What to expect from more grocery store price hikes, products impacted

Mario Tama/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) — Prices have continued to climb from the grocery store to the gas station amid the pandemic. According to a new report, the prices of some foods and household staples are heading higher.

Kraft Heinz alerted customers that its prices will go up in March on dozens of popular products including certain SKUs of Velveeta cheese by 6.6%, hot dogs and cold cuts by 10% and Oscar Mayer turkey bacon by 30%.

Even coffee is affected — Kraft Heinz’s Maxwell House coffee price would go up by 5%, the company said.

Prices have risen steadily across the food industry, with unprecedented ingredient, labor and transportation shortages coupled with surging demand driving prices higher.

Kraft Heinz said the price increases are not a sweeping action across all its products and instead applies specifically to products experiencing the greatest cost pressures.

Officials at the Federal Reserve on Wednesday signaled they are on the verge of addressing this issue of soaring prices by potentially hiking interest rates very “soon.”

“With inflation well above 2 percent and a strong labor market, the Committee expects it will soon be appropriate to raise the target range for the federal funds rate,” the Fed said in a statement Wednesday.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said that “inflation remains well above our longer run goal of 2%,” which it notably has for some time now. He attributed this largely to supply and demand imbalances related to the pandemic and the reopening of the economy.

ABC News’ Catherine Thorbecke contributed to this report.

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Snow storm takes aim on Northeast: Latest forecast

ABC News

(NEW YORK) — A snow storm is bearing down on the East Coast, with snow even expected to reach as far south as coastal North Carolina.

The brunt of the storm will hit from eastern Long Island to coastal Massachusetts, with moderate to major impacts for the Interstate 95 corridor from Philadelphia to New York City to Boston.

The storm will begin in the overnight hours early Saturday for Philadelphia and New York City. Snow will continue into Saturday afternoon in New England.

Boston could see more than 1 foot of snow. New York City is forecast to get 4 to 8 inches of snow while Philadelphia could see about 3 to 5 inches.

The New Jersey coast and the mid-Atlantic could get over 6 inches of snow and North Carolina could get up to 4 inches.

Ahead of the storm is a deep freeze. Bitter cold is hitting the East Coast Thursday morning with a wind chill — what temperature it feels like — at about 8 degrees in New York, 2 degrees in Boston, 15 in Raleigh and 24 in Atlanta.

And behind the snow storm will be the coldest temperatures in years for Florida. Sunday morning the wind chill could plunge to 23 degrees in Orlando and 29 degrees in Miami.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

COVID-19 live updates: US deaths increasing to highest point in nearly one year

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(NEW YORK) — As the COVID-19 pandemic has swept the globe, more than 5.6 million people have died from the disease worldwide, including over 876,000 Americans, according to real-time data compiled by Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

About 63.5% of the population in the United States is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:

Jan 27, 8:01 am
New Hampshire to sell rapid COVID-19 tests at liquor stores

Rapid at-home COVID-19 testing kits will soon be on sale at liquor stores across New Hampshire, according to Gov. Chris Sununu.

Sununu announced Wednesday that the New Hampshire Executive Council unanimously approved a request by the state’s Department of Health and Human Services to use federal funds from the American Rescue Plan to secure 1 million over-the-counter antigen test kits for liquor store customers. The tests are expected to hit shelves within the next two weeks.

“In addition to tax-free liquor and lottery tickets, you’ll be able to grab a tax-free test,” the governor wrote on Twitter Wednesday.

Sununu said the test kits will be sold “at cost” for about $13, which can be reimbursed through health insurance, though that will vary from company to company.

Jan 26, 6:36 pm
1st participant dosed in Moderna’s omicron-specific vaccine

Moderna announced Wednesday that the first participant has been dosed in the phase 2 study of its omicron-specific booster candidate, in case it becomes necessary.

Moderna’s trials will include people who received two doses of the original Moderna vaccine and people who received two doses of the original Moderna vaccine and a Moderna booster shot.

Pfizer announced Tuesday that it’s initiated clinical studies to evaluate an omicron-based vaccine for adults.

Jan 26, 5:00 pm
NIH trial finds mixing and matching boosters is safe and effective

A study from the National Institutes of Health published in the New England Journal of Medicine found mixing and matching boosters are safe and create a similar immune response to sticking with your initial vaccine.

An earlier version of this study, with more preliminary findings, helped guide the CDC’s decision to allow mix-and-match.

