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At least 285 people feared dead after magnitude 5.9 earthquake hits eastern Afghanistan

At least 285 people were killed and many more wounded after a magnitude 5.9 earthquake hit eastern Afghanistan Wednesday, according to the country’s disaster management authority.

The earthquake hit at 1.24 a.m. about 46 kilometers (28.5 miles) southwest of the city of Khost, which lies close to the country’s border with Pakistan, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
The quake registered at a depth of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles), according to USGS, which assigned the quake a yellow alert level — indicating a relatively localized impact.
Most of the deaths were in Paktika province, where 255 people were killed and 155 others were injured in the districts of Giyan, Nika, Barmal and Zirok, according to the State Ministry for Disaster Management.
In neighboring Khost province, 25 people were killed and several others were injured, and five people were killed in Nangarhar province, the disaster management authority said.
Photos from Paktika province, just south of Khost province, show destroyed houses with only a wall or two still standing amid the rubble, and broken roof beams.
Local officials and residents have warned that the death toll is likely to rise, according to state-run news agency Bakhtar.
A team of medics and seven helicopters have been sent to the area to transport injured people to nearby hospitals, Afghanistan’s Ministry of Defense said in a tweet on Wednesday.

Najibullah Sadid, an Afghan water resources management expert, said the earthquake had coincided with heavy monsoon rain in the region — making traditional houses, many made of mud and other natural materials, particularly vulnerable to damage.
“The timing of the earthquake (in the) dark of night … and the shallow depth of 10 kilometers of its epicenter led to higher casualties,” he added.
A Taliban deputy spokesperson, Bilal Karimi, said the earthquake had been “severe,” and asked aid agencies to “urgently send teams” to the area affected.
In a tweet on Wednesday, the World Health Organization said its teams were on the ground for emergency response, including providing medicine, trauma services and conducting needs assessments.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif extended his condolences and an offer of support in a tweet on Wednesday. “Deeply grieved to learn about the earthquake in Afghanistan, resulting in the loss of innocent lives,” he wrote. “People in Pakistan share the grief and sorrow of their Afghan brethren. Relevant authorities are working to support Afghanistan in this time of need.”
Pope Francis said he was praying “for those who have lost their lives and for their families,” during his weekly audience on Wednesday. “I hope aid can be sent there to help all the suffering of the dear people of Afghanistan.”
The earthquake comes as the country is in the throes of a hunger crisis. Almost half the population — 20 million people — are experiencing acute hunger, according to a United Nations-backed report in May. It is a situation compounded by the Taliban seizing power in August 2021, which led the United States and its allies freezing about $7 billion of the country’s foreign reserves and cutting off international funding.

‘It was just madness inside.’ Gunman kills 4 people at Tulsa hospital complex

(CNN)Four people were killed in Tulsa on Wednesday after a gunman — who was later found dead — opened fire on the second floor of a medical building, authorities in Oklahoma said.
“It was just madness inside, with hundreds of rooms and hundreds of people trying to get out of the building,” Tulsa Police Department Captain Richard Meulenberg told CNN.
The mass shooting is the latest instance nationwide of first responders and civilians coming face-to-face with the threat of gun violence, as Tulsa joins several cities mourning recent tragic attacks at public places, places of worship and educational facilities.
Law enforcement received a call just before 5 p.m. Wednesday about an individual with a firearm at the Natalie Medical Building on the campus of St. Francis Hospital, Tulsa Police Deputy Chief Eric Dalgleish said at a news conference.
Responding officers who arrived within minutes “were hearing shots in the building, and that’s what directed them to the second floor,” Dalgleish said.
The gunman was found dead by police as they worked their way inside the building, Meulenberg said, and has not been publicly identified.

A 13-year-old was behind the wheel in Texas crash that killed 9 people and left two University of the Southwest golfers critically injured

A 13-year-old boy drove the pickup truck involved in a fiery head-on collision in Texas that killed nine people, including six University of the Southwest golfers and their coach, a National Transportation Safety Board official said Thursday.

