Posts tagged with "Fox News"

Biden Administration works with industry to develop COVID-19 vaccination ‘passports’

March 30, 2021

Along with private technology and travel companies, the Biden Administration is working to develop credentials—referred to as passports, health certificates or travel passes—showing proof of vaccination as individuals and businesses emerge from lockdown, The Washington Post reports.

The effort has gained momentum amid President Joe Biden’s pledge that the nation will start to regain normalcy this summer; and with a growing number of companies—from cruise lines to sports teams—saying they will require proof of vaccination before opening their doors again.

The Administration’s initiative has been driven largely by efforts of the Department of Health and Human Services, including an office devoted to health information technology, said five officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the effort. The White House this month took on a bigger role managing government agencies involved in the work, led by Coronavirus Coordinator Jeff Zients, with a goal of announcing updates in coming days, said one official.

 “Our role is to help ensure that any solutions in this area should be simple, free, open source, accessible to people both digitally and on paper, and designed from the start to protect people’s privacy,” Zients said at a March 12 briefing.

According to the Post, the passports offer a glimpse of a future after months of COVID-19 restrictions. Officials say getting vaccinated and having proper documentation will smooth the way to travel, entertainment and other social gatherings in a post-pandemic world. But it also raises concerns about dividing the world along the lines of wealth and vaccine access—creating ethical and logistical issues for decision-makers around the world.

“A chaotic and ineffective vaccine credential approach could hamper our pandemic response by undercutting health safety measures, slowing economic recovery, and undermining public trust and confidence,” reads one slide at a March 2  conference prepared by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

There are several private-sector initiatives creating passports. Among them is the trade group for global airlines, the International Air Transport Association, which is testing a version it calls Travel Pass.

It is not clear, however, whether any of the passports under development will be accepted broadly around the world, and the result could be confusion among travelers and disappointment for the travel industry.

Vaccine passports will be most common on international flights. Some countries already require proof of vaccination for diseases such as yellow fever, and the United States now requires a negative test for COVID-19 to enter the country.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recommends against travel even as the agency has relaxed other guidelines for people who have been vaccinated.

The Vaccination Credential Initiative is a coalition trying to standardize tracking data of vaccination records in an attempt to speed up a return to normal, Fox News reports.

“The busboy, the janitor, the waiter that works at a restaurant, [want] to be surrounded by employees that are going back to work safely—and [want] to have the patrons ideally be safe as well,” said Brian Anderson, a physician at Mitre, a company helping lead the initiative. “Creating an environment for those vulnerable populations to get back to work safely—and to know that the people coming back to their business are ‘safe,’ and vaccinated— would be a great scenario.”

Research contact: @washingtonpost

President Biden comes out in favor of changing Senate filibuster rules

March 18, 2021

President Biden said this week that he supports bringing back a requirement that senators must be present and talking on the floor to block bills, as Democrats explore ways to smooth the path for their policy agenda by revising the legislative filibuster rule, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The comments—made on Tuesday, March 16— marked a shift for Biden, who represented Delaware in the U.S. Senate for 36 years and previously had said he would prefer to preserve the filibuster rather than get rid of it, as some Democrats have advocated.

“I don’t think you have to eliminate the filibuster, you have to do it what it used to be when I first got to the Senate back in the old days,” President Biden said in an ABC News interview. You had to stand up and command the floor, you had to keep talking.”

Asked if that meant he is supporting bringing back the talking filibuster, an idea backed by a growing number of Democratic senators, Biden responded: “I am. That’s what it was supposed to be.”

The president’s remarks came the same day on which Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) threatened to grind the Senate to a halt if Democrats make any changes to the filibuster, the Journal reports.

“This chaos would not open up an express lane to liberal change. It would not open up an express lane for the Biden presidency to speed into the history books,” McConnell said in a speech Tuesday. “The Senate would be more like a hundred-car pileup. Nothing moving.”

Democrats are at least two votes shy of the 51 needed to kill off the legislative filibuster—a step that would clear the way for them to pass sweeping legislation on voting rights, immigration, gun regulations and other measures unlikely to attract bipartisan support.

As an alternative, Senate Democrats are exploring a return to traditional talking filibusters, like the one famously depicted by Jimmy Stewart in the 1939 film “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” The idea was floated recently by West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a centrist Democrat, who, like President Biden, has said he is adverse to abolishing the filibuster entirely but open to revisions.

