Bree's evening forecast: Friday, April 16, 2021
- The Daily Beast
GettyOn a cold, barren mountaintop in southern Chile, Julia Clarke knelt to peer at the ground through a pair of ski goggles she wore against the wind and the high-latitude sun. Clarke, a tall, raven-haired paleontologist, was looking for the fossilized remains of flying dinosaurs, a skill for which she’s nearly legendary, and she’d paused at a place where something caught her eye. To me it looked no different from any other part of the slope we’d been ascending all morning, a confused jumble of reddish-brown boulders and scree, but Julia was unusually still in a way I’d come to associate with the moment she found a fossil.“I think there’s a dinosaur here,” she said, carefully turning over a finger-sized fragment of ancient sandstone. “I think these bones are going into the cliff.” This seemed impossible to me, but Julia’s eye was rarely wrong; she’s known not only for finding new fossils but for finding hidden features in well-studied fossils that other paleontologists have overlooked. She’d spent years of her life on fascinating and uncomfortable expeditions to islands at the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula and the scorpion-filled wastes of the Gobi Desert, where she camped beneath a truck for months; among her discoveries is the oldest known syrinx, the unique organ that birds use to produce sound, which she spotted in the fossil of a duck-like bird that lived among its fellow dinosaurs in a warm Antarctica. She’d also helped reveal the colors of dinosaur feathers through microscopic fossil structures called melanophores, and was the first to realize that a mysterious lump of rock languishing in a Chilean museum was the egg of a mosasaur.I’d imagined that prospecting for dinosaurs would be a slow, painstaking process, but Julia liked to move fast until she spotted something promising, and following her long stride up the mountain made me glad the southern Andes are much shorter than the mightier ranges farther north. We’d already passed up the preserved impressions of geoduck-sized clams and purplish lumps of sauropod bone, the remains of animals as large as a city bus—which amazed me, but failed to move her. “That stuff’s way too big,” she said. “I’m not carrying that around unless it’s a skull.”Below us, two of Julia’s students, Sarah Davis and Hector Garza, were pacing deliberately up a Martian-looking slope, their eyes on the ground and their heads in the age of reptiles. To them, the exposed faces of the mountain were animal-rich slices of the deep past, its layered beds of sandstone a time capsule that preserved the versions of life that once thrived here. Sarah had found the curved tooth of a predator who probably looked something like a small T. rex, and Hector had turned up the more primitive-looking tooth of a mosasaur, a half-inch cone of shining black rock as straight as a railroad spike.The remains of these two animals—one terrestrial, one marine— revealed this desolate mountain for what it was: a piece of the ancient coastline, intermittently drowned by the sea, that once joined South America to the Antarctic Peninsula. If Antarctica was indeed a haven for animals while the rest of the world burned, this was the bridge its residents would have crossed to enter (or reenter) South America. After the end-Cretaceous meteor struck the Earth, thirty million years would elapse before an undersea tongue of the Pacific plate wedged itself between the two continents. This didn’t just isolate them from each other; it removed the last barrier to the ocean’s unimpeded flow around Antarctica, and the circumpolar vortex was born. Over the next thirty-five million years, the great southern continent would slowly become the icebound landmass we know today—the coldest, driest, most inhospitable place on earth.The fossils buried in the mountain where we stood were too old to shed light on the time after the asteroid’s impact, but they were a glimpse of the dinosaurs’ last years in a very special place: we were about as far south as you could be and still find Cretaceous fossils that aren’t buried under thousands of feet of ice.Julia took a few samples of fossil bone and sealed them in a plastic bag, and after a brief rest we headed back down toward our camp, a cluster of orange and yellow tents in the grassy valley below. We were visiting for only a few days, but the tents housed a team of young Chilean paleontologists who’d been here for weeks, led by a bearded, charismatic paleobotanist named Marcelo Leppe. The stumps of ancient palm trees and the massive femur of a sauropod were among this season’s discoveries, but their most exciting find was a tiny molar, smaller than a pea—the tooth of a mammal who’d lived among the dinosaurs. It was the oldest mammal bone ever found this far south. Julia, however, was hoping to find an ancient bird, and she paused at a bowl-shaped pit of fine gravel and sand blown out by the wind. Places like this, she said, can leave delicate fossils lying on the surface—and within ten minutes she’d found two tiny teeth, along with a few lentil-sized plates of bone that might have been part of a turtle’s shell, or the scales of a small, armored lizard. Sarah logged the coordinates in her notebook.