The WCCO Weather Watchers received training on winter precipitation types and how to measure them (1:07). WCCO Sunday Morning -- Jan. 31, 2021
There was no breakthrough at a "hugely disappointing" meeting between the European Commission and the British government on Wednesday over post-Brexit trade issues in Northern Ireland, the region's first minister, Arlene Foster, said on Wednesday. The British government is demanding concessions from the European Union to minimise disruption in trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom that have emerged since Britain left the bloc's trading orbit in January.
- Associated Press
Martin Guptill made a spectacular return to form, hitting eight sixes in a 50-ball innings of 97 which lifted New Zealand to a thrilling win over Australia by four runs in the second Twenty20 cricket international. Guptill led New Zealand to 219-7 as it batted first after losing the toss Thursday and Australia seemed out of the match when it slumped to 113-6 after 13 overs.
A report describes how prisoners of war are used as slave labour to generate money for the regime.
- Associated Press
Regional diplomatic efforts to resolve Myanmar's political crisis intensified Wednesday, while protests continued in Yangon and other cities calling for the country's coup makers to step down and return Aung San Suu Kyi's elected government to power. Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi visited the Thai capital, Bangkok, and held three-way talks with her Thai counterpart Don Pramudwinai and Myanmar’s new foreign minister, retired army colonel Wunna Maung Lwin, who also traveled to Thailand.
Britain's Prince Philip is getting a lot better, his youngest son said on Tuesday after Buckingham Palace said the 99-year-old husband of Britain's Queen Elizabeth would remain in hospital for several more days to receive treatment for an infection. Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, walked into London's private King Edward VII Hospital last Tuesday evening after he was advised by his doctor to be admitted after he felt unwell, and has spent seven nights there. "He is comfortable and responding to treatment but is not expected to leave hospital for several days," Buckingham Palace said, adding he was receiving medical attention for an unspecified infection.
- LA Times
After Tiger Woods' car crash Tuesday, celebs and sports figures such as Alex Rodriguez, Jada Pinkett Smith, Cher and Magic Johnson tweeted their well wishes.
U.S. President Joseph Biden's new administration said on Wednesday it would continue its international re-engagement by seeking election to the U.N. Human Rights Council where it will press to eliminate a "disproportionate focus" on ally Israel. Under former President Donald Trump's more isolationist approach, Washington quit the council in 2018 but the Biden government has already returned as an observer. "I'm pleased to announce the United States will seek election to the Human Rights Council for the 2022-24 term," Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the council by video.
- Reuters Videos
Every morning before their shift at a Kajima construction site, workers check their vital signs.Location: SingaporeAll it takes is a 45-second scan of his face using an app developed by Singapore start-up Nervotec. The app takes note of heart rate,oxygen levels, respiration rate, and even stress levels using Artificial Intelligence-based technology.So how does it work?The Nervotec app uses remote photoplethysmography (rPPG) and AI to capture and analyze the user's vitals.The smartphone camera measures the differences in the reflectivity of light that hit the user's skin, which corresponds to the different pulse rates of the body. Computer vision and predictive analysis AI then monitor the user's face and conclude the readings for their vital signs.Here’s Nervotec Founder Jonathan Lau.(SOUNDBITE) (English) NERVOTEC FOUNDER JONATHAN LAU, SAYING:" What we do, is we use the white light that's now reflecting off my face, we apply smart computer visions techniques to first identify the face, then filter this white light into the channels we're interested in, and then deriving the vital signs from those channels."Kajima has been using Nervotec's app at its work sites in Singapore since December 2020 - to complement daily temperature screenings.It’s part of a government-initiated program which provides companies with technology still in their trial stages to help them adjust to the new norms.Kajima’s senior manager Tan Kee Chuan says the Nervotec app is his company’s "first line of defense" against another health crisis.