Monday, June 7, 2021

Japan has donated 1.2M COVID-19 vaccines to Taiwan for free

Taiwan has only vaccinated 3% of its population, and the philanthropic Japanese move will double the number of vaccines Taiwan has received, helping them overcome surging local infections rates. (Reuters)


Ford will unveil its new compact pickup truck, Maverick, on June 8th

The company will introduce the new truck on Ford’s social media profiles and automotive websites, as well on Hulu, Gabrielle Union’s Instagram, and TikTok. In Ford’s teaser video, some of the details noticed by The Drive include:

  • XLT trim
  • A non-metallic blue-gray truck color option
  • Ford’s keypad keyless entry system, “MAVERICK” stamped on its tailgate
  • It resembles a traditional Ford truck
  • The new model is expected to be available in the fall of 2021 if the chip shortage doesn’t delay production.
  • Only a four-door configuration will be available at launch, leaks reveal. The truck will feature a small bed, 2.0-liter engine, and manual transmission as an option.
  • Other sources speculated that it would be based on the Bronco Sport platform, have a front-wheel-drive, and be two- feet shorter than a Ford Ranger. (The Drive)


Ashli Babbitt’s Family Sues to Learn Identity of Officer Who Shot Her

The Metropolitan Police Department in Washington D.C. is being sued by the family of Ashli Babbitt to learn the identity of the law enforcement officer who fatally shot her in Washington on January 6th. In a 7-page document filed in District of Columbia court, a relative asked a judge to compel the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), Washington’s police force, to search for and hand over records he asked for in a Freedom of Information Act request. The records include video footage of the shooting of Ashli Babbitt inside the U.S. Capitol, documents that identify the officer who shot her, and police training records of said officer. The plaintiff submitted the request on April 21 and the MPD acknowledged receipt on the same day, according to the lawsuit, but as of June 4, the department has failed to produce the requested records or demonstrate that they are lawfully exempt from production. Under Washington code, the MPD was required to do one or the other within 15 business days, or by May 12. Alleging a violation of the Freedom of Information Act, the relative is asking the court through his lawyer to order MPD to conduct searches for all of the records requested and order the defendants to produce by a certain date all non-exempt records, as well as blocking the police agency from continuing to withhold the records. The lawsuit should be merged with a similar action filed by the watchdog group Judicial Watch, the filing states. (Epoch Times)


Officials say there is no evidence that unexplained phenomena witnessed by Navy pilots are alien in nature, though they can’t definitively rule it out

A new government report reveals what U.S. intelligence officials say they know about footage of mysterious UFO sightings captured by Navy pilots. Notably, they say that the vast majority of the incidents captured by pilots this century, more than 120 in total, did not originate from any U.S. military or government program. A declassified version of the report will be released to Congress by June 25th. The Pentagon acknowledged the existence of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) last year, and set up a task force to investigate these incidents. (The New York Times)


U.S. employers added 559,000 jobs in May, slightly lower than economists’ estimates and far below the 978,000 hires estimated by payroll firm ADP

The U.S. economy continues to pick up steam, only 278,000 new jobs were created in April, but the recovery is more sluggish than many economists predicted, owing partially to hesitancy among the unemployed to go back to work. The United States unemployment rate dropped from 6.1% to 5.8%. Economists expect hiring to pick up considerably in the coming months as enhanced unemployment benefits end and companies raise wages. 220,000 positions were added at hotels, restaurants, and bars in May. Retailers and the construction industry lost jobs. (The Wall Street Journal)


Fisher-Price has recalled its 4-in-1 Rock ‘n Glide Soothers after four infant deaths related to the product were reported in 2019 and 2020

Fisher-Price is recalling its 4-in-1 Rock ‘n Glide Soothers following the deaths of four infants, the company announced. The soothers, which retailed for about $108, were sold from January 2014 through December 2020. Fisher-Price is recalling roughly 120,000 items, it said. “The infants were reportedly placed on their backs unrestrained in the product and later found on their stomachs,” the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) said in a press release. The deaths occurred between April 2019 and February 2020 and involved a 4-month-old from Missouri, a 2-month old from Nevada, a 2-month old from Michigan, and an 11-week old from Colorado. (Consumer Product Safety Commission)


The Nigerian government suspended Twitter indefinitely after the company removed a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari recently threatened to crack down on a separatist movement, which Twitter says violated its “abusive behavior” policy. It also temporarily limited Buhari’s account, keeping it in read-only mode for 12 hours. The government didn’t provide details about how it would enforce the ban. Meanwhile, Twitter called the suspension “deeply concerning” and said it had launched an investigation. Many Nigerians have used Twitter to express their thoughts on the #EndSars anti-police brutality protests that broke out in the country last October. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey made a donation to the movement and the company created a special emoji. The company, which doesn’t have a physical presence in Africa yet, announced in April that it would open an office in Ghana. (BBC)


President Biden indicated that the U.S. won’t extend federal unemployment benefits beyond September’s expiration date

