House to vote on bill to help veterans exposed to burn pits : NPR


On this April 28, 2011, photograph, an Afghan nationwide military pickup truck passes parked U.S. armored army automobiles as smoke rises from a hearth in a trash burn pit at Ahead Working Base Caferetta Nawzad, Helmand province south of Kabul, Afghanistan.

Simon Klingert/AP


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Simon Klingert/AP


On this April 28, 2011, photograph, an Afghan nationwide military pickup truck passes parked U.S. armored army automobiles as smoke rises from a hearth in a trash burn pit at Ahead Working Base Caferetta Nawzad, Helmand province south of Kabul, Afghanistan.

Simon Klingert/AP

WASHINGTON — The Home is poised to move laws that might dramatically increase well being care providers and incapacity advantages for veterans uncovered to burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The invoice set for a vote on Thursday has the backing of the nation’s main veterans teams and underscores the continued value of struggle years after the preventing has stopped. If handed into regulation, it might improve spending by greater than $300 billion over the subsequent decade, in response to the Congressional Price range Workplace.

“If we’re not keen to pay the worth of struggle, we should not go,” mentioned Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

The invoice would open up Division of Veterans Affairs well being care to thousands and thousands of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans uncovered to poisonous substances throughout their service even when they do not have a service-connected incapacity.

The invoice additionally would supply new or elevated incapacity advantages to 1000’s of veterans who’ve change into ailing with most cancers or respiratory circumstances comparable to bronchitis or persistent obstructive pulmonary illness, or COPD. The VA would presume that veterans developed their sickness because of publicity to poisonous substances throughout their service.

The invoice’s supporters say it’s a clear recognition from Congress that veterans had been uncovered to poisonous substances, they’re struggling in consequence, and the method of proving to the VA that their sickness was attributable to their publicity is just too burdensome.

Opponents of the laws say it might grant well being and incapacity advantages to many veterans whose circumstances could not have something to do with their army service. They expressed fear that the inflow of instances would tax an already burdened VA system, resulting in longer wait occasions for well being care and processing incapacity claims.

The political dynamics surrounding the vote was evident on the Home flooring Wednesday as scores of Democrats, some from aggressive swing districts, spoke in favor of the invoice.

“This invoice addresses the true value of struggle and opposing it might be a vote towards our service members and veterans,” mentioned Rep. Mark Takano of California, the Democratic chairman of the Home Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

Republicans typically left it to Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Iowa to do all of the speaking Wednesday in opposition to the invoice. Miller-Meeks is a U.S. Military veteran and mentioned she hears from fellow veterans often in Iowa who wait months, and even years, for the advantages they earned, and that downside will solely develop if the invoice turns into regulation. She additionally famous that the projected value of the invoice is greater than the budgets of 9 Cupboard-level departments mixed.

“We aren’t doing proper by our veterans by being fiscally irresponsible of their title,” Miller-Meeks mentioned.

The army routinely used burn pits to eliminate waste throughout operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. A 2020 research from the Nationwide Academies of Science, Engineering and Drugs discovered that current well being research offered inadequate proof to find out whether or not publicity to burn pit emissions are linked to antagonistic respiratory circumstances comparable to bronchial asthma, persistent bronchitis and lung most cancers. The authors of the research mentioned the uncertainty does not imply there is no such thing as a affiliation — solely that there was inadequate information to attract definitive conclusions.

President Joe Biden is amongst those that has voiced suspicion that his son’s loss of life from mind most cancers was linked to burn pits that had been in use whereas Maj. Beau Biden served in Iraq.

“They usually come dwelling, lots of the world’s fittest and finest skilled warriors, by no means the identical — complications, numbness, dizziness, a most cancers that might put them in a flag-draped coffin,” he mentioned throughout Tuesday’s State of the Union tackle.

Biden mentioned it is unknown whether or not a burn pit induced his son’s mind most cancers, or the illnesses of so many others who served, “however I am dedicated to discovering out all the things we will.”

