There are growing concerns over a massive post-holiday coronavirus surge as millions ignore warnings to stay home for Christmas. CBSN's Tom Hanson spoke with Dr. Scott Kelly, the chief medical officer of CytoDyn, about the state of the virus in the U.S. and what we know about the new strains detected overseas.
- The Independent
Man accused of shooting brother-in-law while wearing Trump mask, Santa Claus hat and curly white beard
Victim did not recognise family member due to elaborate disguise, police say
- Associated Press
Park rangers have cited dozens of people who have gathered at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to witness an ongoing eruption of the Kilauea volcano. The rangers said those cited had ventured into dangerous areas to take photos and videos of the volcano eruption that had created a lake of lava in its crater that was 554 feet (169 meters) deep on Thursday. “All it takes is a slight change in wind direction and these offenders could inhale a fatal dose of volcanic gas," said Chief Ranger Jack Corrao.
- The Telegraph
Boris Johnson has "totally capitulated" on fishing in the EU trade deal negotiations, but both sides have compromised, EU diplomatic sources have claimed. On Thursday Mr Johnson finally accepted the bloc’s final offer of returning 25 percent of the value of fish caught in UK waters to British fishermen. It was a “big move”, sources said, because he had been demanding 35 percent of the value of the catch. French officials claimed that the British had made major last minute concessions. The UK and EU settled on a five and a half year transition period before annual negotiations over fishing opportunities would begin. There was satisfaction in Brussels at having forced the prime minister into the climbdown but anxiety he will not be able to sell the deal to hardline Brexiteers in his party. “It won’t be a total victory. It never is,” an EU diplomat said. “I am a little concerned that London has not got the landing rights for the deal with its constituents.” “Whatever happens will be presented as a great victory. The Europeans will yawn,” another source said before confidently predicting that Mr Johnson has the European Research Group of MPs “in his pocket”.
Sudan has taken control of most of the land it accuses Ethiopians of encroaching upon near the border between the two countries, the Sudanese information minister said on Saturday. Tensions in the border region have flared since the outbreak of conflict in Ethiopia's northern Tigray region in early November and the arrival of more than 50,000 mainly Tigrayan refugees in eastern Sudan. Disputes have been concentrated on agricultural land in al-Fashqa, which falls within Sudan's international boundaries but has long been settled by Ethiopian farmers.
- NBC News
The suspect, identified by the media by his surname Yang, was arrested while the motive for the attack remains unknown.
- The Week
China is on course to overtake the United States as the world's biggest economy by 2028, the Center for Economics and Business Research predicted in a report released Saturday. The two countries have long been expected to swap places, but CEBR anticipates the pace has accelerated thanks to China recovering more quickly from the COVID-19 pandemic.A year ago, the CEBR pegged 2033 as the transition year, but China's economy is expected to grow by 2 percent in 2020, the lone major global economy to expand, while the U.S. economy is expected to contract by 5 percent. The report also anticipates China will become a "high-income economy" by 2023, though living standards are expected to remain much lower than in the U.S.China is not an outlier in its region when it comes to future economic growth. "Other Asian economies are also shooting up the table," said Douglas McWilliams, the CEBR's deputy chair. "One lesson for western policymakers, who have performed relatively badly during the pandemic, is that they need to pay much more attention to what is happening in Asia rather than simply looking at each other." Read more at The Guardian and Bloomberg.More stories from theweek.com Joe Biden's anti-revolution takes shape 7 scathing cartoons about Russia's massive cyberattack Wonder Woman 1984 is shockingly regressive
- Associated Press
More than 300 Syrian refugees were forced to flee an informal camp in northern Lebanon as a blaze raged through and burnt tents to the ground, U.N. and Lebanese officials said Sunday. The fire late Saturday raged for four hours as firefighters tried to put it out, the Lebanese civil defense said. The fire ensued following a fight between a Lebanese family and Syrians living in the camp in the al-Miniyeh district in the country’s north, according to Lebanese media reports.
