Crews were battling a building fire in North Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon.
- The Week
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) is facing criticism after suggesting there's something "suspicious" about there being a "big push" to ensure Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19. The Republican senator spoke about COVID-19 vaccines during an interview with conservative radio host Vicki McKenna, seeming to float the idea of a nefarious motivation behind the urging of all adults to get vaccinated in order to put an end to the pandemic, per Forbes. "The science tells us that vaccines are 95 percent effective, so if you have a vaccine, quite honestly, what do you care if your neighbor has one or not?" Johnson said. "I mean, what is it to you? ... Why is [there] this big push to make sure everybody gets a vaccine?" Health experts would likely tell Johnson that Americans should care because a certain percentage of the population must receive a COVID-19 vaccine in order to achieve herd immunity in the United States. But the Republican senator went on to criticize the idea of Americans needing to "carry a card to prove that they've been vaccinated so they can participate in society" and then added, without elaborating, "I'm getting highly suspicious of what's happening here." Johnson also suggested the vaccine's distribution should have been "limited" to vulnerable populations. Epidemiologist Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding criticized Johnson's "dangerous words," while Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.) slammed "this anti-vax rhetoric" and the Democratic Party of Wisconsin dubbed the senator a "dangerous conspiracy theorist." Amid this criticism, Johnson in a new statement on Friday said Americans should "decide for themselves whether to get vaccinated" and reiterated his belief that it's a "legitimate question as to whether people at very low risk" for COVID-19 "should be encouraged to take" the vaccine. Johnson's comments came during an interview that opened with him saying it "blows me away" that he's "accused of being anti-science." More stories from theweek.comCNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta says vaccinated people can generally go maskless outdoors, with some caveats7 cartoons about Derek Chauvin being found guiltyCaitlyn Jenner announces she's running for governor of California
- The Independent
‘We tried to stop it’: Trump officials reveal what really happened with bleach-gate on its year anniversary
‘I lost, and it went how it did,’ says one former aide
- The Daily Beast
BENOIT TESSIEREight private jets carrying India’s super wealthy—and potentially the coronavirus—landed in London ahead of the U.K.’s 4 a.m. ban on travel from India, according to the London Times. The U.K. added India to its “red list” of pandemic-stricken countries. As of Friday, any Britons returning from India must quarantine for 10 days in a government-approved hotel. All non-British or non-Irish citizens will be banned entirely from entering the country if they have been in India in the previous 10 days. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had to cancel his own state visit to India scheduled for next week as a “precautionary measure.”The last of the luxury airliners to arrive, VistaJet Bombardier Global 6000, which left Dubai Thursday to collect passengers in Mumbai, landed at 3:15 a.m., just 44 minutes before the restrictions took place.The private jet passengers were fleeing unimaginable horror back home. At least 14 COVID-19 patients perished in a devastating fire that ripped through an ICU ward in one of India’s overcrowded hospitals about 70 miles outside Mumbai. The fire that broke out around 3 a.m. Friday morning was contained and extinguished, but not before 14 patients—many who were intubated and hard to evacuate—had died. “Around 90 patients were admitted to the hospital at the time of the incident,” Dilip Shah, the head of the Vijay Vallabh Hospital where it happened, said in a statement Friday. Black Market Hospital Beds and Price-Gouged COVID Drugs Selling on Indian TwitterOne eyewitness, Avinash Patil, told reporters outside the hospital that no doctors were present at the time. “I got a call at around 3 a.m. from a friend whose mother-in-law was admitted to the hospital,” he said. “As I reached the hospital, I saw fire engines outside. The ICU on the second floor was engulfed in smoke. Only two nurses were there, and I couldn’t see a doctor. It took firefighters about half an hour to put out the flames. We could see eight-10 bodies there.”Shah, the hospital chief, insisted all safety norms were followed and that “doctors were present,” according to local media reports. Earlier in the week, an oxygen leak in Maharashtra state, near where the fire broke out, resulted in the death of 24 COVID-19 