News Headlines 4/26/21

U.S. TO SEND MORE SUPPLIES, SUPPORT TO INDIA AS IT GRAPPLES WITH COVID SURGE: The White House said yesterday (April 25th) that the U.S. will send more supplies and support to India as it’s dealing with a deadly surge in coronavirus cases, with the world’s worst daily case numbers for several days, and is running out of many needed supplies, including oxygen. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan spoke to his counterpart in India, and a White House readout of their call said the U.S. has, quote “identified supplies of therapeutics, rapid diagnostic test kits, ventilators, and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that will immediately be made available for India. The United States also is pursuing options to provide oxygen generation and related supplies on an urgent basis.” The U.S. will also be sending “raw material” needed for India to manufacture the Covishield vaccine, and, according to the readout, the U.S. Development Finance Corporation will fund a, quote, “substantial expansion of manufacturing capability for BioE, the vaccine manufacturer in India, enabling BioE to ramp up to produce at least 1 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines by the end of 2022.” President Biden said in a tweet Sunday, “Just as India sent assistance to the United States as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, we are determined to help India in its time of need.”

AT LEAST 82 KILLED IN FIRE AT IRAQI COVID HOSPITAL: The death count rose to at least 82 Sunday (April 25th) from a large fire the day before at a hospital for coronavirus patients in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. At least 110 people were also injured in the fire at the Ibn al-Khatib Hospital, which was set off by an exploding oxygen cylinder and swept through the intensive care unit that was only treating Covid-19 patients with severe symptoms. Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi blamed widespread negligence by health officials and key health officials were suspended, including the health minister and the governor of Baghdad province. Others, including the hospital director, were fired. Iraq is currently dealing with severe second wave of the pandemic.

REPORT: FULLY VACCINATED AMERICANS WILL BE ABLE TO GO TO EUROPE THIS SUMMER: Americans who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will be able to travel to European Union nations this summer, the president of the European Commission told the New York Times on Sunday (April 25th.) Ursula von der Leyen,  however, didn’t give a timeline as to when travel to from the U.S. to E.U. nations might resume after it was stopped more than a year ago due to the pandemic.

EVACUATION ORDERS FOR 200 ARIZONA HOMES DUE TO ‘OUT OF CONTROL’ WILDFIRE: Evacuation orders were issued Sunday (April 25th) for the residents of some 200 homes in Arizona that are in potential danger due to a wildfire that officials described as “raging out of control.” The wildfire, named the Flag Fire, is about 600 acres in size and is located in the Hualapai Mountains near Pine Lake. The evacuation orders were issued for residents of Pine Lake, which is about two hours north of Phoenix.

JUDGE DISMISSES LAWSUIT OVER TRANSGENDER ATHLETES IN CONNECTICUT GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS: A federal judge in a ruling released on Sunday (April 25th) dismissed a lawsuit that was seeking to ban transgender athletes from competing in girls high school sports in Connecticut. The lawsuit was filed a year ago by cisgender runners who charged they were being deprived of wins, state titles and athletic opportunities by being forced to compete against two transgender sprinters. U.S. District Court Judge Robert Chatigny threw out the lawsuit on procedural grounds, saying there was no dispute to resolve because the two transgender athletes have graduated and the plaintiffs couldn’t identify other female transgender athletes. The Justice Department under the Trump administration and the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights had sided with those who brought the lawsuit, but the Biden administration withdrew that support in February.