By Chris Kahn NEW YORK (Reuters) - Most Americans want tougher gun laws but have little confidence their lawmakers will take action, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Friday ahead of the one-year anniversary of the country's deadliest high school shooting. The poll of more than 6,800 adults reflects widespread frustration with state and federal lawmakers after decades of mass shootings in the United States. The Feb. 14, 2018, attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killed 17 students and staff. According to the poll, 69 percent of Americans, including 85 percent of Democrats and 57 percent of Republicans, want strong or moderate restrictions placed on firearms. To stop gun violence, 55 percent said they wanted policies that make it tougher to own guns, while 10 percent said making firearm ownership easier would be better. The poll shows public support for strong firearms restrictions dipped slightly from a year ago, when the media was closely following the Parkland shooting, but overall support for gun restrictions has risen since the poll started asking about gun control in 2012. Among those who want tougher gun laws now, only 14 percent said they were “very confident” their representatives understood their views on firearms, and just 8 percent felt “very confident” their elected representatives would do anything about it. Taletha Whitley, 41, of Clayton, North Carolina, said lawmakers were too dependent on campaign contributions from gun rights groups to care about public opinion. “It would take money out of their pockets” to write gun control laws, said Whitley, a Democrat who works in customer service for a local grocery chain. “That’s why they haven’t done anything about all of these mass shootings. It’s about the dollars.” (For a graphic on the poll, see: https://tmsnrt.rs/2tbgwT1) The findings underscore the challenges for gun safety advocates who, even after a banner legislative and electoral year in 2018, continue to push against the perception that the gun lobby commands the debate. Gun control laws have been passed in 20 states since the Parkland shooting, according to Everytown for Gun Safety, a group founded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Gun control advocates also outspent the National Rifle Association during last year's congressional elections, and 150 of the 196 candidates Everytown endorsed won their races for state and federal offices. Shannon Watts, who founded Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America after the 2012 elementary school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, said it has taken years to build a community of activists capable of taking on the NRA. After an effort to overhaul gun laws failed in 2013, Watts continued to recruit volunteers and aligned her organization with Everytown to build a network that now has a chapter in every state. “You cannot underestimate the significance of hundreds of thousands of volunteers telling their lawmaker you have to do the right thing,” Watts said. “We tell them that when you do we’ll have your back, and when you don’t we'll have your job.” Watts and others are taking advantage of a drop in activity among gun rights advocates, who have been operating with less urgency now that they have an ally in the White House. The NRA concedes that fundraising has fallen since Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton in November 2016 but said gun control groups were overplaying their hand with some of their agenda. “There's less to do because we've been so successful over the years," NRA spokeswoman Jennifer Baker said. “We continue to defeat gun control legislation across the country while passing gun rights legislation.” BIPARTISAN SUPPORT FOR GUN CONTROL The poll found rank-and-file Democrats and Republicans largely agree on a variety of gun-control measures, including a ban on internet sales of ammunition, stopping people with a history of mental illness from buying guns, placing armed guards at schools and expanding background checks at gun shows. Among parents with school-age children, 65 percent said they were somewhat or very worried about gun violence in schools, and a majority of those parents were supportive of efforts intended to beef up school security. Sixty-one percent of parents said they favored publicly funding firearms training for teachers and school personnel, and 54 percent said they approved of allowing school personnel to carry guns. Irfan Rydhan, 44, of San Jose, California, favors strong firearms restrictions but said he did not seriously think about gun control until earlier this year when he enrolled his 6-year-old in kindergarten. “Obviously there’s a lot of anxiety that comes with dropping your kid off at public school, and there’s no one really watching him all the time,” said Rydhan, a poll respondent. “It makes you want to be more proactive about his safety.” The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online in English between Jan. 11 and Jan. 28 throughout the United States. It gathered responses from 6,813 adults, including 2,701 who identified as Democrats and 2,359 who identified as Republicans. It has a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of plus or minus 2 percentage points. (Reporting by Chris Kahn; Additional reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Tom Brown)
The government will bring some "vulnerable" Australians home after its travel ban ends next week.
