Department of Fish and Wildlife officers accomplished a miracle wildlife rescue months in the making.
- Associated Press
In a rare admission of the weakness of Chinese coronavirus vaccines, the country's top disease control official says their effectiveness is low and the government is considering mixing them to give them a boost. Chinese vaccines “don’t have very high protection rates,” said the director of the China Centers for Disease Control, Gao Fu, at a conference Saturday in the southwestern city of Chengdu. Beijing has distributed hundreds of millions of doses in other countries while also trying to promote doubt about the effectiveness of Western vaccines.
- The Telegraph
The head of the Armed Forces has paid homage to the Duke of Edinburgh as a "great friend, inspiration and role model" to the services. General Sir Nicholas Carter, the Chief of the Defence Staff, led military tributes to the senior royal Friday and said he would be "sorely missed". "A life well lived, His Royal Highness leaves us with a legacy of indomitable spirit, steadfastness and an unshakeable sense of duty," Sir Nicholas said. Highlighting the Duke’s 14 years of active service, including his courageous part in the Second World War, he added that the Duke remained "devoted" to the Royal Navy and wider military community throughout his life. "His candour and his humour made many a serviceman and servicewoman chuckle on the countless visits that he made to the Armed Forces," the Chief of the Defence Staff recalled. "He cared deeply about the values, standards and sense of service embodied in the military ethos. He was an immensely popular figure, and he was hugely respected by us all." Sir Nicholas expressed gratitude on behalf of both current and former soldiers, sailors and airmen. He added: "Our thoughts and goodwill are very much with Her Majesty The Queen and the Royal Family at this sad time."
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday called for the "worrying" developments in eastern Ukraine's Donbass region to come to an end after meeting his Ukrainian counterpart in Istanbul, adding Turkey was ready to provide any necessary support. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy held more than three hours of talks with Erdogan in Istanbul as part of a previously scheduled visit, amid tensions between Kyiv and Moscow over the conflict in Donbass. Kyiv has raised the alarm over a buildup of Russian forces near the border between Ukraine and Russia, and over a rise in violence along the line of contact separating Ukrainian troops and Russia-backed separatists in Donbass.
India produces most of the world's jabs but its own vaccination drive appears to be struggling.
- Business Insider
Kemp said that Democratic-led jurisdictions in the state "need to do a better job of running their elections and moving people through the lines."
Ukraine's defence minister said on Saturday his country could be provoked by Russian aggravation of the situation in the conflict area of Ukraine's eastern Donbass region. The minister, Andrii Taran, said Russian accusations about the rights of Russian-speakers being violated could be the reason for the resumption of armed aggression against Ukraine. "At the same time, it should be noted that the intensification of the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine is possible only if an appropriate political decision is made at the highest level in the Kremlin," he said in a statement.
- Business Insider
MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell says he hired private investigators to find out why Fox News isn't letting him speak on air
Mike Lindell said Friday he "spent a lot of money" investigating Fox News for its failure to invite him on air to peddle false election claims.
- The New York Times
WASHINGTON — Republican lawmakers are passing voting restrictions to pacify right-wing activists still gripped by former President Donald Trump’s lie that a largely favorable election was rigged against them. GOP leaders are lashing out in Trumpian fashion at businesses, baseball and the news media to appeal to many of the same conservatives and voters. And debates over the size and scope of government have been overshadowed by the sort of culture war clashes that the tabloid king relished. This is the party Trump has remade. As GOP leaders and donors gather for a party retreat in Palm Beach, Florida, this weekend, with a side trip to Mar-a-Lago for a reception with Trump on Saturday night, the former president’s pervasive influence in Republican circles has revealed a party thoroughly animated by a defeated incumbent — a bizarre turn of events in U.S. politics. Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York Times Barred from Twitter, quietly disdained by many Republican officials and reduced to receiving supplicants in his tropical exile in Florida, Trump has found ways to exert an almost gravitational hold on a leaderless party just three months after the assault on the Capitol that his critics hoped would marginalize the man and taint his legacy. His preference for engaging in red-meat political fights rather than governing and policymaking have left party leaders in a state of confusion over what they stand for, even when it comes to business, which was once the business of Republicanism. Yet his single term has made it vividly clear what the far-right stands against — and how it intends to go about waging its fights. Having quite literally abandoned their traditional party platform last year to accommodate Trump, Republicans have organized themselves around opposition to the perceived excesses of the left and borrowed his scorched-earth tactics as they do battle. Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican minority leader, excoriated businesses this week for siding with Democrats on GOP-backed voting restrictions, only to backpedal after seeming to suggest he wanted corporations out of politics entirely. They are doing relatively little to present counterarguments to President Joe Biden on the coronavirus response, his expansive social welfare proposals or, with the important exception of immigration, most any policy issue. Instead, Republicans are attempting to shift the debate to issues that are more inspiring and unifying within their coalition and could help them tar Democrats. So Republicans have embraced fights over seemingly small-bore issues to make a larger argument: By emphasizing the withdrawal from publication of a handful of racially insensitive Dr. Seuss books; the rights of transgender people; and the willingness of large institutions or corporations like MLB and Coca-Cola to side with Democrats on voting rights, the right is attempting to portray a nation in the grip of elites obsessed with identity politics. It is a strikingly different approach from the last time Democrats had full control of government, in 2009 and 2010, when conservatives harnessed the Great Recession to stoke anger about President Barack Obama and federal spending on their way to sweeping midterm gains. But Biden, a white political veteran, is not much of a foil for the party’s far-right base and is unlikely to grow more polarizing with the country at large. “2010 had the veneer of philosophical and ideological coherence, but we don’t even bother paying lip service to that now,” said Liam Donovan, a Republican lobbyist. “Trump made grievances that were the aperitif into the entree.” While this approach may not be the political equivalent of a well-balanced meal — a plan for long-term recovery — that does not mean it is a poor strategy for success in the 2022 elections that will determine control of the House and Senate. Even Democrats see the risk that Republican messaging on cultural issues will resonate with a large segment of voters. Dan Pfeiffer — a former aide to Obama who suffered through what his boss called the 2010 “shellacking” — warned members of his party this week that they should not simply roll their eyes when Republicans lament “cancel culture.” “Republicans are raising these cultural topics to unite their party and divide ours,” he wrote in an essay. “Therefore, we must aggressively move the conversation back to the economic issues that unite our party and divide theirs.” Longtime Republicans do not much deny that. “Democrats have done the one thing I never thought could happen this quickly: They’ve caused Republicans to take their eyes off what divides us and made us set our eyes on the true opposition,” crowed Ralph Reed, a Republican strategist. That may be on overly rosy assessment given that Trump is still hungry for payback against his intraparty critics, with a series of contentious primaries on deck and Democrats poised to reap the benefits of an economic recovery. But there is no doubt that Republicans are rallying around a style of post-Trump politics that makes that prefix superfluous. In particular, they are eager to highlight immigration at a moment when there is a surge of undocumented migrants at the border. Besides being Trump’s signature issue, it also has the strongest cultural resonance with their heavily white base. An NPR/Marist survey last month found that while 64% of independent voters approved of Biden’s handling of the pandemic, only 27% supported his approach to immigration. At a private lunch last month on the same day House Democrats pushed through Biden’s stimulus bill, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., with the ear of McConnell, confidently predicted that the influx at the border would be the party’s ticket back to the majority. “I think this is a central issue in the campaign in 2022 — in part because it’s not clear to me that Joe Biden is strong enough and has the political willpower to do what is necessary and get the border under control,” Cotton said in a subsequent interview. It is not just conservatives who are focusing on the border. Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y. and a moderate who represents an upstate district that went heavily for Biden, warned that immigration flare-ups would be “hung around” Biden’s neck if he was not careful. “It’s not a good issue for people in the suburbs; it’s not a good issue for moderate Republicans; it’s not a good issue for moderate Democrats; it’s certainly not a good issue for independents,” he said. With much to gain from blaming the issue on Democrats, Republicans have all but abandoned a comprehensive immigration agreement, despite the pleadings of the business lobby. But that is hardly the only issue on which Republicans are growing uncomfortable with industry, although they are being selective in their choices. McConnell, for instance, continues to hold up the 2017 tax cuts, which slashed the corporate rate, as the crown jewel of the party’s legislative