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- The Daily Beast
Bill Clark/GettyEach night at precisely 8 p.m., in the Mule Mountains of Arizona and the quirky town of Bisbee, a joyful fracas echoes across the steep walls of Tombstone Canyon. Some howl, some bark, some yip, like scattered coyotes caterwauling in the desert night.At the start of the pandemic, this ritual was like many across the country, fashioned as a vocal appreciation of frontline health-care workers risking their lives to care for the tens of thousands of people battling COVID-19 in health clinics and hospitals.Now, it feels like something else. A release. A clearing of the cobwebs that have for the past year cluttered the imaginations and inclinations of shut-ins everywhere. A roaring call to reawaken the lively spirit that courses through the veins of this old mining town, back to bustling outdoor dining and racing up and down the staircases that snake from one funky little tucked in house to the next, back to packed bars and roof-shaking rowdy live music. The spirit of these nightly calls, now, is “We’re back.” Or maybe, “We’re still here.”Thanks in part to a prevalent laissez-faire attitude from citizens and government officials alike, Arizona has been rocked by the pandemic, often finding itself in the dubious category of states with the highest rate of transmission, cases per capita, and deaths. In mid-January, the state led the world in average new confirmed COVID-19 cases per capita.When I flew into Phoenix in early November for a quick stay at the charming Hermosa Inn, it was with plenty of trepidation, despite the consistency of mask-wearing and careful restaurant and hotel policies I saw throughout Maricopa County. When I returned for a road trip across the state this month, the vibe had clearly shifted, the tension I could once read in the eyes of masked service workers markedly softer.I barreled straight through Las Vegas and into Phoenix, stopping for a few nights at dispersed camping spots near mountain bike trailheads before heading on for a few nights in hip Tucson and then south to Bisbee, near the Mexican border. As a glimpse at the near-term future of post-pandemic travel, Arizona is a fascinating petri dish, a state with ample Trump supporters and COVID deniers but newly outnumbered by progressive city dwellers who helped flip the state from red to blue in the 2020 election. While travelers were far less likely to don masks in small towns like Bisbee and far more likely to do so in the capital the tone throughout has clearly morphed, from wariness to a refreshing brand of ease.Small towns were consistently the most relaxed, both in the fall and on this trip. Maybe half the travelers I saw strolling the shops of Bisbee were maskless, a number much lower than in Phoenix and Tucson, where even as new case counts dropped from a seven-day average in January that soared above 10,000 to just 630 at the beginning of April, most travelers and nearly all service workers were vigilant.Last fall, restaurant servers and hotel clerks had unmistakeable looks on their faces as they served tapas and tacos on outdoor patios, looks that said “I get to either risk my life to serve people food or lose my job.” On this trip, the cheeriness had returned, even as the masks remained.I stayed at several hotels across the state, both in November and March. In November, the Hermosa Inn, nestled into the Camelback Mountains north of Phoenix, was at maybe half its peak occupancy, by the looks of it. Now, the hotel is selling out night after night, says Director of Guest Experience Pam Swartz, with guests arriving from across the country.On my first night in Bisbee, I had dinner at Contessa’s Cantina, but only after a 20-minute wait. At gas stations throughout the state, patrons and clerks alike milled about maskless, a circumstance that would have driven me straight out of the store last year but that induced little more than an eye roll this spring. On hiking trails, where I’ve regularly seen people wear masks throughout the pandemic, trekkers were far more likely to breathe free, and I caught no glares for blazing by on a mountain bike with my own face unsheathed.At other hotels, people wore masks at all of them and shared elevators at none of them, but pools were open, mask-free, and packed. My girlfriend recounted walking into a bathroom at the JW Marriott Camelback Inn in Scottsdale to discover a woman at the sink, whose mask had fallen beneath her nose. She apologized, adding “clearly, my body is done with this,” meaning the mask, or the pandemic, or all of it.A couple nights later, a curious bellhop at the Omni Montelucia, his mask unapologetically below his nose, nearly climbed into my newly built camper van and peppered me with questions about what it was like to live in it, petting my exuberant pup before giving us a ride in a golf cart to the room. We were outside, so I didn’t mind the protocol slip. Masks had begun to feel obligatory and unnecessary, even though I know they’re not actually either. But this is how the new normal is playing out: we’re abiding by the rules, but less because we’re terrified and more because we’ve become accustomed to them, because