2 high-speed trains crashed in Pakistan, killing at least 38

Pakistan train collision
Paramilitary soldiers and rescue workers gather at the site following a collision between two trains in Ghotki, Pakistan June 7, 2021

  • Two high-speed trains collided in Pakistan, killing at least 38 people on Monday.
  • One train derailed and another one then hit it, officials said.
  • Rescuers are still looking for people and bodies.
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Two high-speed trains collided in Pakistan on Monday morning. The Associated Press reported that at least 38 people had been killed, citing local authorities.

One train derailed and another train then hit it, Usman Abdullah, the deputy commissioner of the Ghotki district said, according to the AP.

Rescuers are trying to pull people and bodies from the trains.

It is not clear what caused the derailment or the collision, the AP said.

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Idaho’s Lt. Gov. issued an executive order banning mask mandates while the governor was out of state

Idaho Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin
Idaho Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin in March 2021.

  • Idaho’s Lt. Gov. issued an executive order banning mask mandates while the governor was out of state.
  • The office of Gov. Brad Little said he wasn’t aware of Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin’s plan.
  • McGeachin announced last week that she plans on running for governor herself.
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Idaho’s Lt. Gov. issued an executive order that banned mask mandates while the state’s governor was away.

Janice McGeachin issued the order on Thursday, when Gov. Brad Little was out of the state and she was serving as acting governor, ABC News reported.

McGeachin announced last week that she’s running for governor, criticizing coronavirus restrictions as part of her announcement.

According to ABC, Little’s office said the governor was not aware of McGeachin’s plan, and did not comment on what Little would do when back in the state.

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Trump DOJ secretly obtained CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr’s phone and email records

Trump
Former President Donald Trump.

  • CNN reported that the Trump DOJ secretly seized phone and email records from Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr.
  • Three current and former Washington Post reporters faced similar covert seizures.
  • Starr reported on US military policy towards North Korea in 2017.
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The Trump administration’s Department of Justice covertly obtained phone and email records from CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr, in a manner reminiscent of the one multiple current and former Washington Post reporters faced.

CNN reported on Thursday that the Justice Department informed Starr on May 13 that prosecutors had gained access to phone and email records between June 1, 2017, to July 31, 2017. Starr had reported on US military options presented to Trump in 2017, but the DOJ letter did not state a reason that Starr’s records were seized.

According to the letter, all of Starr’s personal and work email and phone records were obtained for that timeframe. The records were sought through the courts, but Starr nor CNN were not notified in the process, and it is unclear whether the seizure was approved under Attorney General Jeff Sessions or Attorney General William Barr.

The longstanding and controversial practice of federal investigators secretly seizing records from journalists, under the scope of leak investigations, was widely used by the Obama administration and favored by the Trump administration as well.

In 2013, Obama’s DOJ made a series of reforms requiring advance notice to journalists roped into these types of investigations, with exemptions related to national security.

“CNN strongly condemns the secret collection of any aspect of a journalist’s correspondence, which is clearly protected by the First Amendment,” said CNN President Jeff Zucker. “We are asking for an immediate meeting with the Justice Department for an explanation.”

In the early days of the Trump administration, the Justice Department covertly pulled phone records from several current and now former Washington Post journalists and also tried to source their email records, according to government letters sent to the reporters and reviewed by The Post. The reporters were looking into Russia’s influence in the 2016 elections.

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Biden lauds ceasefire between Israel and Hamas and calls for full cooperation

Joe Biden
President Joe Biden.

In a roughly 4-minute statement, President Joe Biden lauded the cease-fire agreement between Hamas and Israel on Thursday in his first public remarks about the recent violence.

Biden said he has spoken to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu six times in the last 11 days, and he added that he spoke to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on Thursday as well as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Biden called for “full cooperation,” with Palestinians and Israelis, and added that his administration would coordinate with the Palestinian Authority to send aid to the Gaza Strip for its reconstruction following Israeli airstrikes.

“I believe the Palestinians and Israelis, equally deserve to live safely and securely and to enjoy equal measures of freedom, prosperity, and democracy,” Biden said.

Israel and the militant group Hamas agreed to a ceasefire on Thursday after Israel’s security cabinet voted to approve the truce, and Hamas officials told Reuters the ceasefire would be “mutual and simultaneous.” The ceasefire is scheduled to take effect at 2 a.m. local time on Friday.

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The death toll from Israel-Gaza fighting keeps climbing as more countries call for a cease-fire

Israel Palestine
Palestinians walk next to the remains of a destroyed building after Israeli airstrikes.

  • Attacks between Israel and Gaza continued on Wednesday, with more than 200 people now dead.
  • Israel launched airstrikes and militants in Gaza fired rockets.
  • Countries are calling for a cease-fire. Biden said he supported one but blocked a UN statement.
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Israel and Gazan militants continued to exchange violence, rockets, and missiles on Wednesday, despite growing international calls for a cease-fire.

