COVID-19 vaccines are now available in South Florida, and the rules on who can get a shot, where and when can be confusing.
The suspension, which includes other goods, covers tariffs that were imposed in a row over Airbus subsidies.
Israel's environmental protection minister on Thursday stood by her allegation that a crude oil spill in the eastern Mediterranean last month was an intentional attack by Iran but provided no evidence for her claim. Defense officials remained silent about the charge by Gila Gamliel, a junior minister in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party, who on Wednesday announced that she had concluded the Iranian government deliberately spilled tons of crude oil into the sea in an attempt to damage Israel's marine ecosystem.
Five months after Josep Maria Bartomeu resigned, FC Barcelona will finally elect a new president on Sunday, with more than 110,000 of the Liga club's members expected to vote in polling stations in Catalonia, across Spain and via post. The election has taken on new significance since Bartomeu, who resigned in October to avoid a vote of no-confidence, was arrested on Monday while the club's offices were raided in a probe into allegations of improper management and corruption. Barca stunned Sevilla on Wednesday to reach the Copa del Rey final with a thrilling comeback win but the club are in one of the most difficult periods in their history and whoever wins Sunday's election faces a huge task to revive their fortunes.
This month's World Cup qualifiers in South America are in serious doubt, with European clubs unlikely to release their players to travel amid concern over the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine restrictions. World soccer's governing body FIFA has relaxed its normal rules about player-release for internationals because of the pandemic and worries about the impact of long-distance travel to areas with high case-rates. All 10 South American countries feature on the UK government's "red list" travel ban, which does not include exemptions for athletes and sports people.
U.K. authorities have launched an investigation into Apple's App Store over concerns it has a dominant role that stifles competition and hurts consumers. The Competition and Markets Authority said Thursday it was looking into “suspected breaches of competition law" by Apple. The announcement adds to regulatory scrutiny of the iPhone maker's app distribution platform, which is also the subject of three antitrust probes by the European Union's executive Commission.
Outlawed Loyalist paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland say they are temporarily withdrawing their support for the historic 1998 peace accord because of the disruption caused by new post-Brexit trade rules. The Loyalist Communities Council, which represents several banned paramilitary groupings, said in a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson that the new trade rules undermined the basis of Northern Ireland’s 1998 Good Friday accord, and they would no longer support it until there was “unfettered access for goods, services, and citizens throughout the United Kingdom.” Jeffrey Donaldson, a lawmaker with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, said Thursday that there was “no sense that loyalist paramilitaries were going to revert to violence in opposition to the Northern Ireland Protocol.”
Never mind getting in; many students, even if they manage to apply for college, have trouble completing forms like FAFSA they need to pay for it.
WASHINGTON — As Judge Merrick B. Garland prepares to take over the Justice Department, officials have already begun to reverse Trump-era policies denounced by Democrats and restore what longtime employees described as a less charged environment where they no longer feared retaliation from the president or public criticism from the attorney general. Garland, who is expected to be confirmed as attorney general in the coming days with bipartisan support, emphasized in his confirmation hearing his experience as a former prosecutor and his commitment to protecting the department from partisan influence. His remarks gave many Justice Department officials the impression that he would be an evenhanded leader who would trust and respect them. But the judge’s vow to be fair and apolitical will be immediately tested by politically thorny investigations, efforts to reverse Trump-era measures and the Biden administration’s aims to reinvigorate civil rights initiatives and combat domestic terrorism, including the sprawling investigation into the Capitol attack by a pro-Trump mob on Jan. 6. Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York Times Monty Wilkinson, the acting attorney general and a career law enforcement official, quickly began reversing the Trump administration’s signature initiatives last month, including some viewed with skepticism even by Republicans. He rescinded contentious guidance to prosecutors about voter fraud investigations and harsh sentencing, as well as the “zero tolerance” policy for illegal entry into the United States from Mexico, which separated thousands of children from their families. Since President Joe Biden took office on Jan. 20, the department has also notified the Supreme Court that it would no longer challenge the Affordable Care Act, disavowing its position under the Trump administration. It withdrew a lawsuit that accused Yale of discriminating against Asian American and white applicants, seen as part of a wider effort to dismantle affirmative action. And it retracted support for a lawsuit seeking to block transgender students from participating in girls’ high school sports. Other moves by Wilkinson helped raise morale among employees who saw President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr as wielding the Justice Department for political gain, according to current and former employees. Most notably, Wilkinson asked a Trump-appointed prosecutor to stay on to oversee an investigation into Biden’s son, Hunter Biden; and he allowed John H. Durham, the special counsel, to continue his inquiry into the Russia investigation. Department officials viewed the decisions as an indication that facts, rather than political interests, would set the course. Though Democrats said they considered those moves an important reset, more difficult work lies ahead. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, accused previous department leaders during Garland’s confirmation hearing of shaking the public trust in the department as they sought to advance Trump’s personal and political interests. Durbin called for the next attorney general to restore faith in the rule of law. Despite support from many Republicans on the committee, which voted 15-7 to advance Garland’s nomination, at least one objected to expediting his confirmation, Durbin said Wednesday. “It could be days, maybe even into next week, before he can take the job,” Durbin said in a speech on the Senate floor. Like any attorney general, Garland will face headwinds once he is in charge of criminal investigations with political dimensions. “The integrity and wisdom of decision-making throughout the department will continually be drawn into question,” Kenneth Starr, the former Whitewater special prosecutor, said in Senate testimony supporting the judge’s nomination. Garland told the committee that the first briefing he would receive from aides would be on the assault on the Capitol, which he called “the most heinous attack on the democratic processes” he had seen and an indicator that domestic extremism was a greater problem now than it was when he investigated the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. Leadership of that investigation is in flux. The head of the Capitol assault investigation, Michael R. Sherwin, has stepped down as the acting U.S. attorney in Washington and may relinquish oversight of the case in the coming weeks, according to a memo he wrote to the office. That investigation promises to be politically tinged; it has already edged toward Trump’s inner circle, with the FBI examining communications between extremists and his ally Roger Stone. And as the department prioritizes its fight against domestic extremism, with the Capitol case at the center of its work, it will face unavoidable questions about links between extremists and the Republican Party. Garland’s record of combating domestic terrorism — which includes not only the Oklahoma City case but also his supervision of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing and the Unabomber case — can help blunt fears of politicization in those investigations, said Matthew Schneider, a partner at the Honigman law firm and a former U.S. attorney in Michigan. When Schneider’s office indicted members of a violent white supremacist group in a plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, a Democrat who had sparred with Trump, political infighting between the two overshadowed his announcement, he said. Two other inquiries — the federal tax fraud investigation into Hunter Biden and the Durham investigation into any potential wrongdoing by Obama-era officials who opened the Russia inquiry — are certain to be met with accusations of political influence, no matter their outcomes. Justice Department employees expressed hope that Garland’s reputation for fairness and integrity would help mitigate some of those accusations. He is also a departure in temperament and leadership from Barr’s sometimes combative bluntness, which current and former employees predicted could help dampen controversy. “He has the reputation we need in an attorney general right now,” Kenneth Wainstein, a former Justice Department official under President George W. Bush, said of Garland. “He’s recognized as being a thoughtful person, not as an ideologue or as a political partisan. And he understands what it means to be the attorney general for the country, and not for the president. There will never be a morning when you open the paper and see that he’s misused his authority to protect the president.” Barr’s approach to politically charged prosecutorial matters was also a model to be avoided, current and former employees said. He contravened norms to let prosecutors investigate fraud before the election was certified, fueling fears that the results could not be trusted. He ordered them to lower a sentencing recommendation for Stone, who was convicted of seven felonies but later pardoned by Trump. And he sought to drop a case against Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who had pleaded guilty to lying to investigators. Barr also used a manuscript review process intended to keep classified information private to sue Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, the author of a gossipy tell-all about working for the former first lady Melania Trump. Under Wilkinson, the department withdrew the legal action against Wolkoff and returned to working through established chains of command. Garland is also expected to try to revive the Justice Department’s civil rights division, which under Trump saw its priorities drastically shift. Religious freedoms were prioritized over work to protect rights for LGBTQ people. The department all but stopped using consent decrees as a tool to overhaul police departments with records of racial discrimination and other abuses. Barr sought to more narrowly enforce Civil Rights Act prohibitions on racial discrimination, and he accused the Black Lives Matter movement of using Black people as props for a radical political agenda. Late last year, the department banned any diversity and inclusion training or programming to comply with Trump’s executive order that banned such training and said that implicit bias did not exist. That guidance was rescinded. Garland’s positions so far demonstrate a contrast, and his commitment to diversity and inclusion appeared heartfelt, said a Justice Department employee who belonged to the DOJ Gender Equality Network, an employee-run advocacy organization that promotes equitable treatment for workers in the department. But Republicans have already warned against an embrace of progressive priorities, insisting that religious freedom must not lose priority and that consent decrees should not be widely used. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, has indicated that he will not support Kristen Clarke, Biden’s nominee to run the civil rights division. But Garland made clear at his hearing that he supported reversing the version of civil rights under the Trump administration, rooting his position in the department’s origins in fighting the Ku Klux Klan and upholding the Civil Rights Act to protect the rights of “the most vulnerable members of our society.” That mission “remains urgent because we do not yet have equal justice,” Garland said. “Communities of color and other minorities still face discrimination in housing, in education, in employment and in the criminal justice system.” This article originally appeared in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company
