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Wicked Blue

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Gender: Female
Hometown: Maryland
Home country: United States
Member since: Tue Aug 11, 2020, 09:58 PM
Number of posts: 4,474

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Cory Booker's 'baby bonds' giving $1,000 per newborn could get a new life in a Democratic Congress

By Jonathan D. Salant | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker on Thursday proposed legislation that he prominently featured in his unsuccessful presidential campaign: A $1,000 savings account for every newborn American.

Known as “baby bonds,” the government would add up to $2,000 every year depending on income. Recipients could begin withdrawing money from their accounts at age 18, giving them a nest egg to tap to spend on things like a college education, a downpayment on a home, or start a small business.

The funds would sit in a U.S. government account paying around 3% interest, and Booker, a Democrat, said the money would help narrow the economic gap between rich and poor. During the presidential campaign, he said his proposal could give children as much as $50,000 in the bank by the time they finished high school.

“In a country as wealthy as ours, every person should have access to economic opportunity and the chance to build assets and create wealth,” Booker said.


These local newspapers say Facebook and Google are killing them. Now they're fighting back.

Washington Post
By Margaret Sullivan
Media columnist
Feb. 4, 2021 at 6:00 a.m. EST

Lurking behind a groundbreaking lawsuit recently filed in federal court in West Virginia is a haunting question: What if?

What if local newspapers had been able to compete successfully for digital advertising revenue as their readers moved online? What if the powerful “duopoly” of Google and Facebook hadn’t sucked up all the oxygen in this new digital economy, essentially asphyxiating traditional media by depriving it of the ad dollars needed to survive?

Would the newspaper industry be healthier — and therefore would our democracy be healthier? Is there still time for an industry to get up off its death bed?

The people behind this antitrust lawsuit hope to find out. Although there is no dollar figure identified in the complaint, West Virginia attorney Paul Farrell, who filed it, thinks the numbers could be astronomical: The two behemoth companies have pocketed billions of dollars in ad revenue — more than half of all the digital advertising dollars in 2019, for example — while newspapers have been struggling to replace the print-ad dollars that once sustained them.


New report finds toxic heavy metals in popular baby foods. FDA failed to warn consumers of risk

Washington Post
By Laura Reiley
Feb. 4, 2021 at 8:41 a.m. EST

A congressional report found many of the products made by the country’s largest commercial baby food manufacturers contain significant levels of toxic heavy metals, including arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury, which can endanger infant neurological development.

The report released Thursday from the House Oversight Committee’s subcommittee on economic and consumer policy found heavy metals in rice cereals, sweet potato puree, juices and sweet snack puffs made by some of the most trusted names in baby food.

Gerber, Beech-Nut, HappyBABY (made by Nurture) and Earth’s Best Organic baby foods (made by Hain Celestial Group) complied with the committee’s request to submit internal testing documents.

Campbell Soup, which sells Plum Organics baby foods, Walmart (its private brand is Parent’s Choice) and Sprout Foods declined to cooperate, according to members of the subcommittee.


Africa will receive nearly 90 million vaccines from COVAX by February

Source: CNN

From CNN’s Lauren Kent and Arnaud Siad

Africa is to receive nearly 90 million Covid-19 vaccines in February in what will be the continent’s “largest ever mass vaccination campaign,” the World Health Organization announced in a statement on Thursday.

In the statement, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, said: “Africa has watched other regions start COVID-19 vaccination campaigns from the side-lines for too long. This planned roll-out is a critical first step to ensuring the continent gets equitable access to vaccines.”

Most vaccines will be from the AstraZeneca/Oxford AZD1222 vaccine and subject to the vaccine being listed for emergency use by WHO. The WHO is currently reviewing the vaccine and the outcome of the review is expected soon.

The statement adds that around 320,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine — which has received WHO Emergency Use Listing — have been allocated to four African countries — Cabo Verde, Rwanda, South Africa and Tunisia, which are able to store and distribute doses at minus 70 degrees Celsius.

Read more: https://www.cnn.com/world/live-news/coronavirus-pandemic-vaccine-updates-02-04-21/index.html

Denmark and Norway join European nations recommending against AstraZeneca vaccine for older people

Denmark and Norway join European nations recommending against AstraZeneca vaccine for older people

From CNN’s James Frater, Arnaud Siad and Vasco Cotovio

Denmark and Norway have joined a slew of European nations saying they won't give the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine to people over 65, their national health agencies confirmed on Thursday.

Both cited a lack of data available on the use of the vaccine in older groups.

