DOJ Appoints Special Counsel in Hunter Biden Probe: Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed David Weiss as special counsel on Friday in the Hunter Biden probe. The case against Hunter Biden will investigate tax evasion and gun charges. Weiss was appointed by former President Donald Trump as U.S. attorney in Delaware. Read more at Associated Press
New National Monument Announced Near Grand Canyon: President Joe Biden announced a new national monument, Baaj Nwaavjo I'tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument, a plot of nearly 1 million acres of land that comprises of thousands of Native American cultural sites. The announcement also severely limits the amount of mining permitted in the area and serves as a historic milestone for culturally significant land for the Hopi, Navajo and Yavapai-Apache tribes, among others.
Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs stated, "It will help protect lands that many tribes referred to as their eternal home, a place of healing and a source of spiritual sustenance. It will help ensure that indigenous peoples can continue to use these areas for religious ceremonies, hunting and gathering of plants, medicines and other materials, including some found nowhere else on earth. It will protect objects of historic and scientific importance for the benefit of tribes, the public and for future generations." Read more at Reuters.
Hawaii Wildfires: Wildfires on Maui have killed at least 80 people, displaced hundreds of families and destroyed an estimated 1,700 buildings. Hawaii Governor Josh Green stated that the fires are likely to be the largest natural disaster in the state's history.
Drought conditions and heavy winds from Hurricane Dora off the coast of Hawaii have exacerbated the spread of the fires, with fires also exploding across the Big Island and Oahu. Read more at Axios.
Consumer Credit Card Debt Tops $1 Trillion, Household Debt to $17.06 Trillion: The Federal Reserve announced that consumer credit card debt has exceeded $1 trillion for the first time ever after seeing a nearly 5% increase in credit card balances in the second quarter. Total household debt, which includes mortgages, student loan debt and auto loans, has increased to $17.06 trillion.
A recent survey from BankRate found that 47% of consumers are carrying credit card debt from month to month. That is up from 46% in December 2022 and 39% in December 2021. Read more at Business Insider.
New Restrictions on U.S. Investments in Chinese Technology: President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Wednesday that is designed to block and regulate high-tech U.S.-based investments going toward China, including advanced computer chips, micro electronics, quantum information technologies and artificial intelligence. Read more at NPR.org.
Former Minneapolis Officer Sentenced to 57 Months for Role in George Floyd's Death: Former Minneapolis police officer Tou Thao was sentence to 57 months in prison for his involvement in the death of George Floyd. The officer was seen holding back bystanders as Derek Chauvin restrained George Floyd. Thao is the final of the four Minneapolis officers to be sentenced on state criminal charges. Read more at Axios.
American Red Cross Opens Blood Donation to Gay & Bisexual Men: Following updated guidance by the FDA, American Red Cross announced on Monday that it has lifted its ban on accepting blood donations from gay and bisexual men. Under the new guidance, anyone who has had recent sex with a new partner or with multiple people and has also had anal sex will have to wait three months to donate. Read more at Redcrossblood.org.
Oregonians Pump Their Own Gas for the First Time: A 72-year ban on pumping your own gas in the state of Oregon was lifted this week, leaving New Jersey as the only state in the U.S. with such a ban still in place. The ban was first enacted in 1951 due to concerns about fire safety and also served to maintain jobs for attendants. Read more at Axios.
Pakistani Train Derailment: Ten cars of an express train in southern Pakistan derailed on Sunday, resulting in 30 deaths and more than 90 people reporting injuries. An investigation into what caused the crash is still underway. Read more at Associated Press.
Ohio Voters Reject Issue 1: Ohio voters rejected Issue 1 in Tuesday's sole ballot election. The issue sought to raise the passage threshold for future constitutional amendments from a simple majority to a 60% supermajority and would have enacted stricter signature requirements to get amendments on the ballot.
Republicans and anti-abortion advocates acknowledged that the special vote was meant to prevent the passing of an upcoming abortion rights amendment that will be on the ballot in the November elections. With Issue 1 being rejected by the voters, Ohioans will have an easier time passing an amendment that favors abortion rights advocates in the fall. Read more at Axios.
Mass Shootings in US: This week, Gun Violence Archive reported a total of 8 mass shootings resulting in 32 victims injured and 9 victims dead.
Iraq Eliminates Trachoma as Public Health Problem: The World Health Organization (WHO) recently announced that Iraq is the 17th country to eliminate trachoma as a public health problem. Trachoma is the leading infectious cause of blindness worldwide and can spread from person to person through contaminated fingers.
This marks the halfway point towards the WHO's goal of having 100 countries eliminate a neglected tropical disease by 2030. Read more at World Health Organization.
Photo by Tim Hart.