AZAR WE WANT TO LOWER THE AMOUNT OF TRAVEL TO AND FROM THE AREAS MOST IMPACTED BY CORONAVIRUS
- The Week
Experts feared the Johnson & Johnson vaccine's slightly lower efficacy rate would lead to an impression of a two-tiered system. That has been exactly the case in Detroit, where the mayor just rejected a shipment of the company's vaccine. CNN reports that Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan (D) declined an allocation of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine this week, saying the other available vaccines are better. "Johnson & Johnson is a very good vaccine. Moderna and Pfizer are the best," he said. "And I am going to do everything I can to make sure the residents of the City of Detroit get the best." Stat News' Matthew Herper called this a "bad plan." It's true that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine trials showed a 72 percent efficacy rate, while Moderna and Pfizer, the two other approved coronavirus vaccines, have a rate of about 95 percent. But health experts say it's still an excellent option, and has other perks like only requiring a single shot and frequently leading to fewer side effects, reports The New York Times. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government's top infectious disease expert, said people shouldn't overthink which one to get, and explained the vaccines can't really be compared head-to-head because of different trial circumstances. Besides, experts note, the raw numbers don't show the full picture. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine prevented all hospitalizations and deaths in its large clinical trial, meaning the slightly lower efficacy rate really only points to mild to moderate disease. Detroit's mayor, however, said the city has been able to meet demand with just its supply of Pfizer and Moderna doses, but CNN notes Duggan's administration only expanded vaccine eligibility to residents ages 50 and older with chronic medical conditions on Thursday. Duggan said he would accept Johnson & Johnson doses later on if all other doses are distributed and there are remaining residents who want a vaccine. More stories from theweek.comWhy the Dr. Seuss 'cancellation' is chillingWhat Republicans talk about when they talk about the 'working class'7 scathingly funny cartoons about Trump's CPAC appearance
- Business Insider
Republicans are attacking Democrats by framing Biden's 'Neanderthal' comment like one of Trump's racist remarks
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted that Biden "should apologize for his insensitive comments and seek training on unconscious bias."
Preliminary data from a study conducted at the University of Oxford indicates that the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca PLC is effective against the P1, or Brazilian, variant, a source with knowledge of the study told Reuters on Friday. The data indicates that the vaccine will not need to be modified in order to protect against the variant, which is believed to have originated in the Amazonian city of Manaus, said the source, who requested anonymity as the results have not yet been made public. The source did not provide the exact efficacy of the vaccine against the variant.
- Associated Press
Rep. Eric Swalwell, who served as a House manager in Donald Trump’s last impeachment trial, filed a lawsuit Friday against the former president, his son, lawyer and a Republican congressman whose actions he charges led to January’s insurrection. The California Democrat’s suit, filed in federal court in Washington, alleges a conspiracy to violate civil rights, along with negligence, inciting a riot and inflicting emotional distress. It follows a similar suit filed by Rep. Bennie Thompson last month in an attempt to hold the former president accountable in some way for his actions Jan. 6, following his Senate acquittal.
- The Daily Beast
Rosa Woods - Pool/Getty ImagesMeghan Markle has said she was not allowed to make her own choices when she was a member of the royal family.The comments were made in a new preview clip from Oprah Winfrey’s eagerly-awaited interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, which dropped Friday morning on CBS This Morning.In the new clip, Meghan said that she had not been “allowed” to give an interview before.In the clip, Oprah told Meghan that she recalled calling her before her wedding and asking for an interview.Meghan said: “I recall that conversation very well. I wasn’t even allowed to have that conversation with you personally. Right? There had to be people from the [communications team] sitting there…”Oprah then said: “You turned me down nicely…What is right about this time?”Meghan replied: “Well, so many things. That we are on the other side of a lot of life experience that’s happened. And also that we have the ability to make our own choices in way that I couldn’t have said yes to you then. That wasn’t my choice to make. So, as an adult who lived a really independent life, to then go into this construct, that is, um, different, than I think what people imagine it to be, it’s really liberating to be able to have the right and the privilege in some ways to be able to say, ‘Yes, I am ready to talk.’ To say it for yourself…. To be able to just make a choice on your own, to be able to speak for yourself.”Meghan’s new comments appear to reiterate a frequent complaint of hers that she was denied her voice and agency when she was a member of the royal family.The new clip came as tensions between Meghan and Harry and Buckingham Palace boiled over into all-out war, with reports in the British media suggesting multiple witnesses were ready to come forward and give evidence to a hastily-announced inquiry into alleged bullying by Meghan of her staff at Buckingham Palace.Meghan’s friends responded to the bullying claims by launching a social media fightback against Buckingham Palace today calling her a “warm, kind, caring person.”In a previous clip Meghan accused the palace of “perpetuating falsehoods” about them.An emotional Meghan said: “I don’t know how they could expect that after all of this time we would still just be silent if there is an active role that The Firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us.”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
Jared Kushner is said to have distanced himself back from his father-in-law but is likely to return if Trump decides on a 2024 run, sources told CNN.
