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Newsom on Covid: ‘There are good things to report’


After what appeared to be a near-lightless holiday season and the start of the New Year, California officials in recent days have pointed to signs that the overwhelming coronavirus outbreak in the state is finally easing – or at least not. not get worse.

“There are good things to report,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a video message posted Tuesday evening. “We are starting to see some stabilization in both the ICUs and our positivity rate.”

And he officially announced that a strict home support order affecting the Sacramento area would be lifted, with immediate effect, due to the expected improvement in the capacity of the area’s intensive care unit. This means that some businesses, including hair salons and restaurants with outdoor dining, may be able to reopen.

[Track coronavirus cases and hospitalizations across California.]

It was the first of the four major regions of the state that had been placed under the exit order.

Dr Mark Ghaly, Secretary of State for Health and Human Services, told a virtual press conference on Tuesday that “the biggest signal to me that things are starting to stabilize and potentially improve” is the flattening rate of hospital admissions.

New Covid-19-related hospitalizations increased from around 3,500 per day around Jan.5 to 2,500 and 2,600 in the previous two days, he said.

Still, hospitals in the vast Southern California and Central Valley region, both of which are still on stay-at-home orders, are full.

And according to a New York Times database on Tuesday, officials reported that more than 720 people have died from the virus in California – a daily record.

The state has also fought relentlessly to deploy vaccines, despite what leaders have described for months as a detailed and “fairness-driven” planning process, based on a carefully structured hierarchy of workers and managers. age groups. As of Tuesday, only a quarter of the state’s available doses had been administered.

On Wednesday, however, Mr Newsom announced that the state was opening vaccine eligibility to anyone aged 65 and over, as well as building a new system to alert residents when they were eligible to be vaccinated. . It should start next week.

“There is no higher priority than effectively and equitably distributing these vaccines as quickly as possible to those facing the most serious consequences,” he said in a statement. “For those who are not yet eligible for vaccines, your turn is coming. We are doing everything we can to bring more vaccines to the state. “

Some cities and counties are also expected to open mass vaccination centers, such as at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles – although Los Angeles County is set to continue immunizing only healthcare workers at least until the end of the day. end of the month.

The move comes shortly after the federal government ordered states to begin using reserved doses of vaccine for second injections.

[Read the latest story about the shifting federal vaccine rollout guidance.]

Dr David Lubarsky, executive director of UC Davis Health, said on Tuesday that while Governor, Dr Ghaly and others in the state had done their best to navigate a difficult situation, “perfection is there. ‘enemy of good’. The top priority should be getting gunfire – not spending resources to keep people from crossing the line.

“If you are so determined to make sure that Patient A has to come before Patient B before Citizen C, you can’t get people to the door enough,” he said.

He said the state would be better served by allowing healthcare providers a greater share of doses to be administered to patients rather than counties.

Healthcare providers, he said, already have built-in ways to contact regular patients in large groups based on factors such as their age and risk of death. And large healthcare systems, in particular, can quickly create algorithms to factor in things like zip code, which can indicate whether a patient may live in a particularly vulnerable community.

Dr Lubarsky said that as of Tuesday, about 12,000 of the system’s 13,000 staff received at least their first doses of the vaccine by opening the process, and patient vaccinations were due to begin soon.

“We said, ‘If someone skipped the line, shame on them,’ he said. “If they showed us their ID cards and worked in the hospital, it was a bit of an honor system.”

[Read four opinion pieces by experts about how to fix the vaccine rollout.]

As a result, he said, the rate of transmission of Covid-19 among staff has dropped significantly. In recent weeks, an average of 135 employees “were getting Covid and going home.” This week, he says, that number is in the 1920s.

Ultimately, Dr Lubarsky said opening mass vaccination centers and other efforts to expand eligibility were positive steps.

“I think they are 100% moving in the right direction,” he said.

(This article is part of California today newsletter. Register to have it delivered to your inbox.)

President Trump on Wednesday became the first president in the country’s history to be impeached twice.

In a chamber led by President Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from San Francisco, 232 members of Congress voted to accuse the president of inciting a violent insurgency against the US government.

This list included each Democratic representative, as well as 10 members of the president’s own party.

Among the Republicans who voted for impeachment was Representative David Valadao, who narrowly took over the Central Valley siege he lost in 2018 in November.

Although he said on twitter that he believed Ms Pelosi had turned “what should be a full investigation into a hasty political coup,” he had to vote his conscience.

“Its inciting rhetoric was anti-American, odious and absolutely unforgivable,” Mr. Valadao said. “It’s time to put the country above politics.”

