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    Press Release from Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office: Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is continuing to secure Georgia’s elections by launching a new, secure, voter registration system for the Peach State. Raffensperger is partnering with Salesforce to build the new system on the highest security servers with faster processing power and the most up-to-date secure technology. MTX Group Inc. (MTX) is the implementation partner for the new voter registration system. This effort is the result of a modernization initiative led by Raffensperger that began in 2021, focusing on implementing modern, scalable, resilient, and secure technology. Raffensperger’s efforts have helped ensure a secure, accurate, and verifiable voting system in the state of Georgia. “Since day one, I have taken action to secure the vote in Georgia,” Raffensperger said. “This partnership with Salesforce and MTX Group will help ensure Georgia’s voting system is secure, reliable, efficient for years to come.” “MTX’s human-centric expertise in registration solutions to drive this critical investment enables outcomes for people in a wide range of government...
    The Biden administration has launched a task force to respond to future COVID-19 variants. The Biden administration is taking several steps to address the latest wave of COVID-19, including the creation of a response team designed to head off possible future variants of the coronavirus. Experts say the month of February will likely be "tough" in terms of omicron, though there are signs that the wave may be peaking as reported infections and hospitalizations slow. Health officials are simultaneously concerned about future variants developing and groups like the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control continue to monitor the ever-changing situation. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, meanwhile, has made moves to address the crisis, recently launching the Pandemic Innovation Task Force, which is focused on developing treatments, vaccines, testing, and other tools to respond to variants that may appear within six months to two years. Eric Lander, who serves as President Joe Biden's science adviser, leads the group along with Dawn O'Connell, assistant secretary for...
    Breitbart News sat down with Arizona gubernatorial hopeful Kari Lake during Turning Point USA’s Americafest. She said she will issue a “Declaration of Invasion” on day one in office in order to begin closing the Arizona/Mexico border. We asked Lake, “There is so much danger from an open border…What does Governor Lake do to keep that border secure? What can you do?” She responded by pointing to the Constitution’s explicit points on protecting the United States from “invasion.” She then suggested the federal government is not doing what they are supposed to do to protect the American people in that regard. Lake said, “On day one, after taking the oath of office, while the press is still assembled, [I’ll] remove my hand from the Bible and we’re going to issue a Declaration of Invasion.” She explained that she knows the federal government under Joe Biden will fight her efforts to close the border, but made clear that she will not be dissuaded or distracted by the federal government. “If Joe Biden is going to hand off control of our border...
    Freshman Rep. Kat Cammack took to the House floor on Wednesday to define the Biden administration’s first year as “a disaster from top to bottom.” Speaking next to a "Biden’s Broken Promises" poster, the Florida Republican detailed how President Joe Biden’s agenda has negatively affected the country. “Instead of working to change positively, Biden has worked to change our country into a population of dependence because that is, at the end of the day, what this administration is about: dependency and control,” Cammack said. Cammack compared the more than 1.7 million border crossings in 2021 to the 500,000 or less in 2020 under former President Donald Trump. She also noted how Biden’s first year in office saw more than 440,000 cases of COVID-19, a number that is “more than when the pandemic began and the entire year of 2020.” YEAR ONE DISASTER: SIXTY PERCENT CALL BIDEN ‘UNSUCCESSFUL,’ HIGHEST EVER DISUNITY Cammack attacked the Biden administration’s COVID-19 policies, saying they have missed the mark. “The Biden administration was caught flat-footed, once again, on testing...
    (CNN)Americans can now sign up to get free home Covid-19 tests from the federal government. Though the website formally debuted on Wednesday, the Biden administration quietly launched it the day before. Orders began pouring in immediately.The program is part of the administration's effort to increase testing amid the nationwide surge of the Omicron variant. The White House is ordering 1 billion tests for distribution.Have you tried to get a free home test from the federal site? Did it work smoothly or was there an issue? Tell us about it here.Here's what you need to know about getting free home tests from the federal government:Read MoreHow do I order the tests?Go to covidtests.gov and sign up. You'll need to enter your name, email and residential address. Orders will not be shipped to businesses.You should receive an email confirming your order and providing tracking information. Thousands of readers have told CNN that the process was easy and swift, taking only a few minutes. However, some have reported that they received a message that tests were already ordered for their address. How many...
    WASHINGTON (AP) — For the first time, all Americans can log on to a government website and order free, at-home COVID-19 tests. But the White House push may do little to ease the omicron surge, and experts say Washington will have to do a lot more to fix the country’s long-troubled testing system. The website, COVIDTests.gov, allows people to order four at-home tests per household and have them delivered by mail. But the tests won’t arrive for seven to 12 days, after omicron cases are expected to peak in many parts of the U.S. The White House also announced Wednesday that it will begin making 400 million N95 masks available for free at pharmacies and community health centers. Both initiatives represent the kind of mass government investments long seen in parts of Europe and Asia, but delayed in the U.S. Experts say the plan to distribute 1 billion tests is a good first step, but it must become a regular part of the pandemic response. In the same way that it has made vaccines are free and plentiful, the government...