we know the social order demands it, and because it’s the right thing to do.The last time I entered a public sauna was back in my hometown of Portland in March. The pandemic was new and real and scary but the yoga studio and spa I’d bought a monthlong membership to had enacted careful disinfecting protocols and I felt if I entered the space, I’d be alone and safe. What I wasn’t was welcome. The front desk clerk was clearly confused and probably terrified that I was selfish enough to visit a spa at the onset of a viral outbreak we didn’t know much about at the time, other than it was killing people at a rapid pace.Her concern wasn’t lost on me, and though I did go on a few short trips mostly by road and mostly by myself in the coming year, I did so as carefully as I could, and with people risking their lives to serve me in mind. I secured a COVID test and traveled to Hawaii in November, following to the letter the protocols outlined by local and state lawmakers to safely but cautiously reopen tourism, even as across the country covid counts were surging and traveling around the holidays was roundly shamed. My logic for the trip to Hawaii was that I’d arrive with a negative test result in hand, I’d be moving about in a state with the lowest case count in the nation, and I’d be supporting businesses that desperately needed my money.I felt welcomed in Hawaii, but nervously. No one really knew then whether even the most careful reopening of a state (that took the pandemic more seriously than any other) would be a sound idea. I was part of an experiment, and the tension I felt as a traveler was palpable.Now, I don’t feel that tension at all. That’s not to say travel is safe, even now that I’m halfway vaccinated. Cases in several states across the U.S. are surging, driven largely by a COVID variant my vaccine might or might not protect against. The CDC has issued confusing maxims in recent days about whether it’s OK to travel once you have a vaccine, and there are plenty of reasons to stay home, or at least stay off of airplanes.Barring another significant surge in cases that leads to overwhelmed hospitals and overwhelming deaths, that’s unlikely. Hotels across the country saw their highest occupancy rates since the start of the pandemic, Wyndham Hotels and Resorts CEO Geoff Ballotti said on CNBC. Spring break in Arizona was officially canceled at most colleges and universities, to avoid the mayhem that took place in locales like Miami. Events, like baseball spring training and festivals that typically lure visitors to the state, aren’t happening. But still, says Swartz, people are coming in droves. “They’re golfing, dining out, the restaurants in town are booming,” she said. Swartz went to dinner at a Scottsdale restaurant, Grassroots, for her birthday on Tuesday. Every table was full.Mandy Heflin’s fresh seafood business, Chula Seafood, survived the pandemic in part because the restaurant’s counter-service model made the transition to take-out only seamless. Now, her challenge isn’t finding customers; it’s finding employees willing to work. “There’s just no one coming in,” she said. “We’re putting ads out that normally would lead to five or 10 applicants per ad. Now it’s nothing.”Arizona is in its high season now, pleasantly warm and not yet searing to its infamous 115-degree summer temperatures. If, as officials are now predicting, a fourth surge in COVID cases is coming, that might coincide with the natural slowdown in summer tourist traffic, as the lah-dee-dah feeling I experienced last month melts away in the heat.If nothing else, I hope the nightly howls of Bisbee don’t abate anytime soon.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. 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Germany's federal government will ask parliament for temporary powers to enforce a nationwide coronavirus lockdown, after several regions failed to impose agreed curbs to bring a third wave of the pandemic under control, a government source said. With infections rising rapidly in some areas, Chancellor Angela Merkel's government is pressing for a change to the Infection Protection Act to enable Berlin to enforce restrictions under certain scenarios. All but essential shops will be required to close, while the opening of cultural and recreational facilities such as theatres, museums and zoos will be prohibited.
Iran's top diplomat said on Tuesday that an attack on its Natanz nuclear facility which it blames on Israel was a "very bad gamble" that would strengthen Tehran's hand in talks to revive a 2015 nuclear deal with major powers. Tehran has said an explosion on Sunday at its key nuclear site was an act of sabotage by arch-foe Israel and vowed revenge for an attack that appeared to be latest episode in a long-running covert war. Israel, which the Islamic Republic does not recognise, has not formally commented on the incident.
A woman was told to put on a mask inside a Florida Walgreens. Instead she went on a racist and Islamophobic rant against other customers.
"We're proud we're Muslim and this is not going to change, we're not going to pick off our hijabs. We like it and I'm not scared," Nahla Ebeid, who uploaded the video to Facebook, said.
