Members of the public react to the news that London and and south east are dueto move into Tier 4, with cancelations of plans over Christmas.
- The Independent
Kayleigh McEnany leaves White House after final two-minute press briefing following deadly Capitol riot
Trump’s press secretary refused to take questions following the deadly insurrection at the US Capitol earlier this month
- The Telegraph
Almost a third of recovered Covid patients will end up back in hospital within five months and one in eight will die, alarming new figures have shown. Research by Leicester University and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found there is a devastating long-term toll on survivors of severe coronavirus, with many people developing heart problems, diabetes and chronic liver and kidney conditions. Out of 47,780 people who were discharged from hospital in the first wave, 29.4 per cent were readmitted to hospital within 140 days, and 12.3 per cent of the total died. The current cut-off point for recording Covid deaths is 28 days after a positive test, so it may mean thousands more people should be included in the coronavirus death statistics. Researchers have called for urgent monitoring of people who have been discharged from hospital.
- National Review
Eleven years ago, Dan Senor and Saul Singer dubbed Israel the “Start Up Nation” for its disproportionately large number of technology start-ups and NASDAQ stock listings. Make way for the Vaccination Nation. Israel leads the world in COVID-19 vaccinations. It has already vaccinated nearly a quarter of its population, including 75 percent of the population most at risk, people over age 60. It has administered 24.5 doses per 100 persons, nearly double the next-best country (the United Arab Emirates) and about 8 times as many people per capita as in the U.S. and the U.K. Israel’s per capita vaccination rate is 24 times that of the normally efficient Germans and 50 times better than the world average. Only three other countries in the world — the U.S., China, and the U.K. — have administered more vaccines. Why is Israel doing so much better than anyone else? Israel’s small size simplifies logistics. But there are other factors. First, unlike American states, which have administered only about a third of the doses they have received, Israeli made sure it was ready to use its supply. Officials set up large vaccination centers and mobile units in advance. They reached out to minority groups, such as the ultra-Orthodox and Arab citizens, ahead of the roll-out to encourage vaccine uptake. Israel started vaccinations in mid-December and by the end of the month was vaccinating more than 150,000 people a day. Second, Israel secured a large supply from Pfizer by promising to provide comprehensive safety and effectiveness data. Israel has a nationwide, computerized health database that can provide anonymized outcomes for all citizens, letting Pfizer use the country of nearly nine million as a real-time laboratory. In return, Pfizer has pledged to provide enough doses to vaccinate every Israeli over 16 by the end of March. In addition, Israel was the first country outside of North America to approve the Moderna vaccine and has purchased six million doses. Israel also paid premium prices — a wise investment in ending the economic devastation occasioned by pandemic lockdowns. Needless to say, Israel is good at planning for and executing during emergencies. Senor and Singer identified universal army service as promoting Israelis’ resourcefulness and willingness to take the initiative to improve existing systems. Pfizer packages its vaccine in trays of 1,000 doses, which, because of the need for ultra-cold storage, must be all be used within a short period of time once they have been defrosted. The large number of doses limits vaccinations to centers that can line up large numbers of recipients. Israel figured out how to repackage the trays into smaller lots of doses to improve flexibility for delivering doses to a broader range of providers and less populated locations. Israelis are also willing to buck established authority. The Pfizer multi-dose vaccine vials were authorized to hold five doses. This led many American vaccinators to discard vaccine remaining after administering five doses, even if it was adequate to provide one or two extra doses, for fear of running afoul of FDA instructions (the FDA eventually clarified that it is acceptable to use every obtainable full dose). Israelis, in contrast, were willing from the start to use windfall sixth and seventh doses. American vaccinators have been reluctant to give remaining doses to people outside of government-mandated priority order — New York’s Governor Cuomo promised hefty fines for vaccinating out of order — leading to doses’ being discarded at the end of the day. Israeli providers vaccinated end-of-day walk-ins outside of the guidelines to avoid wasting valuable doses. Finally, Israelis’ willingness to pull together and treat the pandemic as if it were a war and the government’s successful roll-out have changed Israelis’ initial reluctance into eagerness to be vaccinated. Prime Minister Netanyahu set an example by being the first Israeli to be vaccinated. The prophet Isaiah said Israel would function as “a light unto the nations,” providing spiritual and moral guidance to the world. Modern-day Israel, the Start-Up Nation, can provide technological and practical guidance as well.
