Both Massachusetts State Police and the FBI say there was no specific threat.
Data from Britain's vaccine rollout on the effectiveness of the AstraZeneca/Oxford University COVID-19 shot in older people should help other countries reassess their use of it, the head of the university's vaccine research group said on Tuesday. Britain has been rolling out the vaccine since January, beginning with the elderly and health workers, after approving its use for all adults. Many European countries have advised that the vaccine should not be given to over-65s due to a lack of clinical trial data on its efficacy in that age group, and a significant proportion of doses of the vaccine that they have acquired have gone unused.
- Associated Press
Three women who worked for a local radio and TV station in eastern Afghanistan were gunned down Tuesday in separate attacks, the news editor of the privately owned station said. Shokrullah Pasoon, of Enikass Radio and TV in Jalalabad, said one of the women, Mursal Wahidi, was walking home when gunmen opened fire, according to eyewitnesses. Afghanistan is considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world for media workers.
KJ Kearney has been sharing facts about Black food and American history since April 2020 on his social media platforms.
- The Telegraph
David Cameron has accused Theresa May of making a “very bad mistake” by combining the role of National Security Adviser and Cabinet Secretary during her tenure. The former prime minister heaped criticism on his successor, saying her decision in 2018 to hand both roles to one person, Sir Mark Sedwill, “temporarily weakened” Whitehall’s national security infrastructure. “They are two jobs,” Mr Cameron said on Monday. “Even if you were a cross of Einstein, Wittgenstein & Mother Teresa, you couldn’t possibly do both jobs.” The Cabinet Secretary is the most senior civil servant on Whitehall and is the senior policy adviser to the Prime Minister. The NSA is the central co-ordinator and adviser to the prime minister and cabinet on security, intelligence, defence, and some foreign policy matters. The roles were split up again by Boris Johnson after he took office. Addressing MPs and peers who sit on the Joint Committee on the National Strategic Security, Mr Cameron conceded it was a “mistake” that the Government’s future pandemic planning had focused on flu rather than respiratory diseases in the years leading up to the Covid-19 outbreak. “I think there was a pretty good flu pandemic plan but it was a flu plan rather than a respiratory diseases plan,” he said. He also admitted that more lessons should have been learned from the SARS epidemic in 2004. He questioned what had happened to a unit that he said was set up during his administration in the Cabinet Office to concentrate on “global virus surveillance”. Mr Johnson is now pushing for an international version of such a unit. He has called on global leaders to join a “global pandemic early warning system to predict a coming health crisis”, part of his five-point plan for curbing future pandemics. It would require “a vast expansion of our ability to collect and analyse samples and distribute the findings, using health data-sharing agreements covering every country”, the Prime Minister has said. Mr Cameron ruled out returning to the political arena when asked on Monday whether he would consider a comeback. “No,” he said. “Thinking about Donald Trump making a comeback is enough to keep us all spinning over.” He added that he was “happy doing what I’m doing for Alzheimer’s and dementia” and highlighted a fragile states council he has set up with former Liberian and Rwandan ministers. Asked whether he missed being prime minister, he quipped that he did not miss Wednesdays at noon, the time at which he faced his weekly Commons showdown with the Leader of the Opposition during Prime Minister’s Questions. Mr Cameron seized the opportunity to restate his criticism of Mr Johnson for axing the Department for International Development (DfID), branding it another “mistake”. “Having the Foreign Office voice around the (National Security Council) table and the DfID voice around the table I think is important,” Mr Cameron said. He added: “Can you really expect the foreign secretary to do all of the diplomatic stuff and be able to speak to the development brief as well? That's quite a task, so I think it is good to have both.”
- The Telegraph
European Commission raises hopes of coronavirus vaccine passports to ease travel for work and tourism
European Union plans for a coronavirus vaccine passport could be opened up to British tourists and other non-EU holidaymakers, Brussels said on Monday. Ursula von der Leyen said the EU-wide “Digital Green Pass” would be proposed this month and that it could be a first step towards a virus passport for travel from outside the bloc. "The Digital Green Pass should facilitate Europeans‘ lives. The aim is to gradually enable them to move safely in the EU or abroad - for work or tourism,” the European Commission president said. The chief spokesman for the European Commission said the process would be done "step by step". “We work on a European solution now, this is where we start and then anything else would need to come after,” he said. "We’re of the view that in collaboration with the World Health Organisation there should be a way to scale this up globally." The UK said it was looking into the idea. “The Department for Transport will work and speak to countries across the world in terms of how they may look to introduce passports," the Prime Minister’s spokesman said in London. The Green Pass will include information such as whether the carrier has ever had coronavirus, been tested or vaccinated and is aimed at “facilitating safe free movement in the European Union.” The legislation will be put forward on March 17. Spanish Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto said that work should be speeded up to save the summer season and enable safe travel from the UK. “It is important to have the tools ready to start mobility and make Europe a safe travel destination again as soon as the virus incidence data allows for this,” Ms Maroto said at a meeting of EU tourism ministers in Lisbon.
