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Technology US

Dems push Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for anti-radicalization changes after Capitol attack

Only hours after gaining full control of Congress, House Democrats are going after Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for the platforms’ perceived roles in inciting violence at the Capitol earlier this month.

In letters addressed to the chief executives of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Tom Malinowski (D-NJ), along with dozens of other members, called for the companies to make sweeping changes to their platforms to curb violent and extremist activity on their networks.

The lawmakers accused the companies of using certain product features and algorithms that boost content that evokes extreme emotions as a means of increasing engagement, pointing out specific features they want to see changed on each platform. For YouTube, lawmakers said they would like to see the company disable auto-play and stop recommending any conspiratorial content alongside videos or on users’ homepages. Facebook was asked to start a “fundamental reexamination” of its use of user engagement “as the basis of algorithmic sorting and recommendation.” Lawmakers also asked Twitter to begin prompting users to quote-tweet tweets instead of automatically retweeting them when the retweet button is selected.

“The horrific damage to our democracy wrought on January 6th demonstrated how these social media platforms played a role in radicalizing and emboldening terrorists to attack our Capitol,” Eshoo said in a statement Thursday. “These American companies must fundamentally rethink algorithmic systems that are at odds with democracy.”

Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Verge.

Earlier Thursday, House Oversight Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) called on FBI Director Chris Wray to open an investigation into Parler, a conservative-leaning Twitter dupe, following the pro-Trump Capitol attack.

Maloney said that the House Oversight Committee would begin its own probe into Parler and other social media websites like it. In an interview with The Washington Post, Maloney said, “I am going to get to the bottom of who owns and funds social media platforms like Parler that condone and create violence.”

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Tech News

Amazon Could Be Hit as India Is Said to Plan Foreign Investment Rule Changes


India is considering revising its foreign investment rules for e-commerce, three sources and a government spokesman told Reuters, a move that could compel players, including Amazon, to restructure their ties with some major sellers.

The government discussions coincide with a growing number of complaints from India’s bricks-and-mortar retailers, which have for years accused Amazon and Walmart-controlled Flipkart of creating complex structures to bypass federal rules, allegations the US companies deny.

India only allows foreign e-commerce players to operate as a marketplace to connect buyers and sellers. It prohibits them from holding inventories of goods and directly selling them on their platforms.

Amazon and Walmart’s Flipkart were last hit in December 2018 by investment rule changes that barred foreign e-commerce players from offering products from sellers in which they have an equity stake.

Now, the government is considering adjusting some provisions to prevent those arrangements, even if the e-commerce firm holds an indirect stake in a seller through its parent, three sources said. The sources asked not to be named because the discussions are private.

The changes could hurt Amazon as it holds indirect equity stakes in two of its biggest online sellers in India.

Amazon said e-commerce created “huge job opportunities” and is a significant contributor to economic growth. “Any major alterations” to the policy will adversely impact small- and medium-sized busineses, it said in an emailed statement.

Walmart and Flipkart did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Yogesh Baweja, the spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, which is working on the issue, confirmed to Reuters any changes will be announced through a so-called “press note,” which contains foreign direct investment rules. He did not give details.

“It’s a work in progress,” Baweja said, adding an internal meeting on the subject last took place about a month ago.

“Of course Amazon’s a big player so whatever advice, whatever suggestions, whatever recommendations they make, they are also given due consideration.”

Frayed ties

The 2018 rules forced Amazon and Flipkart to rework their business structures and soured relations between India and the United States, as Washington said the policy change favoured local e-tailers over US ones.

India’s e-commerce retail market is seen growing to $200 billion (roughly Rs. 14,62,450 crores) a year by 2026, from $30 billion (roughly Rs. 2,19,360 crores) in 2019, the country’s investment promotion agency Invest India estimates.

Domestic traders have been unhappy about the growth. They see foreign e-commerce businesses as a threat to their livelihoods and accuse them of unfair business practices that use steep discounts to target rapid growth. The companies deny they are acting unfairly.

“The way the government is thinking is that marketplaces are not doing what they are supposed to do. The government wants to tinker with the nuts and bolts of the policy,” said one of the sources who is familiar with the talks on the policy changes.