Patches – a calico cat believed to have been killed alongside his owner in January 2018 when rainstorms sent debris sliding down the Montecito hills in the aftermath of Thomas’ fire – was recently found alive and reunited with its owner’s partner, the Associated Press reported.

“While we don’t know exactly what she’s been doing with her life for the past three years, we can see that Patches and Norm are thrilled to be reunited,” the shelter who found the feline said in a Facebook post.

Maybe that would have been enough heartwarming cat news for a day. But then I came across this report from the Sonoma Index-Tribune, about a woman from Glen Ellen who also recently tracked down her cat, Mordecai Jones, who was also lost for about three years, after missing during the 2017 forest fires.

I’m not sure if this confluence of pet-related good fortune is meaningful, but I think this week we’ll take what we can get.

California Today goes live at 6:30 a.m. PT on weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: Have you been forwarded this email? Sign up for California Today here and read each edition online here.

Jill Cowan grew up in Orange County, graduated from UC Berkeley and has reported statewide, including the Bay Area, Bakersfield and Los Angeles – but she always wants to see more. Follow us here or on Twitter.

California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from UC Berkeley.

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An FBI report would have warned of plans for violence on Capitol Hill.

FBI officials in Virginia wrote a stern warning the day before a mob attacked the US Capitol last week, sounding the alarm over the threat of violence, according to a law enforcement official.

The report was produced on Jan.5 by the FBI office in Norfolk, southern Virginia and sent to the office’s field office in Washington, where it was passed on to other law enforcement agencies, said the manager. It is not known which agencies received it.

The report mentions people sharing a map of the tunnels at the Capitol complex and possible meeting points in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and South Carolina before traveling to Washington, according to the Washington Post, which made a first report on FBI document.

“Be violent. Stop calling it a march, rally or protest, ”the document said, according to The Post. “Go there ready for war. We get our president or we die. NOTHING else will achieve this goal. “

Officials warned that the information in the Norfolk report was unsubstantiated and that the part that cited “war” appeared to come from a single thread online.

Nonetheless, the report is likely to put the FBI on the defensive, with members of Congress and the public demanding answers as to why the office and other federal agencies were not more prepared for protests and attacks by the crowd, where at least five people died during the violence. and in its immediate consequences.

Supporters of President Trump had descended on Washington to protest Congressional ceremonial certification of the Electoral College after weeks of his baseless allegations of electoral irregularities.

Last week, Steven D’Antuono, head of the FBI’s Washington field office, told reporters there was no indication the day’s events were going to get out of hand. He said the FBI had seen nothing in advance beyond the activities protected by the First Amendment, which can include protests and even hate speech.

He said the FBI worked closely with its partners before Trump supporters, who came to Capitol Hill to protest the election results, turned violent.

Since the mob attacked the Capitol, the FBI appears to have taken a more aggressive approach to leaking information to other law enforcement agencies. On Sunday, the FBI warned local law enforcement partners that armed protests were planned at all 50 state houses and the U.S. Capitol. The warning also included information about an unidentified group calling on others to join them in state, local and federal “assault” courts if Mr. Trump was removed as president before the inauguration day.

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Video: ‘Jobs report is a pandemic report,’ Biden says

“In many ways, the jobs report is a report on a pandemic. With the pandemic raging, people are losing their jobs and losing hope. And they’re left to stare at the ceiling, so much, unable to sleep, worried about having their health insurance, wondering if they’ll be okay. In the end, the jobs report shows that we need to provide more immediate help to working families and businesses now. The bipartisan Covid relief plan adopted in December was a very important step but just a down payment. Next week, I will be here with all of you to set the stage for the next Covid economic relief plan which meets the critical moment. Vaccines give us hope. But the deployment was a travesty. It would be the greatest operational challenge, the greatest operational challenge that we will ever face as a nation. We’re going to need billions of dollars to get vaccines from a vial into someone’s arm, vaccinating millions of Americans. We’re also going to need tens of millions to help reopen our schools and reopen them safely. State, local and tribal communities need tens of billions of dollars to keep educators, police, firefighters and other first responders and public health workers at work. We need more direct help for families, for small businesses, including ending the job of giving people that $ 2,000 help, direct payment. $ 600 is just not enough when you have to choose between paying the rent, putting food on the table, keeping the lights on.


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Trump administration politicized some news about foreign electoral influence, report says

WASHINGTON – The Trump administration politicized intelligence on foreign electoral interference in 2020, which resulted in significant errors in its reports last year to Congress and the public, a report by the United Nations Ombudsman concluded. intelligence community.

