Here's the latest for Tuesday, May 4th: Fatal elevated train collapse in Mexico City; Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine could be approved for children ages 12-15; Biden expands US refugee limit; Texas storms flip trucks.
- Business Insider
Earth's stratosphere has been shrinking for 40 years. That could one day screw with orbiting satellites.
The stratosphere - the layer of Earth's atmosphere between 7.5 and 31 miles up - is shrinking due to greenhouse-gas emissions, a new study found.
- The Daily Beast
Samuel Rajkumar/ReutersNEW DELHI—With India ravaged by an unprecedented second wave of the COVID-19 virus—and its health-care system on its knees—some public health and former military officials are voicing outrage over the government’s apparent refusal to use the full force of the army to assist with the crisis.“The army is not being utilized to the fullest extent,” even though it has “tremendous capacities” to ease the current disaster, Deependra Singh Hooda, former chief of the Indian army’s strategic northern command, told The Daily Beast.For weeks experts have been pleading with the government, urging it to rope in the military to help with a health crisis never before seen in India’s modern history.Earlier this month, the deputy chief minister of the country’s capital, Delhi—which is facing the worst COVID situation in India—asked the defense minister to lend the services of the armed forces to help it set up and run COVID-19 health facilities. But the request was turned down, even after the local government reached out to Delhi’s high court, which claimed that Indian forces were stretched.Why Biden’s Push for Vaccine Patent Waivers Won’t Save IndiaWhile the army has set up a few hospitals and provided limited supplies of oxygen, most forces remain uninvolved even as the country’s health-care system is on the brink of collapse. India’s armed forces have around 13,000 officers who are medical professionals and an additional 100,000 medical support staff, whose expertise could save countless lives.“We are going through an emergency situation. The network and infrastructure of the armed forces need to be leveraged,” public health expert Anant Bhan told The Daily Beast. “It will minimize the loss of life.”The demand is being echoed after the top U.S. public health official, Dr. Anthony Fauci, suggested last week that India should marshal all of its resources, including the armed forces, to handle the situation.For India, the army may be the last resort. On Wednesday, 4,205 Indians died of the virus, and 348,421 tested positive for COVID, pushing the total number of confirmed cases so far in the country to 2.5 million. The total death count climbed to 25,8351—which experts say is a massive undercount. Hospitals in the country have been running at capacity for weeks, and hundreds of people have died because they did not get oxygen in time.The downward spiral is showing no signs of plateauing anytime soon, with new variants toting up the intensity of India’s second wave, and the prospect of a third wave that is likely to follow. The virus is also rapidly engulfing India’s rural areas—home to 65 percent of the country's population—where health-care systems are even worse than in the already overwhelmed cities.Mass Grave Dug on Banks of Ganges for 100 Possible COVID Victims Found Floating Down River“This is the first time we have gotten into a situation like this,” General Ved Prakash Malik, former Indian army chief, told The Daily Beast. “There is scope for the civil administration to use the services of armed forces. Other than the medical services, engineering services can be utilized to set up quick infrastructure.”Even though most of India’s population is still struggling to get a first dose, India’s 1.5 million armed personnel were first to be vaccinated. This is one of the reasons why experts are pressing the demand that their services should be utilized quickly.“The army is trained to deal with such situations,” said General Hooda, “We have seen in the past, whenever there has been a crisis, you call the army to [help]. Not only are they trained, but they are very well equipped to handle the crisis.”Hooda says that the focus of the government has been mostly on utilizing the health services of the armed forces, but there’s much more it could do. “The army has tremendous engineering skills to build infrastructure,” he said. “If you need to build infrastructure, like hospitals, and other medical facilities in rural areas, the army can do it as quickly as possible.”Experts also blame the lack of coordination amongst civil authorities for worsening the crisis in the country, and say that it has created tremendous panic and stress among the public. One of the key areas, which most of the health officials and former military commanders agree on, is the need for a centralized communication system so that essential medical supplies are transported and utilized efficiently.“For communications, the army can set up war rooms and certain expertise of the commanders who manage these war rooms can help immensely,” said General Malik, who was head of the Indian army during the war with Pakistan in 1999.General Hooda agrees.“Some emergency links can be set up with a dedicated emergency centre… we have the Indian-wide Movement Control Organisation (MCO), which is used in wars to mobilize and track the military,” said Hooda, adding that that MCO could be utilized to keep track of essential resources like oxygen tankers. Besides engineering and communications, a large fleet of armed forces could also be employed for the transportation of medical supplies.