While new unemployment claims in Texas have ticked upward in recent weeks, many out-of-work Texans said they’re struggling to get through to the Texas Workforce Commission.
- Reuters Videos
Paris is closing down its historical bird marketLocation: Paris, FranceDating from 1808, the market has attracted Parisians and tourists for decadesThe city council has voted to close the historical marketfollowing a campaign from an animal rights group(SOUNDBITE) (French) CO-FOUNDER OF PARIS ANIMAUX ZOOPOLIS (PAZ), AMANDINE SANVISENS SAYING:"It's not at all about eliminating this architecture, this heritage, which will actually be renovated. The idea is to change, to help the evolution of the businesses that take place here, meaning the sale of live animals. And the Paris city council has voted for this, so for us, it's a very significant progress because it also means that we can urge for traditions to evolve when they're unjust."
- Associated Press
Robert Irwin has long acted as a voice for animals. The 17-year-old son of the late conservationist Steve Irwin is lending his voice to a character on the popular animated children's TV show “Bluey.” The Brisbane-produced “Bluey,” which centers on an eponymous 6-year-old Blue Heeler pup, her sister Bingo and their parents, Chilli and Bandit, has in just a few years grown into a worldwide phenomenon.
At least two political rights groups advocating democracy have quietly quit Hong Kong and moved overseas, unnerved by a national security law that has fanned fears over the erosion of freedoms under China’s rule, sources told Reuters. In the past, China-focused rights groups had valued the wide-ranging autonomy, including freedom of speech and assembly, guaranteed for Hong Kong when control over the former British colony was returned to Beijing in 1997. But some non-government organisations (NGOs) say the new legislation means they face a choice of either having to leave Hong Kong or work with the same kind of fears and constraints they would encounter in mainland China.
- Associated Press
Saudi Arabia's crown prince likely approved the killing of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, according to a newly declassified U.S. intelligence report released Friday that instantly ratcheted up pressure on the Biden administration to hold the kingdom accountable for a murder that drew worldwide outrage. It leaves no doubt that as the prince continues in his powerful role and likely ascends to the throne, Americans will forever associate him with the brutal killing of a journalist who promoted democracy and human rights.
- Associated Press
Kevin Durant will be out through the All-Star break because of a hamstring injury, sidelining the Brooklyn Nets star from a game for which he was chosen to serve as a captain. Indiana's Domantas Sabonis was chosen by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to replace Durant, with Boston's Jayson Tatum elevated to the pool of starters for the March 7 game in Atlanta. The Nets said Friday that after a routine follow-up MRI on Durant's left hamstring, it was determined that he needed additional recovery time.
- Associated Press
Less than a month after excoriating Donald Trump in a blistering floor speech, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday that he would “absolutely” support the former president again if he secured the Republican nomination in 2024. “I've got at least four members that I think are planning on running for president, plus governors and others,” McConnell said. McConnell's remarks underscore an awkward balancing act he sought to maintain since Trump lost the election, reflecting the reality that McConnell’s own path back to power in the Senate hinges on enthusiasm from a party base that still ardently supports Trump.
- The Independent
Controversial congresswoman previously said the Republican party belong to former president
- Reuters Videos
The number of available COVID-19 vaccine doses is steadily rising around the world.But a shortage of physical space that meets standards for pharmaceutical manufacturing is a becoming a bottleneck.That's according to drugmakers, construction experts and officials involved in the U.S. vaccine program.The production of raw materials, vaccine formulation and vial filling requires special "clean rooms".They need features like air cleaners, sterile water and sterilizing steam.Moderna this week announced plans to expand vaccine manufacturing capacity.But said it will be a year before that can add to its production.With vaccines needed for billions of people, drugmakers have even had to turn to rivals for help in churning out doses.And the emergence of new variants is likely to increase the strain.Many are counting on the authorization of Johnson & Johnson's vaccine this week.Longer term, tackling COVID-19 may require annual shots to protect against new virus mutations, similar to the flu.Building new facilities and even expanding existing sites has typically taken years. During the pandemic, some projects have reportedly been completed in as little as 6-to-10 months.Emergent BioSolutions, which is making J&J and AstraZeneca vaccines for the US, says it cannot add any more equipment to facilities dedicated to those vaccines.Some firms are purchasing and repurposing existing plants to sidestep construction. Pfizer-partner BioNTech bought a German facility from Novartis in September.
