The opening of Phase 1-C in the tri-state area remains an enigma, but there are indications that it is coming soon.
- Reuters Videos
Self-driving cars equipped to navigate congested highways...Honda says it will sell a limited batch of its flagship Legend sedans equipped with cutting-edge autonomous technology.That makes it the world's first automaker to sell vehicles equipped with certified 'level 3' autonomy.Once activated, that allows drivers to watch movies or use screens while the car takes charge. And the plan to sell 100 of the vehicles is a significant step towards a bigger goal.Honda wants to be the first company to mass produce a car with level 3 ability. The limited edition Legend will be sold in Japan from Friday March 5th, costing about $102,000. Honda said the Legend's "Traffic Jam Pilot" system can control acceleration, braking and steering under certain conditions. Adding that it can also alert the driver to respond when handing over the control, such as by vibrating the driver's seatbelt. If the driver continues to be unresponsive, the system will assist with an emergency stop by decelerating and stopping the vehicle.While alerting surrounding cars with hazard lights and the horn.The autonomous race is on among global automakers and tech companies.Both Alphabet's Waymo and Tesla have been investing heavily in self-driving tech.Audi unveiled a level-3 car of its own in 2017, but regulatory hurdles prevented it being widely adopted.
- The Independent
NAACP accuses Trump of disenfranchising Black voters and trying to ‘destroy democracy’
- Associated Press
Mia Schultz has watched three other Black women in Vermont leave leadership posts in the mostly white state because of harassment and threats. Now, the former insurance professional is carrying on a broader fight for her community in her new leadership role as president of one of Vermont’s two NAACP branches. “I really don’t feel like I have a choice,” said Schultz, who replaced another Black woman, Tabitha Moore, who decided not to run for reelection citing harassment. “We’re talking about our children.”
- Associated Press
North Korea may be trying to extract plutonium to make more nuclear weapons at its main atomic complex, recent satellite photos indicated, weeks after leader Kim Jong Un vowed to expand his nuclear arsenal. The 38 North website, which specializes in North Korea studies, cited the imagery as indicating that a coal-fired steam plant at the North’s Yongbyon nuclear complex is in operation after about a two-year hiatus. This suggests “preparations for spent fuel reprocessing could be underway to extract plutonium needed for North Korea’s nuclear weapon,” the website said Wednesday.
- Business Insider
Rudy Giuliani, who helped lead Trump's bogus election-fraud conspiracy theory, is being mocked after warning of the dangers of misinformation
After spending months pushing Trump's election fraud conspiracy theory, Giuliani unexpectedly warned of the dangers of misinformation.
The European Commission and Italy have blocked a shipment of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine destined for Australia after the drug manufacturer failed to meet its EU contract commitments, two sources said on Thursday. The sources said AstraZeneca had requested permission from the Italian government to export some 250,000 doses from its Anagni plant, near Rome.
The 'QAnon Shaman' says invading the Capitol was 'not an attack on this country' in wild jailhouse interview
"QAnon Shaman" Jacob Chansley said he still believes the 2020 election was rigged and wishes Donald Trump gave him a pardon.