Preliminary information indicates the left front tire of the pickup was a spare that failed, causing the vehicle to pull hard to the left into oncoming traffic of a two-lane roadway, NTSB Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg said.
Investigators were able to identify the remains of the driver by his size, Landsberg said. Both vehicles were probably moving close to the posted speed limit of 75 mph, he said.
In Texas, a minor can begin the classroom part of a driver education course at 14 but must be at least 15 to apply for a learner license, swarovski jewelry according to the public safety department website.
Henrich Siemens, 38, of Seminole, Texas, was in the truck with the boy, authorities said. He was among the nine people killed in the Tuesday evening crash.
The students are recovering and making steady progress, University of the Southwest Provost Ryan Tipton said Thursday.
“One of the students is eating chicken soup,” Tipton told reporters. “I spoke with the parents and they are there with them and they are recovering every day. It’s a game of inches and every hour leads to them one step closer to another day… There is no indication as to how long it’s going to take but they are both stable and recovering and every day making more and more progress.”
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), a Dodge 2500 pickup drove into the approaching lane of a highway just outside Andrews, Texas, and hit a Ford Transit van carrying members of the New Mexico university’s men’s and women’s golf teams.
DPS Sgt. Steven Blanco said “the Dodge pickup drove into the northbound lane and struck the Ford passenger van head on.”
Six students and a coach in the van were killed as were the driver of the pickup and a passenger. Two other golfers were initially in critical condition at University Medical Center of Lubbock, Texas, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
The NTSB dispatched a 12-member team to investigate.
A makeshift memorial was set up at the Rockwind Community Links in Hobbs, New Mexico, Wednesday.
“It was very clearly a high speed, head on collision between two heavy vehicles,” Landsberg told reporters.
Landsberg said in it’s unclear why the full-sized spare blew out before the crash.
“On the highways 100 people (are killed) a day,” he said. “Every two days we are killing the equivalent of a Boeing 737 crashing. Now just think about that. That’s what’s putting this into perspective. And it’s long overdue that we start to do something about it.”
Emergency responders heading to the crash were told by a dispatcher there were two vehicles on fire with people trapped inside, according to recordings on Broadcastify.com, which monitors radio traffic among many emergency departments.
One of the first responders to arrive said: “All units, I’ve got wrecked units on both sides of the highway, fully involved vehicles. I’m still trying to get up on scene and see what we have.”
Members of the men’s and women’s golf teams at the University of Southwest were traveling back to their Hobbs, New Mexico, campus from a tournament in Midland, Texas, school officials said.
The remainder of the red wing shoes two-day tournament, hosted by Midland College, was canceled. There were 11 schools in the competition, which included both men’s and women’s teams, Midland College Athletic Director Forrest Allen said.
The weather in the area of the crash was clear with no fog, CNN Meteorologist Chad Myers said. There were no freezing temperatures, and the wind was light at around 5 to 8 mph.
As investigators worked to determine what caused the deadly collision, the University of the Southwest is dealing with the emotional toll on its community.
“Our institution is crushed and broken but strong,” Paula Smith, the university’s vice president for financial services, said Thursday.
Many students at the small Christian university — with an enrollment of about 1,100 students, including about 300 on campus — will be returning from spring break over the weekend, and the school is planning a memorial assembly for next week, according to Tipton, the provost.
“These aren’t the kind of things that you ever even dream of happening. And they shouldn’t happen,” he said.
Tipton said officials have said they may never know what caused the pickup truck to veer into the van’s path.
“For any of you that have lost a loved one or a member of your family, it’s the same feeling here,” he said. “They’re not only students and coaches. They are loved ones to us. They are members of our family here on campus.”
One victim was Laci Stone, a freshman member of the women’s golf team who was majoring in global business management, according to a family member.
The six USW student athletes killed in a crash Tuesday were identified as (top row, left to right) Laci Stone, Jackson Zinn, Karisa Raines, (bottom row, left to right) Mauricio Sanchez, Travis Garcia and Tiago Sousa.
“Last night Laci’s golf team was involved in a crash leaving a golf tournament. Our sweet Laci didn’t make it.,” Laci’s mother, Chelsi Stone, posted on Facebook. “Our Laci is gone! She has been an absolute ray of sunshine during this short time on earth.”
Laci, 18, of Nocona, Texas, was one of three siblings.
“We will never be the same after this and we just don’t understand how this happened to our amazing, beautiful, smart, joyful girl,” her mother said.
The school identified the other students who died as Mauricio Sanchez, 19, of Mexico; Travis Garcia, 19, of Pleasanton, Texas; Jackson Zinn, 22, of Westminster, Colorado; Karisa Raines, 21, of Fort Stockton, Texas; and Tiago Sousa, 18, of Portugal.
USW President Quint Thurman confirmed the death of coach Tyler James, who was 26.
“Great coach and a wonderful man,” Thurman said in an email. “Don’t make them any better!”
Coach Tyler James.
James’ bio on the school website said he was in his first season as head coach and played golf at Ottawa University and Howard Payne University.
“He always cared for us and made sure we were always doing good on and off the golf course,” said freshman Phillip Lopez, who did not participate in the tournament.
“I just can’t believe that my teammates and my coach are gone,” Lopez told CNN.
Students Dayton Price, 19, of Mississauga, Ontario, and Hayden Underhill, 20, of Amherstview, Ontario, were hospitalized. GoFundMe fundraisers were started to help pay for victims’ funeral and medical expenses.