“Let’s call this site ‘toothyplace,’” Julia said. “We’ll remember that.” I sat down at the edge of the pit, hoping to spot another tooth among its multicolored pebbles and slivers of petrified wood, but my eyes soon glazed over. I was about to give up when I noticed an odd impression in the pit’s surface, about the size of my hand. Its three slender lobes fanned out from a central point, and each lobe ended in a small, sharp divot, like the imprint of a claw. As I drew back, I saw that it was the deepest of a faint set of dinosaurian footprints, but they looked so fresh that I wondered if someone had etched them in the sand as a joke. I motioned to Sarah, who came over to look and fell silent. Even Julia was flummoxed for an instant, but then she smiled: they were the tracks of an Andean condor.“Theropod dinosaur,” she said, without irony. “Isn’t it nice to know they’re still around?” Courtesy Jonathan Meiburg Excerpted from A Most Remarkable Creature: The Hidden Life and Epic Journey of the World’s Smartest Birds of Prey. Copyright © 2021 by Jonathan Meiburg. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission from the publisher.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 Daily Beast
Drew Angerer/GettyIn the weeks since the feds raided Rudy Giuliani’s apartment and office in late April, close allies have tried to ferry a slew of emergency requests to former President Donald Trump and his advisers.But according to three people familiar with the matter, Trump, as well as several of his legal advisers and longtime confidants, have been hesitant about swooping in to help the embattled Giuliani, who for years worked as Trump’s personal lawyer, a political adviser, and attack dog. Giuliani also served as a major player in the Trump-Ukraine scandal and as a key driver in the former president’s efforts to nullify Joe Biden’s clear victory in the 2020 election.Team Trump’s reluctance to intervene comes at a time when federal investigators have ramped up their probe into whether Giuliani’s Ukraine-related work during the Trump era amounted to an unregistered and illegal lobbying operation on behalf of foreign figures. So far, no charges have been brought against the former New York City mayor as a result of this investigation, which began in 2019. Trump’s silence has led to simmering frustrations among members of Giuliani’s inner orbit, who privately allege that the ex-president’s team is working to convince him to hang Giuliani out to dry in his hour of need.“It’s a question now of whether or not [the former president and his team] want to leave Rudy to fend for himself or if they’re going to take a stand against this,” one person close to Giuliani said last week. “Right now, we don’t know.”Among Giuliani allies’ pleas, the three sources said, have been for Trump to issue a strong verbal or written statement saying Giuliani’s work during the Trump-Ukraine saga was done on behalf of then-President Trump—and therefore not part of an illegal foreign lobbying effort. In other words, Trump’s corroboration would be more than good public relations for Giuliani, it would back up a key pillar of Giuliani’s legal argument that he wasn’t lobbying and is innocent of the allegations.Other asks have included having the ex-president sign on to a legal motion to have federal investigators throw out any seized communications that Giuliani and his lawyers argue are covered by attorney-client privilege. Further, there have been repeated requests that Trump and his team financially aid Giuliani’s ballooning legal defense and help cover the mounting, sizable expenses.Two people close to Trump say they have urged the former president to lay low on the matter and to refrain from making too many statements or commitments on Giuliani and the federal probe. These people have told Trump that it’s unclear what the feds have and that any statement could backfire both on him and on Giuliani. Moreover, various people in Trump’s social and political orbits have been trying to convince the former president for years that Giuliani has been too great a liability for him, and they have suggested that he cut the lawyer loose.Even Parts of Trumpworld Are Like: Rudy, WTF Are You Doing?Many of them still blame Giuliani and his Ukraine shenanigans for getting Trump impeached the first time, and the attorney helped lead the Trumpworld and GOP charge in falsely claiming that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from the 45th U.S. president. In the aftermath of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, both Trump and Giuliani have been slammed with lawsuit after lawsuit over their roles in firing up the mob that committed the anti-democratic assault.In recent weeks, Trump himself has argued behind closed doors that he wouldn’t want to say Giuliani was doing all of the Ukraine work—which included a trans-Atlantic dirt-digging expedition on the Biden family that led to Trump’s first impeachment—on Trump’s behalf, according to one of the people close to the former president. Trump’s reasoning, this source relayed, is based in the ex-president’s insistence that he didn’t always know what Giuliani was doing during the Ukraine effort or concocting with his Ukrainian pals, several of whom Trump has privately dinged as “idiots.”It is also unclear when or if Trump will ultimately sign on to the desired legal motion, with allies to Giuliani