Police and emergency crews are on scene of a stabbing that left two people injured in Hatfield Twp, Montgomery County.
The World Health Organization said this week that variants of the coronavirus are provoking another uptick in infections across Europe.Why it matters: European countries reported around 1 million new cases last week, around a 9% increase from the week prior. Last week's surge ended a six-week decline in new infections, the WHO said Thursday, according to AP.Get market news worthy of your time with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free.By the numbers: The variant first found in the United Kingdom, which may be more transmissible and more deadly than the original strain of the virus, is spreading in 27 European countries monitored by WHO, according to AP.It's now the dominant strain in at least 10 countries: Britain, Denmark, Italy, Ireland, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Israel, Spain and Portugal.Meanwhile, the variant first discovered in South Africa has been found in 26 European countries. Vaccine producers Moderna, Pfizer and Novavax have each reported their vaccines, while still effective, offer less protection against the South African variant. The Brazilian variant, detected in 15 European countries, may be able to reinfect people who survived infections with earlier versions of the coronavirus, according to Reuters.The big picture: Italy's government tightened coronavirus restrictions in some of its 20 regions this week in response to the surge.Like this article? Get more from Axios and subscribe to Axios Markets for free.
John McAfee, the antivirus software pioneer whose former company still bears his name, has been indicted on fraud and money-laundering conspiracy charges stemming from two cryptocurrency schemes, the U.S. Justice Department said on Friday. Authorities accused McAfee and his bodyguard, Jimmy Gale Watson Jr., of exploiting McAfee's large Twitter following to artificially inflate prices of "altcoins" through a so-called pump-and-dump scheme, and concealing payments McAfee received from startup businesses to promote initial coin offerings.
- The Week
It's difficult to tell exactly how many cases of the so-called U.K. variant of the novel coronavirus, or B.1.1.7, are in the United States because the country hasn't conducted enough genomic sequencing yet to get a real read. But data analysis from Helix, a lab testing company, estimates B.1.1.7 accounted for more than 20 percent of new cases in the U.S. this week, The New York Times reports. That's concerning because the variant is highly transmissible, but scientists are fairly encouraged by what they're seeing so far. Take Florida, for instance. The Sunshine State is believed to have the highest share of B.1.1.7 COVID-19 cases at an estimated 30 percent. Yet, Florida has not experienced a resurgence in overall infections. "I am encouraged by the declining case counts in the most heavily affected states," Caitlin Rivers, an epidemiologist from Johns Hopkins University, told the Times. "I've been watching Florida closely, which has the highest share of B.1.1.7. Case counts have plateaued there in recent days, but are not resurging. The longer we can hold the line, the more time we have to roll out vaccines, which will protect individuals, particularly those at highest risk of severe illness, and slow transmission overall." That doesn't mean the U.S. is in the clear. There's concern that some states are easing their coronavirus restrictions too quickly, and the U.K. variant isn't the only variant in the U.S. (though it's by far the most common), but there is hope that a combination of increased vaccinations, higher levels of natural immunity, and other mitigation efforts will help the country avoid a sharp spike like the U.K. saw at the end of 2020. Read more at The New York Times. More stories from theweek.comRon Johnson's lazy obstruction exposes the reality of the filibusterWhy the Dr. Seuss 'cancellation' is chilling7 spondiferously funny cartoons about the Dr. Seuss controversy
- Associated Press
Chasing its first league trophy since 2014, Atlético Madrid will try to deal a severe blow to Real Madrid’s title defense on Sunday. Diego Simeone’s side has a five-point advantage over third-place Madrid, and a game in hand, before the crosstown rivals meet at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium. Barcelona is in second place at two points adrift.
- The Independent
Tucker Carlson calls QAnon supporters ‘gentle’ patriots a week after suggesting the conspiracy didn’t exist
‘Do you ever notice how all the scary internet conspiracy theorists – the radical QAnon people ... they’re all kind of gentle people now waving American flags?’
