Maryland is moving forward in the COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Thursday. Maryland will enter Phase 2A of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan on March 23, making the vaccine open to people 60 and older. Effective immediately, any Marylander over 60 can pre-register at one of state's mass vaccination sites by visiting covidvax.maryland.gov or calling 1-855-MD-GOVAX.
A BBC team meets the Taliban, a group that clearly sees itself as Afghanistan's government-in-waiting.
- Business Insider
Pelosi says she thinks Chauvin trial is 'disappointing': 'Maybe my disappointment springs from my expectation that these are our protectors'
The House Speaker said she still respects law enforcement officers, and she stamped down calls, even within her own party, to "defund the police."
- The Daily Beast
Chris Jackson/GettyHis grandfather’s funeral isn’t until Saturday, but this is shaping up to be, even by his extravagant standards of non-normalcy, a pretty extraordinary week for Prince Harry.As he sits in splendid isolation in Frogmore Cottage, Harry could be forgiven if his head is spinning.The lavishly restored period property into which he and Meghan moved just 24 months ago, and dreamed of making their home, now houses his cousin Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack and their baby. The tenants are still there, and the owner is holed up in what was once intended as Doria Ragland’s (Meghan Markle’s mom) self-contained apartment, The Daily Beast understands.Prince Harry and Prince William’s Feud Rumbles on as They Issue Dueling Statements on Philip’s Death He is literally just a few miles away from Windsor Castle, but if he has spoken to his father or the queen, no-one is saying so. And this despite the fact that, bizarrely, Her Majesty carried out an official duty Tuesday, overseeing the retirement of one of her senior aides, recorded thus by the official court circular: “The Earl Peel had an audience of The Queen today, delivered up his Wand and Insignia.” (Was Earl Peel was ordered to leave his wand on the desk on the way out?).We do know, courtesy of the Telegraph’s well-briefed correspondent Camilla Tominey, that Harry has spoken to his brother Prince William on the phone since he landed back in the U.K.This hardly seems like a great triumph in the arena of conflict resolution.We already know from Gayle King that other phone calls between Harry and his brother and father have taken place. King said they were regarded as “not productive.”If you love The Daily Beast’s royal coverage, then we hope you’ll enjoy The Royalist, a members-only series for Beast Inside. Become a member to get it in your inbox on Sunday.There is, frankly, no suggestion from royal aides that being in the same time zone has helped mend fences, no sense of joyous white smoke going up from Frogmore or 140 miles north at Anmer Hall, where William and Kate are rather pointedly spending the last days of the Easter holidays with their children, rather than waving at Harry from the garden of Frogmore Cottage like some of us might be inclined to do.Tominey touts Kate as taking on the role of fraternal peacemaker, quoting a source as saying, “Being so close to her own siblings, Pippa and James, and having witnessed first-hand the special bond between William and Harry, [Kate] has found the whole situation difficult and upsetting.”But while hopes of a major reconciliation between Harry and his family are being talked up by commentators, the reality on the ground is that expectations are at rock bottom. Emotions are strained and the wounds inflicted by Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey are still raw. The media may have moved on; the family will never forget what, as they see it, was Harry’s betrayal of them. There are also the unanswered questions over the identity of the royal family member who allegedly questioned the color of the then-unborn Archie’s skin, and who allegedly stopped Meghan being able to access help when she was feeling suicidal.There has been much wishful thinking this week that the death of their grandfather will bring the brothers together. Physically, of course, it will. They will walk side by side behind Philip’s coffin, recreating the tragic cortege they formed behind their mother’s coffin in 1997.This was, coincidentally, at Philip’s urging. The brothers were said to be reluctant to walk behind their mother’s coffin at her funeral but Philip took charge telling them, “I’ll walk if you walk.” Harry said years later that he was grateful for his grandfather’s guidance.But piecing together the tatters of Harry’s relationship with the royal family will be no easy task. Many of the 29 other royals attending the funeral on Saturday will feel the same way as one friend of the family who, The Daily Beast reported, said this week: “Philip was already seriously ill when the interview screened. He was 99, so the fact that he has died is of course very sad, but hardly surprising. His death may put things into perspective, but I’m not sure it really changes anything.”The logistical constraints imposed by the pandemic are unlikely