Limiting wholesale ties

India’s trade minister Piyush Goyal has been critical of e-commerce companies in private meetings and told them to follow all laws in letter and spirit, Reuters has previously reported.

In the face of growing trader complaints and an antitrust investigation, Goyal last year said Amazon was not doing “a great favour to India” by making fresh investments.

Among other changes, the government is considering changes that would effectively prohibit online sales by a seller who purchases goods from the e-commerce entity or its group firm, and then sells them on the entity’s websites, two of the sources said.

Under existing rules, a seller is free to buy up to 25 percent of its inventory from the e-commerce entity’s wholesale or another unit and then sell them on the e-commerce website.

A boom in e-commerce in India accelerated last year when the COVID-19 pandemic drove more shoppers online. Flipkart, in which Walmart invested $16 billion (roughly Rs. 1,17,000 crores) in 2018, and Amazon are among the top two players.

“E-commerce has already made its mark for itself in the country, particularly during COVID-19,” Commerce Ministry’s Baweja said. “They are bound to grow and a conducive environment should be there, which is good for the brick-and-mortar as well as e-commerce.”

© Thomson Reuters 2021


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Bollywood The Buzz

‘Tandav’ makers say they will make changes to web series following controversy


Mumbai, January 19

The cast and crew of Amazon Prime Video series “Tandav” on Tuesday said they have decided to implement changes to the political drama to address concerns.

“Tandav”, a nine-episode political thriller starring Bollywood A-listers Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia and Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub, started streaming last week but the show landed in a huge controversy over its depiction of Hindu deities.

At the centre of the row is a scene with Zeeshan Ayyub, in the role of college student Shiva, playing the Hindu god Mahadev in a theatre production.

In an official statement, the team reiterated that they had no intention to hurt anyone’s sentiments.

“We have utmost respect for the sentiments of the people of our country. We did not intend to hurt or offend the sentiments of any individual, caste, community, race, religion or religious beliefs or insult or outrage any institution, political party or person, living or dead.                  

“The cast & crew of ‘Tandav’ have made the decision to implement changes to the web series to address the concerns raised towards the same,” the statement read.

The team also thanked the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting for the guidance and support in the matter.

“We once again apologise if the series has unintentionally hurt anybody’s sentiments,” the statement said. — PTI





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Headline USA

WhatsApp delays its changes in user privacy | The State

WhatsApp has decided to postpone until May the entry into force of the changes in its Conditions and Privacy policy, that were initially going to be effective on February 8, and has reiterated the protection of conversations with end-to-end encryption that prevents the company from accessing its content.

At the beginning of January, WhatsApp users began to see a message warning of changes in the service about the data that WhatsApp collects from users and their treatment, as well as relating to the way in which business they can use Facebook’s hosted services to store and manage their chats.

In the same message that warned that in order to continue using the messaging service, users had to accept the changes.

The company then told Europa Press that the new policies do not imply material changes in the processing of data for users, and that WhatsApp still does not share this information with Facebook, for use by the parent company to improve products and advertisements.

However, the confusion among users, the company has decided to postpone the date on which these changes will take effect (initially February 8), without this change involving suspensions or deletions of accounts among those who until now had not accepted the message informative, as explained in a statement.

From WhatsApp they also point out that they will take “a series of measures to clarify the misinformation regarding the way in which privacy and security work on WhatsApp.” Subsequently, and gradually, users will have to review the policy, “at their own pace”, before the new options for companies take effect on May 15.

It has also reiterated that personal conversations on the platform are protected with end-to-end encryption, which means that “neither WhatsApp nor Facebook can see those private messages.”

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Headline USA Politics

Biden Has Big Changes Prepared for His First 10 Days in the Presidency | The State

Biden brings plans already organized for his presidential term.

Photo:
Joe Raedle / Getty Images

WASHINGTON – President-elect Joe biden He has prepared dozens of decrees that he plans to sign in his first ten days in power, including a dozen orders that he will sign this Wednesday, the day of his inauguration, said one of his advisers this Saturday.