An Israeli-Canadian lobbyist hired by Myanmar's junta said on Saturday that the generals are keen to leave politics after their coup and seek to improve relations with the United States and distance themselves from China. Ari Ben-Menashe, a former Israeli military intelligence official who has previously represented Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe and Sudan's military rulers, said Myanmar's generals also want to repatriate Rohingya Muslims who fled to neighboring Bangladesh. The United Nations says more than 50 demonstrators have been killed since the Feb. 1 coup when the military overthrew and detained elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, whose National League for Democracy party won polls in November by a landslide.
- Business Insider
An anonymous source who is familiar with an FBI cellphone data report says there was communication between the two.
Theme parks and stadiums can accept visitors next month under plans to relax Covid restrictions.
- Associated Press
... We can put up all the barriers in the world and imagine that they work, but in the end, it adapts and penetrates them,’’ lamented Bollate Mayor Francesco Vassallo. Bollate was the first city in Lombardy, the northern region that has been the epicenter in each of Italy’s three surges, to be sealed off from neighbors because of virus variants that the World Health Organization says are powering another uptick in infections across Europe.
- USA TODAY Opinion
Fracking gas generates high emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas over 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
- Business Insider
An Eiffel Tower-sized asteroid is about to whiz by Earth. When it returns in 8 years, it could cross paths with our satellites.
On Friday night, the asteroid Apophis will pass by Earth. When it returns in 2029, its orbit may put it on a collision path with some satellites.
Russia's feared riot police have launched an online recruitment advertising blitz in the weeks since nationwide protests erupted over the jailing of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. Police forcefully dispersed tens of thousands of people who took part in three protests across Russia that spanned January and early February, when Navalny returned to the country from Germany and was later jailed for 2-1/2 years. Since then, riot police have advertised hundreds of times for jobs on recruitment websites such as HH.ru, run by Headhunter Group, Avito and Superjob.ru.
- Business Insider
The WHO team probing the origins of the coronavirus in Wuhan is scrapping its interim report. Critics say China never gave them a real chance to investigate.
A full report will be published "in coming weeks," the WHO said. The news comes the independence of the investigation continued to be questioned.
The 27-nation EU also wants Washington to ensure the free flow of shipments of crucial vaccine ingredients needed in European production, the FT report on Saturday said. "We trust that we can work together with the U.S. to ensure that vaccines produced or bottled in the U.S. for the fulfilment of vaccine producers' contractual obligations with the EU will be fully honoured,” the FT quoted the European Commission as saying. EU countries started inoculations at the end of December, but are moving at a far slower pace than other rich nations, including former member Britain and the United States.
- The Telegraph
Brexit is done - and so is Nigel Farage. The former leader of the UK Independence Party and the Brexit Party, credited even by his sharpest critics as the most influential politician of the past two decades, has finally quit politics. And this time it is for good. In an interview with this weekend’s Chopper’s Politics podcast, which you can listen to on the audio player above, Mr Farage announces he is resigning as leader of the Reform Party and turning his back on politics after three decades of political street fighting. He says: “There is no going back - Brexit is done. That won’t be reversed. I know I’ve come back once or twice when people thought I’d gone, but this is it. It’s done. It’s over.” Mr Farage famously quit after the 2016 referendum, saying "I want my life back", but then reformed the Brexit Party two years later in 2018 to exploit disaffection with the way the Government was handling the Brexit negotiations. He adds: “Now's the moment for me to say I've knocked on my last door. I'm going to step down as the leader of Reform UK. I'll have no executive position at all. I'm quite happy to have an honorary one, but party politics, campaigning, being involved in elections, that is now over for me because I've achieved the one thing I set out to do: to achieve the independence of the UK.” The 56-year-old insists that he had no plans to retire, saying: “I'm not packing up. I'm not off to play golf four afternoons a week and have half a bitter afterwards. That's not happening.” Instead, he will be trying to influence the national debate on China’s influence in the UK and the battles over the so-called culture wars.
- Business Insider
MSNBC host and former Republican congressman Joe Scarborough says there's 'no doubt' that the GOP is 'unsavable'
"You know, my friends and my family members, they all voted for him, and it's been hard for me to process it," Scarborough said of support for Trump.
Kim Kardashian will reportedly stay in family's $60 million mansion as part of divorce from Kanye West
Kim Kardashian West will stay in the minimalist, beige-filled Hidden Hills, California, home she and Kanye West bought in 2014, TMZ reported.