accomplishments in the Trump years, and he is highly unlikely to join a union picket line anytime soon. But he plainly sees a political upside in confronting MLB and the corporate titans, like Delta and Coca-Cola, that have denounced Georgia’s voting bill — an intervention that itself would have been unlikely in a pre-Trump era. “Corporations will invite serious consequences if they become a vehicle for far-left mobs to hijack our country from outside the constitutional order,” he warned this week, later adding that he had no problem with businesses continuing to fund candidates. Others in the party have gone even further, threatening the antitrust exemption professional baseball enjoys — a distinctly Trumpian retribution tactic. Recent party polling indicates that, more than any issue, Republican voters crave candidates who “won’t back down in a fight with the Democrats,” a finding that showed up in a survey by GOP firm Echelon Insights earlier this year. People who have gravitated to the right “feel the way of life that they have known is changing rapidly,” Kristen Soltis Anderson, the Republican pollster who conducted the survey, said in an interview with Ezra Klein. Republicans have sought to stoke those fears, wielding liberal positions on issues like policing or transgender rights as culture war bludgeons, even if it means dispensing with some conservative values. In Arkansas this week, a drive by conservative legislators to make it illegal for transgender children to receive gender-affirming medication or surgery drew a veto from Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican. He argued that the bill would “set new standard of legislative interference with physicians and parents” and that it failed to make exceptions for children who had already begun hormone treatments. Still, he was overridden by his party’s lawmakers, and Trump assailed him as a “lightweight RINO.” Yet it is the willingness to engage in brass-knuckle political combat that is most important in the party right now. “It has become the overarching virtue Republicans look for in their leaders,” said Reed, the GOP strategist. He said that in an earlier, less tribal era, the party would have backed off the divisive Georgia bill limiting voting access. “After business and the media circled the wagons, we would have called the Legislature back in, done some fixes and moved on,” he said. “Now we just dig in.” The shifting culture of the GOP is on clear display in Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis is emerging as presidential timber, almost entirely because he has weaponized news coverage critical of his handling of the coronavirus. DeSantis’ actual response to the crisis is not what delights conservatives; rather, it is how he bristles at skeptical coverage, just as Trump did when he was excoriating the “fake news.” The most recent example came this week when “60 Minutes” aired a segment that suggested DeSantis had improperly made Publix grocery stores, which are ubiquitous in Florida, distributors of the coronavirus vaccine after the company contributed $100,000 to him. DeSantis did not cooperate with CBS for the piece. But with the sympathy of other Republicans, he cried foul about the segment after it ran and was rewarded with a coveted prime-time interview on Fox News to expound on his grievance. “This is the beating heart of the Republican Party right now; the media has replaced Democrats as the opposition,” said Scott Jennings, a Republican strategist in Kentucky. “The platform is, whatever the media is against today, I’m for, and whatever they’re for, I’m against.” That has made for an odd alchemy in the capital, where a number of business-oriented Republicans increasingly find themselves politically homeless. Notable among them is the Chamber of Commerce, which angered GOP lawmakers by cozying up to Democrats but is now aghast at Biden’s proposed corporate tax hike. “It’s a weird time,” said Tony Fratto, a former Bush administration official who supported Biden but represents business clients who are uneasy with a tax increase. “I don’t know where to go, but a lot of people don’t feel comfortable with where the parties are right now.” Except, perhaps, for one recently retired Florida man. This article originally appeared in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company
A California man was convicted of a federal hate crime for attempting to stab a Black man while on probation for another 'racially motivated' assault
The man swiped a nine-inch knife "multiple times" at the man's head, chest, and stomach, while he shouted racial slurs, the Justice Department said.
U.S. and Iranian officials clashed on Friday over what sanctions the United States should lift to resume compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, with Washington predicting an impasse if Tehran sticks to a demand that all sanctions since 2017 be removed. The two nations laid out tough stances as indirect talks in Vienna on how to bring both back into full compliance with the agreement wound up for the week, with some delegates citing progress. The talks, in which European Union officials are shuttling between the remaining parties to the deal and the United States, aim to restore the bargain at the core of the agreement - restrictions on Iran's nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of U.S. and other international sanctions.