- The Week
With a vote of 97-72, the Georgia state House on Monday passed a bill supported by Republicans that would roll back voting access. House Bill 531 requires a photo ID for absentee voting, limits weekend early voting days, restricts ballot drop box locations, and sets an earlier deadline to request an absentee ballot. The measure now heads to the state Senate for more debate. State Rep. Barry Fleming (R), the bill's chief sponsor, said it is "designed to begin to bring back the confidence of our voters back into our election system." Democrats and civil rights organizations disagree, arguing that it would make it much harder for people to vote, especially voters of color. State Rep. Renitta Shannon (D) said it is "pathetically obvious" that the bill is in response to Georgia voters turning out in record numbers for November's presidential election, making the state blue for the first time in decades. Voters also showed up in January for the Senate runoffs, when Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock defeated the Republican incumbents, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler. This gave Republicans the message "that they were in a political death spiral," Shannon said. "And now they are doing anything they can to silence the voices of Black and brown voters specifically, because they largely powered these wins." Demonstrators marched outside the Capitol on Monday to protest the bill, which the Rev. James Woodall, president of the Georgia NAACP, called one of the "most egregious, dangerous, and most expensive voter suppression acts in this entire nation, rolling back years of hardball progress and renewing our own reputation for discrimination." More stories from theweek.comMcCarthy claims during House debate that Dr. Seuss has been outlawed. Dr. Seuss has not been outlawed.The myth of the male bumblerThe Trump administration reportedly quietly funded Operation Warp Speed with money set aside for hospitals
- Business Insider
And New York lawmakers, including a member of Congress, are calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign.
Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization released new guidelines on Monday that advise against vaccinating people who are 65 years and older with AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine, citing lack of information about efficacy in that age group. The vaccine was authorized for people who are 18 and older by drug regulator Health Canada on Friday. Health Canada's decision noted that available clinical trial data was too limited to reliably estimate how well the vaccine worked in people 65 and older.
- Associated Press
Roger Federer is withdrawing from this month's Miami Open so he can spend extra time preparing to “work his way back out on tour,” his agent told The Associated Press on Monday. Federer, who turns 40 in August, is scheduled to make his return to the tour next week in a hard-court tournament at Doha, Qatar. Federer also had been on the entry list for the Masters 1000 stop in Miami, where play starts on March 24.
An eagle-eyed 'Harry Potter' fan noticed leads being replaced by random actors in a 'Prisoner of Azkaban' scene
A viral TikTok pointed out an error with characters like Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley during a scene in the third movie.
- Associated Press
The Philippine president has dismissed his former ambassador to Brazil after she was seen on video physically abusing a Filipino member of her household staff. President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday night he had approved a recommendation to fire Marichu Mauro, revoke her retirement benefits and disqualify her from public office for life. The Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila said at the time that the unidentified victim had returned to Philippines and that it was trying to reach her amid an investigation.
