As demand for COVID-19 vaccine goes down, nonprofits shift efforts
Supporters say the move would boost vaccine production but the pharmaceutical industry disagrees.
- The Daily Beast
Remo Casilli/AFPROME—Two Americans have been sentenced to life in an Italian prison after a teenage vacation in Rome ended in a brutal fight that left a local police officer dead.Finnegan Elder, 21, and Gabriel Natale-Hjorth, 20, from California, got themselves into trouble after trying to buy cocaine during their vacation in the summer of 2019. After a botched drug deal, they killed Carabinieri officer Mario Cerciello Rega, 35.The men were found guilty of murder, assault, killing a public official, and extortion for stealing a backpack from a drug pusher and demanding money or drugs in exchange. Elder was separately found guilty of carrying a military-grade knife, a prohibited weapon in Italy. Both young Americans will have to serve the next two months in isolation as part of the sentencing. Two female judges led six jury members to a verdict after more than 10 hours. When the verdict was read out inside a fortified bunker courtroom in a Roman prison, the young men were visibly shocked and their parents, sitting behind them, understandably shaken. Elder was on holiday in Rome and Natale-Hjorth was visiting his grandparents at the Roman seaside when the two former classmates decided to meet up for a night of partying in Rome on July 26, 2019. Natale-Hjorth called a person he knew could find them cocaine, who set them up with a dealer, according to their own admission.The young Americans paid around $100 for what they thought was a gram of coke, but which turned out to be crushed aspirin. Angry, they stole the backpack from the man who set up the drug deal. When the man called his phone, still inside the bag, they made a deal to return the backpack in exchange for their money back or more drugs.American Teens Took an Italian Cop’s Life. Now They’re Fighting for Theirs.But rather than meeting the Americans, the go-between called the police. Two Carabinieri officers, Rega and Andrea Varriale, met the Americans on behalf of the go-between. It’s unclear why the police chose to play along rather than arresting those involved with the sale of the drugs. The go-between has denied being a police informant.When the Americans saw the two undercover cops rather than the man who set up the botched drug deal, they say they thought they were thugs. When Elder addressed the court during the 14-month trial, he said that in the U.S., police would never have shown up for that type of exchange, so he was led to believe the men posed a threat.The Americans say the police attacked them first. Elder fought with Rega and Natale-Hjorth fought with Varriale. Neither officer had their service weapon or handcuffs. It’s still unclear if they had their badges. Varriale says they identified themselves as law enforcement in Italian. The Americans say they did not.At some point, Elder pulled out a knife he had brought from the U.S. and stabbed Rega 11 times in the back and sides, implying the officer was on top of him. Rega died sometime later in a Rome emergency room.Rega, who had just returned from his honeymoon in Madagascar after marrying his wife in the same southern Italy church where his funeral was held, was a decorated member of the Carabinieri in Rome.Varriale was later investigated for first saying he had his service weapon, and later admitting he did not. He was put on probation for not carrying his weapon that night. The officers had also not informed central dispatch of their movements or called for backup.Elder, who has been diagnosed with mental health issues that lead to extreme paranoia, said he feared for his life. His American lawyer, Craig Peters, said that his client had spent much of his life fearing he would be attacked by strangers. He was sure that night his worst fears had come true.“Finn took a knife to Italy and he should not have. Finn took a knife that night to help protect him and his friend from who he thought might be thugs that might be coming to get them. And their worst suspicion is what they thought had happened had actually arrived,” Peters said.“He stabbed a guy and that ultimately ended up in that guy dying. Those are all horrible things. His mental health issues don’t wipe out any of those issues, but they inform how we look at those issues. Finnegan, I think, has been fearful of the world for a long time because of his own mental health issues and this was just another night where he was worried about bad things happening and reacted.”The case, which divided Italy, pitted those who see the Americans as cold-blooded assassins and those who have little trust in the police. After the murder, then-prime minister Giuseppe Conte called the death “a deep wound for the state.” And even with a verdict and sentencing, that wound may never heal.As part of the punishment, the judge ordered the young men to pay the legal expenses and other “damages” to Cerciello’s widow and family, his police partner Varriale, and the go-between who arranged the drug deal. Elder’s Italian lawyer expressed his dismay after the sentencing. “This sentence represents a shame for Italy, with a jury that does not want to see what came out during the investigation and in the trial,” he told reporters outside the court. “I’ve never seen such an indignant thing. We will appeal.”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 Amazon.com founder will launch people into space on his New Shepard vehicle on 20 July.
- Yahoo News
President Biden said Wednesday that he didn't understand Republican efforts in the U.S. House of Representatives to replace Rep. Liz Cheney.
- Business Insider
One of Tesla's biggest emissions credit buyers doesn't need them any more, threatening a key profit source for Elon Musk
Sales of regulatory credits have been a key driver of Tesla's profitability over the last two years.
The bill would require death row inmates to choose between being shot by firing squad or electrocuted amid the state's lack of lethal injections.
