Amore filled the streets in Boston's North End. Cupid enticed crowds back to the historic district's restaurants, which also needed the love.
- The Telegraph
David Cameron has accused Theresa May of making a “very bad mistake” by combining the role of National Security Adviser and Cabinet Secretary during her tenure. The former prime minister heaped criticism on his successor, saying her decision in 2018 to hand both roles to one person, Sir Mark Sedwill, “temporarily weakened” Whitehall’s national security infrastructure. “They are two jobs,” Mr Cameron said on Monday. “Even if you were a cross of Einstein, Wittgenstein & Mother Teresa, you couldn’t possibly do both jobs.” The Cabinet Secretary is the most senior civil servant on Whitehall and is the senior policy adviser to the Prime Minister. The NSA is the central co-ordinator and adviser to the prime minister and cabinet on security, intelligence, defence, and some foreign policy matters. The roles were split up again by Boris Johnson after he took office. Addressing MPs and peers who sit on the Joint Committee on the National Strategic Security, Mr Cameron conceded it was a “mistake” that the Government’s future pandemic planning had focused on flu rather than respiratory diseases in the years leading up to the Covid-19 outbreak. “I think there was a pretty good flu pandemic plan but it was a flu plan rather than a respiratory diseases plan,” he said. He also admitted that more lessons should have been learned from the SARS epidemic in 2004. He questioned what had happened to a unit that he said was set up during his administration in the Cabinet Office to concentrate on “global virus surveillance”. Mr Johnson is now pushing for an international version of such a unit. He has called on global leaders to join a “global pandemic early warning system to predict a coming health crisis”, part of his five-point plan for curbing future pandemics. It would require “a vast expansion of our ability to collect and analyse samples and distribute the findings, using health data-sharing agreements covering every country”, the Prime Minister has said. Mr Cameron ruled out returning to the political arena when asked on Monday whether he would consider a comeback. “No,” he said. “Thinking about Donald Trump making a comeback is enough to keep us all spinning over.” He added that he was “happy doing what I’m doing for Alzheimer’s and dementia” and highlighted a fragile states council he has set up with former Liberian and Rwandan ministers. Asked whether he missed being prime minister, he quipped that he did not miss Wednesdays at noon, the time at which he faced his weekly Commons showdown with the Leader of the Opposition during Prime Minister’s Questions. Mr Cameron seized the opportunity to restate his criticism of Mr Johnson for axing the Department for International Development (DfID), branding it another “mistake”. “Having the Foreign Office voice around the (National Security Council) table and the DfID voice around the table I think is important,” Mr Cameron said. He added: “Can you really expect the foreign secretary to do all of the diplomatic stuff and be able to speak to the development brief as well? That's quite a task, so I think it is good to have both.”
- The Independent
The Trump administration allegedly spent $10bn in hospital relief funds on Operation Warp Speed
- The Telegraph
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- Associated Press
The Biden administration sanctioned seven mid-level and senior Russian officials on Tuesday, along with more than a dozen businesses and other entities, over a nearly fatal nerve-agent attack on opposition leader Alexei Navalny and his subsequent jailing. The measures, emphasizing the use of the Russian nerve agent as a banned chemical weapon, marked the Biden administration's first sanctions against associates of President Vladimir Putin. The Russian leader was an intimate and favorite of President Donald Trump even during covert Russian hacking and social media campaigns aimed at destabilizing the U.S.
- Architectural Digest
Zoë’s newsletter comes to a web page near you, and the theme of the day is dampOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- LA Times
Renowned actress and activist Jane Fonda adds the Cecil B. DeMille Award to her previous seven honors from the Golden Globes.
- Associated Press
As a presidential candidate, Joe Biden promised to make a pariah out of Saudi Arabia over the 2018 killing of dissident Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi. The Biden administration made clear Friday it would forgo sanctions or any other major penalty against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Khashoggi killing, even after a U.S. intelligence report concluded the prince ordered it.
- The Independent
President’s warm tone towards Mexico has translated to substantial policy changes
- The Independent
Biden AG pick passes out of committee by bipartisan 15-7 vote
- Associated Press
An artificial intelligence commission led by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt is urging the U.S. to boost its AI skills to counter China, including by pursuing "AI-enabled" weapons – something that Google itself has shied away from on ethical grounds. Schmidt and current executives from Google, Microsoft, Oracle and Amazon are among the 15 members of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, which released its final report to Congress on Monday.
