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House unveils

House Unveils New Stimulus Package as Pelosi and Mnuchin Resume Talks – The New York Times

The moves appeared to be the most concrete action toward more economic aid since negotiations stalled nearly two months ago, but the sides remain far apart on price and short on time.

Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

Emily Cochrane

WASHINGTON — Negotiators resumed talks on Monday over a coronavirus relief package in a final bid to revive stalled negotiations as House Democrats unveiled a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill that would provide aid to American families, businesses, schools, restaurants and airline workers.

The release of the legislation came minutes before Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, spoke by phone Monday evening, as the pair seeks to end the impasse over another coronavirus relief package. The two agreed to speak again on Tuesday morning, said Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Ms. Pelosi.

The moves appeared to be the most concrete action toward another stimulus bill since negotiations stalled nearly two months ago. But the sides remain far apart on an overall price tag, and with just over a month before Election Day, lawmakers and aides in both chambers warned that the time frame for striking a deal was slim.

Absent an agreement with the administration, the House could vote as early as this week to approve the legislation, responding to growing pressure for Congress to provide additional relief and quelling the concerns of moderate lawmakers unwilling to leave Washington for a final stretch of campaigning without voting on another round of aid. But at roughly $1 trillion more than what Mr. Mnuchin has signaled the White House is willing to consider, the package is likely just a starting point, all but guaranteed to be rejected by the Republican majority in the Senate should the House pass it in its current form.

To slim down the new measure, which contains many of the provisions House Democrats included in their initial $3.4 trillion legislation that they approved in May, lawmakers curtailed how long some provisions would last. They slashed their original proposal of nearly $1 trillion for state, local and tribal governments in half, and cut the aid for the beleaguered U.S. Postal Service to $15 billion from $25 billion.

But Democrats maintained a provision that would revive a lapsed $600 enhanced federal unemployment benefit and another provision that would send another round of $1,200 stimulus checks to Americans. And some measures they either added or expanded: $225 billion for schools and $57 billion for child care, an extension of an expiring program intended to prevent the layoffs of airline workers through March 31, and the creation of a $120 billion program to bolster restaurants, which have been among the hardest-hit industries in the pandemic’s economic carnage.

“Democrats are making good on our promise to compromise with this updated bill, which is necessary to address the immediate health and economic crisis facing America’s working families right now,” Ms. Pelosi wrote in a letter to her caucus. “We have been able to make critical additions and reduce the cost of the bill by shortening the time covered for now.”

The cost remains far above that of a plan that Senate Republicans coalesced around this month that would allocate $350 billion in new funds and repurpose existing funding already approved by both Congress and President Trump. They failed to advance it over resistance from Democrats, who dismissed the measure as inadequate.

But the new plan’s price tag is significantly less than the House’s $3.4 trillion measure from May, which Ms. Pelosi had previously used as the opening bid in negotiations. With mounting signs that the country’s economic recovery is stalling and rising public pressure from moderate Democratic lawmakers to act, Ms. Pelosi directed her top lieutenants to create the smaller package that could serve as the foundation for continuing talks.

“With families, businesses and local communities truly hurting from the impacts of this health and economic crisis, it’s unconscionable for Congress to go home without taking action,” said Representative Josh Gottheimer, Democrat of New Jersey. “Right now, there’s a huge amount of support from both sides of the aisle to finally get a new relief package over the finish line, and I’m hopeful that the legislation being announced today can help get the House and Senate to come to an agreement and that the president can sign it into law as soon as possible.”

After negotiating an agreement early last week to avoid a government shutdown when the new fiscal year begins on Thursday, Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Mnuchin agreed to resume conversations surrounding a broader relief package.

“I think we can find our common ground, and we’re ready when he comes back,” Ms. Pelosi said on MSNBC early Monday, before her call with Mr. Mnuchin. “We’re ready to have that conversation, but he has to come back with much more money to get the job done. So, I’m hopeful. I’m optimistic.”

Mr. Mnuchin, along with Jerome H. Powell, the chair of the Federal Reserve, has repeatedly urged Congress to provide more economic aid, with programs and funding approved in the $2.2 trillion stimulus law in March continuing to expire. But some Senate Republicans and some White House officials have warned against adding to the nation’s debt with another sweeping package, even as many economists have warned it is necessary to ensure a swift recovery from the economic toll of the pandemic.

“If Democrats are willing to sit down, I’m willing to sit down any time for bipartisan legislation in the Senate,” Mr. Mnuchin said in testimony this month before the Senate Banking Committee. “Let’s pass something quickly.”

The legislation unveiled on Monday would also delay deadlines for both the collection of census data and the submission of redistricting data to Congress, which the White House has been trying to speed ahead on and resisted including in the stopgap funding bill. It would provide $75 billion for coronavirus testing and tracing, offer funds for rental assistance, require a federal standard for worker protections against the coronavirus and revive a lapsed popular program for small businesses.

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Trump unveils

Trump unveils ‘Platinum Plan’ for Black Americans – CNN

(CNN)President Donald Trump unveiled a plan aimed at winning over Black Americans on Friday, less than two months before Election Day, largely expanding upon the existing economic-related initiatives the President established in his first term.

