Editor’s Note: This listicle is part of a weekly series by The Ball State Daily News summarizing five stories from around the world. All summaries are based on stories published by The Associated Press.
The U.S. tops 500,000 COVID-19 deaths, Virginia lawmakers vote to abolish the death penalty, Biden boosts pandemic lending to small businesses, the Supreme Court won't halt the turnover of Trump's tax records and the wife of "El Chapo" has been arrested on U.S. drug charges make up this week's five national stories.
The COVID-19 death toll in the U.S. topped 500,000 Feb. 22, a staggering number that all but matches the number of Americans killed in World War II, Korea and Vietnam combined. President Joe Biden held a sunset moment of silence and a candle-lighting ceremony at the White House and ordered American flags lowered at federal buildings for the next five days.
State lawmakers gave final approval Feb. 22 to legislation that will end capital punishment in Virginia, a dramatic turnaround for a state that has executed more people in its long history than any other. The legislation repealing the death penalty now heads to Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, who has said he will sign it into law, making Virginia the 23rd state to stop executions.
President Joe Biden announced changes Feb. 22 to target more federal pandemic assistance to the nation’s smallest businesses and ventures owned by women and people of color. He said changes taking effect Wednesday will provide long overdue aid to these smaller enterprises that he says are being “crushed” by the pandemic-driven economic downturn.
In a significant defeat for former President Donald Trump, the Supreme Court on Feb. 22 declined to step in to halt the turnover of his tax records to a New York state prosecutor. The court’s action is the apparent culmination of a lengthy legal battle that had already reached the high court once before. The ongoing investigation that the records are part of could also become an issue for Trump in his life after the presidency.
The wife of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was arrested in the United States and accused of helping her husband run his multibillion-dollar cartel and plot his audacious escape from a Mexican prison in 2015. Emma Coronel Aispuro, a 31-year-old former beauty queen, was arrested at Dulles International Airport in Virginia on Feb. 22 and is expected to appear in federal court in Washington on Tuesday afternoon.