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Disneyland as a vaccination site? Airports as test centers? The travel industry steps in

Many sectors of the travel industry are looking for a way to help end the pandemic.

More than a dozen U.S. airports are now serving as virus testing sites, including Chicago O’Hare and Chicago Midway, Los Angeles International, Tampa, Newark, and Minneapolis-St. Paul. Inside many terminals, XpresSpa has moved from offering massages and manicures at the airport to rapid coronavirus testing.

Vaccines against covid19>

Answers to your questions about vaccines

While the exact order of vaccinees can vary by state, most will likely prioritize medical workers and residents of long-term care facilities. If you want to understand how this decision is made, this article will help you.

Life will only return to normal when society as a whole is sufficiently protected against the coronavirus. Once countries authorize a vaccine, they will only be able to immunize a few percent of their citizens at most in the first two months. The unvaccinated majority will always remain vulnerable to infection. A growing number of coronavirus vaccines show strong protection against the disease. But it is also possible for people to spread the virus without even knowing they are infected, as they have only mild symptoms, if any. Scientists do not yet know if the vaccines also block the transmission of the coronavirus. So for now, even vaccinated people will have to wear masks, avoid crowds inside, etc. Once enough people are vaccinated, it will become very difficult for the coronavirus to find vulnerable people to infect. Depending on how quickly we as a society reach this goal, life may start to move closer to something normal by fall 2021.

Yes, but not forever. The two vaccines that will be potentially authorized this month clearly protect people against Covid-19. But the clinical trials that delivered these results were not designed to determine whether vaccinated people could still spread the coronavirus without developing symptoms. It remains a possibility. We know that people naturally infected with the coronavirus can spread it without feeling a cough or other symptoms. Researchers will study this question intensely as the vaccines are rolled out. In the meantime, even vaccinated people will have to consider themselves as possible spreaders.

The Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine is given by injection into the arm, like other typical vaccines. The injection will be no different from any you received before. Tens of thousands of people have already received the vaccines and none of them have reported serious health problems. But some of them experienced short-lived discomfort, including aches and pains and flu-like symptoms that usually last for a day. People may need to plan a day off or school after the second shot. While these experiences are not pleasant, they are a good sign: they are the result of your own immune system encountering the vaccine and building a powerful response that will provide long-lasting immunity.

No. Moderna and Pfizer vaccines use a genetic molecule to stimulate the immune system. This molecule, known as mRNA, is ultimately destroyed by the body. The mRNA is packaged in an oily bubble that can fuse with a cell, allowing the molecule to slip inside. The cell uses mRNA to make proteins from the coronavirus, which can stimulate the immune system. At any given time, each of our cells can contain hundreds of thousands of mRNA molecules, which they produce to make their own proteins. Once these proteins are made, our cells then shred the mRNA with special enzymes. The mRNA molecules made by our cells can only survive for a few minutes. The mRNA in vaccines is designed to resist the enzymes in the cell for a bit longer, so that the cells can make additional viral proteins and elicit a stronger immune response. But mRNA can only last a few days at most before being destroyed.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, Calif., Has been closed to visitors since March; in December, they loaned one of their ultra-cold freezers to a hospital in nearby Salinas; the special freezer can maintain temperatures of minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit, which are needed to safely store some coronavirus vaccines.

In the first few weeks of the pandemic, the State Fair of West Virginia signed an agreement with the Greenbrier County Health Department, committing to use their facilities for testing, vaccination and even a state-of-the-art hospital, though necessary. Closed in 2020, their grounds have since been the site of three free drive-thru testing clinics, and now function as a vaccination center for local residents.

Many Orange County residents who get their shots at Disneyland will have gone for coronavirus tests at the Anaheim Convention Center, which, like convention centers across the country, saw traffic stop in March. Jay Burress, president and CEO of Visit Anaheim, estimates the freeze cost the city $ 1.9 billion in lost revenue. He responded by donating unused supplies to local nonprofits. In July, the parking lot of the convention center was transformed into a site for mass testing.

“How to reopen safely? This has always been our goal, ”said Mr. Burress. “Promoting our destination, whether as a leisure destination or as a convention destination when hotels are not even open to leisure travel, is to turn the wheels.

Sharon Decker is president of the Tryon Resort in North Carolina, which features 250 rooms and an equestrian center, as well as a 300,000 square foot indoor arena, on 1,600 acres in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. She was not surprised in October when officials in Polk County, North Carolina, asked if she would be willing to donate the arena as a vaccination site, even though she knew it would present logistical challenges. The site opened in mid-December.

“We have forged a real partnership with public health officials,” she said. “It took a real public-private partnership to achieve this. But when you have common goals for a healthy economy and healthy businesses, you can figure it out. “

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Adriano Espaillat is the last member of Congress to test positive for the virus after the Capitol siege.

Representative Adriano Espaillat, Democrat of New York, announced Thursday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus, as concerns continue to mount on Capitol Hill that efforts to lock lawmakers in safe places during the siege of last week by Trump supporters could have led to a super spreader event.

Mr Espaillat, 66, who received his second dose of the Pfizer vaccine last week, said he had no symptoms and was isolating himself at home. In a report, he said he understood that it took time for the vaccine to be fully effective and that he had continued to take all the necessary precautions. Guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that people who test positive for the virus must self-isolate for at least 10 days after the onset of their symptoms.