The proposals include prosecuting the Ku Klux Klan and Antifa as terrorist organizations, making Juneteenth a federal holiday and efforts to bolster Black economic prosperity.
During an Atlanta event announcing what was deemed the Black Economic Empowerment “Platinum Plan,” Trump sought to draw contrasts between his plan for the African American community and Joe Biden’s proposals, arguing that the former vice president “inflicted” damage on the Black community over the last 47 years he’s spent working in Washington.
Trump garnered just 8% of the Black electorate in 2016 — and an average of recent 2020 polls shows Biden leading Trump with Black voters by an 83% to 8%, or 75-point, margin.
“They only care about power for themselves, whatever that means. My opponent is offering Black Americans nothing but the same old, tired, empty slogans,” Trump argued.
The President has presented different messages on race when playing to different audiences. He defended Confederate symbols. He has called the Black Lives Matter movement a “symbol of hate,” days after retweeting and then deleting a video that included a Florida supporter shouting “White power.” The White House has maintained that Trump did not hear the supporter say the phrase.
But on Friday, the President spoke about the pillars of the plan in broad terms, saying, that among other proposals, he would be building up “peaceful” urban neighborhoods with the “highest standards” of policing, bringing fairness to the justice system, expanding school choice, increasing Black home ownership and creating a “national clemency project to right wrongful prosecutions and to pardon individuals who have reformed their (lives).”
The proposal borrows efforts from proposals by other Republicans, such as South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, who played a vital role in the establishment of opportunity zones and remains the sole Black Republican in the Senate.
For example, Trump’s plan proposes making lynching a national hate crime. In 2019, Scott co-sponsored legislation to make lynching a hate crime alongside none other than California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris, who is now the Democratic vice presidential nominee. The legislation passed in the Senate but was never passed by the House.
As demonstrations rocked the country this summer protesting against police brutality and racism following the death of George Floyd, the President sought to console Black Americans who have died as a result of police violence. However, he has consistently delivered a law and order message, calling demonstrators “thugs” and “anarchists” and rebuking what he said was protesters’ “mob rule.”
A Monmouth University poll released earlier this month found that 82% of Black respondents said Trump’s handling of the protests made the current situation worse.
The President’s “Platinum Plan” also proposes recognizing Juneteenth, the widely observed holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, as a federal holiday.
The Trump campaign scheduled a rally on Juneteenth in Tulsa, Oklahoma — the site of a 1921 massacre of hundreds of African Americans during racial unrest in the historic section of the city known as “Black Wall Street.”
Trump said before the rally that it wasn’t scheduled on Juneteenth “on purpose,” but after the event, which his campaign rescheduled in order to avoid further criticism, he sought credit for popularizing the holiday.
Trump told The Wall Street Journal that “nobody had ever heard of” the holiday before he brought it up.
“I did something good: I made Juneteenth very famous,” Trump said.
In June, several senators, including Scott and other Republicans, co-sponsored legislation to make Juneteenth a national holiday.

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Amazon unveils

Amazon unveils home drone security camera – Yahoo News

Amazon’s indoor drone, the Ring Always Home Cam, available next year, aims to capture video where customers otherwise lack static cameras.

It can show users video where an alarm has gone off, said Amazon Vice President Daniel Rausch.

“It’s super reassuring to be able to get a view inside your home,” he said in an interview.

The device only records while flying, Ring said.

The drone camera, which costs $249, represents Amazon’s latest push into shoppers’ homes, which evolved from package delivery years ago to gadgets that let consumers turn off the lights or stream media by voice command.

Ring devices have garnered criticism from civil liberties advocates such as the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which has said the company should end partnerships with police.

Video Transcript

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Apple unveils

Apple unveils all-new iPad Air with A14 Bionic, Apple’s most advanced chip – Apple Newsroom

PRESS RELEASE

September 15, 2020

The most powerful iPad Air ever features new all-screen design with larger 10.9-inch display, new 12MP rear camera, next-generation Touch ID sensor, and more

Apple today introduced the all-new iPad Air — the most powerful, versatile, and colorful iPad Air ever.

Cupertino, California — Apple today introduced an all-new iPad Air — the most powerful, versatile, and colorful iPad Air ever. Now available in five gorgeous finishes, iPad Air features an all-screen design with a larger 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display, camera and audio upgrades, a new integrated Touch ID sensor in the top button, and the powerful A14 Bionic for a massive boost in performance, making this by far the most powerful and capable iPad Air ever made. The new iPad Air will be available starting next month.

“Today we’re excited to introduce a completely redesigned and far more powerful iPad Air, debuting Apple’s most powerful chip ever made, the A14 Bionic,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “With its gorgeous new all-screen design, larger 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display, next-generation Touch ID, and a massive boost in performance with A14 Bionic, the new iPad Air brings customers powerful pro features at an even more affordable price. Along with major upgrades to the iPad Pro and eighth-generation iPad this year, and the powerful new features of iPadOS 14, this is our strongest iPad lineup ever, giving our customers even more ways to enrich their daily lives.”

All-New iPad Air Design in Five Beautiful Finishes

The new iPad Air features a completely new thin and light design in five gorgeous finishes: silver, space gray, rose gold, green, and sky blue. The new all-screen design features a larger 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display for a stunning visual experience, with 3.8 million pixels and advanced technologies, including full lamination, P3 wide color support, True Tone, and an anti-reflective coating for an amazing visual experience. To allow the display to extend on all sides, a next-generation Touch ID sensor is integrated into the top button, providing the same fast, easy, and secure way to unlock iPad Air, log in to apps, or use Apple Pay that customers know and love. iPad Air is compatible with Magic Keyboard and its floating design, and built-in trackpad, Smart Keyboard Folio, and new Smart Folio covers, as well as Apple Pencil, which attaches magnetically to the side for easy pairing, charging, and storing.1

Most Powerful iPad Air with A14 Bionic

iPad Air delivers a massive boost in performance with Apple’s most advanced chip, A14 Bionic. Handling even the most demanding apps, A14 Bionic makes it even easier for users to edit 4K videos, create gorgeous works of art, play immersive games, and more. Using breakthrough 5-nanometer process technology, A14 Bionic is packed with 11.8 billion transistors for increased performance and power efficiency in nearly every part of the chip. This latest-generation A-series chip features a new 6-core design for a 40 percent boost in CPU performance, and a new 4-core graphics architecture for a 30 percent improvement in graphics.2 To deliver breakthrough machine learning capabilities, A14 Bionic includes a new 16-core Neural Engine that is twice as fast, and capable of performing up to 11 trillion operations per second, taking machine learning apps to a whole new level. A14 Bionic also includes second-generation machine learning accelerators in the CPU for 10 times faster machine learning calculations. This combination of the new Neural Engine, CPU machine learning accelerators, and high-performance GPU enables powerful on-device experiences for image recognition, natural language learning, analyzing motion, and more.

