21/2021 - 6:12am
People on social media lifted a photo of Sanders and his mittens out of the inauguration, and put him on a ski lift, atop the throne from Game of Thrones and sitting on an unfinished skyscraper.

Trader Joe's, Dollar General And Others Are Paying Workers To Get Vaccines

Thu, 01/21/2021 - 5:14am
A growing number of grocers are adopting a novel approach in the race to get their workers vaccinated against COVID-19: providing pay incentives. Aldi this week became the latest grocery chain to offer employees compensation for getting vaccinated, saying it would provide workers with two hours of pay for each of the two vaccine doses. The grocer also promised workers receiving vaccines that they would not lose pay for missed hours from work and that it would help pay for the shots. "Providing accommodations so employees can receive this critical vaccine is one more way we can support them and eliminate the need to choose between earning their wages and protecting their well-being," said Jason Hart, CEO of Aldi U.S., in a statement. With its announcement, the U.S. unit of the German grocer joined Trader Joe's and Dollar General in offering to pay employees extra hourly wages to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Online grocery-delivery firm Instacart, meanwhile, is offering a $25 stipend for

On Day 2, Biden To Focus On COVID-19 Strategy With 10 Executive Actions

Thu, 01/21/2021 - 5:00am
President Biden plans to sign a series of orders and directives on his second day in office to take charge of stopping the spread of the coronavirus, steps that his advisers say will start to boost testing, vaccinations, supplies and treatments. Accelerating the sluggish federal response to COVID-19 is Biden's top priority, and he has promised 100 million vaccinations in his first 100 days . He is also pushing Congress for another $1.9 trillion in relief, a package that would include direct payments to Americans, support for small businesses and a huge boost in funding for vaccines and testing. Biden will push to advance the strategy his team has developed, starting with 10 executive orders and directives, his COVID-19 response coordinator, Jeff Zients, told reporters. "Last week you heard the president lay out his vaccine strategy," Zients said, adding that on Thursday, Biden will advance "the road map to guide America out of this public health crisis." One of the orders will direct

Portland Police Charge 8 After Demonstrators Vandalize Democratic Party Offices

Thu, 01/21/2021 - 4:57am
More than 100 anti-fascist demonstrators in Portland attacked police and vandalized the city's Democratic Party of Oregon building Wednesday afternoon, breaking several windows in the process, according to police. Police arrested eight people between the ages of 18 and 38, some of whom were armed with knives and long poles, the department said. Before descending on the offices of the Democratic Party of Oregon, the crowd scuffled with police on bikes who were monitoring the area where the group had told supporters to meet. Police say the demonstrators used similar language in flyers announcing the Jan. 20 event as other rallies held months prior that "were punctuated by violence and destruction." The flyers advertising a gathering at Revolution Hall discouraged livestreaming, according to the city's police bureau . When the crowd gathered outside Revolution Hall, a music venue in the city, dozens of demonstrators started pushing against police and snatched one of the officers' bikes in

Biden Suspends Deportations, Stops 'Remain In Mexico' Policy

Thu, 01/21/2021 - 2:45am
The newly inaugurated Biden administration wasted no time in taking two major steps to dismantle much-criticized Trump-era immigration policies in its first day in office. The Department of Homeland Security announced that starting Thursday, it would pause deportations for certain noncitizens in the United States for 100 days and would stop new enrollments in the Migrant Protection Protocols policy, also known as the "remain in Mexico" program. Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary David Pekoske said the U.S. "faces significant operational challenges at the southwest border as it is confronting the most serious global public health crisis in a century." Pausing some enforcement measures gives the agency breathing room as the DHS plans to fully review current programs and U.S. immigration policies, Pekoske said in a memo issued late Wednesday. Pekoske's memo directed DHS sub-agencies Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Citizenship and

In Flurry Of Executive Orders, Biden Reverses Some Of Trump's Immigration Policies

Wed, 01/20/2021 - 9:06pm
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST: President Biden signed a flurry of executive orders tonight, including measures rolling back parts of the Trump administration's immigration crackdown. We also got more details on an immigration bill that Biden hopes to get passed in Congress. NPR's Joel Rose covers immigration. Hey, Joel. JOEL ROSE, BYLINE: Hey, Mary Louise. KELLY: So Biden made a lot of campaign promises to do with immigration. What specifically do the executive orders today address? ROSE: Right. Well, they deliver on some of those promises for sure. He signed an executive order lifting the travel ban on people from majority-Muslim countries, which Biden had pledged during the campaign to do on Day 1. President Biden also signed a proclamation halting construction of the border wall on the Southern border and plans to roll back Trump's aggressive enforcement tactics in the interior of the U.S. And the Biden administration also today sent a big, ambitious

Biden Is President, But Some In Rural West Still Cling To False Notion That Trump Won

Wed, 01/20/2021 - 8:17pm
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST: On the show tonight, we are talking with voters around the country, getting their views on this Inauguration Day. So now we turn to one of the most conservative states in the nation, Idaho, which is where we find NPR correspondent Kirk Siegler. Hey, Kirk. KIRK SIEGLER, BYLINE: Hey, Mary Louise. KELLY: Where have you been today? Who have you been talking to? SIEGLER: Well, I've been in - here in southwest Idaho. I've been in a little town named Star. It was rural. There's been a lot of growth lately. Now more of a bedroom community to Boise - lots of retirees moving in, conservative transplants from California, in particular, and a lot of Trump supporters - you know, not a surprise, this being a divided country. And that was fully on display. A lot of people I talked to didn't even watch the inauguration, didn't want to watch it. Some were even going out of their way, running errands during it. I went to the DMV, if that

A Look At Biden's 1st Day In Office

Wed, 01/20/2021 - 8:17pm
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST: This afternoon, Vice President Harris and President Biden visited Arlington National Cemetery, where they laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. And not long after, President Biden headed to the White House for his first day as its new resident. For more on today's events, we are joined by White House correspondent Franco Ordoñez, congressional correspondent Kelsey Snell and political correspondent Mara Liasson. Welcome to all three of you. FRANCO ORDOÑEZ, BYLINE: Hello. KELSEY SNELL, BYLINE: Good evening. MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Happy to be here. KELLY: Mara, we just heard there a bit of Biden's speech earlier today. What was his overall inaugural message? LIASSON: The message had two parts. One was familiar. It's what he ran on; the country needs to unify and heal. He said, we have to put an end to this uncivil war. He asked people to lower the temperature and listen to each other. He said politics doesn't have

3-dead after crash of a military medevac helicopter in Mendon

Wed, 01/20/2021 - 8:03pm
Officials with the New York State Division of Military & Naval Affairs confirms that three people are dead after a New York Army National Guard UH-60 medical evacuation helicopter crashed early Wednesday evening in the Town of Mendon. It happened during a routine training mission. The Blackhawk helicopter was assigned to C Company of the 1st Battalion, 171st General Support Aviation Battalion, based at the Army Aviation Support Facility at Greater Rochester International Airport. The identities of the three National Guard soldiers have not been released yet. The incident is under investigation. The Monroe County Sheriff’s Department says the chopper went down in a field on West Bloomfield Road in Mendon just after 6:30pm. Sheriff Todd Baxter says that his office got multiple 911 calls about an aircraft in distress. “There were calls of a sputtering sound of an engine and that the aircraft was flying very low, more low than normal. And shortly thereafter reports of a crash, sounding