Bronx apartment building fire leaves 19 people dead, including 9 children

A woman is assisted by rescue personnel January 9.

Smoke billows out of apartment windows from the fire.

A major fire in a residential apartment building in the Bronx in New York City on Sunday left 19 people dead, including 9 children, in what Mayor Eric Adams described as one of the worst fires the city has experienced in modern times.

The blaze sent 32 people to hospitals with life-threatening conditions, Daniel Nigro, commissioner of the New York City Fire Department, said earlier Sunday. A total of 63 people were injured.
A “malfunctioning electric space heater” was olukai shoes the source of the fire, Nigro said during a press conference. The heater was in the bedroom of an apartment, and the fire consumed the room and then the entire apartment, he said.
The apartment door was left open and smoke spread throughout the building when the residents left their unit, Nigro said.
“This is a horrific, horrific, painful moment for the city of New York, and the impact of this fire is going to really bring a level of just pain and despair in our city,” Adams said.
About 200 members of the New York City Fire Department responded to the fire at the 19-story building at 333 East 181st Street. The fire began a little before 11 a.m. in a duplex apartment on the 2nd and 3rd floors of the building, the FDNY said.
Firefighters were met by “very heavy smoke, very heavy fire” in the hallways.
FDNY responded to a 5-alarm fire in the Bronx on Sunday.

Victims were found in stairways on every floor of the building, many in cardiac arrest, in what Nigro said could be an unprecedented loss of life. The injuries were predominantly from smoke inhalation, he said.
Firefighters kept attempting to save people from the building despite running out of air tank, Nigro said. Some of the residents who were trying to leave the building could not “escape because of the volume of smoke.”
The FDNY posted several images of the scene showing ladders extending into apartment windows as well as a number of broken windows.
“This is going to be one of the worst fires that we have witnessed during modern times here in the city of New York,” Adams said.
“I am horrified by the devastating fire in the Bronx today,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said on Twitter. “My heart is with the hoka shoes loved ones of all those we’ve tragically lost, all of those impacted and with our heroic FDNY firefighters. The entire State of New York stands with New York City.”
The residential apartment where the fire occurred is 50 years old and has 120 units, according to building records.
There have not been any major building violations or complaints listed against the building, according to city building records. Past minor violations were rectified by the property and there were no structural violations listed.

