The UK's finance minister said on Sunday Brexit offers Britain a chance to do things differently in financial services.
- Associated Press
A federal judge in Washington on Friday night halted a plan to release and put on house arrest the Arkansas man photographed sitting at a desk in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office during last week's riot at the U.S. Capitol. Richard Barnett will instead be brought to Washington, D.C., immediately for proceedings in his case, Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell ordered Friday night, staying a decision by another judge to confine Barnett to his home in Gravette, Arkansas, until his trial. Howell's ruling came hours after U.S. Magistrate Judge Erin Wiedemann in Arkansas set a $5,000 bond for Barnett and ordered that a GPS monitor track his location.
- The Independent
- National Review
Eleven years ago, Dan Senor and Saul Singer dubbed Israel the “Start Up Nation” for its disproportionately large number of technology start-ups and NASDAQ stock listings. Make way for the Vaccination Nation. Israel leads the world in COVID-19 vaccinations. It has already vaccinated nearly a quarter of its population, including 75 percent of the population most at risk, people over age 60. It has administered 24.5 doses per 100 persons, nearly double the next-best country (the United Arab Emirates) and about 8 times as many people per capita as in the U.S. and the U.K. Israel’s per capita vaccination rate is 24 times that of the normally efficient Germans and 50 times better than the world average. Only three other countries in the world — the U.S., China, and the U.K. — have administered more vaccines. Why is Israel doing so much better than anyone else? Israel’s small size simplifies logistics. But there are other factors. First, unlike American states, which have administered only about a third of the doses they have received, Israeli made sure it was ready to use its supply. Officials set up large vaccination centers and mobile units in advance. They reached out to minority groups, such as the ultra-Orthodox and Arab citizens, ahead of the roll-out to encourage vaccine uptake. Israel started vaccinations in mid-December and by the end of the month was vaccinating more than 150,000 people a day. Second, Israel secured a large supply from Pfizer by promising to provide comprehensive safety and effectiveness data. Israel has a nationwide, computerized health database that can provide anonymized outcomes for all citizens, letting Pfizer use the country of nearly nine million as a real-time laboratory. In return, Pfizer has pledged to provide enough doses to vaccinate every Israeli over 16 by the end of March. In addition, Israel was the first country outside of North America to approve the Moderna vaccine and has purchased six million doses. Israel also paid premium prices — a wise investment in ending the economic devastation occasioned by pandemic lockdowns. Needless to say, Israel is good at planning for and executing during emergencies. Senor and Singer identified universal army service as promoting Israelis’ resourcefulness and willingness to take the initiative to improve existing systems. Pfizer packages its vaccine in trays of 1,000 doses, which, because of the need for ultra-cold storage, must be all be used within a short period of time once they have been defrosted. The large number of doses limits vaccinations to centers that can line up large numbers of recipients. Israel figured out how to repackage the trays into smaller lots of doses to improve flexibility for delivering doses to a broader range of providers and less populated locations. Israelis are also willing to buck established authority. The Pfizer multi-dose vaccine vials were authorized to hold five doses. This led many American vaccinators to discard vaccine remaining after administering five doses, even if it was adequate to provide one or two extra doses, for fear of running afoul of FDA instructions (the FDA eventually clarified that it is acceptable to use every obtainable full dose). Israelis, in contrast, were willing from the start to use windfall sixth and seventh doses. American vaccinators have been reluctant to give remaining doses to people outside of government-mandated priority order — New York’s Governor Cuomo promised hefty fines for vaccinating out of order — leading to doses’ being discarded at the end of the day. Israeli providers vaccinated end-of-day walk-ins outside of the guidelines to avoid wasting valuable doses. Finally, Israelis’ willingness to pull together and treat the pandemic as if it were a war and the government’s successful roll-out have changed Israelis’ initial reluctance into eagerness to be vaccinated. Prime Minister Netanyahu set an example by being the first Israeli to be vaccinated. The prophet Isaiah said Israel would function as “a light unto the nations,” providing spiritual and moral guidance to the world. Modern-day Israel, the Start-Up Nation, can provide technological and practical guidance as well.
- The Telegraph
The US claimed on Saturday that staff at a Chinese virology laboratory became sick with a Covid-like illness in autumn 2019, months before the coronavirus spread widely from Wuhan. In a long-awaited document from the state department, the Trump administration called for an investigation as it published dubious accusations that a possible "laboratory accident" at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) may be the source of the global pandemic. The claims were dismissed by analysts who insist the disease came from a naturally occurring event. In a statement late on Friday claiming to reveal "undisclosed information", the state department said it "has reason to believe that several researchers inside the WIV became sick in autumn 2019, before the first identified case, with symptoms consistent with both Covid-19 and common seasonal illnesses." The statement also said that the lab had been carrying out research on a bat coronavirus similar to the Sars-CoV-2 strain that spread globally and that the lab had collaborated with China's military on publications and secret projects. Some experts were nonplussed by the announcement. "Zero details given," noted Kristian Andersen, an immunologist at Scripps Research, rating the statement as "an F". The fact that Wuhan was home to the world's leading coronavirus research facility before it became known as ground zero for the pandemic has led to speculation that the virus could have originated in the lab.