The White Home has endorsed the Home invoice, which matches past Iraq and Afghanistan. It additionally provides hypertension to the record of sicknesses that Vietnam veterans are presumed to have developed due to publicity to Agent Orange. The CBO estimates that about 600,000 of the 1.6 million veterans who served in Vietnam and who already obtain incapacity compensation even have hypertension, or hypertension. They’d be eligible for elevated compensation, which might depend on the severity of the sickness.

Biden referred to as on the VA final 12 months to look at the influence of burn pits and different airborne hazards. He has backed increasing the variety of circumstances that the VA would presume had been attributable to poisonous publicity from burn pits.

In November, the White Home introduced that troopers uncovered to burn pits who developed any of three particular illnesses — bronchial asthma, rhinitis and sinusitis — inside 10 years can obtain incapacity advantages. The Home invoice significantly builds on that effort with 21 extra presumptive circumstances, and presumably extra to return in ensuing years.

The invoice additionally gives for retroactive advantages to veterans whose incapacity claims have been denied, and to survivors of deceased veterans.

The sums are substantial. For instance, Vietnam veterans eligible for retroactive funds resulting from hypertension from publicity to Agent Orange would obtain retroactive funds averaging about $13,500, whereas survivors would obtain about $100,000, the CBO mentioned in a December report.

In the meantime, some 268,000 veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan whose claims have been denied would obtain retroactive funds averaging about $50,000. And a few 5,500 survivors would obtain about $160,000, on common, CBO mentioned.

It’s unclear how the Home invoice will fare in an evenly divided Senate the place laws typically wants 60 votes to advance.

The Senate has unanimously handed a a lot narrower invoice extending how lengthy fight veterans are assured VA care. However Home Democrats mentioned the Senate laws is only a fraction of what’s wanted.

U.N. set to vote on condemning Russia : NPR


U.N. Secretary Common Antonio Guterres speaks throughout an emergency session of the U.N. Common Meeting on Monday in New York.

John Minchillo/AP


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John Minchillo/AP


U.N. Secretary Common Antonio Guterres speaks throughout an emergency session of the U.N. Common Meeting on Monday in New York.

John Minchillo/AP

The United Nations Common Meeting will vote on Wednesday on a non-binding decision that condemns Russia for the violence in Ukraine and calls for a right away withdrawal. By the tip of Tuesday, 94 U.N. member nations had cosponsored the decision, signaling what is for certain to be a lopsided vote towards Russia, which is a member of the physique’s Safety Council.

The vote comes amid a number of efforts to wall off Russia diplomatically, a surge within the variety of refugees fleeing Ukraine, an preliminary estimate that the humanitarian effort throughout the nation will value greater than $1 billion, and an emergency, typically heated, debate on the Common Meeting. Not one of the diplomatic actions appeared to sluggish Russia’s assaults Wednesday morning, as new studies mentioned Russian air strikes had hit a regional police headquarters in Kharkiv, injuring three individuals.

German Overseas Minister Annalena Baerbock, singling out Russian Overseas Minister Sergey Lavrov in her speech to the Common Meeting on Tuesday, mentioned the conflict was based mostly on lies.

“Mr. Lavrov, you possibly can deceive your self, however you will not deceive us. And you will not deceive our individuals and you will not deceive your personal individuals,” she mentioned.

Russian diplomats, together with Vassily Nebenzia, the nation’s ambassador to the U.N., have known as the assaults towards Ukraine a “particular navy operation” supposed to defend two separatist areas.

“Russia is looking for to finish this conflict,” Nebenzia mentioned earlier this week.

The decision “calls for that the Russian Federation instantly, fully, and unconditionally withdraw all of its navy forces from the territory of Ukraine inside its internationally acknowledged borders.” It additionally expresses “grave concern at studies of assaults on civilian amenities equivalent to residences, colleges, and hospitals, and of civilian casualties, together with ladies, older individuals, individuals with disabilities, and kids.”

Final week, Russia vetoed an identical decision on the 15-member Safety Council. It was largely remoted: No different nation opposed it, and China, India and the United Arab Emirates abstained. Eleven nations, together with the USA, supported it.