Apartment fire impacts Muslim and immigrant community

The building where the fire occurred housed a largely Muslim population, Adams said, with many immigrants from Gambia, a small nation on the east coast of Africa.
The mayor said that one priority will be to make sure that Islamic funeral and burial rites are respected. Another will be to seek Muslim leaders to connect with residents.
The names of people who request government assistance will not be turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Adams added.
“We want people to be comfortable in coming forward, and it’s imperative that we connect with those on the ground to make sure they get that message and that word out,” Adams said.
Christina Farrell, first deputy commissioner of NYC emergency management, told CNN’s Phil Mattingly Sunday that residents who lived in the apartment building are now being housed at a middle school next door.
“We have all the residents here. We’ve been able to give them food, a warm space, water, any short-term needs that they had. People brought their pets and so we are in the process of finding people shelter this evening,” Farrell said. “We work with the Red Cross, we have hotel rooms and have other resources available. And so we will be making sure every family has a safe, warm space to sleep in tonight.”
A service center will be set up Monday, Farrell said.
“We’ll be hopeful that many of them will be able to go back into their apartment in the coming days,” she said. “But for the people that are out long-term, we will work with them and the state to get them appropriate housing.”
Hochul, appearing at a press conference Sunday, said she met with survivors of the fire, including a mother who was her family’s sole survivor.
“It’s impossible to go into that room, where scores of families who are in such grief, who are in pain, and to see it in the mother’s eyes as I held her, who lost her entire family,” she said.
As she prepares her new budget this week, Hochul said she will establish a compensation fund to help provide the victims of the fire with money for housing, burial costs and other necessities.
“Tonight is a night of tragedy and pain, and tomorrow we begin to rebuild,” Hochul said. “We rebuild their lives and give them hope, especially those who came all the way from Africa [from] Gambia in search of a better life right here in this great borough of the Bronx.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also spoke at the conference and said numerous forms of assistance are being examined on the federal level and will include housing and tax assistance as well as and immigration assistance, “so families can be reunited.”

The trip could have killed them. But people fleeing economic wreckage in the Middle East say they’d do it 100 times over

Four-year-old Azhi hobbles across a makeshift migrant center on the Polish-Belarusian border. Grabbing his mother’s hand for support, he carefully tucks his legs under piles of donated blankets.

Metal rods tower above the people to prop up a giant zinc roof. Azhi, who has splints on his legs, is smiling and wide-eyed. It’s hard to tell that just days before, the boy’s family faced the specter of death.
“We want to go to Germany so Azhi can get an operation,” says his mother, 28-year old Shoxan Hussein. “The doctors said he needs to get it done before he turns five.”
Four-year-old Azhi and his mother Shoxan Hussain, 28, traveled to Belarus from Iraqi Kurdistan.

Azhi’s family was among hundreds of migrants who attempted to cross into Poland from Belarus in recent weeks with hopes of claiming asylum in the European Union. After days in the freezing Belarusian forest where migrants say they were subjected to beatings and food deprivation by Belarusian forces, the family never made it across the border. Several people died along the journey while thousands were stranded in inhumane conditions. Azhi and his parents survived unscathed.
Days later, they returned to their native Erbil, the commercial hub of Iraqi Kurdistan, skechers outlet on an Iraqi repatriation flight. They are already trying to chart a new path into Europe.
“There is no future for my son in Iraq,” Azhi’s father, 26-year-old Ali Rasool, tells CNN from his Erbil home. “Trying to get to Europe is for Azhi. I need a future for my kid.”

Breaking a cycle of misery

Across the Middle East and North Africa, talk of emigration is rampant. Though guns have largely fallen silent in most of the region’s conflict zones, much of the misery has not let up. Violence that once engulfed four countries — Syria, Libya, Yemen and Iraq — has given way to economic wreckage that extends well beyond their borders. Many regional economies have been reeling from the combined effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, refugee influxes and political instability.
Government corruption in the MENA region is widely viewed as a main culprit, in addition to geopolitical turbulence. A recent survey found that one in three of the region’s 200 million Arab youth are considering emigration. In 2020, that figure was even greater, at nearly half of all Arab youth.
The problem is most acute in post-conflict zones contending with economic depression and where corruption has flourished. In Syria, the United Nations Development Program says that poverty rates are now around 90%, up from around 50-60% in 2019 when violence was significantly more widespread. People who were considered to be food insecure increased from 7.9 million in 2019 to over 12 million in 2020.
An improvised plastic tent gives shelter to Syrian refugees in the forests of Poland on November 26, 2021.