Today, senators can filibuster a bill without talking at all. They don’t even have to show up in the chamber. Now momentum is building to tweak the rules, at least, to make filibustering harder.

Senators don’t have to stand for even one minute to shut down the Senate,” said Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, the Senate’s No. 2 Democrat, in a speech on the Senate floor Monday. “All they have to do is threaten it, phone it in, catch a plane, go home from Washington, and come back Monday to see how their filibuster’s doing. ‘Mr. Smith phones it in.’ That wouldn’t have been much of a movie, would it?”

Democrats blame a 1975 rule change that allowed absent senators to count against the 60 votes needed to end debate on a bill and proceed to final passage. They say it made filibusters less costly to the minority.

“What’s the pain?” asked Manchin on Fox News last week.

Manchin’s support for reinstating the talking filibuster isn’t new. In 2011, he was one of 46 Democrats who voted in favor of a proposal by Senator Jeff Merkley (D., Oregon) that would have required senators to take the floor and make remarks to block legislation. No Republicans voted for it, and the measure failed.

Had it passed, it would have allowed the Senate to enter a period of extended debate if a simple majority of senators voted to end debate on a bill. Senators who wanted to block legislation would have had to ensure that at least one of them was on the floor presenting arguments or the majority could move on to final passage with 51 votes.

Merkley said he isn’t wedded to his 2011 approach. “There are many nuances of different ways that it could be done,” he said. “And I’m not ready to say any one way.”

Research contact: @WSJ

Queen Elizabeth ‘delighted’ with two new corgi puppies

March 8, 2021

It’s good to be queen—but it might be even better to be her dog. Fox News reports that Queen Elizabeth has warmly welcomed two new dogs into her royal household, which has been lacking in corgi company since October 2018.

The news comes as the queen’s husband Prince Philip recovers after heart surgery; and ahead of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s searing tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey about their struggles within “The Firm,” set to air on Sunday.

What with all of her family problems, plus the pandemic currently besieging Britain, things have been “ruff” lately at Windsor Castle—but the monarch’s spirits are said to have been lifted by the corgi pups, Fox notes.

On Friday, NBC-TV’s  Today confirmed that the pets have joined the royal family. The ages, genders, and names of the new pups remains unknown.

“The Queen is delighted. It’s unthinkable that the Queen wouldn’t have any corgis,” a source told The Sun. “Both are said to be bringing in a lot of noise and energy into the castle while Philip is in hospital.”

The corgis were reportedly gifted to the 94-year-old monarch, and are believed to be the queen’s first not descended from Susan, the corgi she received for her 18th birthday in 1944.

The family has continued to breed dogs from Susan’s lineage, with Elizabeth owning at least 30 Pembroke Welsh corgis descended from her through the years. Whisper, the last of the royal line, passed away in October 2018.

Since then, Elizabeth has been kept company by a dorgi (a cross between a corgi and a dachshund) named Candy. Another dorgi named Vulcan passed away in November 2020, Page Six reports.

The dog-loving queen isn’t the only royal who’s recently welcomed a new furry friend into her life, Fox reports:  Prince William and Kate Middleton reportedly adopted a cocker spaniel puppy  late last year, and the entire Cambridge clan is said to be “besotted” with the new addition.

Research contact: @FoxNews

‘Neanderthal thinking’: Biden lays into states lifting COVID restrictions

March 5, 2021

President Joe Biden said on March 3 that moves by Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves to lift statewide COVID restrictions represented “Neanderthal thinking.”

“I think it’s a big mistake. I hope everyone has realized right now these masks make a difference,” Biden said of the decision to lift mask mandates and other COVID mitigation measures. “We are on the cusp of being able to fundamentally change the nature of this disease because of the way in which we are able to get vaccines in people’s arms.”

According to a report by Politico, the president’s remark came after both Texas and Mississippi issued executive orders on Tuesdayflying in the face of health officials who have urged continued COVID restrictions. Biden has signed an executive order requiring mask-wearing on federal property but has little authority to overrule governors and other state and local officials.

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves (R) laid into Biden after his remarks on Wednesday. “President Biden said allowing Mississippians to decide how to protect themselves is ‘neanderthal thinking.’ Mississippians don’t need handlers,” Reeves wrote in a tweet. “As numbers drop, they can assess their choices and listen to experts. I guess I just think we should trust Americans, not insult them.”

