The size of the COVID package may shrink to $ 10B as negotiations continue

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell says a bipartisan package to cut new spending on the fight against Covid-19 could drop to 10 billion.

WASHINGTON – Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday that Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said the size of a bipartisan package to cover the new cost of tackling Covid-19 could shrink, and that the Chamber’s top Democrats could cut prices.

Negotiators have been working for weeks to revive the 15.6 billion deal earlier this month. It fell apart after House Democrats refused to cut back on epidemic aid to states to help pay for it, and parties split over how both sides could save.

The new money will be for the purchase of vaccines, treatments and tests, which the administration says are running low, and even more contagious Omicron variant BA.2 is spreading rapidly in the United States and abroad.

“It’s still a kind of work, but until last night, it looked like it would be less than 15 to 10,” McConnell, R-Ky., Said in an interview with Punchbowl News.

A few minutes later, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer went to the Senate floor and suggested a similar approach, although he did not mention any statistics.

“I’m urging my Republican colleagues to join us,” Schumer told DN.Y. “We want more than you, but we have to do something. We have to do something.”

Republicans have demanded that the measure be paid for by bringing back epidemic funds that were approved in previous relief measures but have not yet been spent. Bargainers on both sides said they were divided on how to do it.

McConnell says Democrats are saving about $ 100 billion, “reluctant to find another বিল 5 billion,” which has not yet been spent. Democrats say the cuts that Republicans are pushing for are unreasonable, such as reconsidering cuts already rejected in state aid.

McConnell said that reducing the size of the bill could mean omitting one-third of the measurements taken for vaccines and treatment abroad, “which I think is terribly unfortunate.”

Schumer said the difference between the two sides was “very narrow.” But he acknowledged the need to win GOP support in 50-50 chambers, where 60 votes are needed to pass most major bills.

“We want a lot more money than our Republican counterparts,” Schumer said. But in order to pass something through the Senate, we have to reach 60 votes. And so we’re going to emphasize that as much as possible. “

Biden initially requested $ 22.5 billion for the effort.

Asked if he thought an agreement could be reached before lawmakers leave, McConnell said: “We’ll see. I hope so. “

LGBTQ groups have sued Florida over the so-called ‘don’t say gay’ law

Gay rights advocates are suing Florida Governor Ron Descentis over a new law banning classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten until third grade.

The law puts Florida and Desantis, a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2024, at the forefront of the country’s cultural war. Critics call it the “don’t call it gay” law and argue that its real purpose is to marginalize LGBTQ people and their families.

The challenge, filed in federal court in Tallahassee on behalf of Equality Florida and Family Equality, alleges that the law violates the constitutionally protected freedom of speech, equal protection, and appropriate process rights for students and families.

“This attempt to control young minds through state censorship – and to deny their reality by degrading LGBTQ life – is a serious abuse of power,” the lawsuit states.

“The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly confirmed that LGBTQ people and their families are at home under our constitutional mandate. The state of Florida has no right to declare them outcasts, or to treat their allies as outsiders, punishing schools where anyone dares to assert their identity and dignity, ”the lawsuit states.

The law intentionally imposes broad terms and invites arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement, giving parents the power to censor censors who can sue the school board for damages based on a perceived violation, the lawsuit added.

The law states: “Classroom instruction by school staff or third parties regarding sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten in grade 3 or in a way that is not age-appropriate or developmental for students according to state standards.” Parents will be able to sue the districts for violations.

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona met Thursday with LGBTQ students and their families at a school in Orlando to discuss in private how the law is affecting their lives. Cardona’s visit was one of several events in the Biden administration on Thursday that showed support for the Cuarre community, including a presidential announcement recognizing the visibility of Transgender Day.

DeSantis and other Republicans have repeatedly called the rules reasonable, saying children should learn about their parents’ sexual orientation and gender identity from their parents, not from school.

“We will ensure that parents can send their children to school for education, not an instinct,” the governor said at the signing of the law this week.

