A 9-month-old baby girl evacuee from Afghanistan has died after arriving in Philadelphia on a C-17 military plane from Germany, a Department of Defense spokesman confirmed Thursday.
The child, who was accompanied by her father, died Wednesday, the official said. Her death marks the first known fatality of an evacuee from Afghanistan on US soil, CBS News reported.
Department of Defense spokesman Army Lt. Col. Chris Mitchell told Insider in a statement that during a C-17 flight hauling other Afghanistan evacuees from Germany’s Ramstein Air Base to Philadelphia International Airport, “the crew was notified that an infant was unresponsive.”
“The aircrew requested medical assistance and priority air traffic control arrival routing,” Mitchell said.
When the plane arrived at the airport at around 9:15 a.m., “emergency medical technicians and an interpreter met the aircraft and the child and father were transported to a children’s hospital in Philadelphia where the child was pronounced dead,” according to Mitchell.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the parents and family,” Mitchell said.
More than 31,000 evacuees from the Afghanistan capital of Kabul had already entered the US between August 17 and August 31, including nearly 24,000 “at risk” Afghan refugees, State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters Wednesday.
New York City is by far the most populous city in the United States, with more than 8.8 million residents across the boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island.
Its population increased by 7.7 percent from 2010, when the census recorded a population of roughly 8.2 million residents.
At the start of the coronavirus pandemic last year, many residents left New York for locales with less density and more affordable housing, but the out migration wasn’t enough to dent the city’s strong growth over the past decade.
2. Los Angeles
Los Angeles remained the second most populous city in the United States, with nearly 3.9 million residents, up from 3.79 million residents in 2000.
The city’s population grew by 2.8 percent between 2010 and 2020.
With over 10 million residents, Los Angeles County, which includes the city of Los Angeles and municipalities such as Santa Monica, Burbank, and Long Beach, is the most populous county in the country.
Chicago, the third-largest city in the United States and the economic engine of the Midwest, now boasts a population of nearly 2.75 million residents, up from the roughly 2.7 million recorded in the 2010 Census.
Between 2010 and 2020, the city grew by 1.9 percent, reversing a 6.9 percent population decline from 2000 to 2010.
Houston is the largest city in Texas, with more than 2.3 million residents, according to the 2020 Census, adding a little over 200,000 residents from the last census count.
In 2010, there were nearly 2.1 million residents recorded living in this dynamic Sun Belt city.
Arizona has emerged as one of the most politically-competitive states in the county, and much of the reason has to do with the explosive growth in Phoenix and its anchor, Maricopa County.
Phoenix serves as both the state capital and the seat of Maricopa, which contains roughly 61 percent of the state’s population.
During the last decade, Phoenix moved past Philadelphia to become the fifth-most populous city in the United States, with over 1.6 million residents, according to Census figures.
Philadelphia is one of the most historic cities in the United States, with a key geographic location between Boston and Washington, DC.
The City of Brotherly Love may have lost its No. 5 spot to Phoenix, but it was no slouch in the growth department, boasting a population slightly above 1.6 million and a growth rate of 5.1 percent between 2010 and 2020.
7. San Antonio
San Antonio experienced robust growth in the past decade, growing from 1.32 million residents in 2010 to 1.43 million by the end of the decade, an 8.1 percent increase.
8. San Diego
San Diego boasts some of the most beautiful weather in the entire country, and in the last decade, the coastal city continued to grow — from 1.3 million in 2010 to nearly 1.4 million in 2020.
Dallas is the third-largest city in Texas, in what has become a rapidly-changing Sun Belt metropolitan area.
The city’s population grew from nearly 1.2 million in 2010 to a little over 1.3 million in 2020.
10. San Jose, Calif.
San Jose is the anchor of the Silicon Valley and the most populous city in Northern California.
From 2010 to 2020, the city experienced a 7.1 percent population growth and now boasts a population of 1.01 million people.
Philadelphia is once again requiring face coverings for indoor settings – but only at establishments that do not require all employees and guests to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Like other parts of the country, the largest city in Pennsylvania has seen an uptick in new coronavirus cases. Philadelphia’s 7-day average of positive tests is now 229, its highest since May. Hospitalizations are also up 34% over the past two weeks.