Refs pulled 4 red cards in 4 minutes as a wrestling match unfolded in stoppage time of an opening-night NWSL game
As play between Portland and Kansas City became more physical, two players went to blows and received red cards in the final minutes of the game.
- The Telegraph
Japan's government has approved a plan to release over one million tonnes of treated water from the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant into the ocean, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Tuesday. The release is unlikely to begin for at least two years but has already sparked opposition from local fishing communities and concern in Beijing and Seoul. Japan's government argues that the release will be safe because the water has been processed to remove almost all radioactive elements and will be diluted. It has support from the International Atomic Energy Agency, which says the release is similar to processes for disposing of waste water from nuclear plants elsewhere in the world. "The Japanese government has compiled basic policies to release the processed water into the ocean, after ensuring the safety levels of the water... and while the government takes measures to prevent reputational damage," Mr Suga told reporters. Around 1.25 million tonnes of water has accumulated at the site of the nuclear plant, which was crippled after going into meltdown following a tsunami in 2011.
- The Daily Beast
Duncan McGlynn/Getty ImagesThe shamelessness of Britain’s Prince Andrew really does take some beating.He has suggested that a photograph of him with his arm around a teenage sex trafficking victim was faked because he has “chubby fingers.” He said that same woman’s description of him pouring with sweat at a nightclub must be a lie because he cannot sweat (he can). He ascribed his week-long 2010 visit to Jeffrey Epstein to his extreme sense of honor. Don’t even mention his love of pizza.Prince Andrew Says Prince Philip’s Death Has Left ‘Huge Void’ in Queen’s LifeIncredibly, Andrew now appears to be using his father’s death to crawl out from under the rock of royal exile to which his brother Charles, who has long struggled with him, banished him after the disastrous November 2019 Newsnight interview in which those, and many other questionable claims, including the cynical lie that he would co-operate with law enforcement inquiries into Epstein’s crimes, were made.Coming out of church on Sunday morning, just 48 hours after the death of his father, whose greatest disdain was reserved for royals embarrassing the family, Andrew made a beeline for the camera and started giving what appeared to be an off-the-cuff interview to a news camera about how the entire royal family was “all feeling a great sense of loss.”Andrew has clearly missed his media appearances. On and on he went. How grateful he was for the tributes paid to his father. How “calm” his father was as a man. He was also careful to suggest his father’s death had helped connect him to the proletariat, saying it “brought it home to me not just our loss but actually the loss that everybody else has felt, for so many people who have died and lost loved ones during the pandemic.”It was shockingly unshocking to see Andrew, not a drop of perspiration on him despite having gained a few extra pounds, bad British teeth and all, standing there in his black suit, acting like nothing had happened, freelancing away for the cameras.Maybe we had all just imagined the past year and a half, especially the bit where Prince Charles, now more than ever the acting head of the royal family, had stripped him of all his royal patronages, kicked him out of his office in Buckingham Palace, and removed his obscene $300,000 a year grant from the British taxpayer.It was, at first, all rather inoffensive waffle that was emanating from Andrew’s mouth. It might not have even made the evening news. But if there is one thing that is guaranteed to galvanize the British public, it is insight into that most mysterious of things: how the queen is actually feeling, up close and in private.Asked about the effect of Philip’s death on Her Majesty, Andrew, stunningly, decided to go there: “She described it as having left a huge void in her life,” he said, adding that she had described her husband’s passing as a “miracle.”His words were plastered over news websites and TV stations within moments.Given that Andrew was filmed outside the private Royal Chapel of All Saints in Windsor Castle, which he had attended along with other members of the royal family including his younger brother, Prince Edward (who spoke more traditionally to reporters outside the chapel saying that his father’s death was a “dreadful shock”) there was at first an assumption that Andrew had been given permission to speak to the media. Had Charles had a change of heart? It seemed incredible, but was Andrew back on his way inside the charmed circle, entitled to free food and air miles once again?On Monday, however, leaks began trickling out suggesting that that assumption was far from an accurate characterization.Dan Wooton, the journalist who broke the news that Harry and Meghan were leaving the U.K., reported in the Daily Mail that sources had told him: “Prince Andrew might hope that this sad situation changes things, but Prince Charles is adamant there is no way back while allegations hang over him. He spoke on camera in a private capacity because this is a family event. No one can stop him doing that.”Neither the palace nor an advisory firm retained by Prince Andrew responded to inquiries from The Daily Beast.Andrew’s fantasy of a comeback has been oft-reported over the past two years. And he is still at it, with a source described as “close to Prince Andrew” telling Wooton, “He still harbors thoughts that he can make a comeback. He genuinely thinks that’s possible.”If Andrew needs any further reminder that he is no longer welcome in public life or in British sitting rooms, and that his father’s death changes nothing, he may want to consider this statistic: Almost 400 people have already written to the BBC to complain about Andrew featuring on the corporation’s coverage.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.
