Posts tagged with "World News"

Nicole Salazar Breaking News Illustration

Weekly News Roundup: Week of May 10

Biden’s Spending Plan for Education

President Biden is planning to enact higher taxes on the wealthy to go towards free preschool, two years of free community college for young adults, and national paid leave. The 1.8 trillion spending and tax plan is aimed to expand education, while increasing the US’ social safety net, supporting women in the workplace, and decreasing the cost of child care. The New York Times recognized Biden’s tax plan as “ the biggest expansion in federal support for higher education in at least half a century.”

Increasing Vaccination Numbers in the EU

The pace of people being administered the COVID vaccine in the European Union is steadily rising. Just last week, nearly three million doses of the vaccine were being administered daily according to Our World in Data, a University of Oxford database. The EU is primarily utilizing the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The New York Times reports that in a rate adjusted for population, the amount of people being administered the vaccine daily in the EU is now roughly equivalent to the US. Usula von der Leyen, the European Commision president, announced her goal of vaccination 70 percent of adults in the EU by the end of the summer. Due to an early shipment of doses from Pfizer last month, and the company’s partnership with BioNTech, it is predicted that this goal will be reached.

DarkSide Ransomware Attack

On Monday, President Biden announced that the United States will “disrupt and prosecute” the criminal gang of hackers, DarkSide. The hackers have been the culprit of a huge ransomware attach that effected the flow of gasoline and jet fuel supplies to the country’s East Coast. Federal investigators believe that the attackers aimed at uncovering corporate data and back-office operations, rather than taking control of the pipelines. After taking note of the ransomware attack that which locked Colonial Pipelines–up a major pipeline in Texas that transported gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel from Texas’ Gulf Coast to New York Harbor– the F.B.I. sent out an emergency alert to other pipeline operators and electric utility and gas suppliers. Colonial Pipelines has remained closed since the attack and hopes to restore operations by the end of this week. The city governments of Atlanta, New Orleans, and the Washington D.C. Police Department have also been victim to DarkSide’s attacks.

Violent Clash Between Palestinian Protesters and Israeli Police in Jerusalem

Recent escalations between Palestinians and Israeli Jews regarding control over a single neighborhood in Jerusalem has exploded into major conflict. Israeli efforts to eradicate Palestinians from parts of the city have incited upset between the two groups. While Israeli Jews attempt to ensure Jewish landownership and control over East Jerusalem, Palestinians argue that their attempts are illegal and a form of ethnic cleansing. On Monday, right-wing Israeli protestors and the police erupted into military conflict with Palestinian protesters. As a result of a raid on the Israeli police on the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, Gaza militants retaliated with rocket fire. Countering, Israeli airstrikes were fired back. Due to the violent conflict, at least twenty Palestinians have been killed, including nine children.

Offshore Wind Plan to Create Thousands of Jobs

On Monday, the Biden Administration announced their plan to use offshore wind power along the East Coast. Through utilization of off-shore wind turbines in coastal waters nationwide, the plan is aiming to deliver 30,000 megawatts of wind power to power 10,000 homes by 2030, reports the New York Times. To start, the eco-conscious project will begin in the nation’s first large-scale offshore wind farm off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. It is predicted that offshore wind deployment projects will create 44,000 new jobs in the offshore window sector and 33,000 other new, indirect job positions. According to the American Clean Power Association, “States along the East Coast are driving demand for offshore wind. Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia have established targets to procure a total of 25,400 MW of offshore wind by at least 2035 and have selected over 6,000 MW of projects as of February 2020 to help meet these goals.”

CDC Announces Vaccinated People Rarely Need Masks

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced this week that fully vaccinated people don’t need to wear mask in most situations. Whereas it is still encouraged for vaccinated people to wear a mask inside to contribute to the culture of mask wearing, they are at virtually no risk of disease and minuscule risk of transmitting the virus to others. The New York Times talked to Dr. Paul Offit, the director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: “The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are ‘essentially 100 percent effective against serious disease.’”

Furthermore, it has been announced that there have been few, if any, instances of COVID-19 transmission occurring from brief outdoor interactions. The risk of exposure from outdoor contact is too small to lead to infection.  However, unvaccinated people are still advised to wear masks when in close conversation with people both outdoors and indoors, when not at home.