“No state ought to be capable to get away with what Russia bought away with with out dealing with diplomatic isolation,” Samuel Charap, a political scientist on the Rand Company mentioned. “The query is, does it alter the course of the conflict, actually? And there, it does not appear doubtless.”

The United Arab Emirates assumed the rotating chair of the Safety Council on Tuesday, and Lana Nussiebeh, the UAE’s everlasting consultant to the U.N., turned president of the Safety Council on Monday. She mentioned Monday that the UAE’s abstention from the Safety Council’s decision wouldn’t have an effect on the way it chairs the panel.

“We should go away house for a diplomatic offramp,” she mentioned. “These nations that did abstain have these channels with President Putin and can use them to assist.”

She didn’t say whether or not the UAE would abstain from Wednesday’s Common Meeting vote. The United Arab Emirates didn’t cosponsor the decision. A vote is scheduled at 10 a.m. ET.

Individually, the United Nations mentioned on Tuesday it estimates the preliminary humanitarian and refugee wants will value $1.7 billion. U.N. Secretary Common Antonio Guterres mentioned humanitarian companies want $1.1 billion {dollars} to fund emergency reduction inside Ukraine for the following three months. He additionally requested one other $551 million to assist pay for companies for Ukrainians fleeing the nation, particularly in Poland, Hungary, Romania and Moldova.

The cash, he mentioned, would assist individuals entry well being provides, protected ingesting water, shelter and safety.

“The simplest humanitarian reduction is to silence the weapons,” he mentioned.

An estimated 650,000 individuals have fled Ukraine and entered European Union nations since Russia invaded final week. The European Union Fee proposed on Wednesday to permit them to remain for as much as two years, below a “short-term safety directive.” If authorized by EU member states, Ukrainians can be allowed to work and kids can be allowed to attend college throughout the total EU.

All these fleeing Putin’s bombs are welcome in Europe,” mentioned EU Fee President Ursula von der Leyen.

EU warns Belarus opening door to Russian nukes after vote | News


Transfer comes as Belarus faces criticism for permitting Russian forces use its territory as a launchpad to assault Ukraine.

The European Union has warned that Belarus might begin internet hosting Russian nuclear weapons after a “very harmful” resolution at a referendum to drop the nation’s non-nuclear standing.

“We all know what does it imply for Belarus to be nuclear. It implies that Russia will put nuclear weapons in Belarus and it is a very harmful path,” EU overseas coverage chief Josep Borrell mentioned on Monday.

The transfer by Belarus got here because the nation was being condemned internationally for getting used as a launchpad by Russian forces to assault neighbouring Ukraine.

Borrell slammed the “faux referendum” on constitutional adjustments. The amendments enable the nation to host nuclear weapons and Russian forces completely. It additionally prolonged the rule of chief Alexander Lukashenko.

About 800 folks had been reportedly arrested after the vote sparked the largest protests in months and hundreds took to the streets in Belarus.

The vote to alter the structure was handed by 65 %, based on official information.

Lukashenko has launched a ferocious crackdown on opponents since mass protests erupted after he claimed victory at an election in 2020 referred to as fraudulent by the West.

The Belarusian chief, who has been in energy since 1994, has shifted decisively in direction of Moscow after Russian President Vladimir Putin helped prop up his rule.

EU sanctions on the best way

The EU is about to impose a brand new host of powerful sanctions on Belarus as Minsk has facilitated Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine by performing as a staging submit for forces concerned within the assault.

Western allies concern the constitutional shift from Belarus – which neighbours three EU and NATO international locations – might now convey extra Russian nuclear weapons nearer to their border.

Russia has the world’s largest arsenal of nuclear weapons and an enormous cache of ballistic missiles.

Putin ordered his nuclear forces on excessive alert on Sunday in a transfer the West mentioned was “completely unacceptable”.

In the meantime, america shuttered its embassy in Minsk and allowed non-emergency workers and relations to depart the embassy in Moscow.

“We took these steps on account of safety and security points stemming from the unprovoked and unjustified assault by Russian navy forces in Ukraine,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken mentioned.

