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State pension age ‘unlikely’ to be reduced as Rishi Sunak contemplates tax raid

State pension age 'unlikely' to be reduced as Rishi Sunak contemplates tax raid

Earlier this week, Chancellor Rishi Sunak was urged to lower the pension age in order to boost the UK’s economic recovery. State pension age is currently set at 66, however, a new petition on the official Parliament website has called for a reconsideration of this matter. The petition is entitled: “Move the state pension age back to 60 for both men and women”.

It urges action on the age at which people become eligible to receive payments, particularly due to the pandemic.

The petition said: “Young people are struggling to find work and losing their jobs, due to the pandemic.

“Why not allow older people to retire earlier, thereby freeing up jobs for young people?

“There would be a cost, however surely a far more positive cost than paying Universal Credit?

“Not to mention the option of restoring the balance back into young people’s favour and helping restore their future.”

However, a pensions expert at Aegon, Steve Cameron, has told Express.co.uk that this is unlikely to happen.

He said: “I think that it would be highly unlikely the government would reduce the pension age. Despite the pandemic, life expectancy will not have suffered due to the pandemic.

“Going forward, life expectancy should continue to go up and therefore it is reasonable the state pension age goes up. It has just gone up to 66 and it is due to go up to 67 in 2028 and then to 68 in 2034.

“And I suppose the only thing that might happen is the government may defer those future increases, but I certainly don’t think they will bring the age back down again.

READ MORE: Fraud and overpayments in benefits system hit record levels

“The younger the state pension is, the longer people need a state pension for and the more costly it is for people of working age.”

Another major talking point in recent weeks has been the pension triple lock potentially being scrapped.

Reports have suggested Mr Sunak could temporarily break the pension triple lock this year in order to prevent the Treasury from being landed with a £3billion uprating bill.

Mr Sunak hinted at a change last week as the Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts that a post-lockdown surge in pay growth will result in the state pension going up by eight percent next April.

The pension triple lock being preserved was a 2019 Conservative Party manifesto pledge, so a suspension could provoke anger from some.

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Mr Cameron added: “I would be surprised if Rishi Sunak isn’t at least considering making changes to the triple lock.

“I think he will want to stick to the spirit of the triple lock, so I don’t think for a minute he will scrap it entirely.”

The Telegraph revealed last month that Treasury officials were looking at three major reforms to how pension contributions are taxed to cover heightened pandemic spending.

But there was push-back from some senior Tories to the ideas being pursued, in a reflection of how politically challenging major pensions reforms would prove.

One minister with an economic brief stressed that Conservatives should be encouraging people to put into their pension pots rather than making changes that could discourage it.

The source told The Telegraph: “Anything to do with pensions, because it’s such a long-term gain, we have to proceed with caution. If we do anything radical you need to build consensus across Parliament.”

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: Finance Feed

Analysis: A very unlikely leader of the Covid-19 vaccine push

Analysis: A very unlikely leader of the Covid-19 vaccine push
Jim Justice, the Mountain State’s governor, switched from the Democratic to the Republican Party in August 2017 — announcing the move at a rally for Trump in the state.
“Today I will tell you as West Virginians, I can’t help you anymore being a Democrat governor,” Justice said at the rally. “So tomorrow, I will be changing my registration to Republican.”
None of that would have predicted this: Justice has been one of the leading voices pushing for vaccinations of his citizens.
“If you’re out there in West Virginia, and you’re not vaccinated today, what’s the downside?” Justice said during a televised coronavirus briefing earlier this week. “If all of us were vaccinated, do you not believe that less people would die? If you’re not vaccinated, you’re part of the problem rather than part of the solution.”
West Virginia, despite a very fast start to its vaccination efforts, has seen its numbers slow considerably. While more than 77% of those 65 and older in the state are fully vaccinated, only 54% of all West Virginians over 12 have received both shots, according to state Covid-19 data. All told, 39% of the West Virginians are fully vaccinated, which puts it on the lower end of states.
(Sidebar: While vaccinations need not be political, Trump’s skepticism about the virus’s severity and his doubts about mask-wearing have ensured that red states are, generally speaking, vaccinated at a much lower rate than blue states.)
This isn’t the first time that Justice has broken with his Party when it comes to dealing with the pandemic. 
Back in February, Justice spoke out — on CNN among other media outlets — about his belief that Congress needed to “go big” with its coronavirus stimulus package. (West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin’s vote to pass the $ 1.9 trillion measure via budget reconciliation shortly after the Justice public prodding.)
“We absolutely need to quit thinking first and foremost, ‘What is the right Republican or right Democrat thing to do,'” Justice explained to the New York Times of his support for a big stimulus package. “I have been a business guy all my life, and I know that when you have a real problem, you can’t cut your way out of the problem. Too often we try to skinny everything down and not fund it properly.”
What explains Justice’s blunt talk on vaccines? Well, he’s term limited out of his job in 2024. He’s also 70 years old, a party switcher and a billionaire. (He’s a coal magnate.)
The Point: Justice is way beyond political concerns at this point in his term — and his life. Which allows him, at least in regard Covid-19 vaccinations, to simply do the right thing.

