JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Heat-wave conditions that are scorching much of South Africa's maize-growing areas are expected to persist until Friday or Saturday, the South African Weather Service said on Tuesday. The extremely hot weather is being experienced in Gauteng province, where the commercial capital Johannesburg is located, Mpumalanga province in the north east, and the North West province, which form a major part of the maize belt. Northern Limpopo province has also been affected. South Africa is in the throes of the worst drought since the end of apartheid rule two decades ago and last season's maize crop was a third lower because of the weather. (Reporting by Ed Stoddard; Editing by James Macharia)
Data: Chamberlain, 2020, "United States of America Cabinet Appointments Dataset" Chart: Will Chase/AxiosIt's harder now for presidents to win Senate confirmation for their Cabinet picks, an Axios data analysis of votes for and against nominees found. Why it matters: It's not just Neera Tanden. The trend is a product of growing polarization, rougher political discourse and slimming Senate majorities, experts say. It means some of the nation's most vital federal agencies go without a leader and the legislative authority that comes with one. Get market news worthy of your time with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free.By the numbers: Not only are there more votes cast against presidential Cabinet nominees than in the past, but President Trump received no unanimous consent votes or voice votes for his nominees, which tend to indicate broad bipartisan support.President Obama had 19 such votes and President Bush had 23. This year, the process is also taking longer. President Biden's nominees have been confirmed at a much slower pace than past presidents: There are now seven confirmed Cabinet members in addition to the director of national intelligence and U.N. ambassador.By Feb. 24, 2017, Trump had nine Cabinet nominees confirmed. At the same time in 2009, Obama had 12. More from Axios: Sign up to get the latest market trends with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free
The first big real-world study of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to be independently reviewed shows the shot is highly effective at preventing COVID-19, in a potentially landmark moment for countries desperate to end lockdowns and reopen economies. Up until now, most data on the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines has come under controlled conditions in clinical trials, leaving an element of uncertainty over how results would translate into the real world with its unpredictable variables. The research in Israel - two months into one of the world's fastest rollouts, providing a rich source of data - showed two doses of the Pfizer shot cut symptomatic COVID-19 cases by 94% across all age groups, and severe illnesses by nearly as much.
- Business Insider
A preliminary study from Israel suggests people vaccinated against COVID-19 have lower viral loads, which are linked to less spread of the virus.
- Business Insider
Donald Trump has fought hard to keep his personal tax returns, and the Trump Organization's a secret. The Supreme Court just let prosecutors get them.
14 Marvel shows are coming to Disney Plus from 'Secret Invasion' to 'I Am Groot' - here they all are
Some Marvel characters are getting their own shows on Disney Plus. Here's when you can expect "Ms. Marvel," "WandaVision," and more.
- The Daily Beast
Darrin Zammit Lupi via ReutersROME—The confession of a partially blind hitman in the heinous murder of Maltese muckraker journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia has kicked off a slew of new arrests in the complicated case.On Tuesday, a Maltese judge accepted the startling guilty plea of Vincent Muscat, 57, who had originally pleaded not guilty along with brothers George and Alfred Degiorgio, for setting off the car bomb that killed Galizia on a country road near her home in Malta in October 2017. The brothers, who were also in the courtroom, maintain their not guilty pleas in the case. Muscat’s lawyers say the change in tactics is part of a guilty plea that should see their client out of jail by 2027.Malta Arrests in Daphne Caruana Galizia Murder Still Don’t Solve the CrimeMuscat, who is blind in one eye after being shot at close range in April 2014 in an attempted vendetta murder, was sentenced on Tuesday to 15 years in prison of which he has already served three years. He admitted to all six charges against him: the wilful homicide of Daphne Caruana Galizia, causing an explosion that led to the death of a person, illegal possession of explosives, conspiracy to carry out a crime, promotion of a group intending to carry out criminal acts, and participation in such a group. He was separately awarded a presidential pardon in the 2015 murder of lawyer Carmel Circop, in which he supplied crucial information after confessing to his peripheral involvement in that crime. That pardon does not affect the Galizia sentencing.Just moments after Muscat’s change of heart was read in court by his lawyer, police swooped in on a secret hideout of brothers Adrian and Robert Agius and accomplice Jamie Vella, arresting the trio for allegedly supplying the bomb that killed Galizia. Police say more arrests are expected. On Wednesday, local media in Malta reported that three more arrests were imminent, including those with ties to organized crime in Italy and Malta. Galizia’s many investigative targets revealed on her blog Running Commentary, which still receives thousands of hits a day according to her sons, included the country’s then prime minister Joseph Muscat (no relation to Vincent). His wife was tied to the corrupt Pilatius bank exposed in the Panama Papers. Since her murder, journalists collaborating on Galizia’s original investigations under The Daphne Project have uncovered further connections between the Maltese prime minister’s wife and the bank. Muscat resigned under pressure in 2019 over his associates’ alleged ties to the murder.The former prime minister’s associate, energy tycoon Yorgen Fenech, who secretly owned 17 Black, a company that was a frequent target of Galizia’s journalistic investigations, was arrested on his yacht en route to Italy in December 2019. He is charged with masterminding the murder and denies involvement. Preliminary hearings in his trial are expected to resume on March 18.Fenech’s arrest came after taxi driver Melvin Theuma confessed