to help; if they are remotely like any other family, one imagines the brothers need to have a frank, face to face discussion at a certain level of decibels to clear the air. But having arrived back in the U.K. on Sunday afternoon, Harry is not likely to be allowed to exit quarantine until the day of the funeral. Harry’s people have made it clear he will be following Covid quarantine rules to the letter.If Harry doesn’t already feel like he has gone through the looking glass, the curious apparent rehabilitation of Prince Andrew should do it.The first sign of this development came when Andrew, who has failed to make himself available to the American authorities for questioning over his links to sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, winkled his way back on to TV screens at the weekend.He told a camera outside church that his mother was feeling a “huge void” in her life; it still hasn’t been established if his intervention was authorized. It seems hard to believe even Andrew would be stupid enough to do something like that if it wasn’t, as some briefing has suggested.Dan Wootton, the journalist who broke the news that Harry and Meghan were leaving the U.K., reported in the Daily Mail that sources had told him: “Prince Andrew might hope that this sad situation changes things, but Prince Charles is adamant there is no way back while allegations hang over him. He spoke on camera in a private capacity because this is a family event. No one can stop him doing that.”Neither the palace nor an advisory firm retained by Prince Andrew responded to inquiries from The Daily Beast on that question.Until today it looked as if Andrew was set to be allowed to wear military uniform to the funeral, the only question being whether he would be in the garb of a three-star vice admiral (his current rank, which was never removed from him when he was fired from the family as a working royal), or actually be promoted by his mother to a four star admiral, an elevation that was due to take place last year but was put on hold. The Daily Mail reported that he was lobbying hard to be awarded his overdue promotion.Harry is the only male member of the family not technically serving, so was thought to be the only male royal attending the funeral not in military uniform. There is nothing more integral to the royal family’s sense of its own legitimacy than its military associations, and Harry’s happiest days were spent in the army. Harry was forced to give up his captaincy of the Royal Marines along with all other military associations when he stepped back from life as a working royal, a defenestration that he has made clear he considers utterly unfair.According to The Sun on Wednesday, to spare Harry's blushes—and lots of embarrassing questions about Andrew—the queen has stipulated that no royals should wear military uniform at Philip’s funeral. A military source told The Sun: “It’s the most eloquent solution to the problem.” Another source confirmed that “current thinking is no uniforms.”Buckingham Palace and the Sussexes declined to comment to The Daily Beast for this article.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.
- Lexington Herald-Leader
You shouldn’t see a goat during your visit to the park, rangers said.
- Associated Press
When Thailand's transport minister was recently diagnosed with COVID-19, it was Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha who got a headache. Prayuth was not particularly lauded for his leadership last year against the coronavirus, but for much of 2020 Thailand fought the disease to a standstill, with low infection and death rates envied by more developed countries. Now, an outbreak at nightspots in the capital Bangkok has sent new infections surging, suggesting the country may have been lulled into a false sense of security before mass vaccinations begin.
As the pandemic rages in Brazil, hundreds of babies and young children are dying of Covid.
- Business Insider
Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison is tearing down his new $80 million Palm Beach mansion and says he has no plans to leave Hawaii
The Oracle billionaire sent an email to employees explaining his future plans after he bought a 15,000-square-foot home in South Florida.
- Business Insider
Republican voters and Trump loyalists are disproportionately hesistant or unwilling to get vaccinated.
- Business Insider
Coinbase says the entire crypto market could be destabilized if Bitcoin's anonymous creator is ever revealed or sells their $64 billion stake
Satoshi Nakamoto owns about 5% of all bitcoin. If their 1.1 million cache was transferred, it could compromise bitcoin's over $1 trillion market.
- USA TODAY
A Virginia police chief says his officers acted appropriately in initial phases but failed to properly de-escalate the tensions with an Army officer.
- LA Times
White supremacists failed to turn out big crowds in Huntington Beach and elsewhere but have more coming, say experts on extremist groups.
- Yahoo News 360
Traffic stops are the most common way Americans interact with the police. Does it make sense to have armed officers enforcing traffic laws?