A photograph posted on Twitter by US Ambassador to Belarus Julie Fisher on Monday confirmed mission workers reducing the American flag. All American workers have departed Belarus, Fisher tweeted.

The US relocated its embassy operations in Ukraine from the capital Kyiv to the western metropolis of Lviv two weeks in the past as Russian forces amassed at Ukraine’s borders.

UNSC to vote on resolution condemning Russian invasion: Live News | Russia-Ukraine crisis News


Vote anticipated as EU and US comply with impose sanctions on Russian president, overseas minister for invasion of Ukraine.

  • UN Safety Council will meet on Friday to vote on decision condemning Russia’s assault on Ukraine.
  • Spokesperson for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says prepared to debate ceasefire and peace with Russia.
  • US says it’ll sanction Russian President Vladimir Putin and International Minister Sergey Lavrov.
  • Russian forces are advancing in the direction of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, as they proceed their assault on the nation.
  • Putin requires Ukraine’s navy to take away the nation’s authorities from energy.
  • The UN says greater than 50,000 Ukrainians have fled to different nations for the reason that combating began.

Listed below are all the newest updates:

IMF says Ukraine requested emergency funding

Worldwide Financial Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva stated Ukraine has requested emergency funding.

Georgieva stated the IMF will “work intently with the authorities to help Ukraine” in all of the methods it could possibly.

“Past Ukraine, the repercussions of the battle pose vital financial dangers within the area and world wide,” she added in a press release. “We’re assessing the potential implications, together with for the functioning of the monetary system, commodity markets, and the direct influence on nations with financial ties to the area.”


Canada to impose sanctions on Russia’s Putin

Canada is imposing sanctions on Putin and International Minister Sergey Lavrov, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has stated.

“We shall be imposing sanctions on President Putin and his fellow architects of this barbaric conflict, his chief of workers and International Minister Sergey Lavrov,” Trudeau instructed a information convention. “These males bear the best duty for the demise and destruction occurring in Ukraine.”

Canada will even levy further sanctions on Belarus and its leaders for “abetting” Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, Trudeau stated.

He additionally expressed help for barring Russia from SWIFT.


Ukraine and Russia are discussing place and time for talks: Reviews

Ukraine and Russia are discussing a spot and time for talks, Zelenskyy’s spokesman has stated.

“Ukraine was and stays prepared to speak a few ceasefire and peace,” spokesman Sergii Nykyforov stated on social media.


Ukrainian diaspora in US, Canada rallies in opposition to ‘surreal’ assault

The Ukrainian diaspora in the US and Canada is demonstrating, fundraising and organising social media campaigns, in addition to calling on their elected leaders to behave after Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Learn extra right here.


Bulgaria closes its airspace to Russian carriers

Bulgaria will ban flights into the nation operated by Russian airways and can shut its airspace to all Russian plane from Saturday, the nation’s transport ministry has stated.

The ministry stated the transfer was a results of the escalation of the navy battle and as an indication of solidarity with Ukraine.

INTERACTIVE- Why do planes avoid Ukraine airspace


US to supply further safety help to Ukraine, Pentagon says

America will present further safety help to Ukraine, the Pentagon has stated, including it was figuring out one of the best ways to ship that help.

“I’ll be very clear right here: We’re going to present further safety help for Ukraine. We’ll. How that’s going to be finished continues to be being labored out,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby stated throughout a information briefing, including: “The airspace over Ukraine is contested.”


UK bans Russian personal jets from its airspace

UK Transport Minister Grant Shapps has stated that no Russian personal jet can fly in UK airspace or contact down, efficient instantly.

“Putin’s actions are illegal and anybody benefitting from Russia’s aggression in Ukraine just isn’t welcome right here. I’ve strengthened our ban within the UK in order that no Russian personal jet can fly in UK airspace, or landing – efficient instantly,” Shapps tweeted.

Poland and Czech Republic additionally stated they have been banning Russian airways from their respective airspace, whereas airways, together with British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, started routing flights round Russian airspace.


Welcome to Al Jazeera’s persevering with protection of the Ukraine-Russia disaster.

Learn all of the updates from Friday, February 25, right here.