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House panel to hold hearing on alleged disinformation, extremism in media


The House of Representatives side of the U.S. Capitol is seen in Washington, D.C. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 6:39 AM PT – Wednesday, February 24, 2021

A House committee is set to hold a hearing regarding alleged disinformation in broadcast media. Members of the House Subcommittee on Communications Technology said Wednesday’s shearing is to examine “disinformation and extremism in the media.”

The hearing has been criticized as a partisan ploy as a memo outlining its intention cites articles which specifically accuse Fox News, Newsmax and OAN of spreading misinformation.

This comes after members of the panel sent a letter to several cable companies asking whether they will continue to carry conservative networks. Radical Democrats are trying to censor One America News as well as other top conservative outlets from TV airways.

One America’s Pearson Sharp has more on how Democrat lawmakers are trying to shut down the First Amendment and what you can do to help.


MORE NEWS: Democrat Lawmakers Trying to Shutdown OAN – HOW TO HELP





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Biden attorney general nominee dismissed 2014 case against U.S. Capitol bomber


OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 6:39 AM PT – Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Democrats claim they are furious about the turmoil at the U.S. Capitol and are applauding the related indictments. In 2014, however, Joe Biden’s attorney general nominee Merrick Garland agreed to quash an arrest warrant and dismiss an indictment of a violent leftist who bombed the Senate Chambers in the 1980’s.

One America’s Richard Pollock spoke with Paul Kamenar of The National Legal and Policy Center about this hypocrisy and has more from Washington.


MORE NEWS: Justices Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch dissent Pa. election decision






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Johnson & Johnson's One-Shot Covid Vaccine Effective, Safe: US Drug Regulator


J&J had not previously released details of its clinical trial data beyond efficacy rates.

Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot COVID-19 vaccine appeared safe and effective in trials, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) staff said in documents published on Wednesday, paving the way for its approval for emergency use.

The FDA’s panel of independent experts meets on Friday to decide whether to approve the shot. While it is not bound to follow the advice of its experts, the FDA did so when authorizing the Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc vaccines.

J&J’s vaccine was 66% effective in preventing COVID-19 against multiple variants in a global trial involving nearly 44,000 people, the company said last month.

Its effectiveness varied from 72% in the United States to 66% in Latin America and 57% in South Africa, where a new variant has spread, though the vaccine was 85% effective overall in stopping severe cases of the disease.

The vaccine was effective in reducing the risk of COVID-19 and preventing PCR-test confirmed COVID-19 at least 14 days after vaccination, the FDA said in its briefing documents.

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Three vaccine recipients had severe side effects in the trial, but the FDA said that its analysis did not raise any specific safety concerns that would preclude issuance of an emergency use authorization.

J&J had not previously released details of its clinical trial data beyond efficacy rates.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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23 Tonnes Of Cocaine Seized In Europe's Biggest Haul


Investigators also searched 2 premises — one in Rotterdam and another in a nearby village.

Berlin, Germany:

Germany and Belgium have seized 23 tonnes of cocaine in a record haul of the drug in Europe, German customs said Wednesday.

“The enormous amount of cocaine would have brought in several billion euros (dollars) in street sales,” the customs office said in a statement.

German officers had discovered 16 tonnes of cocaine hidden in containers from Paraguay at the port of Hamburg on February 12.

Joint investigations into the stash with Dutch officers led authorities to swoop on another 7.2 tonnes in cocaine at the port of Antwerp in Belgium, German customs said.

Dutch police said they arrested a 28-year-old man early Wednesday in the Netherlands in connection with both hauls totalling 23 tonnes.

Investigators also searched two premises — one in Rotterdam and another in a nearby village.

Dutch police said the illicit cargo intercepted was all bound for “the same destination in the Netherlands”.

“The seized mega shipments to the Netherlands together form an absolute record. Never before has so much cocaine been intercepted at once,” they said in a statement.

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Customs officers at the busy port in Hamburg had decided to take a closer look at the Paraguayan containers after noticing “clear irregularities” with its contents — tin cans that were meant to be filled with putty.

“Beyond a layer of genuine goods packed just behind the container door, numerous tin cans were in fact filled with other goods,” said customs.

Investigators ordered the containers unloaded, and found the cocaine stash in over 1,700 tin cans.

“This is the largest amount of cocaine ever seized in Europe and one of the largest single seizures worldwide,” German customs said, referring to the Hamburg haul.

