Prime Minister Justsin Trudeau and medical experts tried to reassure Canadians that all approved COVID-19 vaccines are safe after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization said some vaccines were preferred over others.
Prime Minister Justsin Trudeau and medical experts tried to reassure Canadians that all approved COVID-19 vaccines are safe after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization said some vaccines were preferred over others.
These and thousands of other social media posts along with conservative websites and commentators this week misleadingly painted President Joe Biden and his administration as catalysts of chaos — who not only mishandled the temporary shutdown of the nation’s largest fuel pipeline on Friday — but engineered it. In reality, a ransom-seeking cyberattack, not a Biden executive order or energy policy, triggered the shutdown that drove residents of states such as North Carolina to panic-buy so much gas that nearly 70% of service stations in the state remained without fuel on Thursday afternoon. Biden spoke about the hack Thursday as he sought to assuage fears around the supply crunch, reassuring the public that his administration had helped get the Colonial Pipeline back online Wednesday and that remaining outages at gas stations were a “temporary situation" that panic-buying would only exacerbate.
"I think this is a very important step in the direction of trying to get back to some degree of normality," the doctor said.
NEW DELHI (AP) — The man in the WhatsApp video says he has seen it work himself: A few drops of lemon juice in the nose will cure COVID-19. “If you practice what I am about to say with faith, you will be free of corona in five seconds,” says the man, dressed in traditional religious clothing. "This one lemon will protect you from the virus like a vaccine.” False cures. Terrifying stories of vaccine side effects. Baseless claims that Muslims spread the virus. Fueled by anguish, desperation and distrust of the government, rumors and hoaxes are spreading by word of mouth and on social media in India, compounding the country's humanitarian crisis. “Widespread panic has led to a plethora of misinformation,” said Rahul Namboori, co-founder of Fact Crescendo, an independent fact-checking organization in India. While treatments such as lemon juice may sound innocuous, such claims can have deadly consequences if they lead people to skip vaccinations or ignore other guidelines. In January, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared that India had "saved humanity from a big disaster by containing corona effectively.” Life began to resume, and so did attendance at cricket matches, religious pilgrimages and political rallies for Modi's Hindu nationalist party. Four months later, cases and deaths have exploded, the country's vaccine rollout has faltered and public anger and mistrust have grown. “All of the propaganda, misinformation and conspiracy theories that I’ve seen in the past few weeks has been very, very political,” said Sumitra Badrinathan, a University of Pennsylvania political scientist who studies misinformation in India. “Some people are using it to criticize the government, while others are using it to support it." Distrust of Western vaccines and health care is also driving misinformation about sham treatments as well as claims about traditional remedies. Satyanarayan Prasad saw the video about lemon juice and believed it. The 51-year-old resident of the state of Uttar Pradesh distrusts modern medicine and has a theory as to why his country's health experts are urging vaccines. “If the government approves lemon drops as a remedy, the ... rupees that they have spent on vaccines will be wasted,” Prasad said. Vijay Sankeshwar, a prominent businessman and former politician, repeated the claim about lemon juice, saying two drops in the nostrils will increase oxygen levels in the body. While Vitamin C is essential to human health and immunity, there is no evidence that consuming lemons will fight off the coronavirus. The claim is spreading through the Indian diaspora, too. “They have this thing that if you drink lemon water every day that you’re not going to be affected by the virus,” said Emma Sachdev, a Clinton, New Jersey, resident whose extended family lives in India. Sachdev said several relatives have been infected, yet continue to flout social distancing rules, thinking a visit to the temple will keep them safe. India has also experienced the same types of misinformation about vaccines and vaccine side effects seen around the world. Last month, the popular Tamil actor Vivek died two days after receiving his COVID-19 vaccination. The hospital where he died said Vivek had advanced heart disease, but his death has been seized on by vaccine opponents as evidence that the government is hiding side effects. Much of the misinformation travels on WhatsApp, which has more than 400 million users in India. Unlike more open sites like Facebook or