(SOUNDBITE) (English) SENIOR ENGINEER AT KAJIMA, TAN KEE CHUAN, SAYING: "The application acts as a first line of defense by scanning the workers just by using the handphone. It is very convenient provided that the worker adheres to this scanning on a daily basis. So we do have our own temperature monitoring system installed as a second line of defense, to reject all of the personnel who are deemed unfit for work." Similar apps that utilize smartphone cameras to scan users' vital signs do exist…but Nervotec claims that its technology goes one step further by using the data to offer a "diagnosis" of the user's health condition.Professor Chwee Teck Lim is the director of the National University of Singapore’s Institute of Health Innovation and Technology. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE'S INSTITUTE OF HEALTH INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY, PROFESSOR CHWEE TECK LIM, SAYING: "So what Nervotec is proposing could potentially be a game-changer, they are trying to use the smartphone camera coupled with an AI-driven app, to capture an image of the face then thereafter be able to measure the vital signs. So currently, I think they claim that they can obtain accuracy of down to two beats per minute for heart rate, and also two percentage in terms of oxygen saturation. But it remains to be seen, I think we still have to go through this FDA (Food and Drug Administration) regulatory test before we can determine how accurate this technology is."The app is still under review….but Lau said there is significant interest in the technology. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NERVOTEC FOUNDER JONATHAN LAU, SAYING: "We see the most traction coming from healthcare providers, both private and public, more than the authorities, because the ability to use rPPG and to have constant remote patient monitoring without the need for additional manpower or equipment is really a big problem solver for a lot of healthcare providers, globally."
Israel hopes to prevent personal tension between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Joe Biden over their differences on the Iranian nuclear question by delegating talks on the topic to their senior staff, an Israeli official said. Netanyahu's foreign-policy fortunes have waned since Biden succeeded Republican president Donald Trump, who withdrew the United States from world powers' 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, deeming it too advantageous for Tehran - a view Israel shared. Biden, a Democrat, wants to rejoin the deal.
- Reuters Videos
The world’s largest snow maze is now ‘91% bigger’to accommodate for social distancingLocation: Saint Adolphe, CanadaThe labyrinth measures 240 ft x 240 ftand took six weeks to build(SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) CO-OWNER OF THE WORLD'S LARGEST SNOW MAZE, ANGIE MASSE SAYING:"We love outdoor entertainment, it kind of just fell into place, we run the corn maze, of course, in the sun, the summer and then the Sunflower Expo as well during that time. And then as we get to fall, we have the haunted forest. And then we're like, we need to do something in the winter time. And I guess we love mazes as well. So there we go. Now we're into snow mazing."
- The Independent
A captain in the US Capitol Police force who responded to the 6 January Capitol riot offered a harrowing first-hand account on Tuesday of her experience battling white supremacists and other pro-Trump elements. Rioters nearly broke her arm amid the chaos, Captain Carneysha Mendoza, a veteran of the US Army, told senators at the first official hearing on the 6 January security breach. “I received chemical burns to my face that still have not healed to this day,” Ms Mendoza said.
Deb Haaland, the first Native American ever picked for a U.S. cabinet post, pledged on Tuesday to oversee the country's vast public lands and waters in line with President Joe Biden's climate priorities, and was grilled by Republican Senators who want an Interior Secretary more welcoming of oil and gas drilling on federal lands. If confirmed to lead the Department of the Interior, the Democratic congresswoman from New Mexico would oversee more than 500 million acres of federal and tribal lands, accounting for about a fifth of the nation’s land surface, as well as offshore federal waters. "It is President Biden's agenda, not my own agenda that I would be moving forward," she said at the contentious confirmation hearing that reflected deep divisions over some of Biden’s climate-focused executive orders.
Carlos Julio Rojas, 36, says he has been detained four times in the last five years for demanding that the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro improve basic services such as power and water in the capital. Rojas, who leads the non-profit group Front for Defense of Northern Caracas, last July spent 10 hours in a jail cell for joining a protest of retirees who were seeking better pensions. Maduro's government rejects accusations of widespread rights abuses, saying it is the victim of a foreign-led smear campaign.
