For WORLD Radio, I’m Kent Covington.
Biden announces major vaccine sharing push » President Biden announced Thursday the United States will donate 75 percent of its unused COVID-19 vaccines, sharing them with other countries.
Press Secretary Jen Psaki:
PSAKI: The president has announced a U.S. commitment to sharing a total of 80 million doses by the end of June. So that’s 25 million doses that will go out as soon as possible.
She said some of those doses are shipping out this week.
About 19 million shots will go to the U.N.-backed COVAX program. Millions more will go to South and Central America, Asia, and Africa.
At a news conference Thursday, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said here in the United States, COVID-19 cases continue to plummet.
The new 7-day rolling average of new cases is now just over 15,000 per day.
WALENSKY: This represents a decrease of more than 30 percent from our prior 7-day average. And more importantly, it is a 94 percent decrease from the peak of COVID-19 cases we reported in January of this year.
At the January peak, new cases topped a quarter of a million per day.
GOP lawmakers blast Fauci after release of 2020 emails » The president’s top medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci is taking heavy fire from GOP lawmakers.
That after thousands of pages of emails to and from Dr. Fauci were made public through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.
Republicans say Fauci’s emails from last year show that he was concerned about research taking place at a lab in Wuhan, China, where COVID-19 first spread.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said Thursday…
PAUL: The emails paint a disturbing picture, a disturbing picture of Dr. Fauci from the very beginning worrying that he had been funding gain-of-function research. And he knows it to this day but hasn’t admitted.
Gain-of-function research is the practice of altering a virus or organism in a laboratory in a way that could make it more dangerous.
Fauci, in an email, expressed concern that U.S. funding may have even helped to pay for gain-of-function research in Wuhan.
Some Republicans say the emails also suggest Fauci may have given more credence to the COVID-19 lab leak theory privately than he was willing to admit publicly.
Fauci fired back at Republicans on Thursday, calling their criticism “nonsense” and said his emails have been taken out of context. He stated—quote—“I have always said . . . that I still believe the most likely origin is from an animal species to a human.”
Jobless claims fall again to new pandemic low » The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell last week for a fifth straight week to another pandemic low. WORLD’s Anna Johansen Brown reports.
ANNA JOHANSEN BROWN, REPORTER: The Labor Department reported Thursday that jobless claims dropped to 385,000. That’s down 20,000 from the week before. The number of weekly applications for unemployment aid, which generally reflects the pace of layoffs, has fallen steadily all year.
But U.S. employers are still posting a record number of available jobs. Many say they still can’t find enough workers to fill job posts.
At least 25 states have announced plans to cut off some emergency federal aid as early as next week. That includes so-called enhanced unemployment, which provides an extra $300 per week in federal money on top of state benefits.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen Brown.
Netanyahu opponents move to oust him from office » Political opponents of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pushed Thursday for a quick vote in parliament to end his 12-year run as the country’s leader.
That just hours after opposition leader Yair Lapid and his main coalition partner, Naftali Bennett, declared they had reached a deal to form a new government.
The coalition is very diverse, consisting of eight parties from across the political spectrum. But Professor Gideon Rahat with Hebrew University says its members have one thing in common—a desire to oust Netanyahu from office.
RAHAT: The only rationale of this coalition of anti-Netanyahu forces.
The alliance includes hardliners previously allied with Netanyahu, as well as center-left parties and even an Arab faction.
The coalition could end two years of political limbo in Israel. Four elections over that time have ended in deadlock.
10,000 volunteers drop out of Tokyo Olympics » The 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo are now less than 50 days away. But officials are facing an uphill climb as they prepare for the games with thousands of volunteer staffers backing out. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin reports.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The International Olympic Committee expects at least 80 percent of athletes and residents of the Olympic Village to be vaccinated against COVID-19. But only 2-to-3 percent of Japanese residents are fully vaccinated. For that reason, many volunteer staffers are growing increasingly uneasy about taking part in the games.
About 10,000 of 80,000 unpaid volunteers for the Summer Olympics and Paralympics have told organizers they’ve decided not to participate.
Organizers said the loss would not affect operations.
The Japanese government has resisted calls by some to delay the Summer Olympics once again amid the slow rollout of vaccines in Japan.
Officials postponed the games last year due to the pandemic. The Summer Olympics are now set to begin on July 23rd.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.
I’m Kent Covington, and for more news, features, and analysis, visit us at wng.org.
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