OUAGADOUGOU (Reuters) - The government of Burkina Faso has banned an annual beauty contest for women with the biggest buttocks, saying such events are sexist. Adverts for this weekend's third edition of 'Miss Bim-Bim', carrying an image of two fully clothed women with exaggeratedly large behinds, provoked an outcry on social media. "Our role is to do everything to avoid damaging the image of women," said Minister Laure Zongo in a statement, adding that social media criticism had persuaded her to act. The male organiser of the event, Hamado Doambahe, said it aimed to promote a more positive body image for African women and encourage fashion designers to use African costumes. Contests like Miss Bim-Bim have been held in other West African countries. Women's rights groups have mixed views about the tendency in many African cultures to celebrate women with larger bodies than are typically admired elsewhere. While they welcome the shift away from the unnaturally thin female shapes promoted by the global fashion industry, they deplore the emphasis on men judging women's body shapes. The head of Burkina Faso's High Council for Communications, Nathalie Some, called in a statement for people in advertising, the media and the arts to protect the rights of women and girls. (Reporting by Mathieu Bonkoungou; Writing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg; Editing by Tim Cocks/Ruth Pitchford)
- NBC News
Analysis: Biden had nothing to gain and everything to lose from fighting a quixotic war over the filibuster just days into his presidency.
- The Telegraph
The leader of the Proud Boys extremist group has been unmasked as a "prolific" former FBI informant. Enrique Tarrio, 36, worked undercover exposing a human trafficking ring, and helped with drug and gambling cases, according to court documents. Tarrio's documented involvement with law enforcement related to the period 2012 -2014. There was no evidence of him cooperating after that. But the revelation raised further questions over why police did not take further steps to secure the US Capitol ahead of the riots on Jan 6. At least half a dozen members of the Proud Boys were arrested over involvement in the riots. Tarrio denied ever being an informer, telling Reuters: "I don’t know any of this. I don’t recall any of this."
- Associated Press
One day after the deadly insurrection in Washington, a Pennsylvania school district announced it was suspending a teacher who, the district asserted, “was involved in the electoral college protest that took place at the United States Capitol Building.” Three weeks later, Jason Moorehead is fighting to restore his reputation and resume teaching after he says the Allentown School District falsely accused him of being at the Capitol during the siege. The district says Moorehead’s social media posts about the events of Jan. 6, and not just his presence in Washington that day, are a focus of its probe.
Russian President Vladimir Putin told the virtual “Davos Agenda” conference on Wednesday that recent events in the U.S. had underscored the danger of “public discontent” combined with “modern technology.”The big picture: Putin, a late addition to the speakers' list, is facing protests at home over the arrest of opposition figure Alexey Navalny. Several experts and activists criticized the World Economic Forum for inviting him, with chess champion and Kremlin critic Garry Kasparov tweeting that Putin’s appearance showed he was “desperate to reassure his cronies he's still acceptable in the West despite his brutal crackdown.”Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.What he’s saying: Putin said growing inequality and “systemic socio-economic problems” were “splitting the society,” adding: “This pressure shows through even in those countries which seem to possess well-established civic and democratic institutions.” * He said Big Tech firms had established monopolies, and questioned whether their services were serving “the public interest” or further contributing to the divide. * “We have seen all of this quite recently in the United States, and everybody understands quite well what I’m talking about," he said.Between the lines: This could also be read as a self-serving argument from Putin, who has sharply curtailed freedoms online and was only yesterday forced to respond to a viral YouTube video in which Navalny claimed he owned a “billion dollar palace."The other side: Putin’s style diverged sharply from Chinese President Xi Jinping, who addressed the conference on Monday. * Xi appeared polished and camera-ready, breaking his speech into four themes and speaking in sweeping terms about international cooperation. * Putin was late to start, sat in a slouched position and peppered his speech with economic statistics in a tone that alternated between combativeness and disinterest.Worth noting: Putin also contended that countries facing internal divisions were seizing on “external enemies,” particularly “countries that do not agree to become docile, easy to control satellites.” * He argued that the increasing the use of tools like sanctions would only increase the risk of future “military force.”Go deeper: Biden's Russia challengeSupport safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
