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A new release from the White House suggests that US president Joe Biden wants to give workers more flexibility.
REUTERSBill Burns, the career diplomat tapped by President Joe Biden to run the CIA, told a Senate panel Wednesday that his utmost priority as director will be to combat the technological and economic might of China.In a remarkably amicable exchange with the Senate intelligence committee, where controversies over intelligence failures and abuses have characterized nomination hearings for aspirant CIA directors since 9/11, Burns said the CIA would have to “relentlessly sharpen” its arsenal of digital weapons and its understanding of Beijing’s own.That and other aspects of Burns’ testimony received enthusiastic support from intelligence-committee senators of both parties, which seem to have reached a consensus that China seeks, as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), the vice chair of the panel, put it, to “replace the United States as the world’s most powerful and influential nation.” Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) mused that during the Cold War, the U.S. had “an organizing principle” that the current geopolitical competition with China provides.But Burns, a former deputy secretary of state and ambassador to Russia, also said U.S. rivalry with China was dissimilar to “the competition with the Soviet Union in the Cold War.” Burns defined U.S.-China competition as less of a “security and ideological” clash than one over economic and technological primacy. He spoke less of prospective covert measures against China than he did of providing “the best possible intelligence on the nature of Chinese intelligence and capabilities.”Whether the U.S. can avoid a cold war with a rising global power is a central question facing U.S. foreign policy at the dawn of the Biden administration. Biden’s stated approach thus far has been to pursue “great power competition” without the trade war of the Trump administration and with the prospect of cooperation on climate change. Yet there is also an appetite in Washington for a far more aggressive confrontation. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) urged Burns not “take the pressure off” China in order to reach a deal on climate.Sasse, Bennet, and other lawmakers also focused on China as a way to imply the diminution in priority of the CIA’s ongoing lethal counterterrorism operations, something Biden has placed under review. There was practically no discussion of CIA counterterrorism during the two-hour hearing. Two senators who have been relentlessly critical of CIA counterterrorism abuses, Democrats Ron Wyden and Martin Heinrich, usually the panel’s dissenters on agency nominees, both cheered Burns. Wyden noted Burns’ hearing was becoming a “full-fledged bouquet tossing contest.”‘Financial Batman’ in the Lead to Run Biden’s CIAUnlike his predecessor, Gina Haspel, Burns has no ties to the CIA’s post-9/11 human-rights abuses. “I believe the CIA’s former enhanced interrogation program included torture,” Burns affirmed in a questionnaire for the committee.Notably, however, Burns did not turn a page on CIA counterterrorism, saying only that he would need to balance emergent challenges with “the continuing threat posed by terrorist groups, 20 years after 9/11.” He said those still at the agency who took part in the torture program would face no professional consequence. In the questionnaire, he stopped short of committing to providing the classified Senate torture review to Guantanamo defense attorneys representing people the CIA tortured. Wyden lambasted U.S. intelligence agencies’ purchase of commercially available data on Americans as an end-run around the Fourth Amendment. Burns pledged “transparency” over the purchases–but did not pledge to end them.Burns also emphasized restoring respect for the “courage [and] expertise” of intelligence officials after the Trump administration persecuted whistleblowers, purged officials it considered disloyal, and sought generally to suborn the intelligence apparatus to its agenda. He was not Biden’s first choice for the job–former national security adviser Tom Donilon declined it–but said Biden told him to “deliver intelligence to him straight.” He also acknowledged that he will not be Biden’s closest intelligence adviser; that will be Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, whom he called “my longtime friend and colleague.”As a foreign-policy traditionalist over his three decades in diplomatic life, one who held senior appointments under both parties, Burns was embraced as a signal of a restored status quo ante during a volatile period in American politics. His testimony followed encomia for him from two foreign-policy greybeards, George H.W. Bush Secretary of State James Baker and Obama CIA Director Leon Panetta. Baker called Burns’ nomination “a bipartisan no-brainer.”While Burns has been a consumer of intelligence rather than a producer during his government career, he wrote one of the most prescient pieces of analysis of the past generation. As the Bush administration was preparing to invade Iraq, Burns, as assistant secretary of state for the Mideast, wrote what has become known as the “Perfect Storm” memo. Burns accurately predicted in July 2002 that “a horrible wave of bloodletting and private vengeance” would result from a U.S. occupation. It was a warning to Secretary of State Colin Powell at a time when the White House disdained such concerns as disloyalty or defeatism and discouraged the CIA from producing similar analysis. Still, Burns did not resign when Bush invaded.