The city had previously lifted its mask requirement on June, when the 7-day average of new cases was just 52.
Announcing the new mandate, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health stressed that “businesses and institutions that require vaccination for all employees and patrons are exempted from having a mask requirement.”
According to the city, 63.3% of residents over 18 are fully vaccinated. Just over 77% of the adult population has received at least one dose.
Masks will also be required, regardless of vaccination status, at all “non-seated outdoor events,” such as concerts, where there will be more than 1,000 people. That will likely impact the “Made in America” music festival over Labor Day weekend.
City employees, meanwhile, have been ordered to either get vaccinated or double mask from here on out.
The new requirements begin at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, August 12.
I took a trip to Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – a bustling market full of stalls selling everything from Amish Country produce to sushi – to see how businesses have been doing now that vaccines are available and restrictions have been more relaxed.
On a Friday afternoon, there were many people shopping and enjoying the plethora of foods that the market has to offer. Prior to the pandemic, the market would have been far more crowded on a Friday afternoon than it was when I visited. Still, the market was bustling, and it was clear that things were slowly returning to normal.
The Reading Terminal Market has been open since 1893 and is home to more than 80 small businesses.
Reading Terminal is the oldest and largest public market in the United States and is similar to markets in other American cities like Portland and Charleston. It’s housed in a former historic train shed.
During my afternoon exploring the market, I spoke to three workers who say business has been much better since last year, but there’s another common theme – supply shortages.
At Luhv Vegan Deli, business is ramping up, but certain supplies are hard to come by
At Luhv Vegan Deli, which has been serving its vegan sandwiches in the terminal Avenue B since 2018, employees said business was returning to normal, but things like gloves and vegan meats and cheeses are sometimes in short supply.
“It was just really slow until January-February, but then it started to pick up and be a little bit more [busy] like this on a Saturday here and there,” cashier Jordan Hartsfield said. “We had a shortage of gloves recently, like a couple weeks ago, that happen a lot during the pandemic. A shortage of vegan provolone, the vegan bacon that we had, and the gloves are a lot more expensive than they were pre-pandemic for obvious reasons.”
I settled on a corned beef special, pasta salad, and a pumpkin spiced whoopie pie.
My meal was fresh, savory, and very flavorful.
Despite the struggles, the variety of merchants keeps Philly’s multicultural feel alive
Sweet T’s Bakery, the first Black-owned bakery in the market since it opened 128 years ago, is famous for its sweet potato pies, cakes, iced teas, and lemonades. Employees I spoke to said business was almost back to normal.
“Business for us has been going really well,” Lamirah Coleman, a manager at Sweet T’s Bakery, told Insider. “Since things are opening back up, more people are coming out, we’re meeting a lot of new customers so we’re really really happy about that.”
I treated myself to one of Sweet T’s famous lemonades and a whoopie pie to go with my meal
Other merchants have been forced to raise prices amid inflation
An employee at Nanee’s Kitchen, which sells Indian/Pakistani cuisine, said they’ve had to raise menu prices by $1 because of inflated poultry and vegetable prices.
“A couple of times there were no forks or spoons from the restaurant depots that we get them from,” Sam Reddy, an employee at Nanee’s Kitchen said. “And the prices went up, especially on meat and vegetables so my boss increased the prices on the menu by a dollar more for every platter, not too much, just a dollar more but they saw the prices went up at the grocery stores.”
There’s still loads of fresh produce in the market, which can often be a rare find in cities
Having access to fresh fruits and vegetables is vital to maintaining a healthy diet, but that can be nearly impossible in certain parts of Philadelphia. Some neighborhoods in the city don’t have access to healthy foods due to a lack of grocery stores and have been coined as food deserts by researchers and activists.
And plenty of sweets, too
Reading Terminal is home to Mueller Chocolate, featuring an assortment of chocolates and other sweets.
Unique to Philadelphia, Amish-country farm stands also dot the market – and are still thriving
Many also feature pickled vegetables, fresh jams, and sauces.
And – one of my favorites – popcorn!
But that isn’t all the Reading Terminal has to offer, just like the surrounding city, almost any cuisine can be found here.
