By Mehmet Emin Caliskan, Lisa Barrington and Humeyra Pamuk BAB AL SALAMA, Syria/BEIRUT (Reuters) - Russian and Syrian government forces on Saturday intensified an assault on rebel-held areas around the Syrian city of Aleppo that has prompted tens of thousands to flee to the Turkish border to seek refuge. The assault around Aleppo, which aid workers have said could soon fall to government forces, helped torpedo Syrian peace talks in Geneva this week. Russia's intervention has tipped the balance of the war in favor of President Bashar al-Assad, reversing gains the rebels made last year. Any hopes of a ceasefire were dampened by Assad's foreign minister, who said it would be all but impossible to stop the fighting while rebels were able to pass freely across the borders with Turkey and Jordan. Advances by the Syrian army and allied militias, including Iranian fighters, are threatening to cut off rebel-held zones of Aleppo, still home to around 350,000 people, while more than a million live in government-controlled areas. Further complicating the tangle of belligerents that has characterized the civil war, Syrian opposition officials accused the Kurdish YPG militia of coordinating attacks on rebels with Syrian and allied forces in the latest assault. Taking full control of Aleppo, Syria's largest city before the civil war erupted five years ago, would be a huge strategic prize for Assad's government in a conflict that has killed at least 250,000 people across the country and driven 11 million from their homes. Mevlut Cavusoglu, foreign minister of Turkey, which has already taken in 2.5 million Syrians, said up to 55,000 were now fleeing to the frontier. CAMPS ON SYRIAN SIDE Cavusoglu said the border was open, but at the Oncupinar crossing near the Turkish city of Kilis, which has been largely shut for nearly a year, refugees were being shepherded into camps on the Syrian side. The local governor on the Turkish side of the border, Suleyman Tapsiz, said around 35,000 Syrians had reached Oncupinar in the space of 48 hours. "Our doors are not closed, but at the moment there is no need to host such people inside our borders," he said. A Turkish aid official said the refugees on the Syrian side were safe and being given food. One camp was teeming with women and small children, some of whom carried bottles of water or played in the mud. Some of the tents were ripped and dirty while others, provided by a Turkish aid organization, appeared new. One refugee, Muhammed Idris, said he had fled from the nearby Syrian town of Azaz, counting on the open-door policy touted by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan. After four days, he was still waiting to get in. "Before, Tayyip Erdogan was saying on TV that Syria and Turkey are brothers, but now he is not opening the doors," he told Reuters. "Our houses are destroyed and we came to his house. Where else should we go?" A Reuters reporter at Oncupinar could hear occasional shelling and saw several Turkish ambulances cross the border. On the Turkish side, dozens of refugees who had already made it in queued up to beg the authorities to allow their relatives in, or to cross the border in the hope of bringing them back. "THOUSANDS WAITING" Sitting in his car with his four children just inside Turkey, Ahmet Sadul, 43, was hoping to get back into Syria to look for relatives from Azaz. "Now there are thousands of people from Azaz all waiting on the other side. They escaped from the Russians. I want to go and get my relatives. They are bombing Syrians all the time." Russia denies targeting civilians and says its actions are aimed at shoring up Syria's legitimate government and combating terrorism. The West and Turkey, which want Assad to step down, accuse Moscow of using indiscriminate force. The United States has been a major backer of the Syrian Kurdish YPG in the fight against Islamic State militants in Syria. But now the opposition said it was being targeted by the Kurds. "What is going on (north of Aleppo) is the regime advances with Russian air cover and support by Kurdish forces. They are trying to impose a new reality," said a rebel commander. The Syrian Kurds have consistently denied opposition claims that they cooperate with Damascus. What is clear is that Syria has been emboldened by Russia's intervention. Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem told a news conference on Saturday that Damascus would resist anyone who launched a ground incursion into its territory. "Those (who do so) will return to their countries in coffins," he said, adding that no ceasefire would be possible unless borders were sealed. The comments appeared to be aimed at Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, which said this week they were ready to participate in any ground operations in Syria that the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq decided to mount. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which collates witness reports, said fighting continued in areas north of Aleppo, and that government and allied forces were also attacking villages to the east of the city and to the southwest, around the main highway to Damascus. (Additional reporting by Tom Perry in BEIRUT and Robin Emmott and Tom Koerkemeier in AMSTERDAM; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Toby Chopra)
- The Independent
The congresswoman blames rogue staff for the platform document and said she never planned to launch anything
- The Daily Beast