Many critics say the language of the law, especially the phrases “classroom instruction” and “age appropriate”, can be so broadly interpreted that any grade discussion could trigger a lawsuit, creating a classroom environment where teachers would avoid the subject altogether.

The bill, introduced this year in Florida’s Republican-controlled legislature, drew strong public reaction, with the White House, Hollywood celebrities, students, Democrats and LGBTQ advocates condemning the policy. Legal challenges expected.

Kaplan seeks to prevent the Hacker & Fink LLP and the National Center for Lesbian Rights’ filing law from taking effect, and names Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran and other education officials as defendants.

“Meanwhile, our kids have told us they’re afraid they won’t be able to talk about their families at school,” Dan and Brent Vantis, parents of two first-graders, said in a statement announcing the lawsuit. “We are sorry that our children are already feeling isolated and stigmatized by this law.”

Andrew Spurr, president of the Florida Education Association Union, said the law is politically motivated because elementary schools, especially kindergarten through third grade, do not teach these subjects and the standard of the classroom curriculum is state curriculum.

The law adds fuel to an endless feud between Descentis and Democratic President Joe Biden, who tweeted after signing the Descentis bill this week that “my administration will continue to fight for dignity and opportunity for every student and family in Florida and across the country.” Says his agency will monitor for consequences of any federal civil rights violations.

The DOJ has extended the January 6 investigation to include plans for the ‘Save America’ rally

Investigators are examining the rally that took place before the Capitol attack.

Multiple sources told ABC News that the judiciary is expanding its criminal investigation into the Jan. 6 incidents to include preparations for a hurricane rally in the U.S. Capitol, as well as funding for the event.

Over the past two months, a grand jury subpoena has been sent to the White House to assist in organizing and planning former President Donald Trump’s “Save America” ​​rally in Ellipse, sources said.

News of the expansion of the investigation was first published by the Washington Post.

The subponas are wide open to people with knowledge of the event, sources said. Prosecutors are looking for multiple records and documents related to the rally, including text messages and emails, as well as possible contact with other people involved in the delivery of the event.

Judicial officials declined to comment to ABC News.

Subponas do not indicate injustice, and a source said that some subponas were sent with a clear indication that the request was for witness testimony and cooperation.

“In a situation like January 7, a full account is not suddenly implemented. To ensure that all those responsible for the crime are held accountable, we must gather evidence,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a January 5 speech. Years after the Capitol attack.

“We follow physical evidence. We follow digital evidence. We follow meaning. But most importantly, we follow truth – no agenda or conjecture. Events tell us where to go next,” Garland said.

Extreme weather has killed at least two people in 30 tornadoes in seven states

The death was reported Thursday in Washington County, Florida.

Two people were killed Thursday in Panhandle, Florida, when their mobile home was destroyed by a suspected tornado, one of about 30 that wreaked havoc across seven southern and midwestern states, officials said.

The first death in Washington County, Florida, was caused by a severe weather outbreak that began Tuesday night.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office said two mobile homes were destroyed, and the two dead were inside one of them, according to the ABC-authorized station WMBB in Panama City. The sheriff’s office said two more people from the destroyed second mobile home were injured.

The deadly episode came after the National Weather Service issued a new tornado watch warning from Florida’s coastal Appalachia to Georgia’s Valdosta early Thursday morning.

Severe weather bands continue to move east and north, issuing severe weather warnings along the east coast, with forecasts of potentially damaging winds Thursday evening for New York City, Trenton, NJ and parts of eastern Pennsylvania.

At least 29 tornadoes were reported in seven states on Tuesday night and throughout Wednesday in the face of severe weather from the Rocky Mountains, according to the National Weather Service. Funnel clouds were reported in Florida, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Alabama and Missouri.

A twister that ripped through Springdale, Ark on Wednesday, injured seven people and caused extensive damage to an elementary school. The NWS reported that the Springdale tornado was a powerful EF-3 on the extended Fujita scale and produced winds of up to 145 miles per hour.

In addition to the tornado, severe weather was followed by harmful winds that tore down the roofs of homes, barns and businesses and uprooted trees.