In all, 102 tonnes of cocaine headed for the European continent were intercepted last year by an international law enforcement project co-implemented by the UN.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



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Chinese Court Orders Man To Pay Ex-Wife $7,700 For 5 Years Of Housework


The judge ruled in her favour, telling the man to pay 50,000 yuan for her labour (Representational)

Beijing:

A Chinese court has ordered a man to pay his former wife 50,000 yuan ($7,700) as compensation for housework she did during their five-year marriage, state media reported on Wednesday.

Under a landmark civil code that seeks to better protect the rights of individuals, spouses can seek compensation from their partners in a divorce if they have shouldered more responsibilities – including housework.

The woman, who did not work outside the home during the marriage, sought compensation for housework she had done after her husband filed for divorce at a district court in Beijing last year.

The judge ruled in her favour, telling the man to pay 50,000 yuan for her labour, according to state television.

He must also pay 2,000 yuan a month to support their child, with other assets such as property to be divided equally.

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The award of compensation for housework sparked debate on Chinese social media, with many netizens saying the amount was too little.

“A nanny’s annual income is already in the tens of thousands of yuan,” said a social media user. “This is too little.”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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Joe Biden, Justin Trudeau Pledge To Counter China, Climate Change, In First "Meeting"


Justin Trudeau thanked Joe Biden for reiterating support for the release of two Canadians held by China

WASHINGTON/OTTAWA:

US President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sought on Tuesday to turn the page on the Trump era, stressing the countries’ deep ties and pledging to work together to counteract Chinese influence and address climate change.

“The United States has no closer friend, no closer friend than Canada,” Biden told Trudeau via an electronic video link with the Canadian leader and top aides. “That’s why you were my first call as president (and) my first bilateral meeting,” he said.

After talking for about two hours, the two leaders emerged and said they planned to work closely together to beat the COVID-19 pandemic and combat climate change, with a goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

Trudeau also thanked Biden for reiterating U.S. support for the release of two Canadians held by China, Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig. “Human beings are not bartering chips,” Biden said. “We’re going to work together until we get their safe return.”

Biden and Trudeau did not take questions after delivering their remarks.

Trudeau welcomed the Biden administration, citing in particular Washington’s renewed attention to climate change in contrast to former U.S. President Donald Trump.

“Thank you, again, for stepping up in such a big way on tackling climate change. U.S. leadership has been sorely missed over the past years,” the prime minister said.

Canada has often been a U.S. president’s first foreign stop, but the COVID-19 pandemic turned the sit-down between the two leaders and some of their top deputies into a virtual affair.

Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and other officials, all wearing dark masks, sat at a long table in a White House meeting room, near a large video screen beaming in Trudeau’s image from Ottawa.

A Canadian government source said there had been no progress on the possibility of Canada accessing COVID-19 vaccines produced in the United States. Canada is currently receiving doses from plants in Europe.

“We’re focused on ourselves, the United States is focused on itself. They feel they have a supply shortage, so there is no news on that front,” said the source, who requested anonymity given the sensitivity of the situation.

REKINDLED ALLIANCE

Biden irritated Ottawa shortly after taking office on Jan. 20 by blocking the $8 billion Keystone XL pipeline project to pump oil sands crude from Alberta to Nebraska, and proposing a “Buy American” program aimed at directing more U.S. spending toward domestic manufacturers.

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But the two leaders made clear they wanted to put the dispute behind them and work together.

The meeting drew scrutiny as an early view of Biden diplomacy. “Everyone around the world is watching this meeting very closely. They will want to get what the Canadians got and they won’t all succeed. This is the top level of access, the gold standard,” a senior Western diplomat in Ottawa said.

“”We feel we are off to the races here,” the Canadian government source added.

Trudeau was the first world leader to congratulate Biden when the Democrat was declared the winner of the November election, illustrating the degree to which the close U.S. ally looks to move on from Trump’s four years in office.

The Republican former president, who often clashed with traditional allies on trade, imposed tariffs on Canadian aluminum and steel. He traveled only once to Canada for a G7 meeting in 2018, and blasted Trudeau for being “very dishonest and weak” after he left.

Trump also forced the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, talks that consumed Trudeau’s government for years.

Tuesday’s session began with a 45-minute meeting between Biden, Harris, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, national security adviser Jake Sullivan and their Canadian counterparts.

Another meeting with more officials followed. Trudeau was accompanied by his finance minister, Chrystia Freeland, and others.

The official said the White House had expected Trudeau to raise the issue of the two Canadians detained by Beijing and charged with espionage after Canada’s detention of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, on a U.S. arrest warrant.

Meng remains under house arrest.

