Berean Christian girls basketball beats Glades Day to claim another district title.
The first big real-world study of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to be independently reviewed shows the shot is highly effective at preventing COVID-19, in a potentially landmark moment for countries desperate to end lockdowns and reopen economies. Up until now, most data on the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines has come under controlled conditions in clinical trials, leaving an element of uncertainty over how results would translate into the real world with its unpredictable variables. The research in Israel - two months into one of the world's fastest rollouts, providing a rich source of data - showed two doses of the Pfizer shot cut symptomatic COVID-19 cases by 94% across all age groups, and severe illnesses by nearly as much.
- Business Insider
A judge dismissed claims by a Capitol riot suspect that he shouldn't be held responsible because Trump put him up to it
Lawyers for William Chrestman, a Proud Boys member, argued that the group believed it had Trump's "official endorsement."
- Associated Press
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman underwent a “successful surgery” to remove his appendix Wednesday, the royal court said, and he left the hospital soon after the operation. The 35-year-old prince had surgery for appendicitis at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital in the Saudi capital of Riyadh in the morning, according to the royal court. Prince Mohammed, the son of King Salman, has amassed immense powers in the kingdom since being appointed heir to the throne in 2017.
- The Daily Beast
Jim Watson./GettyLouis DeJoy had a defiant message on Wednesday for those craving to see him ousted as U.S. Postmaster General: “Get used to me.”The comment came after Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) asked the embattled U.S. Postal Service chief how long he would remain as Postmaster General—“long time,” DeJoy spat back—during a Wednesday hearing in the House Oversight Committee.That exchange was indicative of the entire proceeding, which was frequently chippy, combative, and fueled by Democratic lawmakers’ outrage over DeJoy’s handling of the USPS at a time of worsening mail delays and difficult questions about the service’s long-term viability.DeJoy’s crack to Cooper made Democrats’ blood boil even more. But he may have a point, at least for now: because the postmaster general is installed by the service’s board of governors—and not by the president—it means that President Joe Biden, or Congress, cannot fire DeJoy even if they wanted to.His removal would only be possible when Biden fills Democratic vacancies on the USPS Board of Governors, which has the authority to hire and fire postmasters general. Confirming those spots in the Senate will take time, though the Washington Post reported on Wednesday that Biden has identified three nominees to move forward.In the meantime, though, Democratic lawmakers are working with DeJoy on urgent legislation to reform the agency’s finances and employee pension burden, even while many publicly call for his resignation.To many Democrats, DeJoy’s performance on Wednesday on Capitol Hill may make that balancing act harder: they found much to dislike not only in what the postmaster general said, but how he said it.“I gotta say—I just don’t think the postmaster gets it,” said Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), a member of the Oversight Committee who questioned DeJoy on Wednesday about the agency’s delivery standards. “I think it’s time for him to go.”“I thought he approached a lot of our questions with that exact same attitude, which was one of sneering condescension,” Krishnamoorthi told The Daily Beast after the hearing, invoking DeJoy’s response to Cooper. “That’s not gonna fly, man. Not gonna fly.”Wednesday’s hearing was the second time in DeJoy’s short tenure that he has been subjected to a high-profile grilling in the House Oversight Committee. Shortly after taking the USPS’ top job in June 2020, delays and irregularities quickly began to mount—a particularly alarming development for lawmakers on the eve of an election in which more voters than ever planned to vote by mail.Biden to Nominate 3 New USPS Board Members, Opening Path to Oust DeJoyIn a contentious August 2020 hearing, Democrats interrogated the former logistics executive and GOP mega-donor on everything from cuts in overtime hours to the price of a stamp. Questioning from Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) produced a memorable DeJoy response: “I will submit that I know very little about postage and stamps.”By the time House Democrats called DeJoy back to Capitol Hill this week, their worst fears about the USPS delays’ impact on the voting system had failed to materialize. But they still had plenty of questions about DeJoy’s stewardship of the USPS: in October, the USPS inspector general issued a report finding that the changes DeJoy made to delivery schedules and protocol led to the worsening delays. Already battered by the pandemic, the USPS limped into a busy holiday season, and is now providing the poorest service that many longtime observers of the agency have ever seen.Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), a member of the Oversight panel, was a 29-year veteran of the USPS before she came to Congress. She told The Daily Beast after the hearing that she has never seen the service in such dire straits as it is now: “I don’t think we’ve ever confronted this,” she said.The unprecedented delays are happening around the country. In Washington, D.C., just 40 percent of all first-class mail arrived on time by the end of December 2020—compared to nearly 90 percent the same time the year before. Chicago residents are receiving holiday packages a month-and-a-half late. Lawmakers are inundated with calls and emails from frustrated constituents looking for answers; this week, 33 senators signed a letter to DeJoy asking him to explain the recent delays.DeJoy apologized for those delays at the top of Wednesday’s hearing. “We must acknowledge that during this peak season we fell far short of meeting our service goals,” he said. “I apologize to those customers who felt the impact of our delays"But Lawrence expressed concern about DeJoy’s forthcoming “strategic plan” to get the USPS through this difficult stretch. Though the postmaster general has not revealed specifics, he testified on Wednesday that he will propose cuts to delivery standards, including the standard that local mail be delivered within two days. Democrats believe that would be a disastrous move at a time when the USPS is struggling to compete with private-sector competitors, particularly if it is coupled with consumer cost increases, which DeJoy has suggested.