The two vaccines licensed for emergency use in the United States, manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna, have been shown to be about 95% effective in preventing symptomatic cases of Covid-19. But neither of the two vaccines is perfect, and researchers are still unsure how much vaccines reduce the virus’s ability to silently infect people. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two injections, separated by three or four weeks, and they are not expected to work fully until about a week or two after a person has received the second vaccine.

Capitol Hill has long struggled to control the spread of the pandemic within its marble walls, a random effort escalated last week as hundreds of unmasked Trump supporters stormed the building and forced lawmakers to take shelter in confined secure places throughout the Capitol complex. Lawmakers, assistants and journalists who took refuge in two separate rooms on either side of the Capitol have been warned of possible exposure to the coronavirus.

Although cases have continued to emerge since the 117th Congress was sworn in almost two weeks ago, House Democrats have blamed a group of their fellow Republicans who refused to wear masks during the attack pending in a safe place that the police regain control of the building.

Representatives Bonnie Watson Coleman, Democrat of New Jersey, Pramila Jayapal, Democrat of Washington, and Brad Schneider, Democrat of Illinois, all tested positive following the attack and cited the Republican refusal to wear masks during the siege. Rep. Ayanna S. Pressley, Democrat from Massachusetts, is in isolation after her husband, who was with her in the room, tested positive and said in a statement the diagnoses were the result of “my callous Republican colleagues” who refused to wear masks. .

In response to these accusations and concerns about the spread of the virus on Capitol Hill, the House earlier this week approved a system of fines for members who refuse to adhere to a mask mandate on the floor.

It is not known whether Mr. Espaillat took refuge in the secure room. But on Wednesday, he was among lawmakers who spoke in the House – while wearing a mask – before voting to impeach President Trump for the second time.

Mr. Espaillat noted that colleagues who had tested positive in recent days “collectively occupy a range of gender, age, race and ethnicity”.

“Covid-19 does not discriminate,” he said. “It is incumbent upon each of us to prioritize social distancing from each other – even if this poses a temporary inconvenience – and to wear a face mask. There is no single panacea and we must adjust our daily habits and practices for our own health and safety as well as for the health and safety of those around us and in our communities.

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Are you traveling to (or returning to) the United States? Prepare to take a coronavirus test

According to a CDC order, airlines must comply with these rules to receive clearance to disembark passengers in the United States.

The CDC says negative results must come out of a test that can detect an ongoing infection, picking up pieces of the pathogen itself. Two types of tests fall into this category: molecular tests (which include PCR tests) and antigen tests. (Antibody tests, which can only determine if someone has been infected in the past, don’t count.)

Molecular tests look for segments of the virus’s genetic material, or RNA. The most common molecular tests rely on a proven technique called polymerase chain reaction, or PCR – a gold standard in the diagnosis of infectious diseases. PCR tests can be expensive, and because they require samples to go to labs, it can take a few days to return results. Experts say it’s a good idea to plan ahead if you go for this type of test.

There are a few rapid molecular tests that can be performed from start to finish in a doctor’s office in minutes. These include Abbott’s ID Now test. They are considered to be less accurate than PCR-based tests, but will allow you to get answers faster.

Antigen tests look for pieces of coronavirus protein or antigens. They tend to be less accurate than molecular tests and are worse at detecting the virus when it is rare. But most antigen testing can be done very quickly and inexpensively, taking just a few minutes to produce results.

Some antigen tests are only allowed for people with symptoms and may more frequently give inaccurate results when used to screen people who feel healthy.

Depending on the country travelers are departing from, some tests may not be available – and, therefore, these new rules will likely make it significantly more difficult for people to enter the United States. Testing is typically offered by health care providers or community testing sites, which can be located through tourist bureaus and local health care providers. Some airports, like Heathrow in London, offer coronavirus testing on site. And a few airlines, like American, Jet Blue, and United, offer to help their customers in certain countries organize tests. Delta, for example, has partnered with the Mayo Clinic and national health authorities in several countries to facilitate the testing and travel process.

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Video: Gorilla test positive for coronavirus at the San Diego Zoo

new video loaded: Gorillas test positive for coronavirus at San Diego Zoo

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Gorillas test positive for coronavirus at San Diego Zoo

Officials at the zoo’s Safari Park said several gorillas had tested positive for the virus and believed an asymptomatic staff member had infected the animals.

They are fine, they have mild symptoms. And we continue to observe them. But they drink, they eat, and they interact with each other. So we believe the gorillas contracted this virus from an asymptomatic member of the team. And this despite all the precautions we take. We follow the guidelines of the CDC. We follow San Diego County health guidelines. The team wears PPE around all of our wildlife. And so, even with all of these precautions, we still have an exposure that we believe happened with this team member. This virus has been very, very delicate. We have gone out of our way to respond to them and make sure that we take every precaution and follow all the guidelines that we can. But as we see it evolving all over the world right now, we know it is, it is, it is evolving. It changes. And the best we can do for humans and wildlife is just to make sure that we stay up to date on all protocols, that we stay nimble so that we can respond accordingly and make sure that we are doing our best to protect. both our team, our guests and the wildlife.