However, with the child population of Americans unvaccinated, it raises questions about how families will be able to return to normalcy. While children under 16 haven’t been eligible to receive the vaccination, their demographic poses a low risk to fatal coronavirus cases. For children, it is believed that COVID-19 presents no greater risk than the average flu season. As America looks towards the rest of 2021, it can be hoped that a return to normalcy will soon come. To read the current CDC COVID-19 guidelines, you may visit this website.

Breaking News by Nicole Salazar

Weekly News Roundup: Week of May 3

President Biden Raises Refugee Admission Cap to 62,500 People

In a move to reverse former President Donald Trump’s stricter admission cap on refugees, President Biden has raised the admission cap to 62,500 people in the next six months. Originally, Trump had administered a cap on 15,000 refugees. At first, Biden said he would stick to this figure, but changed his stance after receiving condemnation from Democrats on Capitol Hill. In a statement issued by the White House addressing this political reversal, Biden commented “This erases the historically low number set by the previous administration of 15,000, which did not reflect America’s values as a nation that welcomes and supports refugees.” The New York Times says that Biden’s statement acknowledged how Trump’s budget and staffing cuts during his presidency makes it more unlikely to handle resettling 62,500 refugees within the coming year. In his statement, Biden admitted “the sad truth is that we will not achieve 62,500 admissions this year,” he said. “We are working quickly to undo the damage of the last four years. It will take some time, but that work is already underway.”

Pfizer Vaccine to be Administered to Adolescents

The availability of the Pfizer vaccine is soon to more accessible to millions more Americans. The FDA is said to authorize the use of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine for adolescents aged 12-15 by early next week. Pfizer has recently released trial results in which show their vaccine to be at least as effective for adolescents as it is for the adult population. If granted access, the CDC will likely meet the following day to review the clinical trial data and announce public health recommendations for adolescent vaccinations.  Over 100 million adults have already been vaccinated, and with the Pfizer vaccine becoming available to millions more, the level of public immunity is forecasted to rise, and the number of deaths and hospitalizations are to drop.

In order to target vaccinations to younger Americans, Biden announced on Tuesday that mass vaccinations sites would shift to more local settings. He also stated his goal of vaccination 70% of Americans by July’s Independence Day. To those who are unvaccinated, Biden plead: “This is your choice. Its life and death.” On Tuesday, the Biden Administration announced that tens of millions more Americans need to get vaccinated before the rate of the coronavirus will be low enough to return to normalcy.

Subway Overpass Collapse Results in the Death of 23 People

Late Monday night in Mexico City, the collapse of a subway overpass–and subsequent fall of an active train car– resulted in the deaths of 23 people. Dozens of more victims are suffering injuries. The accident occurred on Line 12, one of the newer tracks in Mexico’s subway system. The subway system has been plagued by safety concerns from the public after a severe earthquake in 2017. Over 70 people were transported to the nearby hospitals, most of them delivered to Belisario Dominguez Hospital. Mexico’s fire fighters, military, and forensics department all arrived on scene to aid in the rescuing and recovery of the accident’s victims. Currently, Line 12 will remain closed as authorities investigate the harrowing accident. The Mayor of Mexico City, Claudio Steinbaum, spoke to reporters on Tuesday morning: ” At this moment, we can’t speculate about what happened. There has to be a deep investigation, and whoever is responsible has to be held responsible.”

Derek Chauvin Files for New Trial Regarding Murder of George Floyd

The trial of the police officer involved in the killing of George Floyd, Derek Chauvin, was found guilty of one count of second-degree murder, one count of third-degree murder, and one count of second-degree manslaughter by Judge Peter Cahill. However, Chauvin’ lawyer, Eric Nelson, is now claiming that Chauvin’s rights were violated during the trial since Judge Cahill refused a change of venue regarding where the trial was help. As a result of such, Nelson claims that the pre-trial publicity deprived Chauvin of a fair trial. NPR reports that Nelson also has cited “prosecutorial and jury misconduct; errors of law at trial; and a verdict that is contrary to law.” In Nelson’s file motion that requests another trial, he argues that the court “abused its discretion” because of the nationwide publicity of the high-profile trial. Due to the mass publicity of the trial, Nelson says that the defense’s expert witnesses and jury felt “threatened of intimidated, felt race-based pressure during the proceedings.”

