North Carolina Zoo welcomes new polar bear in the hopes of having cubs
- Associated Press
Four of 47 pro-democracy activists charged under Hong Kong's tough national security law were released on bail Friday after prosecutors dropped an appeal of an earlier court decision. The 47 activists were charged Sunday with conspiracy to commit subversion under the security law over their involvement in an unofficial primary election last year, which authorities say was a plot to subvert state power and paralyze the government. The four activists — Clarisse Yeung, Lawrence Lau, Hendrick Lui and Mike Lam — appeared in court on Friday prior to being released.
- Reuters Videos
This former flight attendant now runs a flower businessLocation: Hong KongErica Chan's dream job as a flight attendant was taken awayafter her company Cathay Pacific laid off over 5,000 staff(SOUNDBITE) (English) 35-YEAR-OLD HONG KONG FLOWER BUSINESS ENTREPRENEUR AND FORMER CATHAY PACIFIC FLIGHT ATTENDANT, ERICA CHAN, SAYING:"After 12 years, a lot of difference. I learned a lot from the (airline industry), I learned a lot from my colleagues. I remember the first day when I got the interview, the interviewer asked me, why I want to be a flight attendant. I told them I want to broaden my mind, I want to meet people from different countries, different cultures. I want to see the world. Yeah, I made it. I got what I wanted from Cathay."The single mother now owns a full-time business selling custom-made bouquets(SOUNDBITE) (English) 35-YEAR-OLD HONG KONG FLOWER BUSINESS ENTREPRENEUR AND FORMER CATHAY PACIFIC FLIGHT ATTENDANT, ERICA CHAN, SAYING:"Working as in, working here is like my own business. I'm building my own brand. I'm not working for anybody, but I'm working for myself. And people come here to buy my flowers, because they think this is pretty. And when they collect the flowers, I can see their face, they are so happy, then I'll feel very good."
- Business Insider
Jared Kushner is said to have distanced himself back from his father-in-law, but is likely to return if Trump decides on a 2024 run, sources told CNN.
- The Daily Beast
Mark Schiefelbein-Pool/GettyMOSCOW–With Vladimir Putin’s popularity already in decline, news of the United States’ latest round of sanctions on Russia has alarmed the Kremlin, prompting its cast of experts, advisers, and anti-American ideologues to float several possible responses.Senator Olga Kovitidi promised that Russia would “send America to a blind knockout.” One expert suggested publishing lists of Russian media “spreading fake news.” Certain military experts proposed the formation of “information battalions” in cyberspace, modeled after the masked Russian soldiers deployed in the 2014 Ukraine crisis. Ultimately, the government landed on a familiar strategy: they will try to change the perception of Russia by pouring even more money into propaganda.After the sanctions were announced—this time in response to the poisoning of the opposition politician Alexei Navalny–the Russian government is reportedly aiming to expand the global audience of the Kremlin-funded RT television channel from 800 to 900 million viewers. They want to raise viewership on online platforms by promoting the internet content of the entire fleet of both Russian and foreign-oriented media outlets, including RT, RIA Novosti and Sputnik radio. In order to achieve this, the Kremlin has ramped up the state media budget to 211 billion rubles (about $2.8 billion)—a 34 billion-ruble ($460 million) increase from previous years.“No doubt, RT’s information soldiers will use this significant budget effectively to influence Euro-sceptics, anti-globalists, and Washington critics,” an opposition politician in Moscow, Ilya Yashin, told The Daily Beast. “Putin believes that if the West has its state-sponsored Radio Liberty or BBC, the Kremlin should become serious in what they like to call a ‘mirror response.’ This is a new stage of the ongoing Cold War.”“Do not underestimate RT’s growing influence,” he added.Some say the media battle goes both ways. Maria Baronova, a former opposition activist covering Russian social issues for RT, was banned from American social media platforms last year. “The Cold War goes for both sides. I have been banned on Twitter for working for RT in April, 2020. That is nonsense,” Baronova added.Russia’s Opposition Movement Starts To CrackInvestment in propaganda at home has already turned Russia into a nation of skeptics. In the early days of the conflict in Ukraine, 48 percent of Russians told the Public Opinion Foundation that they think propaganda harms their society.According to a social study by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center, 88 percent of young Russians aged 18-24 said they were on YouTube. Even the Kremlin’s most notorious propagandist, Vladimir Solovyev, admitted in a recent interview for Komsomolskaya Pravda that “the television audience is growing terribly old.”Young Russians are hungry for the truth, and in recent years, influential Russian YouTubers have started to take a more open approach with their content. Russia’s top online interviewer, Yury Dud, has 8.7 million subscribers and more than 500 million views on his channel. Tens of millions watched Dud’s documentaries on the AIDs epidemic and poverty and neglect in Kamchatka, Russia’s forgotten peninsula. More than 29 million people viewed Dud’s interview with Alexei Navalny soon after the politician recovered from his poisoning attack.In spite of state pressure on opposition bloggers, emerging YouTube stars are now covering some of Russia's most acute political issues. Irina Shikhman, another popular blogger, focuses on making celebrity-oriented videos in which she asks public figures uncomfortable questions about their personal lives. But some of her most popular clips are political in nature: over two million people viewed Shikhman’s interview with Navalny ally Lyubov Sobol.Russia’s only independent online television channel, TV Rain, has 2.3 million subscribers on YouTube. The channel’s founder and owner, Natalya Sindeyeva, says she isn’t worried about the Kremlin’s boosted promotion of RT.