In addition to sending the day of his investiture to Congress a proposal for immigration reform which will include a path to citizenship for the country’s 11 million undocumented immigrants and urge Congress to pass its $ 1.9 trillion economic stimulus plan, Biden It will also take various measures unilaterally.

The decrees of the first day

Those measures include a decree to return the United States to the Paris Climate Agreement and another that will end with the veto issued by Donald Trump on the entry of travelers from several Muslim-majority countries.

Will also order an extension of the moratorium on student loan payments in the country, extend restrictions on evictions and foreclosures, and declare the mandatory use of masks against covid-19 on federal property and transports that cross state lines.

This was announced this Saturday by the one who will be Biden’s chief of staff at the White House, Ron Klain, in a letter distributed by the transition team.

On Thursday 21, Biden will sign a series of decrees related to the covid-19 pandemic, and focused on safely reopening schools and businesses, mitigating contagions through expanding coronavirus testing, and setting clear public health standards, Klain explained.

On Friday 22, the now president-elect will ask his cabinet to take “immediate measures to give financial relief to working families who have borne the brunt of this crisis, “he added.

Reuniting separated families at the border

Between Monday February 25 and February 1, Biden will sign more decrees, including some focused on “restoring the dignity of the immigration system and border policies,” and “beginning the difficult but crucial process of reuniting separated families at the border,” Klain said.

In early December, a group of lawyers working to reunite migrant families affected by Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy They assured that they had not yet found the parents of some 628 children separated from them at the border in 2017 and 2018, according to NBC News.

In that first full week in office, Biden will also take steps to “address the climate crisis with the urgency demanded by science,” to “expand access to health care” for low-income people, and to “reform the health care system. criminal justice, ”Klain said.

Biden is also expected to speak by phone with various leaders of other countries and “take steps to restore America’s place in the world,” he concluded.

New Scientific Advisors

Klain’s letter arrived shortly after Biden will present who will make up his scientific team, including a presidential adviser on science who, if confirmed by the Senate, will serve in the cabinet, something that had never happened and with which the president-elect wants to underline the importance that this issue has for him.

The nominee to become that advisor is the geneticist Eric Lander, the main leader of the Human Genome Project, which between 1990 and 2003 achieved the mapping of all human genes.

He also appointed Lark nelson as Lander’s “number two,” and to Frances Arnold and Maria Zuber – the first American woman to win a Nobel Prize in Chemistry, and the first woman to lead a NASA spacecraft mission, respectively – as co-chairs of the Council of Presidential Advisers on Science and Technology.

At a ceremony in Wilmington (Delaware), Biden said that he wanted those advisers to be the last ones he appoints before reaching the White House because they are “the ones who will have the most impact” on the future of the country’s children.

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Tech News

Apple Considers Foldable iPhone; Minor Changes Planned for 2021 Models


Apple has begun early work on an iPhone with a foldable screen, a potential rival to similar devices from Samsung Electronics Co. and others, though it’s planning only minor changes for this year’s iPhone line.

The Cupertino, California-based company has developed prototype foldable screens for internal testing, but hasn’t solidified plans to actually launch a foldable iPhone. The development work hasn’t expanded beyond a display, meaning Apple doesn’t yet have full handset prototypes in its labs, according to a person familiar with the work, who asked not to be identified discussing private matters.

Like Samsung’s Galaxy Fold, the Motorola Razr reboot and other offerings from Chinese companies including Huawei, a foldable iPhone would let Apple make a device with a larger screen in a more pocketable package. Apple has internally discussed a number of foldable screen sizes, including one that unfolds to a similar size as the 6.7-inch display on the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Current foldable phones have screens that are from 6 and 8 inches unfolded.

The foldable Apple screens in testing, like those from Samsung, have a mostly invisible hinge with the electronics stationed behind the display, the person said. Other companies, including Microsoft , have recently launched devices with visible hinges separating two distinct panels. An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.

This would be a radical departure for Apple. Its pioneering touchable, all-screen smartphone is arguably the most successful consumer technology product in history, helping make Apple the world’s most valuable company. However, a foldable iPhone is likely years away or ultimately may never be introduced. The company is currently focused on launching its next-generation flagship iPhones and iPads later this year.

