Opposition leader Leopoldo López flees Venezuela - Axios
It's unclear how he evaded security outside the Spanish ambassador's residence, where he'd been since fleeing house arrest in 2019.
Leopoldo López, a former political prisoner and prominent Venezuelan opposition leader, has left the country, his Popular Will party confirmed in a statement Saturday. Why it matters: He's been an influential force in the push to oust President Nicolás Maduro's regime and a mentor to opposition leader Juan Guaidó. He'd been in the Spanish ambassador's Caracas residence since escaping house arrest in April 2019 following a failed military uprising. Details: Both his party and Spain's Ministry of Exterior confirmed his departure but would not be drawn on his whereabouts. But his father, Leopoldo López Sr., a member of the European Parliament for Spain's conservative opposition Popular Party told AFP he's on his way to Spain. He's expected to arrive there Sunday.
- His father said López had fled the residence a couple of days ago before crossing the border to Colombia Friday.
- It's unclear how López managed to evade the heavy security outside the ambassador's residence, AP notes.
- Guaidó posted a tweet directed at Maduro, saying "evading your repressive apparatus, we managed to get" López into another location, from where his fight against the regime continues.
California to independently review FDA-approved coronavirus vaccines - Axios
"Of course, we don’t take anyone's word for it," he said.
California will "independently review" all coronavirus vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration before allowing their distribution, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced at a news conference Monday. Why it matters: The move could raise further public concern that the federal government could release a vaccine based on political motives, rather than safety and efficacy. Newsom noted the "political polarization" around the issue. Of note: Newsom said he considered mid-2021 to be a realistic projection for when a vaccine could be publicly distributed.
- "No matter who the next president is, we're going to maintain our vigilance," he added.
- "We will do our own independently reviewed process with our world-class experts.
- "These experts will independently review and monitor any vaccine trials to guarantee safety, to guarantee equity and to guarantee the transparency of the distribution of our vaccines."
- Health officials testified on Capitol Hill in September that the vaccine approval process would be based on safety and efficacy, not politics.
- The FDA also stressed in new guidelines last month it would toughen the requirements for a coronavirus vaccine emergency authorization.
- The FDA did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.
Man arrested after threat to kidnap mayor of Wichita, Kansas - Axios
"He said he was going to kidnap me and slash my throat," Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple told CNN.
A federal judge in Washington, D.C., on Sunday called Trump administration plans to cut food stamp benefits for almost 700,000 jobless Americans "arbitrary and capricious" as she blocked the move, per the Washington Post. Details: The rule at issue "radically and abruptly alters decades of regulatory practice, leaving states scrambling and exponentially increasing food insecurity for tens of thousands of Americans," said Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell, of D.C., CNN notes.
Pelosi sets 48-hour deadline for White House on stimulus talks - Axios
She and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin spoke for over an hour Saturday.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has given the White House a 48-hour deadline to reconcile differences in stimulus negotiations "to demonstrate that the administration is serious about reaching a bipartisan agreement," a top Pelosi aide tweeted Sunday night. The state of play: Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke for over an hour Saturday night, and the discussions yielded "some encouraging news on testing," deputy chief of staff Drew Hammill said. But the pair still had differences on a plan for testing and contact tracing and "measures to address the virus disproportionate impact on communities of color."
- Hammill had tweeted on Thursday Mnuchin had agreed to accept the Democrats' language on a national testing plan with "minor" edits after an hourlong discussions.
- President Trump has been eager for a pre-election stimulus boost to the economy and has encouraged Mnuchin to go further than his current $1.8 trillion proposal even though it has virtually no chance of passing the Senate.
- "There remains an array of additional differences as we go provision by provision that must be addressed in a comprehensive manner in the next 48 hours."
- "Decisions must be made by the White House in order to demonstrate that the Administration is serious about reaching a bipartisan agreement that provides for Americans with the greatest needs during the pandemic."
U.S. protesters topple statues in "Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage" - Axios
Statues were pulled down or defaced in Portland, Ore., Chicago, and Santa Fe, N.M.
Anti-colonization demonstrators in Portland, Oregon, pulled down statues of the late Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt ahead of the Columbus Day federal holiday, per the Oregonian. Driving the news: Sunday night's action was part of a movement that organizers called, "Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage." The protests continued elsewhere in the U.S. Monday, with monuments defaced or torn down in Chicago and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Of note: The Portland demonstrators sprayed the bottom of his statute the words "Dakota 38," in reference to the number of Dakota Native Americans executed in 1862 after being accused of slaying white settlers.
- The hangings, which occurred while Lincoln was president, marked the biggest mass execution in U.S. history, per the New York Times.
- Roosevelt supported eugenics, the NYT notes. He was quoted as saying, "I don't go so far as to think that the only good Indians are dead Indians, but I believe nine out of 10 are, and I shouldnt like to inquire too closely into the case of the 10th."
