Biden's first full day in the White House: Expect more directives
After being sworn as the nation's 46th president, Joe Biden will return to work Thursday, his first full day at the White House. Biden wasted little time after his inauguration Wednesday in working to undo President Donald Trump's policies that were anathema to Democrats during his four years in office. Biden signed 15 executive orders and two other directives, including an order requiring face masks and social distancing on federal property, followed by an order recommitting the United States to the Paris Agreement, which focuses on goals to help mitigate climate change. Several executive actions related to the COVID-19 crisis and reopening schools and businesses could arrive Thursday, according to Biden's chief of staff, Ron Klain.
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Dr. Anthony Fauci tells WHO that US will join global coronavirus vaccine program
President Joe Biden has directed the U.S. government to rejoin the World Health Organization (WHO), which Donald Trump began to withdraw from last year after accusing it of incompetence and bowing to Chinese pressure over the coronavirus. Symbolizing Biden's commitment to a more prominent global role, Dr. Anthony Fauci told WHO's executive board that Biden will issue a directive Thursday that shows the United States’ intent to join the COVAX Facility, a project to deploy COVID-19 vaccines to people in need around the world – whether in rich or poor countries. Fauci, Biden’s top medical adviser on the pandemic, also said the U.S. will cease reducing American staff counts at WHO and will pay its financial obligations to it. Fauci also said Thursday that the United States would support the “ACT Accelerator” – an umbrella effort including COVAX that focuses on distributing diagnostic tools and therapeutics for the coronavirus to countries around the world.
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House to vote on rule to fine members not following security protocols
A new rule that would fine members who do not follow new security protocols, including walking through a metal detector, will be up for a House vote on Thursday. The rule, proposed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the wake of the deadly U.S. Capitol riot, would impose fines of $5,000 for a first time offense and $10,000 for a second, as some House Republicans openly defied the metal detectors placed outside the House chamber in the days that followed the riot. Among the House Republicans who balked at the new requirement is Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado. Boebert has bragged about her desire to carry her firearms around Washington, D.C., and on Capitol Hill.
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Preliminary hearing set for woman who allegedly stole Pelosi's laptop
Riley June Williams, the 22-year-old Pennsylvania woman the FBI is investigating for allegedly stealing a laptop from Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office at the U.S. Capitol to sell to Russia, is being held in county jail in Harrisburg. Magistrate Judge Martin Carlson said he will consider bail for Williams and plans to conduct a preliminary hearing Thursday. Williams already has been charged with trespassing as well as violent entry of the Capitol and disorderly conduct Jan. 6, both misdemeanors, but federal authorities are preparing two new felony charges of stealing government property and aiding and abetting, Assistant U.S. Attorney Christian T. Haugsby told Carlson. Haugsby argued Williams should not be released on bail pending trial, saying she might flee or try to obstruct justice.
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National Hugging Day: 6 alternatives amid the pandemic
Thursday is National Hugging Day, but in a pandemic?! With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urging social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19, many are missing those heartwarming embraces – so much so that some have tried making homemade "hugging stations" just to give their friends and family a squeeze with a protective barrier. It's clear that many of us are craving those stress-reducing squeezes. So we've rounded up some safe, feel-good hug alternatives you can do on your own, including "mental hugs" or using a weighted blanket. We understand it may not be the same, but it is better than nothing!
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Contributing: The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: President Joe Biden, Anthony Fauci at WHO: 5 things to know Thursday