CORONAVIRUS: Recently, Prez Biden celebrated the US’s administration of 300 million coronavirus vaccine doses. Not a typo. He also encouraged more Americans to get the shot in an effort to get 70 percent of the population vaccinated by July 4. In other news, the European Union just lifted restrictions on non-essential travel from 14 countries, including the US. The pandemic isn’t improving everywhere, though. Case in point: Brazil just surpassed 500,000 coronavirus deaths - a death toll second only to the US. And in more bad news, a member of Uganda’s Olympic team just tested positive for the virus after arriving in Tokyo. It’s the first confirmed case at the Games.
ELECTIONS: Iran’s not the only country dealing with elections. Today, Ethiopia heads to the polls in what the gov is calling the country’s first free election. The African nation experienced decades of repressive rule...until Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office and ushered in a wave of sweeping political and economic reforms. But now, he’s under fire for human rights abuses in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. Stay tuned. In other news, yesterday, France held its first round of regional elections. The results were not very good news for centrist Prez Emmanuel Macron and far-right political opponent Marine Le Pen, with center-right party Les Républicain taking lots of wins. And meanwhile, the US state of Georgia just cut 100,000 names from its voter registration rolls. Intro concerns about a threat to voting rights.
USA: Lately, Alabama’s been facing a tropical depression that’s caused flash floods and tornadoes that destroyed dozens of homes. At least 13 people have died, including 9 kids and 1 adult who were killed after multiple vehicles crashed on a wet interstate. A survivor is said to be hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries. Meanwhile, the Dept of Veterans Affairs is apparently planning to offer gender-affirming surgeries to transgender veterans. The agency’s secretary said the “process will require changing VA’s regulations and establishing policy that will ensure the equitable treatment and safety” of these veterans. The announcement marks a major shift for the VA.