Judge tosses vaccine suit
A federal judge threw out a lawsuit filed by employees of a Houston hospital system over its requirement that all of its staff be vaccinated against COVID-19. After the Houston Methodist Hospital system last week suspended 178 employees without pay over their refusal to get vaccinated, 117 sued to overturn the requirement and over their suspension and threatened termination. In a scathing ruling on Saturday, US District Judge Lynn Hughes of Houston deemed lead plaintiff Jennifer Bridges’ contention that the vaccines are “experimental and dangerous” to be false and otherwise irrelevant. He also found that her likening the vaccination requirement to the Nazis’ forced medical experimentation on concentration camp captives during the Holocaust to be “reprehensible.” Hughes also ruled that making vaccinations a condition of employment was not coercion, as Bridges contended.
Actor Ned Beatty dies, 83
Ned Beatty, the prolific and Oscar-nominated character actor known for his roles in Network, Superman and Toy Story 3, has died, aged 83, US media reported on Sunday. “Ned passed away from natural causes Sunday morning, surrounded by his family and loved ones,” Shelter Entertainment Group talent manager Deborah Miller said, according to CNN. The Kentucky native made his big-screen debut in the 1972 film Deliverance. That film, in which Beatty won attention for his performance in a humiliating rape scene, started a film career that would continue until 2013. It was Beatty’s role in Network that won him his first and only Oscar nod, for best supporting actor, a performance that included a memorably cynical monologue on dollars, cents and “the primal forces of nature.” Writing on Twitter, actor and director Seth Rogen called it “one of the greatest monologues ever in a movie.”
Chilean fugitive detained
The government on Sunday said it had arrested a Chilean fugitive wanted for dozens of murders committed during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. Walther Klug Rivera, a retired army colonel, was arrested on Saturday near his hotel in Buenos Aires. Authorities had spotted him earlier in the month when he attempted to board a flight to Spain, it said. He had been sentenced in 2014 by the Supreme Court in Chile to 10 years in prison. Klug Rivera was the head of a detention camp during the Pinochet years and is accused of the killings of workers at two hydroelectric power plants, as well as the kidnapping of university student Luis Angel Cornejo Fernandez, listed as disappeared. At least 3,200 people were killed or disappeared during Pinochet’s dictatorship from 1973 to 1990. An estimated 38,000 were tortured.
Rare rhino calves spotted
Two Javan rhinoceros calves have been spotted at a national park, offering a rare sighting of one of the world’s most endangered mammals. The pair — ranging in age from three months to one year — were caught on footage snapped by camera traps in March at Ujung Kulon National Park, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry said. On the westernmost tip of Java Island, Ujung Kulon is the last remaining wild habitat for Javan rhinos. After years of population decline, there are believed to be just 73 of the rare mammals at the sanctuary. Javan rhinos have folds of loose skin giving them the appearance of wearing armor plating.
The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan has fully vaccinated 90 percent of its eligible adult population within just seven days, the Bhutanese Ministry of Health said on Tuesday. The tiny country, wedged between India and China and home to nearly 800,000 people, began giving out second doses on Tuesday last week in a mass drive that has been hailed by the UN Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) as “arguably the fastest vaccination campaign to be executed during a pandemic.” Bhutan grabbed headlines in April when its government said it had inoculated about the same percentage of eligible adults with the first dose
African nations should build capacity to produce vaccines on the continent and work with pharmaceutical companies to ensure that the raw materials needed to produce the inoculations are available, WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said. While a waiver on the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights that is being discussed at the WTO is seen as a way to improve the supply of COVID-19 vaccines to the world’s least inoculated continent, Okonjo-Iweala said that only a handful of African countries have the capacity to produce the life-saving drugs. “There [are] a handful of countries — maybe Tunisia, Morocco to some extent,
For almost 500 years, the arch that connects the largest Gothic cathedral in the world with its Renaissance sacristy has offered visitors a sumptuous, if little glimpsed — and even less studied — vision of religious bounty. The 68 beautifully carved plates of food that adorn the archway in Seville’s cathedral offer rather more than bread and wine. There are pigs’ trotters and wild strawberries, aubergines, clams and oysters. There are peaches, radishes, a skinned hare with a knife by its side, a squirrel served on a bed of hazelnuts and a plate of lemons across which a small snake slithers. There
‘LIBERATE HONG KONG’: The prosecution argued that the slogan was in the tradition of rallying cries for secession dating back to the Qin and Qing dynasties Three Hong Kong judges are to rule tomorrow whether the protest slogan: “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our Times” is a call for secession when they deliver a verdict on charges against a man arrested at a demonstration last year. The landmark ruling could have long-term implications for how a Beijing-imposed National Security Law against secession, terrorism, subversion and collusion with foreign forces reshapes the territory’s common law traditions, some legal scholars say. Democracy advocates say that a ruling to outlaw the slogan would tighten limits on free speech. The slogan was last year chanted during democracy protests, posted online, scrawled on walls,