Opinion | Moderna, AstraZeneca '... or Both? A Mixed Covid Vaccine Approach. - The New York Times
Mon, 14 Jun 2021 01:06
Opinion | Pfizer, AstraZeneca '... or Both? A Mixed Approach May Hold Promise. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/13/opinion/covid-vaccine-research-mixing.htmlGuest Essay
June 13, 2021, 7:00 p.m. ET
Credit... Nicholas Konrad/The New York Times By Roxanne Khamsi
Ms. Khamsi is a science journalist covering Covid-19.
At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, it was unclear whether researchers would be able to create a single working vaccine, which makes it all the more surprising that the latest immunization dilemma arises from having multiple vaccine options.
Because of unpredictable supply and some concerns about an exceedingly rare but serious clotting risk from the AstraZeneca vaccine, public health officials in some parts of the world that have relied heavily on that shot have recently issued new guidance on mixing and matching different Covid-19 vaccines.
Recently, for example, Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization updated its guidance to say that people who received the AstraZeneca vaccine as their first dose can receive that same vaccine as their second dose or get a follow-up shot of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna instead. The committee also said that it was possible to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines interchangeably as first and second doses. Countries ranging from France to Finland to China to Bahrain have also outlined possible scenarios for combining different vaccines. Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has interim guidance saying this is acceptable in ''exceptional situations,'' such as if the same vaccine is not available.
While this guidance may seem confusing, especially when the initial vaccine guidance told people to get the same shot for both doses, it does provide an opportunity to understand the safety of using mismatched vaccines, and to measure whether mismatched vaccines offer any advantage.
One recent small and not yet peer-reviewed study of 26 people who received the AstraZeneca shot followed by one from Pfizer-BioNTech suggested, based on blood tests, that those with mismatched vaccines had at least as strong an immune response as people who got both Pfizer shots. The National Institutes of Health recently began a clinical trial that will examine the effects of different combinations of Covid-19 vaccines.
Opinion Conversation Questions surrounding the Covid-19 vaccine and its rollout. When is it still important to wear a face mask? Three health experts address readers' questions about mask guidelines. Who isn't getting vaccinated, and why? Sema K. Sgaier, a researcher who uses data to address health problems, looks at the motivations of the unvaccinated. What can I do while my children are still unvaccinated? David Leonhardt writes about the difficult safety calculations families will face. When can we declare the pandemic over? Aaron E. Carroll, a professor of pediatrics, writes that some danger will still exist when things return to ''normal.'' In Britain, a trial of this kind is already underway for the AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, and the scientists behind it have released early data on side effects. They found more reports of feverishness, chills, fatigue and headache among people who received a dose that was different from their original shot compared with people who received identical shots. Scientists want to know whether that indicates that the immune system was more stimulated by the different vaccine, and could develop added protection. It's still too soon to say, but more results from the trial are expected this month.
This is not the first time scientists have investigated what seems like an unconventional way of vaccine dosing, and it's not necessarily something to fear. It may be our best hope against certain pathogens.
In the last two decades, as new vaccine technologies have emerged, the idea of using different kinds of vaccines against the same pathogen has gained momentum. The approach '-- known among scientists as ''heterologous prime-boost'' '-- has been explored in rodent experiments to develop vaccines against Ebola (now authorized for use by European regulators), tuberculosis and even cancers associated with the Epstein-Barr virus. Mouse experiments of this approach have even been tested for other coronaviruses in the past, such as the original SARS virus and the coronavirus that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.
More recently, in March 2021, scientists in China published a study in mice that looked at different combinations of four different kinds of Covid-19 vaccines, including one made from mRNA and one viral vector vaccine, which '-- like the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccines '-- uses an inactivated cold virus to trigger an immune response to Covid.
Why mix-and-match at all? Part of the thinking among scientists is that by administering different vaccines that expose the immune system to different parts of a pathogen, one after the other, the body becomes trained to recognize different parts of the invader and becomes more effective at defending against it.
Another line of reasoning is that using different kinds of vaccines jump-starts different elements of the immune system. Viral vector vaccines, for example, are well-equipped to stimulate a part of the immune response that helps generate an army of what are called ''killer T cells'' to protect the body against an invading virus. Other kinds of vaccines are thought to skew more heavily toward prompting the creation of antibodies to combat the virus. Both immune system responses are helpful, and scientists' theory is that combining them could be more potent than either of them alone.
One area where the mix-and-match approach stirs the most hope is in the fight against H.I.V., where vaccine researchers have been investigating it for decades. In what might have been the first human trial of this method, the immunologist Dr. Daniel Zagury of the Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris received two different experimental H.I.V. shots in 1987. First, a version of a virus that was engineered to produce an H.I.V. protein in the body, and later booster shots of the protein directly (rather than the engineered virus). Dr. Zagury and his colleagues reported that his immune system showed signs of responding, including producing antibodies.
Although attempts at making a successful H.I.V. vaccine have faltered since then, there is still enthusiasm for the mix-and-match approach. A trial called RV144, done more than a decade ago, followed the mix-and-match approach and was the only H.IV. vaccine trial to ever show protection against the virus among a handful of other experimental H.I.V. vaccines. More trials of this kind are underway, and the hope is that finding the right pairing of vaccines will prove successful.
It's clear that many Covid-19 vaccines are mightily effective on their own and don't need to be paired with other versions. But scientists should keep a close eye on the results of the mix-and-match trials underway to see if large, well-controlled studies show any signal of better protection.
The findings could inform vaccine development for other pathogens. This is especially true for viruses that mutate even more rapidly than SARS-CoV-2, like H.I.V. In an era of multiplying vaccine technologies, it might be the case that vaccines, like people, prove more effective when they work together.
Roxanne Khamsi is a science journalist covering Covid-19.
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Condo developer plans to buy $1-billion worth of single-family houses in Canada for rentals - The Globe and Mail
Tue, 15 Jun 2021 01:08
Faran Latafat, president of single-family development at Core Development, in front of one of their properties, in Hamilton.
Christopher Katsarov/The Globe and Mail
A Toronto condo developer is buying hundreds of detached houses in Ontario, with the plan of renting them and profiting on the housing crisis ripping across the country.
Core Development Group Ltd. is building a large-scale single-family home rental operation, an unproven business model in Canada, where the market is fragmented and individual investors lease a small number of their own properties for income.
Institutional house rentals have become highly lucrative in the United States, with private-equity firms, pension funds and big companies throwing billions of dollars into the asset class. In Canada, deep-pocketed investors, as well as real estate investment trusts, have already acquired hundreds of apartment buildings to tap into the strong rental demand but have not moved into rental houses.
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Core founder Corey Hawtin and executive vice-president Faran Latafat questioned why there wasn't a similar business in Canada, which has had a rental vacancy rate below 3 per cent since the turn of the century.
''We were trying to answer the question: Why is nobody doing this in Canada? We could not come up with an objective answer to that. In Canada, it works as well or better than the U.S.,'' said Ms. Latafat, Core's president of single-family development.
Core's main business is condo development, and it has 14 projects in the Toronto region. Last fall, Mr. Hawtin raised $250-million from investors to buy approximately 400 properties, add basement apartments and turn the houses into two rental units.
Core is targeting eight midsized cities in Ontario, and this year started buying properties in Kingston, St. Catharines, London, Barrie, Hamilton, Peterborough and Cambridge. It will soon start buying in Guelph. Its medium-term goal is to have a $1-billion portfolio of 4,000 rental units in Ontario, Quebec, B.C. and Atlantic Canada by 2026.
Mr. Hawtin said Core's rental units will provide affordable housing for families and residents who do not want to live in small apartments. If Core succeeds, it could spur major investors to follow suit.
Ms. Latafat and Mr. Hawtin believe a major house rental business will flourish in Canada because of decades of low rental vacancy rates, desire for more space and high immigration. They also point out most of the country's population is concentrated around a few job centres.
As well, the pandemic's real estate boom has priced even more residents out of the housing market with rentals as the only option. National home prices are 20 per cent above prepandemic levels, with values 30 to 50 per cent higher in parts of Ontario, B.C., Quebec and the Maritimes. The typical price of a detached house in Guelph and nearby Kitchener-Waterloo is now more than $800,000, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association. That is about $200,000 more than a year ago.
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Economist David Rosenberg said an affordable rental house could become more attractive to a potential home buyer because house prices are so high.
''The ratio of home prices to rental rates is so extreme that new entrants to residential real estate will gravitate to the rental market,'' said Mr. Rosenberg, who leads Rosenberg Research & Associates, adding that if more potential buyers are forced to rent, that could eventually reduce competition in the residential real estate market and slow home price increases.
Ms. Latafat said Core chose the eight Ontario cities because they all have strong local economies, are close to larger job centres, have growing populations and low housing vacancy rates.
In Barrie and Guelph, the rental vacancy rate is closer to 2 per cent, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. data. Meanwhile, in the first year of the pandemic, rental rates have increased in the high single digits in Barrie, Guelph, London and St. Catharines, according to CMHC.
''They have tight vacancies, like zero vacancies,'' said Mr. Hawtin. ''Immigration is growing, population is growing and buying a house or a condo has become less and less attainable. That is really compounding the rental demand in all of our marketplaces,'' he said.
So far this year, Core has spent $50-million on 75 properties, the executives said. Their two-bedroom basement apartments go for about $1,600 a month and a three-bedroom above-ground unit at about $2,100 a month. Those prices are higher than the average rental rate of $1,407 for a two-bedroom apartment in Ontario, according to CMHC data. Though Core's rentals are newly renovated units in houses with gardens.
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Institutionalized family home rentals got their start south of the border, after the U.S. housing bubble burst in 2007 and companies bought thousands of houses at fire-sale prices. Companies and their investors now own swaths of U.S. neighbourhoods and make money on the rent, similar to apartment building owners.
Toronto-based Tricon Residential, one of the largest operators of single family home rentals in the U.S., said Core's decision to split the properties into two rental units makes sense given the price of houses in Canada.
''The problem in Canada is that homes are so expensive,'' said Tricon chief executive officer Gary Berman, whose company has wanted to bring single family home rentals to Canada for years but has concluded that it is unworkable owing to the high real estate prices.
Tricon owns about 24,000 detached houses in 18 major U.S. cities. Most are in warmer climates such as Orlando and Phoenix. Mr. Berman said that makes the houses easier to maintain compared to Canadian properties, which have to withstand long, harsh winters.
Tricon keeps its purchase prices below US$350,000 a house and rents the entire property for about US$1,500 a month. Mr. Berman said the key to the business is scale, saying Tricon aims to have at least 500 rental houses in each city.
Core is also trying to build scale and is buying houses within 15 minutes of each other to form a cluster of about 50 properties or 100 rental units in each city. Ms. Latafat said it has taken Core about one month to rent their new units and their vacancy rate is below 2 per cent. She declined to comment on when the rental business would be profitable except to say that the rental units were ''cash flow positive,'' about five months after they were purchased.
