Santa Claus will still make an appearance at Baltimore-area malls, but just like everything else during the coronavirus pandemic, the experience will be different.
- Yahoo News
Former President Donald Trump’s “big lie” about a stolen election may have been discredited over and over in the courts, and disgraced by the attack on the U.S. Capitol, but the corrosive effect of his dishonesty will linger on, complicating efforts to strengthen American elections.
- Yahoo News
Black National Guardsman describes being deployed to protect Biden’s inauguration: 'I just felt this huge sense of pride'
As most of the 25,000 National Guardsmen who were called upon to protect Washington, D.C., during the presidential inauguration began heading home this week, one Black service member agreed to speak to Yahoo News about the experience of protecting the nation’s capital in the wake of a pro-Trump riot on Capitol Hill.
- The Telegraph
The leader of the Proud Boys extremist group has been unmasked as a "prolific" former FBI informant. Enrique Tarrio, 36, worked undercover exposing a human trafficking ring, and helped with drug and gambling cases, according to court documents. Tarrio's documented involvement with law enforcement related to the period 2012 -2014. There was no evidence of him cooperating after that. But the revelation raised further questions over why police did not take further steps to secure the US Capitol ahead of the riots on Jan 6. At least half a dozen members of the Proud Boys were arrested over involvement in the riots. Tarrio denied ever being an informer, telling Reuters: "I don’t know any of this. I don’t recall any of this."
Europe's fight to secure COVID-19 vaccine supplies sharpened on Thursday when Britain demanded that it receive all the shots it paid for after the European Union asked AstraZeneca to divert supplies from the UK. The EU, whose member states are far behind Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States in rolling out vaccines, is scrambling to get supplies just as the West's biggest drugmakers slow deliveries to the bloc due to production problems.
- Yahoo News
“By signing this order, President Biden indicates that he’s more interested in the views of the citizens of Paris than in the jobs of the citizens of Pittsburgh,” Cruz said.
- National Review
China ratcheted up its rhetoric towards Taiwan on Thursday, bluntly warning the island that “independence means war” after increased Chinese military activity was recorded near Taiwan over the weekend. “We warn Taiwan independence elements: those who play with fire will be burned. Taiwan independence means war,” warned Chinese Ministry of National Defense spokesperson Wu Qian. China sent a total of 28 Chinese fighter jets and bombers into the Taiwan Strait and the island’s southwestern air defense identification zone over the weekend, just days after President Biden’s inauguration. The U.S. responded swiftly with a warning to China to back down from its intimidation tactics. “We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic and economic pressure against Taiwan and instead engage in meaningful dialogue with Taiwan’s democratically elected representatives,” the State Department said Saturday. The State Department reaffirmed that the U.S. commitment to Taiwan is “rock-solid” and said Washington is concerned about China’s “pattern” of intimidation towards its neighbors, including Taiwan. Qian called Taiwan an “inalienable part of China’s territory” and said the the ramped up military activity near the island is a “solemn response to external interference and provocations by Taiwan independence forces.” China is taking “necessary actions to address the current security situation in the Taiwan Strait and to safeguard national sovereignty and security,” Qian said. Taiwan’s defense ministry has not commented on China’s warning. The Chinese began flying military planes through the Taiwan Strait on a regular basis in March, 2019, but the presence near Taiwan over the weekend was the largest in several years.
- FOX News Videos
Neal Crabtree, formerly a welding foreman on the Keystone XL, was ‘very disappointed’ in the new climate policies announced by the Biden administration Wednesday.
