Health officials urge attendees of White House event to get tested for coronavirus

The health officials urged people who worked in the White House in the past two weeks, attended the Supreme Court nomination announcement in the Rose Garden or have had close contact with people who did, to get tested and use their local health departments as a resource. The letter contains contact information for the departments.

“As an additional reminder, if you are identified as a contact, having a negative test does not limit the time period within which you are required to quarantine,” the leaders wrote, citing guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that recommend a 14-day quarantine.

The letter was distributed to people and organizations in each health department’s network, which in D.C. included Advisory Neighborhood Commission members, the D.C. Council and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, city officials said.

D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) said Wednesday that Nesbitt had spoken with the White House about contact-tracing efforts after the mayor sent a stern letter to the Trump administration seeking cooperation on tracking the outbreak. Nesbitt and the White House began talks on contact-tracing efforts in the region shortly afterward.

In Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northam (D) said Thursday he is allocating $220 million in federal coronavirus aid to help public schools handle their response to the pandemic.

The money will be divided among the state’s 135 school districts to pay for testing supplies, personal protective gear, sanitizing, long-distance learning efforts and other expenses.

“Students, teachers, principals and parents are going to great lengths to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic amid a new school year, and we must do everything we can to support them,” Northam said in a statement.

The money will be drawn from about $1.3 billion in federal Cares Act funding that remains from the roughly $3.1 billion sent to the state earlier this year. It will be distributed based on enrollment, at a rate of $175 per pupil or a minimum of $100,000 for each school division, the governor’s office said.

The spending supplements $238.6 million in Cares Act funding that Virginia’s public K-12 schools received in May. The state’s colleges and universities received $343.9 million, also in May, while another $66.8 million in federal Governor’s Emergency Education Relief funding was split between K-12 schools and higher education institutions.

Northam’s decision to send the money to public schools comes as the General Assembly is working to finish changes to the state budget in response to the pandemic during a special legislative session.

The House of Delegates and state Senate adopted spending plans that call for $200 million in Cares Act money for K-12 schools as they combat the virus. Northam has clashed with lawmakers over spending priorities, warning state lawmakers in a letter Wednesday that he would not sign a budget that restricts his ability to manage Virginia’s virus response efforts.

In Maryland, a scheduled public appearance with Gov. Larry Hogan (R) was postponed Thursday to avoid a possible exposure to the coronavirus.

The event was meant to celebrate the Associated Builders

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Obama steps into The Shade Room to urge ‘roommates’ to vote, says White House ‘working to keep people from voting’

Former President Obama knocked the Trump administration in a video released by The Shade Room this week, accusing the White House of working to “keep people from voting,” particularly those of color.

Barack Obama wearing a suit and tie: Obama steps into The Shade Room to urge 'roommates' to vote, says White House 'working to keep people from voting'

© The Shade Room
Obama steps into The Shade Room to urge ‘roommates’ to vote, says White House ‘working to keep people from voting’

Obama made the comments in a short advertisement urging people to vote early in the election that was released by the Shade Room, a Black-owned media company with a large social media following that covers celebrity and entertainment news.

Obama started off the video by addressing the “roommates,” the media company’s nickname for its readers, saying: “As you know the election is coming up and I’ve got just one word for you: vote. Actually I’ve got two: vote early.”

“Right now, from the White House on down, folks are working to keep people from voting, especially communities of color. That’s because there’s a lot at stake in this election. Not just our pandemic response or racial justice, but our democracy itself,” he said.

“So, it’s more important than ever to make your voice heard. We can’t leave anything to chance,” he continued, before going on to urge viewers to visit a website that allows them to check their voter registration status and look up nearby voting locations.

The video marks Obama’s latest show of support for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign in recent months and comes hours before his former vice president is set to face off in his first presidential debate against President Trump later on Tuesday.

In a Twitter video urging supporters to register to vote in the November race on National Voter Registration Day last week, Obama emphasized the stakes of the coming of election, saying: “What’s at stake in this election is much bigger than Joe or the man he’s running to replace.”