expressing consternation over how the ex-president and his lawyers have not jumped at the opportunity.On Sunday, Robert Costello, Giuliani’s longtime attorney, said, “We do not know what, if anything, President Trump will do,” when asked by The Daily Beast whether Trump’s legal team would intervene in the effort to scuttle the search warrant. Costello said Giuliani’s attorneys have not formally asked Trump’s legal team to do so. “They can make up their own minds,” he said.He added that neither he nor his client has asked Trump to make a statement since federal agents seized Giuliani’s electronic devices.Alan Dershowitz, a celebrity lawyer who served on Trump’s legal team during the first impeachment trial, is now actively counseling Giuliani and his attorneys. “I’ve said to them that it would be very good to get people [including Trump] whose materials might have been seized to... become part of the [motion],” Dershowitz said in a brief interview.The two sources close to the former president each said Trump has repeatedly expressed sympathy for Giuliani’s ongoing woes but has not committed to overtly assisting his personal lawyer yet. Another person familiar with the situation told The Daily Beast that Giuliani has said he remains convinced that Trump won’t abandon him and will step up when the time is right.Over the decades and during his presidency, however, Trump has cemented a reputation for regularly turning his back on close allies and one-time loyalists, including when legal or political pressures became too hot for him. Chief among these former allies is one of Giuliani’s bitter rivals, Michael Cohen, another former personal lawyer and fixer of Trump’s. Cohen turned on his former boss after he felt abandoned by Trump following a 2018 federal raid and has since become an enthusiastic witness for federal investigators who’ve been looking into Trump and his business empire.‘Dead to Each Other’: Team Trump Prepares to ‘Bury’ Michael Cohen, ‘Weakling’ and ‘Traitor’When federal agents executed a search warrant on Cohen’s office in 2018, Trump intervened in the case and hired attorneys who argued that they should be allowed to review seized materials for privileged attorney-client materials before prosecutors could. Whether Trump will intervene similarly in a case involving the warrant against Giuliani remains to be seen.Trump did jump in to help some advisers after the authorities came knocking, including Steve Bannon, Roger Stone, and Paul Manafort, all of whom received presidential pardons within the final month of Trump’s term in the White House. In December, The New York Times reported that the then-president had discussed with people close to him the prospect of issuing a pre-emptive pardon to Giuliani and “talked with Mr. Giuliani about pardoning him as recently as [late November].” Ultimately, Giuliani did not receive a pre-emptive pardon, and he has denied that he had a conversation with Trump about the possibility.Giuliani has repeatedly argued that his efforts to oust Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch as U.S. envoy to Ukraine were carried out solely on behalf of his client, President Trump. A statement from Trump would help buttress Giuliani’s public case, but it wouldn’t necessarily help him in court.“Nothing Donald Trump may say publicly to help Giuliani is likely to get into evidence,” David H. Laufman, a partner at Wiggin and Dana and a former chief of the Justice Department’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section, which oversees FARA prosecutions, told The Daily Beast. “Giuliani’s attorney will be able to cross-examine the government’s witnesses if he’s charged, and Giuliani always has the option of testifying in his own defense. But any press statements by Donald Trump to the effect of ‘Hey, he was just working for me’ almost certainly aren’t coming into evidence.”“In the highly improbable scenario that Trump testified for Giuliani, the notion of Giuliani trying to use the attorney-client privilege as a shield would go out the window. The privilege is held by Trump, not by Giuliani,” Laufman continued.Long before the search of Giuliani’s apartment, Trump appeared hesitant to say outright that his attorney’s work in Ukraine was conducted solely on the president’s behalf. During the peak of the impeachment inquiry in the fall of 2019, former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly asked Trump what Giuliani was up to in Ukraine.“I knew he was going to go to Ukraine and I think he canceled the trip. But you know, Rudy has other clients other than me. I’m one person that he represents,” Trump said.Asked if he’d told Giuliani to travel to Ukraine, Trump said: “No.”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
Shannon Keeler was enjoying a weekend getaway with her boyfriend last year when she checked her Facebook messages for the first time in ages. The messages rocketed Keeler back to the life-shattering night in December 2013 when an upperclassman at Gettysburg College stalked her at a party, snuck into her dorm and barged into her room while she pleaded with him and texted friends for help. Eight years later, she still hopes to persuade authorities in Pennsylvania to make an arrest, armed now with perhaps her strongest piece of evidence: his alleged confession, sent via social media.
