Five things to know for March 25: Colorado, Biden, coronavirus, immigration, Suez Canal
(CNN) — The Olympic torch relay has begun, and the flame is on its way to Tokyo for the July start of the Summer Games.
Here’s what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.
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1. Boulder shooting
Tributes are pouring in and vigils being planned after Monday’s shooting in Boulder, Colorado. People lined the streets yesterday as the body of Officer Eric Talley, one of 10 victims, was taken to a funeral home in nearby Aurora. The 21-year-old gunman is expected to make his first court appearance today and is facing 10 first-degree murder charges and one charge of attempted murder. In response to the shooting, President Biden is pushing a set of House-passed gun control reforms, including a universal background checks measure and an assault weapons ban. A federal appeals court also ruled yesterday that states may restrict the open carrying of guns in public. That ruling will likely be appealed to a Supreme Court hostile to Second Amendment limits. Meanwhile, the gun industry is preparing for a sales surge — a phenomenon that plays out whenever gun rights debates heat up.
2. White House
Biden will hold his first formal White House news conference today since taking office two months ago, and he’ll face tough questions about issues like gun control and immigration. He’s also expected to highlight blasting through his goal of 100 million coronavirus vaccine doses given in his first 100 days and passage of his $1.9 trillion Covid-19 rescue bill. He may also shed light on his foreign policy positions regarding the country’s tricky relationships with Russia and China. Biden has waited to hold his first official news conference longer than his 15 most recent predecessors, so reporters — and the American public — are eager to hear from him. The event is set for 1:15 p.m. ET.
Some Democratic lawmakers have asked the President to issue a “waiver of informed consent” to make Covid-19 vaccines mandatory for all US military service members. Meanwhile, 27 million vaccine doses will be distributed across the US this week, according to the White House, but advocates for the elderly are worried the administration isn’t doing enough to get vaccines to senior citizens. As of Tuesday, CDC records show more than 43% of Americans age 65 and older are fully vaccinated against Covid-19; that still leaves more than half the older population vulnerable. In Brazil, it’s actually young people who are now getting severely ill and dying of the virus. Brazil is in its worst days of the pandemic, with hospitals near collapse and daily death tolls reaching record numbers.
Biden has tasked Vice President Kamala Harris with overseeing diplomatic efforts with Central American countries to stem the flow of migrants to the US southern border. And with a steep number of unaccompanied minors in US custody, some former Border Patrol chiefs are imploring leaders in Congress for more resources and to take steps to reform the US immigration system. Not only has the Biden administration been under mounting pressure to fix the crisis, it’s also been called out for not giving journalists access inside facilities housing migrant children. Legislators yesterday toured one such facility in Texas — with a news camera finally in tow.
5. Suez Canal
A container ship ran aground Tuesday in the Suez canal, blocking one of the world’s busiest waterways and stranding dozens of vessels on both sides in one of the worst shipping jams seen in years. And … it’s still there. In fact, the CEO of a salvage company says it may take days or weeks to free the massive tanker from the comparatively tiny waterway. The 224,000-ton vessel is almost as long as the Empire State Building is tall and got stuck because of a sandstorm and bad navigation. Shipping experts say if it’s not cleared soon, some vessels may have to be rerouted around the southern tip of Africa, adding about a week to their journeys. Just how important is this narrow waterway? Roughly 30% of the world’s shipping container volume transits through its 120 miles every day. Well, most days. Not today.
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“Shame, shame, shame.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who during a Senate hearing slammed efforts by GOP-led state legislatures across the country to introduce bills that restrict voting rules, calling them “one of the most despicable things I have seen in all my years.”
Strong tornadoes are possible across the South — again
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