Indoor plants are more popular than ever, and some shops are trying to keep up with the rising demand.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman may have been spared direct punishment after a U.S. intelligence report implicated him in the killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but he has not emerged unscathed. The declassified report, based on CIA intelligence, concludes that the prince approved an operation to "capture or kill" Khashoggi, who was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018. President Joe Biden's decision to publish a report that his predecessor Donald Trump had set aside brings with it a broad refocusing of Washington's stance on dealing with the kingdom, on its human rights record, and on its lucrative arms purchases.
- Business Insider
Opinion: The costs of a foreign policy that emphasizes US global preeminence are now inescapable clear, and US leaders need to change course.
It's been 40 years since Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer announced their engagement with a televised interview.
- The Telegraph
Perched on the mountain range that divides the sprawling city of Caracas from the Caribbean Sea, Venezuela’s Hotel Humboldt can be seen from nearly all corners of the capital. The 65-year-old, 14-floor structure can only be reached by cable car from the city below. It currently boasts 69 rooms, six dining areas, a casino, a night club, and a swimming pool and spa. “It will be the first seven star hotel in Venezuela,” President Nicolas Maduro once proudly proclaimed as the 1956 symbol of oil wealth was being lavishly renovated. Now, the hotel is open again as a symbol of an impending economic recovery and tourism boom in a country that has suffered the worst economic crisis in modern Latin American history. But the so-called Socialist president’s touting of the luxurious, $300 per night hotel in a country where most live in poverty represents something else to others - an abandonment of a political project promising a socialist utopia in favor of an 'anything goes', capitalist kleptocracy.
- Architectural Digest
Only reachable by canoe, this Xigera hideaway is centered along lush riverbeds and a rich concentration of wildlife.Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- The Daily Beast
Sarah Meyssonnier/ReutersFederal authorities rolled into Shelby County, Tennessee, this week as the mismanagement disasters plaguing the local coronavirus vaccine rollout reached a boiling point.The county health department allowed more than 2,000 doses to spoil, two children were vaccinated against Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, and a volunteer allegedly made off with doses from one site. The Tennessee Health Department, the FBI, and the CDC are now investigating. The head of the Shelby health department, Alisa Haushalter, resigned Friday. Now residents are left questioning whether the doses they received were expired doses.“You begin to feel like you were safe to go out and do things, but now you don’t know if you’re covered or not. You don’t know if the shot you got is effective or not,” said Gayle Jones, 80, who was born and raised in Cordova, Tennessee. She received her second shot of the Pfizer vaccine Wednesday. “We’ve missed a whole year by staying at home. We finally felt like we could get out and maybe be OK.”Hundreds of people are echoing her statements on Facebook in comments on bulletins from the county health department.Ingrid Chilton, 68, vented her frustration below one post, “Let’s talk about the thousands of Memphians who don’t know whether they have been properly vaccinated since the thawing of the vaccines was not done in accordance with CDC guidelines!”Chilton and her 75-year-old husband flew from their home in Tiburon, California, to visit their son in downtown Memphis for two weeks in late February 2020. They have stayed for a year, living in the same two weeks’ worth of clothing. Saturday would be the day they reached full immunity, two weeks from their second Pfizer shots. She and her husband had begun discussing when they would return to Tiburon.“Today was the day I was supposed to be celebrating, like ‘We’re free!’ and instead we get this. I feel like we’re in limbo again,” she told The Daily Beast.The state began investigating the county health department last week after an announcement that the county had permitted 1,300 doses to expire in February. State investigators found that in actuality, 2,400 doses had gone bad this month and were trashed, with 840 wasted in one day, Feb. 15. Though the vaccines require ultra-cold storage to remain viable, some syringes felt warm to the investigator’s touch, the Tennessean reported.Adding to residents’ fears, some doses have gone missing. State Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey said in a press conference Friday that 12 syringes had expired during a Feb. 23 vaccination event, but no one had returned them to the distributing pharmacy. The doses remain unaccounted for.“There does appear to be a lack of accountability and in some sense leadership, which has undoubtedly potentially harmed some folks and withheld vaccine from people who needed it,” Piercey said.Jones had hoped to feel safe attending the births of two great-grandchildren due soon. She thinks she will still go, albeit now with feelings of uncertainty and risk. Her daughter, her son, and two of her grandchildren have all had COVID-19. A granddaughter and a granddaughter-in-law are both pregnant and work in health care.