In our news wrap Wednesday, the White House announced plans to expand access to at-home rapid COVID-19 tests, and said it would double the number of pharmacies providing free testing. The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments over letting a Guantanamo detainee question former CIA contractors about torture. The U.S. Housing and Urban Development department moved to prevent public housing evictions.
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In the day's other news: The White House announced plans to expand access to rapid COVID-19 tests for use at home. The federal government is also doubling the number of pharmacies providing free testing.
The president's COVID coordinator, Jeff Zients, says demand for tests is growing, even as new infections are falling.
Jeffery Zients, White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator:
Today's billion-dollar investment to further expand production puts us on track to quadruple the amount of at-home rapid tests available for Americans by December.
So, that means we will have available a supply of 200 million at-home rapid tests per month, starting in December.
Also today, the Los Angeles City Council approved one of the country's strictest vaccine mandates. Starting next month, it requires proof of full vaccination for anyone entering indoor public spaces, including bars, gyms, restaurants, and sports arenas. Businesses argued that it will be unenforceable.
There's word that some of the oil spill off Southern California is starting to break up naturally. A weekend pipeline leak off Huntington Beach spewed up to 126,000 gallons of heavy crude. The Coast Guard says it's being dispersed and pushed down the coast.
Caps. Rebecca Ore, U.S. Coast Guard:
What we're seeing right now is the oil that's showing up on the shore, and putting in place those protective strategies as a precaution, ahead of oil continuing to move in a southerly direction, and the oil that's already moved south from the original location of the oil spill.
Officials suspect that a ship's anchor may have damaged the pipeline.
This year's Nobel Prize for chemistry recognizes an environmentally friendly way to build molecules for commercial use with less hazardous waste. Scottish-born David MacMillan based at Princeton University was honored, along with Benjamin List of Germany. Their discoveries are used in everything from medicines to pesticides.
The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments today over letting a Guantanamo detainee question his former CIA contractors about torture. Abu Zubaydah was held at a CIA site in Poland after 9/11. A U.S. Senate report found that he was water-boarded more than 80 times. So far, the Trump and Biden administrations have blocked his requests.
In the Philippines, the son and namesake of ex-dictator Ferdinand Marcos filed today to run for president next may, triggering protests. Demonstrators burned effigies of both Marcos and President Rodrigo Duterte, an ally. They accused the late President Marcos of human rights abuses and outright theft.
Cristina Palabay, Secretary-General, Karapatan Alliance:
The Marcoses remain scot-free from jail. They haven't returned all the money that they got from the nation's coffers, and now they are making a comeback in the highest position in the land.
President Duterte is not running again, but his daughter is.
Back in this country, the U.s. Housing and Urban Development Department moved today to prevent evictions from public housing. It follows the expiration of a nationwide moratorium on all evictions during the pandemic. The new rule calls for giving public housing tenants 30 days notice.
Meanwhile, the Education Department temporarily eased rules on forgiving student loan debt. It could benefit teachers, military members and other public employees who already made 10 years of payments. Under existing rules, the program helped just 5, 500 borrowers since 2007.
On Wall Street today, stocks recovered somewhat, as hopes rose for a debt ceiling deal in Washington. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 102 points to close at 34417. The Nasdaq climbed 68 points. The S&P 500 added 17.
And a bridge that became part of the classic Winnie the Pooh children's stories was put up for auction today. The so-called Poohsticks Bridge in Southern England was built in 1907, replaced in 1999, has since been fully restored. Sealed bids were submitted in advance.