Thursday, April 15, 2021

The Attorney General of the State of Arizona sued the U.S. Government for halting construction of the border wall with Mexico and ending the “Remain in Mexico” program

Arizona asked a federal court to annul these decisions of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) since, it assures, it violates the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The prosecutor argues that DHS failed to provide environmental impact statements when it abruptly halted construction of the border wall. This void allows migrants into the country by ending the Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP) program, also known as “Remain in Mexico.” Arizona argues that these decisions increase the migratory flow and therefore increase the population, stating in the lawsuit that “population growth has significant environmental impacts.” In one of his first official actions on January 20, the president ordered a temporary halt to the construction of the border wall with Mexico. According to the Attorney General, this has left unplanned gaps between segments of the border fence, thus encouraging illegal migration. As a direct consequence of these “gaps” in infrastructure, migrants have been crossing into Arizona in greater numbers. The Arizona Attorney General’s Office highlighted that sources indicate that approximately 1,000 people evade immigration authorities and enter the United States daily because of these gaps in the border fence. Arizona argues that since Biden ordered DHS to end the MPP last February, thousands of migrants have been allowed to enter the country and, it says, will remain even if their asylum claims are denied. Arizona believes that the current administration has not taken into account the housing, infrastructure, hospitals and schools needs of these migrants and the impact it will have on the environment. The state asked the court to suspend these measures until DHS complies with this environmental analysis. (AZ Family)


US consumer prices in March rises the most in 8 ½ years

Consumer prices during the month of March increased more than most economists predicted, according to monthly figures released by the Labor Department. The Consumer Price Index showed a 0.6% rise from February and a 2.6% increase over March 2020, in the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was the largest month-to-month rise since an identical increase in August 2012. Most experts predicted a 0.5% increase for March. The index monitors changes in prices for goods and services in the United States. A major factor in the rise last month was a 9.1% increase in the cost of gasoline, which accounted for about half the gain. Experts say the rise in prices is a reflection of a stronger economy. The report showed a 3.5% increase for food prices and a 13.2% rise in the energy prices compared to March 2020. (Digest Time)


FDA says to pause J&J vaccines

The Food and Drug Administration has asked states to temporarily stop using Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot COVID-19 vaccine “out of an abundance of caution.” The move comes after six women in the U.S. developed a rare blood clotting disorder, out of the nearly 7 million people in the country who have received the vaccine so far. The CDC also said supply of two other vaccines approved for emergency use in the U.S. (Pfizer and Moderna) are sufficient to meet demand. The CDC urged Michigan to enact new shutdowns. Johnson & Johnson has decided to delay their European launch of the drug. Other developments include low efficacy rates among Chinese vaccines are raising concerns about rollouts in countries from Brazil to Hungary. A monoclonal antibody drug has shown promise in fighting COVID-19 in early clinical trial results, said drug maker Regeneron. A massive study on college campuses aims to find out if Moderna’s vaccine prevents transmission of the virus. (The New York Times)


Working moms retooling status quo

While the economy has shown signs it is starting to bounce back, the career of many a working mom is not. According to data, the share of mothers of school-age children with jobs has fallen more dramatically over this past pandemic year than their male counterparts. Between balancing the demands of virtual school, child care and remote work, many found the status quo unsustainable. Mothers have either threw in the towel altogether or reshaped their career expectations in order to keep their feet in the professional world. (The Wall Street Journal)


Intel in talks to produce computer chips for US automakers to help alleviate production slowdowns due to global chip shortage

The chief executive of Intel Corp announced the company is talking to companies that design chips for automakers about manufacturing those chips inside Intel’s factory network, with the goal of producing chips within six to nine months. The CEO has already met with White House officials to discuss the semiconductor supply chain. Intel is one of the last companies in the semiconductor industry that both designs and manufactures its own chips. The company last month said it would open its factories up to outside customers and build factories in the United States and Europe in a bid to counter the dominance of Asian chip manufacturers such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd. The CEO did not name the component suppliers but said that the work could take place at Intel’s factories in Oregon, Arizona, New Mexico, Israel or Ireland. (Reuters)


Archaeologists uncover a 3,400-year-old site believed to be the ancient city of Luxor, just north of the modern-day Luxor, Egypt; artifacts date to the 18th-dynasty pharaoh Amenhotep III 

A team of Egyptian archaeologists has unearthed what some describe as an industrial royal metropolis just north of modern-day Luxor, which incorporates what was once the ancient Egyptian city of Thebes (aka Waset). The archaeologists dubbed the site “the lost golden city of Luxor,” and they believe it may have been devoted to manufacturing decorative artifacts, furniture, and pottery, among other items. Hieroglyphic inscriptions found on clay caps of wine vessels at the site date the city to the reign of the 18th-dynasty pharaoh Amenhotep III (1386-1353 BCE), whose generally peaceful tenure was marked by an especially prosperous era, with Egypt at the peak of its international power. There are more surviving statues of Amenhotep III than any other pharaoh. He was buried in the Valley of the Kings, and his mummy was discovered in 1889. Analysis revealed that Amenhotep III died between 40 and 50 years of age, and he likely suffered from various ailments in his later years (most notably arthritis, obesity, and painful abscesses in his teeth). The discovery of this new site may or may not shed more light on Akhenaten’s decision to abandon Thebes, but it is nonetheless being hailed as an extraordinary discovery.  (Ars Technica)