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Gorillas at the San Diego Zoo test positive for coronavirus

Several gorillas at San Diego Zoo Safari Park have tested positive for the coronavirus, becoming what federal officials said Monday were the first known apes in the country to be infected.

Zoo officials said on Monday they believed the gorillas were infected by an asymptomatic staff member who followed safety recommendations, including wearing personal protective equipment near animals.

Vets are keeping a close watch on the troop, which is made up of eight western lowland gorillas. The infected animals are expected to make a full recovery, officials said.

“Aside from a little congestion and cough, gorillas are fine,” Lisa Peterson, executive director of San Diego Zoo Safari Park, said in a statement.

Three animals show symptoms such as coughing, officials said. But since the gorillas live together in troops, “we have to assume,” the zoo said, “that all members of the family group have been exposed.”

The number of western lowland gorillas, which are found in Central Africa, has declined by more than 60 percent over the past two decades, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

Zoo officials learned that at least two gorillas had been infected with the coronavirus after they were observed Wednesday “coughing and showing other mild symptoms,” the zoo said in the statement.

Tests by the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System on Friday showed the coronavirus to be present in the troop’s feces, the zoo said. Tests by the National Veterinary Services Laboratories, which provide testing for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, confirmed the troop as infected on Saturday, the zoo said.

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park has been temporarily closed since Dec. 6 amid the California lockdown, and the primate habitat where the gorillas are housed poses “no risk to public health,” officials said. Last year, as the pandemic spread across the country, the zoo installed additional protective barriers to ensure there were more than six feet between visitors and “susceptible species,” said officials.

San Diego gorillas are among the latest animals to be infected with the coronavirus, which has killed more than 375,000 people in the United States, according to a New York Times analysis.

In April, the first case of man-to-cat transmission was detected when a tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York City tested positive for the virus. In August, mink from two farms in Utah tested positive. In December, the country’s first coronavirus infection in a snow leopard was detected at the Louisville Zoo in Kentucky.

The 1,800-acre San Diego Zoo Safari Park and the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research are both located in the town of Escondido, California, about 30 miles north of the San Diego Zoo. All three are part of the San Diego Zoo World Organization.

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Comment Parler, an app chosen by Trump fans, has become a test of free speech

From the start, John Matze had positioned Parler as a social network of “free speech” where people could mostly say what they wanted. It was a gamble that had recently paid off, as millions of President Trump’s supporters, tired of what they saw as censorship on Facebook and Twitter, rushed to Talk.

On the app, policy discussions had intensified. But so were conspiracy theories that falsely claimed the election was stolen from Mr. Trump, with users calling for aggressive protests last week when Congress met to certify the election of the President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.

These calls for violence quickly returned to haunt Mr. Matze, 27, a Las Vegas software engineer and CEO of Parler. As of Saturday night, Apple and Google pulled Parler from their app stores and Amazon said it would no longer host the site on its IT departments, saying it had not sufficiently monitored posts inciting violence and to crime. As a result, Parler was scheduled to disappear from the web on Monday.

This sparked a relentless effort to keep Talking Online. Mr Matze said on Sunday that he was running to back up the data of some 15 million Talking users from Amazon computers. He also called business after business to find one ready to support Talking with hundreds of computer servers.

“I believe Amazon, Google and Apple have been working together to try to make sure they don’t have competition,” Mr. Matze said on Talking Saturday night. “They will NOT win! We are the world’s last hope for free speech and free information. He said the app would likely shut down “for a week at most, as we’re rebuilding from scratch.”

Parler’s fate immediately drew condemnation from those on the right, who compared big tech companies to authoritarian lords. Rep. Devin Nunes, a Republican from California, told Fox News on Sunday that “Republicans have no way of communicating” and asked his supporters to text him to keep in touch. Lou Dobbs, the right-wing commentator, wrote on Speak that the app had a strong antitrust case against tech companies amid these “perilous times.”

Speaking has now become a test case in a renewed national debate over free speech on the internet and whether tech giants such as Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon have too much power. This debate has intensified since Mr. Trump was banned from posting on Twitter and Facebook last week after a violent mob, urged by the president and his social media posts, stormed the Capitol.

For years, Facebook and Twitter had championed people’s ability to express themselves freely on their sites, while Amazon, Apple, Google, and others had remained mostly uncontact with apps like Talk. This has allowed disinformation and lies to circulate on online networks.

Actions by tech companies last week to curb this toxic content with Mr. Trump and Talking have since been applauded by liberals and others. But the measures have also raised questions about how private companies can decide who stays online and who doesn’t, especially when politically expedient, with Mr Biden due to take office on January 20 and Democrats taking over. control of Congress.

The tech companies’ newly proactive approach is also providing water for Mr. Trump in the final days of his administration. Even if he faces another potential indictment, Mr. Trump is expected to try to stir up anger at Twitter, Facebook and others this week, potentially as a launching pad to compete head-on with Silicon Valley when ‘he will be leaving the White House. After being banned from Twitter, Mr. Trump said in a statement that he “would look into the possibilities of creating our own platform in the near future.”

Ben Wizner, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, said it was understandable that no company wanted to be associated with the “repulsive speech” that encouraged the violation of the Capitol. But he said Parler’s situation was troubling.

