Demolition of beloved Vermilion mansion 'bittersweet' as revitalization begins
- Associated Press
Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler, one of 10 Republican U.S. House members who voted to impeach Donald Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, says she will vote to retain Rep. Liz Cheney in Republican leadership. Cheney, who also voted to impeach the former president, is expected to be ousted from her position this week. “Jaime will be voting to keep the House leadership in place,” Beutler's spokesman Craig Wheeler told The Seattle Times in an email.
The officer involved is allegedly the director of Hong Kong's National Security Department.
- The Telegraph
A young British woman was strangled to death in front of her baby daughter while her husband was tied up in another room in their home in Athens. The horrific killing of 20-year-old Caroline Crouch in front of her 11-month-old daughter is highly unusual in Greece and has shocked the country. A special police task force has been ordered to investigate the murder, with a manhunt currently underway to identify the attackers.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are partnering with Procter & Gamble 28 years after Meghan Markle asked the company to change a sexist commercial
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are partnering with Procter & Gamble. Markle wrote a letter to the company about a sexist commercial when she was 11.
- Associated Press
Scores of dead bodies have been found floating down the Ganges River in eastern India as the country battles a ferocious surge in coronavirus infections. Authorities said Tuesday they haven't yet determined the cause of death. Health officials working through the night Monday retrieved 71 bodies, officials in Bihar state said.
- The Independent
Judge says ‘presence of the flag is not in the child’s best interests’
The magical school of witchcraft and wizardry is the backdrop for much of the fantasy series, but even superfans might not know these secrets.
- Business Insider
Jeff Bezos once got so frustrated with Alexa's lack of intelligence that he told Alexa to 'shoot yourself' - and Amazon's engineers heard it
Engineers thought the project was done for, according to Brad Stone's new book, "Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire."
- Reuters Videos
Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired rockets toward the Jerusalem area and southern Israel, carrying out a threat to punish Israel for violent confrontations with Palestinians in Jerusalem.The Gaza health ministry said nine Palestinians, including three children, were killed "in a series of strikes in northern Gaza." It did not explicitly blame Israel for the deaths, in an area that has been a staging ground for militants' cross-border rocket attacks.Rocket sirens sounded in Jerusalem, in nearby towns and in communities near Gaza minutes after the expiry of an ultimatum from the enclave's ruling Hamas Islamist group demanding Israel stand down forces in the al Aqsa mosque compound and another flashpoint in the holy city.Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus said that on Monday, at least six of the 45 rockets fired from Gaza were launched towards Jerusalem's outskirts, where a house was hit. No casualties were reported.He said Israel had carried out an air strike in northern Gaza against Hamas militants and was looking into reports that children were killed.
- Associated Press
China’s ruling Communist Party has opened a new front in its long, ambitious war to shape global public opinion: Western social media. Liu Xiaoming, who recently stepped down as China’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, is one of the party’s most successful foot soldiers on this evolving online battlefield.
- Associated Press
Democratic Rep. Troy Carter of Louisiana was sworn into the House on Tuesday, adding some breathing room to the party’s tight majority. Carter, 57, represents a majority-Black district centered in New Orleans that extends up the Mississippi River into Baton Rouge. The seat opened after Democratic Rep. Cedric Richmond left the position to work as a special adviser to President Joe Biden.
UK singer Dua Lipa won two awards and gave a message to PM Boris Johnson, at the in-person event.
Florida's gasoline supply is mostly unaffected by the hack, but an uptick in panic buying has led to local shortages, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
- The Independent
It remains unclear whether the teenager will be charged as a juvenile or as an adult
- LA Times
News Analysis: Biden struggles to respond to Israeli-Palestinian violence after Trump refused to criticize Israel
Why is Biden treading so gingerly as violence escalates in Jerusalem, Israel and Palestinian territories? Four years of Trump's pro-Israel policy, plus thorny domestic politics, leave Washington with fewer options than at any time in recent history.