    BRITAIN is over the worst of Omicron and on a clear path to live with Covid, Sajid Javid cheered today as Plan B was entirely dumped. The Health Secretary championed the well-oiled booster rollout for allowing Boris Johnson to rip up the rules and make us Europe's freest nation. 4Health Secretary Sajid Javid giving a press conference tonight 4Boris Johnson has scrapped Plan BCredit: PA 4 Hated vaccine passports will be dumped along with requirement to wear face masks anywhere indoors next week. The guidance to work from home has been dropped effective immediately - meaning Brits can go back to the office tomorrow. The remaining rules will expire on January 26 meaning the changes will kick in next Thursday morning. Mr Johnson said: "The Cabinet concluded that because of the extraordinary booster campaign, together with the way the public have responded to the Plan B measures, we can return to Plan A in England, and allow Plan B regulations to expire." In major developments: The PM endured a bruising PMQs as a Tory MP defected...
    Zimbabwean activist William Chinyanga, 51, is accused of encouraging bombings against his country's ruling regime in four speeches to 7,000 followers on social media A Zimbabwean activist called on his followers to carry out terrorist attacks to overthrow his country's regime in a series of speeches, a court heard. William Chinyanga, 51, is accused of encouraging bombings in the south-east African country in four speeches to 7,000 followers on social media over two days in December 2019. It is claimed the supply teacher, who lives in north London, told Facebook followers to 'open gunfire on a gathering of people' and use 'gorilla warfare'. Chinyanga is understood to be a campaigner for MDC-alliance, a multi-party political bloc that opposes Emmerson Mnangagwa's ruling Zanu-PF government in Zimbabwe. The Old Bailey was told he has been charged with four counts of encouraging terrorism, which he denies. Prosecutor Sean Larkin QC said Chinyanga, who was born in Zimbabwe, sought asylum in 2009 and was granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK 'There is no dispute he is an opponent of the Zimbabwean government,' he continued. 'He had...
    NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The United Nations secretary-general said Wednesday he was delighted to hear “there is now a demonstrable effort to make peace” in Ethiopia after more than 14 months of war, but he gave no details. Antonio Guterres’ statement on Wednesday came after a call with African Union envoy Olusegun Obasanjo following the envoy’s latest visit to Addis Ababa and the capital of Ethiopia’s embattled Tigray region. Guterres said Obasanjo “expressed optimism that there is now a real opportunity for political and diplomatic resolution of the conflict.” His statement did not describe efforts by Ethiopia’s government and the rival Tigray forces, and Obasanjo’s spokesman didn’t immediately respond to questions. A new U.S. envoy for the Horn of Africa, Ambassador David Satterfield, is set to meet with Ethiopian officials on Thursday. Ethiopia’s war has killed an estimated tens of thousands of people and displaced millions. The United States says some 900,000 people in Tigray, which has been under an Ethiopian government blockade since late June, face famine conditions. The World Health Organization says medical supplies have not...
    PRAGUE (AP) — The Czech Republic’s new government on Wednesday dismissed the previous government’s plan to require older adults and people in some professions to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. The previous government, led by Prime Minister Andrej Babis, released an order in early December, making vaccination mandatory for people age 60 and over as well as medical personnel, police officers, firefighters and medical students. It was due to take effect in March. But Babis’ administration was replaced later in December by a new government formed by five parties and led by Prime Minister Petr Fiala. “We’ve agreed that vaccination against COVID-19 won’t be mandatory,” Fiala said, stressing that his government still considers the vaccines “the best tool to fight COVID-19.” Opponents of a vaccine mandate had staged several protests in Prague and elsewhere in the country. So far, 62.9% of Czechs are considered fully vaccinated, below the European Union average, according the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control. Almost 3.4 million people in the nation of 10.5 million also have received a booster shot. Fiala said about...
    GRECLAURENTIU | iStock | Getty Images Financial help is often available to families unable to afford the funeral and burial costs for a loved one, but they may not realize it. Although a number of states and counties have funds to assist residents with memorial expenses, the details of the resources can be buried on government websites and hard to track down at any time, let alone a traumatic and overwhelming one. Still, the support — usually available only to those with little to no means — will be worth trying to find for many people. In 2021, the median cost of a funeral with a viewing and burial was $7,848. More from Personal Finance:Here are 22 destinations it will be cheaper to fly to in 2022Where Americans want to travel, and not so muchBus lines look to attract wary passengers with premium services "It's a big problem for a lot of low-income people," said Joshua Slocum, executive director of the nonprofit Funeral Consumers Alliance. To learn if there's a burial assistance fund in your state or county, first turn...
