Growing up, Elladj Balde said “a lot of athletes and artists ... looked like me, but they were not within the figure skating realm.” He is now pursuing his passion and hoping to change the narrative.
Thailand on Sunday reported 967 new COVID-19 cases, its biggest daily jump, but no new deaths as the country deals with a third wave of infections and a highly contagious variant. Of the infections, 964 were domestic transmissions, including 236 in the capital Bangkok, the epicentre of an outbreak that has spread to most of Thailand's 77 provinces.
- Business Insider
Trump spent several minutes insulting 'dumb son of a b---h' Mitch McConnell during a rambling speech to GOP donors at Mar-a-Lago, say reports
Former President Donald Trump took aim at Senate Minority Leader for his lack of support during his February impeachment trial, Politico reported.
But despite the huge inoculation drive, India has just registered another record increase in cases.
- The State
In the last 10 years, at least nine S.C. sheriffs have faced criminal charges in either state or federal court. All have been convicted.
Guests and staff at the Kahala Resort & Hotel were sheltering in place, and guests in rooms near the incident had been evacuated, the news site added. "This evening, an individual with a firearm barricaded himself in one of the guest rooms at The Kahala,” Hawaii News Now cited a statement from the hotel as saying. "Our security personnel and law enforcement have evacuated guests and employees from the immediate area and everyone is sheltering in place."
- Business Insider
Vice President Mike Pence pleaded with the acting defense secretary to 'clear the Capitol' as pro-Trump rioters overran the building, report says
The Associated Press obtained an internal Pentagon document that detailed the call, which came after rioters had overrun the building.
- Business Insider
A GOP congressman said so many Republican voters now believe in the QAnon conspiracy theory it could destroy the party
Rep. Peter Meijer told CNN that "disillusionment and alienation" could lead conservatives not to vote or trigger violence like the January 6 attack.
- USA TODAY Opinion
What was Rep. Chip Roy thinking? I don't know, but there's no excuse for words that evoke racially motivated hangings, hundreds in Texas alone.
- The Telegraph
The Duke of Edinburgh’s coffin will be carried through the grounds of Windsor Castle in a modified Land Rover that he designed for the occasion himself. The funeral will take place next Saturday at 3pm, following a short procession in which the Prince of Wales and senior members of the Royal family will follow the coffin on foot as it is driven to St George’s Chapel. The Queen will not take part in the procession. It will be a royal funeral like no other, with Royals adhering to Covid-19 guidelines by wearing masks throughout the ceremony and maintaining social distancing. A Buckingham Palace spokesperson confirmed that it would not be a state occasion, in accordance with the Duke’s wishes, but a ceremonial royal funeral in line with the Queen Mother’s funeral in 2002. Her Majesty gave final approval to the plans, which “very much reflect the personal wishes of the Duke" who died peacefully at home in Windsor Castle on Friday morning.
- Business Insider
Kemp said that Democratic-led jurisdictions in the state "need to do a better job of running their elections and moving people through the lines."
Prince Charles breaks the royal family's public silence after Prince Philip's death: 'I miss my father enormously'
The Prince of Wales is the first of Queen and Prince Philip's four children to share a statement after the death of their father.
- Associated Press
Iran's underground Natanz nuclear facility lost power Sunday just hours after starting up new advanced centrifuges capable of enriching uranium faster, the latest incident to strike the site amid negotiations over the tattered atomic accord with world powers. As Iranian officials investigated the outage, many Israeli media outlets offered the similar assessment that a cyberattack darkened Natanz and damaged a facility that is home to sensitive centrifuges. While the reports offered no sourcing for the evaluation, Israeli media maintains a close relationship with the country's military and intelligence agencies.