- The Daily Beast
NOORULLAH SHIRZADA/AFP via Getty ImagesThe Taliban never kept secret what their reaction would be if the Biden administration delays the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, and now that it’s happened, U.S. forces may have to deal with a new, unbridled wave of violence and bloodshed in the months leading up to the new September pull-out deadline.Hours after news broke on Tuesday that following a “rigorous policy review,” President Joe Biden is planning to have all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan by Sept. 11—a break away from the previously agreed May 1 deadline—Taliban military leaders sat down for a policy review of their own. The group then announced it would be boycotting peace talks unless “all foreign forces completely withdraw from our homeland.”Speaking to The Daily Beast on Wednesday, Mullah Salih Khan, a Taliban group commander from Afghanistan’s Helmand Province, said that the insurgent group is “very much prepared to strike,” against U.S. and Afghan government forces, warning that the militants will turn Afghanistan “into a nightmare” for them.Mullah Mujahid Rahman, a Taliban subcommander from the Ghazni province, added that the U.S. has “proven they can’t be trusted after retreating from the May 1 deadline,” and that the group is willing to “fight till the end” of the U.S. presence in Afghanistan.“We have the pride of defeating about 100,000 invaders from [different] countries in Afghanistan. A few thousand won’t be a problem at all,” he said, referring to the 3,500 American troops still stationed in the country.Taliban Boycotts Key Peace Talks After U.S. Pull-Out DelayExperts say this reaction shouldn’t come as a surprise.“Afghanistan will likely see an unrestricted fighting season, with attacks on Afghan provincial capitals as well as against foreign forces,” Andrew Watkins, Crisis Group's Senior Analyst for Afghanistan, told The Daily Beast. “It is hard to say if the talks have been entirely halted, but it’s also difficult to see any reason for the Taliban to continue, if, as they seem to suggest so far, the Doha deal has been broken by the U.S.”There were signs of the violence-to-come even before U.S. officials shared news of the extended deadline, when rumors of a seemingly inevitable delay were swirling both domestically and abroad.Most dramatic among them was one video shared across their social media platforms last week, portraying what appears to be the Taliban’s training facility, somewhere between the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The 50-second clip, made in English for the benefit of international parties, shows an assortment of 50 odd young men—part of the Taliban’s martyrdom-seeking forces of suicide bombers and fighters—dressed in military fatigues and with their faces covered.Wearing a jacket with the initials “I.E.A”, an acronym for the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan—the Taliban’s self-given name—one of them issues a warning against the Americans: “God willing, if they do not abide by the agreement they will be responsible for the killing in the next war,” he said, adding that the martyrdom forces are “waiting the order of the Emir and the establishment of the Islamic system all around the world.”“It seems clear from the Taliban’s response that even if they privately celebrate the news of a U.S. withdrawal, the primary mood is mistrust, and they reject the announcement as an abrogation of the U.S.-Taliban deal,” said Watkins, adding that while the Taliban may resume talks with Americans, “there is very little chance of the Taliban committing to real compromise in peace talks with other Afghan stakeholders.”Other stakeholders believe that the seeming disintegration of the peace process might not entirely be on Biden, but can also be attributed to developing fractures within the Taliban’s insurgency.“Not all of the Taliban have been in favor of power-sharing, inclusive governments. Many among them want a monopoly over everything,” Rahmatullah Nabil, a former Afghan spy chief, told The Daily Beast.He was referring to the many recent proposals made public that detail a potential deal between the Taliban and the Afghan government. One such proposal from the U.S. recommended a power-sharing agreement between the warring parties and has been criticized by the members of the U.S. Congress.Biden Desperate for Last-Ditch Afghan Deal Before Admitting He’ll Miss Trump’s Withdrawal DeadlineNabil continues to maintain strong intelligence networks and had previously warned of the Taliban’s lack of commitment to the process and the U.S.-facilitated deal, which seems to have emboldened the insurgent group.“The Taliban is consulting with their leaders in Pakistan… but with no actual pressure on the Taliban’s main backers like the Pakistani military and ISI, we will plunge into another crisis if the peace process collapses and Americans withdraw,” he warned.Hekmatullah Azamy, deputy director of the Centre for Conflict and Peace Studies, an Afghan think tank closely observing the political and security developments, gave a similar assessment.