Apple isn’t planning major changes for this year’s iPhone line given the enhancements made to the smartphone in 2020, including 5G and new designs, according to people familiar with the situation. Inside Apple, engineers consider the next iPhones another “S” version of the device, the nomenclature typically given to new iPhones with minor upgrades.

The Covid-19 pandemic has also complicated product development, with Apple hardware engineers only working at the company’s Silicon Valley offices a few days a week and in limited numbers. That has meant offloading work to Apple’s engineers in China.

Last year, the pandemic delayed the iPhone 12’s release by several weeks, but Apple was able to still include nearly every intended feature except an accessory dubbed “AirTags” for locating physical items like backpacks and keys. The company now plans to launch that accessory this year, and it is planning multiple accessories for it including a leather keychain. Samsung announced a similar gizmo earlier this month.

Though overall changes will be minor, Apple is still testing a key upgrade for 2021: an in-screen fingerprint reader. This would add a new method for users to unlock their iPhone, going beyond a passcode and Face ID facial recognition. Apple started to move away from fingerprint sensors in 2017 with the launch of the iPhone X, but Touch ID has remained as a feature on Mac laptops and cheaper iPhones since then. Qualcomm Inc., which provides Apple with 5G modems, earlier this month announced a faster in-screen fingerprint sensor.

The feature would be convenient in an environment where users wear masks, which are often incompatible with facial recognition. An in-screen fingerprint reader, which has also been featured on Android phones for several years, could also be quicker than Face ID for some users. Apple won’t remove its facial recognition scanner though as it’s still useful for augmented reality and camera features.

Apple has also discussed removing the charging port for some iPhone models in favor of wireless charging. The company moved to a magnetic MagSafe charging system with the iPhone 12, in addition to removing the charging brick from the iPhone box last year. It’s also bringing this  charging technology back to the MacBook Pro.

For its tablet line, Apple is planning a new iPad Pro that looks similar to the current model but adds a MiniLED display and much faster processor. A thinner and lighter entry-level iPad that uses the same design as the 2019 iPad Air is also in the works.

© 2021 Bloomberg LP


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Delhi The Buzz

Govt examining WhatsApp’s user policy changes amid privacy debate


New Delhi, January 14

The government is examining and evaluating the recent privacy policy update announced by WhatsApp, amid an outcry over the controversial changes linking data of WhatsApp users to Facebook’s other products and services, according to sources.

Internal discussions are on within the IT Ministry over the implications of the recent move by the Facebook-owned messaging platform, they said.

The issue needs to be looked at, in detail, given that concerns have been raised by a large section of users, including some top business leaders, they added.

WhatsApp, which has over 400 million users in India, counts the country among its biggest markets globally.

Sources further said that WhatsApp’s policy update would also be evaluated in the context of the current legal framework.

While the IT Ministry has not yet approached WhatsApp seeking an explanation on the matter, a decision on the same is likely to be taken soon.

The development comes amid a raging debate over WhatsApp’s controversial update in its terms of service and privacy policy around how it processes user data and partners with Facebook to offer integrations across the social media giant’s products.

WhatsApp had informed users about these changes through an in-app notification, last week. It said users would have to agree to the new terms and policy by February 8, in order to continue using the platform.

This led to a user backlash and triggered memes on the internet over WhatsApp’s alleged sharing of user information with Facebook. Many users have also started shifting to rival platforms such as Telegram and Signal, and these platforms have seen millions of downloads globally in the immediate aftermath of the event.

While many tech leaders — namely Elon Musk — advocated using other platforms such as Signal, in India too, a number of business leaders, including Mahindra Group chairman Anand Mahindra, Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma and PhonePe CEO Sameer Nigam spoke of moving to rival platforms.

Mahindra said he had installed Signal while Nigam said he had moved 1,000-plus ‘PhonePe-rs’ to Signal, and recreated all his workgroups and moved family groups.

Paytm’s Sharma, who has in the past too questioned the rising clout and practices of foreign big-tech companies, had recently tweeted: “How long we will be taken for granted by such blatant double standards ? Self claimed ad claiming respect of our privacy v/s actual policy.”