- The Daily Beast
John Lamparski/GettyFox News’ resident macho man Jesse Watters—who built his professional reputation, such as it is, by stalking liberals on camera, many of them women, on behalf of his predatory boss Bill O’Reilly—received a rhetorical slap in the face Thursday for his recommendation that women solve the problem of workplace sexual harassment simply by slapping their male harassers.“I would suggest that women—and I’ve gotten in trouble for saying this before—you slap the man in the face. And you do it immediately,” Watters opined on Wednesday’s episode of The Five during a discussion of the sexual harassment and unwanted touching allegations against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “Because if you wait too long, the politician feels like he can keep doing this, and it doesn’t matter if it comes out a year or three years later. Do it immediately. When he’s fresh.”Several former Fox News women, who received monetary settlements and left the company after being targeted by harassers at the Donald Trump-friendly channel, reacted to Watters’ prescription with withering disgust.“Women all across America are very pleased to have Jesse Watters mansplain to them,” former Fox News political analyst Julie Roginsky told The Daily Beast, “but Jesse Watters might have observed while working for two harassers [late Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes and O’Reilly] that women are already facing the risk of professional retaliation by not going along with the harasser’s wishes.”Roginsky—who left Fox News in 2017 after settling a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit against the company, Ailes, and his deputy Bill Shine—added, “If the women got violent with the harasser their career would be over. Many are bound by forced arbitrations and NDAs at the start of their jobs. They couldn’t tell their stories. The better suggestion from Jesse is to put the onus on his fellow men to not harass women.”Ed Henry’s Accusers Say His Behavior Was an Open Secret at Fox NewsFormer Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson, whose July 2016 sexual harassment lawsuit against Ailes resulted in his being ousted in disgrace, agreed.“Suggesting that women should slap their perpetrator is re-victimizing the victim in the sense they should fix the problem they have nothing to do with,” Carlson told The Daily Beast. “The responsibility to stop harassment, primarily a man’s issue, should not fall on a woman to fix it. It’s similar to other excuses that women should leave their jobs or move to another department rather than looking at the real problem. It’s another cover-your-ass reaction rather than working to fix the problem.”In a tweet, she added, “Not to mention how idiotic it is to assume slapping a predator would somehow change them. And that it should be up to the woman to slap instead of predatory to just not harass.”In an emailed response to The Daily Beast, Watters said he had been misunderstood: “This kind of predatory behavior needs to stop immediately and it’s 100% the harasser’s responsibility to stop it. My intention was to defend victims and hold inappropriate politicians accountable—any suggestion otherwise is a misinterpretation of what I said.”Other women who spoke to The Daily Beast about Watters’ remark—several of whom signed non-disclosure agreements as part of cash settlements of lawsuits—asked to remain anonymous in order to avoid potential retaliation by Fox News Media or its parent company Fox Corp.“It is simple to say ‘just slap him in the face,’ and while that might garner the woman short-term cheers, it would almost inevitably condemn her professional career, especially in broadcasting,” said one former Fox on-air personality. “If every man at Fox who made inappropriate comments was slapped at that moment, you would have a lot of red-faced men walking around the network. And, sadly, the women would never be allowed past security again to see.”This woman added, “It is odd to see Fox take such an aggressive position regarding Gov. Cuomo, rallying for him to resign. This, as Fox continues to put multiple hosts and contributors on air who have been proven to do the same if not worse than the accusations against Cuomo.”A second woman cited the 42-year-old Watters’ reported history of divorcing his then-wife Noelle in March 2019 after engaging in an extramarital affair with his 26-year-old associate producer, now-wife Emma DiGiovine. The officiant at their December 2019 wedding was then-Fox News anchor Ed Henry, who was fired last year as a Fox Business producer filed a graphic lawsuit accusing Henry of sexual abuse.“A man [Jesse Watters] who had an affair with a much younger woman at work really has no place to tell women how they should react professionally when abused at work,” this person said. “Violence is not an answer. It's usually the one thing women fear the most when their abusers are much larger, heavier, and stronger than they are.”Fox News Airs Openly Racist Segment on Asian PeopleAttorney Douglas Wigdor, who has represented several Fox News accusers, told The Daily Beast, “It’s a classic rape myth that women should somehow use their physical power to ward off men who attack them, when the reality is that most women panic and freeze when sexually assaulted.”Wednesday evening was not the first time Watters has drawn widespread criticism for piggish comments about women. In April 2017, the Fox host delivered some not-so-subtle sexual innuendo about Ivanka Trump, remarking upon video of her speaking at a women’s rights conference, “I really