In Louisiana, strong winds and wreckage were blamed for reduced visibility due to a pile of three cars on a highway near Iowa that caused several minor injuries, according to the Iowa Police Department.

At least 10 twisters have been reported across Mississippi, and large trees have collapsed due to strong winds outside Jackson’s governor’s mansion.

At least three tornadoes have hit central Alabama, including one in Shelby County, overturning a mobile home, rescuing one trapped inside, according to the ABC-authorized station WBMA in Birmingham.

A twister also went down in Montevalo, Alabama on Wednesday night, ripping off the roof of a Montevalo University dormitory and injuring one, according to the Montevalo Police Department.

“We are grateful that there was a spring break this week and very few people were on campus during tonight’s storm,” university officials said in a statement.

ABC News’ Max Golembo, Puri, Alexander, Griffin, Melissa Griffin and Whitney Lloyd contributed to this report.

At least two people have been killed in a hurricane south of Florida

Isolated tornadoes and tornadoes across the deep south tore through a line overnight – at least two people have been killed in a Florida panhandle, trees and power lines have collapsed and homes and businesses have been damaged by widespread weather across several states.

In Florida, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday morning that two people were killed and two others were injured in a tornado at Panhandle, West Florida.

According to Sheryl Frankenfield, a spokeswoman for Washington Country Emergency Management, two homes were destroyed and the power line collapsed. The county’s Facebook page showed at least one house being destroyed, as well as another house with fallen trees. Any other details were immediately available.

There are staff in the area to help the Florida Division of Emergency Management, spokeswoman Samantha Baker said. He said property damage has also occurred in neighboring Jackson County.

“It’s a bad day, but fortunately these storms are moving fast,” he said.

At least two confirmed tornadoes struck Arkansas, Missouri and Texas on Wednesday, damaging several people, damaging homes and businesses, and breaking power lines in Mississippi and Tennessee.

About 185,000 customers were without power in the wake of the storm along a state band on Thursday morning: Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan, according to, which tracks utilities.

The worst of the weather on Thursday morning was seen at the southern end of the storm front, which was expected to bring heavy rain and strong winds along the east coast of the United States towards the end of the day. According to the Tallahassee National Weather Service, most of the Panhandle in Florida was under tornado surveillance.

Massive damage was reported in the Jackson, Tennessee area as a tornado alert was issued. There was “significant damage” to a nursing home near Jackson-Madison County General Hospital and the Madison County Sheriff’s Office in Jackson, Madison County Emergency Managing Director Jason Moore said.

In Nashville, Tennessee, the paneling from the side of a downtown hotel fell to the roof of a five-story and downstairs building Wednesday evening. The fire department warned that the debris could be blown away as strong winds continued, and some hotel guests were moved to other parts of the building due to concerns the roof would become unstable. There were no immediate injuries to the fall.

Daylight has caused extensive wind damage across Alabama.

A man was injured in a storm on the Montevallo University campus south of Birmingham, damaged a dormitory, officials said, and a woman was injured when a makeshift house in rural Bib County was washed away. A school bus has overturned at a high school in South Alabama and part of the roof of a church in northwest Alabama has gone missing.

Elsewhere, the roof of a warehouse collapsed during a storm surge on the Mississippi Southwen near Memphis, police said. The building was evacuated and no casualties were reported.

The Mississippi Senate suspended its work Wednesday because the weather siren sounded during a tornado clock in central Jackson. Some employees took refuge in the capital basement.

Render p. Adams said he and his wife, Janice Delores Adams, were at their home in downtown Jackson during severe weather during a tornado warning Wednesday afternoon. He said their lights went on and a large window exploded as he tried to open the front door of his wife.

“The glass shattered as if someone had thrown a brick at it,” he said. “I then advised him, ‘Let’s go to the back of the house.’

Adams said the storm caused a tree in a nearby park to collapse and a large tree across the street from their home was cut in half. “We were blessed,” he said. “Instead of falling towards the house, it fell on the other side.”

