President Joe Biden is poised to sign an executive order designed to increase the number of gun background checks; the legal stay of tens of thousands of Ukrainian refugees in the U.S. is set to expire this spring; China is reopening its borders this week; and Uber and Lyft scored a victory in court. These stories and more highlight your daily rundown for Tuesday, March 14, 2023.
Biden to increase background checks
President Biden will be in Monterey Park, California, Tuesday where 11 people were killed back in January at a Lunar New Year celebration. According to administration officials, the president will sign an executive order to push for more background checks for firearm sales. The officials claim the order will reduce the odds of guns ending up in the hands of criminals.
Biden is also expected to reiterate his call for Congress to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. The order also encourages the Federal Trade Commission to investigate how gun manufacturers are marketing firearms.
Legal stay of Ukraine migrants to expire
Tens of thousands of Ukrainians have taken refuge in the U.S. since the war began last year. Now, a new policy announced this week will allow the government to consider extending their stay for at least another year.
Some 20,000 refugees who crossed through the southern border between February and April of last year were granted one year of parole. That means that their temporary permission to stay in the U.S. is set to expire this spring.
The more than 118,000 Ukrainians who came into the country after April were able to apply for a two-year parole under a humanitarian immigration authority. Now, for the tens of thousands of Ukrainians working in the U.S. with upcoming parole expirations, the government will be reviewing their cases within the next four weeks to extend their stay by another year.
Arrest warrants for Russian officials
The International Criminal Court is preparing its first arrest warrants linked to war crimes cases for Russian officials. According to Reuters, ICC prosecutors are pursuing two war crime cases for the forced deportation of Ukrainian children and for attacks on Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure.
The targets of the arrest warrants were not specified. Reuters identified them only as Russian officials. If the war crime cases are opened, they would be the first to come from the Russia-Ukraine war.
Uber, Lyft drivers ruled as contractors
Uber, Lyft, and other app-based companies like DoorDash scored a legal victory Monday in a California court ruling that preserves their independent contractor model for workers. This could set precedent for working-drivers in other states too. If the companies had to classify their workers as employees over contractors, the employees would be entitled to certain benefits such as paid sick leave and insurance.
Companies involved argued that those benefits would drive up expenses, and customer costs. But pro-union groups argue the move would actually benefit large corporations over working people.
Proposition 22 was passed by California voters in November 2020 allowing these app-based companies to treat their labor force as independent contractors. It was ruled unconstitutional by a state court in 2021, but the state Court of Appeals ruled with the businesses, who said in a joint statement, that it is a win for app-based employees because they will be able to keep flexible working schedules under the status of a contractor.
China to reopen borders, issue visas
China is reopening its borders to foreign tourists this week for the first time in three years since the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted international travel. China’s embassy in the United States said they would resume issuing all categories of visas starting Wednesday. Valid visas that were issued before China closed to the world in March 2020 will be valid once again.
It’s the last cross-border COVID-restriction to be lifted in China after the country claimed victory over the virus last month. Its tourism sector was hit hard by the shutdown. Tens of millions of international visitors came to china each year pre-COVID.
Musk: Starship launch could blow up
SpaceX is preparing for the first orbital launch of Starship. Starship is the type of rocket that is monumental to Elon Musk for future Mars exploration and perhaps colonization.
And while the company is excited to send the rocket off, Musk is already giving the starship a 50% chance of success. Musk says the rocket could blow up on first attempt, which Starship’s sub-orbital test flights have a history of doing.
Musk says no matter the outcome, he is guaranteeing excitement, saying the launch won’t be boring.
Other Starships are already lined up in the queue, with one of them likely to reach orbit this year according to the SpaceX founder.
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KARAH RUCKER: TOP STORIES ON THIS TUESDAY – THE LEGAL STAY OF TENS OF THOUSANDS OF UKRAINIAN REFUGEES IN THE U.S. IS SET TO EXPIRE THIS SPRING.
CHINA IS REOPENING ITS BORDERS THIS WEEK. AND UBER AND LYFT SCORE A VICTORY IN COURT. BUT FIRST – PRESIDENT BIDEN WILL BE IN LOS ANGELES TODAY AT WHAT WAS THE SITE OF A MASS SHOOTING THIS YEAR. THE PRESIDENT IS POISED TO SIGN AN EXECUTIVE ORDER DESIGNED TO INCREASE THE NUMBER OF GUN BACKGROUND CHECKS.
