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Updated: 47 min 49 sec ago

Judge Rejects QAnon Shaman's Bid For Early Release From Jail

2 hours 9 min ago
A federal judge ruled Monday that the so-called "QAnon Shaman" must remain in jail pending his trial for his role in the Jan. 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol because he remains a threat to the public. Judge Royce Lamberth said, in his order rejecting Jacob Chansley's request for early release, that "no condition or combination of conditions" would ensure Chansley's return to court if he were released. Lamberth said Chansley believes his actions during the siege of the Capitol, an attack in which five people died, were peaceful. That mindset, Lamberth wrote, shows "a detachment from reality." "Defendant characterizes himself as a peaceful person who was welcomed into the Capitol building on January 6th by police officers," Lamberth wrote in the order. "The Court finds none of his many attempts to manipulate the evidence and minimize the seriousness of his actions persuasive." A shirtless Chansley was photographed inside the U.S. Senate chamber. He wore attention-grabbing red and blue face

Instagram Suggested Posts To Users. It Served Up COVID-19 Falsehoods, Study Finds

4 hours 25 min ago
Instagram recommended false claims about COVID-19, vaccines and the 2020 U.S. election to people who appeared interested in related topics, according to a new report from a group that tracks online misinformation. "The Instagram algorithm is driving people further and further into their own realities, but also splitting those realities apart so that some people are getting no misinformation whatsoever and some people are being driven more and more misinformation," said Imran Ahmed, CEO of the Center for Countering Digital Hate, which conducted the study. From September to November 2020, Instagram recommended 104 posts containing misinformation, or about one post a week, to 15 profiles set up by the U.K.-based nonprofit. The automated recommendations appeared in several places on the photo-sharing app, including in a new "suggested posts" feature introduced in August 2020 and the "Explore" section, which points users towards content they might be interested in. The study is the latest

South Dakota Passes Bill Restricting Transgender Girls From Sports Teams

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 7:26pm
Monday, the South Dakota state Senate passed a bill that restricts transgender women athletes from competing on high school and college girls' and women's teams. The measure now goes to Republican Gov. Kristi Noem who has said she is excited to sign the bill into law. "This is a very simple bill. It's a bill to protect women's sports," says Republican State Sen. Maggie Sutton, one of the primary sponsors of the legislation. "It's not against transgenders," Sutton says. "To me, it looks an awful lot like bullying," says Democratic state Sen. Reynold Nesiba, who voted against the bill. Janna Farley is the spokesperson for the ACLU of South Dakota. She says it is disheartening that legislators are spending their time on bills like this. "We don't need to have discrimination like this codified into law." The legislation requires that schools and athletic associations collect written waivers documenting every student athlete's "reproductive biology." There are roughly 40,000 students who

Pope Francis Defends His Trip To Iraq Despite Infection Risks

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 6:08pm
On his flight home from Iraq, Pope Francis admitted he's happy to have left the Vatican for several days after feeling "imprisoned" during COVID-19 lockdowns. The pope also said he's not afraid of critics that don't support his decision to open Christian-Muslim dialogue. Before embarking on his journey, Francis was warned about contracting the coronavirus or contributing to the spread, especially with cases on the rise in Iraq. To mitigate these concerns, the pope and his travel entourage were vaccinated before making the trip. And although the Vatican had worked with local organizers to ensure there would be appropriate social distancing and consistent masking, there were multiple instances were crowds gathered a little too close and where masks at times were scarce, according to the National Catholic Reporter . Before leaving for Iraq, the 84-year-old pope had been cooped up in the Vatican for 15 months. "After these months in prison, because I truly felt in prison, this [trip] for