The wife of Belgium's ambassador to South Korea is seen slapping a shop worker in CCTV footage.
- The Week
Melinda French Gates started talking with divorce lawyers in late 2019, not long after The New York Times reported that Bill Gates had more interactions with pedophile and accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein that she had known about, the Times and The Wall Street Journal report. But it was also in late 2019 that Microsoft's board became aware of a letter from a Microsoft engineer who said she had been in a sexual relationship with Bill Gates years earlier, the Journal reported Sunday evening. The couple announced their divorce May 3, after 27 years of marriage. Microsoft board members hired a law firm to investigate the woman's allegations and deemed the relationship inappropriate, and by early 2020 "some board members decided it was no longer suitable for Mr. Gates to sit as a director at the software company he started and led for decades," the Journal reports. "Mr. Gates resigned before the board's investigation was completed and before the full board could make a formal decision on the matter." He had just been re-elected to the board in December 2019, three months before his March 13, 2020, resignation. "There was an affair almost 20 years ago which ended amicably," Bridgitt Arnold, a spokeswoman for Bill Gates, said in a statement. "Gates' decision to transition off the board was in no way related to this matter. In fact, he had expressed an interest in spending more time on his philanthropy starting several years earlier." Melinda Gates had been upset with her future ex-husband on and off for years, including over a sexual harassment settlement Bill Gates had facilitated for the couple's longtime financial adviser, the Times reports. "In some circles, Bill Gates had also developed a reputation for questionable conduct in work-related settings," and on at least a few occasions he had "pursued women who worked for him at Microsoft and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation." "It is not clear how much Ms. French Gates knew about her husband's behavior or to what degree it contributed to their split," the Times reports. Arnold, the spokeswoman, told the Times "it is extremely disappointing that there have been so many untruths published about the cause, the circumstances and the timeline of Bill Gates' divorce." She added, "The rumors and speculation surrounding Gates' divorce are becoming increasingly absurd, and it's unfortunate that people who have little to no knowledge of the situation are being characterized as 'sources.'" More stories from theweek.com7 scathingly funny cartoons about Liz Cheney's ousterVaccinating the worldPoll: Most GOP voters think 2020 election was illegitimate, but lawmakers should prioritize other issues
- The Daily Beast
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast / Photo GettyBachelor sex-offender Jeffrey Epstein gave Bill Gates advice on ending his marriage with Melinda after the Microsoft co-founder complained about her during a series of meetings at the money manager’s mansion, according to two people familiar with the situation.Gates used the gatherings at Epstein’s $77 million New York townhouse as an escape from what he told Epstein was a “toxic” marriage, a topic both men found humorous, a person who attended the meetings told The Daily Beast.The billionaire met Epstein dozens of times starting in 2011 and continuing through to 2014 mostly at the financier’s Manhattan home—a substantially higher number than has been previously reported. Their conversations took place years before Bill and Melinda Gates announced this month that they were splitting up.Gates, in turn, encouraged Epstein to rehabilitate his image in the media following his 2008 guilty plea for soliciting a minor for prostitution, and discussed Epstein becoming involved with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.The people familiar with the matter said Gates found freedom in Epstein’s lair, where he met a rotating cast of bold-faced names and discussed worldly issues in between rounds of jokes and gossip—a “men’s club” atmosphere that irritated Melinda.“[It’s] not an overstatement. Going to Jeffrey’s was a respite from his marriage. It was a way of getting away from Melinda,” one of the people who was at several of the meetings said, adding that Epstein and Gates “were very close.”A representative for Bill Gates told The Daily Beast: “Your characterization of his meetings with Epstein and others about philanthropy is inaccurate, including who participated. Similarly, any claim that Gates spoke of his marriage or Melinda in a disparaging manner is false.” The spokesperson disputed the number of times Epstein and Gates met and said the two men never discussed Epstein getting involved with the foundation.