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Permanent Residents Who Left The U.S. During The Pandemic Worry They Can’t Come Home

When the pandemic hit, Keri Smith and her family fled with what they could fit in their car. They spent the past 15 months in Canada, where she was born, at a family cottage in rural Nova Scotia.

Now that Smith and her husband are fully vaccinated, they’re ready to come back to their home in Northampton, Mass.

“I have my house; my kids go to school,” Smith said in an interview with NPR. “We want to get back to our lives. We are ready. And we can’t.”

NPR News

Migrant Protest at White House Calls for End to ICE Detention

One of the first things Joe Biden did as president was to issue a deportation moratorium. It was a bold move but quickly struck down by a federal judge even after it was unclear whether Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would comply with the moratorium at all. While the block on deportations didn’t last, the administration’s gambit looked like it could be a story of two steps forward and one step back — or, as some call it, progress.

That came after years of watching then-president Donald Trump not just demonize migrants but also witnessing his draconian political moves against them, like his administration’s zero-tolerance policy that sparked the 2018 family separation crisis. That crisis lingered past the end of his presidency for thousands of children, even as migrants who spoke with Teen Vogue say the broader immigration enforcement apparatus is still separating families.

Teen Vogue

The Case for Open Borders Is Laid Out in the Book ‘Build Bridges, Not Walls’

The iconic abolitionist activist Angela Davis once wrote that “walls turned sideways are bridges.” This creativity and openness to our fellow humans — this bridge-building — is what we need to do to address the unfolding crises of climate change, mass migration, and late-stage capitalism, according to investigative journalist and author Todd Miller. Miller has spent decades studying the politics of border regions, tracing the human and environmental toll of decades of militarization, forced displacement, and detention. His fourth and latest book on the subject, Build Bridges, Not Walls, from City Lights Books, makes an abolitionist case against borders.

Teen Vogue


Argentina Becomes First Country in South America to Issue Gender-Neutral Passports

Argentina made history on Thursday by becoming the first country in South America to offer gender-neutral passports for its trans and nonbinary residents.

On Wednesday, Argentinian President Alberto Fernández said that all citizens will now be able to choose between three gender markers on passports and National Identity Documents (DNIs). The latter are issued at the time of an individual’s birth, and ID cards must be updated every 15 years.

Fernández, who took office in 2019, said the policy change is for every Argentinian who “does not feel understood under the male/female binary.”

“We have the need to open our heads to realize there are other ways to love and be loved, and there are other identities apart from the identity of a man or a woman, and they should be respected,” he said in comments cited by the progressive news outlet Democracy Now. “And they’ve always existed, only that in other times they were hidden.”


COVID-19 surge could go on for months, projection says; most unvaccinated Americans don’t plan on getting shots: Live COVID-19 updates

New projections released by a COVID-19 research consortium forecast the current surge of cases lasting through the fall and peaking in mid-October, accelerated in part by the rapid spread of the delta variant.

Justin Lessler, an epidemiologist from the University of North Carolina who helps run the COVID-19 Scenario Modeling Hub, told NPR in the most likely scenario, of the four scenarios included in the ensemble projection, only 70% of eligible U.S. residents get vaccinated and the delta variant becomes 60% more transmissible. Lessler said this trajectory would climax with approximately 60,000 COVID-19 cases and 850 deaths each day in mid-October.

USA Today

A Missouri hospital just hit its all-time high for Covid cases. But the county fair that attracts thousands won’t be canceled

Springfield, where the Ozark Empire Fair will be held July 29 to Aug. 7, is in Greene County, one of the state’s Covid hotspots.

Mercy Hospital in Springfield recorded 148 positive Covid-19 cases as of Thursday, an all-time high, said Sonya Kullmann, spokesperson for the hospital. Greene County currently has 4,663 active cases as of Friday morning, according to its website.

The uptick in cases is caused by the fast-spreading Delta variant; 95% of those cases were in unvaccinated people, Kullmann said.Greene County, with a completed vaccination rate of about 35%, has declared a local emergency. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson sent additional life support ambulances and medical staff to the area in preparation of rising cases.But the fair, which will feature food, a Ferris wheel and an exotic petting zoo — marketed on its website as “summer’s biggest party” — will not be canceled.


