Wednesday, July 28, 2021

May 16, 2021 Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis, Dr. Timothy Harris on Friday called on the United States and other vaccine-producing countries to ensure the equitable distribution of the vaccine needed to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COID-19) that has killed thousands of people in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping.

Harris, who also has lead responsibility for Health within the quasi-CARICOM cabinet, said the greater effort is needed from larger countries with greater resources, like the United States, to ensure the equitable distribution of vaccines globally, and particularly within CARICOM.

“The US is the most important partner to the CARICOM member states, and St. Kitts and Nevis in particular. It supplies us with the largest intake of tourists, and it is the market for most of what we export,” Harris said on the US-based Bloomberg QuickTake, a global streaming news network.

“What we really would have loved to see is that the US would have shown early leadership in terms of support to the region as we fight a most dangerous pandemic. The US at this moment has excess vaccines.

“The Caribbean region needs vaccines desperately and in the short term, we would require the United States of America to make a portion of those excess vaccines available to CARICOM member states, including St. Kitts and Nevis,” Prime Minister Harris said during the programme.

Harris told the programme that his twin-island Federation’s vaccination process is progressing reasonably well, despite some levels of vaccine hesitancy amongst the population.

“We have about 42 percent of our target population covered; covered meaning they at least had their first shot of the vaccine. The vaccine of choice here is the AstraZeneca vaccine and that is of course a two-dose regime.

“So, we are moving on the path of getting to the target population which is 70 percent of our population. We still have a significant journey to go but we are satisfied to date that in the short of some 10 weeks we have been able to cover 42 percent of the target,” he added.

Prime Minister Harris said that as the Federation moves towards its vaccination target of 70 percent he will continue his advocacy on behalf of the wider Caribbean region for the equitable distribution of vaccines.

Earlier this week, Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, speaking at the Grantley Adams International Airport during a handover ceremony of 33,600 COVID-19 vaccines under the COVAX Facility, reiterated the need for a global summit on the availability of COVID-19 vaccines.

“If ever there was a need for the world to stand up and recognize that we need a global summit for coordinated action with respect to how we treat to the COVID pandemic, how we treat to the equitable distribution of vaccines, how we treat to the restricted movement of people and countries in a coordinated way to give the global community the best chance of putting this behind us, it is now,” Mottley said.

“In the spring meetings that just concluded for the World Bank and the IMF, we were clear that there is going to be no serious global recovery economically until we wrestle COVID-19 to the ground. We cannot wrestle COVID-19 to the ground unless there is vaccine equity and unless there is coordinated actions across countries and not by single countries one by one,” she added.

Prime Minister Mottley insisted that at the global level, there was nothing stopping leaders from hosting a global summit, other than themselves.


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July 22, 2021  LOS ANGELES (AP) — Harvey Weinstein pleaded not guilty in a Los Angeles courtroom Wednesday to four counts of rape and seven other sexual assault counts. Sheriff’s deputies brought the 69-year-old convicted rapist into court in a wheelchair. He was wearing a brown jail jumpsuit and face mask. Attorney Mark Werksman entered the plea for the disgraced movie mogul a day after Weinstein was extradited to California from New York, where he was serving a 23-year prison term. Weinstein spoke only to say “thank you” to Judge Sergio Tapia, who wished him good luck as the hearing ended. He now awaits a second trial on a second coast, and the possibility of another lengthy sentence.

July 21, 2021  NEW YORK (AP) — “The View” canceled a planned appearance Wednesday by a woman who settled a sexual harassment lawsuit against Bill O’Reilly, after the former Fox News Channel personality sought and received a restraining order against her. O’Reilly accused his former producer, Andrea Mackris, of violating a non-disclosure agreement by talking about her experiences with him nearly two decades ago. ABC’s daytime talk show, in a statement, said that after being notified of the restraining order “we decided to postpone her interview pending further developments. We look forward to welcoming her to ‘The View’ at a later date.” Mackris gave an interview to the Daily Beast earlier this month detailing her experiences with O’Reilly. She had accused him of making repeated lewd telephone calls, while he accused Mackris of an extortion attempt before agreeing to a $9 million settlement in 2004.