“We have been competing with state television channels without any state budget, without any administrative resources, for 11 years and we managed, which means money is not the main thing,” Sindeyeva said. “If they boost social media, the algorithms would recognize the artificial traffic. We don’t see any threat, since we are experienced in responding to challenges. Our audience trusts us and independent bloggers, our main job is not to lie. Trust cannot be purchased for money,” she said.It is too early to know for sure whether RT’s reports will crowd out independent media in Russia. “It depends on the quality of their content,” TV Rain’s editor-in-chief, Tikhon Dzyadko, told The Daily Beast.Some independent bloggers saw the government’s increase of spending on internet content as a positive sign. “It seems the Kremlin realized they cannot ban YouTube, so they decided to choke it with propaganda,” blogger Karen Shainyan, host of the YouTube show “Straight Talk with Gay People”, told The Daily Beast. “Authorities spend shockingly huge money on RT, more than on any other television channel.”Pavel Kanygin, who manages a YouTube channel for Novaya Gazeta, a legendary independent newspaper in Russia, says the government has begun to view social media platforms as a real threat. “We can see that the Kremlin has become serious about YouTube,” he said, especially after over 100 million people viewed an investigative report about Putin released by Navalny’s organization on the site in January.“One thing is to get clicks and another to get people engaged, to comment on the publication–that is a completely different story that cannot be artificially created,” Kanygin said.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.
A French cabinet minister urged EU countries on Friday not to use the Russian or Chinese COVID-19 vaccines unless they are approved by the bloc's medicines regulator, warning of a risk to the bloc's unity and public health. After a fitful start to the European Union's vaccination campaign which has left the bloc lagging other countries such as Britain, some member states in central Europe have already bought or are considering buying Russian or Chinese shots. Asked whether each EU member state was now simply doing "what they wish themselves", European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune told RTL radio: "If they were to choose the Chinese and/or Russian vaccine, I think it would be quite serious."
- USA TODAY
This Nordstrom sale features huge discounts on top-rated home goods and apparel from brands such as UGG, adidas, Nike and more—shop our top picks.
- Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Gov. Greg Abbott announced Tuesday he was rolling back Texas’ mask mandate and reopening the state “100%.”
Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle's wedding-dress embroiderer says she hasn't heard from the royal family since revealing she's on the brink of homelessness
"It just makes me feel like I don't exist," Chloe Savage, who worked on Kate Middleton's and Meghan Markle's wedding dresses, told Insider.
Some people have reported a red, raised rash that shows up days to a week after getting the Moderna shot and goes away quickly.
The 'QAnon Shaman' says invading the Capitol was 'not an attack on this country' in wild jailhouse interview
"QAnon Shaman" Jacob Chansley said he still believes the 2020 election was rigged and wishes Donald Trump gave him a pardon.
A collective of 11 indigenous groups are suing Casino over alleged links to deforestation.
- Business Insider
Trump advisors are telling him to drop Pence for a Black or female VP in a potential 2024 run, report says
Two advisors specifically singled out South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem as a potential running mate in 2024.
- Associated Press
Justice Amy Coney Barrett delivered her first Supreme Court majority opinion Thursday, ruling against an environmental group that had sought access to government records. President Donald Trump's third nominee wrote for a 7-2 court that certain draft documents do not have to be disclosed under the federal Freedom of Information Act. The case was the first one Barrett heard after joining the court in late October, and it took four months for the 11-page opinion to be released.
- The Independent
NAACP accuses Trump of disenfranchising Black voters and trying to ‘destroy democracy’
- Business Insider
Federico Klein is believed to be the first Trump appointee to be charged in connection to the January 6 insurrection.
It is hard to overstate just how unusual Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's media war with Buckingham Palace is
A series of extraordinary confrontations have seen the Queen's household accused of a smear capaign and Markle accused of bullying.
- Business Insider
Boris Johnson has yet to appoint a successor to his adviser on ministerial standards, more than three months after the resignation of Sir Alex Allan.
- Yahoo News
The U.N. official who investigated the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi sharply criticized President Biden’s response to the killing, saying his administration’s failure to sanction Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sent a “dangerous” message to world leaders.
Calls are growing in India for Chief Justice Sharad Bobde to resign over his "atrocious" remarks.
Ever since Britain returned Hong Kong to Chinese rule in 1997, opposition activists have tried to bring full democracy to the city, believing that China would live up to its promise to one day allow universal suffrage to elect the city's leader. Chinese parliamentarians in Beijing unveiled details of a plan to revamp the political structure of China's freest city that critics say has all but killed off the pledge of one person, one vote. China's move comes months after a sweeping national security law was imposed on the Asian financial hub, cracking down on dissent, and more than a year after months of sometimes violent anti-China, pro-democracy protests which swept the city.