Outdoor family reunions could be allowed within weeks while care home residents will be able to hold hands with a loved one again, under the Government’s road map for easing coronavirus restrictions. Downing Street said it wants to make social contact easier as soon as possible, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson is spending the weekend finalising plans for relaxing measures in England. Several newspapers report new rules allowing two households to meet outdoors - regardless of the total number of people - are set to be introduced from April, while six people from six different households will also be able to gather. But Number 10 dismissed as speculation reports that pubs could be permitted to serve customers outdoors from April, with the Daily Mail saying people could be served indoors in May.
- Associated Press
When an unusually heavy winter storm blanketed much of Texas with snow, knocking out electricity to millions of homes and leaving many struggling to find clean water, one sector of the population was particularly vulnerable: inmates at the state’s largest county jail. Raul Carreon, a pretrial inmate at the Harris County Jail, said it became freezing cold and “pitch black” when the power went out at the lockup late on Feb. 14. Then, he said, they lost water pressure, so toilets wouldn't flush, leading to “feces and urine backing up in the commodes.”
- Business Insider
Opinion: The costs of a foreign policy that emphasizes US global preeminence are now inescapable clear, and US leaders need to change course.
Archaeologists have unearthed a unique ancient-Roman ceremonial carriage from a villa just outside Pompeii, the city buried in a volcanic eruption in 79 AD. The almost perfectly preserved four-wheeled carriage made of iron, bronze and tin was found near the stables of an ancient villa at Civita Giuliana, around 700 metres (yards) north of the walls of ancient Pompeii. Massimo Osanna, the outgoing director of the Pompeii archaeological site, said the carriage was the first of its kind discovered in the area, which had so far yielded functional vehicles used for transport and work, but not for ceremonies.
It's been 40 years since Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer announced their engagement with a televised interview.
- The Telegraph
Perched on the mountain range that divides the sprawling city of Caracas from the Caribbean Sea, Venezuela’s Hotel Humboldt can be seen from nearly all corners of the capital. The 65-year-old, 14-floor structure can only be reached by cable car from the city below. It currently boasts 69 rooms, six dining areas, a casino, a night club, and a swimming pool and spa. “It will be the first seven star hotel in Venezuela,” President Nicolas Maduro once proudly proclaimed as the 1956 symbol of oil wealth was being lavishly renovated. Now, the hotel is open again as a symbol of an impending economic recovery and tourism boom in a country that has suffered the worst economic crisis in modern Latin American history. But the so-called Socialist president’s touting of the luxurious, $300 per night hotel in a country where most live in poverty represents something else to others - an abandonment of a political project promising a socialist utopia in favor of an 'anything goes', capitalist kleptocracy.
Prince Harry says 99-year-old Prince Philip just slams his laptop shut instead of hanging up at the end of Zoom calls
The prince told James Corden that he'd had a few Zoom calls with his grandparents where they got to see Archie running around.
- The Daily Beast
Sarah Meyssonnier/ReutersFederal authorities rolled into Shelby County, Tennessee, this week as the mismanagement disasters plaguing the local coronavirus vaccine rollout reached a boiling point.The county health department allowed more than 2,000 doses to spoil, two children were vaccinated against Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, and a volunteer allegedly made off with doses from one site. The Tennessee Health Department, the FBI, and the CDC are now investigating. The head of the Shelby health department, Alisa Haushalter, resigned Friday. Now residents are left questioning whether the doses they received were expired doses.“You begin to feel like you were safe to go out and do things, but now you don’t know if you’re covered or not. You don’t know if the shot you got is effective or not,” said Gayle Jones, 80, who was born and raised in Cordova, Tennessee. She received her second shot of the Pfizer vaccine Wednesday. “We’ve missed a whole year by staying at home. We finally felt like we could get out and maybe be OK.”Hundreds of people are echoing her statements on Facebook in comments on bulletins from the county health department.Ingrid Chilton, 68, vented her frustration below one post, “Let’s talk about the thousands of Memphians who don’t know whether they have been properly vaccinated since the thawing of the vaccines was not done in accordance with CDC guidelines!”Chilton and her 75-year-old husband flew from their home in Tiburon, California, to visit their son in downtown Memphis for two weeks in late February 2020. They have stayed for a year, living in the same two weeks’ worth of clothing. Saturday would be the day they reached full immunity, two weeks from their second Pfizer shots. She and her husband had begun discussing when they would return to Tiburon.