#U.S.; #PresidentJoeBiden; #ScienceTeamNominees; #NOAA; #DOE
New York/Canadian-Media: As United States (U.S.) President Joe Biden is rounding out his science team, the nominees announced by the U.S. White House on Apr 23 were the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Science, and the Department of State’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Science Affairs, www.sciencemag.org reported.
Joe Biden. Image credit: Wallpaper Cave
Two veterans of government service and one newcomer included in this trio nominated are Rick Spinrad, an oceanographer at Oregon State University (OSU), Corvallis, and a longtime NOAA hand, as the next head to lead NOAA, Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, a soil scientist at the University of California (UC), and the first Black woman to head DOE, and Monica Medina, the CEO and co-founder of Our Daily Planet, an e-newsletter on conservation and the environment to lead the State Department’s science and climate portfolio.
#FDA; #JohnsonandJohnsonCOVID19vaccine, #Authorization; #EmergencyUse
Washington/Canadian-Media: Emergency use of Johnson and Johnson’s (J&J)'s single-dose COVID-19 vaccine was authorized on Saturday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), making it available as the third vaccine in the United States (U.S.) and the first that only takes one dose to protect against the coronavirus, FDA reported.
Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Image credit: www.jnj.com
Unanimous endorsement of the one-dose vaccine was done on Friday by an FDA panel of U.S. health advisers. FDA says single-dose shot from J&J prevents severe cases of COVID-19.
Shipping of a few million doses of the new vaccine could begin as early as Monday.
“The authorization of this vaccine expands the availability of vaccines...through our open and transparent scientific review process...using the agency’s rigorous standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality needed to support emergency use authorization,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, M.D.
J&J’s vaccine protects against the worst effects of COVID-19 after one shot, and it can be stored up to three months at refrigerator temperatures, making it easier to handle than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which must be frozen.
“After a thorough analysis of the data, the FDA’s scientists and physicians have determined that the vaccine meets the FDA’s expectations for safety and effectiveness appropriate for the authorization of a vaccine for emergency use...At the same time, the American people can be assured of the FDA’s unwavering commitment to public health through our comprehensive and rigorous evaluation of the data submitted for vaccines to prevent COVID-19,” said Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.
J&J vaccine was 85 percent protective against the most severe COVID-19 and 66 percent effective in moderate cases as against 95% effectiveness of the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna against symptomatic COVID-19
Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) for Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine, being a part of the authorization, Janssen Biotech Inc. and vaccination providers reported the following to the serious adverse events, cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome and cases of COVID-19 that result in hospitalization or death.
Reporting all vaccine administration errors to VAERS for which they become aware and for Janssen Biotech Inc. is mandatory for vaccination providers including a summary and analysis of all identified vaccine administration errors in monthly safety reports submitted to the FDA.
An agreement has been made by the United States to buy 100 million doses of J&J’s vaccine for $1 billion, and the option of purchasing an additional 200 million doses.
J&J said it aims to deliver 1 billion doses in 2021 with production in the United States, Europe, South Africa, and India.
While applauding the news in a statement Saturday, U.S. President Joe Biden also urged Americans not to let their guards down in preventing the spread of the virus.
“Today, after a rigorous, open, and objective scientific review process, the Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for a third safe and effective vaccine to help us defeat the COVID-19 pandemic — the Janssen COVID-19 (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine,” Biden said. “This is exciting news for all Americans and an encouraging development in our efforts to bring an end to the crisis.”
Speeding up vaccination efforts is expected by the third vaccine, amid setbacks caused by winter storms across the country.
#LosAngeles; #PrivateSchools; #COVID19Vaccines; #EarlyVaccinations; #LosAngelesCountyPublicHealth
Los Angeles/Canadian-Media: During a time of limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines, at least three private schools in Los Angeles (L.A.) County managed to get COVID-19 vaccinations with one school by using restricted access codes and two others certifying that their staff were responsible for health care-related duties, media reports said.