- The Independent
‘Sad and an utter scam’: Republican congressman accuses Trump of temper tantrums and conspiracy theories
‘They will raise money and gain followers by blaming everyone else,’ says Adam Kinzinger
Russia's president Vladimir Putin will receive the Sputnik V vaccine against the coronavirus, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a Russian state TV channel on Sunday. Russia launched a voluntary vaccination programme with the Russia-made Sputnik V vaccine earlier in December, starting with the most vulnerable groups in Moscow. People over the age of 60 may begin to apply for shots on Monday, Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin said on his website on Sunday, the day after the Russian health ministry said the vaccine was approved for use by elderly people after a separate trial.
- The Conversation
Authorities in Hong Kong may have hoped to start 2020 by putting a turbulent period of sustained, often violent protests behind them. Instead hundreds of thousands of protesters ushered in the new year by taking to the streets. Around 400 were arrested as protesters continued their push for political reform on the densely populated island.The clash between the government and demonstrators is now seven months long and has served to further erode Hong Kongers’ trust in China’s commitment to the “one country, two systems” formula. Under that principle, the region was granted a degree of autonomy over its own matters in 1997. But a perception that Beijing is increasingly imposing its authority has led not only to a more militant protest movement, but one that is eyeing separation from the mainland.As a political scientist who has closely followed political developments in Hong Kong over the last decade, I have watched trust in Beijing ebb away during the sustained unrest.If China wants to correct this course and convince Hong Kongers that their best hope lies in autonomy rather than independence, then I believe it must permit genuine democracy in the region. Cycle of unrestThe people of Hong Kong have not had much of a say in their own destiny. Not only did they lack political power as a colony of the British, but they also weren’t consulted in the drafting of the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration that set the terms for the 1997 handover of the territory from the United Kingdom to the People’s Republic of China. Nevertheless, that agreement offered an implicit bargain to Hong Kongers: They would submit to Beijing’s sovereignty in return for the promise of a “high degree of autonomy” on the basis of “one country, two systems.”Over the past two decades, major outbreaks of unrest in Hong Kong have followed attempts by Beijing to impose unwanted measures that violate this bargain. Large-scale protests beat back Beijing-directed legislative proposals dealing with sedition in 2003, national education in 2012 and extradition last year. The Umbrella Movement protests of 2014 succeeded in stymieing Beijing’s proposed revisions to Hong Kong’s system for selecting its chief executive, but protesters’ demands for universal suffrage and an open nomination process were rejected.Many Hong Kongers consider this interference a violation of the promised autonomy built into the terms of the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-constitution. This interference reinforces fears that the city will lose its autonomy entirely after 2047, the end point of commitments made under the Joint Declaration.With only limited and inadequate democratic mechanisms at their disposal, Hong Kongers have developed a vibrant and increasingly militant protest culture as a primary means for exercising political influence. Autonomy or independence?Efforts to steer Hong Kong toward greater integration with the mainland have backfired, undermining trust in Beijing’s promise of a “high degree of autonomy.” The result is an ongoing cycle of radicalization. The focal point for many protesters has moved away from any one particular issue to focus on the fundamental status of Hong Kong’s relationship to China. Growing numbers of people are questioning why they should keep their side of the bargain – accepting Beijing’s sovereignty over Hong Kong. According to a recent Reuters poll, 17% of Hong Kongers express outright support for independence from China, while another 20% express dissatisfaction with the “one country, two systems” model. Moreover, 59% of respondents said they supported the recent protests and over one-third had themselves attended a protest.According to a separate survey, support for eventual independence among young people approaches 40%. Many young