- Reuters Videos
A senior Swiss diplomat has reportedly been found dead in Tehran after falling from a high-rise building.Iranian media, quoting emergency services, say she is the first secretary at the Swiss embassy, and fell from the building where she lived.The Swiss foreign ministry didn't identify the victim, but said an embassy employee had died of an accident.A spokesman from the Iranian emergency services said the diplomat's body was found by a gardener.That was after an employee who arrived at her apartment early on Tuesday noticed she was missing - that's according to local news agencies. Switzerland has represented U.S. diplomatic interests in Iran since Washington and Tehran cut ties shortly after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.It comes as Iran and world powers continue renewed negotiations over its nuclear program.
- Yahoo News Video
The firing of the former Atlanta police officer who’s charged with murder in the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks was reversed after a review panel found the city failed to follow its own procedures for disciplinary actions.
- Fort Worth Star-Telegram
The 2-year-old boy died at a Fort Worth hospital.
- The Independent
Liz Cheney’s days in GOP leadership appear numbered
- Business Insider
Jeff Bezos is building a gigantic luxury yacht that's expected to be one of the best in the world - and he's adding a 'support yacht' with its own helipad
Bezos hasn't previously had a boat of his own, but he's often spotted on mega-yachts belonging to the likes of David Geffen and Diane von Furstenberg.
- The New York Times
WASHINGTON — With 18 months left before the midterms, a spate of Democratic departures from the House is threatening to erode the party’s slim majority in the House and imperil President Joe Biden’s far-reaching policy agenda. In the past two months, five House Democrats from competitive districts have announced they won’t seek reelection next year. They include Rep. Charlie Crist of Florida, who on Tuesday kicked off a campaign for governor, and Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, who will run for the Senate seat being vacated by Rob Portman. Three other Democrats will leave seats vacant in districts likely to see significant change once they are redrawn using the data from the 2020 census, and several more are weighing bids for higher office. Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York Times An early trickle of retirements by House members in competitive districts is often the first sign of a coming political wave. In the 2018 cycle, 48 House Republicans didn’t seek reelection — and Democrats won 14 of those vacancies. Now Republicans are salivating over the prospect of reversing that dynamic and erasing the Democrats’ six-seat advantage. “The two biggest headaches of any cycle are redistricting and retirements, and when you have both in one cycle it’s a migraine,” said former Rep. Steve Israel of New York, who led the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2012 and 2014. Democrats face other vexing challenges as well: Republican legislators control redistricting in key states where they can draw boundaries in their favor. Redistricting alone — with Republicans controlling mapmaking in three times as many districts as Democrats — could provide Republicans the seats they need to control the House. And historic political trends almost always work against the president’s party in midterm elections. The prospect of losing the House majority adds a greater level of urgency for the Biden administration and congressional Democrats eager to push through expansive policy proposals. It also raises questions about the staying power of Democrats, after an election in which they barely ousted an unpopular president while suffering a surprising number of down-ballot losses in races they expected to win. The results appeared to blunt the momentum the party generated in 2018 when it picked up 41 seats in the House. This could be just the beginning of the Democratic departures: The high season for congressional retirements typically comes in early fall after members spend the August recess taking the political temperature of their districts. Further complicating the picture for Democrats is the Census Bureau’s monthslong delay in completing the reapportionment process and delivering to states the final demographic and block-level population data. That has left the parties’ House committees in a state of suspended animation, unable in many instances to recruit candidates and devise electoral strategy. While each day brings announcements of new 2022 candidates, many are not being specific about which district they are running in. Dozens more are waiting until the fall, when they will see the new boundaries, to decide whether they will formalize their campaigns. “It’s like going to war on a battlefield but you don’t know where you’re fighting, when you’re fighting or who you’re fighting,” Israel said. The largest concentration of competitive and vacant House seats may be in Central Florida. In addition to Crist, who represents St. Petersburg, two other Democratic representatives, Stephanie Murphy of Winter Park and Val Demings of Orlando, are weighing runs for statewide office. All three now hold seats in districts Biden carried handily last November, but with Republicans in control of Florida’s redistricting process, the state’s congressional map is likely to soon be much better for Republicans than it is now. Each of the districts would be exceedingly expensive for a new candidate to run in because of the high cost of media in Florida, further stretching the party’s resources in what is expected to be a difficult election cycle. “You have to assume that because Republicans get to control reapportionment that it’s not going to get any easier,” said Adam Goodman, a Florida-based Republican media strategist, who predicted that the GOP would take two of the three seats now held by Crist, Demings and Murphy. “The Crist seat — it took a Charlie Crist type of person to hold that seat in ’20. The Democrats won’t have that person this time.” Nikki Fried, Florida’s agriculture commissioner who is weighing her own run for governor, echoed that assessment as she tweaked Crist at her own news conference, which competed for attention