A14 Bionic includes a new 16-core Neural Engine that’s capable of performing up to 11 trillion operations per second, taking machine learning apps like djay Pro AI to a whole new level.

Upgraded Camera and Immersive Audio

iPad Air, which includes a 7MP front-facing FaceTime HD camera, now features the same 12MP rear camera used in iPad Pro for higher resolution photos and 4K video capture. The new design of iPad Air features stereo speakers in landscape mode, elevating the audio experience so users can enjoy wider stereo sound while watching video. 

iPad Air now features a USB-C port for up to 5Gbps data transfer, which is 10 times faster,2 for connecting to cameras, hard drives, and external monitors up to 4K. With Wi-Fi 6 performance and 60 percent faster LTE connectivity,3 along with A14 Bionic, this is by far the most powerful iPad Air ever. 

The new design of iPad Air features stereo speakers in landscape mode so users can enjoy wider stereo sound while watching video.

Distinct iPad Experience with iPadOS 14

iPadOS 14, available beginning Wednesday, September 16, brings new features and designs that take advantage of the unique capabilities of iPad, such as its large Multi-Touch display, and versatile accessories. iPadOS 14 further integrates Apple Pencil into the iPad experience for better note-taking capabilities, and new ways to work with handwritten notes. When taking notes on iPad, Smart Selection uses on-device machine learning to distinguish handwriting from drawings, so handwritten text can easily be selected, cut, and pasted into another document as typed text using the same familiar gestures. Shape recognition allows users to draw shapes that are made geometrically perfect and snap right into place when adding diagrams and illustrations in Notes. Data detectors work seamlessly with handwritten text, recognizing phone numbers, dates, addresses, and links, making it easy for users to perform actions like tapping a handwritten number to make a call.

iPadOS 14 also brings Scribble to iPad, allowing Apple Pencil users to handwrite directly in any text field, making actions like replying to a quick iMessage or searching in Safari fast and easy — all without ever needing to put Apple Pencil away. Scribble uses on-device machine learning to convert handwriting into typed text in real time, so writing is always kept private and secure.

iPadOS 14 makes the iPad experience even more distinctive and powerful in other ways, including:

  • New compact designs for incoming FaceTime and phone calls, Siri interactions, and Search to help users stay focused on the task at hand.
  • Universal Search to quickly find practically anything, from locating and launching apps, to accessing contacts, files, and information, to getting answers to common questions about people or places.
  • New sidebars for many apps including Photos and Files, and streamlined toolbars that consolidate controls into a single place, making them more useful than ever.
  • Beautifully redesigned widgets that present timely information at a glance right on the Home Screen.

Most Environmentally Friendly, Most Advanced iPad Lineup Ever

The new iPad Air is designed to be environmentally friendly and supports Apple’s plan to become carbon neutral by 2030. The iPad Air uses a 100 percent recycled aluminum enclosure and 100 percent recycled tin for the solder on its main logic board. The new speakers in iPad Air also use magnets with 100 percent recycled rare earth elements. iPad Air remains free of harmful substances, is highly energy efficient, and uses wood fiber packaging that is recycled or comes from responsibly managed forests.

The new iPad Air joins the powerful iPad Pro, the eighth-generation iPad, and iPad mini to form the most advanced iPad lineup ever.

iPad Air joins the powerful iPad Pro, the eighth-generation iPad, and iPad mini to form the most advanced iPad lineup ever. With support for Apple Pencil, best-in-class performance, advanced displays, and all-day battery life,4 whether customers prioritize portability, power, or price, there’s an iPad for everyone. Learn more about the iPad family at apple.com/ipad/compare.

Pricing and Availability

  • The new iPad Air will be available starting next month on apple.com and in the Apple Store app in 30 countries and regions, including the US. Wi-Fi models of iPad Air will be available with a starting price of $599 (US) and Wi-Fi + Cellular models start at $729 (US). The new iPad Air, in 64GB and 256GB configurations, will be available in five beautiful finishes including silver, space gray, rose gold, green, and sky blue.
  • iPadOS 14, the powerful operating system designed specifically for iPad, ships for free with the new eighth-generation iPad and new iPad Air, and will be available as a free software update tomorrow for all iPad Pro models, iPad Air 2 and later, iPad 5th generation and later, and iPad mini 4 and later. 
  • Apple Pencil (2nd generation), available for purchase separately for $129 (US), is compatible with iPad Air.
  • Magic Keyboard and the Smart Keyboard Folio for iPad Air are available for purchase separately for $299 (US) and $179 (US), respectively, both with layouts for over 30 languages, including simplified Chinese, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish.
  • Smart Folios are available for iPad Air for $79 (US) in black, white, and three new seasonal colors including deep navy, cyprus green, and pink citrus.
  • Education pricing for individuals, including current and newly accepted college students and their parents, as well as faculty, staff, and homeschool teachers of all grade levels, is available for $549 (US) for the new iPad Air. The second-generation Apple Pencil is available for $119 (US), the Smart Keyboard Folio is available for $159 (US), and Magic Keyboard for $279 (US). For more information, visit apple.com/us-hed/shop.
  • Apple One is the easiest way to get many Apple subscription services at a great value, so customers can choose the one plan that is right for them or their whole family. Customers can sign up for Apple One starting this fall.
  • For a limited time, customers who purchase a new iPad, iPhone, Apple TV, Mac, or iPod touch can enjoy one year of Apple TV+ for free.5
  • Customers looking for convenient, contactless service are able to find many of the same shopping and support services from apple.com. Customers can chat with an Apple Specialist and get shopping help, choose monthly financing options, trade in eligible devices, and get Genius support and no-contact delivery. In-store pickup is also available. Customers are encouraged to check apple.com/retail for more information on the health and safety measures in place, and the services available at their local store.
  • Customers in the US can trade in their eligible device for an Apple Gift Card or credit toward their purchase. If the device isn’t eligible for credit, Apple will recycle it for free.6
  • When customers buy online from Apple, they can make iPad and Apple Pencil (2nd generation) their own with free engraving.
  • Customers in the US who buy directly from Apple can choose Apple Card monthly installments to pay for their iPad over 12 months, interest-free, and get 3 percent Daily Cash back all upfront. Customers who choose to pay in full with their Apple Card also get 3 percent Daily Cash back.
  • Customers can extend their limited warranty with AppleCare+ and get 24/7 priority access to technical support.
  • Every customer who buys iPad from Apple can enjoy a free Online Personal Session with an Apple Specialist to help them explore and discover all of the amazing things they can do with their new iPad.

