And they come with no warning,
nature loves her little surprises.
Continual crisis!

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Linkee-poo Saturday April 17

"The announcement marks the country's renewed commitment to the Paris accord, the international climate change agreement that former President Donald Trump withdrew from. Environmental groups, scientists and major business leaders are urging the Biden administration to cut emissions 50% by 2030, as compared to 2005 levels."

"Both doctors attributed the rise in hospital visits of teens and young adults, at least in part, to B.1.1.7, the coronavirus variant first identified in the U.K. that public health officials say is now the most common strain circulating in the U.S. The variant is highly contagious, thought to be about 60% more transmissible than the original strain of the virus."

"In the U.S., more than 1 out of every 5 residents is fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The U.S. and several other wealthy nations, including Canada and many European Union member states, are on track to vaccinate most of their populations by mid-2022, according to a report from The Economist… But elsewhere in the world, vaccination rates are much lower. The entire continent of Africa, for example, has administered just 2% of the world's vaccine doses so far. Some poor nations including Haiti have yet to receive a single vaccine dose."

"The Chinook Indian Nation has about 3,000 members who mostly live near the mouth of the Columbia River in southwest Washington. But they're not on the list of federally recognized tribes — so they get nothing from the Indian Health Service." On our uneven system.

"The Biden administration will send $1.7 billion to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local and state governments and other research efforts, starting early next month to find and track coronavirus variants lurking in the United States… The U.S. has been flying blind in the race between vaccination efforts and the spread of new coronavirus variants that could potentially spark another deadly nationwide surge and reduce effectiveness of the vaccines. U.S. public health officials have been operating with incomplete information because of an inadequate viral genomics surveillance system."

"In South Africa, the government tried to control the COVID-19 outbreak by banning booze to keep people from gathering. Plus, sober South Africans were less likely to violently protest a complete lockdown… There was an immediate public health benefit that had nothing to do with COVID-19. Suddenly, emergency rooms were empty, devoid of alcohol-related accidents… But the ban also exposed the country's complicated and painful history with alcohol." This is more of an economic story about South Africa's alcohol industry, and a changing societal acceptance of alcohol.

"Activists in Chicago are calling for the resignation of Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Police Superintendent David Brown following the release of bodycam footage that shows an officer fatally shooting 13-year-old Adam Toledo, CBS Chicago reported… Protesters marched throughout the city Thursday after the city's police oversight agency released footage of the fatal shooting on March 29 in the Little Village neighborhood. They criticized Lightfoot's slow response to release information, including the officer's name, throughout the week."

"A sixth night of protests over Daunte Wright’s killing in Brooklyn Center began Friday as a peaceful demonstration and march — and quickly dispersed after law enforcement descended on several hundred protesters a few hours later."

"Minneapolis is bracing for what comes next as the prosecution and defense in Derek Chauvin's murder trial are set to give closing arguments on Monday. The jury will then be sequestered and deliberate, before announcing a verdict."

"Police in Portland, Oregon, said they used pepper spray and smoke canisters to break up a crowd that gathered on Friday as they investigated the fatal shooting of a suspect by police in Lents Park… A suspect who has only been described as a White male was fatally shot in the morning by an officer responding to a report that a man was pointing a gun in the park, the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) said in a news release."

"The former employee who shot and killed eight people at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis was interviewed by FBI agents last year, after his mother called police to say that her son might commit 'suicide by cop,' the bureau said Friday."

"Liberty University is suing former president Jerry Falwell Jr. for millions of dollars, accusing him of withholding damaging personal information from school officials while negotiating a lucrative employment agreement for himself, among other allegations."

"Hackers believed to be directed by the Russian intelligence service, the SVR, used that routine software update to slip malicious code into Orion's software and then used it as a vehicle for a massive cyberattack against America." How the SolarWinds hack happened.

"Russia retaliated Friday over a new round of U.S. sanctions imposed a day ago by the Biden administration over the SolarWinds cyberattack and the Kremlin's election meddling… Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said 10 U.S. diplomats will be expelled from Russia, mirroring the 10 Russian diplomats ordered to leave the U.S. on Thursday. Moscow will also add eight U.S. officials to its sanctions list and will restrict the activities of U.S. nongovernmental organizations, or NGOs, operating in Russia." Stay safe my Russian friends. Just remember, in this modern era you might think you're well behind the front lines and safe. There is no such thing now.

"Two Russian warships transited the Bosphorus en route to the Black Sea on Saturday and 15 smaller vessels completed a transfer to the sea as Moscow beefs up its naval presence at a time of tense relations with the West and Ukraine."

"Russia’s FSB security service said it had detained a Ukrainian diplomat, accusing him of receiving sensitive information from a Russian national… In recent years Russia has detained a number of Ukrainian nationals on suspicion of spying but the detention of a diplomat is rare and seen as a sign of sharply rising tensions."

"The White House has walked back its announcement that it will keep this year's historically low refugee ceiling of 15,000 set by the Trump administration, saying its earlier statement Friday, which was panned by fellow Democrats, was meant only to ease restrictions from countries from which refugees are currently banned… The White House said President Biden would raise the cap by May 15." Good.

"Hard-right House Republicans on Friday were discussing forming an America First Caucus, which one document described as championing 'Anglo-Saxon political traditions' and warning that mass immigration was putting the 'unique identity' of the U.S. at risk." Racist is as racist does. So, apparently no Norman political traditions are allowed. I really hate to keep bringing this up, but 1066, people. I wonder if they'll allow Irish or dogs in?

"In at least 30 states nationwide, lawmakers have introduced bills aiming to keep transgender girls and women from participating on girls' and women's sports teams. These type of restrictions have become a major culture war battle, with Republican lawmakers being the loudest proponents of such bills, while Democrats often oppose them… But a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll finds that Republican voters aren't that enthusiastic about those proposed laws, even while they do have reservations about transgender sports participation." All of this is not about what is right or what is popular, it's about motivating the 30% hard conservative base. It's about the cruelty they crave.

"A federal judge is demanding that a Pennsylvania woman arrested for her alleged role in the Capitol riot, Rachel Powell, explain why a video of her circulating online shows her wearing a porous, mesh mask despite another judge’s order to comply with Covid mask requirements while she awaits trial… U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth said Powell’s decision to wear the obviously noncompliant mask 'mocks' the initial requirement decreed by the court’s chief judge, Beryl Howell, soon after Powell’s release in February."

"A heavy metal musician and founding member of the Oath Keepers extremist group pleaded guilty Friday to charges connected to the storming of the U.S. Capitol and agreed to cooperate with investigators — a first in the massive probe into the deadly Jan. 6 assault… Jon Schaffer, a guitarist and songwriter for the heavy metal band Iced Earth, entered his plea during a hearing in federal court in Washington, D.C. The plea agreement, which comes 100 days after a mob of Trump supporters violently overran the Capitol, marks a significant step for prosecutors in the case." As a part of the plea deal he is expected to cooperate with investigators and provide testimony.

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