A new data analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation found alarming racial and ethnic disparities in COVID 19 vaccinations in the 16 states currently reporting such data.
Byun Hee-soo had been dismissed by the military for undergoing gender reassignment surgery.
- Business Insider
McDonald's is one of many major retailers that has stopped publicly fighting against a federal $15 minimum.
- Associated Press
The White House warned that the U.S. may consider a military response to the rocket attack on Wednesday that hit an air base in western Iraq where American and coalition troops are housed, raising concerns this could trigger a new round of escalating violence. A U.S. contractor died after at least 10 rockets slammed into the base.
- Associated Press
The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor on Wednesday launched an investigation into alleged crimes in the Palestinian territories, turning the tribunal’s focus toward Israeli military actions and settlement construction on lands captured in the 1967 Mideast war. The decision dealt an embarrassing blow to the Israeli government, which had conducted an aggressive public relations and behind-the-scenes diplomatic campaign to block the investigation. It also raised the possibility of arrest warrants being issued against Israeli officials suspected of war crimes, making it potentially risky to travel abroad.
Bishops urge Catholics to avoid the Johnson & Johnson vaccine if possible because it was developed using cells from an aborted fetus
In December, Pope Francis said taking vaccines derived from aborted cells could be "morally acceptable."
- The Daily Beast
Michael Reaves/GettyAttorneys for Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and the NAACP have served former President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago club with a lawsuit filed against him in February. Thompson and the NAACP filed suit against Trump alleging that his incendiary rhetoric and false claims of a “stolen” election amounted to a conspiracy to interfere with civil rights by inciting the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.The suit names Trump alongside his attorney Rudy Giuliani and the right-wing extremist groups the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers as co-defendants and builds off the 1871 “Ku Klux Klan Act,” which was “intended to protect against conspiracies, through violence and intimidation, that sought to prevent Members of Congress from discharging their official duties,” according to a complaint.If Jan. 6 Was ‘Domestic Terror,’ Who Was the Terrorist in Chief?“The Defendants conspired to prevent, by force, intimidation and threats, the Plaintiff, as a Member of Congress, from discharging his official duties to approve the count of votes cast by members of the Electoral College following the presidential election,” the lawsuit alleges.It accuses the defendants of acting “in concert to incite and then carry out a riot at the Capitol” that “created grave danger of harm” to Thompson and other lawmakers. Similar to the case laid out by Democrats in Trump’s impeachment trial last month, the suit lays out a timeline of Trump’s “concerted campaign” to retain power at any cost, from his refusal to commit to a peaceful transition before the election to his explicit endorsement of efforts to overturn the election result to his fiery rally speech on January 6.Trump “solicited the support of, and endorsed the belligerent and violent actions of, organizations such as the Proud Boys that expressed support of his reelection,” the suit alleges.Trump advisers did not immediately provide comment on who, if anyone, at this point is representing the former president for this lawsuit. When Trump was served, it was merely signed for by a “Ricky,” according to the court document.Several Trump attorneys who The Daily Beast asked about this said they had no involvement. As of Tuesday, Alan Dershowitz, a member of the Trump legal defense for the ex-president’s first Senate impeachment trial, said “nobody [on the Trump team] has reached out to me yet” regarding this suit, but added that he personally believes Trump’s rhetoric on Jan. 6 is “protected by the First Amendment” and that “I would hope that the ACLU would take on a case like this.”The suit adds to a growing list of legal troubles now facing former President Trump, his family, and his associates, since leaving office.After a victory at the Supreme Court in February, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance obtained copies of Trump’s tax returns. The paperwork is reportedly part of a city fraud investigation looking into whether the former president lied about the value of his assets in order to gain financial advantages.It’s unclear who will represent Trump, the Proud Boys, and the Oath Keepers in the latest suit but court records show that Austin, Texas-based attorney Joseph D. Sibley IV accepted service of the suit on behalf of Giuliani. Sibley, a graduate of Harvard Law school, is a former U.S. Army Ranger.“I am representing Mayor Giuliani in the Thompson lawsuit, and I will also be representing him in the Smartmatic and Dominion cases,” Sibley told The Daily Beast on Wednesday afternoon.Orange Is the New Orange: Trump Just Might Go to JailSibley handles breach of contract, intellectual property, and other commercial law cases but has also represented clients in defamation cases and provided expert commentary for The Washington Post on defamation suits.He represented far-right blogger Charles Johnson in a 2020 libel lawsuit that was originally filed against Verizon, The Huffington Post, and reporter Andy Campbell for a 2019 article which labeled Johnson a “Holocaust-Denying White Nationalist”—a description Johnson strongly denies. Johnson dismissed the suits against Campbell and Verizon but has appealed a federal judge’s dismissal of his suit against The Huffington Post.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.