    Volunteers give out free rapid Covid tests at a DC fire station on New Year's Day.Stephanie Mencimer/Mother Jones Fight disinformation. Get a daily recap of the facts that matter. Sign up for the free Mother Jones newsletter.Four days before Christmas, my son and I drove to the DC Costco and parked, but instead of going shopping, we walked down the hill and went into a nondescript DC government warehouse. There, we walked around thousands of boxes of Covid testing supplies to join a few dozen other vaccinated and masked DC residents who’d responded to the city’s call for volunteers to assemble Covid PCR test kits that people could use at home. We spent a few hours on the assembly line, folding up Labcorp baggies and instruction leaflets for the volunteers at the next table to stuff into packages and vacuum seal. Once they were quality checked, the kits went right out the door to city libraries, where residents could pick up two a day for free. After they swabbed their noses, residents could drop the kit into a library pickup box...
    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Wednesday that key COVID-19 restrictions in the United Kingdom will be dropped as early as next week as the politician faces calls to resign. Johnson addressed Parliament, announcing that measures such as mandated public mask-wearing, COVID-19 passports, and enforced self-isolation, all part of the country's "Plan B" COVID-19 response, will be shifted from compulsory edicts to optional guidelines. His statements were met with roaring cheers by members of Parliament. "This morning, the Cabinet concluded that because of the extraordinary booster campaign, together with the way the public has responded to the Plan B measures, we can return to Plan A in England and allow Plan B regulations to expire," Johnson said. "From the start of Thursday next week, mandatory certification will end." WATCH: BORIS JOHNSON OFFERS 'HEARTFELT APOLOGIES' FOR ATTENDING 'BRING YOUR OWN BOOZE' PARTY "From now on, the government is no longer asking people to work from home ... And having looked at the data carefully, the Cabinet concluded that once regulations lapse, the government will no longer...
    As the omicron variant of the coronavirus continues to infect across the country, the Biden administration announced Wednesday that it will begin to distribute 400 million free N95 masks to Americans next week.  The White House said that the masks will come from the government's Strategic National Stockpile, which has more than 750 million available. BIDEN ADMINISTRATION TO PROVIDE HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF FREE N95 MASKS Three will be available per individual – although details were not immediately available on what sort of masks will be provided and whether they could be worn again.  The masks will be available at tens of thousands of locations nationwide, including pharmacies and community health centers that have partnered with the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign. A White House official said that this act marks the largest deployment of personal protective equipment in U.S. history.  A pair of N95 masks (iStock) They said the administration would start to ship masks at the end of the week. Earlier this month, a senior administration official told Politico – which first reported this initiative – that...
    MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) – To bolster his struggling golf resort in Doral, Donald Trump plans to build 2,300 luxury homes on the site along with retail and commercial space. It’s part of a flurry of recent moves to revive a family business suffering from the one-two punch of a divisive presidency and coronavirus shutdowns. READ MORE: 45 Years Ago: Snow In MiamiIn a news release Monday, the 45th president called the plans for his sprawling Trump National Doral resort “perhaps the most exciting development in the country” but was short on details such as the size of the homes and what they may cost. The Doral, the biggest revenue generator among Trump’s 17 golf properties, has been a drain on the business in recent years. In 2019, Trump announced plans to hold the global meeting of Group of Seven leaders at the resort, a potential big money maker for hosts. But he had to cancel after a bipartisan outcry over self-dealing and a possible violation of a constitutional ban on presidents receiving gifts or payments from foreign leaders. The...
    From Thursday 27 January, the Conservative leader announced in Parliament that wearing a mask would no longer be legally mandatory, that telework would no longer be officially recommended and that the health pass would no longer be imposed to access nightclubs and some large gatherings. “As the Govt spreads, we need to replace legal obligations with advice and recommendations,” Boris Johnson pleaded. He said he did not want to extend the isolation rules when the Kovit-19 positive cases expire on March 24. This date may even be brought forward. “We are not legally asking people to isolate themselves if they have the flu,” he explained. More than 152,000 people have died in the UK from Covid 19 disease. The latest available data show a nearly 40% drop in the number of new weekly cases, while the number of patients admitted to the hospital has been confirmed. The number of intensive care patients who were low during the Omigron wave is also declining. The easing of these measures, which are seen as harsh by a section of the Conservative majority, is...
    By: Patrick Damp/KDKA-TV WASHINGTON (KDKA) – Free, at-home, rapid COVID-19 testing can be ordered online. READ MORE: Fire Damages Several Businesses In Greene CountyThe White House has launched its website – COVIDtest.gov. Wednesday was slated to be the official launch but White House leaders say it began working in a limited capacity on Tuesday. However, KDKA is aware of at least two local cases where people reported getting a message saying that tests have already been ordered. READ MORE: AAA Recommends Periodic Car-Washing To Avoid Expensive Rust DamageThe message reads, “Our records show that at-home COVID-19 tests have already been ordered for this address. We are unable to process duplicate orders for the same address.” Take Our Poll Supplies will be limited to four tests per household and they will ship within 7-12 days after order. The first shipments are expected to go out at the end of January. MORE NEWS: Pittsburgh Weather: Southern Areas Could See More Snow On Wednesday NightFor those who may need more tests, the website says those with private health insurance will be...
