The Weekly National News Roundup | Shlomo Rudman

US Expresses Support for Cuba Protests – President Joe Biden said he supports protesters in Cuba who have been demonstrating this week against the communist government over medicine and energy shortages in the reclusive country. Protests have rocked multiple cities across the country, with their leader calling for citizens loyal to the government to take to the streets to confront the protesters. However, despite the US expressing its support for the demonstrations, the Biden administration said they will not admit asylum seekers coming from Cuba to the US, despite allowing all people crossing the southern border illegally to apply for US citizenship.

Biden Calls for Hiring More Police – President Joe Biden angered his liberal supporters this week after calling for more police officers to be hired in the United States to combat rising violent crime rates under his watch. Leftists have been calling for police departments across the US to be defunded over their allegations that black people are discriminated against by police officers and are subject to more violent arrests and shooting at the hands of cops. However, the White House is well aware that Americans are getting tired of the violence being seen in cities across the US, and would like to take action to avoid getting drubbed in the 2022 midterm elections.

Dems Flee Texas to Block Voting Integrity Law – Democrats opposed to a proposed law in Texas that would strengthen voting integrity in the state skipped town this week so that there would not be enough lawmakers in the Capitol to vote on it. Democrats, who have been vocally calling for the Senate filibuster to be done away with, are apparently OK with their colleagues leaving a state so that a bill cannot be voted on, accomplishing the very same thing as a filibuster does. Texas’ lieutenant governor said that the Democrats who left will be arrested upon their return and brought to the Capitol so the legislation can be voted on.

US Negotiating Prisoner Swap with Iran – Iran announced that it has begun holding talks about a prisoner exchange with the U.S. in order to negotiate the release of Iranians who have been imprisoned around the world due to sanctions violations.  “Negotiations are underway on the exchange of prisoners between Iran and America, and we will issue more information if Iranian prisoners are released and the country’s interests are secured and the talks reach a conclusion,” Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei said, according to Reuters. “‌Because of its humanitarian aims, Iran is ready to exchange all American political prisoners in exchange for the release of all Iranian prisoners who have been detained around the world at the behest of America,” Rebiei added during a news conference. For three weeks, Iran’s talks with world powers about resuming a nuclear deal that was started in 2015 have been stalled. Under the deal, restrictions were imposed upon Iran’s nuclear activities while other nations lifted sanctions on the country.

Iran Planned to Kidnap US Journalist – A New York federal court unsealed an indictment today charging four Iranian nationals with conspiracies related to kidnapping, sanctions violations, bank and wire fraud, and money laundering. A co-conspirator and California resident, also of Iran, faces additional structuring charges. According to court documents, Alireza Shavaroghi Farahani, aka Vezerat Salimi and Haj Ali, 50; Mahmoud Khazein, 42; Kiya Sadeghi, 35; and Omid Noori, 45, all of Iran, conspired to kidnap a Brooklyn journalist, author and human rights activist for mobilizing public opinion in Iran and around the world to bring about changes to the regime’s laws and practices. Niloufar Bahadorifar, aka Nellie Bahadorifar, 46, originally of Iran and currently residing in California, is alleged to have provided financial services that supported the plot. “As alleged in this indictment, the government of Iran directed a number of state actors to plot to kidnap a U.S.-based journalist and American citizen, and to conduct surveillance on U.S. soil – all with the intention to lure our citizen back to Iran as retaliation for their freedom of expression,” said Assistant Director Alan E. Kohler Jr. of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division. “We will use all the tools at our disposal to aggressively investigate foreign activities by operatives who conspire to kidnap a U.S. citizen just because the government of Iran didn’t approve of the victim’s criticism of the regime.”

Democrats Reach Agreement on Reconciliation Bill – Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer and Budget Committee Democrats, led by Sen. Bernie Sanders, have reached a deal on a $3.5 trillion price tag for a Democratic-only infrastructure package. Schumer, emerging from an hours-long meeting with Budget Committee Democrats, said they had reached a deal on the budget resolution — which greenlights reconciliation, the process Democrats will use to bypass a GOP filibuster on the infrastructure bill — including a $3.5 trillion top-line figure. President Biden is going to meet with Senate Democrats on Wednesday as Democrats work to lock down support for the deal. “The budget committee has come to an agreement. The budget resolution with instructions will be $3.5 trillion,” Schumer said, speaking to reporters with Sanders and other members of the panel. “Every major program that President Biden has asked us for is funded in a robust way.” The deal will also include funding for expanding Medicare to cover dental, vision and hearing and addressing climate change — key asks from progressives, including Sanders. A Democratic aide familiar with the deal said that the budget resolution will also include language prohibiting taxes from being raised on individuals who make less than $400,000 or small businesses.

Overdose Death Set Record in 2020 – U.S. drug overdose deaths hit a new record of more than 93,000 last year, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There were 93,331 overdose deaths in 2020, the data show, an almost 30 percent jump from 2019. The increase comes amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which increased isolation and stretched and redirected health care resources to fight the virus. Opioid overdoses made up the bulk of the deaths, at around 69,000. The synthetic opioid fentanyl has driven much of the crisis.

FDA Adding Warning to J&J Vaccine –  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will announce a new warning on Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine related to a rare autoimmune disorder, The Washington Post reported Monday, citing four people familiar with the matter. According to the Post, about 100 preliminary reports of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) have been detected in the United States after vaccination with J&J shot, mostly in men, many of whom were 50 or older. Around 12.8 million people have received the one-dose vaccine in the United States. GBS is a rare neurological condition in which the body’s immune system attacks the protective coating on nerve fibers. Most cases follow a bacterial or viral infection.

 

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