Category: Blog Briefing Room

US pauses avocado, mango inspections in Mexican state due to security concerns

The U.S. has paused safety inspections of avocadoes and mangos from the western Mexican state of Michoacan in the wake of security concerns for U.S. Department of Agriculture staff, an agency spokesperson told The Hill. The inspection program will stay paused until the security situation is reviewed and safeguards are in place for their personnel, the spokesperson added. Mexican exports are not blocked, the USDA…

New York City Audubon changes name over racist past

The New York City Audubon organization has officially changed its name to NYC Bird Alliance to distance itself from the history of John James Audubon, the 19th century naturalist who was also a slave owner and vocal opponent of abolition. “After a multi-year process to assess the Audubon name and then to choose a new one, on June 5, 2024 the organization’s members voted to…

Political figures pay respects to Michelle Obama’s late mother

Political leaders are sending their thoughts to the Obama family and honoring former first lady Michelle Obama after her mother, Marian Robinson, died on Friday. Robinson died at the age of 86, the family said in a statement. The family noted that Robinson, a lifelong Chicago resident, lived with them in the White House during former President Obama’s time in office, but the “trappings and…

Ivanka Trump breaks silence after guilty verdict

Ivanka Trump is speaking out publicly for the first time since her father, former President Trump, was found guilty of all 34 counts in his hush money criminal case. The 42-year-old daughter of the ex-commander in chief, who served as his senior adviser in the White House, posted an Instagram Story on Thursday. “I love you dad,” the message said, with a throwback photo of Trump’s eldest…

Golfer Scottie Scheffler’s criminal charges dropped by authorities

Authorities have dropped the criminal charges against golfer Scottie Scheffler, who was arrested earlier this month in Louisville during the PGA Championship. During a hearing Wednesday, Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell asked the judge to drop the charges, stating his team reviewed the case in a “thorough and expeditious manner,” the Associated Press reported. “Based upon the totality of the evidence, my office cannot move…

NCAA, Power Five approve antitrust settlement, paving way for college athlete revenue model 

The National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) and the country’s five biggest conferences have approved a nearly $2.8 billion antitrust settlement, paving the way for a new revenue-sharing model poised to boost compensation to student athletes. NCAA President Charlie Baker, in a joint statement with the commissioners of Atlantic Coast Conference, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and Southeastern Conference, confirmed Thursday they agreed to terms that…

New York-Dublin portal back online after ‘inappropriate’ behavior

A livestream portal between Dublin, Ireland, and New York City reopened on Monday after “inappropriate” behavior prompted the organizers to temporarily shut it down. The company behind the art technology installations, called simply “The Portal,” said individuals who now step on the exhibit and block the camera will trigger a blurring on the livestream for both sides to prevent future problems with behaviors. “The Portal…

Kansas City Chiefs kicker blasts Biden, pro-choice movement in commencement speech  

Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butler waged a series of attacks against President Biden’s leadership in a recent commencement speech, criticizing the president’s policies on abortion, gender ideology and the COVID-19 pandemic. In a commencement speech last Saturday at Benedictine College — a Catholic liberal arts college in Kansas — Butker claimed the negative parts of society in recent years can be blamed on “bad…

French government questions Noem’s account of a cancelled meeting with Macron: report

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s (R) controversial new book faced a new hurdle Friday after a French government official questioned her account of a canceled meeting with President Emmanuel Macron, NBC News reported. Noem claimed in her book “No Going Back” that she made a last-second cancelation to plans to meet Macron over one of his statements that she said was anti-Israel. “While in Paris,…

Alito warns of ‘declining’ support for free speech on college campuses

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito said there is “declining” support for free speech on college campuses as pro-Palestine protests take place at universities across the country. As part of a commencement address he gave at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, a Catholic Ohio college, Alito said support for the freedom of speech is “declining dangerously.” “Right now in the world outside this beautiful campus, troubled…

Brittney Griner recounts time in Russian prison in new interview, reveals she contemplated suicide

