David Sherfinski profile background image
David Sherfinski profile image

David Sherfinski

U.S. Correspondent

Thomson Reuters Foundation

David Sherfinski is a U.S. Correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in the United States. Before joining the Thomson Reuters Foundation, David covered the White House and Congress in Washington, D.C.

February 20, 2024

Potential wage cuts, paralysed federal politics, and poor morale among firefighters could leave the United States massively under-equipped to combat wildfires in 2024, even as the El Niño phenomenon makes blazes more likely, firefighters say.

On top of these challenges, millions of dollars meant to reduce the risk of wildfires starting in the first place - and to cover the cost of fighting them - are being diverted to shore up wages and encourage skilled personnel to stay in their jobs. 

February 15, 2024

In Sumit Bhanwala's village in northern India, pictures of the Statue of Liberty adorn facades and tractors display stars and stripes bumper stickers - a way to let neighbours know that sons, brothers and nephews have made it to the United States.

For 25-year-old Bhanwala, the images are a source of inspiration as he prepares for an arduous, months-long journey to sneak across the U.S. border - an odyssey that will cost his family tens of thousands of dollars in fees to people smugglers.

January 31, 2024

Ending unpaid labour in U.S. prisons could net up to $20 billion a year, new research said on Wednesday, potentially boosting a push to scrap the exception to the abolition of slavery that allows "involuntary servitude" as punishment.

The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution - passed 159 years ago on Wednesday - abolished slavery except as punishment for crimes. That left the door open, advocates say, for prisons to exploit the cheap or free labour of the incarcerated.

January 29, 2024

As director of South Carolina's Department of Corrections, Bryan Stirling believes he knows what is needed to make the state's 21 penal institutions safer while also protecting people outside the prison walls.     

Ideally, Stirling would like to have the power to jam phone signals from the state's prisons to tackle the scourge of illegal cellphones being used to facilitate crimes ranging from sex trafficking to murder-for-hire and drug dealing. 

December 19, 2023

The United States is racing to meet new minimum firefighter staffing levels at its military bases ahead of a Dec. 23 deadline aimed at ensuring stations can protect the nation's defences while keeping firefighters safe, too.

With time ticking down on the Department of Defense (DoD) to act, unions say the federal government is dragging its feet and that lives and property are at risk due to the understaffing.

December 14, 2023

Abortion was a major flashpoint in 2023, dividing Americans and dominating political debate. Brace for more of the same in 2024, with key election battles and legal landmarks due to determine a woman's right to choose in the U.S. and well beyond.

In the year that Roe v Wade marked its 50th anniversary, pro-abortion Americans scored mixed results in 2023, months after the landmark decision was overturned and moral wrangling over abortion hit fever pitch.

November 09, 2023

Abortion was a top priority for many voters in this week's U.S. state elections, with supporters of the right to choose extending a string of victories since the Supreme Court last year overturned the constitutional right to end a pregnancy.

Voters in Ohio, which has trended reliably Republican in recent presidential elections, voted by 57% to 43% to enshrine the right to an abortion in the state constitution.

October 31, 2023

State elections in Virginia next week could offer an early preview of how abortion rights will play in the 2024 national elections with the ballot offering insights into how the main parties will position themselves and clues as to how voters may react.

The outcome could also have far-reaching consequences for reproductive health in the only southern state that hasn't enacted an abortion ban in the wake of last year's momentous decision by the Supreme Court to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that had legalized abortion nationwide.

October 24, 2023

On hot days at Baltimore City College High School in Maryland, indoor temperatures can be 10 degrees warmer in the classrooms than outside, according to Franca Muller Paz, a Spanish teacher.

So when outside temperatures topped out at close to 100 F (37.8C) last month, Baltimore was forced to switch to virtual learning for classrooms like Muller Paz's that lacked air conditioning.

October 12, 2023

The U.S. government said on Thursday the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will make nearly $2 billion of new money available through two programs intended to boost resilience to climate-related disasters before they happen.

The funding comes as climate change drives more intense storms, flooding and wildfires across the United States, where this year there have already been at least 24 weather or climate events that resulted in losses of more than $1 billion each, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.