Photo: GettyIf someone gets a headache or feels a bit under the weather after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, it’s become common to hear them say something like “Oh, it just means my immune system is really working hard.” On the flip side, when people don’t notice any side effects, they sometimes worry the shot isn’t doing its job or their immune system isn’t reacting at all.Is there any link between what you can notice after a vaccine and what’s happening on the cellular level inside your body? Robert Finberg is a physician who specializes in infectious diseases and immunology at the Medical School at the University of Massachusetts. He explains how this perception doesn’t match the reality of how vaccines work.What does your body do when you get a vaccine?Your immune system responds to the foreign molecules that make up any vaccine via two different systems.The initial response is due to what’s called the innate immune response. This system is activated as soon as your cells notice you’ve been exposed to any foreign material, from a splinter to a virus. Its goal is to eliminate the invader. White blood cells called neutrophils and macrophages travel to the intruder and work to destroy it.This first line of defense is relatively short-lived, lasting hours or days.The second line of defense takes days to weeks to get up and running. This is the long-lasting adaptive immune response. It relies on your immune system’s T and B cells that learn to recognize particular invaders, such as a protein from the coronavirus. If the invader is encountered again, months or even years in the future, it’s these immune cells that will recognize the old enemy and start generating the antibodies that will take it down.In the case of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, it takes approximately two weeks to develop the adaptive response that brings long-lasting protection against the virus.Be Very, Very Skeptical of These ‘Bad News’ Vaccine ReportsWhen you get the vaccine shot, what you’re noticing in the first day or two is part of the innate immune response: your body’s inflammatory reaction, aimed at quickly clearing the foreign molecules that breached your body’s perimeter.It varies from person to person, but how dramatic the initial response is does not necessarily relate to the long-term response. In the case of the two mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, well over 90 percent of people immunized developed the protective adaptive immune response while fewer than 50 percent developed any side effects, and most were mild.You may never know how strongly your body’s adaptive immune response is gearing up.The bottom line is you can’t gauge how well the vaccine is working within your body based on what you can detect from the outside. Different people do mount stronger or weaker immune responses to a vaccine, but post-shot side effects won’t tell you which you are. It’s the second, adaptive immune response that helps your body gain vaccine immunity, not the inflammatory response that triggers those early aches and pains.What are side effects, anyway?Side effects are normal responses to the injection of a foreign substance. They include things like fever, muscle pain and discomfort at the injection site, and are mediated by the innate immune response.Neutrophils or macrophages in your body notice the vaccine molecules and produce cytokines—molecular signals that cause fever, chills, fatigue and muscle pain. Doctors expect this cytokine reaction to happen any time a foreign substance is injected into the body.In studies where neither recipients nor researchers knew which individuals were getting the mRNA vaccine or a placebo, approximately half of people aged 16 to 55 who received a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine developed a headache after the second dose. This reaction may relate to the vaccine—but a quarter of people who received just a placebo also developed a headache. So in the case of very common symptoms, it can be quite difficult to attribute them to the vaccine with any certainty.Researchers anticipate some reports of side effects. Adverse events, on the other hand, are things that physicians do not expect to happen as a result of the vaccine. They would include organ failure or serious damage to any part of the body.The blood clots that triggered the U.S. to pause distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are a very rare event, apparently happening with one-in-a-million frequency. Whether they are definitely caused by the vaccine is still under investigation—but if scientists conclude they are, blood clots would be an extremely rare side effect.What component in the shot causes side effects?The only “active ingredient” in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines is the mRNA instructions that tell the recipient’s cells to build a viral protein. But the shots have other components that help the mRNA travel inside your body.To get the vaccine’s mRNA into the vaccinated person’s cells where it can do its job, it must evade enzymes in the body that would naturally destroy it. Researchers protected the mRNA in the vaccine by wrapping it in a bubble of lipids that help it avoid destruction. Other ingredients in the shots—like polyethylene glycol, which is part of this lipid envelope—could cause allergic responses.If I feel sick after my shot, does that signal strong immunity?Scientists haven’t identified any relationship between the initial inflammatory reaction and the long-term response that leads to protection. There’s no scientific proof that someone with more obvious side effects from the vaccine is then better protected from COVID-19. And there’s no reason that having an exaggerated innate response would make your adaptive response any better.Both the authorized mRNA vaccines provided protective immunity to over 90 percent of recipients, but fewer than 50 percent reported any reaction to the vaccine and far fewer had severe reactions.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.