- Miami Herald
What’s old is new again.
Authorities in Australia's second most populous state warned on Wednesday the next few days would be critical to preventing a coronavirus outbreak after a man in his 30s tested positive a day earlier for COVID-19. The unidentified man was the first locally transmitted case in Victoria state in more than two months. Health officials said it was most likely he contracted the virus while serving his 14-day hotel quarantine in neighbouring South Australia state.
- The Daily Beast
Anadolu Agency/GettyWith India’s surge in COVID-19 cases continuing to devastate the country, wary epidemiologists are trying to forecast where the novel coronavirus will strike next.Some experts are casting a wary glance toward another vast, developing country that—like India—suffers huge health disparities and uneven access to vaccines: Nigeria.With 200 million people, it’s the most populous country in West Africa and the seventh most populous country in the world.“Nigeria is actually quite vulnerable,” Ngozi Erondui, a senior research fellow at the Chatham House Center for Global Health Security in the United Kingdom, told The Daily Beast. “It has a lot of similarities to India.”The world isn’t powerless to stop COVID from devastating Nigeria the way it’s doing India. More equitable distribution of vaccines across borders could build a firewall against a surge in cases in Nigeria, as well as in other less developed countries.COVID-19 Vaccinations Are Slowing—Just in Time for the Indian VariantBut that would require the world’s richer countries to share lifesaving resources with their poorer neighbors. And if India’s tragic example proved anything, it’s that the world’s vaccine “haves” are in no hurry to help out the “have-nots” on distant continents.That said, “African” is not synonymous with “poor.” The continent is huge and diverse. Its 54 countries with their 1.2 billion people run the gamut from big to small, rich to poor, powerful to weak, democratic to authoritarian.Likewise, the African countries’ pandemic experiences have varied. South Africa—one of the richer countries on the continent—got hit hard last summer, and then again in January. Officials there have logged more than 54,000 deaths.That’s 93 fatalities per 100,000 people, a rate that’s much lower than the 175 deaths per 100,000 population the U.S. has registered, but much higher than the global average of 38 fatalities per 100,000 people.Many of the less industrialized African countries have, so far, managed to avoid the catastrophic surges in infections that have driven up death tolls in richer countries. A total of 580,000 Americans have died of COVID; only 1,600 Nigerians have died.But that doesn’t mean COVID isn’t coming for Nigeria and other African countries—it might just mean it hasn’t gotten there yet. “I see raging COVID-19 fires breaking out across the world in the coming weeks and months,” Lawrence Gostin, a Georgetown University global health expert, told The Daily Beast. “And I am most concerned about Africa.”“I see the crisis in India as a leading indicator of what is to come in other low and middle-income countries,” Gostin added.Bear in mind, India—despite its teeming cities, limited public health measures and patchwork health care—was relatively lucky until recently. The country of 1.37 billion counted just 160,000 fatal cases through March, for a rate of 11 per 100,000.Then in April, a new and more transmissible variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, known to geneticists as “B.1.617,” spread across the country, driving cases and deaths through the roof. In a span of just a couple of weeks, India added nearly 50,000 deaths. The fatality rate jumped to 15 per 100,000.The Frustrating Reason We’re Flying Blind on New COVID VariantsIndia’s COVID surge is ongoing as of this writing, but the trends are encouraging. The daily rates of new cases and deaths are flattening. While every indication is that tens of thousands more Indians will die before the surge ends, at least the pandemic isn’t still getting worse there.But the novel coronavirus is an opportunist. It looks for densely packed, unprotected populations. Spreading via aerosols from one person to the next, it sets up a proverbial laboratory in each body it infects. Every individual SARS-CoV-2 infection mutates every two weeks for as long as it’s active, looking for evolutionary pathways that might produce a new increasingly transmissible variant.New variants help the virus spread even faster in a self-reinforcing cycle that ends only when strong social-distancing mandates, vaccinations, the antibodies of survivors—or, more likely, a combination of all three—cut off its transmission pathways. The harder it is to socially-distance, and the lower the vaccine uptake, the longer the