BELatina’s Weekend Recap: An Order on Reproductive Rights, Uber, and More

BELatina Weekend Uber Latinx
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Happy start of the week, dear readers.

If there is one thing we recognize at BELatina, it is the change of temperature in the news when seasons like the midterm elections approach.

While we always insist on telling the best stories in our community, we also know how important it is to be informed. After all, knowledge is power.

So we kick off the week with the weekend’s top stories. From Biden’s order on reproductive rights to the Uber scandal, here are the top stories to start your day.

Biden signs order on abortion rights

Facing mounting pressure from Democrats looking for direction in the fight to protect abortion rights following the death of Roe v. Wade, President Joe Biden on Friday morning signed an executive order to mitigate potential penalties levied against women who seek abortion services.

Before signing the order, Biden spoke in concrete terms about what is required to codify Roe now that the Supreme Court has struck it down. “We need two additional pro-choice senators and a pro-choice House to codify Roe as federal law,” he said while flanked by Vice President Kamala Harris and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Your vote can make that a reality. I know it’s frustrating, and it made a lot of people very angry. But the truth is this: When you read the decision, the court has made clear that it will not protect the rights of women. Period. Period.”

Kamala Harris urges voters to elect a ‘pro-choice Congress’ in midterms

Vice-President Kamala Harris renewed pleas to voters ahead of the midterm congressional races to elect pro-choice candidates as the Biden administration continues to face criticism from progressives over a perceived lackluster response to the recent landmark supreme court decision striking down federal abortion rights in the US.

In an interview with CBS News on Sunday, Harris urged voters to elect a “pro-choice Congress” in November. She highlighted that down-ballot contests at the local level would also be central to restoring abortion rights in certain parts of the country.

“You don’t have to advocate or believe that this is right for you or your family, but don’t let the government make the decision for her family, whoever she may be,” Harris said in a pre-recorded interview. “It means state offices, governors, secretaries of state, attorneys general. It means local races, who’s going to be your DA, who’s going to be your sheriff, enforcing laws that are being passed to criminalize medical health providers, and maybe even the women who seek the service.”

Coronavirus cases on the rise in the U.S.

The latest omicron offshoot, BA.5, has quickly become dominant in the United States. Thanks to its elusiveness when encountering the human immune system, it is driving a wave of cases across the country.

The size of that wave is unclear because most people are testing at home or not testing at all. In the past week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported a little more than 100,000 new cases a day on average. But infectious-disease experts know that wildly underestimates the actual number, which may be as many as a million, said Eric Topol, a professor at Scripps Research who closely tracks pandemic trends.

Antibodies from vaccines and previous coronavirus infections offer limited protection against BA.5, leading Topol to call it “the worst version of the virus that we’ve seen.”

Yosemite wildfire doubles in size and threatens over 500 giant sequoias

A wildfire burning in the southern part of Yosemite National Park more than doubled in size over the weekend, the latest blaze to threaten the world’s largest trees as climate change increases the intensity of fires.

The Mariposa Grove, home to more than 500 mature giant sequoias and the largest of its kind in the park, closed Thursday after visitors reported spotting smoke from the Washburn Fire near a trail. As of Sunday evening, the fire had grown to just above three square miles.

“The fire is burning in difficult terrain with continuous heavy dead and down fuels in and around the fire,” Nancy Phillipe, a Yosemite fire information spokeswoman, said in a statement Sunday. “This also presents significant safety hazards to firefighters.”

Archaeologists in Oregon find coast timbers that may be from the shipwreck that inspired ‘The Goonies’

When archaeologists entered caves along the Oregon coast last month, they found no evidence of the booby-trapped pirate ship Inferno or its captain, One-Eyed Willie. But they did locate a dozen timbers they think came from the 17th-century sunken Spanish galleon that inspired Steven Spielberg’s 1985 film “The Goonies,” which featured the fictional pirate and his treasure-laden vessel.

“No booby traps, just the timbers,” said Scott Williams, president of the Maritime Archaeological Society. He and his team retrieved the timbers in mid-June in an archaeological expedition that wouldn’t have been out of place in “Indiana Jones” — another Spielberg creation.

“The caves are incredibly hard to get to,” he said. “They are located on a beach that is only accessible at high tide, and it’s a tough hike to get to it over landslides and boulder fields.”

Uber broke laws, misled police, and secretly lobbied governments

A leaked trove of confidential files has revealed the inside story of how the tech giant Uber flouted laws, misled police, exploited violence against drivers, and secretly lobbied governments during its aggressive global expansion.

The unprecedented leak to the Guardian of more than 124,000 documents – known as the Uber files – lays bare the ethically questionable practices that fuelled the company’s transformation into one of Silicon Valley’s most famous exports.

The leak spans a five-year period when Uber was run by its co-founder Travis Kalanick, who tried to force the cab-hailing service into cities around the world, even if that meant breaching laws and taxi regulations.