Education

COVID-19

Walmart to stop requiring masks for vaccinated workers and shoppers

American companies began to rethink their requirements for face masks after federal health regulators relaxed their guidelines this week, and on Friday Walmart made the first big move to bend to the new view. The U.S.’s largest private employer said it would no longer require vaccinated workers and shoppers to wear masks in stores and warehouses outside of municipalities that require it. Walmart’s new policy for its 1.6 million U.S. workers goes into effect May 18, the company said, while vaccinated customers could shop maskless immediately.

Matt Gaetz Scandal

Matt Gaetz scandal deepens as associate admits paying 17-year-old for sex

The scandal engulfing Matt Gaetz, one of Donald Trump’s brashest supporters in Congress, deepened on Friday after an associate admitted sex trafficking involving a minor and agreed to cooperate with investigators. Joel Greenberg, a former tax collector in Florida, said he and unidentified others paid a 17-year-old girl for sex and he provided the girl with drugs, according to court papers cited by multiple media outlets. Greenberg, 37, is expected to plead guilty to six federal charges, including financial crimes, in court in Orlando on Monday.

Fox News

Anti-Defamation League calls for Tucker Carlson to be fired

The head of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has called for Fox News host Tucker Carlson to be fired after a segment Thursday that referenced "replacement" theory. Greenblatt was referring to Carlson’s appearance on “Fox News Primetime,” when, talking to columnist Mark Steyn, the host offered a theory on why Democrats are pro-immigration.

John Boehner on Ted Cruz

“I don’t beat anybody up, it’s not really my style, except for that jerk.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Friday bashed former Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) for what he called “drunken, bloviated scorn” in the latest tit for tat between the two GOP figures. Cruz in a tweet responded to a clip from a “CBS Sunday Morning” interview scheduled to air this weekend in which Boehner said of Cruz, “I don’t beat anybody up, it’s not really my style, except for that jerk.”

Sex Scandal

Matt Gaetz named as subject of House Ethics Committee probe

The House Ethics Committee said it has begun an investigation into allegations involving Rep. Matt Gaetz (R., Fla.), citing a host of alleged abuses including sexual misconduct, the sharing of inappropriate images or videos on the House floor and the improper conversion of campaign funds to personal use.

SCOTUS

Joe Biden establishes commission to study expanding Supreme Court

President Biden signed an executive order Friday establishing a commission to study whether to add seats to the Supreme Court and other reform proposals, the White House announced, fulfilling a promise he made on the campaign trail. The commission will be chaired by former White House counsel Bob Bauer and Cristina Rodriguez, a Yale law school professor and former deputy assistant attorney general, and largely consists of academics and former officials from across the political spectrum.

DMX

Swaggering but troubled rapper, dies at 50

Earl Simmons, the snarling yet soulful rapper known as DMX, who had a string of No. 1 albums in the late 1990s and early 2000s but whose personal struggles eventually rivaled his lyrical prowess, died on Friday in White Plains, N.Y. He was 50. His family announced the death in a statement. He had been on life support at White Plains Hospital after suffering what his family called “a catastrophic cardiac arrest” a week earlier.

Taylor Swift

Fearless (Taylor’s Version) review – old wounds take on new resonances

In 2012, Def Leppard announced in robust style that they would be rerecording their biggest hits. It was provoked by a dispute with their former record label, designed to “punch them in the bollocks”, said frontman Joe Elliott. “We fucking built that company. We built their penthouse sushi bar, wherever it may be, and they just treated us like shit.”

Fox & Friends

Harry and Meghan cause for Prince Philip's death

Minutes after the British royal family announced that Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, Prince Philip, had died at the age of 99, the sleuths at Fox & Friends blamed their inevitable culprits: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Host Brian Kilmeade immediately linked the death of the extremely old and sickly Duke of Edinburgh to Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, which aired last month and contained shocking claims of racism and cruel treatment against Meghan by royal family members.