- The Daily Beast
Scott Buffon/Arizona Daily Sun via APJust 10 miles south of the entrance to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon is a giant hole in the ground where miners are hoping to strike it big with one of Earth’s rarest but deadliest elements—uranium. Despite it only being about 17 acres in size, the Canyon Mine extends over 1,400 feet down into the Earth’s surface and critics worry it could scar the Grand Canyon itself and pollute a nearby tribe’s water.Mining has been prevalent in the region surrounding the Grand Canyon since the early 1900s. During the atomic era of the 1950s, it was a little bit like the Wild West—interest in uranium mining soared and it evolved into a highly unregulated industry, where people were walking around with Geiger counters and shovels, hoping to sell it to the government for profit.As the price of uranium plummeted, so did interest in mining the region. However, in the mid-2000s, there was a massive market spike in the mineral, and the craze was back on. While better regulated, by the end of the decade there were over a thousand new uranium mining claims in the area surrounding the Grand Canyon.In 2012, unsure of the environmental consequences of uranium mining in the region, the Department of the Interior put a 20-year ban on staking new claims—effectively banning all new mining activities near the Grand Canyon.Conservationists were ecstatic about this. But there was just one small problem.Using a mining law from 1872 that critics call outdated, the USFS determined that miners who had established “valid existing rights,” to mine before the ban could continue to do so. To have such rights, a miner must have, before the ban, discovered and unearthed a “valuable mineral deposit”—one that can be extracted, removed, and marketed at a profit.The USFS found one mine to possess “valid existing rights,” and to thereby be exempt from the ban—Canyon Mine.The 2012 ban continued to draw scrutiny from both sides. Conservationists argued the ban should be made permanent, meanwhile, the Trump administration took steps to potentially eliminate it and make uranium more lucrative as a geopolitical strategy.As a result, Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) introduced the Grand Canyon Centennial Protection Act to the House on Feb. 26, 2019, a bill that seeks to permanently ban all new mining in the region and protect the Grand Canyon from industrial interests.The bill passed the House via a partisan vote, and has been introduced into the Senate, where it is expected to pass as well.While conservationists view this as a good first step, the singular issue remains—Canyon Mine, which courtesy of the USFS decision in 2012, would remain exempt from the permanent ban.To get at the controversy of Canyon Mine, you don’t need to go too far down the shaft. In fact, even the name of the mine itself is a point of contention.The mine, which was named Canyon Mine across several owners and several decades, was recently renamed by its owner, Energy Fuels, to the Pinyon Planes Mine.Outlets have speculated that this was done to draw less attention to the mine. Curtis Moore, the VP of marketing and corporate development for the company, confirmed this, when he told The Daily Beast that this was done, “because conservationists were making it seem like we were mining in the Grand Canyon, which we are not.”Taylor McKinnon of the Center for Biological Diversity, a conservation nonprofit, laughed this off: “They named it Canyon Mine in the first place because of how close it is to the Grand Canyon—not us,” he said. He added—“It’s funny, I don’t think Pinyon Planes is even a real place.”As you delve deeper into the mine, the story only becomes more complex, obscure, and flat-out strange.Get this: In the 35 years it has been operational, there has never been uranium ore extracted from the mine. While this is mostly due to a lack of demand for uranium, among other factors, that doesn’t mean the mine isn’t filled with other problems—or at the very least, the potential for catastrophic ones.For starters, the mine is operating under a USFS Environmental Impact Statement, as required by the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) dating back to 1986, one that was originally challenged by the Havasupai Tribe in court. Despite the bans and the increase in knowledge about the hydrology of the Grand Canyon, as well as calls from conservationists and local tribes to conduct a new study, the USFS has refused to do so. A Federal Appellate court upheld this decision by the USFS in 2013.Moore defended the decision and said that having a new study done was unnecessary. “It’s like getting a permit for your house,” Moore told The Beast. “We were already approved—why get a new one?”McKinnon, of course, sees it another way. Citing that they haven’t extracted any uranium, he laughed, “If each EIS took 5 years, they could’ve done four by now. The truth is,” he added, “they don’t want to delve into the facts and the truth because they’re afraid.”However, in 2017, the inevitable happened. Despite the original environmental