Help is on the way for Americans facing eviction
Many Americans who were facing the threat of eviction will now receive a measure of relief, after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a new eviction moratorium Tuesday. The new action, which is expected to last 60 days, will ban evictions in counties with high rates of COVID-19 transmission, reflecting where the CDC recommends vaccinated resident masks indoors and in public settings. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky signed the order Tuesday evening after President Joe Biden confirmed the move earlier in the day. Biden said his hope is the new targeted action would in some way cover close to 90% of Americans who are renters. He also noted that pending litigation will “probably give some additional time” for rental assistance funds to flow.
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Chaos continues: Spirit Airlines’ flight woes enter fourth day
Spirit Airlines passengers face another day of cancellations Wednesday, extending the airline’s travel chaos into its fourth day. The Florida-based airline, famous for its yellow planes, cheap tickets and a pile of fees, has already canceled 304 Wednesday flights as of 6 a.m. ET, according to flight tracker FlightAware. That’s 45% of its scheduled flights. Spirit has been scrubbing flights since Sunday, stranding passengers around the country due to summer storms, technology outages and staffing shortages. The airline canceled a whopping 61% of its Tuesday flights, FlightAware reported. The airline and airports it serves have been warning travelers to check their email for flight changes and to check flight status before they go to the airport. Travelers whose flights are canceled are due a refund, per Department of Transportation rules. Spirit said the best way to get a refund is to use its new online chat.
Cheerleader Jerry Harris appears in court
A federal court hearing is scheduled Wednesday for celebrity cheerleader Jerry Harris, who is accused of soliciting sex and explicit photos from minors. Harris, 22, has pleaded not guilty to federal charges, including receiving and attempting to receive child pornography and four counts of using, persuading, inducing, and enticing a minor “to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct, and … transmitting a live visual depiction of such conduct,” federal court records state. The initial criminal investigation was based on allegations brought by twin brothers, then 14. In interviews with USA TODAY, the boys described a pattern of harassment, both online and at cheer competitions, that started when they were 13 and Harris was 19. They said it continued for more than a year. Harris, who rose to fame when he was featured in Netflix’s “Cheer” docuseries, was arrested last September and remains behind bars.
Strong winds could worsen ‘biggest ever’ wildfire on Hawaii’s Big Island
The strong winds and dry conditions on Hawaii’s Big Island are expected to persist, with minimal improvement, the National Weather Service said. The dangerous conditions come as the area manages the largest wildfire ever recorded on the island, which forced thousands to flee over the weekend. Officials also warned the powerful winds — forecast at 18 mph to 20 mph, and gusts were up to 40 mph — could exasperate the massive fire. Looking ahead, officials said evacuation orders that were lifted previously could be reinstated and that people should be ready to go again. “With the drought conditions that we’ve had, it is of concern,” Big Island Mayor Mitch Roth said when talking about the blaze. “You see something like this where you’re putting thousands of homes in danger, it’s very concerning.”
Barack Obama celebrates his 60th birthday
Former President Barack Obama is turning 60 Wednesday and he’s marking the milestone with a big celebration. The Obamas are hosting an outdoor party on the Massachusetts island of Martha’s Vineyard to celebrate the day with friends, family and former staff members, a person familiar with the situation told USA TODAY. Concerns about the safety of Obama’s birthday gathering circulated on social media earlier this week, following the CDC’s recommendation that people in COVID-19 hot spots resume mask-wearing in indoor public spaces. Obama’s event will be held outdoors, and all invitees will be required to follow CDC public health protocols, including a testing regimen. Some users on social media still criticized Obama for organizing an event during a pandemic.