Time To Get Serious: COVID, Climate and Voting Rights
Fri, Nov 5
Time To Get Serious: COVID, Climate and Voting Rights
Tue, Jan 18
Mind the Gap!
Mon, Jan 17
Disruptions, Eruptions and Cancellations
Fri, Jan 14
Blow to Biden’s National Vaccine Mandate
Thu, Jan 13
Who Will Testify, Who Won’t?
Start your day smarter with a dossier on the most important world news, rounded off with a shot of intriguing and offbeat stories. Like the president, you deserve no less.
Nov 05, 2021
President Joe Biden instituted a vaccine/testing mandate yesterday that takes effect January 4th. The White House also found time yesterday to sue the state of Texas for its restrictive new voting laws, arguing that they are in violation of federal civil rights laws. Across the pond, Europe is experiencing a massive upsurge in Covid cases, prompting a grave warning from the World Health Organization. And even further east, China has begun to set itself up in opposition to many of the proposals being formulated at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow. All this and more in this morning’s Presidential Daily Brief.
1 - No More Messing Around
New U.S. government mandate requires vaccines or testing for millions
“While I would have much preferred that requirements not become necessary, too many people remain unvaccinated for us to get out of this pandemic for good,” Biden said in a statement Thursday. Starting on January 4th, 2022, any American working for a company with more than 100 employees will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or get tested weekly for the virus, per a new government rule laid out by the Biden administration yesterday. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will be in charge of making sure that unvaccinated workers are testing negative weekly and wearing masks in the workplace. (Source: AP)
2 - Biden Sues Texas
Constitutionality of Texas's strict voting laws is questioned
The Justice Department is already suing Texas over its drastic, near total abortion ban instituted in September. Now the Biden Administration is opening up a second case against the Lone Star State concerning the sweeping voting restrictions signed into law by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott this past September. Attorney General Merrick Garland is arguing for the measure’s dismissal on the grounds that it violates federal civil rights protections by making mail-in voting more difficult and limiting voter assistance. Republicans have defended the law by arguing that these changes are necessary to protect against voter fraud, which is exceedingly rare not just in Texas but nationwide. (Source: AP)
3 - Europe Takes the Spotlight
Covid cases rise across the continent, prompting World Health Organization warning
Hans Kluge, head of WHO Europe, said that Europeans could see a half million more deaths by February. Cases have skyrocketed over 55% in the past four weeks, even though no European country is experiencing a shortage of vaccines or any other pandemic-fighting tools. Many blame the population for being slow to accept vaccines. Only 32% of Russians were fully vaccinated by October 2021, while in France and Germany the vaccination rate has slowed in the high sixtieth percentile. Spain has the highest up-take, at 80 percent. Regardless of country, though, the whole continent has seen a general relaxation of public health measures, which is where Mr. Kluge lays most of the blame for this current wave of cases. (Sources: BBC, France24)
4 - China gets Heat in Glasgow
World leaders at the COP26 global summit hone in
Currently, the largest worldwide emitter of greenhouse gases, China has bristled at the suggestion of accelerating any plans set in place in the Paris Accords agreement of 2015. The Accords set a target of keeping the rise in global temperatures “well below'' 2 degrees Celsius and ideally at 1.5 degrees Celsius, whereas now at COP26 most countries are pushing for an agreement to keep temperatures below a rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius. Chinese President Xi Jinping firmly rejected the idea, complaining that if the target was changed then there would be nothing to stop “many countries'' from renegotiating other aspects of the Accords. (Source: Axios)
5 - Briefly
Here are some things you should know about today:
Steele dossier’s main source indicted. Russian analyst Igor Danchenko has been charged with lying in his contributions to the Steele Dossier. (Source: WaPo) Defiant rioter who bragged about her participation in the Jan. 6 riot is going to jail. Jennifer Leigh Ryan was sentenced to two months in jail after brazenly live streaming herself storming the U.S. capitol and then denying that she would get jail time because “she is white, has blond hair and a good job.” (Source: AP) House votes on Biden plans today. After failing to vote last night, Democrats plan to vote today on Biden’s domestic policy package and infrastructure bill. (Source: NYT)
WATCH Maggie Siff:
the Next Meryl Streep
1 - Ooga-Booga!
Early hominid remains found in South Africa
he fossils are almost 250,000 years old, and they are the partial skull and teeth of a Homo naledi child who died between four and six years old. Homo naledi is a species of human that we only found out about fairly recently, in 2015, when 1,550 specimens were found in the Rising Star Cave outside of Johannesburg. Their existence is profoundly confounding, as it means that humans and this proto-human species were present in Africa at the same time. This complicates traditional beliefs that the complex stone tool cultures found in Africa are tied to our modern human species. (Source: AP)
2 - This Spud is no Dud
The wait is over: the world’s biggest potato may be here
The Guinness World Records Book currently recognizes a 2011 monster potato from Britain as the largest potato ever to exist, clocking in at 5 kg. Colin and Donna Craig-Brown are in the process of dethroning that pathetic potato in favor of their own home grown 7.8 kg, or 17 pound, potato named Doug. Doug was a happy accident, according to the Craig-Brown’s, since they had only been growing cucumbers in that area of their garden. The folks at Guinness have yet to get back to the couple, but they are hoping to get an evaluation fast. Doug has been drying out and losing weight, and has even sprouted moldy patches. They’ve placed Doug in the freezer for now to stave off any further deterioration. Let’s hope he likes it frosty. (Source: NPR)
3 - Peloton Takes a Tumble
The exercise company’s stock fell 25% on Thursday
The stock plunged after Peloton reported weakening sales growth and a wider-than-expected loss in its fiscal first quarter. This underperformance is due in part to the ongoing international supply chain challenges plaguing manufacturers everywhere, as well as softening demand for home exercise equipment after a big pandemic boom. Gyms are rebounding aggressively, leaving the home workout industry floundering. (Source: NBC)
4 - Marvel Maligned
Several Gulf countries have banned their newest movie, “Eternals”
Marvel has pushed the envelope in more than one way with their latest release, and it’s rubbing some censors the wrong way. Censors in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait all demanded certain edits to the film, but it seems Disney refused to budge. The backlash to the film is likely due to the inclusion of a same-sex couple and a gay superhero, Marvel’s first. Homosexuality is illegal in the Gulf countries, and they rarely allow intimate scenes or same-sex relationships to be shown. Also at issue was the depiction of the “Eternals” as gods, which is seen as blasphemous by the censors in Qatar and Kuwait. (Source: The Hill)
5 - Foul in the Locker Room
Owner of the Phoenix Suns and the Phoenix Mercury accused of racism and sexism
A new investigation was opened by theN.B.A. and W.N.B.A. into Robert Sarver, the owner of the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury basketball teams, after current and former employees accused him of racist, sexist and other inappropriate behavior in an ESPN report. 60 year old Sarver, who is white, was accused of frequently using an anti-Black racial slur in the presence of and in reference to employees and players, according to an ESPN report. Sarver was also accused of making other comments that made Black employees uncomfortable and of making misogynistic and sexual comments about women in the workplace, according to the report. In statements to ESPN, Sarver denied most of the accusations. (Source: NYT)
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