- The Independent
The president returned to some of his favourite debunked theories about the election, and much more
- Reuters Videos
New York's top prosecutor rejected a proposal by Governor Andrew Cuomo for her to pick a lawyer to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct against him, after Cuomo's office backtracked on Sunday on a plan to choose its own investigator. State Attorney General Letitia James said it was essential that Cuomo instead formally refer the matter to her office for investigation, which would give her subpoena power and ensure an impartial probe. Cuomo has been accused of sexual harassment by two former aides, which he has denied. On Saturday, his administration said it had selected a former federal judge, Barbara Jones, to lead an investigation into the claims. But that failed to satisfy leading Democratic figures, including U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, who tweeted that "There must be an independent investigation - not one led by an individual selected by the Governor." By Sunday, Cuomo’s office had asked the state's AG and Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals to pick the investigator, saying it wanted to avoid "even the perception of a lack of independence or inference of politics." But James responded by saying that the governor needs to make an official referral to her office under the state's executive law. Only a referral could enable "an investigation with real teeth," a spokesman for James said. The latest accusation against the governor came on Saturday when a former aide told the New York Times that Cuomo had asked her questions about her sex life, including whether she had ever had sex with older men. That claim came just days after another former aide alleged the governor made several "inappropriate gestures" toward her. Cuomo, one of the nation's most well-known Democratic politicians whose popularity soared during the early months of the pandemic, has faced a string of controversies in recent weeks, including how his administration handled high numbers of COVID-19 deaths in the state's nursing homes.
- Associated Press
Texas is lifting its mask mandate, Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday, making it the largest state to end an order intended to prevent the spread of the coronavirus that has killed more than 42,000 Texans. The Republican governor has faced sharp criticism from his party over the mandate, which was imposed eight months ago, as well as other COVID-19 restrictions on businesses that Texas will also scuttle starting next week. The repealed rules include doing away with limits on the number of diners or customers allowed indoors, said Abbott, who made the announcement at a restaurant in Lubbock.
- The Week
Arizona GOP lawyer tells Supreme Court the party needs certain voting restrictions to compete with Democrats
The Supreme Court on Tuesday heard oral arguments by Arizona Republicans in defense of two voting restrictions they are looking to keep in tact. At one point, Justice Amy Coney Barrett asked Michael Carvin, a lawyer representing the Arizona GOP, what the party's interest in maintaining the policy of discarding ballots cast at the wrong precinct was. Carvin answered, without hesitation, that removing the rule would prevent Republicans from competing in the state. "It puts us at a competitive disadvantage relative to Democrats," he told Barrett. "Politics is a zero sum game. Every extra vote that they get through unlawful interpretations of Section 2 hurts us. It's the difference between winning an election 50-49 and losing an election." In key voting rights case, Justice Amy Coney Barrett asks GOP lawyer Michael Carvin “what’s the interest” to Republicans in keeping voting restrictions in Arizona. Carvin: “Because it puts us at a competitive disadvantage relative to Democrats. Politics is a zero-sum game.” pic.twitter.com/In7GULkSUb — The Recount (@therecount) March 2, 2021 Critics argued Carvin was essentially admitting some Republicans believe "it is okay to manipulate elections to gain partisan advantage." Per Reuters, part of the reason voting rights activists have targeted the precinct rule is that voters sometimes inadvertently cast their ballots at the wrong polling station because their assigned location is not always the closest one to their homes. However, Reuters reports the high court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority, is likely to uphold the restriction, as well as another that makes it a crime to hand over someone else's ballot to election officials during early voting. More stories from theweek.comWill COVID-19 wind up saving lives?Harry Potter game will reportedly allow transgender characters after J.K. Rowling uproarDemocrats need to choose: The filibuster or democracy
See the mother-daughter duo serve up a sweet message in their first shared fashion campaign.
- Business Insider
The Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in a case that could further gut the Voting Rights Act and its protections for minority voters
In Brnovich vs. Democratic National Committee, the Court will rule whether two Arizona voting restrictions violate Section 2 of the VRA.
- Business Insider
10 hours in Cancún hurt Ted Cruz's job approval more than when he tried to flip the presidential election
New polling from Morning Consult shows Ted Cruz's job approval fell more after traveling to Mexico than when he objected to the election results.