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Mr. Hawtin said he expects to start fundraising for the next stage of the rental business as soon as next year and may consider going public at some point.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story stated that Faran Latafat is leading Core's single-family home rental division. It has since been clarified to state that she is Core's president of of single-family development.
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What a developer's plan to buy $1B in homes could mean for Canada's housing market | Globalnews.ca
Wed, 16 Jun 2021 22:47
Toronto-based Core Development Group's plan to buy $1 billion worth of single-family homes and convert them into rentals has triggered intense debate over the potential impact of the investment strategy on Canada's housing market.
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The company has said it intends to buy 4,000 rental units in Ontario, Quebec, B.C. and Atlantic Canada by 2026, as first reported by the Globe and Mail. The idea is to buy homes that can be split into two units '-- for example, with a second unit in the basement '-- and turn both over to the rental market.
Read more: Will the housing market crash? Why home prices may stay hot
Corporate investors like private equity firms, real estate investment trusts (REITs) and financial institutions have become an increasingly large presence in Canada's multi-family apartment rental sector. An investment strategy focused on turning single-family homes into rentals, while already common in the U.S., is thought to be a first in Canada. If it is profitable, experts say it will likely invite imitation from other corporate real estate investors.
Core says its plans will add housing supply to satisfy a growing demand for rentals.
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''For each single-family rental house that comes on the market, two rental units are provided, thus doubling the housing supply,'' the group told Global News via email in reference to its strategy of carving two rental units out of every property purchased.
''There is a significant lack of rental availability in the low-rise single-family market. Increasing density through renovating existing homes is the most expedient way to add supply to the housing stock.''
But the move has sparked concern that corporate investors pursuing profits in the rental market could put further pressure on Canada's already tight stock of single-family homes available for ownership while also eroding affordability in the rental market.
Van life means freedom for some and economic necessity for others
Affordability crisis fuelling a growing demand for rentals
While the abstract idea of broad-scale investment in single-family home rentals isn't new in Canada, market conditions currently make for ''a good business case'' for it, says Howard Tam, principal, CEO and founder of ThinkFresh Group, a Toronto-based boutique city building consultancy.
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One of the key reasons for employing this strategy may be a growing demand for rentals from those who have been shut out of home ownership amid an unprecedented rise in home prices, Tam says.
Home prices were up a mind-boggling 24 per cent year-over-year in May, the Canadian Real Estate Association said on Tuesday. And some communities, particularly in southern Ontario, have seen unprecedented price appreciation of up to 40 per cent or even 50 per cent over the course of the past year.
Read more: 'Nowhere to go' '-- Canadian homebuyers without family help are running out of options
As a result, a growing number of prospective homebuyers are turning to renting as an alternative, Tam says.
Core's plan to buy up homes at a time when housing prices have reached record highs is markedly different from the trend seen in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2007-08, when corporate investors swooped in purchase properties on the cheap.
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But the rising demand for rental housing '-- including from families looking for single-family homes '-- may be a key aspect behind the company's belief it can turn a profit, Tam and several other real estate experts told Global News.
Priced out: Renters facing challenges during a red-hot pandemic housing market '' May 29, 2021
The possible impact on housing supply
It is unclear whether and to what extent broad-scale involvement by large investors in the single-family home market could result in fewer of those homes being available for regular homebuyers to purchase.
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It is possible that corporate players like Core would focus on buying up single-family homes that are already in the rental market, says Paul Anglin, a professor of economics at the University of Guelph.
According to the Globe and Mail, Core is currently eyeing mid-sized Ontario cities for its single-family rental strategy. The company has reportedly started buying properties in Kingston, St. Catharines, London, Barrie, Hamilton, Peterborough and Cambridge and will soon start buying in Guelph.
Read more: 'Incredibly stressful' '-- Why renting isn't always a solution for those who can't buy
Anglin believes the company will likely focus on homes currently owned by mom and pop landlords, many of which are currently rented out to university students in cities like Guelph.
In that scenario, the investment wouldn't have a significant impact on supply. It would mostly be a transition from retail to corporate landlords within the existing single-family home rental market, he notes.
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And corporate investors like Core could give families that can't afford the hefty down payments required to buy a home at current market prices the ability to live in a single-family home with a backyard, he adds.
For this set of renters, companies like Core could ''provide value,'' Anglin says.
Priced Out: A look at why the hot housing market is out of reach for young Canadians '' May 28, 2021
Are tenants better or worse off with a corporate landlord?
But a corporate foray into the single-family home market is highly unlikely to improve housing affordability, all experts consulted by Global News said. If anything, it could make it worse.
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Large investors buying clusters of single-family homes in the neighbourhood or city may be able to leverage economies of scale, as well as their own professional expertise, to provide higher quality property management at lower costs compared to small landlords, Anglin says.
Core told Global News it is ''substantially renovating'' the units it buys to ''provide a safer living environment, including upgrades to heating, plumbing, insulation and lighting to the highest energy standards.''
Read more: Here's how home prices compare to incomes across Canada
But Martine August, a professor at the school of planning at the University of Waterloo, says large corporate landlords have a track record of ''systematically'' pursuing rent increases in order to extract profit from their real estate investments.
And while small landlords are also usually motivated by financial gain, large corporations are more effective at finding ways to increase rents, according to August.
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''They typically have a very sophisticated way to try to extract more value,'' August says.
''(They) will invest in all sorts of things in those buildings that will allow them to extract more value from it '-- the types of building renovations that allow them to charge more rents, (or) above-guideline increases.
''They will go in and start doing that right away.''
(C) 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
China nuclear plant leak could pose 'imminent threat' as it admits fuel rods failed - Daily Star
Thu, 17 Jun 2021 11:56
Chinese officials admit some of the Taishan reactor's nuclear fuel rods are damaged and that radioactive gases are building up, but insist there is no danger to the public
Early reports of an accident at China's Taishan Nuclear Power Plant played down the potential dangers, with authorities saying there had been no leak at the facility and the incident had not raised the allowed radiation levels near the plant.
But Chinese officials have now admitted that some of the reactor's nuclear fuel rods are damaged and that radioactive gases are building up inside one of its reactors.
French nuclear energy company Framatome, a subsidiary of EDF, helps operate and jointly owns the facility.
A letter from the company requesting help from the US Department of Energy warned that the build-up of radiation presents an "imminent radiological threat," reports CNN.
French nuclear firm Framatome says it's working to resolve a 'performance issue' at the plant it part-owns in China's southern Guangdong province (Image: AFP via Getty Images)"The situation is an imminent radiological threat to the site and to the public, and Framatome urgently requests permission to transfer technical data and assistance as may be necessary to return the plant to normal operation," the letter reads.
Radioactivity has been detected in cooling liquid around the fuel rods in a sealed-off area of the plant, about 80 miles west of Hong Kong.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian insisted to reporters that "there is nothing abnormal detected in the radiation level surrounding the plant".
Former Chancellor George Osborne announced that future generations of British nuclear power plants will be funded, developed and managed in joint UK and Chinese partnership agreements (Image: Getty Images) Like what you see? Then fill your boots...There's MUCH more where that came from! Want all the latest news and views hot off the press every day?
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Official sources say that "about five" of the fuel rods are damaged, but the plant is specified to be capable of operating safely with damage to up to a quarter of its 60,000 fuel rods.
"The presence of certain noble gases in the primary circuit is a known phenomenon, studied and provided for in the reactor operating procedures," according to an EDF statement.
Despite the worrying letter to the US government an EDF spokesman, who asked not to be named, insisted that the problem was under control.
The 1986 meltdown of reactor number four at the nearby Chernobyl plant in the world's worst nuclear accident spewed radiaoactive fallout across the globe (Image: Getty Images) Read More Inside secret underground room where scientists test US nuclear weapons He said: "We are not in a scenario of an accident with a melting core.
"We are not talking about contamination, we are talking about controlled emissions."
However, a report in The New York Times sounds a note of caution, citing experts who say that build-ups of radioactive gases of this kind are often caused by "poor design, manufacturing, or management".
Official sources say that 'about five' of the plant's fuel rods are damaged (Image: Bloomberg via Getty Images)The fact that elements of Framatome have reached out to the American government for help while China steadfastly maintains that there is no problem is highly unusual.
At the moment, White House sources say the facility is not yet at a "crisis level'', but with the plant situated in the densely populated Guangdong province any significant leak of radiative gases could present a major public health crisis.
The plant, which opened in 2018, uses the same reactor design as the long-delayed Hinkley Point C plant in Somerset, and EDF is in negotiations with Government about building a further nuclear plant in Suffolk.
U.S. weekly rail traffic climbs 18% on pandemic-hit comparison
The Association of American Railroads (AAR) reports total weekly US rail traffic up 17.9% to 529,635 carloads and intermodal units for the week ending June 12, 2021.
Carloads up 21.8% to 241,628; intermodal volume up 14.8% to 288,007 containers and trailers when compared to the same period last year.
All of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase with coal, up 19,229 carloads, to 69,263; metallic ores and metals, up 8,242 carloads, to 22,789; and chemicals, up 5,489 carloads, to 32,967.
The association notes: "For some rail traffic categories, percentage changes for the current week compared with the same week in 2020 are inflated because of the widespread shutdowns — and subsequent large reduction in rail volumes — that impacted many economic sectors last year at this time."
For the first 23 weeks of 2021, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 5,296,418 carloads, up 8.3% from the same point last year; and 6,494,976 intermodal units, up 18.5%.
***United States traffic excludes the U.S. operations of Canadian and Mexican railroads.
Region-wise weekly data: North America, 716,563 carloads and intermodal units (+15.3%); Canadian railroads, 75,753 carloads (+4.9%) and 73,492 intermodal units (+14.3%); Mexican railroad, 21,402 carloads (+2.8%) and 16,281 intermodal units (+9.1% Y/Y).
U.S. corn futures recently registered a rally to their highest in a month after the Department of Agriculture's latest monthly report forecasts stronger demand and shrinking stockpiles.
Related Tickers: Canadian National Railway (NYSE:CNI), Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.B), Canadian Pacific Railway (NYSE:CP), CSX Corp. (NASDAQ:CSX), Kansas City Southern (NYSE:KSU), Norfolk Southern (NYSE:NSC), Union Pacific (NYSE:UNP), and Brookfield Infrastructure Partners (NYSE:BIP) (NYSE:BIPC).
U.S. Vice President Biden says Putin has no soul: New Yorker | Reuters
Wed, 16 Jun 2021 16:27
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden attends a news conference at the Presidential Palace in Santo Domingo June 19, 2014. REUTERS/Luz Sosa
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Vladimir Putin has no soul, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden concluded after meeting with the Russian leader at the Kremlin in 2011, according to an article in the New Yorker published online on Monday.
Biden told the magazine about his 2011 visit with Putin, who at the time was prime minister, and said he found himself just inches away from the Russian leader.
''I said, 'Mr. Prime Minister, I'm looking into your eyes, and I don't think you have a soul,''' Biden told the magazine. ''He looked back at me, and he smiled, and he said, 'We understand one another.'''