Whether you’re looking to get some grocery shopping done or experience something new, the Reading Terminal has a little something for everyone.
Some vaccinated Americans, though, have already been told to mask up again.
Amid a rise in COVID-19 cases fueled by the Delta variant, at least six cities have issued new mask guidance in the last few weeks. Los Angeles and St. Louis have instated official mask mandates for all residents, while New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle have recommended masks.
Some cities have also reissued mask mandates for specific indoor settings. Clark County, Nevada – which includes Las Vegas – began requiring masks in court facilities last week. Public schools in Atlanta, Chicago, and New York City will require students and staff to wear masks this school year, regardless of their vaccination status. And in Hawaii, the government is waiting until more residents are vaccinated before lifting its indoor mask mandate.
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Fox News that these local mask requirements are “quite understandable” given Delta’s prevalence in the US.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said on Tuesday that vaccinated people infected with Delta may be contagious and spread the virus to others. Data on previous variants indicated that vaccinated people were less likely to transmit the virus than unvaccinated people.
At least 6 cities have issued new mask guidance
The San Francisco Bay Area was among the first places to buck the no-mask trend in July. Several Bay Area counties, including San Francisco County, began recommending masks for all people – vaccinated or not – in indoor spaces like theaters, grocery stores, and retail stores starting July 16. In nearby San Mateo County, masks are now required, even for fully vaccinated people, inside county offices, clinics, and public facilities.
Los Angeles County also reinstated its indoor mask mandate on July 18 following a sharp uptick in cases. Average daily cases more than doubled there in the first two weeks of July, then tripled by the third week.
In New Orleans, health officials issued a “mask advisory” instead of a mandate. The city’s “inadequate vaccination rate” was part of the reason for that rule, they said. New Orleans has the second-highest vaccination rate in Louisiana – around 57% of residents have received at least one dose – but cases have still increased 10-fold there since the start of July.
On Thursday, Philadelphia also “strongly recommended” that all residents wear masks inside public places. James Garrow, a spokesperson for the city’s health department, told The Philadelphia Inquirer that officials were concerned about an uptick in COVID-19 hospitalizations among the city’s unvaccinated children.
King County, Washington, which includes Seattle, followed suit with a similar recommendation on Friday. Health officials now advise that all residents ages 5 and up wear masks in indoor public settings – despite the fact that King County is one of the most vaccinated counties in the US. (Around 72% of residents have received at least one dose.)
“This extra layer of protection will help us all stay safer, including those who are unvaccinated, such as the 300,000 children in King County who aren’t able to get vaccinated yet, and the many thousands of people who have immune systems that are weakened or suppressed,” the county said in a statement.
St. Louis County, Missouri, took a firmer stance on Monday by requiring vaccinated people ages 5 and older wear masks on public transportation and in all indoor public spaces. The mandate doesn’t apply to people eating or drinking in restaurants or bars, though.
Sen. Ted Cruz once declared him to be “hateful” and “angry,” but as Pennsylvania state Rep. Brian Sims sees it, he’s only defending popular liberal values in a state where extreme gerrymandering – aided by some Democrats – has advantaged a minority of social conservatives.
In an interview with Insider, Sims said he also took it personally: Pennsylvania is the only state in the Northeast without a law expressly prohibiting employment and housing discrimination on the basis of someone’s gender identity or sexual orientation – and Sims, in 2012, became the state’s first openly gay lawmaker. (There are now three.)
“There is no question that there are a number of issues for which I feel a degree of righteous indignation,” Sims, who represents Center City in Philadelphia, said over the phone. “But my job is to pursue policies and make changes in all the ways that I know how to do it.”
That has at times caused this firebrand Democrat to go viral. In 2019, he livestreamed a confrontation with an anti-abortion activist in his district. “Who would have thought that an old white lady would be out in front of a Planned Parenthood telling people what’s right for their bodies?” he said.
That earned him both national attention and the ire of people like Cruz, the Republican senator from Texas. Pennsylvania’s GOP wanted him criminally charged with harassment.
There’s no love lost.
