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Ghost Guns, Vaccines, Prince: your Thursday night briefing

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Good night. Here is the last one.

1. President Biden takes his first steps to tackle gun violence, saying, “We have a long way to go.”

With legislation blocked by Republican opposition in Congress, the president ordered a crackdown on “phantom weapons” – guns assembled from kits – and declared the outbreak of shootings in the United States a ” international embarrassment ”.

His announcement came after two mass shootings, in Georgia and Colorado, which once again brought public attention to the issue.

Mr Biden said he would also require restrictions to be enforced when a device marketed as a stabilizer splint turns a pistol into a short-barreled shotgun. He added that the Justice Department would issue model “red flag” legislation for states, which would allow police and family members to ask a court to temporarily remove firearms from those who may present an offense. danger to themselves or to others.

The executive’s actions fell far short of sweeping legislative changes long sought by supporters to make it harder to buy guns.

“This is just the start,” he said. “We have a lot of work to do.”

2. A pulmonologist testified that George Floyd died of “low oxygen”.

The murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has entered a new phase, with medical testimony addressing the cause of Mr. Floyd’s death – the most contested issue.

Dr. Martin J. Tobin, above, a lung specialist, testified that Mr. Floyd died in part because Mr. Chauvin’s knees pressed against his neck and back, preventing him from breathing .

The testimony challenged Mr. Chauvin’s attorney’s suggestion that Mr. Floyd died from the fentanyl and methamphetamine found in his system.

3. More countries have suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, a day after European regulators described a possible link to blood clots.

Several countries now only use the vaccine on older people most at risk of dying from the coronavirus. The Philippines, above, will temporarily stop administering it to people under the age of 60.

4. Associate of Representative Matt Gaetz Should Plead Guilty federal charges, including sex trafficking.

Former elected official Joel Greenberg could cooperate as a key witness against Mr. Gaetz, a Florida Republican. Mr Greenberg’s plea, above, could significantly strengthen the Justice Department’s case against Mr Gaetz and others, who are being considered over potential sex trafficking violations.

Mr Greenberg is said to have met women on a website and then introduced them to Mr Gaetz, who along with Mr Greenberg had sex with them. Mr. Gaetz denied paying for sex.

5. Owners sweat because remote working keeps office spaces empty.

Across the country, the vacancy rate for office buildings reached 16.4%, the highest in decades. This number could increase further, despite vaccinations allowing some people to return, if companies turn more permanently to hybrid or completely remote work.

Some real estate professionals claim not to worry and expect a return. But so far, on average, just a quarter of workers in the 10 largest urban areas have returned to offices, a rate that has remained virtually the same for months, according to Kastle Systems, a security firm. Above, an office in Manhattan.

“We’re just going to bleed lower over the next three to four years to find out what the new level of tenant demand is,” Jonathan said. Litt, Director of Investments.

6. Years after #MeToo, powerful men in France are accused of abuse.

Since the start of the year, men from some of France’s most important fields – politics, sports, news media, academia and the arts – have faced accusations of sexual abuse in a reversal after years of silence for the most part. Above, a demonstration at the town hall of Paris in July.

The accusations have also led to rethinking French masculinity and the archetype of the French as irresistible seducers.

“Things go so fast that sometimes my head spins,” said the founder of a group against sexual violence.

7. A former NFL cornerback is suspected of killing five people in South Carolina.

Phillip Adams, who was on six-team rosters for six NFL seasons, has been found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot at his Rock Hill home after a confrontation with police. Alonso Adams, the suspect’s father, said his son committed the murders and then committed suicide. Above, a sheriff’s car in front of a crime scene in Rock Hill.

The motive for the shooting was unknown. It was not clear whether Mr Adams’ brain would be sent to researchers who could determine if he had chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the degenerative disease of the brain associated with repeated head trauma.

Separately, Pavle Jovanovic, a former Olympic bobsleigh who committed suicide last year, had CTE, the first athlete in a sliding sport to be found with.

8. Meet Kati Kariko, a hero in the development of the Covid-19 vaccine.

In 1989, she was hired as a low-level researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, migrating from lab to lab and never earning more than $ 60,000 a year. But she was convinced that messenger RNA could be used to instruct cells to make their own drugs, including vaccines.

First, Dr. Kariko inserted mRNA into cells, prompting them to make new proteins. Next, she discovered how to overcome a crucial roadblock: getting mRNA beyond an animal’s immune system. His work laid the foundation for the incredibly successful vaccines manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

“It is already transforming for Covid-19, but also for other vaccines. HIV – people on the ground are already excited. Flu, malaria, ”said Dr Anthony Fauci.

9. African locusts have met their match: smartphones.

In 2020, billions of locusts descended on countries in East Africa that had not seen them for decades. But as bad as it is, a revolutionary approach has proven so effective that it could transform the management of other climate-related disasters. Above, a swarm of locusts in Meru, Kenya in February.

An entomologist created a simple smartphone app that allowed anyone to collect data like an expert. This information was then used by aerial pesticide sprayers to search for swarms and destroy them.

“The situation is still very, very serious,” said Keith Cressman, locust forecasting manager at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. “But if you compare now to a year ago, countries are a thousand times more prepared.”

10. And finally, Prince’s new music.

For the first time since his death, Prince’s estate has announced an unreleased album, “Welcome 2 America,” which will be released in July. Above, Prince performing in Paris in 2009.

Recorded in 2010, the album documents “Prince’s concerns, hopes, and visions for a changing society, predictably foreshadowing an era of political division, disinformation and a renewed fight for racial justice,” he said. declared his domain.

Prince’s vault at Paisley Park, his studio complex outside of Minneapolis, is said to contain hundreds – if not thousands – of unreleased songs.

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