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When the battle over American freedom was centered on seat-belt laws

All of the arguments about vaccines played out 30 years ago — save one.
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Urban Explorers Find Multi-Million Dollar Mansion From the 1830s 'Rotting Away'
The sprawling Grade I listed mansion has 102 rooms, and was built in the 1830s by English Lord Newborough.
The Return to the Workplace Means New Rules for Office Dressing
Getting dressed for the return to the office comes with new rules, writes S. Mitra Kalita
Immigrant charged with 3 counts of murder released from jail, permitted to attend school
A teenager in Houston who was charged with murder and aggravated assault in a car crash that killed three valet drivers has made bail.
Maryland GOP Gov. Hogan takes push to 'refund the police' to Virginia and beyond
Republican Gov. Larry Hogan is not confining his push to refund the police to his home state of Maryland.
Tight race for Virginia governor enters final week with national implications on the line
The neck-and-neck race for Virginia governor has entered its final week, with Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin nationalizing their campaigns in markedly different ways.
'The Chancellor': How 'pastor's daughter' Angela Merkel became the world's most powerful woman
Power politics: At one meeting, Vladimir Putin unleashed his Labrador, which headed straight to dog-phobic Angela Merkel. She didn't flinch.
Facebook revelations add new momentum to efforts to rein in Big Tech
Damning new revelations about Facebook's role in the deadly January 6 insurrection have renewed lawmakers' resolve to crack down on Silicon Valley, teeing up a potential watershed moment that will test the powerful industry's clout on Capitol Hill.
Emily Ratajkowski: How I Learned to Let Go
Growing up, I believed that my thoughts had an effect on everything, from the role I would get in the school play, to what my future would hold, to how tall I would grow. This habit of magical thinking has persisted. Some of my superstitions: If I plan a trip, I will be sure to…
TikTok, Snap, YouTube to defend how they protect kids online in congressional hearing
TikTok, Snap and YouTube will testify before Congress on protecting kids online.
Your browser can tell websites how to treat your data. But companies didn’t have to listen — until now
A special signal called Global Privacy Control is sending mass “do not sell” requests on consumers’ behalf.
The best, most realistic-looking fake plants for decorating your home
Faux houseplants are no longer uncool. Experts give tips on how to pick and place them.
How Superstar Firms Win Big From Low Interest Rates
A new paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research shows that low borrowing costs disproportionately aid the top 5% of companies within each industry.
How Facebook shapes your feed
The evolution of what posts get top billing on users’ news feeds, and what gets obscured.
The Evolving Battle Over Vaccine Mandates | Opinion
After more than a year of darkened stages and idle performers, audiences are streaming into live venues again, and performers are thrilled to resume a steady income.
Should museums mount exhibitions with a moral agenda? Absolutely. If they do it well.
Harvard Art Museums landscape photography show offers a model for following through on promises.
Japan’s Princess Mako marries commoner Kei Komuro, loses royal status
The marriage to Kei Komuro cost Mako her royal status. She received her husband's surname — the first time she has had a family name.
Man Kisses Wild Lion in Viral Video, Calls Big Cat His 'Bestie'
A video of a man cuddling up to a large male lion and kissing his nose has gone viral online, with people describing it as "absolutely beautiful."
Xi Jinping Sounds Warning As U.S.-China Tensions Reach United Nations
The Chinese leader spoke at length on Monday as the Biden administration began work to help Taiwan's future participation at the United Nations.
Diego Maradona: Barcelona and Boca Juniors to play tribute match in Saudi Arabia
One year on from his death, two of Diego Maradona's former clubs -- Barcelona and Boca Juniors -- will play a friendly in his honor in Saudi Arabia.
Naked and afraid: 20,000 mannequins take over ‘zombie cemetery’
These mannequins are a long way from Macy’s. Thousands of discarded and dismembered dummies line this junkyard-turned-zombie graveyard in the UK. The attraction, called the “Awful Halloween Walk,” was curated by Roz Edwards, who restores, sells and rents her 20,000-strong mannequin collection for film and TV.
ShowBiz Minute: Baldwin, Adele, 'Squid Game'
Hollywood stars weigh in on the Alec Baldwin film set tragedy; Adele to break live show drought with summer concerts in London's Hyde Park; A giant "Squid Game" figure in Seoul draws nostalgic Korean adults. (Oct. 26)
Tornado damage in southeast Missouri town
The National Weather Service confirmed a strong tornado thrashed the southeastern Missouri city of Fredericktown on Sunday night. Suspected tornadoes are under investigation in other parts of the state. (Oct. 26)
The $3.50 go-anywhere ticket to fight climate change
Austria is launching a new transport pass, Klimaticket. It gives passengers unlimited rides on trains, buses, trams and metro lines that costs about $3.50 (3 euro) a day.