liked how she was speaking into that microphone,” while gesturing towards his mouth and smirking. The next day, Watters denied the sexual undertones before announcing an abrupt “family vacation.”Meanwhile, a former Fox News staffer said, “I’d buy tickets to watch Jesse Watters slap his former boss Bill O’Reilly. What say you, anchorman? Are you hiding under your desk? Bill used to always say ‘what say you?’ and ‘are you hiding under your desk’ when guests wouldn’t come on after his on-air challenge to duke it out with him. Jesse Watters has lacked the moral fortitude to stand with any of the courageous women of Fox News, all who lost their jobs after being sexually harassed where he is currently employed.”This woman added: “Now, in an incredible twist, he fancies himself the arbiter of sexual harassment. Only at Fox News could it get this perverse. But what else can we expect when the founder of Fox News, Rupert Murdoch, diminished decades-long sexual harassment coverup as nothing more than a 'little bit of flirting.’”—Diana Falzone was an on-camera and digital reporter for FoxNews.com from 2012 to 2018. In May 2017, she filed a gender discrimination and disability lawsuit against the network and settled, and left the company in March 2018. Along with Roginsky and Carlson, she co-founded Lift Our Voices, a nonprofit seeking to eradicate NDAs in the workplace used to conceal toxic workplace behavior.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 Independent
Israel lead the world in vaccinations per capita, but isn’t vaccinating Palestinians
- Associated Press
The Senate voted by the slimmest of margins Thursday to begin debating a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, after Democrats made eleventh-hour changes aimed at ensuring they could pull President Joe Biden’s top legislative priority through the precariously divided chamber. Democrats were hoping for Senate approval of the package before next week, in time for the House to sign off and get the measure to Biden quickly. Democratic leaders made over a dozen late additions to their package, reflecting their need to cement unanimous support from all their senators — plus Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote — to succeed in the 50-50 chamber.
Israel accused Iran on Wednesday of being linked to a recent oil spill off its shores that caused major ecological damage, calling the incident environmental terrorism. The spill was caused by an oil tanker that was carrying pirated cargo from Iran to Syria last month, Israeli Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel said. The vessel sailed through the Gulf and the Red Sea without radio contact, switching its tracking devices back on before passing through Egypt's Suez Canal, Gamliel told reporters.
Days ahead of Oprah‘s landmark interview with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, people are already spotting significance in the fashion choices made in the clips released. Meghan Markle‘s Oprah interview outfit reportedly sends a strong message, including a touching tribute to the late Princess Diana. Markle and Prince Harry have spent a year away from the spotlight, adjusting to life after stepping back as “senior members” of the royal family.
Walt Disney Co will close at least 60 Disney retail stores in North America this year, about 20% of its worldwide total, as it revamps its digital shopping platforms to focus on e-commerce, the company said on Wednesday. The media and entertainment company also is evaluating a significant reduction of stores in Europe, a spokesperson said, adding that locations in Japan and China will not be affected. Disney currently operates roughly 300 Disney stores around the globe.
Britain's Prince Philip, the 99-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth, underwent a successful procedure for a pre-existing heart condition on Wednesday, Buckingham Palace said in a statement on Thursday. Philip was admitted to hospital on Feb. 16 after he felt unwell, to receive treatment for an unspecified, but not COVID-19-related, infection. "The Duke of Edinburgh yesterday underwent a successful procedure for a pre-existing heart condition at St Bartholomew’s Hospital," the palace said, using Philip's formal title.
South Carolina officials may soon force death-row inmates to decide if they want to be executed by lethal injection, electric char or a firing squad
South Carolina currently has 37 inmates on death row, though the state has not conducted an execution in nearly 10 years.
QAnon influencers are attacking their movement's hyped March 4 event, calling it a false flag conspiracy theory
QAnon planned for March 4 as its next big date. The movement's influencers are already looking forward to the next goal post.
- The Independent
‘I’m always up for a good fight,’ says Trump ally
- Reuters Videos
A video first shared on social media on January 31 shows a trio of baby elephants named Kindani, Bondeni and Ziwadi guzzling milk from bottles.The specialist centre cares for rescued orphaned elephants and rhinos that are milk-dependent and the Nursery is currently home to 17 orphaned elephants who can grow, recover and learn survival and social skills at the centre, the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust told Reuters in an email.The animals were orphaned mostly because of human-wildlife conflict, abandonment and drought, the centre said. Kindani, Bondeni and Ziwadi were all victims of human-wildlife conflict and they will embark on a long process of rehabilitation, aiming to eventually return them back into the wild.
