The News Roundup For February 19, 2021

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Hey it's jen just a quick heads up before we start the show. The news is rapidly developing and things may have changed by the time you hear this episode for the very latest news tune into your public radio station and follow updates at npr dot org. This is one a. I'm jen white and washington with the impeachment. Trial put to bed. It was a week of big moves and big promises on hill but for once politiques overshadowed by the weather well sort of whether the decision To go with tone-deaf look he was obviously a mistake. In hindsight i wouldn't have done it. Snow ice and freezing temperatures have swept across the south and southeast hitting texas particularly hard. So let's start in the lone star state with reporter. Amal ahmed of the texas observer will welcome. Thanks for having me so. I know the stories in motion. But what's the latest with what's happening in texas yes so today has been The last couple of days. I think have been better for many texans who you know. Had their power off and there have been really cold and freezing in their own homes for the last couple days So and you know the sun is out here in dallas. So that's certainly been nice But i think the main concern for many people right now. Is the water issues that are coming up and as pipes you know. Pipes threatened to burst and as they thought out. I think that's going to be top of mind for a lot of people in dealing with the damage in the long term If that a bit more about the issue with with water and water treatment plants in hospitals specifically have been impacted Yes so you know from what. I've been hearing You know some water treatment. Plants lost power during the outages. So that certainly You know create a lot of issues around the safety of drinking that water Ask people were trying to drip pipes to stop bursts. And then as pipes were birthday you know everywhere There's also just a shortage of water in the sort of high demand. That i think was was pretty unexpected So there are a lot of folks facing boil water notices or their water has been completely. Shut off to try and stop some of that from from you know getting worse. What are these limitations of these disruptions. What does that mean for for hospitals specifically. Yeah i haven't been tracking that as as closely to be honest. But i've heard that it's it's been really difficult in some places where they're having like flush toilets with snow and melted ice. Whatever they can find. It certainly seems like this is not ideal for you know hospitals and you know trying to. I don't know one account. I saw on twitter was like people you know having to use kitty litter for the bathroom. So certainly certainly doesn't sound safe and not ideal. We got this tweet from katie. Who says the real question is. How can we land a truck and helicopter on mars literally the same day that people die of the cold in texas and the state doesn't seem to be able to do anything to help. How would you describe the state's response. So far yeah I mean i think first and foremost it's it's really important to remember that You know this kind of storm in this kind of arctic front. You know in two thousand eleven. When we had this happen it was expected to be a one in ten year. Kind of event It certainly extreme. But i think we had the warning signs and with climate change. I think you know this level of extreme winter is actually possibly you know be worse when it is extreme even if our overall inches are warming so our state leaders are not planning for climate change Urquhot for all its failures with the technical side of of you know like natural gas plants freezing and equipment feeling right like they're also not modeling demand and supply off of climate modeling So that's certainly an issue that i think we need to hold our leaders accountable to do you think this incident will put some pressure on leaders to update or rethink the straight to the state infrastructure. I certainly hope so. I mean you know. I think that given how widespread this disaster has been you know every single county all two hundred fifty. Four of them have been affected by this You know people are really feeling the effects of it and are suffering right I think people are angry. And i certainly hope that that leads to change At every level. Where where people can can you know. Institute regulation and sort of mandate or enforce those now we know the power is come back on for for some texans. What will you be watching in the days to come yeah One thing that i think is really important. Think about is is how inequitable. This disaster has been So a lot of low income folks A lot of communities of color are. Actually you know more likely to live in housing. That is already inadequate when it comes to insulation and weatherization so You know it's important to think about how much colder has been for people in you know housing like that versus newer bills. And you know more expensive construction And also in terms of dealing with higher heating bills in february and water bills right and they're not a lot of state programs designed to help people with that. The ones that are do exist are already stretched thin in maxed out And that was you know there's already a pandemic on top of that. So i think it's important to think about the financial cost that people will be facing You know in the weeks ahead. A mill. thanks so much for joining us. Thank you. Let's bring in a couple more voices. Shane harris covers national security and intelligence at the washington. Post shane's great to have you. Thanks for having me and also with us. Wendy benjamin sin a politics editor for bloomberg news. Wendy thanks for joining us. Thanks so much for having me. So we heard a bit of him in the intro. But republican senator ted cruz taxes found himself in a lot of hot water. Because of the cold weather shane. What happened well. He may win the award for political tone deafness of the month here Senator cruz was spotted boarding an airplane. Apparently with members of his family Flying to cancun the resort city in mexico. While of course texas is in the grips of the historic Freezing spell Leading to all kinds of questions as to why you know. One of the two senators for this state was was literally jetting out To a vacation destination not clear that he would have disclosed. This had it not been captured on social media and spread pretty quickly. What he is now said is that Members of his family including his children. wanted to get someplace warmer. They too were having problems with the power and the temperatures in their own home that was understandably very uncomfortable and that kind of wanting to be a good dad as he put it his plan was to go down there with and then come back Reporting from airline industry sources indicates. That's maybe not quite true that he had originally planned to come back on saturday and actually changed his ticket to return after his trip had been revealed so we heard in the clip. You played jen. That he's now acknowledging that if you'd had to do this again he might have made a different choice well as tweets. I'm in austin. I lost water sunday. Power monday for ted cruz to blame his ten. And twelve year old kids for his bs. When it turns out his wife was the trip. Leader is just sickening. We're flushing toilets with snow or just going outside this morning. Fox news headline for the story read. Cnn msnbc primetime host. Spend over forty six minutes on ted cruz. Cancun trip few minutes on cuomo scandal. First of all we're going to get to governor andrew cuomo a little later in the hour but secondly this is a lot of national response. But what does this mean for tax. And what is the response in the state. Why thinking there's a state you're gonna find that people are probably not going to this This is obviously Betting being greeted by a lot of people. People i've talked to in texas as a pretty callous and frankly pretty dumb move by the senator. His defenders have said. Well he's a federal official. What can he really do to help. A state problem of course. Senators are the senior representatives. For estate in washington where of course federal resources are being marshaled to try and help texans including through the federal management memory management administration So whether or not this. This will be something that politically catastrophic for ted cruz and his career. But this is not something. Constituents are going to forget. This is quite a bad luck to put it. Mildly republican governor. Greg abbott of taxes had this to say about the caused power outages in his state when speaking to fox news on tuesday are win in our solar shut down and they were collectedly more than ten percent of our power grid and that thrust texas into a situation where it was lacking power in a statewide basis as result it just shows that fossil fuel is necessary for the state of texas as well as other states in the same clip. Abbott said that. What's happening in texas is precisely why green new deal would be harmful to the country though he later walked that statement back. We got this message. From jeremy on facebook you says officials are demanding an investigation but i suspect the ultimate cause is their own inaction in a failure of windy. We're hearing several republican figures blaming the power outages unfrozen wind turbines the loss of solar power. Is that accurate. Well yes and no just to go back to something. The chain said a minute ago. What's interesting to me in our reporting is that very few. Republican officials are taking any criticism of are making any criticism of ted cruz at all which shows that he may survive this politically because all he has to do is win. A primary in that state and then he has an extraordinary democratic opponent. Maybe they could vitally beat him but they haven't been able to yet but in terms of the the the alternative energy sources one of the things. That texas did not do that i. I understand canada's for example canada which gets a lot colder obviously has has wind power in some places in the midwest of their country and they have winterized those things winter always and i say this as someone who lived in texas for twenty years. Winter always seems to catch texas unawares. They never seem to plan for winter. And yes it is. It's rare that it gets this cold but it happens. And so i think they are. Using the fact that they did not winterized their wind turbines. Or prepare for this norman. Any way as an excuse to push the fossil fuel politics and it's important to note here