Barry A. Zulauf, the analytical ombudsman for the office of the director of national intelligence, found that there was a “loss of objectivity” and politicization of intelligence in reports of election threats last year.

“Analysis of foreign electoral interference has been delayed, distorted or obstructed for the sake of reaction from policymakers or for political reasons,” said the report, which was submitted to Congress on Thursday.

The formal validation aligns with widespread perceptions about the Trump administration’s management of intelligence and underscores the challenge facing the Biden administration as it prepares to take control of the country’s spy agencies. The report will go to the Senate Intelligence Committee. Yet, since it was completed under an intelligence director viewed with skepticism by Democrats, it is unlikely to be seen as the last word on what happened.

The Senate committee plans to review the report and will work with the new administration “to stop any politicization of intelligence and rectify the failures of the Trump administration,” said Rachel Cohen, spokesperson for Senator Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia, who to lead the panel after the inauguration.

Some of the most damaging elements of the report relate to a briefing to Congress in March, shortly after Richard Grenell, then Ambassador to Germany, took over as acting head of national intelligence.

The March Talking Points, an unclassified version of which was released, said the Kremlin was not helping “the re-election of any candidate” – a position at odds with what intelligence agents had previously said in Congress: that Russia favored President Trump.

Mr Zulauf said he had not been able to determine who drafted the talking points for the presentation, but found that they had been “shaped by” Mr Grenell and other officials in his office.

“Analysts point out that there were substantial differences between the talking points and what the IC really thought,” the report said, referring to the intelligence community.

The reluctance of intelligence professionals to deliver the talking points “should have been a wake-up call,” Zulauf wrote, “but did not prevent the statement from being released.”

The report also stated that Mr Grenell had kept a note in May from the National Intelligence Council on threats to electoral security. His office revised a draft that focused on intelligence gaps on what was known about these threats. According to Mr. Zulauf’s report, the revised version “buried the lead”.

Mr. Zulauf said he did not interview Mr. Grenell because he was no longer within his jurisdiction as an ombudsman. Asked for a response, Mr Grenell criticized the ombudsman for not speaking to him.

“I never changed intelligence once,” he said. “Any criticism of the information sharing or the work during my tenure is a criticism of the amazing career leaders in charge of the process.”

The Intelligence Ombudsman, created as part of a post-seven. 11, is responsible for identifying failures in trades and practices. Unlike an inspector general, ombudsmen do not seek waste, fraud or abuse.

Zulauf also discussed how intelligence agencies analyzed Russia and China’s intentions and activities in the 2020 elections for an August assessment of foreign electoral interference. (The August assessment also raised a warning about Iran, but its letter did not mention this category of intelligence.)

Analysts said the final published version of the August assessment – after interventions by John Ratcliffe, the current director of national intelligence, to add the warning on China – was a “scandalous distortion of their analysis.” , he reported.

They believed that during a long review process, senior leaders had “watered down” their findings on Russia to make it appear “not too controversial” while diverting attention to China by reinforcing the perception of Russia. his threat.

Still, some intelligence officials noted on Friday that the August statement – issued on behalf of William R. Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center – accurately treated the two countries differently. He said Russia was taking action to undermine the candidacy of Joseph R. Biden Jr .; While he also said that China hopes Mr Biden wins, he did not claim that China has taken steps to intervene as well.

In his own letter to Mr. Zulauf, Mr. Evanina asserted that he was “accurately conveying what I believed to be” the thinking of the intelligence community, adding: “I never politicized intelligence during my time. career and any suggestion I make is a personal affront to me. “

In another letter, Ratcliffe defended his interventions and argued that intelligence services’ assessment of China’s electoral influence efforts was “below target.”

Even as Zulauf reported that Russian analysts were upset that the political leaders of the agencies appeared to delay and suppress their findings, he also suggested that there was a politicization of intelligence not only from above but also “from below”.

Chinese analysts, he wrote, “appeared reluctant to rate Chinese stocks as undue influence or interference.”

“These analysts seemed reluctant to have their analysis on China presented because they tended to disagree with the administration’s policies, in effect saying, ‘I don’t want our intelligence to be used to support these policies, ”he continued.

But Mr Zulauf did not cite any evidence to support the striking idea that analysts underestimated the analysis of the Chinese threat for political reasons, and he later wrote that the differences between the two “n were not intentional, but the result of different rhythms and interpretations of collection and analysis. by analysts who do not pollinate regional problems. “

Some of the ombudsman’s findings, which focused on allegations that China’s intelligence was not properly investigated, were previously reported by the Washington Examiner.