- The Telegraph
Russian authorities target Navalny's associates and wife in series of police raids ahead of protests
Russian authorities raided the homes of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny and his associates on Wednesday, piling pressure on opposition figures ahead of a major rally planned for this weekend. Masked police on Wednesday afternoon broke down the door of Mr Navalny’s rented flat despite the pleas from his wife who was inside, asking for her lawyer, Veronika Polyakova. Ms Polyakova arrived at her house but was not allowed in to witness the search, a clear violation of the Russian law,she told the Dozhd TV channel. In the biggest wave of police action against the opposition in months, law enforcement agents raided at least seven homes on Wednesday, including a Moscow property owned by Mr Navalny but where he has not lived for years, and the office of his associates who run his YouTube channel. A video posted online by Lyubov Sobol, a close ally of Mr Navalny, showed black-clad masked men break down the door and walk into the office.
- Associated Press
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday criticized Iran's hard-liner dominated judiciary over last week's prosecution of the countrys telecommunications minister. Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi was released on bail after he was summoned for prosecution. Judiciary officials cited his refusal to block Instagram and impose limitations on the bandwidth of other foreign social media and messaging systems.
Sen. Rand Paul attends the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the nomination of Linda Thomas-Greenfield to be the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, on Capitol Hill on Jan. 27, 2021. Sen. Rand Paul lost the very first procedural vote of former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial. “The impeachment trial is dead on arrival,” the Kentucky Republican and regular Trump ally declared yesterday after his attempt to short-circuit the impeachment trial on the grounds it is unconstitutional failed by a 55-45 vote.
- The Independent
Biden news - live: Republican Party suffers ‘mass exodus’ as Marjorie Taylor Greene scandal consumes Congress
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As the 76th anniversary on Wednesday of the liberation of Auschwitz draws closer, Bill Harvey, who survived the concentration camp, said he was shocked by displays of anti-Semitism during the U.S. Capitol riot. Some of the supporters of former President Donald Trump who broke into and ransacked the seat of Congress on Jan. 6 wore clothes bearing anti-Semitic messages, or displayed Nazi symbols. Harvey, interviewed by Zoom from his Los Angeles home on Monday, expressed concern that the lessons that should have been learned from World War Two's Nazi Holocaust are fading.
- The Telegraph
A doctor with terminal cancer killed a female paediatrician and then himself after taking hostages at a children's clinic in Austin, Texas. Dr Bharat Narumanchi held hostages in a five-hour siege before killing Dr Katherine Lindley Dodson. Narumanchi had applied for a volunteer position at the clinic a week ago and was declined. He later came back carrying a pistol, a shotgun and two duffel bags. Police spokesman Jeff Greenwalt said Narumanchi had recently been given "weeks to live" after a cancer diagnosis. He said: "The case as far as who did this is closed. We know who did it. And we know that there's no longer a threat to the public. But we really, really want to answer the question of why." Dr Lindley Dodson, 43, was beloved by patients and their families. Karen Vladeck, whose two children were among her patients, told the Austin American-Statesman: "You saw her at your worst when your kid was sick, and she just always had a smile on her face. "She made you feel like you were the only parent there, even though there was a line of kids waiting." During the siege a SWAT team used a megaphone to communicate with the armed doctor. A hostage negotiator shouted: "Your life is very important to me. And I know life is very important to you. "You don't deserve to go through this. For all you have done for others. That is why I want to help you work through this. You have saved a lot of lives." Police first sent in a robot and then officers went into the medical office where they found two bodies. They did not comment on how the two doctors died. A police spokesman said: "The SWAT situation has ended. Two subjects have been located and were pronounced deceased."
