Biden's Beijing boycott

·5 min read

The U.S. is rebuking China over its human rights abuses. Hawaii faces potentially catastrophic flooding. And how did the omicron variant mutate? Scientists have an idea.

It's Ashley and Alex with the Monday news you'll want to know.

But first, this is Bob Dole’s final op-ed. He began drafting it, with pen and paper, in October and finished it on Nov. 23. He died on Sunday.

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US announces diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics over 'ongoing genocide'

The Biden administration said Monday that it will not send an official U.S. delegation to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, citing China's "ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang." The decision represents a major geopolitical snub and comes amid heightened tensions between Washington and Beijing. U.S. athletes will still compete. The U.S. traditionally sends a roster of high-profile dignitaries, often led by the sitting vice president or the first lady, to attend Olympic events – including the opening and closing ceremonies. Human rights groups had lobbied the White House to push for a full-scale U.S. boycott of the 2022 Games, but such a decision rests solely with the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee, which has declined to entertain the idea.

A child from the Uyghur community living in Turkey wears a mask during a protest against the visit of China's foreign minister to Turkey, in Istanbul on March 25, 2021.
A child from the Uyghur community living in Turkey wears a mask during a protest against the visit of China's foreign minister to Turkey, in Istanbul on March 25, 2021.

Tipster to qualify for $10,000 reward in arrest of parents of Oxford High School shooting suspect

The tipster who led police to James and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of the 15-year-old Michigan high school shooting suspect, at a Detroit warehouse Friday will qualify for at least $10,000 in reward money, the Detroit Free Press has learned. The U.S. Marshals Service issued "Wanted" posters late Friday offering a $10,000 reward for information "that would lead to the arrest of either Crumbley." Each had been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter earlier that day for their connection to the Oxford High School mass shooting on Nov. 30. Neither showed up Friday for their arraignment. The couple had been charged criminally as a result of alleged actions and inactions involving their son, who is charged in the shooting that left four students dead.

Community members leave candles, flowers and balloons at a memorial by the entrance of Oxford High School in Oxford on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021.
Community members leave candles, flowers and balloons at a memorial by the entrance of Oxford High School in Oxford on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021.

What everyone's talking about

Justice Department is suing Texas. Again.

The Justice Department took new aim at Texas on Monday, alleging that the state's new redistricting plans discriminate against Black and Latino voters. From 2010 to 2020, Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta said, Texas' population grew by 4 million people, with minorities accounting for 95% of the growth. Instead of bolstered minority voting strength based on that population growth, Gupta said, Black and Latino voters will see their influence largely diluted. The legal action is the second in two months targeting the state's electoral practices. Last month, the Justice Department sued to challenge a Texas state law that imposes restrictions on balloting by mail and aid provided to disabled voters in polling locations.

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The key to opening NYC? More vaccine mandates.

Private-sector workers in New York City face a sweeping vaccine mandate this month as part of an expansion of Mayor Bill de Blasio's "Key to NYC." Vaccinations are already required for hospital and nursing home workers, as well as for city employees such as teachers, police officers and firefighters. The mayor also announced a series of other new requirements, including an order that 5- to 11-year-old children get vaccinated to participate in extracurricular activities such as sports, band, orchestra and dance. The requirement for the initial vaccine dose takes effect Dec. 14. “No place in the nation has done more to end the COVID era," de Blasio said in a statement. Almost 6.5 million New Yorkers, including 89% of adults, have received at least one vaccine dose.

Real quick

Put down the pepperoni

Check your refrigerator (and freezers!) for fully cooked ham and pepperoni products from Alexander & Hornung. The Michigan-based company is voluntarily recalling 234,391 pounds of 17 processed meat products because of possible exposure to Listeria monocytogenes. The company, which is also a unit of Perdue Premium Meat Co., said the recall is being initiated out of "an abundance of caution." Consuming food contaminated with listeria bacteria, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, can cause serious or fatal infections in children, elderly people, those with compromised immune systems, pregnant women and newborns.

A break from the news

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Olympics boycott, DOJ lawsuit, vaccine mandate: It's Monday's news.