Georgia Senate Republicans Pass Bill To End No-Excuse Absentee Voting

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 6:07pm
Republicans in the Georgia Senate have narrowly approved an omnibus voting bill that would end no-excuse absentee voting 16 years after Republicans first enacted it . The legislation, SB 241 , would make a number of sweeping changes to Georgia's election code, most notably cracking down on who is eligible to vote by mail. Instead of allowing anyone to request an absentee ballot, the bill would limit it to people who are over 65, are physically disabled, are required to be outside their voting precinct during the three-week in-person early voting period and Election Day, have a religious holiday that falls on Election Day, work in elections or qualify as a military or overseas absentee voter. Despite the Senate passage Monday, some of the state's top Republicans have indicated they oppose curbing mail-in voting. One of those Republicans, Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, is opposed to removing no-excuse absentee voting and some other measures proposed by fellow Republicans and opted not to preside

Who are the attorneys leading the sexual harassment probe against Cuomo?

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 5:59pm
Allegations of sexual harassment recently made against Gov. Andrew Cuomo will be investigated by a pair of attorneys from the private sector, including a former federal prosecutor who oversaw a public corruption case involving a former top aide to the governor. The team of lawyers will be empowered to depose witnesses, subpoena the administration for testimony and documents, and retrieve other data relevant to the investigation. Joon H. Kim, a former federal prosecutor from Manhattan who led the office when former Cuomo aide Joe Percoco was facing charges in a corruption scheme, will serve as one half of the team. He’s currently a partner at the law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton. Anne E. Clark, an employment and discrimination attorney , will also lead the probe. Clark is a partner at Vladeck, Raskin & Clark, P.C. in Manhattan. New York Attorney General Letitia James, whose office will now hand off the investigation to Kim and Clark, said both were credentialed to

A 75% capacity limit does not mean much for most local restaurants

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 5:12pm
State restrictions on restaurants are slowly being eased. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday that restaurants, outside of New York City, can allow 75% of their capacity starting March 19. “The numbers are down,” said Cuomo, referring to the COVID-19 positivity rate. “When the numbers are down we adjust the economic reopening valve. It's not just good news for the restaurant owners. Remember, you have a lot of staff at restaurants, there are a lot of jobs, there are a lot of suppliers, so we'll go to 75%.”

Michelle Obama among inductees into National Women's Hall of Fame

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 5:05pm
The National Women’s Hall of Fame has announced the 9 women who will be inducted this fall, and among them is Michelle Obama. It’s not known yet if the former First Lady will be at the October 2 event in Seneca Falls in-person, or virtually. And that’s the case with any of the living inductees, according to Kate Bennett, who is co-president of the Hall’s Board of Directors. She said that COVID-19 plays a role this year, although it’s hoped there can be a combination of in-person and virtual activities. “We love to celebrate these great American women and there are stories behind each of these women of how they have broken glass ceilings and how they have begun to shape other people’s lives through the work they have done,” Bennett said. She notes that the event will also give the Hall a chance to show off their “new” digs, the recently revitalized Seneca Knitting Mill building. "We've been welcoming guests since August of 2020 in a socially distanced safe way and we are excited to get

Why Scientists Are Infecting Healthy Volunteers With The Coronavirus

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 4:55pm
Researchers in England are deliberately exposing volunteers to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The goal is to speed up the development of new vaccines and treatments. But exposing people to a potentially fatal disease with no particularly effective therapy strikes some as unnecessary, if not unethical. Human challenge experiments differ from other studies of COVID-19 in a very important respect. "The main difference is the control," says Christopher Chiu , an infectious disease researcher at Imperial College London and lead scientist for the challenge study. He says with a challenge study, you know exactly when a person was exposed to the virus, and exactly how much virus they were exposed to. Without knowing these things, you have to wait until people are exposed to the virus by chance. "You'll end up having to recruit a lot more people, give a lot more people your candidate vaccine, before you'll see a result," Chiu says. Indeed, it took many months and tens of thousands of

A Single Centrist Senator Can Have Significant Influence In Today's Congress

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 4:55pm
Democrats hold narrow majorities in the House and Senate and moderates in their caucus are already having an outsized impact. West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin got concessions in the COVID-19 bill.