To see all of the latest announcements and photos from today’s keynote event, check out the wrap-up on Apple Newsroom.

    1. Accessories sold separately.
    2. Performance claims compared to the previous-generation device.
    3. Network speeds are dependent on carrier networks.
    4. Battery life depends on device settings, usage, and other factors. Actual results may vary.
    5. This special offer is good for three months after the first activation of the eligible device. One subscription per Family Sharing group. Plan automatically renews until cancelled. Restrictions and other terms apply; visit apple.com/promo for more information.
    6. Trade-in values vary based on the condition, year, and configuration of your trade-in device, and may also vary between online and in-store trade-in. You must be at least 18 years old. Offer may not be available in all countries. In-store trade-in requires presentation of a valid, government-issued photo ID (local law may require saving this information). Additional terms from Apple or Apple’s trade-in partners may apply.

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Samsung unveils

Samsung unveils Galaxy A42 5G phone, Tab A7 and Trio wireless charging station – CNET

samsung-wireless-charger-trio

Samsung’s new Trio wireless charger.


Samsung

samsung-galaxy-a42-5g

Samsung’s Galaxy A42 5G phone.


Samsung

Samsung has announced three more mobile products: the Galaxy A42 5G smartphone, the budget Galaxy Tab A7 and the Trio wireless charger. The company on Wednesday hosted a virtual Life Unstoppable event taking place at the same time as the virtual IFA electronics show in Berlin.

The new 5G phone will be part of Samsung’s Galaxy A series and will have a quad camera layout on the rear and a 6.6-inch Super AMOLED display. The Galaxy A42 5G will launch later this year, with no word yet on pricing. It comes in black.

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Samsung’s new Galaxy Tab A7 will feature a 10.4-inch screen, quad Dolby Atmos speakers and a symmetrical bezel in a metal casing. Samsung is hailing it as an “on-the-go picture and sound entertainment experience,” also pointing to its new Samsung Kids app that’s full of educational content for children. The tablet comes in gold, silver and gray.

Lastly, the Wireless Charger Trio is a new station you can use to charge multiple devices at once, including phones, tablets, smartwatch, Galaxy Buds and more. You can get the charging station in black or white.

Samsung on Wednesday also showed off the Galaxy Z Fold 2, a smart projector called The Premiere, the Odyssey G55 gaming monitor, the Galaxy Fit2, a new fridge and a washing machine and dryer with “smart learning solutions and auto-linking capabilities.”

Read more: The best phones of 2020

samsung-tab-a7-gold

The Samsung Tab A7 in gold.


Samsung

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Russia unveils

Russia unveils coronavirus vaccine ‘Sputnik V,’ claiming breakthrough in global race before final testing complete – The Washington Post

But Russia’s hard charge toward a potential vaccine has raised alarm among global health experts that the country is jumping dangerously ahead of critical, large-scale testing that is essential to determine if a possible protection against the coronavirus is safe and effective. Few details of the Gamaleya research have been made public or have undergone peer review.

Russia’s Health Ministry did not respond to requests for comment, and the Gamaleya Institute referred an interview request to the ministry.

Konstantin Chumakov, a member of the Global Virus Network, an international coalition working on viral threats, said “it is scientifically impossible to prove efficacy” without widespread trials, known as Phase 3.

“Using it in general population before the results of Phase 3 trials are fully studied is a gamble,” he said. “A Russian roulette, if you will.”

Cold War namesake

The vaccine is named Sputnik V, a reference to the first orbital satellite, which was launched by the Soviet Union in 1957 and set off the global space race. The name also evokes how Putin’s government has seen the vaccine race as a point of national pride and competition on a global scale, with labs in the United States, Europe, China and elsewhere also in the hunt for a potential vaccine.

“Of course, what counts most is for us to be able to ensure the unconditional safety of the use of this vaccine and its efficiency in the future. I hope that this will be accomplished,” Putin said at a meeting with government members Tuesday, adding that one of his two daughters had received the potential Gamaleya vaccine. He didn’t identify which daughter.

The aggressive strategy from a country eager to declare a victory amid one of the worst outbreaks in the world has been criticized by outside scientists who worry that shots could be harmful or give people a false sense of security about their immunity. China has already authorized one vaccine for use in its military, ahead of definitive data that it is safe and effective.

