Americas

Starbase is born, Elon Musk is creating a metropolis in the Texas desert
Americas

Starbase is born, Elon Musk is creating a metropolis in the Texas desert

The city of stars at the mouth of the Rio Bravo: yes, that sort of natural border between the United States and Mexico, steel fenced by Donald Trump, whose currents and inlets are the nightmare of illegal migrants. It is here, on the sand greened only by succulent plants capable of withstanding the heat, that the billionaire Elon Musk dreams of building a city of his own: Starbase.

On the other hand, it would be a matter of a base city. Because the idea of ​​the visionary entrepreneur who aspires to bring man to Mars is to build it around the Space X headquarters built-in 2012 in the extreme southeast of Texas. 3 kilometers from the Gulf of Mexico and 30 from Brownsville, the American city whose twin, on the other side of the bridge, is Matamoros.

Mexican city sang by Bruce Springsteen for the trail of tragedies concerning it, where General Motors and Ford produce automobile components. The same area where only yesterday the SN10 prototype of the Starship rocket created by Space X also exploded, immediately after landing: the third failed test for the spacecraft that hopefully will one day arrive on Mars. Elon Musk, 49, founder of PayPal, Tesla, SpaceX, and much more, a year ago, moreover, declared war on Twitter via Twitter on California that did not make him reopen his electric car factory due to the coronavirus, threatening to move to Texas.

The founding of Starbase seems to be going in this direction. Especially since in a few months he got rid of almost all the properties he owned in California as he had promised – even in this case – via Twitter in December: “I will get rid of all my material possessions”. And never mind if no one knows where he has moved in the meantime (presumably he’s in Austin): The South African-born billionaire aims to set up home soon in the city of the future. And never mind if the only certainty, for now, is his name, as he announced to his 48 million followers with the usual message on the bird’s social network: “Creating the city of Starbase, Texas”.

On the model of private and hi-tech cities that he has been longing for some time, thinking of building them in the deserts of Arizona and Nevada. Smart cities, with autonomous rules and their laws, where the money is immaterial and the company CEOs act as mayors. Energetically self-sufficient, like the Tesla Gigafactory he built in the suburbs of Reno, Nevada.

But things are less easy than they seem. To create the new city, SpaceX must first convince area residents to sign a petition where it is requested. And then put to the vote both the construction and the possibility of organizing independently, with laws and regulations. The chosen area is that of Boca Chica, a community born in the sixties and mainly made up of ranches not far from each other. But convincing people, who have retreated there to stay in peace, could be anything but easy.

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Musk, however, has the prospect of being able to equip the area with essential infrastructures: starting from functioning and public water system, in an area where water, for now, only arrives from nearby Brownsville transported by tankers to then be stored in huge tanks.

The billionaire, it is certain, is serious: Cameron County, where Space X falls, has admitted to having received an official request to change the name of the area. “If Musk wants to go ahead, he will have to follow all the procedures required by law. A tweet is not enough,” warns him, however, the county judge, Eddie Trevino. 

Texas and Mississippi lift the obligation to wear Covid protections, Biden furious: “Primitive reasoning, Neanderthal stuff”
Americas

Texas and Mississippi lift the obligation to wear Covid protections, Biden furious: “Primitive reasoning, Neanderthal stuff”

Texas and Mississippi lift the obligation to wear Covid protections by March, 10. The two states follow the example of Montana, Iowa, North Dakota, Louisiana, and Michigan.

They have already loosened their ties, while in the other 10 states there has never been mandatory, the only recommended masks, and the imposition left to the initiative of counties and cities, as happened in Miami in Florida and Phoenix in Arizona. But, above all, from today all commercial activities will reopen one hundred percent: as if the epidemic, in short, was over.

Texas ran out of patience with Covid-19. Less than a year after the introduction (albeit very loose and very tormented) of closures, masks, and social distance, the governor Greg Abbott who, a bit like his state, is Trumpian but first of all, Texan, has made it known that, although it concerns him, the emergency is over. “From next week we start again with the month nothing had happened: no masks, no elbow greetings, no closures”. 

