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Biden will skip his scheduled Amtrak ride at inauguration due to safety concerns.

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has canceled plans to drive Amtrak to Washington for his inauguration next week, reflecting intense security concerns around the event in the wake of last week’s riot at the Capitol.

As a senator, Mr. Biden commuted the Amtrak train from his home state of Delaware for decades and became a public advocate for government-subsidized rail service. He kicked off his 1988 presidential campaign from the back of an Amtrak train and returned home on his last day as vice president in 2017.

He had hoped to recreate everyone’s journey once more for his swearing-in. But after a briefing to FBI and Secret Service officials on the inauguration’s security concerns, Mr Biden’s team agreed the 90-minute train ride should be canceled, according to a person familiar with the decision. .

“The country has continued to learn more about the threat to our democracy and the potential for further violence in the coming days, both in the national capital region and in cities across the country,” said the transition team in a statement after the briefing. Wednesday. “It’s a challenge that the president-elect and his team take incredibly seriously.”

Federal and local officials have warned of the prospect of extremist activity in Washington and the country in the coming days. Mr Biden had previously planned a muted inauguration given the public health risk of mass gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic. Many traditional gatherings and festivities will take place digitally during the day, and a prime-time special will air on TV online Wednesday evening.

Mr. Biden is still considering taking the oath in front of Capitol Hill. Earlier this week, he said he was “not afraid” to do so.

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Facing deportation, they fled to the safety of a church. Now they are free.

Hand in hand, Oneita and Clive Thompson danced outside the Tabernacle United Church in Philadelphia, fists raised in victory. The Jamaican couple had spent nearly two and a half years living in churches to avoid deportation.

Finally, they could walk freely.

“We won,” Ms. Thompson, 48, told supporters who had gathered outside the church this week with hand-made bells and signs. It had been a grueling fight with many setbacks, but she said she never gave up hope that this day would come.

In 2018, after 14 years living and working legally in the United States and raising their seven children, Ms Thompson said she received startling news from Immigration and Customs Enforcement that she and her husband had four days to do their suitcases and leave the country.

The couple immigrated to the United States in 2004, fleeing gang violence and seeking asylum. Their request was refused, but they were granted permission, in one-year increments, to stay. They bought a house in Cedarville, NJ, where Ms Thompson worked as a nursing assistant caring for the elderly, and Mr Thompson as a heavy machine operator.

But as the Trump administration cracked down on immigration, the life they had worked for was suddenly turned upside down.

Returning to Jamaica would mean having to separate from their children, as it was too dangerous to take them there, Ms Thompson said.

“It wasn’t even an option,” she says.

She reached out to Peter Pedemonti, co-director of the New Sanctuary Movement in Philadelphia, who presented her with what she felt was the only viable option: seeking refuge in a church. For decades, families have lived in churches to avoid deportation and to buy time to persuade immigration officials to allow them to stay. The ICE has designated places of worship as “sensitive places” and generally stays away from them.

Across the country, about 40 people now live in shrines in churches, a practice that predates President Trump, Pedemonti said. But the length of their sanctuary has grown increasingly longer, as the administration radically changed immigration laws, making it more difficult to obtain asylum.

At another church in Philadelphia, a woman from Mexico has been at the shrine with her four children for three years, he said.

“During the Trump administration, we have had families who spent half or three quarters of their tenure taking refuge in congregations, fighting to keep their families together,” Mr. Pedemonti said. “As a country, we have to sit with this for a minute.”

In August 2018, the Thompsons packed their things and moved into Germantown’s First United Methodist Church with two of their children, saying goodbye to the outside world. Four of their children no longer lived at home and one was left alone. The family lived in the church for two years before moving to Tabernacle United Church in September.

“Going behind the walls of a church, you can’t see through the stained glass,” Ms. Thompson said. “It’s like a prison away from the prison. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.

The two children who joined them were both minors at the time and, being U.S. citizens, they were free to come and go. But their parents could only go to the door of the church, where they bid farewell each morning as their children left for school.

The couple spent their days praying, fasting and trying to stay healthy despite isolation by drinking green smoothies and exercising. They emailed Senator Cory Booker from New Jersey, Senator Bob Casey from Pennsylvania, and Representative Dwight Evans from Pennsylvania, who all visited them in the church and supported their cause.

At the same time, members of the New Sanctuary Movement were organizing demonstrations and vigils in front of the ICE offices.

Every month Ms Thompson cooked a Jamaican dinner, bringing together hundreds to raise money for the family as the couple could no longer work but still had children to support themselves and a mortgage to pay.

