Rescue workers are searching for more than 150 people after part of a Himalayan glacier broke away Sunday morning, destroying a hydroelectric dam and flooding downstream villages in northern India’s Uttarakhand state. The disaster killed at least 14, with many more fatalities expected. Three other hydropower plants were badly damaged, and many of the missing are plant workers. As terrifying videos of the sudden torrent streamed on social media, environmental experts argued that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should halt hydropower projects in the volatile ecosystem. Around 6,000 people died in a similar “Himalayan tsunami” event in 2013.
2. South Africa Halts AstraZeneca Vaccine Over Variant
In a troubling COVID-19 development, South Africa has stopped its program to administer 1 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine because a new study showed it offered “minimal protection” against mild and moderate cases of the new 501.V2 strain. Oxford researchers say it should still protect against severe illness. The South African variant is now responsible for 90 percent of that country’s infections. Meanwhile, a new study shows variant B.1.1.7, first found in Britain, is doubling every 10 days in the U.S., suggesting it will be the dominant strain by March.
3. Eastern States Freeze, Avalanche Kills Utah Skiers
Winter is here. It began over the weekend with snowstorms pelting the Northeast while Arctic air rode the jet stream into the Midwest and Plains states, bringing the season’s coldest temperatures. International Falls, Minnesota, recorded a wind chill of minus 50 degrees Fahrenheit. On Saturday, skiers near Salt Lake City inadvertently set off an avalanche that killed four of them in the country’s deadliest snowslide since 2014. Four skiers were able to dig themselves out and survived. The deep freeze is expected to continue in the nation’s midsection through much of this week.
Can they fight the virus and poverty? Top congressional Democrats are aiming to introduce a measure today to pay $3,000 per child to families earning under $75,000. The plan to combat child poverty along with the pandemic’s economic devastation on low-income Americans is part of a relief package moving through Congress. Such payments were suggested last week by GOP Sen. Mitt Romney, though he argued that President Joe Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion package is too expensive overall. Other conservatives say direct payments to parents, both working and not, could discourage people from seeking employment.
President Biden has said he expects “extreme competition” from China, but unlike his predecessor, he plans to focus trade policy on enforcing international rules. Haitian President Jovenel Moïse announced the arrest of 20 people, including a Supreme Court judge, who he says plotted to remove him from office yesterday after he claimed he wasn’t bound by his five-year term. And former world heavyweight boxing champion Leon Spinks, who famously beat Muhammad Ali in 1978, has died at age 67 after a battle with prostate cancer.
America was built on immigration, but is it still a good place for immigrants? Katty Kay and Carlos Watson discuss immigration, acceptance and assimilation in the latest episode of When Katty Met Carlos with top chef Marcus Samuelsson and Asian hip-hop icon Sophia Chang.
Hear about their journeys and reasons for coming to America, their experiences of trying to fit into American society and how they feel about Americans’ attitudes toward immigrants.
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Tom Brady has won. Sure, Tampa Bay’s defense shut down Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City’s young superstar QB, and crushed the Chiefs 31-9 in last night’s Super Bowl. But the 43-year-old Brady has now won seven championship rings — two more than any other player and one more than any NFL franchise — and five Super Bowl MVPs. He completed 21 passes for 201 yards, including two touchdowns to tight end Rob Gronkowski, who followed Brady when he left his storied partnership with the Patriots and Bill Belichick last year. Some wondered if that coach-quarterback chemistry was Brady’s secret. Next question?
May the odds be ever in their favor. Anti-coup protesters flooding the streets of Yangon this weekend flashed a gesture familiar to fans of The Hunger Games series: The three-finger salute. The symbol that unites the fictional rebels against the authoritarian government of Panem was adopted by protesters in Thailand after a 2014 military coup. With neighboring Myanmar’s generals taking over last Monday, the gesture’s found its sequel. This weekend saw the country’s biggest protests, attracting tens of thousands, since the 2007 Saffron Revolution, which helped set Myanmar on a path toward the democracy that’s now been disrupted.
They can’t just do it. The innovative big-budget TV ads broadcast with last night’s Super Bowl are almost an anachronism, like the overflowing ashtrays in Mad Men, as you’ll read in OZY’s Sunday Magazine. In fact, these days you’re more likely to see them on YouTube than an actual television. Learn how longtime advertisers have ceded the big game to newcomers, and how all its prestige doesn’t translate into sales. With Google and Facebook gobbling up ad dollars, many are wondering if the new leadership in Washington is ready — or able — to break the grip of advertising’s daunting duopoly.
4. Former Secretary of State George Shultz Dies at 100
He was a cold warrior who fought for peace. Shultz, who served as secretary of state under President Ronald Reagan, died at home on Saturday. After holding three Cabinet posts in the Nixon administration, Shultz served six years as the nation’s top diplomat in the 1980s. His accomplishments included negotiating a 1987 nuclear arms treaty with the Soviet Union and helping disengage Israeli forces from Lebanon’s civil war. In recent years, he promoted action on climate change, and in his final public act, Shultz wrote an op-ed, published on his 100th birthday last month, urging Americans to respect opposing views.
They are a search engine. During May 2020 protests over the Minneapolis man who died under the knee of a police officer, city police used a warrant to compel Google to give up user data, TechCrunch has reported. Investigating an AutoZone store arson, police issued a so-called geofence warrant, which seeks anonymized electronic data from people near a crime scene — including bystanders. One of them, who said he was merely filming the action, told TechCrunch that Google notified him that his account data was being shared with police. Neither Google nor Minneapolis police have commented.
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