While Americans and Europeans prepare for a summer of cafes, bars and beaches, life elsewhere is far from returning to normal. The U.S. and Britain have made rapid progress with vaccinations, but only 0.5 percent of South Africans have been inoculated. In India patients in overrun hospitals are gasping for air as oxygen runs out, and in Brazil just one-tenth of promised vaccines have even arrived in the country. As G-7 nations meet today to discuss these inequalities, they’re expected to increase funding for the international COVAX program and agree to export surplus vaccines.
2. Facebook Oversight Board Set to Rule on Trump Ban
He’s back — sort of. After being banned from social media in the wake of the Capitol riot, former President Donald Trump has vowed for months to return with his own platform. Yesterday that “platform” appeared in the form of a WordPress blog. Followers can sign up for alerts and can repost to Facebook, which is set to rule today on whether it’ll allow Trump to return. While Twitter has banned him for life, observers say it’s possible Facebook will unmuzzle the former president, which would be a huge boost if Trump decides to run again in 2024.
What do you think? Should Trump be allowed back on Facebook? Vote here.
3. Derek Chauvin Seeks New Trial, Citing Misconduct
Two weeks after the former police officer was convicted of murdering George Floyd, his lawyers have asked for a new trial, claiming the verdict was contrary to law and alleging prosecutorial and jury misconduct. Chauvin’s lawyers said the jury was unduly influenced by the media focus around the trial, but did not mention a recently surfaced photo of one juror wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt. It’s now up to the Minneapolis District Court to decide whether to proceed with the complaint. Chauvin faces up to 75 years in jail, with his sentencing set for June.
4. Profit From Disaster: Vaccine Earns Billions for Pfizer
The drugmaker scored $3.5 billion in revenue from its COVID-19 vaccine in the first quarter and expects that number to reach $26 billion for the year. While companies like Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca agreed to forgo profits on their shots during the pandemic, Pfizer did not, and its decision seems to have paid off. The pharma giant says it’s not profiting on vaccine sales in poorer countries and has pledged to donate 40 million doses to COVAX, though that’s less than 2 percent of the 2.5 billion doses it aims to produce this year.
Halima Cisse, a Malian woman, has given birth to nine babies, a very rare case of nonuplets. The deadline for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form a coalition government has expired after an inconclusive general election in March. And Kane Tanaka, a 118-year-old Japanese woman who is the world’s oldest person, has pulled out of the Olympic torch relay, citing COVID concerns.
Coronavirus Update: President Joe Biden says he plans to vaccinate 70 percent of U.S. adults by July 4, then roll out shots for teens. India’s main opposition party is calling for a full national lockdown, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi is resisting due to economic concerns.
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Today on The Carlos Watson Show: You may know Marc Lasry as the investment banker and inspiration behind Billions, or perhaps as owner of the Milwaukee Bucks, but today get a glimpse at the man behind the curtain. The investing phenom talks about the childhood that made him the success he is today, shares his best advice for young investors and gets real about politics. What lessons from the NBA does he take into business? Watch to find out.
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It’s a gross violation. Employees from an Indonesian pharmaceutical company could face years in jail for providing used COVID-19 nasal swabs to unsuspecting passengers at a busy airport. Five people have been fired after they were accused of washing and reusing the cotton swabs up to 20,000 times at Kualanamu International Airport. “I was violated through my nose,” said Ranto Sibarani, a lawyer and frequent traveler who’s suing over the incident. A police spokesman said the five are suspected of pocketing $125,000 from the reused tests and could face up to 10 years in jail.
Forget clandestine operations in foreign lands — the U.S. spy agency has entered a new fight: the “woke” wars. Its new recruitment ad, intended to boost diversity, has instead united critics and advocates of “wokeness” in derision. It features a Latina officer describing herself as “a cisgender millennial who has been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder” and who refuses to “internalize misguided patriarchal ideas of what a woman can or should be.” The ad’s been mocked by the left for sounding like a parody, and by the right, with Donald Trump Jr. tweeting, “China & Russia are laughing their asses off.”
3. Rolling Stones: Farmer Redraws French-Belgian Border
It's bordering on ridiculous. A Belgian farmer inadvertently claimed land from France when he shifted a rock out of the way of his tractor. The 200-year-old stone was actually a border marker, and moving it made Belgium slightly bigger and France smaller. Wars have broken out over less, but the mayors of the towns on both sides were simply amused. “I was happy, my town was bigger,” said Mayor David Lavaux of the Belgian village of Erquelinnes. “But the mayor of Bousignies-sur-Roc didn't agree.” The farmer has been asked to move the stone back into place.
4. Covsquid-19: Japanese Town Uses Relief Funds for Statue
Talk about fishy spending! The village of Noto, known for its seafood, is under fire for using over $220,000 in COVID-19 relief funds to build a 45-foot-long statue of a giant squid to boost tourism. Local governments effectively had carte blanche to use relief money as they saw fit, but some Noto residents are not happy. “There may have been a way to use it generously where there is an urgent need,” one local complained, “such as medical staff and long-term care facilities.” Japan is fighting another surge in coronavirus cases two months before the Summer Olympics.
5. Coaches Upset After No HBCU Players in NFL Draft
“Our kids are being neglected and rejected.” That’s what Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders wrote on Instagram after no players from any historically Black colleges and universities were among the 259 picked in this weekend’s NFL draft. Sanders, who coaches at an HBCU, Jackson State, said he saw plenty of players “more than qualified to be drafted.” Some called it a “travesty,” while others noted the pandemic was a factor due to canceled games and decreased travel for scouts. HBCU prospects can still make NFL rosters in the summer and a handful have signed free agent contracts.