- The Independent
Biden raises human rights in call with Saudi king as intelligence officials to release report on Khashoggi killing
President Joe Biden has spoken with King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud of Saudi Arabia ahead of the release of a report from US intelligence officials that is expected to reveal that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved and likely ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. A White House report of their phone call on Thursday did not disclose whether they discussed the findings in the report. The leaders “discussed regional security, including the renewed diplomatic efforts led by the United Nations and the United States to end the war in Yemen, and the US commitment to help Saudi Arabia defend its territory as it faces attacks from Iranian-aligned groups,” according to a readout of their call.
The Southeast Asian country has been in crisis since the army seized power on Feb. 1 and detained elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and much of her party leadership, alleging fraud in a November election her party had won. The coup has brought hundreds of thousands of protesters to Myanmar's streets and drawn condemnation from Western countries, with some imposing limited sanctions.
U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday told Saudi King Salman he would work for bilateral ties "as strong and transparent as possible," the White House said, ahead of the expected release of a sensitive U.S. intelligence report on the 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The report is a declassified version of a top-secret assessment that sources say singles out the 85-year-old king's son Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for approving the murder of Khashoggi in the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul. Saudi Arabia denies that the 35-year-old crown prince, the de facto ruler of the kingdom, approved the killing.
Libya's designated prime minister, chosen via a U.N.-facilitated process last month, said on Thursday he had proposed a governing plan to the country's divided parliament as part of a peace process. The new interim government is intended to replace Libya's two rival administrations and oversee the run-up to national elections planned for December in a roadmap to end years of chronic chaos and violence. "It will be a government of technocrats representing the whole Libyan spectrum," designated prime minister Abdulhamid Dbeibeh told a news conference in Tripoli, adding that he had attempted a "fair distribution" of posts between the west, east and south of the country.
- USA TODAY
Acting Capitol Police chief tells lawmakers militia groups seek to 'blow up the Capitol,' targeting Biden speech
The acting chief said the continued threats made it "prudent" for the Capitol Police to maintain their increased level of security at the Capitol.
- Reuters Videos
Facebook on Thursday said it had banned Myanmar’s military from its platforms, Facebook and Instagram.Facebook said in a blog post, "Events since the February 1 coup, including deadly violence, have precipitated a need for this ban.”Facebook’s ban came due to what the company calls “severe human rights abuses” and a “clear risk of future military-initiated violence.”The company added it would also ban advertisements from all military-linked “commercial entities.”The army detained Democratic party leaders earlier this month, including the popular figure, Aung San Suu Kyi, after alleging fraud in the November election in which Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy had won in a landslide.In 2018, Facebook banned Myanmar’s army chief and 19 other senior officers and organizations, and took down hundreds of accounts run by military members for spreading false or propaganda content.Ahead of the most recent November elections, Facebook announced it had taken down a network of 70 fake accounts and pages operated by members of the military.Despite those efforts, the tech giant said on Thursday that attempts had been made to rebuild those army-run networks on its platform.
- The State
“Her daddy got to heaven just before she did.”
- Business Insider
Students from Rep. Madison Cawthorn's college said he used 'fun drives' to corner women with sexual advances, report says
Two former resident assistants told BuzzFeed News they warned women in their dorms not to go on drives with Cawthorn because "bad things happened."
- Business Insider
Federal investigators zeroed in on the assailant after video footage showed the suspect attacking officers with bear spray, The Times reported.
