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AP News | Equities.com |

The Biden administration announced Thursday the U.S. is expelling 10 Russian diplomats and imposing sanctions against several dozen people and companies, holding the Kremlin accountable for interference in last year’s presidential election and the hacking of federal agencies.

The sweeping measures are meant to punish Russia for actions that U.S. officials say cut to the core of American democracy and to deter future acts by imposing economic costs on Moscow, including by targeting its ability to borrow money. The sanctions are certain to exacerbate tensions with Russia, which promised a response, even as President Joe Biden said the administration could have taken even more punitive measures but chose not to in the interests of maintaining stability.


Kimberly Redmond | Equities.com |

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform approved legislation on Wednesday that seeks to make Washington, DC, a state, sending the measure to the House for a vote later this month.

The bill, titled HR 51, would turn the district of 66 square miles into a state called Washington, Douglass Commonwealth, named after abolitionist, author and longtime DC resident Frederick Douglass.


AP News | Equities.com |

The Biden administration’s surprise announcement of an unconditional troop withdrawal from Afghanistan by Sept. 11 appears to strip the Taliban and the Afghan government of considerable leverage and could ramp up pressure on them to reach a peace deal.

The Taliban and Afghan government can no longer hold the U.S. hostage — the Taliban with escalating violence and the Afghan president with dragging his feet on a power-sharing deal with the insurgents that doesn’t include him as president — because Washington made it clear that U.S. troops are leaving, no matter what.


Reuters | Equities.com |

The United States will announce sanctions on Russia as soon as Thursday for alleged election interference and malicious cyber activity, targeting several individuals and entities, people familiar the matter said.

The sanctions, in which 30 entities are expected to be blacklisted, will be tied with orders expelling about 10 Russian officials from the United States, one of the people said.


AP News | Equities.com |

Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine will remain in limbo for a while longer after government health advisers declared Wednesday that they need more evidence to decide if a handful of unusual blood clots were linked to the shot — and if so, how big the risk really is.

The reports are exceedingly rare — six cases out of more than 7 million U.S. inoculations with the one-dose vaccine. But the government recommended a pause in J&J vaccinations this week, not long after European regulators declared that such clots are a rare but possible risk with the AstraZeneca vaccine, a shot made in a similar way but not yet approved for use in the U.S.


AP News | Equities.com |

A white former police officer faced her first court appearance Thursday in the traffic-stop shooting of a Black motorist that has engulfed a small Minneapolis suburb with four straight days of bitter conflict between protesters and police.

Kim Potter, who quit her job on the Brooklyn Center force two days after Daunte Wright’s death, was charged Wednesday with second-degree manslaughter in what her chief said appeared to be a case of confusing her Taser with her handgun.


Reuters | Equities.com |

Bernard Madoff, who for decades masqueraded as a successful and trustworthy Wall Street kingpin before admitting to running the largest known Ponzi scheme in history, died on Wednesday in prison where he was serving a 150-year sentence. He was 82.

A spokeswoman for the Federal Bureau of Prisons said Madoff died at the Federal Medical Center in Butner, North Carolina, about 3:30 a.m. EDT.


Kimberly Redmond | Equities.com |

Hundreds of corporations, executives and celebrities have come out against voting restrictions that a number of states across the US are considering implementing.

Published Wednesday as a two-page advertisement in The New York Times and The Washington post, the statement’s signatories include corporations like Amazon.com Inc (Nasdaq: AMZN), Starbucks Corp (Nasdaq: SBUX) and Apple Inc (Nasdaq: AAPL) and individuals including actor Leonardo DiCaprio and actor-producer-playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda.


Kimberly Redmond | Equities.com |

The US Treasury Department announced Wednesday it is launching a new office to oversee federal COVID-19 relief and recovery programs, including the nearly $420 billion in aid approved through the American Rescue Plan.

The Office of Recovery, officials said, will consolidate programs covered under President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package and those enacted under last year’s CARES Act in an effort to improve efficiency and effectiveness.


Reuters | Equities.com |

Former U.S. Senator Chris Dodd and former Deputy Secretaries of State Richard Armitage and James Steinberg headed to Taiwan on Tuesday at President Joe Biden’s request, in what a White House official called a “personal signal” of the president’s commitment to the Chinese-claimed island and its democracy.

A senior Biden administration official told Reuters the dispatch of the “unofficial” delegation comes as the United States and Taiwan mark the 42nd anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act, for which Biden voted when he was a U.S. senator.