“The armed forces have the capacity to create 100 field hospitals with 100 beds each,” Harcharanjit Singh Panag, a former lieutenant in Indian army, wrote for The Print. “With the help of private doctors, medical students and additional medical equipment, many more temporary facilities can be made operational in a short span of time. It is these resources which can be superimposed on the civilian hospitals to take on the overload.”Some believe that India is not using the services of the military because it would be an embarrassment for the civil government—an acknowledgment that they haven’t been able to handle the situation. Another reason cited is tensions at India’s borders with China and Pakistan, making authorities reluctant to transfer troops stationed there.A Right-Wing Demagogue Is Letting COVID Ravage His People“If the army is brought in it would be somewhat of an admission that [the civilian government] is not able to do this,” General Hooda said. “Second is, there is also talk that we need force preservation [at our] borders.”Last year, the Indian army cancelled its border exercise in Ladakh due to the first wave of the novel coronavirus. But around the same time, violent skirmishes took place when Chinese troops reportedly intruded into Indian land. Both countries reinforced their positions with tens of thousands of troops, and an altercation ensued, killing 20 Indians and an unknown number of Chinese nationals.Given the intensity of the crisis, it’s clear to much of India that there is no other option but to bring in the armed forces if the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to quickly take control of the situation.“The fact is, when you are facing a sort of national emergency, this idea of force preservation needs to be put on the backburner, ” Hooda said. “Once the army comes in, if nothing else, it could bring some degree of hope for people.”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
Biden told staff not to serve leafy greens because he didn't want to be photographed with leaves in his teeth, report says
The New York Times also reported President Biden's preferred drink is the controversial Orange Gatorade.
- The Daily Beast
Chaffee County Sheriff’s OfficeFive months after Suzanne Morphew vanished without a trace while out on a bike ride last Mother’s Day, the Chaffee County Clerk’s Office in Colorado received a bizarre notification: a mail-in ballot for the 2020 election had been submitted under her name.When a Chaffee County sergeant went to the clerk’s office to check out the ballot, he saw that it had been handwritten and dated Oct. 15, 2020—and included the signature of her husband, Barry Lee Morphew, on the witness line.But according to an arrest affidavit obtained by The Daily Beast, authorities did not question the 53-year-old dad about his alleged voter fraud until April 22, just days before he was charged with first-degree murder and a slew of other crimes in connection with his wife’s disappearance.“I wanted Trump… to win,” Morphew told FBI agents when questioned about submitting his wife’s voting ballot. “I just thought, give him… another vote. I figured all these other guys are cheating.”‘A Terrible Thing’: Husband of Colorado Mom Who Vanished on Mother’s Day Charged With MurderMorphew added that he knew his wife “was going to vote for Trump anyway” and insisted he didn’t know you couldn’t vote on behalf of “your spouse.” Investigators also noted in the affidavit that Morphew submitted his own mail-in ballot at the same time.But authorities believe Morphew intentionally took advantage of his wife’s disappearance to ensure another vote for the former president. On Thursday night, prosecutors charged him with one felony count of forgery of public records and one misdemeanor count of elections-mail-ballot offense.While his bond was set at $1,000 for the new charges, Morphew is already being held without bail on the charges in connection with his wife’s May 10, 2020 disappearance. Investigators, however, have still not found the mother of two, and have thus kept Morphew’s arrest affidavit under seal since his May 5 arrest.The Chaffee County District Court is expected to unseal the affidavit as early as May 27 in a case that has garnered national attention and confounded investigators for months. Authorities began an investigation into Suzanne Morphew’s disappearance on May 10 after a neighbor reported she did not return home from a bike ride. For days, local and federal authorities conducted an exhaustive search over the 2.5-mile area near her Maysville, Colorado home. Police now believe that a “certain scenario” occurred near her home that resulted in the discovery of her bike—but not her body.How Cops Took Down an Alleged Tree-Trimming Serial Killer Mid-MurderOn May 17, Morphew, who was reportedly out of town the day his wife went missing, released a video pleading for her safe return alongside a social-media campaign to aid in the investigation. He also offered a $200,000 reward for information about her whereabouts.“Oh Suzanne, if anyone is out there that can hear this, that has you, please, we’ll do whatever it takes to bring you back. We love you. We miss you. The girls need you. No questions asked. However much they want, I will do whatever it takes to get you back. Honey, I love you. I want you back so bad,” he said in the May video.Despite Morphew’s public pleas for his wife, questions began to surface about his possible role in her disappearance, including reports that he had scrubbed his Denver hotel room clean around the same time she went missing. Morphew, however, denied the claims.“People don’t know the truth, so they’re gonna think what they’re gonna think,” Morphew said in one rare August interview with Fox21 before insisting that unfair media coverage of his wife’s case made him out to be a villain.Morphew also slammed the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office during the interview, stating he believed the local authorities “screwed this whole [investigation] up from the beginning and now they are trying to cover it up and blame it on me.” A lawyer for Morphew did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment.Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet 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
Israel on Thursday said it was massing troops along the Gaza frontier and calling up 9,000 reservists ahead of a possible ground invasion of the Hamas-ruled territory, as the two bitter enemies plunged closer to all-out war. Egyptian mediators rushed to Israel for cease-fire efforts but showed no signs of progress. The stepped-up fighting came as communal violence in Israel erupted for a fourth night, with Jewish and Arab mobs clashing in the flashpoint town of Lod.
