Brandon Mitchell called the experience stressful and draining, but said coming to a unanimous decision was rewarding, Jennifer Mayerle reports (2:36) WCCO 4 News At 5 - April 28, 2021
- Reuters Videos
In Hong Kong, thousands of marine animals are freed every May in the lead up to Buddha’s birthday.The practice, known as “mercy release”, is believed to bring good fortune to people.However, the good intentions of the superstitious can often result in more harm to the animals, than good.Many of them are intentionally captured and sold just to be set free.They can get hurt and be left stranded in murky waterways where they normally don't belong.Sean Lai is the founder of Hong Kong Abandoned Tortoise Concern Group.He warns that releasing turtles in catchwater drains or ponds can kill them.“If they used to be cared for by humans, they won't be able to hunt in the wild, they may not be able to catch the fish, shrimp, or food they need, then they'll starve to death. Or due to the change of weather, they might freeze to death or die from the heat.”Lai and his group of volunteers snorkeled through muddy waters to save dozens of turtles left there by residents.They are now nursing more than 60 injured turtles in their homes.They also bury the dead turtles that did not survive long enough to be rescued.While mercy release is not illegal in the city, authorities say the practice can spread diseases and poses a risk to ecosystems.Paul Crow is a senior conservationist at Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden.“One, it's just directly, ecosystems that are receiving non-native animals can be changed by the arrival of those animals if they manage to survive…Potential disease, bacteria, virus, parasites from other countries, from the collection sources are all getting dumped without screening, or without sort of consideration of the public health risk as well."Other animals commonly involved in mercy releases in Hong Kong include frogs, insects, baby birds and fish.The Hong Kong Buddhist Association slams the practice as “inappropriate”, and recommends alternatives like adopting a vegetarian lifestyle.
- USA TODAY
A key Biden judicial nominee is poised for confirmation. Here's why that may matter for the Supreme Court.
Senate Republicans are taking a cautious approach to President Biden's judicial nominees, even though one of them may be bound for the Supreme Court.
- Associated Press
Screams and flying debris enveloped Umm Majed al-Rayyes as explosions hurled her from her bed in Gaza City. Groping in the dark, the 50-year-old grabbed her four children and ran as Israeli bombs struck their apartment building Wednesday, shattering windows, ripping doors to splinters and blasting away concrete. While casualties mounted this week in the most severe outbreak of violence between Israel and the Gaza Strip since a 2014 war, al-Rayyes and other Palestinians in the line of fire faced an all-too-familiar question: Where should we go?
Muslim countries must show a united and clear stance over Israel's conflict with the Islamist Hamas movement in Gaza, Turkey's vice president, Fuat Oktay, said on Thursday, criticising world powers for condemning violence without acting. "What we desire is that active measures are taken," Oktay told reporters after morning prayers marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. In several days of conflict, Hamas has fired volleys of rockets towards Israeli cities and Israel has launched air strikes against the Islamist faction in the Gaza Strip.
- Associated Press
For pro-Trump Republicans, removing Rep. Liz Cheney from House GOP leadership was relatively easy. The rush to punish Cheney for her criticism of former President Donald Trump and his loyalists is drawing a cast of Wyoming primary challengers so big it could ultimately help her win again next year. Another boost for Cheney is a pile of campaign money and a family legacy that has helped her before.
- The Week
George P. Bush applauds Liz Cheney's ouster, claims she doesn't 'stand up for conservative Republican ideology'
George P. Bush, the Texas land commissioner and son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), applauded House Republicans on Wednesday for ousting Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) from her position as the No. 3 House GOP leader. Bush tweeted that "we need leaders in Congress that stand up for conservative Republican ideology, and Liz Cheney is not that leader," over a quote in which he says Cheney should be "reigning [sic] fire" down on Biden, not "the president," presumably referring to former President Donald Trump. Republicans deserve leadership that represents the views of their constituents, not their own personal vendettas. We need leaders in Congress that stand up for conservative Republican ideology, and Liz Cheney is not that leader. pic.twitter.com/oqaoxAMTYQ — George P. Bush (@georgepbush) May 12, 2021 Bush, 45, has broken with the rest of his family by supporting Trump, but the Bushes also have a long, amicable history with the Cheney family, which "has deep ties to Texas," The Texas Tribune notes. "Former Vice President Dick Cheney, Liz Cheney's father, lived in Dallas between his tenure as President George H.W. Bush's secretary of defense and as President George W. Bush's vice president. In that time, he was the CEO of Halliburton, an oilfield services company." House Republicans demoted Cheney in a voice vote, so there's no record of how Texas Republicans voted, but several GOP House members from the state tweeted that they were proud to kick her out of leadership. "Prior to the insurrection, Cheney was considered one of the fastest rising GOP stars and among the toughest of hard-line conservatives — particularly on foreign policy," the Tribune reports. "She spent much of her career working in the State Department and as a Fox News contributor," before easily winning her House seat in 2016. Cheney now says she's playing a long game to wrest her party from the grasp of Trump's "destructive lies." More stories from theweek.comThe doom-loop of a falling fertility rateThe real reason Liz Cheney lost her jobDemocrats are fiddling while Republicans prepare to burn down Rome
- Miami Herald
A Miami businessman was sentenced to more than six years in prison Wednesday after pleading guilty to fleecing millions from a federal COVID-19 relief program and buying luxury items with the money, including a $318,000 Lamborghini Huracán Evo.