In the tweet, Sharma had shared a picture of WhatsApp ads in Indian dailies alongside a foreign media report that quoted WhatsApp as saying that European users do not have to share data with Facebook.

Amid the public furore, WhatsApp, on its part, has sought to assuage users’ concerns saying its latest policy update does not affect the privacy of messages on the platform.

In a blogpost earlier this week, WhatsApp emphasised that it did not share users’ contact lists or data of groups with Facebook for advertisement purposes. PTI





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Headline USA New York Politics

Cuomo changes his tune and concedes bars and Broadway WILL have to reopen

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has finally changed his tune and announced Monday he’ll reopen New York’s economy soon because the cost of businesses remaining closed is ‘too high’, even as COVID hospitalizations surpass what they were during the March shutdown.  

‘We simply cannot stay closed until the vaccine hits critical mass,’ Cuomo said Monday during his televised ‘State of the State’ address.

‘The cost is too high. We will have nothing left to open. We must reopen the economy, but we must do it smartly and safely,’ he added.

The Democrat said he’s planning the state’s ‘economic resurgence’ and will use COVID-19 testing to allow restaurants, art centers and theaters, which would include Broadway, to reopen, 

However, it’s not clear when these reopening plans will actually start.

Cuomo’s new stance comes as New York has recorded more than 1.26million virus cases and more than 31,000 virus-related deaths since the start of the pandemic. 

On January 10 New York recorded a total of 8,645 hospitalizations, a number near the level of hospitalizations the state recorded back in late March, the same month Cuomo shut down the state due to the pandemic

Donald Trump Jr slammed Cuomo for his announcement to reopen the economy, sarcastically calling him a 'brilliant strategist,' adding 'it’s incredible that no one thought of this months ago!'

Donald Trump Jr slammed Cuomo for his announcement to reopen the economy, sarcastically calling him a ‘brilliant strategist,’ adding ‘it’s incredible that no one thought of this months ago!’

And the state isn’t out of the woods yet. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has changed his tune and announced Monday he’ll reopen the New York's economy soon

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has changed his tune and announced Monday he’ll reopen the New York’s economy soon

On Monday a total of 8,645 COVID hospitalizations were reported in New York state. 

That’s similar to the number of hospitalizations the state recorded back in the early days of the pandemic. On March 29, 2020, just two weeks after Cuomo declared a state of emergency and shut down the state, 8,503 hospitalizations were recorded. 

Also on Monday 13,714 new coronavirus infections were reported and the number of new infections has increased dramatically in December and January compared to earlier in the pandemic, a sobering sign that the virus is far from gone. 

The New Year has already seen 136,000 people in the state test positive since January and nearly 8,900 new COVID patients have entered hospitals, as per NBC New York. 

Donald Trump Jr slammed Cuomo for his announcement to reopen the economy, sarcastically calling him a ‘brilliant strategist,’ adding ‘it’s incredible that no one thought of this months ago!’

Don Jr and President Trump have attacked Cuomo for months for keeping New York locked down in a bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

These graphs by the COVID Tracking Project show how new COVID cases in New York first peaked in May then went down over the summer, only to surge again starting in November

These graphs by the COVID Tracking Project show how new COVID cases in New York first peaked in May then went down over the summer, only to surge again starting in November

Current hospitalizations in New York are more than they were back in March when Cuomo initiated the shutdown, but he now says the state needs to reopen to save the economy. These COVID Tracking graphs show how New York's hospitalizations and deaths rates have formed a U-shape - they peaked in May, then went down in the fall, only to rise against in the winter

Current hospitalizations in New York are more than they were back in March when Cuomo initiated the shutdown, but he now says the state needs to reopen to save the economy. These COVID Tracking graphs show how New York’s hospitalizations and deaths rates have formed a U-shape – they peaked in May, then went down in the fall, only to rise against in the winter

The vaccine rollout has been slow in New York. A view of a long line of people waiting for the Moderna vaccine at a vaccination site at South Bronx Educational Campus, in the Bronx borough of New York City on Sunday above

