White House offers new tax credit to help spur vaccinations
The White House is trying to overcome diminishing demand for Covid-19 shots by offering businesses a tax incentive to give employees paid leave to get vaccinated. The move comes as the United States is set to meet President Joe Biden's goal of administering 200 million coronavirus doses in his first 100 days in office.
US sees major differences with Iran in nuclear talks
Mena|Americas|: Paris: Serious differences persist between the United States and Iran over how they might resume compliance with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal despite making some progress in their latest indirect talks in Vienna, a senior US official said on Wednesday. The talks were likely to require multiple rounds, their outcome remained uncertain and they were not near conclusion, the senior US State Department official told reporters in a conference call. The main differences are over what sanctions the United States will need to remove and what steps Iran will need to take to resume its obligations to curb its nuclear program, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “There still are disagreements and, in some cases, pretty important ones,” he said. “We are not near the conclusion of these negotiations. The outcome is still uncertain. We have made some progress. The talks have been business like and productive, with still many differences that would need to be overcome.” Earlier, the European parties to the Iran nuclear deal said they had seen progress in the first two rounds of indirect US-Iran negotiations but there were still major hurdles to overcome. Iran and world powers — Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia — have been meeting in Vienna to hammer out steps that would be needed if the agreement, which was abandoned by former US President Donald Trump in 2018, is to be revived. The talks will pick up again next week. A US delegation is in a separate location in Vienna, enabling the powers to shuttle between both sides because Iran has rejected direct talks for now. The central issues are which US sanctions imposed by Trump since withdrawing would need to be removed and what steps Iran would have to take to rein it its subsequent breaches of the pact’s curbs on its uranium enrichment capacity. The Wall Street Journal cited two people familiar with the matter as saying Washington was open to easing terrorism sanctions against Irans central bank, its national oil and tanker companies and key economic sectors including steel and aluminium. Analysts have said it is inevitable that the United States would have to ease some of its terrorism-related sanctions if there is to be a revival of the deal because without this, Iran would be unable to resume exporting oil. The newspaper cited one senior European official as saying that Washington has also signalled potential sanctions relief for sectors including textiles, autos, shipping and insurance, but cited multiple people familiar with the matter as saying US officials had not offered a detailed proposal.
Nancy Pelosi floats new proposal for bipartisan January 6 commission
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is renewing her push for a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, floating a new proposal to Republicans that would evenly split the panel's membership between the two parties.
FDA inspection found problems at factory making Johnson & Johnson vaccine
The Baltimore factory contracted to make Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine was dirty, didn't follow proper manufacturing procedures and had poorly trained staff, resulting in contamination of material that was going to be put in the shots, US regulators said Wednesday.
US launches probe of Minneapolis police after Derek Chauvin conviction
US Attorney General Merrick Garland on Wednesday launched a sweeping investigation into policing practices in Minneapolis following a jury's verdict that former city police officer Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd. The probe "will assess whether the Minneapolis Police Department engages in a pattern or practice of using excessive force, including during protests," Garland told a news conference.
Hitting latest vaccine milestone, Joe Biden pushes shots for all
The US is set to meet President Joe Biden's latest vaccine goal of administering 200 million Covid-19 shots in his first 100 days in office, as the White House steps up its efforts to inoculate the rest of the public. With more than 50% of adults at least partially vaccinated, Biden on Wednesday will reflect on his efforts to expand vaccine distribution and access in his first three months in the White House.