with his campaign launch. “It’s a time when we need his voice and his vote up in Washington, D.C.,” Fried said. “His seat is one that only probably Charlie Crist can hold on to, so really would like to have encouraged him to stay in Congress.” Democratic strategists said it was hardly unusual for members of Congress to seek a promotion to statewide office. “A lot of us lived through 2009 and 2010, and we’re not seeing that level of rush to the exits that we did then,” said Ian Russell, a former official with the House Democrats’ campaign arm. “It’s not surprising that members of Congress look to run statewide, that has been happening since the founding of the republic and doesn’t indicate a bigger thing.” Republicans, optimistic about being on offense for the first time since 2014, cited potential pickup opportunities in western Pennsylvania, where Rep. Conor Lamb is weighing a run for the state’s open Senate seat; New Hampshire, where Rep. Chris Pappas may run for governor rather than seek reelection in a district likely to become more Republican; and Iowa, where Rep. Cindy Axne told The Storm Lake Times last month that her first two options for 2022 were running for Senate or governor. “House Democrats are sprinting to the exits because they know their chances of retaining the majority grow dimmer by the day,” said Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick of Arizona, who last year entered an alcohol rehabilitation program after falling on the Washington Metro, also chose not to seek reelection. Rep. Cheri Bustos, whose district covering a swath of Central and Northwest Illinois swung to Donald Trump, announced her retirement last week. Last year Bustos led the House Democrats’ campaign arm through a disappointing cycle, when the party lost 13 seats after it expected to flip Republican-held districts. Along with Florida, Republicans are expected to draw themselves more favorable congressional districts in Georgia, where Democrats hold two competitive districts in Atlanta’s northern suburbs, and Texas, which will add two new seats for the 2022 elections. Ryan’s Democratic district in Northeast Ohio is likely to disappear when Ohio Republicans draw a map with one fewer House seat, and Rep. Filemon Vela of Texas, whose Rio Grande Valley district became 8 percentage points more Republican from 2016 to 2020, chose retirement rather than compete in what was likely to be his first competitive reelection bid. “This is where Democratic underperformance in 2020 really begins to hinder Democrats down ballot,” said Ken Spain, a veteran of the House Republicans’ campaign arm. “Republicans fared well at the state level last cycle, and now they’re going to reap the benefits of many of those red states drawing a disproportionate number of the seats.” Because Republicans hold majorities in more state legislatures, and Democrats and voters in key states such as California, Colorado and Virginia have delegated mapmaking authority to nonpartisan commissions, the redistricting process alone could shift up to five or six seats to Republicans. That is potentially enough to seize the majority if they don't flip any other Democratic-held seats. Democrats are expected to press their advantages where they can, particularly in Illinois and New York, states that lost one House district each in last week’s reapportionment. New York’s new map is certain to take a seat from Republicans in upstate New York, and one Republican-held seat in Central Illinois may be redrawn to be Democratic while another is eliminated. For the moment there are more House Republicans, six, not seeking reelection than the five House Democrats retiring or aiming for a promotion to statewide office. But of the Republicans, only Reps. Lee Zeldin and Tom Reed of New York represent districts that are plausibly competitive in 2022. With Democrats holding supermajority control of the New York state Legislature, Zeldin, who is running for governor, and Reed, who retired while apologizing for a past allegation of groping, could both see their districts drawn to become far more competitive for Democrats. This article originally appeared in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company
A study in Denmark and Norway has found slightly increased rates of vein blood clots among people who have had a first dose of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine, including clots in the brain, compared with expected rates in the general population. "The absolute risks of venous thromboembolic events described in this study are small, and the findings should be interpreted in the context of the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination at both the societal and the individual level," they wrote in a summary of their findings published in the BMJ medical journal on Thursday. Norway suspended its rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine on March 11 after a small number of cases of blood clots combined with bleeding and low platelet counts.
NY's top court ruled it will hear a case about freeing 'imprisoned' Happy the elephant from the Bronx Zoo, marking a first for a nonhuman animal
The animal rights group who brought the case says Happy has been "imprisoned" at the zoo for four decades.
- Business Insider
Rental car companies are turning to used car auctions to regrow fleets amid a massive shortage sending prices skyrocketing
The global chip shortage is hindering rental-car companies from being able to quickly regrow fleets as demand continues to rise.
- USA TODAY
Claims that former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley white-washed her name are inaccurate. "Nikki" is Punjabi and she took her husband's last name.
- Business Insider
Rudy Giuliani allies are pressuring Trump to help pay his former attorney's growing legal bills, report says
Rudy Giuliani, who previously served as Trump's personal lawyer, currently faces a federal investigation and huge defamation lawsuits of his own.
Thousands of migrant children were in US border custody in a surge of arrivals to the US-Mexico border.
- The Independent
Attacks against Asian Americans have surged 169 per cent during first quarter of 2021 compared to same period last year, study says
- The Independent
The former president’s children have been busy traveling since Trump left office