- Reuters Videos
The Las Vegas Sands is the biggest casino operator on the city’s famed strip.But as the song says, you need to know when to hold ‘em, and when to fold ‘em. And the Sands on Wednesday said it is selling its Las Vegas real estate and operations for about $6.25 billion. Those properties include the Venetian Resort Las Vegas and Sands Expo and Convention Center. The company acknowledged that selling the Venetian is - in its words - “bittersweet” - because that’s what brought fame to the company and to its founder, the late billionaire Sheldon Adelson. The Las Vegas-based company is betting its future on Asia. Its operations in Macao already account for nearly half of the company’s revenue. Singapore casinos make up a third. Back in the U.S., the dealers will keep shuffling. The Sands found buyers for the Venetian’s operating company, and for its land and real estate assets. Among them funds managed by affiliates of private equity giant Apollo Global Management. Apollo said it’s betting Las Vegas will recover as vaccines spark a revival in travel, leisure, and revelry. Shares of Las Vegas Sands rose in early trading Wednesday.
Drastic measures taken by North Korea to contain coronavirus have exacerbated human rights abuses and economic hardship for its citizens, including reports of starvation, a United Nations investigator says. North Korea, which has yet to report any confirmed COVID-19 cases despite sharing a border with China, has imposed border closings, banned most international travel and severely restricted movement domestically in the past year. "The further isolation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea with the outside world during the COVID-19 pandemic appears to exacerbate entrenched human rights violations," Tomas Ojea Quintana, U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in the country, said in a report seen by Reuters on Wednesday.
Protesters blocked some roadways in Lebanon for a second day on Wednesday after the currency's fall to a new low further enraged a population long horrified by the country's financial meltdown. In the past year, Lebanon has been through a popular uprising against its political leaders, the bankruptcy of the state and banking system, a COVID-19 pandemic and, in August, a huge blast that killed 200 people and destroyed parts of Beirut. The financial crisis has wiped out jobs, raised warnings of growing hunger and locked people out of their bank deposits.
The International Criminal Court prosecutor said on Wednesday her office will formally investigate war crimes in the Palestinian Territories, a move welcomed by the Palestinian Authority and denounced by Israel. The decision follows a ruling by the court on Feb. 5 that it has jurisdiction in the case, prompting swift rejections by Washington and Jerusalem. "The decision to open an investigation followed a painstaking preliminary examination undertaken by my office that lasted close to five years," Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in a statement.
- Reuters Videos
Most steer clear of Fukushima's restricted zone in Japan.But for Sakae Kato, it's the place of his life's mission: taking care of abandoned pets, which he refers to as 'kids.'"There were some frustrations in the past ten years that made me wonder why I was doing such things. But if humans have trouble making a living, the society will take care of them, and provide them social aid. If these kids are in trouble and no one is taking care of them, they will die." All of his family and neighbors fled after an earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear plant meltdown 10 years ago.But Kato vowed to stay on in a near-empty township and began taking care of stray pets.Kato and his 41 stray cats now live in a dilapidated house.Water is collected from a nearby mountain spring and Kato uses public toilets outside the restricted area."It's getting harder to take care of the animals so I think it will be even much harder in 10 years' time. I want to be around when the last cat dies, then I want to die after that, no matter if it takes a day or an hour, I want to take care of the last cat here before I die. Otherwise it would be cruel to leave it alone. I will not breed any more cats but it's also sad to see them go."Kato isn't technically allowed to sleep at his house and is officially a resident of Fukushima city which is a two-hour drive away.He says his family is opposed to his charitable, but costly, project.Taking care of the animals eats up around $7,000 a month for food, fuel and veterinary expenses.Kato estimates he has spent at least $750,000 over the past 10 years looking after the pets.But his kindness has not always received a warm welcome from onlookers.In February, Kato was arrested on suspicion of freeing wild boar caught in traps set up by Japan's government."People don't like wild boars and they say they're vermin. But the boars have come here in front of the garage since they were babies. They're getting bigger and bigger and now they also bring their children here with them, so to me they're like my children."Despite these obstacles, Kato insists he has permission to stay in the area and won't be deterred from what he sees as his life's purpose.