Covid-19 Vaccination: Image credit: Unsplash
The school administrators’ actions to quickly secure staff vaccinations during a time of severely limited doses proclaiming they responsibly followed strict safety protocols in operating their campuses is another example of the tough choices playing out as essential workers, people 65 and older and educators vie for vaccines available in California.
“While I do wish to be vaccinated as soon as it is possible under the national distribution effort, I and many other co-workers that I have talked with are morally opposed to jumping the line, especially when it would require being dishonest about our actual jobs,” a Westmark employee said, Herald-Mail Media News reported
Some school leaders said that as they all work directly with students who could potentially be infectious, they should be the first in line before the Health Coordinator in helping any sick students.
“They are in charge of daily wellness checks, are first to respond in case of a sick child, have direct exposure to potentially infectious children, and are trained in protocols regarding Covid-19 response on campus,” some school leaders reported.
Our community,” Alverno Heights said in a statement. “To do so, we encouraged our employees to follow all relevant guidelines and obtain the vaccine as soon as they were able and as vaccine supplies were available.”
In guidance provided to “community partners,” a state official wrote that as of Feb. 16, those eligible to use codes...would include “education and childcare workers,” allowed staff at Alverno and at least one other private school to set up appointments.
“We believe vaccinating teachers is a critical element to ensure the well-being of
However, that same guidance also states: “The focus of these vaccination sites is to provide equitable access to safe, life-saving vaccines to California communities that have been heavily impacted by COVID-19.”
Northridge Hospital Medical Center (NHMC) in L.A. also followed an unauthorized vaccine appointments directly to 14 private schools and day-care centers, including Wesley School in North Hollywood, where a senior hospital executive had a child enrolled.
The Los Angeles County Public Health Department also said these are violations of vaccination guidelines by the school administrators and the NHMC.
Moscow/Canadian-Media: The coronavirus pandemic, climate change and other issues were discussed by US Vice President Kamala Harris, during a telephone conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron, the White House said Feb 16.
Kamala Harris. Image credit: Wallpaper Cave
"Vice President Kamala Harris spoke today with President Emmanuel Macron of France, and expressed her commitment to strengthening bilateral ties between the United States and France and to revitalizing the transatlantic alliance. Vice President Harris and President Macron agreed on the need for close bilateral and multilateral cooperation to address COVID-19, climate change, and support democracy at home and around the world," the White House said on Monday.
Harris and Macron also discussed the Middle East and Africa, according to the release.
"The Vice President thanked President Macron for his leadership on the issue of gender equality and for France’s contribution to NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover," the White House said.
US President Joe Biden held telephone talks with his French counterpart Macron at the end of January agreeing on close cooperation in what concerns the global economic recovery and the pandemic, climate change, as well as foreign policy issues, including China, the Middle East, Russia, and the Sahel.
Both the leaders expressed their willingness to act together for peace and stability in the Near and Middle East, in particular on the Iranian nuclear issue and on the situation in Lebanon.
#US; #DonaldTrump; #ImpeachmentTrial, #SenateHouse; #USRepublicans, #USDemocrats
Washington/Canadian-Media: The schedule of the Senate impeachment trial for Donald Trump was announced late Friday by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will begin on the the week of Feb. 8.
Donald Trump. Image credit: Twitter handle
Trump had been charged of incitement of insurrection for the Capitol riot and the schedule was announced after Schumer reached an agreement with Republicans.
House Democrats who, along with 10 House Republicans, voted to impeach Trump last week also said they want to move quickly to trial as Biden begins his term.
"The Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol incited by Donald Trump was a day none of us will ever forget," Schumer said in the Senate.
"We all want to put this awful chapter in our nation's history behind us. But healing and unity will only come if there is truth and accountability, and that is what this trial will provide."
According to the schedule, the Senate house will will transmit the impeachment article against Trump late Monday with initial proceedings to begin on Tuesday.