Author: Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
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Unlikely Coalition of Veterans Backs Biden on Ending Afghan War

A politically diverse set of veterans’ groups critical of the conflicts abroad have found ways to gain access to the White House to lobby for withdrawals.

WASHINGTON — Soon after President Biden announced that the United States military would withdraw from Afghanistan, hawks in Congress accused him of accepting defeat. But a diverse group of war veterans — many of whom had clashed bitterly with one another over the years — stepped in to provide him political cover.

Closely coordinating with the White House’s National Security Council, a coalition that included Concerned Veterans for America, an advocacy group funded by the Koch network; Common Defense, a longtime antagonist of former President Donald J. Trump; and the Secure Families Initiative, a nonpartisan group of military spouses, wrote opinion columns, began social media campaigns and released a stream of statements pushing for an end to America’s longest war. The American Legion, the nation’s largest veteran service organization, also came out in support of the new policy, to the surprise of many.

Over 20 years of war, American veterans have been venerated by Republicans and Democrats but lacked cohesive political influence. Democrats and the operatives around them often assumed that most veterans were conservative and failed to court them, and for years, leaders in both parties believed most veterans supported the conflicts abroad.

But as the conflicts dragged on, veterans and military families increasingly united around public positions critical of the wars, and found ways to gain access to the White House to lobby for withdrawal from them.

Similar efforts by lawmakers have also brought together unlikely allies, like Representative Barbara Lee, Democrat of California and once a lone voice against the wars, and Representative Andy Biggs of Arizona.

“Veterans acted as a liaison between the administration and the general public in terms of explaining what the impact of two decades of war were on American lives,” said Adam Weinstein, a research fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, a research organization that has become increasingly influential among anti-interventionists in Washington. Mr. Weinstein served as a Marine and deployed to Afghanistan in 2012.

The movement against the “forever war” began in the last half of the Bush administration, with large protests around the country focused as much on the president as on the war on his watch. It is now fueled by a politically diverse group that was energized by Mr. Trump’s chin-out defiance of American adventures abroad, and by the election of Mr. Biden, who had been a critic of operations in Afghanistan as vice president.

President Biden attending a Memorial Day service in Delaware in May. Mr. Biden’s position on Afghanistan most likely helped him make inroads with veteran households in 2020.
Kenny Holston for The New York Times

Veterans have often made the case that the mission in the region had outlasted its original intent, and that an all-volunteer force should not be tasked with nation-building. But their forceful support of the withdrawal could be tested if the violence in the country continues to worsen as the last American troops leave.

“Veterans are credible messengers on issues of war and peace,” said William Ruger, the vice president for research and policy at the Charles Koch Institute and Mr. Trump’s last nominee as ambassador to Afghanistan.

“They are important cue givers to the public and policymakers,” said Mr. Ruger, a veteran of the war who remains an officer in the Navy Reserve. “This isn’t going to be a one-act story.”

The election of President Barack Obama largely quelled the antiwar movement as opponents of the conflicts assumed he would move quickly to end them.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Senator Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont, distinguished himself from Senator Hillary Clinton on war matters. More notably, Mr. Trump openly criticized the conflicts, setting him apart from other Republicans in the field and Mrs. Clinton.