Twitter, WhatsApp — which is owned by Facebook — is an encrypted platform that allows users to exchange messages privately. The bad information online "may have come from an unsuspecting neighbor who is not trying to cause harm,” said Badrinathan, the University of Pennsylvania researcher. “New internet users may not even realize that the information is false. The whole concept of misinformation is new to them." Hoaxes spread online had deadly results in 2018, when at least 20 people were killed by mobs inflamed by posts about supposed gangs of child kidnappers. WhatsApp said in a statement that it works hard to limit misleading or dangerous content by working with public health bodies like the World Health Organization and fact-checking organizations. The platform has also added safeguards restricting the spread of chain messages and directing users to accurate online information. The service is also making it easier for users in India and other nations to use its service to find information about vaccinations. “False claims can discourage people from getting vaccines, seeking the doctor’s help, or taking the virus seriously,” Fact Crescendo's Namboori said. “The stakes have never been so high.” ___ Klepper reported from Providence, R.I. Associated Press writer Mallika Sen contributed to this report from Los Angeles. David Klepper And Neha Mehrotra, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — In a major step toward returning to pre-pandemic life, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eased mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people on Thursday, allowing them to stop wearing masks outdoors in crowds and in most indoor settings. “Today is a great day for America,” President Joe Biden said during a Rose Garden address heralding the new guidance, an event where he and his staff went without masks. Hours earlier in the Oval Office, where Biden was meeting with vaccinated Republican lawmakers, he led the group in removing their masks when the guidance was announced. “If you are fully vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a mask," he said, summarizing the new guidance and encouraging more Americans to roll up their sleeves. “Get vaccinated — or wear a mask until you do.” The guidance still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters, but it will help clear the way for reopening workplaces, schools and other venues — even removing the need for social distancing for those who are fully vaccinated. “We have all longed for this moment — when we can get back to some sense of normalcy,” Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, said at an earlier White House briefing. The CDC and the Biden administration have faced pressure to ease restrictions on fully vaccinated people — those who are two weeks past their last required COVID-19 vaccine dose — in part to highlight the benefits of getting the shot. The country’s aggressive vaccination campaign has paid off: U.S. virus cases are at their lowest rate since September, deaths are at their lowest point since last April and the test positivity rate is at the lowest point since the pandemic began. Walensky said the long-awaited change is thanks to the millions of people who have gotten vaccinated and is based on the latest science about how well those shots are working. “Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities — large or small — without wearing a mask or physically distancing,” Walensky said. “If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic.” The new guidance is likely to open the door to confusion, since there is no surefire way for businesses or others to distinguish between those who are fully vaccinated and those who are not. “Millions of Americans are doing the right thing and getting vaccinated, but essential workers are still forced to play mask police for shoppers who are unvaccinated and refuse to follow local COVID safety measures," said Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. “Are they now supposed to become the vaccination police?" Walensky and Biden said people who are not fully vaccinated should continue to wear masks indoors. “We’ve gotten this far — please protect yourself until you get to the finish line,” Biden said, noting that most Americans under 65 are not yet fully vaccinated. He said the government was not going to enforce the mask wearing guidance on those not yet fully vaccinated. “We're not going to go out and arrest people,” added Biden, who said he believes the American people want to take care of their neighbors. “If you haven’t been vaccinated, wear your mask for your own protection and the protection of the people who also have not been vaccinated yet." On Capitol Hill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she is not changing the rules requiring masks on the House floor. “No,” Pelosi told CNN. “Are they all vaccinated?” Recent estimates have put the percentage of unvaccinated lawmakers in the House at 25%. That ambiguity over who is and isn't