THIS IS STRAIGHT ARROW NEWS. UNBIASED. STRAIGHT FACTS.
BIDEN TO INCREASE BACKGROUND CHECKS
PRESIDENT BIDEN WILL BE IN MONTEREY PARK TODAY WHERE 11 PEOPLE WERE KILLED BACK IN JANUARY AT A LUNAR NEW YEAR CELEBRATION.
ACCORDING TO BIDEN ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS – THE PRESIDENT WILL SIGN AN EXECUTIVE ORDER THAT WOULD MEAN FEWER GUNS WILL BE SOLD WITHOUT BACKGROUND CHECKS. THE OFFICIALS CLAIM THE ORDER WILL REDUCE THE ODDS OF GUNS ENDING UP IN THE HANDS OF CRIMINALS.
BIDEN IS ALSO EXPECTED TO REITERATE HIS CALL FOR CONGRESS TO BAN ASSAULT WEAPONS AND HIGH-CAPACITY MAGAZINES. THE ORDER HE WILL SIGN TODAY ALSO ENCOURAGES THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION TO INVESTIGATE HOW GUN MANUFACTURERS ARE MARKETING FIREARMS.
BIDEN WILL SPEAK THIS AFTERNOON BEFORE SIGNING THE EXECUTIVE ORDER.
LEGAL STAY OF UKRAINE MIGRANTS TO EXPIRE
TENS OF THOUSANDS OF UKRAINIANS HAVE TAKEN REFUGE IN THE U.S. SINCE THE WAR BEGAN LAST YEAR. NOW – A NEW POLICY ANNOUNCED THIS WEEK WILL ALLOW THE GOVERNMENT TO CONSIDER EXTENDING THEIR STAY FOR AT LEAST ANOTHER YEAR.
20 THOUSAND REFUGEES WHO CROSSED THROUGH THE SOUTHERN BORDER BETWEEN FEBRUARY AND APRIL OF LAST YEAR WERE GRANTED ONE YEAR OF PAROLE – MEANING THEIR TEMPORARY PERMISSION TO STAY IN THE U.S. IS SET TO EXPIRE THIS SPRING.
THE MORE THAN 118 THOUSAND UKRAINIANS WHO CAME INTO THE COUNTRY AFTER APRIL WERE ABLE TO APPLY FOR A TWO-YEAR PAROLE UNDER A HUMANITARIAN IMMIGRATION AUTHORITY. NOW – FOR THE TENS OF THOUSANDS OF UKRAINIANS WORKING IN THE U.S. WITH UPCOMING PAROLE EXPIRATIONS – THE GOVERNMENT WILL BE REVIEWING THEIR CASES WITHIN THE NEXT FOUR WEEKS TO EXTEND THEIR STAY BY ANOTHER YEAR.
ARREST WARRANTS FOR RUSSIAN OFFICIALS
THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT IS PREPARING ITS FIRST ARREST WARRANTS LINKED TO WAR CRIMES CASES FOR RUSSIAN OFFICIALS. ACCORDING TO REUTERS – ICC PROSECUTORS ARE PURSUING TWO WAR CRIMES CASES FOR THE FORCED DEPORTATION OF UKRAINIAN CHILDREN AND FOR ATTACKS ON UKRAINE’S CIVILIAN INFRASTRUCTURE.
THE TARGETS OF THE ARREST WARRANTS WERE NOT SPECIFIED – REUTERS ONLY IDENTIFIED THEM AS “RUSSIAN OFFICIALS.” IF THE WAR CRIMES CASES ARE OPENED THEN IT WOULD BE THE FIRST TO COME FROM THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR.
RUSSIA COMMITTING POTENTIAL WAR CRIMES HAS BEEN A MAJOR FOCAL POINT OF THE WAR AND THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION.
THE ICC HAS LONG BEEN INVESTIGATING POTENTIAL CRIMES IT COULD PROSECUTE.