17 new Olympic-related COVID-19 cases reported, bringing total to 127

The Olympic torch is burning in Tokyo — almost exactly a year after the games were originally scheduled to be held. They’ve been delayed until now due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But the virus is still clouding the games. The opening ceremonies, featuring the parade of nations and the traditional lighting of the cauldron, were held in Tokyo’s Olympic stadium, which has a capacity of 80,000. Fewer than 1,000 were in attendance.

Seventeen new Olympic COVID-19 cases were reported on Saturday, bringing the total to 127, CBS News’ Jamie Yuccas reports for “CBS This Morning: Saturday.” Most of the new cases were among games contractors who live in Japan, and one was in an athlete. 

CBS News

Israel says Pfizer Covid vaccine is just 39% effective as delta spreads, but still prevents severe illness

Pfizer and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine is just 39% effective in Israel where the delta variant is the dominant strain, but still provides strong protection against severe illness and hospitalization, according to a new report from the country’s Health Ministry.

The efficacy figure, which is based on an unspecified number of people between June 20 and July 17, is down from an earlier estimate of 64% two weeks ago and conflicts with data out of the U.K. that found the shot was 88% effective against symptomatic disease caused by the variant.

However, the two-dose vaccine still works very well in preventing people from getting seriously sick, demonstrating 88% effectiveness against hospitalization and 91% effectiveness against severe illness, according to the Israeli data published Thursday.


Report: Biden White House Actually Trying to Prevent Americans From Dying of COVID-19

Sixteen months after the coronavirus was declared a pandemic, millions of Americans think COVID-19 is a thing of the past that no one need worry about anymore, like polio or belly button charms. Unfortunately, that is far from the case, largely thanks to the people who’ve refused to get vaccinated and to the delta variant, which is causing spikes in infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. One obvious, easy way to deal with this troubling trend would be for vaccine holdouts to finally get their shots, but that would require Republicans to stop feeding the public lies about both the virus and getting inoculated, which is unlikely to happen anytime soon. And because this White House, unlike the last one, actually gives a shit about people dying, it’s apparently considering trying to stop the worrying trend.

Vanity Fair

Europe clamps down amid fears over rapid spread of Delta variant

The WHO said on Friday that the Delta variant has now become dominant in much of Europe. And politicians have cited the rapid rise of this highly transmissible form of Covid to justify moves restricting much of public life to the vaccinated. “The Delta variant is even more of a threat than the other variants,” Italy’s prime minister, Mario Draghi, told reporters. “The green pass is not arbitrary, but a necessary condition not to shut down the economy. Without vaccinations, everything will have to close again.”

The Guardian

Senate confirms Shawn Skelly and Gina Ortiz Jones in historic LGBTQ firsts

The Senate confirmed two LGBTQ women to top military positions on Thursday in historic firsts.

Gina Ortiz Jones will serve as undersecretary of the Air Force — the first out lesbian to serve as undersecretary of a military branch. Shawn Skelly will serve as assistant secretary of defense for readiness, becoming the first transgender person to hold the post and the highest-ranking out trans defense official in U.S. history.

Skelly is also the second trans person confirmed by the Senate, behind Rachel Levine, the assistant secretary to the Department of Health and Human Services.

The Senate confirmed both Jones and Skelly with unanimous consent.

NBC News

Emmett Till Would Have Been 80 Today. His Story Still Defines the Ongoing Fight for Justice

In 2020, stories about young Black people like Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor—as well as those of adults like George Floyd—spotlit the persistent, terrifying specter of unjust violence and the precarity of Black life in the United States. Their stories roused many in our country to outrage over their murders, and to a collective consciousness about the prevalence of race-based brutality in our day-to-day lives.

But stories like these are not limited to 2020 and the few years that preceded it. They are part of a long strand—one that is entwined through the generations to the very genesis of our country itself. Telling those stories is a crucial part of justice work.

This month marks what would have been the birthday of another young Black person whose murder was woven into our history several decades ago. His name is Emmett Till.