“The numbers of the contagion are dropping, we vaccinate at full speed: certain measures are no longer needed,” Greg Abbott added, in difficulty due to the disastrous way in which he handled the frost emergency in mid-February. The resulting blackout left the citizens of the Lone State without electricity and water for days. Now, he hopes to find the support of the voters by giving a little push to the economy with the reopening. Immediately imitated by the governor of Mississippi, Tate Reeves, a party colleague.

Too bad that only on Monday the Cdcp, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the government body dealing with the prevention and monitoring of infectious diseases, had made it clear: “It is not yet time to let our guard down.” Sure, the numbers are falling across America. In a country that has exceeded 29 million infections, new cases have fallen for the first time in months to an average of about 65 thousand a day. Together with the number of deaths, “collapsed”, at an average of about two thousand: “Thanks to vaccines, of course, but also to basic precautions such as the widespread use of masks” repeats Dr. Rochelle Wilensky, head of the CDC.

In the meantime, it is launching a new alarm: there are too many variants in circulation and the vaccines still do not cover a sufficient number of people. We risk, shortly, the fourth wave. The forecasts are already alarming, there could be a new peak in deaths within the next three weeks.

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That is about 50 thousand new deaths between now and March 27, numbers that would bring the dramatic record of American deaths to about 565 thousand by Easter. That is why the choice of those states also opposes President Joe Biden. “This is a serious mistake. Now more than ever everyone must follow the directions of scientists. We must resist at least until the summer. If we are about to beat the virus it is because we are following the rules”.

Texas becomes the first US state to lift mask mandate
Americas

Texas becomes the first US state to lift mask mandate

Texas becomes the first US state to end the mask mandate amid the pandemic, Gov. Greg Abbott announced on Tuesday. Making it the most populous state to end one of the most useful methods to slow down the virus spread.

Abbott stated at a news meeting on Tuesday, “It is currently an ideal moment to open Texas 100%. However, “Covid-19 has not abruptly vanished,” he added. 

As per the AP news, the sudden announcement in Texas has startled doctors and big-city leaders, as the coronavirus has killed over 43,000 individuals in the city. One hospital administrator in Houston told his frontline workers that they would soon require more ventilators and medical staff. 

Many health experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, have advised against reopening the states fast. On Friday, at a White House press meeting, Dr. Fauci cautioned against easing coronavirus protocols until the U.S. new covid cases are below the average baseline. 

White House senior coronavirus adviser Andy Slavitt told CNN on Tuesday that he hopes that Abbott will reconsider the removal of restrictions, particularly ending wearing of the facial masks. 

Eatery owners have started worrying whether they would also relax the coronavirus protocols while dining as they were already permitted to be completely open.

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Abbott’s official order will be fully implemented on March 10, abrogating a past chief request gave in October. As per the new orders, if hospitalization rates surpass the 15% medical bed capacity within a week, the county judges may utilize relief methodologies in their jurisdictions. 

On the contrary, on Tuesday, Texas has reported 2.6 million cases and 43,918 deaths, as per Johns Hopkins University.

For America, The Pandemic Storm Has Not Passed
Americas

For America, The Pandemic Storm Has Not Passed

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned that there is a chance of a fourth level of Covid-19 pandemic in the US provided, America is able to control the surging numbers. Cases had started to fall between February 7 and 21, but have started to rise again as variants of Covid-19 are starting to emerge in the country. 

As per CDC statistics, the country has already logged an average of over 68,000 new cases per day for the week ended February 28, with deaths averaging at 2,055 per day. According to Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, she has felt alarmed as to how some local governments have “rolled back restrictions on masks and social distancing just as more infectious variants of the virus are spreading. We stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained,” she said in a media statement.

It has been confirmed that almost 29 out of 50 states reported more new infections last week compared to the previous seven days, whereas only seven states in the prior week reported weekly increases, according to the Reuters analysis.

Walensky has warned the public not to go slack on their safety measures as the new variants are seeing surging infection numbers. Adding in her public statement, she said, “All our effort could come to knots end if we don’t stay strong and vigilant.”

The US is more hopeful about the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine which has now received clearance for an immediate roll-out. According to Dr. Eric Rubin, a professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, “with the new variant possibly developing resistance to the existing vaccine, it is important to get everyone vaccinated as soon as possible.”