The ombudsman’s investigation appeared to be narrowly focused on news handling and analysis of Russian and Chinese actions related to the 2020 election, and the letter did not address other cases in which the Trump administration has fired. accusations of politicizing intelligence.

It does not address, for example, a note produced by Mr Ratcliffe’s office over the summer, days after the New York Times reported that the CIA assessed that Russia was secretly offering payments of reward to a network of Afghan criminal militants to incite more frequent attacks. on American troops but that the White House had not followed up on this analysis.

The new memo – a so-called sense of the community memorandum produced by the National Intelligence Council, which reports to Mr Ratcliffe – contained no new information. Instead, he reanalyzed the same data the CIA had previously reviewed and instead focused on the uncertainties and gaps in the available evidence, according to officials with knowledge of it, bolstering the administration’s attempts to justify its inaction on the assessment that is several months old.

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How Trump tried, but in large part, to derail the main US climate report

The National Climate Assessment, the United States’ primary contribution to climate knowledge, stands out for many reasons: Hundreds of scientists from the federal government and academia are joining forces to compile the best available information on change climate. The results, published only about twice a decade, shape years of government decisions.

Today, as time is running out for President Trump’s tenure, the climate assessment has gained a new accolade: it is one of the few major US climate initiatives that his administration has attempted, but in large part, to undermine.

How the Trump White House attempted to score the report, and why those efforts failed, demonstrates the resilience of federal climate science despite the administration’s haphazard efforts to hinder it. This article is based on interviews with nearly a dozen current and former government officials and others familiar with the process.

In November, the administration removed the person responsible for the report’s next edition and replaced him with someone who downplayed climate science, although at this point it seems to be too little, too late. But the efforts began in 2018, when officials kicked out a senior official and relied on scientists to soften their findings – the scientists refused – then later attempted to bury the report, which did not neither worked.

“Thank goodness they didn’t know how to run a government,” said Thomas Armstrong, who under the Obama administration led the US Global Change Research Program, which produces the assessment. “It could have been a lot worse.”

What makes the failure to hamper the climate assessment remarkable is that Mr. Trump has made undermining efforts to tackle climate change a top priority. And on most fronts he has succeeded, overturning dozens of environmental rules, easing restrictions on air pollution and opening up new land for oil and gas drilling.

The national assessment is uniquely important, bringing together the work of scientists from across the federal government. The law requires a new one every four years.

For Mr. Trump, who called climate change a hoax, the assessment posed a particular challenge. Trying to politicize or dismiss climate science is one thing when the warnings come from Democrats or academics. But this report comes from his administration’s own agencies.

The first evidence of this tension came in the summer of 2018, as federal scientists were completing the fourth national climate assessment. The report warned that climate change would endanger public safety and economic growth. And he said that the reduction in emissions “can significantly reduce climate-related risks,” at odds with the Trump administration’s efforts to reverse those cuts.

Stuart Levenbach, a politician who was then chief of staff to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which oversees the assessment, urged the scientists preparing the document to tone down the conclusions of their report summary, according to the people involved in the discussions.

Dr Levenbach, who is now a senior adviser to the White House National Economic Council, said in a statement he just wanted the summary to be clearer on the assumptions it was based on for future broadcasts.

Career staff refused to make these changes. This refusal came at a cost: Virginia Burkett, a climatologist at the US Geological Survey who was president of the Global Change Research Program, was forced to step down. However, the language of the report remained intact.

The White House referred questions about Dr. Burkett to the Geological Survey. A spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

The administration then released the document the day after Thanksgiving, in an apparent attempt to downplay the attention. (A White House spokeswoman, who declined to be identified by name, said via email: “The day after Thanksgiving is a federal working day, and it is not unusual for federal business be conducted on the days preceding federal holidays. ”)

This approach backfired: many news agencies interpreted the opportune moment as proof of the report’s importance, giving it prominent coverage.

Having failed to modify or bury the report, Mr. Trump and his senior officials then attempted to dismiss it.

President Trump, when asked about the assessment’s findings that global warming could devastate the economy, replied, “I don’t believe so. Her press secretary at the time, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said the assessment was “not based on facts.” Ryan Zinke, who was Home Secretary at the time, said his findings focused on “worst case scenarios”.

After the climate assessment was released, the White House Office for Science and Technology Policy, which oversees the global change research program, decided it was best to stop talking about it at all, according to the reports. involved persons.

The office has ceased any activity that might draw attention to the evaluation. Additional reports, meant as periodic updates, have ceased to be published. Plans for the authors to meet local officials in places threatened by climate change and talk about their findings have been shelved.