Medical officials in Gaza said that 219 people have been killed in Gaza since May 10, while Israel said that 12 people there have been killed, Reuters reported. The deaths included dozens of Palestinian children, according to relief organizations.

Tensions between Israel and Hamas have flared since May 10, with Israel launching airstrikes and militants in Gaza firing rockets.

Countries like France, Egypt, and Jordan are calling for a cease-fire.

But on Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said there was no timeframe for a cease-fire, telling reporters: “We’re not standing with a stopwatch. We are taking care of the operation’s objectives,” according to The Times of Israel.

President Joe Biden and US officials have been privately urging Israel to wind down its operations, the Associated Press and Politico reported.

On Monday, Biden publicly expressed support for a cease-fire but the US blocked a UN Security Council statement that would have condemned the violence and called for a cease-fire.

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State Department will recognize citizenship of babies born to a US citizen through in vitro fertilization or surrogacy

State Department
FILE: The US Department of State in Washington, DC.

  • Babies born to a US citizen through in vitro fertilization or surrogacy will now be granted citizenship.
  • The US State Department announced the change in policy on Tuesday.
  • The new policy “takes into account the realities of modern families,” the department said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The US State Department will now recognize the citizenship of babies born through in vitro fertilization or surrogacy, a win for same-sex couples.

The State Department on Tuesday announced that babies born abroad to married couples where one parent is a US citizen will automatically be granted citizenship in the US.

Existing law required babies born abroad needed to have a blood relationship with the parent who was a US citizen. The new policy announced Tuesday requires the baby to be genetically related to one of the married parents.

The move is a victory for gay couples and married couples who have children through in vitro fertilization, surrogacy, or other assisted reproductive technology.

“This updated interpretation and application of the INA takes into account the realities of modern families and advances in ART from when the Act was enacted in 1952,” the state department said in a press release announcing the policy change.

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Israeli airstrikes wrecked the only coronavirus testing lab in Gaza

Gaza
Fire and smoke rise above buildings in Gaza City after strikes from Israel on May 18, 2021.

  • Gaza’s only COVID-19 testing facility was damaged by Israeli airstrikes on Monday, officials said.
  • The clinic was damaged when a nearby building was hit, forcing it to stop conducting tests.
  • Gaza already has a high rate of positive coronavirus test, and a low vaccination rate.
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Israel’s airstrikes damaged the only coronavirus testing facility in Gaza, Palestinian officials said.

Agence France-Presse reported that local authorities said the al-Rimal clinic had to stop carrying out testing after it was wrecked as part of a strike.

Middle East Eye reported that the facility was damaged after a nearby residential building was struck, forcing testing to be suspended.

Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf Qidra said that Israel’s strikes “threaten to undermine the efforts of the health ministry in the face of the COVID pandemic,” AFP reported.

AFP reported that Gaza has one of the world’s highest positive coronavirus test rates, 28%.

Its vaccination rate has also been slow, especially compared to Israel’s rapid rollout.

Last week UN and WHO officials in Gaza told The New York Times they feared of a surge in cases as a result of civivlians having to cram into shelters to avoid the fighting.

Israel has launched airstrikes into Gaza and Hamas, the Gaza-based militant group, has fired rockets toward Israel since last Monday. Dozens of people have died, mostly on the Palestinian side.

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s COVID-19 book deal will net him over $5 million

andrew cuomo
New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at a news conference on September 08, 2020 in New York City.

  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo is set to earn $5.12 million from his book on New York’s COVID-19 response.
  • His book – about his approach to tackling the pandemic – was released in October 2020.
  • Cuomo has been dogged by allegations he covered up COVID-19 deaths in state nursing homes.
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Gov. Andrew Cuomo will net $5.12 million for his recent book about his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to tax documents released by his office on Monday.

Cuomo’s office said that Governor will make $2 million of income from the book – “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic” – over the next two years, and that he made a total of $3.12 million from the book this year.

According to the tax returns, Cuomo’s net income from the book was $1.54 million in 2020. Cuomo’s office said the Governor contributed $500,000 to the United Way and $1 million into a trust for his daughters.

Cuomo’s book was released in October 2020, while the state continued to grapple with the pandemic and as Cuomo faced allegations of covering up COVID-19 deaths in the state’s nursing homes at the height of the crisis.

Among investigations into sexual assault allegations and into the nursing home deaths, Cuomo is also facing an investigation into whether he used state resources to produce the book. Cuomo’s team has denied allegations that state staff were used to work on the book.

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The Supreme Court declined to hear a case over whether a single use of the N-word can create a hostile work environment

Supreme Court
In this Nov. 2, 2020, file photo an American flag waves in front of the Supreme Court building on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Supreme Court punted on a case over whether the Trump administration can exclude people in the country illegally from the count used for divvying up congressional seats.

  • The Supreme Court declined to hear a case about whether the single use of the N-word could create a hostile work environment.
  • The case involved a former employee of a Texas hospital who said he was subjected to a hostile work environment.
  • Lawyers for the hospital claimed there was no evidence a hospital employee created the graffiti at the center of the case.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Supreme Court is declining to hear a case that would have let the justices decide whether a single use of the N-word in the workplace can create a hostile work environment.

