The real-world effectiveness of Covid vaccines has not matched the hype of the 95% efficacy claimed in manufacturer trials on the basis of which they were granted emergency-use authorisation. They’ve proven disappointingly leaky with a surprisingly swift waning of effectiveness, necessitating boosters every few months.
In many cases vaccine rollouts coincided with an upsurge in infections, substantiating the concerns expressed by many experts that a mass vaccination campaign in the middle of a pandemic will drive the evolution of vaccine-escape variants and generate self-perpetuating waves of infections from the mutating variants.
A study from Oxford University in June showed the infection risk increased by 44% in the double-vaccinated in England. An analysis in July by El Gato Malo showed that U.S. states with higher vaccination rates were experiencing higher Covid hospital admissions. By the end of 2022 the vast majority of Covid deaths in many countries were among the vaccinated and boosted.
This has discredited officials and health experts from President Joe Biden on down who claimed that the vaccines would prevent infection, onward transmission, severe illness and (initially) or (as a fallback justification) death. Hence their early but by now abandoned claims about the pandemic of the unvaccinated.
The Russian navy frigate ‘Admiral Gorshkov,’ has become the first warship carrying Zircon hypersonic cruise missiles to begin routine combat service.
Russian President Vladimir Putin oversaw the ceremony on Wednesday via video link, declaring that the Zircon missile was a “unique weapon” and that “no other country has anything comparable.”
“I am sure that such a powerful armament will allow us to steadfastly defend Russia from potential foreign threats. It will help to maintain the national interests of our country,” Putin stated.
Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Tuesday said he will travel to China to open a "new chapter" of cooperation and resolve "issues" between the two countries.
Before flying to Beijing, Marcos spoke about his prospects for the three-day state visit, which is expected to set the tone for his foreign policy toward Beijing, Manila's partner on the economy but rival in the South China Sea.
"As I leave for Beijing, I will be opening a new chapter in our comprehensive strategic cooperation with China," Marcos said in a speech.
Marcos and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet on Wednesday. Premier Li Keqiang and Li Zhanshu, chairman of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, both of who will retire in March, will also meet with Marcos.
Republicans are attempting to pass a new House rule to block materials compiled by the panel that investigated the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection from immediately going to the National Archives.
Although the House committee investigating the insurrection has released a trove of transcripts and underlying information backing up its report, the vast majority of raw information the panel collected is slated to be sent to the National Archives, where it could be locked away for up to 50 years.
But the proposed rules package the new Congress will vote on Tuesday orders that any record created by the panel must instead be sent to the House Committee on House Administration by Jan. 17 and orders the National Archives to return any material it has already received.
The move could signal that House Republicans intend to attempt to rebut the panel's investigation, which captivated public sentiment for months. The investigation ended with a criminal referral for former President Trump and a landmark report concluding Trump intentionally misled and provoked the insurrectionists as part of an attempt to stay in power after losing the 2020 election.
After the condemnations in the Arab world, the US on Tuesday also joined in the criticism of the visit to the Temple Mount by National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir.
A spokesperson for the US Embassy in Israel said that Ambassador Tom Nides “has been very clear in conversations with the Israeli government on the issue of preserving the status quo in Jerusalem’s holy sites. Actions that prevent that are unacceptable.”
A White House National Security Council spokesperson told Axios later on Tuesday that the Biden administration expects Netanyahu to follow through on his written commitment to the governing platform, which calls for the preservation of the status quo in the holy places in Jerusalem.
"Any unilateral action that jeopardizes the status quo is unacceptable," the NSC spokesperson said.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price said at Tuesday's daily briefing, “We are deeply concerned by the visit of the Israeli minister at the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif. This visit has the potential of exacerbating tensions and lead to violence."
Pharmacists are running out of stocks of the most common cold and flu medicines, amid a huge demand for over-the-counter remedies.
As cases of cold and flu continue to rise, those who are unable to see their GPs are turning to shop-bought treatments which has seen a spike in demand, according to an expert.
The 'higher demand' has seen medicines like Lemsip and Day and Night Nurse, as well as other own-brand cold and flu treatments selling out, with pharmacists taking pictures of depleted shelves.
The price of gold notched a six-month high early Tuesday, and analysts believe the rally has further to go in 2023.
Spot gold peaked just below $1,850 per troy ounce before easing off to trade around $1,838 per ounce. U.S. gold futures were up 1% at $1,844.10.
Japan’s government is offering 1m yen ($7,500) per child to families who move out of greater Tokyo, in an attempt to reverse population decline in the regions.
The incentive – a dramatic rise from the previous relocation fee of 300,000 yen – will be introduced in April, according to Japanese media reports, as part of an official push to breathe life into declining towns and villages.
Although Tokyo’s population fell for the first time last year– a trend partly attributed to the coronavirus pandemic – policymakers believe more should be done to lower the city’s population density and encourage people to start new lives in “unfashionable” parts of the country that have been hit by ageing, shrinking populations and the migration of younger people to Tokyo, Osaka and other big cities.
Coming off several challenging years, Americans enter 2023 with a mostly gloomy outlook for the U.S. as majorities predict negative conditions in 12 of 13 economic, political, societal and international arenas.