“We’ll have to take it as it is. I don’t know if they’ll be able to prove if the vaccine we got was real and effective or not,” she said.Chilton will postpone her travel until the investigation into the vaccination effort concludes.“I don’t know if we’ll ever know accurately whether we’re protected or not,” she said.Memphis’ city health department has taken over vaccination efforts for the entire county.In addition to its procedural woes, the vaccination effort has suffered an alleged robbery. The state notified the FBI Thursday that a volunteer allegedly stole vaccine doses on Feb. 3, according to Piercey. The state health commissioner said the city had not been forthcoming with information on the disappearance of the doses, leading to a delay of nearly a month in reporting it. Shelby County Chief Administrative Officer Dwan Gilliom said Piercey was incorrect and that law enforcement had been made aware but that no arrests had been made.Two children were vaccinated in Shelby County on Feb. 3 as well, according to Piercey. Neither the Moderna nor Pfizer vaccine is approved for anyone under the age of 16, as the medicine has only been tested on adults.The mess has further eroded Jones’ already cratering trust in the local government, which has struggled with picking up garbage and supplying water to residents in recent weeks.“They just need to get their act together in the Memphis government. They’re totally unreliable,” said Jones. “We just had the water boil for 8 days because all the mains broke. It just has you thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, can’t you do anything?’”Chilton feels similarly.“I don’t think my feelings toward the county and state health department would be fit to print, frankly,” she said.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.
- Associated Press
NASCAR’s postseason landscape has been altered after just two Cup Series races. With Michael McDowell and Christopher Bell winning at Daytona International Speedway, the first in the Daytona 500 and the second on the road course, two playoff spots were locked up by guys who weren’t generally considered locks. “Probably not for the teams that we all expect to win, but for some of those fringe cars it will,” said Bell’s crew chief, Adam Stevens.
- The Telegraph
Anas Sarwar has been elected Scottish Labour leader, and pledged in his victory speech to “rebuild" the party before turning his attention to the country. Winning a snap leadership election ten weeks before May’s Holyrood election, Mr Sarwar, MSP for Glasgow, beat his only rival candidate, Monica Lennon, by getting 57.6 percent of the vote. The contest was announced following the resignation of Richard Leonard, the previous Scottish Labour leader, in January. Mr Sarwar, described as the first Muslim leader of a major political party in the UK, now faces the task of rebuilding a party running third in polls ahead of the Holyrood election. In his victory speech he called his win the “greatest honour of my life.” He said: “Today we have elected the first-ever ethnic minority leader of a political party in the UK. That doesn't say something about me. "That says something great about Scotland and its people. But the fight for equality is far from over. I'll work with all our diverse communities in Scotland to rebuild the country we love." Mr Sarwar became the fifth leader of Scottish Labour, seen by many as a divided party, to hold the position since 2014. He has rejected calls for a new referendum on Scottish independence. “I know Labour has a lot of work to do to win back your trust, because if we’re brutally honest, you haven’t had the Scottish Labour party you deserve,” he said. “With rising injustice, inequality and division, I’m sorry we haven’t been good enough, and I will work day and night to change that, so we can build a country we all need.” UK Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said of Mr Sarwar: “Under his leadership, Scottish Labour will focus on what unites us, not what divides us. "I know Anas will do the hard work that is necessary to win back the trust of the Scottish people and build for the future as we emerge from this pandemic.” Mr Sarwar, a former deputy leader of Scottish Labour, pledged to “make the case for a Covid recovery parliament with an NHS restart plan at its heart, so we never again have to choose between treating a virus or treating cancer.” Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister, tweeted congratulations to Mr Sarwar. “He (and his dad before him) and I are long-time political opponents, but I also like and rate him,” she wrote. “That may not always be obvious in the weeks ahead as election battle is joined, so worth saying so now." Mr Sarwar's father Mohammad became the Muslim MP in the UK in 1997 when he was elected to represent Glasgow Govan. Retiring in 2010, Mohammad relinquished his UK citizenship in 2013 before launching a political career in Pakistan. In August 2018, he was elected Governor of Punjab after previously serving the Senate.