pathogen has to run amok.It’s no accident SARS-CoV-2 thrived in India this month. Popular religious festivals drew huge, maskless crowds. Meanwhile, India’s vaccination effort has been abysmal. The country has fully vaccinated just 3 percent of its population, compared to more than 30 percent in the United States. The global average for full vaccination is slightly more than 3 percent.Nigeria, with its teeming cities, deep poverty and ramshackle health system is, from an epidemiological standpoint, a lot like India—except worse, in some aspects. Where India at least has some domestic vaccine-manufacturers, Nigeria has none. It must import all of its doses.That helps to explain why the country has partially vaccinated just 1 percent of its population—and fully vaccinated almost no one. The government in Lagos expects to receive 84 million vaccine doses from AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson in coming weeks.But that’s enough to fully vaccinate just one out of five Nigerians. Vaccinating three-quarters of the population—the proportion experts say could result in “herd immunity” that blocks most transmission pathways—could take until 2022.To help Nigeria and other unprotected countries, the world’s rich countries should stop hoarding excess doses. More jabs isn’t a panacea, of course—even a country with plenty of vaccines can have trouble administering it. But while logistics, as well as hesitancy among wary citizens, could slow inoculations, a shortage of doses definitely will slow it.“The only way to know for sure how well Nigeria will administer vaccines is to ship it. Once they have a larger supply of doses, then we can see how things like distribution and hesitancy are impacting their vaccination campaign,” Shaun Truelove, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told The Daily Beast.Global supply isn’t the biggest problem. The U.S. alone, a country with multiple competing vaccine-producers, is sitting on a stockpile of more than 60 million unused doses even as more vials arrive from factories and the vaccine-uptake rate ticks downward, especially among Republicans.It wasn’t until weeks into India’s ongoing COVID surge that the administration of President Joe Biden promised to ship some of its extra vaccines to the country. The spare jabs, from AstraZeneca, aren’t even authorized for use in the United States. To Americans, those doses aren’t just surplus—they’re useless.What’s particularly egregious about the delay in releasing surplus vaccines is that health officials anticipated this problem a year ago. Last spring, the U.N.’s World Health Organization, along with several international public-private partnerships, worked together to set up the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access initiative, or COVAX.The idea was for rich countries to pay for vaccines for poor countries. COVAX’s goal was to deliver 100 million doses by March. It actually delivered fewer than 40 million. “This has set Nigeria and many countries up to fail,” Erondu said.The United States is part of the problem. The Trump administration refused to sign on to COVAX, a move that reflected its narrow “America-first” philosophy. The Trump White House either didn’t understand—or didn’t care—that vaccinating poor countries helps protect rich countries, too. Viruses don’t respect borders, after all.The Biden White House reversed the decision back in February. The administration pledged $4 billion in cash, making the U.S. COVAX’s biggest financial donor, albeit belatedly. In a parallel move, Biden signalled support for a controversial proposal for the World Trade Organization to suspend patent protections for COVID vaccines, in theory allowing any manufacturer in any country to produce doses.But experts are divided on whether suspending patents would result in more doses reaching the countries that need it. Meanwhile, many richer countries have been late to fulfill their COVAX pledges, piling delay on delay as the novel coronavirus targets one unprotected population after another.Nigeria is ripe for infection. But the West African country doesn’t have to suffer the same fate as India. Vaccines are available. Mechanisms exist to get it to countries that need it most. What’s lacking is a sense of urgency in the countries that have more than enough, and don’t seem to appreciate the importance of sharing it.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 Daily Beast