When offered opposing outcomes on each issue, about eight in 10 U.S. adults think 2023 will be a year of economic difficulty with higher rather than lower taxes and a growing rather than shrinking budget deficit. More than six in 10 think prices will rise at a high rate and the stock market will fall in the year ahead, both of which happened in 2022. In addition, just over half of Americans predict that unemployment will increase in 2023, an economic problem the U.S. was spared in 2022.
On the domestic front, 90% of Americans expect 2023 will be a year of political conflict in the U.S., 72% think the crime rate will rise, and 56% predict there will be many strikes by labor unions.
Regarding world affairs, 85% of U.S. adults predict the year ahead will be fraught with international discord rather than peaceful. And while 64% think the United States’ power in the world will decline, 73% think China’s power will increase. However, 64% of Americans expect Russia’s power in the world will decrease in 2023, likely a reflection of that country’s recent setbacks in its war against Ukraine.
Katie Hobbs is launching her new career as the governor of Arizona with an optics problem.
The Democrat, who defeated Republican opponent Kari Lake in November in a close contest, is holding a celebratory ball Saturday evening to mark the beginning of her term as the state’s top executive.
Given the state of the U.S. economy and the millions of Americans struggling with food and energy bills, the inaugural ball is a bad read of the room at the very least.
But the situation is even more off-putting because Hobbs doesn’t seem interested in revealing exactly how the event will be funded, the Arizona Daily Star reported Sunday. There’s absolutely no telling what corporations or special interests are footing the bill for what will undoubtedly be the swankiest political affair of the year in Arizona.
Oh, and it’s the first ball since former Gov. Fife Symington held one in the 1990s. The times were quite a bit different back then.
Arizona GOP gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake said that she wants the entire Maricopa County Board of Supervisors recalled due to their incompetence in handling the 2022 election.
"We need to recall everyone at the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors — especially Bill Gates and Stephen Richer," Lake said on Tuesday's edition of the "Just the News, No Noise" TV show. "These two men in charge of this election started a Super PAC to raise money and try to defeat me and they were in charge of the election when I'm on the ballot."
Lake has recently filed a petition to transfer her appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court after her election fraud lawsuit was dismissed.
The Arizona Republican lost her gubernatorial bid to Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, but has since alleged that rampant voting irregularities in Maricopa County prevented many would-be Lake voters from casting their ballots.
She said she believes there was bad intent when it came to how Gates and Richer ran the election.
"They are unprofessional or incompetent," Lake said. "I believe there was malicious intent with those men's behavior when it came to our elections. So we have a lot of work to do, but it's not going to happen with a person like Katie Hobbs stealing the governor's office."
The judge in Kari Lake’s election challenge lawsuit declined to award sanctions against her attorneys, although he did order her team to pay the costs of the government defendants. However, in a lawsuit Lake filed earlier this year with Mark Finchem contesting the use of electronic voting machine readers, U.S District Judge John Tuchi, who was appointed to the bench by President Barack Obama, sanctioned her attorneys on December 1. This is unlike similar lawsuits filed around the country, where judges declined to award sanctions.
Lake told The Arizona Sun Times her skepticism about Tuchi’s motivations. “The same judge who sanctioned us was also the one behind the disgraceful ruling that prevented several journalists from being able to cover our elections,” she said. “He actually ruled to keep journalists out of Maricopa County press conferences regarding the elections because they were the type of journalist who are actually going to be asking tough questions, and not going along with the corrupt election officials’ narrative. And when that case was overturned in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in their opinion they made sure to chastise Judge Tuchi. Tuchi is operating as a political proxy rather than a impartial judge. It’s a shame to see what our judicial system has become.”
Lake’s and Finchem’s lawsuit was filed in April and Tuchi dismissed it in August. Maricopa County asked for sanctions on the grounds that attorneys brought claims to court that were “demonstrably false,” citing “vague” allegations that machine counting can produce inaccurate results. Tuchi said the attorneys acted “recklessly” and in “bad faith.” He ordered Lake and Finchem’s lawyers to pay Maricopa County’s attorneys fees. He warned others considering similar lawsuits, “It is to penalize specific attorney conduct with the broader goal of deterring similarly baseless filings initiated by anyone, whether an attorney or not.”
After Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson dismissed Kari Lake’s lawsuit challenging her loss in the anomaly-plagued Maricopa County gubernatorial election, Lake filed a notice of appeal. She also requested that the Arizona Supreme Court immediately take her case, bypassing the Arizona Court of Appeals for several reasons.
“We’re going to appeal this,” Lake told Steve Bannon’s War Room podcast Tuesday. “We think we have absolute merit with this lawsuit, and we’re going to appeal it and take it even higher.”
Two Washington State men have been arrested and charged with vandalizing four electrical substations in the Tacoma area that left thousands without power on Christmas, U.S prosecutors said on Tuesday.
Matthew Greenwood, 32, and Jeremy Crahan, 40, were arrested on Saturday following an investigation by the FBI.
A newly unsealed complaint charged them with conspiracy to damage energy facilities, and it charged Greenwood with possession of a short-barreled rifle and a short-barreled shotgun.
The four substations targeted were the Graham and Elk Plain substations, operated by Tacoma Power, and the Kapowsin and Hemlock substations, operated by Puget Sound Energy.
According to the complaint, Greenwood told investigators after his arrest that the two knocked out power so they could burglarize a business and steal from the cash register. The business was not identified in the complaint.
The damage to the Tacoma Power substations alone is estimated to be at least $3 million.