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About 3.9 million doses of the J&J vaccine will be distributed to states, tribes, territories, pharmacies, and community health centers, a senior Biden administration official has confirmed on State television. The new vaccine does not need to be kept in the freezer and is a single-dose vaccine that is now easier to administer, carry and store. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has shown a 72% efficacy rate against mild to severe/critical disease among US trial participants. It’s more effective against severe forms of the disease, with about 85% protection.

The return of Donald Trump, “I could run and win again”
Americas

The return of Donald Trump, “I could run and win again”

“Hi CPAC. Did you miss me?”. So, Donald Trump greeted the crowd at the Orlando Conservative Political Action Conference. The former president has chosen the annual meeting of American conservatives for his first public appearance since his farewell to the White House. In a speech that lasted an hour and a half, alternating jokes and invectives, Trump again proclaimed that he had won the 2020 election.

He attacked Joe Biden; he is angry with the Republicans who voted for his impeachment in Washington and with the transgender people who embody the anti-American “cancel culture”. He ruled out, Trump, that he wanted to found a new party, but he also hinted at the possibility of taking the field in 2024. “You know, I might even decide to beat the Democrats for the third time,” he said, to the enthusiasm of those present that they punctuated a single sentence. “We love you!”.

Orlando’s 90 minutes have once and for all ruled out the possibility of Donald Trump disappearing from American public life. The 45th president is here to stay and, in any case, his themes, his obsessions, the harsh and exasperated tone of his conservatism have now made their way into the Republican party. Many of the speeches at the three-day CPAC in Orlando raised accusations of electoral fraud and the lament for the “lost heart of America”. It is above all on immigration that he beats: “I had made the southern border safe. I had put an end to human trafficking”. The illegal immigrants were being captured and sent home.

Biden, on the other hand, has already triggered a new humanitarian crisis …” He goes on more or less like this for over an hour. Repeating the old story of electoral fraud on several occasions along with other flagships of his election campaign: “the Chinese virus”, of course. But also, how Biden is in the hands of the extreme left that wants to promote socialism on the Venezuelan model. And, again, “we are committed to defending unborn children.”

If it is still too early to say with certainty that Trump will be the Republican candidate in 2024 – and if much of the Republican leadership breathes a sigh of relief at the news that there will be no independent Trumpian movement in the future – the tone and the words spoken by Orlando’s podium unmark Trump from the past and make him a cumbersome protagonist for years to come. The people of Orlando live in an alternate reality where Trump has won the 2020 election and there is a usurper in the White House.

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The Republican party is now increasingly Trump’s party: and he reaffirms it by making one by one the names of the Republicans who did not support him, starting with Mitt Romney and ending with Liz Cheney. “Let’s get rid of them in the next elections. Dems are diabolical but they have the advantage of being united. We must be too.”

While Joe Biden and Congress are busy approving the $ 1900 billion economic stimulus bill in the capital, Trump also took the opportunity to severely chastise the new administration. “We knew Biden was going to be a bad president but none of us would ever imagine how bad this administration would be, and how far left it would fall.” Citing “a horrific new migration crisis on our southern borders” and Biden’s inability to reopen schools, Trump explained that “in just one short month we went from America First to America Last”. In front of an enthusiastically applauding audience, Trump showed that the foreigner theme is still the one that garners the most support in the conservative world. “Biden’s radical migration policies are not just illegal. They are also immoral, heartless, and are a betrayal of the founding values ​​of our nation.” 

Winter hit Texas, gets a visit from President Biden as state Senator Ted Cruz enjoys in Florida sun
Americas

Winter hit Texas, gets a visit from President Biden as state Senator Ted Cruz enjoys in Florida sun

President Joe Biden and his wife, First Lady Jill Biden, made their visit to distraught and winter disaster-hit the state of Texas on Friday, February 26. The political divide and irony in the United States became even more evident as Ted Cruz, state’s Republican Senator was basking in Florida’s warm sun and joked about his recent trip to Mexico. 

On Friday, Biden’s visit to Houston was his first empathetic trip to a tragedy struck region, the centerpiece of his presidential campaign. Severe winter weather that hit Texas led to severe power outages, water pipes burst and halted lives, leading to the death of 40 people across the state that is not used to such extreme weather. At this time of crisis, Senator Ted Cruz went for a family trip to Cancun, Mexico that caused country-wide ridicule and criticism, for a fact that he should have been with Texans who had voted for him. Cruz had to cut short the trip and returned a day after, making excuses, but the damage had been done. 