COVID-19

Documents show Trump officials helped suppress coronavirus CDC reports

Top former Trump administration advisors helped suppress scientific information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention they felt was harmful to President Trump, and attacked the agency's credibility, according to documents obtained by House Democrats. The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis sent letters to former Trump advisers Scott Atlas, Paul Alexander, and Steven Hatfill, asking for documents and communications about the former administration's response to the pandemic.

Election Fraud

Feds told that Gaetz, lobbyist discussed running sham candidate in state Senate race

Federal investigators were told that Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) discussed running a sham candidate in the 2020 state Senate race with a lobbyist, two people familiar with the matter told The New York Times. The Times reported that the Florida Republican discussed the possibility of running a sham candidate with lobbyist Christ Dorworth to help Jason Brodeur, an associate of Gaetz’s, win an open seat in the Florida state Senate.

The Logan Circle Group

Gaetz-tied group threatens to sue reporters writing on his Trump relationship

A boutique conservative consultancy group working on behalf of Rep. Matt Gaetz is threatening to sue journalists for their coverage of the embattled congressman. The entity, Logan Circle Group, is run by Harlan Hill, a former Democrat who became a top Trump surrogate during the 2016 presidential election. The official behind the recent legal threats is Erin Elmore, a colleague of Hill’s at the Washington-based consulting firm and a Season 3 contestant on “The Apprentice.”

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Buckingham Palace has announced the death of the Queen’s husband of 73 years

A statement from Buckingham Palace on Friday said: “It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle. Further announcements will made in due course. The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.” He was the longest serving consort in British history, and was only months away from his 100th birthday in June.

Chauvin Trial

Expert Dr. Martin Tobin says George Floyd died from a lack of oxygen, not Fentanyl

Dr. Martin Tobin, a pulmonary specialist who works in critical care, testified Thursday that George Floyd died from a lack of oxygen, bolstering the prosecution's argument that former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin caused Floyd's death last May. As an expert witness for the prosecution, Tobin said the state asked him to review documents and videos depicting the circumstances of Floyd's death. Tobin watched some of those videos hundreds of times, he said. Prosecutors say Chauvin killed Floyd by pressing his knee on Floyd's neck.

Sex Scandal

'Matt Gaetz wants to date your child' billboard appears in Florida

A billboard has appeared in Florida taking aim at the federal sex trafficking investigation into Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.). The ads were paid for by the liberal Mad Dog PAC. Claude Taylor, former staffer in former President Clinton’s White House who chairs the PAC, shared a video of the billboard with the caption “Hello, @mattgaetz, any thoughts on our billboard? Reporters are trying to reach to you for your comments.”

Criminal Investigation

Investigators seize documents from Trump executive's former daughter-in-law

Officials from the Manhattan District Attorney's Office took possession of documents potentially related to the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, on Thursday as part of an ongoing investigation into the former president's finances.

Bill Gates

The biggest private owner of farmland in the United States

Bill Gates has never been a farmer. So why did the Land Report dub him “Farmer Bill” this year? The third richest man on the planet doesn’t have a green thumb. Nor does he put in the back-breaking labor humble people do to grow our food and who get far less praise for it. That kind of hard work isn’t what made him rich.

Trump Swamp

Fox News hires Mike Pompeo as contributor

Fox News has hired former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as a contributor, the network announced Thursday.

Ghislaine Maxwell

She has to be reminded to clean her ‘very dirty’ cell, federal prosecutors say

Manhattan federal prosecutors have hit back after a lawyer for Ghislaine Maxwell complained about her “detrimental” conditions last month, saying in a letter filed Tuesday that the real problem seems to be her failure to clean her “very dirty” cell and flush her toilet. The letter came in response to a complaint sent to a federal judge in February by a lawyer for the British socialite.