    Statistics from the German federal government have revealed that 2021 saw the largest number of politically motivated crimes reported since the Federal Criminal Police Office began recording statistics in 2001. The number of politically motivated crimes rose by six per cent in 2021, for a total of 47,303 offences reported to police, according to data obtained by populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) MP Martin Hess after a request to the federal government. The increase is not said to have been caused by a surge of far-right or far-left extremism but noted that the Wuhan coronavirus and the effect it has had on German society likely has influenced the number of so-called politically motivated crimes, German newspaper Die Welt reports. According to the state, there were over 19,000 crimes reported to have had a far-right motivation compared to 17,000 that were uncategorized and 9,000 said to have originated from far-left extremists. One Dead, 600 Arrested at Banned Anti-Lockdown Demo in Germany https://t.co/t2mJoAtnyn — Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 3, 2021 Some have voiced issues with how politically motivated crimes are recorded in the...
    New Conservative MP Christian Wakeford ‘crossed the floor’ of Parliament Wednesday, defecting from the party of government to the opposition, writing that having “wrestled” with his conscience over the decision. Bury South representative Christian Wakeford, elected for the first time in 2019, defected from the Conservatives to Labour in Parliament just minutes before the Prime Minister was due to take questions from the floor on Wednesday, a move timed to generate maximum impact. Despite the Prime Minister’s Questions session starting with Wakeford’s defection and ending with former Brexit Secretary and Tory veteran David Davis telling him “in the name of God, go”, the Prime Minister seemed in good spirits at the dispatch box and enjoyed cheers from Conservative backbenchers. While it has been widely claimed that plots against the Prime Minister to launch a coup are well advanced, it is not clear that this means the end of the Johnson leadership. While Wakeford’s defection letter was scathing in its condemnation of the Prime Minister, eagle-eyed followers of Westminster machinations noted that Wakeford just last year co-sponsored and voted for a...
    Volunteers give out free rapid Covid tests at a DC fire station on New Year's Day.Stephanie Mencimer/Mother Jones Fight disinformation. Get a daily recap of the facts that matter. Sign up for the free Mother Jones newsletter.Four days before Christmas, my son and I drove to the DC Costco and parked, but instead of going shopping, we walked down the hill and went into a nondescript DC government warehouse. There, we walked around thousands of boxes of Covid testing supplies to join a few dozen other vaccinated and masked DC residents who’d responded to the city’s call for volunteers to assemble Covid PCR test kits that people could use at home. We spent a few hours on the assembly line, folding up Labcorp baggies and instruction leaflets for the volunteers at the next table to stuff into packages and vacuum seal. Once they were quality checked, the kits went right out the door to city libraries, where residents could pick up two a day for free. After they swabbed their noses, residents could drop the kit into a library pickup box...
    Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel says there is “absolutely” enough evidence to charge the 16 alleged fraudsters who are accused of attempting to sign and submit a fake, forged 2020 Electoral College “certificate” representing themselves as the legal electors, claiming falsely that Donald Trump won their state in the 2020 election. Nessel has requested the federal government investigate and prosecute the group of 16 Republicans, but said in a Tuesday press conference if they won’t she will. Why? “It’s clear to me that this was not independent rogue actors that were unknowingly doing the same thing as they had done in many other states,” Nessel said, as Michigan Advance reports. “From a jurisdictional standpoint, we think it’s important because it allows for the federal authorities to determine if there was a conspiracy that was a multi-state conspiracy.” READ: Former top FBI official: 'Concerning' Ginni Thomas signed letter saying Jan. 6 participants 'have done nothing wrong' MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow has reported that the forged, fake documents submitted to the federal...
    BUDPAPEST, Hungary (AP) — The leader of Hungary’s political opposition said Wednesday that he has tested positive for COVID-19 amid a surge in cases fueled by the highly transmissible omicron variant. Peter Marki-Zay, an independent conservative who will represent a six-party opposition coalition in the parliamentary election in April, said on his Facebook page that he had received a positive test after exhibiting mild COVID-19 symptoms following a television appearance Tuesday evening. “I have canceled all external programs, gone into quarantine and am continuing to work from home, working for a change of government,” Marki-Zay wrote, adding that he has received three vaccine doses. Omicron is less likely to cause severe illness than the previous delta variant, according to studies. Omicron spreads even more easily than other coronavirus strains, and has already become dominant in many countries. It also more easily infects those who have been vaccinated or had previously been infected by prior versions of the virus. Marki-Zay’s announcement came on the same day that Hungary reported the highest number of daily cases of COVID-19 since the...