President Biden showcased his biggest quality of empathy and care as he made his first stop at emergency operations centre where he received situation briefing from Bob Fenton, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) acting administrator, along with state and local emergency officials. 

President Biden thanked all the workers for carrying out “God’s work” at the time of crisis. President was joined by First Lady Jill Biden at their next stop food bank. 

Speaking at FEMA’s vaccination center, President said, “We’re not here today as Democrats or Republicans. We’re here today as Americans … When a crisis hits our states, like the one that hit Texas … it’s our fellow Americans who are hurting and it’s our job to help everyone in need. Look out for one another. Leave nobody behind.”

While Biden was accompanied by Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Senator John Cornyn, both of who are Republicans, another Republican Senator from Texas Ted Cruz was missing. Cruz was very conveniently enjoying in warm Orlando, Florida, busy gathering applauds from the biggest conservative meeting where former President Donald Trump will speak on Sunday. 

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Meanwhile, Texas is still grappling to come back on track after a disastrous winter weather spell. President Biden has yet again shown what a dedicated leader acts like.

White House: Biden disappointed in Senate’s ruling on including $15 Wage in Covid Relief Bill
Americas

White House: Biden disappointed in Senate’s ruling on including $15 Wage in Covid Relief Bill

On Thursday, the decision in the Senate hit hard the Democrats’ expectations of bringing a rise in the minimum pay to $15 Wage and adding it to the Covid-19 relief package. It is most likely dooming the proposal which is due for a vote in Congress. 

On Thursday, the White House stated that President Biden is disappointed in Senate’s ruling on the $15 minimum wages rise in the Covid-19 bill, however, added that the President respects the Senate’s decision.

The parliamentarian ruled that the plan was not compliant with the rules administering the budget process that Congress is applying to pass the bill with a small majority.

Biden and his team wanted to double the minimum wage to $15 each hour by 2025. They wanted to include this in the Covid-19 relief bill to help tackle the socio-economic crisis brought by the pandemic, which has killed more than 500,000 Americans and tossed millions unemployed.

In the United States, about 10 million of the 22 million workers that lost jobs during the coronavirus pandemic outbreak still remain unemployed. The rate of unemployment is declined to 6.3% at the beginning of 2021, with several economic analysts stating the figure could continue to surge for months.

The Democrats are endeavoring to propel the COVID-19 bill under a special budget provision that would enable them to pass it in the Senate utilizing a basic lion’s share, so they won’t require the support of the Republicans. 

“We are profoundly disappointed in this ruling,” stated Chuck Schumer, Senate Majority Leader. “We won’t surrender the battle to raise the minimum wages to $15 and help a large number of Americans struggling amid the pandemic. The American public deserves to have this provision, and we are focused on making it a reality, he added.”

US senator Bernie Sanders stated he firmly disagrees with the decision and recommended another approach to raise wages via the budget process.

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However, Senator Lindsey Graham welcomed the senate ruling and tweeted, “exceptionally satisfied with the Senate Parliamentarian’s decision that the rise in the minimum wage is an improper policy change in reconciliation.”

On Wednesday, the White House chief of staff Ron Klain stated on MSNBC that VP and president of the Senate Harris would not make an effort to overturn the ruling if the Senate parliamentarian chose the minimum wage was not able to be a part of the Coronavirus Relief Package.

Justin Trudeau Expresses Comfort In Biden Leadership
Americas

Justin Trudeau Expresses Comfort In Biden Leadership

In a less explicit but candid way, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau expressed his dissatisfaction to the newly chaired American President that under the previous leadership, Canada did not feel supported. 

President Joe Biden spoke to his counterpart in Canada recently while carrying out his first bilateral virtual meeting. Undeniably, the alliance between both countries remained strained under Trump’s leadership.

Both spoke about working together for mutual gain and the larger good of humanity, especially in the field of Covid-19 recovery, rising inequality, and climate change challenges. Biden’s leadership is being already complimented as even before entering the virtual call, Trudeau made a public statement saying that, “Thank you again for stepping up in such a big way on tackling climate change, U.S. leadership has been sorely missed over the past years.”

