House returns to stave off default with debt limit vote
WASHINGTON — Members of the House are scrambling back to Washington on Tuesday to approve a short-term lift of the nation’s debt limit and ensure the federal government can continue fully paying its bills into December.
The $480 billion increase in the country’s borrowing ceiling cleared the Senate last week on a party-line vote. The House is expected to approve it swiftly so President Joe Biden can sign it into law this week. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen had warned that steps to stave off a default on the country’s debts would be exhausted by Monday, and from that point, the department would soon be unable to fully meet the government’s financial obligations.
A default would have immense fallout on global financial markets built upon the bedrock of U.S. government debt. Routine government payments to Social Security beneficiaries, disabled veterans and active-duty military personnel would also be called into question.
The relief provided by passage of the legislation will only be temporary though, forcing Congress to revisit the issue in December — a time when lawmakers will also be laboring to complete federal spending bills and avoid a damaging government shutdown. The yearend backlog raises risks for both parties and threatens a tumultuous close to Biden’s first year in office.
Slain reporter’s father takes on Facebook over violent video
WASHINGTON — The family of a slain journalist is asking the Federal Trade Commission to take action against Facebook for failing to remove online footage of her shooting death.
Andy Parker said Tuesday the company is violating its own terms of service in hosting videos on Facebook and its sibling service Instagram that glorify violence.
His daughter, TV news reporter Alison Parker, and cameraman Adam Ward, were killed by a former co-worker while reporting for Roanoke, Virginia’s WDBJ-TV in August 2015. Video footage of the shooting — some of which was taken by the gunman — repeatedly resurfaces on Facebook and Instagram despite assurances from top executives that it will be removed, says a complaint filed Tuesday by Parker and attorneys with the Georgetown Law Civil Rights Clinic.
“The reality is that Facebook and Instagram put the onus on victims and their families to do the policing of graphic content — requiring them to relive their worst moments over and over to curb the proliferation of these videos,” says the complaint.
The complaint says Facebook is engaging in deceptive trade practices by violating its own terms of service and misrepresenting the safety of the platform and how hard it is for users to get harmful and traumatic content removed.
Facebook, which is based in Menlo Park, California, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
Coroner: Gabby Petito strangled 3-4 weeks before body found
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Cross-country traveler Gabby Petito was strangled, a Wyoming coroner announced Tuesday.
Petito, 22, died three to four weeks before her body was found Sept. 19 near an undeveloped camping area along the border of Grand Teton National Park in remote northern Wyoming, Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue said in a news conference.
It wasn’t clear if the determination might lead to additional charges against Petito’s boyfriend and traveling partner, Brian Laundrie, who is considered a person of interest in her disappearance and remains unaccounted for.
Biden to meet Kenya president as war roils nearby Ethiopia
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is set to hold his first one-on-one, in-person talks as president with an African leader on Thursday, hosting Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta as war and a humanitarian crisis roil neighboring Ethiopia, according to the White House.
The Oval Office talks come just weeks after Biden signed an executive order threatening to levy sanctions against Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and other leaders involved in a conflict gripping the Tigray region if steps aren’t taken soon to wind down the 11-month-old war.
Yet the situation appears to have only worsened on the ground, with Tigray forces saying Ethiopia’s government has launched a long-threatened major military offensive against them in an attempt to end the war. A statement from the Tigray external affairs office earlier this week alleged that hundreds of thousands of Ethiopian “regular and irregular fighters” launched a coordinated assault on several fronts.
Kenya, which shares a border with Ethiopia, has long had a strong relationship with the U.S., partnering with Washington in efforts to thwart Islamic terrorism.