NPR reports that according to Nelson’s file motion, the court abused its discretion by:

  • When it failed to sequester the jury for the duration of the trial, or in the least, admonish them to avoid all media
  • When it permitted the State to present cumulative evidence with respect to use of force
  • When it failed to order that a record be made of the numerous sidebars that occurred during the trial
  • When it submitted instructions to the jury that failed to accurately reflect the law with respect to second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and authorized use of force

NPR’s Carrie Johnson reports on how infrequently officers are called to conduct while in uniform, “Some studies show only seven police officers since 2005 have been convicted of murder for their actions on the job. That’s even though about 1,000 or 1,100 people a year die at the hands of police.” The way in which Derek Chauvin’s initial trial ended was a long-awaited plea for justice that many Americans felt finally acknowledged and held accountable the perpetrators of police violence and systemic racism in the nation. Ultimately, it is up to Judge Peter Cahill to decide whether to open trial again for Chauvin.

Facebook’s Suspension of Donald Trump Continues

Since the Capitol insurrection on January 1, Facebook has suspended Trump’s usage of the platform. The length and permanence of the suspension has been hotly debated lately, especially since Facebook doesn’t have a standard policy or punishment regarding indefinite suspensions. On Wednesday, a team of journalists, activists, and lawyers upheld the social media company’s ban of Trump. Their discussion ended any immediate return of Trump to the platform, and sparked debate concerning freedom of speech online. Facebook’s Oversight Board cited their reasoning for banning Trump in January, stating that Trump “created an environment where a serious risk of violence was possible. At the time of Mr. Trump’s posts, there was a clear, immediate risk of harm and his words of support for those involved in the riots legitimized their violent actions.” After Facebook reviews its action, Trump may be able to return to the platform later down the line. Other social media giants, including Twitter and YouTube, also locked Trump’s accounts after the Capitol chaos. Trump has responded to the rulings with agitation, stating that “free Speech has been taken away from the President of the United States because the Radical Left Lunatics are afraid of the truth.” The New York Times reports that Facebook responded to their ruling in a statement, stating that the company is “‘pleased’ that the board recognized that its barring of Mr. Trump in January was justified. It said it would consider the ruling and ‘determine an action that is clear and proportionate.’”

Liz Cheney May Be Sequestered from G.O.P.

Rep. Liz Cheyney has received backlash from Republican lawmakers in the GOP party due to her public criticisms of former President Donald Trump. After Trump’s insurrection at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, she voted to impeach him from office. This vote to impeach Trump increased tensions between Cheyney and the members of the GOP leadership and other Republican lawmakers. Notably, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy questioned Cheyney’s ability to carry out her position in office, stating “I have heard from members concerned about her ability to carry out the job as conference chair, to carry out the message. We all need to be working as one if we’re able to win the majority.” At the Conservative Political Action Committee, Cheyney was asked if Trump should speak at the conference. She replied, “I’ve been clear in my views about President Trump and the extent to which following Jan. 6 I don’t believe that he should be playing a role in the future of the party or the country.” While her party oppositions have landed Cheyney in controversy, Sen. Mitt Romney tweeted on Tuesday, recognizing her honesty and dedication to her stance: “Every person of conscience draws a line beyond which they will not go: Liz Cheney refuses to lie.”

Olympians And Officials to Be Offered Pfizer Vaccine

The International Olympic Committee announced on Thursday that, in an effort to quell public safety concerns, athletes and official will be offered the Pfizer vaccine before arriving in Japan. Through utilization of domestic inoculation programs, vaccines are to be administered to patients in their home countries. However, there is no requirement for athletes, coaches, officials, or others attending the game to be vaccinated. So far, approximately only 1% of Japan’s residents have been fully vaccinated, according to The New York Times’ database. In a statement put out by the International Olympic Committee, it was notes that “any additional doses delivered by Pfizer and BioNTech will not be taken out of existing programs, but will be in addition to existing quotas and planned deliveries around the world.” Hopefully, the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer will bring celebration, instead of crisis.