Biden's assessment is in stark contrast to that of former U.S. President George W. Bush, who famously said after his first meeting with Putin in 2001: ''I looked the man in the eye ... I was able to get a sense of his soul.''
Biden's comments were published as the United States and other Western powers expressed outrage with Russia over the downing last week of a Malaysian airliner over a part of eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russia separatists. All 298 people aboard died.
The United States and other nations blame the rebels for shooting down the plane and they have demanded that Russia and its president, Putin, take responsibility. They also have expressed disgust over the rebels' mishandling of victims' bodies at the crash site. [ID:nL2N0PV08X]
Biden, who has played a large role in the Obama administration's foreign policy, also discussed his meeting with Ukrainian officials earlier this year, according to the article in the New Yorker's July 28 issue.
The officials had been seeking U.S. military aid, according to the report, but Biden said the United States could only provide minimal support.
''We no longer think in Cold War terms, for several reasons,'' the vice president told the magazine. ''One, no one is our equal. No one is close. Other than being crazy enough to press a button, there is nothing that Putin can do militarily to fundamentally alter American interests.''
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President Biden apologies for snapping at CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins: 'I shouldn't have been such a wise guy' - The Washington Post
Thu, 17 Jun 2021 11:17
As President Biden turned to walk off the stage following a news conference in Geneva after his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, a reporter shouted out one final question.
''Why are you so confident [Putin] will change his behavior, Mr. President?'' CNN's Kaitlan Collins asked.
The president, who had already turned away from the clutch of journalists, threw up his hands and started back toward the reporters while wagging his finger.
''What the hell? '... When did I say I was confident?'' Biden said as he headed back toward Collins, before launching into a tense back-and-forth with the reporter while defending his approach with the Russian president.
Biden's flash of frustration briefly revived memories of President Donald Trump's frequent heated exchanges with the White House press corps, though Biden's staid summit with Putin was in stark contrast to the deference Trump brought to his interactions with the Russian leader. As his exchange with Collins went viral, some critics jumped to defend the reporter, while others argued that her question unfairly reflected the president's earlier statements.
Soon after the exchange, Biden issued a mea culpa for his tone.
''I owe my last questioner an apology,'' the president told reporters on the tarmac as he readied to board Air Force One on Wednesday afternoon. ''I shouldn't have been such a wise guy with the last answer I gave.''
Biden and Putin met on Wednesday in their first summit to discuss several topics, including alleged cyberattacks and human rights violations that have strained relations between Russia and the United States. Afterward, Biden characterized the meeting as ''positive'' and Putin called it ''constructive.''
But Collins, who made headlines last year when she refused to move to the back of the room during a Trump briefing, pushed back on those claims.
After she shouted her question to Biden, the president said that she was mischaracterizing his stance.
''I said what will change their behavior is if the rest of the world reacts to them and it diminishes their standing in the world,'' Biden said after snapping at her. ''I'm not confident of anything. I'm just stating the facts.''
Collins pressed the president again, asking why the meeting, which lasted about three hours, should be viewed as constructive when Putin later downplayed human rights abuses and denied that Russia played a role in cyberattacks against the United States.
''If you don't understand that, you're in the wrong business,'' Biden said to the reporter before turning and leaving the stage.
The tense back-and-forth soon staked a claim as one of the most interesting moments of the day. One clip of the video garnered more than 300,000 views on Twitter by early Thursday, and Wednesday's late-night shows seized on the moment.
''That was some strong 'grandpa has had it with your lip' energy,'' ''The Late Show'' host Stephen Colbert said before imitating an old man scolding a misbehaving child.
''Anyway, U.S., Russia, nuclear weapons '-- I'm sure it's all going to be fine,'' Colbert added.
CNN did not immediately return a request for comment, but Collins on Wednesday defended her questions and said Biden had no need to apologize for his response.
''That is completely unnecessary,'' she said of the apology on CNN. '''... It is just our job to ask the president questions. That is the business we are in.''
Despite his apology to Collins, Biden still seemed ruffled by reporters questioning whether the meeting with Putin had been a success on the tarmac before he boarded Air Force One. When another reporter asked Biden what evidence he had that any progress had been made at the meeting with Putin, the president again expressed frustration.
''Look, to be a good reporter, you've got to be negative,'' Biden told the journalists gathered around him. ''You've got to have a negative view of life, it seems to me. The way you all, you never ask a positive question.''
Biden Putin Summit question timings
57 minutes for Putin, 18 of random reporter questions.... 27 minutes for Biden 6 planned scripted questions.....except for two, he lost temper on the two reporters
Fed explores 'once in a century' bid to remake the U.S. dollar - POLITICO
Sun, 13 Jun 2021 20:35
The explosive rise of private cryptocurrencies in recent years motivated the Fed to start considering a digital dollar to be used alongside the traditional paper currency. The biggest driver of concern was a Facebook-led effort, launched in 2019, to build a global payments network using crypto technology. Though that effort is now much narrower, it demonstrated how the private sector could, in theory, create a massive currency system outside government control.
Now, central banks around the world have begun exploring the idea of issuing their own digital currencies '-- a fiat version of a cryptocurrency that would operate more like physical cash '-- that would have some of the same technological benefits as other cryptocurrencies.
That could provide unwelcome competition for banks by giving depositors another safe place to put their money. A person or a business could keep their digital dollars in a virtual ''wallet'' and then transfer them directly to someone else without needing to use a bank account. Even if the wallet were operated by a bank, the firm wouldn't be able to lend out the cash. But unlike other crypto assets like Bitcoin or Ether, it would be directly backed and controlled by the central bank, allowing the monetary authorities to use it, like any other form of the dollar, in its policies to guide interest rates.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Digital Currency Initiative are aiming next month to publish the first stage of their work to determine whether a Fed virtual currency would work on a practical level '-- an open-source license for the most basic piece of infrastructure around creating and moving digital dollars.
But it will likely be up to Congress to ultimately decide whether the central bank should formally pursue such a project, as Fed Chair Jerome Powell has acknowledged. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are intrigued, particularly as they eye China's efforts to build its own central bank digital currency, as well as the global rise of cryptocurrencies, both of which could diminish the dollar's influence.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks during a Senate Finance Committee hearing on the IRS budget request on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (Evelyn Hockstein/Pool via AP) | Evelyn Hockstein/AP Photo
Democrats have especially been skeptical about crypto assets because there are fewer consumer protections and the currencies can be used for illicit activity. There are also environmental concerns posed by the sheer amount of electricity used to unlock new units of digital currencies like Bitcoin.
Warren suggested the Fed project could resolve some of those concerns.
''Legitimate digital public money could help drive out bogus digital private money, while improving financial inclusion, efficiency, and the safety of our financial system '-- if that digital public money is well-designed and efficiently executed,'' she said at a hearing on Wednesday, which she convened as chair of the Senate Banking Committee's economic policy subcommittee.
Other senators highlighted the potential for central bank digital wallets to be used to deliver government aid more directly to people who don't have bank accounts. A digital dollar could also be designed to have more high-tech benefits of some cryptocurrencies, like facilitating ''smart contracts'' where a transaction is completed once certain conditions are met.
Neha Narula, who's leading the effort at MIT to work with the Boston Fed on a central bank digital currency, called the project ''a once-in-a-century opportunity to redesign the dollar'' in a way that supports innovation much like the internet did.
Still, there are a slew of unanswered policy questions around how a digital dollar would be designed, such as how people would get access to the money, or how much information the government would be able to see about individual transactions. The decision is also tied to a far more controversial policy supported by Democrats like Warren and Senate Banking Chair Sherrod Brown to give regular Americans accounts at the Fed.
''What problem is a central bank digital currency trying to solve? In other words, do we need one? It's not clear to me yet that we do,'' Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said. ''In my view, turning the Fed into a retail bank is a terrible idea.''
And, ''the fact that China is creating a digital currency does not mean it's inevitable that the yuan would displace the U.S. dollar as the world's reserve currency,'' he said.
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 01: Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell speaks during a news conference on May 1, 2019 in Washington, DC. Powell said the Fed will not raise interest rates this quarter and no rate hikes are likely anytime soon. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images) | Mark Wilson/Getty Images
For their part, banks fear a Fed-issued digital currency could make it easier for customers to pull out large amounts of deposits and convert them to digital dollars during a crisis '-- the virtual equivalent of a bank run '-- putting financial stress on their institutions and making less money available to provide credit for people, businesses and markets.
It could also potentially deprive them of customers, something the lenders say would interfere with lawmakers' vision of increased financial inclusion.
''While it is true that deposit accounts are often the first step towards inclusion, the benefits of a long-term banking relationship go well beyond a deposit account,'' the ABA said in its statement. ''The same is not true of a [central bank digital currency] account with the Federal Reserve, which would not grow into a lending or investing relationship.''
The Bank Policy Institute, which represents large banks, has also argued that many of the benefits of a digital dollar are ''mutually exclusive (because they are predicated on different program designs) or effectively non-existent (because the program design that produces them comes with costs that are for other reasons unbearable).''
''The decision on whether to adopt a central bank digital currency in the United States is appropriately a long way off,'' BPI President and CEO Greg Baer said. ''There are also complex and serious costs that will need to be considered.''
But many lawmakers think it's worth the effort to look into it.
''The Federal Reserve should continue to explore a digital [currency]; nearly every other country is doing that,'' Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) said at the hearing, citing the risk for the U.S. to lose its ability to deploy economic sanctions as effectively with decreased usage of the dollar.
CenAm development bank to help El Salvador's bitcoin implementation | Reuters
Mon, 14 Jun 2021 17:18
Roberto Carlos Silva, owner of La Zontena store, poses at his business where he accepts Bitcoins at El Zonte Beach in Chiltiupan, El Salvador June 8, 2021. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas/Files
SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) - The head of the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) said on Monday that the bank will provide technical assistance to El Salvador to implement bitcoin as legal tender.
Dante Mossi, speaking at a news conference, added that the bank will also work with El Salvador's finance ministry and central bank to select a team to work on the implementation.
for-phone-only for-tablet-portrait-up for-tablet-landscape-up for-desktop-up for-wide-desktop-up
Whatever Horowitz says about Bitcoin, argue the opposite
Georgia Star News Exclusive: Fulton County Election Official Admits Chain of Custody Documents Missing for 2020 Absentee Ballots Deposited in Drop Boxes - Tennessee Star
Tue, 15 Jun 2021 12:23
In a stunning admission about the critical chain of custody documents for absentee ballots deposited into drop boxes in the November 3, 2020 election, a Fulton County election official told The Georgia Star News on Wednesday that ''a few forms are missing'' and that ''some procedural paperwork may have been misplaced.''
A Star News analysis of drop box ballot transfer forms for absentee ballots deposited in drop boxes provided by Fulton County in response to an Open Records Request showed that 385 transfer forms out of an estimated 1,565 transfer forms Fulton County said should have been provided are missing '' a number that is significantly greater than ''a few'' by any objective standard.
On Sunday, The Star News published a story which included the files containing digital images of the 1,180 transfer forms that Fulton County did provide. Those digital images can be viewed here.