- Associated Press
Jake Virtanen scored twice, leading the Vancouver Canucks to a 3-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night in the opener of a two-game set. Bo Horvat also scored for Vancouver, providing a bit of a cushion with a goal midway through the third period. Pierre Engvall scored for the Maple Leafs off an assist from Ilya Mikheyev.
- Yahoo News Video
Former President Donald Trump intensified his war with the Republican establishment on Thursday by attacking Karl Rove, a longtime Republican strategist who criticized Trump's first speech since leaving office for being long on grievances but short on vision.
- The Week
Federico Klein, a former State Department aide who worked on former President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign, was arrested Thursday on charges related to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, the FBI announced Thursday night. This is the first known instance of a Trump appointee facing prosecution in connection with the attack, Politico reports. An FBI Washington Field Office spokeswoman told Politico that Klein, 42, was taken into custody in Virginia, but did not release any information on the charges against him. Federal Election Commission records show Klein worked as a tech analyst for the 2016 Trump campaign, Politico says, and after the election he was hired at the State Department. A federal directory from last summer lists Klein as a special assistant in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, making him a "Schedule C" political appointee, Politico reports. On Jan. 6, a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying President Biden's victory. Klein's mother, Cecilia, told Politico on Thursday night that he told her he was in Washington, D.C., on the day of the riot, and "as far as I know, he was on the Mall." She is a retired economist and trade official, and told Politico because of their different views, she rarely spoke about Trump or politics with her son. "Fred's politics burn a little hot," she said. "But I've never known him to violate the law." More stories from theweek.comWhy the Dr. Seuss 'cancellation' is chillingWhat Republicans talk about when they talk about the 'working class'7 scathingly funny cartoons about Trump's CPAC appearance
- LA Times
LeBron James made Giannis Antetokounmpo the first selection in the All-Star game draft, while Kevin Durant chose Nets teammate Kyrie Irving second.
- LA Times
The first photos of "Space Jam: New Legacy" starring Lakers star LeBron James were released on Thursday from Entertainment Weekly.
- The Telegraph
Rishi Sunak leaves door open to future stealth tax raid as National Insurance pledge left out of Budget
Rishi Sunak has left the door open to another stealth tax raid after a Conservative manifesto commitment to raise the national insurance contributions (NICS) threshold to £12,500 was left out of the Budget. On Wednesday the Chancellor confirmed that personal allowances on income tax, pensions, inheritance tax and capital gains tax would be frozen until 2026, netting the Treasury an additional £21bn as more people are dragged into higher tax rates over time. However, in the Budget Red Book, he has also kept open the option to change a number of NICs thresholds at future budgets, handing the Exchequer the ability to raise billions of pounds in additional revenues if required. In 2019, Boris Johnson told voters that his “ultimate ambition” was to raise the level at which people begin paying both national insurance and income tax to £12,500 - a move which would save taxpayers £500. Last year’s budget also confirmed that the national insurance primary threshold - over which employees’ earnings are taxed at 12 per cent - would rise to £9,500. It described this as “the first step in meeting the government’s ambition to increase these thresholds to £12,500.” Mr Sunak confirmed yesterday that the threshold would increase again to £9,568 from April, along with the upper rate, which will increase to £50,270 and then stay frozen until 2026, in line the personal income allowance. But the future level of the primary threshold has not been set, with the document stating only that it would with “all other NICs thresholds... be considered and set at future fiscal events”. The 102-page Red Book does not appear to mention the Government’s ambition to raise the threshold to £12,500 once. Approached for comment, a Treasury spokesman said raising the NICs threshold to £12,500 was still the Government’s “ultimate ambition”. However, they acknowledged that there was no timeline for doing this. The omission suggests that Mr Sunak has kept open the possibility of temporarily freezing the lower NICs thresholds, should he need to boost tax receipts again in future. This would see more people dragged into tax as wages rise, and is known as "fiscal drag." Mr Sunak has already chosen to freeze other personal allowances due to the limited revenue raising options available to him because of the manifesto pledge not to increase income tax, VAT or NICs during this Parliament
- Business Insider
Trump's fake inauguration on March 4 was QAnon's latest vision that flopped. A new date is now being peddled to perpetuate the mind games.