Later in the evening, the governor criticized Biden as being out of touch with people who live outside the Beltway.

“Today I feel the same way as I did the day that Hillary Clinton called all of us in Middle America ‘deplorables,’” he said on Fox News, referencing a comment the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee had made about supporters of Donald Trump. “When President Biden said that we were all Neanderthals, it struck me as someone who needs to get outside of Washington, D.C., and actually travel to Middle America.”

In a statement to Politico, Abbott spokesperson Renae Eze said Abbott was “clear in telling Texans that COVID hasn’t ended, and that all Texans should follow medical advice and safe practices to continue containing COVID.”

“The fact is, Texas now has the tools and knowledge to combat COVID while also allowing Texans and small businesses to make their own decisions,” Eze said. “It is clear from the recoveries, the vaccinations, the reduced hospitalizations, and the safe practices that Texans are using, that state mandates are no longer needed. We must now do more to restore livelihoods and normalcy for Texans.”

On Wednesday evening, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden’s top health adviser and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, called these actions “ill advised.“ Although coronavirus numbers have declined since January highs, they have seemingly plateaued at levels that have concerned health officials.

“It‘s just inexplicable why you would want to pull back now,“ Fauci said on CNN. “I understand the need to want to get back to normality, but you‘re only going to set yourself back if you just completely push aside the public health guidelines, particularly when we‘re dealing with anywhere from 55,000 to 75,000 infections per day in the United States. That‘s a very, very high baseline.“

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki earlier on Wednesday called on Americans to continue wearing masks and practice other pandemic mitigation measures even as governors in some states lift COVID restrictions, Politico notes.

“This entire country has paid the price for political leaders who ignored the science when it comes to the pandemic,” Psaki said. “People are starting to feel a little bit better in some cases. You go to the grocery store and there’s Clorox wipes available. A year into this, that feels better, but there’s still more that needs to be done. We need to remain vigilant.”

“We’re not asking people just to listen to the president,” she also said. “Of course, we recommend that, but we ask people to listen to health experts, medical experts, the CDC, to Dr. Fauci, to others who are basing their recommendations on how to save people’s lives.”

Research contact: @politico

NJ man builds 14-foot-tall snow sculpture of Abraham Lincoln in his front yard

February 15, 2021

It’s always fun to celebrate the first major snowstorm of the year by building a snowman. One New Jersey resident, however, has taken things to a whole new level, Fox News reports.

Robert Schott built a 14-foot-tall snow sculpture of the Lincoln Memorial in his front yard in Cranford, CBS New York was the first to broadcast. Since debuting the monumental recreation, Schott’s yard has reportedly become a hotspot for locals.

The sculpture isn’t Schott’s first foray into snow-themed art. In previous years, he’s reportedly wowed his neighbors with ice sculptures of Olaf from “Frozen,” a giant pumpkin, and even Snoopy and his dog house.

“I’m always asked why do I do this,” Schott told CBS New York. “One is I like to create, but I think more importantly is the joy it brings to people that come to see it.”

According to him, “You have to have the weather just right. I have to feel good. I have to be not traveling, not commuting into New York where I normally work. So, everything just aligned to be able to do this, and maybe there was something bigger, beyond me, that allowed it to happen.”

Schott reportedly spent 60 hours working on the project. Fortunately, his hard work has apparently paid off. According to local reports, his neighbors regularly stop by to take pictures and just appreciate the sculpture. It’s apparently not uncommon for people driving by to pull over and take a picture of the snow-Abe.

Research contact: @FoxNews

Paragliding Santa in California rescued after getting entangled in power lines

December 22, 2020

Santa Claus should stick with his reindeer and sleigh. That’s what one California man learned last Sunday when he dressed up as St. Nick and took to the skies above Sacramento, California, with his paraglider, hoping to spread a little Christmas cheer.

Before he could say, “Ho, Ho, Ho,” the would-be Santa became entangled in power lines on December 20—and needed the help of local firefighters to get back down, Fox News reports.

The man was using a “hyper light” paraglider when he took off from a nearby school and lost altitude—hitting the power lines around 11 a.m., Metro Fire of Sacramento said.