#FormerUSPresident #DonaldTrump #Impeachment #DeadlyCapitolRiotDemocrats, #Republicans; #USSenate
United States/Canadian-Media: Rejecting Republicans' proposal to push the impeachment trial of the former U.S. president Donald Trump to mid-February to give Trump more time to prepare his case, U.S, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi plans to launch the start of the trial on a charge of incitement of insurrection over the deadly Capitol riot by sending the article of impeachment against Trump to the U.S. Senate on Monday, announced Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer.
Impeachment trial of Donald Trump. Image credit: Wikipedia
Trump is the first president to be twice impeached and the first to face a trial after leaving office.
But while the trial proceedings would start with the transmission of the article, uncertainty regarding the schedule prevails as the Senate now in Democratic control, is also working to swiftly confirm President Joe Biden's cabinet nominees and tackle the new administration's legislative priorities.
But Schumer said he is also speaking to Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell about the "timing and duration" of the proceedings ahead.
House Democrats who voted to impeach Trump last week for inciting the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot said that they want to move quickly to trial as Biden begins his term.
Support of at least 17 Republicans are needed by the Democrats to necessitate Trump's conviction but while most Republican senators condemned Trump's actions that day, only a few are ready to convict.
Other Republicans had suggested that there should be no trial at all and not chose "vindictiveness" over national security as Biden attempts to set up his government.
House Democrats who voted to impeach Trump last week for inciting the deadly riots say they can move quickly through the trial, potentially with no witnesses, because most of them were witnesses to the insurrection.
The timing and details of the Senate trial eventually rest on negotiations between Schumer and McConnell, who are also in talks over a power-sharing agreement for the Senate.
Although some democrats were in favor of a trial delay to give the Senate more time to confirm Biden's Cabinet nominees, Pelosi said Thursday that it would be "harmful to unity" to forget that "people died here on Jan. 6, [during] the attempt to undermine our election, to undermine our democracy, to dishonor our Constitution.
"This year, the whole world bore witness to the president's incitement," she said.
#JoeBiden; #USPresident; #KamalaHarris; #USVicePresident; #PresidentialInauguration
United States/Canadian-Media: Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States just before noon today during an inaugural ceremony on the west front of the Capitol, while Kamala Harris was sworn in as the nation's first female vice-president breaking breaking historic gender and racial barriers.
Joe Biden's presidential oath was administered by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.
Prominent U.S. politicians past and present with 44th president Barack Obama and wife Michelle, and two other past presidents, Bill Clinton with his Hillary Clinton, and George W. Bush with his wife, Laura were present at the inaugural ceremony, while the oldest living president, 96-year-old Jimmy Carter, has sent his well wishes.
The Grammy- and Oscar-winning actress, Lady Gaga took the centerstage to perform the national anthem, followed by Jennifer Lopez, an American actress, singer, with her performance of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land” and “America the Beautiful”. Next Garth Brooks, an American singer and songwriter, dressed in black performed an a cappella, slightly country-ish version of “Amazing Grace,” asking his audience on site and at home to join in the last verse “as one, united.”
The highest-ranking official from Donald Trump's administration, Vice-President Mike Pence was present at the inauguration, but, Donald Trump was the first outgoing president to skip the ceremony since Andrew Johnson 150 years ago.
In his inaugural address, Biden called for American unity and offer an optimistic message that Americans can get past the dark moment by working together and added,
"Through a crucible for the ages, America has been tested anew, and America has risen to the challenge," Biden said in his address. "Today we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate but of a cause: the cause of democracy...without unity, there is no peace. We must end this uncivil war that pits red versus blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal."
Biden is scheduled to sign after 5 p.m a series of executive orders, intended to address the crises of the pandemic, the economy, climate change and racial inequity.
During the night Biden is scheduled to attend the "Celebrating America" inaugural ceremony along with his wife.
The multi-network evening broadcast hosted by Tom Hanks would take place at the multiple inaugural balls.
Trump left Washington this morning just three hours ahead of the inauguration of his successor Joe Biden, promising to be "back in some form."