Jody Stiger

Expert: Derek Chauvin never took knee off George Floyd's neck

Officer Derek Chauvin had his knee on George Floyd’s neck — and was bearing down with most of his weight — the entire 9 1/2 minutes the Black man lay facedown with his hands cuffed behind his back, a use-of-force expert testified Wednesday at Chauvin’s murder trial.

Matt Gaetz Scandal

The relationship with a scandal-prone local tax collector got him into big trouble

His Seminole County tax office was the only one in the state where employees were armed with pistols and body armor. He wore his own law enforcement badge and carried a sidearm at tax collector conferences. He let people pay property taxes with Bitcoin. He tweeted Islamophobic comments, installed a remote-controlled sprinkler system to spray petition gatherers he didn’t like and doled out fat contracts to his groomsmen shortly after winning the usually humdrum Orlando-area office with a campaign to stop “crony capitalism.”

Andrew Cuomo

Andrew Giuliani talked with Trump about a New York gov run

Andrew Giuliani, the son of Trump lawyer and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, said in an interview Wednesday that he is “seriously considering” a run for governor in 2020 and spoke with former President Donald Trump earlier this week about his political ambitions.

Shortnews

mifepristone

Supreme Court reinstates restrictions on abortion pill

The Supreme Court on Tuesday night granted the Trump administration’s request to reinstate federal rules requiring people seeking medication abortions to obtain the pills in-person from a medical provider. The court’s 6-3 decision along ideological lines halted a lower court ruling that waived Food and Drug Administration rules to allow abortion pills to be distributed by mail during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Read More
mifepristone

Supreme Court reinstates restrictions on abortion pill

The Supreme Court on Tuesday night granted the Trump administration’s request to reinstate federal rules requiring people seeking medication abortions to obtain the pills in-person from a medical provider. The court’s 6-3 decision along ideological lines halted a lower court ruling that waived Food and Drug Administration rules to allow abortion pills to be distributed by mail during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The ruling was the court’s first major action on abortion since Justice Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed to the seat left vacant by the death of liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. In a brief opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts asserted that the case wasn’t about abortion, but rather whether courts could substitute judgment of federal officials at the FDA.

The court’s three liberal justices said they would have denied the Trump administration’s request for a stay. In a dissenting opinion, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan said federal government rules restricting dispensation of the abortion pill, mifepristone, are medically unnecessary and present “an unnecessary, unjustifiable, irrational, and undue burden” on women.

A short-handed Supreme Court in October had declined to intervene in the same case. That allowed abortion clinics to continue dispensing the pills via telemedicine and through the mail, which they say has kept patients and staff safer during the pandemic.

The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court to reconsider its request after Barrett joined the bench. The administration said continuing to enforce longstanding FDA rules on mifepristone, which was approved 20 years ago, “does not create a substantial burden on abortion access.”

The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented abortion clinics challenging the FDA rules, said no evidence has emerged during the pandemic showing it is riskier for patients to receive the pills at home rather than at a clinic. In a December filing with the Supreme Court, the group argued that with the virus surging nationwide, reinstating the rules would “subject patients to needless and grave health risks.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci

Vaccine is ‘unlikely’ by U.S. election

White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday a coronavirus vaccine probably won’t be ready by the U.S. presidential election even as the Centers for Disease and Prevention asks states to ready distribution facilities by Nov. 1. At a health conference, Fauci said it’s more likely a vaccine will be ready by “the end of the year” as drug companies Moderna and Pfizer race to complete patient enrollment for their late-stage vaccine trials by the end of September.

Read More
Dr. Anthony Fauci

Vaccine is ‘unlikely’ by U.S. election

White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday a coronavirus vaccine probably won’t be ready by the U.S. presidential election even as the Centers for Disease and Prevention asks states to ready distribution facilities by Nov. 1.

At a health conference, Fauci said it’s more likely a vaccine will be ready by “the end of the year” as drug companies Moderna and Pfizer race to complete patient enrollment for their late-stage vaccine trials by the end of September.