The high court said Monday it would not take the case of a former Texas hospital employee who said he was subjected to a hostile work environment, including graffiti in one elevator that used the N-word. As is typical, the court did not comment in turning away the case. It was one of many the court rejected Monday.

Robert Collier said that during the seven years he worked as an operating room aide at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, white nurses called him and other Black employees “boy.” He also said management ignored two large swastikas painted on a storage room wall. He sued the hospital after he was fired in 2016.

The hospital’s lawyers had urged the court not to take Collier’s case. In a statement to The Associated Press, hospital spokesman Michael Malaise noted that there is no evidence “that any Parkland employee was responsible for the alleged graffiti or that it was directed specifically at Mr. Collier.”

Parkland is the hospital where President John F. Kennedy was taken in 1963 after he was fatally shot.

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The Supreme Court agreed to take up a major abortion case that threatens to erode Roe v. Wade

abortion protest supreme court
In this Wednesday, March 4, 2020 file photo, abortion rights demonstrators rally outside the Supreme Court in Washington. A federal appeals court panel ruled that medication abortions, in which pills are taken to terminate a pregnancy, can be provided in Texas during the coronavirus pandemic. In a ruling Monday, April 13, 2020, a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said that medication abortions can go forward.

  • SCOTUS announced it will take a case that threatens to erode Roe v. Wade and could impact reproductive rights.
  • SCOTUS previously limited abortion pill access during the pandemic.
  • An expert on reproductive rights told Insider arrests for seeking abortions could increase if Roe v. Wade were overturned.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The US Supreme Court on Monday announced it planned to take up a major abortion case that could allow it to severely limit or overturn landmark court rulings on abortion, including Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

The case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, concerns a law in Mississippi that bans most abortions after 15 weeks, SCOTUSblog first noted.

The Supreme Court will consider “whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional,” according to the court’s announcement.

According to the Center for Reproductive Rights, 34 states could cease to protect abortion rights if Roe v. Wade is overturned and local governments take no action.

According to Mississippi Today, the law had been previously overturned twice in federal court.

Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the only abortion provider in the state, had asked the Supreme Court not to take up the case, the report said.

The SCOTUS challenged abortion access during the pandemic by banning the abortion pill from mail-order

This isn’t the first time the majority conservative court has challenged reproductive rights.

In January, the Supreme Court voted to ban the abortion pill from mail delivery, making it the only prescription medication to have such restrictions, until the Biden Administration reversed the ruling on April 13.

In July 2020, for the first time, the FDA allowed mail order of the abortion pill on a federal level. The goal was to ensure safe abortion care during the pandemic, when Americans were being urged not to travel and to avoid in-person treatments where possible.

Kate Kelly, a human rights lawyer and co-host of abortion rights podcast Ordinary Equality, previously told Insider the SCOTUS ruling doesn’t just heighten COVID-19 risk for people seeking abortions. She believes it’s also a bad omen for the future of Roe v. Wade, a 1973 ruling which says pregnant women have the right to abortions without excessive government intervention.

“They intervened in something that would have naturally expired, because it was an order for during the pandemic,” Kelly said.

“This is another reason why it’s like, ‘Oh, why did [SCOTUS] jump into something that would have ostensibly expired anyway, to like cut it off?’ That’s scary,” Kelly said.

What would happen if Roe v. Wade were overturned

If SCOTUS were to rule in favor of abortion restriction in the Dobbs v. Jackson case, it would effectively overturn Roe v. Wade.

In doing so, the US would be ushered back into a context more akin to the 1950s and 1960s, when underground abortions were common, Carole Joffe, a sociologist and co-author of “Obstacle Course: The Everyday Struggle to Get an Abortion in America,” previously told Insider.

However, at the time, there wasn’t a widespread movement seeking to penalize people who got abortions – it was done under the radar, Joffe said. Of the 200,000 and 1.2 million illegal abortions per year in the two decades before Roe v. Wade, only a small proportion resulted in charges or sentencing, according to The Guttmacher Institute.

Joffe expects that would change: she believes prison time post-Roe would be more common.

“Prosecution before Roe was very idiosyncratic, dependent on local factors. But if Roe falls, criminal justice officials, from the virulently anti-choice Attorney General Jeff Sessions on down to local police and district attorneys in many jurisdictions, can be expected to avidly pursue those who break the law,” Joffe wrote in a 2017 article for Rewire News Group.

In 2016, The Self-induced Abortion Legal Team, a group of lawyers advocating for reproductive justice, reported that at least 17 people who sought self-medicated abortions since 2005 have faced arrests or jail time.

There are still many unknowns about cost and access if Roe v. Wade is overturned, Joffe said, since different states can make their own laws about the procedure. One thing is certain: abortions will continue, no matter Roe v. Wade’s future.

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