The department released video of the rescue showing the man dressed as Santa in the pilot’s seat of the fan-powered aircraft as it dangled above the street. Firefighters used a fire truck ladder to reach the man and bring him down safely just after 1 p.m.

“We are happy to report #Santa is uninjured and will be ready for #Christmas next week, but perhaps with a new sleigh!” the department wrote.

Crystal Kennedy, the man’s friend, told KOVR-TV that he was just trying to spread Christmas cheer to children in the area. “He was just flying over here to drop off some candy canes for the kids,” she said. “And that’s when he experienced engine problems.”

“We made sure Old St. Nick will use his reindeer when he sees you later this year,” Metro Fire said following the rescue.

Research contact: @FoxNews

Natural and homespun, ‘cottagecore’ is 2020’s new holiday decorating trend

December 7, 2020

The pandemic has taught many of us how to enjoy the simple pleasures of life—from baking, to exercising, to pet adoption, to gardening, to knitting, to bird watching—and now, to an appreciation of a simpler, more homespun type of decking the halls for the holidays called “cottagecore,” Fox News reports.

“The cottagecore aesthetic swarmed the Internet this year with its revival of traditional ideals and the glorification of a simple yet charming cottage lifestyle,” s Amanda Brennan,a trend expert for Tumblr, tells the news outlet.

Engagement on the social platform for cottagecore began spiking in early spring and hasn’t abated, she reports. Now it’s flowing into the holiday season, she says, “with posts of farmhouse-inspired holiday decorations, homestyle seasonal recipes, warm winter décor, and knitting.”

Etsy.com trend expert Dayna Isom Johnson tells Fox she agrees with Brennan: “The nostalgia-inspired movement is all about bringing back pastoral aesthetics and activities.”

Characterized by romantic, nature-oriented themes and homespun design elements, cottagecore started around ten years ago. But it’s taken off this year as the pandemic kept

“It’s no surprise that the trend’s extending into the holidays,” says Isom Johnson. “Shoppers are opting for décor that’s reminiscent of a time that was filled with simpler pleasures in life, from baking to crafting.”

Etsy saw an increase in early fall in searches for crocheted, knitted and embroidered ornaments, as well as holiday quilts, she says. They’ve seen a nearly 200% increase in searches for DIY kits.

Kits come at all levels, for kids, beginners and skilled crafters, and with a variety of holiday-friendly themes:

  • Fancy Tiger’s felting kits offer alpacas, squirrels, and sheep, and cross-stitched mini holiday ornaments.
  • Stitchery.com has simple kits for making embroidered tree table-runners, tiny stockings, and snow globes.
  • Creativity4Kids has holiday snow globe kits.
  • Paper Source has kits to craft dog nutcrackers and Hanukkah bears in winsome sweaters.

Lorna Aragon, home editor for Martha Stewart Living, suggests some easy holiday projects for home and gifting that fit the aesthetic: “Think about stenciling or stamping a tablecloth, runner or napkins with a simple geometric motif. You can make a tree skirt the same way,” she tells Fox News. “Create some homemade stockings from simple dishcloths. Use baskets under the tree to hold gifts. You can also get some quilting squares at the craft store and make sachets to gift friends. I’m loving simple fabrics like ticking, gingham, denim, muslin, and calico small florals and prints.”

The magazine’s team created some items for the December issue based on quilt designs and folk-art motifs, evocative of the cottagecore look.

Minted’s founder Mariam Naficy likes ‘furoshiki’, the Japanese technique of gift wrapping with fabric. She says it’s a great way to wrap oddly-shaped items, and re-purpose fabric scraps or old scarves.

She’s also making garlands this year out of various materials, including fragrant dried orange slices. “You can display them on a mantle, bookcase, or drape one on your dining table surrounded by tea candles for a simple, aromatic centerpiece,” she tells Fox.

Naficy also suggests making garlands out of last year’s holiday cards and scraps of wrapping paper.

Research contact: @FoxNews

A ‘curtsy’ call: Queen Elizabeth to hire a new personal assistant at Buckingham Palace

December 4, 2020

It’s good to be queen—but she does expect the royal treatment. Queen Elizabeth is hiring a new personal assistant—seeking an impeccable candidate to help run the show at Buckingham Palace in London.

The Royal Household recently posted the opening for the full-time gig, describing the right hire as organized, efficient, and comfortable working in a fast-paced, “high profile” environment, Fox News reports.