#US, #JoeBiden, #MuslimTravelBan; #Covid19ReliefEfforts; #ImmigrationLegislation; #PausingPayingBackStudentsLoans; #PreventEvictionActions
Washington/Canadian-Media: A number of executive orders are being planned to be issued, including reversal of Donald Trump's travel ban on several Muslim countries, by US President-elect Joe Biden on his first day in the office as US President, said Biden on Sunday.
Joe Biden. Image credit: Wallpaper cave
Also included in these would be new coronavirus prevention efforts, rejoining the Paris climate change accord, and a legislation allowing millions of immigration to gain citizenship, extending the pause on student loan payments and prevent eviction actions and foreclosures for those struggling during the pandemic.
An executive order was issued by Trump, shortly after taking office in 2017, that banned travelers from seven Muslim-majority nations from entering the United States citing national security concerns.
Amid legal challenges that order was reworked several times, a version of it was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2018.
"These executive actions will deliver relief to the millions of Americans that are struggling in the face of these crises," Biden's incoming chief of staff, Ron Klain, said in a memo to senior staff. "President-elect Biden will take action — not just to reverse the gravest damages of the Trump administration, but also to start moving our country forward."
#US; #TerroristOrganizations; #LashkareTayyiba, #Pakistan
Washington/Canadian-Media: Amendment has been made by the Department of State in the terrorist designations of Lashkar i Jhangvi (LJ) and ISIL Sinai Peninsula (ISIL-SP) to include additional aliases as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, and as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT) under Executive Order 13224, US Department of State reported.
Lashkar-e-Tayyiba. Image credit: Pinterst.com
The Department of State has also reviewed and maintained the FTO designations of LJ, ISIL-SP, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Jaysh Rijal al-Tariq al Naqshabandi, Jama’atu Ansarul Muslimina Fi Biladis-Sudan (Ansaru), al-Nusrah Front, Continuity Irish Republican Army, and the National Liberation Army, pursuant to Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended (8 U.S.C. § 1189), US Department of State released statement read.
"FTO and SDGT designations seek to deny these terrorist organizations the resources to plan and carry out terrorist attacks. Among other consequences of designations, all of the groups’ property and interests that are within the United States or that come within the United States or that come within the possession or control of U.S. persons, are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with them. In addition, as designated FTOs, it is a federal crime to knowingly provide, or attempt or conspire to provide, material support or resources to them," the statement said.
The U.S. public and the international community have been notified today of additional aliases of LJ and ISIL-SP, and that all of these groups remain terrorist organizations.
These terrorist individuals designations and groups are isolated and their access to the U.S. financial system is denied.
Moreover, the law enforcement actions of other U.S. agencies and governments can be assisted by these designations.
#JoeBidenInauguration, #LadyGaga, #TomHanks, #JeniferLopez; #AmandaGorman
Washington/Canadian-Media: Present at Joe Biden's inauguration would be pop superstar Lady Gaga who will sing the national anthem when Joe Biden is sworn in as the nation's 46th president of United States next Wednesday.
In a tweet, Lady Gaga wrote: "I am deeply honored to be joining @BidenInaugural on January 20 to sing the National Anthem and celebrate the historic inauguration of @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris!"
It was also reported that Jennifer Lopez will give a musical performance, while former National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman will perform her poetry on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol.
Appointed as the first National Youth Poet Laureate in April 2017, Gorman will become the first inaugural poet since Richard Blanco, who read his poem “One Today” at Barack Obama’s 2013 inaugural.
Amanda’s reading will reflect and amplify the overarching theme of the presidential inauguration, “America United,” which, according to the Inaugural Committee, “reflects the beginning of a new national journey that restores the soul of America, brings the country together, and creates a path to a brighter future.”
Amanda Gorman. Image credit: Wikipedia
The 90-minute "Celebrating America" inauguration show to be hosted by Tom Hanks featuring more musical performances, will be broadcast on all major US networks, said reports.