WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden on Wednesday unveiled his new HIV/AIDS strategy to end the more than 40-year-old epidemic, calling for a renewed focus on vulnerable Americans – including gay and bisexual Black and Latino men, who his administration says are too often stigmatized even as they are disproportionately affected.
The new strategy, which declares racism a “public health threat,” was released on the annual commemoration of World AIDS Day.Biden acknowledged that the country still needs to work to destigmatize HIV/AIDS and noted that LGBT and racial minority groups have “endured the brunt” of the epidemic that's killed more than 36 million worldwide, including 700,000 Americans. New HIV infections in the U.S. fell about 8% from 2015 to 2019.
Facebook whistleblower urges action
Ex-Facebook employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen implored lawmakers Wednesday to avert the usual congressional stalemates as they weigh proposals to curb abuses on social media platforms by limiting the companies' free-speech protections against legal liability.
Still, Haugen urged caution in changing the 1996 law that provides legal protection for content the platforms carry and for companies removing postings they deem offensive. She cited unintended consequences from a previous revision.
Book: Trump COVID-positive at debate
Donald Trump tested positive for COVID-19 three days before his first presidential debate in September 2020 with Joe Biden and days earlier than previously disclosed, according to a new book by Trump's former chief of staff.
In “The Chief's Chief,” obtained by The Guardian before its Dec. 7 release, Mark Meadows writes that the then-president received a negative test shortly after the positive and resumed usual activities, including attending the debate against Biden. Trump on Wednesday denied Meadows' claim.
Panel pursues contempt on ex-official
The House panel investigating the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection voted Wednesday to pursue contempt charges against Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official who refused to answer the committee's questions.
The committee voted 9-0 to pursue criminal charges against Clark, who aligned with Donald Trump as the then-president tried to overturn his election defeat.
Putin demands halt to NATO expansion
President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that Moscow would seek guarantees precluding further NATO expansion and deployment of weapons near his country's borders, a demand that comes amid fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, noting that Putin could quickly order an invasion, warned that Washington stands ready to inflict heavy sanctions on Russia if he does.