shane that the all the sources of power in texas were impacted. It wasn't just wind turbines. That's right and wind. Turbines is only about ten percent of the power grid in texas in importantly the The governor's arguments were actually undercut by his own energy department and the state which has wendy was pointing out outlined. The most of texas has energy loss came from failure to winter is the power generating systems including those fossil fuel pipelines. So it's more of a systemic problem in texas is unusual in the sense that it also is an independent electrical grid. It's contained within the state of texas can't import power from other Generation facilities outside the state so when it goes down in texas it just goes down well as tweets. Millions are facing boil water and off notices with no end date grocery stores that are not stocked with no end date and unstable power grid with rolling blackouts property damages up and there's been zero accountability for anyone responsible coming up. We go to capitol hill where a new immigration bill is already making waves. It's news roundup support for npr in the following message. Come from better help. Offering online counseling. Better help therapist. Esu joe knows that lockdown has been hard on us as humans we as people are hardwired to connect with others which is why this whole time is so difficult. The connection that happens between people and be very powerful and how healing it can be to have a healthy relationship with someone to get matched with a counselor within forty eight hours and save ten percent. Go to better help dot com slash one one of the premier science fiction. Writers of the twentieth century octavia butler imagined worlds that were radically different and strikingly similar to the one. We live in today for black history month's special series the cautionary tales. And the reasons for hope that octavia butler left us. Listen now to the through line. Podcast from npr. You're listening to the news roundup. Now we're learning more about democrats immigration plans and not. Everyone is pleased with them yesterday. Congressional democrats introducing a sweeping immigration package backed by president biden. Shane explain what senate well. It is sweeping as you said this. The centerpiece of it is an eight year path to citizenship for the estimated eleven million undocumented immigrants in the country right now and the way this would work. Is that after passing background checks and paying taxes here they would then be allowed to live and work in the us for five years. After that period those people could apply for a green card which would give them permanent status in the us and a chance to win citizenship. After three more years. So that's kind of the eight year piece of this. Which would really spell out and give people some clarity of if you're going to become a citizen these are the things that you have to go through and that kind of key five piece would be in the beginning before you get your green card. There would also be a fast tracking process for immigrants who came into the country with their parents at a young age. Those are also known as dreamers along with some provisions for farm workers and past recipients people who previously had received temporary protected status like people who fled wars. So it's a pretty all encompassing package from the standpoint of You know doing immigration reform at one fell swoop And importantly would probably increase immigration flows into the country. I think administration officials acknowledged acknowledged that but at the same time. It's not clear how much they would go up. Let's talk about the political reality of this abed and whether democrats have the kind of bipartisan support. They need to pass this. I think they don't is the short answer right now. Out of the gate you had very strong reactions to this negative reactions from republicans James comber of kentucky. Who's the ranking republican on the house oversight and reform committee said democrats could not be more wildly out of touch with america's needs Senator tom cotton who i think is an aspirin to run in two thousand twenty. Four president said this immigration plan is a disaster. He's working with senator romney from utah on a plan as well and cotton said that the the biden plan would do nothing to secure the borders but would grant what he called mass amnesty and welfare benefits and this issue of border. Security of course is going to be key to a president. Trump ran on building a wall when the border with mexico portions of which were completed it became a symbol. I think of of republicans kind of approach some of them to kind of getting tough entreating immigration as a national security border. Security issue importantly presidents from both parties have tried to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Before it's not as republicans don't want to do it but this issue has become extremely polarized with regards to the border. Wendy yesterday biden also issued a memo with some new and arguably narrower directives for immigration and customs enforcement. I better known as ice. What's in there of. I will tell you about that in just a second. I just want to quickly go back to something. Shane said about within the democratic party. Politics biden was free freer this time to To not include a lot of border security in the bill because democratic attitudes within within the party shifted to the left on immigration pretty much thanks to former president. Trump's you know hard line policies. So no i think chain is absolutely right. He's not going to get a lot of republican votes of any but he also will be able to not only keep progressive happy but also those moderate suburban that he needs so badly as well but then he issued this memo as you mentioned and That memo gives some more authority to is to continue to deport certain Certain people criminals and such and that has very much irritated his people on his left flank. Who say that. He is not not leaving in place. Some of trump's policies and that's just a bridge too far for them well the aclu call the memo quote. Disappointing step backward. When did your mind. How important is it for. The biden administration to get significant movement on immigration reform. I think it's significant. But i think it's second i believe it would be second to covert and economic recovery. I think everything comes after that too many many people but then immigration is is pretty darn high. You know that was one of the things that really toward people's heartstrings. During the trump administration the pictures of children in cages the lost children the people jammed up at the border on the mexico side. Who have nothing to go back to off at or Nicaragua guatemala and these So i think it. I think it comes very very high but after we get our own house in order i do think out spines top priority house speaker. Nancy pelosi announced this week. She wants to form an independent commission to investigate the january sixth insurrection at the us capitol and this is being compared to the independent commission that studied the nine eleven terrorist attacks when he what would a commission like this do and what its findings have any legal impact. I'm not sure. The commission's findings would have any legal impact. And we've seen these over the years as you mentioned the nine eleven commission of course going way back the warren commission on the kennedy assassination. And things like that but what they do do i think is give some political cover to people who might not otherwise feel that they can speak out so you had you know mcconnell's vote to acquit senate minority leader. Mitch mcconnell's vote to quit the other day. But then he gave this. You know excoriating blistering speech about how awful President trump's actions were the commission if it finds trump at fault if it finds other republicans at fault It could be a means to To to not only strengthen lawsuits or criminal investigations against but could give some political power to republicans. Who are afraid to speak out now. They could say well. Look this independent commission senate. It's not just Jamie raskin hussein goes it is In fact you know and bipartisan commission filled with the republicans. Well we are seeing legal action related to the events of january. Sixth the acp and democratic congressman bennie thompson or suing former president trump and rudy giuliani. Their suit claims the to violate at the ku klux klan. Act of eighteen. Seventy one by to incite the riot at the. Us capitol on january six. Shane tells a little bit more about this lawsuit and in some of the potential penalties Guiliani trumper facing. It's really interesting. Mean coming from a member of congress as you pointed out it is alleging essentially this conspiracy between former president. Trump has lawyer and two of these far right groups in the oath keepers Essentially kind of some of the same elements if you will of the case. Only maybe even going a bit further with conspiracy piece as was at his impeachment trial. Which also novel about. This is it's using the statute enacted in eighteen seventy one ku-klux-klan act which was enacted the civil war and was meant to bar Violent interference in congress's constitutional duties. Well that is precisely what what you could argue happened when this violent mob arguably at the president's storm to capitol to try and halt the counting of electoral votes so there's some novelty in the the statute itself. I don't think there's ever been a case brought this way. But i think what it's showing is that there are people who believe that there's credible evidence to show that there was some kind of conspiracy here now. This would result in a criminal charges. A civil case right these are private individuals bringing it but there are we know investigations going on I think at least the dc Us attorney Impossibly mothers have been looking into the question of whether there could be criminal charges and notably senator mcconnell and that speech that wendy mentioned when he said. I don't think the impeachment process is the appropriate venue for convicting the president Pointed out that there are krivel and seminal channels to do. This seemed almost be encouraging the very kind of lawsuit that we're seeing congressman thompson in the brings and wendy. The former president is facing. I'm investigations related to january six. But that's not the only legal challenges he's facing right now. Oh no there's The southern district of new york. The us attorney's office there in The covers new york city is looking at