Indeed, the removal of Parler by Apple and Google from their app stores and the shutdown by Amazon of its web hosting went beyond what Twitter or Facebook do when they limit a user’s account or their publications, he said. “I think we should recognize the importance of neutrality when we talk about Internet infrastructure,” he said.

In previous statements, Apple, Amazon and Google have said they have warned Speak Up Against Violent Posts on its site and have not done enough to remove them systematically. The companies have said they require sites like Parler to consistently enforce its rules. They declined to comment further on Sunday.

Tech companies that support certain websites are nothing new. In 2018, Gab, another alternative to Facebook and Twitter who is popular with the far right, was forced to log out after losing support from other companies, including PayPal and GoDaddy, because she had hosted anti-Semitic messages from a man who shot and killed. 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue. Gab later returned online with the help of a Seattle company, Epik, which hosts other far-right websites.

Even as Speak is getting dark, right-wing figures like Mr. Nunes who have built followings on the app are not short of other channels of communication. Many still have large followers on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, who welcome any user who doesn’t break their rules, including threatening violence or posting hate speech.

Talk was founded in 2018 by Mr. Matze and a fellow programmer, one of many newcomers to social media who aimed to capitalize on the growing anger of Mr. Trump’s supporters towards Silicon Valley. But Parler had one significant advantage: money. Rebekah Mercer, one of Mr. Trump’s biggest donors, helped fund the site. Other investors include Dan Bongino, a former Secret Service agent and Fox News expert. He plans to eventually make money selling advertisements.

The app is basically a Twitter clone. It allows people to distribute messages – known as “talks” and not “tweets” – to subscribers. Users can also comment and “echo” – not “retweet” – other users’ posts. When creating a new account, people are asked to select their favorite color and are encouraged to follow a list of conservative voices, including Mr. Nunes, Fox News host Sean Hannity and actress Kirstie Alley. .

These “influencers” dominate the experience on the site. Speaking’s news feed on Sunday was a stream of their angry “talks”, taunting Big Tech and begging their supporters to follow them elsewhere.

“Please sign up for my daily newsletter today, before tech totalitarians ban everything,” wrote Mr Bongino, who also controls one of Facebook’s most popular pages.

Talking grew slowly until early 2020, when Twitter began calling Mr. Trump’s tweets inaccurate and some of his supporters joined in on Speaking in protest. After the November election, Parler grew even faster, with Facebook and Twitter cracking down on false claims the vote was rigged. So many users signed up that at times they overloaded the company’s systems and forced it to put a hold on new registrations.

In total, people downloaded Talking’s app more than 10 million times last year, 80% of which were in the United States, according to Sensor Tower, the app data company.

Last Wednesday, Mr. Trump encouraged his supporters to march to Capitol Hill to pressure lawmakers to reverse his election defeat, sparking a riot that left five people dead. The rally was scheduled on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere. On Parler, people posted advice on which streets to take to avoid the police; some have posted guns inside the Capitol.

In an interview with the New York Times hours after the riot, Mr Matze said: “I don’t feel responsible for any of this and neither does the platform, given that we are a neutral town square. who simply adheres to the law. “

But on Friday, Apple and Google told Parler it needed to more systematically remove posts that encouraged violence. On Saturday, Apple and Google removed Parler from their app stores, limiting its ability to reach new users on virtually every smartphone in the world.

“There is no room on our platform for threats of violence and illegal activity,” Apple said in a statement. Google said, “We require apps to implement robust moderation for blatant content.”

Late Saturday, Amazon told Parler it would need to find a new place to host its site. Amazon said it sent Parler 98 examples of posts on its site that encouraged violence, but many remained active.

“We cannot provide services to a customer who is unable to effectively identify and remove content that encourages or incites violence against others,” Amazon said.

Amazon was due to withdraw support for Parler just before midnight Sunday on the West Coast. Amazon said it will preserve Parler’s data so it can move it to other computer servers.

“It’s devastating,” Mr. Matze told Fox News on Sunday. “And it’s not just these three companies. Every provider, from text messaging to email providers to our lawyers all left us on the same day. He said he was having trouble finding another company to host Parler’s website.

But Jeffrey Wernick, COO of Parler, said in an interview that the app had heard from several companies wanting to help it. He refused to name them.

“What Talking will look like in a month, I can’t tell you,” he said. “But Parler won’t be gone.

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For Trump and the nation, a final test of accountability

WASHINGTON – Barely 11 months after President Trump’s acquittal in a momentous Senate trial, the nation now faces the possibility of another impeachment battle in the twilight of its presidency, a final showdown that will test the limits politics, accountability and the Constitution.

No president has ever been indicted twice for serious crimes and misdemeanors. But President Nancy Pelosi weighed in by bringing a new article of impeachment to the House on Monday accusing Mr. Trump of “inciting an insurgency” for encouraging the mob that trashed the Capitol to disrupt the solemn process ending to his own electoral defeat.

If Ms Pelosi decides to continue, the House could approve the article within days, this time with even disgruntled Republicans joining the Democratic majority in sending the case back to the Senate for a new trial, unlike one of the three precedents of American history.