    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration will begin making 400 million N95 masks available for free to Americans starting next week. The step comes after federal officials emphasized the masks’ better protection against the omicron variant of COVID-19 over cloth face coverings. The White House says the masks will come from the government’s Strategic National Stockpile, which has more than 750 million of the highly protective masks on hand. The masks will be available for pickup at pharmacies and community health centers across the country. The White House says the masks will begin shipping this week for distribution starting late next week. (© Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
    WASHINGTON -- The Biden administration on Tuesday quietly launched its website for Americans to request free at-home COVID-19 tests, a day before the site was scheduled to officially go online.The website, COVIDTests.gov, now includes a link for "every home in the U.S." to access an order form run by the U.S. Postal Service. People can order four at-home tests per residential address, to be delivered by the Postal Service. It marks the latest step by President Joe Biden to address criticism of low inventory and long lines for testing during a nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases due to the omicron variant.White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the website was in "beta testing" and operating at a "limited capacity" ahead of its official launch. The website will officially launch midmorning Wednesday, Psaki said.There were isolated reports Tuesday afternoon of problems relating to the website's address verification tool erroneously enforcing the four-per-household cap on apartment buildings and other multi-unit dwellings. A spokesperson for the Postal Service said in a statement that the error was "occurring in a small percentage of orders."...
    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration will begin making 400 million N95 masks available for free to Americans starting next week, now that federal officials are emphasizing their better protection against the omicron variant of COVID-19 over cloth face coverings. The White House announced Wednesday that the masks will come from the government’s Strategic National Stockpile, which has more than 750 million of the highly protective masks on hand. The masks will be available for pickup at pharmacies and community health centers across the country. They will begin shipping this week for distribution starting late next week, the White House said. This will be the largest distribution of free masks by the federal government to the public since the COVID-19 pandemic began. In early 2020, then-President Donald Trump’s administration considered and then shelved plans to send masks to all American at their homes. President Joe Biden embraced the initiative after facing mounting criticism this month over the inaccessibility — both in supply and cost — of N95 masks as the highly transmissible omicron variant swept across the country. After facing...
    Washington (CNN)The Biden administration will make 400 million N95 masks available to Americans for free starting next week, a White House official told CNN, the latest federal step aimed at reining in the US' Covid-19 surge. The masks -- which are coming from the Strategic National Stockpile -- will be made available at a number of local pharmacies and community health centers, the official said, adding that the program will be "fully up and running by early February.""This is the largest deployment of personal protective equipment in US history," the official said. The 400 million non-surgical N95 masks amount to more than half of the 750 million stored in the US' Strategic National Stockpile, a figure that tripled over the last year as the White House sought to boost reserves. The US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention recently advised that well-fitting respirators approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health -- such as N95 masks -- offer "the highest level of protection" against Covid-19.The administration's step comes as the US grapples with an unprecedented surge in Covid-19...
    Senior doctor Thomas Marx puts on his personal protective gear before he enters the room of a patient with Covid-19 in an intensive care unit at a hospital in Freising, southern Germany.LENNART PREISS | AFP | Getty Images LONDON — U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce that Covid rules in England will be eased when he makes a statement on the government's "Plan B" strategy on Wednesday. This comes as omicron cases surge in the rest of Europe. Johnson, who is under mounting political pressure as a scandal surrounding government staff "parties" and gatherings during lockdown rumbles on, will go through the latest Covid data on Wednesday morning with his ministers before making a statement to lawmakers this afternoon, a statement from Downing Street said.VIDEO3:3903:39British PM faces increasing pressure to resignThe News with Shepard SmithPlan B measures, implemented in December as the omicron Covid variant surged in the U.K., mean that face masks are compulsory in most indoor public settings such as public transport, shops, theaters and cinemas, and that people are advised to work from home if...
    (CNN)Last March, at an event center in Nigeria, Burna Boy stood on stage with a mic in hand, in front of a captivated audience. But the world-famous Afro-fusion recording artist wasn't there to perform. Rather, he was addressing the crowd after receiving an official proclamation from the governor of his home state to honor his win at the 2021 Grammys for best global music album: "I thank the best governor I've ever experienced because you know say me na [you know I don't] even like politics or politicians."That sort of love/hate sentiment often sums up how the self-proclaimed "African Giant" feels about his country and to a larger extent, his continent. Recently, CNN interviewed Burna Boy twice in a four-week period for an episode of African Voices Changemakers.From the beginning, he makes it clear he doesn't like doing much talking, at least in English. Most of his answers are short and sometimes evasive -- but one of the areas he expands on is his dream that someday there would be one Africa. Burna Boy rehearsing with his band in Los...
    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey’s government and central bank have taken unconventional steps in recent weeks to prop up a beleaguered economy crippled by skyrocketing consumer prices, instead of ending a much-criticized plan to cut interest rates. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s insistence on cutting rates — the opposite of what economists say to do to curb soaring inflation — has weakened the country’s currency and driven prices even higher, making it tough for people to buy basics like food. Here’s a look at the impact of Erdogan’s economic policies and their long-term risks: WHAT’S GOING ON? Erdogan, who has grown increasingly authoritarian and long declared himself an enemy of high borrowing costs, has pressured the central bank into continually cutting interest rates even though inflation surged by 36% last month. In comparison, inflation in the 19 countries using the euro made a record 5% jump from a year earlier, and the U.S. tallied a nearly 40-year high of 7%. Conventional economic thinking calls for increased borrowing costs to tame inflation, like other countries have done, but Erdogan maintains it’s...