Reporting to a senior manager within the Private Secretary’s Office, the new hire will coordinate calendars, correspondence, meetings, and appointments—drawing from his or her past experience as a personal assistant for “board-level individuals” to keep cool under pressure.

Drama queens need not apply, as the Royal Household seeks applicants with excellent interpersonal communication skills who take pride in their work.

The personal assistant will be hired for a two-year stint from January 2021 to January 2023; perhaps playing a hand in coordinating the four-day “blockbuster weekend of celebrations” reportedly in the works to celebrate Elizabeth’s 70-year reign in 2022.

Travel is also required for the position, though the idea of quick trips to the Queen’s vacation homes like Sandringham estate in Norfolk, England, and Balmoral Castle in Scotland sure sound like perks.

Interested applicants should quickly revise their royal resumes, as the job posting closes on Friday, December 4. According to a LinkedIn listing, over 200 hopefuls have already applied.

Research contact: @FoxNews

Facebook joke about putting an Elf on the Shelf into quarantine goes viral: ‘Brilliant’

November 13, 2020

Parenting during the pandemic is no easy feat, so many adults are adopting an hilarious idea for checking one time-consuming chore off their holiday to-do lists: They are sending the Elf on the Shelf into quarantine.

The popular Christmas toy—which parents secretly rotate around the house in the days before December 25—comes with a book instructing little ones to be on their best behavior during the Christmas season, as the elf is “watching” to report back to Santa Claus.

According to a report by Fox News, although youngsters seem to love the tradition, parents say that shifting the elf around every day eventually becomes a hassle—inspiring a practical hack to make life easier and maintain the Christmas magic this year.

“ELF ON THE SHELF will need to quarantine for 14 days after his trip from the North Pole!” Facebook user Hilary Soria recently joked, sharing a photo the elf doll wearing a face mask in a snow globe-like mason jar. The toy was armed to fight COVID-19 with miniature bottles of hand sanitizer and Lysol.

“This should help you mamas!!” Soria said, and others seemed to agree: The post has been celebrated with over 373,000 shares and 12,000 comments.

“Definitely using this one,” one said of the advice.

“I’m very tempted to do this” another echoed.

“Brilliant, I thought maybe he wouldn’t be allowed to leave the North Pole this year,” one teased.

Elf on the Shelf co-founder Chanda Bell told Fox Business last year that over 13 million “Elf on the Shelf” products had been sold to date, tapping a target market of “true believers” who are anywhere from age 2 to 11 years old.

Research contact: @FoxNews

 

‘Tressing’ for success: 2020 Kids Mullet Championships winner crowned

November 11, 2020

With business in the front and party in the back, the results of this election are something we can all agree on. The Kids Mullet Championships has crowned an inaugural winner, announcing that an eight-year-old boy from Texas has the most marvelous mane among the pint-sized competitors, Fox News reports.

Jax recently first prize among babies and boys (ranging in age from one to 14) for his classic “Curly Mullet” tresses, the USA Mullet Championships noted. The contest went viral in September—with over 20,000 votes and 50,000 social media reactions across Facebook and Instagram.

With his victory, the young Texan won a $500 cash prize and gift card package to businesses in Fenton, Michigan, where the contest is headquartered. Second-place winner Noah, 12, from Illinois, and third-place winner Jude, 7, from Colorado, each will receive smaller bundles of cash and some swag, too.

Kevin Begola, president of the USA Mullet Championships, speculated that Texas voters went wild for the third grader’s toothy grin—pushing him to first place on the podium.

“Jax is the man! He is a little guy that has 100% accepted the mullet lifestyle and was rocking the hairstyle well before we did this contest,” Begola told Fox News on Tuesday. “His smile and missing teeth might have put him over the edge.”

Although he’s cool with his overnight fame, Jax endearingly can’t sign autographs “because he doesn’t know cursive yet,” the organizer added.

The USA Mullet Championships began with an adult competition earlier this year, and the kids edition followed soon after. According to Begola, “This contest was just what 2020 needed! It was fun and brought back a lot of memories for people who lived through the ’80s,” he explained. “Life has been pretty hectic around the world for most people this year and the mullet lifestyle really makes people smile.

“When many states shut down, it only meant that haircuts were not happening and we figured it would be a great time to compete for the best mullets in all the land!”

Research contact: @FoxNews