US Domestic News Roundup: Wildfires threaten New Mexico resorts, burn California mansions; Abortion rights groups push to turn anger into action and more
Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.
Wildfires edged towards mountain resort towns in northern New Mexico on Thursday and engulfed an enclave of multi-million-dollar mansions in Southern California. Residents of around 900 houses were under evacuation in coastal California and one firefighter was injured when a wildfire fire torched about 200 acres (81 hectares) in Laguna Niguel on Wednesday, Orange County officials said.
Abortion rights groups push to turn anger into action
In the days after a draft leaked showing the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to strike down Roe v. Wade and a national right to abortion, the left-wing group MoveOn doubled its weekly fundraising. A Michigan effort to place abortion rights on the ballot gained more than 13,000 new volunteer sign-ups. And on Saturday, hundreds of thousands of protesters are expected to attend more than 300 rallies in a coordinated nationwide demonstration.
Congressman Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, and four other lawmakers received subpoenas on Thursday from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol by Donald Trump's supporters. The committee issued the subpoenas to try to secure the lawmakers' testimony after they had rejected voluntary cooperation with the investigation.
Louisiana lawmakers withdraw bill declaring abortion homicide
A bill in the Louisiana legislature aiming to charge women and their doctors with murder for obtaining or providing abortion services was withdrawn from consideration on Thursday amid outrage and a successful effort to amend it. The measure by state Representative Danny McCormick would have abolished abortion in the state, granted constitutional rights to "all unborn children from the moment of fertilization" and classified abortion as a homicide crime.
U.S. House panel to investigate infant milk formula shortage -ABC
The U.S. House Oversight Committee plans to investigate a nationwide baby formula shortage and will seek records from the four largest manufacturers, ABC News reported on Friday, citing letters from the committee chairwoman. "The national formula shortage poses a threat to the health and economic security of infants and families in communities across the country - particularly those with less income who have historically experienced health inequities, including food insecurity," U.S. Representative Carolyn Maloney, who leads the committee, wrote in letters to Abbott Nutrition, Mead Johnson Nutrition, Nestle USA and Perrigo, ABC reported.
Accused NY subway shooter expected to plead not guilty on terrorism, weapons charges
A man charged with last month's mass shooting in a New York subway, one of the most violent attacks in the history of the city's transit system, is expected to enter a not guilty plea in Brooklyn federal court on Friday. Frank James, 62, is scheduled to be arraigned at noon on charges related to the April 12 gunfire and smoke bomb attack that injured 23 people. His lawyer, Mia Eisner-Grynberg from the Federal Defenders of New York, did not respond to requests for comment.
President Joe Biden will urge state and local leaders on Friday to make greater use of money from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan to fight crime as cities gird for summer crime waves, and the U.S. Treasury releases billions more in funds. The pandemic relief fund, passed by Democratic majorities in the U.S. Congress and signed into law a year ago, was a signature achievement of Biden's first year in office. State and local governments were allotted $350 billion to be released in two tranches, in May of 2021 and this month.
Biden marks one million U.S. COVID deaths after losing political battles
President Joe Biden on Thursday commemorated the COVID-19 deaths of 1 million people in the United States, marking what he called "a tragic milestone" and urging Americans to "remain vigilant" during the ongoing pandemic. In a statement, Biden acknowledged the impact of the deaths on families left behind and urged the country not to "grow numb to such sorrow."
Democrats' hopes of holding Senate may rest on hoodie, shorts-wearing ex-mayor
The Democratic Party's hopes of picking up a much-needed U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania are likely tethered to a 6-foot, 8-inch tall tattooed and goateed liberal who eschews suits for hoodies and once met with President Joe Biden wearing basketball shorts. John Fetterman, 52, the state's lieutenant governor, is surging in opinion polls ahead of the May 17 Democratic Senate primary, shocking political observers who had predicted a close contest with U.S. Representative Conor Lamb, a moderate who party insiders view as having the best chance against Republicans in November's general election.
U.S. travel firms flex marketing muscle to lure travelers seeking sun and sand
U.S. travel booking firms are spending heavily on marketing to get more people to book flights and accommodation on their apps and websites as they look to make the most of a post-pandemic boom in tourism during the upcoming summer season.
After becoming one of the biggest victims of the health crisis, companies including Airbnb Inc, Booking Holdings Inc, Expedia Group Inc and Tripadvisor Inc have quickly turned a corner due to unprecedented demand for travel from pandemic-weary Americans.
(With inputs from agencies.)