“This is changing the rules. This is cutting corners,” said J. Stephen Morrison, senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “It’s a major development, and it starts with Putin. He needs a win.

“It’s hearkening [back to] the Sputnik moment,” he added. “It’s harking back to the glory days of Russian science; it’s putting the Russian propaganda machine into full gear. I think this could backfire.”

Race to be first

The international jockeying to find a vaccine has sharpened concerns about vaccine nationalism, in which countries’ need to declare victory over the pandemic could bypass long-standing safeguards to protect people from unproven medical products by ensuring that their benefits outweigh the risks.

For Russia, leading the vaccine race is an avenue for greater geopolitical clout. But the country is also looking to avoid appearing dependent on Western powers, with whom relations are historically poor, analysts said.

Last month, security officials from the United States, Britain and Canada accused hackers linked to a Russian intelligence service of trying to steal information from researchers working to produce coronavirus vaccines in those countries.

Russian officials denied that, and Kirill Dmitriev, head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund that bankrolled the country’s vaccination effort, dismissed international scrutiny of Russia’s own vaccine efforts as political.

“For countries, it’s difficult to acknowledge that, ‘How is it possible that Russia, which has been always shown as this backward, authoritarian country, can do this?’ ” Dmitriev said last week.

Dmitriev said Russia has received preliminary applications for more than 1 billion doses of the vaccine from 20 countries and is prepared to manufacture more than 500 million doses of the vaccine per year in five countries.

Russia’s move could potentially increase political pressure on other countries to take a similar bet on an unproven vaccine.

That’s a huge concern because any adverse effects from the vaccine are far less likely to be transparently reported if it is given outside of a rigorous trial. There’s also concern, Morrison said, that people will be coerced to take an unproven and potentially dangerous vaccine to keep their jobs.

“We’re seeing, in all countries, the tension between the political need to demonstrate to the public you’re doing something useful and the scientific hesitancy to only act when a vaccine is shown to be safe and effective,” said Mark Poznansky, director of the Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Limited testing

At a congressional hearing this month, Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testified that it would be problematic if countries made a vaccine available before extensive testing.

“I do hope that the Chinese and the Russians are actually testing the vaccine before they are administering the vaccine to anyone, because claims of having a vaccine ready to distribute before you do testing, I think, is problematic at best,” Fauci said.

Driven by the urgency of the pandemic, countries around the world are placing massive advance orders for vaccines and spending billions of dollars to help companies scale up production before they are proven safe and effective.

The risk is mainly a financial one — if the vaccines do not succeed in large-scale clinical trials, they will not be used.

The leading Russian vaccine candidate has so far been tested in small, early clinical trials designed to find the right dose and assess any safety concerns. It was given to scientists who developed it, in self-experimentation that is unusual in modern science, as well as to 50 members of the Russian military and a handful of other volunteers.

Dmitriev said Russia will go ahead with Phase 3, a larger trial involving thousands of participants normally considered an essential precursor to receive regulatory approval. Parallel trials are planned in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and possibly Brazil and the Philippines, he said.

The southern Brazilian state of Paraná announced that it will begin producing the possible Russian vaccine in November.

Russia also intends to start using the potential vaccine on willing front-line medical workers and teachers, who will be asked to document how they’re feeling. But while Russian officials have repeatedly assured that the vaccine is safe, Dmitriev was unable to say if it was tested on someone already infected with the coronavirus. Some vaccines, like one developed for dengue fever and used in the Philippines, can make the disease more severe.

“We will have tens of thousands of people already vaccinated like this in August,” Dmitriev said.

The World Health Organization still lists the Gamaleya vaccine as being in Phase 1.

“We are in close contact with Russian health authorities and discussions are ongoing with respect to possible WHO prequalification of the vaccine,” WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said at a briefing in Geneva.

“But again,” he continued, “prequalification of any vaccine includes the rigorous review and assessment of all required safety and efficacy data.”

Lack of transparency

Most of what outside scientists know about the experimental vaccine is from secondhand sources and not from published medical studies. Dmitriev acknowledged that while that may be unusual elsewhere, Russia is traditionally secretive in its scientific endeavors.

The results from Phases 1 and 2 will be published by the end of this month, he said, adding that the delay came from waiting for formal registration.

“You have to think a little bit about the Russian system; after Sputnik was flying for five days, only on Day 5 did Russia acknowledge that there is a satellite flying,” he said.

Russia’s vaccine uses two doses to deliver different harmless cold viruses, or adenoviruses, that have been engineered to carry into cells the gene for the spiky protein that studs the outside of the coronavirus.

The approach was inspired by the Ebola vaccines Gamaleya developed in 2015 and 2018. But while Putin boasted earlier this year that Russia’s Ebola vaccine “proved to be the most effective in the world,” the WHO still lists it as a “candidate vaccine” on its website.

Adenoviruses are also being used by scientists at the pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson, the Chinese company CanSino Biologics and the University of Oxford in their vaccine candidates.

But those other efforts have published data on how vaccines perform in animals ranging from mice to monkeys, and also presented data from early human trials showing the severity of any reactions, ranging from soreness at the injection site to fevers.

The CanSino vaccine uses one of the same harmless viruses the Russians are using in its vaccine, and its results have been disappointing to some scientists.

Dmitriev said his personal confidence in Russia’s vaccine was so high that he, his wife and his parents, both over the age of 70, were test subjects. He said just his wife reported a mild fever the first night of the injection.

“It’s not some crazy Russians using some crazy not proven stuff,” Dmitriev said. “Adenovirus existed with humans for thousands of years, and we made a bet on this proven platform because we understand that it takes very little time to develop, given the challenges.”

Johnson reported from Washington. Terrence McCoy in Rio de Janeiro contributed to this report.