This is the first time that any election official at either the state or county level from a key battleground state has made an admission of significant error in election procedures for the November 3, 2020 election.
The admission of missing chain of custody documents by a Fulton County official is important for several reasons that cut to the very core of public confidence in the outcome of the 2020 presidential election:
President Biden was certified as the winner of Georgia's 16 Electoral College votes in the 2020 election by the narrow margin of less than 12,000 votes over former President Donald Trump out of a total of 5 million votes cast statewide.The total number of absentee ballots whose chain of custody was purportedly documented in these 385 missing Fulton County absentee ballot transfer forms was 18,901, more than 6,000 votes greater than the less than 12,000 vote margin of Biden's certified victory in the state.Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has taken no action in 156 of Georgia's 159 counties to secure copies of any absentee ballot drop box transfer forms and review them for accuracy and consistency with reported absentee ballot vote counts. In April his office announced investigations into three small counties that ''failed to do their absentee ballot transfer forms'' in the November 2020 election in compliance with rules and regulations.More than seven months after the November 3 election, 28 Georgia counties have failed to respond at all to The Star News Open Records Requests to produce absentee ballot drop box transfer forms. To date, The Star News has obtained absentee ballot drop box forms from 59 counties that provide chain of custody documentation for 266,492 absentee ballots deposited in drop boxes during the November 3, 2020 election, which means that no chain of custody documentation has been produced for about 333,000 absentee ballots deposited in drop boxes out of an estimated 600,000 absentee ballots deposited in drop boxes during that election.As The Star News reported on Sunday, ''These absentee ballots are at the center of a lawsuit filed by Garland Favorito and eight other Georgia residents, who have sued Fulton County to produce these ballots for a forensic audit. Henry County Superior Court Judge Brian Amero ruled in May that this audit could proceed, but allowed the plaintiffs to review only the digital images of these 145,000 absentee ballots. . . An estimated 145,000 absentee ballots '' between 75,000 and 78,000 of which were originally deposited in drop boxes and between 67,000 and 70,000 of which were sent via the United States Postal Service '' were transferred from the centralized counting facility at the State Farm Arena in downtown Atlanta to the EPC [the Election Preparation Center warehouse located at 1365 English St. NW, Atlanta] at some point after the counting of votes for the November 3 election was completed. . . Fulton County subsequently filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, and Judge Amero put the audit on hold. Judge Amero has scheduled a hearing later this month to consider Fulton County's motion to dismiss the lawsuit and stop the audit.''The admission of missing chain of custody documents came as a response to The Star News follow-up to Fulton County's incomplete responses to Open Records Requests for the transfer forms that document the chain of custody of absentee ballots placed by voters into 37 drop boxes installed through Fulton County over the 41-day November 2020 presidential election period that began on September 24 and ended on November 3, election day.
''As we review the documents provided to you and our daily log. We noticed that a few forms are missing, it seems when 25 plus core personnel were quarantined due to positive COVID-19 outbreak at the EPC, some procedural paperwork may have been misplaced,'' Mariska Bodison (pictured above) of Fulton County Registration & Elections told The Star News in a statement emailed on Wednesday, June 9.
Ms. Bodison is the Board Secretary for the Fulton County Board of Registration and Elections. Richard Barron is the Election Director for Fulton County Registration & Elections.
Seven months after the election, Fulton County has failed to provide the transfer forms for approximately 19,000 drop box absentee ballots, The Star News has reported.
The transfer forms are a requirement of the State Election Board Emergency Rule 83-1-14-0.8-.14, promulgated by the State Election Board on July 1, 2020, to document the critical chain of custody of absentee ballots collected from drop boxes and transferred to the county registrar.
The Star News made an initial open records request to Fulton County election officials in December 2020 and subsequent follow-up requests to obtain all of the transfer forms. On two occasions, Fulton County provided numerous documents.
The first time, in February 2021, Fulton County provided two PDF files with labels ending in ''BX1'' and BX3.''
Not only did it appear that a file with a label ending in ''BX2'' was missing, the number of ballots represented on the transfer forms fell far short of the estimated number of ballots deposited in the drop boxes.
The Star News followed up with Fulton County, pointing out the incomplete records.
Fulton County responded in early May by opting to provide a thumb drive they said included a re-scan all of the documents from their first attempt plus those that were missing, rather than providing the ''BX2'' file or just the missing transfer forms.
The thumb drive contained 30 files of drop box transfer forms, and also also included a spreadsheet that Fulton County used to document the number of absentee ballots and the ballot applications collected from the 37 drop boxes over the 41-day voting period. According to that spreadsheet, those 30 files should have contained 1,565 drop box transfer forms.
The Star News's detailed analysis of the files provided by Fulton County revealed that they included only 1,180 drop box transfer forms provided chain of custody documents for 59,042 absentee ballots placed into drop boxes.
Yet, the Fulton County spreadsheet showed that about 79,000 absentee ballots were collected from drop boxes (When a mathematical error in the Fulton County spreadsheet that double counted a number of votes is corrected, the total number of absentee ballots Fulton County says were collected from drop boxes is about 75,000.)
On May 17, The Star News notified Fulton County via email that transfer forms for about 25 percent of the absentee ballots placed into drop boxes where chain of custody documentation in the form of 385 drop box transfer forms were still missing.
The Star News' email to Fulton County can be read here:
Dear Fulton County,
We are in receipt of a thumb drive which we picked up in person from your office on May 3, 2021 that contains scans of documents responsive to our Open Records Request Reference No: R002457-040821 for chain of custody ballot transfer forms for absentee ballots deposited in drop boxes in Fulton County for the November 3 election.
We have reviewed those documents, and it appears that you provided documentation for about 59,000 ballots. The accompanying spreadsheet you provided '' a file named ''Copy of Absentee Ballot Drop Box '' Daily Count '' November 3 2020.xlsx'' '' said there were about 78,000 ballots cast in the November 3, 2020 election.
Please: (1) Provide us with the ''missing'' documentation on these 19,000 ballots (2) Explain the discrepancy
Tiffany Morgan The Georgia Star News
After initially replying that they needed more time to review the request, Fulton County responded on June 9, which included the stunning admission of the misplaced paperwork.
As we review the documents provided to you and our daily log. We noticed that a few forms are missing, it seems when 25 plus core personnel were quarantined due to positive COVID-19 outbreak at the EPC, some procedural paperwork may have been misplaced.
Please feel free to contact me at if you have any questions.
Registration & Elections
On October 15, Fox 5 Atlanta reported on the COVID-19 outbreak at the Fulton County Elections Preparation Center (EPC), located at 1365 English St. NW, Atlanta, where 13 of 60 employees tested positive between October 13 and 15.
People who work in the warehouse are involved with logic and accuracy testing, packing supply boxes and collecting ballot drop boxes, according to the Fox 5 report.
The report, however, appears to contradict what Fulton County election officials are now saying, in terms of the numbers of employees quarantined and the impact to the work.
''Despite the news, county officials reassure there is no disruption to the work,'' Fox 5 reported.
In fact, Fulton County Director of Registration and Elections Richard Barron said, ''Processing absentee ballots. No there has been no delay. With regard to logic and accuracy testing, the only delay was probably yesterday when they were getting tested.''
On October 21, Barron told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that all of the staff working at the EPC had been moved to work out of the World Congress Center in downtown Atlanta due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Fulton County's emailed response to The Star News also seems to downplay the importance of the chain of custody documents by referring to the transfer forms as ''procedural paperwork.''
Even though Fulton County officials first agreed that forms were missing, they then went on to disagree with the numbers The Star News presented to them.
We do not agree with the 19,000 you referenced in your inquiry. Please advise at how you derived at this number and we will investigate.
As The Star News reported, using the Fulton County spreadsheet as a guide, at least 385 transfer forms providing chain of custody documentation for 18,901 ballots have yet to be provided by Fulton County.
In addition to random absentee ballot collections for which the transfer forms were not provided, there were at least five full days '' October 7, 9, 10, 11 and 20 '' for which no transfer forms have been provided. Four of those dates were before the COVID-19 quarantine cited by the Fulton County election official as the cause for the ''misplaced paperwork.''
This copy of the Fulton County spreadsheet, which The Star News has highlighted in yellow, shows the 385 drop box collections and associated 18,901 absentee ballots for which no transfer forms have been provided by Fulton County.
Further information on the absentee ballot drop box transfer forms provided by Fulton County is detailed in a spreadsheet compiled and reported on by The Star News here.
In April, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced that just three small Georgia counties''Coffee, Grady, and Taylor ''''failed to do their absentee ballot transfer forms'' in compliance with Georgia Rules and Regulations. Raffensperger's office made no effort to review the manner in which several other much larger counties that The Star News previously reported were in violation of the State Election Board's Emergency Code Rule; specifically Cobb County, DeKalb County and Fulton County.
Raffensperger's spokesman, Ari Schaffer, however, admitted to The Star News that the Secretary of State's office never looked at the chain of custody documents, they merely ''confirmed with the relevant counties that they had them.''
Earlier this month, the Georgia GOP convention censured Secretary of State Raffensperger for ''dereliction of his Constitutional duty.'' That dereliction of duty included, ''Undermining the security of our elections by allowing mass mailings of absentee applications by his office and third parties which created opportunities for fraud and overwhelmed election offices; rendering accurate signature matching nearly impossible; allowing ballot drop boxes without proper chain of custody; and ignoring sworn affidavits and disregarding evidence of voter fraud,'' (emphasis added).
'' '' ''
Laura Baigert is a senior reporter at The Star News Network, where she covers stories for The Tennessee Star and The Georgia Star News. Photo ''Mariska Bodison'' by Fulton County Board of Elections.
15 States Are Moving To Curb Public Health Agency Powers Following Lockdown Carnage | ZeroHedge
Wed, 16 Jun 2021 11:56
Authored by John Miltimore via The Foundation for Economic Education,
More than a dozen states have passed or advanced legislation to place new checks on the powers of public health agencies in the wake of the pandemic...
Mike Fratantuono grew up in a restaurant. Literally.
For decades, Sunset Restaurant in Glen Burnie, Maryland, was the family business. Over the years, he'd done seemingly every job imaginable: busboy, bartender, and butcher; prep cook and plumber; handyman and manager.
Fratantuono says that's what made it so hard to watch the family's legacy become a COVID casualty in 2020.
''It kills me. We were supposed to be getting ready to celebrate our 60th anniversary this year, and instead we're packing up and closing at the end of this month,'' Fratantuono told the Washington Post last year.
''I try not to get too sentimental about it, because it won't change a damn thing, but sometimes the stress hits me and my heart starts going like crazy. I get frustrated. It makes me angry.''
Fratantuono is just one of the countless business owners across America who saw their dreams vanish before their eyes in the wake of government lockdowns that crushed their businesses. Now, in the wake of the pandemic, states across the country are advancing legislation to curb the powers of public health departments following one of the most destructive and contentious years in American history.