UBER, LYFT DRIVERS RULED AS CONTRACTORS
UBER, LYFT, AND OTHER APP-BASED COMPANIES LIKE DOORDASH – SCORED A LEGAL VICTORY IN A CALIFORNIA COURT RULING THAT PRESERVES THEIR INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR MODEL FOR WORKERS. AND COULD SET PRECEDENT FOR WORKING-DRIVERS IN OTHER STATES TOO. IF THE COMPANIES HAD TO CLASSIFY THEIR WORKERS AS “EMPLOYEES” OVER “CONTRACTORS” THEN THE EMPLOYEES WOULD BE ENTITLED TO CERTAIN BENEFITS SUCH AS PAID SICK LEAVE AND INSURANCE – SOMETHING THE COMPANIES ARGUED WOULD DRIVE UP EXPENSES, AND CUSTOMER COSTS.
WHILE PRO-UNION GROUPS ARGUED IT BENEFITS LARGE CORPORATIONS OVER WORKING PEOPLE.
PROPOSITION 22 WAS PASSED BY CALIFORNIA VOTERS IN NOVEMBER OF 2020 ALLOWING THESE APP BASED COMPANIES TO TREAT THEIR LABOR FORCE AS INDEPENDENTLY CONTRACTED. IT WAS RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL IN 2021.
BUT THIS WEEK’S COURT OF APPEALS RULING SIDES WITH THE BUSINESS WHO SAID IN A JOINT STATEMENT IT IS A WIN FOR APP-BASED EMPLOYEES…WHO WILL BE ABLE TO KEEP FLEXIBLE WORKING SCHEDULES UNDER THE STATUS OF A CONTRACTOR.
CHINA TO REOPEN BORDERS, ISSUE VISAS
CHINA IS REOPENING ITS BORDERS TO FOREIGN TOURISTS THIS WEEK FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THREE YEARS SINCE THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC DISRUPTED INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL.
CHINA’S EMBASSY IN THE UNITED STATES SAID THEY WOULD RESUME ISSUING ALL CATEGORIES OF VISAS STARTING TOMORROW.
VALID VISAS THAT WERE ISSUED BEFORE CHINA CLOSED TO THE WORLD IN MARCH OF 2020 WILL BE VALID ONCE AGAIN.
IT’S THE LAST CROSS-BORDER COVID-RESTRICTION TO BE LIFTED IN CHINA –AFTER THE COUNTRY CLAIMED VICTORY OVER THE VIRUS LAST MONTH. ITS TOURISM SECTOR WAS HIT HARD BY THE SHUTDOWN.
TENS OF MILLIONS OF INTERNATIONAL VISITORS CAME TO CHINA EACH YEAR PRE-COVID.
MUSK: STARSHIP LAUNCH COULD BLOW UP]\
SPACE-X IS PREPARING FOR THE FIRST ORBITAL LAUNCH OF “STARSHIP”. THE TYPE OF ROCKET THAT IS MONUMENTAL TO ELON MUSK FOR FUTURE MARS EXPLORATION AND PERHAPS COLONIZATION.
AND WHILE THE COMPANY IS EXCITED TO SEND THE ROCKET OFF – MUSK IS ALREADY GIVING THE STARSHIP A 50 PERCENT CHANCE OF SUCCESS.
MUSK SAYS THE ROCKET COULD BLOW UP ON FIRST ATTEMPT – WHICH STARSHIP’S SUB-ORBITAL TEST FLIGHTS HAVE A HISTORY OF DOING.
MUSK SAYS NO MATTER THE OUTCOME – HE IS GUARANTEEING EXCITEMENT, SAYING THE LAUNCH WON’T BE BORING.
OTHER STARSHIPS ARE ALREADY LINED UP IN THE QUEUE – WITH ONE OF THEM LIKELY TO REACH ORBIT THIS YEAR ACCORDING TO THE SPACE X FOUNDER.
THESE ARE YOUR TOP HEADLINES ON THIS TUESDAY MORNING. THANKS FOR WATCHING THE DAILY RUNDOWN WITH STRAIGHT ARROW NEWS. WE’RE ON A MISSION TO BRING BACK TRUSTWORTHY JOURNALISM BY ONLY SERVING YOU — NOT AN AGENDA.
WE’LL SEE YOU BACK HERE TOMORROW MORNING. UNTIL THEN, I’M KARAH RUCKER…HAVE A GREAT DAY!