These musicians blazed new trails for the genre, often collaborating with or inspiring some of rock's biggest male performers.
- The Independent
‘Everything is made in China,’ said a business partner behind the six foot replica
- Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Many major employers in Dallas-Fort Worth say they don’t plan to change mask and social distancing requirements.
- The Daily Beast
DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / Getty ImagesPrince Harry and Meghan Markle are being urged by some commentators in the U.K. to ask CBS to postpone the airing of its Oprah Winfrey interview, in which they are expected to mount a stinging attack on the royal family, as concern mounts over Prince Philip’s prospects of beating an infection.Prince Harry Tells Oprah He Left the Royals Because He Feared Meghan Markle Would Suffer Like Princess Diana Philip, 99, was moved to a specialist heart hospital on Monday and royal sources have been quoted by British newspapers saying the family is “pretty appalled” at the idea of the interview, which Oprah has said sees Meghan saying “pretty shocking things” being broadcast while Philip is so unwell.Penny Junor, author of Prince Harry, Brother, Soldier, Son, told The Daily Beast that airing the interview while Prince Philip was undergoing very public health travails risked making the interview look inappropriate, saying, “Anything could hijack this interview. Philip is ill. He is 99 and could die at any time. They were not to know he would get ill, but it could be seen to be the wrong time. But I doubt it is in their gift to postpone the interview. The control is in the hands of CBS and Oprah.”Robert Lacey, historical consultant for The Crown and author of the definitive royal biography Majesty, told The Daily Beast, “I think it would be a marvelous turnaround for Harry’s image if he took the brave step of canceling the whole thing this weekend—or, if that’s not practical, postponing it at least.”Royal commentator and former editor of Who’s Who Richard Fitzwilliams said it would “surely be appropriate” to postpone the interview.He told MailOnline, “Oprah is their friend and neighbor and would undoubtedly comply if asked and the gesture would I am sure be appreciated by the royal family. If an interview has been extended, as this recently has, it can also be postponed, as this undoubtedly should be.” Royal biographer Robert Jobson told the Mail, “With the Duke of Edinburgh clearly very unwell, the fact that the couple plan to go ahead with airing their self-indulgent, no-holds-barred interview with chat show queen Oprah Winfrey makes them appear heartless, thoughtless, and supremely selfish.“For U.S. broadcast network CBS, this interview is a coup, all about securing big viewing figures and big advert sales around the airing of their exclusive interview. So even if they wanted to, Harry and Meghan probably couldn’t dictate terms to Oprah Winfrey and the network now. Too much has been invested.”A TV industry insider told the Mirror, “CBS has sold millions of dollars worth of advertising around the interview, but bosses are aware of the delicacy of the Duke’s health. They have no loyalty to the royal family, although some feel as though they do to Harry and Meghan. For it to run if Philip’s condition worsened would be like setting off a diplomatic bomb. It would be grossly insensitive and hugely disrespectful.”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
Three women who worked for a local radio and TV station in eastern Afghanistan were gunned down Tuesday in separate attacks, the news editor of the privately owned station said. Shokrullah Pasoon, of Enikass Radio and TV in Jalalabad, said one of the women, Mursal Wahidi, was walking home when gunmen opened fire, according to eyewitnesses. Afghanistan is considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world for media workers.