Brittney Griner, the WNBA star who was previously detained in Russia, recounted her experience in custody in a Thursday interview, revealing that she contemplated suicide while detained. Griner, who is set to release her memoir “Coming Home” next week, spoke with The New York Times about her 10 month stay in a Russian prison and what it’s been like since her release. “I will never…

When do college protests become criminal? Experts weigh in amid Columbia building takeover

Pro-Palestinian protesters have taken over a building at Columbia University, marking a significant escalation for nationwide demonstrations that experts say have pressed and sometimes strayed from what is legally permissible.   While protesting is a sacred right in the U.S., all the more cherished on college campuses, hundreds of students have been arrested in multiple states as administrators and elected officials try to enforce what they…

Malala Yousafzai confirms support for Palestine after backlash over musical with Hillary Clinton

Activist Malala Yousafzai confirmed her support for Palestine in a post online after receiving backlash over a report she collaborated with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on a musical. “I have and will continue to condemn the Israeli government for its violations of international law and war crimes, and I applaud efforts by those determined to hold them to account,” Yousafzai posted on social…

Ex-Melania Trump aide rips decision to ‘hawk some jewelry’

An ex-aide to Melania Trump is slamming the former first lady’s launch of a jewelry line just as her husband’s criminal trial is kicking off, calling it “not a very good look.” “I try not to laugh at the thought that she would be raising money for his defense,” Stephanie Grisham, who worked for the first lady and later as Trump White House press secretary,…

Pence to teach at Grove City College

Former Vice President Mike Pence has landed a teaching job at Grove City College, a Christian school in Pennsylvania. Pence delivered an address at the Institute for Faith and Freedom Conference at the college Thursday, where he spoke about the Israel-Hamas war and antisemitism. The college announced it was establishing a Center for Faith and Public Life, where Pence will “immediately begin serving” as a…

How to safely watch the solar eclipse

As excitement builds for the solar eclipse on Sunday, be sure you are prepared to safely view the rare celestial event.  Parts of several states will go dark Monday afternoon as the moon passes over the sun. States that are in the total eclipse path include Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, according to NASA, but several other states…

How Biden, Harris and Obama brackets are faring heading into Final Four

After weeks of basketball, the men’s and women’s Final Four brackets have taken shape and like many Americans, the White House brackets are mostly busted. President Biden, Vice President Harris and former President Obama each had big misses in their Final Four predictions. For the men’s tournament, No 1. UConn is slated to face No. 4 Alabama, while top-seeded Purdue plays underdog No. 11 NC…

Number of anti-Muslim complaints in 2023 hit record high: CAIR

Over 8,000 anti-Muslim complaints were recorded across the nation last year, marking the highest total in the 30 years the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has tracked the complaints. In its report, published Tuesday, CAIR said it received 8,061 complaints of anti-Muslim incidents, surpassing the previous record in 2021, when 6,720 incidents were reported. This number is up 56 percent from 2022, which had the…

Last USS Arizona survivor of Pearl Harbor attack dies

The last survivor of the USS Arizona battleship, sunk during the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, died Monday, his family announced. Lou Conter, who went on to be a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy after the attack, was 102 years old. Conter was just 20 when hundreds of Japanese aircraft assaulted Pearl Harbor, a sneak attack that sank the Arizona alongside three other battleships….

Bolton claims Trump ‘doesn’t have the brains’ to be a dictator

Former National Security Advisor John Bolton said in an interview that his former boss, former President Trump “doesn’t have the brains” to be a dictator, as questions arise about what a second Trump term would look like. Conservative French outlet Le Figaro asked Bolton if Trump had dictatorial tendencies in an interview published Thursday. “He hasn’t got the brains! He’s a property developer for God’s…

Judge rules Gaetz, Greene can sue after California cities cancel their rallies over their ‘political views’

A federal judge ruled that Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) can proceed with their lawsuit against two California cities that canceled their political events. U.S. District Judge Hernán Vera ruled Friday that the two lawmakers can move forward with their suit, which argues the California cities discriminated against them based on their political views. While they’re able to proceed, Vera argued…