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More than a dozen Democratic senators signed a letter Thursday urging Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Stephen Hahn to ease restrictions on blood donations by on men who have recently had sex with men, as the coronavirus outbreak has led to a dire shortage of blood. The current rule, which the senators describe as "discriminatory" in their letter, prohibits men who who have had sex with other men in the past 12 months from donating. "With important advances in blood screening and safety technology, a time-based deferral policy is not scientifically sound, continues to effectively exclude many healthy gay and bisexual men, and does not meet the urgent demands of the moment," the senators wrote.
President Trump has made rolling back environmental regulations a centerpiece of his administration, moving to erase Obama-era efforts ranging from landmark fuel efficiency standards and coal industry controls to more routine rules on paint solvents and industrial soot. But all along, scientists and lawyers inside the federal government have embedded statistics and data in regulatory documents that make the rules vulnerable to legal challenges. These facts, often in the technical supporting documents, may hand ammunition to environmental lawyers working to block the president’s policies. Trump administration loyalists see in the scientists’ efforts evidence that a cabal of bureaucrats and holdovers from previous administrations is intentionally undermining the president and his policies. And there can be little doubt that some career scientists are at odds with the president’s political appointees. But current and former federal employees who work on environmental science and policy say their efforts to include these facts are a civic and professional duty, done to ensure that science informs policy outcomes and protects the public. Some are trying to preserve regulations they spent years of their lives writing.
A bipartisan group of state attorneys general on Wednesday sent letters to major retailers urging them crack down on price gouging on their online platforms amid the spread of coronavirus. The 34 AGs recommended for Amazon, Craigslist, eBay, Facebook and Walmart to build tools to detect price spikes and create landing pages for people to report cases of price gouging. “Major online businesses must ensure consumers are charged fair prices when they shop on their platforms,” Washington, D.C., Attorney General Karl Racine said in a statement on the letters. “We appreciate the efforts these companies are making during this difficult time and are hopeful that they will continue work with State Attorneys General to do more to root out price gouging online and protect consumers.” The letter cited several reported cases of price gouging related to coronavirus, including hand sanitizer and face masks prices spiking at least 50 percent and an eight ounce bottle of Purell selling for 40 dollars on Facebook marketplace. The attorneys general said their offices have been receiving reports of price gouging daily.