“He is not going to try to impose any particular formula with regard to reform. He knows how to work with a professional workforce, having had a whole career in the foreign service. He’ll be open to suggestions and initiatives from below,” said Paul Pillar, who was the CIA’s senior Middle East analyst when Burns was assistant secretary of state. “Ambassador Burns is, in my judgment, an excellent nominee for director of the CIA. He brings to the job utmost experience in what U.S. foreign policy most needs from the intelligence community: as a senior consumer at the State Department, he has an excellent feel for what the sorts of questions are that need to be addressed by the community.”During the hearing, Burns alluded to his 2002 memo with modesty. “It was imperfect. We got it about half-right and half-wrong,” he said. “But it was an honest effort to express our concerns… without that, policy choices suffer.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Britain must show it is fully using the avenues available under the Brexit divorce deal to minimise trade disruption in Northern Ireland before seeking concessions, a senior EU official said on Tuesday. Britain's exit from the EU's trading orbit in January has created trade barriers between Northern Ireland - which remains in the EU's single market for goods - and the rest of the United Kingdom. Maros Sefcovic, a vice president of the European Commission, said he hoped to learn of British efforts during an online meeting on Wednesday .
Every morning before their shift at a Kajima construction site, workers check their vital signs.Location: SingaporeAll it takes is a 45-second scan of his face using an app developed by Singapore start-up Nervotec. The app takes note of heart rate,oxygen levels, respiration rate, and even stress levels using Artificial Intelligence-based technology.So how does it work?The Nervotec app uses remote photoplethysmography (rPPG) and AI to capture and analyze the user's vitals.The smartphone camera measures the differences in the reflectivity of light that hit the user's skin, which corresponds to the different pulse rates of the body. Computer vision and predictive analysis AI then monitor the user's face and conclude the readings for their vital signs.Here’s Nervotec Founder Jonathan Lau.(SOUNDBITE) (English) NERVOTEC FOUNDER JONATHAN LAU, SAYING:" What we do, is we use the white light that's now reflecting off my face, we apply smart computer visions techniques to first identify the face, then filter this white light into the channels we're interested in, and then deriving the vital signs from those channels."Kajima has been using Nervotec's app at its work sites in Singapore since December 2020 - to complement daily temperature screenings.It’s part of a government-initiated program which provides companies with technology still in their trial stages to help them adjust to the new norms.Kajima’s senior manager Tan Kee Chuan says the Nervotec app is his company’s "first line of defense" against another health crisis.(SOUNDBITE) (English) SENIOR ENGINEER AT KAJIMA, TAN KEE CHUAN, SAYING: "The application acts as a first line of defense by scanning the workers just by using the handphone. It is very convenient provided that the worker adheres to this scanning on a daily basis. So we do have our own temperature monitoring system installed as a second line of defense, to reject all of the personnel who are deemed unfit for work." Similar apps that utilize smartphone cameras to scan users' vital signs do exist…but Nervotec claims that its technology goes one step further by using the data to offer a "diagnosis" of the user's health condition.Professor Chwee Teck Lim is the director of the National University of Singapore’s Institute of Health Innovation and Technology. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE'S INSTITUTE OF HEALTH INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY, PROFESSOR CHWEE TECK LIM, SAYING: "So what Nervotec is proposing could potentially be a game-changer, they are trying to use the smartphone camera coupled with an AI-driven app, to capture an image of the face then thereafter be able to measure the vital signs. So currently, I think they claim that they can obtain accuracy of down to two beats per minute for heart rate, and also two percentage in terms of oxygen saturation. But it remains to be seen, I think we still have to go through this FDA (Food and Drug Administration) regulatory test before we can determine how accurate this technology is."The app is still under review….but Lau said there is significant interest in the technology. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NERVOTEC FOUNDER JONATHAN LAU, SAYING: "We see the most traction coming from healthcare providers, both private and public, more than the authorities, because the ability to use rPPG and to have constant remote patient monitoring without the need for additional manpower or equipment is really a big problem solver for a lot of healthcare providers, globally."