every aspect of his taxes of his debts of his businesses. He probably still faces faces investigations over numerous things here And i think you know hitting a guy like donald trump in his pocket. Book is probably more effective than you know. Accusing him of inciting insurrection in terms of In terms of you know damaging his him but in terms of You know. I think what democrats are trying to do now is to keep donald trump from running again. Keep his children from running for office to sort of end. The trump political dynasty like here now and These lawsuits may not work. A criminal investigation might work One thing they do have to be very careful of is inspiring his base to be even more loyal to him. You know the more and more and more you attack him the more and more and more has base Riles up and that That obviously is what he's trying to tempt tamp down wentz on these three conservative networks in a matter of hours the other night and continued to claim that he won the election And continued to and. of course you know when Went off on mitch. Mcconnell very briefly. Shane are can testimony or findings from the impeachment. Trial be used in in a case like what. We're seeing from the acp and congressman thompson. It's a good question. If you were a commission. I would given Kind of the effect of a tribunal by congress maybe Certainly there would be interested in the public record and a commission might have subpoenaed authorities so there might be an argument that you could put this into evidence. Certainly you could call in these cases the same witnesses. That would testify before the commission shane. This looks like the new reality for mitch mcconnell for the foreseeable future. How do you think he'll deal with trump shouting at him from the sidelines. While i suspect it senator mcconnell anticipated this and we should underscore too that you know for for people who have followed him very closely over his career. The thing that matters most to mitch mcconnell is either keeping his majority in the senate or getting it back and now he's focused on getting it back and i think you can read and the way that he responded with that speech on the floor and also the way. He responded throughout the the impeachment process is that he wasn't going to convict president but at the same time he wasn't going to hold him up as blameless a so he made the calculation. I think that you know for the long term prospects of the majority republicans in the senate. It was more important to distance himself in themselves from the president then to adhere to him. That's not the case in the house. By the way where you find members far more fervently embracing the president including some members being outspoken advocates of conspiracy theories about the election and whatnot. That sound like donald trump's kind of talking points. So i think that mitch mcconnell just understand that this is the way it is to be right now between Himself as the leader of republicans in the senate and the former president I suspect i'll never speak again. Donald trump made that clear and this just unbelievably blistering letter. Now have mcconnell standing up and saying. The president bears responsibility for an attack on the congress. It's hard to imagine how the two of them would ever reconcile clearly. Mcconnell believes the party needs to go in a different direction. Well meanwhile wendy trump is given some indication of how he plans to use whatever political power he can will he says oh back. Pro-trump republicans in congressional primaries. But i'm thinking about the. Kansas governor's race in two thousand eighteen. A republican crisco bach was so far right that moderate conservatives voted for a democrat. Laura kelly's could this plan backfire. The the issue. I think now is that the the rnc is run by a trump loyalist. Ronna mcdaniel and tom hicks. Who was national finance chairman of one or trump's campaigns the state parties if you've seen the censures of the senators who voted to convict trump of incitement of insurrection. The their state. Republican parties censured them for being disloyal to trump so in terms of who wins primaries. Which you need to either be a registered republican in many states to vote in the primary. So independence and democrats can't vote in someone else's primary In those cases. I think there is infrastructure to help pro-trump candidates continue to run and possibly win Not republicans who are not in favor of trump for nationalism or that brand of politics don't really have anywhere to go. I mean some of them sure will vote for a democrat. some of them who are old style. Conservative just can't bring themselves to vote for a democrat. But they're not gonna vote for you know lauren. Beaubourg or marjorie taylor green either so so. I think this effort that evan mcmullan is putting forth to try to to come up with some infrastructure for those people whether it's a third party or a super pac to give them some funding might be the only way to mitigate pro-trump candidates winning republican primaries. So there's this tension here where mitch mcconnell is trying to pull the gop. In one direction are saying state level republican legislatures an parties still supporting trump. And then. We got this email from tom. Who says some safer media personalities. Any news is good news. Maybe the best way to deal with trump and minimize his influence is to just him lawsuits will just provide more fodder. He'll fight up to the supreme court time shane. We hear this intimate a lot. But is trump going anywhere. I think that's just the the realistic question ask. He's not an and i think he's made that clear. Even these these The blitz of appearances. He did this week. I mean. I think the the listener who've emailed in is expressing an important point in that he isn't ex president and we need to keep that in mind we journalists when we cover him We don't traditionally cover ex. Presidents had any great detail at the same time ex presidents. do not exert this kind of hold on their party and declare open warfare with the senate minority minority republican leader in basically put themselves forward. And say i'm staying. I'm going to be a kingmaker. I'm going to go on tv. I may start a social media company with my own. So trump is as he did so many times in the past four years is breaking the mold and that is going to require that we pay attention. He is water You know. Republicans like it or not is arguably still the most influential person in that party well and wendy very briefly. He's an ex president who only served a single term in his thus far not been blocked from running for office again so that is a little threat that continues to hang over the gop as well. Yes absolutely you know he and he's going to keep dangling that out as long as possible you know. He loves the drama. He loves the drum roll. And so you know for. I don't know if it'll be ted cruz anymore. But for chris. Christie and tom cotton and nikki haley. And all these people who are thinking about running in two thousand four. I mean. they're sort of frozen in time until trump makes a decision. And because he will you know suck up all the energy in the universe if he does run and that that could You know sort of slow down there. Fashions coming up president biden and make some big promises when it comes to covid nineteen deliver. I'm jen white will hear more from you. And our guests in a moment support for npr and the following message come from better help offering online counseling. Better help therapist. Hassoo joe knows that lockdown has been hard on us as humans we as people are hardwired to connect with others which this whole time is so difficult the connection that happens between people and be very powerful and how healing it can be to have a healthy relationship with someone to get matched with a counselor within forty eight hours and save ten percent. Go to better help dot com slash one in recent mass shootings people have been targeted for who. They are who they worship. But on june twenty. Eight twenty eight people were targeted for the job. They do at a newspaper listened to the new series from. Npr's embedded about the survivors at the capital gazette. Now let's get back to the news roundup. I want to bring one more voice into the conversation. Dr james hamlyn is a staff writer at the atlantic. And he's a lecturer at the yale school of public health. Dr hamlin welcome to one a. Thank you for having me. President joe biden has a new time line for when we'll be back to normal as my mother would say with the grace of god. The goodwill neighbors that by next christmas i think will be very different circumstance. God willing than we are today. I think a year from now when it's twenty below zero here know a year from now. I think that there'd be significantly fewer people having to be socially distanced have to wear masks. But we don't know now. His prediction came during cnn. Townhall earlier this week you heard him. Make a bit of a caveat there at the end but dr hamlin. He also said we'll have widespread vaccinations by july. How does that sound that. Timeline sound to you. I think that sounds very feasible and from experts who i've spoken to. It could be even sooner. I think the barriers there still some open questions but if people continue to be enthusiastic about getting vaccinated and responsible in the lead up to that period. I think and i just wrote about this kind of the atlantic but it's a difficult conversation but i think summer actually will feel in lots of ways much closer to normal and just because of the season -ality we've seen people can get out and if vaccinations continue to roll out i think for the. Us specifically things are going to rapidly improve when we talk about vaccine distribution. We know there have been some hiccups in in that process in the us. How what are the hurdles that remain to getting widespread vaccination distribution especially for vulnerable communities. Oh wait again. I think we are the biden. Ministration is sort of starting from scratch in trying to have a federal plan beyond just getting states vaccine's and letting them do as as they will. One issue is that we have very different levels of infection and population immunity already in the country. For example in north dakota it seems they are very near to herd immunity effect already because they had so many cases and meanwhile in vermont. You've had about two percent of the population has had a reported case. There's still a lot of potential for a big spike there. And so i think you could do more to think about. Do we need to federally