- The New York Times
As the election returns rolled in showing President Donald Trump winning strong support from blue-collar voters in November while suffering historic losses in suburbs across the country, Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, a Republican, declared on Twitter: “We are a working class party now. That’s the future.” And with further results revealing that Trump had carried 40% of union households and made unexpected inroads with Latinos, other Republican leaders, including Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, trumpeted a political realignment. Republicans, they said, were accelerating their transformation into the party of Sam’s Club rather than the country club. But since then, Republicans have offered very little to advance the economic interests of blue-collar workers. Two major opportunities for party leaders to showcase their priorities have unfolded recently without a nod to working Americans. Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York Times In Washington, as Democrats advance a nearly $2 trillion economic stimulus bill, they are facing universal opposition from congressional Republicans to the package, which is chock-full of measures to benefit struggling workers a full year into the coronavirus pandemic. The bill includes $1,400 checks to middle-income Americans and extended unemployment benefits, which are set to lapse on March 14. And at a high-profile, high-decibel gathering of conservatives in Florida last weekend, potential 2024 presidential candidates, including Hawley and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, scarcely mentioned a blue-collar agenda. They used their turns in the national spotlight to fan grievances about “cancel culture,” to bash the tech industry and to reinforce Trump’s false claims of a stolen election. Inside and outside the party, critics see a familiar pattern: Republican officials, following Trump’s own example, are exploiting the cultural anger and racial resentment of a sizable segment of the white working class, but have not made a concerted effort to help these Americans economically. “This is the identity conundrum that Republicans have,” said Carlos Curbelo, a Republican former congressman from Florida, pointing to the universal opposition by House Republicans to the stimulus bill drawn up by President Biden and congressional Democrats. “This is a package that Donald Trump would have very likely supported as president.” “Here is the question for the Rubios and the Hawleys and the Cruzes and anyone else who wants to capitalize on this potential new Republican coalition,” Curbelo added. “Eventually, if you don’t take action to improve people’s quality of life, they will abandon you.” Some Republicans have sought to address the strategic problem. Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah put forward one of the most ambitious GOP initiatives aimed at struggling Americans, a measure to fight child poverty by sending parents up to $350 a month per child. But fellow Republicans rebuffed the plan as “welfare.” Hawley has matched a Democratic proposal for a $15 minimum wage, but with the caveat that it applies only to businesses with annual revenues above $1 billion. Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster whose clients have included Rubio, was critical of Democrats for not seeking a compromise on the stimulus after a group of GOP senators offered a smaller package. “Seven Republican senators voted to convict a president of their own party,” he said, referring to Trump’s impeachment. “If you can’t get any of them on a COVID program, you’re not trying real hard.” As the COVID-19 relief package, which every House Republican voted down, makes its way through the Senate this week, Republicans are expected to offer further proposals aimed at struggling Americans. Ayres said that the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, last weekend, the first major party gathering since Trump left office, had been a spectacularly missed opportunity in its failure to include meaningful discussion of policies for blue-collar voters. Instead, the former president advanced an intraparty civil war by naming in his speech on Sunday a hit list of every Republican who voted to impeach him. “You’d better be spending a lot more time developing an economic agenda that benefits working people than re-litigating a lost presidential election,” Ayres said. “The question is, how long will it take the Republicans to figure out that driving out heretics rather than winning new converts is a losing strategy right now?” Separately, one of the highest-profile efforts to lift blue-collar workers in the country was underway this week in Alabama, where nearly 6,000 workers at an Amazon warehouse are voting on whether to unionize. On Sunday, the pro-union workers got a boost in a video from Biden. Representatives for Hawley — who has been one of the leading Republican champions of a working-class realignment — did not respond to a request for comment about where he stands on the issue. The 2020 election continued a long-term trend in which the parties have essentially swapped voters, with Republicans gaining with blue-collar