- Idaho Statesman
Regardless of your feelings about capital punishment, the state should avoid the expense and time of executing an already dying man, writes the editorial board.
- Business Insider
GOP Rep. Doug Lamborn let his son live in a storage unit in the US Capitol basement for weeks, lawsuit claims
The lawsuit from a former staffer alleges that Lamborn disregarded COVID-19 safety protocols and made staff perform personal errands for his family.
Canada on Thursday condemned Tehran's "unconscionable" conduct since Iranian forces shot down an airliner last year, killing 176 people, including dozens of Canadians, and vowed to keep pressing for answers as to what really happened. The comments by Foreign Minister Marc Garneau were among the strongest Ottawa has made about the January 2020 disaster. "The behavior of the Iranian government has been frankly unconscionable in this past 15 months and we are going to continue to pursue them so we have accountability," Garneau told a committee of legislators examining what occurred.
MOSCOW (Reuters) -President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that neighbouring Ukraine was becoming 'anti-Russia' and that Moscow would be ready to react to what he said were threats to its own security. Putin was speaking a day after a Ukrainian court placed Viktor Medvedchuk, a prominent pro-Russian politician who says Putin is godfather to his daughter, under house arrest. Medvedchuk, who has promoted closer ties with Moscow and acted as an intermediary between Moscow and Kyiv in the past, is being investigated over treason allegations he calls politically-motivated.
- Reuters Videos
Speaking at a conference on Italy's derth of babies, Pope Francis said polls showed most young people wanted to have children, but were worried about the rising cost."Their dreams of a new life, the seeds of the country's rebirth, come up against a demographic winter that is cold and dark," the pope said."For the future to be good, we need to look after families, especially young families, who are beset by worries that risk paralysing their life plans. I am thinking of the fears caused by the increasingly unaffordable costs of raising children.The sharp fall in 2020 in the number of babies born in many countries has been blamed on the stress and uncertainty generated by COVID. But the longer-term fertility trends across much of the developed world has been in decline for some years.The pope also took aim at young people, saying some role models set the wrong example by being obsessed over their appearance and not being willing to make the sacrifices needed to raise a family."Staying young does not come from taking selfies and touch-ups, but from being able to look into the eyes of your children one day," he said.
- Yahoo News
A new Yahoo News/YouGov poll found that only 17 percent of Republicans thought Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., should have stayed in a leadership position in the House GOP, which stripped her of the post this week.
- Business Insider
The latest announcement marks the next step in the return to normal and a huge win for COVID-19 vaccines.
- The Independent
Alleged serial killer arrested as he attempted to hack his way back into motorhome of man he stabbed in neck and wrist
A bride wore a sheer, sparkly dress with a dramatic slit to her intimate destination wedding in Tulum
Thainá Bak wore a sparkly, see-through Muse by Berta wedding dress with a thigh-high slit to her intimate nuptials in Tulum, Mexico.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) -The long-awaited "Friends" cast reunion will be broadcast on May 27 and will feature a slew of celebrity guests including Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, and K-Pop band BTS, streaming service HB0 Max said on Thursday. "Friends: The Reunion," featuring all six of the original cast, was originally supposed to have been filmed more than a year ago but was repeatedly delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. The unscripted, one-off special was filmed earlier this year on the same sound stage in Los Angeles as the original comedy about six young 20-somethings, played by Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry, living in New York.
- The State
The Seacor Power lift boat capsized off the Louisiana coast in April.
A $40 million lawsuit against Kevin Spacey is set to be dismissed after the man who accused him of sexual assault refuses to identify himself
A federal judge ruled that because of the high-profile nature of the case, there was a legitimate public interest in the accuser's identity.
- The Independent
Rep Doug Lamborn ‘gave his son the necessary access to live in a storage area in the basement of the US Capitol,’ the lawsuit alleges
- Business Insider
Mixing COVID-19 vaccines - which is happening in some countries - linked to worse and more frequent side effects, study says
A study into vaccine-mixing - which is not policy in the US but is sometimes used in France, Germany, and the UK - found it was safe but unpleasant.
- LA Times
After an injury-riddled run and with playoff seeding on the line, the Lakers might have LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Dennis Schroder in lineup against Pacers.