- LA Times
Does it matter that Dakota Johnson's tense Ellen DeGeneres interview didn't bring about the end of the host's talk show? Not to folks on social media.
The vaquita marina in Mexico is threatened by a clash of interests between fishing and conservation.
- Business Insider
The Voyager 1 probe left our solar system nearly a decade ago. It recently detected a faint hum made by interstellar gas.
- Business Insider
Trump's defense secretary confirms he didn't approve plan to deploy National Guard until after Pence called him - over 3 hours after the Capitol riot began
Ex-Acting Defense Sec. Chris Miller testified about the Guard's response during questioning by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in a hearing Wednesday.
- Associated Press
The Biden administration on Wednesday took aim at China and a number of other countries for repressing religious freedom as it forges ahead with its aim of restoring human rights as a primary focus of American foreign policy. The condemnation was similar to that lodged by the Trump administration, which had been criticized for prioritizing religious freedom over other rights, and reflected continuity in the U.S. position that China’s crackdown on Muslims and other religious minorities in western Xinjiang constitutes “genocide.” Much as his predecessor did, Secretary of State Antony Blinken used the release of the State Department’s annual International Religious Freedom Report to lambaste China for severe restrictions on its citizens’ ability to worship freely.
- Business Insider
More than 100 Republicans, including former governors and lawmakers, are threatening to form a third party if the GOP doesn't split from Trump
The group plans to release a letter outlining its threat on Thursday, The New York Times and Reuters reported.
- Business Insider
Core inflation, which excludes food and gas prices, surged in April by the most since 1982. The one-month climb is a sign of true economic reopening.
- Business Insider
Netanyahu says Israel will strike Hamas 'like they've never dreamed possible': 'This is just the beginning'
At least 56 people in Gaza and six people in Israel have been killed amid violence between Israel and Hamas.
- Business Insider
What diabetics should know about the deadly 'black fungus' infections affecting India's COVID-19 patients
Diabetes, COVID-19, and medicines like steroids, used to treat COVID-19, all dampen the immune system, elevating a person's risk of "black fungus."
Zack Snyder says Netflix saved his zombie heist movie 'Army of the Dead' after it sat on the shelf for over 10 years - and 'mind-boggling' sequels could be coming
After stalling creatively at Warner Bros., Zack Snyder tells Insider how "Army" landed at Netflix and what fans can expect from his newest franchise.
- The New York Times
Marie Neige, a call center operator in Seychelles, was eager to be vaccinated. Like the majority of the residents in the tiny island nation, she was offered China’s Sinopharm vaccine in March, and was looking forward to the idea of being fully protected in a few weeks. On Sunday, she tested positive for the coronavirus. “I was shocked,” said Neige, 30, who is isolating at home. She said she has lost her sense of smell and taste and has a slightly sore throat. “The vaccine was supposed to protect us — not from the virus, but the symptoms,” she said. “I was taking precaution after precaution.” Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York Times China expected its Sinopharm vaccines to be the linchpin of the country’s vaccine diplomacy program — an easily transported dose that would protect not just Chinese citizens but also much of the developing world. In a bid to win goodwill, China has donated 13.3 million Sinopharm doses to other countries, according to Bridge Beijing, a consultancy that tracks China’s impact on global health. Instead, the company, which has made two varieties of coronavirus vaccines, is facing mounting questions about the inoculations. First, there was the lack of transparency with its late-stage trial data. Now, Seychelles, the world’s most vaccinated nation, has had a surge in cases despite much of its population being inoculated with Sinopharm. For the 56 countries counting on the Sinopharm shot to help them halt the pandemic, the news is a setback. For months, public health experts had focused on trying to close the access gap between rich and poorer nations. Now, scientists are warning that developing nations that choose to use the Chinese vaccines, with their relatively weaker efficacy rates, could end up lagging behind countries that choose vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. That gap could allow the pandemic to continue in countries that have fewer resources to fight it. “You really need to use high-efficacy vaccines to get that economic benefit because otherwise they’re going to be living with the disease long-term,” said Raina MacIntyre, who heads the biosecurity program at the Kirby Institute of the University of New South Wales in Sydney. “The choice of vaccine matters.” Nowhere have the consequences been clearer than in Seychelles, which relied heavily on a Sinopharm vaccine to inoculate more than 60% of its population. The tiny island nation in the Indian Ocean, northeast of Madagascar and with a population of just over 100,000, is battling a surge of the virus and has had to reimpose a lockdown. Among the vaccinated population that has had two doses, 57% were given Sinopharm, while 43% were given AstraZeneca. Thirty-seven percent of new active cases are people who are fully vaccinated, according to the health ministry, which did not say how many people among them had the