Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: April 25, 2021

Biden officially recognizes mass killings of Armenians as genocide, U.S. promises to send aid to India amid COVID-19 surge, and more


Biden officially recognizes mass killings of Armenians as genocide

President Biden on Saturday became the first president in 40 years to call the mass killings of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire in 1915 a genocide. While addressing Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, Biden said "the American people honor all those Armenians who perished in the genocide that began 106 years ago today." The statement fulfills a campaign promise Biden made to Armenian-Americans. Former President Ronald Reagan was the last commander-in-chief to formally refer to the killings as a genocide before backtracking because of pressure from Turkey, the successor state to the Ottoman Empire, Bloomberg notes. Biden warned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of his plan beforehand, but the decision is still expected to drive a wedge between Washington and Ankara, a strategic, but complicated U.S. ally. In response, Turkey's Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal summoned U.S. Ambassador David Satterfield on Saturday night to express Turkey's condemnation of the statement.


U.S. promises to send aid to India amid COVID-19 surge

India set a global record for COVID-19 infections in a 24-hour period for the fourth consecutive day on Sunday, as well as another national high in daily deaths. With hospitals overwhelmed and oxygen supplies running low, the United States has promised to aid India's health-care workers. "We are working closely with our partners in the Indian government, and we will rapidly deploy additional support to the people of India and India's health-care heroes," Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted Saturday night. India's rival and neighbor Pakistan has also offered to send essential medical supplies, including ventilators, oxygen supply kits, digital X-ray machines, and personal protective equipment across the border.


Democrat Troy Carter wins Louisiana special election

Louisiana State Sen. Troy Carter defeated fellow Democrat and state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson (no relation) in a special election in the state's 2nd congressional district to fill the U.S. House seat vacated by former Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), who's now a senior adviser to President Biden. Carter had Richmond's backing, as well as the support of top leaders of the Congressional Black Caucus, Politico notes. He also sought Republican votes during his campaign because the Black-majority district is safely Democratic, leaving GOP voters without a candidate of their own in the runoff. Peterson, who The New York Times notes is "rooted" in the Democratic Party's establishment wing but embraced the support of progressives throughout the race, attempted to link Carter to former President Donald Trump because of his Republican outreach. In the end, Carter picked up 56 percent of the vote.


Poll: Biden earns 52 percent approval as he nears 100th day

Overall, 52 percent of American adults approve of the job President Biden is doing as he nears his 100th day in office, a Washington Post-ABC News poll released on Sunday found. The numbers are split heavily by party, with 90 percent of Democrats offering their support, compared to just 13 percent of Republicans. Biden's marks were stronger when it comes to his handling of the coronavirus pandemic — 64 percent of Americans gave him positive marks on that issue, including 33 percent of Republicans. On the other hand, Americans don't seem pleased with how he's dealt with situation at the U.S.-Mexico border. His immigration policy has netted 53 percent disapproval. Biden's rating on the economy, meanwhile, was right in line with the general figures, at 52 percent.


At least 82 killed in Iraqi hospital fire

At least 82 people were killed and 110 injured after a fire broke out Sunday in the intensive care unit of the Ibn al-Katib Hospital in Baghdad, Iraq. The ICU was reserved to treat patients suffering from the most severe cases of COVID-19. There's no official word on what caused the fire, but Al Jazeera cites doctors at the scene who believe the source was an accident that caused an oxygen tank to explode. The fire reportedly then spread quickly beyond the ICU because the "hospital had no fire protection and false ceilings allowed the flames to spread to highly flammable products." Iraq's Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi has called for an immediate investigation into the fire, while the government's human rights commission said the incident was "a crime against patients exhausted by COVID-19" and urged al-Kadhimi to fire Hassan al-Tamini, the country's health minister.


Virginia authorities release body camera footage, 911 audio of police shooting of unarmed Black man

Body camera footage and 911 audio of Wednesday's police shooting of Isaiah Brown, a 32-year-old unarmed Black man, was released by Virginia authorities late Friday after Brown's family had reviewed both at the invitation of the Spotsylvania County Sheriff's Office. Brown survive the shooting, which involved more than six rounds, and is reportedly being treated at a local hospital with serious, but non-life-threatening injuries. The deputy who shot Brown had just given him a ride home early Wednesday. After Brown arrived he dialed 911 during an argument with his brother. While on the line with the dispatcher, he reportedly asked his brother for a gun (his brother refused) and told the dispatcher he was about to kill his brother. The deputy then returned and, upon witnessing Brown walking outside, reportedly "mistook a cordless house phone for a gun." The deputy reportedly warned Brown "to drop the gun" multiple times before shooting.


Wreckage of missing Indonesian submarine found on ocean floor

Indonesia's military announced Sunday that a missing navy submarine carrying 53 crew members has been found cracked apart on the seafloor off the coast of Bali. There were no survivors. The submarine lost contact earlier this week while conducting a torpedo drill, but the Navy held out hope that it would resurface until Saturday after debris from the vessel was discovered floating in the Bali Sea, confirming fears that it had sunk. An underwater robot equipped with cameras reportedly found the submarine at a depth of 2,750 feet, far deeper than the German-built KRI Nanggala 402's collapse depth — the point at which the hull could no longer withstand the water pressure — of 655 feet.


Several states resume administering Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine

After a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention panel voted Friday to recommend lifting a pause on Johnson & Johnson's one-shot COVID-19 vaccine, several states, including Indiana, New York, Virginia, Missouri, and Michigan, resumed administering doses on Saturday. The federal government identified 15 cases of an unusual, but serious blood clot out of nearly 8 million people who had received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The patients were all women, mostly under 50, and three died, while seven remain hospitalized. Ultimately, though, the CDC panel and federal health officials determined that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the small clot risk, which could be specified in a warning label.


Elon Musk to host Saturday Night Live on May 8

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, will host Saturday Night Live on May 8, the sketch comedy show's Twitter account revealed Saturday. Miley Cyrus will be the musical guest. Musk appeared to confirm the news in his own tweet. The announcement was made not long after the completion of a another successful voyage by SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule, which was carrying four astronauts to the International Space Station. SNL does not typically have business executives host the show, but Musk, as NPR notes, is not a run-of-the-mill CEO. A controversial figure in the eyes of many, Musk has a "unique" public persona and is very active on social media, The Verge writes. Reactions to the decision were mixed, with some critics calling it a "misstep." Musk has made multiple cameos in movies and television shows.


Nomadland expected to win big at the Oscars

The 93rd Academy Awards will take place on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC, and pundits are widely predicting Chloé Zhao's Nomadland will win Best Picture. Zhao is also expected to become the first woman of color to ever win Best Director, and the show could potentially make history with people of color winning all four acting awards. Chadwick Boseman, Daniel Kaluuya and Youn Yuh-jung are favored to win for their performances, though the Best Actress race appears to be a dead heat between Viola Davis, Frances McDormand, Carey Mulligan, and Andra Day. The ceremony will be based out of Los Angeles' Union Station with limited attendance due to the pandemic, though there will also be additional hubs where nominees can remotely participate in the show. Attendees reportedly won't be required to wear masks when on camera.


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Emmanuel Macron.
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Emmanuel Macron.
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