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Our contributing news and politics editor puts together the week’s most important news information in quick summaries so you can get a high-level idea of what’s gone down in the world. You probably won’t see your latest celebrity gossip here, but you will see the latest on politics and news events. From racial justice info to COVID-19 updates, this roundup will help you catch up on everything that happened during the week.
Simone Biles Becomes Only Woman to Win Seven U.S. All-Around Titles
Gymnastics genius Simone Biles made history on Sunday when she became the first woman to win seven all-around titles at the U.S. Gymnastics Championship. She is tied with gymnast Alfred Jochim for the most all-around titles for any American. All-around titles are awarded to the top combined scorer for the gymnastics events of floor exercise, vault, uneven bars, and beam. Biles will begin the Olympic trials in St. Louis later this month.
Major Internet Shut Down Takes Websites Off the Grid
Numerous U.S. and European news websites were down early Tuesday morning after cloud service company Fastly, Inc. experienced a configuration error that caused the sites to crash. Websites like CNN and the New York Times were down for nearly one hour, but they were restored by the start of business hours. The shutdown is yet another in a string of website crashes and hacking attempts, suggesting issues with cyber security and societal reliance on digital access.
FDA Approves New Drug to Treat Alzheimer’s
Pharmaceutical company Biogen released a new Alzheimer’s treatment drug, Aduhelm, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration earlier this week. The approval has caused a stir in the science and pharmaceutical industries as many opponents cite the drug’s low efficacy rate and high cost. Individual treatment using Aduhelm costs $56,000 per year, much of which will be absorbed if Medicare agrees to cover the drug. Medicare has not made a coverage decision yet. Aduhelm is the first Alzheimer’s drug to be approved by the FDA in 20 years.
Supreme Court Declines to Hear Case on Including Women in Military Draft
The military draft was created by the Military Selective Service Act of 1948, and it required men of a certain age to register. The goal was to establish a reserve of combat troops for the armed forces. In 1948, though, women were not allowed to enlist as combat troops, and now that we can, a men’s rights group called the National Coalition for Men has asked the Supreme Court to hear its case for including women in the registration requirement. A federal appellate court rejected the coalition’s case, leaving them the option to petition the Supreme Court. Forty years ago, the Supreme Court upheld having a gender-based military draft, and it is rare for the Court to overturn its own precedent, which is likely a reason why they refused to hear the case again when petitioned by the coalition.
Keystone Pipeline is Officially Canceled
The controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline project was canceled this week after more than one decade of protest from environmental advocates. The 1,200-mile pipeline would have brought oil from Western Canada to oil refiners in Nebraska, disrupting miles of tribal land and significantly contributing to carbon emissions. During his campaign, President Biden promised to revoke a permit for the pipeline that was approved by former president Trump. Keeping his promise, President Bident revoked the permit upon taking office, causing the Keystone developer to cancel the contract this week.
Biden-Harris Administration Takes First International Trips in New Roles
President Biden and Vice President Harris turned their focus abroad this week as the two traveled to Guatemala and Europe, respectively, to discuss immigration and meet with world leaders at the G7 Summit. These are the administration’s first international trips since taking office in January. Vice President Harris’s trip was temporarily delayed after technical issues on her plane prompted a return landing. She faced some backlash from immigrants’ rights supporters after giving a speech where she told Guatemalan migrants, “Do not come to the U.S.,” and took a strict stance on illegal immigration.
Pres. Biden Commits to Sending 500 Million Pfizer Vaccines Abroad
President Biden formally announced the United States’ commitment to purchasing and donating 500 million Pfizer vaccine doses for more than 100 countries. This announcement comes one week after President Biden committed to sending 25 million vaccine doses to Latin America and the Caribbean, South and Southeast Asia, and Africa from the surplus of vaccines in the U.S. Asserting that the U.S. will be the “arsenal of vaccines,” President Biden says that the fight against COVID-19 is global and that the U.S. will be at the forefront of the effort by donating the vaccines “with no strings attached.” This is the largest single purchase of COVID-19 vaccines by any single country.
News To Watch Next Week
Pres. Biden to Meet With Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Palace Next Week
President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will have tea with Queen Elizabeth on Sunday. The Bidens are in Europe for the G7 Summit (meeting of leaders from France, UK, US, Canada, Japan, Germany, and Italy), which ends on June 13. The Bidens will wrap up their trip by meeting the Queen for the first time. Queen Elizabeth has met every U.S. president except Lyndon B. Johnson during her 69-year reign. This will be her first meeting with another world leader since Prince Philip’s death earlier this year.
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