Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Wake-Up Call: Biden To End Covid Restrictions

President Joe Biden informed Congress on Monday that he will end the twin national emergencies for addressing COVID-19 on May 11, as most of the world has returned closer to normalcy nearly three years after they were first declared. The move to end the national emergency and public health emergency declarations would formally restructure the federal coronavirus response to treat the virus as an endemic threat to public health that can be managed through agencies’ normal authorities.

It comes as lawmakers have already ended elements of the emergencies that kept millions of Americans insured during the pandemic. Combined with the drawdown of most federal COVID-19 relief money, it would also shift the development of vaccines and treatments away from the direct management of the federal government. Biden’s announcement comes in a statement opposing resolutions being brought to the floor this week by House Republicans to bring the emergency to an immediate end. House Republicans are also gearing up to launch investigations on the federal government’s response to COVID-19.

➤BIDEN SAYS 'NO' TO F-16S FOR WAR: Ukraine's defence minister is expected in Paris on Tuesday to meet President Emmanuel Macron amid a debate among Kyiv's allies over whether to provide fighter jets for its war against Russia, after U.S. President Joe Biden ruled out giving F-16s. Ukraine planned to push for Western fourth-generation fighters like F-16s after securing supplies of main battle tanks last week, an adviser to Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said on Friday. Asked at the White House on Monday if the United States would provide F-16s, Biden told reporters: "No." But France and Poland appear to be willing to entertain any such request from Ukraine.

➤FIRST RESPONDERS FIRED IN MEMPHIS: Three Memphis, Tenn., emergency medical technicians were fired Monday and two additional police officers have been relieved from duty as officials continue investigations into the death of Tyre Nichols. The three EMTs were let go after an internal investigation into their actions at the scene of Mr. Nichols’s Jan. 7 encounter with police following a traffic stop, the Memphis Fire Department said in a statement.  The review showed they “failed to conduct an adequate patient assessment of Mr. Nichols,” the department said.   

The Memphis Police Department, meanwhile, said Officer Preston Hemphill and a second unnamed officer were relieved from duty. The two officers’ actions and inaction continue to be the subject of an internal investigation, it said.

LAKELAND SHOOTING LEAVES 10 INJURED, SUSPECTS AT LARGE: Lakeland, FL  police are investigating a shooting that left 10 people injured Monday afternoon. Police said there are 10 victims, two with critical injuries and eight with non-life-threatening injuries. One man was shot in the abdomen and another was shot in the face. Police Chief Sam Taylor said the victims are all men between 20 and 35 years old.

➤BRAZIL'S BOLSONARO APPLIES FOR 6-MONTH U.S. VISITOR VISA: Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has filed a request for a six-month visitor visa to stay in the U.S., indicating he may have no immediate intention of returning home, where legal issues await. Bolsonaro left Brazil for Florida on Dec. 30, two days before the inauguration of his leftist rival, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The ceremony proceeded without incident, but a week later thousands of Bolsonaro’s die-hard supporters stormed the capital and trashed the top government buildings demanding that Lula’s election be overturned.

Daily Mail Composite 1/31/23
➤WOMAN CHARED WITH FRAUD BY FAKING CANCER: An Iowa woman was charged after allegedly scamming $37,000 from donors by lying that she has cancer and a tumor the size of a football on her spine. Madison Marie Russo, 19, was arrested on January 23 after medical professionals reported she was faking a stage 2 cancer diagnosis by pointing out the irregularities of cords and tubes in her 'chemo' TikTok videos. Russo claimed she had pancreatic cancer and acute lymphoblastic leukemia - along with a 'football-sized' tumor on her lower back and spine. Police obtained medical records from centers where she was a patient that all revealed she was never treated for cancer or tumors, according to KWQC. Authorities also discovered that Russo was stealing photos from cancer patients' social media and using them as her own. She posted her bail for $10,000 on the same day she was arrested.

✞COMEDIC ACTRESS DIES: Cindy Williams - who portrayed the titular character Shirley Feeney in iconic 1970s sitcom Lavern & Shirley - has passed away at 75. The talented actress - who starred alongside Penny Marshall on all six seasons of the legendary ABC series - passed away after a brief illness, according to AP. Her children Zak and Emily Hudson released a statement released through family spokeswoman Liza Cranis. 'The passing of our kind, hilarious mother, Cindy Williams, has brought us insurmountable sadness that could never truly be expressed,' the statement began. 'Knowing and loving her has been our joy and privilege. She was one of a kind, beautiful, generous and possessed a brilliant sense of humor and a glittering spirit that everyone loved,' the statement concluded.

➤JUDGE RULES AGAINST JOHNSON & JOHNSON:  A federal appeals court in Philadelphia rejected Johnson & Johnson ‘s use of chapter 11 bankruptcy to freeze roughly 40,000 lawsuits linking its talc products to cancer, blunting a strategy the consumer health giant and a handful of other profitable companies have used to sidestep jury trials. The Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday dismissed the chapter 11 case of J&J subsidiary LTL Management LLC, which the company created in 2021 to move the talc injury lawsuits to bankruptcy court and freeze them in place. J&J is now exposed once again to talc-related cancer claims that have cost the company’s consumer business $4.5 billion in recent years and are expected to continue for decades. J&J tried to stanch those costs through an emerging corporate restructuring strategy that offered J&J and other companies the protections of bankruptcy, despite their solvent balance sheets and solid credit ratings, and put a total of more than 250,000 injury lawsuits against the businesses on hold. Monday’s decision marks the first time a federal appeals court has disapproved of the bankruptcy strategy, known in legal circles as the Texas Two-Step.