Myanmar's United Nations envoy in New York vowed to fight on Saturday after the junta fired him for urging countries to use "any means necessary" to reverse a Feb. 1 coup that ousted the nation's elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi. "I decided to fight back as long as I can," Kyaw Moe Tun told Reuters on Saturday. Myanmar state television announced on Saturday that Kyaw Moe Tun had been fired for betraying the country.
Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc on Saturday said stock market gains fueled a record quarterly profit, while the billionaire signaled investors are undervaluing his company by repurchasing another $9 billion of its stock. Berkshire's fourth-quarter buybacks boosted the company's overall stock repurchases to $24.7 billion in 2020, five times the record from a year earlier, and Berkshire appears to have repurchased another $4 billion or more in 2021. "The math of repurchases grinds away slowly, but can be powerful over time," Buffett wrote in his annual letter to Berkshire shareholders.
- Associated Press
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Saturday he will propose a ‘Bracero’ style immigrant labor program to U.S. President Joe Biden during a video call between the two leaders planned for Monday. The Bracero program allowed Mexicans to temporarily work in the United States to fill labor shortages during World War II and afterward. López Obrador said the U.S. economy needs Mexican workers because of “their strength, their youth.”
SCOTUS quietly banned the abortion pill from mail - the only mail-in medication barred during the pandemic
Advocates say the ruling against the mail-in pill, which was recommended by the FDA, signals the court's will to erode Roe v. Wade.
- Business Insider
Trump wants to start a new super PAC headed by former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, report says
Trump plans a new political action committee to maintain his grip on the Republican Party, Politico says.
Jill Biden said on "The Kelly Clarkson Show" that her daughter, Ashley, was the first to tell her that the Valentine's Day scrunchie sparked a trend.
- Business Insider
QAnon's most devout followers believe bizarrely that former President Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 19th President on March 4, 2021.
Ben Affleck says his divorce from Jennifer Garner and other 'life experience' shaped him into a better actor
In a new interview as part of The Hollywood Reporter's Actor Roundtable series, Affleck spoke about Garner and the three kids they share.
- The Week
Biden administration sanctions Saudi operatives, but not crown prince, after blaming him for Khashoggi killing
After blaming Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the Biden administration is announcing new sanctions against Saudi operatives, but not against the crown prince himself. The U.S. on Friday declassified an intelligence report concluding that Mohammed bin Salman "approved an operation in Istanbul, Turkey to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi." Shortly after the report's release, Politico's Natasha Bertrand reported the U.S. Treasury Department is announcing new sanctions against General Ahmed al-Asiri, former deputy head of the Saudi intelligence services, as well as the crown prince's personal protective detail, over their alleged roles in the Washington Post journalist's killing. However, according to Bertrand, "Crown Prince MBS will NOT be sanctioned," and Politico quotes a senior administration official as saying that the "aim is recalibration, not a rupture, because of the important interests that we do share" with Saudi Arabia. Similarly, The New York Times reports that President Biden "has decided that the price of directly penalizing" the crown prince "is too high" and that he's "simply too important to American interests to punish." Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday did, however, also announce a new "Khashoggi Ban" policy, under which the State Department will impose visa restrictions on individuals "believed to have been directly engaged in serious, extraterritorial counter-dissident activities" while "acting on behalf of a foreign government." Blinken also said the U.S. is now imposing visa restrictions against 76 Saudi individuals under this policy. But a lack of direct punishment for the crown prince is likely to draw criticism, Politico's Nahal Toosi noted. "For activists, the WHOLE POINT was to punish MBS," Toosi said. "Will Biden's other new sanctions/policies appease them? Doubt it." And the Times writes that "in the end, Mr. Biden came to essentially the same place on punishing the young and impetuous crown prince as did Mr. Trump." More stories from theweek.comBiden in the quagmireBen Sasse on Matt Gaetz: 'That guy is not an adult'FDA grants emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine
- Associated Press
Sgt. Taylor Knueven always knew sexual assault and harassment plagued the U.S. Army. Earlier this week, Knueven and six other soldiers went before a panel in the 18th Airborne Corps headquarters at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to present ideas on how the Army can revamp the way it deals with sexual assault and harassment. The Army’s Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention Program, also known as SHARP, has been the subject of much scrutiny, especially following the slaying of Spc.
- Business Insider
Go back to the place you got your first shot if you lose your paper card, and make sure to take a photo of the vaccine card after your first dose.