Biden in response promised many more such communicative discussions with his focus on tackling the pandemic-related issues facing the nation as his priority. He furthered his cooperation by reinstating his stand about the safety of the two Canadian citizens that have been unjustly detained by China. His statement was powerful as he said, “Human Beings are not bartering chips. We are going to work together until we get their safe return.”

Biden also showed his solidarity towards the US-Canada climate change work together as they launch a “high-level climate ambition ministerial” with a goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 emphasizing how the two countries have agreed to modernize the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

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Showing maturity in leadership and purpose of unity, both seemed to have kept away topics of negative retort out of their discussions. Aspects that could have lead to unpleasantness were the American president’s decision to halt the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and Canada’s struggle to acquire enough Covid-19 vaccines. 

Fresh blow to Trump: Supreme Court permits tax returns to release to NY Prosecutor
Americas

Fresh blow to Trump: Supreme Court permits tax returns to release to NY Prosecutor

In a fresh blow to former President Donald Trump, the Supreme Court has ordered the release of his tax returns to New York prosecutor, something that Trump and his legal team were hell-bent in safeguarding from the prosecutors, since the days of the 2016 election campaigning. However, the records won’t be made public under the grand jury secrecy rules. 

The ruling by the court is a huge loss to Trump as he has consistently maintained and argued that the subpoena for tax returns release issued by Cyrus Vance, District Attorney of Manhattan, was not in good faith. 

The crucial decision has paved clear the path of the grand jury that is investigating Trump’s hush money payments and other financial issues around the former President’s dealings, and now no amount of attempts can further keep these documents a secret. 

The ruling that was made on Monday was not met with any opposition, and is expected to make these papers accessible to the district attorney’s office in next few days. 

The subpoenas have ordered the release of tax returns spanning from January 2011 to August 2019, and this includes Trump’s tax returns from Mazars. These documentations are related to the employment of Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen in the Trump organization and the ‘hush money’ payment Cohen made to two women who had extra-marital affairs with Trump. 

In response to the Supreme Court’s decision, Trump said, “The Vance Investigation is a continuation of the greatest political Witch Hunt in the history of our country.” He added, “The Supreme Court never should have let this ‘fishing expedition’ happen, but they did.

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Mazars said that it is “committed to fulfilling all of our professional and legal obligations.” It added, “Due to our industry’s professional obligations Mazars cannot discuss any clients, or the nature of our services we provide for any client, in a public forum without client consent or as required by law.”

Merrick Garland Might Be America’s Next Attorney General
Americas

Merrick Garland Might Be America’s Next Attorney General

It looks like Judge Merrick Garland is going to be chosen to do the difficult job of manning the Attorney General’s role in Joe Biden’s administration. Earlier sidelined in the Obama administration, he was even then a prominent candidate for the role. Biden somehow has had his eye on the man who brings with him an incredible amount of experience to run the top seat in the American Justice Department. 

Unlike his predecessor, Garland has earned his position as a trial prosecutor in the District Attorney’s office. Indeed, if he takes the hot seat, he has three major issues facing him- accountability cases, the correctness of law, and politics of the government itself. All of this has been in the doldrums as Trump sabotaged the United States of America in every possible way. 

Among many other cases, Garland supervised the investigation of the 1995 bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City, which killed more than 160 people, and the 1996 Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta. In 1997, he became a federal appellate judge for the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, widely regarded as the second most important court in the country, behind only the Supreme Court. Garland became chief judge of the circuit in 2013.

Garland is not a ‘yes man and madam’ guy, so he has made it clear that he is willing to take up the job only if there is no political interference in his working as the country’s top law enforcement officer. 

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It has become abundantly clear as Biden unfolds his leadership plans, that he is committed to the running of the nation, fair n square. In January, when Garland was approached for the role, Biden made it abundantly clear that “Your loyalty is not to me.” Unintentionally, but Biden did land up taking a dig at former President Donald Trump who demanded the loyalty of his Cabinet members.    

Opposition tanked Garland’s nomination under Obama in 2016 while his votes showed he was a preferred choice. After graduating from Harvard College and Harvard Law School, Garland clerked for two appointees of Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower: the liberal U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Brennan Jr. and Judge Henry J. Friendly, for whom Chief Justice John Roberts also clerked. Before becoming a judge himself, he was a prosecutor and supervised Justice Department investigations into the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and Unabomber Ted Kaczynski.

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