While it seemed unlikely that 17 Republicans in the Senate would rally with Democrats to achieve the two-thirds needed for sentencing, the anger at Mr Trump was so palpable that party leaders said privately it was not out. of question.

The renewed attempt to remove Mr. Trump from office and strip him of power without waiting for his term to expire on January 20 capped a traumatic week that has rocked Washington more than anything since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

The emotions were raw. The White House was in the throes of collapse. The army was at its end. The cabinet was in revolt. The Republican Party was in civil war. And the president was in hiding, stripped of his social media megaphone, ostracized by his allies and at odds with almost everyone, including his staunch vice president.

The storming of Capitol Hill by supporters of Mr. Trump, which killed five people, including a police officer, transformed the city’s politics in ways that are still difficult to measure. A new indictment would be more than a revival of the campaign that failed last year because this time the crime was not a phone call to a foreign leader captured on the dry pages of a transcript, but the seat of American democracy took place live. television for all.

“Insurgents instigated by Mr. Trump attacked our nation’s Capitol to prevent Congress from accepting Electoral College results,” said Representative Ted Lieu of California, who began writing the impeachment article while sheltering in the Capitol takeover and sponsored it with Reps David Cicilline of Rhode Island and Jamie Raskin of Maryland, two fellow Democrats. “People have died. We can’t just issue harshly worded press releases in response. Unless Trump resigns, Congress must remove him to hold him accountable.

Yet the timing of such an effort, with just 11 days before Mr. Trump stepped down, muddied the equation. Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican Leader, indicated that under Senate rules a trial could not begin until Jan. 19, the day before President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. was inaugurated, this which means the process would not move fast enough to avoid any dangerous move feared in Mr. Trump’s final days in power.

It raised the prospect of a trial after Mr. Trump left the White House, eclipsing the early days of Mr. Biden’s administration at a time when he would like to turn the page and deal with crises like the coronavirus pandemic, which has become even more deadly. while attention has focused on Washington’s political wars. A nationally televised trial could dominate discussion and prevent further work in the Senate.

“If the House sends out articles of impeachment, they really hurt the Biden administration off,” Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri said in an interview on Saturday. “Whether it’s the first 10 days or the first 20 days of the Biden administration, this is certainly not how you would want to start your presidency.”

Some of Mr. Trump’s critics have argued that it would be important to hold a trial even if he is already out of power in order to prevent him from running again, a sanction under the Constitution – and possibly more importantly, to deliver a verdict condemning his actions in the name of history.

“We never had to even consider the possibility of impeaching a president twice, or in the last days of his presidency,” said Michael J. Gerhardt, a constitutional expert at the University of North Carolina who testified at the time. of the first indictment of Mr. Trump. and promotes another try. “But we’ve never had a president who encourages sedition like Trump did during his last days in office.”

Yet even some of the president’s harshest critics feared that a last-minute indictment and overtime trial might help him rally supporters by portraying himself as a victim and not a villain, allowing him to divert attention from his own actions to those of his adversaries.

“This will be historically important,” said Andrew Weissmann, who was a deputy to the Robert S. Mueller III special council and recently published a book, “Where Law Ends,” expressing frustration that the president was not fully held. responsible for his actions. during the investigation of Russia. “But the danger is that he will be acquitted and the momentum for the conviction is now lost. Also, until we change the mindset of its grassroots, we haven’t addressed the underlying problem.

At the moment, a strong majority of Americans hold Mr. Trump responsible for the attack, with 63% of them saying he has a good part, if not a lot of responsibility, according to a PBS Newshour-Marist poll. But when asked if steps needed to be taken to remove him as a result, Americans retreated to their partisan corners, with 48% saying yes and 49% saying no.

A Reuters-Ipsos survey found that 57% of Americans want Mr. Trump to step down immediately. But most of them were in favor of impeachment by Vice President Mike Pence and the cabinet through the 25th Amendment invalidity clause, with just 14% calling for another impeachment.

Mr. Trump has few supporters among Republicans for his actions urging the crowd before they march on Capitol Hill and even some in the conservative news media have turned against him, most notably the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, who called his actions “uneasy” and urged him to resign.

But in the face of threats of impeachment, some Republicans have resumed fighting against their opponents. They may not like him or believe that it is politically viable to be seen as an excuse for his behavior, but they are always energized by fighting his enemies on the left.

On Friday night, on Sean Hannity’s Fox News, South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who was accosted by Trump supporters at an airport for opposing the president’s efforts to overturn the election, suddenly returned to lambasting and talking about Mr. Trump’s rivals. Hunter Biden.

Mr. Graham focused on Mr. Trump’s video message Thursday calling for healing and reconciliation, a video the president regretted making. “Instead of trying to match what President Trump has done, radical Democrats are talking about yet another impeachment that will further destroy the country,” Graham said.

Still, Mr. Trump might struggle to find lawyers to defend him in any lawsuit. Jay Sekulow, his personal attorney who headed the defense team during the impeachment trial last year, was not involved in Mr. Trump’s legal efforts to overturn Mr. Biden’s election. Pat A. Cipollone, the White House lawyer who teamed up with Mr Sekulow, was so upset by the attack on Capitol Hill that he considered stepping down.