As the election returns rolled in showing President Donald Trump winning strong support from blue-collar voters in November while suffering historic losses in suburbs across the country, Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, a Republican, declared on Twitter: “We are a working class party now. That’s the future.” And with further results revealing that Trump had carried 40% of union households and made unexpected inroads with Latinos, other Republican leaders, including Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, trumpeted a political realignment. Republicans, they said, were accelerating their transformation into the party of Sam’s Club rather than the country club. But since then, Republicans have offered very little to advance the economic interests of blue-collar workers. Two major opportunities for party leaders to showcase their priorities have unfolded recently without a nod to working Americans. Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York Times In Washington, as Democrats advance a nearly $2 trillion economic stimulus bill, they are facing universal opposition from congressional Republicans to the package, which is chock-full of measures to benefit struggling workers a full year into the coronavirus pandemic. The bill includes $1,400 checks to middle-income Americans and extended unemployment benefits, which are set to lapse on March 14. And at a high-profile, high-decibel gathering of conservatives in Florida last weekend, potential 2024 presidential candidates, including Hawley and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, scarcely mentioned a blue-collar agenda. They used their turns in the national spotlight to fan grievances about “cancel culture,” to bash the tech industry and to reinforce Trump’s false claims of a stolen election. Inside and outside the party, critics see a familiar pattern: Republican officials, following Trump’s own example, are exploiting the cultural anger and racial resentment of a sizable segment of the white working class, but have not made a concerted effort to help these Americans economically. “This is the identity conundrum that Republicans have,” said Carlos Curbelo, a Republican former congressman from Florida, pointing to the universal opposition by House Republicans to the stimulus bill drawn up by President Biden and congressional Democrats. “This is a package that Donald Trump would have very likely supported as president.” “Here is the question for the Rubios and the Hawleys and the Cruzes and anyone else who wants to capitalize on this potential new Republican coalition,” Curbelo added. “Eventually, if you don’t take action to improve people’s quality of life, they will abandon you.” Some Republicans have sought to address the strategic problem. Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah put forward one of the most ambitious GOP initiatives aimed at struggling Americans, a measure to fight child poverty by sending parents up to $350 a month per child. But fellow Republicans rebuffed the plan as “welfare.” Hawley has matched a Democratic proposal for a $15 minimum wage, but with the caveat that it applies only to businesses with annual revenues above $1 billion. Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster whose clients have included Rubio, was critical of Democrats for not seeking a compromise on the stimulus after a group of GOP senators offered a smaller package. “Seven Republican senators voted to convict a president of their own party,” he said, referring to Trump’s impeachment. “If you can’t get any of them on a COVID program, you’re not trying real hard.” As the COVID-19 relief package, which every House Republican voted down, makes its way through the Senate this week, Republicans are expected to offer further proposals aimed at struggling Americans. Ayres said that the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, last weekend, the first major party gathering since Trump left office, had been a spectacularly missed opportunity in its failure to include meaningful discussion of policies for blue-collar voters. Instead, the former president advanced an intraparty civil war by naming in his speech on Sunday a hit list of every Republican who voted to impeach him. “You’d better be spending a lot more time developing an economic agenda that benefits working people than re-litigating a lost presidential election,” Ayres said. “The question is, how long will it take the Republicans to figure out that driving out heretics rather than winning new converts is a losing strategy right now?” Separately, one of the highest-profile efforts to lift blue-collar workers in the country was underway this week in Alabama, where nearly 6,000 workers at an Amazon warehouse are voting on whether to unionize. On Sunday, the pro-union workers got a boost in a video from Biden. Representatives for Hawley — who has been one of the leading Republican champions of a working-class realignment — did not respond to a request for comment about where he stands on the issue. The 2020 election continued a long-term trend in which the parties have essentially swapped voters, with Republicans gaining with blue-collar workers, while white-collar suburbanites moved toward the Democrats. The idea of “Sam’s Club conservatives,” which was floated about 15 years ago by former Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, recognized a constituency of populist Republicans who favored a higher minimum wage and government help for struggling families. Trump turned out historic levels of support for a Republican among white working-class voters. But once in office, his biggest legislative achievement was a tax cut in which most benefits went to corporations and the wealthy. Oceans of ink have been spilled over whether the white working class’ devotion to Trump had more to do with economic anxiety or with anger toward “elites” and racial minorities, especially immigrants. For many analysts, the answer is that it had to do with both. His advancement of policies to benefit working-class Americans was frequently chaotic and