United States

San Francisco and Golden Gate Bridge at sunset

San Francisco votes unanimously to become a sanctuary city for trans & nonbinary people

San Francisco, California has become the largest city in the United States to declare itself a sanctuary city for transgender, gender nonconforming, nonbinary, and Two Spirit people to safely receive gender-affirming healthcare. The city’s Board of Supervisors has voted unanimously to bar city officials from assisting any out-of-state investigations into individuals who obtain, provide, or help others access gender-affirming care.

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Credit cards in front of laptop

United States to ban medical debt from credit reports

In a sweeping change that could improve millions of Americans’ ability to own a home or buy a car, the Biden administration proposed a rule to ban medical debt from credit reports. The rule, announced by Vice President Kamala Harris and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Rohit Chopra, comes as President Joe Biden beefs up his efforts to persuade Americans his administration is lowering costs, a chief concern for voters in the upcoming election.

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Montpelier, Vermont

Vermont becomes first U.S. state to require oil companies to pay for climate change damages

Vermont has enacted a law requiring fossil fuel companies to pay a share of the damage caused by climate change after the state suffered catastrophic summer flooding and damage from other extreme weather. The funds could be used for upgrading stormwater drainage systems; upgrading roads, bridges and railroads; relocating, elevating or retrofitting sewage treatment plants; and making energy-efficient weatherization upgrades to public and private buildings.

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IRS tax filings

U.S.’s Internal Revenue Service to make its free tax filing program permanent

A pilot version of the online program, known as Direct File, launched earlier this year. It provides step-by-step guidance to taxpayers filing their federal tax returns.

A pilot version of the online program, known as Direct File, launched earlier this year. It provides free step-by-step guidance to taxpayers filing their federal tax returns. Last year, more than 140,000 people across 12 states successfully filed their federal tax returns using Direct File, exceeding the agency’s expectations. Next year, the IRS plans to allow some taxpayers in all states and Washington, DC, to use the program.

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Cryo sauna for whole body cryotherapy

Cryo-cooling breakthrough slashes the energy cost of serious cold by 71%

Cryogenic cooling is used to preserve tissues, eggs, sperm, and embryos and CAT scanners, CERN’s massive particle accelerators, and the James Webb Space Telescope possible. It may also one day be the key to making fusion power or quantum computers a reality. However, it is also quite energy-intensive. Fortunately, researchers at the U.S.’s National Institute of Standards & Technology have recently discovered a way to reach near-absolute zero up to 3.5 times faster or using about 71% less energy.

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Minneapolis skyline at sunset

Minnesota bans the LGBTQ+ panic defense

Minnesota passed H.F. 5216, a bill that bans the infamous LGBTQ+ panic defense, the LA Blade reports. The LGBTQ+ panic defense is when a defendant argues that they “panicked” when they learned that their victim was LGBTQ+ as an excuse for anti-LGBTQ+ violence. Signed by Gov. Tim Walz (D) after making its way through the state’s House of Representatives and Senate. It will go into effect on August 1, 2024.

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A neuron or nerve cell is an electrically excitable cell

Breakthrough synapse-regenerating ALS pill moves to phase 2 human trials

Spinogenix, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company based in California, has developed SPG302, a unique once-a-day pill that regenerates the gaps, called synapses, between neurons to restore communication in ALS patients. Following promising results from clinical trials to evaluate the drug’s safety, the FDA has approved the company’s Investigational New Drug application, paving the way for further trials and a possible watershed moment in the treatment of the fatal disease.

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HIV virus

HIV transmissions in the U.S. dropped 12% between 2018 and 2002

According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) HIV Surveillance Supplemental Report, the largest decrease in HIV infections from 2018 to 2022 was among men ages 13 to 24, where HIV infections decreased by 30%. In another recent report, the CDC found that over 80% of people diagnosed with HIV had access to care within one month of diagnosis. Furthermore, 65% had achieved viral suppression in 2022.

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Person holding graduation cap up to sun

Biden administration cancels $7.7 billion in student debt for 160,500 Americans

The White House has approved $7.7 billion of student debt cancellation for 160,500 borrowers, part of its ongoing effort to provide relief after the Supreme Court last year blocked President Joe Biden’s plan for broad-based college loan forgiveness. With the latest round of forgiveness, the administration has erased a total of $167 billion in student loans for 4.75 million people, or about 1 in 10 student loan borrowers.

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Packages of diapers

Tennessee to become the first U.S. state to provide some children’s diapers

According to the National Diaper Bank Network, 92% of families receiving diapers in Tennessee are working and still unable to afford an adequate supply of diapers. However, it was just announced that the state’s Medicaid program will officially start covering 100 diapers a month for newborns, infants, and one-year-olds in August 2024, becoming the first U.S. state to do so.

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