“We saw the way that Donald Trump was tapping into the frustration with the wars,” said Alexander McCoy, a Marine Corps veteran and the political director for Common Defense. “This was a huge danger to Democrats because veterans were not excited about her.” At the same time, he said, “there was an inaccurate perception among Democratic operatives that veterans are conservative. We knew we needed to fix that to beat him.”

Mr. Trump ultimately did not deliver on his promise to get remaining troops out of Afghanistan, thwarted in part by conflicts among his closest advisers over the policy. But as even Mr. Biden has conceded, Mr. Trump set the table.

“President Trump helped propel the movement,” Mr. Ruger said. “That created the conditions in which the Biden administration came to office.”

Near the end of Mr. Trump’s term, the United States signed a deal with the Taliban to end the conflict in Afghanistan, giving the movement among veterans more fuel.

VoteVets, a group that works to elect Democratic veterans and to bring veterans out to vote, also furiously lobbied Mr. Biden and other Democratic primary contenders on withdrawal.

It joined forces with Concerned Veterans for America, a group with which it had sparred on veterans’ policy issues and that did not support Mr. Biden, to work on members of Congress to support withdrawal.

Mr. Biden, whose son Beau Biden served in the Army National Guard, signaled early on he was open to the message. “The first thing I would do as president of the United States of America is to make sure that we brought all combat troops home and enter into a negotiation with the Taliban,” he said during a debate.

Ralph Lauer/EPA, via Shutterstock

Mr. Biden’s position on the war most likely helped him make inroads with veteran households in 2020, a group Mr. Trump won 55 to 43 percent, down 14 points from 2016.

The Taliban agreement, Mr. Biden’s election and exhaustion with a war that had killed thousands provided a window for the groups.

“We saw this last half a year as a once-in-20-year opportunity,” said Sarah Streyder, the executive director of Secure Families Initiative. “You had a new administration with a record of supporting this kind of direction, and the inheritance of agreement. Many of our peers in this space agreed that if we really wanted this policy to happen, now is the time to ramp up the efforts. We began yelling loudly, having meetings on the Hill and the White House.”

White House officials acknowledged that advocates for veterans have met regularly with officials at the National Security Council and other agencies since Mr. Biden’s election. “We had the signal that now is a good time to push,” Ms. Streyder said.

When Mr. Biden finally announced his plans, some veterans were more cautious. “I support the Biden administration’s decision to finally bring our longest war to an end,” said Representative Jason Crow, Democrat of Colorado and a former Army Ranger. “But we must do so in a way that keeps our promises to our allies, protects the women and children of Afghanistan, and ensures a safer and more secure world.”

But a large contingent celebrated publicly, and the administration was quick to blast out those remarks. “It’s like we say in the Marines, ‘No better friend, no worse enemy,’ ” said Mr. McCoy, adding that his group would continue to defend Mr. Biden’s decision and criticize any further military conflicts. “They always pick up the phone when we call.”

Author: Jennifer Steinhauer
Read more here >>> NYT > Top Stories

A 10-Year-Old Cancer Survivor is an Unlikely Victor at Pikes Peak Car Race

Lucy, an Ewings Sarcoma survivor teams up with “Lucy,” the Porsche, in a winning partnership between a nonprofit and the racing community at prestigious race.

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO, USA, July 3, 2021 /EINPresswire.com/ — On Sunday, the eyes of the automotive racing community were on Pikes Peak for the 99th running of the Pikes Peak International Hillclimb. The uphill race, known as “The Race to the Clouds” is regarded as one of the most famous and arduous racing events in the world.One of the most buzzed-about cars leading into the event was BBi Autosport’s Porsche GT3 Turbo Cup, nicknamed Lucy. Having set a new course record in 2019, the expectations for “Lucy” were sky-high.

When BBi heard about 10-year-old Lucy Spada of Brookfield, and her battle with Ewing Sarcoma, they wanted to get involved with the cause. They dedicated their “Lucy” and two other Porsches to bring attention to an organization that’s in hot pursuit of better treatment options, the Little Warrior Foundation. The team placed the Little Warrior Foundation in prominent spots on the car spoiler and used their spotlight to raise awareness.

“We need to accelerate medical breakthroughs for these kids. There’s hope on the horizon, but these kids can’t wait,” said Emily McFadden, one of the co-founders of Little Warrior Foundation. “When you need things to go faster, BBi Autosport is a perfect partner.”