The $3.50 go-anywhere ticket to fight climate change
You wake up in suburban Innsbruck, the snowcapped peaks of the Austrian Tyrol glistening in the distance. After breakfast you hop a tram to Innsbruck Hauptbahnhof, the city's main railway station and climb aboard an Austrian Railways ÖBB Railjet bound for Vienna.
John Wayne Gacy’s Victim No. 5 was unidentified for 43 years. A DNA database helped bring his family closure.
Five of serial killer John Wayne Gacy's 33 murder victims still haven't been identified.
Spread of misinformation, human trafficking, inciting international violence and more were revealed from the bombshell leaked documents
Facebook is no stranger to the limelight. While the company has repeatedly come under fire over the past few years for its role in disseminating misinformation, especially related to the 2016 election, the last two months have been especially turbulent as a whistleblower and top officials have been called to testify in front of Congress following the release of leaked internal research and documents.
Fired Netflix Trans Employee Doesn't Want Dave Chappelle's Special Taken Down
Dave Chappelle has faced backlash for comments he made about transgender women in his Netflix comedy special "The Closer."
The anti-filibuster effort is winning
Whether it will ultimately succeed while Democrats are in power is another matter.
The anti-filibuster effort is winning
Whether it will ultimately succeed while Democrats are in power is another matter.
Two-Tiered Societies Are No Answer to Vaccine Hesitancy | Opinion
Leaders across the Western world have been clamoring towards segregationist policies that would pit the vaccinated against the unvaccinated.
Blinken and the Lessons of Latin America's Court-Packers | Opinion
Although he surely did not intend to do so, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken dealt the coup de grâce to the radical Left's court packing project this week.
Four Measures That Are Helping Germany Beat COVID
Having grown up in Germany, I am skeptical of the popular notion that life is so much more rational and efficient in the country than it is anywhere else. Those who believe that Germans are incapable of irrationality should suggest imposing a speed limit on the country’s highways. And those who believe that Germans are incapable of inefficiency should learn how much time and money were spent to build Berlin’s new airport.And yet I have, since returning to Germany about a month ago, been struck by how much more rational, efficient, and pragmatic the country’s handling of the late stages of the coronavirus pandemic has been. While the American response to COVID-19 has barely gone beyond the measures that were first adopted in the spring of 2020, Germany has phased in a series of additional policies over the past 18 months. None of them add serious disruptions to daily life, and yet they collectively put the country in a much better position to contain the virus.Partly as a result of these measures, the latest wave of the pandemic, brought on by the Delta variant, was much less severe in Germany than in the United States. And though the number of cases per capita has, of late, started to creep up—as adherence to these policies has, even in famously rule-following Germany, gotten more lax—the seven-day average remains significantly lower than in the United States, and deaths remain far lower. Germany’s response to the pandemic puts America’s ongoing failure into stark relief. But it also points to a big opportunity.[Read: Six rules that will define our second pandemic winter]At the moment, much of America’s acrimonious debate about COVID centers on the most difficult trade-offs that the country faces as it grapples with the drawn-out and still-deadly twilight of the pandemic. Should children in schools be required to wear masks? Should employees be fired if they refuse to get vaccinated? How do the benefits of vaccinating the young stack up against the risks?There may not be a way around those important questions. But instead of focusing exclusively on the most contentious restrictions, which have serious drawbacks as well as significant benefits, the country’s political officials and health authorities should adopt four measures that can slow the spread of the virus—and reduce the risk of yet another winter wave—without much of a downside.1. Ensure That Mass Events Don’t Facilitate Mass TransmissionI recently enjoyed the latest James Bond movie in a packed theater. I am writing these lines in a crowded coffee shop. Over the course of the next few weeks, I have plans to go to the opera and a soccer game.Life in Germany has mostly gone back to normal. But though the regulations governing public gatherings vary in their details from state to state, the same basic rule applies practically everywhere: Anybody who wants to dine indoors, go to the theater, or attend a large sporting event has to be vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 within the past six months. Those who don’t have such immunity can also participate—but only if they’ve tested negative for the disease within the past 24 hours.The goal of the rule is to allow normal life to resume as much as possible without increasing the number of infections. And by and large, it is working.In the United States, by contrast, the organizers of mass events aren’t required to ensure that attendees have little risk of spreading COVID. Many restaurateurs and sports teams are voluntarily asking their patrons to prove that they are vaccinated. And some municipalities do require that businesses adopt such policies to stay open. But many others don’t.2. Make Testing Cheap and EasyGermany usually makes it very hard for people to start a new business or change the use of a commercial building. So I