NEED TO KNOW: Anoosha Murtaza brings you the most important national and international stories for May 26, 2021.
1. Eight civilians and the gunman were killed in a California shooting on Wednesday morning. A worker for Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) opened fire at a light rail yard in San Jose. Several others were wounded by the lone gunman at a country rail yard, who was pronounced dead by the county Sheriff shortly after.
President Biden and VP Harris have been briefed, and without elaborating further, Harris noted she has family that lives in San Jose.
“I have the solemn duty of yet again of ordering the flag to be lowered at half-staff, just weeks after doing so following the mass shootings at spas in and around Atlanta; in a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado; at home in Rock Hill, South Carolina; and at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, Indiana,” said Biden. “Enough,” he added, urging Congress to take immediate action to end the epidemic of gun violence in America. “Every life that is taken by a bullet pierces the soul of our nation. We can, and we must, do more,” said the President.
2. 10 states have announced they have reached Biden’s COVID vaccination goal of 70% of adults fully vaccinated, including Pennsylvania, Hawaii, Maine, and others. According to CDC records, about 49.7% of the adult population in the U.S. are fully vaccinated. This is a massive milestone for the U.S., which faced almost 600,000 deaths from this disease. 289,212,304 total doses of the vaccine have been administered in the US, and more will be rolling out in the coming weeks as children aged 12-15 are now eligible to receive the COVID vaccine. As vaccinations rise, private companies are lifting their mask mandates, and public spaces are becoming less strict with their safety regulations. Many companies, universities, and schools are announcing in-person activity to resume as the country is returning back to normal.
3. The mother of the deceased Jan. 6 insurrection police officer, Brian Sicknick, is urging political leaders to pass the Jan. 6 bill. She had requested meetings with GOP senators who oppose passing the bipartisan bill, which acquires for a deeper investigation into Trump’s involvement and planning into the attack on the Capitol. She fired back at their retaliation with the quote, “I suggest that all Congressmen and Senators who are against this Bill visit my son’s grave in Arlington National Cemetery and, while there, think about what their hurtful decisions will do to those officers who will be there for them going forward.” Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats are also eager to pass this bill and are waiting for GOP support. POTUS promised the bill would be passed as soon as possible, but the Republican leaders are not happy with it as of yet.
4. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing heavy betrayal from his former chief advisor, Dominic Cummings, who called out his lack of actions towards preventing COVID deaths in the nation in a parliamentary testimony. He said, “When the government needed us the most, he failed.” In a seven-hour testimony, Cummings described the incompetence and lack of compassion and organization in the British government during the global pandemic. In the end, when asked if Prime Minister Johnson was the right person to lead the country during the Coronavirus crisis, Mr. Cummings replied a simple, “No.” This has put the Prime Minister in a lot of backlash following his poor actions and response to the crisis, which puts his political career and compassion on edge.