workers, while white-collar suburbanites moved toward the Democrats. The idea of “Sam’s Club conservatives,” which was floated about 15 years ago by former Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, recognized a constituency of populist Republicans who favored a higher minimum wage and government help for struggling families. Trump turned out historic levels of support for a Republican among white working-class voters. But once in office, his biggest legislative achievement was a tax cut in which most benefits went to corporations and the wealthy. Oceans of ink have been spilled over whether the white working class’ devotion to Trump had more to do with economic anxiety or with anger toward “elites” and racial minorities, especially immigrants. For many analysts, the answer is that it had to do with both. His advancement of policies to benefit working-class Americans was frequently chaotic and left unresolved. Manufacturing jobs, which had continued their slow recovery since the 2009 financial crisis, flatlined under Trump in the year before the pandemic hit. The former president’s bellicose trade war with China hit American farmers so hard economically that they received large bailouts from taxpayers. “There was never a program to deal with the types of displacements going on,” said John Russo, a former co-director of the Center for Working-Class Studies at Youngstown State University in Ohio. He projects that once the economy snaps back to pre-pandemic levels, blue-collar Americans will be worse off, because employers will have accelerated automation and will continue workforce reductions adopted during the pandemic. “Neither party is talking about that,” Russo said. “I think that by 2024, that’s going to be a key issue.” It’s possible that Republicans who are not prioritizing economic issues are accurately reading their base. A survey last month by the GOP pollster Echelon Insights found that the top concerns of Republican voters were mainly cultural ones: illegal immigration, lack of support for the police, high taxes and “liberal bias in mainstream media.” Despite Biden’s campaign framing him as “middle-class Joe” from Scranton, Pennsylvania, as a candidate he made only slight inroads into Trump’s support with white voters without college degrees, which disappointed Democratic strategists and party activists. In exit polls, these voters preferred Trump over Biden by 35 percentage points. Among voters of color without a college degree, Trump won one out of four votes, an improvement from 2016, when he won one in five of their votes. His inroads with Latinos in South Florida and the Rio Grande Valley of Texas especially shocked many Democrats, and it spurred Rubio to tweet that the future of the GOP was “a party built on a multi-ethnic multi-racial coalition of working AMERICANS.” After the Trump presidency, it is an open question whether any other Republican candidates can win the same intensity of blue-collar support. “Whatever your criticisms are of Trump — and I have a lot — clearly he was able to connect to those people and they voted for him,” said Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, a Democrat from the Youngstown area. Ryan is gearing up to run in 2022 for an open Senate seat in Ohio. He agrees with Trump about taking on China, but faults him for not following up his tough language with sustained policies. “I think there’s an opportunity to have a similar message but a real agenda,” he said. As for Republican presidential candidates aspiring to inherit Trump’s working-class followers, Ryan saw only dim prospects for them, especially if they continued to reject the Biden stimulus package, which passed the House and is now before the Senate. “The COVID-19 relief bill was directly aimed at the struggles of working-class people,” Ryan said, adding that Republicans voting against the package were “in for a rude awakening.” Perhaps. A Monmouth University poll on Wednesday found that 6 in 10 Americans supported the $1.9 trillion package in its current form, especially the $1,400 checks to people at certain income levels. But Republicans who vote it down may not pay a political price, said Patrick Murray, the poll’s director. “They know that the checks will reach their base regardless, and they can continue to rail against Democratic excesses,” he said. “There would only be a problem if they somehow managed to sink the bill,” he added. This article originally appeared in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company
Indian doctors and politicians on Thursday welcomed efficacy data for a state-backed coronavirus vaccine that was given emergency approval in January without the completion of a late-stage trial, making people reluctant to receive the shot. Government data shows (https://dashboard.cowin.gov.in) that only 10% of about 13.3 million people immunised in India have taken the COVAXIN shot, which was found to be 81% effective in an interim analysis of the late-stage trial, its developer Bharat Biotech said on Wednesday. Any boost to the vaccine's acceptance in India, which on Thursday reported the highest number of new COVID-19 cases in five weeks, could also brighten its export prospects.