Reining in Public Health AgenciesIn May, the Network for Public Health Law published a report showing that in recent months no fewer than 15 state legislatures have passed or are considering passing measures that would restrict the legal authority of public health departments.
Among the provisions passed or considered are the following:
Prohibitions on requiring citizens to wear masks;
Prohibiting health agencies from closing businesses or schools;
Banning the use of quarantines for people who have not been shown to be sick;
Preventing state hospitals and universities from requiring vaccinations for employees and students;
Preventing local governments from exercising emergency powers that are inconsistent with state health department guidelines;
Earlier this year, for example, North Dakota passed legislation making it unlawful for state officials to force citizens to wear masks'--just one of a growing number of states to place restrictions on mask orders. In March, Kansas's legislature passed legislation that removes the governor's ability to shut down businesses during a public health emergency.
Meanwhile, more than 40 states passed legislation that made it unlawful for health departments to mandate COVID-19 vaccination.
A recent report found that no fewer than 15 state legislatures have passed or are considering passing measures that would curb the powers of public health departments.This is very good news. pic.twitter.com/5WJbAAGzNV
'-- Jon Miltimore (@miltimore79) June 9, 2021A Serious Threat to Life?The report concludes that opposition to ''reasonable'' public health measures poses serious dangers to life and health.
''Legislation to stop expert public health agencies from leading the response to health emergencies creates unforeseen, serious risks to life and health,'' the report states.
''These laws could make it harder to advance health equity during a pandemic that has disproportionately sickened and killed Black, Hispanic and Latino, and Indigenous Americans.''
Not mentioned in the report, however, are the unintended consequences of the actions taken by public health agencies across the country in 2020. The collateral damage of lockdowns included business closures, job losses, supply disruptions, mass protests, surging violence, increased mental health problems, unprecedented drug overdoses, and a collapse in cancer screenings.
Public health agencies, meanwhile, proved incapable of taming the coronavirus through the use of lockdowns. And these struggles were not confined to the United States.
''A new study by German scientists claims to have found evidence that lockdowns may have had little effect on controlling the coronavirus pandemic,'' The Telegraph reported last week.
''Statisticians at Munich University found 'no direct connection' between the German lockdown and falling infection rates in the country.''
The Lesson of LockdownsThe devastating impact of lockdowns, combined with their failure to slow the spread of the virus, demonstrates why states are right to curb the powers of public health agencies.
If 2020 taught us anything, it's the danger of unchecked executive power. Using emergency powers, governors and public health bureaucrats across the country took unilateral, sweeping, and indefinite measures that massively damaged livelihoods and infringed on the rights of millions of Americans. People were fined and arrested for simply gathering privately or exercising outside, walking a pet, paddling a boat on the water (alone), or taking a child to the park'--even though most transmissions took place in homes and the coronavirus is rarely transmitted outdoors.
Americans may disagree on the precise role public health departments should play in society today. But the pandemic reminded us why checks and balances on concentrated power are so important.
The American constitutional system was deliberately designed to avoid concentrated power because the Framers feared it above all else.
''The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty,'' wrote John Adams.
The authors of the Network for Public Health Law report express concern that public health agencies are being stripped of the power to act by dangerous radicals. The truth is that dangerously radical government agencies are being put in check.
Ohio, for example, passed a law in March that limits the length of a public health emergency order to 90 days unless it's extended by the legislature. The same month, lawmakers in Utah passed legislation allowing the state legislature to override state health agency orders during public health emergencies. Missouri, meanwhile, has proposed a law that limits lockdowns to 15 days, after which extensions must be approved by legislative bodies.
These reforms are not radical. They are both reasonable and sensible. They do not represent an attack on science'--which tells us what is, not what we ought to do'--but are prudent checks on power from lawmakers acting within their rightful province.
''It is necessary to curb the power of government,'' the economist Ludwig von Mises noted in Human Action.
''This is the task of all constitutions, bills of rights and laws. This is the meaning of all struggles which men have fought for liberty.''
The preservation of liberty, protected by separating and checking power, is the ideal on which the American system was founded. Following a year that saw Americans' rights, dreams, and health trampled by central planners wielding vast power with little restraint and few checks, it's a vision Americans are right to rekindle.
Just ask Mike Fratantuono and the millions of other Americans whose lives were derailed in 2020.
Climate Org Inspired by Greta Thunberg Disbands After Labeling Itself 'Racist'
Thu, 17 Jun 2021 12:06
Commentary For years now, the radical left has ruled over activist circles with an iron fist. While most of the attention is rightfully focused on their external engagements, that doesn't mean there isn't internal strife among leftists.
Sometimes, that dirty laundry even makes headlines.
Take School Strike 4 Climate, for example. According to National Review, School Strike 4 Climate is a collection of local student-led movements, inspired by Greta Thunberg, that all aim to battle climate change.
Except for the chapter in Auckland, New Zealand, apparently.
The Auckland chapter announced in a Saturday Facebook post that the group would be ''disbanding as an organisation.'' The reason? Because it's racist at its core, apparently.
''BIPOC communities are disproportionately affected by climate change, so the fight for climate justice should be led by their voices and needs, not PÄkehÄ [white New Zealander] ones,'' the organization said.
''We are disbanding because, since 2019, SS4C AKL (as well as the wider national group, though we can't speak on their behalf) has been a racist, white-dominated space,'' it continued, asserting that there is an ''urgent need to decolonise the organisation [that] has been put off for far too long.''
The chapter lamented ''the hurt, burnout, and trauma caused to many BIPOC individuals'' as well as ''the further trauma caused by our slow action to take responsibility. We recognise that this apology can never be enough to make up for our actions on top of years of systemic and systematic oppression.''
Have leftist groups near you suffered from internal division?
Yes: 76% (72 Votes)
No: 24% (23 Votes)
The group also ''fully discourage[s] any future and current PÄkehÄ-led groups from occupying the space we leave behind.''
I'm sure the Aucklanders expected to receive universal praise and acclaim for this decision. After all, in the philosophy of Woke, the telos '-- or purpose '-- of a white person is to make a flagellant out of themselves.
However, while the group did receive some support, many of the Facebook comments were openly hostile '-- and the hostility wasn't coming from conservatives.
''As all children are legally obliged to go to school in NZ it seemed like a smart idea to have one group for all children '-- as the future '-- rather than a lot of smaller groups. We might not all be about to go under water due to climate change but it's certainly effecting everyone on this planet and climate change doesn't care (discriminate) about skin colour or cultures. I didn't think SS4C did either,'' one person commented.
''This is so dissappointing. This is identity politics gone mad. Capitalism is eating the world and you are stopping! You need the politics of solidarity in the movement, to keep trying, keep listening, keep doing better but stopping '-- shortsighted, damaging to a movement and the wrong move. There is a world to save. Every action, every voice is needed and valid. Begging you as a mother not to stop,'' another progressive added.
At play, we see the divide on the left between modernists and postmodernists. While both apply critical social theory, they do so very differently.
The modernists, represented by the hostile commenters, are primarily concerned with the development of capitalism as a political-economic system. They apply historical and cultural context in their analysis, with a focus on combatting authority and injustice, which they see as intrinsic within capitalism.
They usually don't have an interest in woke nonsense, and legitimately seek to unite people. As I am a capitalist and a conservative, and not an orthodox Marxist, I completely disagree with them on most matters. That being said, it is a position I can at least respect.
On the other hand, you have the postmodernists. Their interest is in what is often termed the ''crisis of representation.'' They critique our contemporary society, which they consider to be post-modern, and relentlessly attack anything that can be considered universal, including modernity and reality itself. This is where identity politics and critical race theory come from.
Naturally, postmodernism is nonsense, as those who worship it dogmatically assert their ideas while simultaneously arguing that truth does not exist, and the divide between it and modern critical theory can be seen clearly.
I use one, invented word to describe this phenomenon, in which the left eats itself with its own theory: cannibaliberalism. Hopefully, the Auckland chapter's decision inspires other leftist organizations to do the same.
It would only make things easier for us.
SummaryMore Biographical Information Recent Posts ContactGarion Frankel is the senior policy advisor for the Texas Federation of College Republicans. He enjoys and has published articles and academic works on public policy, philosophy and political theory.
Garion Frankel is the senior policy advisor for the Texas Federation of College Republicans. He enjoys and has published articles and academic works on public policy, philosophy and political theory.
English, some Spanish
Italy Is Turning Away From the Chinese Communist Regime
Mon, 14 Jun 2021 17:03
A piece of breaking news appeared on various popular Chinese-language websites on June 7 claiming that the Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi had admitted that the COVID-19 pandemic had originated in Italy in a virtual interview by Radiotelevi-sione Italiana (RAI). The Chinese reports claimed that Italy had mistaken COVID outbreaks in Milan, Genoa, and Venice in the summer of 2019 for influenza.
Screenshots of Chinese media reports claiming that COVID-19 originated in Italy. (Screenshots/The Epoch Times) A screenshot of a Chinese media report claiming that COVID-19 originated in Italy. (Screenshot/The Epoch Times)This soon was exposed as fake news. The Italian embassy in Beijing issued a statement that afternoon, saying that ''The Italian Embassy strongly emphasizes that the content of the article concerning the Prime Minister's remarks is a complete lie and that the information has no basis whatsoever.''
This happened shortly after Italy's recent veto of Beijing's attempted takeover of LPE, a Milan-based semiconductor manufacturer, on March 31.
There is no way of knowing if the fake COVID-19 origins report was Beijing's retaliation for the aborted deal but it certainly didn't ease tensions between the two countries.
Expert: 5 Reasons Italy Is Cooling Its Relationship With ChinaItaly's blocking of the Chinese acquisition was an abrupt change in course for the European nation that had been growing a close relationship with the Chinese regime in Beijing.
In 2019, Italy under the leadership of former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, became the first G7 country to embrace China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), against the advice of the United States and other G7 members.
In 2020 when the pandemic hit, Italy was the most impacted country in Europe. China donated 31 tons of personal protective equipment and virus testing kits to Italy in March 2020, as well as a dozen medical experts to support the health response.
Italy had also been one of the most pro-China EU members in recent decades. Between 2000 and 2019, Italy received 15.9 billion euros ($19.25 billion) in Chinese investments, making it Europe's third biggest beneficiary. Recent financial troubles saw numerous China-based companies acquire a number of Italian businesses. As of 2020, more than 400 Chinese groups held stakes in 760 Italian companies across ''highly profitable or strategic sectors.''
One of the best-known acquisitions was that of the AC Milan football club for 740 million euros ($788 million), previously owned by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
An aerial view of the port city of Trieste in Italy which China is considering for its Belt and Road Initiative. (Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images)But the change in approach to China didn't surprise experts like Cheng Chin-mo, director at the Department of Diplomacy and International Relations of the Tamkang University in Taiwan. ''This demonstrates the unravelling of China's diplomacy in Europe,'' Cheng told The Epoch Times. ''There are five reasons why this is bound to happen.''
