The world’s problems are seizing the spotlight as the U.N. General Assembly’s yearly meeting of world leaders opens. It began Tuesday with dire assessments of a planet beset by escalating crises and conflicts that an aging international order seems increasingly ill-equipped to tackle. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says the world is “gridlocked in colossal global dysfunction.” He and others pointed to conflicts ranging from Russia’s six-month-old war in Ukraine to the decades-long dispute between Israel and the Palestinians. Speakers worried about a changing climate, spiking fuel prices, food shortages, economic inequality, migration, disinformation, discrimination, hate speech, public health and more.
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The National Transportation Safety Board is recommending that all new vehicles in the U.S. be equipped with blood alcohol monitoring systems that can stop an intoxicated person from driving. The recommendation, if enacted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, could reduce the number of alcohol-related crashes, one of the biggest causes of highway deaths in the U.S. The new push to make roads safer was included in a report released Tuesday about a horrific crash last year in which a drunk driver’s SUV collided head-on with a pickup truck near Fresno, California, killing both adult drivers and seven children.
Big-name celebrities are coming back to the White House after boycotting America's most famous address under Donald Trump. Rocker Elton John is bringing his farewell tour to the South Lawn on Friday at the invitation of President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden. Singer James Taylor strummed his guitar and sang at the White House last week to open an event celebrating a new health care and climate change law. Younger pop stars like singer Olivia Rodrigo and South Korean boy band BTS have visited. And Biden has resumed the tradition of hosting a White House reception for the artists receiving honors from the Kennedy Center.
A Minnesota appeals court panel has sided with the state health department, which fined bars that violated emergency safety orders during the coronavirus pandemic. The three judges, in a ruling issued Monday, affirmed the health department’s authority to suspend the bars’ license and levy fines. The operators of two of the many bars that violated the governor's mask mandate appealed health officials' actions against them. The health department had issued a $10,000 fine and a 30-day license suspension against Norm’s Wayside in Buffalo. For the Mission Tavern in Merrifield, the health department let an administrative law judge decide the penalty, which was a 20-day license suspension and a $5,000 fine.
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol is stressing the need for wealthy nations to share their advanced technologies and innovations with developing countries. Speaking at the U.N. General Assembly in New York, Yoon said his country will “spare no effort in providing support and in investing in education.” He also noted that South Korea has helped accelerate research and development for COVID-19 therapeutics and vaccines by pledging $300 million toward a global initiative. That effort pools together resources from governments, health organizations, scientists, businesses and philanthropists to counteract the pandemic. While Yoon acknowledged the threat to humanity posed by nuclear weapons, he made no direct mention of North Korea.
New York City will lift its private-sector COVID-19 vaccine mandate on Nov. 1 but will continue to require city employees to be vaccinated against the virus. Mayor Eric Adams announced the relaxation of vaccine rules for private employers Tuesday. The city began requiring almost all private businesses to ban unvaccinated employees from the workplace in December 2021. The end of the mandate is another sign of the city’s gradual return to pre-pandemic norms after being devastated by the virus in 2020. Vaccination will still be required for municipal workers, including police officers, firefighters and teachers.
A nighttime bus crash that killed 27 people in southwest China this week has set off a storm of anger online over the harshness of the country’s strict COVID-19 policies. The passengers on the bus were traveling to a quarantine location outside their city of Guiyang. Following public anger, Guiyang fired three officials in charge of Yunyan district, where the residents had been picked up. Users online questioned how a driver could see properly when his face was covered up and why he was driving so late at night. Others accused the government of moving people so that the city would no longer report any new cases. Many comments were censored on Weibo, a popular social media platform.
U.S. authorities say the number of Venezuelans taken into custody at the U.S. border with Mexico soared in August. At the same time, migrants from Mexico and some Central American countries were stopped less frequently. Venezuelans surpassed Guatemalans and Hondurans to become the second-largest nationality after Mexicans. U.S. authorities stopped Venezuelans 25,349 times in August, up 43% from July and four times what was recorded in August 2021. Overall, U.S. authorities stopped migrants 203,598 times in August, up 1.8% from July. Authorities stopped all migrants more than 2 million times for the first time during a fiscal year.
After the pomp and pageantry of a grand state funeral, Queen Elizabeth II has been laid to rest with her husband and parents in an intimate ceremony at Windsor away from media cameras. King Charles III and senior royal family members attended the private interment ceremony late Monday at St. George’s Chapel. It's a gothic church on the grounds of Windsor Castle that has had royal weddings, christenings and burials since the 15th century. Officials said the queen was interred with Prince Philip’s remains at the King George VI memorial chapel, an annex within St. George’s. Elizabeth II’s parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, were also interred there, along with the ashes of Princess Margaret, the late monarch’s younger sister.
With COVID-related school disruptions setting back children around the world, activists implored world leaders Monday to prioritize school systems and restore educational budgets slashed when the pandemic hit. The summit on transforming education called on the world’s nations to ensure that children everywhere from sub-Saharan Africa to the United States don’t fall too far behind. The percentage of 10-year-old children in poor and middle-income countries who cannot read a simple story increased to an estimated 70% –- up 13 percentage points -- since before the pandemic shuttered classrooms. That's according to a report from the World Bank, UNESCO and UNICEF.