A Chinese couple paid $155,000 in fees to have 7 children in violation of the country's 2-child policy
China ended its one-child policy in 2015, but it's still struggling with declining birth rates and an aging population.
- Business Insider
An ex-girlfriend tipped off the FBI about an alleged US Capitol rioter after he called her a 'moron'
Richard Michetti was arraigned Tuesday in Philadelphia over his alleged participation in the January 6 insurrection.
- The Independent
The Democratic operative criticised the Senator’s daughter for receiving a pay increase as a CEO
Jill Biden assures Kelly Clarkson things will get better after her divorce: 'If I hadn't gotten divorced, I never would have met Joe'
In a new interview on "The Kelly Clarkson Show," first lady Jill Biden offered the singer advice about healing after divorce and finding love again.
- Yahoo News
Mitch McConnell: Nancy Pelosi's plan for investigating the Capitol attack is a 'bizarre partisan concept'
Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he’s concerned Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s plan to establish a commission to probe the assault on the U.S. Capitol would be overly “partisan.”
- The Daily Beast
Jim Watson./GettyLouis DeJoy had a defiant message on Wednesday for those craving to see him ousted as U.S. Postmaster General: “Get used to me.”The comment came after Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) asked the embattled U.S. Postal Service chief how long he would remain as Postmaster General—“long time,” DeJoy spat back—during a Wednesday hearing in the House Oversight Committee.That exchange was indicative of the entire proceeding, which was frequently chippy, combative, and fueled by Democratic lawmakers’ outrage over DeJoy’s handling of the USPS at a time of worsening mail delays and difficult questions about the service’s long-term viability.DeJoy’s crack to Cooper made Democrats’ blood boil even more. But he may have a point, at least for now: because the postmaster general is installed by the service’s board of governors—and not by the president—it means that President Joe Biden, or Congress, cannot fire DeJoy even if they wanted to.His removal would only be possible when Biden fills Democratic vacancies on the USPS Board of Governors, which has the authority to hire and fire postmasters general. Confirming those spots in the Senate will take time, though the Washington Post reported on Wednesday that Biden has identified three nominees to move forward.In the meantime, though, Democratic lawmakers are working with DeJoy on urgent legislation to reform the agency’s finances and employee pension burden, even while many publicly call for his resignation.To many Democrats, DeJoy’s performance on Wednesday on Capitol Hill may make that balancing act harder: they found much to dislike not only in what the postmaster general said, but how he said it.“I gotta say—I just don’t think the postmaster gets it,” said Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), a member of the Oversight Committee who questioned DeJoy on Wednesday about the agency’s delivery standards. “I think it’s time for him to go.”“I thought he approached a lot of our questions with that exact same attitude, which was one of sneering condescension,” Krishnamoorthi told The Daily Beast after the hearing, invoking DeJoy’s response to Cooper. “That’s not gonna fly, man. Not gonna fly.”Wednesday’s hearing was the second time in DeJoy’s short tenure that he has been subjected to a high-profile grilling in the House Oversight Committee. Shortly after taking the USPS’ top job in June 2020, delays and irregularities quickly began to mount—a particularly alarming development for lawmakers on the eve of an election in which more voters than ever planned to vote by mail.Biden to Nominate 3 New USPS Board Members, Opening Path to Oust DeJoyIn a contentious August 2020 hearing, Democrats interrogated the former logistics executive and GOP mega-donor on everything from cuts in overtime hours to the price of a stamp. Questioning from Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) produced a memorable DeJoy response: “I will submit that I know very little about postage and stamps.”By the time House Democrats called DeJoy back to Capitol Hill this week, their worst fears about the USPS delays’ impact on the voting system had failed to materialize. But they still had plenty of questions about DeJoy’s stewardship of the USPS: in October, the USPS inspector general issued a report finding that the changes DeJoy made to delivery schedules and protocol led to the worsening delays. Already battered by the pandemic, the USPS limped into a busy holiday season, and is now providing the poorest service that many longtime observers of the agency have ever seen.Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), a member of the Oversight panel, was a 29-year veteran of the USPS before she came to Congress. She told The Daily Beast after the hearing that she has never seen the service in such dire straits as it is now: “I don’t think we’ve ever confronted this,” she said.The unprecedented delays are happening around the country. In Washington, D.C., just 40 percent of all first-class mail arrived on time by the end of December 2020—compared to nearly 90 percent the same time the year before. Chicago residents are receiving holiday packages a month-and-a-half late. Lawmakers are inundated with calls and emails from frustrated constituents looking for answers; this week, 33 senators signed a letter to DeJoy asking him to explain the recent delays.DeJoy apologized for those delays at the top of Wednesday’s hearing. “We must acknowledge that during this peak season we fell far short of meeting our service goals,” he said. “I apologize to those customers who felt the impact of our delays"But Lawrence expressed concern about DeJoy’s forthcoming “strategic plan” to get the USPS through this difficult stretch. Though the postmaster general has not revealed specifics, he testified on Wednesday that he will propose cuts to delivery standards, including the standard that local mail be delivered within two days. Democrats believe that would be a disastrous move at a time when the USPS is struggling to compete with private-sector competitors, particularly if it is coupled with consumer cost increases, which DeJoy has suggested.“To say that’s what’s bold and needed… that’s not leadership,” said Lawrence. “He has to prove himself. He heard us loud and clear, that he needs to prove himself.”The Michigan Democrat stopped short of saying that DeJoy deserved removal, and told The Daily Beast that she and other Democrats are working with the USPS on postal reform legislation. On Wednesday, CNN reported that Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) was supportive of working with DeJoy to pass reforms.In the wake of the new political reality in Washington, the postmaster general has begun to attempt outreach to Democratic lawmakers. Lawrence said that during the last administration, DeJoy did not take her calls or respond to her—but after the 2020 election, they had a “cordial” call.Other Democrats see any charm offensive as too little, too late. Krishnamoorthi said he is supportive of working with whatever USPS leadership is in office in order to pass reforms, but argued that DeJoy should go as soon as is possible.Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), a senior member of the Oversight Committee, issued a statement after DeJoy’s hearing hailing Biden’s nomination of three appointees to the USPS Board of Governors—and explicitly stated his hope they would remove DeJoy. “These nominations are an important first step toward reforming the Postal Service,” said Connolly. “My hope is the newly constituted Board will do the right thing and bring in a new, qualified Postmaster General.”A majority of the nine-member board would be required to support DeJoy’s removal. Currently, there are four Republican appointees, and two Democratic appointees. If all Biden’s choices are confirmed, Democrats would hold a majority on the board.The Republicans on the Oversight Committee had questions for DeJoy about mail delays, but largely cast him as a victim in an anti-Trump Democratic crusade. Rep. James Comer (R-KY), the top Republican on the panel, compared the party’s concerns about USPS delays—and Trump’s potential role in those delays—to the Trump impeachment investigation he said was predicated on “baseless conspiracies.”Far-right Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), meanwhile, suggested that the root cause of USPS delays was actually the Black Lives Matter protests that took place over the summer, and read articles from fringe outlets like the Gateway Pundit to prove his point. And Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA) raised the unfounded belief in widespread conspiracies about election fraud while saying it was not time to get into “specifics.”At one point, tempers flared when Connolly said that Republicans who voted to object to the Electoral College certification on Jan. 6 had “no right to lecture” anyone on the dangers of partisanship.Democrats left more concerned about the fate of the USPS, however, than the state of things in Congress. “It’s not some theoretical concept,” said Krishnamoorthi. “It’s not some abstract issue, it’s real for every single one of us… I’ve gotta tell you, people are starting to work around the mail, which is a scary concept.”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
Who is Heidi Cruz? The high-powered Goldman Sachs executive and wife to ‘disgraced’ Texas senator Ted Cruz
Heidi Cruz’s ‘high powered’ role on her husband’s campaign trail prompts comparisons with Hillary Clinton