Chicago Sun-Times: CTU to announce teacher vote on reopening plan early Wednesday as CPS lifts some lockouts by Tom Schuba
As the Chicago Teachers Union prepares to announce the results of a vote by its 25,000 members on whether to approve Chicago Public Schools’ latest reopening terms, the district on Tuesday signaled that it’s looking past the ongoing labor dispute by giving some staffers the opportunity to sign up for vaccinations and reinstating teachers that were previously locked out of their virtual classrooms.
The voting is expected to close out just before midnight. Shortly thereafter, the union is expected to certify the results and inform members before making them public, CTU spokeswoman Chris Geovanis said.
Geovanis said the union planned to promptly announce the results to allow members to either prepare for a return to the classroom or a potential strike. As part of the reopening plan, in-person classes for pre-kindergarten special education cluster programs would resume Thursday. Elementary teachers would return starting later this month and students would return starting in March.
Buzzfeed: Kobe Bryant's Helicopter Pilot Broke Rules By Flying Into Fog And Then Became Disorientated by Tasneem Nashrulla
Federal officials announced Tuesday that the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and eight others last year occurred because the pilot likely got disoriented while flying into the clouds in violation of federal rules.
The pilot, Ara Zobayan, who also died in the Jan. 26, 2020, crash in Calabasas, California, was operating the Sikorsky S-76B helicopter under rules that prevented him from flying into clouds. However, he did not follow his training and continued into the clouds just before the aircraft crashed into a foggy hill, investigators said.
The crash also killed Bryant's 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, two other teenage girls with their family members, along with a basketball coach. The victims were on their way from Orange County to a girls basketball game at Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy.
While encountering the foggy weather conditions, Zobayan notified air traffic controllers that he was climbing to 4,000 feet to get above the cloud layer, when in actuality, the helicopter was actually "descending rapidly," federal investigators said during a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) hearing on Tuesday.
Washington Post: Variants mean the coronavirus is here to stay — but perhaps as a lesser threat by Carolyn Y. Johnson
In early December, the end of the pandemic glimmered on the horizon. Blockbuster vaccine results suggested a clear path forward. The return to normalcy would take time, but after a year of uncertainty, the conclusion seemingly had come into focus: It was a matter of making vaccine doses and getting them into people’s arms.
Then, the euphoria dissipated. The illusion — or, as one scientist puts it, the delusion
— that science had bested the virus crumbled as mutation-ridden variants
with concerning new characteristics were detected. For the past two months, disease trackers’ understanding of the threat has evolved day by day, as scientists piece together meaning from fragmented clinical data, lab experiments and bits of science gleaned on Twitter. The path forward is still hopeful, but longer and more labyrinthine.
It has become clear that coronavirus variants can slip past some of the immunity generated by vaccines and prior infections. The virus is here to stay — and scientists will have to remain vigilant. Vaccines may have to be updated, perhaps regularly. And the world will have to prepare for the possibility, even the likelihood, that over the long term, the novel coronavirus will become a persistent disease threat, albeit one that could eventually end up closer to the flu or the common cold.
New York Times: Meandering Performance by Defense Lawyers Enrages Trump by Maggie Haberman (!)
On the first day of his second impeachment trial, former President Donald J. Trump was mostly hidden from view on Tuesday at Mar-a-Lago, his private club in Palm Beach, Fla., moving from the new office that aides set up to his private quarters outside the main building.
Mr. Trump was said to have meetings that were put on his calendar to coincide with his defense team’s presentation and keep him occupied. But he still managed to catch his two lawyers, Bruce L. Castor Jr. and David I. Schoen, on television — and he did not like what he saw, according to two people briefed on his reaction.
Mr. Castor, the first to speak, delivered a rambling, almost somnambulant defense of the former president for nearly an hour. Mr. Trump, who often leaves the television on in the background even when he is holding meetings, was furious, people familiar with his reaction said.
On a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the angriest, Mr. Trump “was an eight,” one person familiar with his reaction said.
BBC News: Myanmar coup: Military raids Aung San Suu Kyi's party headquarters
Myanmar's military has "raided and destroyed" the headquarters of Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD), the party has said.
BBC Burmese understands that security forces broke down the doors by force late Tuesday. No party members were present in the building then.
The attack comes as thousands continue to protest against a military coup which removed the NLD from government.
Many are demanding the release of Ms Suu Kyi and senior NLD members.
Their whereabouts are currently unknown and Ms Suu Kyi has not been seen since the coup was launched early last week.
"The military dictator raided and destroyed NLD headquarters at around 930pm," the National League for Democracy announced on its Facebook page, though it gave no further details.
The raid took place during a nationwide night time curfew, which lasts from 20:00 to 04:00 local time (13:30 to 21:30 GMT).
South China Morning Post: US will not accept World Health Organization findings out of Wuhan without independently verifying by Mark Magnier and Jacob Fromer
The United States will not accept World Health Organization(WHO) findings coming out of its coronavirus investigation in Wuhan, China without independently verifying the findings using its own intelligence and conferring with allies, a State Department official said Tuesday.
Spokesman Ned Price added that a full and complete accounting by the WHO and China detailing how the pandemic started and spread is essential given the stakes and the disease’s devastating global impact.
“Clearly, the Chinese, at least heretofore, has not offered the requisite transparency that we need and that, just as importantly, the international community needs so that we can prevent these sorts of pandemics from ever happening again,” he told reporters during a daily briefing.
“We will work with our partners, and also draw on information collected and analysed by our own intelligence community … rather than rush to conclusions that may be motivated by anything other than science,” he said.
Reuters: Italy's parties enthuse over Draghi, 5-Star postpones online vote by Gavin Jones and Giuseppe Fonte
ROME (Reuters) - Italy’s political parties on the left and right enthused at the prospect of backing a Mario Draghi government after meeting the prime minister-designate on Tuesday as he wrapped up his second round of consultations.
Draghi, 73, a former head of the European Central Bank, was expected to report back to Italy’s head of state and propose his list of cabinet ministers by Thursday.
However, late on Tuesday the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, the largest group in parliament, postponed an online ballot of its members which was due to take place over the next two days to decide the party’s stance.
It remains unclear whether the postponement will also push back the formation of Draghi’s government.
Al Jazeera (Bloomberg): South Korea’s jobless rate hits 21-year high as COVID cases rise by Sam Kim
South Korea’s jobless rate surged to its highest in more than two decades, raising concern that an export-driven recovery could be masking a harsher scarring of the economy.
The unemployment rate jumped to 5.4% in January from a revised 4.5% the previous month to hit its highest level since the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis. The result outstripped all survey forecasts as the economy shed almost a million jobs from a year ago for the worst losses since 1998.
The sharp deterioration in the labor market contrasts with the view that Korea’s economy has been one of the best performers in the developed world last year and suggests the government may need to take more action to support jobs.
“The huge hit to jobs is going to weigh on the pace of economic recovery,” said Sung Tae-yoon, an economics professor at Seoul’s Yonsei University. “People looking for jobs will also decrease as the economy worsens, which may technically bring down the jobless rate, but economic difficulties will continue.”
Don’t forget that Meteor Blades is hosting a Tuesday night owls thread tonight.
Everyone have a great evening!