Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Monday dismissed a myth spread by conservative media that President Joe Biden intends to stop Americans from eating burgers and steaks as part of his plans to combat climate change. “There is no effort designed to limit people’s intake of beef coming out of President Biden’s White House or USDA,” Vilsack said during a virtual briefing hosted by the North American Agricultural Journalists. “Sometimes in the political world, games get played and issues are injected into the conversation knowing full well that there’s no factual basis.”
Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison has resisted pressure to set more ambitious carbon emission targets while other major nations vowed deeper reductions to tackle climate change. Addressing a global climate summit, Mr Morrison said Australia was on a path to net zero emissions. But he stopped short of setting a timeline, saying the country would get there "as soon as possible". It came as the US, Canada and Japan set new commitments for steeper cuts.
Peru's former president, Martín Vizcarra, has tested positive for coronavirus six months after he said he had been vaccinated against Covid-19.Mr Vizcarra confirmed the positive test just days after he was banned from public office for allegedly jumping the queue to receive the vaccine. He is one of dozens of public officials embroiled in the "vaccinegate" scandal. Mr Vizcarra said he was a volunteer in a trial, but the university hosting it said he asked to be vaccinated. Only 2.5% of Peruvians have received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine so far and the country is going through a second wave, registering record numbers of cases and deaths in recent weeks.
California water officials have moved to stop Nestlé from siphoning millions of gallons of water out of California’s San Bernardino forest, which it bottles and sells as Arrowhead brand water, as drought conditions worsen across the state. The draft cease-and-desist order, which still requires approval from the California Water Resources Control Board, is the latest development in a protracted battle between the bottled water company and local environmentalists, who for years have accused Nestlé of draining water supplies at the expense of local communities and ecosystems.
Joe Biden plans to raise an extra $80bn from high-earners and large corporations as part of the administration’s “American Families Plan” set to be unveiled this week. Separately, the White House announced overnight that Biden will issue an executive order requiring federal contractors to pay a $15 minimum wage to workers on federal contracts. Enhanced tax enforcement by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), coupled with new disclosure rules, could raise $700bn over the next decade from wealthy people and privately-owned businesses, according to unidentified administration officials speaking to the New York Times.
On primetime on Monday night the Fox News host Tucker Carlson claimed requiring children to wear masks outdoors was “child abuse”. Carlson also said “the only people who wear masks outside are zealots and neurotics” and said seeing a vaccinated person wear a mask outdoors was like “watching a grown man expose himself in public”. “Your response when you see children wearing masks as they play should be no different from your response to seeing someone beat a kid in Walmart,” he said.
President Joe Biden on Saturday recognized the Armenian genocide, fulfilling a campaign promise and taking a step that his recent predecessors have avoided while in office. Biden’s designation, which coincided with Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, signals the president’s desire to prioritize human rights despite potential fallout in the U.S. relationship with Turkey. It comes 106 years after the beginning of the mass deportation of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire, which led to the deaths of up to 1.5 million people.
The U.S. is pledging immediate medical aid to India to help combat its surge in coronavirus cases. White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke by phone Sunday with his Indian counterpart, Ajit Doval, and expressed sympathy and support. According to the White House statement, the U.S. is “working around the clock” to immediately deploy to India drug treatments, rapid diagnostic Covid-19 testing kits, ventilators and personal protective equipment and will seek to provide oxygen supplies as well.
Rep. Karen Bass on Sunday criticized the effort to recall Gavin Newsom, California’s Democratic governor, questioning whether Republicans in the state would vote for a transgender candidate given that their party has advanced anti-trans legislation in various state legislatures. Newsom is fighting a recall this year from Republicans and other opponents of his public health restrictions. Former Olympic gold medalist and reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner, a Republican, announced a run to replace him earlier this month.
Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer has joined a flood of social media users gleefully trolling Larry Kudlow after the former economic adviser to Donald Trump complained that Joe Biden wanted Americans to drink “plant-based beer”. Kudlow made the indignant claim on his Fox Business show on Friday, saying Biden’s climate policies and attempt to slash emissions would force Americans to “stop eating meat, stop eating poultry and fish, seafood, eggs, dairy and animal-based fats”. Beer is typically made from grains, hops and yeast – not steak, sausages or chops.