patients who were on ventilators.To make terrible matters even worse, India reported its highest one-day number of cases, recording 332,730 new infections in a 24-hour period. In the same period, 2,263 people died with COVID-19.India has been overwhelmed by new cases coupled with a critical shortage of oxygen, hospital beds, and now ventilators. Many desperate families have been forced to turn to black-market price gougers who have been able to buy hospital space from corrupt administrators.The spike in cases comes as political rallies are still being held and after a month-long religious ceremony continues to bring millions of people to the Ganges River.India Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been criticized for not calling a national lockdown to try to mitigate the spread and for hosting rallies ahead of elections in May. Government officials have said the previous lockdown at the beginning of the pandemic was economically devastating to many manual laborers who then traveled by foot from home cities to their villages, carrying the virus with them. The fire at a COVID-19 hospital in Virar is tragic. Condolences to those who lost their loved ones. May the injured recover soon: PM @narendramodi— PMO India (@PMOIndia) April 23, 2021 Modi called the ICU fire “tragic” and offered condolences over Twitter. Many of the comments on his tweet begged him to call a national lockdown to try to save lives. In a shocking expose published in Time magazine, Indian journalist Rana Ayyub paints a horrific picture from the ground, writing about states essentially hijacking oxygen trucks and stealing supplies for their own hospitals, and disturbing allegations of underreporting deaths. Ayyub lays the blame for the debacle squarely on Modi’s shoulders, accusing him of ignoring the fact that his Trump-style rallies are super-spreader events, and for letting the ball drop on vaccines.“Why was India caught unprepared as the second wave ravaged a cross-section of Indian society?” Ayyub writes. “The responsibility lies with a strongman regime that has ignored all caution.”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 State
A new report says the former agency director involved herself in the procurement process that eventually landed her husband a $600,000 contract, creating a conflict of interest that was both “organizational and personal.”
The "Wonder Woman" actress had a few drinks and then cut herself making a cabbage salad. Her husband put the finger tip into the garbage disposal.
Venus Williams says switching to a vegan diet was a game-changer for her skin and health, but she still loves 'junk' food
Venus Williams told Insider her skin and athletic performance have drastically improved since going vegan, and she hasn't even cut out French fries.
- Reuters Videos
Nearly a hundred French fishermen rallied at Boulogne-sur-Mer, Europe's largest seafood processing center, in northern France on Thursday.They say they've been denied the right to fish in UK waters, and started fires and blocked trucks carrying fish from the UK in protestOne sign read - "You want to keep your waters??? OK ... So, keep your fish!!!"Britain's post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union only allows the bloc's fishermen to access British waters with a license.French fisherman Bruno Margolle says those licenses were expected to be issued within days, only to drag on for months."On the evening of December 24, everyone was relieved that we had finally got a deal. On January 1, we had the assurance that within 48, 72 hours, everyone would get their licenses to operate within the UK's 6-12 mile zone. As of today, only 22 out of 120 boats have received their licenses."Margolle says many of those still struggling to obtain a license are unable to meet a British demand in the trade deal.That condition seeks proof that the skippers have fished in UK waters during the five years running up to Britain's 2016 referendum on EU membership.Britain claims it maintains an evidence-based approach to licensing EU vessels using information supplied by the European Commission.A British government spokesman called Thursday's protest "unjustified," and said it's raised those concerns with French authorities.Meanwhile the French government said late on Thursday that the European Commission must ensure Britain holds up its side of the deal, citing the "urgency of the situation."About two-thirds of fish from the UK are exported to the EU.French fishermen say the country's fish stocks might be depleted if they still cannot cross into British waters.
- Business Insider
Operation Praying Mantis, the largest US naval action since World War II, offers a glimpse of what a US-Iran war could look like now.
- Business Insider
Russia could be in for a surprise: Ukraine has been fighting in Donbass for seven years. Its skills and equipment are vastly improved.