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Trump unveils

Trump unveils executive orders to curb prescription drug costs after Congress failed to reach a deal – Daily Mail

Unable to land the big deal with Congress to curb drug costs, President Donald Trump on Friday moved on his own to allow imports of cheaper medicines, along with other limited steps that could have some election-year appeal.

‘Nothing like this has ever been done before because Big Pharma, with its vast power, would not let it happen. Expensive Insulin went from big dollars to virtual pennies,’ Trump bragged on Twitter on Saturday. 

‘Epi-pens went from their incredibly high, jacked up prices, to lower than their original give away bargains. Biggest price reductions in history, by far!’

At a White House ceremony, Trump signed four executive orders. One was about importation. The others would direct drugmaker rebates straight to patients, provide insulin and EpiPens at steep discounts to low-income people, and use lower international prices to pay for some Medicare drugs.

Trump cast his directives as far-reaching, but they mostly update earlier administration ideas that have not yet gone into effect.

‘I’m unrigging the system that is many decades old,’ he declared at Friday’s ceremony, promising ‘massive’ savings.

President Donald J. Trump signs an executive order on lowering drug prices during a ceremony in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, DC on Friday

Trump cast his directives as far-reaching, but they mostly update earlier administration ideas that have not yet gone into effect

Consumers may not notice immediate changes, since the orders must be carried out by the federal bureaucracy and could face court challenges.

Democrats, meanwhile, are eager to draw a contrast between Trump and their own sweeping plans to authorize Medicare to negotiate lower prices with pharmaceutical companies, an idea the president had backed as a candidate. 

A bill by Speaker Nancy Pelosi already passed the House and aligns with presidential candidate Joe Biden’s approach.

Friday’s event was definitely not the bill-signing the White House had once hoped for. Trump came into office complaining that pharmaceutical companies were ‘getting away with murder’ and promising to bring them under control. Nearly four years later, things are much the same despite some recent moderation in price increases.

Trump pulled his punches, Pelosi said in a statement. ‘After promising that he would ‘negotiate like crazy’ for lower prescription drug prices, it is clear that President Trump meant not negotiate at all,’ she said, adding that if Trump is serious about lowering prices he should tell Senate Republicans to pass her bill.

A bill by Speaker Nancy Pelosi already passed the House and aligns with presidential candidate Joe Biden’s approach, but failed to pass the Senate

Consumers may not notice immediate changes after Trump’s orders, since the orders must be carried out by the federal bureaucracy and could face court challenges

A drive to enact major legislation this year stalled in Congress. Although Trump told Republican senators that lowering prescription prices is ‘something you have to do,’ many remain reluctant to use federal authority to force drugmakers to charge less.

Meanwhile, congressional Democrats calculate that the election will strengthen their hand, and they’ll finally be able to enact a law that authorizes Medicare to negotiate prices directly. Neither side in Congress has had an incentive to deal, and the White House has been unable to work Trump’s will.

Last year the House did pass Pelosi’s Medicare negotiations bill, which would have capped out-of-pocket drug costs for older people and expanded program benefits as well. It had no path forward in the Republican Senate, and the White House calls it unworkable.

But there was an alternative. A bipartisan Senate bill backed by Trump stopped short of giving Medicare bargaining power, but would have limited annual price increases and capped costs for older people. The bill passed out of a Senate committee but was never brought to the full body.

‘It´s not clear why the administration hasn’t made a bigger push to line up votes to get a bill through the Senate and a deal with Congress, given strong public support to lower drug costs,’ said Tricia Neuman, a Medicare expert with the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.

Anti-diabetic medication is seen in a file photo. Americans are worried about the high cost of prescription drugs, which Trump attempted to address with his orders

Americans remain worried about drug costs, with nearly 9 in 10 saying in a recent Gallup-West Health poll that they’re concerned the pharmaceutical industry will take advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to raise prices. 

Another Gallup-West Health survey found 65 percent saying the Trump administration had made little or no progress limiting increases in prescription drug costs.

It’s a particularly important issue for older people, who rely on medications to manage the medical problems associated with advancing age. Trump’s support has eroded among the elderly during the haphazard federal response to COVID-19.

Drugmakers remain adamantly opposed to government efforts to curb prices. 

Trump’s administration ‘has decided to pursue a radical and dangerous policy to set prices based on rates paid in countries that he has labeled as socialist, which will harm patients today and into the future,’ Stephen Ubl, head of the pharmaceutical lobby, said in a statement.

Trump delayed the effective date of the international pricing order for a month, to see if he can get a deal with industry.

The four orders would:

– Allow states, wholesalers and pharmacies to import FDA-approved drugs from foreign countries and sell them in the U.S. Trump has long complained that countries where the government sets the price of drugs are taking advantage of American consumers. The order includes a special provision to allow wholesalers and pharmacies to re-import insulin and biological drugs.

– Use the lowest price among other economically advanced countries to set what Medicare pays for certain drugs administered in a doctor’s office, including many cancer medications. This would apply to the most expensive medications covered by Medicare’s ‘Part B,’ which pays for outpatient care. Drugmakers are particularly leery of the approach, since Democrats want to use it more broadly to allow Medicare to directly negotiate prices.

– Direct federally funded community health centers to pass discounts they now get for insulin and EpiPens directly to low-income patients.

– Ensure that rebates drugmakers now pay to benefit managers and insurers get passed directly to patients when they buy a medication. The White House last year withdrew an earlier version of the proposal, after the Congressional Budget Office estimated it would cost taxpayers $177 billion over 10 years.