- The Week
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) flies to Florida to raise money on Thursday, and he's making a stop at Mar-a-Lago to meet with former President Donald Trump around lunchtime, Politico reports. McCarthy reportedly asked for the meeting, his first with Trump since the Jan. 6 Capitol siege by a mob of Trump supporters, and he has been effusive about the tête-à-tête. "Kevin can't shut up about it," one Trump adviser joked to Politico. McCarthy sees the visit as a way to smooth over their absolute "soap opera" of a relationship since the insurrection, and also as a way to inquire about Trump's political plans, Politico reports. "Unlike Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who reportedly doesn't want to speak to the ex-president ever again, McCarthy believes it's in his interest to be on Trump's good side," since Trump is still widely popular with the GOP base McCarthy needs to show up in 2022. But "Trump world is ecstatic about the visit," too, "viewing the huddle as proof of a comeback in the making," Politico adds. Trump will "give Kevin an earful" about the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach him, the Trump adviser said. But McCarthy's pilgrimage is "the first solid bit of evidence that Donald Trump is still in charge of the party." Read more at Politico's Playbook. More stories from theweek.comWith Senate Republicans balking at convicting Trump, Democrats explore alternative censuresGameStop makes the case for financial regulationMitch McConnell is the GOAT
- The Independent
Jill Biden spent her first week as First Lady reshaping the role. Melania Trump spent hers isolated in a tower
New first lady signals she will be an active and constant presence in the White House - drawing stark contrasts to her predecessor
- Architectural Digest
Let’s get loudOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- Associated Press
At least two journalists tested positive for coronavirus after witnessing the Trump administration's final three federal executions, but the Bureau of Prisons knowingly withheld the diagnoses from other media witnesses and did not perform any contact tracing, The Associated Press has learned. The AP is not identifying the journalists, but has confirmed they both received positive coronavirus tests following the executions earlier this month at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Indiana. The Bureau of Prisons just completed a record number of executions under former President Donald Trump, more than any previous administration.
- The Conversation
Why it takes 2 shots to make mRNA vaccines do their antibody-creating best – and what the data shows on delaying the booster dose
After a second dose of the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine, a swarm of antibodies attacks the virus. Kateryna Kon/Science Photo Library via Getty ImagesWith the U.S. facing vaccination delays because of worker shortages and distribution problems, federal health officials now say it’s OK to push back the second dose of the two-part vaccine by as much as six weeks. As an infectious disease doctor, I’ve been fielding a lot of questions from my patients as well as my friends and family about whether the COVID-19 vaccine will still work if people are late receiving their second dose. Why you need two doses 3-4 weeks apart Two doses, separated by three to four weeks, is the tried-and-true approach to generate an effective immune response through vaccination, not just for COVID but for hepatitis A and B and other diseases as well. The first dose primes the immune system and introduces the body to the germ of interest. This allows the immune system to prepare its defense. The second dose, or booster, provides the opportunity for the immune system to ramp up the quality and quantity of the antibodies used to fight the virus. In the case of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, the second dose increases the protection afforded by the vaccine from 60% to approximately 95%. Why the CDC decided receiving the second dose within 42 days is OK In the clinical trial, the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine was administered as early as day 19 and as late as day 42 to 93% of the subjects. Since protection was approximately 95% for everyone who was vaccinated within this time “window,” there is little reason not to allow some flexibility in the timing of the second dose 2. As more vaccine becomes available, the timing of the second dose should be close to four weeks for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. But the good news is that even while supplies remain limited, the science suggests that there’s nothing bad about getting a second dose as late as 42 days after the first. What the immune system does between the first and second dose The biology through which the mRNA vaccines induce their protection from COVID-19 is fundamentally different from that with other vaccines. Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use messenger RNA that encodes the spike glycoprotein. Upon injection of the vaccine, the mRNA enters into immune cells called dendritic cells. The dendritic cells use the instructions written in the mRNA to synthesize the hallmark spike glycoprotein, which characterizes the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. These immune cells then show the spike glycoprotein to B-cells, which then make anti-spike antibodies. Dendritic cells recognize viruses and present information about the spike protein to T-cells. T-cells provide information about the viral spike protein to B-cells, which are transformed to memory B-cells that store information about the virus. When this memory B-cell is activated with an infection or the second dose of the vaccine, this causes some of the B-cells to change into plasma B-cells that secrete protective antibodies that fight the virus. Kateryna Kon/Science Photo Library via Getty Images The mRNA vaccines are uniquely capable of inducing a special kind of immune cell – called a T-follicular helper cell – to help B-cells produce antibodies. The T-cells do this through direct contact with the B-cells and by sending chemical signals that tell the B-cells to produce antibodies. It is this help in antibody production that makes these vaccines so effective. But not all B-cells are the same. There are two kinds that make anti-spike antibodies: long-lived plasma cells and memory B-cells. The long-lived plasma cells, as their name implies, live in the bone marrow for years after vaccination, continuously churning out antibody – in this case anti-spike antibody. These long-lived B-cells do not need to be boosted. The memory B-cells, on the other hand, live in a state akin to hibernation. They do not produce antibodies until stimulated by a booster of the vaccine, or are exposed to infection with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. That is the reason we need that second dose. Together these two types of B-cells provide a constant level of protection. What happens if you don’t get the Pfizer or Moderna second dose on time? With current vaccine shortages, and problems with setting up the infrastructure to vaccinate millions of people, many physicians are concerned that the second dose of vaccine won’t be delivered in the prescribed three-to-four-week window. That booster shot is necessary for the T-cells to stimulate the memory B-cells to produce massive quantities of antibodies. If the booster isn’t given within the appropriate window, lower quantities of antibodies will be produced that may not provide as powerful protection from the virus. [Deep knowledge, daily. Sign up for The Conversation’s newsletter.]This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts. It was written by: William Petri, University of Virginia. Read more:How mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna work, why they’re a breakthrough and why they need to be kept so coldCOVID-19 vaccines were developed in record time – but are these game-changers safe? William Petri receives research funding from the NIH, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Regeneron, Inc.
- The Week
"Republicans have a Marjorie Taylor Greene problem. Again," The Associated Press reports. House GOP leaders urged voters in Georgia's 14th Congressional District to pick someone else in the primary, wary of Greene's QAnon allegiance and documented history of racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-Muslim comments. After she prevailed in the primary, they pushed for her victory in the general election. She won. Calls for Greene's ouster from the House started days after she was seated. And Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.) said Wednesday he will introduce a measure to expel her, following new scrutiny of her social media history. CNN's KFILE got that ball rolling Tuesday. Then the floodgates opened. Greene has called various deadly school shootings and the Las Vegas music festival massacre "false flag" events, questioned 9/11, and endorsed some foul QAnon-adjacent conspiracy theories. Marjorie Taylor Greene is into some seriously disturbed stuff here. The conspiracy theory she's promoting, "Frazzledrip," is about Hillary Clinton torturing a baby and wearing its face as a mask. https://t.co/TpW382v9Bg — Will Sommer (@willsommer) January 26, 2021 Republican leaders are, once again, appalled. Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said Greene's posts are "disgusting," have "no place in our party" and "should be looked into," adding that "QAnon is beyond fringe. I think it's dangerous." Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) called Greene "a RINO," or Republican in Name Only. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said though a spokesman that her comments are "deeply disturbing" and he "plans to have a conversation with the congresswoman about them." In 2019, McCarthy stripped former Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) of all his committee assignments after he expressed support for white supremacists, AP reports. "Greene was named this week to the House Education and Labor Committee." CNN's Erin Burnett called that assignment doubly disturbing, given Greene's dismissal of school shootings, but said McCarthy knows some of the money Greene is raising off her outrages will go to the House GOP campaign committee. Greene issued a weak and incredible non-denial denial of her social media activity, but the "steady stream of revelations" plus "Greene's puzzling defense of herself should make Republicans wonder how long they can put up with this," Aaron Blake writes at The Washington Post. "We tend to overestimate how much a politician like that can drag down their national party, but Greene's lack of remorse and candor reinforces how much of a loose cannon she could be moving forward." More stories from theweek.comWith Senate Republicans balking at convicting Trump, Democrats explore alternative censuresGameStop makes the case for financial regulationMitch McConnell is the GOAT
- The Independent
‘As exorcists will confirm, the demons are very good with electronic equipment,’ claims reverend John Zuhlsdorf