1 Wind, Heat Wave Make Wildfires Rage Out West
Fires continue to rage across California as conditions get worse by the hour. The record-breaking triple-digit heatwave has created a "dire situation" according to Thom Porter, chief of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. More than two dozen large wildfires are scorching everything in its path across the state and helicopters are being utilized to rescue dozens of people from the Sierra National Forest and other areas. As part of the effort, the state's largest utility cutting power to 172,000 customers to try to prevent more blazes. More shocking statsabout the wildfires: over 14,000 firefighters are battling more than two dozen fires around California. Plus, two of the three largest blazes in state history are burning in the San Francisco Bay Area. California isn't alone: Hurricane-force winds and high temperatures kicked up wildfires across parts of the Pacific Northwest over the holiday weekend, burning hundreds of thousands of acres and mostly destroying the small town of Malden in eastern Washington. While California has been the hardest-hit state, more than 4.7 million acres have been burned nationwide so far this year.
2 HHS Sec On Covid Vax: “We Will Not Compromise On People's Safety”
For all the talk about a possible Covid vaccine this year, there are as many people saying it’s a stunt, as there are those saying it’s possible. But no matter what, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says safety and efficacy of any vaccine won't be compromised. In an appearance with Fox News, Azar says that many officials, including he and President Trump, are committed to meeting the high standards set by the FDA. And it’s with that in mind that he says millions of doses will be available by the time 2020 is over. That said, it’s worth noting that AstraZeneca is putting a hold on its Covid vaccine clinical trials. The company has announced the pause after finding a "potentially unexplained illness" in one of their trials. The pause is a routine move and will see an independent review of the safety data. AstraZeneca is currently in Phase 3 of its trials in the U.S
3 Congress Investigating Several Soldiers' Deaths At Fort Hood
Congress will launch an investigation into sexual assault, disappearances, deaths and the leadership's response at Fort Hood in Texas after 28 soldiers died there this year. The announcement was made by two subcommittee leaders yesterday. Democratic Reps. Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts and Jackie Speier of California sent a letter to Army Secretary Ryan D. McCarthy requesting documents and information on the deaths. Lynch chairs the Committee on Oversight and Reform's Subcommittee on National Security, and Speier leads the Committee on Armed Services' Subcommittee on Military Personnel. The letter said that according to Army data, there was an average of 129 felonies committed annually at Fort Hood between 2014 and 2019, including cases of homicide, sexual assault, kidnapping, robbery, and aggravated assault.