“What’s at stake is whether or not our democracy endures,” he continued in the clip, which doesn’t mention Trump by name. “And the folks in power are hoping that you will stay home. They’re hoping you get cynical.”

“They’re trying to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter. It’s how they win. Don’t let them,” he added.

Video: Trump: No one in politics ‘has done more to hurt Black Americans than Joe Biden’ (NBC News)

Trump: No one in politics ‘has done more to hurt Black Americans than Joe Biden’



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House Republicans urge Trump to nominate Amy Coney Barrett to Supreme Court

EXCLUSIVE: A number of House Republicans wrote to President Trump on Wednesday, urging him to nominate Amy Coney Barrett to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last week.

“We write to you today to encourage you to nominate Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court of the United States,” the letter by Reps. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz.; Jim Banks, R-Ind.; Peter King, R-N.Y.; Jackie Walorski, R-Ind.; and Steve King, R-Iowa, said.


“We are confident that Judge Barrett, if nominated and confirmed to the Supreme Court, will respect and defend the original text of the U.S. Constitution, as intended by America’s founding fathers,” the letter, obtained by Fox News, added. “Her presence and critical vote on our nation’s highest court will help restore the balance of the separation of powers between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches.”


Barrett, a judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, is believed to be one of the frontrunners to be Trump’s pick to fill the vacancy on the high court Trump met with Barrett on Monday, sources told Fox News. He is expected to announce his pick on Saturday.

As a pro-life Roman Catholic who clerked for late Justice Antonin Scalia, Barrett has strong conservative credentials and was reportedly considered by Trump to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy in 2018 — but Trump eventually picked now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh

Should she get the nod from Trump, she is expected to face a fierce battle from Democrats in the Senate, who grilled Barrett on her religious faith when she was confirmed to the Seventh Circuit in 2017.

She told a 2006 Notre Dame law school graduating class, “Your legal career is but a means to an end, and … that end is building the kingdom of God … if you can keep in mind that your fundamental purpose in life is not to be a lawyer, but to know, love, and serve God, you truly will be a different kind of lawyer.”

At the 2017 hearing, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., told her bluntly, “The dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s of concern.”

Barrett responded:  “If you’re asking whether I take my Catholic faith seriously, I do, though I would stress that my personal church affiliation or my religious belief would not bear on the discharge of my duties as a judge.

The House lawmakers noted that Barrett was ultimately confirmed in a bipartisan vote in the Senate to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Before that she was a law professor in Notre Dame for 15 years.

“In the vetting process for this judgeship, both Judge Barrett’s colleagues and students at Notre Dame expressed great confidence in her abilities to carry out her duties on one of our nation’s highest courts,” they said.


The letter comes

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House Republicans urge FBI to investigate funding behind recent riots

EXCLUSIVE: A number of House Republicans are urging the FBI to investigate who has been funding the recent riots across the country and bring federal charges against those who they say are “aiding and abetting” criminal activity.

“The Department of Justice and FBI’s leadership is needed to bring to justice those who have funded these criminal organizations and to give justice to the communities who have been devastated by these individuals and organizations,” reads the letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, signed by Rep. Andy Biggs., R-Ariz., along with nearly two dozen other Republicans.


Riots tore through a number of cities across the country in the wake of the death of George Floyd in police custody in May. Against the backdrop of peaceful protests, the riots caused significant damage and injuries in cities like New York City, Chicago and Portland, Ore.

Republicans have zeroed in on the left-wing organizations behind the violence, such as Antifa. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, held a hearing last month into Antifa’s role in the riots, while in the House, Biggs has taken a number of measures to probe who is funding the violence.


“Many cities across our country have been rocked by rioters associated with Antifa and other organizations,” the letter says. “These individuals seem to be using cowardly efforts to commandeer otherwise peaceful protests. These actions constitute domestic terrorism and federal charges must be brought against those who are aiding and abetting the criminal actions of these organizations.”

Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., who signed the letter, also sent a letter to the Department of Justice last week, asking it to look into the source of funding for recent riots and Antifa-related activities.

Other representatives who signed the letter, which urges the FBI to act “expeditiously,” include Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., Doug Collins, R-Ga., and Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Ariz. It notes that Attorney General William Barr has said that Antifa and other extremist groups “have been involved in instigating and participating in the violent activity.”

The letter comes days after an estimate that the summer riots will be the costliest in insurance history – between $1 billion and $2 billion.


On Monday, the DOJ identified New York City, Portland and Seattle as “local governments that are permitting anarchy, violence, and destruction in American cities.”

President Trump had targeted the cities, asking for a review of federal funding to “anarchist” jurisdictions. The DOJ memo serves as notice that New York City, Portland and Seattle meet the criteria Trump set out for potential defunding.

Fox News’ Morgan Phillips and Tyler Olson contributed to this report.

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student climate protesters urge their universities to go carbon neutral

As West coast wildfires color the skies dystopian red and orange and an aggressive hurricane season batters the US Gulf coast, college students are demanding their schools take bold action to address the climate crisis.

Ramkumar Raman et al. holding a sign posing for the camera: Photograph: Jim West/Alamy

© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Jim West/Alamy

Caitlyn Daas is among them. The senior at Appalachian State University and organizer with the Appalachian Climate Action Collaborative (ClimACT) stands on the frontlines of her school’s grassroots push to go “climate neutral”, part of a years-long, national movement that has inspired hundreds of institutional commitments to reduce academia’s carbon footprint.

That concept, ‘our house is burning,’ was a metaphor. But really in 2020, it is literal.

Laura England

Carbon neutrality commitments typically require schools to dramatically cut their carbon emissions by reimagining how they run their campuses — everything from the electricity they purchase to the air travel they fund. Colleges across the country, from the University of San Francisco to American University in Washington DC have already attained carbon neutrality. Other academic institutions, including the University of California system, have taken steps to fully divest from fossil fuels.

But as young activists like Daas urge their universities to do their part to avert climate disaster, many are frustrated by tepid responses from administrators whom they feel lack their same sense of urgency and drive. Appalachian State, part of the University of North Carolina system, has committed to reaching net-zero emissions decades down the line, but Daas and her fellow activists fear that’s far too late. She’s baffled that an institution devoted to higher learning is seemingly ignoring the science around the climate emergency.

a group of people holding a sign: The Detroit March for Justice, which brought together those concerned about the environment, racial justice and similar issues

© Photograph: Jim West/Alamy
The Detroit March for Justice, which brought together those concerned about the environment, racial justice and similar issues

“If our voices don’t matter, can you please stop telling us that they do?” Daas says.

College activists concerned about the climate crisis have largely focused their efforts on two popular movements that go hand-in-hand: reaching carbon neutrality, and divesting university endowments. Broadly, the term “net carbon neutrality” means that a campus zeroes out all of its carbon emissions, says Timothy Carter, president of Second Nature, a nonprofit focused on climate action in higher education. This can be achieved through modifying campus operations, often with the help of alternatives, such as renewable energy certificates and voluntary carbon offsets (activities that atone for other emissions). In Second Nature’s definition, investment holdings don’t factor in a school’s carbon footprint. Carbon neutrality often falls within a wider umbrella of climate neutrality, which also incorporates justice and other concerns.

a man walking across a grass covered field: Students walk at the campus of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina on 7 August 2020. Photograph: Jonathan Drake/Reuters

© Provided by The Guardian
Students walk at the campus of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina on 7 August 2020. Photograph: Jonathan Drake/Reuters

Divestment campaigns, meanwhile, pressure universities to shed investments in fossil fuels in their endowments. “We cannot truly be climate neutral if we continue to invest in a fossil fuel industry,” says Nadia Sheppard, chair of the Climate Reality Project campus corps chapter at North Carolina State University, where

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