The Associated Press
WARSAW, Poland — Tova Friedman hid among corpses at Auschwitz amid the chaos of the extermination camp's final days.
Just 6 years old at the time, the Poland-born Friedman was instructed by her mother to lie absolutely still in a bed at a camp hospital, next to the body of a young woman who had just died. As German forces preparing to flee the scene of their genocide went from bed to bed shooting anyone still alive, Friedman barely breathed under a blanket and went unnoticed.
Days later, on Jan. 27, 1945, she was among the thousands of prisoners who survived to greet the Soviet troops who liberated the camp in Nazi-occupied Poland.
Now 82, Friedman had hoped to mark Wednesday's anniversary by taking her eight grandchildren to the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial site, which is under the custodianship of the Polish state. The coronavirus pandemic prevented the trip.
So instead, Friedman will be alone at home in Highland Park, New Jersey, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Yet a message of warning from her about the rise of hatred will be part of a virtual observance organized by the World Jewish Congress.
US boosting vaccine deliveries amid complaints of shortages
Answering growing frustration over vaccine shortages, President Joe Biden announced that the U.S. is ramping up deliveries to hard-pressed states over the next three weeks and expects to provide enough doses to vaccinate 300 million Americans by the end of the summer or early fall.
Biden, calling the push a "wartime effort," said Tuesday the administration was working to buy an additional 100 million doses of each of the two approved coronavirus vaccines. He acknowledged that states in recent weeks have been left guessing how much vaccine they will have from one week to the next.
Shortages have been so severe that some vaccination sites around the U.S. had to cancel tens of thousands of appointments with people seeking their first shot.
"This is unacceptable," Biden said. "Lives are at stake."
He promised a roughly 16% boost in deliveries to states over the next three weeks.
Biden says he's 'bringing back the pros' for virus briefings
WASHINGTON — For nearly a year it was the Trump show. Now President Joe Biden is calling up the nation's top scientists and public health experts to regularly brief the American public about the pandemic that has claimed more than 425,000 U.S. lives.
Beginning Wednesday, administration experts will host briefings three times a week on the state of the outbreak, efforts to control it and the race to deliver vaccines and therapeutics to end it.
Expect a sharp contrast from the last administration's briefings, when public health officials were repeatedly undermined by a president who shared his unproven ideas without hesitation.
"We're bringing back the pros to talk about COVID in an unvarnished way," Biden told reporters Tuesday. "Any questions you have, that's how we'll handle them because we're letting science speak again."
The new briefings, beginning just a week into Biden's tenure, are meant as an explicit rejection of his predecessor's approach to the coronavirus
Russian parliament OKs New START nuclear treaty extension
MOSCOW — The lower house of Russian parliament on Wednesday quickly approved the extension of the last remaining nuclear arms control pact days before it's due to expire.
The State Duma voted unanimously to extend the New START treaty for five years. The vote came a day after a phone call between U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin, in which they voiced satisfaction with the exchange of diplomatic notes about extending the New START treaty. They agreed to complete the necessary procedures in the next few days, according to the Kremlin.
The pact's extension doesn't require congressional approval in the U.S., but Russian lawmakers must ratify the move. Top members of the upper house, the Federation Council, said it was set to quickly follow suit and endorse the extension later Wednesday.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told lawmakers that the extension will be validated by exchanging diplomatic notes once all the procedures are completed.
New START expires on Feb. 5. After taking office last week, Biden proposed extending the treaty for five years, and the Kremlin quickly welcomed the offer.
DOJ rescinds 'zero tolerance' immigration rule
WASHINGTON — The Justice Department rescinded a Trump-era memo that established a "zero tolerance" enforcement policy for migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally, which resulted in thousands of family separations.
Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson issued the new memo to federal prosecutors across the nation on Tuesday, saying the department would return to its longstanding previous policy and instructing prosecutors to act on the merits of individual cases.
"Consistent with this longstanding principle of making individualized assessments in criminal cases, I am rescinding — effective immediately — the policy directive," Wilkinson wrote.
Wilkinson said the department's principles have "long emphasized that decisions about bringing criminal charges should involve not only a determination that a federal offense has been committed and that the admissible evidence will probably be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction, but should also take into account other individualized factors, including personal circumstances and criminal history, the seriousness of the offense, and the probable sentence or other consequences that would result from a conviction."
The "zero tolerance" policy meant that any adult caught crossing the border illegally would be prosecuted for illegal entry. Because children cannot be jailed with their family members, families were separated and children were taken into custody by Health and Human Services, which manages unaccompanied children at the border.