During a floor debate in Harrisburg earlier in June, Sims went off on the Republican caucus, which was pushing through a bill that would require hospitals to provide for the burial or cremation of fetal remains; critics saw it as a soft way of pushing an anti-abortion-rights agenda. Several Democratic women rebuked the measure and detailed their own experiences with lost pregnancies.
When it was Sims’ turn to speak, he described the GOP agenda as “grossly, predictably misogynistic” – a natural consequence, he argued, of a party whose lawmakers were disproportionately men and “100% white.” Republican leaders cut his mic while the rank-and-file jeered, which prompted a kicker from Sims: “Your boos mean nothing to me. I’ve seen what you cheer for.”
Sims is a lawyer by training. Before entering politics, he served as a staff attorney with the Philadelphia Bar Association. Before that, he played football. In 2002, his Bloomsburg University team, of which he was the captain, made it to the Division II national-championship game. Sims came out as gay immediately after. Fewer than two dozen football players at the college or professional level have come out – this week, Carl Nassib, a Las Vegas Raiders defensive end, became the latest to do so.
Sims never really wanted to become a politician. “This is not the fulfillment of a lifelong dream,” he said, adding that running in 2012 “was a very utilitarian act.” States’ legislative efforts to prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ people had typically been led by openly LGBTQ members – and there were still none of those in Pennsylvania.
In an often parochial city where coming from the suburbs can be a political liability, he unseated a 28-year incumbent, winning the Democratic primary by a couple of hundred votes. He now has his eyes on the lieutenant governor’s office, being vacated by John Fetterman, another outspoken progressive who has showcased how the office can be used as a platform for espousing center-left rhetoric on everything from LGBTQ rights to cannabis.
That’s part of the attraction, Sims said. Democrats have rarely controlled the state’s legislative chambers, but they fare better in statewide contests. “Pennsylvanians do not believe in this extreme, radical approach of divisive Republican politics,” he argued, pointing to the state GOP’s focus on the culture war – lately, fears about transgender athletes participating in high-school sports. Most of the party also sought to block the certification of Joe Biden’s 2020 victory.
His pitch is also that, as a legislator, he can help what he hopes will be the state’s next Democratic governor work with Republicans on issues like funding education and reducing the cost of healthcare.
Would that entail toning down his attacks on the GOP? Not a chance. “I am authentic about what I support and why I support it,” he said. “And Pennsylvanians need to know about the bad actors in our government and how it’s impacting them.”
And Sims is no fan of a tendency in politics to look at two sides of an argument and decide that the truth lies somewhere in the middle, between the two “extremes.”
“That sort of performative, fake-ass bullshit,” he said, “of treating all of this stuff as if it’s just two sides of one coin and not attaching the real serious values, ethics, and morals to it that it’s due? That’s not my game. And it’s never going to be.”
The US Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Thursday in favor of a Catholic child welfare organization, saying the charity has a right to decline to place foster children with same-sex couples.
Catholic Social Services sued the City of Philadelphia after it informed private agencies that provided foster care services that it would not refer children to the agencies unless they agreed to nondiscrimination requirements.
Catholic Social Services argued that it had the right to opt-out of the nondiscrimination requirement, citing the First Amendment.
The Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that Philadelphia cannot force the charity to work with same-sex couples, saying the rule violated their First Amendment rights.
The case marks a major win for religious groups in a case that pitted religious freedom against the rights of LGBTQ citizens.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
A Pennsylvania Democrat had his speech cut short on Wednesday after he noted the state’s Republican lawmakers are “100% white.”
The heated moment came during a debate over a Republican proposal to regulate the disposal of fetal remains, one that Democratic lawmakers argued would force women to bury or cremate a miscarried fetus. As USA Today reported, a number of Democratic women spoke against the measure – which Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has promised to veto – by highlighting their own traumatic experiences with miscarriages.
Rep. Brian Sims, a Democrat from Philadelphia, lamented the fact his colleagues were forced to share such testimony in the state’s Republican-controlled House.
“This is just another act in a political theater that has plagued this chamber for far too long,” Sims said. “We are a legislature that has met more to remove mask mandates, strip executive emergency powers, and overturn free and fair elections than we have to make strategic investments in Pennsylvania’s women, children, and families.”
