Wednesday, Mar 22nd

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GOP Covid Hearing Taps Author Who Pushed Quack Racist Theories

Nicholas Wade

A House hearing on COVID-19’s origins on Wednesday unraveled almost immediately as Democrats decried one of the GOP’s witnesses: Nicholas Wade, the author of a 2014 book that made outrageous, racist claims about Black people being more prone to violence and Jewish people being more financially successful because of their genetic makeup.

Wade, a British author and former New York Times science writer, wrote a book called “A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History” that was widely denounced by the scientific community for misrepresenting research into human population genetics.


There are 21,000 pieces of plastic in the ocean for each person on Earth

Plastic pollution Humans have filled the world’s oceans with more than 170 trillion pieces of plastic, dramatically more than previously estimated, according to a major study released Wednesday.

The trillions of plastic particles — a “plastic smog,” in the words of the researchers — weigh roughly 2.4 million metric tons and are doubling about every six years, according to the study conducted by a team of international researchers led by Marcus Eriksen of the 5 Gyres Institute, based in Santa Monica, Calif. That is more than 21,000 pieces of plastic for each of the Earth’s 8 billion residents. Most pieces are very small.

The study, which was published in the PLOS One journal, draws on nearly 12,000 samples collected across 40 years of research in all the world’s major ocean basins. Starting in 2004, researchers observed a major rise in the material, which they say coincided with an explosion in plastics production.


Five women denied abortion care in Texas sue state over bans

5 women sue Texas

Five women denied abortions in Texas, along with two doctors, have sued the state after they were refused abortion care despite suffering severe complications with their pregnancies.

None of the plaintiffs’ fetuses had a chance of survival. The state’s abortion bans are supposed to allow for the procedure in cases where there is a fatal diagnosis for the fetus, as well as when the pregnancy poses substantial harms to the pregnant person’s health.

And yet, under the overlapping abortion bans in effect in Texas – which threaten doctors with losing their medical licenses, hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and up to 99 years in jail for providing abortion care – the plaintiffs claim they were not given the healthcare they needed and were entitled to.


Russia Launches Rescue Ship To Space Station After Leaks

Russia launches rescue ship to space station

Russia launched a rescue ship on Friday for two cosmonauts and a NASA astronaut whose original ride home sprang a dangerous leak while parked at the International Space Station.

The new, empty Soyuz capsule should arrive at the orbiting lab on Sunday.

The capsule leak in December was blamed on a micrometeorite that punctured an external radiator, draining it of coolant. The same thing appeared to happen again earlier this month, this time on a docked Russian cargo ship. Camera views showed a small hole in each spacecraft.

The Russian Space Agency delayed the launch of the replacement Soyuz, looking for any manufacturing defects. No issues were found, and the agency proceeded with Friday’s predawn launch from Kazakhstan of the capsule with bundles of supplies strapped into the three seats.



Federal judge denies news organizations’ request to unseal Trump Jan. 6 grand jury filings

Federal judge denies press access to Jan6 grand jury infoA federal judge on Thursday rejected a request from Politico and The New York Times to unseal court filings from a grand jury investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

Politico and The New York Times, along with their respective reporters, Kyle Cheney and Charlie Savage, made the unusual request that the court release filings related to former President Trump’s use of executive privilege in the investigation.

The two news organizations argued that the “historic significance” of the investigation and existing public reporting on the grand jury’s proceedings justified releasing such materials.

Chief District Judge Beryl Howell rejected these arguments in Thursday’s filing, finding that historical significance alone is not sufficient to justify the disclosure of grand jury proceedings and that the cited reports did not render “continued secrecy unnecessary.”


Deaths in Turkey, Syria earthquake surpass 11,000; some areas will be 'uninhabitable for years'

Turkey search

The search for survivors grew more desperate, the homeless problem more acute and the death toll rose sharply Wednesday as rescuers labored to find signs of life amid the rubble of Monday's earthquakes and aftershocks that laid waste to a wide swath of Turkey and Syria.

Turkey’s disaster management agency said the country’s death toll passed 8,500. The Syrian Health Ministry placed the toll in government-held areas at more than 1,200, and at least 1,400 people have died in the rebel-held northwest, according to the White Helmets volunteer agency.

Dale Buckner, CEO of McLean, Virginia-based Global Guardian, said his international security firm has clients in the region, and his team is helping with medical evacuations, transportation and the delivery of food, water and power supplies in and around the earthquake zone. It will take months to stabilize the region and years to recover from the disaster, he said.


Biden’s 2023 State of the Union: President wraps address with appeal to Republicans to work together

SOTU 2023

U.S. President Joe Biden faced a divided Congress and stubbornly high inflation in delivering the annual State of the Union speech Tuesday night.

U.S. job growth, the war in Ukraine, taxing billionaires, the rise in domestic manufacturing, oil dependency and America’s strategic competition with China dominated the address to Congress.

Tuesday was the first time since 2019 that the president and congressional leaders were permitted to bring guests to the event, which is attended by every member of the House and Senate, all nine Supreme Court Justices, most of the president’s Cabinet and the diplomatic corps.

It is also the first time that Biden gives the historic speech before a divided Congress after Republicans clenched control of the U.S. House in November’s midterm elections.

TVNL Comment:  Kudos to President Biden on an historic speech.  It really showed the value of experience and determination.


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