people have also come to reject any “Chinese” identity in favor of a “Hong Kong” identity.The depth of discontent among Hong Kongers was reflected in the District Council elections held on Nov. 24. These low-level posts have traditionally been dominated by pro-Beijing political parties. The recent elections, however, brought a record turnout with pro-democratic parties winning close to 90% of contested positions. Beijing’s miscalculationTo blunt the growth of separatist sentiment in Hong Kong, Beijing must tackle what social scientists call a “commitment problem.” In any negotiation, each side will cooperate only if they believe that the other side is both willing and able to carry out any commitments made as part of the bargain. If either side believes the other side’s commitments lack credibility, then cooperation fails. What China needs to do now is show that it is committed to respecting the autonomy promises embodied in the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law.I believe the best way to do that is for Beijing to stop manipulating governance of the city. As long as selection of the chief executive and a majority of the Legislative Council lies in Beijing’s hands, it will be difficult for the mainland to resist meddling in Hong Kong’s affairs and for Hong Kongers to feel that autonomy offers them any real say over their fate.In other words, Beijing could undercut calls for independence and interrupt the cycle of mass protests by offering Hong Kongers the ability to select their leaders through free and fair elections.Beijing badly miscalculated in 2014 when it proposed electoral reforms that fell far short of the demands of Hong Kong’s pan-democratic camp, a coalition of parties that advocate universal suffrage. As a consequence, older, mainstream leaders lost control of the protest movement to younger, more militant activists. By 2019, young radicals resorted to violent street actions coupled with harsh anti-Beijing rhetoric. Yet a move toward democracy could still calm the waters provided the process allowed for genuine and effective local participation.This proposal may be far-fetched. Indeed, some accounts suggest that leaders in Beijing are laying plans to move in the opposite direction by taking more direct control over Hong Kong’s political and legal institutions. Moreover, Beijing worries that full democracy in Hong Kong might lead to demands for the same elsewhere in China.If a democratic solution to China’s Hong Kong problem appears unattractive to Beijing, the alternatives may be worse. The current cycle of provocation, protest, radicalization and rising separatism can lead to only one eventual result: a violent crackdown that would damage China’s reputation and leave it in costly occupation of a sullen and defiant population for a generation or more.[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. Read more: * As Digital Earth gains momentum, China is setting the pace * Unrest in Latin America makes authoritarianism look more appealing to some * Decade of dissent: how protest is shaking the UK and why it’s likely to continueDavid Skidmore does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
- Associated Press
BIHAC, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Hundreds of migrants were stranded Saturday in a squalid, burnt-out tent camp in Bosnia as heavy snow fell in the country and winter temperatures suddenly dropped. Migrants at the Lipa camp in northwest Bosnia wrapped themselves in blankets and sleeping bags to protect against the biting winds in the region, which borders European Union member Croatia. A fire earlier this week destroyed much of the camp near the town of Bihac that already was harshly criticized by international officials and aid groups as being inadequate for housing refugees and migrants.
The UN said three peacekeepers died in two separate attacks, as rebel and government forces clash.
- Yahoo News Video
President Trump’s demand for $2,000 checks for most Americans was rejected by House Republicans as his disorganized actions have thrown the COVID-19 relief and government funding bill into chaos.
A doctor in Boston with a shellfish allergy developed a severe allergic reaction after receiving Moderna's coronavirus vaccine on Thursday, the New York Times reported on Friday, citing the doctor. Dr. Hossein Sadrzadeh, a geriatric oncology fellow at Boston Medical Center, said he had a severe reaction almost immediately after being vaccinated, feeling dizzy and with a racing heart, the NYT reported. It is the first severe reaction publicly linked to Moderna's vaccine, which is in its first week of a nationwide rollout.