- Business Insider
Rudy Giuliani's legal woes mount as a federal criminal investigation into his Ukraine dealings resumes, report says
Giuliani, Trump's longtime personal attorney, is also facing lawsuits linked to his baseless claims of voter fraud during the presidential election.
- The Daily Beast
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/GettyHow did Joe Biden manage to eke out a presidential win after washing up in fourth place in Iowa and fifth in New Hampshire?Co-host Molly Jong-Fast still wants to know. “I’ve spent much of the week talking about being wrong about Cuomo, but I would like to take a minute to talk about being wrong about Biden,” she tells NBC News’ Jonathan Allen, co-author of the new book Lucky: How Biden Barely Won the Presidency, on the latest episode of The New Abnormal.While Molly and others were writing Biden’s political obituary in February 2020, his staffers were suggesting the former vice president refinance his house to put money into his dying campaign, Allen says.“It’s not the most unheard of thing for a candidate to do it,” he says, but “a presidential candidate doesn’t do that. And the subtext of going to him to tell him that is that it might be time to just wrap up the campaign. To Joe Biden’s everlasting credit, he believed in himself.”Allen describes how Biden’s key endorsement from South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn came about—and how the coronavirus pandemic provided another key to his win.“COVID hits and Biden is taken off the trail, and he is able to be scripted,” Allen says. “For his entire career, he’s been undisciplined and reporters love him because he’ll talk, but he’s undisciplined. And now his campaign has the ability to control his message and choose when he talks and how he talks and who he talks to. And he’s able to make those discretionary decisions along with his advisers. And meanwhile, Trump is on the stage at the White House, telling people to inject disinfectant to combat COVID.”Allen also talks about whether Biden will be able to unify the country and get any Republican votes to get legislation passed. “I think that there are things on which Biden will be able to get votes from moderate Republicans, sort of independent-thinking Republicans. The converse is some of these bills are going to be incredibly difficult for them to vote against. I mean, think about voting against the COVID relief bill. That’s… an entire campaign’s worth of ads for an opponent. Marco Rubio is going to vote against this COVID relief bill, and he’s going to have a Democratic opponent next time. There’s several that are thinking about getting in, including Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy from Florida.”Also in the episode, Molly is joined by famed scientist and physician Eric Topol, who shares how he thinks the COVID-19 vaccinations are going and how hard the U.K. variant will hit the U.S.The U.K. variant, he says, will hit hard in Florida, California, and Texas, but he’s not so worried about the South African and Brazilian variants, which “don’t seem to be nearly as infectious.”The Vaccines Are More Effective Than You Think, Even With Those Variants LoomingWhile the U.S. is finally averaging 2 million doses a day, it needs to prioritize giving one dose to each person to get ahead of the spreading U.K. variant, he says. “We’ve actually been pushing for that in the U.S. to get ready for this variant that we’re going to be hit with, but there isn’t receptivity at the White House, or with Tony Fauci. We think that just for a month to go with the one dose, and then get these people their second dose a little bit delayed, would be really advantageous, but we haven’t had much success in pushing for that.”Topol also calls Trump’s decision to cover up the fact that he was vaccinated a “travesty.”“We have politicization of vaccines,” he says. “We have a remarkable gap between the Democrats and Republicans as to their interest in getting a vaccine, where only about half of Republicans want to get a vaccine. This is a serious issue because had Trump been proud of having received the vaccine, he could have helped sway a lot of the people who follow him... So the fact that he hid this in January, it’s really a shame because it was a really great opportunity to help bring more people along.”Last, Jong-Fast interviews Jenna Griswold, Colorado’s secretary of state, about its record turnout and stellar model for voter access, and whether that can be brought nationwide with H.R. 1.Listen to The New Abnormal on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
- Associated Press
President Joe Biden has two seats to fill on the influential appeals court in the nation's capital that regularly feeds judges to the Supreme Court. Barring an improbable expansion of the Supreme Court, Biden won’t be able to do anything about the high court’s entrenched conservative majority any time soon. Justice Clarence Thomas, at 72, is the oldest of the court’s conservatives and the three appointees of former President Donald Trump, ranging in age from 49 to 56, are expected to be on the bench for decades.