get back more vaccines to vermont. Where they're more likely to save lives. And how can you have this view from a federal level just to make sure that these things are getting allocated to where the most beneficial because we vaccinating a healthy. Twenty-something is just vastly less valuable than vaccinating older ha- a risk person. Well biden has said we will have more than six hundred million vaccine doses by july nearly enough to fully vaccinate everyone in the country the spread of variants camp complicate that calculus dr hamlin. The biden administration is promised roughly two hundred million dollars in federal funds to study these variance. But what do we know about them. Now well the virus constantly evolving into each time someone's infected evolves within you during the course of infection so the the real key to stopping is to stop transmission and to get case counts lower and thankfully the vaccines that are being used in the us and the strains that are dominant in the us. Nothing seems to change the calculus of that they will be extremely effective and the faster we can get people vaccinated and continue to slow transmission. The lower the likelihood that we're gonna see development of new strains that might be able to circumvent armenian systems a unlikely. They're not going to render the totally useless. But you know if the effectiveness drops slightly that that could be significant so we just want to do everything right now to minimize the potential for that evolution. Which is long as there are still many many cases around the world. We cannot feel certain that are going to absolutely remain as effective as they are now. President biden has set a goal to reopen schools within his first one hundred days in office but some parents did a double take this week when he specified that he meant k. through eight schools vice president. Khama harris reiterated that goal on the today show so our goal is that as many k. through eight schools as possible will reopen as within the first hundred days. Our goal is that they will be five days a week. Abidance says he always meant k. Through eight schools but some say he's moving the goalposts. Wendy what's been happening. When it comes to his administration covid and schools. There's been a tremendous amount of confusion. Jan they they do keep sort of changing their messaging and this is an administration that you know it was Quite a change at the starting in january to see message discipline coming from white house again. But i'm this one. The seemed to be having trouble you know getting a story sticking to it if you will they I think part of it is the all the various stakeholders that they're dealing with. I mean i think we all have co workers stuck at home with school aged children and obviously k. Through eight is harder to work while your children are at home than it is with high school kids but nevertheless high school is very very important place to be every day and i see even in neighborhoods around where i live. That i know are liberal. You're seeing signs open. The schools now open the schools. Now you've got the parents on the one hand you've got the teacher's union on the other hand where older teachers certainly want to be vaccinated. Even younger teachers feel that they are danger. If they shouldn't go back if they go back to school with you know these little kids who might be you know spewing the virus everywhere although i Are james can correct me on this. I don't think children are huge. Transmitters biden has a lot of different voices to answer to and then let's remember. It's really not up to him. He doesn't control the school systems. That's the most local government we have. And so you know at some point. It's going to be out of his hands. Well dr hamlin. What do we know at this point about children. As as being people who pass this virus onto others yet children can transmit the virus. They don't transmitted as often as adults. They're at a vastly lower risk for severe disease and we know that having kids out of school has health consequences social consequences for them. You know affects the whole society. So i think it's very right to prioritize those school openings. My hope would be that. It's done when teachers and faculty who are at risk of severe disease are vaccinated which should be very feasible in the very near-term if not already done and that also comes with infrastructure changes which would help all the time you know do all kinds of respiratory illnesses including the flu kills tens of thousands of americans every year are transmitted between kids and brought home to families every year and having good ventilation and pre it system to try to create good airflow in schools will be you know that's a lasting benefit and something that we could invest in in this moment and i want to be careful not to paint Each group with too broad a brush. Because i've heard from teachers who wanna be back in the classroom but are also concerned not just with their own health but the the health of vulnerable family members in their own households and the same from parents who may have children with asthma or other health complications and may also have members of their family. Who are vulnerable groups. So it's it's a really complicated issue it really is. I mean we can step back and look at the aggregate statistics which do show that. Schools are quite safe. Relatively speaking to other you know places where people congregate the. Cdc has said that schools can safely reopen as long as they take certain. Safety measures like social distancing the ventilation that james is talking about all things at schools are very good at controlling. These are already regulated environment where the students behavior is enforced and there are rules. But that doesn't get you down to the micro level and if you are the parent of a child who already has some health concerns and covert infection. Good put them at risk. You're not necessarily eager to send them back either and the issue vaccinating teachers while they are certainly there have been other essential workers on the front lines for months that have been back at work that have not been vaccinated. It does raise this sort of underscores. The question about how poor the vaccine planning roll out was by the previous administration. And and how this is really kind of in some ways a plane that is only beginning to get some lift and hasn't been able to take off yet that we can't just put teachers to the front of the line and say do it and be done with it already as james says we may get there but a lot of this is is playing catch up In arguably should have been planned out already particularly the reopening of the schools. I mean when we had a vaccine developed in ten months which was an astonishing scientific feat that we didn't have a logistics plan for vaccinating people. I'm jen white. You're listening to one. A. we're talking to shane. Harris of the washington post when he benjamin senate bloomberg news dr james hamlin of the atlantic and the gaels school of public health will democratic governor andrew. Cuomo of new york has come under fire in his home state for an alleged cover-up involving covert nineteen deaths in nursing homes. Governor cuomo spoke to reporters about the debacle earlier this week. In retrospect should've prioritized providing more information to be clear all the deaths in the nursing homes and in the hospitals were always fully publicly an accurately reported the fbi and the us attorney in brooklyn both launched investigations into cuomo's office over the incident. But when you help us understand what happened here you know i. I think we're going to have to find out our detail. It looks like Initially disclosed that eight thousand five hundred people had died in long term care and new york and it turns out it was fifteen thousand. So now you know there are We know that he was moving. Cuomo the governor. The i should say state. Health officials were moving patients from hospitals two nursing homes and those obviously are the most vulnerable People in this virus and so now they're looking into Whether he cooked the books on the numbers essentially and You know this is set up a war between him and de blasio the mayor of new york city. and that's an intra democratic war. It's This isn't good for a guy who last summer i believe we were talking about. Wow maybe he should replace biden at the top of the ticket. It's quite a change now. Seeing the governor has expressed regret but he hasn't apologized and he's insisting there was no cover-up but what other fallout could he face from this. Well there's the investigations that you pointed to and he can insist there wasn't a cover up at the same time what we're seeing as revelations that in fact the state did not provide full data to legislators on the number of nursing home residents who died of this disease And this is you know after the justice department announced a probe into the handling of the pandemic. So you know the governor can say there wasn't a cover up but this is really gonna depend on what and when they transmitted in terms of the data And and in terms of the political fallout. it could be immense. I mean as wendy pointed out you know. People were talking about cuomo running for president. He became such the public face of how public officials should competently respond to the virus. Remember how devastated new york and particularly new york city were by covid nineteen disproportionately even to other parts of the country. You know governor. Cuomo is on tv. Every day talking to people talking about the science talking about the facts enforcing social distancing in was the contrast to president trump. Who seemed to not only not taken seriously but mislead people about the course of the pandemic to now find out That he was potentially covering data on top of the allegations which go back to some months ago that he was sending patients into nursing homes. Which of course was the most dangerous place to put them. is potentially a really spectacular collapse of his political career. Well dr hamlin does access to this data matter particularly in the medical world during an outbreak. Like this i think especially in those early phases where it seems like forever ago but we did not understand we know anything about these brand new the even just the disparities. Pardon my dog. The disparities between who is most at risk and exactly how we need to allocate our precious resources to keep deaths as low as possible during a time before we have. Vaccinations me can't just clothes. Every thing for an entire year