In his final hours in office, Trump pardons former strategist Bannon, dozens of others

Author : bojogalak
Publish Date : 2021-01-20 08:47:44

In his final hours in office, Trump pardons former strategist Bannon, dozens of others

Kahn said the government should seek to persuade people who are hesitating to be inoculated with "transparency and enthusiasm".

"We need to protect the French people and those who are vulnerable."

He also called for health workers to be moved to the top of the queue for the jab, over the elderly.

Epidemiologist Catherine Hill on the slow rollout of vaccines in France

Britain, which began vaccinations with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine three weeks ahead of the EU, has already vaccinated hundreds of thousands of people, while over a million have received a jab in the United States.

Philippe Juvin, emergency services chief at Georges Pompidou hospital in Paris, said that there appeared to be no national "vaccine strategy" in France.

"As an individual, I would like to be vaccinated, to set an example, and show people that we don't die from the vaccine, we die from Covid. And when we don't die, we get severe forms which are very disabling," he told CNews TV channel.

'Takes time' 

A poll on vaccine consent conducted by Ipsos Global Advisor in partnership with the World Economic Forum showed the hurdles faced by the government to achieve mass immunity.

It showed that just 40 percent of the French want to receive the vaccine.

This puts France well behind other developed nations like Britain on 77 percent and the United States on 69 percent.

Speaking on France 2 television late Tuesday, Health Minister Olivier Veran defended the more measured pace in France, saying that officials were taking time to win people over to the idea of being vaccinated.

"It takes a little more time to get going," he said, adding he expected to catch up on the rest of the world by the end of January.

Rebuffing criticism on social media, a health ministry official said: "We have not set out for a 100-metre sprint but a marathon."

In tweets on Sunday welcoming the vaccine rollout, President Emmanuel Macron had alluded to the widespread vaccine scepticism in France.

He said "reason and science must guide us" in the homeland of Louis Pasteur, the 19th-century scientist who discovered the principles of vaccination.

"The vaccine is not obligatory. Have confidence in our scientists and doctors," said Macron.

A 78-year-old woman became the first person vaccinated against Covid-19 in France when she received the country's first dose at René-Muret Hospital in Sevran, Seine-Saint-Denis, outside Paris, according to an AFP journalist on site.

"I am moved," said the woman, named only as Mauricette, a former housekeeper, who was inoculated with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine around 11am on Sunday in the public hospital's long-term care unit. She smiled and was applauded by hospital staff after receiving the jab.

A 65-year-old cardiologist, Dr. Jean-Jacques Monsuez, was next to be vaccinated, shortly before 11:20am.

Some 20 seniors and healthcare workers are slated to receive the vaccine on Sunday during France's symbolic launch of the programme, in Sevran as well as in a geriatric care centre in Dijon.

Covid-19 jabs begin across Europe in 'moment of unity'

Martin Hirsch, head of public hospital group APHP, tweeted a picture of a woman receiving the vaccination Sunday morning and wrote, "A little jab from the nurse, a big step for immunity, we hope."

The French government is aiming to have an initial one million people – consisting of seniors, vulnerable individuals and healthcare workers – vaccinated against Covid-19 by the end of February in the country's 7,000 nursing homes and related facilities.

European Union countries on Sunday embarked on the vaccination campaign hailed as the "key" to defeating Covid-19, as the growing spread of a new coronavirus variant intensified fears the pandemic could wreak further devastation.

The jab is a glimmer of hope for a continent still battling the pandemic in earnest, with infection rates again on the rise, lockdowns imposed and Christmas and New Year plans left in tatters for many.

The numbers vaccinated in the programme's initial days with the Pfizer-BioNTech jab are largely symbolic and it will be months before enough are protected to envisage a return to normal from the pandemic that has killed 1.76 million people worldwide since emerging in China late last year.

Considered a longshot, Trump’s demand gained momentum at the start of the week when dozens of House Republicans calculated it was better to link with most Democrats than defy the outgoing president. They helped pass a bill raising the payments with a robust two-thirds vote of approval.