Biden also said the leaders would work closely to strengthen supply-chain security and resilience, and to drive a robust post-pandemic “economic recovery that benefits everyone, not just those at the top.”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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Ghana Receives World's First Doses Of Free Covax Vaccines From India


Covax Vaccine: Launched last April, Covax said it planned to ship two billion doses by year’s end.

Accra, Ghana:

Ghana on Wednesday became the first country to receive vaccines from Covax, a global scheme to procure and distribute Covid inoculations for free for poorer countries.

Launched last April, Covax said it planned to ship two billion doses by year’s end.

“The next phase in the fight against this disease can begin — the ramping up of the largest immunisation campaign in history,” UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore declared in a statement.

“At last!” World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, whose organisation also backs the Covax initiative, said in a tweet.

“A day to celebrate, but it’s just the first step.”

The 600,000 doses delivered to Ghana are the Oxford/AstraZeneca formula, made under license by the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, the Serum Institute of India.

They are part of an initial tranche of deliveries headed to several low and middle-income countries.

An Emirates flight carrying the vaccines touched down at Accra’s Kotoka International Airport shortly after 0740 GMT, where a government delegation led by the Minister for Health Designate Kwaku Agyeman Manu received them, in images broadcast on television.

Ghana’s food and drug authority has already authorised the use of the Indian-made vaccines as well as Russia’s Sputnik V, according to local media.

The West African nation has recorded 80,759 Covid-19 cases and 582 deaths since the start of the pandemic, although the true figure is believed to be higher because of lack of testing.

Vaccinations are scheduled to start on Tuesday in Accra, Kumasi and Obuasi.

They will begin with health workers and other frontline staff, adults over 60 and people with underlying health conditions, Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said.

The first who will get the vaccines also include “frontline executive, legislature, judiciary and their related staff, frontline security personnel, some religious leaders, essential workers, teachers and other personalities,” he said.

The government said it was making “frantic efforts” to acquire enough vaccines to inoculate all of Ghana’s 30 million people and urged people to take part in the drive.

– New variants –

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Covax, led by Gavi the Vaccine Alliance, the WHO and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), had expected a first round of deliveries in March with some early shipments occurring in late February.

For Ghana, it aims to deliver 2,412,000 doses.

Africa has been relatively spared by the pandemic.

It was the last continent except Oceania to reach the threshold of 100,000 deaths, which Europe crossed in April 2020.

To help speed immunisation of the continent’s 1.3 billion people, the African Union said it had secured 270 million doses of anti-Covid vaccines for delivery this year.

The WHO on Monday accused wealthy countries of hogging Covid vaccines and hindering the pathway for poorer nations to get them too.

The health agency said some rich countries’ direct deals with manufacturers had meant that previously-agreed vaccine allocations for poorer countries, via the Covax programme, were being reduced.

Some 145 participating economies are set to receive 337.2 million doses — enough to vaccinate a little over three percent of their combined populations.

Covax has said it hopes to raise the figure to up to 27 percent in lower-income countries by the end of December.

New variants of the virus, including in neighbouring Nigeria, are spreading across the continent with the UK and South African variants recorded in cases in Ghana.

“It is strongly recommended for countries to use the AstraZeneca vaccine even if the… new variants are present,” the WHO said in a statement last week.

In Ghana, schools reopened in January after a 10-month closure, but large social gatherings are banned and land and sea borders have remained closed since March 2020.

Economic growth is expected to have plummeted in 2020 to its lowest in three decades, to 0.9 percent according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), from 6.5 percent in 2019.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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Nepal PM Will Not Step Down Despite Court Defeat: Aide


“The prime minister (above) will not resign now. There is no question about that,” aide Surya Thapa said

Kathmandu:

Nepal’s embattled Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli will not resign but face a floor test in parliament instead, an aide said on Wednesday, a day after the Supreme Court rejected his decision to dissolve the legislature and call early elections.

Political turmoil has rocked the country since last December, when PM Oli suddenly dissolved parliament and announced the elections, blaming ruling party leaders for a lack of co-operation on key matters of policy.

PM Oli, 69, has started meeting some allies in the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) to review the situation after the court ruled that parliament’s abrupt dissolution was unconstitutional and ordered that it be called into session before March 8.

Thousands of Nepalis opposed to PM Oli took to the streets in the capital, Kathmandu, for a public rally on Wednesday to celebrate the decision and press fresh demands for the prime minister to resign.

“The prime minister will not resign now. There is no question about that,” Surya Thapa, the aide, told Reuters.

“He will face parliament,” Mr Thapa added, but did not elaborate.