- Yahoo News Video
A white military veteran shot and wounded a 15-year-old girl when he fired his gun into a car carrying four Black teens during a tense confrontation at a Trump rally near the Iowa Capitol last month.
- NBC News
She displayed “a round metallic object later identified as a Military Police Challenge Coin” and said she was part of law enforcement, police said.
- The Week
President Trump is known for going off script, but his premature presidential election victory declaration in the early hours of the morning on Nov. 4 wasn't a completely spur-of-the-moment decision, Axios' Jonathan Swan reports.In the first installment of a reported series on Trump's final two months in office, Swan writes that Trump began "choreographing election night in earnest" during the second week of October following a "toxic" debate with President-elect Joe Biden on Sept. 29 and a bout with COVID-19 that led to his hospitalization. At that point, Trump's internal poll numbers had reportedly taken a tumble, Swan notes.With that in mind, he reportedly called his first White House chief of staff, a stunned Reince Priebus, and "acted out his script, including walking up to a podium and prematurely declaring victory on election night if it looked like he was ahead." Indeed, in the lead up to Election Day, Trump reportedly kept his focus on the so-called "red mirage," the early vote counts that would show many swing states leaning red because mail-in ballots had yet to be counted. Trump, Swan reports, intended to "weaponize it for his vast base of followers," who would go to bed thinking he had secured a second-term, likely planting the seeds of a stolen election. Read more at Axios. > As I've been writing, the plan was to steal the election all along. Fantastic reporting here. https://t.co/k8C73o8vH7> > -- Jonah Goldberg (@JonahDispatch) January 16, 2021More stories from theweek.com 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment How 'bewildered' Trump campaign aides would reportedly discreetly escape election challenge meetings New Yorker reporter's footage provides 'clearest view yet' of Capitol rioters inside Senate chamber
- The Telegraph
Scientists say Colombia must cull its so-called “cocaine hippos” that roam the Magdalena river basin as they are breeding voraciously and are an increasing menace. The marshlands of Colombia have been home to these giant mammals since they were illegally imported in the late 1980s by the notorious drug lord, Pablo Escobar. When he was shot dead in 1993, the Colombian government took control of his extravagant estate, including his personal zoo. Most of the animals were shipped away, but four hippos were left to fend for themselves in a pond, and now there are dozens of them living in the wild. Although nobody knows exactly how many there are, estimates put the total number between 80 and 100, making them the largest invasive species on the planet. Scientists forecast that the number of hippos will swell to almost 1,500 by 2040. They conclude, that at that point, environmental impacts will be irreversible and numbers impossible to control. “Nobody likes the idea of shooting a hippo, but we have to accept that no other strategy is going to work,” ecologist Nataly Castelblanco-Martínez told The Telegraph.
Guatemalan security forces on Sunday used sticks and tear gas to beat back a large migrant caravan bound for the United States, just days before the advent of a new U.S. administration, which urged travelers to abandon the journey. Between 7,000 and 8,000 migrants, including families with young children, have entered Guatemala since Friday, authorities say, fleeing poverty and violence in a region hammered by the coronavirus pandemic and back-to-back hurricanes in November. The caravan was met by around 3,000 Guatemalan security officials mustered in the village of Vado Hondo in eastern Guatemala, leading to the clashes on Sunday morning.
- Associated Press
Lottery players have another chance to win big next week since there were no winners of the top prize for both the Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots in their most recent drawings. The Powerball jackpot grew to an estimated $730 million after no one matched all five numbers and the red ball in the drawing on Saturday night. If a lottery player strikes big in the next Powerball drawing on Wednesday, it would be the fifth-largest jackpot ever in the United States.