vaccinated led Lawrence Gostin, a public health law expert at Georgetown University, to declare the CDC guidance “confusing and contradictory.” "The public will not feel comfortable in a crowded indoor space if they are unsure if the maskless person standing next to them is or is not vaccinated," he said. The announcement came as many states and communities have already been lifting mask mandates amid improving virus numbers and as more Americans have been shedding face coverings after getting shots. Dan Witte, a 67-year-old musician from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, stopped wearing a mask after receiving the vaccine two months ago and recently rejoined his band playing gigs at crowded bars and weddings. He was encouraged by the CDC’s new guidance, but said it just confirmed his trust that the vaccines offered protection from spreading infections. “I went right from being hypervigilant for almost a year to being right in the crowd without a mask,” Witte said. To date more than 154 million Americans, nearly 47% of the population, have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and nearly 119 million are fully vaccinated. The rate of new vaccinations has slowed in recent weeks, but with the authorization Wednesday of the Pfizer shot for children ages 12 to 15, a new burst of doses is expected in the coming days. “All of us, let’s be patient, be patient with one another,” Biden said, acknowledging some Americans might be hesitant about removing their masks after more than a year of living in a pandemic that has killed more than 584,000 people in the U.S. and more than 3.3 million people worldwide. The CDC's announcement that Americans could begin to shed one of the most visible symbols of the pandemic stood in stark contrast to other nations, with much of the world still struggling to contain the virus amid global disparities in vaccinations. Just two weeks ago, the CDC recommended that fully vaccinated people continue to wear masks indoors in all settings and outdoors in large crowds. Walensky said that evidence from the U.S. and Israel shows the vaccines are as strongly protective in real world use as they were in earlier studies and that so far they continue to work even though some worrying mutated versions of the virus are spreading. The more people continue to get vaccinated, the faster infections will drop — and the harder it will be for the virus to mutate enough to escape vaccines, she stressed, urging everyone 12 and older who is not yet vaccinated to sign up. And while some people still get COVID-19 despite being vaccinated, Walensky said, that’s rare. She cited evidence that those infections tend to be milder, shorter and harder to spread to others. If people who are vaccinated do develop COVID-19 symptoms, they should immediately put their mask back on and get tested, she said. There are some caveats. Walensky encouraged people who have weak immune systems, such as from organ transplants or cancer treatment, to talk with their doctors before shedding their masks. That’s because of continued uncertainty about whether the vaccines can rev up a weakened immune system as well as they do normal, healthy ones. The new guidance had an immediate effect at the White House, which has taken a cautious approach to easing virus restrictions. Staffers were informed that masks are no longer required for people who are fully vaccinated. First lady Jill Biden, who was traveling in West Virginia, told reporters that “we feel naked” as she and her party removed their face coverings. Then she paused. “I didn’t mean it that way!” ___ AP Medical Writer Lauran Neergaard and AP Congressional Correspondent Lisa Mascaro contributed to this report. Zeke Miller And Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
Myles Straw scored on a wild pitch in the 11th inning to give the Houston Astros a 4-3 win over the Texas Rangers on Thursday night. After the Rangers loaded the bases with an intentional walk to Alex Bregman that brought up Chas McCormick, reliever Brett Martin (0-1) uncorked a 1-2 pitch that bounced away, and Straw raced home from third. Brooks Raley (1-2) stranded runners at the corners in the top of the inning to earn the win.
Japan's economy is set to grow much slower than previously hoped this quarter, hobbled by extended emergency measures put in place to halt a rise in coronavirus infections, a Reuters poll showed. It is likely to expand an annualised 1.7% this quarter, less than half the 4.7% projected last month, according to the poll of 33 economists conducted May 6-13. Nearly all of the economists polled believe the government will compile an extra budget to support the world's third-largest economy, with 60% expecting it to come before the end of the third quarter.
Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], May 14 (ANI): Odisha recorded a sudden surge in Covid-19 cases on Friday as the state reported 12,390 new cases in the last 24 hours, according to the state health bulletin.