“Bill never received or solicited personal advice of any kind from Epstein— on marriage or anything else. Bill never complained about Melinda or his marriage to Epstein.” A representative for Melinda did not respond to a request for comment for this report.As The Daily Beast exclusively reported, Melinda Gates was furious over Bill’s relationship with Epstein, and was put off by the creepy financier upon meeting him in September 2013, after the couple accepted an award at a New York City hotel. Melinda’s anger, people familiar with the matter said, eventually led to the demise of Bill and Epstein’s friendship.The Wall Street Journal recently reported Melinda Gates consulted divorce lawyers in October 2019, around the time it was publicly revealed that Bill met with Epstein—who had died by suicide in jail months earlier—multiple times in the past.Melinda Gates Warned Bill About Jeffrey EpsteinOn May 3, the high-powered couple announced they were ending their 27-year marriage in a statement that read, in part: “We no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives. We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this next life.” In her petition for divorce Melinda said her marriage is “irretrievably broken” and indicated the couple had settled on a plan to divide their vast assets outside the courtroom.Last week, the New York Post reported that Gates told his golfing buddies he was in a “loveless” marriage which “had been over for some time,” while People described Epstein as a “sore spot” in the couple’s relationship.But Epstein wasn’t the couple’s only point of contention. On Sunday, the New York Times reported that Gates allegedly made advances on women who worked at Microsoft and his foundation while he was married to Melinda. The Journal followed up with its own report, revealing that Gates resigned from Microsoft’s board in 2020 amid an internal investigation into an alleged sexual relationship with a company engineer, who came forward in late 2019. (“There was an affair almost 20 years ago which ended amicably,” a Gates spokeswoman told the Journal, adding that his departure from the board wasn’t related to the relationship.)People close to Bill Gates told The Daily Beast that the deterioration of their relationship could be seen in Bill and Melinda’s body language. The couple used to interact with “more laughter and ease,” said one friend of Bill, who added that eventually, “being around them was like arriving at a summit.”“It wasn’t like arriving at a dinner with a couple or something; it was more like two heads of state,” the friend added. “So that’s why Epstein could have been a factor [in their split], but was it the factor? That I fundamentally don’t believe.”The friend said the couple’s strictly regimented existence as billionaire philanthropists supplanted the more normal life and levity they enjoyed in younger years. “Bill is far less comfortable being out in the world,” the person said. “For Bill, it was just so rare he was allowed to do normal things, which I think he really craved.”To Bill, such “normal” things included meeting new people over dinner at Epstein’s home—a break from the tech mogul’s tightly choreographed schedule of events where he’d be seated at the head table with the most prominent guests.“Bill was embarrassed by the attention an entourage would have brought,” the person said. “His entourage was security, and he never looked comfortable with it. With Melinda, it was very imperious, ‘The Queen has arrived’ kind of thing.”Here’s What the Feds Found in Jeffrey Epstein’s Manhattan MansionGates may have visited Epstein, the person said, because Gates “enjoys talking and ideas and basically arguing with people, and he can be a really brutal person to argue with.”“He likes nothing better than to get together and debate or lecture people, or tell everyone what he’s doing with the polio vaccine. He has an ability, unlike any other person I’ve ever met, to lecture to a table of people without stopping for an hour.“Anyone that gave him a stage for a performance and said, ‘Bill, come talk to us about what you’re passionate about,’ that would be something he would enjoy.”Still, the person was surprised about the couple’s divorce announcement earlier this month: “I thought they would have made each other miserable for the rest of their lives.”Meanwhile, a former Gates Foundation employee told The Daily Beast that Gates wanted to get in the good graces of some of Epstein’s professional connections. “My understanding was he wasn’t hanging out with Epstein to get women,” the employee said.“Bill’s not amenable to anyone telling him what he should or shouldn’t do,” the person added. “If anyone were to say, ‘I don’t think you should hang out with [Epstein],’ it would have been Melinda.”The ex-employee said Bill and Melinda appeared to be distant and leading separate lives even more than a decade ago. “This has been going on a long time,” the source said, adding that Melinda was “bitter” and “wasn’t that into him.”“Their body language when they would be together, it was like a Melania and Donald thing: ‘Don’t hold my hand, get on the other side of the table,’” the person said, referring to reports of the former First Lady apparently yanking her hand from then-President Trump during public appearances over the years.Melinda Gates Called Divorce Lawyers in 2019 After Epstein Report: WSJAccording to the ex-employee, Melinda seemed to have a chip on her shoulder because “no one really did see her as an equal to Bill” and her work didn’t get as much media attention. “It really irritated her that people were more into Bill,” they said.Another former employee told The Daily Beast that Epstein was a topic of conversation among staff even in 2017—three years after the men’s friendship reportedly fizzled—because of concerns that Gates' previous ties to Epstein could harm his reputation.“When you work at the foundation, your whole job in life is to protect and preserve and build up the reputation of Bill and Melinda Gates,” the person said. “I think that’s why it still came up.”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.