- The Independent
‘Fat Wolverine’ trends on Twitter after Texas senator blasts liberal Democrats for proposing to expand Supreme Court
- Yahoo News
The deepening disparities between two of the world’s largest countries should remind optimistic Americans that with light at the end of their own tunnel, it’s probably time for the U.S. to start thinking about how it can help end the pandemic elsewhere too.
The country remains out of step with other major nations by refusing to commit to deeper emissions cuts.
- The Week
Protesters evidently want all hands on deck in the push to make Washington, D.C. a state, and they're now headed to Sen. Joe Manchin's (D-W.Va.) nautical home. Advocates for D.C. statehood are planning a protest on Thursday, Politico reported, and they'll be gathering at Manchin's house ... boat. "Yes," Politico writes for those unfamiliar, "[Manchin] lives on a boat docked in the harbor when he's in Washington." Indeed, the boat, Almost Heaven, is "anchored 8 miles south of the Capitol," a Time story described in 2014, going on to note that Manchin "routinely invites senators from both parties out for evening cruises." "I wasn't crazy on buying any real estate in Washington, not at all," Manchin told Time. The Washingtonian may have summed it up by writing, "Manchin lives on a boat because he doesn't like living here." In fact, this ended up sparking a Republican attack ad against Manchin in 2018, which slammed him for his "$700,000 D.C. luxury yacht." That's an assertion PolitiFact gave a "half-true" rating, writing that the boat's "40-foot length would generally qualify it as a yacht, but since Manchin lives there when he is in town, it could be just as easily described as a houseboat" — though he apparently purchased it for $220,000. Either way, it seems Manchin is one lawmaker who at any given moment — including, perhaps, as protesters gather — is always ready to sail away into the sunset. Today I learned from @politico playbook that Joe Manchin’s DC residence is a house boat... pic.twitter.com/oXIzR02irY — Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) April 22, 2021 More stories from theweek.comCNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta says vaccinated people can generally go maskless outdoors, with some caveats7 cartoons about Derek Chauvin being found guiltyCaitlyn Jenner announces she's running for governor of California
- Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Third doses would aim to boost immunity for COVID-19 as coronavirus variants continue to spread.
- The Daily Beast
David Appleby/NetflixAt a time when it can be hard to muster the attention required to re-watch The Nanny, Netflix’s Shadow and Bone is asking a lot of its viewers. Watching this young-adult fantasy series with subtitles on is highly recommended—lest you get lost in a sea of terms like “Heartrender,” “Grisha,” and, most ominous, “The Fold.” But as confusing and chaotic as it can be to plop straight into this sweeping universe, Netflix’s dazzling new series rewards every bit of the attention it demands. The costumes are luscious, the action is engrossing, and most crucially, an impeccably chosen cast brings it all to life with winning performances that crackle with intensity. (Also, you’re probably going to want at least a few of these characters to kiss.)Add all this together, and combine it with Stranger Things executive producer Shawn Levy, also EP on this series, and you’ve got the makings of what could be Netflix’s next big hit.Shadow and Bone takes its title from the first book in Leigh Bardugo’s popular Grisha trilogy, in which Alina Starkov—initially a low-ranking soldier—discovers and harnesses her magical powers to save the world from a terrifying blight. (“The Fold” refers to a horrific shadow world that separates two warring nations, wrought years ago by a “Black Heretic.”) Alina has spent her life resenting and fearing the magic-wielding Grisha, and the realization that she actually is one complicates her already complicated bond with her best friend, Mal Orestev. For most of their lives, each has been all the other has; Alina’s new powers separate them for the first time, both geographically and emotionally. Alina tastes the luxury of living among the Grisha Second Army in the Little Palace, where she quickly finds herself enraptured by the alluring but mysterious General Kirigan (Chronicles of Narnia actor Ben Barnes), while Mal continues serving from with the non-magical folk in the First Army.As Alina, actress Jessie Mei Li’s conviction anchors Shadow and Bone, and her expressive gentleness imparts soul. As the indefatigable, utterly lovable Mal, Archie Renaux brings the heart.Bardugo’s extended universe includes four additional books and several short stories beyond the Grisha trilogy. Rather than limit the series to the text from which it borrows its title, showrunner Eric Heisserer (whose previous screenwriting work includes Bird Box and Arrival) remixes characters and plot elements from other entries as well. Still, building out any fictional realm on screen is difficult, and Shadow and Bone’s early episodes struggle with the usual issues. An endless stream of characters and nationalities and factions can be a challenge to navigate—where is “Kerch,” again?