QAnon followers were expecting "the storm" on March 4. Unfazed by the failure, many are seeking redemption on a new day.
- Business Insider
Porsche just debuted a taller, more rugged Taycan EV with matching e-bikes - tour the $91,000 Cross Turismo
Porsche calls it a crossover, but we all know the 2021 Taycan Cross Turismo for what it is: an all-electric wagon. It also has matching e-bikes.
- Reuters Videos
"Bugger it. Pretty much what everyone else thought at that time. But you know, this is as the minister has said, these are, we are the Shaky Isles," Ardern said in response to a question from a journalist about dealing with a pandemic and an earthquake at the same time.Earlier on Friday, workers, students and residents in areas like Northland and Bay of Plenty, on the northern coast near Auckland, fled beachside towns for higher ground after the three quakes, striking in an eight-hour period, triggered blaring tsunami sirens and warnings to evacuate via text messages.Finally at around 3.45 p.m. (0245 GMT) the country's NEMA issued a cancellation of the tsunami warnings across the country, and evacuees left the higher grounds.
- The Daily Beast
JACK TAYLORThis story was produced in partnership with Coda Story.One month after Myanmar’s military seized power in a bloodless coup and declared a year-long state of emergency, daily protests continue to shake cities and towns across the country. Now, in addition to taking their anger to the streets, an underground movement of pro-democracy activists has unleashed a raft of new digital tools on the armed forces and police.Myanmar’s powerful military has long maintained a tight grip on the country’s finances by investing in a number of lucrative sectors, including mining, tobacco, garment manufacturing and banking.The Feb. 1 power grab, which ousted the elected government of leader Aung San Suu Kyi, has highlighted ties to a number of businesses. International and local companies with links to the security forces have come under growing pressure from activists who say the firms are complicit in war crimes committed by the armed forces.A recent Amnesty International investigation found that shareholders in a secretive business conglomerate called Myanma Economic Holdings Limited—which is linked to international businesses such as the Japanese drinks giant Kirin Holdings and INNO Group, a South Korean property developer—have received payments of up to $18 billion over 20 years.Last week, Kirin Holdings announced it would abandon its partnership with a brewery part-owned by military generals. In a statement, the company said it was “deeply concerned” by the recent actions of the military and would be “taking steps as a matter of urgency to put this termination into effect.”The focus on businesses connected to the military has spurred the release of new mobile apps from activists in Myanmar seeking to weaken the income of the now ruling junta. Last week, the Yangon-based company Genxyz launched an app titled Way Way Nay (Stay Away). It lists 250 companies, including financial institutions, retail concerns, construction firms, media outlets and health and beauty manufacturers with links to the military.Way Way Nay, which is available on both Google Play and Apple’s App Store, has been downloaded 70,000 times since its launch.In an interview, the app’s operations manager, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he was looking at adding another 450 businesses to the list. “We wanted to be able to show ordinary people in Myanmar how the military is linked with all aspects of daily life. We thought an app would be a good way to remind people what to boycott when they are shopping for products or services.”The military’s efforts to quell Myanmar’s largest pro-democracy protests in more than a decade have led to increasingly repressive crackdowns in the past month. According to human rights groups, more than 50 people have been killed and nearly 1,700 detained since the armed forces took control of the country.On Wednesday, at least 38 people were killed, when security forces fired on protesters in multiple cities and towns across the country. Video footage apparently taken by residents in Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city, appeared to show security officials shooting one man at point-blank range. In a separate incident, CCTV footage published by Radio Free Asia showed police assaulting and detaining three ambulance workers.The severity of the official response to the protests marks the hardening of the junta’s attitude to daily demonstrations that have paralyzed the economy and large swaths of the country. On Thursday, Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights called on Myanmar's security forces to halt their “vicious crackdown on peaceful protesters” and urged the military to release the hundreds of people believed to have been unlawfully detained since February 1.Blacklist Myanmar, launched on March 3 on Android, is a guidebook for shoppers who want to avoid firms whose sales benefit Myanmar’s armed forces. Blacklist Myanmar also allows users to submit new suggestions for businesses to boycott via an in-app email function.The creator of Blacklist Myanmar, who asked to go by the pseudonym Red Warrior, explained that the app was designed to limit the military’s access to different revenue streams. “In the long term, the reason why they have all the power and all the influence is because of these businesses and brands that they have been promoting,” he said.