I ❤️ Beirut

By Justin Lyons

Mika announced Wednesday that his “I ❤️ Beirut” concert, which was live-streamed Sept. 19 on his YouTube channel, raised more than €1 million for the people of Lebanon.

An explosion at a Beirut warehouse on Aug. 4 killed more than 200 and injured more than 5,000.

Ticket sales, sponsors and public donations all contributed to the large sum that will be split between the Lebanese Red Cross and Save the Children.

Tickets were purchased in 120 different countries via Ticketmaster, the most in the ticketing giant’s history. Donations also poured in from 48 different countries via a GoFundMe page.

The show featured megastars like Salma Hayek, Danna Paola, Rufus Wainwright, Kylie, Mashrou Leila, Louane, Etel Adnan, Fanny Ardant and Laura Pausini. It has also picked up interest from major television stations across the world.

Mika joined Georges Kettaneh, the secretary general of the Lebanese Red Cross, and Kevin Watkins, CEO of Save the Children UK, on a video call Wednesday to make the announcement. He thanked everyone who helped the fundraiser cross the €1 million mark.

“I also wanted to say how amazing this statement of solidarity for the situation in Beirut has been, with tickets for the stream selling to over 120 different countries around the world,” Mika said. “This has been a project that was born out of and made possible by love, and a huge amount of collaboration with friends and many new friends made in the process.”

The certified gold and platinum artist was born in Beirut and is now celebrated around the world.

Kettaneh also thanked donors, saying the Lebanese Red Cross would continue to use the funds to support the people of Beirut.

“The people of Beirut face a long road to recovery, with this generosity and the continued support we have received from around the globe, we can continue to stand alongside them for as long we are needed,” Kettaneh said.

Watkins also chimed in to say Save the Children would work to help children and families affected by the explosion.

“All donations will be going toward our emergency response efforts in Lebanon, which include weather proofing damaged homes, supporting vulnerable and displaced families with food and cash grants, and providing ongoing psychological support for children and families,” Watkins said.

Donations can still be made to the campaign’s GoFundMe by clicking right here. The goal of £150,000 has already been passed, and it is closing in on £200,000.

You can also learn more about the Lebanese Red Cross by clicking right here and about Save the Children UK by clicking right here.

Allison Christensen Illustrates a Sports Article for 360 MAGAZINE

2020 Summer Olympics

by Justin Lyons

The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo are following the old show business gospel of “the show must go on.”

John Coates, vice president of the International Olympic Committee, spoke with AFP to say the Olympics would indeed begin in July 2021, whether COVID-19 is still around or not.

The summer games were originally scheduled to take place this summer, but complications from COVID-19 delayed them until next year.

Coates said the next Olympiad will be “the Games that conquered COVID.”

According to BBC, chief executive of the Tokyo Games Toshiro Muto also said it was possible for a limited audience to be in attendance and wanted to avoid having no spectators.

BBC also reported that Muto said a vaccine was not necessary for the games to go on.

Sports were warmly welcomed back in the United States in July, and the National Football League will return this week. Though basketball, baseball and hockey are finishing their seasons without fans, plan for fans in football stadiums remain tentative.

Fans around the country will have their eyes on the situation, and we obviously hope to see fans cheering on their home countries next year in one of the most unifying events in the world if conditions so permit.

Lebanon explosion illustrated by Mina Tocalini for 360 MAGAZINE.

Huge Explosion In Beirut

By Vaughn Lowery × Rita Azar

According to CNN, there was a massive explosion in Beirut just now. Shattering glass and debris followed by monstrous amounts of smoke.

A Massive explosion hit an ammunition storage in the port of Beirut. Many Lebanese civilians have been affected, houses have been burned down, glass has been shattered and there has been fatalities.

This blast has not just hit Beirut’s Eastern areas next to the port but has destroyed many key infrastructure building like hospitals, infrastructure buildings, kilometers away, including the headquarters of former prime minister Saad Hariri. The explosive could be heard all the way to the Bekka valleys capital Zahle 56 kilometers away. Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr, reporting from Beirut stated, “The explosion was felt across the city.” She added, “There is chaos in the streets.” Tensions are higher than ever.

The source of the explosion is still unknown.

Actual footage can be seen here.

Check out coverage by BBC.