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Biden unveils

Biden unveils first general election TV ad in Texas | TheHill – The Hill

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenThe Hill’s Campaign Report: Runoff elections in Texas, Alabama set for Tuesday Biden campaign slams White House attacks on Fauci as ‘disgusting’ Biden lets Trump be Trump MORE will tell Texans in his first general election TV ad in the Lone Star State that they are tougher than the coronavirus pandemic. 

“I’m thinking of all of you today. I know the rising case numbers is causing fear and apprehension. People are frightened,” Biden says in the minute-long ad. “They’re especially worried about their parents, their grandparents, loved ones who are most at risk.”

The former vice president also says, “This virus is tough, but Texas is tougher.”

Biden also calls on viewers to take safety precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, like wearing a mask in public spaces, socially distancing and more to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“We can stop the spread, but it’s up to all of us to do it. We have to step up and do both the simple things and the hard things to keep our families and our neighbors safe. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Stay home if you can and socially distance when you go out,” Biden says. 

“I want every single American to know: If you’re sick, if you’re struggling, if you’re worried about how you’re going to get through the day, I will not abandon you,” Biden continues. “We’re all in this together. We’ll fight this together, and together we’ll emerge from this stronger than we were before we began.”

The ad in the Lone Star State is part of a new mid-six-figure broadcast and digital advertisement buy, CNN reported. The ad will also be customized for Arizona, Florida and North Carolina, in addition to Texas.

It will air in each of Texas’s top markets on area cable and Sunday cable shows, CNN reported. The campaign will also run a Spanish-language captioned version of the ad in Arizona, Florida and Texas online and on Univision.

The move comes as recent polls have shown Biden and President TrumpDonald John TrumpWayfair refutes QAnon-like conspiracy theory that it’s trafficking children Stone rails against US justice system in first TV interview since Trump commuted his sentence Federal appeals court rules Trump admin can’t withhold federal grants from California sanctuary cities MORE running closely in Texas. A Dallas Morning News-University of Texas Tyler poll released Sunday showed Biden leading Trump by 5 points, receiving 46 percent of the vote to Trump’s 41 percent. Biden tied with the president in Texas in a CBS News poll released Sunday.

The Trump campaign fired back on Tuesday, saying Texas is out of reach for Biden.

“Democrats like to pretend Texas is on the table, but they know that’s a joke – just ask Governor Wendy Davis, Senator Beto O’Rourke, and President Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHillicon Valley: Wells Fargo tells employees to delete TikTok from work phones | Google, Facebook join legal challenge to ICE foreign students rule | House Republican introduces bills to bolster federal cybersecurity Biden lets Trump be Trump 4 Texas GOP congressional primary runoffs to watch MORE,” Samantha Zager, deputy national press secretary for the Trump campaign said in a statement to The Hill.

Texas, Arizona, Florida and North Carolina have all seen upticks in confirmed COVID-19 cases in recent weeks. Florida health officials recorded over 15,000 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, the highest single-day increase in any state across the country amid the ongoing pandemic.

Updated at 1:12 p.m.

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Theatres unveils

AMC Theatres Unveils Plans to Reopen During Coronavirus – Variety

AMC Theatres, the world’s largest exhibitor, has unveiled plans to re-open after coronavirus forced it to close its more than 600 venues in the U.S. for nearly four months.

The company is expected to resume operations in 450 of those locations on July 15 and expects to be almost fully operational by the time that Disney’s “Mulan” debuts on July 24 and Warner Bros.’ “Tenet” bows on July 31.

As part of that process, AMC is reducing its seating capacity in order to help people social distance, it is implementing new cleaning procedures, placing hand-sanitizing stations throughout its theaters and encouraging contact-less and cash-free concessions.

“We didn’t rush to reopen,” AMC CEO and president Adam Aron said in an interview with Variety. “There were some jurisdictions in some states, such as Georgia and Texas, that allowed people to reopen theaters in mid-May. We opted to remain closed, so we could give the country time to get a better handle on coronavirus. We wanted to use this time to figure out how best to open and how to do so safely.”

AMC’s competitors Regal and Cinemark announced their own plans to resume business earlier this week, targeting a similar mid-July timeframe for when they expect to be fully operational.

The exhibition sector, and particularly AMC, are under pressure to bring customers back to cinemas. Prior to coronavirus there was a great deal of consolidation in the exhibition space, much of it made possible by debt financing. AMC’s decision to acquire rivals such as Odeon Cinemas, UCI Cinemas and Carmike Cinemas left it heavily leveraged with more than $5 billion in debt. In recent filings, AMC acknowledged that the coronavirus pandemic could push it into bankruptcy. Aron expressed confidence that the theater chain would be able to avoid Chapter 11 and would be able to have enough revenue to service its debt obligations.

“In my heart of hearts, I think we can manage AMC through this crisis,” said Aron. “There are no guarantees and nobody knows what coronavirus will look like in the winter or how long it will take to get a vaccine, but I can tell you that we have a very able management team here. We’re going to make every effort to make sure that AMC continues to be well positioned as a leader of the movie theater industry.”

AMC will not mandate that all guests wear masks, although employees will be required to do so. Nor will AMC perform temperature checks on customers, though it will monitor its employees’ temperatures and have them undergo screenings to check for signs of coronavirus. The situation will be different in states and cities that require residents to wear a mask when they’re in public, but Aron said that AMC was wary of wading into a public health issue that has become politicized.

“We did not want to be drawn into a political controversy,” said Aron. “We thought it might be counterproductive if we forced mask wearing on those people who believe strongly that it is not necessary. We think that the vast majority of AMC guests will be wearing masks. When I go to an AMC feature, I will certainly be wearing a mask and leading by example.”

AMC will also sell masks for a dollar to guests who forgot to bring one. Both Cinemark and Regal are encouraging guests to wear masks, but not requiring it in states and areas where it is not mandated.