- In Chicago, a logo statue of the Blackhawks ice hockey team depicting Native American leader Black Hawk outside the United Center was being sent for repair after it was defaced early Monday with words including "land back," per the Chicago Sun-Times.
- Trump signed an executive order in June to denounce protesters who had defaced Civil War and World War II monuments.
Vaccine initiative now covers almost entire world, but not U.S. or Russia - Axios
China has joined, along with 182 other countries.
China's entry into the COVAX initiative means the list of non-participants in the global effort to develop and distribute coronavirus vaccines has dwindled down to Belarus, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Russia, the U.S. and five small island countries or micro-states. Breaking it down: 183 countries with a combined 93% of the world's population are either eligible for subsidized access or have said they intend to participate, though some have yet to sign formal agreements. Why it matters: The distribution of coronavirus vaccines may be the defining global challenge of 2021.
- Led by the World Health Organization, the GAVI vaccine alliance and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, COVAX is the one genuinely global effort to address it.
- Distribution will initially be proportional to population, with guidelines calling for health workers and vulnerable groups to be vaccinated first.
- What to watch: It will not be easy to balance the interests of 180+ countries, some of which are building up their own vaccine stockpiles or attempting to negotiate the terms of their participation.
- "We are taking this concrete step to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines, especially to developing countries, and hope more-capable countries will also join and support COVAX," the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.
- Polls suggest distrust of Beijing is growing around the world, particularly after a suspected cover-up of the initial outbreak in Wuhan.
- But China now has the virus largely under control. It also has four vaccine candidates in phase III trials, and it's promised that some neighbors and strategic partners will have priority access.
- President Trump has instead invested in six vaccine candidates through the $10 billion Operation Warp Speed.
- Joe Biden has said he'd reverse Trump's WHO decision. Asked by Axios, his campaign didn't say whether he'd consider bringing the U.S. into COVAX.
CDC report on coronavirus deaths underlines why virus is so dangerous - Axios
Leading contributing conditions include influenza and pneumonia and respiratory failure.
A new Centers for Disease Control report shows 94% of people who died after contracting COVID-19 had contributing health conditions. Our thought bubble, via Axios' Sam Baker: This report doesn't mean that COVID isn't as bad as we thought. It's clear from the CDC's statistics on excess deaths that more people are dying than usual, because of COVID. The fact that common pre-existing medical conditions often coincide with deadly coronavirus infections is part of what makes it scary not a reason to write it off. The big picture: The cause of death was listed as solely the novel coronavirus in 6% of cases in the U.S. from Feb. 1 to Aug. 22, according to the CDC.
- For deaths with conditions or causes as well as the novel coronavirus, on average, there were 2.6 additional conditions or causes per death.
- Influenza and pneumonia.
- Respiratory failure.
- Hypertensive disease.
- Vascular and unspecified dementia.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Heart failure.
- Renal failure.
- Intentional and unintentional injury, poisoning and other adverse events.
- Other medical conditions.
- Almost 6 million have tested positive and over 2.2 million have recovered.
Breaking down Uber and Lyft's threat to suspend services in California - Axios
Many critics suggested the companies are bluffing, but don't be so sure.
Uber and Lyft are ratcheting up the fight with Californias state government over the classification of drivers with a move that would deprive Californians of their ride-hailing services (and halt driver income). Driving the news: On Wednesday, bothcompanies said that if a court doesnt overturn or further pause a new ruling forcing them to reclassify California drivers as employees, theyll suspend their services in the state until Novembers election, when voters could potentially exempt them by passing a ballot measure. Between the lines: Many critics suggested the companies are bluffing, but Im not so sure. A few reasons...
- The logistics arent trivial. Theyd have to figure out staffing needs and a schedule, hire however many drivers they need, and onboard everyone.
- Its unlikely the companies want to go through all the above, just to reverse course if they win in November.
- Depriving customers of these services could get them more support in November. The companies have, in the past, successfully turned customers into their political advocates.
- With demand for ride-hailing already being significantly deflated, the additional drop in revenue is perhaps something theyre willing to swallow.
- Even if they could make these shifts quickly, its unlikely the companies want to give drivers a taste of employee life and risk sabotaging their ballot measure.
- Lastly: Theyve done it before. In 2016, when Austin passed new rules requiring driver fingerprinting, Uber and Lyft suspended operations and didnt return until Texas overrode the rules a year later.
- What happens at the California ballot box in November will have ramifications beyond Uber and Lyfts ride-hailing businesses.
- It could also affect the future of high-demand services like food and grocery delivery, which have become critical for many Californians while the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
- (Uber also operates a food delivery business and recently agreed to acquire rival Postmates, which is widely popular in California cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles.)
Apple rejects appeal from email app Hey - Axios
Apple defends its App Store rules while critics raise questions.
