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The Weekly National News Roundup | Shlomo Rudman

US to Allow Vaccinated Foreigners in Beginning Nov. 8 – The White House on Friday said it will lift COVID-19 travel restrictions for fully vaccinated foreign nationals effective Nov. 8, ending historic restrictions that had barred much of the world from entering the United States. Announcing the starting date for the new rules on travel into and out of the country, White House spokesman Kevin Munoz posted on Twitter that the policy “is guided by public health, stringent, and consistent.” The unprecedented travel restrictions kept millions of visitors out of the United States from China, Canada, Mexico, India, Brazil, much of Europe and elsewhere; shrunk U.S. tourism; and hurt border community economies. They prevented many loved ones and foreign workers from reuniting with families. U.S. allies had heavily lobbied the Biden administration to lift the rules. Restrictions on non-U.S. citizens were first imposed on air travelers from China in January 2020 by then-President Donald Trump and then extended to dozens of other countries, without any clear metrics for how and when to lift them.

Inflation Surges 5.4% – Another surge in consumer prices in September sent inflation to 5.4% from a year ago, matching the highest such rate since 2008 as tangled global supply lines continue to create havoc. Consumer prices rose 0.4% in September from August as supply chain disruptions kept many goods scarce. The costs of new cars, food, gas, and restaurant meals all jumped. The annual increase in the consumer price index matched readings in June and July as the highest in 13 years, the Labor Department said Wednesday. Excluding the volatile food and energy categories, core inflation rose 0.2% in September and 4% compared with a year ago. Core prices hit a three-decade high of 4.5% in June.

Appeals Court Upholds Texas Abortion Ban – The most restrictive abortion law in the country will remain in effect, after a federal appeals court sided with Texas on Thursday in an ongoing legal battle with the Department of Justice. The law, known as SB8, bans physicians from providing abortions once they detect a so-called fetal heartbeat — which can be seen on an ultrasound as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. The law, which went into effect on Sept. 1, was briefly paused after a federal judge issued a temporary injunction last week barring its enforcement. Days later, the law was reinstated after a panel of judges on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary administrative stay. In the latest development of the high-profile case, the court rejected the Justice Department’s request to again halt Texas’ ability to enforce the law. In a 2-1 order Thursday night, a panel of judges granted Texas’s request to continue to stay the preliminary injunction while it pursues its appeal.

Biden Commission Comes Out Against SCOTUS Packing – President Biden’s commission examining potential changes to the Supreme Court released preliminary documents Thursday warning that increasing the number of justices all at once would likely deal a hammer blow to the court’s legitimacy. “As a legal matter, we conclude that Congress has broad power to structure the Supreme Court by expanding (or contracting) the number of Justices,” read one document released ahead of a scheduled Friday meeting of the commission. “The prudential question is more difficult, and Commissioners are divided on whether Court expansion would be wise.”

Marine Pleads Guilty to Charges Over Criticizing Afghanistan Exit – Rebel Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller will plead guilty at his court-martial Thursday over the viral video he posted attacking the botched US pullout from Afghanistan, his attorney has said. “This case began with a call for accountability and Lt. Col. Scheller will demonstrate to senior leadership how to accept accountability for his own actions,” attorney Tim Parlatore told The Hill. In the video posted to Facebook, Scheller — who was wearing his uniform — tore into military leadership following the Aug. 26 ISIS-K suicide bombing at Kabul’s airport. The blast killed 13 US service members, including 11 Marines. “People are upset because their senior leaders let them down, and none of them are raising their hands and accepting accountability or saying, ‘We messed this up,’” he said in the searing monologue. After the clip went viral, Scheller was sent to a military prison and then hit with a slew of charges, including contempt toward officials, willfully disobeying a superior commissioned officer, failure to obey lawful general orders and conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman.-

Bill Clinton Admitted to Hospital – Former President Bill Clinton has been admitted to the University of California Irvine Medical Center for a non-Covid-related infection. He is “on the mend” and “in good spirits,” according to a statement from Clinton spokesman Angel Urena.

US Sees Record Number of Overdose Deaths – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recorded over 96,000 deaths from drug overdoses in a twelve-month period ending in March 2021, according to provisional data released Wednesday. It’s a nearly 30% jump over the preceding 12 months and coincides with one of the deadliest periods of the COVID-19 pandemic, when stay-at-home orders radically changed daily life for most Americans. In July, the CDC reported that drug overdoses had hit a high in 2020, in large part due to the increased prevalence of the synthetic opioid fentanyl. The reported number of overdoses in the 12-month period ending in March 2021 was 96,779. The predicted number of cases for the same period is 99,106 deaths.

FDA Approves First E-Cig – The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday for the first time authorized an electronic cigarette that the regulator says may help smokers cut back on traditional tobacco cigarettes. The authorization applies to Vuse’s Solo e-cigarette and its tobacco-flavored nicotine cartridges — which are manufactured by R.J. Reynolds. Data from the company showed that the authorized model of e-cigarette helped smokers lower their exposure to harmful chemicals in conventional cigarettes. “Today’s authorizations are an important step toward ensuring all new tobacco products undergo the FDA’s robust, scientific premarket evaluation,” said Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s tobacco center, in a statement. “The manufacturer’s data demonstrates its tobacco-flavored products could benefit addicted adult smokers who switch to these products – either completely or with a significant reduction in cigarette consumption,” said Zeller.

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