Lucy attended the race, along with her siblings and the foundation’s co-founders — her parents and godmother. In the days leading up to the event, Lucy served as much needed inspiration and perspective for the BBi Team.

“It was a tough week leading up to the race. We had a lot of mechanical issues, weather issues and obstacles in our path,” said Dmitiry Orlov BBi’s COO. “But that’s nothing compared to what these families go through. Lucy gave us great perspective and motivated us to keep pushing on.”

Despite snowy conditions and a shortened course, Lucy the Porsche took first place in the Open Division. BBi’s GT4 Club Sport, piloted by Tanner Foust also won in its division. BBi’s third Porshce, a GT2 RS, took third place in the highly competitive Time Attack Division.

When the driver Raphael Astier of France descended the mountain, he was greeted by a triumphant team and huge hug from Lucy. As a trophy of her own, the BBi Team gave Lucy an autographed endplate form the wing to take home.

“It’s so cool that they won this race and then turned to clap for me!” said Lucy.

Lucy, listed on the foundation’s website as their “Chief Inspiring Warrior,” is now 9 months off-treatment. Her cancer is in remission. She’ll be starting fifth grade this fall.

ABOUT THE LITTLE WARRIOR FOUNDATION: The Little Warrior Foundation was founded in April 2020 following 9 yr old Lucy’s diagnosis of Ewing Sarcoma. After a year in treatment, 14 cycles of chemotherapy and 48 rounds of radiation, Lucy is a thriving 5th grader in remission. The Little Warrior Foundation has a mission to fund and find a lasting cure for pediatric cancer, with a specific focus on Ewing Sarcoma. They are focused on less-toxic therapies, such as immunotherapy, mRNA vaccines, and molecular targeting. To date, they have raised and granted over $ 500,000. www.littlewarrior.org

ABOUT BBi AUTOSPORT: BBi Autosport, founded in 2005, specializes in Porsche service and race engineering, blending motorsport and street performance throughout the BBi product line and comprehensive workshop services. Located in Huntington Beach, Calif., BBi is the premier Porsche service facility in Southern California. BBi develops a comprehensive line of performance aftermarket and safety upgrades for all Porsche platforms and offers bespoke street and race engineering services. Through industry partnerships and new technology, BBi pushes the envelope in engineering and performance.

PHOTOS AND MEDIA ASSETS AVAILABLE HERE: https://www.bbiautosport.com/bbihc2021

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A 10-Year-Old Cancer Survivor is an Unlikely Victor at Pikes Peak Car Race

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Liz Cheney’s Unlikely Journey From G.O.P. Royalty to Republican Outcast

Liz Cheney’s Unlikely Journey From G.O.P. Royalty to Republican Outcast

CASPER, Wyo. — Representative Liz Cheney was holed up in a secure undisclosed location of the Dick Cheney Federal Building, recounting how she got an alarmed phone call from her father on Jan. 6.

Ms. Cheney, Republican of Wyoming, recalled that she had been preparing to speak on the House floor in support of certifying Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s election as president. Mr. Cheney, the former vice president and his daughter’s closest political adviser, consulted with her on most days, but this time was calling as a worried parent.

He had seen President Donald J. Trump on television at a rally that morning vow to get rid of “the Liz Cheneys of the world.” Her floor speech could inflame tensions, he told her, and he feared for her safety. Was she sure she wanted to go ahead?

“Absolutely,” she told her father. “Nothing could be more important.”

Minutes later, Mr. Trump’s supporters breached the entrance, House members evacuated and the political future of Ms. Cheney, who never delivered her speech, was suddenly scrambled. Her promising rise in the House, which friends say the former vice president had been enthusiastically invested in and hoped might culminate in the speaker’s office, had been replaced with a very different mission.

“This is about being able to tell your kids that you stood up and did the right thing,” she said.

Ms. Cheney entered Congress in 2017, and her lineage always ensured her a conspicuous profile, although not in the way it has since blown up. Her campaign to defeat the “ongoing threat” and “fundamental toxicity of a president who lost” has landed one of the most conservative House members in the most un-Cheney-like position of resistance leader and Republican outcast. Ms. Cheney has vowed to be a counterforce, no matter how lonely that pursuit might be or where it might lead, including a possible primary challenge to Mr. Trump if he runs for president in 2024, a prospect she has not ruled out.

