Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Victoria Gallegos
Tuesday, March 30, 2021, 4:20 PM

President Biden announced his first group of 11 federal judicial nominees, which include several women and people of color, writes the Hill. Four of the nominees are former public defenders, four are members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, and one, if confirmed, would be the first Muslim-American federal judge. “Each is deeply qualified and prepared to deliver justice faithfully under our constitution and impartially to the American peopleand together they represent the broad diversity of background, experience, and perspective that makes our nation strong,” Biden said in a statement.  

Journalists were allowed for the first time inside the United States’s main border detention facility for migrant children today, reports the Associated Press (AP). U.S. Customs and Border Protection allowed journalists from the AP and a CBS crew to tour the Donna, Texas facility, located in the Rio Grande Valley. While the facility’s capacity is 250 persons, more than 4,100 were staying there when journalists visitedmost of them unaccompanied children. 

A migrant caravan carrying several hundred Hondurans is on its way to the Guatemalan border today in the first part of a journey to the United States, according to Reuters. This is the second largest caravan from Honduras this year and is mainly composed of young adults and women with children.  

Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that the U.S. will provide $596 million in new humanitarian aid in response to the Syrian crisis, writes Reuters. The aid is intended for Syrians inside Syria as well as for Syrian refugees in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) released a report on the origins of the coronavirus today, reports the New York Times. The report was drafted by a 34-member team composed of Chinese scientists and international experts, which traveled to Wuhan, China to examine the origins of the virus. During a press briefing, WHO chief Tedros Ghebreyesus said “I do not believe that this assessment was extensive enough,” and that “further data and studies will be needed to reach more robust conclusions.” The group listed recommendations for further research, but it is unclear if China will cooperate. 

In a response to the WHO report, the United States and 13 other countries released a joint statement about concerns over the lack of access needed for the report, writes the Hill. The statement read: “We voice our shared concerns that the international expert study on the source of the SARS-CoV-2 virus was significantly delayed and lacked access to complete, original data and samples.” Many concerns have been raised about the independence of the WHO experts who worked jointly with Chinese scientists and whether the Chinese government provided full access.  

Germany’s vaccine committee advised that only people aged 60 or above should receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, citing concerns of rare blood clots, reports the BBC. Canada previously suspended the use of that vaccine for people under 55. The committee announced it will continue to analyze the vaccine data to understand the rare side effects. 

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared a no bull episode of the Lawfare Podcast, featuring audio from the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the U.S. Cyber Command and Special Operation Command’s Defense Authorization Requests for fiscal 2022. 

Yasmina Abouzzohour analyzed the past year of coronavirus responses in the Middle East and North Africa region. 

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