- National Review
After only a month in power, President Biden has used lethal military force in reaction to Iranian-sponsored attacks on Americans in Iraq. The strike, said to be by F-15 jets, apparently attacked buildings owned by Iraqi Shiite militia groups along the Iraqi-Syrian border. It’s worth pausing to note that those Iranian-backed Iraqi Shiite groups and not the government of Iraq control that part of the border. In other words, Iran and its proxies control a route from Iraq through Syria to Lebanon, where the largest Iranian proxy, Hezbollah, is situated. The borders have been erased. The Biden strike is a message to Iran, a warning shot against continuing attacks by the militias Tehran backs. According to press reports, Biden was presented with a range of options and chose one of the softest — a limited strike inside Syria rather than Iraq. There is a logic to this choice. First, U.S. attacks inside Iraq would likely complicate life for Prime Minister Kadhimi, whom we are generally supporting, and spur the forces hostile to any U.S. presence — not least the Iranian-allied militias — to demand that all U.S. forces be expelled. Second, should further Iranian-sponsored attacks require Biden to hit Iranian-backed forces again, this limited strike allows him to say he tried patience and restraint and they failed. But the strike inside Syria and at Iranian proxies may also send messages Biden does not intend: that the United States will never hit Tehran’s proxies inside Iraq and that it will never hit Iran. If that’s what the Iranian regime infers, they will have the militias strike again and again; they will not be deterred because they will see the attacks as nearly cost-free. The law of averages suggests that sooner or later these continued attacks will kill Americans. That’s when the president will face the need to punish Iran and truly establish deterrence; merely attacking its proxies will be inadequate. One of the key functions of the Shiite militias in Iraq is to allow Iran to attack U.S. forces while, by absorbing any penalty, keeping Iran safe. If there are a series of attacks, harming Americans and eventually killing one or more, the kind of limited response from the United States that we saw this past week will not be enough. That does not mean World War III and it does not mean American bombers over Tehran, but it does mean that Biden must contemplate striking Iranian assets rather than expendable proxy groups. Meanwhile, there was zero progress on the nuclear-negotiations front this past week. On the contrary, Iran did not agree to attend the EU-sponsored talks that the United States has agreed to attend, it limited International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors’ access to Iran, and it threatened to enrich uranium to 60 percent. Nuclear power requires enrichment to no more than 5 percent; the only use for uranium enriched to 60 percent is in preparing a nuclear weapon. The very least that can be said about President Biden’s second month in power is that we are seeing any dreams of a quick return to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, also known as the JCPOA, and a quick resolution to U.S.-Iranian confrontations dissolve before our eyes. The president’s refusal, thus far, to lift any sanctions and his willingness to use force against Iranian proxies suggest a more realistic assessment of Iran than many feared. No doubt there will be many deep discussions, even debates, within the administration over what the next move should be. The administration’s willingness to return to the JCPOA if Iran went back into compliance with it has not moved the Islamic Republic an inch. Similarly, the administration’s reversal of the designation of the Houthis in Yemen as a terrorist group, and its decision to halt the sale of “offensive” weapons to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen, were met with zero flexibility by the Houthis — who have carried out additional terrorist attacks since the policy changes. Down the road the administration faces an even greater challenge than what to do about attacks on Americans in Iraq. President Biden has already decided that they will be met with force, and one must assume that if the attacks continue and escalate, the counter-attacks will as well. But what about Iran’s expulsion of nuclear inspectors, which violates the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and the “Additional Protocol” to the JCPOA (that allowed snap inspections)? What about enrichment to 60 percent, if that indeed occurs? How far down the road toward building a nuclear weapon will the administration be willing to let Iran go? That’s a hypothetical question today, but if Iran keeps going it will soon be keeping U.S. officials up at night. Biden is the fifth American president in a row, by my count, to say Iran would never be permitted to build a nuclear weapon. Unless Iran changes course he could be the first to have to prove it.
- Charlotte Observer
This is the shocking story of the alleged sexual abuses that led to the January arrest of Sandra Hiler — aka Charlotte piano teacher Keiko Aloe — as told by her 21-year-old daughter.
Residents of an Indian slum thought they were getting vaccinated like everyone else but were unknowingly part of a clinical trial
After a white van advertised COVID-19 vaccines to a central-Indian slum, many of its residents feel duped after finding out they were in a trial.