In Boulder, Colorado, a gunman opened fire without warning at a supermarket Monday afternoon, killing 10 people. Witnesses described a horrific scene of bodies littering supermarket aisles as the shooter systematically fired round after round at shoppers without saying a word. Police injured a white male suspect outside the King Soopers grocery store and took him into custody. He has not been identified, and no motive in the killings is known. Among those shot dead was 51-year-old police officer Eric Talley, who was the first on the scene.
Resident Steven McHugh dropped his family members off at the supermarket’s pharmacy, where his son-in-law was in line for a COVID-19 vaccine with his two grandchildren. McHugh said the family witnessed people being shot around them and hid in a closet until police rescued them.
Steven McHugh: “It’s not OK that we don’t have better gun control laws. Let me just say that. It’s not. You know, when it’s your family … This has got to stop. Every week, every week in the United States, is a shooting. Now it’s our turn. And that should never be repeated anywhere.”
The killer in the Boulder supermarket massacre used an AR-15 semiautomatic assault rifle. Just last week, a Colorado state judge blocked Boulder ordinances barring assault weapons and large-capacity magazines, ruling in favor of the National Rifle Association’s Colorado affiliate and two Boulder residents. The NRA is in a deeply weakened state. It filed for bankruptcy last year after New York state Attorney General Letitia James sued them for fraud, seeking to dissolve the organization. The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding hearings this afternoon on gun control.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning of another rise in COVID-19 cases, with the seven-day average of daily infections up by 5% or more in 27 states. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky on Monday asked U.S. residents to continue to wear masks, to avoid crowds and to delay travel, even if they’ve been vaccinated.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky: “We are at a critical point in the pandemic, a fork in the road, where we, as a country, must decide which path we are going to take. We must act now. And I am worried that if we don’t take the right actions now, we will have another avoidable surge, just as we are seeing in Europe right now and just as we are so aggressively scaling up vaccination.”
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said Tuesday that drugmaker AstraZeneca may have submitted “outdated information” about its COVID-19 vaccine that provided an incomplete view of efficacy data from a late-stage clinical trial in the U.S. The development could complicate AstraZeneca’s application to the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization.
Here in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo says all state residents aged 50 and older are now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. Meanwhile, West Virginia has become the third U.S. state to offer vaccines to all adults, joining Alaska and Mississippi. More than 82 million U.S. residents have received at least one dose of vaccine — about one in four people nationwide.
The head of the World Health Organization is calling on vaccine makers to license their technologies to other manufacturers, calling growing vaccine inequity a “moral outrage.” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called it “shocking” that some countries are racing to vaccinate their entire populations — including healthy younger people at lower risk of COVID-19 — while healthcare workers, older people and others at high risk go unvaccinated in poorer nations.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: “The gap between the number of vaccines administered in rich countries and the number of vaccines administered through COVAX is growing every single day and becoming more grotesque every day.”
Saudi Arabia has proposed a ceasefire to end its six-year war on Yemen, but Houthi rebels have rejected the deal, saying the Saudis must first fully lift its devastating blockade, which has led to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Shortly before proposing the ceasefire, Saudi forces carried out air raids, striking dozens of targets in Yemen, including a grains port.
In news from Bangladesh, a massive fire in a Rohingya refugee camp has killed at least 15 people and displaced 50,000. Al Jazeera reports 400 people remain missing. The fire began in a camp in Cox’s Bazar and then spread to two others, destroying thousands of shelters. Nearly a million Rohingya refugees live in southern Bangladesh after fleeing a military crackdown in Burma in 2017. It was the third fire at the camps in recent days. One survivor told Reuters, “When we were in Burma … they destroyed everything. Now it has happened again.”
At least 137 people have been killed in Niger after gunmen on motorbikes attacked villages near the border of Mali. It was the deadliest attack in the West African nation in years. The coordinated raids occurred on Sunday — on the same day Niger’s Constitutional Court confirmed newly elected President Mohamed Bazoum’s victory.
Back in the United States, the Senate has confirmed Boston mayor and former union leader Marty Walsh to be secretary of labor. Walsh becomes the first labor secretary to come from a union background in nearly 50 years. With Walsh’s confirmation, Boston City Council President Kim Janey has become interim mayor of Boston, making her the first woman and first person of color to hold the office.
The White House is preparing a $3 trillion infrastructure and jobs package as part of President Biden’s “Build Back Better” agenda. The Washington Post reports the legislation will be broken into two parts. One package will focus on education and programs to increase the participation of women in the workforce, including paid leave, universal pre-K and free community college. It would also extend the child tax credit for several years. A second part of the legislation will focus on infrastructure like bridges, roads and waterways. It would reportedly provide $400 billion to combat climate change, including $60 billion for green transit. For comparison, Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Elizabeth Warren recently proposed a bill that would invest $500 billion in electric public transportation infrastructure.
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona has canceled $1 billion in student loans for more than 70,000 people defrauded by for-profit colleges. The decision reverses a move by former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to limit student loan relief for people impacted by the collapse of for-profit colleges like Corinthian and ITT Technical Institute.
Louis DeJoy, the Trump-appointed postmaster general, is unveiling a sweeping austerity plan for the U.S. Postal Service to reduce post office hours, increase postage prices and slow down mail delivery. This comes just days after 50 House Democrats wrote to President Biden urging him to fire the entire Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service, which has the sole power to remove DeJoy from his job.
Federal investigators are weighing whether to charge people who joined the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol with seditious conspiracy — the crime of seeking to overthrow the government. The Justice Department hasn’t successfully prosecuted a sedition case in over two decades. This comes as prosecutors are preparing to discuss plea deals with some 300 suspects charged over the January 6 assault, which left five people dead.
Over the weekend, Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson made headlines when he falsely claimed the January 6 rioters were not violent.
Sen. Ron Johnson: “One of the reasons I’m being attacked is because I very honestly said I didn’t feel threatened on January 6th. I didn’t. There was much more violence on the House side. There was no violence on the Senate side.”
Former President Trump’s lawyer Sidney Powell has sought to dismiss a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit filed against her by Dominion Voting Systems, saying no one should have believed her repeated false claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election. In a court filing, Powell’s lawyers write, “No reasonable person would conclude that the statements were truly statements of fact.”
The Supreme Court has agreed to consider the Justice Department’s request to reinstate a death sentence for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is serving life in prison for his role in the deadly 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Last year, a lower court tossed out his death sentence, but the Trump Justice Department appealed.
In Atlanta, the husband of a woman who died in last week’s mass shootings has revealed he was handcuffed and held by police for four hours after surviving the attack. Mario González said, “I don’t know whether it’s because of the law or because I’m Mexican. The simple truth is that they treated me badly.” He didn’t learn his wife Delaina Ashley Yaun had died for hours. González and his wife had gone to the spa together for massages and were in separate rooms when the gunman opened fire. They had married over the summer and had a baby girl. A total of eight people died in the attacks on three Asian-owned spas last Tuesday. Seven of the victims were women, including six of Asian descent.