Those dinners ended as the coronavirus pandemic swept across the country, deepening their sense of isolation.

“When Covid struck, isolation isn’t even the word,” Ms Thompson said. “You feel like you have no one at all. You’re just standing within the walls of the church.

After more than two years in lockdown, the couple learned in November that help would arrive via their eldest daughter. Because she is a US citizen, she was allowed to submit a “petition for a foreign relative,” giving the Thompsons a way to stay in the country legally. But before it could submit an application, the ICE had to support the reopening of its case and the abandonment of the deportation order.

Ms Thompson got the news on December 10. She immediately printed the email to make it feel real.

“I had to look at him physically, touch him,” she says. “I literally felt numb.

When the Thompsons finally came out free, Mr. Thompson couldn’t stop dancing. Mrs. Thompson asked what was going on in her mind, and her thoughts echoed hers perfectly.

“My mind is free,” he replied.

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How to reinvent policing and public safety that work for everyone

DealBook DC Policy ProjectHow to Reimagine Police and Public Safety That Work for All A group of police chiefs, activists and policy makers met to discuss how to reform law enforcement in America at a times of turmoil and upheaval.By Ephrat Livni

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Three steps to living in complete safety

Would you like to receive The Morning by email? Here is the inscription.

The most effective public health messages don’t just tell people what not to do. They also tell people what they can do with only a small amount of risk.

This sometimes seems counterintuitive, as it gives people permission to take certain risks, rather than requiring maximum security all the time. In the long run, however, a more realistic approach is actually the safest, many experts say.

Human beings are social creatures. Most will not stay home for months. And pretending otherwise tends to backfire. This leads people to ignore public health advice and take needlessly high risks. “We need different, more nuanced, and more practical messages on coronavirus safety,” wrote Sarit Golub, professor of psychology at Hunter College.

(Federal officials took a step in that direction this week by shortening the recommended quarantine period after exposure to the virus.)

Today I want to give you a three step guide on minimizing risk. It is based on a Times survey of 700 epidemiologists as well as my conversations with experts and colleagues, such as Donald G. McNeil Jr.

1. There is one behavior that you should try to eliminate, without exception: Spend time in a confined space (outside your home) where anyone is unmasked.

Don’t eat indoors at a restaurant or at a friend’s house. Don’t have close, unmasked conversations anywhere, even outdoors. If you have to fly, try not to eat or drink on the plane. If you are going to work, don’t eat lunch in the same room as your colleagues. Group lunches have led to outbreaks in hospitals and elsewhere.

2. It’s best to minimize this next set of behaviors if you can’t avoid it: Spend extended time in interior spaces, even with universal masking.

Masks are not perfect. If you can work out at home rather than at a gym – or do your job or attend church services remotely – you are lowering your risk.

3. Now for the best news: Many activities are less risky than some people think.

You don’t need to wear a mask when walking or jogging. Donald, who is notoriously cautious, rides his bike without a mask. “I consider it more important to keep six feet away outside than to wear a mask,” he told me. “If I have a birthday candle in my hand and you’re too far away to blow it out, I can’t inhale what you breathe out.

You may also feel good doing a lot of shopping. About 90 percent of the epidemiologists in our survey recently visited a grocery store, pharmacy, or other store. Just wear a mask, stay away from others, and wash your hands afterward.

The big picture: I find it useful to think about the concept of personal risk budget. I do not spend any part of my risk budget on supermarket purchases because grocery delivery works well for my family. But from time to time I take distant walks without a mask with a friend or two. They help me stay sane as we head into a long and very harsh winter.

For more: The survey of epidemiologists – carried out by Margot Sanger-Katz, Claire Cain Miller and Quoctrung Bui of The Times – has much more, including how they are considering a vaccine.

  • Two hurricanes struck Central America in rapid succession last month, and the destruction is only becoming clear: infrastructure, farmland and tens of thousands of homes are gone.

  • A rapid wildfire in southern California has spread to more than 6,000 acres so far this week and has forced the evacuation of 25,000 residents.

  • Artificial intelligence researcher Timnit Gebru and one of the few black women in her field said Google fired her after pushing the company to increase minority hiring and draw attention to racial prejudice integrated into AI systems.

  • Molly Gibson, a Tennessee baby born in October, set the record for the longest frozen embryo to result in a live birth, over 27 years.

Modern love: Difficult moments may not bring love, but for a young woman, they bring clarity.

From the review: David Brooks, Michelle Goldberg and Nicholas Kristof have columns.

Lives lived: When Betsy Wade started at The Times in 1956, she shattered a century-old tradition of male writing in the news department. She also fought a sex discrimination case against the newspaper and became the first woman to lead the New York Newspaper Guild. She died at the age of 91.