Americans are buying less toilet paper and wipes

One encouraging sign that the pandemic-time panic among consumers has abated: Americans have stopped hoarding toilet paper, kitchen towels and wipes. Sales of toilet paper dropped 32.7% in the 12 weeks ending April 3 from the same period a year ago, according to market research firm NielsenIQ, which tracks point of sale data from retailers. In the same period, purchases of paper towels fell 18.3%, and multipurpose wet wipes sales are down 15.7% versus a year ago. Toilet paper was the only category to show a sales decline in the 52-week period ending April 3. Sales fell 0.2%. Toilet paper, oddly, came to symbolize the anxiety that set in when the coronavirus first arrived and then rapidly spread in the United States in early 2020. (CNN)


Website offers $1,000 to binge watch home improvement shows

A website is offering a remodeling enthusiast $1,000 to watch at least 10 episodes of three different home improvement TV shows in a month and document the experience. ReviewHomeWarranties, a website dedicated to reviews and comparisons of home warranty providers, said it will pay someone $1,000 to watch at least 10 episodes of three TV shows dedicated to home improvement projects in a one-month period and complete a worksheet for each experience. “Do you love a good before and after? Do home improvement shows inspire you? Have you spent a weekend binging on your favorite house-flipping show? If so, we have a job for you,” the posting states. Applications are being accepted through May 10, and the winner will have until June 17 to complete the task. (Review Home Warranties)


Man arrested after running naked on I-10 in Phoenix

A 21-year-old man has been arrested after running naked on Interstate 10 in Phoenix, according to authorities. Arizona Department of Public Safety officials said he had recently been released from jail and admitted to recent drug use. They said two big rigs collided on the I-10 and a man jumped from the moving semi, ran down the shoulder while taking his clothes off and then walked out into traffic before being arrested. Authorities said the man told a DPS trooper he had hitched a ride on the semi, unbeknownst to the driver. Arizona Department of Public Safety officials said the man was booked into jail on suspicion of multiple charges including felony endangerment and disorderly conduct. (Fox 10)



Facebook removes page for French town named Bitche

Sometimes, life can be a Bitche. The residents of a French town thought just that after social media giant Facebook removed Ville de Bitche’s official page from its site last month. “We received a Facebook message and we also noticed that it was missing,” the mayor of Ville de Bitche said. The page was taken down on March 19. “At first, you wonder, was there a technical problem? However, with the length of time, it can be considered a real censorship.” The town, which has about 5,100 inhabitants, instead created a new Facebook page called Mairie 57230, based on its postal code. The original page was restored Tuesday morning when Facebook became aware, adding that it had been “removed in error.” On its website, Facebook says page names must be accurate and cannot contain phrases that might “be abusive.” (BBC)


CRISPR study suggests modified mosquitoes can be gene edited to allow the inheritance of antimalarial traits in offspring, providing a possible route to eliminating malaria

Altering a mosquito’s gut genes to make them spread antimalarial genes to the next generation of their species shows promise as an approach to curb malaria. The study is the latest in a series of steps toward using CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology to make changes in mosquito genes that could reduce their ability to spread malaria. If further studies support this approach, it could provide a new way to reduce illnesses and deaths caused by malaria. Growing mosquito resistance to pesticides, as well as malaria parasite resistance to antimalarial drugs, has created an urgent need for new ways to fight the disease. Gene drives are being tested as a new approach. They work by creating genetically modified mosquitoes that, when released into the environment, would spread genes that either reduce mosquito populations or make the insects less likely to spread the malaria parasite. But scientists must prove that this approach is safe and effective before releasing genetically modified mosquitoes into the wild. (eLife Science)



Thursday Slaps Down The Negativity With:

  • Ask An Atheist Day (Third Thursday)
  • ASL Day (American Sign Language)
  • Banana Day
  • D.A.R.E. Day (Third Thursday)
  • Get to Know Your Customers Day (3rd Thursday of Each Quarter)
  • Glazed Spiral Ham Day
  • High Five Day (Third Thursday)
  • Income Tax Pay Day
  • Jackie Robinson Day
  • McDonald’s Day
  • One Boston Day
  • Purple Up! Day
  • Rubber Eraser Day
  • Take a Wild Guess Day
  • Tax Day
  • That Sucks Day
  • Titanic Remembrance Day
  • World Art Day (DaVinci’s Birthday)