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Members of the anti-Oli faction said they rejected his autocratic style of functioning and the latest court order proved his inability to govern.

All lawmakers opposed to the prime minister are engaged in talks over their next move, said Narayan Kaji Shrestha, a senior NCP leader who organised countrywide protests against PM Oli in the past months.

“If Oli does not resign then parliament will take a decision on his political fate,” Mr Shrestha said, adding that the tourism-dependent economy battered by the coronavirus needs a stable government.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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"US Will Seek Election To UN Human Rights Council For 2022-24 Term": Antony Blinken


We humbly ask for the support of UN states in our bid to return to a seat in this body: Antony Blinken

Geneva:

The United States is seeking election to the UN Human Rights Council, three years after former president Donald Trump’s administration withdrew, the US top diplomat told the rights body Wednesday.

“I’m pleased to announce the United States will seek election to the Human Rights Council for the 2022-24 term,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the council in a video message.

“We humbly ask for the support of all UN member states in our bid to return to a seat in this body.”

The United States announced earlier this month that it would re-engage with the 47-member council after Trump’s administration pulled the country out in June 2018.

He complained about its “unrelenting bias” against Israel and the “hypocrisy” of allowing rights-abusing nations a seat at the table.

The US departure left a void that China and others have been eager to fill at the council.

While Washington has vowed to begin active participation in the council’s activities immediately, it could not automatically regain the membership it walked away from three years ago.

Elections for the next term will be held towards the end of this year.

“The United States is placing democracy and human rights at the centre of our foreign policy, because they are essential for peace and stability,” Blinken told the council’s main annual session, which this year is being held mainly virtually due to the pandemic.

– ‘High standards’ –

“This commitment is firm and grounded in our own experience as a democracy, imperfect and often falling short of our own ideals, but striving always for a more inclusive, respectful, and free country,” he said.

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But while the US under new President Joe Biden is eager to return to the fold of the council, Blinken stressed that the country still agrees with some of the criticisms lobbed by the previous administration.

“Institutions are not perfect,” he said.

“As the United States reengages, we urge the Human Rights Council to look at how it conducts its business. That includes its disproportionate focus on Israel,” he said.

“In addition, we will focus on ensuring that the council membership reflects high standards for upholding human rights,” he added.

The United States has long complained that prominent rights abusers are given seats on the council.

Currently the membership includes China, Russia, and Venezuela, along with Cuba, Cameroon, Eritrea and the Philippines.

“Those with the worst human rights records should not be members of this council,” Blinken said.

“We must work together to improve the work and membership of the council so it can do even more to advance the rights of people around the world.”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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Chinese Man To Pay Ex-Wife $7,700 For Housework In Landmark Divorce Case


China’s civil code: Divorcing spouses, for the first time, can request compensation (Representational)

Beijing:

A Chinese man has been ordered to pay his ex-wife almost $8,000 for years of unpaid housework, in a landmark divorce case that has sparked furious debate in China.

Under the country’s new civil code, which came into effect this year, divorcing spouses have the right for the first time to request compensation if they bore more responsibilities at home.

Ex-wife Wang told the Beijing court that during five years of marriage she “looked after the child and managed household chores, while (her husband) Chen did not care about or participate in any other household affairs besides going to work”.

She filed a claim for extra compensation for housework and childcare duties, according to a February 4 court statement.

The court ruled that Wang had indeed taken on more household responsibilities and should receive 50,000 yuan ($7,700) plus sole child custody and an additional 2,000 yuan in alimony per month.

But after local media reported this week that Wang had appealed — having originally requested 160,000 yuan compensation — the ruling sparked widespread online debate over the value of women’s unpaid domestic labour.

The trending hashtag “stay-at-home wife receives 50,000 yuan housework compensation” gained over 570 million views on the Twitter-like platform Weibo by Wednesday.

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“Women should never be stay-at-home wives… when you divorce, you are left with nothing whatsoever. 50,000 yuan in housework compensation is bullshit,” read one comment.

“A full-time nanny could cost more than this for half a year, are women’s youth and feelings this cheap?” read another.

The amount reflected the length of time the couple were married plus “the effort Wang put into housework, Chen’s income and the local cost of living,” according to one of the judges, quoted Monday in local media.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has estimated that Chinese women spend nearly four hours doing unpaid labour daily — 2.5 times that of men and higher than the average.

Marriage breakups have surged over the last two decades in China as divorce laws were liberalised and women became more financially independent — to the concern of Beijing, which is trying to boost birth rates in an ageing population.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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