July 21, 2021  WASHINGTON (AP) — The Kennedy Center Honors will return in December with a class that includes Motown Records creator Berry Gordy, “Saturday Night Live” mastermind Lorne Michaels and actress-singer Bette Midler. Organizers expect to operate at full capacity after last year’s ceremony was delayed for months and later conducted under COVID-19 restrictions. This 44th class of honorees for lifetime achievement in the creative arts is heavy on musical performers. The honorees also include opera singer Justino Diaz and folk music legend Joni Mitchell. All will be honored on Dec. 5 with a trademark program that includes personalized tributes and performances that are kept secret from the honorees. Deborah Rutter, president of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, said the current plan is to pack the center’s opera house to full capacity and require all attendees to wear masks. But the plans remain fluid and Rutter said they’re ready to adapt to changing circumstances depending on the country’s COVID-19 situation.

July 22, 2021   LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kanye West knows how to make a splash even with a listening event. West is expected to unveil his 10th studio album, “Donda” during a listening event Thursday night at the Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta. His album was named after his mother, Donda West, who died at the age of 58 following plastic surgery complications in 2007.  The sold-out event will be live-streamed on Apple Music. West, 44, is mostly known as being associated with Chicago, but he was born in Atlanta - a Georgia city where there are no restrictions against large gatherings. The rapper-producer gifted 5,000 tickets to faculty, staff and students from some Atlanta HBCUs including Clark Atlanta, Morehouse, Spelman, Morris Brown and the Interdenominational Theological Center. The 22-time Grammy winner revealed in a commercial, featuring U.S. track star Sha’Carri Richardson, during the NBA Finals on Tuesday that his highly-anticipated album will be released Friday. The commercial, scored and directed by West, featured “No Child Left Behind,” a song from his forthcoming album.

Business News

July 22, 2021  WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden’s administration is beginning to make $3 billion in economic development grants available to communities — a tenfold increase in the program paid for by this year’s COVID-19 relief bill. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said her agency on Thursday will begin accepting applications for the competitive grants, which officials hope will create hundreds of thousands of jobs and help struggling cities and towns make long-term investments to drive development for years to come. “This is about real help for communities across the country as they rebuild,” Raimondo said Wednesday in an interview with The Associated Press. “It’s about longer-term investments to help communities build themselves back from the bottom up in the ways that work best for them.” The grants will be targeted at supporting local infrastructure, job training programs and developing new industries. Recipients will be selected on the basis of the anticipated return on investment to taxpayers. Raimondo was set to appear at Thursday’s White House press briefing to promote the new program.

July 21, 2021   DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — For months, anyone who wandered onto a dealer lot to look for a used car could be forgiven for doing a double-take — and then wandering right off the lot. Prices had rocketed more than 40% from their levels just before the viral pandemic struck, to an average of nearly $25,000. The supply of vehicles had shrunk. And any hope of negotiating on price? Good luck with that. But now, a sliver of hope has emerged. The seemingly endless streak of skyrocketing used-vehicle prices appears to be coming to a close. Not that anyone should expect bargains. Though average wholesale prices that dealers pay are gradually dropping, they’ll likely remain near record levels. So will the retail prices for consumers. Supply remains tight. And while demand has eased a bit, a steady flow of buyers could keep prices unusually high for a couple of years more. “It’s a short-term correction,” suggested Paul Sugars, sales manager for pre-owned vehicles at Jack Demmer Lincoln in Dearborn, Michigan. “Buyers are sitting on the fence, waiting to see what happens.”

July 22, 2021  SAN RAMON, Calif. (AP) — Pacific Gas & Electric plans to bury 10,000 miles (16,000 kilometers) of its power lines in an effort to prevent its fraying grid from sparking wildfires when electrical equipment collides with millions of trees and other vegetation across drought-stricken California. The daunting project announced Wednesday aims to bury about 10% of PG&E’s distribution and transmission lines at a projected cost of $15 billion to as much as $30 billion, based on how much the process currently costs. The utility believes it will find ways to keep the final bill at the lower end of those estimates. Most of the costs will likely be shouldered by PG&E customers, whose electricity rates are already among the highest in the U.S. PG&E stepped up its safety commitment just days after informing regulators a 70-foot (23-meter) pine tree that toppled on one of its power lines ignited a major fire in Butte County, the same rural area about 145 miles (233 kilometers) northeast of San Francisco where another fire sparked by its equipment in 2018 killed more than 80 people and destroyed thousands of homes.

Fashion News

“Faced With Restrictions, These Are the Designers Who Took Us Somewhere New”—Vogue Editors Weigh In on the Most Innovative Presentations of Spring 2021