The vaccine rollout has been slow in New York. A view of a long line of people waiting for the Moderna vaccine at a vaccination site at South Bronx Educational Campus, in the Bronx borough of New York City on Sunday above

Also on Monday Cuomo opened up the state’s vaccine eligibity to essential workers and individuals over the age of 75. A member of the NYPD gets vaccinated above at the Queens Police Academy on Monday

Also on Monday Cuomo opened up the state’s vaccine eligibity to essential workers and individuals over the age of 75. A member of the NYPD gets vaccinated above at the Queens Police Academy on Monday

‘We are hurt, we are frustrated, we are in mourning, we are anxious. We are shocked that an invisible enemy could reach such death and destruction especially in this, the most wealthy and powerful nation on earth,’ Cuomo said in his televised address.

Also on Monday Cuomo opened up the state’s vaccine eligibity to essential workers and individuals over the age of 75.

He is also launching a new public health corps that will bring 1,000 fellow to help the vaccine rollout.

So far New York has only used about half of its roughly one million vaccine doses. 

Cuomo also said in his speech New York doesn’t have enough doses for roughly four million eligible New Yorkers until mid-April, according to the state’s allotment of 300,000 vaccines per week.

Reopening soon: The Democrat said he’s planning the state’s 'economic resurgence' and the plan is to use COVID-19 testing to allow restaurants, art centers and theaters to reopen, However, it’s not clear when these reopening plans will actually start

Reopening soon: The Democrat said he’s planning the state’s ‘economic resurgence’ and the plan is to use COVID-19 testing to allow restaurants, art centers and theaters to reopen, However, it’s not clear when these reopening plans will actually start

Broadway has been shut down since March.  Speaking on reopening theaters Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's lead infectious disease expert, said over the weekend Broadway could reopen by fall of 2021 or when New York has reached herd immunity

Broadway has been shut down since March.  Speaking on reopening theaters Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s lead infectious disease expert, said over the weekend Broadway could reopen by fall of 2021 or when New York has reached herd immunity

The restaurant industry has struggled immensely amid the pandemic with restrictions on indoor and outdoor dining. Customer's dine in an enclosed outdoor dining tent while tables and chairs on the street remain vacant on December 30 in New York City

The restaurant industry has struggled immensely amid the pandemic with restrictions on indoor and outdoor dining. Customer’s dine in an enclosed outdoor dining tent while tables and chairs on the street remain vacant on December 30 in New York City

No customers: Eateries are struggling to make ends meet at diners stay at home due to the cold and bans on indoor dining

No customers: Eateries are struggling to make ends meet at diners stay at home due to the cold and bans on indoor dining

A creative solution: People dine inside plastic igloos outside the Tap Room on the East Side on December 26 in New York City

A creative solution: People dine inside plastic igloos outside the Tap Room on the East Side on December 26 in New York City 

The state has seen its unemployment rate pick up over the winter months despite the restaurant industry being severely crippled amid indoor and outdoor dining bans.

In April the state’s unemployment rate was 15.3 percent but it rose to 8.4 percent in November.

In his speech Cuomo repeated calls for federal aid for state and local governments, noting the state is facing a COVID-related budget hole of $15billion.

However, he proposed new measures to raise money including legalizing cannabis and online sports betting, which could bring in $300 million in annual revenue after several years.

Speaking on reopening theaters Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s lead infectious disease expert, said over the weekend Broadway could reopen by fall of 2021 or when New York has reached herd immunity. 

Hundreds of NYC vaccine appointment slots go UNFILLED as city demands candidates answer 51 questions to get a shot and Cuomo warns even priority groups will have to wait up to 14 weeks

New York City failed to fill hundreds of appointments to receive the Covid-19 vaccine despite Governor Andrew Cuomo warning that people could expect a 14-week wait for a shot, with a hard-to-use online registration portal being blamed for the slow sign-ups. 

Who can get vaccinated under Phase 1B? 

More than four million New Yorkers became eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines when the state moved into Phase 1B, including: 

  • Individuals 75 and older
  • First responders
  • Public safety officers
  • Teachers and other school staff
  • In-person college instructors
  • Childcare workers
  • Grocery store workers
  • Transit workers
  • Individuals living and working in homeless shelters
  • Corrections officers  

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer highlighted glaring issues in the city’s process to sign up for a vaccine appointment in a Twitter thread late Sunday after the state dramatically loosened eligibility requirements and opened up two mass vaccination sites in Brooklyn and the Bronx. 