- The Daily Beast
Fox NewsIn what has become a commonplace occurrence these days, Fox News host Tucker Carlson addressed a controversy purely of his own making on Thursday night, this time regarding his dangerous and sloppy suggestion that dozens of Americans a day are dying from the coronavirus vaccines.How did he explain away the highly misleading and disingenuous speculation? Well, by blaming it all on President Joe Biden, of course.Carlson, who has increasingly sought to cast doubt on the efficacy and safety of the highly effective vaccines, took his vaccine skepticism to new heights on Wednesday night when he cited a faulty open-sourced database dubbed a “a breeding ground for misinformation” to suggest that thousands of Americans have died from the shots.“Between late December of 2020 and last month, a total of 3,362 people apparently died after getting the COVID vaccine in the United States,” Carlson exclaimed, citing the Center for Disease Control’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. “That is an average of roughly 30 people every day. So, what does that add up to? By the way, that reporting period ended on April 23, and we don’t have numbers past that.”While acknowledging that there’s been criticism of the VAERS database’s numbers and insisting he believes “vaccines aren’t dangerous,” Carlson still spent 15 minutes speculating that the federally authorized COVID-19 vaccines are leading to an untold number of deaths.“The actual number is almost certainly higher than [30 people every day], perhaps vastly higher than that,” he said at one point.Of course, Carlson never once noted that the CDC itself had analyzed the reports of deaths submitted to VAERS—which is nothing more than open-access data—and offered the following conclusion: “A review of available clinical information, including death certificates, autopsy, and medical records has not established a causal link to COVID-19 vaccines.”Following a 24-hour period in which he was roundly criticized and fact-checked—including from his own Fox colleagues—Carlson issued his rebuttal. And he wanted his critics to know he was “just asking questions.” Oh, and it’s also Biden’s fault.“We looked up the numbers the Biden administration has gathered on vaccine safety. Then last night, we boldly read those numbers on television—the Biden numbers,” Carlson began with a mocking tone.“As we did that, we noted the administration’s reporting system for injuries—it’s called VAERS—has been credibly accused of being inaccurate,” he added. “We also noted that very same system has been used for a long time.”Once again insisting that “more deaths have been connected to the new COVID vaccines over the past four months than all previous vaccines combined” in recent years—again, something the CDC has thoroughly knocked down—Carlson claimed he was just seeking answers.“Very same system, very different results,” he said, adding: “How does this happen? So what is that explanation? We still don’t know. Instead of answering that simple and important question, the usual chorus of partisans started screaming and calling for censorship!”After mocking his critics for telling him the VAERS numbers are untrustworthy, he wanted to know why “hasn’t the Biden administration fixed its reporting system” and “what are the real numbers.”Carlson, meanwhile, ended the segment by flipping the indignation over his reckless speculation back onto his critics, insisting they are actually the ones who are doing harm to the public.“It’s fair to ask how much harm this medicine causes. No one has told us,” he declared. “Their position is, you don’t need to know the rate of injury! That doesn’t matter. Anyone who asks about harm is immoral. That’s what they’re arguing. If you ever find yourself arguing that, you will know for certain you have lost the thread. You are no longer arguing for public health. You’re doing something else entirely.”Carlson, of course, could just read the disclaimers when searching the database to realize that it’s not a typical government data source and the numbers don’t reflect direct causation.“Reports may include incomplete, inaccurate, coincidental and unverified information,” one disclaimer reads, while another warns: “The number of reports alone cannot be interpreted or used to reach conclusions about the existence, severity, frequency, or rates of problems associated with vaccines.”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.