The White House spokeswoman called descriptions of the White House’s actions “bogus.” She refused a request to make the senior officials involved in the assessment available for an interview.

Urging staff not to talk about his work has managed to keep him off the radar of Mr. Trump and his senior officials, at least for a while. This helped energy lobbyists focus on the actions of other parts of government, whose regulations directly affected their businesses.

But the decision to avoid attention came at a cost, officials say, reducing public awareness of the report’s findings and slowing work on the next one.

Another White House move would also help keep the climate assessment out of the news: Scientific bureau chief Kelvin Droegemeier has delayed the release of the next episode, to 2023 from 2022, people close to them say of his decision.

The Global Change Research Program website now says the “scheduled delivery” for the next report is 2023. The White House spokeswoman said the final timeline has not been set.

But that delay had a silver lining, said Jesse Keenan, a professor at Tulane University who edited two chapters for the previous assessment. Every report builds on the scientific research it draws on – and under the Trump administration, new climate research has slowed down, Dr Keenan said.

Delaying the release of the next assessment “will give us an opportunity to catch our breath and get results next year” from federal scientists, he said.

This year, the White House has once again turned its attention to the climate assessment.

An important step in the creation of each new version is the appeal to authors, who shape the tone of the report. The notice, which usually also provides an overview of what will be covered, has been delayed by several months by the Trump administration, according to several people familiar with the decision. And when it was finally released in October, the wording had been changed: Policy appointees had removed information on specific topics to be covered.

Federal scientists were concerned the change would indicate a plan to truncate the scope of the assessment – allowing the administration to follow the letter of the law, while avoiding topics that could go against what the White House wanted to hear.

The White House spokeswoman said that “organizing the information into specific chapters remains a work in progress.”

These concerns intensified in November, when the White House dismissed the head of the research program on global change, Michael Kuperberg, a climatologist at the Department of Energy. Dr Kuperberg has been replaced by David Legates, a man named Trump at NOAA who previously worked closely with groups that deny climate change.

The Department of Energy did not respond to a request for comment.

A second NOAA politician Ryan Maue, who criticized climate scientists for what he called unnecessarily dire predictions, has been transferred to a role in the White House that gave him authority over the climate agenda.

The nominations sparked anxiety among scientists, who feared it represented an effort by the administration to learn from its failure to change the previous assessment, by installing loyalists who could shape the next edition.

The White House refused to make Dr. Legates or Dr. Maue available for an interview.

But several people familiar with the process say it may not be too late for some sort of Hail Mary to pass through the Trump administration – for example, rushing to select authors who might downplay science of climate change or trying to present this science as uncertain. This would force the Biden administration to bypass or suppress those perpetrators, which could spark a political struggle.

But the most likely outcome, current and former officials say, is that recent hires are another example of how the Trump administration’s agenda has been hampered by its own shortcomings – the failure to understand how the programs that she wanted to reduce actually work, or also evolve. late to make a difference.

The administration should have acted sooner to put its footprint on climate assessment, said Judith Curry, former president of the Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, who said she been in contact with Dr Maue and other officials. .

“It just didn’t surface on the priority list,” Dr Curry said. “Why they started doing this at the 11th hour, honestly, I don’t know.”

John Holdren, who as President Obama’s science adviser helped oversee the climate assessment process, said he believed the Biden administration would be able to get it back on track and rule out anyone who tried. to undermine it.

“The lingering climate waffles of the Trump era, in all relevant agencies, will be removed,” Dr. Holdren said. “Or if that’s not possible, we tell them to fight.

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Nashville suspect’s girlfriend told police he was making bombs, report says

NASHVILLE – A girlfriend of the man who officials said detonated a bomb in downtown Nashville on Christmas called police to his home last year, claiming he made bombs at the campsite -car parked there, according to a police incident report.

An attorney for the girlfriend, according to the document filed with the Metro Nashville Police Department, told officers that her boyfriend, Anthony Warner, “talks frequently about the military and bombing.” The call to police was reported on Tuesday by The Tennessean and WTVF-TV, a Nashville station.

The girlfriend met with police at her home on August 21, 2019, according to the report and a subsequent police statement. Officers then proceeded to Mr. Warner’s home, a two-bedroom duplex in the Antioch neighborhood of Nashville.

Officers knocked on the door but “received no response,” according to the report obtained by the New York Times. The campervan, which has been identified by state and federal authorities as the one that exploded in downtown Nashville, injuring three people and disrupting telecommunications in the area, was parked behind a fence. Officers wrote that they observed “several security cameras and wires attached to an alarm panel on the front door.”