- National Review
White House climate czar John Kerry on Wednesday recommended that oil and gas workers should pivot to manufacturing solar panels if their jobs are eliminated as a consequence of the Biden administration’s environmental policies. During a press briefing at the White House on Wednesday, Kerry, who is serving as the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, was asked what his message is to workers who are “seeing an end to their livelihoods” as a result of President Biden’s plan to move away from traditional fuels and towards renewable energy. “The president of the United States has expressed in every comment he has made about climate the need to grow the new jobs that pay better, that are cleaner,” Kerry responded, emphasizing that Biden intends to “do what needs to be done to deal with this crisis.” “What President Biden wants to do is make sure those folks have better choices, that they have alternatives, that they can be the people to go to work to make the solar panels,” Kerry said. Kerry noted that jobs in clean energy, such solar power technician and wind turbine technician, were growing rapidly before the pandemic hit. “The same people can do those jobs,” the former secretary of state said, adding that, “coal plants have been closing over the last 20 years.” Kerry also lamented that workers in traditional fuel industries have been a “false narrative.” “They’ve been fed the notion that somehow dealing with climate is coming at their expense. No, it’s not,” he said, adding that the tribulations of oil and gas workers are due to “other market forces already taking place.” Biden signed several executive orders on climate change on Wednesday aimed at achieving the goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. Last week, the president reentered the Paris climate accord, from which the Trump administration withdrew the U.S. in 2017. Biden also canceled the permit on the Keystone pipeline, a project that would have created about 11,000 U.S. jobs this year, according to the Keystone XL website. Many of the workers are temporary, but 8,000 are union workers. “Today is climate day at the White House, which means today is jobs day at the White House,” Biden said at a White House ceremony. “In my view, we’ve already waited too long to deal with this climate crisis and we can’t wait any longer. It is time to act.” Also on Wednesday, former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm testified at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and promised to focus on creating U.S. jobs in clean energy while moving away from fossil fuels. She cited her time as Michigan governor, saying that “when we focused on providing incentives for job providers to locate in Michigan in clean energy, they came.” However, she added, “I think it is important that as we develop fossil fuels that we also develop the technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
- The Telegraph
A doctor with terminal cancer killed a female paediatrician and then himself after taking hostages at a children's clinic in Austin, Texas. Dr Bharat Narumanchi held hostages in a five-hour siege before killing Dr Katherine Lindley Dodson. Narumanchi had applied for a volunteer position at the clinic a week ago and was declined. He later came back carrying a pistol, a shotgun and two duffel bags. Police spokesman Jeff Greenwalt said Narumanchi had recently been given "weeks to live" after a cancer diagnosis. He said: "The case as far as who did this is closed. We know who did it. And we know that there's no longer a threat to the public. But we really, really want to answer the question of why." Dr Lindley Dodson, 43, was beloved by patients and their families. Karen Vladeck, whose two children were among her patients, told the Austin American-Statesman: "You saw her at your worst when your kid was sick, and she just always had a smile on her face. "She made you feel like you were the only parent there, even though there was a line of kids waiting." During the siege a SWAT team used a megaphone to communicate with the armed doctor. A hostage negotiator shouted: "Your life is very important to me. And I know life is very important to you. "You don't deserve to go through this. For all you have done for others. That is why I want to help you work through this. You have saved a lot of lives." Police first sent in a robot and then officers went into the medical office where they found two bodies. They did not comment on how the two doctors died. A police spokesman said: "The SWAT situation has ended. Two subjects have been located and were pronounced deceased."