Beyond the daunting politics, Ms. Cheney’s predicament is also a father-daughter story, rife with dynastic echoes and ironies. An unapologetic Prince of Darkness figure throughout his career, Mr. Cheney was always attuned to doomsday scenarios and existential threats he saw posed by America’s enemies, whether from Russia during the Cold War, Saddam Hussein after the Sept. 11 attacks, or the general menace of tyrants and terrorists.

Ms. Cheney has come to view the current circumstances with Mr. Trump in the same apocalyptic terms. The difference is that today’s threat resides inside the party in which her family has been royalty for nearly half a century.

“He is just deeply troubled for the country about what we watched President Trump do,” Ms. Cheney said of her father. “He’s a student of history. He’s a student of the presidency. He knows the gravity of those jobs, and as he’s watched these events unfold, certainly he’s been appalled.”

On the day last month that Ms. Cheney’s House colleagues ousted her as the third-ranking Republican over her condemnations of Mr. Trump, she invited an old family friend, the photographer David Hume Kennerly, to record her movements for posterity. After work, they repaired to her parents’ home in McLean, Va., to commiserate over wine and a steak dinner.

“There was maybe a little bit of post-mortem, but it didn’t feel like a wake,” said Mr. Kennerly, the official photographer for President Gerald R. Ford while Mr. Cheney was White House chief of staff. “Mostly, I got a real sense at that dinner of two parents who were extremely proud of their kid and wanted to be there for her at the end of a bad day.”

Mr. Cheney declined to be interviewed for this article, but provided a statement: “As a father, I am enormously proud of my daughter. As an American, I am deeply grateful to her for defending our Constitution and the rule of law.”

The Cheneys are a private and insular brood, though not without tensions that have gone public. Ms. Cheney’s opposition to same-sex marriage during a brief Senate campaign in 2013 enraged her sister, Mary Cheney, and Mary’s longtime partner, Heather Poe. It was conspicuous, then, when Mary conveyed full support for her sister after Jan. 6.

“As many people know, Liz and I have definitely had our differences over the years,” she wrote in a Facebook post on Jan. 7. “But I am very proud of how she handled herself during the fight over the Electoral College…Good job Big Sister.’’

In an interview in Casper, Ms. Cheney, 54, spoke in urgent, clipped cadences in an unmarked conference room of the Dick Cheney Federal Building, one of many places that carry her family name in the nation’s least populous and most Trump-loving state. Her disposition conveyed both determination and worry, and also a sense of someone who had endured an embattled stretch.

Ms. Cheney had spent much of a recent congressional recess in Wyoming and yet was rarely seen in public. The appearances she did make — a visit to the Chamber of Commerce in Casper, a hospital opening (with her father) in Star Valley — were barely publicized beforehand, in large part for security concerns. She has received a stream of death threats, common menaces among high-profile critics of Mr. Trump, and is now surrounded by a newly deployed detail of plainclothes, ear-pieced agents.

Her campaign spent $ 58,000 on security from January to March, including three former Secret Service officers, according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission. Ms. Cheney was recently assigned protection from the Capitol Police, an unusual measure for a House member not in a leadership position. The fortress aura around Ms. Cheney is reminiscent of the “secure undisclosed location” of her father in the days after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Ms. Cheney’s temperament bears the imprint of both parents, especially her mother, Lynne Cheney, a conservative scholar and commentator who is far more extroverted than her husband. But Mr. Cheney has long been his eldest daughter’s closest professional alter ego, especially after he left office in 2009, and Ms. Cheney devoted marathon sessions to collaborating on his memoir, “In My Times.” Their work coincided with some of Mr. Cheney’s gravest heart conditions, including a period in 2010 when he was near death.

His health stabilized after doctors installed a blood-pumping device that kept him alive and allowed him to travel. This included trips between Virginia and Wyoming in which Mr. Cheney would drive while dictating stories to Ms. Cheney in the passenger seat, who would type his words into a laptop. He received his heart transplant in 2012.

Father and daughter promoted the memoir in joint appearances, with Ms. Cheney interviewing her father in venues around the country. “She was basically there with her dad to ease his re-entry back to health on the public stage,” said former Senator Alan K. Simpson, a Wyoming Republican and a longtime family friend.

