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Danger strikes as New York Times staff revolt over Tom Cotton’s publication

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Danger sets in the U.S as The New York Times publishes Tom Cotton’s use of military force.

What We Know:

  • The New York Times faced a backlash late Wednesday by running an Op-Ed and publishing it as part of the news. Many of the staff members came out and “shamed” the Times for publishing this opinion-based article and igniting more fire as well as danger in the community.
  • In the wake of the many riots all over the U.S, President Trump threatened the use of the United States army by the Insurrection Act to act as needed and use physical force against protesters.
  • Republican Senator, Tom Cotton supported the President’s threat and urged the US army to show “an overwhelming show of force” to restore order.
  • The New York Times employees and subscribers revolted over Tom Cotton’s remarks. Below are a few tweets out of the many that responded:

  • The union that represents the Times staff issued the following statement, “Though we understand the Op-Ed desk’s responsibility to publish a diverse array of opinions, we find the publication of this essay to be an irresponsible choice”.
  • Editorial page editor at The New York Times, James Bennet published a post on his Twitter account regarding the importance of publishing the Op-ed post of Tom Cotton. He stated that The New York Times knows how painful and “dangerous” it could be. However, they “believe that is one reason it requires public scrutiny and debate”.

  • Executive Editor of The New York Times stated the difference between opinion pieces and news articles and how they are both published on the home page but they are not news.
  • Following the union that represents the Times, the NewsGuild of New York that represents many Times journalists said in a statement that the “Op-Ed promotes hate”. NewsGuild also stated that “media organizations have a responsibility to hold power to account, not amplify voices of power without context and caution”.

  • Along with several sources dropping The New York Times because of the published article, it has also caused about 800 staff members to sign a letter protesting its publication.

Following the uproar from staff and subscribers spokeswoman, Eileen Murphy for The New York Times later backtracked their support on James Bennet’s approval to publish the article and said the following: “This review made clear that a rushed editorial process led to the publication of an Op-Ed that did not meet our standards”.

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Headlines

Minnesota AG Keith Ellison Requests Aggravated Sentence for Chauvin

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The state’s attorney general has requested the former Minneapolis police officer receive a harsher sentence for his role in the death of George Floyd.

What We Know:

  • According to a legal brief filed on Friday, Attorney General Keith Ellison asked Hennepin County Judge to hand Chauvin a harsher sentence. Ellison based his request on “five aggravating factors” that justify a longer sentence.
  • The brief states that Floyd was a “vulnerable victim” and “treated with particular cruelty.” The filing states that Floyd was already restrained on the ground when most of Chauvin’s actions took place and that he ignored Floyd’s calls for help as he could not breathe. Ellison went on to say, “[the] Defendant’s actions inflicted gratuitous pain, and caused psychological distress to Mr. Floyd and to the bystanders.”
  • In addition, the brief states Chauvin “abused his position of authority” by violating the “sanctity of life” and public responsibility standards that police officers are held to. The final two factors Ellison says, are that Chauvin committed the crime as part of a group of officers and in the presence of children.
  • Chauvin was charged with second and third-degree murder along with second-degree manslaughter. On April 20th, the former officer was found guilty on all charges after a deliberation process that lasted several weeks. However, due to Minnesota state law, Chauvin will only be sentenced according to the most serious charge–second-degree murder.

The death of George Floyd last year sparked nationwide protests that lasted for several months. Chauvin’s sentencing hearing has been scheduled for June 25th.

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Coronavirus

National Pharmacy Chains Have Wasted Hundreds of Thousands of Covid Vaccine Doses

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Two nationwide pharmacy chains trusted with handling vaccinations are largely responsible for the majority of wasted doses.

What We Know:

  • According to the CDC, there were 182,874 wasted doses of the covid vaccine as of late March. The pharmacy chains CVS and Walgreens are responsible for 128,500 wasted shots. According to Kaiser Health News, CVS accounted for nearly half of those, with Walgreens representing 21%.
  •  The CDC data indicates that the two companies wasted more shots of the vaccine than all of the states, territories, and federal agencies combined. The data, however, does not indicate how the pharmacies were able to waste so many of the vaccine doses. Many critics cited the disorganized rollout of the vaccine as the primary factor contributing to the waste.
  • The Trump administration heavily leaned on the two pharmacies to vaccinate those long-term care facilities during the early phase. A CVS representative stated “nearly all” of its wasted vials came during this period.
  • The report found that freezer malfunctions were the most common source of wasted vials. The Pfizer was the first to be distributed in December. The vaccine initially required that it be kept in ultra-cold storage, making it difficult to transport and store properly. The report found that the Pfizer vaccine made up 60% of all lost doses.
  • In a statement, CDC spokesperson Kate Fowlie said, “though every effort is made to reduce the volume of wastage in a vaccination program, sometimes it’s necessary to identify doses as ‘waste’ to ensure anyone wanting a vaccine can receive it, as well as to ensure patient safety and vaccine effectiveness.”

According to the CDC, nearly 250 million doses of the covid vaccine have been administered. Over 100 million Americans have been fully vaccinated so far, which amounts to about 32% of the population.

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Wildfire Survivors, Experts Urge Congressional Action Ahead of Fire Season

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Wildfire Survivors and Experts urged Congress to act quickly to prevent more devastation on the West Coast.

What We Know:

  • Fire season this year threatens to be a historic one amid rising temperatures and drought. The House Natural Resources subcommittee recently listened to testimonies on managing forests, fighting climate change, and equipping federal firefighters. The hearing finished right before a brush fire erupted in Southern California. The fire forced some residents to evacuate their homes in Ventura County.
  • According to the U.S Drought Monitor, much of the West is experiencing levels of drought ranging from severe to exceptional. About 75% of the West is in a “megadrought.” The drought includes the Colorado River and the Rio Grande, both of which supply water for millions of people and businesses.
  • Congressional leaders remain split on how to address the crisis despite warnings from experts. Some members blame climate change, while others blame forest management. Some lawmakers are pushing for federal agencies to hire more firefighters. Other lawmakers would rather states take more proactive roles in securing communities.
  • Idaho Rep Russ Fulcher believes the main culprit of this disaster is decades of insufficient forest management. Fulcher asserts that the negligence has led to “overgrown, diseased and dying forests.” Rep. Joe Neguse made a statement saying Congress must stop the “drain” of federal resources to land agencies and increase the federal wildland workforce. Last year Neguse’s district was hit by two of the largest wildfires in Colorado’s history.

The East Troublesome Fire in Colorado claimed nearly 200,000 acres and killed two people.

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