- The Week
Dr. Rajendra Kapila, an infectious disease expert and professor at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, died of COVID-19 last month while in India. Kapila, 81, died on April 28, three weeks after testing positive for COVID-19, ABC News reports. India is the world's biggest COVID-19 hotspot, and Kapila went to the country to help care for relatives, his ex-wife, Dr. Bina Kapila, told WABC. She said he only planned on staying in India for a short period of time. In a statement, Rutgers called Kapila a "genuine giant in the field of infectious diseases" who was "recognized worldwide and sought out for his legendary knowledge and extraordinary clinical acumen in diagnosing and treating the most complex infectious diseases." Kapila founded Rutgers' Division of Infectious Diseases, was a founding member of the New Jersey Infectious Disease Society, and "provided care to tens of thousands of patients and trained numerous generations of medical students, residents, and fellows," Rutgers said. His wife, Dr. Deepti Saxena-Kapila, said her husband was fully vaccinated before traveling to India; while it is extremely rare for a vaccinated person to die of COVID-19, most who have died had underlying health conditions and were older, ABC News reports. Kapila's ex-wife told WABC he had heart issues and diabetes. More stories from theweek.comHouse GOP leader Kevin McCarthy apparently pays $1,500 to live in a 12-bedroom, 16-bath penthouseThe insurrectionists are winningElise Stefanik tells Steve Bannon in 2022, Republicans need Trump and 'his coalition of voters'
- The Independent
‘It is ironic that we came to India for two weeks and he contracted it here,’ Dr Rajendra Kapila’s widow says
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Thursday there was no plan at this point to shoot down the remnants of a large Chinese rocket expected to plunge back through the atmosphere this weekend. The Long March 5B rocket blasted off from China's Hainan island on April 29, carrying the Tianhe module, which contains what will become living quarters for three crew members on a permanent Chinese space station. The Global Times, a Chinese tabloid published by the official People's Daily, characterized reports that the rocket is "out of control" and could cause damage as "Western hype."
Raffaele Esposito, the 19th century Neapolitan credited with inventing Italy's most famous type of pizza, may be turning in his grave: Rome has a new vending machine which slides out freshly cooked pizzas in just three minutes. "It looks good but it is much smaller than in a restaurant and there is less topping," said Claudio Zampiga, a pensioner. People have been eating forms of flat bread with toppings for millennia, but it is generally accepted that pizza was perfected in Naples, where it was a street food for the poor.
- Business Insider
Mitch McConnell's alma mater rejects his views on the 1619 Project and says they are 'quite troubling'
"To imply that slavery is not an important part" of US history "fails to provide a true representation of the facts," a university official said.
- Business Insider
Melinda Gates was upset and uncomfortable after she and Bill Gates met with Jeffrey Epstein, The Daily Beast reports
Sources told The Daily Beast that Bill Gates' relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein "still haunts" Melinda.
DeGeneres shut down speculation that she was living with the "Friends" star because of "marital troubles."
- Associated Press
Qatar's finance minister was being questioned over alleged abuse of power and misuse of public funds in the energy-rich state after the attorney general ordered him arrested, state-run media reported Thursday. The detention of Ali Sharif al-Emadi is a rare move that analysts said could herald a larger campaign to increase transparency and root out graft in the sheikhdom. The Qatar News Agency said the attorney general had ordered al-Emadi detained but did not provide other details about the graft case involving the minister, who has held the post since 2013.
- The Independent
‘I’m a vet ... f*** you all!’: Capitol riot suspect screams at judge and disconnects call during wild hearing, report says
Attempts to mute defendant were unsuccessful and he may face competency hearing and detention
LONDON (Reuters) -U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the West had to be very careful about the exact nature of Chinese investment in Western economies and think very carefully about investments in strategic assets. China's spectacular economic and military rise over the past 40 years is among the most significant geopolitical events of recent history, alongside the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union that ended the Cold War. The West has struggled to come up with an agreed policy on China and has flipflopped over the years from seeing China as a lucrative source of investment - for example in U.S. government bonds - to seeing China as a threat to global stability and avoiding its 5G technology.