By 2016, Ms. Cheney had been elected to Congress and quickly rose to become the third-ranking Republican, a post her father also held. As powerful as Mr. Cheney was as vice president, he had always considered himself a product of the House, where he had served as Wyoming’s at-large congressman from 1979 to 1989.

Neither father nor daughter is a natural politician in any traditional sense. Mr. Cheney was a plotter and bureaucratic brawler, ambitious but in a quiet, secretive and, to many eyes, devious way. Ms. Cheney was largely focused on strategic planning and hawkish policymaking.

After graduating from Colorado College (“The Evolution of Presidential War Powers” was her senior thesis), Ms. Cheney worked at the State Department and the United States Agency for International Development while her father was defense secretary. She attended the University of Chicago Law School and practiced at the firm White & Case before returning to the State Department while her father was vice president. She was not sheepish or dispassionate like her father — she was a cheerleader at McLean High School — but held off running for office until well into her 40s.

Once in the House, Ms. Cheney was seen as a possible speaker — a hybrid of establishment background, hard-line conservatism and partisan instincts. While she had reservations about Mr. Trump, she was selective with her critiques and voted with him 93 percent of time and against his first impeachment.

As for Mr. Cheney, his distress over the Trump administration was initially focused on foreign policy, though he eventually came to view the 45th president’s performance overall as abysmal.

“I had a couple of conversations with the vice president last summer where he was really deeply troubled,” said Eric S. Edelman, a former American ambassador to Turkey, a Pentagon official in the George W. Bush administration and family friend.

As a transplant recipient whose compromised immune system placed him at severe risk of Covid-19, Mr. Cheney found that his contempt for the Trump White House only grew during the pandemic. He had also known and admired Dr. Anthony S. Fauci for many years.

At the same time, Ms. Cheney publicly supported Dr. Fauci and seemed to be trolling the White House last June when she tweeted “Dick Cheney says WEAR A MASK” over a photograph of her father — looking every bit the stoic Westerner — sporting a face covering and cowboy hat (hashtag “#realmenwearmasks”).

She has received notable support in her otherwise lonely efforts from a number of top-level figures of the Republican establishment, including many of her father’s old White House colleagues. Former President George W. Bush — through a spokesman — made a point of thanking Mr. Cheney “for his daughter’s service” in a call to his former vice president on his 80th birthday in January.

Ms. Cheney did wind up voting for Mr. Trump in November, but came to regret it immediately. In her view, Mr. Trump’s conduct after the election went irreversibly beyond the pale. “For Liz, it was like, I just can’t do this anymore,” said former Representative Barbara Comstock, Republican of Virginia.

Ms. Cheney returned last week to Washington, where she had minimal dealings with her former leadership cohorts and was less inhibited in sharing her dim view of certain Republican colleagues. On Tuesday, she slammed Representative Paul Gosar of Arizona for repeating “disgusting and despicable lies” about the actions of the Capitol Police on Jan. 6.

“We’ve got people we’ve entrusted with the perpetuation of the Republic who don’t know what the rule of law is,” she said. “We probably need to do Constitution boot camps for newly sworn-in members of Congress. Clearly.”

She said her main pursuit now involved teaching basic civics to voters who had been misinformed by Mr. Trump and other Republicans who should know better. “I’m not naïve about the education that has to go on here,” Ms. Cheney said. “This is dangerous. It’s not complicated. I think Trump has a plan.”

Ms. Cheney’s own plan has been the object of considerable speculation. Although she was re-elected in 2020 by 44 percentage points, she faces a potentially treacherous path in 2022. Several Wyoming Republicans have already announced plans to mount primary challenges against Ms. Cheney, and her race is certain to be among the most closely followed in the country next year. It will also provide a visible platform for her campaign to ensure Mr. Trump “never again gets near the Oval Office” — an enterprise that could plausibly include a long-shot primary bid against him in 2024.

Friends say that at a certain point, events — namely Jan. 6 — came to transcend any parochial political concerns for Ms. Cheney. “Maybe I’m being Pollyanna a little bit here, but I do think Liz is playing the long game,” said Matt Micheli, a Cheyenne lawyer and former chairman of the Wyoming Republican Party. Ms. Cheney has confirmed as much.

