5 issues to know Wednesday


The US announcement of COVID booster vaccinations could come on Wednesday

As early as Wednesday, US authorities are expected to recommend an additional dose of the vaccine to all Americans eight months after their second vaccination, according to two Associated Press sources. President Joe Biden’s official schedule on Wednesday is for Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to receive a briefing from members of the White House COVID-19 Response Team and for Biden to make comments “on the COVID-19 response and vaccination program.” The move is driven by both the highly contagious variant and preliminary evidence that the vaccine’s protective effects wear off within months. The step would be a U-turn compared to the earlier recommendation of the federal government that only the severely immunocompromised booster need boosters. Some experts say this is a reasonable response to new data. Others fear that there isn’t enough real-world research to start another big vaccination surge.

Taliban say they will allow “safe passage” from Afghanistan in the US airlift

The Taliban have agreed to allow civilians struggling to join a US-led airlift from the capital “safe passage” from Afghanistan, said Jake Sullivan, National Security Advisor to President Joe Biden, despite a timetable for completion The evacuation has yet to be worked out with the new rulers of the nation. The White House said 13 flights flew 1,100 U.S. citizens, permanent residents and their families out of Kabul Airport on Tuesday, adding that the pace is expected to pick up on Wednesday and later this week. On Tuesday, the Taliban declared “amnesty” for government officials and vowed to uphold women’s rights under Islamic law – promises met with skepticism in Washington. The guilt game in the country’s capital worsened on Tuesday as critics – including leaders of Congress – pounced on claims by Biden government officials that they had no idea the Taliban would take Afghanistan so quickly and without a fight.

Fred drenched the southeastern US; Grace is supposed to be a hurricane

A weakening tropical depression Fred is expected to resolve by Wednesday morning, the National Weather Service said. By Thursday, the central Appalachians and parts of the mid-Atlantic could see two to four inches of rain, with some areas reaching half a foot. Fred left thousands of Florida Panhandle residents without power in the hours after landing late Monday. Fred has also spawned several apparent tornadoes in Georgia and North Carolina. Meanwhile, the end of Tropical Storm Grace has been predicted to bring up to 15 inches of rain into an already damaged Haiti before it departs and moves towards southeast Cuba and Jamaica. Forecasters said it could be near the strength of a hurricane if it approaches Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula late Wednesday or early Thursday. And a third storm that is swirling in the Atlantic, Henri, is set to orbit the island of Bermuda widely in the near future, the National Hurricane Center said.

R. Kelly Trial of Sex Trafficking Opens in New York

The opening statements are due to begin Wednesday in New York in the first trial of R&B star R. Kelly, who is charged with several federal sex trafficking and extortion charges. Prosecutors accuse Kelly, 54, of “running a criminal enterprise” of managers, bodyguards and other employees who allegedly helped him recruit women and underage girls for sex and pornography by crossing state lines to do so. The process is said to take about a month. Kelly has been in custody since 2019 pending trials on four different federal and federal sex crime cases.

After an emotional press conference, Naomi Osaka meets Coco Gauff

Four-time Grand Slam singles winner Naomi Osaka will face up-and-coming American tennis star Coco Gauff in the round of 32 at the Western & Southern Open in Ohio on Wednesday. The event will be broadcast on the Tennis Channel. The Western & Southern Open is Osaka’s first since being lucky enough to light the Olympic torch during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics in their native Japan, and disappointment at the excitement over the third round of the women’s tennis tournament. Her visit to Ohio got off to an emotional start when she burst into tears and briefly stepped back from her first new conference since May. Osaka was in the spotlight this season as she retired from the French Open and later Wimbledon to maintain her mental health. In July, she wrote an article for Time Magazine entitled “It’s okay to be wrong”. Osaka has announced that it will donate its winnings from the tournament to help the victims of the Haiti earthquake on Saturday.

Contribution: The Associated Press