“It’s unlikely we’ll have a definitive answer” by the Nov. 3 election, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said at the Research! America 2020 National Health Research Forum.

The comments are also at odds with President Donald Trump, who suggested at a press conference Monday that a vaccine could be ready for distribution by Election Day.

UFO Investigation

Pentagon forms new task force

The Pentagon is forming a new task force to investigate UFO sightings that have been observed on several occasions by U.S. military aircraft. The creation of the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force, or UAPTF, continues an effort begun in recent years to investigate unexplained aerial incidents encountered by the U.S. military. “The Department of Defense established the UAPTF to improve its understanding of, and gain insight into, the nature and origins of UAPs. The mission of the task force is to detect, analyze and catalog UAPs that could potentially pose a threat to U.S. national security,” the Pentagon wrote in a statement late Friday.

Read More
UFO Investigation

Pentagon forms new task force

The Pentagon is forming a new task force to investigate UFO sightings that have been observed on several occasions by U.S. military aircraft. The creation of the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force, or UAPTF, continues an effort begun in recent years to investigate unexplained aerial incidents encountered by the U.S. military.

“The Department of Defense established the UAPTF to improve its understanding of, and gain insight into, the nature and origins of UAPs. The mission of the task force is to detect, analyze and catalog UAPs that could potentially pose a threat to U.S. national security,” the Pentagon wrote in a statement late Friday.

“The Department of Defense and the military departments take any incursions by unauthorized aircraft into our training ranges or designated airspace very seriously and examine each report. This includes examinations of incursions that are initially reported as UAP when the observer cannot immediately identify what he or she is observing,” the statement added.

The new task force will be overseen by the Department of the Navy and will report to the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security. The U.S. Navy has previously led efforts to look into unidentified aerial phenomena since the service branch has reported several encounters involving their aircraft.

In April, the Pentagon declassified three videos captured by U.S. Navy pilots that appear to show unidentified flying objects. Two of the videos contain U.S. service members commenting on how quickly the object moves while another speculates that the unidentifiable object could be a drone.

“Dude, this is a f--king drone, bro,” one pilot is heard saying. Another says “there’s a whole fleet of them.”

“They’re all going against the wind. The wind’s 120 knots to the west. Look at that thing, dude!” the first person says. “It’s rotating!”

President Donald Trump has previously described the U.S. Navy footage as “a hell of a video” and told Reuters that he wonders “if it’s real.”

In June, the Senate Intelligence Committee voted that the Pentagon as well as intelligence community leaders should provide a public analysis of the encounters.

England

Jürgen Klopp zum Fußball-Manager des Jahres gewählt

Jürgen Klopp ist nach dem Gewinn der Meisterschaft mit dem FC Liverpool von seinen Trainerkollegen zum Fußball-Manager des Jahres in England gewählt worden. Der Coach erhielt die Sir Alex Ferguson Trophy für seine herausragenden Leistungen. Klopp hatte Liverpool in der abgelaufenen Saison zum ersten Meistertitel seit 30 Jahren geführt. "Das ist sehr besonders für mich, weil ich von meinen Kollegen gewählt worden bin", sagte Klopp. Ferguson, der einst Manchester United zur Weltmarke formte, hob die "außerordentliche" Leistung von Klopps Team hervor. "Du hast es absolut verdient".

Fussball England

Lovren und Lallana verlassen Liverpool

Der kroatische Nationalspieler Dejan Lovren und Adam Lallana verlassen den von Jürgen Klopp trainierten englischen Fußballmeister FC Liverpool. Nach sechs Jahren bei den Reds wechselt der 31 Jahre alte Innenverteidiger Lovren in die russische Premjer-Liga zu Zenit St. Petersburg. Das gaben beide Clubs bekannt. Beim russischen Meister unterschrieb Lovren einen Dreijahresvertrag bis 2023. Lallana zieht es indes zu Brighton and Hove Albion. Beim Premier-League-15. erhält der 32-Jährige einen Dreijahresvertrag.