Cody Stark has your latest forecast for the Sacramento region.
- Associated Press
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told sailors on the USS Nimitz Thursday that he hopes to avoid long ship deployments like the more than 10 months they just spent at sea. Standing in the ship's hangar bay, Austin said he will make a decision soon on whether to send a carrier back to the Middle East, where the Nimitz had been.
- USA TODAY
'Get used to me': Defiant Postmaster General Louis DeJoy pushes back at lawmakers at tense hearing on mail delays
Tempers flared as Democrats pressed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on delays in holiday mail and slow deliveries of prescription medicines.
The first big real-world study of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to be independently reviewed shows the shot is highly effective at preventing COVID-19, in a potentially landmark moment for countries desperate to end lockdowns and reopen economies. Up until now, most data on the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines has come under controlled conditions in clinical trials, leaving an element of uncertainty over how results would translate into the real world with its unpredictable variables. The research in Israel - two months into one of the world's fastest rollouts, providing a rich source of data - showed two doses of the Pfizer shot cut symptomatic COVID-19 cases by 94% across all age groups, and severe illnesses by nearly as much.
Australia's Fortescue Metals Group has apologised to an Aboriginal group for clearing land on a heritage site while flouting a government condition for representatives of the community to be present when the damage took place. It is the week's second such incident, despite pressure on Australian iron ore miners to show they have improved practices to manage important sites after Rio Tinto destroyed two sacred rock shelters for a mine expansion last May. Fortescue had state government permission to clear the land in the Weelamurra Creek area registered as sacred to the Wintawari Guruma people, on condition that community elders were present to perform salvage and cultural rites, four documents reviewed by Reuters showed.
Kazakhstan will permanently ban foreigners from owning or renting farmland in the vast Central Asian nation, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said on Thursday, ending a lengthy dispute that once prompted anti-government protests. Kazakhstan is a major producer of grains, oilseeds and meat in the former Soviet region sandwiched between China and Russia and five years ago, its authorities decided to attract foreign investment into agriculture by opening up the farmland market. But, unusually for the tightly controlled nation of 19 million people, the plan was met with street protests where demonstrators expressed concerns that giant neighbour China would eventually snap up all the fields and pastures.
- The Week
When Texas deregulated its electricity market two decades ago, proponents promised that consumers would get better service at lower prices. Long before the service half of that equation proved spectacularly wrong during last week's freeze, the 60 percent of Texans required to buy their electricity from retail power companies, not local utilities, were already getting a lousy deal, The Wall Street Journal reports. "Those deregulated Texas residential consumers paid $28 billion more for their power since 2004 than they would have paid at the rates charged to the customers of the state's traditional utilities," the Journal found, based on its analysis of federal Energy Information Administration data. "From 2004 through 2019, the annual rate for electricity from Texas' traditional utilities was 8 percent lower, on average, than the nationwide average rate, while the rates of retail providers averaged 13 percent higher than the nationwide rate." The theory behind deregulating the electricity market was that forcing retail power companies to compete for customers would lead to innovation and lower prices. "In other states that allow retail competition for electricity, customers have the option of getting their power from a regulated utility," the Journal notes. Large parts of Texas don't have an incumbent utility to compete against, and the retail industry has been consolidating under two major retailers, Vistra and NRG Energy, which now control at least 75 percent of the retail market. On the power generation side, Texas deregulation has rewarded companies that can sell cheap power to retailers and utilities — or sometimes really expensive power — but it provides little incentive and no requirements to invest in infrastructure that would have prevented last week's widespread blackouts. Now, "Republican Gov. Greg Abbott wants to force power plants to winterize," The Associated Press reports, and the GOP-led Texas Legislature will start lashing the state's grid operators in hearings Thursday. "In a lot of respects, we're victims of our own attempt to let free market forces work," state Rep. Drew Darby (R) told AP. "Typically, you know, the Texas Legislature pushes back on overregulation," but "my view on something as basic to human survival and need is we need to have reliable power and water." State Rep. Rafael Anchia (D) agreed that "regulation is a four-letter word in this building at times," but said "four million people without power and 12 million people without drinkable water, right, that gets everybody's attention." More stories from theweek.comDemocrats should take the Romney-Cotton proposal seriouslyThe GOP's apathy for governing is being exposedThe MyPillow guy might be Trump's ultimate chump
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Bahrain's Crown Prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa on Thursday discussed Iran and the possible involvement of the Gulf state in establishing a vaccine plant in Israel, the two countries said. Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates formalised ties with Israel on Sept. 15 in part over shared concerns about Iran, in a deal forged by former U.S. President Donald Trump. Trump withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers, a move praised by Israel which has objected to the accord.