“The Taliban’s military wing feels compelled to teach the Americans a lesson for not abiding with their promised deadline, and as such, they will restart the violence. Unfortunately, the political wing that is conducting the negotiations is unable to convince them otherwise,” Azamy told The Daily Beast.In any case, an increase in violence seems inevitable.“Such units are already prepared for battle,” Azamy said, referring to the information gathered by his organization. “They understand that it won’t be easy, and the U.S. is fully equipped to respond to their attacks. But many among them are willing to engage in conflict anyway.”Meanwhile, Afghan government officials are opting to remain optimistic, as the U.S.’s extended stay in Afghanistan gives them a little more time to develop diplomatic and political pressure on the Taliban to agree to a possible ceasefire.“I think the U.S.’s extension on troop withdrawal could be a good thing for Afghanistan. It will force the Taliban to reconsider their stance,” a senior Afghan security official told The Daily Beast. But the official was less certain that the Taliban would actually escalate violence against the U.S. right away: “They have gained so much, it is unlikely that they will risk it all,” he said.Some in the Taliban, however, continue to promise otherwise.“We never paused our Jihad after the U.S.-Taliban deal,” said Mullah Salih Khan, one of the Taliban commanders who spoke to The Daily Beast. “There is nothing for the Taliban to lose, but the puppet Afghan government will lose everything.”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.
- Business Insider
Don't start doubting the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines - after 185 million doses, there are no red flags about blood clots
The CDC is investigating a possible association between Johnson & Johnson's shot and six cases of rare blood clots.
- Business Insider
A US F-15C fighter jet recently fired the longest air-to-air missile 'kill' shot in Air Force history
The fighter jet fired on an aerial target drone from the farthest distance ever recorded and scored a "kill," the Air Force said.
- The Week
On the record, Afghanistan's government appears to have accepted President Biden's decision to withdraw American troops from the country by or before Sept. 11, 2021. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said Wednesday that he spoke with Biden and "respects" the decision, adding that the government's security forces are "fully capable" of defending the country in a post-U.S. era. But other reports are suggesting the decision stings. "You cannot achieve a political settlement if you don't have a military presence," an Afghan government security official told The Wall Street Journal, referring to efforts to reach an agreement with the Taliban to end the country's decades-long conflict. "The only leverage the U.S. has over the Taliban is the presence of U.S. forces." An Afghan official briefed on the specifics of Biden's withdrawal plan told The Washington Post the exit will "embolden" the Taliban. "It gives them a win, and neither the Afghan government or the Americans get anything in return," he said, though he did concede that the new timeline at least provides Kabul some "clarity" and a few extra months to prepare for the U.S. departure. The Taliban, meanwhile, had expected the U.S. to stick to the May 1 withdrawal deadline agreed upon by the Trump administration, and the group has issued a warning to the Biden administration. If "foreign forces fail to exit our country on the specified date, problems will certainly be compounded and those [who] failed to comply with the agreement will be held liable," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted Wednesday, per the Post. On Tuesday, the Taliban said it would not participate in any peace negotiations until U.S. and other foreign forces are gone. Read more at The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. More stories from theweek.comScalise says GOP will 'take action' if DOJ moves ahead with a case against GaetzThe girl at the center of the Matt Gaetz investigation also reportedly went on his scrutinized Bahamas tripThe GOP's economic confusion
- Business Insider
Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said his company intended to get authorization for booster shots by this summer.
Shailene Woodley and Aaron Rodgers visited Disney World, and their to-do list included kissing at Magic Kingdom and eating Epcot snacks
Speaking with Disney blog Chip and Company, Shailene Woodley and Aaron Rodgers also revealed their favorite Disney movies and songs.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen told emissaries visiting at U.S. President Joe Biden's request on Thursday that the island would work with the United States to deter threats from Chinese military activities. Former senior U.S. officials, including former U.S. Senator Chris Dodd and former Deputy Secretaries of State Richard Armitage and James Steinberg, are visiting Taipei in a trip to signal Biden's commitment to Taiwan and its democracy.
- Business Insider
In a rare bipartisan effort, the vast majority of senators pushed forward an anti-Asian hate crime bill in a 92-6 vote Wednesday.