- NBC News
Alexei Navalny said it had never crossed his mind not to return to Russia in a video message on Wednesday.
A 1st Armored Division soldier at Fort Bliss, Texas has been charged with sexually assaulting three women over the past year, including a fellow soldier who was found dead a year on New Year's Eve.
- The Week
Israel has vaccinated at least 25 percent of its population against the coronavirus so far, which leads the world and makes it "the country to country watch for herd effects from" the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, says infectious disease expert David Fishman. Recently, the case rate in Israel appears to have declined sharply, and while there could be a few reasons for that, it's possible the vaccination effort is beginning to play a role.> Israel's reproduction number appears to have declined rather sharply in recent days, with around 25% of the country vaccinated, and some additional percentage having at least partial immunity via prior infection. pic.twitter.com/sVyCYYd9dj> > — David Fisman (@DFisman) January 17, 2021One study from Clalit that was published last week reports that 14 days after receiving the first Pfizer-BioNTech shot, infection rates among 200,000 Israelis older than 60 fell 33 percent among those vaccinated compared to 200,000 from the same demographic who hadn't received a jab.At first glance, Fishman writes, that might seem disappointing since clinical trials suggested the vaccine was more than 90 percent effective. But he actually believes the 33 percent figure is "auspicious." Because vaccinated and non-vaccinated people are mingling, there could be "herd effects of immunization." In other words, when inoculated people interact with people who haven't had their shot, the latter individual may still be protected because the other person is. On a larger scale, that would drive down the number of infections among non-vaccinated people, thus shrinking the rate gap between the two groups. > Estimated vaccine efficacy is a function of relative risk of infection in the vaccinated...when there is indirect protection via herd effects, we expect efficacy estimates to decrease because the risk among unvaccinated individuals declines.> > — David Fisman (@DFisman) January 17, 2021More data needs to come in, and Fishman thinks "we'll know more" this week, but he's cautiously optimistic about how things are going.More stories from theweek.com 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment How 'bewildered' Trump campaign aides would reportedly discreetly escape election challenge meetings New Yorker reporter's footage provides 'clearest view yet' of Capitol rioters inside Senate chamber
Joe Biden will start his presidency next week with relatively strong performance ratings, according to a Pew Research Center survey. On the other hand: President Trump will leave the the White House with his lowest approval rating ever. Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here. By the numbers: On Biden: * 64% of voters expressed a positive opinion of Biden's conduct since he won the November election, Pew found. * 58% of Americans approve of the job Biden has done in explaining his plans and policies. That compares to: * 39% of Americans who said they approved of how Trump explained his plans ahead of his inauguration in 2017. * 70% of people who said in January 2009 they approved of how former President Barack Obama explained his plans as president-elect. * 50% of Americans who said in January 2001 that they approved of how George W. Bush explained his plans. * 64% of Americans who said in January 1993 they approved of how Bill Clinton explained his plans. * 57% of Americans approve of Biden's Cabinet choices and other high-level appointments. On Trump: * 29% of Americans approve of Trump's job performance — the lowest approval rating of his presidency. * Pew notes that much of the decline has come among Republicans and GOP leaners. About 60% of Republicans currently approve of Trump's job performance, down from 77% in August. * 76% of American voters said they would rate Trump's conduct since the election as fair or poor, up from 68% in November. * 68% said Trump should not remain a political figure for years to come; 29% say he should. * 52% said Trump bears "a lot" of responsibility for the violence at the U.S. Capitol. * 81% of Democrats say he bears "a lot" of responsibility, while only 18% of Republicans said so. * 46% of Republicans say he bears no responsibility for the violence.Go deeper: GOP voters choose Trump — againPew methodology: The research center "surveyed 5,360 U.S. adults in January 2021. Everyone who took part in this survey is a member of Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel (ATP), an online survey panel that is recruited through national, random sampling of residential addresses. The survey is weighted to be representative of the U.S. adult population by gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education and other categories. Read more about the ATP’s methodology."Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
The company that bought the ammonium nitrate which exploded in Beirut last August had possible links to two Syrian businessmen under U.S. sanctions for ties to President Bashar al-Assad, according to a report by a Lebanese journalist and London company filings. Savaro Ltd, the trading firm which procured the chemicals in 2013, shared a London address with companies linked to George Haswani and Imad Khoury, according to the report by documentary film-maker Firas Hatoum, which aired on Lebanon's al-Jadeed TV station this week. Haswani, Khoury and his brother Mudalal Khoury have all been sanctioned by Washington for supporting Assad's war effort.