Although China's ''mask diplomacy'' strategy helped ease some immediate supply shortages for Italy, the country can't forget that China's cover up of its coronavirus breakout caused the catastrophe in the first place, Cheng said. Italians have seen four million COVID-19 infections, and almost 127,000 deaths from the disease caused by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus. The pandemic was devastating for Italy's already struggling economy, causing a 13 percent drop in per capita income in 2020 while the economy contracted by almost 11 percent. Free facial masks are just not enough to clear the clouds, Cheng said.
Secondly, China has made itself with a bad reputation in business ethics and conduct over the past decade, Cheng said, adding that Chinese businesses and investors are known for violating local regulations and agreements, which deeply upsets Europeans who value integrity.
''Chinese money was enthusiastically welcomed in Italy when the BRI MoU was signed in 2019. But the country has since found no material benefit from the collaborations,'' he added. ''On the contrary, some century old Italian businesses have turned for the worse or even went bankrupt after they started partnering with China.''
Thirdly, China's ''wolf warrior diplomacy'' has turned many former fans off, Cheng said. In response to the EU's sanctions in March over the regime's genocide of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that the sanctions were based on ''nothing but lies and disinformation.'' It asked Brussels to ''reflect on itself [and] face squarely the severity of its mistake'' and stop ''interfering in [China's'] internal affairs.''
Draghi's political position is the fourth factor, Cheng said. Draghi, who holds a very friendly attitude towards the United States and the EU, described his foreign policy as ''strongly pro-European and Atlanticist, in line with Italy's historical anchors.'' Contrary to his predecessor, Draghi, who was elected in February, has shown clear determination to seek alliance with the United States. Shortly after his appointment, Draghi reaffirmed Rome's membership in NATO and the historic friendship between Italy and the United States. The vetoing of the LPE deal is seen as a signal of the new administration's focus on stemming Beijing's political and economic influence in Italy, Cheng said.
Lastly, Cheng pointed to the global environment, which is turning against China. The U.S.-led international effort to curb communist China's global expansion and human rights abuses, as well as the investigation in China's role in the outbreak of the pandemic, have encouraged G7 countries to openly speak and act against the CCP's atrocities, which they had avoided for many years fearing hurt to their business relationship with China. Meanwhile, Europe is growing much more wary of the threat the CCP's poses to nation's security after the CCP's infiltration tools such as Huawei and the Confucius Institute were exposed.
Italy Still Influenced by the CCP's Overseas PropagandaHowever, public sentiment toward the Chinese regime may take some time to change, as many Italian national media outlets have been frequently publishing pro-regime content and the mindsets of their journalists have been infiltrated quite deeply by CCP propaganda. Francesco Galietti of the Rome-based thinktank Policy Sonar told Breitbart that ''the Chinese have 100 percent infiltrated Italian media.''
A new electronic billboard leased by Xinhua, the news agency operated by the Chinese regime, makes its debut in New York's Times Square on Aug. 1, 2011. (Stan Honda/AFP via Getty Images)Breitbart also revealed in a June 7 report that an Italian-language video series on ''Xi Jinping's Classical Quotes'' developed by Chinese state-owned China Media Group had been broadcast on Italy's Mediaset and the Chinese-language outlet Cinitalia.
''The National Associated Press Agency (ANSA), Italy's equivalent to The Associated Press or Agence France Presse, has also been publishing up to 50 Italian language wire articles per day from Xinhua News Agency, the state-run wire service for the Chinese Communist Party. Again, ANSA does not disclose to its readers that the Chinese government runs and approves all Xinhua content,'' the report read.
Italian national newspaper Il Giornale has been publishing CCP propaganda regularly since 2019. A May article in Il Giornale suggested that reports about the CCP's genocide of the Muslim Uyghur people were a mere ''media manipulation of events'' crafted to use ''human rights concerns'' to further America's foreign policy agenda, echoing the regime's party line.
The Breitbart report also noted that a magazine published by Cinitalia ''openly admits that it produces its Italian content in association with the Chinese Embassy in Italy.''
Il Giornale is owned by former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, who was critical of the CCP until he sold the AC Milan soccer club to Chinese investors for $788 million in 2017 due to financial troubles. Since then, Il Giornale's China-related content have looked very similar to the CCP's propaganda.
New Era in EU-China RelationsEU members, including Italy and Hungary, are starting to push back on the CCP's coercion both economically and politically.
The EU condemned the Chinese regime's human rights record in a conference earlier this year, and France sent a warship and submarine to the South China Sea for a ''freedom of navigation'' patrol in February.
On May 22, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said in a statement that the Baltic nation does not see itself as part of Beijing's ''17+1'' platform for EU member states and five Balkan countries anymore, according to the Baltic News Service. He said the Chinese platform was ''divisive'' from the EU's point of view and called on EU members to pursue ''a much more effective 27+1 approach'' for its communication with China.
Hungarian premier Viktor Orban, who has reportedly built cordial ties with the Chinese regime, including massive joint business projects, and has several times this year blocked EU statements denouncing the Chinese regime's record on human rights, had to pause a planned project with China's Fudan University amidst massive protests this month. His government has since announced a referendum on the project.
Pingping Yu has been a writer, translator, and researcher for The Epoch Times since 2007. She covers a variety of topics related to China, with a strong focus on human rights, economy, and business.
Sophia Lam contributed to the report.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Pizza Delivery Robots From Refraction AI Arrive in South Austin - Eater Austin
Tue, 15 Jun 2021 12:35
Refraction AI's REV-1 robots will deliver Southside Flying Pizza orders throughout downtown, Travis Heights, and South Congress
By Nadia Chaudhury on June 14, 2021 2:10 pm Delivery robots are coming to Austin. Food delivery service company Refraction AI's REV-1 robots '-- small electric-run machines that operate autonomously '-- are delivering orders from local pizzeria mini-chain Southside Flying Pizza throughout downtown Austin, Travis Heights, and along South Congress Avenue as of today, June 14.
CEO Luke Schnieder tells Eater that the company decided to expand to the Texas city because ''the vast array of food and retail options that are woven into Austin's unique neighborhoods '-- especially South Congress '-- align with our vision for last-minute delivery and make automated delivery an easy, convenient, affordable option.''
The way the REV-1 robot deliveries will work is as follows:
People who live in the downtown, Travis Heights, and South Congress areas place delivery orders through Southside Flying Pizza's website from the East Cesar Chavez location. The restaurant places the prepared food order into the robot, and it travels from the curb of the restaurant to the curb of the delivery address. As that happens, the customer receives text message updates on the location of the delivery, as well as a code to access their order. When the robot arrives at the curb of the destination, the person has to go outside, enter their code onto the touchscreen pad, and open the robot to receive their order.The REV-1 delivery robots travel in bike lanes '-- which means cyclists will have to contend with the vehicles '-- and can also use sidewalks and actual streets when needed. Schnieder notes that the delivery robots ''are required by state law to yield the right of way to all traffic, including bicycles and people on foot.'' A rep for the company confirms that, since this Austin launch is considered a pilot program, each robot will be accompanied by a person on a scooter and that there are remote people who watch over the deliveries.
The physical machines are described as being ''about the same size as a person on a bike'' in the press release, measuring four and a half feet in both height and length, 30 inches in width, and 150 pounds in weight. The vehicles can travel up to 15 miles per hour, and hold the equivalent of six grocery bags.
One of the goals of the program is to decrease greenhouse gas emissions in the city. Gina Fiandaca, the Austin assistant city manager for mobility, expressed her excitement in the release, because of how it emphasizes both sustainability and equity.
For now, REV-1's initial Austin program consists of 10 robots, but there are plans to increase the number of machines as more restaurants, shops, and groceries join the service.
Refraction AI began in July 2019 by co-founders Matthew Johnson-Roberson and Ram Vasudevan. They launched the first REV-1 delivery program in Ann Arbor, Michigan that November. Other cities have been implementing their own autonomous robot deliveries, including Houston with Chartwells Higher Education and Starship, and Miami with Reef Technology and Cartken.
Refraction AI [Official]
Delivery robots will be on the road in Austin starting Monday | KXAN Austin
Wed, 16 Jun 2021 12:58
by: Candy Rodriguez
Jun 14, 2021 / 06:55 AM CDT / Updated:
Jun 14, 2021 / 08:09 AM CDTStarting Monday, robots are making deliveries along South Congress and downtown under the supervision of the Austin Transportation Department. (Screenshot from video courtesy Austin Transportation Department)
AUSTIN (KXAN) '-- Robots will roll through Austin starting Monday making food deliveries in the South Congress area and throughout downtown.
Austin Transportation Department officials say the company behind the robots, Refraction AI, will launch a fleet of 10 robots.
ATD officials add the robots will travel in the bike lane unless there is not one. Then, they will travel on the main road. The robots will be monitored by a person who will travel along with the robot. Officials said it is required by state law to ensure safety.
The robots will also be remotely piloted '-- not automated '-- which means someone is able to control the robots from afar. While the robots operate in the city, local transportation officials will gather data and determine if they need to implement additional regulations.
ATD says the robots can hold up to seven grocery bags in their delivery compartment. The robots will not only deliver restaurant orders and more. Later Monday morning, the company will release the list of participating businesses in the program. Transportation officials say this could change the future of deliveries.
''I think it can really transform the mobility landscape eventually if it catches on and with enough growth, it will be able to replace some trips being taken by SOVs or single-occupancy vehicles at this time,'' said Jacob Culberson, the transportation department's division manager for mobility services.
ATD officials said anyone who has issues or questions can contact 311.
'Extraordinarily invasive': Concerns over proposals to allow Garda demand passwords
Thu, 17 Jun 2021 12:19
Proposed legislation to allow garda demand passwords during investigations will give them access to people's ''entire digital life'', even when dealing with minor offences, it has been claimed.
The Garda Sochna (Powers) Bill will make it a criminal offence for the public to refuse to hand over passwords or encryption keys for digital devices uncovered during the course of a search warrant execution.
A person who refuses to surrender a password for a mobile phone or other device to garda could face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to '¬30,000.
Similar legislation has previously been recommended by the Law Reform Commission, the Garda Inspectorate and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris.
The announcement was welcomed by senior garda on Monday who said it would be extremely valuable in investigating ''bulk crimes'' such as assaults, drug dealing and theft.
''Almost every crime from robbery to rape now has a digital aspect to it,'' a security source said. ''There is legislation there to allow you seize a phone. But if the person is not handing over a password, it does make it more difficult.
''If you can compel someone to hand it over, then that would be of absolutely great benefit and would be welcomed.''
Q&A: How will garda be able to demand passwords in investigations? New Garda powers to allow access to mobile phones, changes to 'stop and search' The Irish Times view on the Garda anti-corruption unit: a new departure Garda sources said that, while the legislation would be beneficial in some serious crimes, it was likely to be of limited use in tackling gangland crime.
''Most people in that world will prefer to take the charges rather than be seen to hand over passwords, especially if those passwords implicate others,'' one garda involved in organised crime investigations said.
'Invasive'Concerns have been raised by privacy advocates over the ''broad'' nature of the Bill. Chairman of Digital Rights Ireland and UCD associate professor of law TJ McIntyre said the powers were ''extraordinarily invasive'' and would allow garda access to ''the entirety of someone's digital life'', even while investigating minor crimes.
