Biden pulls plug on much wall funding
WASHINGTON — Under a Biden administration plan announced Friday, former President Donald Trump’s signature border wall project would lose much of its funding as well as the fast-track status that enabled it to bypass environmental regulations.
President Joe Biden suspended construction of the wall upon taking office while his administration reviewed the project. That angered Republicans in Congress who are eager to see it go forward amid an increase in apprehensions of migrants along the border.
The new plan does not cancel the wall project outright, but it’s still likely to face opposition in Congress, where many Republicans are eager to promote a project closely associated with Trump.
Iran pays up at U.N., is able to vote again
UNITED NATIONS — Iran regained its voting rights in the U.N. General Assembly on Friday after making the minimum payment on its U.N. dues and lashed out at the United States for maintaining sanctions that have prevented it from accessing billions of dollars in foreign banks.
U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq announced that Iran had paid the minimum amount — $16,251,298 — and was able to vote in Friday’s election for five new members of the U.N. Security Council. He thanked banking and government authorities in various places, including South Korea, for enabling the payment to be made.
Iran lost its voting rights in January and Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a letter circulated June 2 that Tehran had still not paid the minimum and would continue being unable to vote, along with Central African Republic.
Judge turns down 2 on S.C.’s death row
COLUMBIA, S.C. — A federal judge denied two South Carolina death row inmates’ request for an injunction, which would have delayed their upcoming executions.
In his order issued Friday, U.S. District Judge Robert Bryan Harwell said the inmates failed to prove that their claims that the electric chair violates the Eighth Amendment — which protects against cruel and unusual punishment — are likely to succeed in court, and therefore, he could not give them an injunction.
“Legal precedent and the weight of legal authority are against them,” Harwell wrote. “The United States Supreme Court has never held that a State’s chosen method of execution qualifies as cruel and unusual.”
Nev. seeking to hold lead primary contest
LAS VEGAS — Gov. Steve Sisolak on Friday signed a law that would make Nevada the first state to vote in the 2024 presidential primary contests, bumping Iowa and New Hampshire from their leadoff spots.
Signing the law is a gamble. It’s likely to set off maneuvering by other states, especially Iowa and New Hampshire, to move up their contests. The national political parties would need to agree to changes in the calendar, or state parties could risk losing their nominating delegates.
The Democratic National Committee has not yet signaled whether it would support the calendar shakeup and isn’t expected to start writing rules for its nominating process until next year.
— From wire reports