US Domestic News Roundup: Biden put rights at heart of U.S. foreign policy. Then he pulled punches; Stanford professors urge U.S. to end program looking for Chinese spies in academia and more
"I've been clear that human rights will be the center of our foreign policy," he said, repeating a campaign promise he has made often in speeches since taking office on Jan. 20. Key figures and fallout in U.S. college admissions scandal The first trial in the "Operation Varsity Blues" college admissions scandal gets under way on Monday.
Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.
Biden put rights at heart of U.S. foreign policy. Then he pulled punches
Hours after the last U.S. troops and diplomats were out of Afghanistan, President Joe Biden said in an address at the White House that Washington will continue to support the Afghans left behind and would defend their basic rights, especially those of women and girls. "I've been clear that human rights will be the center of our foreign policy," he said, repeating a campaign promise he has made often in speeches since taking office on Jan. 20.
Stanford professors urge U.S. to end program looking for Chinese spies in academia
A group of Stanford University professors has asked the Justice Department to stop looking for Chinese spies at U.S. universities, joining an effort by human rights groups to end a Trump administration program they said caused racial profiling and was terrorizing some scientists. The "China Initiative" launched in late 2018 aimed to prevent U.S. technology theft by China but has since "deviated significantly from its claimed mission," according to the Sept. 8 letter which was signed by 177 Stanford faculty members and made public by them on Monday.
Key figures and fallout in U.S. college admissions scandal
The first trial in the "Operation Varsity Blues" college admissions scandal gets under way on Monday. Here is a look at the key figures and the fallout from the probe. CHARGES
First trial in U.S. college admission scandal to begin
Two high-powered business executives were set on Monday to become the first people to face trial in the "Operation Varsity Blues" college admissions scandal, charged with paying bribes to get their children admitted to an elite U.S. university. Former casino executive Gamal Aziz, 64, and private equity firm founder John Wilson, 62, are accused of conspiring with California college admissions consultant William "Rick" Singer, who previously pleaded guilty in the scheme.
Biden to announce new COVID-19 steps ahead of U.N. meeting, surgeon general says
U.S. President Joe Biden will announce new steps to slow the spread of COVID-19 before the U.N. General Assembly meets, Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said Sunday. Murthy did not specify what those steps would be. The next session of the General Assembly opens Tuesday; the first day of general debate will be the following week.
Insurers may take hit of $20 billion-$30 billion from Hurricane Ida- report
Insurers are bracing for claims of between $20 billion and $30 billion after assessing the damage from Hurricane Ida in many locations including New York and New Jersey, catastrophe risk modeling firm AIR Worldwide said on Monday. AIR said it updated its insured loss estimates after analyzing the inland flood impacts across Hurricane Ida's track, including in the Northeast states.
Biden heads to western U.S. to tout climate goals, back California governor
President Joe Biden heads west on Monday for a three-state tour aimed at highlighting his push to fight climate change and strengthen infrastructure, while helping fellow Democrat Gavin Newsom try to hold on to California's governorship. Fresh off travel last week to view flood damage from Hurricane Ida in New York and New Jersey, Biden will visit the National Interagency Fire Center on a stop in Boise, Idaho, before flying to Sacramento, California, to see wildfire damage in the area.
Biden approves California disaster declaration ahead of Sacramento visit
U.S. President Joe Biden has approved a disaster declaration for California and will travel to Sacramento on Monday to survey the damage from recent wildfires, the White House said on Sunday. More than 6,800 wildfires large and small have blackened an estimated 1.7 million acres (689,000 hectares) within California alone this season, stretching available firefighting forces and equipment dangerously thin.
House Democrats eye corporate tax rate hike, surtax on wealthy in spending package - sources
U.S. House Democrats are expected to propose raising the corporate tax rate to 26.5% from 21% as part of a sweeping plan that includes tax increases on the wealthy, corporations, and investors, according to two people familiar with the matter. Democrats are also expected to propose a 3% surtax on individual income above $5 million as part of a wide-ranging $3.5 trillion budget bill.
Afghanistan blame game shifts to U.S. Congress as Blinken testifies
Secretary of State Antony Blinken will testify twice to Congress this week about the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, as lawmakers kick off what could be a long series of high-intensity hearings about the chaotic end to America's longest war. Members of Congress - President Joe Biden's fellow Democrats as well as opposition Republicans - have planned hearings since the Taliban seized control of the country last month after a rapid advance.
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