“If people don’t support these brands or services, then our money won’t go into the military regime. We can slowly cut down their monopolizing influence on the country.”Myanmar’s digital activists have also created apps to warn ordinary citizens and protesters of the increased presence of the police and troops on the streets. Launched on Android on February 11, Myanmar Live Map takes real-time data from users to highlight areas with a high concentration of security personnel. The app, which has 40,000 users already, also reveals the locations of water cannons, roadblocks and ambulances. All of the data is fact-checked by moderators before it is uploaded.One of the makers of Myanmar Live Map told me that the app’s designers took their cue from a similar digital street map used by protesters during pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong in 2019. He added that members of his team consulted an anonymously authored 70-page document named The HK19 Manual, widely shared by protesters in Hong Kong and recently translated from English to Burmese.Over the past month, digital activists in Myanmar have had to overcome a series of military-enforced internet outages and disruptions to mobile networks. On Thursday night, the U.K.-based organization Netblocks confirmed that national internet connectivity had plummeted for the 19th night in a row to 13 per cent of pre-coup levels.Pro-democracy organizers in Southeast Asia say that Myanmar’s internet shutdowns are similar to those deployed by authoritarian governments elsewhere. Sunny Chou, a former Hong Kong protester and founder of the human rights group Umbrella Union, who sought asylum in the U.K. earlier this year, said that the interruption of internet and data services in Myanmar was a strategy widely employed by the authorities in Hong Kong. “During the height of the movement in Hong Kong, there were a few times when our apps were disabled,” he said. “Telegram was also attacked a few times so that the protesters could not properly communicate and organize their response.”However, as Myanmar’s pro-democracy demonstrations have gathered pace, the country’s digital insurgency has also sparked interest among online and offline activists in the region. In Thailand, Cambodia and Hong Kong—places that have all been rocked by pro-democracy protests in recent years—an informal but watchful alliance of like-minded campaigners has used the internet to highlight the ongoing violence in Myanmar, while shedding light on their own oppressive regimes.Sina Wittayawiroj is a Bangkok-based visual designer and activist who first took an interest in his country’s pro-democracy movement in January 2019 when demonstrators took to the streets after the country’s ruling military junta signaled that long-postponed elections would be delayed for the fifth time in five years.Activists like Wittayawiroj have gathered on social media, spreading satirical memes and advice highlighting the violence in Myanmar under the hashtag #MilkTeaAlliance, named for a sweet drink popular across the region. Many who follow the hashtag share a common fear about China’s dominance in the region—in Thailand, for example, support for Taiwan and Hong Kong has become a rallying point for ordinary citizens who believe their own government is anti-democratic and too closely aligned with Beijing.Wittayawiroj, who works for a video production and streaming platform, said he learned about the current crisis in Myanmar from a Burmese co-worker. He has regularly posted illustrations featuring the #MilkTeaAlliance hashtag since Myanmar’s Feb. 1 coup. “I talk to them a lot and try to understand the situation that people are facing. I understand there was an election, but the military took control. I felt I had to draw something to help them.”Regional experts say that the #MilkTeaAlliance has been energized by regional pro-democracy movements. “When we had the very popular pro-democracy movements in Hong Kong in 2014 and 2019, the world was watching,” said Debby Chan, a Hong Kong-based researcher who studies Sino-Myanmar relations. “The activists in Thailand and Myanmar also paid close attention to what happened in Hong Kong back then.”“When some of the Hong Kongers witness Thai and Myanmar activists in their struggle, we see ourselves in their movements,” she added.This story was produced in partnership with Coda Story.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
Justice Amy Coney Barrett delivered her first Supreme Court majority opinion Thursday, ruling against an environmental group that had sought access to government records. President Donald Trump's third nominee wrote for a 7-2 court that certain draft documents do not have to be disclosed under the federal Freedom of Information Act. The case was the first one Barrett heard after joining the court in late October, and it took four months for the 11-page opinion to be released.
The race to roll out vaccination passports is spurring competition among travel companies and tourist destinations for the large number of Britons set to receive COVID-19 shots before the summer. Thanks to its swift vaccine deployment https://graphics.reuters.com/world-coronavirus-tracker-and-maps, Britain is the only major European country likely to inoculate a large share of working-age adults by the peak season. Airlines such as easyJet saw outbound bookings from Britain surge last week as the government raised the prospect of a return to quarantine-free summer travel, and the European Union agreed to develop vaccine passports under pressure from tourism-dependent southern countries.
Some people have reported a red, raised rash that shows up days to a week after getting the Moderna shot and goes away quickly.
- Business Insider
Boris Johnson has yet to appoint a successor to his adviser on ministerial standards, more than three months after the resignation of Sir Alex Allan.