have, over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, been astounded by how many brand-new testing centers have sprung up in unusual locations. Berliners can get themselves tested for COVID-19 in a Greek restaurant, in a historic church, and in the foyer of an opera house.As a result, the majority of people in German cities now live within walking distance of a testing center. They don’t need an appointment, and they get their results by email in less than 15 minutes. Until recently, they did not pay a cent for these “citizens’ tests.” (With most Germans fully vaccinated, eligibility for free tests has been rolled back over the past few weeks—which might be contributing to the recent uptick in cases.)There’s more. Because German medical authorities have authorized a wide variety of different tests, cheap at-home kits have been readily available for months. So even if somebody is unable to get to an official testing center, they can ensure that they are not contagious from the comfort of their own home.Cheap and easy testing not only helps prevent transmission of the virus and make people feel safe mixing in public. It is also one of the reasons that a great majority of Germans accept the requirement to prove they are not at risk of transmitting COVID-19 to others.[Read: The wrong way to test yourself for coronavirus]In the United States, testing continues to be comparatively expensive and inaccessible. The CDC has long prioritized slow and costly PCR tests over quick and cheap antigen tests. It has been very slow to authorize at-home tests, greenlighting many antigen tests months after they were already in wide use in Europe. And though some municipalities and health providers are offering free tests, others are sending sky-high bills to unsuspecting patients.3. Throw Out Those Cloth MasksWhen I boarded my Lufthansa flight to Germany in September, I was sporting a stylish cloth mask embroidered with the logo of one of my favorite organizations. As I entered the plane, a flight attendant politely stopped me. Handing me a surgical FFP2 mask (which is similar to those marketed as a KN95 in the United States), she told me that cloth masks were not approved for use aboard the airplane. The same rule, it turns out, applies to most public spaces in Germany.[Read: Why are Americans still wearing cloth masks?]At the beginning of the pandemic, every country in the world faced a desperate shortage of high-quality masks. With doctors’ offices and hospitals running short on personal protective equipment, improvised cloth masks helped keep millions of people safe. Their rapid adoption was a great feat of human ingenuity.But studies soon suggested that cloth masks are less effective than surgical masks at stopping the spread of COVID-19. And so once FFP2 masks became widely available, Germany encouraged its citizens to wear them instead. They are now so ubiquitous that I don’t recall having seen a single cloth mask since arriving in the country a month ago.In the United States, meanwhile, use of KN95s and other surgical masks continues to be rare. Outside of hospitals and doctors’ offices, a lot of people—including many who evangelize the importance of masking—wear pieces of porous fabric that do comparatively little to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.4. Figure Out Contact TracingAt the beginning of October, Berlin’s most storied club, Berghain, reopened its doors. Despite precautions, the first night of clubbing at Berghain seems to have resulted in 19 transmissions of the virus. The German press is treating the event as a serious failure of the country’s health policies.But effective contact tracing is likely to reduce the impact of that failure. Because visitors needed to provide their contact details to enter the club—as patrons do when they visit restaurants, cinemas, and other indoor spaces—health authorities have been able to identify those who might have been exposed. All in all, they’ve contacted more than 2,500 people in connection with the event.This makes it far less likely that this one night will generate a long chain of transmissions. And, with the consequences of failure less severe than they might have been without contact tracing, Berghain has been able to keep its doors open.The United States, by contrast, has completely given up on any serious attempt at contact tracing. Although every pandemic playbook written by the CDC and the White House over the past decades has called for tracing the contacts of anyone who may have been exposed to a dangerous pathogen, health authorities abandoned this ambition a few weeks into the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic. And though health authorities at the federal, state, and municipal levels have, by now, had more than a year and a half to put such a system into place, virtually none of them has made a real effort to do so.To escape the winter in the northeastern U.S., I spent January and February of this year in a small pandemic bubble in Jacksonville, Florida. My friends and I were very careful to avoid exposure to COVID. But when we would go out for lunch, about once a week, eating outside in the mild sunshine and overlooking a lovely canal, we were stunned to see dozens of people in their 70s and 80s crowding the restaurant’s interior. Perhaps, we wondered, the weather was just too cold for elderly Floridians to sit outside?A month later, the weather had warmed up. The temperature was now about 10 degrees higher, in the mid-70s. But the local septuagenarians and octogenarians were still crowding the inside of our favorite restaurant. Perhaps, we wondered, the weather had gotten too hot for elderly Floridians?By the summer, much had changed. I returned to the Northeast. Most people were now vaccinated. With the Delta variant not yet