One of the few members of his defense team who said he would stay with the president was Alan M. Dershowitz, professor emeritus at Harvard Law School who had played a secondary role last time around. In an email on Saturday, he said he would defend Mr. Trump on the grounds of free speech.

“Trump’s speech, whatever the substance of it, is clearly protected by the First Amendment,” he said. “To indict him for a constitutionally protected speech would violate both the First Amendment and the constitutional criteria for impeachment and cause lasting damage to the Constitution.”

Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University who testified in the House against Mr Trump’s first indictment, said the latest attempt was a hasty trial out of partisan anger. The fact that Mr. Trump’s critics have called for his impeachment either by indictment or by the 25th Amendment, he said, has shown that they are only interested in the outcome, not the outcome. legitimacy of the method.

“This opportunistic use of impeachment would do to the Constitution what the rioters did on Capitol Hill: leave it in tatters,” Mr Turley said.

The House voted almost entirely on party lines to impeach Mr. Trump in December 2018 for abuse of power and obstructing Congress as part of its efforts to pressure Ukraine to incriminate Mr. Biden in charges. wrongdoing while withholding a vital safety aid. But the Senate acquitted him last February also on an almost partisan vote.

A second indictment would in some ways be like revisiting the appearance of the first in history. Some have argued that focusing on the Ukrainian episode is too narrow given Mr. Trump’s many norm-violating actions in Washington. Others said it served as a warning that the president would use his power to cheat in an election, a prediction now confirmed.

While there is scientific debate as to whether a public servant can be indicted or tried after leaving office, there is precedent. When William Belknap, President Ulysses S. Grant’s Secretary of War, was accused of corruption, he rushed to the White House to submit his resignation minutes before the House intended him to be. Lawmakers proceeded anyway and the Senate went ahead and brought him to justice, although he acquitted him.

The Constitution expressly provides that the Senate prohibits any convicted person from holding federal office in the future, a secondary sanction that can be approved in a separate vote but requires only a simple majority of 51 senators rather than two-thirds. The Senate has applied this penalty to dismissed judges in the past.

“At some point democracies have to be able to defend themselves,” said Corey Brettschneider, an impeachment expert at Brown University. “The framers probably didn’t give us enough to protect us from a president, but disqualification is something they rightly gave us.”

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First Biden climate test: Groups demand tougher building rules

WASHINGTON – President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has pledged to help communities prepare for the effects of climate change. A further demand for stricter building standards could test this commitment.

On Wednesday, two influential organizations that advocate for tougher measures to resist natural disasters, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Association of State Floodplain Managers, filed a petition with the federal government calling for standards of stricter construction for houses and infrastructure along rivers and coasts.

These changes would better protect millions of Americans as climate change worsens, and they reflect the kind of policy changes experts say the United States needs to make to deal with the effects of global warming. But they would also make homes more expensive to build, risking the wrath of local governments and home builders, which is why previous administrations have been reluctant to impose similar changes.

“The American dream of homeownership becomes a nightmare when homes are built in flooded areas,” said Joel Scata, lawyer for the NRDC’s water and climate team who worked on the petition. “Affordable housing shouldn’t mean a house built cheaply in a dangerous place.”

The 58-page petition has both legal and political significance. Both groups argue that federal law requires the government to update its rules to reduce flood damage “to the extent possible.” Filing a petition is a first step towards possible legal challenges later.

The involvement of NRDC in particular could make the petition difficult for the new administration to ignore. The group’s chairperson is Gina McCarthy, whom Biden has chosen to coordinate domestic climate policy within the federal government. Through a spokesperson for Biden’s transition team, Ms McCarthy declined a request for comment.

The push is a glimpse into the challenge facing Mr Biden, who has made tackling climate change a central part of his campaign and now must decide what Americans are willing to accept to achieve that goal.

This challenge is particularly acute when it comes to preparing for the effects of rising seas, worsening storms, the spread of forest fires and other consequences of global warming. This part of the climate agenda is especially heavy, according to current and former officials, because it means telling Americans to change where and how they live.

“It’s really complicated,” said Alice Hill, who oversaw resilience planning at the National Security Council under the Obama administration and is now a senior member of the Council on Foreign Relations. “You can upset a lot of voters.”

Perhaps nothing illustrates this challenge better than flood insurance rules. Established in 1968, the taxpayer-subsidized National Flood Insurance Program was designed to ensure that people could obtain flood coverage in areas deemed too risky by private insurers. But the unintended consequence of securing insurance was to encourage construction in these places.

Even though climate change increases the risk of flooding, construction in high-risk areas continues to increase, often without adequate safety standards. In many coastal states, the areas most prone to flooding have seen a larger increase in home building than the rest of the state, according to data released in 2019.

By 2045, more than 300,000 existing coastal homes will be at regular risk of flooding, the Union of Concerned Scientists concluded in 2018. By 2050, more than 800,000 homes, worth almost one half a trillion dollars, will be at risk, according to data from real estate data company Zillow. In Florida, rising sea levels already appear to be hurting housing prices in vulnerable areas.

Yet earlier attempts to place greater constraints on home building in flood-prone areas have mostly failed as voters and industries retreated.

In 2012, Congress passed a bill that would have increased flood insurance premiums to better reflect risk. But two years later, the public backlash prompted lawmakers to reverse themselves.