Stringer said when he checked the sign-up website, which can only be accessed after creating an account on a separate site, there were over 200 slots available for January 12 at one of the sites. 

He pinned the large number of vacancies on both the ‘bewildering’ complexity of the sign-up process – which includes a 51-question gauntlet rife with technical issues – and on city officials’ failure to mobilize people to seek appointments. 

‘The @NYCHealthy site for signing up for a COVID vaccination is complex, burdensome, and buggy,’ Stringer tweeted.

‘It will present an obstacle for too many people — particularly seniors — trying to sign up. This is a major problem.’ 

‘We should be #1 in vaccinations in the nation from day one — and we should be using every tool at our disposal to vaccinate as many New Yorkers as possible as quickly as possible,’ he added.  

It wasn’t clear by Monday evening  if the city had worked out the glitches in vaccine registration site. Stringer’s office didn’t return a message from DailyMail.com. The city’s and the state’s health departments also didn’t return messages.

New York state moved into Phase 1B of its vaccination plan on Monday, allowing for residents over the age of 75, teachers, transit workers and police to begin receiving shots in addition to healthcare workers. 

The new phase also broadened the types of healthcare workers that can receive the vaccine to include anyone who interacts with the public, such as licensed practical nurses, pharmacists, dentists and podiatrists. 

Cuomo, who had previously been adamant that all healthcare workers should be inoculated before the state moved on to other categories, announced the changes at a press conference on Friday in the face of criticism from medical providers who have been forced to throw out vials of the vaccine that expired before they were able to distribute them.   

Even with the new measures, New Yorkers’ path to receiving the coveted vaccines is still mired in hurdles like the ones Stringer pointed out on Sunday.    

On Friday, Cuomo said he was working with the incoming Biden administration and hoped that New York’s supply from the federal government ‘dramatically increases’ once the Democrat takes office on January 20. 

Without such an increase in vaccine supply, Cuomo said, New York would take another 47 weeks, or nearly a year, to reach herd immunity levels. 

The New York Department of Health is setting up 20 mass distribution sites throughout the state over the next several weeks.

Two sites opened in New York City on Sunday, one at the Brooklyn Army Terminal and another at the Bathgate Contract Postal Station in the Bronx. 

Another three will be open on Wednesday, Cuomo said, at the Jacob K Javits Convention Center in Manhattan, the Westchester County Convention Center and the State Fairgrounds in Onondaga County.  

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Entertainment USA

Kailyn Lowry Changes Son Creed’s Last Name After ‘Toxic’ Relationship With Chris Lopez

Kailyn Lowry’s five-month-old son has a new last name. She revealed to fans what baby Creed will now be called after her relationship with his dad Chris Lopez has gone even further downhill.

Teen Mom 2 star Kailyn Lowry has made no bones about how she thinks Chris Lopez is an absentee dad to both their three-year-old son Lux and five-month-old son Creed. She even left his last name out when she named their first child, calling him simply Lux Lowry, because Chris was allegedly never around. But she decided to give him a chance with baby number two, naming their son born on July 30 “Creed Romello Lopez.” Now that Kail and Chris’ relationship has grown even more toxic since Creed’s arrival, she’s just added her surname to his moniker.

Kailyn Lowry explained to a fan in a Jan. 2 Instagram post that she’d added her surname to son Creed’s last name. She had originally named him Creed Romello Lopez.

Kailyn made the revelation to a fan on Jan. 2 in an Instagram comment next to a photo of Creed looking so precious and adorable. A fan asked what Creed’s full name is and the 28-year-old responded back, “Creed Romello Lowry-Lopez now.” Other fans then asked if she was hyphenating all of her four children’s names, but she didn’t respond back. 