The study authors make no claims about specific combinations being more or less effective. The study did find that people who got an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) and then received the Johnson & Johnson booster had a significant increase in T-cell response, a part of immunity.

The trial looked at 458 participants who received a vaccine with no prior COVID-19 infection. This data is only for the first 29 days after receiving the booster; researchers plan to follow the participants for one year, allowing for more data.

-ABC News’ Vanya Jain, Sony Salzman, Eric Strauss, Dr. Alexis Carrington

Jan 26, 4:47 pm
Unvaccinated child dies in Mississippi

An unvaccinated child has died in Mississippi from COVID-19, according to the state’s health department.

The department confirmed to ABC News that the child was between the ages of 11 and 17, an age bracket that is eligible to receive Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

This marked the 10th child — including an infant — to die in Mississippi from COVID-19. None of the 10 children were vaccinated, according to the health department.

-ABC News’ Josh Hoyos

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‘Modern-day lynching’: Man found shot dead during trip with co-worker

Carmela King via Courtesy of Paul Jubas

(VENANGO COUNTY, Pa.) — The family of a Jamaican immigrant is calling his death a “modern-day lynching” after he was found shot to death on the front lawn of a rural Pennsylvania cabin.

Peter Bernardo Spencer, 29, was invited by a co-worker to join him at a cabin in Rockland Township, Pennsylvania, on Dec. 11, according to his family.

On Dec. 12, just a few hours later, Spencer was found with nine bullet wounds: one to the mouth, two in his buttocks and six in his abdomen or chest, according to the Venango County Coroner.

“They are trying to sweep this under the rug,” Spencer’s sister, Tehilah, wrote on a GoFundMe page. “We will not let them … He was slaughtered and killed in what I consider an act of modern-day lynching!”

Paul Jubas, the family’s lawyer, released autopsy photos of Spencer on his social media accounts at the family’s request. Jubas said the coroner’s assertion that he was shot in the chest and abdomen is a “misrepresentation” and that the photos indicate at least four of the shots were to Spencer’s back.

Pennsylvania State Police were called to the home around 2:30 a.m. and found Spencer dead on the front lawn with multiple gunshot wounds. Police say they found multiple firearms, “ballistic evidence” and controlled substances at the home.

Four suspects at the home were detained and questioned but were released after consultation with the Venango County District Attorney’s Office, according to officials. Pennsylvania State Police officials said they are investigating this as a homicide and the investigation involving the district attorney’s office is ongoing.

Spencer is Black. The former co-worker, as well as the other people at the cabin, were all white, according to the family. The people at the cabin during Spencer’s time of death have not been identified by police.

The district attorney’s office told ABC News that it will not comment on the ongoing investigation “out of concern for the impact that may have on a case and any potential charges.”

“Further disclosure of information may hinder or interfere with the investigation moving forward,” the district attorney’s office said in a statement to ABC News. “This office takes seriously any possibility that a crime may be fueled by hatred toward a person because of their race, color, religion or national origin. Rest assured, the Venango County District Attorney’s office will take every measure to ensure that justice is sought wherever it may be found.”

“The Franklin state troopers office will not give Peter’s family nor myself any information regarding this incident,” Carmela King, Spencer’s pregnant fiancee, wrote in a GoFundMe post. “We have been turned away several times while trying to reach out for information regarding what happened.”

The Pennsylvania State Police did not respond to ABC News’ requests for comment.

No one has been charged with a crime, and Spencer’s family is demanding answers, according to a statement from Jubas.

The family is demanding that the Venango County coroner must immediately turn over all photos and other pertinent information; the FBI or Department of Justice gets involved in this investigation and provides transparency for Spencer’s family; and the Venango County district attorney refers the case to Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

Spencer loved the outdoors and hunting, according to his family. Several groups, including Hunters of Color, Brown Girl Outdoor World and Outdoor Alliance, have joined forces to demand justice in the murder of Spencer.

A petition from more than 30 groups is urging the county district attorney, state officials and the U.S. attorney general to take action in setting “a precedent so that all future hunters, outdoor recreationists, and people of color know that justice is on their side, and that the outdoors are truly for everyone.”

The petition has gotten more than 15,000 signatures online.

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North Carolina mother, young daughter found safely after going missing in 2016

Oliver Helbig/Getty Images

(BUNNLEVEL, N.C.) — A North Carolina mother who went missing with her young daughter in 2016 have been found safe, according to authorities.