Once garda can access a phone or computer, this would provide access to email, bank and Google Drive accounts as well as encrypted messaging services such as Signal, he said.
''That makes it much more invasive than traditional types of search warrants. Historically search warrants are about particular places.
''But these types of warrants involve getting the entirety of someone's digital life in a way that is not connected to one place.''
Garda looking for evidence of one crime could bring additional charges if they discovered evidence of other crimes during digital searches, he said.
The power to demand a password would automatically apply to ''every single crime where a search warrant can be issued'', not just in serious crime investigations.
The law would also permit superintendents to grant search warrants instead of a judge in ''urgent circumstances''. This reintroduces the practice of ''self-service'' warrants which was effectively discontinued by the Supreme Court several years ago, Mr McIntyre said.
The law would require the Garda Commissioner to draw up a ''code of practice'' to determine the use of data obtained during a search, a safeguard Mr McIntyre described as ''weak sauce''.
''The code wouldn't have force of law itself. Somebody wouldn't have a right of action if it was violated. Evidence wouldn't be inadmissible if it wasn't followed,'' he said.
VIDEO - Putin press conference after meeting sleepy Joe...ððð - YouTube
Thu, 17 Jun 2021 11:55
VIDEO - Yep on Twitter: "@chrisjdmartin @adamcurry" / Twitter
Thu, 17 Jun 2021 10:43
Yep : @chrisjdmartin @adamcurry
Wed Jun 16 23:21:08 +0000 2021
VIDEO - Daily Caller on Twitter: "President Biden snaps at CNN's @kaitlancollins who asks why he's "confident" Putin will change his behavior: "I'm not confident I'm going to change his behavior. What the hell? What do you do all the time?... If you don't
Thu, 17 Jun 2021 10:43
Daily Caller : President Biden snaps at CNN's @kaitlancollins who asks why he's "confident" Putin will change his behavior:"I'm'... https://t.co/jZLs3anxVr
Wed Jun 16 18:03:31 +0000 2021
JLR : @DailyCaller @kaitlancollins Did anyone else notice how he adjusted his ear piece and then ended the conversation?'... https://t.co/uaEBP3XoUw
Thu Jun 17 10:36:04 +0000 2021
VIDEO - Mush on Twitter: "@Lukewearechange @adamcurry @THErealDVORAK @NA_Announce @" / Twitter
Thu, 17 Jun 2021 10:40
Mush : @Lukewearechange @adamcurry @THErealDVORAK @NA_Announce @
Thu Jun 17 02:11:19 +0000 2021
VIDEO - Permitless carry in Texas
Wed, 16 Jun 2021 23:41
**Watch the video above for previous coverage on Texas H.B. 1927**
AUSTIN, Texas (WJW) '-- The governor of Texas has signed legislation that allows the permitless carrying of firearms in the state.
According to the Texas Legislature, House Bill 1927 passed in both the House and Senate last month. Governor Greg Abbott signed the bill into law this week.
The new law allows Texans over the age of 21 to carry a firearm without any license or training.
Under the new law, individuals with a misdemeanor or felony conviction for unlawfully carrying a firearm will have those convictions expunged from their record. Someone convicted for felony unlawful carrying of a weapon will be able to own a firearm again once their conviction is expunged.
The law also states that a peace officer can disarm a person any time they believe it is necessary for safety reasons. This provision was reportedly called for by law enforcement advocates after many voiced opposition to HB 1927, the Texas Tribune reports. Several law enforcement officials allegedly expressed concern that the law could endanger officers and civilians, as well as make it easier for criminals to acquire weapons.
You can read House Bill 1927 in its entirety, below:
Gov. Greg Abbott has openly expressed his support of the measure throughout the legislative process. The newspaper reports that Abbott declared HB 1927 as ''the strongest Second Amendment legislation in Texas history.''
HB 1927 goes into effect on September 1, 2021.
VIDEO - TODAY on Twitter: "The Western United States is experiencing a dangerous heat wave this week expected to bring 90-degree temperatures to over 200 million people. California and Texas are already urging residents to conserve power. @BreakingChesky
Wed, 16 Jun 2021 12:38
TODAY : The Western United States is experiencing a dangerous heat wave this week expected to bring 90-degree temperatures'... https://t.co/egs3rcWkrY
Wed Jun 16 11:58:23 +0000 2021
Fuzzy : @TODAYshow @NBCNews @BreakingChesky @alroker 90 degrees?In the South and West?Run for your lives !!!!ð
Wed Jun 16 12:30:46 +0000 2021
Noblesse Oblige : @TODAYshow @NBCNews @BreakingChesky @alroker It was 105 in northern utah yesterday.
Wed Jun 16 12:24:11 +0000 2021
Charles Haney : @TODAYshow @BreakingChesky @alroker It was so hot yesterday I lost power and had to use all my viagra pill's in my ice cube tray.
Wed Jun 16 12:14:45 +0000 2021
VIDEO - SCUBA MIKEð¤ on Twitter: "#BREAKING! .@DarrenJBeattie is doing some great work!. He is blowing the lid off of 1/6 as much as @julie_kelly2. He nails it her with Tucker. Listen close, militia were infiltrated by FBI and gave immunity to snitches.
Wed, 16 Jun 2021 12:30
SCUBA MIKEð¤ : #BREAKING!.@DarrenJBeattie is doing some great work!. He is blowing the lid off of 1/6 as much as @julie_kelly2'... https://t.co/fesBEqBdNl
Wed Jun 16 00:26:43 +0000 2021
Stoaty Weasel, desiccated old bag : @scuba2024 @DarrenJBeattie @julie_kelly2 Let's avoid saying 1/6 - they're trying to make it into the new 9/11. How'... https://t.co/DYGxkn40yJ
Wed Jun 16 11:45:04 +0000 2021
danielsinn : @scuba2024 @DarrenJBeattie @julie_kelly2 The Crazed MAGA Zombie Puppets receiving their commands an hour before the'... https://t.co/7cIEYXF30V
Wed Jun 16 11:20:14 +0000 2021
VIDEO - LBC on Twitter: "'Trump was right all along.' Nick Ferrari reacts after a cocktail of drugs that Donald Trump claimed cured him of Covid-19 is set to be rolled out in the NHS. @NickFerrariLBC https://t.co/0znPTjh71e" / Twitter
Wed, 16 Jun 2021 12:14
LBC : 'Trump was right all along.'Nick Ferrari reacts after a cocktail of drugs that Donald Trump claimed cured him of'... https://t.co/MHz0HEo3mL
Wed Jun 16 07:30:02 +0000 2021
VIDEO - Daily Caller on Twitter: "President Biden is asked by CNN's Jeff Zeleny about if he still believes Vladimir Putin is a ''killer'' Watch what happens: https://t.co/D3JcKcQ36I" / Twitter
Tue, 15 Jun 2021 21:30
Daily Caller : President Biden is asked by CNN's Jeff Zeleny about if he still believes Vladimir Putin is a ''killer''Watch what h'... https://t.co/UmA37mPgkA
Mon Jun 14 20:05:23 +0000 2021
VIDEO - 'We need help,' says Chicago mayor after 4 killed in 2nd mass shooting in Chicago in 4 days - ABC News
Tue, 15 Jun 2021 18:10
A woman was killed and nine adults were injured on Saturday.
June 15, 2021, 4:32 PM
' 5 min read
At least four people were killed and four others were injured Tuesday morning in the second mass shooting in Chicago in four days, police said.
A barrage of gunfire erupted just before 6 a.m. in the city's Englewood neighborhood, police said. The shooting followed a disturbance at a home, police said.
Several people were gathering inside when the shooting started, police said.
ABC station WLS-TV in Chicago confirmed through police sources that four people were pronounced dead at the scene. The names and ages of those killed were not immediately released.
Authorities on the scene of a shooting in Chicago, June 15, 2021.
Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said at a news conference that three women are among the dead.
Four people suffered critical injuries in the shooting, including a 25-year-old man and a 41-year-old man who were both shot in the back of the head, police told WLS.
A woman and a 23-year-old man, who was shot in the back, were also in critical condition at University of Chicago Hospital, police said.
Some of the victims were taken to hospitals in private cars. A 2-year-old girl, who was in the house at the time of the shooting, was rushed to St. Bernard Hospital for observation but did not appear to be injured, authorities said.
The motive and details of what prompted the shooting are under investigation. No arrests have been made.
Brown said police were initially called to the neighborhood around 2 a.m. to investigate a report of shots fired near the home where the quadruple homicide occurred. He said when police were called back to the area at 5:45 a.m. they discovered multiple shooting victims.
Brown said police have responded to the same home for "disturbances" in the past but declined to give specifics on what the previous calls were about.
The police superintendent said a high-capacity ammunition magazine was recovered at the home following Tuesday's mass shooting.
"We must acknowledge this for what it is -- a tragedy that has ripped apart families and inflicted intense trauma on several individuals," Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said at a news conference on Tuesday. "It tells us that we still have much work to do."
Authorities on the scene of a shooting in Chicago, June 15, 2021.
Lightfoot said officials at the White House reached out to her Tuesday morning to offer support.
"What we will likely learn as the details become clearer is that illegal guns continue to plague us," Lightfoot added. "Gun violence continues to have a deep and painful history in our city. Unfortunately, Chicago is not unique. We are part of a club of cities for which no one wants to belong, cities with mass shootings."
She pleaded for help from the federal government, saying, "This is a national problem."
"Cities individually cannot tackle this problem. We just cannot. In Chicago, we've done absolutely everything possible and we need help from the federal government," Lightfoot said. "When guns are so porous that they can come across our borders as we see every single day in Chicago, we know that we have to have a multi-jurisdictional, national solution to this horrible plague of gun violence."
The incident follows a mass shooting on Saturday in Chicago that left a woman dead and nine adults injured.
Chicago police officials said investigators are searching for two suspects who walked up to a crowd gathered on the sidewalk in a business district in Chicago's Chatham neighborhood and opened fire just after 2 a.m. on Saturday. The nine adults who suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the shooting ranged in age from 23 to 46, according to police.
The Cook County Medical Examiner identified Kimfier Miles, 29, as the woman killed in Saturday's mass shooting.
VIDEO - (15) The Great Reset - YouTube
Tue, 15 Jun 2021 17:14
VIDEO - (15) Exclusive: Full Interview With Russian President Vladimir Putin - YouTube
Tue, 15 Jun 2021 17:06
VIDEO - Organ transplant recipients may benefit from a third coronavirus vaccine dose, study suggests - CNN
Tue, 15 Jun 2021 15:39
By Jacqueline Howard, CNN
Updated 5:29 PM EDT, Mon June 14, 2021
(CNN) A third dose of coronavirus vaccine could help boost antibody levels among some organ transplant recipients who have not had robust responses to the standard vaccination schedules, a new study suggests.