    The outgoing Finance Minister and new German Chancellor Minister Olaf Scholz delivers a speech during the handing-over ceremony with his successor in the German Federal Ministry of Finances in Berlin, Germany, December 9, 2021.Tobias Schwarz | Reuters Borrowing costs for the German government continued their push higher on Wednesday, with the benchmark 10-year bund yield trading in positive territory for the first time in nearly three years. May 2019 was the last time that German 10-year yields were above zero, when accommodative policy from the European Central Bank pressured interest rates lower. Negative yields meant that investors were effectively paying the German government to lend it money. The ECB is currently behind on its normalization path, compared to the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England, but surging inflation and wider moves in the global bond market have now helped to push yields above zero. Euro zone inflation hit a new record high in December, raising more questions about the ECB's monetary policy. The central bank said last month that it would be cutting its monthly asset purchases, but vowed to...
    BERLIN (AP) — A court in Germany will begin hearing a case Wednesday against a Syrian doctor accused of crimes against humanity for torturing and killing inmates at a government-run prison in his home country. Federal prosecutors say the doctor, identified as Alaa M. in keeping with German privacy rules, worked at a military intelligence prison in the Syrian city of Homs from April 2011 until late 2012. They accuse the doctor of killing one person, torture in 18 cases, causing serious physical and psychological harm to another person, and other crimes including one that led to another death. The defendant entered Germany in 2015, and German authorities permitted him to practice medicine after recertifying his Syrian medical credentials. He worked at a clinic near Kassel in central Germany, where multiple Syrians recognized the doctor from his time in Syria and reported him to German police. In one case, he is accused of beating an anti-government demonstrator after prison officials called the doctor to the hospital to treat a man experiencing an epileptic attack following torture. That man later...
    BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- Some Bay Area residents say ordering their free at-home COVID-19 tests from the federal government has been a challenge.Allison Landa went online Tuesday to order hers. When she put in her address, USPS says someone already placed an order for her address."I figured maybe our neighbor had done it," she said. "I asked my husband too and he said he didn't order any. It was strange."Landa and her family live in a duplex in Berkeley.RELATED: Some health experts say free at-home COVID tests are too little, too lateTuesday was the beta launch for the government's issuing of at-home tests. Four tests will go to every household address. However, many who live in multi-family homes, apartments, college housing and others are seeing the same message as Landa."COVID tests are almost like diamonds right now," Landa said. "We went to the USPS help page and submitted a help request. I feel like they are trying to push these out as best they can."Some hope this is just an online issue that can be fixed.Dr. David Magnus, a biomedical...
    JERUSALEM (AP) — Albert Bourla, chairman and chief executive of global pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc., was awarded on Wednesday the prestigious Genesis Prize for his efforts in leading the development of a COVID-19 vaccine. The $1 million award is granted each year to a person for their professional achievements, contributions to humanity and commitment to Jewish values. The Genesis Prize Foundation said Bourla had received the largest number of votes in an online campaign in which some 200,000 people in 71 countries participated. It commended him for his “leadership, determination, and especially for his willingness to assume great risks.” It cited Pfizer’s decision to turn down U.S. government funding early in the pandemic, a decision that helped the company reduce bureaucracy and expedite development of the vaccine. Its partner, BioNTech, received funding from the German government, and Pfizer later signed a large supply contract with the United States. The strategy put Pfizer at the forefront of global efforts to fight the coronavirus, with its vaccine the first to be authorized for use in the U.S. and Europe. The...
              by Laurel Duggan   Democrats were more than twice as likely as other voters to favor harsh government restrictions being placed on unvaccinated people’s lives, ranging from fines to loss of child custody, according to a recent poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports and the Heartland Institute. Forty-eight percent of Democratic voters said the government should be able to fine or imprison those who publicly question the COVID-19 vaccine’s efficacy, while only 27% of all voters supported the proposal, according to the poll results. Fines against those who refuse to take the vaccine were viewed favorably by 55% of Democratic voters and just 19% of Republicans, and 59% of Democrats favored a policy requiring unvaccinated people to stay inside their homes at all times, except for emergencies, the poll found. Seventy-nine percent of Republicans opposed a house arrest policy for unvaccinated people. Forty-five percent of Democratic respondents favored the government forcing people into “designated facilities” until they get the vaccine — a measure opposed by 71% of all voters. A government program using digital devices to track the movements of unvaccinated people and ensure that they are quarantined...
                 Representative Barry Loudermilk (R-GA-11), during a speech late last week about Democrats’ attempts to pass a federal takeover of elections, said that the party wants to create “a homogenous society that is easily controlled.” Loudermilk said this on the floor of the House of Representatives. “Make no mistake. This legislation is an attempt to circumvent state legislatures’ constitutional authority to set election laws, laws like the one recently passed in Georgia that maximizes voter access and protects the integrity of every legal ballot. One-size fits all government has never worked in a diverse and free society like we have here in the United States of America,” Loudermilk said. “One-size-fits-all is synonymous with dictatorial regimes, socialist societies, and communist countries. Governments that keep control over the people by stripping the authority from the hands of local officials that were elected by the people to represent them. This is what this bill does.” Loudermilk referred to Georgia’s new voter integrity law, SB 202. Georgia’s new voter integrity law requires voter ID on all absentee ballots, increases oversight of local election boards...