Pelosi appoints Republican Rep. Kinzinger to Jan. 6 committee

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has added Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger, an outspoken Trump critic, to the House select committee charged with investigating the Jan. 6 attack, she said in a statement on Sunday.

“I swore an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution — and while this is not the position I expected to be in or sought out, when duty calls, I will always answer,” Kinzinger said in a statement announcing he accepted the appointment.

NBC News

Ethiopia: War Resumes, and This Time, Even Children Are Not Spared

Ethiopia’s unilateral ceasefire in the war in Tigray has all but broken down after Amhara militia allied to the national defence forces engaged with fighters from the troubled north region.

But away from the frontlines, both the Ethiopian government and the Tigrayan forces accuse each other of using child soldiers.

Billene Seyoum, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s spokesperson, alleged this week that the Tigray Defence Forces (TDF) deployed children and accused international media of glorifying victories by a group that has drafted minors, an illegality in international law.

But Getachew Reda, senior advisor to the leader of Tigray People’s Liberation Front Debretsion Gebremichael, instead accused the Amhara militia of attacking children. Tigray and Amhara have had a long running conflict.

All Africa

Thousands celebrate Pride in Budapest following anti-LGBT legislation

Thousands of Hungarians participated in a Pride parade Saturday in protest of the government’s new anti-LGBT legislation, according to a report from Politico.

The Hungarian Parliament in June passed legislation that bans the distribution or content in schools that officials believe “promotes” homosexuality or gender transition. Students under the age of 18 may not be shown any content, including advertisements of this nature. The law was supported by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s party. 

However, on Saturday around 30,000 people, including members of the Hungarian Parliament, paraded through Budapest to celebrate the country’s LGBT community and challenge the new laws, which have been condemned by the European Commission.

The Hill

Emmanuel Macron ‘pushes for Israeli inquiry’ into NSO spyware concerns

Emmanuel Macron has reportedly spoken to the Israeli prime minister, Naftali Bennett, to ensure that the Israeli government is “properly investigating” allegations that the French president could have been targeted with Israeli-made spyware by Morocco’s security services.

In a phone call, Macron expressed concern that his phone and those of most of his cabinet could have been infected with Pegasus, hacking software developed by the Israeli surveillance firm NSO Group, which enables operators of the tool to extract messages, photos and emails, record calls and secretly activate microphones from infected devices.

The leaked database at the heart of the Pegasus project includes Macron’s mobile phone number.

The Guardian

Iraq doesn’t need U.S. combat troops, prime minister says ahead of talks with Biden

Iraq’s prime minister says his country no longer requires American combat troops to fight the Islamic State group, but a formal time frame for their redeployment will depend on the outcome of talks with U.S. officials this week.

Mustafa al-Kadhimi said Iraq will still ask for U.S. training and military intelligence gathering. His comments came in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press ahead of a planned trip to Washington, where he’s slated to meet with President Joe Biden on Monday for a fourth round of strategic talks.

“There is no need for any foreign combat forces on Iraqi soil,” said al-Kadhimi, falling short of announcing a deadline for a U.S. troop departure. Iraq’s security forces and army are capable of defending the country without U.S.-led coalition troops, he said.

NBC News

Official: 1960s civil rights activist Robert Moses has died

Robert Parris Moses, a civil rights activist who endured beatings and jail while leading black voter registration drives in the American South during the 1960s and later helped improve minority education in math, has died. He was 86.

Moses worked to dismantle segregation as the Mississippi field director of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee during the civil rights movement and was central to the 1964 “Freedom Summer” in which hundreds of students went to the South to register voters.

Moses started his “second chapter in civil rights work” by founding in 1982 the Algebra Project thanks to a MacArthur Fellowship. The project included a curriculum Moses developed to help poor students succeed in math.


Mississippi asks Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade

The State of Mississippi filed a brief with the Supreme Court on Thursday defending the state’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy and asking the court to overturn Roe v. Wade when it hears arguments on the case in the fall, raising the stakes of what was already set to be the term’s biggest reproductive rights case.

“The national fever on abortion can break only when this Court returns abortion policy to the states,” Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch writes in the brief, arguing that the country has changed so much since Roe was decided that the court needs to reopen the issue.