—and the show does non-book readers few favors in the beginning. (I say this as a non-book reader who admittedly had almost no idea what was going on for at least the first hour, if not the first few hours.) It doesn’t help that at times, the proceedings seem designed to tease what might lie ahead at the expense of the immediate plot; certain characters and storylines arise and stir up a fuss only to disappear, at least for now. (Do a quick Google of the skulking gangster character Kaz Brekker’s backstory, teased endlessly by proxy of his arch-villain Pekka Rollins, and try to convince me that a potential spin-off has not already been discussed—just try!) A leaner story could have allowed more time to develop General Kirigan with a little more nuance. As crucial as the character is, his story never quite finds a steady rhythm—and although Ben Barnes has clearly embraced his role, he struggles at times to strike the right emotional chords. The air-bending Squaller Zoya can also feel under-developed, with character shifts that are more plot-driven than earned. Most notably, Netflix’s Shadow and Bone includes characters from Bardugo’s “Six of Crows” duology—and it’s in their scenes that Shadow and Bone’s casting really shines. (Well, that and the fact they brought in Harry Potter actress Zoë Wanamaker, AKA Madame Hooch, to play Alina’s tough-love magical mentor Baghra.)Soon after Alina discovers her powers, there’s a hefty bounty on her neck. The black-hatted mercenary Kaz Brekker and his “crows” (knife-wielding rogue Inej and hard-partying sharp-shooter Jesper) are soon on the hunt, and the trio’s chemistry is as immediate and contagious as Li and Renaux’s. Freddy Carter plays Kaz Brekker as loathsome and lovable in all the right ways—always emotionally removed, but with vulnerability simmering just beneath the surface. Amita Suman’s whisper-quiet Inej is equally complex, at once lethal and reticent to kill. (She has a very complicated relationship with her faith.) And as the endlessly quippy Jesper, Kit Young is an absolute knock-out.Then there’s the C-plot, which centers around a Grisha named Nina Zenik and a Grisha hunter named Matthias Helvar. As ancillary as Nina and Matthias’ story is to Shadow and Bone’s core narrative, the winking approach the show takes with their trope-heavy subplot is perhaps the best lens through which to understand the series. At every turn, Shadow and Bone demonstrates it knows exactly what it’s doing. It fully embraces the many YA and fantasy tropes that fill its story—furtive and longing glances between friends! characters who hate one another sharing beds! a lethal assassin befriending a baby goat!—and executes all of them with a hat tip and a wink. As vaguely sketched as its world remains by the end of this season, its characters leap right off the page—and their stories seem guaranteed to leave viewers, non-readers and Grisha obsessives alike, eager for more. 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 93rd annual Academy Awards will take place on Sunday, April 25. We took a look back at the most glaring missteps in Oscars history.
A presumed attack on the Chinese ambassador to Pakistan highlights the animosity Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative is generating.
Brett Favre said it's hard to believe that Derek Chauvin meant to kill George Floyd, and other athletes have lashed out at him in response
The Hall of Fame quarterback made the comments Wednesday on his podcast "Bolling With Favre."
Seth Rogen says it's not a 'coincidence' that he hasn't directed a movie since 'The Interview' and the subsequent Sony hack
The actor also admits to The New York Times that he was "gun shy" after all the controversy that surrounded the release of his 2014 comedy.
Sam Wilson finally follows in Captain America's footsteps with his new suit upgrade on 'The Falcon and the Winter Soldier'
After being teased on the penultimate episode of season one of the Marvel show, fans finally got a proper look at the new comic-book-inspired outfit.