Carlos Gil/GettyROME—Last week, Salvatore Martello, the mayor of the Sicilian island of Lampedusa, which is just 8 square miles in area, bragged that his island was nearly COVID-free after all of its residents would soon be fully vaccinated.Now, islanders are panicking after more than 2,000 migrants and refugees from all over unvaccinated Africa started arriving in smugglers’ boats on Saturday. By Sunday, 20 boats in all had arrived, carrying some 2,000 desperate souls who had somehow skirted the Libyan Coast Guard and made it all the way across the calm sea.Migrants Rescued at Sea Between Death and HopeLocal business owners voiced concerns that the arrival of migrants en masse has already scared off many people planning their holidays. The owner of the Hotel Baja Turchese said he had received several cancellations by people who were coming because they thought the island would be COVID-free.“The migrants change the dynamic, because even if they have to quarantine and get tested, they have already potentially brought the virus back to the island,” he told The Daily Beast.But many of the asylum-seekers escaping to the island had no choice but to flee the poverty, violence, and persecution they faced in their home countries.On Monday, most of the migrants had been processed and, based on their interviews, were primarily from sub-Saharan Africa, including countries like Eritrea and Somalia that have not yet received a single dose of anti-COVID vaccines. Others were migrant workers who had been laboring in the oil fields of conflict-ridden Libya, where they suffered through consistent wage theft, discrimination and waves of violent civil strife.Because the tiny reception center on the island is not conducive to social distancing, most were made to sleep on the hot pavement under the scorching sun in the dock area to avoid potentially infecting islanders. Until Sunday, the migrant center had been empty for nearly two years.“The situation on Lampedusa is literally explosive,” Domenico Pianese, a police official, said in a statement to local media. “If we have another day like yesterday, with an incessant succession of disembarking, it won’t be possible to manage public and health safety.”The island, which is closer to North Africa than Europe, has long been a magnet for migrants who have crashed their rickety blue fishing boats onto its rocky shores. The island hit a near breaking point in 2011, when thousands of people escaping Arab Spring violence in North Africa arrived.Libya’s Migrant ‘Holding Areas’ Have Become Death CampsBut in 2014, when NGO rescue boats started patrolling the seas after Italy’s government-sponsored Mare Nostrum rescue mission ended, boats carrying migrants were often intercepted and rarely made it to Lampedusa, allowing the island to beef up its tourism industry. This summer, they were hoping for a windfall with stir-crazy Europeans looking for remote beaches and guaranteed sun.It is unclear if Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s recent trip to Libya in any way changed the Libyan Coast Guard’s response to the latest exodus. Italy has trained and funded the Libyan coastguards and supplied them with boats, even as they have been accused of—and caught on video committing—horrific human rights abuses, including shooting at and leaving migrants to drown.When they are intercepted by Libyan coastguards, the migrants are usually taken to squalid detention centers until smugglers, working with complicit guards, try to get them across the sea again. On Monday, the Libyan coastguards stopped some 600 migrants on several smuggler ships from departing, according to UNHCR.The migrants and refugees that arrived will all have to quarantine and be tested, Martello says, and many will isolate on ferries docked off the island or be shuttled to the considerably larger land mass of Sicily. A massive ship is on its way to the island to offer additional accommodation. The bulk of the tests should be done by the end of the week. No COVID test results have yet been released.So far this year, some 12,000 migrants have made it across the sea to Italy—four times the number that made it last year in the same time frame. They have come either on their own in fishing boats or were rescued by one of just a couple of NGO boats allowed to deliver them to land. Late Monday, the NGO group Alarm Phone, which tries to alert authorities to boats in trouble, reported that around 400 people were languishing on boats between Malta and Lampedusa. By nightfall, no one had rescued them.In April, Italy was criticized by humanitarian groups after ignoring distress calls from a boat off Libya, which eventually capsized. At least 130 people were thought to have drowned in that accident. So far this year, around 500 migrants are known to have died at sea trying to reach safety. And they won’t be the last, especially if the group on Lampedusa are viewed only as COVID threats.Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet 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.
- Business Insider
The usually mild-mannered Utah senator "erupted" over Hawley's election objections on January 6, The Washington Post reported.