Even when the pandemic ends, the film industry will not quickly – or maybe never – return to the old normal.

Warner Bros., one of the best movie studios, acknowledged this yesterday by announcing that it will launch its entire 2021 film lineup on its streaming service, HBO Max, on the same day they hit US theaters. The list of 17 films includes blockbusters like “Dune”, “The Matrix 4” and a sequel to “Suicide Squad”.

“WarnerMedia calls this a ‘one-year one-year plan,'” Brooks Barnes, reporter for the Times, tweeted. “But there will be no turning back. HBO Max needs the content, and consumers won’t just say “oh, okay” when they can’t get instant access. “

WarnerMedia has its own reasons for emphasizing streaming. He wants to expand HBO Max – which has struggled to attract subscribers since its introduction in May – into a streaming service that can compete with Netflix and Disney Plus. Warner Bros. is also a studio powerful enough that the change “has the capacity to overturn the theatrical model that so many people have relied on for so long,” Nicole Sperling, a Times reporter told us.

Outside of the United States, where HBO Max is not yet available, Warner’s 2021 films will receive traditional theatrical releases. To get a feel for how theaters are doing in some countries where the virus is better controlled: In October, more than 3.4 million people in Japan turned out to see an animated film, “Demon Slayer: Mugen Train ”, during its opening weekend.

Yesterday’s Spelling Bee pangram was strongly. Today’s puzzle is above – or you can play it online if you have a Games membership.

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Their pandemic safety plan starts with a ‘decontamination station’

Quentin and Stacy Blakley opened the ‘decontamination station’ in their home garage as the coronavirus pandemic took hold in Georgia in March and never closed it. Mr Blakley, 45, an Atlanta firefighter based at the city’s international airport, uses it to protect his family from a job that exposes him to strangers on a daily basis. At the end of each 24-hour shift for air emergencies and medical calls, he returns home to South Fulton, Ga., And removes his uniform in the garage. No exceptions. He takes a shower away from Stacy, 45, and their four sons – ages 14, 12 and a set of 9-year-old twins – then throws his clothes into a laundry bag. Finally, Mr. Blakley walks into his house.

Quentin I work at the busiest airport in the world, which means I am in contact with a lot of people. I have to decontaminate myself before I can deal with my wife and sons. We have learned a lot more about how Covid-19 spreads since its launch, but there is still so much we don’t know. If we get a call at the airport, we have to pass hundreds of people, some up close, to reach this patient who needs help. Anyone could wear it. So, I’m just as careful and careful as possible to make sure I don’t bring anything home.

Stacy We all learned the term “frontline worker” during the pandemic. This is what Quentin has been doing for 15 years. And yes, it’s scary when you think of the environment he’s in for a 24 hour shift. As soon as the pandemic started, we set up the garage for him. I call it the decontamination station.

Stacy Quentin has high blood pressure and after finding blood clots in his legs, he was recently diagnosed with diabetes. Data shows that African Americans with pre-existing conditions are more susceptible to this virus. I never really told him about it, but it made my stress levels worse. I think, he’s my husband and the father of my four boys. I don’t like the term fear, but that’s what it was.

Stacy We were both dealing with stress, but we also relate it to our families.

Quentin I grew up watching my dad struggle with diabetes and having to take insulin shots.

Stacy My father had a stroke at 36 and died of a heart attack at 54.

Quentin There was also the fear speech. I had to sit the boys down and explain to them what the pandemic was. I told them that society had changed and we had to change too. I had to try to contain their fears. Like everyone else, they heard on television that 1,000 people had understood or 800 people had died. All they hear are numbers and death, and that shook them at first. And they said, “Daddy, you deal with the public, what does that mean to you?” And I said, “It means I have to do everything in my power to stay safe and protect you.”

Stacy The boys were real soldiers. We had to do something as a family. So we started cycling. I picked up my old 10 speed bike from my mom’s garage and we got it fixed. We walked around the neighborhood and the trails. This is now our new family outing.

Stacy I am a civil engineer. My job was eliminated because of Covid-19. It was in April. And now I have this new life as a teacher for my children who are at home. And honestly, it’s scary when you’re used to a paycheck every two weeks. At the same time, I always wanted my own engineering firm. I created it in 2016 as a safe space for everyone, especially women and people of color, but I really haven’t brought it to life until now. It’s called Douglas Consulting Group, after my father’s name. On the one hand, oh my God, I lost my job. On the other hand, oh my God, look at this opportunity to do this full time.