to being a middleman between Fenech and those accused of carrying out the killing. Vincent Muscat’s plea bargain reportedly includes testimony that corroborates the taxi driver‘s claims. Fenech has secured a presidential pardon and full protection in exchange for his testimony. The Daphne Project reporting consortium has learned that Galizia received a cache of thousands of emails and documents tied to a company owned by Fenech. Investigators believe that she may have been killed before she could expose the contents of the documents.The family of Galizia, who believe she was murdered for getting too close to the crimes of Malta’s political elite, issued a cautious statement after Muscat’s plea. “This development will begin the road for total justice for Daphne Caruana Galizia,” they said, adding that her assassination “destroyed her right to life and removed her right to enjoy her family and grandchildren who were born after her murder.”The lawyer for the Galizia family read the statement in court. “The macabre murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia was intentional and could have been avoided. The victim paid with her life and her family are paying for the loss of their loved one,” he said. “I said all this today because if Daphne's family had to respond to the plea bargain based on their emotions, their response would be obvious.”Maltese blogger Manuel Delia, who has written a book on the case, warns that Vincent Muscat’s confession does not solve the case. “Muscat is at the very bottom in the brutal pecking order of this mafia. He is not even a button man. He is a gofer that has seen things and remembered some of them and at a time when he came to face a possible life sentence he has used what he has seen and remembered to negotiate a reduced sentence for himself,” he said Tuesday. “Hearing his confession, his admission of guilt is a small step in the sad, long and so far otherwise fruitless search for justice.”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.
People are digging up past anecdotes from John Mayer's exes after he praised the 'Framing Britney Spears' documentary
He has been accused of manipulation and misogyny, with Jessica Simpson's memoir "Open Book" and Taylor Swift's song "Dear John" cited as examples.
Sacha Baron Cohen and Isla Fisher are one of Hollywood's most private couples. Here's a timeline of their 20-year relationship.
Fisher has said being with Cohen is like "winning the lottery" ... even if she has to deal with his many shenanigans.
- Business Insider
Several cruise trips have already been cancelled this year. See when major cruise lines plan on operating again.
Most cruises in the US won't be sailing until May at the soonest, and Carnival just delayed its restart until June at the earliest.
Betty Rizzo may be 18 years old in "Grease," but Stockard Channing, the actress who played her, was 33 at the time of filming.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex say they will continue to support their royal patronages despite not being allowed to do so as royals.
- Associated Press
The increasingly slim odds — and surprisingly thin outreach from the White House — for Neera Tanden’s nomination as head of the Office of Management and Budget are raising growing questions about how long the president will stick with her, in an early test of how he will use his limited political capital. In the latest sign of trouble for Tanden, two Senate panels slated to take up her nomination, the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the Budget Committee, both postponed meetings scheduled for Wednesday. For the third straight day, the White House batted off questions about Tanden’s path to confirmation after at least one key Democrat and multiple Republicans came out against her.
Mara Wilson details the perils of child stardom and draws a line between her experiences with those of Britney Spears.
- Reuters Videos
This wild sheep had a much-needed shearingrelieving him of over 78 lbs of fleeceThat's nearly half the weight of an adult kangarooBaarackLocation: Lancefield, AustraliaRescuers say he used to have an ownerbut was found wandering in a forestBaarack is now settling in with other rescued sheep in a farm sanctuary
- Associated Press
Visiting Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has proclaimed his Muslim-majority nation a choice destination for religious tourism by Sri Lankans, most of whom are Buddhists. In talks with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Wednesday, Khan highlighted Buddhist heritage sites in Pakistan and stressed the building of cultural ties, the Pakistan Embassy said in a statement.
With unfettered access to luxury brands and designer looks, royals often wear outfits with hefty price tags.
- Yahoo News
'The science is on our side': Chris Christie blasts Biden and Democrats over failure to reopen schools
Nearly a year after most schools shut down, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie sees an opportunity for the Republican Party, whose handling of the coronavirus pandemic under Donald Trump was widely seen as anti-scientific and contributing to thousands of needless deaths.
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris urged Black Americans on Wednesday to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as data shows Blacks and Hispanics lagging behind in inoculations. "We know Black people are disproportionately likely to contract the virus and die from it," Harris said. Blacks and Hispanics have been particularly hard hit by COVID-19 with a disproportionate number of deaths, and public health officials have broadly called for equity in vaccine distribution.
- Associated Press
Doctors in Hungary on Wednesday began administering a COVID-19 vaccine developed in China, making the country the first European Union nation to use a Chinese jab as officials aim to bolster trust in its safety and effectiveness. General practitioners around the Central European country were instructed to administer the shots, developed by Chinese state-owned company Sinopharm, to elderly patients. The Sinopharm jab brings the number of vaccines currently in use in Hungary to five including the Russian-developed Sputnik V, more than in any other country in the 27-nation EU.
'Superman & Lois' showrunner and star paid homage to the superhero's first comic appearance in the series premiere
Showrunner Todd Helbing and star Tyler Hoechlin tell Insider what it was like paying homage to Superman's early days in the comics and cartoons.