ARL called over 5-foot reptile that turned out to be a toy
- 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.
- Business Insider
After his released from jail on reckless-driving charges, Instagram wealth troll Param Sharma arrived for an interview in the back seat of a Tesla.
- Business Insider
Mark Zuckerberg turns 37 on Friday. Here's a look into the life, career, and controversies surrounding the billionaire Facebook CEO.
Through success and controversy, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been regarded as one of the most brilliant minds of his generation.
- Yahoo News 360
Conspiracies about the 2020 election have become a litmus test for Republican lawmakers. Will the power of the "Big Lie" diminish over time or will it only grow stronger?
- Associated Press
Penpa Tsering, the former speaker of Tibet's parliament-in-exile, has been elected the new president of the exile government, the election commissioner announced Friday. Nearly 64,000 Tibetans living in exile in India, Nepal, North America, Europe, Australia and elsewhere voted in the election, which was held in two rounds in January and April. It was the third direct election of the Tibetan exile leadership since the Dalai Lama withdrew from any political role in the running of the exile government in 2011.
- The Independent
South Carolina driver ‘completely flips’ car carrying extra fuel, causing vehicle to burst into flames and forcing officer to push burning woman to ground to extinguish flames
- Business Insider
Just 45% of House Republicans say they've been vaccinated while 100% of congressional Democrats say they've gotten the shot
Opposition to the COVID-19 vaccines is widespread among Republicans and is hindering the US's efforts achieve herd immunity.
11 of the most expensive and exclusive golf clubs on the planet - including the one where Bill Gates is hiding during his divorce
The top golf courses in the world are secretive about what it costs to become a member. If you have to ask, you'll never know.
- Business Insider
Delaying a 2nd dose of Pfizer's vaccine by 9 weeks could boost antibodies to the virus, data suggests
Pfizer recommends three weeks between shots. The study compared a three-week gap to a 12-week gap, and found the second group made more antibodies.
The City of Columbus and attorney Ben Crump announced the settlement with Hill's family on Friday. The ex-officer who shot Hill faces murder charges.
- The Daily Beast
REUTERSOn Tuesday, the For the People Act, democracy-reform legislation Democrats believe would expand voting access, saw a preview of its fate. The 900-page bill, dealing with everything from election administration to congressional ethics, was the subject of a full day of debate in a Senate committee with nearly 100 proposed amendments. A total of 10 passed, while the rest went down in flames on largely party-line votes. Its future on the Senate floor looks no better: It will be forced for consideration, debated for hours, and will still fail.Rather than squabbling over next steps or surrendering, however, the Democrats have a more realistic option that would solve election administrators’ need for funding and would boost the health of elections in a way that is truly for the people.How? By putting election funding into their infrastructure package.How This Voting Rights Bill Could Turn the Next Election Into a Clusterf*ckThe need for this alternative strategy is obvious. S1, the Senate’s version of HR1, faces a bleak path: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) can now force the bill to the floor as part of his power-sharing agreement with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Once there, they will have an easier time amending the bill in ways that failed in committee, because Vice President Kamala Harris can break ties. But, there’s no guarantee Harris will be able to serve that role. There aren’t 50 Democrats on board with this bill, and Joe Manchin (D-W.V) — the most powerful man in the senate — is, I’m told by staffers, carrying water for a small handful of other Democrats who do not want this bill to pass but are keeping quiet for fear of being punished by leadership. While the Democratic Party is attempting to sell this bill as supported by a unified front, it is very clearly not. And even if it were, they will still need 10 Republicans or filibuster reform, both of which appear unlikely.The For the People Act may be dead on arrival, but election funding does not have to be. While Republicans assail the infrastructure package, niggling with what “infrastructure” really means anyway, no one could feasibly argue that elections are not infrastructure — federal policy designates it, along with power and water, as “critical infrastructure.”This idea was initially pitched by the Center for Tech and Civic Life — which in 2020 carried out the largest private grant program to elections officials in U.S. history. Unlike the For the People Act, this plan was written in direct coordination with hundreds of bipartisan elections officials, who have, for years, been begging for consistent federal funding. Routing funds through the infrastructure plan provides Congress a real ability to equip local officials to give voters the elections they deserve.“We’ve heard that robust, consistent funding is the most critical need election departments have today, and the lack of adequate, predictable funding is perhaps the greatest barrier election officials face in doing their best work,” they wrote in a statement announcing the initiative. This is because Congress has funded elections as a secondary thought for years, infusing millions of dollars in reaction to crises: after the hanging chad debacle in 2000, after the cybersecurity failures of 2016, and during the pandemic of 2020. There has never been an effort to consistently fund elections offices such that they can plan ahead for necessary improvements.A predictable disbursement of cash to local officials — even with clear parameters for policy priorities — would allow states like Louisiana, which needs machines right now, to buy them. But it would also allow states like Georgia, which just invested millions into new machines, to bank money away for when they will need to upgrade their machines in eight to 10 years. Democrats are serious about their desire for automatic voter registration, updating machines and upgrading physical and digital security. All of these things can be provided for in the infrastructure bill, by offering specific funding for specific plans. This process will not allow Democrats to be as prescriptive in their policymaking, that’s true, but it will become much easier to get Republicans on board — many of whom already live in and represent states with existing automatic voter registration procedures or more stringent security protocols. The money could be specifically allocated to additional polling locations, or to incentivize states to adopt paper-backed machines and begin to do rigorous auditing — all things with at least some bipartisan consensus.That elections were left out of the infrastructure package to begin with, for many local election officials, is a head scratcher.