impact statement from 1986 that claimed the mine “would have no significant impact,” on the environment or the public interest,” and also suggested that “flooding was nearly impossible,” Energy Fuels pierced an aquifer in the mine, and water came gushing out.How “bad” this situation is depends on who you ask.For environmentalists, it’s as close to disaster as it gets. Several groups including the Center for Biological Diversity have called for the shutting-down and closure of the mine as a result of the flooding and the company’s response to it, which according to conservationists and the Arizona Daily Sun involved spraying contaminated water into forests and loading water into trucks to be taken to Utah. However, Energy Fuels doesn’t see a problem.In fact, when The Daily Beast mentioned the flooding to Energy Fuels, Moore defended it, claiming it was “done on purpose,” “all part of the plan,” and “in compliance with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) and the USFS.”Moore explained that the aquifer they pierced is perched, isolated, separate from the aquifers environmentalists are most afraid of being contaminated—groundwater aquifers—and that there is “no evidence,” and “no chance” that it currently is impacting or in the future will impact the Grand Canyon.Of course, environmentalists are already concerned it is happening. McKinnon said, “No one can assure us or them that this aquifer which was pierced was not connected to the Grand Canyon springs—which could both drain the springs and contaminate the groundwater.”While Moore said they have monitors to test the groundwater, environmentalists insist there should be more extensive monitoring done, especially since, “ADEQ has acknowledged that if there were a uranium leak into the groundwater, there is no plan to fix it,” said McKinnon.“The bottom line,” McKinnon argues, “is that they’ve created a flooding problem. The water flooding the mine and being pumped out exceeds EPA standards for dissolved uranium and arsenic. There are no guarantees in the long run—there are no guarantees that mining won’t harm the deep aquifer in the near future, even if it isn’t harmed now.”Moore argues that the flooding has been drastically reduced in recent years, and that comparing it to EPA standards for drinking water, as environmentalists frequently do, is irrelevant.“No one is suggesting you drink the water,” Moore intoned.As of now and as a result of these floods, the ADEQ is actually in the midst of developing a new draft Aquifer Protection Permit for Pinyon Planes Mine, which is expected to be out by April 26th.While this could lead to the end of Pinyon Planes Mine, conservationists aren’t getting their hopes up.“We petitioned to have them make a closure permit, but we doubt that will happen,” McKinnon said.For Moore, shutting down the mine would be a huge mistake. He views uranium as a path towards a greener, carbon-free future. “These activists are antinuclear for some reason,” he said, adding, “even though it is the best way to address climate change.” He went as far as to assert that “all of these claims [made by conservationists] are not based in science or reality.”For conservationists, they are just hoping this bill passes the Senate, although it will be the first battle in what they view as a long war.“The passage of this legislation would demonstrate the need to deal with Canyon Mine even more forcefully,” Taylor McKinnon said. He added, “But the bill itself, it’s narrow. It’s important but there’s a lot more that needs to be done, including a multi-level, multi-billion-dollar clean-up.”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
Of the 123,500 Marines who have been offered a vaccine, about 48,000 said no, while about 75,500 agreed to get one, according to data obtained by CNN.
Prince Harry will attend Prince Philip's funeral without Meghan Markle, who didn't get permission to fly
Prince Harry will attend Prince Philip's funeral, which is set to be held April 17. Markle, who's pregnant, didn't get medical clearance to fly.
- LA Times
Recording artist Bad Bunny shocks the world at Wrestlemania
- Business Insider
The Republican National Committee is shelling out over $100,000 for a 400-person dinner at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort
"Mar-a-Lago and Palm Beach are the center of the Republican universe right now," a spokesman for Trump told The Washington Post.
- Associated Press
Middle East economies are recovering from the coronavirus pandemic faster than anticipated, largely due to the acceleration of mass inoculation campaigns and an increase in oil prices. In its latest report, the IMF again revised upward its 2020 economic outlook for the Mideast and North Africa, now outlining just a 3.4% contraction last year, with growth for the region's oil exporters buoyed by a boom for commodities and rise in oil price, which hit $67 a barrel in March. “We are a year into the crisis and recovery is back, but it is a divergent recovery,” Jihad Azour, director of the Middle East and Central Asia department at the IMF, told The Associated Press.