- NBC News
As blizzard conditions impacted parts of the Midwest, two Southern California coastal locations registered a national high temperature of 94.
- The Telegraph
The US claimed on Saturday that staff at a Chinese virology laboratory became sick with a Covid-like illness in autumn 2019, months before the coronavirus spread widely from Wuhan. In a long-awaited document from the state department, the Trump administration called for an investigation as it published dubious accusations that a possible "laboratory accident" at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) may be the source of the global pandemic. The claims were dismissed by analysts who insist the disease came from a naturally occurring event. In a statement late on Friday claiming to reveal "undisclosed information", the state department said it "has reason to believe that several researchers inside the WIV became sick in autumn 2019, before the first identified case, with symptoms consistent with both Covid-19 and common seasonal illnesses." The statement also said that the lab had been carrying out research on a bat coronavirus similar to the Sars-CoV-2 strain that spread globally and that the lab had collaborated with China's military on publications and secret projects. Some experts were nonplussed by the announcement. "Zero details given," noted Kristian Andersen, an immunologist at Scripps Research, rating the statement as "an F". The fact that Wuhan was home to the world's leading coronavirus research facility before it became known as ground zero for the pandemic has led to speculation that the virus could have originated in the lab.
- The Independent
‘It was my pleasure to crush a white nationalist insurrection’: DC officer injured in Capitol riot speaks out
Daniel Hodges recounted pro-Trump mob’s attempt to crush him inside a doorway during siege on 6 January
- National Review
Health and Human Services secretary Alex Azar submitted his resignation in a letter to President Trump on January 12, citing the pro-Trump riot at the Capitol last week, NBC reported. Azar’s resignation will take effect on January 20, the same day that Joe Biden will be sworn in as president. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic early in 2020, Azar has been involved in the Trump administration’s response as a member of the White House coronavirus task force. Azar has also overseen Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s vaccine development program. A number of officials, including Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, resigned from the administration following last week’s riot at the Capitol. President Trump incited a mob of his supporters to amass at the Capitol while Congress certified the results of the election, and the mob subsequently breached the building, forcing lawmakers to evacuate. Rioters injured dozens of police officers, including one who later died of his injuries. “The attacks on the Capitol were an assault on our Democracy and the tradition of peaceful transitions of power that the United States of America first brought to the world,” Azar wrote to Trump in the letter. However, Azar continued, “With the pandemic raging, the continued need to deliver vaccines and therapeutics to the American people, and the imperative of ensuring a smooth transition to the Biden Administration, I have determined that it is in the best interest of the people we serve to remain as Secretary until the end of the term.” Operation Warp Speed helped facilitate the development of coronavirus vaccines in an unprecedented nine months. However, the U.S. distribution of vaccines has been slower than anticipated.
Fanny Mergui has no doubt: Moroccan Jews "are already packing their suitcases" to board direct flights to Israel after the kingdom normalised ties with the Jewish state.
- Associated Press
Iran urged the United Nations' nuclear watchdog to avoid publishing “unnecessary” details on Tehran’s nuclear program, state TV reported Sunday, a day after Germany, France and Britain said Tehran has “no credible civilian use” for its development of uranium metal. The report quoted a statement from Iran’s nuclear department that asked the International Atomic Energy Agency to avoid publishing details on Iran’s nuclear program that may cause confusion.