- The Conversation
Four Americans die every year for every one person employed in the U.S. tobacco industry. Julien Fourniol/Baloulumix via Getty ImagesTobacco use killed an estimated 500,000 Americans in 2020, about the same number the pandemic killed in one year. Although education efforts by government and nonprofits have helped to curb tobacco use, 14% of American adults still smoke, even with warning labels on the packages. Tobacco deaths are so high that the World Health Organization calls smoking an epidemic. A potential solution to tobacco-related deaths is a corporate “death penalty” – otherwise known as judicial dissolution – when a judge revokes a corporation’s charter for causing significant harm to society. The legal procedure forces the corporation to dissolve; it ceases to exist. Both management and employees lose their jobs. Although legal, corporate death penalties in the U.S. have not been used in years. Yet even the threat of one can be effective. For example, simply announcing the intention to revoke the charters of two tobacco industry misinformation groups (the Council for Tobacco Research and the Tobacco Institute, Inc.) resulted in both quietly closing in 1999. I became intrigued with corporate death penalties while researching another topic – alternative energy sources. One statistic stuck with me from my own research: Replacing coal power with solar energy would save an estimated 50,000 American lives per year because of the air pollution produced by coal-fired power plants. The dead would fill the seats of the Sun Bowl. With solar already widely available and less costly than coal, and as coal companies continue to go bankrupt, there seems no reason to drag out the inevitable. I began to wonder: Is there a way to control an industry that causes unnecessary death? Cigarette smoke wreaks havoc on the body. Setting the minimum bar Building a generalized model for applying a corporate death penalty first requires the comparison of human rights to an industry’s right to existence. My model relies on three assumptions, based on the U.N.‘s Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Everyone has the right to life. Everyone has the right to work. Human law should give corporations the right to exist if they benefit humanity. Put simply, corporations may act as a single legal entity – that is, as a person – to efficiently create jobs and generate profit for the benefit of humans. When corporations create profit and jobs, they can largely be viewed as good, unless they interfere with our right to life. That last bit is the tricky point. Essentially, it means a company or industry, at the very least, must earn its right to exist by employing more people than it kills each year. Perhaps that sounds a bit arbitrary, but let’s call that the minimum bar for an industry’s existence. (This is the absolute minimum. Most people, including myself, would agree that a single job does not equal the value of one life.) Even though warning labels have been on cigarette packs since 1966, millions of Americans still smoke. Wikimedia Industries that would be banned Imagine the corporate death penalty dealing with a new industry represented by a flagship company: “Lazy Assassins Inc.” Lazy Assassins, under aggressive corporate leadership, estimates it could employ 120,000 professional killers that would eliminate one victim per employee per quarter. That’s 480,000 lives per year. That’s almost exactly the number of Americans the tobacco industry employs, and almost exactly the number of Americans it kills each year: 124,342 jobs and 480,000 deaths, including 41,000 from secondhand smoke. To put it another way, four Americans die every year for each tobacco industry employee. Granted, with tobacco companies, this is an all-or-nothing proposition. If only a handful of companies had their corporate charters revoked, other tobacco companies would simply ramp up production to fill the demand. But if all the charters were revoked, no tobacco company would exist to fund distribution or advertising. There would be only limited access to tobacco products. They could still be produced and used, just not on an industrial scale. That way, we would still maintain the “rights” of smokers to harm themselves. We have made major changes to our economy to prevent even more COVID-19 deaths. With that in mind, isn’t it reasonable to help 124,342 people find new jobs in exchange for saving 480,000 American lives every year? [Get the best of The Conversation, every weekend. Sign up for our weekly newsletter.]This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts. It was written by: Joshua M. Pearce, Michigan Technological University. Read more:Cigarette smoke can reprogram cells in your airways, causing COPD to hang on after smoking endsWho’s smoking now, and why it matters Joshua M. Pearce does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
The comic legends told Jimmy Kimmel that Louie Anderson was cast in the classic 1980s comedy because he was one of three names given to them.
- Associated Press
Israel's Supreme Court on Monday dealt a major blow to the country's powerful Orthodox establishment, ruling that people who convert to Judaism through the Reform and Conservative movements in Israel are also Jewish and entitled to become citizens. The landmark ruling, 15 years in the making, centered around the combustible question of who is Jewish and marked an important victory for the Reform and Conservative movements.
- LA Times
Op-Ed: It's official. Mohammed bin Salman is responsible for Jamal Khashoggi's murder. Hold him accountable
President Biden's failure to punish the Saudi crown prince defies justice and weakens the rule of law everywhere.
- The Daily Beast
DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / Getty ImagesPrince Harry and Meghan Markle are being urged by some commentators in the U.K. to ask CBS to postpone the airing of its Oprah Winfrey interview, in which they are expected to mount a stinging attack on the royal family, as concern mounts over Prince Philip’s prospects of beating an infection.Prince Harry Tells Oprah He Left the Royals Because He Feared Meghan Markle Would Suffer Like Princess Diana Philip, 99, was moved to a specialist heart hospital on Monday and royal sources have been quoted by British newspapers saying the family is “pretty appalled” at the idea of the interview, which Oprah has said sees Meghan saying “pretty shocking things” being broadcast while Philip is so unwell.Penny Junor, author of Prince Harry, Brother, Soldier, Son, told The Daily Beast that airing the interview while Prince Philip was undergoing very public health travails risked making the interview look inappropriate, saying, “Anything could hijack this interview. Philip is ill. He is 99 and could die at any time. They were not to know he would get ill, but it could be seen to be the wrong time. But I doubt it is in their gift to postpone the interview. The control is in the hands of CBS and Oprah.”Robert Lacey, historical consultant for The Crown and author of the definitive royal biography Majesty, told The Daily Beast, “I think it would be a marvelous turnaround for Harry’s image if he took the brave step of canceling the whole thing this weekend—or, if that’s not practical, postponing it at least.”Royal commentator and former editor of Who’s Who Richard Fitzwilliams said it would “surely be appropriate” to postpone the interview.He told MailOnline, “Oprah is their friend and neighbor and would undoubtedly comply if asked and the gesture would I am sure be appreciated by the royal family. If an interview has been extended, as this recently has, it can also be postponed, as this undoubtedly should be.” Royal biographer Robert Jobson told the Mail, “With the Duke of Edinburgh clearly very unwell, the fact that the couple plan to go ahead with airing their self-indulgent, no-holds-barred interview with chat show queen Oprah Winfrey makes them appear heartless, thoughtless, and supremely selfish.“For U.S. broadcast network CBS, this interview is a coup, all about securing big viewing figures and big advert sales around the airing of their exclusive interview. So even if they wanted to, Harry and Meghan probably couldn’t dictate terms to Oprah Winfrey and the network now. Too much has been invested.”A TV industry insider told the Mirror, “CBS has sold millions of dollars worth of advertising around the interview, but bosses are aware of the delicacy of the Duke’s health. They have no loyalty to the royal family, although some feel as though they do to Harry and Meghan. For it to run if Philip’s condition worsened would be like setting off a diplomatic bomb. It would be grossly insensitive and hugely disrespectful.”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.