“To say that’s what’s bold and needed… that’s not leadership,” said Lawrence. “He has to prove himself. He heard us loud and clear, that he needs to prove himself.”The Michigan Democrat stopped short of saying that DeJoy deserved removal, and told The Daily Beast that she and other Democrats are working with the USPS on postal reform legislation. On Wednesday, CNN reported that Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) was supportive of working with DeJoy to pass reforms.In the wake of the new political reality in Washington, the postmaster general has begun to attempt outreach to Democratic lawmakers. Lawrence said that during the last administration, DeJoy did not take her calls or respond to her—but after the 2020 election, they had a “cordial” call.Other Democrats see any charm offensive as too little, too late. Krishnamoorthi said he is supportive of working with whatever USPS leadership is in office in order to pass reforms, but argued that DeJoy should go as soon as is possible.Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), a senior member of the Oversight Committee, issued a statement after DeJoy’s hearing hailing Biden’s nomination of three appointees to the USPS Board of Governors—and explicitly stated his hope they would remove DeJoy. “These nominations are an important first step toward reforming the Postal Service,” said Connolly. “My hope is the newly constituted Board will do the right thing and bring in a new, qualified Postmaster General.”A majority of the nine-member board would be required to support DeJoy’s removal. Currently, there are four Republican appointees, and two Democratic appointees. If all Biden’s choices are confirmed, Democrats would hold a majority on the board.The Republicans on the Oversight Committee had questions for DeJoy about mail delays, but largely cast him as a victim in an anti-Trump Democratic crusade. Rep. James Comer (R-KY), the top Republican on the panel, compared the party’s concerns about USPS delays—and Trump’s potential role in those delays—to the Trump impeachment investigation he said was predicated on “baseless conspiracies.”Far-right Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), meanwhile, suggested that the root cause of USPS delays was actually the Black Lives Matter protests that took place over the summer, and read articles from fringe outlets like the Gateway Pundit to prove his point. And Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA) raised the unfounded belief in widespread conspiracies about election fraud while saying it was not time to get into “specifics.”At one point, tempers flared when Connolly said that Republicans who voted to object to the Electoral College certification on Jan. 6 had “no right to lecture” anyone on the dangers of partisanship.Democrats left more concerned about the fate of the USPS, however, than the state of things in Congress. “It’s not some theoretical concept,” said Krishnamoorthi. “It’s not some abstract issue, it’s real for every single one of us… I’ve gotta tell you, people are starting to work around the mail, which is a scary concept.”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.
Eddie Murphy says Ryan Coogler tried to make a 'Coming to America' sequel starring Michael B. Jordan - but he didn't like the idea
Eddie Murphy said that Ryan Coogler's idea had Michael B. Jordan playing his son, "looking for a wife."
Betty Rizzo may be 18 years old in "Grease," but Stockard Channing, the actress who played her, was 33 at the time of filming.
Britain's Prince Philip is getting a lot better, his youngest son said on Tuesday after Buckingham Palace said the 99-year-old husband of Britain's Queen Elizabeth would remain in hospital for several more days to receive treatment for an infection. Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, walked into London's private King Edward VII Hospital last Tuesday evening after he was advised by his doctor to be admitted after he felt unwell, and has spent seven nights there. "He is comfortable and responding to treatment but is not expected to leave hospital for several days," Buckingham Palace said, adding he was receiving medical attention for an unspecified infection.
U.S. senators on Wednesday were eyeing potentially significant cuts to President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill as they awaited a ruling on whether the measure can include raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. The Senate parliamentarian was expected to decide soon whether Senator Bernie Sanders' proposed minimum wage increase is allowable under a rule allowing a simple majority of the 100-member Senate to approve the sweeping relief measure, instead of the chamber's typical 60-vote majority. The Senate is likely to follow up in early March.
The U.S. Transportation Department's inspector general faulted "weaknesses" in U.S. government certification of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft that was grounded for 20 months after two crashes killed 346 people, according to a report released Wednesday. The 63-page report said the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) did not have a complete understanding of a Boeing Co safety system tied to both crashes and said "much work remains" to address outstanding issues. Boeing said it has "undertaken significant changes to reinforce our safety practices, and we have already made progress" on recommendations outlined in the report.