- NBC News
- National Review
- Yahoo News Video
- The Telegraph
Government must 'get a grip' of what is now a full-blown crisis in the fishing industry, say fishermen
Scotland's fishermen have told Boris Johnson his Brexit trade deal leaves them with the "worst of both worlds" amid export delays and collapsing market prices. In a letter to the Prime Minister, the Scottish Fishermen's Federation (SFF) said the industry was facing "mounting financial losses" and the only way to ensure a fair price was a 72-hour round trip to land catch in Denmark. Elspeth Macdonald, the trade group's chief executive, said there was "huge disappointment and a great deal of anger about your failure to deliver on promises made repeatedly to this industry." She accused him of having "spun a line" about a 25 per cent uplift in the UK's quota and demanded urgent details of promised compensation for the disruption. Her concerns were echoed by Scotland's seafood processors, who said ministers in both London and Edinburgh need to "get a grip" of the long delays exporters are facing. A third of fishing boats in Scotland are tied up at harbours and the industry is estimated to be losing £1 million per day. Exporters warned they face possible bankruptcy amid a suspension of road deliveries due to border delays. Transport company DFDS stopped exports last week after delays in getting new paperwork introduced following the expiry of the Brexit transition period for EU border posts in France. It aims to resume the service on Monday. Paperwork has to be approved before consignments can be sent to DFDS's warehouse in South Lanarkshire and then on to English Channel ports. In her letter to the Prime Minister, Ms McDonald said: "Many fishing vessels are tied to the quay wall.” She added: "This industry now finds itself in the worst of both worlds. Your deal leaves us with shares that not only fall very far short of zonal attachment, but in many cases fail to ‘bridge the gap’ compared to historic catches, and with no ability to leverage more fish from the EU, as they have full access to our waters. "This, coupled with the chaos experienced since 1st January in getting fish to market means that many in our industry now fear for their future, rather than look forward to it with optimism and ambition."
Centrist Armin Laschet positioned himself on Saturday as the man to heal divisions among Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats after they chose him to lead the party, putting him in pole position to succeed her as Germany's chancellor. Laschet, premier of the country's most populous state and the self-styled Merkel continuity candidate, beat arch-conservative Friedrich Merz in a ballot of CDU party delegates. Merkel, Europe's predominant politician and a consistent winner with German voters since taking office in 2005, has said she will not run for chancellor again in September's federal election.
- Architectural Digest
- The Week
- Associated Press
Lottery players have another chance to win big next week since there were no winners of the top prize for both the Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots in their most recent drawings. The Powerball jackpot grew to an estimated $730 million after no one matched all five numbers and the red ball in the drawing on Saturday night. If a lottery player strikes big in the next Powerball drawing on Wednesday, it would be the fifth-largest jackpot ever in the United States.
- NBC News
As blizzard conditions impacted parts of the Midwest, two Southern California coastal locations registered a national high temperature of 94.
Fanny Mergui has no doubt: Moroccan Jews "are already packing their suitcases" to board direct flights to Israel after the kingdom normalised ties with the Jewish state.
- National Review
Senator Ben Sasse (R., Neb.) on Friday called for the rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol last week to be “prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” saying those who participated in the unrest that left five dead were “terrorists attacking this country’s constitutionally-mandated transfer of power.” Sasse’s comments come after the Department of Justice said in court documents that the rioters breached the Capitol with the intent to “capture and assassinate elected officials.” In a memo requesting that “QAnon shaman” Jacob Anthony Chansley be kept in detention, Justice Department lawyers in Arizona wrote that “strong evidence, including Chansley’s own words and actions at the Capitol” show that the intent was to harm elected officials. Sasse said it would be “wrong” of “rage-peddlers” to “try to whitewash the attack on the Capitol, saying that a few bad apples got out of control.” “Every American needs to understand what the Department of Justice has just made public: Investigators have strong evidence to suggest that some of the rioters who stormed the United States Capitol planned to kidnap and possibly assassinate the Vice President,” he said. “These men weren’t drunks who got rowdy — they were terrorists attacking this country’s constitutionally-mandated transfer of power,” he added. “They failed, but they came dangerously close to starting a bloody constitutional crisis.” He concluded: “They must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The FBI is investigating widespread calls for violence across the country and every American has an obligation to lower the temperature.” Last week, before the House impeached President Trump for a second time on an “incitement of insurrection” charge, Sasse had vowed to consider any articles of impeachment against Trump that came before the Senate. “The House, if they come together and have a process, I will definitely consider whatever articles they might move,” Sasse said in an interview with CBS. “I believe the president has disregarded his oath of office…what he did was wicked.”
President-elect Joe Biden will roll back some of President Trump's most controversial policies and address "four overlapping and compounding crises" in his first 10 days in office — the pandemic, the economic downturn, climate climate and racial inequity.Driving the news: That's according to a memo from Biden's incoming Chief of Staff Ron Klain Saturday. Following Biden's inauguration Wednesday, he'll "sign roughly a dozen actions to combat the four crises," Klein said.Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.Zoom in: Biden's actions on day one of his presidency will include rejoining the Paris climate agreement, extending a pause on federal student loan payments, reversing Trump's ban on travel to the U.S. from several Muslim-majority countries and issuing a mask mandate in an attempt to curb surging COVID-19 cases. * On Thursday, Biden will sign several executive actions aimed at changing the course of the COVID-19 crisis and safely re-open schools and businesses. * On Friday, the president-elect will "direct his Cabinet agencies to take immediate action to deliver economic relief to working families bearing the brunt" of the coronavirus crisis, Klein wrote. * Between Jan. 25 and Feb. 1, Biden will address the climate crisis, criminal justice reform, take steps to expand access to health care, and move to reform immigration — including reuniting families separated at the border under Trump's immigration policy.For the record: All of these measures were previously announced, but this is the first time Biden's timetable has been revealed.Go deeper: Biden's "100-day challenge"Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
Britain is tightening border controls to block new variants of COVID-19, suspending all "travel corridor" arrangements that had meant arrivals from some countries did not require quarantine. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is grappling to control a third wave of the virus and prevent the health service from collapse while also racing to vaccinate millions each week. "What we don't want to see is all that hard work undone by the arrival of a new variant that is vaccine-busting," he told a news conference, explaining the end of travel corridors at least until Feb. 15.
- NBC News