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Biden announces new sanctions on Russia over election interference
Joe Biden has announced new sanctions on Russia in response to the country’s hacking and election interference efforts in the US.
The AP reports:
The sanctions, foreshadowed for weeks by the administration, represent the first retaliatory action announced against the Kremlin for last year’s hack, familiarly known as the SolarWinds breach.
In that intrusion, Russian hackers are believed to have infected widely used software with malicious code, enabling them to access the networks of at least nine agencies in what US officials believe was an intelligence-gathering operation aimed at mining government secrets.
Besides that hack, US officials last month alleged that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin authorized influence operations to help Donald Trump in his unsuccessful bid for re-election as president, though there is no evidence Russia or anyone else changed votes or manipulated the outcome.
As part of the new sanctions, the Biden administration will expel 10 Russian diplomats and penalize six companies that support the Kremlin’s hacking operations.
The news comes two days after Biden had a phone call with Putin, during which the US president expressed support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and suggested a potential summit meeting in the coming months.
It’s unclear whether Putin accepted the summit invitation or if he intends to.
Peddlers of industrial bleach who urge Americans to drink the fluid as a “miracle cure” for cancer, HIV/Aids and other diseases have begun touting the product illegally as a treatment for the latest variants of Covid-19.
Chlorine dioxide, a powerful bleaching agent used in textile and paper manufacturing, is being compounded and sold out of a makeshift laboratory in Miami, Florida. The company, Oclo Nanotechnology Science, is playing on fears of the new strain of the coronavirus discovered in the UK, which is now spreading rapidly and widely through the US.
The UK variant, B117, is thought to be more transmissible and deadly than the initial form of the virus.
The Miami company is invoking B117 to drive up sales of its bleach products, which the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns are potentially dangerous and can be life-threatening. The front page of Oclo’s website is dominated by a photograph of vials of its chlorine dioxide product billed as an “antiviral” treatment.
The image is superimposed with the words: “B117 … new variant of coronavirus, the most contagious and dangerous in the United States. Rescuing chlorine dioxide and its great curative potential against pathogens.”
The appearance of a new marketing push out of Miami by peddlers of the bleach “cure”, often referred to as “miracle mineral solution”, or MMS, signals the FDA’s uphill struggle in trying to control the potentially lethal trade. Since the start of the pandemic, the federal agency has been clamping down on fraudulent products which claim to treat or cure Covid-19.
Fauci and Walensky to testify before House amid J&J pause
Greetings from Washington, live blog readers.
Dr Anthony Fauci, the president’s chief medical adviser, and Dr Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will testify before a House subcommittee this morning.
Their testimony comes two days after the Food and Drug Administration called for a “pause” in administering the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine because of six reports of blood clots among the more than 6 million people who have received the J&J vaccine.
Advisers to the CDC said yesterday that the pause will remain in effect as they gather more data on the blood clots and attempt to determine whether there is a causal relationship between them and the J&J vaccine.
One CDC adviser, Dr Grace Lee of Stanford University, said, “I continue to feel like we’re in a race against time and the variants, but we need to [move forward] in the safest possible way.”
The pause has raised concerns that vaccine hesitancy will intensify among certain groups who were already hesitant to get vaccinated. However, Fauci and Walensky have emphasized the pause should reassure Americans that the country’s safety systems are working as they should.
That House subcommittee hearing will get underway in the next couple of hours, so stay tuned.
Source: The Guardian
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