having having that data is very important but primarily the most important thing you can have from public officials during a pandemic is just transparency entrusts and that that gum it from having people agree to follow these intense preventive guidelines even asked to follow closed. Businesses closed schools to wear masks to get tested now to get vaccinated that requires just warmest. Trust that the people who are in charge know what they're doing and when you find out that there's anything but absolute transparency that risks throwing off the entire response well. The biden administration has promised to pour one point six billion dollars into nineteen testing. What do we know about where that money's going to go dr hamlin I don't know specifically. But i if i if it were mind to allocate it would be rapid testing. You know. i think we're seeing cases fall dramatically right now and we're seeing vaccination ramp up really quickly and we do not want to lose sight of the fact that the wage you Contain isolated outbreaks as they pop up and we should expect that they will in the fall in the winter is to have been able to rapidly deploy tests. You don't wanna have shut down entire states or entire cities and you could do that by rapidly testing. Tracing in a way that we just abjectly failed to do during the The past year of the pandemic. that's dr james hamlyn. He's a staff writer at the atlantic and a lecture at the yale school of public health. Windy benjamin sin is a politics editor at bloomberg news and shane harris covers national security and intelligence for the washington post. Thanks to you all one as lead audio engineer and sound designer. Is jake cherry. He gets technical assistant from ben. Privet mike kid and rashad. Young ailing humphries is the producer and editor of one on demand. Gabrielle healey is our digital editor. in chris. costano is producer up next the international segment of the news. Roundup support for this podcast and the following message come from k. Bound in support of the david gilkey and zaba ulitsa monitor memorial fund established to strengthen npr's commitment to training and protecting journalists in high risk environments support for npr comes from newman's own foundation working to nourish the common good by donating all profits from newman's own food products to charitable organizations that seek to make the world a better place. More information is available at newman's own foundation dot org so we're back one hundred seven days. After leaving the paris climate accord today. The united states has officially rejoined the agreement. Also this week. The french president emmanuel macron urges europe. And the us to send up to five percent of their vaccine supplies to developing nations protests. Turned deadly in myanmar. And there's a bit of a falling out between australia and big tech. That matters to all of us our guests on the roundup this week. Our ishani the roar. He sean is a foreign affairs columnist at the washington. Post and host of the papers newsletter. Today's world view. Welcome thanks for having me also with us. Robert robbie grammar diplomacy and national security reporter at foreign policy robbie. Welcome to be here and nancy yousef reports on national security for the wall street journal. Hi nancy hi great to be with you. So let's start with some of the latest news that concerns. Us relations with two of the biggest players in the middle east israel and iran on thursday the biden administration so now its strongest signal yet to re engage with iran over a deal known as the joint comprehensive plan of action or jcp. Oei nancy. explain what's going on. so there is a meeting between Secretary state anthony blinken virtual meeting. I should say and his counterparts. In germany. The uk and france and in that call he signalled that the us would be ready to enter talks. That was followed by a statement from the state department. Signaling the same that if the e you were to put forward Such a a a meeting that that the us would be willing to engage and so it was sort of the first opening salvo and restarting talks. The challenge is several fold one iran. Respondents said we're not gonna meet and less the us lift sanctions and this has been the sort of initial source of tension about who's going to sort of make the real formal i move. Will the us release some of sanctions pressure or will iran adhere to limits on its Atomic program on top of that This is A deal where talks where. It's not clear whether the us is interested in re entering the deal that it was in two thousand fifteen or adding new parameters into it and it's coming at a time when the environment change where we could be talking to china and russia's part of these talks or regional allies so we saw an opening but i think what we really saw more than anything is how much more challenging arguably these talks will be than the ones in two thousand fifteen well. And he's sean. Can you help us understand what we might be hearing in public over what we might might be said in private between the two well in public. We've been in this kind of blinking staring contest for the past month since i came to office whereas now he said the iranians have insisted that they're not doing anything until the us drops the sanctions that the trump administration imposed on iran while the americans in the vitamin station have been We're not going to be doing anything. Until iran takes the first move and scales back some of its enrichment operations which they scaled up after being targeted by us sanctions. So now we're seeing that there is something of an off ramp that With the help of the eu Brokering these Some kind of set talks The various parties are gonna meet. There is obviously at this point. No clear timeline for For what what could be the resumption of both iran and the united states Fulfilling the terms of this deal made in two thousand fifteen and of course the looming things right now is that the iranians have threatened They threatened to block u. n. inspectors starting next week if the us sanctions. Don't get dropped so we're entering a pretty delicate moment. And as nancy said there's no reason to be particularly optimistic that We're going to get get get get clear results pretty soon earlier this week. President biden finally got on the phone with with israeli prime minister. Benjamin netanyahu yahu this comes after a month of being in office white house press secretary. Jen psaki said that the delay in communications was quote. Not an intentional. This as israel's of course and ally israel is a country where we have an important strategic security relationship and our team is fully engaged. Not at the at the head of state yet level quite yet but very soon But our team is fully engaged having constant conversations at many levels With the israelis robbie. What do we know about why it did takes along. Well one thing is clear. President biden does not share the same level of deep skepticism toward israel as the Further left in progressive of of the democratic party here but this is still a stark shift from the trump administration trump was was close maybe closer than than any other president. In modern history with with his israeli counterpart and and brandished himself is the most pro israel president in. Us history so the fact that that biden did take a month To to call up netanyahu on when he in his first days in office issued a flurry of of calls with with his closest european allies does does show and does signal that that for for the israelis there. There is a new sheriff in town here. and i think Adding another layer attention to. This is exactly what you sean. Answer talking about the iran nuclear deal. Israel has also signalled. It's it's pretty uneasy about Biden's plans to re entered negotiations with iran on so that could further inflame tensions between israel and the united states. Right now and he's not. What have we been hearing from the former. Us secretary of state. Well anything that the the by ministration does right now is being framed as we and as a series of concessions The trump administration officials secretary of state pompeo Former national security adviser. John bolton are framing. Any kind of attempts for upper small as as a an unnecessary loss of leverage over the iranians. And i mean the counter argument to that is that you know what has the so-called leverage achieved. Iran is theoretically closer to be capable of producing a nuclear weapon than it was when trump came to power and We haven't seen iranians Curb their malign quote unquote malign activities in the region. So so this is going to be. They're going to rolling political arguments here in washington to jump on the the question of netanyahu. What is quite clear. And what's been communicated is that while biden remains very fond of israel and and these rarely relationship matters to him. His relationship in yahoo matters a bit less. Israel has elections next month. And and we've already seen that. The vitamin station is playing it. Cool partially because they don't want to yoke themselves. Danny israel politician the way trump did and they don't want they don't want to let yahu yoke himself to the american government. The way trumpeted as well. Well let's stay in the region for the moment because this week. Israel's largest healthcare provider reported the pfizer vaccine reduced symptomatic infections by ninety four percent. It also found that ninety. Two percent were less likely to develop severe illness from the virus. Right this is one of the first real world studies. We've gotten what do these results mean for israel and for the rest of the world. Yeah well israel's are really interesting test case that that the rest of the world is watching it. It's got three things going for it that that other countries might not The i is a is a small population With a large supply of vaccines but that's also coupled with a centralized healthcare system that can coordinate complex logistics like like a massive vaccine rollout As some of my other colleagues have reported. I think that a lot of policymakers and health experts are going to be watching to as a litmus test to see if herd immunity can work with with regards to the coronavirus pandemic But but at the same time it's israel's facing a bit of an uphill battle after after stage one of the vaccine campaign because they They now face this this difficult task of trying to coax vaccine skeptics. Younger israelis are members of more insular communities in in the country including Or ultra-orthodox jewish community in some arab israelis to take Go in and