Rick and Nicole share what's buzzing in Baltimore.
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.
- Associated Press
Amanda Gorman, the 22-year-old poet who captured hearts at the inauguration of President Joe Biden, posted to social media that she was followed home by a security guard who demanded to know where she lived because she “looked suspicious.” Gorman, the nation's youngest inaugural poet, lives in Los Angeles but did not specify where the encounter occurred. Gorman became an instant sensation Jan. 20 when she recited her poem, “The Hill We Climb,” at Biden's swearing-in.
- Business Insider
An anonymous source who is familiar with an FBI cellphone data report says there was communication between the two.
- Reuters Videos
An Italian prosecutor on Saturday (March 6) demanded life sentences for two young Americans being tried on murder charges, after a policeman was killed following a botched drug deal in Rome.Finnegan Lee Elder, who was 19 at the time, has admitted to stabbing Mario Cerciello Rega in July 2019, while his friend Gabriel Christian Natale-Hjorth, then 18, was tussling with another police officer.Under Italian law, anyone who participates even indirectly in a murder can face murder charges.The two Americans, both from California, have said they did not know that Cerciello or his partner, Andrea Varriale, were police officers, telling the court neither man had identified themselves.Varriale has denied this, testifying that they had shown them their badges.Elder and Natale-Hjorth were in Rome on holiday and tried to buy drugs from a local dealer. They have told the court they were cheated, but managed to snatch a bag off an intermediary as he tried to get away.They agreed to meet the dealer again to get their money back in exchange for the bag, but instead the two policemen showed up. Lawyers for Elder and Natale-Hjorth have yet to present their defense. A verdict is expected in April.
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.
- Associated Press
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan handily won a vote of confidence from the National Assembly on Saturday, days after the embarrassing defeat of his ruling party’s key candidate in Senate elections. Khan secured the votes of 178 members of the lower house of Parliament, which is comprised of 340 lawmakers. The 11-party opposition alliance — the Pakistan Democratic Movement —boycotted the assembly’s special session.
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.