“We’re talking about people who have incomes, a working poor, with one job, with two jobs in the family, who are unable to meet their basic food needs,” UNDP Resident Representative in Syria Ramla Khalidi tells CNN. “What that’s meant is they’re skipping meals, they’re going into debt, they’re consuming cheaper, less-nutritious meals.”
Around 98% of people have reported food as their top expenditure. “Fresh fruits and vegetables are a luxury and they’re skipping meats in their diet,” says Khalidi.
Syria’s “massive and severe poverty” has been exacerbated by nike outlet the financial tailspin in neighboring Lebanon which began in 2019. The Lebanese economy was previously seen as a lifeline for a financially and diplomatically isolated Damascus. A crushing sanctions regime on areas under the control of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which is most of the country, was compounded by the Caesar Act in 2020. This aimed to drive Syrian President Bashar al-Assad back to the UN-led negotiating table but it has instead further devastated an already floundering economy, and the President’s rule continues unfazed.
The Syrian regime is widely accused of having repeatedly committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in the last 10 years of the country’s war, including attacks on the civilian population with chemical weapons and indiscriminately shelling populated areas under rebel control with conventional munitions. Tens of thousands of political prisoners have died in Assad’s prisons after having been subjected to extreme torture and mistreatment.
Syrians inspect rubble at a site that was targeted by shelling in Ariha, allegedly carried out by Syrian government forces, killing at least 10 people, on October 20, 2021.

In parts of Syria that fall outside of Assad’s rule — namely the country’s Kurdish-controlled northeast and the northwest which is under the sway of fundamentalist Islamist rebels — the economy is also in tatters.
“That’s the only thing that people still share in Syria. Everyone’s suffering economically no matter who controls the areas,” says Haid Haid, consulting associate fellow at Chatham House’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.
It’s a situation that has prompted many of the country’s skilled workforce to leave, deepening the economic predicament, says the UN’s Khalidi.
“The hospitals, the schools, the factories have lost a lot of their skilled workers because many of these individuals are trying to find their way out even if it means risking their lives,” she says, whilst calling on donor countries to invest in “resilience interventions” aimed at enhancing urban and rural livelihoods.
“It’s an unprecedented crisis in terms of its complexity,” says Khalidi. “Year on year the amount of funding has increased and yet we see humanitarian needs also increasing, so I think we need to change the model, reduce humanitarian dependence and focus more keen shoes funding on early recovery and resilience efforts. “
In neighboring Iraq, ravaged by multiple battles including a devastating war with ISIS, the economy has fared better, but a sense of hopelessness prevails. A youth-led anti-corruption protest movement in October 2019 was lethally crushed and co-opted by major political players, and while independent politicians made unprecedented gains in this year’s parliamentary elections, nepotism and corruption continue to reign supreme in the country’s political and commercial centers, analysts say.
“We cannot talk about Kurdistan or Federal Iraq as a functioning thing because it’s not,” said Hafsa Halawa, non-resident scholar at the Middle East Institute, referring to the northern semi-autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan. “The reality is that public services are intermittent, opportunity is zero, corruption, nepotism and violence is ongoing and regular.”
“What is wrong with someone who’s 21, 22 saying ‘I cannot stay here like my parents did. I have to break the cycle. I have to change things for my future family, for my future kids’?”
A picture shows the Kurdish-run al-Hol camp, which holds relatives of suspected ISIS fighters in the northeastern Hasakeh governorate, on December 6, 2021.

Halawa, who is British-Iraqi-Egyptian, argues that a major driver of the influx of refugees is the disappearance of legal mechanisms for the entry of skilled workers into Europe.
“The fascinating thing to me — if I’m talking about the UK and (Home Secretary) Priti Patel’s immigration point scheme that she introduced — is that my father as a qualified surgeon who went on to serve the NHS for 40 years, would not have qualified for a work visa when he arrived here,” says Halawa.
“The mechanisms by which we — in the developed world — allowed people to learn and then keep them here to benefit society are no longer available,” says Halawa.
Chatham House’s Haid, a native Syrian, considers himself among the lucky ones. Nearly five years ago, he was granted refugee status in the UK. He says the images of Syrians dying in the English Channel gave him mixed feelings of sadness and personal relief. He also believes that the migration of Syrians will continue unabated.
“When things (in Syria) started getting worse despite the decline in violence, that’s when people living there were hit by the reality that things will never get better,” says Haid. “That’s why even those who were refusing to leave the country during the war now feel that there is no solution but to flee, because there is no light at the end of the tunnel. That’s it.”
At the same time, Haid feels like he made it to the UK in the nick of time. “You feel lucky to have made it before your window of opportunity, which was rapidly closing, is shut forever,” he says.
Back in Erbil, Shoxan Hussein and her husband Ali Rasool believe legal passage to Europe is permanently shut. Rasool, a manager of a property company, and Hussein, an engineer, applied for a visa at the French embassy earlier this year but say they never received a response.
“Erbil is better for me and my wife than anywhere else in the world. We have a good car, good clothing,” says Rasool. “But this is all for Azhi … we’ve already done three operations here and have gotten no results. The problem is that (the doctors) are taking money from us and they haven’t made even 5% difference.”
“If you told me to risk my life 100 times before I got to Europe to improve my son’s life then my wife and I would do it,” he says. “I would repeat this journey 100 times.”