as prevalent, cases of COVID-19 were relatively rare. I went to see my niece play soccer in the suburbs of Philadelphia, where I had a similar experience to the one I’d had in Florida—but in reverse.A few months earlier, in Jacksonville, I had been stunned by the cavalier attitude of so many people. Now, in Philadelphia, I was taken aback by the extreme precautions people were taking. Though the families of the kids playing soccer were sitting far away from one another in the open air, a lot of people—including young children—were wearing masks.Spending time in Germany, where most people wear masks indoors and virtually nobody wears them outside, has driven home to me just how strongly political polarization is now shaping the actions of many Americans. In red Florida, some were risking their lives to prove their devotion to their political tribe. In blue Pennsylvania, others were taking precaution to an extreme to prove their devotion to the opposite political tribe.[Read: Germany’s anti-vaccination history is riddled with anti-Semitism]This politicization of everyday behavior helps explain many of the ways in which America’s response to the pandemic has been even worse than that of other Western democracies. And it makes me skeptical whether the United States will ever manage to implement the simple measures that are enabling other countries to get through yet another pandemic winter. There’s no silver bullet for the coronavirus, as the recent rise in cases across the European continent indicates. But that only makes it all the more infuriating that America is prolonging the pandemic by refusing to take simple precautions like stepping up testing or upgrading to better masks.Still, we should never allow pessimism to turn into fatalism. The fundamental fact is that America still has time to put in place additional policies that would help the country deal with COVID-19 without serious drawbacks. And after nearly two years of this grueling pandemic, we all could really do with a few easy wins.
Can the US defend against Chinese missile attack?
The revelation that China has advanced in developing hypersonic weapons has renewed calls for the U.S. military to invest both in hypersonic weapons as well as the capability to combat such weapons.
5 things to know for October 26: Biden, Covid, Facebook, Russia & China, supply chain
Here's what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.
Hannah Gadsby Fans Hit Back at Dave Chappelle's Claims She Is 'Not Funny'
The Australian comedian has been embroiled in the Dave Chappelle Netflix controversy and singled out by the comedian.
Walter Smith: Former Rangers manager dies at the age of 73
Walter Smith, who guided Scottish club Rangers to 10 league titles, has died at the age of 73.
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner may not have crashed John McCain's funeral after all
So clarified Sen. Lindsey Graham.
Ohio mother became a minster and then got 169 kids around school mask mandates
Kristen Grant says she hasn't broken any rules. School officials say she exploited a loophole. Who is this 37-year-old mom?
Wife Accused of Dismembering Husband's Body, Claiming His Benefits for 4 Years
Nancy Kay Shedleski, 69, collected over $120,000 in Social Security retirement benefits between August 2015 and December 2019, according to a complaint.
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Walter Smith: Former Rangers manager dies at the age of 73
Walter Smith, who guided Scottish club Rangers to 10 league titles, has died at the age of 73.
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Donald Trump's Bid to Block Jan. 6 Documents Not in 'Best Interests' of U.S.
The former president is suing to prevent the House Select Committee from obtaining documents the panel has subpoenaed.
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The type of gun used in most US homicides is not an AR-15
Handguns are responsible for nearly two-thirds of the nation’s gun murders.
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Covid Cases Keep Falling
Covid cases have been falling in every region of the U.S., offering hope.
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Mother, daughter charged in fatal stabbing of mom’s boyfriend in Maryland
Cheryl and Jasmine Wright were charged in the slaying, police said.
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A hiker got lost in Colorado, then ignored rescuers’ calls because they came from an unknown number
The rescue team's repeated calls were declined, so an hours-long search was launched. Rescuers were later notified the hiker had safely returned to their lodging location the next day.
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A hiker got lost in Colorado, then ignored rescuers’ calls because they came from an unknown number
The rescue team's repeated calls were declined, so an hours-long search was launched. Rescuers were later notified the hiker had safely returned to their lodging location the next day.
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Column: If Biden is serious about the climate crisis, he should put nuclear power on the table
There is no workable path to addressing global warming that does not include a substantial role for nuclear power.
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It's not just carbon emissions. Human failures are ruining the climate too
In a few days' time world leaders will meet at the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow, Scotland. There, they will get a rare and precious opportunity not only to combat global warming, but also to acknowledge -- and make a commitment to fight -- the interconnected crises of climate change and social and racial injustice. Will they take it?
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