- The Conversation
The Abstract features interesting research and the people behind it.* * *David Allen is an assistant professor in biology at Middlebury College who studies the ecology of ticks and tick-borne pathogens.What question are you trying to answer with your work?David Allen: I want to understand what drives blacklegged, or deer, ticks’ abundance and infection rate with the Lyme disease bacteria. We broadly understand what is necessary for the tick to live in an area, but have a harder time explaining why there are such tremendous differences in tick abundance in certain locations and during certain years.Exactly how do you measure tick abundance?Allen: We measure it by what is called “drag cloth sampling.” We drag a 1 meter by 1 meter white cloth along the forest floor. Ticks that are searching for a host, which we call questing, will attach to the cloth as it passes over them. At each of our plots we drag the cloth along the forest floor for 200 meters and check it every 10 meters. This is the standard way to measure tick abundance.What spurred you to study ticks?Allen: I grew up in Vermont in the 1980s and 1990s. During that time I do not remember ever seeing a blacklegged tick or knowing anyone with Lyme disease. When I returned to the state in 2012 to teach at Middlebury College, I would get lots of ticks when hiking. My research was spurred by this rapid and dramatic change in the tick population here.Why is your work important to the public?Allen: The incidence of Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases has increased dramatically in recent years. If scientists in general could better predict where ticks are the most abundant, we could target tick control strategies or at least create prevention messaging to people in those areas, and then hopefully start to decrease the rate of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. What’s important about ticks that most people don’t know?Allen: Ticks have three life stages: larva, nymph and adult. The second two life stages can transmit the Lyme disease bacteria. When most people think about ticks they picture the adult life stage. For the blacklegged tick this is about the size of a sesame seed. I think that most people don’t have a good picture of what a nymphal tick looks like and how small it is. Nymphs are responsible for most transmission of Lyme disease to people, because they are so hard to see when they are feeding on you. What has been the most surprising finding of your work?Allen: I am surprised by how much tick abundance can vary across locations or years. We have found that in two sites, just three miles away from each other, one can have 20 times more ticks than the other. And then going from one year to the next, the same location can increase or decrease in abundance by four times. What do you hope to study further?Allen: We just started to study the small mammal community. Blacklegged ticks take a single blood meal at each life stage. During the larval and nymphal life stages, these blood meals are typically from small mammals, like mice or chipmunks. It is from these animals that the ticks acquire the Lyme disease bacteria. My students and I have just started tracking the populations of these small mammals to better understand how they contribute to tick abundance and infection. Any stories from the field?Allen: We bait the small mammal traps with a mixture of oats and peanut butter. It turns out that bears find this just as tasty as the mice do. One time after setting out 100 traps, we returned the next morning to find them all thrown about. Some were dented or even pierced through with bear claw markings.[ Thanks for reading! We can send you The Conversation’s stories every day in an informative email. Sign up today. ]This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts. Read more: * How to grow human mini-livers in the lab to help solve liver disease * No, Lyme disease is not an escaped military bioweapon, despite what conspiracy theorists say * The US has a history of testing biological weapons on the public – were infected ticks used too?David Allen is supported by an Institutional Development Award (IDeA) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under grant number P20GM103449. The contents of this article are solely the responsibility of the author and do not necessarily represent the official views of NIGMS or NIH.
- Associated Press
Two women and three girls have been found dead in a home in northwest Arkansas in what authorities said are being investigated as suspected homicides. Deputies responded to a call around 5 p.m. Friday and found the five people dead in a home in Atkins, a city about 65 miles (105 kilometers) northwest of Little Rock, Pope County Sheriff Shane Jones said in a statement. Jones said during a short news conference Saturday that authorities did not immediately have a suspect and that at least some of the people were shot.
- The Guardian
Trump has brought impunity to the highest office in the land, wielding a wrecking ball to American democracyMost of the 74,222,957 Americans who voted to re-elect Donald Trump – 46.8%of the votes cast in the 2020 presidential election – don’t hold Trump accountable for what he’s done to America.Their acceptance of Trump’s behavior will be his vilest legacy.Nearly forty years ago, political scientist James Q Wilson and criminologist George Kelling observed that a broken window left unattended in a community signals that no one cares if windows are broken there. The broken window is thereby an invitation to throw more stones and break more windows.The message: do whatever you want here because others have done it and got away with it.The broken window theory has led to picayune and arbitrary law enforcement in poor communities. But America’s most privileged and powerful have been breaking big windows with impunity.In 2008, Wall Street nearly destroyed the economy. The Street got bailed out while millions of Americans lost their jobs, savings, and homes. Yet not no major Wall Street executive ever went to jail.In more recent years, top executives of Purdue Pharmaceuticals, along with the members of the Sackler family that own it, knew the dangers of OxyContin but did nothing. Executives at Wells Fargo Bank pushed bank employees to defraud customers. Executives at Boeing hid the results of tests showing its 737 Max Jetliner was unsafe. Police chiefs across America looked the other way as police under their command repeatedly killed innocent Black Americans.Here, too, they’ve got away with it. These windows remain broken.