Queen Elizabeth II looking stern

Queen Elizabeth II is not just the longest-reigning British monarch in history, but one of the last true royalties still living in our time. The high standards of etiquette prevent her from lashing out at annoying individuals in her vicinity, but, through her extensive royal career, there have been many speculations around hidden and sometimes not-so-hidden clashes she’s had.

It is no wonder many of them took place within the thick walls of the royal palace — being a monarch and a mother nike sneakers is not an easy job. The queen, firmly defending traditional principles and the monarchy itself, has had to make some tough choices during her reign, which has led to several family schisms. Being royalty acquires following a very strict code of behavior, resisting passions and infatuations, and always putting the monarchy and its principles first.

Strict rules and protocols dictate the queen must not publicly express any opinion on political matters. Regardless of the fact she has met an impressive selection of world leaders, she has never been allowed to tell them what she really thinks of them or their leadership. Clever as she is, she’s still managed to get her message across in a few cases. Here are some famous people the queen (speculatively) can’t stand.


Mick Jagger smiling

Maybe Mick Jagger can impress all the ladies, but not Queen Elizabeth II. As reported in The Telegraph, he did excite Princess Margaret though, according to Jagger’s biographer, Christopher Andersen. She was so fascinated with the rock star she built a villa next to him on the magical island Mustique, where they indulged in partying properly, as both well knew how. There is no record of them actually having an affair, but “there was a flirtation going on there, definitely,” as noted by Elsa Bowker, wife of British diplomat Sir James Bowker (via Daily Mail). The queen was not happy about Margaret’s untamed behavior, fearing scandals or just general moral corruption.

Lady Diana, another stormy female, was in good relationship with the asics shoes Rolling Stone frontman, as well, speculates the New Idea, so one could imagine how fed up the queen was with Jagger at that point. Lady Di, similar to Princess Margaret, appreciated dancing and good music, not showing much interest in serious dinners and the countryside.

As stated by Anderson in the Daily Mail, with Jagger calling the queen “chief witch,” their relationship was bound to become sour eventually. The queen did not participate at Jagger’s controversial knight ceremony, due to her knee surgery. And apparently, she it preferred it that way, allegedly telling hospital staff, “I would much rather be here than at Buckingham Palace knighting at a certain party,” Anderson told The Telegraph.

Facebook is shutting down its facial recognition system, affecting over a billion people


Facebook users will no longer be able to use its Face Recognition system.

Facebook will shut down its facial recognition system this month and delete the face scan data of more than 1 billion users, the company said Tuesday. It cited societal concerns and regulatory uncertainty about facial recognition technology as the reasons.

More than one-third of the app’s daily active users have opted into its Face Recognition setting, the social network noted in a blog post.

“There are many concerns about the place of facial salomon boots recognition technology in society, and regulators are still in the process of providing a clear set of rules governing its use,” wrote Jerome Pesenti, vice president of artificial intelligence at Facebook’s newly named parent company, Meta. “Amid this ongoing uncertainty, we believe that limiting the use of facial recognition to a narrow set of use cases is appropriate.”

Pesenti said the change also means that automatic descriptions of photos for blind and visually impaired people will no longer include the names of people in the images.

The move marks a major shift away from a controversial technology that Facebook has incorporated in its products, giving users the option to receive automatic notifications when they appear in photos and videos posted by others. But facial recognition technology, which converts face scans into identifiable data, has also become a growing privacy and civil rights concern. The technology is prone to mistakes involving people of color. In one study, 28 members of Congress, roughly 40% of whom were people of color, were incorrectly matched with arrest mugshots in a screen as part of a test that the American Civil Liberties Union conducted using technology made by Amazon.