- The Week
There's growing skepticism that 17 Senate Republicans will vote with Democrats to convict former President Donald Trump of inciting an insurrection, meaning his second impeachment trial would also end in acquittal. The GOP's legally dubious off-ramp — declaring it unconstitutional to try a former president — failed Tuesday, but 45 of the 50 Senate Republicans voted in favor of the motion. So Democrats are now looking for a Plan B to ensure that Trump is not let off essentially scot-free for the deadly Jan. 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of his supporters. "Make no mistake — there will be a trial, and the evidence against the former president will be presented, in living color, for the nation and every one of us to see," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday. At the same time, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said he's talking with a "handful" of his GOP colleagues to see if they would support a censure resolution. Tuesday's 55-45 vote was "completely clarifying that we're not going to get near 67," Kaine said Wednesday, adding that his resolution is "more than just a censure, saying, 'Hey, you did wrong.'" The proposal would state that the Jan. 6 attack "was an insurrection and that President Trump gave aid and comfort to the insurrectionists," language intended to invoke the 14th Amendment and bar Trump from holding federal office again. Constitutional scholars are skeptical such a ban would be enforceable. "I worry about the cop-out of a condemnatory censure, which Senators shouldn't be led to think gets them off the hook of having to convict the former president under the Article of Impeachment," Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe told The Washington Post. Kaine and other Democrats are also floating the option of a quick trial, as short as a week, so the Senate can focus on passing President Biden's COVID-19 legislation and other priorities. Some moderate Democrats don't want to rush it, though. "We have an obligation to get the facts, it seems to me," especially concerning Trump's personal involvement in the insurrection, Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) told The Associated Press. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) agreed. "This is much, much more serious than anything we've ever seen in our lifetime and it's really the purpose of having articles of impeachment in the Constitution," he said. "We want to make sure that no one ever does this again, never thinks about doing this again — sedition and insurrection." More stories from theweek.com5 brutally funny cartoons about the GOP's Trump problemBiden is not going to get his $1.9 trillion stimulus plan. And that's okay.Facebook seeks to scale back politics on the platform and 'turn down the temperature'
President Obama's former speechwriter says he's "preemptively frustrated" with President Biden's effort to find unity with Republicans.What they're saying: Cody Keenan told Axios that Biden's messaging team has "struck all the right chords," but at some point "they're gonna have to answer questions like, 'Why didn't you achieve unity?' when there's an entire political party that's already acting to stop it."Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.Keenan spent 14 years writing for Obama, including working alongside Biden for eight of those years. He acknowledged being embittered by his own experience, especially after Sen. Mitch McConnell pledged to make his former boss a one-term president. * "Until the Republican Party steps up and tells their own voters what's really happening with the truth, it's going to be elusive," Keenan said. "It's not up to (President Biden) alone to deliver. He can't."Keenan helped Obama with the first volume of his memoir, "A Promised Land." He stopped working with the former president on New Year's Eve and has taken a full-time role at Fenway Strategies. The firm is run by another ex-Obama speechwriter — Jon Favreau — and presidential aide, Tommy Vietor. * "It just seemed like a natural spot after the book and the elections and, you know, [Obama] is not going to do a ton, especially with Biden in office," Keenan said.Keenan is also writing a book, titled "Grace," about the 10 days from the 2015 shooting at a historic Black church in Charleston, South Carolina, to the eulogy Obama delivered for Rev. Clementa Pinckney. * Obama ended by singing "Amazing Grace." * The title also nods to Keenan's newborn daughter, named Grace.Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
The move could save the service millions of dollars and provide wearers with better protection in the field.
- Associated Press
A Florida fire captain accused of stealing COVID-19 vaccines meant for first responders turned himself in Wednesday afternoon, sheriff's officials said. Polk County Fire Rescue Capt. Anthony Damiano, 55, faces a felony charge of falsifying an official record as a public servant and misdemeanor petit theft, according to a Polk County Sheriff's Office news release. Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said at a news conference Tuesday that paramedic Joshua Colon, 31, was arrested Monday for covering up Damiano’s theft.
- National Review
Senator Mitt Romney (R., Utah) criticized Republicans who argue that impeaching former President Trump would be divisive, in comments during an online event on Tuesday. “Five people died with the attack on the Capitol. Five human beings died. There’s no question but that the president incited the insurrection that occurred,” Romney said at an online forum with the Economic Club of Chicago on Tuesday. The forum, titled “Governing from the Middle,” was moderated by former Obama strategist David Axelrod and featured Senators Romney and Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.). Romney was the only GOP senator to vote in favor of conviction during Trump’s previous impeachment trial, during which the former president was ultimately acquitted. House Democrats and a small set of Republicans voted to impeach Trump again for “incitement of insurrection” earlier this month, after Trump incited a mob of his supporters to amass at the Capitol on January 6. The mob breached the building and forced lawmakers to evacuate, and the riots resulted in five deaths, including a Capitol police officer. Romney dismissed arguments by some GOP congressmen that an impeachment at this stage would cause more “divisiveness” throughout the country. “I say, first of all, have you gone out publicly and said that there was not widespread voter fraud and that Joe Biden is the legitimate president of the United States? If you said that, then I’m happy to listen to you talk about other things that might inflame anger and divisiveness,” Romney said. “But if you haven’t said that, that’s really what’s at the source of the anger right now.” Romney was among just five GOP senators who declined to support a resolution by Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) that would declare Trump’s upcoming impeachment trial unconstitutional.