- The Daily Beast
Joe Raedle/GettyAfter 10 days of relentless developments in the Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) saga of scandals, the Florida Republican reemerged Friday evening to mostly ignore the most recent and damning reports and offer boilerplate MAGA defenses and applause lines.“I’m built for the battle, and I’m not going anywhere,” Gaetz told attendees at the Save America Summit at Trump Doral in Miami, Florida.As Gaetz tries to brush aside reports that he’s under investigation for paying women for sex—including, potentially, an underage minor—Gaetz seemed to see no irony in addressing an event hosted by “Women for America First.” Instead, he claimed the reports were “smears” and “wild conspiracy theories” promoted by a “lying media.”As the sun set on one of Trump’s golf clubs, Gaetz was celebrated as a hero and a “fearless leader.”Gaetz Paid Accused Sex Trafficker, Who Then Venmo’d TeenThe congressman kicked things off by regurgitating the lie that the 2020 “election was stolen” from former President Donald Trump, due to “changes to the rules.” He then moved into familiar “America First” boosterism before saying the past week had been “full of encouragement.”But outside the warm confines of another Trump property, the list of Gaetz scandals is growing and intensifying. Just a few hours before Gaetz spoke Friday, the House Ethics Committee announced it was also opening an investigation into the “public allegations” against him—and the usually laconic press release offered a laundry list of complaints.“The Committee is aware of public allegations that Representative Matt Gaetz may have engaged in sexual misconduct and/or illicit drug use, shared inappropriate images or videos on the House floor, misused state identification records, converted campaign funds for personal use, and/or accepted a bribe/improper gratuity, or impermissible gift in violation of House rules,” the Committee wrote in a letter.And yet, no one in attendance for the “Dinner and Drinks with Rep. Matt Gaetz” event would have known that he is potentially fighting for his political future and, more importantly, his freedom. He delivered a speech that largely could have been recited at any Trump rally during the last four years.Still, as much as Gaetz continues to associate himself with the Trump brand, Trump himself appears to be keeping his distance.Republicans Have Been Waiting for a Matt Gaetz Scandal to BreakAs The Daily Beast reported late last week, advisers to the ex-president implored Trump to not publicly defend Gaetz, at least until more was known about the veracity of the allegations regarding a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and the federal probe. For the most part, Trump has privately agreed with that advice, and various Trumpworld luminaries, members of the Trump family, and top Republicans and conservative media stars have shut the hell up about the Gaetz scandal.Some are already preparing to wash their hands of the loyal MAGA soldier, despite years of Gaetz vigorously going to bat for Trump on nearly every scandal or major controversy.None of the 16 former senior Trump admin officials, ex-campaign brass, longtime GOP operatives, and sources close to the ex-president contacted by The Daily Beast were willing to defend Gaetz on the record. Not a single one would even do so anonymously.When former President Trump finally did issue a statement on Gaetz on Wednesday, it was a brief, mostly self-serving statement that offered a half-hearted defense at best."Congressman Matt Gaetz has never asked me for a pardon," Trump said in a statement, after reports that Gaetz sought a blanket pardon for himself and other Trump cheerleaders. "It must also be remembered that he has totally denied the accusations against him."But for Gaetz, it’s all the vindication he needs.“The best is indeed yet to come,” Gaetz said at Friday night’s event.Matt Gaetz Said His ‘Travel Records’ Would Exonerate Him. Not So Fast.It’s a sentiment lifted from the 2020 Republican National Convention speech of Kimberly Guilfoyle, a prominent Trump ally and Donald Trump Jr.’s girlfriend.In the intervening time between when Guilfoyle first bellowed those words and when Gaetz said them Friday, Joe Biden beat Trump in the presidential election, the U.S. Capitol was overtaken by insurrectionists, Trump became the first U.S. president to get impeached twice, and it was exposed that Gaetz is the subject of a Justice Department probe into alleged sex trafficking and prostitution.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 star, who appeared on the seventh series of Big Brother in 2006, had anorexia.
La Soufrière on Saint Vincent island spews ash 6 km into the air, as 16,000 people are evacuated.
- USA TODAY
Debra Jo Hunter of Fernandina Beach is sentenced to 29 days in jail for coughing in a woman's face at a Pier 1 Import that went viral on YouTube.
- Business Insider
BBC presenters immediately changed into black clothes following the news of Prince Philip's death. They always have black outfits on standby, sources say.
The BBC presenter Martine Croxall wore all black to announce Prince Philip's death. BBC sources say presenters always have black clothes on standby.
- Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Who had the best night for the Rangers the night after being no-hit?
- Raleigh News and Observer
Former Wake Forest golfer closes his second round at the Masters with three straight birdies to play himself into Saturday’s final pairing with leader Justin Rose.
The ceremony is split over two days for the first time, with more winners to be revealed on Sunday.
- Associated Press
The Twitter account of Britain's royal family has featured a tribute Queen Elizabeth II gave to Prince Philip for the couple's 50th wedding anniversary. An excerpt from a speech the queen made in 1997 was posted Saturday, the day after Philip died at age 99. “He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim, or we shall ever know,” Elizabeth said of her husband in the anniversary speech.
Thousands of people in Saint Vincent have been evacuated after the La Soufrière volcano erupted.