US Domestic News Roundup: Biden’s pardons show focus on easing drug punishments, and women’s rights; JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank seek dismissal of lawsuits by

US Domestic News Roundup: Biden’s pardons show focus on easing drug punishments, and women’s rights; JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank seek dismissal of lawsuits by

Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.

Biden’s pardons show focus on easing drug punishments, and women’s rights

U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday pardoned six people who have already served time for crimes, including five convicted of drug or alcohol-related offenses and a woman who killed her allegedly abusive husband nearly five decades ago. The latest pardons showed Biden nudging U.S. criminal justice policy away from the war-on-drugs ethos that he and other liberal lawmakers once championed.

JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank seek dismissal of lawsuits by Jeffrey Epstein accusers

JPMorgan Chase & Co and Deutsche Bank AG asked a U.S. judge to dismiss lawsuits by women who accused Jeffrey Epstein of sexual abuse, and said the banks enabled and ignored red flags about the late financier’s sex trafficking. The banks in papers filed on Friday night in Manhattan federal court said they did not participate in or benefit from sex trafficking by their former client and that the unnamed women failed to allege violations of a federal anti-trafficking law.

Meta set to make decision on Trump’s return to Facebook – FT

Facebook owner Meta Inc is preparing to announce whether it will allow former U.S. President Donald Trump back on to Facebook and Instagram, the Financial Times reported on Sunday. The social media giant had previously said it will decide by Jan 7 whether to allow the former president to return. However, that decision is now expected to be announced later in the month, the newspaper said, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Criminal justice postgrad charged with murdering 4 Idaho university students

A grad student seeking a criminal justice degree from Washington State University has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing deaths of four University of Idaho students more than six weeks ago, officials said on Friday. Police in eastern Pennsylvania acting on a fugitive arrest warrant took Bryan Christopher Kohberger, 28, into custody on Thursday night, according to James Fry, chief of police in Moscow, Idaho, where the University of Idaho campus is located. Fry said Kohberger resides in Pennsylvania.

Southwest Airlines operations back to normal after being crippled by storm

Southwest Airlines was up and running on a normal schedule on Friday after a massive winter storm crippled operations this week and exposed problems at the low-cost carrier. Dallas-based Southwest struggled to recover from a mammoth weekend storm, cancelling at least 16,000 flights since last Friday and leaving passengers as well as its own crews stranded during the busy Christmas holiday rush.

North Carolina won’t charge Trump’s ex-staff Meadows with voter fraud

The U.S. state of North Carolina will not charge former Republican President Donald Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows with voter fraud, the state’s Justice Department said on Friday.

In April, North Carolina removed Meadows from the voter roll after state authorities said they were investigating his voter registration. Meadows has previously echoed Trump’s false claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 election.

Worker killed on ramp at Alabama airport in airplane incident

A worker was fatally injured on the ramp at Montgomery Regional Airport in Alabama where an American Airlines regional carrier flight was parked, the Federal Aviation Administration said Saturday. The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the incident that occurred where American Airlines Flight 3408, an Embraer E175, was parked at the gate after arriving from Dallas. The FAA said the airport was closed after the incident.

Judicial security focus of U.S. Chief Justice Roberts’ annual report

U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts on Saturday focused a year-end report on the judiciary on the need for stepped up security for federal judges, amid a surge in threats and as the United States is embroiled in a bitter debate over abortion. Roberts’ nine-page annual report came just two weeks after the U.S. Congress approved legislation that aims to bolster security for Supreme Court justices and federal judges by allowing them to shield their personal information from being available online.

Pioneering U.S. television journalist Barbara Walters dead at 93

Barbara Walters, one of the most visible women on U.S. television as the first female anchor on an American network evening news broadcast and one of TV’s most prominent interviewers, died on Friday at age 93, her longtime ABC News home said. Walters, who created the popular ABC women’s talk show “The View” in 1997, died at her home in New York, Robert Iger, chief executive of ABC’s corporate parent, The Walt Disney Co. , said in a statement. The circumstances of her death were not given.

Mexican authorities uncover human skulls in package headed for U.S

Four human skulls were discovered inside a package at a Mexican airport that was due to be sent by courier to the United States, local authorities said on Friday. The skulls were found wrapped in aluminum foil inside a cardboard box at Queretaro Intercontinental Airport in central Mexico, a statement from the National Guard said.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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