Earlier Wednesday, a tornado that struck about 145 miles (235 kilometers) northwest of Springdale, Arkansas and the adjoining town of Johnson, Little Rock, left seven people injured, four seriously, just after 4 a.m., according to Springdale Mayor Doug Sprouse.

Sprouse said in a statement that one of the critically injured had recovered and was in stable condition, while the other five had been released from hospital.

“Our first responders completed house-to-house searches, and we believe that has been accounted for by everyone,” Sprouse said.

The Tulsa National Meteorological Service said Thursday that the tornado was rated EF-3, with an initial assessment of EF-2, with wind speeds of 136-165 mph (219-265 kph). According to the weather service, the tornado reached a maximum speed of about 145 miles (233 kilometers) and 5 miles (8 kilometers) while remaining on the ground for about eight minutes.

In northwest Missouri, an EF-1 tornado with a speed of about 90 miles (145 km) hit St. Joseph’s on Tuesday night, damaging two homes.

According to the National Weather Service in Fort Worth, a small tornado has also briefly landed on the eastern edge of Dallas. A tornado with winds of about 100 mph (161 kmph) hit the area near McClendon-Chiselm after 4:30 a.m. Wednesday and damaged homes, but no injuries were reported, according to the weather service.

A tornado in the New Orleans area carved out a path of destruction overnight and storms came a week after killing one person.

Strong winds in Louisiana have overturned semitrailers, knocked off the roof of a mobile home, destroyed a tree in a house and broken power lines, according to weather service forecasters, who did not immediately confirm any tornadoes in the state.

The National Weather Service Office in New Orleans said Thursday that teams will conduct damage surveys in Tangipahoa and St. Tamani parishes in southeastern Louisiana and in Jackson County in southeastern Mississippi. They said the highest wind speeds recorded in the office coverage area were 67 miles per hour (108 km) at New Orleans Lakefront Airport and winds reached a high 50 mile (80 km) range at Baton Rouge.

Firefighters, meanwhile, are trying to contain a blaze that has spread near Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains National Park, forcing winds to move towards the front of the storm during forced evacuations.

The fire, which was out of control, spread to about 250 acres (over 100 hectares) by Wednesday afternoon. One person was injured, and smoke billowed from a community where a 2016 wildfire destroyed the tourist town of Gatlinburg, killing 14 people and damaging or destroying about 2,500 buildings.


Wagster reports from Petas Jackson, Miss, and Mattis Nashville, Tennessee; Many other Associated Press journalists have contributed to this report.

Biden emits 1 million barrels of oil per day from its weight reserves

An announcement could come by Thursday.

President Joe Biden is considering releasing about 1 million barrels of oil per day from the country’s strategic petroleum reserves over the next few months, according to sources familiar with the announcement, in response to news of falling oil prices on Thursday morning.

Biden could unveil the move on Thursday afternoon to discuss his administration’s move to rein in rising gas prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, about 3 million barrels of Russian oil will arrive on the market in April due to Western sanctions, and the plan could help alleviate the pain at the pump by helping to offset that loss.

This is the third time Biden has had to tap into a strategic petroleum reserve. In November, he approved the release of 50 million barrels as gas prices rose before the holidays, and the United States, along with 30 other countries, released 30 million barrels after the start of the war in Ukraine, although this did little to ease skyrocketing prices. .

As of Friday, the reserves contained more than 568 million barrels of oil, according to the Department of Energy.

Given the complexity and volatility of the oil market, many geopolitical and economic factors are involved with oil prices and there is no guarantee that this release will keep prices down for an extended period of time.

Overnight, the price of crude oil fell by about 5% in response to this plan, which means that the price of gas pumps may also come down in the coming days.

The current national average for one gallon of gas is 23 4.23, অনুযায়ী 1.35 higher than the same period last year, according to the AAA.

Historian Deborah confirms lipstick as ambassador to tackle anti-Semitism

It comes after months of delays and Republican opposition.

The Senate unanimously confirmed Deborah Lipstad on Wednesday night, after months of calls from the Jewish community to move forward with her delayed nomination, to nominate and fight Zidane as Biden’s special envoy.