- Architectural Digest
Let’s get loudOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- The Independent
Jill Biden spent her first week as First Lady reshaping the role. Melania Trump spent hers isolated in a tower
New first lady signals she will be an active and constant presence in the White House - drawing stark contrasts to her predecessor
- The Week
John Kerry: American workers 'fed a false narrative' that shift to clean energy is 'coming at their expense'
President Biden on Wednesday turned his attention to climate issues, signing executive orders that seek to halt new oil and gas leases on public lands and waters, conserve 30 percent of federal lands and waters by 2030, and find ways to double wind production by the same year. John Kerry, the first-ever United States Climate Envoy, championed the actions, reiterating his belief that the climate crisis is "existential" and "failure, literally, is not an option." While briefing reporters, Kerry was asked about potential job losses in the fossil fuel industry, and whether he had a message for workers who believe they are witnessing the end of their livelihoods. Kerry explained that those workers "have been fed a false narrative" by the Trump administration about the shift to clean energy, which he said will not come "at their expense." He added that, before the COVID-19 pandemic, the solar and wind energy industries were growing swiftly, while coal plants have been closing over the last few decades. "The same people can do those jobs. But the choice of doing the solar power one now is a better choice," he said, also pointing out the health risks associated with coal mining. John Kerry says oil and gas workers have been fed a "false narrative" that action on climate change will hurt their livelihoods, and that President Biden wants to "make sure that those folks have better choices" for jobs in the energy sector https://t.co/Nj065CIsxp pic.twitter.com/czkjomesi8 — CBS News (@CBSNews) January 27, 2021 Republicans like Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) weren't buying the reassurance, suggesting that Kerry's statement lacked empathy, although he didn't explicitly refute the notion that an industry transition may be feasible for fossil fuel workers. John Kerry's message to the tens of thousands of Americans who lost their jobs thanks to the Biden administration: go make solar panels. Where is the empathy that Joe Biden promised in his inauguration? https://t.co/CvQovUlEoD — Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) January 27, 2021 More stories from theweek.com5 brutally funny cartoons about the GOP's Trump problemBiden is not going to get his $1.9 trillion stimulus plan. And that's okay.With Senate Republicans balking at convicting Trump, Democrats explore alternative censures
- The Conversation
Why it takes 2 shots to make mRNA vaccines do their antibody-creating best – and what the data shows on delaying the booster dose
After a second dose of the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine, a swarm of antibodies attacks the virus. Kateryna Kon/Science Photo Library via Getty ImagesWith the U.S. facing vaccination delays because of worker shortages and distribution problems, federal health officials now say it’s OK to push back the second dose of the two-part vaccine by as much as six weeks. As an infectious disease doctor, I’ve been fielding a lot of questions from my patients as well as my friends and family about whether the COVID-19 vaccine will still work if people are late receiving their second dose. Why you need two doses 3-4 weeks apart Two doses, separated by three to four weeks, is the tried-and-true approach to generate an effective immune response through vaccination, not just for COVID but for hepatitis A and B and other diseases as well. The first dose primes the immune system and introduces the body to the germ of interest. This allows the immune system to prepare its defense. The second dose, or booster, provides the opportunity for the immune system to ramp up the quality and quantity of the antibodies used to fight the virus. In the case of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, the second dose increases the protection afforded by the vaccine from 60% to approximately 95%. Why the CDC decided receiving the second dose within 42 days is OK In the clinical trial, the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine was administered as early as day 19 and as late as day 42 to 93% of the subjects. Since protection was approximately 95% for everyone who was vaccinated within this time “window,” there is little reason not to allow some flexibility in the timing of the second dose 2. As more vaccine becomes available, the timing of the second dose should be close to four weeks for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. But the good news is that even while supplies remain limited, the science suggests that there’s nothing bad about getting a second dose as late as 42 days after the first. What the immune system does between the first and second dose The biology through which the mRNA vaccines induce their protection from COVID-19 is fundamentally different from that with other vaccines. Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use messenger RNA that encodes the spike glycoprotein. Upon injection of the vaccine, the mRNA enters into immune cells called dendritic cells. The dendritic cells use the instructions written in the mRNA to synthesize the hallmark spike glycoprotein, which characterizes the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. These immune cells then show the spike glycoprotein to B-cells, which then make anti-spike antibodies. Dendritic cells recognize viruses and present information about the spike protein to T-cells. T-cells provide information about the viral spike protein to B-cells, which are transformed to memory B-cells that store information about the virus. When this memory B-cell is activated with an infection or the second dose of the vaccine, this causes some of the B-cells to change into plasma B-cells that secrete protective antibodies that fight the virus. Kateryna Kon/Science Photo Library via Getty Images The mRNA vaccines are uniquely capable of inducing a special kind of immune cell – called a T-follicular helper cell – to help B-cells produce antibodies. The T-cells do this through direct contact with the B-cells and by sending chemical signals that tell the B-cells to produce antibodies. It is this help in antibody production that makes these vaccines so effective. But not all B-cells are the same. There are two kinds that make anti-spike antibodies: long-lived plasma cells and memory B-cells. The long-lived plasma cells, as their name implies, live in the bone marrow for years after vaccination, continuously churning out antibody – in this case anti-spike antibody. These long-lived B-cells do not need to be boosted. The memory B-cells, on the other hand, live in a state akin to hibernation. They do not produce antibodies until stimulated by a booster of the vaccine, or are exposed to infection with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. That is the reason we need that second dose. Together these two types of B-cells provide a constant level of protection. What happens if you don’t get the Pfizer or Moderna second dose on time? With current vaccine shortages, and problems with setting up the infrastructure to vaccinate millions of people, many physicians are concerned that the second dose of vaccine won’t be delivered in the prescribed three-to-four-week window. That booster shot is necessary for the T-cells to stimulate the memory B-cells to produce massive quantities of antibodies. If the booster isn’t given within the appropriate window, lower quantities of antibodies will be produced that may not provide as powerful protection from the virus. [Deep knowledge, daily. Sign up for The Conversation’s newsletter.]This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts. It was written by: William Petri, University of Virginia. Read more:How mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna work, why they’re a breakthrough and why they need to be kept so coldCOVID-19 vaccines were developed in record time – but are these game-changers safe? William Petri receives research funding from the NIH, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Regeneron, Inc.
- Yahoo News Video
China toughened its language toward Taiwan on Thursday, warning after recent stepped-up military activities near the island that "independence means war" and that its armed forces were taking action to respond to provocation and foreign interference.
- Associated Press
A motorist accused of hitting pedestrians, bicyclists and killing a 77-year-old woman Monday in Portland, Oregon, has pleaded not guilty to murder and has given detectives bizarre explanations about the incident, according to court documents. Paul Rivas, 64, through a court-appointed lawyer, also pleaded not guilty Wednesday to six counts of second-degree assault, six counts of failure to perform the duties of a driver after causing injuries, and one count of failure to perform the duties of a driver resulting in a death. Prosecutor Sean P. Hughey wrote in a probable cause affidavit that Rivas initially told investigators his Honda Element was having brake problems and that he was searching for an auto repair shop.
Antony Blinken began his first full day as U.S. secretary of state on Wednesday promising to repair ties with global partners and show the world that America can lead, while tackling climate change, the erosion of democracies and other complex issues. Greeted in the lobby and outside by a crowd of State Department employees limited by coronavirus measures, Blinken, who served as No. 2 at the State Department under former Democratic President Barack Obama, was greeted with applause. As challenges he cited the coronavirus pandemic, climate change, the global economy, threats to democracies, fights for racial justice, and the dangers to security and global stability posed by rivals and adversaries.
- The Independent
Mike Pence is homeless after leaving office and ‘couch-surfing’ with Indiana politicians, report says
Mike Pence has been residing in public housing for the past eight years
The aim control enhancer was once under consideration for the U.S. Special Operations Command's "Iron Man" suit program.