Virtual meeting with Justin Trudeau will kick off ‘an entire week’s worth of Canada’ with range of policies to foster cooperation on Covid-19 and the climate crisis
The indication for extended use, if approved, would allow the antiviral treatment to be given to more patients as coronavirus infections surge and healthcare systems are pressured by emerging, highly transmissible variants of the virus. U.S.-based developer Gilead has submitted data to the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the watchdog said, adding that its human medicines committee had started evaluating the latest submissions. The European Union had conditionally approved remdesivir, the first COVID-19 therapy on the continent, in July last year for treating COVID-19 in adults and adolescents over 12 years with pneumonia requiring oxygen support.
A TikTok audio called "hey lol" by user khaleel mashes up the PornHub intro music and "Redbone" by Childish Gambino, and it's become a prank.
The Democratic operative criticised the Senator’s daughter for receiving a pay increase as a CEO
"I'm not exactly sure...but perhaps someday," Kevin Feige said of the possibility that Netflix or ABC characters would enter the MCU.
The Perseverance rover wasted no time snapping photos on Mars. NASA scientists stitched together 142 of them to create a high-definition panorama.
Jim Watson./GettyLouis DeJoy had a defiant message on Wednesday for those craving to see him ousted as U.S. Postmaster General: “Get used to me.”The comment came after Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) asked the embattled U.S. Postal Service chief how long he would remain as Postmaster General—“long time,” DeJoy spat back—during a Wednesday hearing in the House Oversight Committee.That exchange was indicative of the entire proceeding, which was frequently chippy, combative, and fueled by Democratic lawmakers’ outrage over DeJoy’s handling of the USPS at a time of worsening mail delays and difficult questions about the service’s long-term viability.DeJoy’s crack to Cooper made Democrats’ blood boil even more. But he may have a point, at least for now: because the postmaster general is installed by the service’s board of governors—and not by the president—it means that President Joe Biden, or Congress, cannot fire DeJoy even if they wanted to.His removal would only be possible when Biden fills Democratic vacancies on the USPS Board of Governors, which has the authority to hire and fire postmasters general. Confirming those spots in the Senate will take time, though the Washington Post reported on Wednesday that Biden has identified three nominees to move forward.In the meantime, though, Democratic lawmakers are working with DeJoy on urgent legislation to reform the agency’s finances and employee pension burden, even while many publicly call for his resignation.To many Democrats, DeJoy’s performance on Wednesday on Capitol Hill may make that balancing act harder: they found much to dislike not only in what the postmaster general said, but how he said it.“I gotta say—I just don’t think the postmaster gets it,” said Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), a member of the Oversight Committee who questioned DeJoy on Wednesday about the agency’s delivery standards. “I think it’s time for him to go.”“I thought he approached a lot of our questions with that exact same attitude, which was one of sneering condescension,” Krishnamoorthi told The Daily Beast after the hearing, invoking DeJoy’s response to Cooper. “That’s not gonna fly, man. Not gonna fly.”Wednesday’s hearing was the second time in DeJoy’s short tenure that he has been subjected to a high-profile grilling in the House Oversight Committee. Shortly after taking the USPS’ top job in June 2020, delays and irregularities quickly began to mount—a particularly alarming development for lawmakers on the eve of an election in which more voters than ever planned to vote by mail.Biden to Nominate 3 New USPS Board Members, Opening Path to Oust DeJoyIn a contentious August 2020 hearing, Democrats interrogated the former logistics executive and GOP mega-donor on everything from cuts in overtime hours to the price of a stamp. Questioning from Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) produced a memorable DeJoy response: “I will submit that I know very little about postage and stamps.”By the time House Democrats called DeJoy back to Capitol Hill this week, their worst fears about the USPS delays’ impact on the voting system had failed to materialize. But they still had plenty of questions about DeJoy’s stewardship of the USPS: in October, the USPS inspector general issued a report finding that the changes DeJoy made to delivery schedules and protocol led to the worsening delays. Already battered by the pandemic, the USPS limped into a busy holiday season, and is now providing the poorest service that many longtime observers of the agency have ever seen.Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), a member of the Oversight panel, was a 29-year veteran of the USPS before she came to Congress. She told The Daily Beast after the hearing that she has never seen the service in such dire straits as it is now: “I don’t think we’ve ever confronted this,” she said.The unprecedented delays are happening around the country. In Washington, D.C., just 40 percent of all first-class mail arrived on time by the end of December 2020—compared to nearly 90 percent the same time the year before. Chicago residents are receiving holiday packages a month-and-a-half late. Lawmakers are inundated with calls and emails from frustrated constituents looking for answers; this week, 33 senators signed a letter to DeJoy asking him to explain the recent delays.DeJoy apologized for those delays at the top of Wednesday’s hearing. “We must acknowledge that during this peak season we fell far short of meeting our service goals,” he said. “I apologize to those customers who felt the impact of our delays"But Lawrence expressed concern about DeJoy’s forthcoming “strategic plan” to get the USPS through this difficult stretch. Though the postmaster general has not revealed specifics, he testified on Wednesday that he will propose cuts to delivery standards, including the standard that local mail be delivered within two days. Democrats believe that would be a disastrous move at a time when the USPS is struggling to compete with private-sector competitors, particularly if it is coupled with consumer cost increases, which DeJoy has suggested.“To say that’s what’s bold and needed… that’s not leadership,” said Lawrence. “He has to prove himself. He heard us loud and clear, that he needs to prove himself.”The Michigan Democrat stopped short of saying that DeJoy deserved removal, and told The Daily Beast that she and other Democrats are working with the USPS on postal reform legislation. On Wednesday, CNN reported that Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) was supportive of working with DeJoy to pass reforms.In the wake of the new political reality in Washington, the postmaster general has begun to attempt outreach to Democratic lawmakers. Lawrence said that during the last administration, DeJoy did not take her calls or respond to her—but after the 2020 election, they had a “cordial” call.Other Democrats see any charm offensive as too little, too late. Krishnamoorthi said he is supportive of working with whatever USPS leadership is in office in order to pass reforms, but argued that DeJoy should go as soon as is possible.Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), a senior member of the Oversight Committee, issued a statement after DeJoy’s hearing hailing Biden’s nomination of three appointees to the USPS Board of Governors—and explicitly stated his hope they would remove DeJoy. “These nominations are an important first step toward reforming the Postal Service,” said Connolly. “My hope is the newly constituted Board will do the right thing and bring in a new, qualified Postmaster General.”A majority of the nine-member board would be required to support DeJoy’s removal. Currently, there are four Republican appointees, and two Democratic appointees. If all Biden’s choices are confirmed, Democrats would hold a majority on the board.The Republicans on the Oversight Committee had questions for DeJoy about mail delays, but largely cast him as a victim in an anti-Trump Democratic crusade. Rep. James Comer (R-KY), the top Republican on the panel, compared the party’s concerns about USPS delays—and Trump’s potential role in those delays—to the Trump impeachment investigation he said was predicated on “baseless conspiracies.”Far-right Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), meanwhile, suggested that the root cause of USPS delays was actually the Black Lives Matter protests that took place over the summer, and read articles from fringe outlets like the Gateway Pundit to prove his point. And Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA) raised the unfounded belief in widespread conspiracies about election fraud while saying it was not time to get into “specifics.”At one point, tempers flared when Connolly said that Republicans who voted to object to the Electoral College certification on Jan. 6 had “no right to lecture” anyone on the dangers of partisanship.Democrats left more concerned about the fate of the USPS, however, than the state of things in Congress. “It’s not some theoretical concept,” said Krishnamoorthi. “It’s not some abstract issue, it’s real for every single one of us… I’ve gotta tell you, people are starting to work around the mail, which is a scary concept.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
In a new interview on "The Kelly Clarkson Show," first lady Jill Biden offered the singer advice about healing after divorce and finding love again.