The report, dated August 21, said officers who answered the call notified their superiors in the police department. Efforts to reach the lawyer who represented the girlfriend on Tuesday evening failed.

Police Department spokesman Don Aaron said in a statement that police “saw no evidence of a crime and had no authority to enter his home or any fenced property.”

Mr Aaron said the police forwarded Mr Warner’s incident report and information to the FBI. The police statement said the FBI “found no records on Warner.” The girlfriend’s lawyer also represented Mr. Warner, according to police, and the lawyer later told police that he “would not allow his client to allow a visual inspection of the motorhome.”

At a press conference ahead of Tuesday’s revelations, law enforcement officials said Mr Warner had not had their attention prior to the attack. His file included only one arrest: a charge of possession of marijuana in 1978, when he was 21 years old.

“He was not on our radar,” said David B. Rausch, director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. “It was not a person identified as a person of interest for the office. We were therefore not familiar with this individual until this incident.

Mr Warner, 63, was an information technology specialist who had worked for several companies in the area, and one of his former clients said Mr Warner sent an email this month saying that ‘he was retiring. He signed his home and gave his car to someone he said had cancer, according to law enforcement.

Authorities said that at around 1:22 a.m. on Christmas Day, Mr. Warner drove his RV, filled with explosives, down Second Avenue North in downtown Nashville.

Police responding to a call for shots around dawn found the recreational vehicle as a speaker issued a message warning that explosives were inside and people had to evacuate.

The explosion devastated several blocks of downtown, causing one building to collapse, damaging dozens more and causing fires and flooding at an AT&T transmission facility that ultimately led to blackouts Widespread communication services – for 911 centers, hospitals, businesses and residents – across the region.

No one other than Mr. Warner was killed in the shelling, officials said. He quickly emerged as a person of interest after investigators found the vehicle identification number for the RV, and federal agents searched the house Nashville officers had once visited on Saturday.

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Earth still navigates climate chaos, report says, but its course could change

The efficiency with which the United States and China can move their economies off fossil fuels is key to stemming global warming, shaping global cleantech markets, and inducing other major emitters – like India, the Indonesia, Russia and Brazil – to do their part.

Inger Andersen, head of the United Nations Environment Program, who released the annual emissions gap report, urged world leaders to invest their post-Covid stimulus funds, saying “a resumption of the green pandemic can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help slow climate change. “

The report recommends, among other things, reducing, but not eliminating, fossil fuel subsidies, stopping the construction of new coal-fired power plants and restoring degraded forests.

Andrew Steer, president of the World Resources Institute, a research and advocacy group, described the trillions of dollars spent on post-pandemic economic recovery as “the greatest opportunity in history.”

“If we invest this in yesterday’s economy,” he said on a phone call Wednesday, “we are committing a mortal sin for our grandchildren, quite frankly.”

But as the latest United Nations report makes clear, we are not all the same and we do not all need to do the same to protect future generations.

The richest 1 percent of the world’s population produces more than double the greenhouse gas emissions of the combined share of the poorest 50 percent of the world’s population. Rich pollutants, the report concludes, will need to reduce their ecological footprint by a factor of 30 to avoid the worst damage from a warming planet. This can be done, the report adds, by reducing food waste, making buildings more energy efficient and using public transport rather than cars, and trains rather than planes, for short distances.

“The rich bear the greatest responsibility,” the report says.

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Children in the US could miss 9 million doses of vaccine in 2020, report says

Children in the United States are set to miss nine million doses of vaccine against measles, polio and other highly contagious diseases this year, according to medical claims data – a disruption that health officials have called alarming and attributed to the coronavirus pandemic.

The data was released to the public on Wednesday by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, one of the nation’s largest federations of insurance companies, which said routine childhood immunizations for children were down 26% from 2019.

The results came less than two weeks after the World Health Organization and UNICEF warned that progress in immunizing children against polio and measles was threatened by the pandemic. In an emergency call to action, the two organizations said the risk of measles and polio outbreaks was increasing.

And last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the WHO reported that worldwide measles deaths reached their highest level in 23 years in 2019 and were 50% higher than three years earlier. .

Dr Megan Ranney, an emergency physician at Brown University in Rhode Island who specializes in public health research, said failure to maintain vaccine levels in children could compromise what’s known as collective immunity. The term refers to the time when a disease stops spreading because almost everyone in a population has become immune to it.

“We know that once you fall below herd immunity, it allows these deadly childhood illnesses to rise again in our communities,” Dr Ranney said in an interview.