“Today was the day I was supposed to be celebrating, like ‘We’re free!’ and instead we get this. I feel like we’re in limbo again,” she told The Daily Beast.The state began investigating the county health department last week after an announcement that the county had permitted 1,300 doses to expire in February. State investigators found that in actuality, 2,400 doses had gone bad this month and were trashed, with 840 wasted in one day, Feb. 15. Though the vaccines require ultra-cold storage to remain viable, some syringes felt warm to the investigator’s touch, the Tennessean reported.Adding to residents’ fears, some doses have gone missing. State Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey said in a press conference Friday that 12 syringes had expired during a Feb. 23 vaccination event, but no one had returned them to the distributing pharmacy. The doses remain unaccounted for.“There does appear to be a lack of accountability and in some sense leadership, which has undoubtedly potentially harmed some folks and withheld vaccine from people who needed it,” Piercey said.Jones had hoped to feel safe attending the births of two great-grandchildren due soon. She thinks she will still go, albeit now with feelings of uncertainty and risk. Her daughter, her son, and two of her grandchildren have all had COVID-19. A granddaughter and a granddaughter-in-law are both pregnant and work in health care.“We’ll have to take it as it is. I don’t know if they’ll be able to prove if the vaccine we got was real and effective or not,” she said.Chilton will postpone her travel until the investigation into the vaccination effort concludes.“I don’t know if we’ll ever know accurately whether we’re protected or not,” she said.Memphis’ city health department has taken over vaccination efforts for the entire county.In addition to its procedural woes, the vaccination effort has suffered an alleged robbery. The state notified the FBI Thursday that a volunteer allegedly stole vaccine doses on Feb. 3, according to Piercey. The state health commissioner said the city had not been forthcoming with information on the disappearance of the doses, leading to a delay of nearly a month in reporting it. Shelby County Chief Administrative Officer Dwan Gilliom said Piercey was incorrect and that law enforcement had been made aware but that no arrests had been made.Two children were vaccinated in Shelby County on Feb. 3 as well, according to Piercey. Neither the Moderna nor Pfizer vaccine is approved for anyone under the age of 16, as the medicine has only been tested on adults.The mess has further eroded Jones’ already cratering trust in the local government, which has struggled with picking up garbage and supplying water to residents in recent weeks.“They just need to get their act together in the Memphis government. They’re totally unreliable,” said Jones. “We just had the water boil for 8 days because all the mains broke. It just has you thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, can’t you do anything?’”Chilton feels similarly.“I don’t think my feelings toward the county and state health department would be fit to print, frankly,” she 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.
Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc on Saturday said stock market gains fueled a record quarterly profit, while the billionaire signaled investors are undervaluing his company by repurchasing another $9 billion of its stock. Berkshire's fourth-quarter buybacks boosted the company's overall stock repurchases to $24.7 billion in 2020, five times the record from a year earlier, and Berkshire appears to have repurchased another $4 billion or more in 2021. "The math of repurchases grinds away slowly, but can be powerful over time," Buffett wrote in his annual letter to Berkshire shareholders.
Mexican authorities hope most of the asylum seekers living in a major encampment on the border will be allowed to enter the United States by the end of next week, according to a Mexican government source. The migrant camp in Matamoros, Mexico, just across the river from Brownsville, Texas, is currently home to just under 700 migrants, according to the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR). The majority are asylum seekers who have been waiting in Mexico as their cases wind through U.S. courts under a program implemented by former President Donald Trump.
- Associated Press
PGA champion Collin Morikawa went from feeling he could do no wrong to wondering if he could do anything right, and that was just over the final hour Saturday in the Workday Championship. What mattered at the end of the third round was he had a two-shot lead as he goes for his first World Golf Championship title, even knowing it could have been a lot bigger. Morikawa walked off the 12th hole with his seventh birdie in eight holes, stretching his lead to five shots with two par 5s still to play.
Jill Biden said on "The Kelly Clarkson Show" that her daughter, Ashley, was the first to tell her that the Valentine's Day scrunchie sparked a trend.
Ben Affleck says his divorce from Jennifer Garner and other 'life experience' shaped him into a better actor
In a new interview as part of The Hollywood Reporter's Actor Roundtable series, Affleck spoke about Garner and the three kids they share.
- Business Insider
Johnson & Jonhson's coronavirus vaccine is the only one that's been tested out in the US as just one shot.
- Business Insider
QAnon's most devout followers believe bizarrely that former President Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 19th President on March 4, 2021.
