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Biden heads to his birthplace to push his economic agenda
President Joe Biden will travel to his birthplace of Scranton, Pennsylvania, on Wednesday, and deliver remarks "promoting his Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal and Build Back Better Agenda," according to his official schedule. The visit comes after Biden hosted nine members of the left-leaning caucus for over two hours Tuesday, and met separately with a group of moderate House members and senators, including holdouts Sens. Krysten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., as the White House pushes "urgency" to get Biden's economic agenda passed. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., chair of the House Progressive Caucus, said her members had a "really good, productive meeting" with Biden as he works to get separate wings of his party to agree to legislation for his climate and social safety-net agenda. Jayapal said Biden is sticking to a topline number between $1.9 trillion and $2.2 trillion, down from his original $3.5 trillion Build Back Better proposal, in a push to gain the support of moderate Democrats.
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FDA may approve mixing and matching booster shots, report says
The Food and Drug Administration may give its approval to administering booster shots that are different from recipients' original COVID-19 vaccine by Wednesday, the New York Times reported. The decision would fulfill the requests of state health officials, who have been seeking increased flexibility in giving the vaccines. Pfizer boosters were authorized for certain populations last month. The Moderna and J&J boosters are expected to be cleared by Wednesday evening, the Times said, and that may also be the timeline for the announcement on the differing boosters. Some studies have found benefits in combining different vaccine shots as part of the initial protocol, but there isn't a uniform consensus about the practice yet.
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Gunman in Parkland school massacre to plead guilty to murder
The gunman who killed 14 students and three staff members at a Parkland, Florida, high school is set to plead guilty to their murders, more than three years after the attack. Attorneys for Nikolas Cruz, 23, told a judge he will plead guilty to 17 counts of first-degree murder in the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The guilty plea would set up a penalty phase, decided by jury, where Cruz would seek life without parole and not the death penalty. In the aftermath of the shooting, Parkland student activists formed March for Our Lives, a group that rallied hundreds of thousands around the country for tighter gun laws.
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Ahead of scheduled worker walkout over Chappelle special, Netflix exec speaks out
The controversy surrounding Dave Chappelle's transphobic remarks in his latest stand-up special "The Closer" intensified late Tuesday, as Netflix's co-CEO Ted Sarandos admitted he "screwed up" his response to staff, but reiterated his support of the show. While Sarandos allowed that storytelling can negatively impact society, he said he didn't feel Chappelle's special needed a disclaimer. His comments arrived hours before Wednesday's reported planned virtual walkout by Netflix's trans employees. The protest stems from complaints about Chappelle's jokes about trans people and his re-alignment with those who believe a person's sex at birth is immutable. Employees have expressed concern that such rhetoric can lead to violence against marginalized communities. "I should have first and foremost acknowledged in those emails that a group of our employees were in pain, and they were really feeling hurt from a business decision that we made," Sarandos told The Hollywood Reporter.
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Autumn sky show: Orionids meteor shower reaches peak tonight
Stargazers who venture out Wednesday night through dawn Thursday will get an extra treat: the peak of the Orionids, usually the best meteor shower of the fall. The Orionids happens when the Earth passes through the debris of the famous Halley's Comet. (Meteors are remnants of comets that leave a glowing trail as they burn up in the atmosphere.) This year, the meteors have to compete with a full moon, so a lot of them won't be visible. Even so, experts say you should still be able to see meteors if you are patient. Some tips: Use a lounge chair or blanket, so you don't have to crane your neck; let your eyes adjust to the darkness; and plan to spend at least an hour outside.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Biden in Pennsylvania, COVID-19 boosters: 5 things to know Wednesday