Amber Renaye Weber, then 21 years old and her 1-year-old daughter, Miracle Smith, were last seen on Dec. 4, 2016, in Fayetteville, according to the Fayetteville Police Department. They were reported missing on Jan. 31, 2017, but leads in the case eventually went cold, police said.

The pair were found Tuesday in a home in Bunnlevel, North Carolina, about 20 miles north of Fayetteville. In 2018, they were believed to be nearby in Harnett County after Weber received medical treatment there, but her family was not able to contact her, Raleigh-Durham CBS affiliate WNCN reported.

U.S. Marshals, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and deputies from the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office found Amber Weber and Miracle Smith at a home on Lemon Lane in Bunnlevel, Raleigh-Durham ABC affiliate WTVD reported. Four firearms were seized from the home, and Joe Smith, 59, was taken into custody, according to the U.S. Marshals. He had previously been arrested on Jan. 19 on a charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, authorities said.

The case was reignited in 2021 after Fayetteville police investigative assistant Sonia Roldan partnered with the U.S. Marshalls to seek new leads for Weber and Miracle, police said. Information led investigators to believe Weber and Miracle had an association with Smith in Bunnlevel, authorities said.

Police did not disclose the nature of Smith’s relationship with Weber and her daughter.

The search “brought some closure and relief to family and friends of the missing person” as well as removed guns from the hands of a convicted felon, ATF Special Agent in Charge Vince Pallozzi said in a statement.

“The culmination of years of following leads and tips resulted in the outcome that we had all hoped for today; the successful recovery of a child who had been missing since December 2016,” Michael East, U.S. marshal for the Eastern District of North Carolina, said in a statement. “The U.S. Marshals Service and our investigative partners will not quit, nor be deterred until these children are rescued.”

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California bill would allow kids 12 and up to get vaccines without parents

EFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) — A new bill in California would allow children to get vaccinated against diseases including COVID-19 without their parents’ consent.

Currently, kids in the state between ages 12 and 17 must receive permission from a parent or a guardian to get a vaccine, unless it is to prevent a sexually transmitted infection.

However, the new bill — introduced Friday by state Sens. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) — would allow Californians aged 12 and older to receive vaccines that meet specific federal agency criteria on their own.

Under the bill, adolescents could get vaccinated as long as the shots are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s advisory committee.

As of Wednesday, about 63% of Californians aged 12-17 are fully vaccinated, according to the state department of health — but at least 28% are not.

“There are nearly 1 million teenagers in California who are not vaccinated against COVID-19, and that jeopardizes their own health. It makes our schools less safe,” Wiener told ABC News. “A lot of these teenagers would like to get vaccinated, but their parents either won’t let them or their parents aren’t making the time to go with them to get vaccinated.”

He added, “This legislation will allow teens to protect their own health and to get vaccinated against COVID-19, against the flu and other serious diseases.”

Washington, D.C., currently allows minors to receive vaccines on their own starting at age 11. San Francisco also allows kids aged 12 and older to receive COVID-19 shots without parental consent when consent is unavailable.

Additionally, five states allow minors to get vaccinated without parental consent. Alabama allows teens to receive vaccines on their own starting at age 14; Oregon at age 15; and Rhode Island, North Carolina and South Carolina at age 16.

Elizabeth Tobin-Tyler, an associate professor of health services, policy and practice at Brown University, said these laws are often the result of a “mature minor” doctrine, which allows minors to give consent provided they can show they are mature enough to make decisions on their own.

“The idea is there are minors that might be quite mature at age 12 or 14 and have the capacity to make their own decision,” she told ABC News. “States have recognized there are situations where we don’t want to have someone make a decision at just 18.”

Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, said most kids of that age are mature enough to understand medical information that is given to them.

“When you’re dealing with kids and medical care, you want to be able to give them with some graduated autonomy about their health,” he told ABC News.

If the bill passes, California would become the state with the youngest age for children to get vaccinated on their own without permission from an adult.

“It will serve as an example for other states,” Benjamin said. “California has often been on the cutting edge of legislation that has become law in other parts of the country. So it will certainly be an exemplar in that area and it will serve as a model for other states, particularly as we see the numbers of kids vaccinated grow.”

However, not everyone is in favor of the bill.

​​”It just seems like this is part of this ongoing war against parents by some Democratic elected officials,” California Republican Assemblyman James Gallagher told ABC News. “This bill is not about letting children make some sort of decision in a vacuum whether or not they want to get vaccinated. It’s about eliminating parents from that decision-making process.”