A preliminary study from Israel suggests people vaccinated against COVID-19 have lower viral loads, which are linked to less spread of the virus.
Heidi Cruz’s ‘high powered’ role on her husband’s campaign trail prompts comparisons with Hillary Clinton
A newborn in Washington, DC with severe COVID-19 was found to have a new variant of the virus and massive viral load. Researchers are puzzled.
Accusing Jim Jordan of ‘gaslighting,’ Gerry Connolly said ‘I didn’t vote to overturn an election and I will not be lectured by people who did about partisanship’
Facebook/Lancaster County District AttorneyA Pennsylvania teenager is facing charges after allegedly fatally stabbing her wheelchair bound older sister—then hysterically calling 911 to confess to the crime.Claire Elaina Miller, 14, has been charged with homicide after calling authorities on Feb. 22 to admit she stabbed her older sister, 19-year-old Helen Miller, while her parents were asleep, according to the Lancaster County District Attorney’s office. The elder Miller, who had cerebral palsy, died from a stab wound to her neck.“I stabbed my sister,” Miller repeatedly told police when they arrived at the house. Since Miller is being charged as an adult, she was denied bail during a Monday arraignment.According to a probable cause affidavit obtained by The Daily Beast, the Manheim Township Police Department arrived at the home just after 1 a.m. to find Miller, a ninth-grader at a local private school, standing in front of the house close to “what appeared to be blood on the snow near the driveway.”“Miller appeared to be attempting to wash her hands in the snow,” the affidavit states, adding that the teenager also had blood on her pants.Police say Miller directed them into her older sister’s bedroom, where Helen was found with a “pillow with blood stains” over her face. One of the officers removed the pillow and “found a large knife in Helen’s neck, just above her chest.”“Helen was lying on her back with her hands up near her head,” the affidavit states, adding that there was a “large amount of blood” pooled near her chest and bed. Lifesaving measures were “unsuccessful” and she was pronounced dead at 4:13 a.m. On Wednesday, the coroner’s office released an autopsy report confirming Helen Miller died from multiple stab wounds. Authorities also confirmed to The Daily Beast that the 19-year-old had cerebral palsy and used a wheelchair.Police say the girls’ parents were asleep during the incident that has sent shockwaves through the small Pennsylvania community about 75 miles west of Philadelphia.`“When I heard about this I was almost instantly upset about it myself over the details that had been related to me,” Manheim Township Police Chief Tom Rudzinski told WHTM. “I don’t know that I have ever been a part of something that is quite as sad as this.”Prosecutors and police, however, have not offered any details about a motive. An attorney for Miller did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s requests for comment.“The investigators are going to be asking those types of questions, conducting those interviews of everybody that was involved, and trying to determine a timeline [for what] would have led to this awful event,” Rudzinski said.Lancaster Country Day School officials confirmed to The Daily Beast that Miller was a ninth-grade student at the school of about 550 students. “As a tight-knit school community, we are of course shocked and saddened by this tragic event and are focused on supporting one another,” a school spokesperson said. A spokesperson for the Manheim Township School District confirmed that Helen Miller received educational services from a school within the district.“We were so saddened to learn of Helen’s tragic and unexpected passing,” the district said in a statement. “Our hearts go out to the family and friends of the Miller family. This is a devastating tragedy.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Eddie Murphy said that Ryan Coogler's idea had Michael B. Jordan playing his son, "looking for a wife."
New York congresswoman hits out at controversial Republican over Equality Act
The ruling serves as a win for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, who filed a lawsuit against the government over the moratorium.
Southwest was an early adopter of the popular seat-blocking policy but began filling planes to capacity in December.