- The Independent
Paul Rossi accuses the school of ‘demonising’ white people in its curriculum
- Business Insider
George W. Bush condemns the Republican Party as 'isolationist, protectionist,' and 'nativist' and says it's scaring people about immigration
"It's an easy issue to frighten some of the electorate, and I'm trying to have a different voice," Bush said Tuesday of immigration.
- The Independent
Jury comes to its decision following high-profile trial
- The Independent
Former president gives first sit down interview with major news network since he left for Florida
Since 2005, about 140 non-federal police officers in the United States have been charged with murder or manslaughter resulting from an on-duty shooting, according to data compiled by Philip Stinson, a criminologist at Bowling Green State University. - Former Minneapolis officer Mohamed Noor was convicted in 2019 of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for killing 40-year-old Justine Ruszczyk Damond, a white Australian, outside her home near Minneapolis in 2017.
- Business Insider
Apple's major event is today, police demand data on a Tesla crash, and Facebook capitalizes on the audio craze: 10 things in tech you need to know.
Jimmy Carter's running mate lost heavily to Ronald Reagan in the 1984 presidential election.
- The Independent
President says it was ‘really important’ that former police officer found guilty on all counts
- The Independent
‘If the effect is deleterious to the ability of people of colour to participate in elections, then that is problematic and that is wrong,’ Abrams says
- The Week
Golden Globes group distances itself from former president's email labeling Black Lives Matter a 'racist hate movement'
The group that gives out the Golden Globes is once again under fire. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which each year puts on the Golden Globe Awards, is distancing itself from a controversial email sent by its former president about the Black Lives Matter movement. The Los Angeles Times revealed that Phil Berk, who was the HFPA's president for eight terms, sent an email to members of the association on Sunday sharing a post that labeled Black Lives Matter a "racist hate movement." Berk, according to the report, didn't link to a source in the email but was apparently quoting from an article titled "BLM Goes Hollywood," which also claimed that Black Lives Matter is "carrying on [Charles] Manson's work" to "start a race war." The email reportedly drew backlash from HFPA members, one of whom wrote back, "Please remove me from any racist email you wish to send to the membership." A board member also reportedly wrote, "The vile rhetoric contained in this screed is simply unacceptable." The HFPA told the Times that the "views expressed in the article circulated by Mr. Berk are those of the author of the article and do not — in any way shape or form — reflect the views and values of the HFPA." The organization also said it "condemns all forms of racism, discrimination and hate speech and finds such language and content unacceptable." The Hollywood Foreign Press Association faced heavy criticism in the lead-up to this year's Golden Globes after a report revealed its voting body doesn't consist of a single Black member. During the February awards show, officials from the organization came on stage to acknowledge they have "work to do." According to The Hollywood Reporter, the HFPA, which has said it will announce changes by May 5, is considering taking action against Berk. Update: The Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced on Tuesday it has now expelled Berk from the organization. More stories from theweek.comAll 40 movies nominated for an Oscar this year, rankedThe new HBO show you won't be able to stop watchingFormer Trump aides are reportedly frustrated he didn't become vaccine 'salesman-in-chief' as planned
- The Daily Beast