Then President Barack Obama ordered that federally funded buildings in flood-prone areas be built to higher standards, such as being perched higher on the ground. President Trump rescinded the order, under pressure from home builders worried about rising construction costs.

The National Association of Home Builders, a Washington-based trade group, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the proposals.

The petition filed on Wednesday tells the federal government to be even more ambitious.

To access federal flood insurance, communities must follow federal rules designed to limit their exposure to flooding. These rules revolve around a single basic requirement: local authorities must ensure that the ground floor of any new or renovated structure is at least as high as the likely height of a major flood.

In their petition, the NRDC and the Association of Floodplain Managers argue that, as climate change worsens flooding, there is a need to update these standards. They demanded that the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which manages the flood insurance program, impose new requirements on communities that wish to use the program.

These changes include the requirement that new or renovated homes be raised higher off the ground – two feet higher in areas prone to river flooding, and four feet higher in coastal areas. The two groups also want FEMA to ban the construction of hospitals, police stations, wastewater treatment plants or other essential infrastructure in high-risk flood areas. And they want FEMA to update its flood maps to show future risks from sea level rise, which would discourage construction in those areas.

Mr Scata called the National Flood Insurance Program’s standards “out of date” and as a result they “unintentionally put people at risk”.

FEMA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Meeting these new requirements could increase the cost of building homes by up to 4.5% in areas prone to river flooding and between 2% and 7% in coastal areas, according to data released by FEMA. in 2008.

But these additional construction costs tend to be offset by lower premiums for flood insurance, reflecting the reduced flood risk, according to Chad Berginnis, executive director of the Association of Floodplain Managers. of State. And the petition calls on FEMA to make new funds available to homeowners to raise existing homes, which costs more than raising a home when it is first built.

Local officials are likely to object that the new standards would hamper house building in their areas, Berginnis said. But he said some cities and counties across the country had started raising their standards on purpose and their economies had not suffered as a result.

“We have enough success stories to show that you can have healthy development in a community as well as high standards,” said Berginnis. He said the new standards would encourage cities and towns to push the new development inland, further from the water.

“It will certainly be a difficult discussion to have,” said Berginnis. But under the current rules, he added, “people are not safe.”

Categories
Travel News

Test your knowledge 2020

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

It has been an eventful year, to say the least. David Leonhardt, who usually writes this newsletter, has created a quiz that tests your knowledge of the biggest stories of the year.

The quiz is an enhanced version of 30 questions of the topical quiz the Times publishes weekly. Using words, pictures and a chalkboard, it takes a combination of logic, knowledge and recall to get the right answers. And once you’re done, you’ll be able to see how your performance compares to other Times readers who have taken it.

“Think of this as our little tribute to the late Alex Trebek”, the “Jeopardy!” For a long time! the host who died of cancer last month, says David.

You can take the full quiz here, and we’ve included some questions to try out below. The correct answers can be found at the bottom of this newsletter. Good luck!

1. In the fall, LeBron James won his last NBA Championship with the Los Angeles Lakers. How many NBA titles has James won now?

2. Which US state had voted for the presidential winner every year since 1964, until this year when it voted for President Trump?

3. Justice Amy Coney Barrett joined the Supreme Court in October. Of the 115 Americans who were sworn in as Supreme Court justices, how many were women? (The answer includes Barrett.)

4. The woman pictured above is a self-reliant author and spiritual leader who has run for president. What’s her name?

5. Which children’s show was the most watched show on Netflix this year, according to Forbes and Reelgood analysis?

6. In the first few months of the pandemic, which of the following advice have many public health experts given – and subsequently canceled? Pick one.
(a) Children are most at risk and should take precautions.
(b) Hand washing is of little use.
(c) Masks are unnecessary for most people.
(d) Large doses of vitamin C can induce immunity.

seven. OK, one more! Name the boy band pictured above.

Thanks for playing! Scroll down to see how right you are. And if you want more of a challenge, the rest of the questions are here.

  • Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, blocked a Democratic attempt to increase direct stimulus checks to $ 2,000 from $ 600.

  • Instead, McConnell said the Senate would “begin the process” of discussing the checks as well as two other issues that Trump has asked lawmakers to address: election security and the removal of legal protections for social media platforms. .

  • Republican Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue of Georgia have said they support the $ 2,000 payments after their Democratic opponents in next week’s run-off election criticized them for not asking for bigger checks. Marco Rubio, Josh Hawley and a few other Senate Republicans also said they supported a raise, but most did not.

  • Argentina has legalized abortion. Uruguay, Cuba and Guyana are the only other Latin American countries to allow abortion on request.

  • The Louisville Police Department will fire two officers involved in the raid that killed Breonna Taylor: Detective Myles Cosgrove, who fired the fatal shot, and Detective Joshua Jaynes, who organized the raid.

  • Two Cleveland police officers will avoid federal criminal charges for their role in the 2014 murder of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old black boy, the Department of Justice said, citing a lack of evidence.

  • New York has recorded 447 homicides this year, the most since 2011. “I can’t imagine a darker time,” said Police Commissioner Dermot Shea, also citing the confluence of the pandemic and the protests.