“Elections are clearly infrastructure,” Tiana Epps-Johnson, who heads CTCL, told me. “In order for our elections to improve, they need the funding to plan into the future. This would allow for that.”In contrast, the For the People Act, as evidenced by the debacle of a committee markup, will not.Even internally, Democratic staffers on the various committees responsible for the drafting of the bill acknowledged that it began as a messaging bill while they were in the minority. It was introduced in 2019 as a priority, but because Democrats did not yet hold the majority in the Senate, it was meant to send a signal only. It was introduced again in the House as HR 1 in 2021 to demonstrate their emphasis on voting rights. The bill was then introduced in the newly Democratic-controlled Senate, with almost none of the changes demanded by elections officials, who, as I previously reported, harbored deep reservations about how they could realistically carry out these reforms. Never fear, Democrats said, they would work out the changes in committee.In the committee markup session, Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) introduced a manager's amendment addressing the feasibility of the massive election policy changes in the bill. These tweaks to loosen deadlines and add waivers to the mandates were welcomed by election administrators, who saw them as the first step of a good-faith effort to make the bill workable.“They really did listen to election officials’ concerns,” said one former local official, now active in these negotiations. “I don’t believe they wanted to pass a bill that has unintended consequences, but one that ensures all eligible voters have the same opportunities to successfully participate.”But Klobuchar’s amendment failed, dashing their hopes again. Both Schumer and McConnell showed up to this markup session, a rare event for Senate leadership, demonstrating how important both parties believe the issue to be. But while Republicans present as a solid bulwark against the bill, Democrats are arguing amongst themselves as to strategy and the contents of the bill.If Democrats cannot get a basic amendment addressing basic feasibility concerns passed through a committee they control, it seems their success on the floor isn’t as high as they might claim in public statements. It’s a strategy that’s difficult for local elections officials to digest: Democrats have strapped all of their hopes on voting rights to a single bill that their own party cannot come to a consensus on, and what little funding is made available to elections officials will go down with that ship. Meanwhile, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act — which Manchin has signaled he supports and may well get a small amount of Republican buy in — has been left ignored.Including elections — an obviously critical piece of American infrastructure — in the infrastructure package gives Democrats and interested Republicans a clear opportunity to at least begin to fix the problems that plague our system, even if they cannot fix all of them at once.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 Independent
‘Do Palestinians have a right to survive?’ AOC makes impassioned speech against Biden policy on Israel crisis
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said that the United States ‘must acknowledge its role in the injustice and human rights violations of Palestinians’
- 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.
- Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Cornyn won’t vote for the Biden’s nominee unless the waiver is granted
- 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
Mario Draghi, who draws at least two generous state pensions and owns or part-owns around 10 houses, has said he will not receive any salary for his job as Italy's prime minister. Italian politicians are obliged to publish their tax returns and Draghi took advantage of the occasion to announce that he was giving up the gross salary of around 110,000 euros that he had a right to as premier. Draghi's 2020 tax return, published late on Wednesday, showed he received gross income of 583,470 euros in 2019.
- 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.
HONG KONG (Reuters) -Hong Kong authorities on Friday froze assets belonging to jailed media tycoon Jimmy Lai, including all shares in his company, Next Digital - the first time a listed firm has been targeted by national security laws in the financial hub. Also among assets targeted were the local bank accounts of three companies owned by him, Hong Kong's Secretary for Security John Lee said in a government statement. The statement, issued after the market close, said Lee had issued notices "in writing to freeze all the shares of Next Digital Limited held by (Jimmy) Lai Chee-ying, and the property in the local bank accounts of three companies owned by him".
The six-time Oscar-nominated actress is known for "Enchanted" and "Arrival," but here's how all 37 of her films stack up, according to critics.
- Business Insider
Former White House counsel Don McGahn has agreed to a closed-door interview with lawmakers on Trump's alleged attempts to block the Russia investigation
The House Judiciary Committee said it had reached an agreement with McGahn for him to do a private but transcribed interview.