Blue Cross Blue Shield said 40% of parents and legal guardians surveyed said their children had not been vaccinated because of the pandemic. The majority of missed appointments were from March through May, at the start of the pandemic, and in August, when many children typically get vaccinated before school resumes, the association said.

Representatives for Blue Cross, which provides health insurance to around 109 million Americans, said it was essential to raise public awareness of the safeguards that medical professionals have in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“Pediatrician offices care, not only for the patients, but also for the staff who work there,” Maureen Sullivan, chief strategy and innovation officer for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, said in an interview. “At this point, that’s for sure.”

Ms Sullivan said the United States was “dangerously close” to falling below the group immunity threshold for polio. According to data from the Blue Cross, vaccination rates against measles and pertussis, or pertussis, for 2020 are expected to fall below the collective immunity thresholds set by public health authorities.

“This is one of the main reasons we wanted to release this data quickly,” said Ms. Sullivan.

Dr Ranney, who was not associated with the Blue Cross study, noted that there were measles outbreaks last year in California and a New York suburb, where the spread had been attributed to ultra-Orthodox families whose children had not been vaccinated.

“It would be a horrible irony for us to go through this pandemic and lose children to these preventable diseases,” she said.

Dr Ranney also expressed concern that the intense national debate over the safety of vaccines being developed for the coronavirus could discourage some parents from getting their children vaccinated against measles, polio and other infectious diseases. .

As a sign that Americans are less reluctant to take a coronavirus vaccine, a Gallup poll released on Tuesday said 58% of adults polled were ready to get the vaccine, up from 50% in September. Still, Dr Ranney worried about perceptions.

“I am concerned that anti-vaccine misinformation is escalating,” she said.

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Five takeaways from the Vatican McCarrick explosive report

On Tuesday, the Vatican released a massive report investigating how Theodore E. McCarrick, disgraced former cardinal and archbishop of Washington, reached the heights of the Catholic Church, though leaders received reports that he had sexually abused minors and adult seminarians over decades.

Here are five takeaways from the report:

Pope John Paul II personally made the decision to raise Mr McCarrick even after an American cardinal warned that he had been accused of sexual misconduct.

In 1999, when Mr. McCarrick was considering taking over the Archdiocese of New York, Cardinal John O’Connor of New York wrote a six-page letter to the Vatican Ambassador to the United States. concerns that Mr. McCarrick had asked young adult men to sleep in his bed with him and that some priests had suffered psychological trauma due to Mr. McCarrick’s inappropriate behavior.

“I regret having to recommend such a promotion very strongly, especially if it was at a cardinal seat,” Cardinal O’Connor said. “Nevertheless, I submit my comments to a higher authority and more particularly to our Holy Father.”

Vatican officials shared the assessment with Pope John Paul II. But the Pope dismissed the allegations after Mr. McCarrick wrote him a letter directly denying them, and he still elevated Mr. McCarrick to the Archdiocese of Washington, one of the country’s most important posts. “McCarrick’s direct relationship with John Paul II probably also had an impact on the Pope’s decision-making,” the report says.

Pope John Paul II initially called for an investigation into the allegations, but the Vatican now suggests he was deceived by three New Jersey bishops, who provided “inaccurate and incomplete information” to the Holy See, according to the report.

“This inaccurate information appears to have had an impact on the conclusions of advisers to John Paul II and, therefore, John Paul II himself,” the report said, dismissing some of the blame.

The allegations were dismissed as “rumor”, according to the report, and “McCarrick’s refusal was believed.” The bishops were also asked to keep this investigation secret.

The report also describes a disturbing account by a New Jersey priest, Msgr. Dominic Bottino, who said he saw two of the New Jersey bishops watch Mr. McCarrick touch a man’s crotch in 1990, and also failed to inform the Pope of the incident.

Shortly after Benedict XVI became Pope in 2005, he quickly extended Mr. McCarrick’s tenure as Archbishop of Washington.

But he turned the tide by the end of the year, based on “new details” regarding the allegations against Mr McCarrick, and “urgently sought” to replace Mr McCarrick in that role. As of Easter 2006, Mr. McCarrick was absent.

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, an official in the Secretariat of State of the Holy See, wrote two letters in 2006 and 2008 calling on a church to investigate rumors about Mr McCarrick. Instead of formally investigating the allegations, Benedict XVI authorized a Vatican official to “appeal to McCarrick’s conscience” and ask him to “keep a low profile and minimize travel.” But this request was not a formal order, and Mr. McCarrick continued to roam the world freely on behalf of Catholic causes and institutions.