  • The Boeing 737 Max plane made its first U.S. commercial flights, a roundtrip between Miami and New York, nearly two years after two fatal crashes brought the plane to the ground around the world.

  • New dietary guidelines released by the US government run counter to scientific recommendations to set lower goals for sugar and alcohol consumption.

The passage: Whether it’s helping Americans work from home or organizing for racial justice, technology has done more for us in 2020 than ever before, says Times tech columnist Kevin Roose in his annual column. of the Good Tech Awards.

From the review: The Times Opinion editors responded to readers’ comments that channeled fear, frustration, hope and wisdom.

Lives lived: Pierre Cardin was a visionary designer who dressed the elite but also transformed the fashion business. Over a career spanning over 75 years, he has remained futuristic, reproducing fashions for ready-to-wear consumption and putting his mark on an outpouring of products. He died at the age of 98.


Subscriber support helped make Times journalism possible this year. If you haven’t already subscribed, consider becoming one today.

To mark the end of the year, we, the Morning crew, are sharing some of our favorite 2020 stories outside of The Times:

Covid is not just a physical illness – it can also seep into the brain, creating haze for months. This hilarious and heartbreaking London Review of Books essay by poet Patricia Lockwood captured the mental toll of the virus better than anything I’ve read this year. – Tom Wright-Piersanti

“My Three Fathers,” by writer Ann Patchett in The New Yorker, describes her sister’s wedding, which her mother’s three husbands – Patchett’s father and two stepfathers – all attended. She calls it “the family equivalent of a total solar eclipse.” It’s a true story that reads like a novel. – Claire Moses

One of the most inspiring stories I read this year was the Washington Post obituary of Michael Cusack. When he was born in 1956, doctors told his parents to put him in an institution. They refused and Cusack ended up helping to inspire the creation of the Special Olympics. – David Leonhardt

Joe Biden has been in national politics for nearly five decades, and truly revealing journalism articles about him are rare. John Hendrickson’s mighty essay in The Atlantic about Biden’s stuttering – and Hendrickson’s – wasn’t just the best Biden story this year; it changed my way of thinking about him. – Ian Prasad Philbrick

When I was growing up in New Jersey, my grandmother had an open door policy and often invited strangers over for a meal or to join in family celebrations. This Washington Post article, about how jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie celebrated Thanksgiving at a fan’s house, reminded me of that human connection. – David Scull

I have lost count of how many times I have watched “Song of the Sea,” an exquisite animated film that is both tender and spellbinding. This New York profile of Cartoon Saloon, the Irish animation studio behind the film, is as enchanting as the films the studio has made. – Sanam Yar

For a twist on a classic, try these peanut butter miso cookies.

In 1981, the Broadway musical “Frankenstein” was such a failure that it closed after only one performance. The Times spoke to the show’s creators about the flop.

Now is the time to play

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

Here are today’s mini crosswords and a hint: Small dog (three letters).


Thank you for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow. – Claire and Ian

The answers to the quiz questions above: 1. four; 2. Ohio; 3. five; 4. Marianne Williamson; 5. “Cocomelon”, an animated series for children; 6. C, masks; 7. BTS. Thanks for playing!

You can see the first printed page of the day here.

Today’s episode of “The Daily” is an update on the story of a black policeman in Flint, Michigan. The latest “Popcast” answers listeners’ questions about the year’s biggest stars and curious flops.

You can join the team writing The Morning at themorning@nytimes.com.

Subscribe here to receive this newsletter in your inbox.

Categories
Travel News

US to require negative coronavirus test for all UK travelers

People traveling immediately after the holidays may face the uncertainty: many private testing labs and clinics are closed on Christmas Day, so testing in the 72-hour window can be difficult, especially for PCR screening, which must be sent to a lab and may take several days to process.

The rapid antigen test, a relatively new tool for detecting the virus, gives a result in about 30 minutes, but it is not as widely available, although it is cheaper. Heathrow Airport, for example, charges passengers around $ 130 for PCR results with 48 hours and around $ 60 for antigen testing with results within 45 minutes.

Both tests are offered at major UK airports – including Heathrow and Gatwick, London’s two main hubs and Manchester Airport – but passengers must register in advance. It was not known how many would be able to procure a test and get a result in time for the trip.

The introduction of new travel restrictions has raised concerns that travelers to the United States will be flocking to the airport, as did Londoners at train stations last Saturday when tougher national rules were announced. But Heathrow employees on Friday described a normal, albeit calmer, flow of passengers typical of Christmas Day, with most appearing to travel on long-haul flights.

Several airlines had previously announced policies requiring proof of a negative test after a request from New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo that passengers arriving from London to John F. Kennedy International Airport should provide documentation of a negative test result.

“We cannot let history repeat itself with this new variant,” Mr. Cuomo wrote on Twitter.

Also Thursday, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said passengers arriving at Newark Airport would need negative tests within 72 hours of departure to enter.

America’s travel requirements are less draconian than those of other countries in Europe and Asia, which have banned all travelers from Britain after the emergence of the new variant of the coronavirus. Experts are skeptical that travel bans can stop the spread of the variant. In fact, Dr Anthony S. Fauci, America’s foremost infectious disease expert, said there’s a good chance the variant is already in the country.