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Tribune News Service
Tribune News Service

News briefs

Bill Clinton returns to White House to mark family leave law

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden hosted former President Bill Clinton at an event Thursday to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act, saying the landmark law had made a “gigantic difference” for American families.

“The law was a step toward that dignity my dad used to talk about, dignity for working families,” Biden said at the event at the White House.

“It’s good for business,” he added. “When workers can take leave, when they’re able to do that rather than have to stay in their job, they’re better off and the businesses are better off as well because things get done.”

Biden on Thursday instructed the heads of federal agencies to consider new policies that would extend access to unpaid family and medical leave for federal workers still in the first year of their job. Under current policies, those workers aren’t yet eligible for the leave. The president has also asked federal agencies to consider allowing federal workers leave in the wake of domestic violence or sexual assault.

—Bloomberg News

Florida athletes may soon be required to submit their menstrual history to schools

MIAMI — A proposed draft of a physical education form in Florida could require all high school student athletes to disclose information regarding their menstrual history — a move that’s already drawing pushback from opponents who say the measure would harm students.

The draft — published last month by the Florida High School Athletic Association, a group that oversees interscholastic athletic programs across the state — proposes making currently optional questions regarding a student’s menstrual cycle mandatory, as reported by the Palm Beach Post.

The form, if approved, would ask students if they’ve had a menstrual cycle, and if so, at what age they had their first menstrual period, their most recent menstrual period and “how many periods (the student has) had in the past 12 months.”

The questions have appeared in the state’s athletics participation form for more than two decades, but have been optional.

—Miami Herald

Large great white sharks are gathering off South Carolina, satellite tracking shows

Large great white sharks are gathering off the South Carolina coast — for reasons scientists don’t quite understand.

Satellite tracking tags show five great whites were clustered between Charleston and the North Carolina state line as of Feb. 2. Some have lingered in the area since early December, data shows. OCEARCH, which attached the tags, says the tagged sharks represent a fraction of the white sharks actually prowling the region.

The five include males and females ranging in size from 8 to just over 12 feet. The largest, named Miss Costa, weighs more than 1,000 pounds. OCEARCH has collected data proving North Atlantic white sharks have a habit of moving south for winter, but experts remain unsure of the motive.

The migration, which typically begins Dec. 1, sees the sharks move to an area between Cape Hatteras and Florida’s Gulf Coast. The sharks reverse course around May 15 and head north again, OCEARCH data shows. It was initially assumed the apex predators preferred warmer water, but that doesn’t explain why some go as far west as the mouth of the Mississippi River, OCEARCH says.

—The Charlotte Observer

US must back Ukraine joining NATO in 2023, say European delegates

WASHINGTON — Concerned about the potential for a change in U.S. leadership after the next presidential election, a visiting delegation of Eastern European lawmakers this week called on the Biden administration and Congress to move this year to bring Ukraine into NATO.

Ahead of the NATO summit in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius this summer, a faction of member states, led by the Baltic countries and Poland, is campaigning for the gathering to be used to begin the official process of admitting Ukraine to the Western military alliance.

“This is it. This is the year when all stars are aligning,” said Žygimantas Pavilionis, chairman of the Lithuanian parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, at a Wednesday roundtable with journalists in Washington. “We have bipartisan unity on freedom, democracy, and victory of Ukrainians, on our values. We have huge strategic unity of Europeans, who recognized American leadership. So let’s do it like we did it in times of (Ronald) Reagan.”

Pavilionis was traveling as part of a joint delegation that included his foreign affairs counterparts in the Polish and Ukrainian parliaments. They were making the rounds this week of Washington think tanks and Capitol Hill to make their case for why the Biden administration and lawmakers should continue to generously fund security assistance to Ukraine.

—CQ-Roll Call

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