Archbishop Viganò became Vatican ambassador to the United States in 2011 and was asked to conduct an investigation to determine whether the allegations against Mr McCarrick were credible. The report states that “Viganò did not take these measures.”

Pope Francis was aware that there were rumors of wrongdoing, but until 2017, according to the report, no one provided him with documentation on the allegations. Pope Francis believed that everything had already been reviewed by Pope John Paul II. He also knew that under his predecessor, Benedict, Mr. McCarrick had remained active, and therefore he saw no need to change the approach of the church.

In June 2017, the Archdiocese of New York learned of an allegation of sexual abuse by Mr. McCarrick over a minor decades earlier. Shortly thereafter, Pope Francis called for the resignation of Mr. McCarrick from the College of Cardinals.

Pope Francis first promised a “comprehensive study” of the Vatican’s handling of the McCarrick affair in 2018. The long-awaited result is a highly unusual public inquiry into the abuses and cover-ups spanning decades and reaching the highest levels of the Vatican ranks. .

The report will have broad implications for a world church that has been rocked for decades by its mismanagement of sexual abuse by the clergy.

John Paul II is not just a pope – he is also a saint. During his accelerated canonization mass in 2014, Pope Francis greeted him as “the Pope of the family”.

The church now has to reckon with having one of its most beloved pontiffs involved is one of its most notorious scandals.

Sharon otterman contribution to reports.

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Vatican report concludes McCarrick’s rise has been aided by misleading accounts

VATICAN CITY – The Vatican released a long-awaited report on Tuesday investigating how disgraced former prelate Theodore E. McCarrick crossed the Roman Catholic hierarchy to become one of America’s most powerful cardinals, despite allegations long standing sexual misconduct which ultimately led to his downfall.

The report, which, given Mr McCarrick’s long career in the church, had the potential to engulf three separate papacies in the scandal, did not directly place the blame on Francis or his predecessors for knowingly encouraging him. or protected. But a 14-page summary of the report, which included a Who’s Who of powerful Vatican players and American Church officials, seemed to put it at Pope John Paul II’s apostolic door.

“Pope John Paul II personally made the decision to appoint McCarrick,” the report said, despite receiving a letter from Cardinal John O’Connor, Archbishop of New York, which summarized the allegations, some anonymous, that Mr. McCarrick had signed up. sexual conduct with another priest in 1987, that he had committed pedophilia with his “nephews” and that he shared a bed with young adult men and seminarians.

Pope John Paul II ordered an investigation to determine if the allegations were true. The bishops found that Mr McCarrick had shared a bed with young men but were not sure there had been sexual misconduct, according to the report. The report now considers the information provided by these bishops to be misleading.

“What is now known, thanks to the investigation undertaken for the preparation of the report, is that three of the four American bishops provided inaccurate and incomplete information to the Holy See regarding McCarrick’s sexual conduct with young people. adults, ”he said.

Mr McCarrick also appealed directly to Pope John Paul II’s guardian, Bishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, insisting on his innocence.

“McCarrick’s refusal was believed,” the report said, and the allegations were dismissed as rumors. Allegations by a priest who at the time accused Mr McCarrick of sexual misconduct were also dismissed as the priest himself abused two teenage boys.

The Vatican has argued that “John Paul II’s past experience in Poland regarding the use of spurious allegations against bishops” to hurt the church “played a role in its willingness to believe” Mr. McCarrick.

New details about the allegations made against Mr. McCarrick surfaced in 2005, and John Paul II’s successor, Pope Benedict XVI, “urgently sought” to replace Mr. McCarrick as Archbishop of Washington. In 2006, he was forced to resign from Washington.

Around this time, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, later appointed Vatican Ambassador to the United States, wrote two letters urging his superiors to initiate legal proceedings in the church to respond to the allegations and rumors.

The matter was brought directly to the attention of Pope Benedict, who spoke out against this path. “Instead, the decision was made to appeal to McCarrick’s conscience” and for him to “keep a lower profile.”

The Vatican says there were no credible accusations of child abuse against Mr McCarrick at the time and that Benedict was not “kept informed of McCarrick’s activities” in the United States or supervised by the following. When Archbishop Viganò became ambassador, the Vatican said it did not conduct an investigation as requested.

Pope Francis, according to the report, received notification of Benedict’s earlier indications from senior church officials, but received no documentation regarding the allegations against Mr. McCarrick until 2017. Believing that ‘they had already been carefully considered, the Vatican said Francis sees no need to change the approach taken in previous years. “

Jason Horowitz reported from Vatican City and Sharon Otterman from New York. Elisabetta Povoledo contributed reporting from Rome.