- The Week
"We have tackled many strange stories on 60 Minutes, but perhaps none like this," CBS News correspondent Bill Whitaker said on Sunday night's show. "It's the story of the U.S. government's grudging acknowledgment of unidentified aerial phenomena, UAP, more commonly known as UFOs. After decades of public denial, the Pentagon now admits there's something out there, and the U.S. Senate wants to know what it is." A declassified report from the directorate of national intelligence and the Pentagon is due to be handed over to the Senate Intelligence Committee in June. Whitaker offered a preview, speaking with some familiar voices in the UAP sphere — Luis Elizondo, former head of the Pentagon's Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP); retired Navy Cmdr. Dave Fravor, whose F/A-18F squadron encountered a UPA off California in 2004; Christopher Mellon, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for intelligence — and some new ones, like Lt. Cmdr. Alex Dietrich, who viewed the UAP with Fravor. 60 Minutes showed some declassified footage previously leaked to The New York Times by Mellon and Elizondo. "It's bizarre and unfortunate that someone like myself has to do something like that to get a national security issue like this on the agenda," Mellon said. Everyone Whitaker spoke with underscored that unidentified means just that, not yet identified, there's no evidence these phenomena are extraterrestrial, and they are a potential national security risk no matter who created them because the technology seems far beyond what the U.S. can currently produce. Mellon said the UFOs are not secret U.S. government technology, and "I can say that with a very high degree of confidence in part because of the positions I held in the department, and I know the process." Former Navy pilot Lt. Ryan Graves told Whitaker that fellow pilots began seeing UAPs hovering over restricted airspace off Virginia Beach in 2014, after upgrades to their radar, and continued seeing UAP's off the Atlantic Coast "every day for at least a couple years." 60 Minutes Overtime had more of the interview with Fravor and Dietrich, and you can watch that below. More stories from theweek.com7 scathingly funny cartoons about Liz Cheney's ousterVaccinating the worldPoll: Most GOP voters think 2020 election was illegitimate, but lawmakers should prioritize other issues
- Business Insider
Bill Gates crafted a public image as a likable, nerdy do-gooder. Office affairs, 'uncomfortable' workplace behavior, and Epstein ties reveal cracks in his facade.
Gates' image as an amiable, generous philanthropist does not gel with new information on his links to Epstein and dubious office romances.
- Business Insider
Bill Gates was dismissive toward Melinda Gates at work and pursued female employees at Microsoft and the Gates Foundation: NYT report
Six current and former employees of Gates and his endeavors told The New York Times he fostered an uncomfortable workplace.
- Business Insider
Israel said it didn't mean to kill 42 civilians in Gaza on Sunday, saying it attacked a series of militant tunnels that caused people's homes to collapse
The Israel Defense Forces struck a series of tunnels in Gaza on Sunday, saying Hamas used it as a secret transport link.
- The New York Times
RIO DE JANEIRO — Fretting over a fever in her toddler that wouldn’t break, the mother took the young girl, Letícia, to a hospital. Doctors had worrisome news: It was COVID-19. But they were reassuring, noting that children almost never develop serious symptoms, said the mother, Ariani Roque Marinheiro. Less than two weeks later, on Feb. 27, Letícia died in the critical care unit of the hospital in Maringá, in southern Brazil, after days of labored breathing. Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York Times “It happened so quickly, and she was gone,” said Marinheiro, 33. “She was everything to me.” COVID-19 is ravaging Brazil, and, in a disturbing new wrinkle that experts are working to understand, it appears to be killing babies and small children at an unusually high rate. Since the start of the pandemic, 832 children 5 and under have died of the virus, according to Brazil’s health ministry. Comparable data is scarce because countries track the impact of the virus differently, but in the United States, which has a far larger population than Brazil, and a higher overall death toll from COVID-19, 139 children 4 and under have died. And Brazil’s official number of child deaths is likely a substantial undercount, as a lack of widespread testing means many cases go undiagnosed, said Dr. Fátima Marinho, an epidemiologist at the University of São Paulo. Marinho, who is leading a study tallying the death toll among children based on both suspected and confirmed cases, estimates that more than 2,200 children under 5 have died since the start of the pandemic, including more than 1,600 babies less than a year old. “We are seeing a huge impact on children,” said Marinho. “It’s a number that’s absurdly high. We haven’t seen this anywhere else in the world.” Experts in Brazil, Europe and the United States agree that the number of children’s deaths from COVID-19 in Brazil appeared to be particularly high. “Those numbers are surprising. That’s a lot higher than what we’re seeing in the United States,” said Dr. Sean O’Leary, vice chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ committee on infectious diseases, and a pediatrics infectious disease specialist at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. “By any of the measures that we’re following here in the United States, those numbers are quite a bit higher.” There is no evidence available on the impact of variants of the virus — which scientists say are leading to more severe cases of COVID in young, healthy adults and driving up death tolls in Brazil — on babies and children. But experts say the variant appears to be leading to higher death rates among pregnant women. Some women with COVID are giving birth to stillborn or premature babies already infected with the virus, said Dr. André Ricardo Ribas Freitas, an epidemiologist at São Leopoldo Mandic College in Campinas, who led a recent study on the impact of the variant. “We can already affirm that the P.1 variant is much more severe in pregnant women,” said Ribas Freitas. “And, oftentimes, if the pregnant woman has the virus, the baby might not survive or they might both die.” Lack of timely and adequate access to health care for children once they fall ill is likely a factor in the death toll, experts said. In the United States and Europe, experts said, early treatment has been key to the recovery of children infected with the virus. In Brazil, overstretched doctors have often been late to confirm infections in children, Marinho said. “Children are not being tested,” she said. “They get sent away, and it’s only when these children return in a really bad state that COVID-19 is suspected.” Dr. Lara Shekerdemian, chief of critical care at Texas Children’s Hospital, said that the mortality rate for children who get COVID-19 remains very low, but children living in countries where medical care is uneven were at greater risk. “A child that might just need a bit of oxygen today may end up on a ventilator next week if they don’t have access to the oxygen and the steroid that we give early in the disease process,” Shekerdemian said. “So what might end up as a simple hospitalization in my world can result in a child needing medical care they simply can’t get if there’s a delay in access to care.” A study published in the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal in January found that children in Brazil and four other countries in Latin America developed more severe forms of COVID-19 and more cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome, a rare and extreme immune response to the virus, compared with data from China, Europe and North America. Even before the pandemic began, millions of Brazilians living in poor areas had limited access to basic health care. In recent months, the system has been overwhelmed as a crush of patients have flooded into critical care units, resulting in a chronic shortage of beds. “There’s a barrier to access for many,” said Dr. Ana Luisa Pacheco, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist at the Heitor Vieira Dourado Tropical Medicine Foundation in Manaus. “For some children, it takes three or four hours by boat to get to a hospital.” The cases in children have shot up amid Brazil’s broader explosion in infections, which experts attribute to President Jair Bolsonaro’s cavalier response to the pandemic and his government’s refusal to take vigorous measures to promote social distancing. A lagging economy has also left millions without income or enough food, forcing many to risk infection as they search for work. Some of the children who have died of the virus already had health issues that made them more vulnerable. Still, Marinho estimates that they represent just over one-quarter of deaths among children under 10. That suggests that healthy children, too, seem to be at heightened risk from the virus in Brazil. Letícia Marinheiro was one such child, her mother said. A healthy baby who had just started walking, she had never been sick before, Marinheiro said. Marinheiro, who got sick along with her husband Diego, 39, believes Letícia might have lived if her illness had been treated with more urgency. “I think they didn’t believe that she could be so sick, they didn’t believe it could happen to a child,” said Marinheiro. She recalled pleading to have more tests done. Four days into the child’s hospitalization, she said, doctors had still not fully examined Letícia’s lungs. Marinheiro is still unsure how her family got sick. She had kept Letícia — a first child the couple had badly wanted for years — at home and away from everyone. Her husband, a supplier of hair salon products, had been cautious to avoid contact with clients, even as he kept working to keep the family financially afloat. For Marinheiro, the sudden death of her daughter has left a gaping hole in her life. As the pandemic rages on, she says, she wishes other parents would quit underestimating the dangers of the virus that took Letícia away from her. In her city, she watches as families throw birthday parties for children and officials push to reopen schools. “This virus is so inexplicable,” she said. “It’s like playing the lottery. And we never believe it will happen to us. It’s only when it takes someone from your family.” This article originally appeared in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company
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