get the shot so so y without those communities getting the vaccines it's unclear whether that That end goal of achieving heard community can can happen But it's definitely far and ahead the leader in the world right now of getting his population vaccinate. Nancy bring us up to speed on the vaccination role in the gaza strip. Well we saw an important development. This week There is a shipment that arrived with wednesday into the gaza strip was the first time that they had received such shipment that the challenge is. It's only two thousand doses and this is one of the most densely populated areas of the world. Roughly two million people are twelve thousand medical personnel. And so we saw Officials are trying to figure out whether those doses would go to some of the medical staff or some of the high risk patients and the politics of the region with a backdrop in that distribution there were some israeli politicians who said that the delivery of those supplies should be bargaining chip to release captives held in gaza and And the other thing that we saw those vaccines were different than the ones that that were going over the other side of the wall on the israeli side and that they are russian made and that they only require basic storage to and so i point that out to say that i think what we saw was not only sort of the the first distribution and in such an impoverished area but by extension a real distribution highlight really of the global inequality that we're seeing with distributions in terms of when they're arriving how they're arriving how many are arriving and and so i think that the case in gaza highlighted that the rate of new coronavirus cases falling both in the us worldwide in nearly one hundred ninety million doses of the vaccine have been administered across the globe but the international rollout is uneven. Here's the chief of the world. Health organization tedros adhanom. More than three quarters of those boxy nations are in just ten countries that account for almost sixty percent of global gdp almost one hundred thirty countries with two point. Five billion people are yet to administer. A single does presidential biden is expected to announce today that the us will spend four billion dollars to eight the international vaccine roll out and get more doses in the arms of people across the globe. Robbie one more. Do we know about how that money will be spent well they. The administration hasn't come out with specific details on how it spent. But i think it's significant because it's a it's jet another big shift away from from the trump administration Did this program to supply the rest of the world with with vaccines known as covax. Under trump the united states and russia were virtually the only countries in the entire world that that didn't sign up. So so it's yet another signal that that the biden administration is taking a more internationalist approach to to fighting the corona virus And i think it's worth pointing out that that health experts in Public officials say that this is not this is not just about charity. I mean The corona virus if it spreads and takes root in the developing world in countries where they don't have the rate are adequate health infrastructure data. How corona virus can mutate into something potentially more dangerous and deadly and and filter its way back into. Us borders here so so sort of the approach of What they what they call acce- nationalism of each country. Just trying to take care of. Its own isn't isn't that sustainable And i think a lot of public health experts. Her are cheering this this initiative to try to Get more vaccines out to the rest of the world. Well in french president emmanuel macron had another idea this week about how to get more vaccines to developing countries schon. What did suggest yes in an interview with the financial times. He suggested that the europe and the us donate Something around five percent of the doses. They've already ordered To poorer countries in his in his comments he was specifically talking about africa but to the developing world or two nations. That don't have the same capacity to order and procure these vaccines. What's interesting and he. He yacky made the argument that the robbery was saying that. This is not a question of ethics morality. It's one of pragmatism when you're dealing with a global public health crisis But what's important to note. Is that this is not. You know this doesn't really even come at the expense of your own national public their calculations right now that the us even though it feels like there's a shortage of supply that by the time every american vaccinated the us itself may have half a billion surplus doses hanging around. You already have instances in europe where people aren't even taking the astrazeneca vaccine because they don't want their worry about side effects so there is a recognition that there's actually In the grand scheme of things. A great deal of oversupply because of some of the the kinds of of vaccine nationalism and stockpiling the already happened in the past few months well. Zimbabwe began vaccinating. Its citizens only yesterday. It's the third country in africa to do so it received two hundred thousand donations doses donation from china. Nancy on this unequal vaccine rollout issue. Does this just come down to economics. The richest countries are disabled to buy more vaccines or something else at work. I think that's part of it. I think There is Distrust among some populations about using the vaccine. I think all countries are challenged by distribution problems. and you know the in terms of the finances what we saw in places like the european union was that there was sort of collective buying a vaccine whereas some of these other countries are doing it individually and to sort of buy in bulk and and kind of have the deals at one would get if they bought with other countries. The the other thing. I would point out that There's a diplomacy part of this as well that we've seen efforts by countries like china and russia to leverage their ability to create vaccines. That are easier to store that are cheaper as an entree into some of these countries. And i think that's played a factor as well in terms of how how we've seen Vaccines purchased well the. Who also took a step monday with hopes to get more doses to countries. Sean can you tell us the latest about the emergency authorization. The astra zeneca vaccine while. Yes so this is an approval that a lot of a lot of people are waiting for because the astra zeneca vaccine is much easier to to distribute distribution parts of the world that don't have the infrastructure needed save the coal storage for example for the pfizer vaccine and it's also a considerably cheaper So we've already seen a number of countries order major shipments of the vaccine and they're waiting for delivery and roll out now at the same time. There are concerns about this vaccine. It's believed to have greater side effects. than the pfizer medina Vaccines and there are also concerns about its ability to reckon with some of the variants that we're seeing popping up in various parts of the world so just with this authorisation and with the advent of greater distribution of the astrazeneca vaccine. It doesn't necessarily mean the turning the tide in some of these parts of the world that are at this point vaccine desserts. Nancy are we seeing any. Push back from against western leaders. Who who want to join this effort to help build a more equal distribution of the vaccine globally. I think what we're seeing sort of a different priority for because in some countries They're having their own distribution problems. They're saying we need to vaccinate more of our own populations before we we distribute. I do think that this idea is waning. We heard this week for example from the who director-general who said if we stop fighting any front it'll come roaring back. I think the idea is subsiding as ours. People realizing these new variants and a new ways that the the the disease is spreading through the world that there is no option of sort of looking at it as just a problem within borders that that vaccines are critical to stop new variants to be able to reopen economies around the world. Something that now happens in. South africa could fundamentally affect how a vaccine works in the united states. How the economy's able to reopen. And so i think that is mitigating. Some of those concerns but the challenges that each country's also having its own complications in terms of distribution gaining public trust and taking vaccines that i think is limiting the ability to really treat this as a global effort one specifically for the biden administration which is still in. Its early days. And we know we're facing some hurdles with vaccine distribution here in the us but how much does it matter that he's joining this effort and and sounds like forty two different relationship with the who than the trump administration had. I think it's tremendous because under the you know the the world community depends on the world health organization now for distribution to poor countries for research that we saw in terms of how the disease developed to begin with and so under the trump administration had lost sort of a credibility footing support Because there was such a distancing from it it's it's as much practical in terms of the funding that the us is going to provide but also in terms of creating a framework in which the international community can work. Tackle this problem together. So i think it's a significant development for those who want to see this as a joint effort Because of the rhetorical change because of the practical changes. We'll talk about the significance of this move from a national security perspective. Yeah i mean the. I've talked to two people In both the trump and biden administration who who characterized the entire coronavirus response is the biggest national security failing and in united states history. I mean You know approaching almost half half a million deaths here The united states seemed unprepared. There there were slapdash. Lockdowns state by state that really exacerbated the spread of the virus. And so there's so many there's so many knock on effects on on the national security side here that that we're going to see play out in the in the coming months and years And i think getting the virus back under control is is one of the top. Priorities are not just biden's domestic team but also for his is foreign policy team. Which is why you're seeing such a such a major diplomatic. Push on the world stage to try to