SEATTLE (AP) — Cleveland's Zach Plesac lost his no-hit bid with no outs in the eighth inning when Seattle's J.P. Crawford lined a clean single to center Thursday night It was the Mariners' first hit in 16 innings at home. The club was no-hit by Baltimore's John Means in its previous home game May 5. Plesac wasn't overpowering, but he induced weak contact when Seattle put the ball in play. The 26-year-old right-hander had two strikeouts and three walks on 78 pitches entering the eighth. Only five of the 21 outs to that point had been made by outfielders, including Josh Naylor’s grab in foul territory while crashing into the stands on the first pitch of the game to Seattle's Jarred Kelenic. Plesac, the nephew of longtime big league pitcher Dan Plesac, was 2-3 with a 3.83 ERA entering Thursday. Before his no-hitter, Plesac may have been best known for a misstep last season, when he broke COVID-19 protocols and was disciplined by the Indians. Plesac and former teammate Mike Clevinger left the team’s hotel following a start by the right-hander in Chicago. The Indians ended up placing both pitchers on the restricted list and sending them to their alternate site. Cleveland has the longest no-hitter drought in the majors — its last one was Len Barker’s perfect game in 1981. There have been four no-hitters already this season, and Seattle and Cleveland have been involved in three of them. The Indians have been no-hit twice — by Chicago White Sox left-hander Carlos Rodón on April 14 and by Cincinnati lefty Wade Miley a week ago. Plesac started both of those games. Cleveland leads 4-0. ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
City also won the League Cup for a fourth year in succession last month and will have a chance to add the Champions League crown in the final against Chelsea in two weeks.
NSW MP Gareth Ward’s exit inflames Coalition tensions and sparks byelection fearsLiberal and Nationals leaders strike different tones on MP who has stood aside while police investigate sex abuse allegations he has denied NSW MP Gareth Ward has stepped aside as a government minister and from the Liberal party over sexual violence allegations he has strenuously denied. He said in a statement he had not spoken to police. Photograph: Kate Geraghty/AAP
From tactfully disallowing Chinese firms to participate in BMC's global vaccine tender to exorbitant pricing of necessary equipment, India's battle against COVID-19 has often run into rough weather with China
The chip crunch has driven home the need for automakers to be "proactive" right now, and create "supply-chain resiliency" longer term to avoid disruptions in the future, the firm said on Friday. Automakers have in the past had direct supply agreements with producers of certain raw materials, including precious metals such as palladium and platinum, used in exhaust scrubbing systems. Automakers are now looking at developing direct relationships with semiconductor makers, said Mark Wakefield, co-leader of AlixPartners' global automotive practice.
Nicki Minaj released her 2009 mixtape 'Beam Me Up Scotty' on streaming services for the first time.
Scientists call for paradigm shift on scale of London’s response to cholera outbreaks of the 1800s
British holidaymakers hoping to jet off to Portugal as soon as UK travel restrictions lift are facing uncertainty after the nation’s government decided to extend its lockdown. As of May 17 the “stay in the UK” restriction will lift, meaning people will be able to go to green list countries, which includes Portugal. Thousands of British football fans are hoping to travel to the city of Porto for the all-English Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea on May 29.
Review of Barry Jenkins’ ‘The Underground Railroad’ is out on Amazon Prime Video.
EDMONTON — Members of Premier Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party caucus have voted to turf two of their own for challenging the leader. Backbencher Todd Loewen was ejected Thursday night after publicly announcing earlier in the day the party is adrift and out of touch under Kenney and that the premier must quit before things spiral further. Backbencher Drew Barnes had been the most vocal critic of the government's COVID-19 health restrictions, saying they are of questionable effect and an intolerable infringement on personal freedoms. He was also voted out. Both said they will sit in the house as Independents and continue to fight for their constituents and oppose a leader they say has lost his way and is no longer listening. “I was delivering a message on behalf of a lot of our supporters, a lot of Albertans, a lot of UCP members and a lot of conservatives across the province,” said Loewen in an interview. “And instead of taking ownership of the problems, the premier shot the messenger.” Barnes, in a statement, said the grassroots-driven United Conservative party he and Kenney helped build is dead. “The man who campaigned on servant leadership no longer exists,” said Barnes. “Instead of MLAs representing the views of their constituents to caucus, MLAs are expected to represent the views of the premier to their constituents. “I could never abide by this – this is not why I entered politics, and this is not how a grassroots political party is meant to work.” Both said they were let go following a