As it worked to establish and implement new procedures, AMC partnered with The Clorox Company, and current and former faculty of Harvard University’s School of Public Health. On their advice, the theater chain said that it is going to lean heavily on technological solutions such as deploying electrostatic sprayers, HEPA vacuums and upgraded MERV 13 ventilation filters, which would eliminate airborne particles and reduce the chance that COVID-19 will spread.

Other procedures being implemented include cleaning auditoriums between each showtime and allowing extra time between screenings for disinfection; blocking out every other row of seats to decrease congestion; pushing guests to use online ticketing and kiosks to limit interactions with staff, and designating various points within theaters for one-way foot traffic.

AMC said it plans to increase capacity in its theaters in stages. At first, AMC will only make available 30% of capacity in every showtime. Over time, that will increase to 40% and then 50% capacity. AMC hopes that it will be able to have half of its auditoriums full by Labor Day and projects that it will be at full capacity by Thanksgiving. The reopening is taking place as cases of coronavirus are falling sharply in former epicenters such as New York, but rising in other states such as Florida and Arizona.

In order to educate theater-goers about the new measures, AMC is participating in an industry-wide marketing push that’s been orchestrated by talent agency CAA and overseen by former Imax Entertainment chief Greg Foster. The company is planning its own promotional efforts, as well.

“Tenet,” Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi thriller, had originally hoped to kick off moviegoing when it opened on July 17. Last week, Warner Bros., the studio behind the film, announced that “Tenet” would be delayed until July 31. Aron expressed confidence that “Tenet” won’t be postponed again.

“They tell me they’re holding that date,” he said.

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Trump unveils

Trump unveils ‘warp-speed’ effort to create coronavirus vaccine by year’s end – The Guardian

Donald Trump has announced details of a “warp-speed” effort to create a coronavirus vaccine by the end of the year, even as experts warn that such a breakthrough could take longer than 18 months.

During remarks in the White House Rose Garden on Friday that had to compete with honking from protesting truck drivers, however, the US president also urged schools to reopen in the autumn and insisted: “Vaccine or no vaccine, we’re back.”

Unveiling details of “Operation Warp Speed”, a name that references a concept popularised by Star Trek and other science fiction, Trump said: “That means big and it means fast. A massive scientific, industrial and logistical endeavour unlike anything our country has seen since the Manhattan Project.”

He added: “Its objective is to finish developing and then manufacture and distribute a proven coronavirus vaccine as fast as possible. Again, we’d love to see if we can do it prior to the end of the year.”

Standing just behind him, Anthony Fauci, an infectious diseases expert wearing a face mask, cast his glance down and reached to adjust his tie. Trump did not wear a face mask.

In testimony to Congress on Tuesday, Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned: “There’s no guarantee that the vaccine is actually going to be effective.”

And on Thursday Rick Bright, the ousted head of a government agency seeking a vaccine, told Congress: “Normally, it takes up to 10 years to make a vaccine. A lot of optimism is swirling around a 12-to-18-month time frame, if everything goes perfectly. We’ve never seen everything go perfectly.”

Trump said the government would invest in all the top vaccine candidates and said a list had been narrowed to 14 promising possibilities with a plan to narrow further. The initiative will work with the US military and other countries, accelerate the typical regulatory process and mobilise to get a vaccine distributed once one is in place.

“There’s never been a vaccine project anywhere in history like this,” he continued, in what appeared to be a break from the script, slicing the air with his right hand. “And I just want to make something clear. It’s very important. Vaccine or no vaccine, we’re back and we’re starting the process and, in many cases, they don’t have vaccines and a virus or a flu comes and you fight through it.”

Moncep Slaoui, a former chairman of vaccines at GlaxoSmithKline who will lead the multibillion-dollar programme, expressed optimism that progress is being made.

“I have very recently seen early data from a clinical trial with a coronavirus vaccine,” he said. “These data made me feel even more confident that we will be able to deliver a few hundred million doses of a vaccine by the end of 2020.”

Gen Gustave Perna, a four-star general in charge of the army’s logistics and supply chain operation, will be the chief operating officer. Three career scientists will oversee each area of Operation Warp Speed.


‘That’s the sign of love’: Trump claims truckers’ disruptive honking is ‘in favour’ of him – video

Alex Azar, the health secretary, described it as “a dream team” and said: “We’ll use all of our regulatory tools to bring a vaccine available for the entire American population by January.”

The current US death toll is 86,000, with 1.4m confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins University. With various states already reopening, Trump promised the US economy would roar back. And answering questions from reporters, he insisted: “I think the schools should be back in the fall.”

Asked if he has concerns about students or teachers bringing the virus home to their families, Trump replied: “I’m concerned about everything. And I’m also concerned about our country. Our country has to get back.”

The shutdown itself causes massive depression, drugs, suicide and other problems that lead to death, he added. “We have a great plan to prevent the spread, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to close our country for five years, OK? Not going to happen.”

Fauci warned Congress this week of “really serious’ problems” if states ignore federal guidelines and move too quickly. He also said officials should not be “cavalier” about the virus’s impact on children.

Neither Fauci nor response coordinator Deborah Birx spoke at the event. Last month both were regular contributors to the daily press briefing.

Many administration officials in the garden wore face masks but the president did not. Trump and other speakers had to compete with a noisy chorus of horns from truckers who, he claimed, were protesting in his favour, describing it as a “sign of love”.

Joe Lockhart, a former White House press secretary, tweeted: “There is not an objective scientist on TV right now that believes anything that was said at the press conference who believes anything like this can be done by the end of the year. Caveat, I’m not watching Fox.”

In what may have been mere coincidence, Trump announced Operation Warp Speed on the same day that he was presented with the new space force flag in the Oval Office.

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