Sims punctuated his remarks with an attack on his Republican colleagues and the demographic makeup of their caucus. The bill, he argued, was just another line item in “a grossly, predictably misogynistic agenda – an agenda pursued by a party that is 100% white, in a chamber that is 70% male.”
House Majority Leader Bryan Cutler, a Republican, then cut Sims’ microphone. “That’s enough,” he said amid booing from other GOP lawmakers.
Sims was unrepentant.
“Your boos mean nothing to me,” he said. “I’ve seen what you cheer for.”
A Philadelphia police officer faces criminal charges on accusations of pulling a gun on a teenage boy and threatening to shoot the child’s older brother during a naked argument inside their mother’s bedroom.
A spokesperson for Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said the officer, Det. Robert Redanauer, is being charged with simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, possessing and instrument of crime, and terroristic threats.
“This incident involved two victims, both siblings, one of whom was a minor,” the spokesperson, Jane Roh, told Insider. The detective is the 10th member of the Philadelphia Police Department to be charged with a crime this year, she said.
Redanauer turned himself in on Tuesday, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported, following an Internal Affairs investigation of the incident, which occurred December 27 while the detective was off duty.
According to an arrest affidavit, obtained by the Inquirer, a 23-year-old man heard his little brother arguing with Redanauer in his mother’s bedroom. When he entered the room, Redanauer, who was unclothed, grabbed a semi-automatic handgun from a dresser, pointed it at both siblings, and threatened to pull the trigger.
“Come here f—-r,” Redanauer said, according to the court document. “I am going to shoot you.”
It is not clear what the man’s relationship was to the boys’ mother, who was also in the room, the Inquirer reported, citing a law enforcement source.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said she intends to fire Redanauer, who is currently on a 30-day suspension.
“In order for police officers to effectively do their jobs, it is imperative that they are held to a higher standard – both on and off-duty,” Outlaw said in a statement, describing the accusations as “serious” and “intolerable.”
The case comes amid a highly contested election, with DA Krasner, a defense attorney turned self-styled progressive prosecutor, facing off against Carlos Vega, a prosecutor he fired who is backed by the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police.
Krasner has faced criticism from police amid a surge in homicides during the pandemic. Vega has also been put on the defensive over his role in a murder case against a man who was exonerated by DNA evidence.
Republican Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt called on GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky to vote his “conscience” as the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump hurtles towards a conclusion.
In a late Friday note directed at McConnell, Schmidt recalls the days after the November general election when Trump attacked him as Republican “RINO,” or Republican in name only, on Twitter for disputing the former president’s claims of voter fraud in the overwhelmingly Democratic city.
“The former POTUS incited supporters to threaten to kill my children and put their ‘heads on spikes’ because we counted votes cast by eligible voters,” Schmidt wrote. “They named my children and included my home address in the threats.”
He added: “Please consider when voting your conscience.”
However, ahead of a likely weekend vote, McConnell announced in a letter on Saturday morning that he would vote to acquit Trump in the former president’s Senate impeachment trial for “incitement of insurrection” related to the January 6 Capitol riots.
The attacks on Schmidt’s family were accelerated by a November tweet that was posted on the former president’s now-disabled Twitter account.
“A guy named Al Schmidt, a Philadelphia Commissioner and so-called Republican (RINO), is being used big time by the Fake News Media to explain how honest things were with respect to the Election in Philadelphia,” Trump tweeted. “He refuses to look at a mountain of corruption & dishonesty. We win!”
“You lied,” one message read. “You a traitor. Perhaps 75cuts and 20bullets will soon arrive.”
Two emails sent to Schmidt’s wife read, “ALBERT RINO SCHMIDT WILL BE FATALLY SHOT,” “COPS CAN’T HELP YOU. #Q,” and “HEADS ON SPIKES. TREASONOUS SCHMIDTS.”
In November, Schmidt also revealed that staff members in his office had been subjected to death threats and said that critics were “coming up with all sorts of crazy stuff” to discredit the work of the office.
Last month, Schmidt announced that he would not run for reelection in 2023 and insisted that the Pennsylvania vote count was “free and fair,” despite the relentless stream of debunked election-related conspiracy theories from the former president.