 

The mother of four had previously revealed on her own podcast Coffee Convos on Aug. 13, 2020 that she was giving her latest son Chris’ last name of Lopez. “It’s crazy because I think I have a really hard time, and this is my own fault, I get so angry and I say a lot of things that are true, but then I still turn around and try to make other people happy and not argue,” Kail explained to co-host Lindsie Chrisley. “So this is another attempt of me trying to give [Chris] a chance to step up as a dad. Nothing I do is going to change someone else’s behavior; however I feel this is me giving him another chance to, like, not argue about the last name and try to be there.”

Kailyn Lowry and sons
Pregnant Kailyn Lowry carries son Lux and walks along side sons Isaac and Lincoln during a trip to Target in June 2020. Photo credit: MEGA.

Kail then revealed in Sept. 2020 that Chris had not seen his infant son since he was born. “We don’t communicate at all. I don’t remember the last time I heard from him. So he hasn’t seen Creed since he was born, maybe a couple days after. He saw him when he was born and he saw him shortly thereafter that week and he hasn’t seen him since,” she shared on iHeartRadio’s The Domenick Nati Show during a Sept. 1 appearance.

Later that week things really went off the rails when Chris took Lux for a visit on Sept. 4. Kail rightfully lit into Chris for getting their son’s luscious long curly hair cut off without the MTV star’s permission and totally going behind her back. Kailyn showed off before and after photos of Lux’s butchered locks in an Instagram stories snapshot and wrote, “Parenting with a narcissist be like” above the “after” photo, and also added “control tactic” at the bottom of the snapshot, aimed at Chris.

Chris then further angered Kailyn by explaining in an Instagram live that he wanted Lux’s hair short and that she was lucky he didn’t have the stylist go even further with the chop. “If you wanna be real, I was basically telling the girl keep going. I’ve been wanting to cut my son’s hair. So the fact that I cut off a little bit of his edges, she’s lucky I didn’t f**king scalp his a**….That’s my son. So If I decide to make a decision on my son, I can,” he defiantly stated, even though Kailyn has sole custody of the boy.

Creed is now the only one of Kailyn’s sons with a hyphenated last name. Lux has always had just her surname of Lowry, while her 10-year-old son Isaac has her high school ex-boyfriend Jo Rivera‘s last name. Kail’s seven-year-old son Lincoln Marroquin has the last name of his dad Javi Marroquin because he and Kailyn were married at the time the boy was born in 2013.

 

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The year changes, the destruction in employment does not | The State

Doubts about the continuity of the aid have temporarily lowered initial unemployment claims./Archivo

Photo:
BRIDGET BENNETT / AFP / Getty Images

The year 2020 was a lousy year for employment to the end. The force that COVID is gaining prevents improvements and that is not changed by the calendar. According to the Department of Labor, in the week ending January 2, 787,000 workers applied for unemployment insurance for the first time.

Added to this are 161,000 more workers who applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance or PUA, according to its acronym in English. These are benefits for the unemployed who normally do not have access to this benefit program because they are an independent contractor or freelancer.

It is a program created by the CARES Act to support the economy and has been expanded in the last stimulus package, which came into effect at the end of 2020, for an additional 11 weeks.

In total there are 948,000 people who in a week have become dependent on these aid during a time when the economic key is a pandemic that is devastating neighborhoods and collapsing hospitals in one of the worst moments since it was declared in the country. There is no truce in unemployment and at this moment some 19.17 million workers are receiving some kind of help for it.

Last week’s figures reflect some improvement as there are 152,000 fewer initial claims due to a reduction in PUA claims that were in question until just the end of the year due to their expiration on December 31. President Donald Trump decided to sign the congressionally approved pandemic aid package after taking his time to do so.

Once the program has been expanded, it is to be expected that these aid demands will rise again.

It is also expected that applications for unemployment extensions will rise, which were also extended in the last aid package approved at the end of December. Workers who have exhausted all aid can request an additional 11 weeks of support but have to reapply.

On Friday, January 8, the Bureau of Labor Statistics is scheduled to present the result of the pandemic in the labor market in 2020 with the employment and unemployment figures for December. In November job creation was low and many workers have stopped looking for an occupation. Unemployment is officially 6.7% but affects a higher percentage. In New York it is 8.4%.

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