“This is something that determines the nature of this Republic going forward,” she said. “So I really don’t know how long that takes.”

Author: Mark Leibovich
This post originally appeared on NYT > Top Stories

Mother-to-Infant COVID-19 Transmission Is Unlikely

Mother-to-Infant COVID-19 Transmission Is Unlikely

Mothers exposed to COVID-19 during pregnancy are not likely to transmit the infection to their newborns, data from more than 2,000 women suggest.

“Uncertainty at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic led to varying postnatal care recommendations for newborns exposed to SARS-CoV-2 in utero,” said Margaret H. Kyle, of Columbia University, New York, and colleagues.

The Columbia University Irving Medical Center, an early epicenter of the pandemic, allowed rooming-in and encouraged direct breastfeeding between infected mothers and their newborns while adopting extensive safety measures, the researchers said.

In a study presented at the virtual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies (Poster 141), the researchers conducted a retrospective chart review of all newborns born at the medical center from March 22, 2020, through August 7, 2020. The study was part of Columbia University’s ongoing COVID-19 Mother Baby Outcomes (COMBO) initiative to “describe the health and well-being of mother-infant dyads with and without prenatal SARS-CoV-2 infections,” according to the researchers.

During the study period, the researchers identified newborns of 327 women who tested positive for COVID-19 at any point during pregnancy and compared them to newborns of 2,125 unexposed women. Demographics were similar between the groups.

Overall, the total test positivity was 0.7% for exposed newborns; 1.0% tested positive on an initial test, and 0% were positive on retest. During the newborn hospital stay and a 2-week follow-up, 0% of all newborns showed clinical evidence of infection.

No significant differences were noted between exposed and unexposed newborns in clinical outcomes including gestational age, mode of delivery, 5-minute Apgar score, heart rate, respiratory rate, or temperature. Although more infants of COVID-19–exposed mothers compared with unexposed mothers had an emergency department visit within the first 14 days of life (6% vs. 3%, P = .002), none of the infants was diagnosed with COVID-19 during these visits. Cough, fever, congestion, or bilirubin were more frequent reasons for emergency department visits in the exposed infants compared with unexposed infants, but these differences were not significant.

The study findings were limited by several factors, including the retrospective design and the limited follow-up period to only the first 2 weeks of life, the researchers noted. In addition, perinatal transmission rates were available only for the 202 newborns who were followed up in the hospital system, they said. However, the results suggest that the risk of mother-to-newborn vertical transmission of COVID-19 remains low, even when mothers are breastfeeding and infants are rooming in, they concluded.

Study Supports Safety of Rooming In

The study is important because of the value of mother and infant bonding, Karalyn Kinsella, MD, a pediatrician in Cheshire, Conn., said in an interview. “We know maternal and infant bonding and breastfeeding are extremely important in the first few days of life,” she said. “Initially, COVID-positive moms were separated from their babies during this important time.” Kinsella said she was not surprised by the study findings, as they reflect other research that newborns have not been getting infected with COVID-19 from their mothers.

Consequently, the take-home message is that newborns can room in with their mothers in the hospital setting, and they are at low risk for COVID-19 regardless of the mother’s exposure history, said Kinsella. Looking ahead, future areas of research could include examining SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in newborns, she noted.

The study received no outside funding. The researchers had no financial conflicts to disclose. Kinsella had no financial conflicts to disclose, but serves on the Pediatric News Editorial Advisory Board.

This article originally appeared on MDedge.com, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

Editor’s note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape’s Coronavirus Resource Center.

Author:
This post originally appeared on Medscape Medical News Headlines

Google Maps Street View: 'Flying man' reaches unlikely feat while mowing lawn

Google Maps Street View: 'Flying man' reaches unlikely feat while mowing lawn
Google Maps Street View is traditionally used to help people navigate their way around the world. However, thanks to its use of 3D cameras, the online application often uncovered some rather unexpected moments taking place in all corners of the globe.
Of course, while it may be fun to imagine this gardener has suddenly acquired magical talents, there is an alternative explanation.

It is much more likely he is jumping in the air.

One Reddit user suggested he is “celebrating”.

His outstretched arms could be a sign he is punching the air for joy.

Another commended the man’s ability to jump so high.

“Our boy has some serious ups,” they wrote.

