Nation & World News – At a glance for Thursday, March 30, 2023
FDA Approves Narcan for Over-the-Counter Sales
Narcan, a prescription nasal spray that reverses opioid overdoses, can now be sold over the counter, the Food and Drug Administration said on Wednesday, authorizing a move long-sought by public health officials and treatment experts. By late summer, over-the-counter Narcan is expected to be for sale in big-box chains, supermarkets, convenience stores, gas stations and online retailers. The commissioner of the FDA, Dr. Robert M. Califf, said in a statement that the over-the-counter authorization was meant to address a “dire public health need.”
Overriding a Veto, Kentucky GOP Passes Anti-Trans Law
The Republican-dominated Kentucky legislature voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to override the governor’s veto of a bill that will create a host of new regulations and restrictions on transgender youth, including banning access to what doctors call gender-affirming health care. The bill, described by LGBTQ rights groups as among the most extreme in the nation, was vetoed Friday by Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, but it was overridden in both the state House and Senate, where Republicans hold supermajorities. The law bans surgeries, puberty blockers and hormone therapy for children younger than 18.
Shooting Prompts a Shrug from GOP in Washington
The mass shooting at a Christian elementary school in Nashville, Tennessee, this week has generated a broad shrugging of the shoulders in Washington. But while President Joe Biden’s stark admission Tuesday that he could do no more on his own to tackle the issue was a statement of fact that aimed to put the burden on Congress to send him legislation, Republicans’ expressions of helplessness reflected an unwillingness to act. “We’re not going to fix it,” Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., told reporters on the steps of the Capitol just hours after the shooting.
Lake Mead Remains Belong to Man Who Drowned in 1970s
Skeletal remains found at Lake Mead last fall have been identified as those of Donald P. Smith, a North Las Vegas man who drowned nearly 50 years ago, Nevada officials said. Smith’s death was ruled accidental from drowning, authorities said. He was identified through DNA analysis and reports from April 1974, when he drowned. Several sets of human remains were pulled from the parched Lake Mead, about 30 miles east of Las Vegas last year, discoveries driven by a two-decade drought made worse by climate change.
DNA on a Burrito Leads to Arrest in Firebombing Case
A Wisconsin man was identified from DNA pulled from a partially eaten burrito and arrested in the firebombing of an anti-abortion lobbying group’s office last year, prosecutors said. The man, Hridindu Sankar Roychowdhury, 29, of Madison, Wisconsin, was arrested at Logan International Airport in Boston on Tuesday, charged with one felony count of attempting to cause damage by means of fire or an explosive. The investigation stemmed from a fire that was reported on May 8, 2022, at an office building in Madison. The blaze had been started by a Molotov cocktail.
National Democrats Pressure Hochul on Climate Bill
Several influential members of New York’s congressional delegation are pressuring Gov. Kathy Hochul to embrace a climate bill that would compel the state to build wind and solar energy projects when private industry falls short of state environmental goals. The effort — an unusual show of force by Washington into Albany’s affairs — was made public Wednesday in a letter sent to the governor that “strongly” encouraged Hochul, a Democrat, to fall in line with the state’s left-leaning Legislature and support the bill, known as the Build Public Renewables Act.
Pope Francis Is in Hospital and Will Stay for Several Days
Pope Francis will be hospitalized for several days for treatment of a respiratory infection, the Vatican said Wednesday, raising concerns over the health of the pontiff, who is 86 and has a recent history of medical challenges. After his morning audience, Francis — who as a young man survived severe pneumonia and had part of a lung removed — was taken in an ambulance to the Gemelli hospital and underwent a chest CT scan and other tests, Italian news agency ANSA reported. His entourage expressed “relief” at the results of the medical checks, the news agency said, including his blood’s oxygen saturation, which was apparently fine.
U.S.-Israel Tensions Over Judicial Overhaul Burst Into Open
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel responded defiantly Wednesday to sharp criticism from President Joe Biden over his government’s contentious judicial overhaul plan, declaring that Israel was “a sovereign country” that would make its own decisions. As weeks of quiet diplomatic pressure burst into a rare open dispute between the allies, Netanyahu’s opponents in Israel accused him of endangering the long-standing and critical relationship with the United States in a way that could harm the country’s ability to face daunting security challenges, including Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Netanyahu’s remarks came after Biden told reporters that he was “very concerned” about the events in Israel.
Taiwan’s Leader Heads to U.S., Bracing for China’s Retaliation
As President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan heads to the United States, she is laying out a diplomatic agenda calibrated to strengthen ties with the West and assert her island’s autonomy, while trying to avoid moves that might ignite a crisis with China. Tsai is stopping in the United States before continuing on to Central America, a trip aimed at raising Taiwan’s profile internationally amid intensifying pressure from Beijing, which claims the self-governing island as its territory and has sought to isolate it globally. Her travels could draw a vehement response from China. China’s leader, Xi Jinping, sees U.S. support for Taiwan as meddling in a domestic issue.
Soldiers Massing Near Ukrainian Nuclear Plant, U.N. Official Warns
Russia and Ukraine are ramping up their military forces in southern Ukraine amid signs that the fighting may soon escalate, a United Nations official said Wednesday after crossing a front line held by the Ukrainian military to inspect a nuclear power plant seized by Moscow. Just hours before Rafael Mariano Grossi, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, spoke, a new round of explosions shook Melitopol, a Russian-occupied city in the same region as the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. Some Ukrainian officials have said the city is a likely target in a counteroffensive mounted by Kyiv to reclaim land lost to Moscow.
Can Nations Be Sued for Weak Climate Action? We’ll Soon Get an Answer.
A tiny Pacific island nation has pulled off the kind of diplomatic win that can elude global superpowers. On Wednesday, Vanuatu, population 300,000, rallied a majority of countries to ask the world’s highest court to weigh in on a high-stakes question: Can countries be sued under international law for failing to slow down climate change? The measure passed the U.N. General Assembly by consensus. In essence, the world’s nations are asking the International Court of Justice, based in The Hague, to issue an opinion on whether governments have “legal obligations” to protect people from climate hazards and, more crucially, whether failure to meet those obligations could bring “legal consequences.”
By wire sources