Biden announced his intention to nominate Lipstad in July 2021. But Lipstad’s confirmation came after months of delays and Republican opposition, like the experience of many of Biden’s other nominees who need Senate confirmation.

But various Jewish groups, including the Orthodox Union and the American Jewish Committee, supported his nomination. High-profile instances of anti-Semitism at home also lead to renewed calls to convince him, although the role of ambassador is largely focused on anti-Semitism abroad.

The incidents took place in Colville, Texas in January, where a British citizen, a rabbi, and members of the congregation Beth Israel were held hostage until law enforcement officers attacked the synagogue.

Lipstad is a high-profile historian of Jewish history and the Holocaust who teaches at Emery University in Atlanta. He gained notoriety by winning a lawsuit against British author David Irving, who sued him and a publisher for defamation when he accused him of denying the Holocaust.

Sen. John Osaf, D-Ga, who introduced the Jewish, Senate vote, called for his own family history with anti-Semitism.

“My grandparents, Israel and Annie, came to this country in 1911 and 1913 to escape the Jewish hatred of Eastern Europe,” Osaf said.

“Their story is similar to that of many Jewish immigrants and refugees who came to the United States because the First Amendment to the US Constitution guaranteed the free practice of religion.”

Ossoff draws attention to the state of America “a place where you are protected from persecution. No matter how you worship.”

The head of the Union for Reform Judaism, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, told ABC News that the delay seemed “beyond anyone’s comprehension.” Jacobs on Wednesday morning Tweet“It took a long time but we are excited that the person most qualified for the job will eventually be able to engage in the fight against anti-Semitism.”

Lipstad himself wrote about the Texas Synagogue hostage situation in the New York Times without mentioning his suspended nomination.

“It’s not radical to say that going to the service, talking to God or to the neighbors you see once a week, shouldn’t be an act of courage. And yet this weekend we were reminded again that it can be done right.” Said.

Osaf did not mention Colliville, but said in his remarks that “at the moment when we speak, the panic of anti-Semitism is rising again in this country and around the world. The United States can fight anti-Semitism. “

Anti-Semitism has been rampant in the United States for the past two years. The Anti-Defamation League tracked more than 2,000 anti-Semitic incidents in 2020, as well as an increase in Semitic incidents during and after the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza in May 2021.

During his Senate hearing, Lipstad had to respond to certain allegations from Senate Republicans who had problems with previous criticism of former President Donald Trump and current Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Weiss. But no one on the Senate floor on Wednesday night voted against his confirmation.

Lipstad’s new role as ambassador to the State Department “promotes US foreign policy on anti-Semitism … [and] Develops and implements policies and projects to support efforts to combat anti-Semitism, “according to the department’s website.

US airport security screening to be more gender-neutral

The Biden administration says security at U.S. airports will become more gender-neutral

WASHINGTON – U.S. airport security systems will become more gender-neutral, changing the scanners used for screening and using an “X” for passengers going through prechecks who are not identified as male or female, the Biden administration said Thursday.

Transportation Security Administration officers will also receive new screening instructions aimed at making procedures less aggressive, the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement.

These are part of a series of travel-safety measures announced by the department on the occasion of Transgender Day of Visibility. President Joe Biden marks the day by advocating against his administration’s “dangerous anti-transgender legislation attack” that has passed in state buildings across the country.

“DHS is committed to the safety of the traveling public and ensures that everyone is treated with respect, regardless of gender identity,” Secretary Alejandro Mayorcas said in a statement.

The use of the pronoun “X” in the TSA PreCheck Advanced Security program will begin April 11, and it is already intended to keep pace with the identity documents that include that option, DHS said. A new “X” gender marker in US passport applications will also be launched on April 11.

Later this year, TSA will begin using scanners with new technology that will replace gender-based systems and “for the purpose of advancing civil rights and improving the customer experience.”

The TSA will work with airlines to promote the acceptance of “X” gender identifiers and update the guidelines for airport security screening officers to remove gender considerations when verifying documents, DHS said.