- The Daily Beast
Mark Felix/AFP/GettyDALLAS—Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Tuesday that he planned to end the state’s mask mandate and allow all businesses to fully reopen, ignoring the pleas of local officials and the state’s slow vaccination rollout.“It is now time to open Texas 100 percent,” Abbott said at a press conference during a Chamber of Commerce luncheon at a Lubbock restaurant. “Every business that wants to be open, should be open.”As the nation’s second largest state, Texas may become the first domino in a series of reopenings that go against the advice of public health experts. Shortly after Abbott’s announcement on Tuesday, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, a fellow Republican, announced his state would follow suit in fully reopening and rescinding mask mandates.Imagine One of These Cities Wiped Out—That’s How Many Americans COVID KilledTexas reported 7,778 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, according to Johns Hopkins University, and 212 deaths; a steep decline from the virus’ peak in early January, when the seven-day case average regularly broke 20,000, according to The New York Times.However, the state’s high positive test rate—trending upwards—could indicate that not enough people are being tested, according to Johns Hopkins University. Among the 50 states, only Georgia and Utah rank behind Texas in terms of the percentage of residents who’ve received at least one shot of the coronavirus vaccine, according to Times data.“I am really worried about reports that more states are rolling back the exact public health measures we have recommended to protect people from COVID-19,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said at Monday’s White House briefing. “Now is not the time to relax the critical safeguards that we know could stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, not when we are so close.”According to the Texas Tribune, vaccinations took a dramatic dip during the winter storm last month that left millions without power for days.Nevertheless, business would be allowed to reopen from next Wednesday, Abbott said, adding that he would expand the state’s vaccine eligibility categories beyond seniors, health-care workers, and adults with underlying conditions. Abbott didn’t provide specifics on what such expansion would look like. He said he expected the state to receive an influx of shipments of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, adding to a deployment of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine that arrived in the state on Tuesday.While individual businesses can still chose to limit customers or require masks, Abbott said city or county ordinances are no longer valid, potentially paving the way for mass gatherings to resume. County judges can impose restrictions if their hospitalizations reach 15 percent for seven straight days, he said.“To be clear: COVID has not suddenly disappeared. COVID still exists,” Abbott said, as the mic picked up a faint cough. “But it is clear… that state mandates are no longer needed.”Travis Smith, a 28-year-old fast food worker in Houston said he was filled with rage as he watched Abbott’s announcement.“I was horrified. I have no idea what situation I’m going to be going into when I go to work next,” he told The Daily Beast. “The [mask] mandate that was already in place was not being followed by everyone that would come into the restaurant... And now I feel like I have no protections at all.”He said he had a coworker who was hospitalized with COVID and on the brink of death. Then, the winter storm hit, leaving millions without power and locals dying of hypothermia in their homes. “[C]oming out of that and to have this announcement, workers... need more protections right now, we do not need less protections.”Lee Daugherty, owner of Alexandre’s Bar in Dallas, said he’d listen to his staff and to health professionals over politicians.“This is very reminiscent of June in 2020 when the state tried to open a month or two too early,” he said. “This unfortunately shows that Texas GOP Republicans are promoting business over health and profits over people, once again.”Some Democratic officials had pleaded with Abbott not to reopen too early. The Houston Chronicle reports that Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner wrote to Abbott before his Tuesday press conference, urging him not to rescind the mask mandate.“Supported by our public health professionals, we believe it would be premature and harmful to do anything to lose widespread adoption of this preventative measure,” Hidalgo and Turner wrote, according to the Chronicle.“This is a reckless decision that will cost lives,” Rep. Julián Castro (D-TX), a former San Antonio mayor and presidential candidate, wrote Tuesday on Twitter.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 Week
The Trump administration reportedly quietly funded Operation Warp Speed with money set aside for hospitals
By late summer last year, Operation Warp Speed accounts were running dry, so the Trump administration appears to have used a financial maneuver allowing Department of Health and Human Services officials to divert $10 billion from a fund meant to help hospitals and health care providers affected by the coronavirus pandemic, Stat News reports. Congress granted the HHS permission to move pandemic-related money between accounts, though the agreement stipulated the agency had to give lawmakers a heads up. In this case, it appears the HHS siphoned the funds quietly, albeit with permission from its top lawyer. Other attorneys told Stat that the agency likely did have the wiggle room to carry out the action. Former Office of Management and Director Russ Vought defended the decision and said "we would do it again," telling Stat that not only did the administration have the authority, it was also "the right thing to do in order to move as quickly as possible because lives were on the line." Other Trump officials seemed to agree, per Stat, arguing that successful vaccines would reduce hospitalizations, making Warp Speed the more consequential outlet. It's still unclear whether the decision has resulted in less money for health care providers, as the Biden administration remains mum on the subject, Stat reports. Read more at Stat News. More stories from theweek.comWill COVID-19 wind up saving lives?Harry Potter game will reportedly allow transgender characters after J.K. Rowling uproarDemocrats need to choose: The filibuster or democracy
- KFSN – Fresno
Porterville police are asking for the public's help finding a missing 68-year-old man.