- Business Insider
Democrats renew calls to end the filibuster after McConnell said he's '100%' focused on stopping Biden
"Anyone expecting a return to some bygone era of bipartisanship isn't acknowledging the reality that we are in," Democratic Sen. Alex Padilla said.
- Associated Press
Rep. Elise Stefanik stated her case Thursday for replacing Rep. Liz Cheney as the No. 3 House Republican leader, implicitly lambasting Cheney's battles with former President Donald Trump by saying, “We are one team and that means working with the president." The remarks by Stefanik, R-N.Y., a one-time moderate who's evolved into an ardent Trump champion, came as Cheney seems likely to be tossed from her leadership post next week. Cheney, R-Wyo., has repeatedly rejected Trump's false insistence that he lost the 2020 election because of widespread fraud, and has blamed him for inflaming followers who assaulted the Capitol on Jan. 6.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Thursday the process of removing all contractors from Afghanistan working with the United States was under way as part of President Joe Biden's withdrawal of forces from the country. The remarks are the clearest indication yet that Biden's April order to withdraw all U.S. forces from Afghanistan by Sept. 11 extended to U.S.-funded contractors. Asked whether the Pentagon had issued orders to withdraw not just American troops but also contractors, Austin said: "We're going to responsibly retrograde all of our capabilities that we are responsible for and the contractors fall in that realm as well."
He was abducted as a child by Uganda's LRA rebels, turning into one of its most ruthless fighters.
The airline group says there is a "high level" of pent-up demand from passengers.
- The Week
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is extremely effective against two dangerous variants of the coronavirus, the B.1.1.7 strain first found in the United Kingdom and the B.1.351 variant discovered in South Africa, researchers reported Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet. Moderna also reported Wednesday that, according to early results from its booster shot trial, a third dose of its vaccine given six to eight months after the first two doses boosted antibodies to protect against the South African B.1.351 variant and other worrisome strain found in Brazil. Moderna is testing its original vaccine and a version modified to target the B.1.351 variant. The new variants are more transmissible than the original strain and, some studies suggest, deadlier. The New England Journal of Medicine study examined records of more than 200,000 people from Qatar's COVID-19 database. The Pfizer vaccine was 87 to 89.5 percent effective at preventing infection from the B.1.1.7 variant among people two weeks past their second shot, 72.1 to 75 percent effective against the B.1.351 variant, and 100 percent effective at preventing severe, critical, or fatal cases of either variant, the researchers found. The study in The Lancet was based on more than 230,000 cases from Israel. It found that the Pfizer vaccine was more than 95 percent effective against infection, hospitalization, or death in fully vaccinated people 16 and older, and 94 percent effective in people 85 and older. The vaccine efficacy numbers aren't self-evident, but Brains On!, a science podcast for kids, has a short, entertaining, and pretty effective explanation using defecating seagulls. You can watch that below. More stories from theweek.comHouse GOP leader Kevin McCarthy apparently pays $1,500 to live in a 12-bedroom, 16-bath penthouseThe insurrectionists are winningElise Stefanik tells Steve Bannon in 2022, Republicans need Trump and 'his coalition of voters'
- The Daily Beast
Drew AngererWhat remains of Bill Barr’s sullied reputation was blown up when federal district Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that the government must turn over the memorandum, which the public has yet to fully see and that the Justice Department relied upon in declining to prosecute the 45th president.Not only was Barr being personally “disingenuous” by announcing his decision before the Mueller report was released and pretending he used the report to reach a conclusion instead of simply announcing the one he’d come to before the special counsel’s work had even finished his work, she wrote, “but DOJ has been disingenuous to this Court.”