                 The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) announced it will open additional monoclonal treatment sites after the federal government delivered its most recent shipment of treatment kits. Approximately 15,000 doses will become available in Duval, Seminole, Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade County sites. “We’re working around the clock to keep up the momentum so Floridians have access to lifesaving monoclonal antibody therapies,” FDOH tweeted. ✨BIG NEWS: Tomorrow, five additional monoclonal antibody sites will open across the state✨ Were working around the clock to keep up the momentum so Floridians have access to lifesaving monoclonal antibody therapies. Full release: https://t.co/ODAQe7fjCI pic.twitter.com/sAyoNl80WQ — Florida Dept. of Health (@HealthyFla) January 17, 2022 The recent shipment comes after the state and the federal government has previously been at odds with access to the treatments. Back in September, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R) administration blasted the federal government, particularly the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), for capping the amount of Regeneron treatments states would be able to receive. The HHS said at the time it would be seeking “equitable distribution.”...
    TOKYO (AP) — The Japanese government will place Tokyo and a dozen other areas under new restrictions for COVID-19 effective Friday, allowing local leaders to shorten hours for eateries, as a surge in omicron cases threatens to paralyze society. A government-commissioned experts’ panel on Wednesday approved a plan to put the 13 areas under a three-week restraint through Feb. 13, said Economy Revitalization Minister Daishiro Yamagiwa, who is also in charge of virus measures. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is expected to officially announce the new measures at a government taskforce meeting later Wednesday. Japan has so far resisted the use of lockdowns to fight the pandemic and instead has focused on requiring restaurants and bars to close early and not serve alcohol, and asking the public to wear masks and practice social distancing, as the government seeks to minimize damage to the economy. Japan had been gradually expanding social and business activity since an earlier wave of infections subsided in September, which experts say was largely due to the country’s rapid progress in rolling out the initial two doses of...
    If Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis were a responsible leader dedicated to the well-being of his constituents, he would have made clear that the Regeneron monoclonal antibody being administered at his five new treatment sites is all but useless in the current COVID-19 surge. But DeSantis is DeSantis and therefore his own top priority. He is happy to offer false hope in the middle of a pandemic—as his state breaks infection records week after week—if he believes it is to his political advantage. Last month, DeSantis held a press conference outside Ocala Medical Center with a sign reading “Early Treatment Saves Lives” and touted monoclonal antibodies as the answer to COVID crisis. His surgeon general, Joe Ladapo, described vaccines, masks, and testing as a “trifecta” of “lunacy.” Omicron had already begun to spread in Florida and elsewhere, so quickly that it was soon responsible for the overwhelming majority of new cases. The federal government stopped distributing two of the three mjaor monoclonal antibody treatments—Regeneron and bamlanivimab—on the grounds they were ineffective against the new variants. The third treatment, sotrovimab, remains in...
    Hong Kong (CNN)Hong Kong will euthanize about 2,000 hamsters and other small animals after a pet store worker and several rodents tested positive for coronavirus, as the city pursues an uncompromising zero-Covid strategy two years into the pandemic.The announcement by the Hong Kong government on Tuesday was met with outrage by pet owners and animals rights advocates, with several online petitions urging authorities to reconsider.It comes after an emerging cluster linked to the Little Boss pet store, where a 23-year-old employee was confirmed positive for the Delta variant on Monday. A customer who visited the store and interacted with the employee later tested positive as well.After investigating the pet store, officials said on Tuesday that 11 hamsters had tested preliminary positive for Covid, raising concerns around the possibility of animal-to-human transmission.Generally, international health authorities have said the risk of transmission from animals to humans is possible, but low.Read MoreHow a birthday party exposed Hong Kong officials to the harsh reality of zero-CovidEnvironmental samples taken at the shop's warehouse, where other species of small animals are held, also confirmed traces of...
    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A St. Cloud man who authorities say is a self-proclaimed member of the anti-government “boogaloo” movement and had discussed a willingness to kill police was sentenced Tuesday to two years in prison. Michael Dahlager, 27, pleaded guilty last summer to illegally possessing a machine gun. He admitted during his plea hearing he possessed two devices that convert a semi-automatic firearm into an unlawful fully automatic firearm. READ MORE: 'Boogaloo Boi' Ivan Hunter Pleads Guilty To Firing Assault Rifle Into Minneapolis Police 3rd PrecinctDahlager was a self-proclaimed follower of the “boogaloo,” a concept embraced by a loose network of gun enthusiasts and militia-style extremists. The FBI began investigating Dahlager in November 2020, after an informant said he had the devices, known as “auto sears.” According to an FBI affidavit, Dahlager told a confidential informant he was preparing to “defend” a rally at the state Capitol on Jan. 17. Dahlager allegedly traveled from St. Cloud to St. Paul in December 2020 to conduct surveillance at the Capitol building during a “Stop the Steal” rally by Donald Trump supporters. He...
