5 things you need to know now
5 things you need to know now
  • Biden signs executive order that promotes increased voting access

  • 3rd former aide accuses Cuomo of inappropriate behavior

  • Trump announces plans to campaign against Murkowski ahead of mid-terms

  • Pope Francis travels to former ISIS strongholds on 3rd day of Iraq visit

  • HFPA promises to increase diversity after Golden Globes criticism

President Biden signed an executive order on Sunday that will direct all federal agencies to promote voter registration and reduce barriers for certain voting groups, including military and overseas voters, Native Americans, incarcerated citizens, and people with disabilities. The agencies will be prompted to use their websites and social media platforms to share registration information, and the order will also seek to modernize the federal government's official voter registration site, Vote.gov. Biden announced the order virtually during the Martin and Coretta King Unity Breakfast, which marked the 56th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday march in Selma, Alabama. Biden's push to increase voting access comes just days after the House passed HR1, a sweeping voting reform bill that would require states to implement mail-in voting and same-day voter registration, among other things. Republicans have fiercely resisted its passage.

Source: The Hill, CNN

Ana Liss became the third former aide to accuse New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo of inappropriate workplace behavior. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Liss said that during her tenure as a policy and operations aide in the Cuomo administration between 2013 and 2015, the governor asked her about her dating life, called her sweetheart, touched her lower back at a reception, and once kissed her hand when she rose from her desk. Two other former aides, Charlotte Bennett and Lindsey Boylan, have accused Cuomo of sexual harassment, and New York Attorney General Letitia James is overseeing an investigation into the matter. Liss did not appear to directly allege sexual harassment, but she did describe Cuomo's behavior toward her as inappropriate and patronizing. She said her experience working for Cuomo prompted her to begin mental health counseling.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Former President Donald Trump announced Saturday that he is planning to travel to Alaska and campaign against Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), a frequent Trump critic and one of the 17 congressional Republicans to vote to impeach him earlier this year, ahead of the 2022 mid-term elections. In a statement to Politico on Saturday, Trump said he will not be endorsing "the failed candidate from the great state of Alaska, Lisa Murkowski" and will actively campaign against her. "She represents her state badly and her country even worse," Trump said. Murkowski is the only GOP senator who voted to impeach Trump who is up for re-election next year, but even if the former president does launch an offensive against her, she'll likely be difficult to beat. She's held her seat since 2002, and Alaska's new ranked-choice primary system means she won't have to secure the Republican nomination.

Source: Axios, Politico

Pope Francis on Sunday visited parts of northern Iraq that were once held by the Islamic State, including Mosul. "How cruel it is that this country, the cradle of civilization, should have been afflicted by so barbarous a blow, with ancient places of worship destroyed and many thousands of people — Muslims, Christians, Yazidis — who were cruelly annihilated by terrorism," Francis said in Mosul while surrounded by four hollowed-out churches nearly destroyed in the war to oust ISIS. "Today, however, we reaffirm our conviction that fraternity is more durable than fratricide, that hope is more powerful than hatred, that peace more powerful than war." Francis will conclude his day by presiding over a large Mass in Irbil in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region. Francis traveled to Iraq for a multi-day visit to show support for the country's dwindling Christian minority and urge interreligious tolerance.

Source: The Associated Press, BBC

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association issued a statement Saturday night announcing a commitment to "transformational change" in the next 60 days following criticism of the organization's lack of diversity in the wake of the 78th Golden Globe Awards. The HFPA said it plans to add Black and other underrepresented professionals to the group, hire an independent law firm to establish a process for reporting and investigating ethical violations, create a transparent voting process, and support Black and underrepresented students who are pursuing careers in international journalism. The Los Angeles Times recently revealed that the HFPA, which awards the Golden Globes, had no Black members, which led to more speculation about the exclusion of Black-led films such as Da 5 Bloods or Ma Rainey's Black Bottom from the Globes' best picture categories this year.

Source: NBC News, USA Today