coordinate with more these countries and and Dedicate hundreds of millions of dollars more to fighting the virus. Let me sean. How much of. This is an opportunity for the biden administration to rewrite the narrative of the us's role on the global stage. It's a significant Part of it. You have biden actually as we were chatting right now he is addressing the munich security conference ways essentially we articulating this kind of promise of restoring american leadership on the world stage or a certain kind of american american contribution to the liberal world order and fighting the pandemic is of course at the top of the agenda And and and we're going to see to what extent these new promises about funding kovacs and really taking taking the lead in a certain way on helping other parts of the world with their vaccine distributions. We're going to see how much the us can deliver in the coming months into your thoughts. I think it's The premier national. I cover the pentagon and i've spent twenty years hearing people describe Sort of traditional threat. and what. you're seeing i think is because the impact of covert that we're redefining covid. Excuse me that we're redefining. What a national security threat is and so as you see this redistribution finances and priorities. It's really permeating every part of the national security apparatus when we go to the pentagon the priority is cova distribution. It's not combating terrorism. The way it was just a year ago because of how pervasive this has been to operations including including how we think about national security well. Japan also began vaccinating. Its citizens this week. It's the world's third biggest economy robbie so behind other wealthy countries. Japan's really interesting case And i think in a way it's it's sort of a victim of its own success here. I mean Japan like you said one of the most world's most populous country Only has had a total of about three hundred seventy thousand cases and about five thousand. Three hundred deaths recorded to date a stark contrast with other major pop populous countries. Like the united states which which again is is approaching You know Or or is is already recording. Hundreds of thousands of deaths but of course Getting the vaccine into into japanese citizens There there are some significant there. That japan has including completing all of its Clinical trials And and convincing a population where sections of the public are little more hesitant in skeptical of vaccines to come in and get the shot. Nice sean. The tokyo olympics are still scheduled for this summer. That's after being delayed from last year. Are those still attract happen. They are though. Hugh listen to the book. Japanese public Folks rather it wouldn't happen or they'd rather the games get canceled or delayed. Once more than there's something. Recent polling showed eighty percent of japanese. That's eight zero Don't want the games to happen right now. As they're scheduled you have authorities in some parts of the country where the torch relay races opposed to go So Supposed to start the next month or so saying they don't want to participate in the olympic torch race And so it turned to a bit of a mess. There are a lot of fears about the pandemic. the lot of fears about how japan can weather the influx of Foreigners coming to the events and and the massive security and public health complexities surrounding that. And so so yeah. It's a political potato right now. Well let's briefly turn to north korea which was accused this week of trying to steal vaccine information from pfizer. South korean officials say their neighbors to the north attempted to hack the company. Nancy what more do we know at this point. So there was a briefing with the South korean lawmakers in which the intelligence community comes forward and says that there was an attempt to Hack into pfizer now subsequently that the name pfizer came out because a lawmaker said that was what was talked about in the briefing. The intelligence officials said we didn't name a company but either way It's not clear whether it was successful or even when it happened. But i think it gets at sort of some broader issues. Now we should know that. North korea's leadership says that it has no cases It's a close country so it's hard to say what the status is there at the same time they've asked for two million doses through the kovacs program that we talked about earlier and so What's interesting about this is. I think it's always surprising to people when they hear about these hacks because we think of north korea's a closed society but it's one with very advanced cyber units and using these cyber activities either to gather intelligence or the theft of intellectual property. And so it's interesting that it's looking for information as on the vaccine potentially for either one of those goals and so we don't know much about whether what it was able to do but we know is the latest in a series of efforts by north korea's suspected by north korea to hack into companies to gather information for its own economic or intellectual advancement. Well let's turn to me mar. It's been nearly three weeks. Since the coup. Their military troops have ceased power announced civilian leader aung sung suci and the now deposed president. You and meant shawn. We've got just about a minute here but there was a closed door trial for both of them this week. Do we know what happened. Well it's it's it's a bit murky but we do know that the charges are quite absurd that the initial charge the first charge leveled against the usage of illegal walkie talkie usage in possession of illegal walkie-talkies. This charge was related to her and her colleagues having supposedly broken covert regulations when there are campaigning for elections last year. Now the reason why we're even in the situation is is that the military arguments is that there was election fraud even though we've not seen any real evidence of that and they instance the the began the coup i mean they rolled out the coup and completely shut down whatever existed in my mars Fledgling democracy because on those grounds and now there's a bit of a contest between A military that's to wait out the protests that we're seeing on weekly daily basis and and to a certain extent A population that that is bracing for a deeper crackdown. We'll take a moment to note the passing of the jamaican musician. You roy or daddy you roy. He was also known as the originator and pioneered toasting. You roy was awarded the order of distinction by the jamaican government in two thousand seven. Quick update president biden in a remote. the munich. Security conference has been speaking to our allies about america's role on the world state stage. He just delivered a robust defence of our democratic progress which he said was under salt in the western world he said in part quote were in the midst of a fundamental debate about the future direction of our world between those who argue that given all of the challenges we face from the fourth industrial revolution to a global pandemic autocracy is the best way forward and those who understand that democracy is essential to meeting those challenges. You can hear more analysis of president biden's address on your npr station. Let's return to myanmar now. Where in response to the military coup there have been growing protests along with a civil disobedience movement made up of civil servants nancy. Tens of thousands took to the streets to protest military rule. But there's also been hundreds of arrests talk about the opposition. We're seeing in how the military is responding to these protests. Sure we're seeing sort of push pull over the course of the week. We started to see more and more people coming out and when this began the initial day or two after On sushi suci was arrested. We saw silence and then a growing number of protests going to the street anomaly number but government workers teachers people risking their jobs to to protests. And so that was met with Bigger crackdowns by the government. We've seen at least four hundred arrests Internet shut off we've seen real limitations And the use of live ammunition and so there has been this this sort of tug of war in terms of trying to suppress the crowds on the crowds rising up there an important developments in that one woman. A twenty year old just turned twenty grocery worker. Who was shot in the head on february ninth day today And i think her death could be a sort of galvanizing point. Four protesters picture was already all over the protests as a sort of personifying the the push by by protesters. And so that might be Something that pushes the protests forward in a way that the shutdown of internet the arrests were intended the crackdowns the the raise happening that were intended to push back against and so i think these next few days will be interesting in terms of which sort of force is stronger. Is it fear or is it a determination to to challenge on the military rule. Well this is. The first reported death out of those protests since the february first coup. But do we have any real idea. What what the injury or death toll might be. We don't because we don't know the extent of live ammunition used in part because they'll be denials about what what was used or wasn't used. there's been rubber. Bullets we've seen water cannons we've seen limited use of of live-ammunition and of course there are other ways people can die through stampedes things and so it's very opaque to give you a sense. I mean journalists. There are being told to not call this. A coup so the ability to get information is really limited and we're depending on bits and pieces that come out so it's very hard to kind of get a sense of the potential impact of this in terms of injuries and deaths. Well nancy alluded to some new policies. The military has enacted explain. What's happening in what rights are being stripped away. Yeah well the the think the military to it seems like it was surprised by by the widespread public protests. Here so it's just Issuing further Further crackdowns On the population here as as protests continue and in drag on and and like. Nancy said the death of this of this protester could could be a real a real galvanizing moment for the protests on and i think some people are wondering whether or not there's a there's a tipping point Whether the military to will will back down ease off some of these restrictions or or continuing an even more More violent and sharper. Crackdown on i. Also think one interesting element here That starting to percolate is how much these protests have taken on an