- Associated Press
Doctors in Hungary on Wednesday began administering a COVID-19 vaccine developed in China, making the country the first European Union nation to use a Chinese jab as officials aim to bolster trust in its safety and effectiveness. General practitioners around the Central European country were instructed to administer the shots, developed by Chinese state-owned company Sinopharm, to elderly patients. The Sinopharm jab brings the number of vaccines currently in use in Hungary to five including the Russian-developed Sputnik V, more than in any other country in the 27-nation EU.
Dakota Fanning turns 27 today. She and her younger sister, Elle Fanning, are set to star together as siblings in "The Nightingale" in 2022.
- Architectural Digest
The designer-approved dishwashers look good—and perform even betterOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank broke from royal tradition by having their midwife take the photo.
- The Independent
Trump team denies he is refusing to share stage with Pence and insists they have spoken since Capitol riot
‘Donald Trump and Mike Pence had a great call last week!’ Miller
- Associated Press
The Senate on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly to confirm Tom Vilsack as agriculture secretary, his second run at the Cabinet post. The former Iowa governor spent eight years leading the same Department of Agriculture for former President Barack Obama's entire administration. “We’re going to be a USDA that represents and serves all Americans,” Vilsack said after the vote.
- Yahoo News
A deadly storm on top of a pandemic devastates vulnerable Texans: 'We've been living in a nightmare'
The most vulnerable Texans throughout the state have been hit with a double whammy of a rare and catastrophic storm on top of an ongoing pandemic.
- Associated Press
The huge parachute used by NASA’s Perseverance rover to land on Mars contained a secret message, thanks to a puzzle lover on the spacecraft team.
- The Week
The top security officials at the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 siege testified before the Senate on Tuesday about what went wrong before and during what they all agreed was a well-planned and coordinated armed insurrection by far-right extremists. Former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, House sergeant-at-arms Paul Irving, and Senate sergeant-at-arms Michael Stenger "each sought to minimize their responsibility for the events on that violent and chaotic day," pointing instead to intelligence failures, The Washington Post reports. All three resigned after the assault. Sund, Iriving, and Stenger said they prepared for the pro-Trump demonstration their intelligence indicated was warranted, based partly on previous pro-Trump protests. Sund painted the Capitol Police as mostly a "consumer" of intelligence from 18 federal agencies. "No entity, including the FBI, provided any intelligence indicating that there would be a coordinated violent attack on the United States Capitol by thousands of well-equipped armed insurrectionists," he said in written testimony. Sund told the Senate he only learned Monday of a Jan. 5 warning from an FBI field office in Virginia on credible online chatter about a Jan. 6 "war" on Congress to overturn former President Donald Trump's loss, with maps of the Capitol tunnel system and exhortations to violence. He said he now knows the Capitol Police did get the warning, but it never made it past the department's intelligence division. But Capitol Police leaders apparently ignored or downplayed other big red flags, including a prescient Jan. 3 memo from their own intelligence unit. This 12-page report, two people told the Post, was conveyed to all Capitol Police command staff by intelligence unit chief Jack Donohue. "Unlike previous post-election protests, the targets of the pro-Trump supporters are not necessarily the counter-protesters as they were previously, but rather Congress itself," and the presumptively armed protesters' "desperation and disappointment may lead to more of an incentive to become violent," the memo said, according to excerpts first published in the Post on Jan. 13. Sund didn't discuss that memo, but questioned by Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), he insisted Capitol Police planned no differently for the Jan. 6 riot than for Black Lives Matter protests over the summer, for which the force was reportedly unnecessarily prepared. "Internally, some officials have wondered whether the threats were not taken more seriously because the rallygoers were White conservatives loyal to Trump," the Post notes. Media critic Dan Froomkin agrees, and you can read his long critique at PressWatchers. More stories from theweek.comThe MyPillow guy might be Trump's ultimate chumpIt's been 1 year since Trump infamously tweeted the 'coronavirus is very much under control' in the U.S.Investors say Trump properties are worthless until his name is removed
The vaccine-sharing scheme aims to help poorer countries like Ghana get Covid-19 jabs.
- Reuters Videos
Jerusalem's Western Wall is getting a faceliftLocation: Old City, JerusalemThe ancient stones are showing their ageafter weathering two millennia of rain and sunIsraeli conservators are filling out their battered surfaces (SOUNDBITE) (Hebrew) ISRAEL ANTIQUITIES AUTHORITY (IAA)'S HEAD CONSERVATOR IN THE WESTERN WALL AREA, YOSSI VAKNIN, SAYING:"The Western Wall stones are living stones. As it was once said, there are stones with human hearts. The Western Wall stones carry thousands of years of history, they witnessed Jerusalem's scenes. And of course, everyone who arrives in Jerusalem connects also to the emotion that the Western Wall sends him."