"We have reviewed the documentation, and until we have seen more data on efficacy among the elderly, it is our recommendation that the vaccine from AstraZeneca should first and foremost be an offer for people under 65," Bolette Sřborg from Denmark’s National Board of Health said in a statement.

“We want to make sure we have the best data and background for the vaccine policy at the national level,” a spokesperson for the Norwegian Institute of Public Health told CNN.

On Wednesday, Belgium recommended not administering the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine to people over the age of 55, following similar decisions in France, Germany, Austria and Sweden which restricted its use for people under 65.


U.S. Is Worst Among Developed Nations for Worker Benefits

By Greg Iacurci, CNBC

The U.S. places last relative to its national policies around healthcare, unemployment, retirement, parental leave, and paid vacation and sick days, according to Zenefits, a human resources firm.

The Czech Republic, Latvia, South Korea and Mexico joined the U.S. among the five least-generous countries. Denmark, the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden and Switzerland were the top nations for worker benefits.

The U.S., for example, is the only advanced nation that doesn't guarantee paid vacation time to workers, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research. By comparison, Europeans get at least 20 days of legally mandated vacation days, and some countries require at least 30.

It's also the only industrialized nation that doesn't offer universal healthcare for its citizens. The U.S. spends more on healthcare than other high-income countries relative to the size of its economy. However, it also has the highest number of hospitalizations from preventable causes and the highest rate of avoidable deaths relative to other wealthy nations, according to the Commonwealth Fund.


UK Launches 'World First' Trial Mixing Different Covid Vaccines for First and Second Doses


LONDON — A trial is being launched in the U.K. to explore whether using different Covid-19 vaccines for the first and second doses works in a bid to make nationwide vaccination programs more flexible.

The trial, being led by the University of Oxford and run by the National Immunisation Schedule Evaluation Consortium, will evaluate the feasibility of using a different vaccine for the initial "prime" vaccination to the follow-up "booster" vaccination.


"If we do show that these vaccines can be used interchangeably in the same schedule this will greatly increase the flexibility of vaccine delivery, and could provide clues as to how to increase the breadth of protection against new virus strains," Matthew Snape, chief investigator on the trial and associate professor in Paediatrics and Vaccinology at the University of Oxford, said on Thursday.

The trial, which is formally known as the "COVID-19 Heterologous Prime Boost study" but has been dubbed the "Com-Cov" study, will recruit over 800 volunteers aged 50 and above in England to evaluate the four different combinations of prime and booster vaccination.


Virginia Senate Passes Death Penalty Abolition Bill

By Sarah Rankin

The Virginia Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would abolish the death penalty, a measure that if passed into law would mark a major policy change for a state that over its centuries-long history has led the nation in the number of executions it has carried out.

The Democrat-controlled chamber approved the bill in a 21-17 vote that split along party lines and was seen as a key hurdle for the measure. Advocates now expect the House version of the bill to easily clear that chamber, and Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam has said he supports the legislation.

Wednesday's vote followed a lengthy, emotional floor debate.

“I cannot think of anything that is more awful, unspeakable and wrong for a government to do than to use its power to execute somebody who didn’t commit the crime they’re accused of. The problem with capital punishment is that once it’s inflicted you can’t take it back, it can’t be corrected,” Democratic Sen. Scott Surovell, the bill’s sponsor, said as he introduced it.


'New Chance at Life': Man Gets Face, Hands in Rare Surgery

By Marion Renault and Marshall Ritzel
Published February 3, 2021

Almost six months after a rare face and hands transplant, Joe DiMeo is relearning how to smile, blink, pinch and squeeze.

The 22-year-old New Jersey resident had the operation last August, two years after being badly burned in a car crash.

“I knew it would be baby steps all the way,” DiMeo told The Associated Press. “You’ve got to have a lot of motivation, a lot of patience. And you’ve got to stay strong through everything.”

Experts say it appears the surgery at NYU Langone Health was a success, but warn it’ll take some time to say for sure.


Line Cooks Have the Highest Risk of Dying During Pandemic, Plus Other Riskiest Jobs: Study

By Cory Stieg, CNBC • Published February 3, 2021

A new study from the University of California, San Francisco suggests that line cooks have the highest risk of mortality during the Covid pandemic — even more than healthcare workers.

For the study, which hasn't been peer-reviewed yet, researchers analyzed California death certificates for working-age people 18 to 65, during the first seven months of the pandemic. Then they looked at how the number of deaths increased in that time frame compared to pre-pandemic times.


Line cooks had a 60% increase in mortality associated with the pandemic.

The top five occupations that had higher than a 50% mortality rate increase during the pandemic include cooks, line workers in warehouses, agricultural workers, bakers and construction laborers.

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