- The New York Times
Just eight weeks after the Capitol riot, some of the most prominent groups that participated are fracturing amid a torrent of backbiting and finger-pointing. The fallout will determine the future of some of the most high-profile far-right organizations and raises the specter of splinter groups that could make the movement even more dangerous. “This group needs new leadership and a new direction,” the St. Louis branch of the Proud Boys announced recently on the encrypted messaging service Telegram, echoing denunciations by at least six other chapters also rupturing with the national organization. “The fame we’ve attained hasn’t been worth it.” Similar rifts have emerged in the Oath Keepers, a paramilitary group that recruits veterans, and the Groyper Army, a white nationalist organization focused on college campuses and a vocal proponent of the false claim that Donald Trump won the 2020 presidential election. Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York Times The shake-up is driven in part by the large number of arrests in the aftermath of the Capitol riot and the subsequent crackdown on some groups by law enforcement. As some members of the far right exit more established groups and strike out on their own, it may become even more difficult to track extremists who have become more emboldened to carry out violent attacks. “What you are seeing right now is a regrouping phase,” said Devin Burghart, who runs the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights, a Seattle-based center that monitors far-right movements. “They are trying to reassess their strengths, trying to find new foot soldiers and trying to prepare for the next conflict.” The top leaders of the Groyper Army, Nick Fuentes and Patrick Casey, have been in a bitter public dispute in the weeks since the riot. Casey accused Fuentes of putting followers at risk of arrest by continuing high-profile activities. Fuentes wrote on Telegram, “It’s not easy but it is important to keep pushing forward now more than ever.” Among the Proud Boys, a far-right fight club that claims to defend the values of Western civilization, the recriminations were compounded by revelations that Enrique Tarrio, the organization’s leader, once worked as an informant for law enforcement. Despite denials from Tarrio, the news has thrown the organization’s future into question. “We reject and disavow the proven federal informant, Enrique Tarrio, and any and all chapters that choose to associate with him,” the Alabama chapter of the Proud Boys announced on Telegram using language identical to other chapters. After the Capitol siege on Jan. 6, accusations about informants and undercover agents have been particularly pointed. “Traitors are everywhere, everywhere,” wrote one participant on a far-right Telegram channel. The chapters breaking away accused Tarrio of leading the group astray with high-profile clashes with far-left demonstrators and by storming the Capitol. “The Proud Boys were founded to provide brotherhood to men on the right, not to yell slogans at the sky” and “get arrested,” the St. Louis chapter said in its announcement. Extremist organizations tend to experience internal upheaval after any cataclysmic event, as seen in the case of the 2017 rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left one woman dead, or the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, which killed 168 people, including 19 children. Daryl Johnson, who has studied the Three Percenters and other paramilitary groups, said the current infighting could lead to further hardening and radicalization. “When these groups get disrupted by law enforcement, all it does is scatter the rats,” he said. “It does not get rid of the rodent problem.” President Joe Biden has pledged to make fighting extremism a priority and Merrick Garland, his nominee for attorney general, said during his Senate confirmation hearings that he promised to “do everything in the power of the Justice Department” to stop domestic terrorism. Garland, the lead prosecutor in the Oklahoma City bombing case, also said the United States was facing “a more dangerous period than we faced in Oklahoma City” or in recent memory. More than 300 people have been charged in the Capitol riot, with roughly 500 total cases expected. At least 26 people facing some of the most serious accusations have been tied to the Oath Keepers or the Proud Boys. Most of those in the crowd were probably unaffiliated with a particular group yet radicalized enough to show up in Washington to support Trump’s false election claim, experts said, feeding concerns about how they will channel their anger going forward. The legal fallout from the riot will most likely push people underground as well. Overall, the hazy affiliations and the potential for lone offenders will make it more difficult to uncover planned attacks. Already, there has been chatter among members of paramilitary groups that stormed the Capitol about trying to attack it while the president addresses a joint session of Congress, Yogananda D. Pittman, the acting chief of the Capitol Police, told a House subcommittee last week. But even as some extremist groups push for more confrontation, all kinds of adherents want out. The