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Available starting November 12th online at Amazon.com/Fresh as well as in select US grocer locations. This holiday season, feeding the family and helping save lives has never tasted better.

NBA and China

The American public strongly supports the Houston Rockets general manager’s tweet regarding Hong Kong and China’s rights conflict. (Daryl Morey, the GM, tweeted support for the Hong Kong protesters seeking freedom from Chinese oversight.  The Chinese reacted with disdain and business with the NBA was threatened).Only 9 percent of the public thought the Rockets GM, Daryl Morey, should be fired, with 77 percent saying the Rockets should keep him and defend his freedom of speech.  14 percent said they did not know or had no opinion.

In addition, 54 percent of the nation feels Daryl Morey should be applauded for taking a stand supporting the Hong Kong protesters, with only 19 percent saying he should not have sent the tweet because it risked valuable relationships over a foreign domestic issue.  27 percent did not know or had no opinion.
These are the findings of a Seton Hall Sports Poll, conducted this week among 703 adult Americans across the country on both landlines and cellphones.  The Poll has a margin of error of +/-3.8 percent.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver first apologized for the tweet but later backtracked and showed support for freedom of speech.  46 percent of the public felt he handled it well, and 36 percent say he did not, with 18 percent saying they did not know or had no opinion.

52% Say Lebron James’ Comments were out of self-interest

LeBron James tweeted condemnation of Morey, claiming “he wasn’t educated on the situation” and endangered people “not only financially but physically.”  Only 28 percent thought his reaction was sincere, with 52 percent saying he acted out of financial self-interest.

69% expressed concern that China has so much influence over an American professional League, with only 23 percent saying they are not concerned.

Morey’s Tweet vs. Kaepernick’s Kneeling

Comparing Morey’s tweet to Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling during the national anthem, 47 percent said both actions should be defended as free speech, with 16 percent saying that it only applied to Morey and 5 percent saying it only applied to Kaepernick.

There are big differences between Democrats and Republicans on this comparison.  59 percent of Democrats and only 29 percent of Republicans say that they should both be defended as free speech, while 7 percent of Democrats and 21 percent of Republicans say that it only applies to Morey.

“The fundamental right of free speech seems to have carried the day in favor of Daryl Morey’s tweet,” noted Rick Gentile, director of the Seton Hall Sports Poll, which is sponsored by the Sharkey Institute within the Stillman School of Business. “It is much clearer when applied to a foreign power than to a domestic one.”

For more information, visit here.  (Questions and results breakdown below, an online version of this release may be found here.

 

Margaret Thatcher and the Middle East

A consistent strand of Margaret Thatcher’s Middle East policy was preserving regional stability as this was vital to ensuring that Moscow could not expand its influence and become a threat to Western interests.
 
Thirty-six years on and a resurgent Russia is once again dominant in the Middle East. Unfortunately, while Margaret Thatcher has been proved right on this score, Azriel Bermant – the author of a new book (Margaret Thatcher and the Middle East, Cambridge University Press, October 12th) – warns that Theresa May is in danger of undermining that Prime Ministerial & Conservative Party legacy due to Brexit and also the strategic misstep of her immediate public support of and supplicant friendship with President Trump.

Today with Brexit, Britain is increasingly dependent upon the United States, and therefore has even less influence than it did during the Thatcher period.

Ultimately, Thatcher sought to save the moderates of the region, and though publicly in lock step with US Middle East policy, she was privately furious yet influential with the Reagan administration. However, there are now worrying signs that the Trump administration is making the same mistake in the Middle East without Theresa May having any status or influence to temper wilder decision making. Now that Islamic State appears to be defeated, there is a danger that Washington could retreat from the region and leave a dangerous vacuum that the Russians and Iranians will be quick to exploit.

While the conflict in Syria demonstrates that the Arab-Israel conflict is peripheral to the present turmoil afflicting the region, various ideological forces, like the Soviet Union in an earlier era, are exploiting the unresolved conflict with the potential for further mayhem in the region.

If Theresa May is to become any kind of heir to Margaret Thatcher, when it comes to Middle East diplomacy, she urgently needs to learn the lessons of history to articulate and assert a distinctive British foreign policy, free of Brexit dependencies.