He described the bill as a “slippery slope” and said it could lead to kids having autonomy to take other medications without parental consent.

“What other drugs, what other things would a child be able to decide at school or some other place without their parents’ consent?” Gallagher asked.

Under California law, minors aged 12 and older are already allowed to be vaccinated against hepatitis B and human papillomavirus (HPV) and to receive birth control and treatments for STIs, mental health disorders and substance abuse.

But Wiener said he doesn’t believe the new bill would curb parents’ input when it comes to their children’s health because most teens speak to their parents when it comes to making medical decisions.

“The vast majority of teens — even if they have the ability to get a vaccine — will talk to their parents about the issue,” Wiener said. “We want parents to be involved in their kids’ health care, and I am confident that many, many teens will talk to parents about it.”

He continued, “Sadly there are some teens who are not in a position to talk to their parents about it. For whatever reason, they can’t have those conversations and in those situations, a teenager should be able to protect their own health.”

Benjamin said the idea of providing teens with autonomy is not new or radical and could actually help teenagers think critically and analytically.

“We do this a lot in other areas in our lives,” he said. “We give them driver’s licenses as they are able to mature both emotionally and physically. Parents should think of this as part of allowing their kids to have more control over their health decision-making. From a mental health and psychological perspective, this should be thought of as giving kids more responsibility, and I think overall it’s a good thing.”

ABC News’ Ivan Pereira contributed to this report.

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Laser temporarily blinds medical helicopter crew member

EThamPhoto/Getty Images

(SALT LAKE CITY) — A paramedic was temporarily blinded after their helicopter was affected by a laser strike earlier this month.

A Utah AirMed helicopter was struck while transporting a patient to the University of Utah hospital. A crew member aboard the flight experienced temporary blindness and blurred vision from the laser.

“They were able to safely land in our hospital, and once they were able to transfer the patient, the crew member was seen in the emergency room,” Nathan Morreale, chief flight paramedic for Utah AirMed told ABC News.

The crew member is back on the job but has experienced lingering blindness in his peripheral vision, Morreale said.

“The safety of our patients and our crews are at the forefront of everything we do,” Morreale said. “Even though our crews are highly trained for circumstances and scenarios, there’s no amount of training that can prepare you for what happens when a laser hits your eye and causes temporary blindness.”

The Federal Aviation Administration said its Flight Standards District Office is looking into the incident.

Laser incidents have been on the rise in recent years, according to the agency. The FAA reported 6,852 laser incidents in 2020, up from 6,136 in 2019. It’s the highest reported number of incidents since 2016.

Intentionally aiming lasers at aircraft violates federal law. Individuals may face up to $11,000 in civil penalties per violation and up to $30,800 for multiple incidents.

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Letter from Holocaust survivor found at flea market decades later

Courtesy Chelsey Brown

(NEW YORK) — Thrift stores, antique fairs and flea markets in New York City are prime spots for finding valuable, hidden family heirlooms. When Chelsey Brown, an avid thrifter, was shown a letter written more than 75 years ago at the end of the Holocaust by a survivor, she knew where it belonged.

“The second that I had it transcribed, I just knew it had to go back to the right family,” Brown said. She found the note in late 2021.

The letter was written by Ilse Loewenberg, a woman who jumped out of a moving train that was headed to the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1943. She was part of an underground Nazi resistance group called Gemeinschaft für Frieden und Aufbau, or the Association for Peace and Development.

According to later documentation from her sister, Loewenberg walked a three-day-long journey back to Berlin after escaping.

In 1944, she was recaptured and put in solitary confinement in Berlin until she was liberated by Russian troops in July 1945.

Loewenberg lost her mother, father, two sisters and husband in the Holocaust.

After she was freed, she wrote a letter to her living sister, Carla, who had immigrated to England prior to the war. Carla was the only sister and family member of Loewenberg’s to survive the tragedy.

“Through the kindness of our liberators, I am able to give you a sign of life from me after so many years,” Loewenberg wrote in German. “Dad, Mom, Grete, Lottchen and Hermann: no one is alive anymore. My pain is unspeakably big. My husband, whom I married 3.5 years ago, was also taken from me! … When there will be a regular mail connection, I will tell you everything in detail.”

That’s the letter that Brown bought from a flea market vendor.