    By Danica Coto | Associated Press SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Puerto Rico’s nearly five-year bankruptcy battle is ending after a federal judge on Tuesday signed a plan that slashes the U.S. territory’s public debt load as part of a restructuring and allows the government to start repaying creditors. The plan marks the largest municipal debt restructuring in U.S. history and was approved following grueling bargaining efforts, heated hearings and multiple delays as the island struggles to recover from deadly hurricanes, earthquakes and a pandemic that deepened its economic crisis. “There has never been a public restructuring like this anywhere in America or in the world,” said David Skeel, chairman of a federal control board appointed to oversee Puerto Rico’s finances that has worked with the judge on the plan. He noted that no bankruptcy mechanisms exist for countries or U.S. states like the one Puerto Rico was granted. “This was an astonishingly complex and large and important bankruptcy,” Skeel said, noting that the island had three times as much debt as Detroit. Puerto Rico’s government declared in 2015 that...
    The White House admitted Tuesday that the United States government failed to flag a man who held four people hostage at a Texas synagogue on Saturday. Malik Faisal Akram, 44, who was shot and killed by police during his hostage attempt at the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, was reportedly known by United Kingdom intelligence, according to reports. The United States government data bases, however, did not. “Our understanding and obviously we are still looking into this is he was checked against U.S. government data bases multiple times prior to entering the country,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Tuesday. Akram flew into the United States through New York on January 22 with a tourist visa, according to reports. “The U.S. government did not have any derogatory information about the individual in our systems at the time of entry,” Psaki said. Akram’s brother expressed disbelief that he was allowed into the country. “How had he gotten into America?”Akram said to the New York Times. “Why was he granted a visa? How did he land at J.F.K....
    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota man who authorities say is a self-proclaimed member of the anti-government “boogaloo” movement and had discussed a willingness to kill police was sentenced Tuesday to two years in prison. Michael Dahlager, 27, of St. Cloud, pleaded guilty last summer to illegally possessing a machine gun. He admitted during his plea hearing he possessed two devices that convert a semi-automatic firearm into an unlawful fully automatic firearm. Dahlager was a self-proclaimed follower of the “boogaloo,” a concept embraced by a loose network of gun enthusiasts and militia-style extremists. The FBI began investigating Dahlager in November 2020, after an informant said he had the devices, known as “auto sears.” According to an FBI affidavit, Dahlager told a confidential informant he was preparing to “defend” a rally at the state Capitol on Jan. 17. Dahlager allegedly traveled from St. Cloud to St. Paul in December 2020 to conduct surveillance at the Capitol building during a “Stop the Steal” rally by Donald Trump supporters. He scouted police numbers and noted which streets would be blocked by law enforcement, among...
    Former Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard sharply criticized the Biden administration's deployment of a domestic terrorism unit to target those with “anti-authority” or “anti-government” beliefs, telling people that "we must all stand up against this." The Justice Department is creating a task force to combat domestic terrorism, according to a top official, the New York Times reported last week. Gabbard tweeted her rebuke of the new policy, along with a clip of her Fox News appearance Sunday in which she discussed the policy. WATCH: DESANTIS BLASTS 'LOCKDOWN POLITICIANS' FOR VACATIONING IN FLORIDA “Biden’s new policy of directing a domestic terrorism unit to target those who have an ‘anti-authority’ or ‘anti-government' attitude exposes their anti-liberty/anti-democracy mindset. We must all stand up against this, regardless of our political party,” Gabbard tweeted. Biden’s new policy of directing a domestic terrorism unit to target those who have an “anti-authority” or “anti-government” attitude exposes their anti-liberty/anti-democracy mindset. We must all stand up against this, regardless of our political party. https://t.co/Ij0Cx4q22V pic.twitter.com/752sDNAY54— Tulsi Gabbard ???? (@TulsiGabbard) January 18, 2022 Gabbard...
    ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A health official who has helped lead central Florida’s response to the pandemic has been put on administrative leave as state officials investigate whether he tried to compel employees to get vaccinated for COVID-19 in violation of state law. The state health agency is conducting an inquiry into Raul Pino, director of the Florida Department of Health in Orange County, “to determine if any laws were broken in this case,” Florida Department of Health press secretary Jeremy Redfern said in an email. A measure Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law last fall prohibits government agencies from implementing vaccine mandates and restricts private businesses from having vaccine requirements unless they allow workers to opt out for medical reasons, religious beliefs, immunity based on a previous infection, regular testing or an agreement to wear protective gear. “The Department is committed to upholding all laws, including the ban on vaccine mandates for government employees and will take appropriate action once additional information is known,” Redfern said in the email. He didn’t offer further details. Orlando’s WFTV reports that Pino...