Miss a day, miss a lot. Subscribe to The Defender's Top News of the Day. It's free.
COVID Vaccine Mandate Critic Faces Child Neglect Charges Over Ivermectin
A leading opponent of COVID-19 vaccine mandates said the state’s child protection agency is trying to take custody of the youngest of his four children because he gave him ivermectin to treat the virus.
Former state Rep. J.R. Hoell, R-Dunbarton, said two police officers and staff with the Division of Children Youth and Families showed up at his door Dec. 9 with an order seeking custody of Hoell’s children.
The order has since been limited to Hoell’s 13-year-old son.
This came hours after Hoell said he had told a nurse practitioner that when his entire family got COVID-19 in mid-November, he gave them a treatment regimen that included ivermectin, a medication neither the state of New Hampshire nor the Centers for Disease Control recommends for treatment of the virus.
JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon Doesn’t Care What the Supreme Court Says About COVID Vaccines
The U.S. Supreme Court may have ruled against employer vaccine mandates, but that hardly matters to Jamie Dimon and other Wall Street chiefs, who are standing firmly in favor of requiring staff to get the life-saving jabs.
“To go to the office, you have to be vaxxed, and if you aren’t going to get vaxxed, you won’t be able to work in that office,” Dimon, CEO, told CNBC last week. The institution he leads, JPMorgan Chase JPM -3.9%, is the largest American bank by assets and has nine offices, including its headquarters, in New York, where Dimon said 97% of the staff is vaccinated. “We’re not going to pay you to not work in the office…We want people to get vaxxed.”
The country’s biggest banks have long been loath to take political stands out of fear of alienating customers, investors and even some executives. But when it comes to vaccinations, which are generally favored by Democrats and denounced by many Republicans, Wall Street has taken a staunch position.
Companies Face a Tangle of State Policies Following Supreme Court Ruling Against Federal Vaccine Mandate
Companies have been grappling with the decision of whether to require COVID-19 vaccines for employees for over a year. Last week’s Supreme Court decision to block a federal mandate that would require businesses with 100 or more employees to make workers get the shot or weekly tests, leaves companies to figure out a solution on their own.
The Supreme Court’s decision now means “companies have to take it upon themselves to have safe practices in the workplace,” because the federal government is not allowed to mandate it, says Los Angeles-based employment and civil rights trial attorney V. James DeSimone.
Blocking the federal vaccine mandate for businesses now puts companies at the mercy of conflicting state policies as they look to protect workers from the surging omicron variant.
As of Jan. 12, 14 states prohibit any sort of COVID-19 vaccine mandate to be in place, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Supreme Court Rejects Bid to Block Mask Mandate on Airplanes
The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a request to block a federal mask mandate for air travel.
The emergency application was filed by a father on behalf of himself and his 4-year-old autistic son, both of whom claim to be medically incapable of wearing masks for extended periods.
Their request was filed to Justice Neil Gorsuch, who handles emergency applications arising in several Western states, and he referred the matter to the full court. The justices denied the request without comment or noted dissent.
Doctor Accused of Spreading COVID Misinformation Sues Houston Methodist
A Houston doctor, who was in the spotlight late last year after being suspended by Houston Methodist Hospital for spreading information related to COVID-19 they called “harmful to the community,” has responded with a lawsuit.
Dr. Mary Bowden, an ear, nose and throat specialist, who runs a private practice in River Oaks, announced the suit on Monday morning.
In the lawsuit, she’s asking for data from Methodist detailing the effects of the vaccines and financial reports. Dr. Bowden had tweeted that “Vaccine mandates are wrong” and shared about her battle to give her patients Ivermectin, a controversial drug hailed as a treatment for COVID-19 by some.
Hundreds of Virginia Schools Rebel Against Glenn Youngkin, Refuse to Lift Mask Mandate
Youngkin, a Republican, issued an order on Saturday that effectively allows parents to exempt their children from mask requirements imposed by schools, one of his first acts as governor.
Several school districts in the state said they would continue to impose mask requirements on students and staff despite Youngkin’s order, which is set to take effect from Jan. 24.