As Trump’s push fizzles out, his attempt to amend the year-end package — $900 billion in COVID-19 aid and $1.4 trillion to fund government  agencies through September — will linger as potentially one last confrontation before the new Congress is sworn in Sunday.

The COVID-19 portion of the bill revives a weekly pandemic jobless benefit boost — this time $300, through March 14 — as well as the popular Paycheck Protection Program of grants to businesses to keep workers on payrolls. It extends eviction protections, adding a new rental assistance fund.

Americans earning up to $75,000 will qualify for the direct $600 payments, which are phased out at higher income levels, and there’s an additional $600 payment per dependent child.

Trump "summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack" on the Capitol last Wednesday, Cheney, the daughter of former Republican Vice President Dick Cheney, said in a statement, adding: "I will vote to impeach the president."

Two other Republican House members, John Katko and Adam Kinzinger, said they would also vote for impeachment.

Their announcements came as Republican leaders in the House refrained from urging their members to vote against impeaching Trump, saying it was a matter of individual conscience.

At a meeting to set the rules for Wednesday's impeachment vote, Democratic Representative David Cicilline told the House Rules Committee that the impeachment drive had the support of 217 lawmakers - enough to impeach Trump.

Cicilline, who helped craft the impeachment measure, said Trump "has had almost a week to do the right thing. He has refused to resign, he has failed to take responsibility, he has demonstrated no remorse.”

The New York Times reported that the Republican majority leader of the U.S. Senate, Mitch McConnell, was said to be pleased about the Democratic impeachment push, suggesting Trump's party was looking to move on from him after last week's stunning attack on Congress.

McConnell believes the impeachment effort will make it easier to purge Trump from the party, the Times said.

If Trump is impeached by the House, he would have a trial in the Senate to determine his guilt. A two-thirds majority of the Senate is needed to convict him, meaning at least 17 Republicans in the 100-member chamber would have to vote for conviction.

"I don't think you would have a hard time finding 17 Republicans to convict" with a tightly drawn article of impeachment, a former Senate Republican leadership aide told Reuters. "I think for McConnell, there's a very strong impulse for this (the Capitol assault) not to define the party."

In his first public appearance since last Wednesday's riot, Trump showed no contrition for his speech, in which he repeated his false claim that President-elect Joe Biden's victory was illegitimate. Biden will be sworn in as president on Jan. 20.

"What I said was totally appropriate," Trump told reporters as he left for a trip to the U.S.-Mexico border wall near Alamo, Texas, his first public foray since the assault on the Capitol.

McConnell has said no trial could begin until the chamber returns from its recess on Jan. 19.

But Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who is set to become the majority leader after two Democrats from Georgia are seated and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is sworn in, told reporters the Senate could be recalled to handle the matter.

Partisan fight

In a debate ahead of the House vote on the 25th Amendment resolution, Democrats pushed Republican lawmakers to disavow Trump's false allegation that Biden's victory was illegitimate. That claim enraged Trump's supporters and prompted the violence in Washington that killed five including a police officer.

Republicans refused to concede the point and said their unsuccessful effort last week to challenge the results of the election was justified.

The resolution calls on Pence to invoke Section 4 of the 25th Amendment, a never-before used power that allows a majority of the Cabinet to strip the president of power if he or she is deemed unable to discharge the office's duties.

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But Democrats say Trump's actions demand a response.

Democrats could also use an impeachment trial to push through a vote blocking Trump from running for office again.

Rather than a two-thirds vote, only a simple Senate majority is needed to disqualify Trump from future office. There is disagreement among legal experts as to whether a conviction on an impeachment charge would be needed before a disqualification vote. A different part of the Constitution, the 14th Amendment, also provides a procedure for disqualifying Trump from future office with a simple majority of both chambers.

Trump has said he plans to run again in 2024.

China says WHO experts to probe Covid-19 origins during long-awaited mission
Ten World Health Organization scientists will visit China from Thursday to probe the origins of Covid-19, authorities said, more than a year after the pandemic began and amid accusations Beijing delayed the investigation.
The WHO team "will conduct joint research cooperation on the origins of Covid-19 wi

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