Sadly, the actual back story of the scene may forever remain a mystery.

The man has a pair of dark sunglasses on which conceal most of his face, making him unrecognisable.

Author:
This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Travel Feed

Gogglebox Lee has an unlikely lookalike and Jenny is loving it

Author [email protected] (Sophie Kitching)
This post originally appeared on Hull Live – Celebs & TV

Gogglebox favourites Jenny and Lee left viewers in stitches on Friday’s show as Lee revealed his unlikely lookalike – and Jenny agreed.

Taking to their usual spot on the sofa for Friday’s episode of the popular show, best friends Jenny and Lee watched a clip of Labour leader Keir Starmer who was confronted by a “lockdown-sceptic landlord” who shouted for the Labour leader to “get out of my pub”.

As they watched, Lee explained: “People think I look like Keir Starmer.”

“I know they do,” Jenny added.

“Can you imagine getting chucked out of pubs,” Lee asked. “I can’t see it.”

“Oh, I can,” Jenny said. “Ever so much.”

A puzzled Lee asked: “What, Keir Starmer?”

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“Yeah,” Jenny said. “You just haven’t got his brains. But you look like him. You could do as his lookalike. You wouldn’t get in the pub.”

And fans of the duo were loving it.

Taking to Twitter, one said: “Jenny telling Lee he looks like Keir Starmer, she’s been on Twitter and seen all the memes.”

Another said: “Poor Lee, if anyone see’s it bloke may never get another pint again.”

Jenny and Lee on Friday's show
Jenny and Lee on Friday’s show

A third added: “There is something utterly comforting about Lee knowing that he looks like Sir Keir Starmer.”

While a fourth said: “Omg Lee really does look like Keir. Why has it taken Jenny pointing it out to realise that.”

The best friends also tucked into a healthy drink during Friday’s show – only they’d cheekily added vodka.

Jenny also managed to mix up a Tina Turner song with a Cher song – much to Lee’s amusement. And he left fans stunned when he made “cruel” remarks about Jenny after discovering how old Cher actually is.

“Lee is so cruel to Jenny but I bloody love it,” one said.

Another wrote: “Poor Jenny. Lee is mean.”

While one pointed out Lee’s use of “awful language” on Friday’s show.

“Lee & Jenny the best part of this programme! Despite Lee’s awful language tonight,” they said.

In true Gogglebox style, tonight’s show saw the cast dissect some TV gold moments – including clips from Game of Talents, Four in a Bed and Catfish UK.

And of course, Jenny’s book was back for the latest instalment of Line of Duty with Jenny urging detective Kate Fleming to “shoot the b******” as the episode reached a tense ending.

Google Maps Street View: Shetland Islands pub crowded by unlikely 'famous' visitors

Google Maps Street View: Shetland Islands pub crowded by unlikely 'famous' visitors

Spiderman stands to the left of the road, seemingly accompanied by some gangsters, much like Tony Soprano himself.

On the right-hand side of the road Mr Incredible, Robin (of Batman and Robin), The Jokes, and even Buzz Lightyear can be seen within the huddle of people.

For the most part, the crowd seems to be made up of Hollywood favourites.

While it might be exciting to think these make-believe characters had come to life for a knees-up, there is likely a more realistic explanation.

This article originally appeared on Daily Express :: Travel Feed

Kate Middleton: Duchess of Cambridge's unlikely travel skill from early jet-setting

Kate Middleton: Duchess of Cambridge's unlikely travel skill from early jet-setting

“The family needed to get used to English not being the first language, the currency of Jordanian dinars and the different national holidays of Eid Mubarak and Ramadan, instead of Christmas and Easter. In Jordan, Friday, not Sunday, was the day of rest and people worked at weekends.

“The young family moved into a simple one-storey, flat-roofed building in the shadow of a tower block. The rent was paid for by BA, which meant they could keep their Berkshire home to return to.”

Moody continued: “As a family, the Middletons have always enjoyed being outdoors and they explored the country while they were there, visiting local sites such as the Greco-Roman ruins in Jerash.

“Their own area was dusty and rocky and full of orange and olive trees; however, they could also venture down to the Jordan River, which separated the country from Israel, and cut through a lush, picturesque valley.

This article originally appeared on Daily Express :: Travel Feed