Sinopharm shot. “On the surface of it, that’s an alarming finding,” said Dr. Kim Mulholland, a pediatrician at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia, who has been involved in the oversight of many vaccine trials, including those for a COVID-19 vaccine. Mulholland said the initial reports from Seychelles correlate to a 50% efficacy rate for the vaccine, instead of the 78.1% rate that the company has touted. “We would expect in a country where the great majority of the adult population has been vaccinated with an effective vaccine to see the disease melt away,” he said. Scientists say breakthrough infections are normal because no vaccine is 100% effective. But the experience in Seychelles stands in stark contrast to Israel, which has the second-highest vaccination coverage in the world and has managed to beat back the virus. A study has shown that the Pfizer vaccine that Israel used is 94% effective at preventing transmission. On Wednesday, the number of daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases per 1 million people in Seychelles stood at 2,613.38, compared to 5.55 in Israel, according to The World In Data project. Wavel Ramkalawan, the president of Seychelles, defended the country’s vaccination program, saying that the Sinopharm and AstraZeneca vaccines have “served our population very well.” He pointed out that the Sinopharm vaccine was given to people ages 18-60, and in this age group overall, 80% of the patients who needed to be hospitalized were not vaccinated. “People may be infected, but they are not sick. Only a small number are,” he told the Seychelles News Agency. “So what is happening is normal.” Sylvestre Radegonde, the minister for foreign affairs and tourism, said the surge in cases in Seychelles happened in part because people had let their guard down, according to the Seychelles News Agency. Sinopharm did not respond to a request for comment. In a response to an article from The Wall Street Journal on Seychelles, a spokeswoman for China’s foreign ministry blamed Western media for trying to discredit Chinese vaccines and “harboring the mentality that ‘everything involving China has to be smeared.’” In a news conference, Kate O’Brien, director of immunizations at the World Health Organization, said the agency is evaluating the surge of infections in Seychelles and called the situation “complicated.” Last week, the global health group approved the Sinopharm vaccine for emergency use, raising hopes of an end to a global supply crunch. She said that “some of the cases that are being reported are occurring either soon after a single dose or soon after a second dose or between the first and second doses.” According to O’Brien, the WHO is looking into the strains that are currently circulating in the country, when the cases occurred relative to when somebody received doses and the severity of each case. “Only by doing that kind of evaluation can we make an assessment of whether or not these are vaccine failures,” she said. But some scientists say it is increasingly clear that the Sinopharm vaccine does not offer a clear path toward herd immunity, particularly when considering the multiple variants appearing around the world. Governments using the Sinopharm vaccine “have to assume a significant failure rate and have to plan accordingly,” said John Moore, a vaccine expert at Cornell University. “You have to alert the public that you will still have a decent chance of getting infected.” Many in Seychelles say the government has not been forthcoming. “My question is: Why did they push everyone to take it?” said Diana Lucas, a 27-year-old waitress who tested positive on May 10. She said she received her second dose of the Sinopharm vaccine on Feb. 10. Emmanuelle Hoareau, 22, a government lawyer, tested positive on May 6 after getting the second dose of the Sinopharm vaccine in March. “It doesn’t make sense,” she said. She said the government had failed to give the public enough information about the vaccines. “They are not explaining to the people about the real situation,” she said. “It’s a big deal — a lot of people are getting infected.” Hoareau’s mother, Jacqueline Pillay, is a nurse in a private clinic in Victoria, the capital. She said she believes there is a new variant in Seychelles because of an influx of foreigners who have arrived in recent months. The tourism-dependent country opened its borders on March 25 to most travelers without any quarantine. “People are very scared now,” said Pillay, 58. “When you give people the right information, then people would not speculate.” Health officials have recently appeared on television to encourage those who have only taken the first dose of the Sinopharm vaccine to return for the second shot. But Pillay said she is frustrated that the public health commissioner has not addressed why the vaccines do not appear to be working as well as they should. “I think a lot of people aren’t coming back,” Pillay said. This article originally appeared in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company
Zack Snyder says Warner Bros. is 'not interested' in his take on the DC Universe for 'Justice League' sequels
The famed director told Insider that although he loves those characters "I don't know how to necessarily continue in that world."
- Associated Press
Now that a judge has rejected the National Rifle Association’s bankruptcy bid, blocking its plan to reincorporate in Texas, the gun rights group is back to fighting a lawsuit that threatens to put it out of business. Harlin Hale, a federal bankruptcy judge in Dallas, dismissed the NRA's case Tuesday. What does that mean for the NRA and America's long-running battle over guns?