The Daily Beast/GettyWhen Vogue profiled a 22 year-old Michael Kors in 1981, he told the magazine, “I want to make clothes that won’t date.” Forty years later, while celebrating his brand’s anniversary, the manifestation has come true.For his digital show—a star-studded event featuring Broadway stars, supermodels like Ashley Graham, Bella Hadid, Helena Christensen, plus a surprise appearance by Naomi Campbell—the New York designer heralded a return to slick city dressing, utilizing the Theater District as its backdrop.The show stream began with an intro filmed at Sardi’s, with Zoom boxes lighting up the restaurant’s famed portraits. Broadway legends like Alan Cumming, Billy Porter, Chita Rivera, Marisa Tomei, and a muted Bette Midler warmed up the crowd with both jokes about Hamilton and Laura Benanti’s famous vocal range, plus facts about Broadway’s economic impact and importance to New York City.NYFW: Barry Manilow Sang ‘Copacabana’ at Michael Kors’ Show. It Was Amazing.Marisa Tomei remembered her first Michael Kors piece—a red leather jacket—and Cynthia Nixon let us know that in the 2018/2019 season, Broadway supported over 100,000 local jobs. (Kors urged viewers to support The Actors Fund, and both Kors and his company donated to the safety net organization for performing arts workers.)And then came the runway, which was filmed on the empty city streets of the Theater District. With a backdrop filled with marquees, Kors tapped the kind of model cast one can have on standby only after working for as long as he has. Bella Hadid wore a fire engine red patent leather coat and matching mini dress and Karen Elson had on a sharply tailored checkered overcoat. Helena Christensen, Irina Shayk, and Carolyn Murphy all wore floor-length metallic dresses—Going Out Clothes, all caps. Bella Hadid walks along 46th Street during the Michael Kors Fashion Show. James Devaney/GC Images Some of the pieces were reissued versions of older ones first seen on the runway in the ’90s. Mika Schneider wore a zebra printed mini skirt suit that was inspired by one Helena Christensen wore while modeling Kors’ 1994 collection.So yes, the pieces were timeless in that way all well-tailored, long-lined clothing is. Kors runs a well-oiled machine. He took few risks, but he’s never been a daredevil in his designs. Naomi Campbell walks along 46th Street during the Michael Kors Fashion Show. James Devaney/GC Images As Kors told Vogue recently, “There’s a part of me that’s very pragmatic, and then there’s a part of me that’s silly and indulgent.”For pragmatism: there was built-up power suiting, armor-like puffer coats, and cashmere sweaters. Nearly anyone could wear those pieces. And then there were the pops of fancy: mini dresses with up-to-there slits, glitter jumpsuits, Naomi Campbell strutting slow and steady in a shimmering black gown. Irina Shayk. Jose Perez/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images It was an ode to that fabled New York woman you hear about in Odyssey songs—fitting for a man who once skipped his Long Island high school prom to party at Studio 54. That gal about town fantasy of the city—which looks nothing like the pared-down reality we’ve been living in for the past 13 months—inspires countless moves to New York. Broadway is vital to the city’s recovery and economy, sure, but so are the clothes Kors makes that reflect those hopes and dreams. Helena Christensen walks along 46th Street during the Michael Kors Fashion Show in Times Square on April 08, 2021 in New York City. James Devaney/GC Images There has been a lot of talk lately about how we will dress post-pandemic; Kors is clearly Team Keep Calm and Carry On. He’ll make a deal with you: no sweatpants at the office anymore. But you can feel comfortable in his amped-up basics, which ooze that type of easy and unfussy glamour he’s so well known for. Carolyn Murphy. Jose Perez/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images 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.
- Associated Press
All six English clubs dramatically abandoned plans to join a European Super League on Tuesday, imploding the breakaway project with Spanish and Italian counterparts within 48 hours of the announcement. Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham deserted the plans for a largely-closed midweek competition amid an escalating backlash from their supporters and warnings from government that legislation could be introduced to thwart them. The Super League project was overseen by Real Madrid President Florentino Perez, who also signed up Barcelona and Atlético Madrid in Spain, and Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan from Italy.
Chronology of key events in the history of Chad
- The Independent
Tim Walz says local and state resources ‘exhausted’ by Brooklyn Centre killing
- The Independent
‘He was just letting us know that he was praying for us, hoping that everything will come out to be OK,’ Philonise Floyd tells the TODAY Show
- Miami Herald
It’s official: Spencer Knight is going to make his debut for the Florida Panthers.