left unresolved. Manufacturing jobs, which had continued their slow recovery since the 2009 financial crisis, flatlined under Trump in the year before the pandemic hit. The former president’s bellicose trade war with China hit American farmers so hard economically that they received large bailouts from taxpayers. “There was never a program to deal with the types of displacements going on,” said John Russo, a former co-director of the Center for Working-Class Studies at Youngstown State University in Ohio. He projects that once the economy snaps back to pre-pandemic levels, blue-collar Americans will be worse off, because employers will have accelerated automation and will continue workforce reductions adopted during the pandemic. “Neither party is talking about that,” Russo said. “I think that by 2024, that’s going to be a key issue.” It’s possible that Republicans who are not prioritizing economic issues are accurately reading their base. A survey last month by the GOP pollster Echelon Insights found that the top concerns of Republican voters were mainly cultural ones: illegal immigration, lack of support for the police, high taxes and “liberal bias in mainstream media.” Despite Biden’s campaign framing him as “middle-class Joe” from Scranton, Pennsylvania, as a candidate he made only slight inroads into Trump’s support with white voters without college degrees, which disappointed Democratic strategists and party activists. In exit polls, these voters preferred Trump over Biden by 35 percentage points. Among voters of color without a college degree, Trump won one out of four votes, an improvement from 2016, when he won one in five of their votes. His inroads with Latinos in South Florida and the Rio Grande Valley of Texas especially shocked many Democrats, and it spurred Rubio to tweet that the future of the GOP was “a party built on a multi-ethnic multi-racial coalition of working AMERICANS.” After the Trump presidency, it is an open question whether any other Republican candidates can win the same intensity of blue-collar support. “Whatever your criticisms are of Trump — and I have a lot — clearly he was able to connect to those people and they voted for him,” said Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, a Democrat from the Youngstown area. Ryan is gearing up to run in 2022 for an open Senate seat in Ohio. He agrees with Trump about taking on China, but faults him for not following up his tough language with sustained policies. “I think there’s an opportunity to have a similar message but a real agenda,” he said. As for Republican presidential candidates aspiring to inherit Trump’s working-class followers, Ryan saw only dim prospects for them, especially if they continued to reject the Biden stimulus package, which passed the House and is now before the Senate. “The COVID-19 relief bill was directly aimed at the struggles of working-class people,” Ryan said, adding that Republicans voting against the package were “in for a rude awakening.” Perhaps. A Monmouth University poll on Wednesday found that 6 in 10 Americans supported the $1.9 trillion package in its current form, especially the $1,400 checks to people at certain income levels. But Republicans who vote it down may not pay a political price, said Patrick Murray, the poll’s director. “They know that the checks will reach their base regardless, and they can continue to rail against Democratic excesses,” he said. “There would only be a problem if they somehow managed to sink the bill,” he added. This article originally appeared in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company
General Motors says it's looking for a site to build a second U.S. battery factory with joint venture partner LG Chem of Korea. The companies hope to have a decision on a site in the first half of the year, spokesman Dan Flores said Thursday. Flores would not say where the company is looking, but it's likely to be near GM's Spring Hill, Tennessee, factory complex, which is one of three sites the company has designated to build electric vehicles.
Democrats, who control Congress, are pushing for a $15 minimum per hour, which Republicans say is too steep. Iowa now matches the federal rate: $7.25.
‘I don’t know how they could expect that after all of this time,’ she tells Oprah Winfrey, ‘we would still just be silent.’ In a new preview for the exciting upcoming sit-down interview with Oprah Winfrey airing on CBS this Sunday, it appears that the Duchess of Sussex will be holding nothing back. “How do you feel about the palace hearing you speak your truth today?” Winfrey asks Meghan Markle in the clip shared by CBS.
Pakistan's prime minister will seek a vote of confidence from the National Assembly this weekend to prove he still has the support of majority lawmakers in the house, despite the defeat of his ruling party's key candidate in Senate's elections, a Cabinet minister said Thursday. If Prime Minister Imran Khan fails to win the vote of confidence, Pakistan could face another phase of political turmoil. According to Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, science and technology minister, the vote is due on Saturday.
Although COVID-19 has damaged the entertainment industry across the board, it’s clear that streamers are making a swifter, healthier recovery than their linear counterparts. According to Ampere Analysis’ Guy Bisson, the streamers’ scripted commissioning activity in 2020 was quicker to return to 2019 levels. However, perhaps more significantly, the streamers have strongly increased their development […]
Sudan will begin vaccinating health care workers followed by people aged 45 or older with chronic conditions for free next week after becoming the first country in the Middle East and North Africa to benefit from COVAX facility vaccines. Sudan received 828,000 doses of the AstraZeneca-produced vaccine on Wednesday at Khartoum airport, a health ministry official said. The delivery follows that of 4.5 metric tonnes of syringes and disposal boxes through COVAX in late February.
Square, the payments-processing company led by CEO Jack Dorsey, announced plans to buy a “significant” majority stake in Tidal, the music and entertainment streaming platform founded by Jay-Z. Square said it expects to pay a $297 million, in a combination of cash and stock, for the Tidal stake, with existing artist shareholders the remaining stakeholders. […]