increasing. The anti china tone protesters in myanmar Are blaming china in part for for how this military coup went down. There's even misinformation unconfirmed reports spreading of chinese soldiers in infiltrating myanmar. So so in in the in the same way. This is a crisis for myanmar. It's also in some ways a diplomatic in soft power crisis for For china as it says its popularity sinks throughout the rest of southeast asia. We know the military has enacted indefinite detention. Warrantless searches. nancy. You talked about reporters They're being told not to use the word coup. What are the crackdowns on communication. Are we saying we've seen at least two days in a row in which the internet has been shut down and we should note that one way that people have been getting a message out messages out of getting protesters. history is through facebook about half of the residents. There depend on facebook as a means of communication. We've seen arrests happening in the middle of the night people going through the forces going through neighborhoods Arresting activists Students election officials and members of unsung suci party and so those have all been intended to limit Engagement and communication and sort of strike a tone of a fear within communities well. Let's turn to big tack. Australia is taking it on. There was a widespread outrage this week at facebook's decision to block its users in australia from sharing news in response to a proposed law which would make tech companies pay for news content on their platform. The australian prime minister scott morrison said the move to unfriendly australia as was arrogant and disappointing. His communications minister. Paul fletcher went even further while they're effectively signed to australian zoos. You will not find content on our platform which comes from an organization which employs professional journalists which has editorial policies which has fact checking processes that same apprising position. We've been talking to. Strikeout is all the way through including google and facebook. That principle is very quick now. Both google and facebook if fought this new law saying it unfairly penalizes their platforms but google has in recent days. Signed payment deals with major australian media outlets. Sean just explain a bit more about what australia's doing what's at stake right. Well this is one of the more acute Instances of government policy Traditional media companies Having a showdown with big tech and this and it's really pretty fascinating to watch. Basically what this law that. The australian government is weighing would do would you would mandate that these big tech companies facebook google and so on would have to pay news companies for the ability to carry news content on their platforms Facebook turns around and says look. No one is forcing you to post No one's we're not forcing anybody to post news story in our on our service this. Why should we have to charge for something they. Why should we have to pay for something that that we're not even you know mandating And so of course as we as journalists obviously no One of the great faustian bargains of the last few decades has been Involved sort of the extent to which we have ceded ground to companies like facebook and google They have covered up. They become a major distribution platform for four our stories for our work and of course they've sucked in all advertising. There was once hopefully going to traditional media and in australia and in some other countries you've seen government legislation and major media companies. They're pushed back to certain degrees. And here is a case in point where facebook on one hand Chose not to go along with things and they flipped the switch this week. So if you. If you're in australia on facebook you will not find news right now and if you're on facebook no anywhere else in the world you won't find australian news on facebook As google took a more conciliatory line and has brokered. Some deals with major media companies. Rupert murdoch's newscorp first and foremost To pay for some of the content. Now pops up and google news in australia. Probably do we know why. Google went ahead and made that deal. It seems like it was. It was a negotiating tactic to ease pressure with with the australian government. Here to say okay. We'll we'll start making some some conciliations here in in order to try to get past this I think the the big the big thing here that that he sean eluded twos is that other countries are really closely. I in this response in australia's test case for for how to manage their the rise of big tech obviously has become a major issue here in the united states particularly in the wake of of president donald trump's banned from from social media companies. That really angered a lot of republican lawmakers and put a target on the back of of big tech for for some of these prominent national politicians. Nancy google to be clear again he. They ended up doing a deal with news corp which is owned by rupert murdoch and it dominates the news landscape in australia. Do we risk could little naive if this is about supporting you know. Local journalism A little bit at the risk of them being pessimistic. I mean i. I think it's such a fascinating question about how to fund news. And that's that's i think at the corporate because remember in australia. They tax resonance for their abc australian broadcasting company for other services and so there is a financial model. there that somewhat subsidize. I think what a critic would argue that. The assumption of these laws is that facebook and google or stealing information and therefore owe something back and so it's a fascinating attempt at getting that. How do you fund an industry that is necessary but it's business model is not Proving to be able to sort of sustain itself in the face of these sort of new ways of information coming out. And so. I think. I don't know if it's about local journalism. I think it's a as much as it is about finding a sustainable model for for such an importance source to any government which is how information is distributed. Let's turn next to canada and planet put forward on tuesday that would allow local communities to ban handguns. The move stopped short of supporting a national handgun ban which gun control advocates have called for prime minister. Justin trudeau said he knew there would be some political fallout from both sides of the gun control debate but the core of why we are doing this. The core of why canadians want this done is to keep our community safe in canada. People can use guns for hunting and for sport shooting not for personal protection. There is no need for military style. Assault weapons anywhere in this country. Robbie weiss trudeau making this move now. Well it comes after after other legislation Believe last year where they ban these military style assault weapons and there is. There is a massive shooting in in nova scotia after last year. That left nearly two dozen people. Dead was one of the deadliest mass shootings in in canadian history and so for for him and his government. It's following through on a on a on a big political promise to To enact gun control legislation I think In in candidates it is a controversial issue. Nowhere near as as controversial intractable gun. Control reforms are in the united states But with that said. I think there are a lot of us. Lawmakers and gun control activists that are going to be looking at our neighbors up north and seeing how this this legislation is implemented in. And if there's a model for the united states to pit potentially follow one day if if it can pass through all of the all of the hurdles and in washington will much of the pushback is come from gun. Owners canada's conservative leader erin o'toole says it's the number of guns in america. That's to blame for the number of illegal firearms in canada as much as eighty to ninety percent of the firearms used in illegal activities. Mainly in large cities come from illegal smuggling from the united states. The trudeau government has made that worse through inaction at the border in the last four. Plus years a nancy. I'm not sure how a city by city ban on handguns work. But to what degree do you think. Trudeau is really trying to ease concerns from the hunting lobby. Who are obviously more likely to be living. You know some way away from an urban center you know. I think we gun legislation is inherently controversial. And i think he was trying to strike a balance if you were to ask Leaders in montreal and toronto. This legislation didn't go far enough. If you ask people more rural parts of the country they would say. It's gone too far because it calls for things like inability to take back gun licences. I think this is sort of the first four eight to really try to tackle this issue. And i and i think it's It's it's a fool's errand to think that any legislation could tackle all the problems that come with with guns that he could stop guns wholeheartedly. I think what they're trying to do. More than anything. Chris lay the path work for communities to have responsible gun laws as they see fit and at the same time allow trudeau to fulfill a campaign. Promise that he had made to impose stricter gun laws. Robbie what do you think. The likelihood is of the us looking to canada for for guidance on this issue. I mean i mean they're they're already Us gun control activists who who have been talking about this. I think there's some pretty active lawmakers on on the democratic side who are going to be pressing President biden to To take action. Now that he now that the democrats have control of of the white house the house and and even very narrowly The senate Of course this is one of those pipedreams from from the left eighth. If you will to to enact major comprehensive gun reform legislation but that's just There's so many hurdles to that both on on the legislative side politically and also From the supreme court upholding the second amendment. Well that's robbi grammar reporter at foreign policy also with us today for the news round up. Nancy yousef national security reporter for the wall street journal and e sean. The roar foreign affairs columnist at the washington post. Thanks to you. All one as managing producer is page. Osborne jake cherry is our science sound designer and engineer and barb on guillano produces podcast. This program comes to you from w. amu part of american university in washington distributed by npr. I'm jen white. Thanks for listening and let's talk more suv. This is one eight.

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