president of the North Carolina chapter of the Oath Keepers, Doug Smith, announced last month that he was splitting from the national organization. Smith did not respond to messages seeking comment, but he told The News Reporter, his local newspaper in Whiteville, North Carolina, that he was ashamed by demonstrators who attacked the Capitol and beat police officers. For others, however, the riot was a resounding success, an opening shot across the bows of the law and the establishment. “There is a small segment that is going to see this as Lexington and Concord, the shot heard around the world, and the beginning of either the racial holy war or the fall of our society, of our government,” said Tom O’Connor, a retired FBI counterterrorism specialist who continues to train agents on the subject. Far-right groups are already rallying around opposition to proposed changes to immigration policy and the discussion of stricter gun control under Biden’s administration. The number of people inclined toward violence is impossible to count, but experts agree that harsh political divisions have expanded the potential pool on both right and left fringes. The splintering of larger organizations sets the stage for small groups or lone offenders, who are more difficult to track. “That makes them more dangerous,” said J.J. MacNab, an expert on paramilitary groups at George Washington University’s Program on Extremism. Timothy McVeigh, who was executed for the Oklahoma City bombing, did not join a paramilitary group but still adopted the violent ideology. “The rhetoric is fuel to the fire for those lone offenders,” said O’Connor, echoing a common worry. “My concern now is that there are many McVeighs in the offing.” Experts cite a variety of reasons for why the propensity toward violence might be worse now than during previous times when far-right organizations declared war on the government. The Oklahoma City attack caused a period of retreat, but the election of a Black president in 2008 resurrected the white supremacy movement. These groups have now experienced some 13 years without any sustained effort by law enforcement to counter them, experts said. Some groups that organized the far-right rally in Charlottesville in 2017 fell apart over the subsequent internal squabbling and a lawsuit that threatens to bankrupt them. Others, including the Proud Boys and various paramilitary organizations, grew larger and went on to participate in the Jan. 6 riot. At the same time, extremist ideology has spread further and much more rapidly on social media, and foreign governments like Russia have worked actively to disseminate such thoughts to sow divisions within the United States. New threats and concerns about potential targets continue to surface. The announcement in early February that hackers attempted to poison the water supply in a small Florida city attracted the attention of Rinaldo Nazzaro, the founder of a violent white supremacist group called the Base. Seven members of the Base in three states were rounded up last year on charges of planning to commit murder, kidnapping and other violence in order to ignite a wider civil war that would allow a white homeland to emerge. Nazzaro, out of the reach of U.S. law enforcement in Russia, wrote on Telegram that the water poisoning plot was a possible template for something larger. The kind of extremists who worry experts the most emerged in October, when a paramilitary cell planning to kidnap the governor of Michigan was exposed. In federal court in January, the FBI portrayed one of the 14 defendants, Barry G. Croft Jr., 44, as a national leader of the Three Percenters, a loosely allied coalition of paramilitary groups that is difficult to track because virtually anyone can claim allegiance. Croft helped to build and test shrapnel bombs to target people, according to court documents, and a hit list that he posted on Facebook included threats to Trump and Barack Obama. In denying him bail, Judge Sally J. Berens quoted from transcripts of conversations taped by an informant in which he threatened to hurt people or to blow things up. “I am going to do some of the most nasty, disgusting things that you have ever read about in the history of your life,” the judge quoted him as saying. This article originally appeared in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company
From fun fashion moments to pets and "Schitt's Creek" references, here are interesting things you might not have seen during the award show.
- Associated Press
Cambodia on Tuesday received its first batch of 324,000 coronavirus vaccine doses from India that are part of the World Health Organization’s COVAX initiative, as the country expands its immunization program with the goal of inoculating a majority of its population this year. Health Minister Mam Bunheng was at the airport to receive the shipment of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine. Prime Minister Hun Sen will be given the first dose on Thursday.
- Business Insider
Merck will reportedly help produce Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine shots after failing to make its own
The Washington Post reported that President Joe Biden would announce the partnership between the two US pharmaceutical giants.