lengthy virtual caucus debate with members from both sides speaking out. Members then cast their ballots by identifying themselves and texting their vote. The voting breakdown was not announced. Loewen questioned not having a private ballot: “I just feel there would be a certain amount of hesitancy for some people to vote against the premier on a vote like this where they know someone else will know exactly how they voted.” Mike Ellis, the caucus whip, said it was critical for caucus to stay united behind the leader, especially as the government grapples to bring COVID-19 under control. “There is simply no room in our caucus for those who continually seek to divide our party and undermine government leadership, especially at this critical juncture,” said Ellis in a statement. Kenney’s spokeswoman, Jerrica Goodwin added: “The premier is proud to stand with his caucus colleagues and lead Alberta through the greatest health and economic crisis in a century.” Loewen, representing the northern rural riding of Central Peace-Notley, had been the chair of the UCP caucus. Barnes represents Cypress-Medicine Hat in the south. Loewen and Barnes join a third backbencher, Pat Rehn, who was expelled earlier this year after his constituents complained he wasn’t doing any work or listening to their concerns. The vote culminated weeks of bubbling internal discontent within the caucus that boiled over into an open challenge by Loewen in a public letter to Kenney published on Loewen’s Facebook page in the pre-dawn hours Thursday. In the letter, Loewen called on the premier to resign, saying he no longer sees a commitment to teamwork and party principles. “We did not unite around blind loyalty to one man. And while you promoted unity, it is clear that unity is falling apart,” writes Loewen. He accused Kenney and his government of weak dealings with Ottawa, ignoring caucus members, delivering contradictory messages, and botching critical issues such as negotiations with doctors and a controversy over coal mining in the Rocky Mountains. “Many Albertans, including myself, no longer have confidence in your leadership," Loewen says in the letter. “I thank you for your service, but I am asking that you resign so that we can begin to put the province back together again.” Loewen later received a message of support from a second UCP backbencher, Dave Hanson. Hanson wrote on Facebook: “Todd, I applaud your courage and stand behind your decision. “I hear the same thing from our supporters in my area. I along with many of our colleagues share in your frustration.” Hanson, Barnes and Loewen are three of 18 UCP backbench members who broke with the government in early April over restrictions aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19. The group said the rules were needlessly restrictive and infringed on personal freedoms. Sixteen wrote an open letter expressing those concerns. Since then Barnes has remained vocal, actively questioning why the regulations are needed in low-infection areas and demanding to see data underlying the health decisions. Kenney tolerated the open dissension for weeks. He has said he believes in free speech and that backbenchers are not in cabinet and don’t speak for his government. But Loewen was the first to openly challenge Kenney’s leadership. Kenney’s poll numbers, along with party fundraising contributions, have dropped precipitously during the pandemic while those of Rachel Notley’s NDP have climbed. Notley said regardless of Kenney’s internal political troubles, Albertans need to see him focus on governing the province. Alberta has seen in recent weeks some of the highest COVID-19 case rates in North America that threaten to swamp the province’s health system. “What we need as a result is for the premier to clean up his house, get his house in order and provide the kind of leadership that Albertans desperately need during one of the most challenging times in our history,” said Notley. There were rumours of a widening internal UCP breach two weeks ago when Kenney suspended the legislature's spring sitting. He said it was to keep staff and legislature members safe from COVID-19. On Wednesday, the government extended the hiatus for another week. Political scientist Duane Bratt said Kenney had little choice but to expel Loewen but noted it took several hours of debate among the caucus to get there. “This is not a good day for Jason Kenney. He is wounded by this. And I don’t think it’s over,” said Bratt with Mount Royal University in Calgary. Pollster Janet Brown said the open dissension magnifies Kenney’s leadership woes. Brown said a premier relies on three pillars of support: party fundraising, caucus support and support in the popularity polls. Any one of those three can help offset crises somewhere else. But Kenney, said Brown, doesn’t have support in any area right now. "If you’re down in the polls, if you don’t have the confidence of your caucus and your donors are keeping their hands in their pockets, what’s your justification for continuing?” said Brown. “It seems like he’s failing with all three audiences.” This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 13, 2021. Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press
Colleyville Covenant and Fort Worth Southwest Christian baseball, and FW Temple Christian softball recap.