- The Daily Beast
Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via ReutersA criminal case against Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and others in the Saudi hierarchy has been filed in a German court for the brutal 2018 murder, dismemberment, and disappearance of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, despite the kingdom’s denial of MBS’ direct involvement and the Biden administration’s flaccid response to the killing.The 500-page complaint filed by the press-freedom group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is the first time a criminal case has been lodged outside of what was largely considered a show trial in Saudi Arabia. That trial saw the conviction of eight people who were later pardoned after members of the Khashoggi family were said to have forgiven them.Saudi’s Crown Prince Is a Killer. So Why Is Biden Just Shrugging?On Monday, the Saudi ambassador to the United Nations disputed a four-page CIA report released last week that pointed to MBS’ involvement, tweeting, “Let us all move forward to tackle the serious business of world issues!!”Ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi called the American report, which has been widely criticized as weak, as being “based on could’ve, should’ve and would’ve and does not rise to anywhere close to proving the accusation beyond reasonable doubt.”The report, which was held back by the Trump administration and released last week by Biden, does not directly accuse MBS of ordering the hit on Khashoggi but does say he had “absolute control” over all activities carried out by the kingdom’s intelligence service. Al-Mouallimi argued in a Twitter tirade that “the Prince courageously accepted moral responsibility, presented the accused to the justice system, and pledged to reform the intelligence organizations. Case closed!”Khashoggi was ambushed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul by a 15-member hit squad that includes a bone-saw-wielding surgeon and seven members of MBS’ elite personal security team in October 2018. The journalist’s body has never been found.The complaint in Germany was filed Monday with public prosecutors in the city of Karlsruhe, according to an RSF statement. The dossier outlines the arbitrary detention of 34 journalists and the brutal murder of Khashoggi to underscore what it calls the kingdom’s “widespread and systematic” persecution of the press.“These journalists are the victims of unlawful killing, torture, sexual violence, and coercion and forced disappearance,” Christophe Deloire, RSF secretary-general, said at a press conference Tuesday morning. “Those responsible for the persecution of journalists in Saudi Arabia, including the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, must be held accountable for their crimes.”The RSF statement names MBS and four other suspects: Saud Al-Qahtani, a close adviser to the crown prince who they allege took direct part in the planning and execution of the murder as well as in the implementation of the policy of persecution of journalists in Saudi Arabia; Ahmad Mohammed Asiri, the former deputy head of intelligence, who is suspected of personally supervising Khashoggi’s murder; Mohammad Al-Otaibi, the consul general in Istanbul at the time of the murder; and Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, an intelligence officer who led the team that “tortured, killed, and forceably disappeared Jamal Khashoggi.”The complaint was filed in Germany because laws there can extend “universal jurisdiction” to some serious international crimes, even when the victims are not German. The case is bolstered by the recent conviction in a German court of a Syrian secret-service officer for aiding and abetting crimes against humanity for the torture of protesters at one of Bashar al-Assad’s prisons, according to The Guardian.“The official opening of a criminal investigation in Germany into the crimes against humanity in Saudi Arabia would be a world first,” RSF’s Germany director Christian Mihr said. “We ask the public prosecutor general to open a situation analysis, with a view to formally launching a prosecutorial investigation and issuing arrest warrants.”RSF ranks Saudi Arabia 170th out of 180 countries in its press-freedom index. “Saudi Arabia permits no independent media,” the RSF rationale states. “Despite his talk of reform, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has intensified the repression since his appointment as crown prince in June 2017. The number of journalists and citizen-journalists in detention has tripled since the start of 2017.”The German court has not yet accepted the claim and no court date has been set.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.
A high-level Chinese study says a massive work scheme is reducing Uighur population density in Xinjiang.
- Reuters Videos
Johnson & Johnson is set to ship nearly four million shots of its single-dose COVID-19 vaccine around the U.S. this week, but a top executive warned Monday that its next round of deliveries will depend on regulatory approvals at a new plant.J&J's Chief Scientific Officer Paul Stoffels told Reuters Monday that while a new, larger plant run by manufacturer Catalent has been prepping the doses, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has yet to give them the green light to start shipping.Stoffels says he expects the Catalent plant to receive approval in the next few days, and believes J&J can fulfill its promise to supply 20 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine by the end of this month.Meanwhile, Catalent says it expects approval "in the coming weeks."J&J Chief Executive Officer Alex Gorsky also told NBC that Americans should begin getting the company's shot as early as Tuesday or Wednesday.He said he was confident that the J&J vaccine would have a "robust response" against new, more contagious variants of the coronavirus, based on clinical trials in countries like South Africa and Brazil.The company says it's developing a version of its vaccine to target the South African variant, and will be ready to start late-stage trials by this summer.
- Associated Press
The U.S. House is abruptly finishing its work for the week given the threat of violence at the Capitol by a militia group seeking to storm the building, as happened in a deadly siege Jan. 6. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer notified lawmakers late Wednesday of the sudden schedule change. Capitol Police said earlier Wednesday they have uncovered intelligence of a “possible plot” by a militia group to breach the U.S. Capitol on Thursday.