The federal government has been providing additional unemployment insurance as part of three COVID-19 relief packages approved by Congress since March 2020. The most recent $1.9 Trillion stimulus bill included $300 in weekly benefits. Four million people are on track to lose all or some of their unemployment benefits. So far, 25 states, all led by Republicans, have announced they’ll end the federal benefits before September’s deadline. Republican governors have argued that the benefits provide individuals with an incentive to stay at home, contributing to an ongoing worker shortage. However, a skills gap, COVID-19 fears, and childcare obligations have been cited as additional reasons for the shortage. The U.S. economy added 559,000 jobs in May as the unemployment rate fell from 6.1% to 5.8%. (Yahoo News)


Walmart said it will keep stores closed on Thanksgiving Day for the second straight year

Walmart said its stores will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, joining big-box rival Target in shutting its brick-and-mortar locations on the national holiday. It will mark the second straight year in which Target’s and Walmart’s stores are closed on Thanksgiving. Target had announced its decision in January. For many years, consumers kicked off their holiday shopping in earnest the day after Thanksgiving, which is also known as Black Friday, but until last year, some retailers had been shifting the kickoff of Black Friday events earlier. Walmart said it will share hours for Black Friday at later date. (CNBC)


In 2020, 38,680 people died on U.S. roads , 7.2% more than in 2019, although people drove 13% fewer miles

U.S. traffic deaths soared after coronavirus lockdowns ended in 2020, hitting the highest yearly total since 2007 as more Americans engaged in unsafe behavior on U.S. roads, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said. For all of 2020, 38,680 people died on U.S. roads, up 7.2% or nearly 2,600 more than in 2019, even though Americans drove 13% fewer miles, preliminary data showed. The fatality rate hit 1.37 deaths per 100 million miles, the highest figure since 2006. Deaths involving motorists not wearing seat belts were up 15%, speeding related deaths jumped by 10% and fatal crashes involving alcohol rose 9%. Michigan said traffic deaths in the state rose 10% in 2020 to the highest number since 2007, even as crashes fell 22% and injuries fell 22%. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration cited impaired driving, speeding, and failure to wear seat belts as the primary reasons. (Financial Post)


US judge overturns California’s ban on assault weapons

A federal judge on Friday overturned California’s long-standing assault weapons ban on constitutional grounds. A US District Judge in San Diego ruled that the 1989 ban on military-style rifles deprives state residents of their right to bear arms. “Like the Swiss Army knife, the popular AR-15 rifle is a perfect combination of home defense weapon and homeland defense equipment. Good for both home and battle,” the judge said in his ruling’s introduction. The judge issued a permanent injunction against enforcement of the law, with a stay of 30 days to give state lawyers time to appeal. He ruled that the weapons were not extraordinarily dangerous and had legitimate uses for California citizens. California Governor slammed the decision as “a direct threat to public safety and the lives of innocent Californians” and has vowed to challenge the ruling. (The New York Post)


Want to spark joy? Try new things

Are you afraid or hesitant to try new things, or do you relish being a newbie? The latter, which can be described as neophilia, or openness, can often lead to a more fulfilling life. Harvard professors suggests that we all could benefit from trying new things, as the act of doing so “cultivates a love for the adventure of life.” Joy and interest are two positive emotions that go hand in hand, according to one research psychologist. We get joy from having our “interest piqued” which happens more when we’re experiencing new things. (The Atlantic)


Less “Karens” will be asking for the manager after data reveals that the name plummeted in popularity in 2020, the lowest ranking for the name since 1927

The name’s decrease in popularity has come a long way since the name was the third-most-popular name for baby girls in 1965, and the viral Karen meme is the most likely reason why. For those unaware of the meme, a “Karen” is typically a white, entitled woman who throws public tantrums thanks to a perceived victim mentality. The meme is often used as a catch-all term for bad behaviors by women with white privilege. According to the Social Security Administration, the name “Karen” dropped 171 spots in baby name rankings for girls in 2020, coming in as the 831st most popular name. (Social Security)


Monday Slides In With:

  • (Daniel) Boone Day
  • Oklahoma Day
  • Thank God It’s Monday Day (First Monday)
  • VCR Day


Historical Events

  • 1776 – Richard Henry Lee presents the “Lee Resolution” to the Continental Congress. The motion is seconded by John Adams and leads to the United States Declaration of Independence.
  • 1862 – The United States and the United Kingdom agree to suppress the slave trade.
  • 1863 – During the French intervention in Mexico, Mexico City is captured by French troops.
  • 1880 – War of the Pacific: The Battle of Arica, assault and capture of Morro de Arica (Arica Cape), that ended the Campaña del Desierto (Desert Campaign).
  • 1917 – World War I: Battle of Messines – Allied ammonal mines underneath German trenches at Messines Ridge are detonated, killing 10,000 German troops.
  • 1938 – The Douglas DC-4E makes its first test flight.
  • 1948 – Edvard Beneš resigns as President of Czechoslovakia rather than signing a constitution making his nation a Communist state.
  • 1967 – Israeli forces enter Jerusalem during the Six-Day War.
  • 1975 – The inaugural Cricket World Cup begins in England.
  • 1981 – The Israeli Air Force destroys Iraq’s Osiraq nuclear reactor during Operation Opera. The facility could have been used to make nuclear weapons.