- The Telegraph
It is looking ever more probable that Donald Trump will run for the White House again in 2024. His opponents, including some within the Republican Party, say four years is an eternity in politics and much can change. But, in reality it isn’t four years. Candidates will begin officially announcing their runs in early 2023. That's only two years from now. And they will be quietly cultivating donors and influential backers long before that. So it is actually quite a narrow window for anyone else to overhaul Mr Trump before his campaign juggernaut gets going. All eyes are on his speech this Sunday at CPAC, the annual conservative conference, which like Mr Trump has relocated from Washington to Florida. The speech will see him fully re-emerge from his post-presidential cocoon. Indications emanating from Mar-a-Lago suggest the speech will be designed to leave any would-be presidential nominees in no doubt whatsoever that he is still the presumptive first choice. An adviser told The Telegraph that Mr Trump has spent the last weeks taking a break, and practicing his golf swing, but is keen to re-engage in the fight. In terms of age, Mr Trump would be 78 on Election Day 2024. If successful, he would become the oldest person ever elected president. But he would only be six months older than Joe Biden was on Election Day 2020. Even Mitt Romney admitted this week that the former president would win easily if he decides to run. Mr Romney, who has twice voted to convict Mr Trump in impeachment trials, said: "I don't know if he'll run in 2024 or not, but if he does, I'm pretty sure he will win the nomination." There are a host of other contenders, but Mr Trump is far ahead of all of them in polls. Nikki Haley, his former UN ambassador and a 2024 hopeful, got a clear message of his thinking. After she criticised Mr Trump over the July 6 riot at the US Capitol he refused her request for a meeting at Mar-a-Lago. Mike Pence, who as his vice president would be the obvious successor to Mr Trump, has declined an invitation to speak at CPAC. That was surprising as he usually speaks. Mr Pence is said to be planning to stay out of the public eye for at least six months. Meanwhile, Ted Cruz, who finished second to Mr Trump in the race for the Republican nomination in 2016, had been looking to go one better this time. Instead, he may have already fallen at the first hurdle following a disastrous decision to go on a family holiday to Cancun while Texas, the state he represents as a senator, was buckling under a devastating storm that left millions without power. (See video below)
- USA TODAY Opinion
I was assaulted by a Proud Boys supporter in a foreshadowing of the hate to come. I saw that same look on the faces of those who ravaged the Capitol.
- Yahoo News
Marjorie Taylor Greene escalates LGBTQ rights debate with attack on colleague's transgender daughter
A debate on the House floor over a bill that would extend civil rights protections to the LGBTQ community spilled over into the halls of Congress on Wednesday.
- Business Insider
Texas lieutenant governor says people getting huge energy bills 'gambled on a very, very low rate' - but suggests they won't have to pay the full amount
Texans on variable-rate energy deals were faced with enormous bills as the wholesale price of electricity spiked 10,000% during a winter storm.
14 Marvel shows are coming to Disney Plus from 'Secret Invasion' to 'I Am Groot' - here they all are
Some Marvel characters are getting their own shows on Disney Plus. Here's when you can expect "Ms. Marvel," "WandaVision," and more.
- Reuters Videos
The video was captured off the coast of Newport Beach, where the mammal swam right up to a boat in a behavior known as "mugging," which is when a whale swims close to a boat and stays nearby interacting with those on board for an extended period of time.Humpback whales can grow up to 60 feet and 40 tons while living about 80 to 90 years, according to NOAA Fisheries.Along the North American west coast, the whales breed along the Pacific coast of Mexico and will travel as far north as Alaska.
- The Independent
The lawyer wrapped the claim up in a conspiracy theory alleging Chief Justice John Roberts killed Justice Antonin Scalia
- Miami Herald
The Miami Open announced Thursday its acceptance list for the upcoming 2021 tournament, and the biggest news is that 20-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer is among the players listed.
President Joe Biden's nominee to be director of the CIA, William Burns, told a Senate committee on Wednesday that he saw competition with China - and countering its "adversarial, predatory" leadership - as the key to U.S. national security. Burns, 64, a former career diplomat during both Democratic and Republican administrations, is expected to easily win confirmation to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Burns has already been confirmed by the Senate five times for his stints as ambassador to Jordan and Russia and three senior State Department positions.
- Yahoo News
Mitch McConnell: Nancy Pelosi's plan for investigating the Capitol attack is a 'bizarre partisan concept'
Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he’s concerned Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s plan to establish a commission to probe the assault on the U.S. Capitol would be overly “partisan.”
Get ready to stream new seasons of shows like "Nailed It!: Double Trouble," as well as documentaries like "Biggie: I Got a Story to Tell."
The White House has 132 rooms and its own restaurant. Here's what it's like inside Joe Biden's new home.
The most famous home in America also comes with a movie theater, bowling alley, and underground bunkers.
Eddie Murphy says Ryan Coogler tried to make a 'Coming to America' sequel starring Michael B. Jordan - but he didn't like the idea
Eddie Murphy said that Ryan Coogler's idea had Michael B. Jordan playing his son, "looking for a wife."