Brown discovered the details of the family tree through MyHeritage.com, a global family history platform that retains historical records.

She discovered that both Loewenberg and Carla immigrated to the United States and settled in Forest Hills, New York, in 1948. Neither Loewenberg or Carla had children, but they did have extended families via their husbands.

Brown found Jill Butler, the daughter of Loewenberg’s brother-in-law’s brother. Butler and Loewenberg, who used to live near each other, were close before Loewenberg died in 2001.

When Brown sent Butler the letter, Butler and her family were moved.

“My whole family is truly in awe of all you have done for us,” Butler said in a letter back to Brown. “We all loved our Great-Aunt Ilse and are thrilled beyond words to read her thoughts in her own handwriting after she emerged from the depths of the European inferno.”

She added, “May God bless your noble work, and may you receive many blessings in return for all you do for families like mine.”

Brown, whose family also lost members in the Holocaust, now feels a deep connection to Loewenberg and said her story has inspired her.

“She’s a bit of inspiration for everyone to be better in life. After the war, Ilse actually sent supplies to the family that helped hide her in Berlin,” she said. “She really is an example of doing good in a world or being kind in a world that isn’t.”

Brown, who has done hundreds of heirloom returns, has said the stories have taught her a lot about life and relationships and that she wishes more people could be reconnected with family heirlooms.

“It does break my heart, because I’m sure that there’s a ton of items I could help reunite with her rightful families,” Brown said. “We shouldn’t be selling these items. It should be illegal. They should be going back to their families.”

She added, “The reason why people connected with my heirloom returns on social media is because it shows that there is magic in the lives of average people,” Brown said. “We each have our own unique ancestry and story, and I think that’s what our world and generation needs right now.”

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Afghan refugees find ‘peace and hope’ resettling in US

Meagan Redman,Jake Lefferman, Zach Fannin, and Libby Cathey, ABC News

(HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M.) — Thousands of miles away from her native Afghanistan, Laila finds relief in small comforts like a warm meal inside a makeshift tent camp in a desert in New Mexico.

Laila, whose name has been changed for safety concerns, is among thousands of Afghan refugees who have found a temporary home cycling through the “Aman Omid Village” on Holloman Air Force Base, one of several military installations in the U.S. designated to provide housing to Afghan refugees while they transition into more permanent homes. The camp’s name which is in Dari — an Afghan dialect — expresses what they are searching for in the United States: peace and hope.

Watch the full story on “Nightline” TONIGHT at 12 p.m. ET on ABC.

“The first very important thing about the camp that I and everyone else here likes is the safety that they are giving us,” Laila told ABC News “Nightline” co-anchor Juju Chang in a recent interview. “Safety is something that we didn’t have for years in Afghanistan.”

Laila is one of the tens of thousands who were forced to flee her native country last summer, leaving behind family and friends, as the U.S. ended its longest war the same way it started: under Taliban rule.

She says it feels like only weeks ago that she fled the swift takeover.

“I was in the bank waiting to withdraw some money. I heard gunshots,” Laila recalled.

“Everyone was like, Taliban are in here, and we were hiding under the desks after I got out,” she said. “Everyone was, like, panicking.”

President Joe Biden, who has long opposed the war in Afghanistan, inherited a deal with the Taliban to withdraw U.S. forces as the U.S. approached the 20-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, despite pressure from lawmakers and other allied nations to extend the mission. As his August deadline neared, the Taliban seized power and overtook the presidential palace in Kabul, signaling the collapse of the Afghan government and igniting chaos.

“Every time that there is a knock on the door, I think they are coming for me because I have worked with international agencies,” Laila told ABC News in a video diary at the time.

In many respects, she was exactly what the Taliban feared: A college-educated woman who flourished with the freedom gained during the 20 years of U.S. intervention.

Struggle to flee

Laila was a young girl when the Taliban last came to power and said she remembers being taught to hide her education from the group that governs the country under a strict interpretation of Shariah, or Islamic law.

“My mother and a friend of my mom would teach us how to read and write, like we would hide our books and notebooks inside the Quran. And then we would go to my mother’s friend’s house and then learn how to read and write there,” she told ABC News.

She said she was given no reason to believe this reign would be different — so she and her husband, Yusuf, whose name has been changed for safety concerns, escaped with some 76,000 other Afghans, many of whom worked for American or Western allies that the U.S. evacuated under the Biden’s administration’s mission, “Operation Allies Welcome.”

