News Headlines 7/16/21

MORE THAN 90 KILLED IN GERMANY, BELGIUM FLOODS, HUNDREDS MISSING: More than 90 people have been killed in flash floods in parts of western Germany and Belgium after days of heavy rainfall, with hundreds still unaccounted for. Among the dead were at least nine residents of an assisted living facility for people with disabilities in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate. The flooding swept away cars and collapsed homes as torrents of water swept down streets and swelled streams. Some 900 Germany soldiers have been deployed to help with the rescue and clean-up.

INDOOR MASK MANDATE BACK IN L.A. COUNTY AS COVID CASES INCREASE: Los Angeles County officials said yesterday (July 15th) the indoor mask mandates are being reimposed for everyone, vaccinated or not, amid a sharp in increase in Covid-19 cases. Many of the cases are of the highly-contagious delta variant, and most of them are among non-vaccinated people. The county’s public health officer, Dr. Muntu Davis, said there’s now what he called “substantial community transmission.” Meanwhile, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy released an advisory urging Americans to, quote, “help slow the spread of health misinformation during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond,” calling it a “serious threat to public health.” He advised that before posting or sharing something on social media, quote, “take a moment to verify whether the information is accurate and whether the original source is trustworthy.” He noted at a press briefing that “two-thirds of people who are not vaccinated either believe common myths about the Covid-19 vaccine or think some of those myths might be true.”

BIDEN: NOT SENDING TROOPS TO HAITI; COMMUNISM IS ‘FAILED SYSTEM’: President Biden addressed the situations in both Haiti and Cuba yesterday (July 15th) as he took questions during a joint press conference with visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Following last week’s assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise, Biden said the U.S. would increase security at the American embassy in Haiti, however it’s, quote, “not on the agenda” to send U.S. troops to help stabilize the country. Haiti’s interim government  has asked the U.S. and the United Nations to send troops to protect key infrastructure. Biden was also asked by a reporter about the rare Cuba protests this week and about communism, and he said, “Communism is a failed system . . . . and I don’t see socialism as a very useful substitute.” Biden has spoken in support of the protesters, and said yesterday that Cuba is,  quote, “unfortunately a failed state and repressing their citizens.” He said the U.S. is looking into ways to possibly reinstate access to the internet in Cuba, which is being restricted by the government.

EXPANDED CHILD TAX CREDITS START GOING OUT: The expanded child tax credit payments that were approved in March as part of the American Rescue Plan to help people financially in response to the pandemic started going out yesterday (July 15th). The monthly payments are $300 for each child who is age five and younger and $250 for children between five nd 17. To be eligible, a single parent must have an adjusted gross income of less than $75,000 and a married couple an income of less than $150,000. The payments are set to expire after a year, but President Biden wants to extend them through at least 2025 and would like to make them permanent. But many Republican critics consider the payments welfare and say they’ll discourage parents from working.