- The Conversation
The ups and downs of European soccer are part of its culture – moving to a US-style 'closed' Super League would destroy that
Super League plans have fans screaming into the void, like soccer star Lionel Messi here. Josep Lago/AFP via Getty ImagesA dozen of the world’s biggest soccer clubs – including Barcelona, Manchester United and Liverpool FC – announced on April 18, 2021, that they are forming a new European super league, underwritten by a reported US$5.5 billion in funding from banking giant J.P. Morgan Chase. The competition – membership in which is expected to expand to 20 teams – would supersede the UEFA Champions League, which is the competition in which these top-tier teams usually compete. The clubs have two motives for creating this breakaway league. First, the proposal would significantly increase the number of games played among big clubs from different countries. This would likely attract huge global audiences and significantly increase revenues – to be split among the member clubs. Second, the intention is that the founder clubs would be guaranteed a place in the league regardless of how they performed in the previous season. In contrast, clubs have to earn their place in the Champions League and all European national leagues. As an expert on sports management, co-author of the book “Soccernomics,” and someone who predicted the super league some 22 years ago, I can appreciate the benefit of more games. UEFA, the governing body for European soccer, was itself about to announce a revamped version of the Champions League with more games for the big clubs. It is, I believe, a reasonable response to the level of demand. But the desire of the elites to insulate themselves from competition and enhance profitability is much more questionable. And it is here that much of the backlash has been directed. A sporting world leagues apart To an American audience, the move might seem uncontroversial, but to Europeans it represents a fundamental breach with tradition and has raised enormous passions. All major professional leagues in North America are “closed” leagues; obtaining entry to a league is secured by payment of a franchise fee, which for the major leagues would amount to billions of dollars nowadays. But soccer leagues in Europe have always been “open” leagues. Divisions are ranked according to a recognized hierarchy – the best teams play in the top league, the next-best group in the second, and so on. Every season the best-performing teams in lower divisions obtain promotion to the next league up, while the worst-performing teams are relegated to the next tier down. This promotion-and-relegation system characterizes the organization of soccer in almost every country in the world, with the U.S. being a notable exception. The European Commission has long described the system as “one of the key features of the European model of sport.” Americans are often puzzled by the commitment of Europeans to this promotion-and-relegation system. After all, promoted teams can be uncompetitive, ensuring relegation 12 months later. And a team currently playing in the fourth tier of its national league system is very unlikely to play in the Champions League – not soon, and probably not ever. Nonetheless, fans of these small clubs responded to news of the Super League with outrage. The belief that one’s team, no matter how small, can make it to the top tier, playing against the best clubs – regardless of the fact that the odds are stacked against this – is a dream many smaller clubs cling to. It is the soccer equivalent of the American dream. And versions of this dream have happened. The English club Leicester City went into bankruptcy in 2002 and was relegated to the third tier in 2008 – but won the Premier League at odds of 5,000-1 in 2016, guaranteeing it a place among the European elite in the Champions League the following year. An own goal? Without the opportunity to rise up the system, the European soccer system will end up much like baseball in America – a sport dominated by one major league, controlling a collection of minor league teams, with no lower-level competition to speak of. But baseball in the U.S. needn’t have taken that direction. A century ago, American baseball was more like European soccer – every town of any size had a team playing in a league that commanded significant local interest. History books tell us that these teams and leagues were killed off by radio and TV, giving fans access to a higher level of competition that was deemed to be more attractive to watch. But that’s not quite the whole story. Europe got radio and TV too, but every small town has its own team competing in a league at some level in the hierarchy. These teams did not die when people were able to watch higher-quality soccer on TV – because these teams embodied the one quality that lies at the core of both sport and human survival: hope. Ask any fans of a small club about whether their team could one day rise to the top, and they will likely tell you that they believe. What Europeans fear, and loathe, about the proposed Super League is that it will be a first step toward ending the promotion-and-relegation system, which to supporters across the continent amounts to saying that it is the first step toward extinguishing hope. Opposition to Manchester United’s American owner was evident even before the Super League announcement. Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty Images It is also not lost on European fans that three of the prime movers of the Super League are American owners of major franchises – the Glazer family, which owns both Manchester United and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; John Henry, Liverpool and Boston Red Sox owner; and Arsenal and Colorado Avalanche owner Stan Kroenke. The proposed Super League would in all likelihood increase both their profits and their power within the game. Already, the backlash has featured an element of anti-Americanism. And given the high feelings across Europe to this proposal, that could become very ugly. [Insight, in your inbox each day. You can get it with The Conversation’s email newsletter.]This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts. It was written by: Stefan Szymanski, University of Michigan. Read more:European Super League: why punishing the breakaway 12 could backfire badlyBaseball stadiums are filling up – but an analysis of the NFL’s 2020 season holds a warning about COVID-19 case spikes Stefan Szymanski does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
- Raleigh News and Observer
The Panthers have addressed almost every need on the roster in free agency.