Sen. Roy Blunt Says He Won't Run For Re-Election

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 4:55pm
ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: Thousands of Texans still lack clean drinking water after the historic blackouts two weeks ago. Extreme weather is increasingly causing these kinds of disasters around the country. So some communities are keeping the power on for vulnerable people and infrastructure by installing giant batteries. NPR's Lauren Sommer has more. LAUREN SOMMER, BYLINE: As the power outage dragged on in Austin, a lot of residents worried about heat. But another problem quickly emerged. Without power, there's no water, as Austin Water Director Greg Meszaros alerted the community. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) GREG MESZAROS: Our Ullrich Treatment Plant, which is our largest plant, had experienced an electrical disruption and was out of service. SOMMER: The main water treatment plant went dark, which meant the water wasn't clean enough to drink. Water infrastructure needs power, something that became very clear almost a decade ago in New Jersey. ANDREW POWERS: I'll never forget driving

Former Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler Has Created A Conservative Voting Initiative

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 4:55pm
ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: Thousands of Texans still lack clean drinking water after the historic blackouts two weeks ago. Extreme weather is increasingly causing these kinds of disasters around the country. So some communities are keeping the power on for vulnerable people and infrastructure by installing giant batteries. NPR's Lauren Sommer has more. LAUREN SOMMER, BYLINE: As the power outage dragged on in Austin, a lot of residents worried about heat. But another problem quickly emerged. Without power, there's no water, as Austin Water Director Greg Meszaros alerted the community. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) GREG MESZAROS: Our Ullrich Treatment Plant, which is our largest plant, had experienced an electrical disruption and was out of service. SOMMER: The main water treatment plant went dark, which meant the water wasn't clean enough to drink. Water infrastructure needs power, something that became very clear almost a decade ago in New Jersey. ANDREW POWERS: I'll never forget driving

Climate Activist Spends 589 Days And Counting Picking Up Litter In Calif. Park

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 4:42pm
After spending 589 consecutive days picking up litter at one of Los Angeles County's most popular hiking spots, 20-year-old Edgar McGregor says the park is clean of municipal waste. But his job is far from over. The climate activist, who says he has autism, made the trip to Eaton Canyon — part of the Angeles National Forest in southern California — throughout the pandemic and in extreme weather, picking up litter left behind by visitors and posting his progress on social media. He announced on Friday that there was no more trash to be found, but that he plans to return several times a week for maintenance while also turning his attention to new parks. Social media users cheered McGregor's achievement, with thousands liking and sharing his video. Among them was Greta Thunberg , the Swedish environmental activist who has become internationally known as the face of the climate strike movement . McGregor plans to return to Eaton Canyon two or three times a week for maintenance, at least

Cuomo conducts business as usual, as calls grow for impeachment 

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 4:32pm
The federal pandemic relief package moving through Congress would go a long way toward filling New York’s multibillion-dollar budget deficit. But Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the State Legislature would still need to plug a smaller gap. Getting there could be tricky, with Cuomo embroiled in two scandals, the Democratic leader of the state Senate calling for the governor’s resignation, and Republicans pushing for impeachment. If the relief package is approved, New York state would receive about $12.5 billion to help fill what Cuomo said is a $15 billion budget gap for this year and the next fiscal year. More than half of that deficit was caused by revenue declines and additional spending because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which hit the state hard last spring. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said New York City would receive $6 billion to help in its economic recovery from the pandemic. Other local governments around the state would get $4.9 billion, and $9 billion would go to

Undocumented Venezuelans Given Protected Status In United States

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 4:27pm
Updated at 4:25 p.m. ET The Biden administration said Monday that it will allow many Venezuelans who are already in the country illegally to remain because of the humanitarian and economic crisis in the socialist South American nation that is an adversary of the U.S. Carrying out a promise President Biden made on the campaign trail, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas granted Temporary Protected Status to an estimated 320,000 Venezuelans. Despite being home to some of the world's largest oil reserves, Venezuela has fallen into a life-threatening economic and humanitarian crises that have caused more than 5 million Venezuelans to flee in search of food, medicine and shelter. "This designation is due to the extraordinary and temporary conditions in Venezuela that prevent the nationals who are here from returning safely," said a senior administration official in a briefing with reporters. "This is a complex humanitarian crisis: widespread hunger, malnutrition, growing influence