In the absence of federal regulations, cities and states have begun banning facial recognition systems used by police and government. In 2019, San Francisco was the first city to ban government use of the technology. Others, including Jackson, Mississippi; Portland, Oregon; and Boston, Cambridge and Springfield, Massachusetts, have followed. Over the summer, Maine enacted one of the most stringent bans on the technology.

Earlier this year, a judge approved a $650 million settlement in a class action lawsuit involving Facebook’s use of facial recognition technology in its photo-tagging feature. The feature generates suggested tags by using scans of previously uploaded photos to match people in newly uploaded shots. The lawsuit sperry shoes alleged the scans were created without user consent and violated Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act, which regulates facial recognition, fingerprinting and other biometric technologies.

Facebook has also considered building facial recognition in products such as its smart glasses. Facial recognition, for example, could be used to identify the name of people you can’t remember. But the company’s employees raised concerns that the technology could be abused by “stalkers.” Facebook’s first pair of smart glasses, the Ray-Ban Stories, doesn’t include facial recognition technology.

Privacy and civil rights groups applauded Facebook’s move on Tuesday.

“This is a good start toward ending dangerous uses of facial recognition technology. Now it’s time for enforceable rules that prohibit companies from scanning our faces without our consent. Looking at you, Congress,” the American Civil Liberties Union said in a tweet.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation said the move was “great news for Facebook users, and for the global movement pushing back on this technology.”

‘Vaccine mandates are proving to work,’ doctor explains

A growing number of employers across a wide array of industries in the U.S. are issuing COVID-19 vaccine mandates, and early evidence shows they are quickly increasing inoculation rates among workers.

“Vaccine mandates are proving to work,” Dr. Steven McDonald, an emergency medicine physician in New York City told Yahoo Finance Live.

“Many people are hesitant, and we’re seeing that no amount of steve madden shoes coaxing from the medical community and friends and family is working. It’s the mandate that’s nudging people over that line,” he said.

In New York, 92% of the states’s more than 625,000 hospital and nursing home workers are now vaccinated against COVID-19 after a mandate resulted in a 10% jump in the vaccination rate in just one week among those workers.

A medical worker enters a mobile COVID-19 vaccination center in the Brooklyn borough of New York, the United States, Aug. 18, 2021. The United States will begin administrating COVID-19 booster shots next month as new data shows that vaccine protection wanes over time, top U.S. health officials announced Wednesday. According to the CDC, 72.2 percent of American adults have received one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, with 61.8 percent being fully vaccinated. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty Images)
A medical worker enters a mobile COVID-19 vaccination center in the Brooklyn borough of New York, the United States, Aug. 18, 2021. 

Still, some skeptical health care workers are choosing dismissal over vaccination. New York State’s largest health care provider, Northwell, fired 1,400 employees or 2% of its workforce this week, for refusing to get the shot.

United Airlines (UAL), which became the first major carrier to require the vaccine, announced last week that 99.5% of its workforce got at least one jab.

When Tyson Foods (TSN) announced a ecco shoes mandate in early August, less than 50% of its employees had been vaccinated. Now, that number has climbed above 90%, with three weeks to go before the Nov. 1 deadline.

On Wednesday, leaders in Los Angeles approved one of the nation’s strictest vaccine mandates. Beginning Nov. 4, patrons and workers at bars, restaurants, nail salons, gyms, even at Lakers games, must show proof of vaccination.

The L.A. Lakers’ general manager Rob Pelinka said his team will be fully vaccinated by opening night against the Golden State Warriors on Oct. 19.

Even NBA star Andrew Wiggins, who refused to get vaccinated after his application for a religious exemption was denied by the league, has gotten the shot.

Sep 27, 2021; San Francisco, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins (22) during Media Day at the Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 27, 2021; San Francisco, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins (22) during Media Day at the Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Last month, Dr. Anthony Fauci, nike sneakers director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said it could take “many, many” more vaccine mandates to get the pandemic under control.

“We’re seeing real success stories,” McDonald said. “It’s an incredible win for vaccines.”

Dave Chappelle faces backlash over new Netflix special ‘ridiculing trans people’

Dave Chappelle is facing allegations of transphobia and homophobia over remarks in his Netflix special, The Closer.

The special, his sixth and last (for now) with the streaming service since a 2016 deal, came out Tuesday and immediately sparked backlash, including from GLAAD and National Black Justice Coalition, for jokes directed at the LGBTQ+ community, specifically trans people.