➤CONSUMER SPENDING IS STARTING TO SPUTTER: Retail purchases have fallen in three of the past four months. Spending on services, including rent, haircuts and the bulk of bills, was flat in December, after adjusting for inflation, the worst monthly reading in nearly a year. Sales of existing homes in the U.S. fell last year to their lowest level since 2014 as mortgage rates rose. The auto industry posted its worst sales year in more than a decade. It’s a stark turnaround from the second half of 2020, when Americans lifted the economy out of a pandemic downturn, helping the U.S. avoid what many economists worried would be a prolonged slump. Consumers snapped up exercise bikes, televisions and laptop computers for schoolchildren during lockdowns. When restrictions were lifted, they rushed back to their favorite restaurants and travel destinations.

➤AMERICANS STRUGGLING TO MAKE ENDS MEET: Two thirds of all Americans, or 166 million people, are struggling to make ends meet - and of those, 8 million earn more than $100,000 a year. The average American earns $58,260 a year. Respondents to a new survey, carried out by industry publication Pymnts.com and LendingClub, also reported trouble in paying their bills. Almost one in four - 24 percent - said they had issues paying their bills in December. Among those earning more than $100,000 and living paycheck-to-paycheck, the share rose to 16 percent - up from 11 percent a year earlier.

GAS PRICES GOING UP: Gas prices are continuing to rise to start 2023, and experts say prices are "unlikely to turn around any time soon."  The current average for a regular gallon of gas $3.50, according to AAA. While it's nowhere near the record $5.01 reached in June, its far more than what the average was heading into New Year's Day and what prices were one year ago. Experts say its possible the average price reaches $4 later this year. Here's why gas prices are inching upward: Gas demand has risen while the price of oil has slowly increased,  AAA said Monday, citing data from the Energy Information Administration. Oil refinery utilization hasn't fully recovered from cold weather in December and the refineries typically perform maintenance in the coming months, said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. 

🚘MAJOR INSURERS DROPPING KIA AND HYUNDAI MODELS:  Do you drive a Kia or Hyundai vehicle? You might have to find a new insurance plan! State Farm and Progressive confirmed that they will no longer write policies for certain Kia or Hyundai models because they lack common anti-theft devices. Vehicle theft rates for these vehicles, particularly those manufactured between 2015 and 2019, are higher than other makes. A social media challenge which showed how to start a vehicle without keys prompted some thieves to go joyriding with Kias and Hyundais. Azaela Wilburg claims her car has been stolen three times. "Find something else to do, get a job," Wilburg said.

➤STUDY: OLDER AMERICANS MAY BE ADDICTED TO PROCESSED FOODS:  As many as 13% of older adults between 50 and 80 could be addicted to highly processed foods, data from the National Poll of Healthy Aging suggests. The poll surveyed 2,163 older adults in 2022 and asked 13 questions to measure how often respondents showed signs of addiction to sweets, salty snacks, sugary drinks, and fast food. Women and those in poor mental health had higher percentages of possible addiction. 24% said they felt a strong urge to eat processed food at least once a week. 12% said their eating behavior caused them distress at least two or three times a week. "Just as with smoking or drinking, we need to identify and reach out to those who have entered unhealthy patterns of use and support them," researcher Ashley Gearhardt said.

🏈CHARGERS QB JUSTIN HERBERT HAS SURGERY TO REPAIR TORN LABRUM: Los Angeles Chargers star quarterback Justin Herbert has undergone surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder, the team announced over the weekend. Herbert, is expected to be fully cleared for participation in offseason activities this spring. Hebert was selected as an alternate for the AFC in the 2023 NFL Pro Bowl Games but will be unable to participate due to the surgery.

🏈LOS ANGELES HIRES KELLEN MOORE AS THEIR NEW OC: The Los Angeles Chargers have agreed to terms with Kellen Moore to be their new offensive coordinator, the team announced Monday. The move comes less than 24 hours after the Dallas Cowboys released a statement that said Moore and the team had reached a "mutual decision to part ways" following an end-of-season review process.

✞HALL OF FAMER BOBBY HULL, THE GOLDEN JET, DIES AT AGE 84: Hockey Hall of Famer Bobby Hull, a 12-time All-Star and two-time Hart Trophy winner, has died, the Chicago Blackhawks announced Monday. He was 84. Hull, known during his playing career as the Golden Jet because of his blond hair and his speed on the ice, became beloved in Chicago for teaming with Stan Mikita to help the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup in 1961, ending a 23-year title drought.

⚾MARLINS STAR JAZZ CHISHOLM GRACES COVER OF MLB THE SHOW 23: Miami Marlins outfielder, Jazz Chisholm, became the first Bahamian-born athlete to grace the cover of a sports video game with the announcement of MLB The Show 23 on Monday. In his three years in the big leagues, Chisholm has become one of the flashiest players in the game, with a colorful range of hairstyles, eye-catching on-field fashion and a signature Eurostep celebration.

  • Orlando Magic 119 Philadelphia 76ers 109
  • Brooklyn Nets 121 Los Angeles Lakers 104
  • Sacramento Kings 118 Minnesota Timberwolves 111
  • Golden State Warriors 128 Oklahoma City Thunder 120
  • Washington Wizards 127 San Antonio Spurs 106
  • Dallas Mavericks 111 Detroit Pistons 105
  • Phoenix Suns 114 Toronto Raptors 106
  • Portland Trailblazers 129 Atlanta Hawks 125 

🏂SOCAL BRACES FOR NEXT WINTER STORM: Southern California braces for several inches of snowfall leading into Tuesday. Winter storm warnings were issued for in Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego. Weather experts warn that thunderstorms and gusty winds will also be likely. The Golden State was hit by a massive storm, at the end of 2022 leading into 2023, that was caused by a series of atmospheric rivers cross the state. While weather experts don't expect the storm to wreak havoc in the same way, they warn the Southern part of the state can expect snowfall up to half a foot.

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