Tests and vaccines push Walgreens past expectations in 2Q

The Wall Street provided better financial support to the Walgreens than expected in the second quarter due to increased COVID-19 testing and increased demand for the vaccine.

The COVID-19 test and increased demand for the vaccine helped Walgreens deliver better Wall Street in the expected second quarter.

Sales have increased as consumers spend money on Covid-19 tests at home, as well as cold, flu and beauty products. Vaccines have boosted pharmacy sales as the virus’s omicon wave peaked in the United States during the quarter.

Revenue from the company’s boot stores in the United Kingdom also rose as more customers returned to stores despite the anti-Omicron restrictions for most of the quarter.

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. collects most of its revenue from retail pharmacies in Deerfield, Illinois, USA, just outside of Chicago, where it operates about 9,000 stores. The company operates about 2,300 boot locations in the UK and some in Ireland and Thailand.

The agency said Thursday that the review is still ongoing.

The company has spent billions on partnering with VillageMD to open up first aid practices that work with its drugstores.

Overall, Deerfield, Illinois-based Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. Reported consistent earnings of $ 1.59 per share for the quarter ended 28 February. Revenue rose nearly 3% to $ 33.76 billion.

According to Factset, analysts expect an average earnings of $ 33.23 billion per share of $ 1.39.

Walgreens also said Thursday that it maintains a full-year consistent EPS growth forecast for low-single numbers.

Analysts have forecast a consistent earnings per share of 5.02 for the full fiscal year, which ends in August. Which would represent an increase of about 2% over last year.

Shares of the company fell in pre-market transactions.


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Qatar and FIFA have been harshly criticized before the World Cup draw

A Norwegian soccer official has sharply criticized World Cup hosts Qatar and FIFA ahead of the tournament’s draw.

Qatar’s record on defending the rights of migrant workers – who have created the multi-billion dollar project needed for the World Cup – and its homosexuality was broadcast by Norway’s newly elected head of soccer and one of the few, Lis Clavenes. Women will ever lead a FIFA member federation.

It was a rare display of dissent and excitement at the typically tightly written annual meetings of the 211 member states of football, and targeted issues that have held the Middle East country Qatar and FIFA’s controversial choice for more than a decade.

“In 2010, the World Cup was awarded by FIFA with unacceptable results,” said Clevens, who is gay, in a six-minute speech. “There is no place for employers who do not ensure the freedom and security of the World Cup staff. There is no place for hosts who cannot legally guarantee the safety and dignity of LGBTQ + people who come to this theater of dreams. “

FIFA worked in Doha this week to keep the Norwegian speech off the main agenda of Congress and then to refute it from Latin American football officials and the head of Qatar’s organizing committee.

“This is not the right forum and not the right moment,” said Jose Ernesto Mejia, general secretary of the Honduras Soccer Federation.

Clevens was reprimanded by Hassan al-Thawadi, who put forward Qatar’s bid more than 12 years ago and has led the organizing committee ever since.

“You did not try to contact us and engage in dialogue before addressing today’s Congress,” he said.

Al-Thawadi said Qatar’s doors were always open for people to “educate themselves before judging”.

Qatar and FIFA have consistently said that taking the World Cup to the country has accelerated positive changes in the country’s laws and society.

The war in Ukraine then took center stage as a three-minute video message was broadcast from the head of the country’s football federation, Andrei Pavelko.

Speaking from Kiev, Pavelko wore an armored suit as people packed sandbags a few meters high to protect a monument behind him.

He said children in Ukraine had suffered “terrible trauma” during the war and that football would help them in the future.

The Russian delegation, including Alexei Sorokin, a former member of the FIFA Council, is watching as the country hosts the 2018 World Cup.

Although FIFA has banned Russian teams, including the men’s national team, from qualifying for the World Cup, the Football Federation has not suspended them.

“We are not hiding,” Sorokin said before the meeting. “We have every right to be here.”

The draw for the World Cup will be held at the same conference center on Friday.


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