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All California Schoolchildren Must Be Vaccinated Against COVID Under New Bill

Los Angeles Times reported:

A California lawmaker known for tightening restrictions on school vaccine laws will propose a bill Monday to close a loophole in the state’s requirement that children receive COVID-19 shots.

State Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) will announce Monday morning a bill to add COVID-19 vaccines to California’s list of required inoculations for attending K-12 schools, a move that would override Gov. Gavin Newsom’s scaled-back mandate from last year.

California currently requires students at all public and private schools to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. However, that mandate, which was announced by Newsom in October, does not take effect until after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration fully approves the shot for children ages 12 and older.

Pan’s bill will go much further than Newsom’s mandate, starting with requiring all students from kindergarten through 12th grade to be vaccinated against COVID-19 beginning Jan. 1.

Google Accused of ‘Constant Surveillance,’ Deceptive Methods to Maintain Access to User Data

Newsweek reported:

Washington D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine sued Google on Monday over allegations that the company uses “constant surveillance” and deploys deceptive methods to gain access to users’ location data.

The lawsuit alleges that since 2014, Google has deceived users about how their locations are tracked and made misleading promises about how privacy is protected through its account services. Similar lawsuits are expected to be filed Monday in Texas, Washington state, and Indiana, according to Racine’s office.

The complaint alleges that while consumers are made to believe that changing their account and device settings can keep Google from accessing location data, the company can still access that information from other Google apps, WiFi and Bluetooth scans, or through the users’ IP address.

New Orleans Residents Prepare for School Vaccine Mandate for Kids as Young as 5

NBC News reported:

In New Orleans, parents of children ages 5 and older are preparing for public schools to require the coronavirus vaccine beginning early next month, weeks ahead of the city’s Mardi Gras celebrations.

New Orleans will be one of the first cities to enforce the vaccine requirement for young school children when the mandate takes effect Feb. 1.

The mandate, which does allow for exemptions for religious or philosophical reasons, is being met with trepidation by some parents who aren’t ready to get their young children vaccinated against the coronavirus, or do not want their child to receive the vaccine at all, while others welcome the news as a public health measure that could slow the spread of the disease.

Why California’s Largest School District Is No Longer Allowing Cloth Masks

Newsweek reported:

California’s largest public school system is no longer allowing its students to wear cloth masks and requiring that they wear coverings with a good fit and a nose wire.

The change comes as both state and national health officials have been increasingly citing the boosted protection offered by some masks, such as KN95s and N95s, compared with others.

The updated rules on the district’s website specify that students must wear “well-fitting, non-cloth masks with a nose wire,” even while outdoors, and all employees are “required to wear surgical grade masks or higher.”

Virginia School Board Votes to Take Legal Action Against Glenn Youngkin’s Mask Order

Newsweek reported:

The Richmond School Board has voted to take legal action against Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin‘s executive order on mask-wearing in public schools.

The order was among several issued by the Republican governor on his first day in office, allowing parents to decide whether to send children to school in masks.

The mask-optional mandate is due to take effect on Monday, but many school superintendents and parents have vowed to fight it.

Vaccine Mandates: ‘I Lost My Job for Being Unvaccinated’

BBC News reported:

Danielle Thornton was in the school pick-up line waiting for her children when she learned she would face a life-changing choice: get the COVID-19 vaccine or lose her job of almost nine years at the bank Citigroup.

She and her husband had watched for months as bosses across the U.S. introduced vaccine mandates, knowing the family might face this moment. Then, in the form of an email on her phone, it arrived.

Danielle is one of thousands of people across America opting to lose their job rather than get the COVID-19 jabs.

Crowds at ‘Defeat the Mandates’ March Demand End to COVID Vaccine Mandates Nationwide

Fox News reported:

The peaceful protest started around noon at the Washington Monument and headed first to the Lincoln Memorial, where it remained while a series of speakers took to the steps to share their experiences of the past year and their reasons to call for an end to the vaccine mandates.

Between 30,000 and 35,000 people attended the protest, demanding an end to vaccine mandates and passports and a call for reasonable debate and the power of informed consent.

March organizer Will Witt, an author and political commentator for nonprofit PragerU, said,  “This march is about the mandate, and this march is about the Draconian measures that we’re seeing all across this country right now, especially in places like D.C., New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco.”

Vaccine Passport Protests in Europe Draw Thousands of People

Associated Press reported:

Thousands of people gathered in European capitals Saturday to protest vaccine passports and other requirements governments have imposed in hopes of ending the coronavirus pandemic.

Demonstrations took place in Athens, Helsinki, London, Paris and Stockholm.

Marches in Paris drew hundreds of demonstrators protesting the introduction from Monday of a new COVID-19 pass. It will severely restrict the lives of those who refuse to get vaccinated by banning them from domestic flights, sports events, bars, cinemas and other leisure venues. French media reported that demonstrators also marched by the hundreds in other cities.

Water Cannon, Tear Gas at COVID Protests in Brussels

Associated Press reported:

Police fired water cannons and thick clouds of tear gas Sunday in Brussels to disperse people protesting COVID-19 vaccinations and government restrictions that aim to curb the fast-spreading Omicron variant.

Police said the protest in the Belgian capital drew an estimated 50,000 people, some traveling from France, Germany and other countries to take part.

Brussels police said 70 people were detained and three officers and 12 demonstrators required hospital treatment.

Djokovic Could Play in France Under Latest Vaccine Rules

Associated Press reported:

Top-ranked player Novak Djokovic could be allowed to defend his French Open title under the latest COVID-19 rules adopted by the French government, even if he is still not vaccinated when the clay-court Grand Slam starts in May.

Djokovic was deported from Australia and barred from playing in the Australian Open this month for not meeting the country’s strict COVID-19 vaccination rules.

Under the law that took effect on Monday, anyone who has proof they tested positive within the previous six months is exempt from having to show a vaccine pass. That suggests Djokovic could play in the French Open in May and June, the next Grand Slam tournament, because he has said he tested positive in mid-December.

American Athletes Were Reportedly Told to Use Burner Phones in Beijing Due to a ‘Unique Opportunity for Cybercrime’ at the Winter Olympics

Business Insider reported:

Olympic athletes on Team USA have been told to use temporary “burner” phones while in Beijing due to cyber security and surveillance risks, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee reportedly notified Team USA in December that “every device, communication, transaction and online activity may be monitored. Your device(s) may also be compromised with malicious software, which could negatively impact future use.”

Beijing is allowing athletes access to YouTube and Facebook, sites that are normally blocked by China’s “Great Firewall.” Even still, teams from the U.S., Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands and Canada have been briefed on the risks of connecting to public WiFi networks, Bloomberg reported last week.

Meta Has Built an Artificial Intelligence Supercomputer It Says Will Be World’s Fastest by End of 2022

The Verge reported:

Social media conglomerate Meta is the latest tech company to build an “AI supercomputer” — a high-speed computer designed specifically to train machine learning systems. The company says its new AI Research SuperCluster, or RSC, is already among the fastest machines of its type and, when complete in mid-2022, will be the world’s fastest.

RSC will be used to train a range of systems across Meta’s businesses: from content moderation algorithms used to detect hate speech on Facebook and Instagram to augmented reality features that will one day be available in the company’s future AR hardware.

And, yes, Meta says RSC will be used to design experiences for the metaverse — the company’s insistent branding for an interconnected series of virtual spaces, from offices to online arenas.