Connections: Discussing nursing home reform in the wake of the reported Cuomo cover-up

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 2:46pm
The Wall Street Journal reports that the Cuomo administration intentionally covered up data on nursing home deaths during the first several months of the pandemic last year. The administration has adjusted its figures to show many more nursing home deaths than originally reported; the cover-up happened at a time when Governor Cuomo was writing his book on pandemic leadership. Our guests discuss what we've learned, and what real reform might look like in the nursing home industry. Our guests: Jimmy Vielkind , Wall Street Journal reporter Laurie Kash , advocate for nursing home reform Note: We invited numerous nursing home executives and representatives, but all declined.

Connections: How has the pandemic affected the book publishing industry?

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 2:44pm
How has the pandemic affected the book publishing industry? NPR reports that like many other fields, book publishing has been upended. Publishers pushed back release dates, book events were put on hold, and many bookstores closed their doors for good. This hour, we talk about the state of the industry with the experts. Our guests: Carlo DeVito , author and longtime publishing industry executive Alison Meyers , executive director of Writers & Books Kristi Gibson, owner of Magpie Bookshop

Roberts Accuses Supreme Court Justices Of 'Turning Judges Into Advice Columnists'

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 2:32pm
Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET For the first time in his nearly 16 years on the Supreme Court, Chief Justice John Roberts has filed a solo dissent. In it, he bluntly accused his colleagues of a "radical expansion" of the court's jurisdiction. At issue was a case brought by two college students at Georgia Gwinnett College who were repeatedly blocked from making religious speeches and distributing religious literature on campus. They sued the college, claiming a violation of their First Amendment free speech rights. The college soon caved, agreeing to abandon the challenged policies and pay the students' legal fees. But when the students sought to continue their case, on the grounds that they had asked for nominal damages, the lower courts dismissed the case as moot. The Court sees no problem with turning judges into advice columnists. - Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts The dismissal meant that while the students ultimately got everything they asked for, the case did not stand as a

As Hungary Cuts Radio Station, Critics Say Europe Should Put Orban On Notice

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 2:14pm
BERLIN — Hungary's Klubradio station broadcast its news program on Feb. 14 as it had for more than two decades. The next day it was pulled off the air. Some 3.5 million people in the capital of Budapest, more than a third of the country's population, tuned in for the show, according to the station's head of news, Mihaly Hardy. Now devoted listeners stream it online only. "We have lost 60 to 70% of our usual audience," Hardy says. Klubradio is one of Hungary's last remaining independent stations that airs criticism of the government . It was forced off the airwaves after a court upheld an order by the nation's media authority not to renew its broadcasting license. That was the latest blow to press freedom in a country where the right-wing populist leadership and its allies have increased control and influence over the media. The European Union's executive condemned the action , but critics say the EU hasn't done enough to punish its member state for repeatedly violating the bloc's

CRISPR Scientist's Biography Explores Ethics Of Rewriting The Code Of Life

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 1:48pm
The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are the first vaccines to be activated by mRNA — and would not have been possible without the invention of the gene editing technology known as CRISPR . In his new book, The Code Breaker , author Walter Isaacson chronicles the development of CRISPR and profiles Jennifer Doudna , who, along with Emmanuelle Charpentier, won the 2020 Nobel prize in chemistry for their roles in developing the technology. CRISPR has already led to experimental treatments for Huntington's disease and sickle cell anemia , as well as certain cancers . Isaacson likens its technological capabilities to "Prometheus snatching fire from the gods — or maybe Adam and Eve biting into the apple." "The very secrets of life — our DNA — is something that we can not only read these days, but we can write. We can rewrite it if we want to," Isaacson says. "It made me think that all of us should understand and marvel at and be excited about this notion." But, Isaacson warns that gene