Apple Will Now Require Employees to Submit Proof of COVID Booster Shot
Once an employee is eligible to get a booster shot, they will have four weeks to comply, otherwise, they will need to take frequent tests to enter a retail store, partner store, or Apple office starting on Feb. 15.
Apple will require unvaccinated employees — or those who haven’t yet submitted proof of vaccination — to provide negative COVID-19 rapid antigen tests before entering the workplace beginning on Jan. 24, although it’s unclear whether this applies to both corporate and retail employees.
Europe Kicks off Some of the World’s Most Sweeping Vaccine Mandates and Fines
Older people not vaccinated against COVID-19 face monthly fines in Greece as of Monday, the latest in a string of targeted restrictions as governments across Europe turn up the heat on vaccine holdouts in an effort to relieve pressure on struggling healthcare systems and combat record levels of coronavirus infections.
The barrage of strict policies targeting the unvaccinated across Europe come as the region stares down one of its worst outbreaks since the pandemic began.
Sweden Scraps Demand for Negative COVID Test to Enter Country
Travelers to Sweden will no longer be required to show a negative COVID test before entering the country, the government said on Tuesday.
Sweden introduced rules for a recent negative COVID test on Dec. 28 last year in a bid to slow the spread of the more contagious Omicron variant. Since then, Sweden has repeatedly set new daily case records with Omicron now the totally dominant variant.
Returning Travelers Made to Hand Over Phones and Passcodes to Australian Border Force
A man who was forced to hand over his phone and passcode to Australian Border Force after returning to Sydney from holiday has labeled the tactic “an absolute gross violation of privacy”, as tech advocates call for transparency and stronger privacy protections for people’s devices as they enter the country.
Software developer James and his partner returned from a 10-day holiday in Fiji earlier this month and were stopped by border force officials at Sydney airport. They were taken aside, and after emptying their suitcases, an official asked them to write their phone passcodes on a piece of paper, before taking their phones into another room.
“We weren’t informed why they wanted to look at the phones. We were told nothing,” he told Guardian Australia. James said he has no idea what officials looked at, whether a copy of any of the data was made, where it would be stored and who would have access to it.
Flight Attendants Arrested in Hong Kong for Breaking COVID Rules
The flight attendants, who are said to have worked for Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific air carrier, face a fine and six months in jail if convicted, Bloomberg reported.
The statement from Hong Kong police said “they had conducted unnecessary activities” on Dec. 25 and 27, while they were supposed to be under home quarantine after returning to the city, according to Agence France-Presse.
“They both subsequently tested positive for COVID-19 Omicron variant, and have been discharged from hospital upon completion of treatment,” it added.
Meta Wants to Track Your Eye Movements and Facial Expressions as You Roam the Metaverse, Patents Suggest
The metaverse refers to a future vision of the internet which people primarily access through immersive technologies including virtual and augmented reality, which require special headsets.
In a recent interview, Meta global affairs chief Nick Clegg told the FT that metaverse eye-tracking data could help advertisers “understand whether people engage with an advertisement or not.”
The FT said it found a patent detailing how sensors inside a headset would track a user’s facial expressions to “adapt media content” for them.
Safari and iOS Users: Your Browsing Activity Is Being Leaked in Real-Time
For the past four months, Apple’s iOS and iPadOS devices and Safari browser have violated one of the Internet’s most sacrosanct security policies. The violation results from a bug that leaks user identities and browsing activity in real-time.
The same-origin policy is a foundational security mechanism that forbids documents, scripts or other content loaded from one origin — meaning the protocol, domain name and port of a given webpage or app — from interacting with resources from other origins.
Without this policy, malicious sites — say, badguy.example.com — could access login credentials for Google or another trusted site when it’s open in a different browser window or tab.
Microsoft Buys Game Maker Activision Blizzard for About $70 Billion
Microsoft is paying the enormous sum of nearly $70 billion for Activision Blizzard, the maker of Candy Crush and Call of Duty, a deal that would immediately make it a larger video-game company than Nintendo while raising questions about the deal’s possible anti-competitive effects.
The all-cash $68.7 billion deal will turn Microsoft, maker of the Xbox gaming system, into one of the world’s largest video-game companies. It will also help it compete with tech rivals such as Meta, formerly Facebook, in creating immersive virtual worlds for both work and play.