- Associated Press Videos
The White House weighed in on the cyberattack on Iran's uranium enrichment facility, saying "the U.S. "was not involved in any manner." (April 12)
- Miami Herald
Dr Seuss books have made headlines lately, but not for this reason.
- The Telegraph
As Prince Harry boarded a plane from Los Angeles to London, we can only imagine the inner turmoil he must have felt as he prepared for the long and lonely journey home. His adored grandfather had died at a time of unprecedented familial discord, with the Royal Family still reeling from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s corrosive, finger-pointing Oprah Winfrey interview. Prince Philip’s death may have prompted an outpouring of national gratitude and affection, but the question now is whether it can cement the deep fissures within the House of Windsor itself. How will Harry be welcomed by Princes William and Charles, after accusing his family of racism? Not to mention following reports, via Gayle King, a US news anchor and friend of Meghan, that private telephone calls between the California-based prince and his father and brother had been “unproductive” - disclosures said to have gone down badly at the Palace. That Harry had not seen his grandfather for more than a year, after he whisked his wife and son, Archie, to the other side of the world to escape being “trapped” by the monarchy, can only add to the Duke of Sussex’s inevitable feelings of wretchedness and grief. His sense of isolation will likely have been compounded by the fact that Meghan, heavily pregnant with their second child, hasn’t been able to accompany him. The echoes of history here are uncanny as, nearly 70 years ago, a similar scenario played out. Another once-beloved member of the Royal Family had to leave his American wife behind in the United States to make the solitary journey home for a royal funeral, where he had to face his frosty relations, saddened that he had quit monarchical life. In 1952, when King George VI died, his brother Edward, the Duke of Windsor - exiled to France after the abdication - was staying in New York with his wife, Wallis Simpson.
- LA Times
Macaulay Culkin and Brenda Song, known for their respective roles in "Home Alone" and "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody," are new parents to a baby boy.
An interactive map shows where you can travel right now depending on your location and vaccination status
A new interactive map from travel company Sherpa shows you where you can travel based on your location and whether or not you've been vaccinated.
- Business Insider
John Boehner said he skewered Ted Cruz in his book because Cruz was 'stirring up some of the crazies in my own caucus'
John Boehner and Ted Cruz have traded barbs over the last week as Boehner takes aim at his former Republican colleagues in a forthcoming book.
- Business Insider
Last week, the company released a video showing how its chip implant could allow a monkey to play video games using only its brain.
- Yahoo News
The killing of Daunte Wright during a traffic stop Sunday in Minnesota has drawn attention to “pretextual arrests,” which allow police to pull vehicles over for minor traffic violations and then investigate unrelated crimes.
The judge in the Chauvin trial won't admit statements from Morries Hall, the passenger in George Floyd's car
After Hall invoked his 5th Amendment right not to testify, the defense wanted to admit statements he made to investigators about Floyd's drug use.
Growing up Christian, I couldn't listen to rap music. But DMX's iconic prayers turned me into a lifelong fan.
"While I felt ashamed for enjoying some secular artists, I did not feel that shame as a die-hard DMX fan ... because DMX genuinely loved the Lord."
US reality star Kim Kardashian married rapper Kanye West in 2014 but filed for divorce in February.
- Associated Press
Lebanon’s outgoing minister of public works said Monday that he has signed a decree that would increase the area claimed by the Mediterranean country in a maritime border dispute with Israel. Public Works Minister Michel Najjar told reporters that he has signed an amendment of the decree that would formally extend Lebanon’s claims by 1,430 square kilometers (550 square miles). The unilateral move by Lebanon is likely to anger Israel and the U.S. who are not expected to recognize Beirut's extension of the disputed area.
‘My family and I have been victims of an organized criminal extortion involving a former DOJ official,’ the embattled Gaetz said in a statement. Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz has reportedly been denied a meeting with former President Donald Trump amid a sex trafficking probe that has shrouded his political career. The Republican congressman, a staunch supporter and close friend of Trump, believes the former commander-in-chief should run for office again in 2024.