Monday morning news – May 31, 2021

For WORLD Radio, I’m Kent Covington. 

House GOP calls for congressional investigation into virus origins » Republicans in the House want Congress to investigate the origins of COVID-19.

GOP leaders have penned a letter demanding that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi allow a probe into the matter.

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise said Sunday…

SCALISE: I mean, look at some of the scientists in China who were getting ill early off from the Wuhan lab, and yet they won’t have an investigation on it. I don’t know what it’s going to take, but I think a lot of this noise is starting to break through where Speaker Pelosi is feeling the heat.

Democratic Congressman Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey agrees that there is growing momentum for a congressional probe.

GOTTHEIMER: I think my colleagues and I all agree that we need to get to the bottom of this and find out the origins of the virus, and that means investigating it.

Meantime, the Biden administration and Britain are turning up pressure on the World Health Organization to take a deeper look into the origins of COVID-19.

An initial report from a WHO investigative team said it was “extremely unlikely” that the virus escaped the Wuhan lab. But the U.S. diplomatic mission in Geneva has issued a statement saying the first phase of the study was “insufficient and inconclusive” and called for a more thorough investigation. The British ambassador in Geneva, Simon Manley, seconded that.

President Biden last week called on intelligence agencies to step up investigations into the origin of the virus and report back in 90 days. Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre…

PIERRE: We have to get a better sense of the origin of COVID-19, and also, how do we prevent the next pandemic?

CNN recently reported that the Biden administration earlier this year halted a probe started under President Trump into whether the virus originated in a Chinese lab.

Netanyahu opponents move close to power-sharing deal » In Israel, opponents of Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday appeared to be closer to a coalition deal that could end his 12-year run as prime minister.

Naftali Bennett, leader of the Yamina party, announced Sunday that he will join a coalition to topple Netanyahu.

Bennett, a former Netanyahu aide turned rival, could be forming a power-sharing agreement with opposition chief Yair Lapid. That deal could see the two leaders rotating the job of prime minister over the next four years.

Israel has held four elections over the past two years with each ending in deadlock.

At least 20 people shot outside banquet hall in S. Florida » Two people are dead and at least 20 others were wounded after a shooting outside of a banquet hall in South Florida.

Miami Dade police director Freddy Ramirez said the gunfire erupted early Sunday morning after a concert inside the building.

RAMIREZ: When the concert was wrapping up, there were individuals that were standing outside when this vehicle pulled up, exited and began shooting indiscriminately into the crowd.

Authorities believe the shooting was targeted, not random. No word yet on a motive.

Police did not immediately announce any arrests and asked the public for any information that may lead them to the suspects.

Universal Studios, Seaworld in Orlando go maskless » Universal Studios and Seaworld in Orlando are no longer requiring guests to wear face coverings.

Both parks had recently stopped requiring masks outdoors, but still required them indoors and while riding rides. As of now, that is still the case at Disney World.

Universal and Seaworld said the move was in response to newly announced CDC guidance. Both parks say they are asking people who are unvaccinated to continue wearing masks, however, they are not asking guests to provide proof of vaccination.

A Quiet Place II marks the return of summer blockbusters » And theme parks aren’t the only place looking a little bit closer to normal. Movie theaters were busy over the weekend.

TRAILER: Please, there are people out there worth saving…

The thriller A Quiet Place II will haul in an estimated $57 million in ticket sales over the holiday weekend. That pre-pandemic-sized haul marks the return of summer blockbusters.

The R-rated action flick Nobody finished second with $26 million for the weekend.

I’m Kent Covington, and for more news, features, and analysis, visit us at

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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