> Trump has brought impunity to the highest office in the land, wielding a wrecking ball to the most precious windowpane of all – American democracy.Trump has brought impunity to the highest office in the land, wielding a wrecking ball to the most precious windowpane of all – American democracy.The message? A president can obstruct special counsels’ investigations of his wrongdoing, push foreign officials to dig up dirt on political rivals, fire inspectors general who find corruption, order the entire executive branch to refuse congressional subpoenas, flood the Internet with fake information about his opponents, refuse to release his tax returns, accuse the press of being “fake media” and “enemies of the people”, and make money off his presidency.And he can get away with it. Almost half of the electorate will even vote for his reelection.A president can also lie about the results of an election without a shred of evidence – and yet, according to polls, be believed by the vast majority of those who voted for him.Trump’s recent pardons have broken double-pane windows.Not only has he shattered the norm for presidential pardons – usually granted because of a petitioner’s good conduct after conviction and service of sentence – but he’s pardoned people who themselves shattered windows. By pardoning them, he has rendered them unaccountable for their acts.They include aides convicted of lying to the FBI and threatening potential witnesses in order to protect him; his son-in-law’s father, who pleaded guilty to tax evasion, witness tampering, illegal campaign contributions, and lying to the Federal Election Commission; Blackwater security guards convicted of murdering Iraqi civilians, including women and children; Border Patrol agents convicted of assaulting or shooting unarmed suspects; and Republican lawmakers and their aides found guilty of fraud, obstruction of justice and campaign finance violations.It’s not simply the size of the broken window that undermines standards, according to Wilson and Kelling. It’s the willingness of society to look the other way. If no one is held accountable, norms collapse.Trump may face a barrage of lawsuits when he leaves office, possibly including criminal charges. But it’s unlikely he’ll go to jail. Presidential immunity or a self-pardon will protect him. Prosecutorial discretion would almost certainly argue against indictment, in any event. No former president has ever been convicted of a crime. The mere possibility of a criminal trial for Trump would ignite a partisan brawl across the nation.Congress may try to limit the power of future presidents – strengthening congressional oversight, fortifying the independence of inspectors general, demanding more financial disclosure, increasing penalties on presidential aides who break laws, restricting the pardon process, and so on.But Congress – a co-equal branch of government under the Constitution – cannot rein in rogue presidents. And the courts don’t want to weigh in on political questions.The appalling reality is that Trump may get away with it. And in getting away with it he will have changed and degraded the norms governing American presidents. The giant windows he’s broken are invitations to a future president to break even more.Nothing will correct this unless or until an overwhelming majority of Americans recognize and condemn what has occurred.
BEIJING (Reuters) -Beijing has tightened COVID-19 curbs over concerns that China's mass travel during the holiday period could cause cases to spike in the capital, as it reported locally transmitted cases for a fourth straight day on Sunday. A meeting led by the capital's Communist party boss, Cai Qi, urged all districts in Beijing to enter an "emergency" mode, sealing off residential compounds and villages where infections are found. China's southern technology hub of Shenzhen reported one asymptomatic case on Sunday, a patient who made two business trips to Beijing this month.
- NBC News
The coordinated vaccination campaign of unprecedented scale in the European Union is a crucial step in curbing a pandemic.
- The Telegraph
Millions to receive Oxford coronavirus vaccine from Jan 4 Europeans now infecting each other with British mutant strain Long Covid sufferers developing symptom where they smell fish and burnt toast constantly UK coronavirus variant: 'we're being sanctioned for transparency' Williamson warns of ‘enormous battle’ to avert schools lockdown Confessions of a divorce lawyer: 'Lockdown has not been good for marriage' Subscribe to The Telegraph for a month-long free trial The chief executive of AstraZeneca has raised hopes its vaccine with Oxford is more effective than first thought amid the rapid spread of the new UK virus strain across the globe. Pascal Soriot said he believed researchers had found the "winning formula" using two doses and promised to publish the results as reports suggested the UK regulator could approve the jab within days. It comes after The Department of Health said the medicines regulator must be given time to carry out its review of the data of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine. The Telegraph revealed on Sunday that the Oxford vaccine will be rolled out from January 4 across the country under plans being drawn up by ministers. The Government is aiming for two million people to receive their first dose of either the Oxford vaccine or the Pfizer jab within a fortnight as part of a major ramping up of the inoculation programme. Meanwhile countries across Europe have launched a mass vaccination drive today with pensioners and medics lining up to get the first doses. Follow the latest updates below.