- The Daily Beast
GettyJoe Biden is on a roll. His approval rating is higher than his predecessor’s ever was. Almost three-quarters of Americans think he’s doing a good job handling the COVID pandemic. Sixty percent approve of his handling of the economy.So now is the time for him to start looking at what could go wrong, and turning his attention past our borders. It’s no coincidence that the one area where Biden’s ratings lag is at our southern border, where his efforts to fix the problems his predecessor exacerbated have hit problem after problem, all of them magnified by the knowledge of desperate immigrants that Donald Trump is gone.But that’s not the only place where the world is going to come knocking and, as Biden’s predecessors know, the results are often problematic. Barack Obama was elected to get us out of George W. Bush’s wars and in his first year he discovered how tough that would be and ended up actually increasing our troop levels in Afghanistan (over the objections of his vice president). George Bush was doing fine until Sept. 11, 2001. Bill Clinton’s first foreign crisis also took place in his first year in office with the Battle of Mogadishu and the notorious Black Hawk Down incident. George H.W. Bush’s first year in office saw both the Tiananmen Square uprising and massacre and a wave of revolutions in the satellite states of the crumbling Soviet Union that transformed the geopolitical landscape.It’s a very different world today, but two unfolding situations involving Russia and China, still America’s most significant international rivals, point to the challenges ahead for Biden. Russia has in recent weeks increased troop and military resource deployment on the Crimean peninsula and along the Russian-Ukrainian border. And China has increased aggressive posturing toward Taiwan and within the South and East China Seas that has Asian and U.S. military leaders deeply concerned.While neither a Russian invasion of Ukraine nor a Chinese attack on Taiwan is considered the most likely near-term consequence of their saber-rattling, it does not make these situations less risky. In both cases, that is because the stakes for the U.S., our interests and allies are very high and our effective options are limited. It should also be emphasized that in both cases, the possibility of military action by our adversaries is not zero.In Ukraine, multiple recent diplomatic talks involving, in different combinations, the Russians, Ukrainians, Germans, French, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe have been unproductive. Unsurprisingly, the Russians have said that their actions “should absolutely not concern anyone. Russia does not constitute a threat to any country in the world.” Also unsurprisingly, given their track record, their words were greeted with disbelief. Ukraine’s military is on alert. Nerves are frayed.With regard to Taiwan and disputed territory in the South and East China Sea, fears are based on years of gradually accelerating build-up of Chinese capabilities. China’s navy has been expanded. Deployments and over-flights in and around disputed areas have grown. Chinese rhetoric has ranged from unapologetic to downright confrontational. Last month, the top U.S. commander in the region told a Senate hearing that he expected the threat against Taiwan could come to a head within the next six years. But serious problems seem certain much sooner. Just days ago, China announced that drills of its carrier group near Taiwan will become regular events and the U.S. responded with a visit of the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group to the area for the second time this year.Were Russia to seek to expand its control in Ukraine or China to intentionally or otherwise trigger a conflict around Taiwan or disputed islands in waters it claims, the consequences would be a major crisis.The Biden administration has been actively engaged on both fronts. The president spoke to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky days ago. Days before that, Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with his Ukrainian counterpart and said the U.S. supported the Ukraine “in the face of Russia’s on-going aggression.” During a recent trip to Asia the secretary of state made it clear the U.S. would not stand for Chinese “coercion and aggression” and raised Chinese hackles when he referred to Taiwan as a country. In bilateral meetings, the U.S. underscored these points. As recently as this week, the U.S. expressed solidarity with the Philippines in opposition to the provocative encroachment of Chinese vessels in Philippine waters.Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping are, at least to some degree, testing the Biden administration to see how they will respond to these threats. So far, they have seen clarity and resolute toughness. But, the reality is that whatever our pronouncements and stated policies might be, the U.S. is unlikely to enter directly into military action to defend either Ukraine or Taiwan. The potential risk of rapid escalation, major losses and global conflict are just too high.That means that the Biden team must head off these crises before they get to that point. They must forge a united front with allies to show that the negative repercussions for aggression would be great and that the US will not be isolated. They need to make it clear that there are red lines short of actual aggression that will trigger heavy sanctions. They need to underscore that they will provide active support to strengthen the defense of all of our allies in the region. They need to increase military readiness in a way that sends a clear message. And, above all, they need to find diplomatic means of defusing these tensions.Should they fall short on any of these fronts, even without war, these conflicts could ramp up to become major distractions, create tension with allies and/or produce an appearance of weakness or ineffectiveness back home. So far, Biden and his team have made the right moves. They have particularly distinguished themselves from Trump with their embrace both of multilateralism and diplomacy and, at the same time, have surprised some with the clarity and strength of their responses to the Chinese and the Russians.But, the rub when it comes to foreign policy is that the U.S. does not hold all the cards. An over-reaching Putin seeking to build support back home may resort to his familiar ploy of seeking a win in Russia’s near abroad. Naval and air encounters in China’s neighborhood can easily produce accidental clashes and consequent escalation. China has also been more brutal in Hong Kong and its Northwest recently, suggesting that it is not much swayed by global public opinion.These are not the only potential international risks that could make life complicated for President Biden. North Korea remains a risk. Tensions in the Persian Gulf remain high. The likelihood of setbacks in Afghanistan as we dial back our presence is also great. In addition, the COVID pandemic is raging around the world which could produce recession, tensions over vaccines, humanitarian crises and more.History and the current reality collaborate to offer a compelling reminder therefore, that if Joe Biden wants to build on his successes to date or maintain his momentum on his domestic agenda, he will have to be attentive to the kind of looming dangers worldwide that have undone even the most capable of his predecessors.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.
Prince Philip died at the age of 99 on April 9, which is Prince Charles and Camilla's wedding anniversary. They've been married for 16 years.