Nation and world news at a glance
Pentagon helping troops pay bills, but less than Congress wants
Pentagon officials announced Thursday that U.S. military personnel who face a rising cost of living will be getting financial help soon, but the initiative falls short of what many lawmakers have sought. The changes were laid out in a Thursday memo from Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III to military leaders, in which the secretary outlined enhanced compensation to offset the rising cost of food, housing, child care and family relocations. Included in the new Pentagon initiative is paying a so-called basic needs allowance to ensure lower-income troops make no less than 130% of the poverty-level income in their region.
Judge temporarily suspends Indiana abortion ban
An Indiana judge temporarily halted the state’s ban on most abortions Thursday, a week after the law took effect. The decision came as part of a lawsuit brought by abortion providers challenging the ban, which prohibits most abortions from conception. Indiana was the first state to pass new restrictions on abortion after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to the procedure in June. The decision means that abortions up to 20 weeks after fertilization, or 22 weeks after a woman’s last menstrual cycle, can resume in the state. Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita, a Republican, said his office planned to appeal the ruling.
Officials express optimism that monkeypox can be eliminated in the US
With monkeypox cases on the decline nationally, federal health officials expressed optimism Thursday that the virus could be eliminated in the United States, although they cautioned that unless it was wiped out globally, Americans would remain at risk. “Our goal is to eradicate; that’s what we’re working toward,” Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, the deputy coordinator of the White House monkeypox response team, said during a visit to a monkeypox vaccination clinic in Washington. He added, “The prediction is, we’re going to get very close.” Daskalakis did not give a timeline for ending the outbreak in the United States.
Alex Jones testifies in trial over his Sandy Hook hoax lies
Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones took the stand Thursday at his trial in Connecticut to try to limit the damages he must pay for calling the Sandy Hook school shooting a hoax. Jones acknowledged he had promoted lie that the 2012 shooting was a hoax, but angrily refused to keep apologizing for that. The trial in Waterbury is to decide damages for an FBI agent who responded to the school and the families of eight children and adults who died who sued Jones for defamation. Victims’ relatives have given emotional testimony during the trial’s first six days about being traumatized by people who say the shooting was fake.
Boeing pays $200M to settle SEC charges over 737 Max
Boeing will pay $200 million to settle charges that it misled investors about the safety of its 737 Max jets after two of the planes crashed, killing 346 people. The Securities and Exchange Commission announced the settlement Thursday. The SEC charged Boeing and former CEO Dennis Muilenburg with making significant misleading public statements. Neither Boeing nor its former CEO admitted wrongdoing, but they are agreeing to orders that include penalties of $200 million for Boeing and $1 million for Muilenburg. The SEC says Boeing and the former CEO both knew that an automated flight system on the plane posed a safety issue, but they promised the public that the plane was safe.
Biden: US won’t walk away from storm-struck Puerto Rico
President Joe Biden says the full force of the federal government is ready to help Puerto Rico recover from the devastation of Hurricane Fiona. Speaking in New York Thursday, he said hundreds of FEMA and other federal officials are already on the ground with more help coming. He said his message to the people of Puerto Rico is: “We’re with you. We’re not going to walk away.” Meanwhile, Bermuda and Canada’s Atlantic provinces are preparing for a major blast from the Category 4 storm. It’s expected to pass overnight near Bermuda, where officials are opening shelters.
By wire sources