Among patients in the study who had no measurable antibodies after receiving two doses of vaccine, one-third of them saw a rise in antibodies after a third dose -- and among those with low antibody levels after two doses, all of them saw an increase after a third dose. The findings were published Monday in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.
Organ transplant recipients might not have an adequate response to coronavirus vaccines because they take drugs to suppress their immune systems. That helps reduce the risk of the body rejecting new organs but may also limit responses to vaccines.
When it comes to coronavirus vaccines, "we don't really have a good sense of what level you need for protective immunity," Dr. Dorry Segev, an author of the study and founder of the Epidemiology Research Group in Organ Transplantation at Johns Hopkins University, told CNN. "We don't know if you need the same off-the-charts level of antibodies that people with normal immune systems have."
When pharmaceutical companies tested coronavirus vaccines in clinical trials last year, they specifically excluded people who were taking immunosuppressive drugs due to potential risks.
But for transplant patients, after a two-dose full vaccine series, "the overwhelming majority have either no antibodies or low antibodies," Segev said.
Boosting antibody levelsThe researchers, from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, examined antibody responses and vaccine reactions in 30 organ transplant patients who received a third dose of coronavirus vaccine between March and May of this year. Fifteen patients received a dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, nine received Moderna's shot and six received Pfizer's around 67 days after completing the second dose of their original vaccination.
The researchers tested the patients for antibodies before they received their third doses of vaccine. They found 24 patients had no detectable antibody levels and six had low levels.
The patients were tested for antibodies again about two weeks after receiving a third dose of vaccine. The researchers found that the six patients who previously had low antibody levels all had high antibody levels after their third dose. Among the patients with no detectable level of antibodies, six had high levels, two had low levels and 16 remained at a undetectable level after a third dose.
About a week later, 23 of the patients who completed a questionnaire about their reactions to the vaccine after receiving a third dose reported typical reactions such as pain at the injection site, fatigue, headache, or muscle pain.
In one heart transplant recipient, there was some evidence of mild organ rejection a week after her third dose, the researchers found. But her heart function remained normal, and the rejection resolved without needing to intensify her immunosuppressive regimen.
The researchers also noted that she did not experience an increase in antibodies and "it is uncertain" whether the one case of mild rejection was related to vaccination.
The new study comes about a month after Segev and his colleague published research in the medical journal JAMA that found among 658 transplant recipients who received two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, close to half had no antibody response after two doses. They found 15% had measurable antibody responses after the first and second dose and 39% had no antibody response after the first dose but subsequent antibody response after the second.
Antibodies aren't everythingAntibodies are just one part of the body's immune response, so experts say future studies on boosters should also measure activities of other parts of the immune system outside of antibodies, such as T cells and B cells.
In April, health officials in France recommended a third dose of vaccine for people who are immunocompromised. In the United States, emergency use authorizations "limit people to only a standard vaccine series," Segev said. "And what's happening is transplant patients are getting the vaccine series, they're getting their antibodies checked, they're realizing that they're low, they're talking to their doctors, and then they're going and getting a third dose to try to boost this."
Various medical societies, such as the American College of Rheumatology, the American Society of Transplantation, and the International Organization for the Study of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, essentially say the antibody tests won't fully answer patients' questions about whether their vaccinations worked.
The US Food and Drug Administration and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also advise against checking antibodies.
The National Institutes of Health is setting out to determine what approaches might work best if the vaccine is failing people who are immune compromised. This summer, researchers hope to start recruiting about 200 vaccinated kidney transplant patients to take part in a study on boosters, Dr. Daniel Rotrosen, director of the Division of Allergy, Immunology and Transplantation at NIAID, told CNN earlier this month.
If tests show the Covid-19 vaccine didn't work well, that study participant will be offered an extra dose of vaccine to see if it helps, Rotrosen added. Segev and his colleagues will be involved in that work.
"We are hoping in the next one to two months to launch a clinical trial, an interventional trial, where we are able to give people third doses of the vaccine, and study in a very systematic way the impact that that third dose has on the immune system response," Segev said. He added that the new study provides strong evidence that boosters would be useful in this patient population.
VIDEO - Bloomberg Quicktake on Twitter: "EU officials signed into law digital Covid passports allowing the 27-nation bloc to open their borders for summer travel https://t.co/z9CqhkDvBp" / Twitter
Tue, 15 Jun 2021 15:09
Bloomberg Quicktake : EU officials signed into law digital Covid passports allowing the 27-nation bloc to open their borders for summer t'... https://t.co/Qsy3sM2c9W
Mon Jun 14 19:14:11 +0000 2021
Tess : @Quicktake So all footballers coming here should have one, yes, since none of them are vaccinated, that should be interesting.
Tue Jun 15 15:06:30 +0000 2021
Nigel Perkins ð´ó §ó ó ¥ó ®ó §ó Flag Shagger : @Quicktake Good
Tue Jun 15 15:01:49 +0000 2021
FlowerDreadHippie. ð"ð± ðð· ð"ð´ : @Quicktake They are movement licenses, nothing else.
Tue Jun 15 15:01:38 +0000 2021
VIDEO - CaseStudyQB - #ProgressiveUnity on Twitter: "MSNBC - 6/12/2021 - discussing VP Kamala Harris "Don't Come" comment and asking if her huge blowback is because she is a black woman 1/3 https://t.co/9Cdf1N4QmE" / Twitter
Tue, 15 Jun 2021 13:12
CaseStudyQB - #ProgressiveUnity : MSNBC - 6/12/2021 - discussing VP Kamala Harris "Don't Come" comment and asking if her huge blowback is because she'... https://t.co/qmIF9bUH0s
Sun Jun 13 21:45:47 +0000 2021
Beau Biden's Healthcare Memory ð...º ' : @CaseStudyQB Well she's channeling Trump and doing it very well, so there's that.
Tue Jun 15 13:07:08 +0000 2021
Nadine ð· #WhatReallyHappenedToMakhiaBryant : @CaseStudyQB Nobody is going to fall for that false narrative. It is manipulation. You put her in there because you'... https://t.co/3PJXhk7xJZ
Tue Jun 15 12:14:33 +0000 2021
Melting Mermaidððð#FreeAssange : @CaseStudyQB ð¤®
Tue Jun 15 10:21:49 +0000 2021
Grem¾ubla : @CaseStudyQB I'm going to cum
Tue Jun 15 10:05:20 +0000 2021
SilverTheGamer ð¹ ð´ ð : @CaseStudyQB We live in a society
Tue Jun 15 10:02:06 +0000 2021
Roger : @CaseStudyQB Totally the reason I don't listen to MSNBC just happens to be in my Twitter feed somehow. So you want'... https://t.co/Z6STxe95a9
Tue Jun 15 09:50:35 +0000 2021
Funny how secrets travel on : @CaseStudyQB What
Tue Jun 15 09:46:36 +0000 2021
AusSyndieð´ð(C) : @CaseStudyQB Do you have no memory at all?
Tue Jun 15 09:43:06 +0000 2021
ProffessorLeviosaaa : @CaseStudyQB https://t.co/2iEzuSXWic
Tue Jun 15 09:17:23 +0000 2021
Sane Swamp Drainer ð·ðð''¸ð¹vaccines save lives : @CaseStudyQB Clintonite speak
Tue Jun 15 08:49:50 +0000 2021
VIDEO - Jon Stewart On Vaccine Science And The Wuhan Lab Theory - YouTube
Tue, 15 Jun 2021 13:10
VIDEO - (1) de nachtzuster onderzoekt on Twitter: "2018 - Dr. Ralph Baric tijdens een conferentie aan het 'Wuhan Institute of Virology', hoe verdien je aan een pandemie. Baric is een voorvechter van 'gain of function' onderzoek. Baric kwam in 2015
Tue, 15 Jun 2021 01:20
de nachtzuster onderzoekt : 2018 - Dr. Ralph Baric tijdens een conferentie aan het 'Wuhan Institute of Virology', hoe verdien je aan een pandem'... https://t.co/OIObP8PmhE
Mon Jun 14 19:25:33 +0000 2021
ð¤ Nð--´S Nð--´CERE ðªð : @Nachtzuster2 Als ik het origineel opzoek komt het natuurlijk niet uit Wuhan, maar uit William and Ida Friday Cente'... https://t.co/BHhQSrGrdw
Mon Jun 14 22:07:33 +0000 2021
VIDEO - (9) Fox 26 TV Reporter Ivory Hecker Informs Network LIVE ON AIR She's Blowing The Whistle On Them - YouTube
Tue, 15 Jun 2021 01:15
VIDEO - The Jewish Voice on Twitter: "Joe Biden seems to get lost at the G7 summit in England, Jill comes to the rescue @JoeBiden @G7 @FLOTUS @USAmbUK https://t.co/GFxGouRCoA" / Twitter
Mon, 14 Jun 2021 19:13
The Jewish Voice : Joe Biden seems to get lost at the G7 summit in England, Jill comes to the rescue @JoeBiden @G7 @FLOTUS @USAmbUK https://t.co/GFxGouRCoA
Fri Jun 11 18:39:39 +0000 2021
mememe : @JewishVoice @JoeBiden @G7 @FLOTUS @USAmbUK You're wrong. Open your eyes and you'll see what really happened. Eve'... https://t.co/zQvGAixW0x
Mon Jun 14 19:10:14 +0000 2021
Apple Pie Patriot : @JewishVoice @JoeBiden @G7 @FLOTUS @USAmbUK #BrainDeadBiden #MumbleMouthBiden
Mon Jun 14 17:53:27 +0000 2021
Dest Bar : @JewishVoice @JoeBiden @G7 @FLOTUS @USAmbUK The main cringe parts is his shuffling gait. And being lead around by h'... https://t.co/6quEhMpr3j
Mon Jun 14 17:46:18 +0000 2021
Manuel Polo. : @JewishVoice @JoeBiden @G7 @FLOTUS @USAmbUK Lo perdimos!Hasta risa da, igual a Donald Trump!
Mon Jun 14 17:32:17 +0000 2021
monk'¸weee : @JewishVoice @JoeBiden @G7 @FLOTUS @USAmbUK he was not lost just looking for something to sniff
Mon Jun 14 17:29:48 +0000 2021
VIDEO - (7) Kyle Bass: Communist China Controls 200 Sq Miles in Texas Next to Major Air Force Base - YouTube
Mon, 14 Jun 2021 17:05
VIDEO - Deb on Twitter: ".@Harrison_of_TX @StevePieczenik @KitDaniels1776 @TuckerCarlson @BusyDrT @drsimonegold @jonrappoport @RealDrJaneRuby @0ctoberReignz @Johnheretohelp ðð-->>" / Twitter
Mon, 14 Jun 2021 10:36
Deb : .@Harrison_of_TX @StevePieczenik @KitDaniels1776 @TuckerCarlson @BusyDrT @drsimonegold @jonrappoport'... https://t.co/pmitONlJbB
Mon Jun 14 00:46:34 +0000 2021
VIDEO - Ex Megadeth Bassist David Ellefson Files Police Report - YouTube
Sun, 13 Jun 2021 20:14