Apple on Thursday rejected an appeal from Basecamp over the availability of its new email app Hey in Apple's App Store. Driving the news: Apple said the company needs to either offer an in-app subscription option or offer an email reader for nonsubscribers in order to be in compliance with its App Store rules. Why it matters: Apple's decision not to budge comes as the company is under antitrust scrutiny over its App Store practices, with the European Union on Monday announcing it has launched an investigation. The latest: In rejecting Hey's appeal, Apple notes that the developers could work within Apple's rules by allowing the app to function as a reader for standard email, while also offering Hey subscriptions from its website. Alternatively, it says Hey can add an in-app subscription option, sharing revenue on those purchased within the app while keeping all subscription revenue earned outside of Apple's ecosystem.
- "The Hey Email app is marketed as an email app on the App Store, but when users download your app, it does not work," Apple said in a letter to Basecamp CEO Jason Fried on Thursday. "Users cannot use the app to access email or perform any useful function until after they go to the Basecamp website for Hey Email and purchase a license to use the Hey Email app."
- Apple notes that the Mac version of the Hey app was rejected on June 11 for the same reasons.
- So-called "reader" apps that display content previously paid for are allowed.
- Apple has used that policy to allow a broad range of apps to be exempt from mandatory in-app purchases, including video and music services, e-book reader apps and some enterprise software. Apple also doesn't take a cut on sales of physical goods from within its app.
- Tinder parent Match Group spoke out this week saying it disagrees with its policies, as does Fortnite creator Epic Games.
- Spotify, which filed a complaint that helped launch the European inquiry, has also been clear about its disagreement.
- They impose requirements that increasingly say there is only one way to get on to our platform and that is to go through the gate that we ourselves have created, Smith said at a Politico event, per Bloomberg. In some cases, they create a very high price per toll in some cases, 30% of your revenue has to go to the toll keeper.
NBA details life inside its Disney World "bubble" - Axios
The temperature-tracking rings will display an "illness probability score."
In a document sent to players on Tuesday, the NBA provided a detailed look at what life will be like when play resumes inside the league's "bubble" at Walt Disney World in Florida next month. Why it matters: Players will be tested for COVID-19 "regularly." When someone tests positive, they will be placed in isolation, where they will remain for at least 14 days. Once they test negative twice in a span of more than 24 hours, they can leave isolation. The NBA will use video technology to help with contact tracing. Anyone who was within six feet of someone who tested positive for at least 15 minutes or had "direct contact with infectious secretions and excretions" (i.e. was coughed on) will be considered a "close contact" and also be tested.
- Smart rings: Players and staff will have the option to use wearable rings that track temperature, heart rate, respiration rate and other variables. They also display an "illness probability score."
- Masks: Mask usage is required indoors except when eating or when in an individual's room. During games, players, referees, bench players and coaches in the first row of seating will not be required to wear masks.
- Anonymous hotline: The NBA will establish an anonymous hotline to report violations, with discipline ranging from fines to suspensions to removal from campus.
- Precautions: Players will be told to not spit or clear their noses, wipe the ball with their jerseys, lick their hands or touch their mouths unnecessarily while playing.
- June 22: Deadline for players to report to home cities (Toronto Raptors will report to Florida Gulf Coast University).
- June 2330: Players begin being tested for COVID-19 every other day.
- June 24: Deadline for players to inform their teams whether they plan to participate in the return-to-play plan.
- July 111: Mandatory individual workouts at team facilities.
- July 721: Teams travel to Disney World. Once they arrive, they will self-isolate in hotel rooms for up to 48 hours until they have two negative tests.
- July 2229: Teams play three scrimmages against other teams staying in the same hotel.
- July 31Oct. 13: The games begin. Once the first round of the playoffs ends, each of the remaining eight teams can reserve 15-17 hotel rooms for guests.
- Grand Destino Tower at Coronado Springs: Bucks, Lakers, Raptors, Clippers, Celtics, Nuggets, Jazz, Heat. Take a tour.
- Grand Floridian Resort & Spa: Thunder, 76ers, Rockets, Pacers, Mavericks, Nets, Grizzlies, Magic. Take a tour.
- Yacht Club Resort: Trail Blazers, Kings, Pelicans, Spurs, Suns, Wizards. Take a tour.
- Amenities: 24-hour VIP concierge, players-only lounge (TVs, gaming, card tables, ping pong), mental health services, pools, barbers, manicurists, salon services, yoga, meditation.
- Food: Each team will have a dedicated Disney culinary team and players will get "three freshly-prepared meals a day, and four meals a day on game days."
- Entertainment: Movie screenings (including unreleased Disney movies like "Black Widow") and other daily entertainment will be provided, and teams will eventually be able to visit isolated restaurants, golf courses and more.
- Morning: Breakfast at hotel; Shootaround at practice facility (seven locations throughout park).
- Afternoon: Post-shootaround lunch at hotel, downtime at hotel.
- Pre-game: Drive to Wide World of Sports (4:30pm); Warmup on non-game court (56:15pm); Meeting in locker room (6:156:40pm); Warmup on game court (6:407pm).
- Post-game: Team meeting (9:409:50pm); Media availability (9:5010:20pm); Drive to hotel (10:2510:40); Showers and meal (11pm).