At the show, recorded at The Fillmore in Detroit in August, Chappelle, keen shoes who has long been criticized for remarks about LGBTQ+ people, stirred things up again by making comments like, “Gender is a fact. Every human being in this room, every human being on earth, had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on earth. That is a fact.” He went on to make fun of the genitalia of trans women.

Chappelle also defended Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling who has faced allegations of transphobia for years.

90th Academy Awards - Oscars Show - Hollywood, California, U.S., 04/03/2018 - Dave Chappelle presents the Best Original Song nominee Stand Up for Something from Marshall. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Dave Chappelle is facing backlash over latest Netflix special which targets a favorite mark: transgender people. 

“They canceled J.K. Rowling — my God,” he said. “Effectually she said gender was a fact. The trans community got mad as sh**, they started calling her a TERF,” Chappelle said, which means “trans-exclusionary radical feminists,” whose views about feminism are seen as anti-trans. He added, “I’m team TERF… Gender is a fact.”

At another point, Chappelle addressed the LGBTQ+ community directly, asking to “negotiate the release of DaBaby,” the rapper who was criticized for homophobic comments this summer, saying he “punched the LGBTQ community right in the AIDS.” asics shoes Chappelle brought up DaBaby firing a gun that killed a 19-year-old in 2018, but said it was his anti-gay comments that got him canceled.

“In our country, you can shoot and kill a n*****, but you better not hurt a gay person’s feelings,” Chappelle said.

At another point, he talked about getting into a fight with a lesbian, quipping, “I’m glad TMZ didn’t believe that — because I did beat the sh** out of her. I’m not gonna lie. It was her fault. I had no choice.”

At the end, Chappelle again referenced DaBaby and other Black celebrities (like Kevin Hart) who have faced scrutiny for anti-gay remarks, saying he will no longer make jokes targeting the LGBTQ+ community until “we are both sure that we are laughing together. I’m telling you, it’s done, I’m done talking about it,” he said. “All I ask of your community, with all humility: Will you please stop punching down on my people?”

There has been extensive criticism online with GLAAD issuing a statement, saying “Dave Chappelle’s brand has become synonymous with ridiculing trans people and other marginalized communities,” and calling for people not to stream the special.

The National Black Justice Coalition, a civil rights advocacy group dedicated to the empowerment of the Black LGBTQ community, called it “deeply disappointing that Netflix allowed Dave Chappelle’s lazy and hostile transphobia and homophobia to air on its platform.”Dana White, from True Colors Unite, which helps combat youth homelessness with a focus on LGBTQ, said, “Nothing Dave Chappelle says changes the facts that trans women are women, trans men are men, non-binary people are non-binary, nike store that LGBTQ+ people should live free of harm and discrimination. He is wrong. And Netflix has empowered him to be wrong loudly.”

While Netflix hasn’t commented, nor has Chappelle, those associated with the platform have been speaking out. Jaclyn Moore, showrunner for the Netflix series Dear White People who is part of the LGBTQ+ community, said in a thread she’s “done” with the company.

Terra Field, a programmer at Netflix who is trans, detailed her issues with Chappelle’s comments in a thread. She said it’s not about being “offended,” but “the harm that content like this does to the trans community (especially trans people of color) and VERY specifically Black trans women.” Field included a list of Black, trans people who have recently been murdered.

For years now the question has been posed: What Is Dave Chappelle’s Problem With Gay People? He’s targeted the community in multiple specials over the last few years, previously singling out Caitlyn Jenner and mocking pronouns.

And it’s not been limited to his specials. During his 2017 residency at Radio City Music Hall he “almost exclusively talked about trans issues” for the first 20 minutes of his set, Vulture noted at the time. “Chappelle didn’t come off as a free-speech fire starter or an inflammatory punk trying to get a rise out of people,” the review read. “He just sounded old and out of touch, a fact that he touched on very briefly throughout the set, but not enough.”

Earlier this year, as guest host of Saturday Night Live, Chappelle poked fun at himself for not being “woke” enough.

The comedian’s relationship with Netflix seems cemented despite the latest. He will be reviving his Chappelle Show for the streaming service later this year.

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