Though she said she suspected she might be pregnant at the time, Laila left her home with nothing but a small backpack.

When she landed at a U.S. base in Doha, Qatar, she was given a pregnancy test which confirmed that she was pregnant. She later learned she’ll be having twins — which made her all the more grateful to have escaped. Tens of thousands of Afghans, who also had valid paperwork, were left behind in the chaos — and to a new order of power.

“In Afghanistan, it was scary because I didn’t want to have a baby in that situation, especially with the Taliban,” she said.

Human Rights Watch, an international human rights advocacy organization, estimates that the Taliban have already killed over 100 Afghans at the top of their list for revenge for helping Americans.

Military base offers peace, hope

“Aman Omid Village,” the massive refugee camp at Holloman Air Force Base, was just months ago a barren desert. Rows of tents spanning 50-acres were erected in the final days of the fall of Kabul as officials prepared for refugees like Laila.

The commune operates as a de facto American boot camp for new arrivals and offers resources to prepare refugees for their new lives in the U.S. Residents can participate in classes from English to sewing and receive training on how to pay taxes and avoid spam calls, for instance.

At least half of the refugees there are children who often take advantage of the open area for games and recreation.

“This is sort of that shining place for them to come to,” Air Force Brigadier Gen. Daniel Gabrielli, who heads operations at the camp, told ABC News.

Gabrielli, a commercial pilot who volunteered to deploy as part of his National Guard Service, completed three tours of duty in Afghanistan. In his 33-year military career, he said helping Afghan refugees at the base has been the most gratifying experience.

“I think it is because we’re taking care of people who’ve taken care of us, right?” he said. “What they have sacrificed for our security which is a large amount.”

“My grandfather came over after World War I from Italy, so there’s no difference in this migration, and that migration,” Gabrielli said, when asked about any resistance to their arrivals. “It is just the latest in the Great American story.”

To the general and many others, the compound in New Mexico has transformed into a modern-day Ellis Island, with people like Laila among its first immigrants — but many will never find the same refuge.

More than 3.5 million people have been displaced by conflict inside Afghanistan, including 700,000 from 2021 alone, while the war-torn country continues to face conflict, famine and COVID-19.

Writing her own American dream

The resettlement agency handling Laila’s case told her that her new home would be in South Carolina.

Organizations tasked with helping Afghans arriving in the U.S. have said they are scrambling to ramp up operations following years of downsizing due to the Trump administration’s slashed refugee program. Despite some delays to her own move, Laila expressed to ABC News her excitement at the potential.

“I don’t care if it’s South Carolina or if it’s New York, it is just a new country, a new culture, a new land, a new people,” she said.

At least, for her time there, she made the refugee camp feel like home. In the cafeteria on base, she would eat regularly with young ladies she fondly calls the “three musketeers.”

“When I came here, I was kind of like, you know, depressed from all that happened, and they were the ones that really helped me,” she said. “Every day, they would come to me and because they knew I was having twins, they would take good care of me.”

Finally, after months of waiting at Holloman Air Force Base, Laila and Yusef got permanently resettled in South Carolina in January.

Now 24 weeks pregnant, Laila says she is grateful to embark on a new life on American soil, but part of her heart will always be back home, especially with the women and girls of Afghanistan.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Commission approves new safety standards for crib mattresses

Kyryl Gorlov / EyeEm/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) — After 139 child deaths since 2010, new safety standards for crib mattresses will go into effect this fall.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission approved a new rule Wednesday to address potential hazards like lacerations, suffocation and entrapment.

“This is intended to reduce the risk of injury,” CPSC spokesperson Jason Levine told ABC News. “The crib is the safest place for your infant, yet what this does is it takes another step in the right direction in terms of ensuring that the mattress itself is as safe as can be.”

New mattresses will be required to comply with the standard this fall, Levine said. The rule covers crib mattresses as well as mattresses in play yards and bassinets.

“Today’s vote means crib mattresses of all sizes will be required to meet safety standards,” CPSC Chair Alex Hoehn-Saric said in a statement. “This will improve safety for babies sleeping in cribs and play yards.”

CPSC said it was aware of at least 494 incidents, including 139 fatalities and 355 nonfatal incidents, related to crib mattresses between January 2010 and April 2021.

Just last week, the CPSC also warned consumers about certain Leachco Podster infant loungers after two children died “due to a change in position” that obstructed the infants’ nose and mouth.

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