The NBA announced Thursday the creation of a new award — the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion Award — to recognise players who are making strides in the fight for social justice.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans are ready to vault Rep. Elise Stefanik into the ranks of House leadership, with the party hoping to turn the page from its searing civil war over the deposed Rep. Liz Cheney and refocus on winning control of the chamber in next year’s elections. Stefanik, R-N.Y., a moderate turned avid defender of former President Donald Trump and his unfounded claims of 2020 election fraud, was widely expected to be elected Friday as the No. 3 House GOP leader. She'd replace Cheney, R-Wyo., who was ousted this week for repeatedly rebuking Trump for encouraging supporters who attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6 and for his lie that his 2020 reelection was stolen from him by fraudulent voting. Stefanik, 36, gives Republicans a chance to try changing the subject from the acrimonious fight over the defiant Cheney by installing a Trump loyalist — and one of the party's relative handful of women in Congress — in a visible role. But GOP schisms are unlikely to vanish quickly. Many hard-right conservatives have misgivings about Stefanik's centrist voting record, and tensions remain raw over Trump's taut hold on the party and Cheney's rancorous ouster. “We are unified at making sure that we win the majority, and that we focus on the damage that the Biden-Pelosi agenda is doing across America," Stefanik told reporters Thursday, amplifying her argument that she'd be an aggressive messenger for her party. She called Trump “the most important leader in our party for voters" and said she was strongly positioned to win. Stefanik got an early start lining up votes to succeed Cheney, a decisive factor in leadership races. Crucially, she’s also backed by Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., plus two of the House’s most influential conservatives: No. 2 House GOP leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio. One of the House's most conservative members, Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, told reporters he would run against Stefanik. He's a prohibitive long shot, but his candidacy signals to leaders that hard-right Republicans expect a robust voice moving forward. “Always healthy to have debate,” McCarthy said when asked about a potential Stefanik challenger. He spoke a day after he successfully helped dump Cheney from party leadership for refusing to stifle her differences with Trump. Cheney, a daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and an ambitious GOP force in her own right, was among 10 House Republicans who voted this year to impeach Trump for inciting the Capitol riot. Since then, she's battled Trump often and many Republicans ultimately turned against her, arguing that the dispute was a damaging distraction. Even so, Cheney is not going away. She's said she'll remain in Congress, run for reelection and actively work to derail Trump if he seeks a White House return in 2024. Stefanik has told colleagues she'd serve in the leadership job only through next year, according to a GOP lawmaker and an aide who spoke on condition of anonymity last week to discuss internal conversations. After that, she'd take the top GOP spot on the House Education and Labor Committee, which some consider a more powerful position because it can produce legislation on important issues. Stefanik is a four-term lawmaker from an upstate New York district that in the past four presidential elections backed both Trump and Barack Obama twice. She was a Trump critic during his 2016 campaign, calling his videotaped comments on sexually assaulting women “just wrong" and at times avoiding stating his name, local news reports said. Her voting record is among the most moderate of all House Republicans', according to conservative groups' ratings. She opposed Trump's marquee 2017 tax cuts and his efforts to divert budget funds to build a wall along the Mexican border. She hurtled to GOP prominence — and Trump's attention — by defending him in 2019 during his first impeachment over his efforts to pressure Ukraine to produce political dirt on Joe Biden, a Democratic presidential contender at the time. She has remained a Trump booster and joined him in casting doubt on the validity of the 2020 election, despite findings by judges and local officials that there was no evidence of widespread fraud. Hours after the Capitol attack, she voted against formally approving Pennsylvania's state-certified electoral votes. Roy said Thursday on “The Mark Davis Show,” a Dallas-based conservative talk show, that Stefanik was too moderate and should be challenged from the right. He also conceded there was a “big likelihood” Stefanik would win. Trump reiterated his support for Stefanik on Thursday and said in a statement that Roy “has not done a great job" and would likely lose the GOP primary for his seat next year. Roy ran afoul of Trump in January when he voted to formally certify Trump's Electoral College defeat, saying the Constitution left “no authority for Congress" to overrule states' handling of the election. Alan Fram And Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press