- The Daily Beast
Eli Ade/AMCNegan better watch his back, because Maggie Greene is back in town. On Sunday night, The Walking Dead returned to close out its super-sized penultimate season with six more episodes—and kicked things off by giving Maggie a chance to explain what she and her son, Hershel, have been up to, and why it’s been so long since she touched base with Team Family. But the real question of this week has less to do with where Maggie’s been, and more to do with who the hell she’s managed to antagonize. It seems we’ve got a new villain on our hands, and they apparently have it out for her.It’s a rough week for Maggie: First, she comes face-to-face with Negan, who’s now at large in Alexandria after Carol sprung him from prison. Then, the onetime leader of Hilltop expressed her desire to return home there with her son and a group of survivors only to find out that the place has been reduced to a pile of rubble and bodies. And then, Maggie has to hear from Carol that Negan was actually with the Whisperers when they leveled Hilltop. “Alpha needed to die, and Negan was our best chance,” Carol explained. “We were gonna lose everything; Negan’s the reason we didn’t.”Maggie seems sympathetic, but she’s understandably not thrilled.But the group must press on—so Maggie, Daryl and Kelly head out for the settlement where Maggie’s been staying, along with her friends from the camp, Elijah and Cole. After a long day of walking (and murdering some walkers to take refuge in a storage container) Maggie reveals to Daryl that, like her old friends, she’s borne witness to a lot of tragedy over the past couple years.When Maggie first left Hilltop, she’d set out with a woman named Georgie, whose group helped nascent communities learn the farming and engineering skills required to make it in the apocalypse. “But it’d always go sideways,” she said. The group had been helping a community in Knoxville, Maggie continued, but when Georgie left to check out another community, things collapsed and she and Hershel ran. When Daryl asked what happened to the village Georgie had built, Maggie simply replied, “Not now.”“It’s actually good to say some of it out loud. Just can’t say all of it,” she said. “I almost came home after Knoxville; maybe I should have. Maybe I should have.” After the collapse, Maggie said, she brought Hershel to a place that used to belong to her grandmother on the coast—a place, she said, where she and Glenn had talked about visiting after her sister, Beth, died in Season 5. One night, she and Hershel stayed up late talking about his family. “He asked how his daddy died,” she said. “I knew he would; I knew it was coming. I told him that a bad man killed him. He wanted to know if that man got what he deserved. He wanted to know if that man was dead.”“The truth is I left home because I couldn’t have Negan taking up any more space in my head,” Maggie said. “And when I realized I didn’t want to bring Hershel back to that, the next morning we met a whole community of people who needed us as much as we needed them. And it felt like it was meant to be. But that’s over, too.”Daryl emphasized that things remain up in the air with regard to Negan—a thread that will certainly return later this season and, perhaps, beyond. Because the next morning, Maggie and the group arrive home—only to find it burned to the ground.Turns out, there’s a group called the Reapers hunting people down one by one in the woods now. We see several people Maggie had been staying with shot down before a man comes for Maggie—only to be surrounded by her group. But the man, dressed in military fatigues, refuses to answer any of Maggie’s questions. Instead, he tells her, “Pope marked you”—and then proceeds to blow himself up.There is no group called The Reapers in the Walking Dead comics; there isn’t even a group that seems particularly analogous, from what we’ve seen so far. It’s fascinating, given that we’re just on the verge of truly meeting the Commonwealth—another yet-unexplored community that appears to be the show’s endgame—that the show has now introduced another group to content with. They could be, as The Wrap posits, affiliated with the Civic Republic—villains of the spin-off World Beyond. But so far, it’s hard to guess at who these people are or what they really want.Lauren Cohan returned to Walking Dead during what would have originally been its season finale last year, after a brief trip to ABC for the now-defunct Whiskey Cavalier. Despite how long this series has floundered, both before and especially after her absence, Cohan’s presence feels like a refreshing return to form for the zombie drama—especially as it shuffles toward its final season. (She was always, and remains, one of the most emotive and compelling performers in the cast.) Nothing will ever fully atone for Glenn Rhee’s poorly executed, excruciatingly graphic death in Season 7. But it’s still somehow a little sentimental to see his son walk into Alexandria hand-in-hand with his mother. That said, however, in light of this week’s brief scare—which found Maggie racing through the woods looking for her son after finding the camp burned to the ground—I will say this: If Hershel dies, as so many children on this series have, we riot.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.