- The Daily Beast
Eli Ade/AMCNegan better watch his back, because Maggie Greene is back in town. On Sunday night, The Walking Dead returned to close out its super-sized penultimate season with six more episodes—and kicked things off by giving Maggie a chance to explain what she and her son, Hershel, have been up to, and why it’s been so long since she touched base with Team Family. But the real question of this week has less to do with where Maggie’s been, and more to do with who the hell she’s managed to antagonize. It seems we’ve got a new villain on our hands, and they apparently have it out for her.It’s a rough week for Maggie: First, she comes face-to-face with Negan, who’s now at large in Alexandria after Carol sprung him from prison. Then, the onetime leader of Hilltop expressed her desire to return home there with her son and a group of survivors only to find out that the place has been reduced to a pile of rubble and bodies. And then, Maggie has to hear from Carol that Negan was actually with the Whisperers when they leveled Hilltop. “Alpha needed to die, and Negan was our best chance,” Carol explained. “We were gonna lose everything; Negan’s the reason we didn’t.”Maggie seems sympathetic, but she’s understandably not thrilled.But the group must press on—so Maggie, Daryl and Kelly head out for the settlement where Maggie’s been staying, along with her friends from the camp, Elijah and Cole. After a long day of walking (and murdering some walkers to take refuge in a storage container) Maggie reveals to Daryl that, like her old friends, she’s borne witness to a lot of tragedy over the past couple years.When Maggie first left Hilltop, she’d set out with a woman named Georgie, whose group helped nascent communities learn the farming and engineering skills required to make it in the apocalypse. “But it’d always go sideways,” she said. The group had been helping a community in Knoxville, Maggie continued, but when Georgie left to check out another community, things collapsed and she and Hershel ran. When Daryl asked what happened to the village Georgie had built, Maggie simply replied, “Not now.”“It’s actually good to say some of it out loud. Just can’t say all of it,” she said. “I almost came home after Knoxville; maybe I should have. Maybe I should have.” After the collapse, Maggie said, she brought Hershel to a place that used to belong to her grandmother on the coast—a place, she said, where she and Glenn had talked about visiting after her sister, Beth, died in Season 5. One night, she and Hershel stayed up late talking about his family. “He asked how his daddy died,” she said. “I knew he would; I knew it was coming. I told him that a bad man killed him. He wanted to know if that man got what he deserved. He wanted to know if that man was dead.”“The truth is I left home because I couldn’t have Negan taking up any more space in my head,” Maggie said. “And when I realized I didn’t want to bring Hershel back to that, the next morning we met a whole community of people who needed us as much as we needed them. And it felt like it was meant to be. But that’s over, too.”Daryl emphasized that things remain up in the air with regard to Negan—a thread that will certainly return later this season and, perhaps, beyond. Because the next morning, Maggie and the group arrive home—only to find it burned to the ground.Turns out, there’s a group called the Reapers hunting people down one by one in the woods now. We see several people Maggie had been staying with shot down before a man comes for Maggie—only to be surrounded by her group. But the man, dressed in military fatigues, refuses to answer any of Maggie’s questions. Instead, he tells her, “Pope marked you”—and then proceeds to blow himself up.There is no group called The Reapers in the Walking Dead comics; there isn’t even a group that seems particularly analogous, from what we’ve seen so far. It’s fascinating, given that we’re just on the verge of truly meeting the Commonwealth—another yet-unexplored community that appears to be the show’s endgame—that the show has now introduced another group to content with. They could be, as The Wrap posits, affiliated with the Civic Republic—villains of the spin-off World Beyond. But so far, it’s hard to guess at who these people are or what they really want.Lauren Cohan returned to Walking Dead during what would have originally been its season finale last year, after a brief trip to ABC for the now-defunct Whiskey Cavalier. Despite how long this series has floundered, both before and especially after her absence, Cohan’s presence feels like a refreshing return to form for the zombie drama—especially as it shuffles toward its final season. (She was always, and remains, one of the most emotive and compelling performers in the cast.) Nothing will ever fully atone for Glenn Rhee’s poorly executed, excruciatingly graphic death in Season 7. But it’s still somehow a little sentimental to see his son walk into Alexandria hand-in-hand with his mother. That said, however, in light of this week’s brief scare—which found Maggie racing through the woods looking for her son after finding the camp burned to the ground—I will say this: If Hershel dies, as so many children on this series have, we riot.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
Go back to the place you got your first shot if you lose your paper card, and make sure to take a photo of the vaccine card after your first dose.
- Yahoo News Video
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she won't take AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine because she is too old, a comment that comes as millions of Germans refuse to take the vaccine because they do not trust it.
- The Independent
CPAC: Gaetz says media ‘biased’ over Ted Cruz’s Cancun trip and should have focused on ‘caravans’ of migrants instead
Outspoken GOP congressman complains ‘the left and the media’ were less concerned about ‘caravans going through Mexico’ than Texas senator visiting
Iran on Saturday condemned U.S. air strikes against Iran-backed militias in Syria, and denied responsibility for rocket attacks on U.S. targets in Iraq that prompted Friday's strikes. Washington said its strikes on positions of the Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah paramilitary group along the Iraq border were in response to the rocket attacks on U.S. targets in Iraq.
From buying whole, fresh beans to nailing the perfect water-to-coffee ratio, coffee connoisseurs have plenty of tips for better at-home brewing.