“The fact that (Trump) would not be prosecuted was a given,” the judge wrote. In reality, it was a given from the moment Barr was appointed by Trump, as the past inevitably became prelude given his first stint as attorney general under George H.W. Bush. Back then, DOJ resisted efforts to get to the bottom of U.S. government-backed financing of Iraq in the run-up to Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait.Mueller Report Has a Hidden Message for BarrPressed by House Democrats to appoint an independent counsel, Barr refused, while insisting it was “not a crime,” “simply not criminal in any way,” “nothing illegal.” What he meant was that oversight was for Democratic presidents only.In 2019, Barr stonewalled then Sen. Kamala Harris when she asked him whether Donald Trump or anyone at the White House had inquired or urged that he open an investigation into anyone. Think of Barr as an updated version of Roy Cohn, an earlier Trump lawyer. Both men attended Horace Mann, the swank private school in the Riverdale section of New York City, and Columbia University. As with Cohn, things are not ending well for Barr. For the record, Judge Jackson’s recent opinion was not written on a blank slate. Judge Reggie Walton, a George W. Bush appointee, had already blasted Barr’s allergy to the truth. In a March 2020 decision in a related case, the judge “seriously” questioned Barr’s integrity and credibility, and deployed words like “distorted” and “misleading” to make his point.He also observed that it appeared that Barr had “made a calculated attempt to influence public discourse about the Mueller Report in favor of President Trump despite certain findings in the redacted version of the Mueller Report to the contrary.”DOJ is not a public relations shop. Likewise, the department’s client is the U.S., not the occupant of the Oval Office. The imperial presidency is supposed to have limits.Barr’s reputation also stands to be tarnished by his efforts to put his thumb on the scale in connection with the sentencing of a since-pardoned Roger Stone and the Mike Flynn debacle. Like Stone, Flynn too received a Trump pardon. But along the way, Barr’s handling of Flynn’s case raised eyebrows from the bench.Specifically, Judge Emmet Sullivan hammered Barr while dismissing, at the DOJ’s request, its own case against Flynn after he had pleaded guilty. Sullivan observed, “In view of the government’s previous argument in this case that Mr. Flynn’s false statements were ‘absolutely material’ because his false statements ‘went to the heart’ of the FBI’s investigation, the government’s about-face, without explanation, raises concerns about the regularity of its decision-making process.”“Raises concerns”? Talk about understatement.By the end of Trump’s term, Flynn would call for the imposition of martial law. Meanwhile, Flynn’s brother, Charles Flynn, another general, was on duty during the insurrection. To top it all off, Flynn’s lawyer, Sidney Powell, would emerge as a grim punchline in attempting to “release the Kraken” to try and push through Trump’s Big Lie.As for the Flynn pardon, it happened on Barr’s watch, on November 25, 2020, more than two weeks before Barr quit. And here too, Barr’s past is relevant.After Bush 41 lost to Bill Clinton, Barr successfully pushed for pardons for Caspar Weinberger, Ronald Reagan’s defense secretary, and others in connection with the Iran-Contra scandal. “I favored the broadest pardon authority,” Barr explained. There were some people just arguing just for Weinberger. I said, ‘No–in for a penny, in for a pound.’”To his credit, Barr resisted Trump’s entreaties to find fraud with the election where none existed and, when he finally quit, the outgoing AG took a swipe at Trump and his efforts to undo the election results, and tried to suggest there was still some regularity to DOJ’s decision-making process by declaring that “it is incumbent on all levels of government, and all agencies acting within their purview, to do all we can to assure the integrity of elections and promote public confidence in their outcome.”Much too little, too late. Meanwhile, AG Merrick Garland has until May 17 to appeal Judge Jackson’s ruling. If he does not, the full memo that Barr used when he was the attorney general to justify the fix that was already in will immediately become public—and the fixer’s reputation will take one more hard hit as his successor begins the hard work of restoring integrity and public confidence in a battered Justice Department.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.
- Business Insider
Netflix's Mark Millar plans to build a streaming superhero universe starting with 'Jupiter's Legacy,' after inspiring some of Marvel's biggest stories
Comic writer and Millarworld president Mark Millar talked to Insider about Netflix's purchase of his company and its first series, "Jupiter's Legacy."