Booster Shots, Climate Change, NASA: Your Weekend Briefing


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Here are the best stories of the week and a glimpse of the future.

1. More than 100 million fully vaccinated people could be eligible for coronavirus boosters by the end of the week.

A key FDA advisory group has concluded a series of votes to recommend recalls for the three coronavirus vaccines used in the United States – Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. The FDA and CDC have already cleared Pfizer boosters for older and at-risk Americans. Moderna and J. & J. should be allowed thereafter.

2. The heart of President Biden’s climate agenda is at risk.

A program to quickly replace the nation’s coal and gas-fired power plants with renewables is likely to be cut from the Democrats’ $ 3.5 trillion climate and social agenda, as West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin s ‘opposes it. Manchin has personal financial ties to the coal industry, and his state is one of the country’s major coal and gas producers.

3. During the siege of the US Capitol, apparently average citizens united in acts of brutality. In the midst of a flash of violence, seven men stood out.

Although strangers to each other, these men worked as if in concert while fighting against the police who blocked the entrance to the building. One of them used an American flag to beat an officer dragged down the steps of the Capitol.

The group was part of an angry pro-Trump mob outside even as violence inside the building abated. They are now co-accused in the face of a myriad of crimes. “We should never have come here,” he said to himself on the evening of January 6.

4. Gang Members in Haiti Kidnapped Up to 17 American Missionaries and Their Families as they left an orphanage, Haitian officials said.

Details of the kidnapping remain unclear, but local officials said the Christian missionaries were kidnapped on a bus in Port-au-Prince on Saturday heading to the airport. Haiti has been in a state of political upheaval for years, and kidnappings of rich and poor alike are alarmingly frequent. But the kidnapping of such a large group of Americans shocked those responsible for its daring.

Violence is raging in the capital, especially following the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July. By some estimates, gangs now control around half of the city. They operate at will, kidnapping children on their way to school and pastors providing their services.

5. In the years to come, there will be stories about the people who managed to leave Afghanistan after the fall of Kabul. It is Asma’s.

Asma, an 8-year-old Afghan girl, was severely burned by an American tear gas canister as she and her family tried to reach Kabul airport. Soon after, a remarkable intervention involving secret US military commandos, a CIA base, and three foreigners in the United States took shape. Now, as one of these strangers put it, “this girl is part of our family.”

Separately, the Pentagon has offered to pay the families of the 10 Afghan civilians killed in an erroneous US drone strike in Kabul. The Pentagon has also agreed to help relocate surviving family members who wish to relocate to the United States.

6. “If we lose the teenage anchor in the United States, we lose the pipeline. “

Internal documents reveal Instagram’s desperate fight to keep young users. As of 2018, the company has spent nearly all of its annual global marketing budget – projected at $ 390 million this year – on targeting teens, which it relies on to use the app for three to four hours per day. day. He put particular emphasis on a category called “lower secondary”, which he classified among 13 to 15 year olds.

Facebook hoped Instagram would attract more young people to all of its apps, replenishing the social network’s aging user base, according to the documents. But they also show that Facebook has since abandoned aspirations of becoming a teenage destination. The disclosures highlight how the social media giant is seeking to respond to the outcry over Instagram’s effects on users’ mental health.

7. Sicily has a sponsor problem.

A diocese in Sicily has imposed a three-year ban on appointing godparents. Church officials argue that the once essential figure in a child’s Catholic education has lost all spiritual significance, instead becoming an opportunity to strengthen family (and sometimes crowd) bonds. Italian prosecutors have followed the baptisms to determine how underworld bosses are spreading their influence.

In Venezuela, a crime boss and his gang are part of an unusual reintegration project that has brought relative calm – and success – to the town of Sabaneta: helping a family rum business go from bankruptcy to exporting ‘an award-winning vintage.

8. NASA has embarked on a vast odyssey to study a group of asteroids it could help scientists better understand how life emerged on Earth.

A robotic explorer named Lucy (a nod to the 3.2 million year old skeleton that revealed the secrets of human evolution) will travel through deep space to find new clues to the creation of our solar system . Over 12 years, Lucy’s four billion mile path through Jupiter’s orbit will bring her closer to clusters of asteroids known as Trojan swarms – some of the solar system’s least understood objects.

Back on dry land, hyperlocal researchers, armed with nets and notebooks, help shed light on the decline of pollinators.

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