Biden $3.5T plan tests voter appeal of expansive gov’t role

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s “build back better” agenda is poised to be the most far-reaching federal investment since FDR’s New Deal or LBJ’s Great Society — a prodigious effort to tax the rich and shift money into projects and programs touching the lives of nearly every American.

Biden announces Indo-Pacific alliance with UK, Australia

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that the United States is forming a new Indo-Pacific security alliance with Britain and Australia that will allow for greater sharing of defense capabilities — including helping equip Australia with nuclear-powered submarines. It’s a move that could deepen a growing chasm in U.S.-China relations.

US working on new COVID-19 rules for international visitors

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is considering requiring vaccinations against COVID-19 and contact tracing of international visitors after the U.S. revamps current broad restrictions that bar many foreigners from traveling to the U.S., a top White House adviser said Wednesday.

Friction among Taliban pragmatists, hard-liners intensifies

KABUL, Afghanistan — Friction between pragmatists and ideologues in the Taliban leadership has intensified since the group formed a hard-line Cabinet last week that is more in line with their harsh rule in the 1990s than their recent promises of inclusiveness, said two Afghans familiar with the power struggle.

World leaders face new rule at UN meeting: vaccination

UNITED NATIONS — World leaders will have to be vaccinated against the coronavirus to speak at the U.N. General Assembly’s big meeting next week, the assembly leader and New York City officials have said, prompting swift objections from at least one nation.

Kaua‘i Society of Artists big show opens Saturday

The ART Kaua‘i 2021 exhibit presented by the Kaua‘i Society of Artists will open on Saturday from noon until 6 p.m. at the KSA gallery at Kukui Grove Center. But that was almost not to be, as KSA and KGC struggled with the COVID-19 uptick in new cases.

Papa A‘u takes Gene Wells second race

NAWILIWILI — Where did Papa A‘u come from? Last Thursday, Fast Company and OZone were busy battling for control of the Nawiliwili Yacht Club Gene Wells Memorial Series Race No. 2, the handicap for the Express 27 pushed the little boat to the top of the race that unfolded in 8-to-10-knot winds out of the east-northeast.

Koetje, Kaya, Silva sweep Labor Day drags

MANA — Alma Koetje and Kalen Kaya topped the Garden Island Racing Association two-day Labor Day Drag Races that were held at Kaua‘i Raceway Park in Mana over the holiday weekend.

DLNR: Hawai‘i Island Mana Road fire community effort

HILO, Hawai‘i — The Mana Road fire that burned along Old Saddle Road on the slopes of Mauna Kea on Hawai‘i Island was one of the largest wildland fires in recorded Hawai‘i history. In late July and early August, it scorched more than 42,000 acres of mostly grassland above Waimea and largely on the Parker Ranch.