First Thing: Prince Andrew loses military roles and use of HRH title | US news

Hello.

Prince Andrew has been removed from official royal life altogether after the Queen stripped him of his military affiliations and royal patronages amid his ongoing sexual assault case.

Intended to distance the monarchy from the Duke of York, the dramatic move means he will no longer use His Royal Highness’ regal style in any official capacity.

Buckingham Palace said in a statement on Thursday: “With the Queen’s approval and consent, the Duke of York’s military affiliations and royal patronages have been returned to the Queen. The Duke of York will continue to hold no public office and is defending this case as a private citizen.

Virginia Giuffre, now 38, says she was forced to have sex at 17 with the Duke by associates Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, and has brought a civil action against Andrew. He denies the allegations.

  • How will the civil case affect the monarchy? Norman Baker, a commentator on royal affairs, said the Royal Family ‘couldn’t escape the immense damage’ the case would cause.

  • The move took place a few hours later. more than 150 military veterans have written to the Queen describing Andrew’s position as “untenable” and asking her to withdraw her honorary military roles.

Reform of the systematic obstruction of the culvert Sinema and Manchin

For months, Kyrsten Sinema and fellow centrist Democrat Joe Manchin have championed the filibuster, which is a major obstacle to suffrage reform.
For months, Kyrsten Sinema and fellow centrist Democrat Joe Manchin have championed the filibuster, which is a major obstacle to suffrage reform. Photography: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/Rex/Shutterstock

Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin have thwarted Joe Biden’s efforts to push voting rights legislation through Congress.

The president reportedly held last-minute talks with centrist Democrats on Thursday night after Arizona’s Sinema said she would not support any changes to the filibuster rules. Manchin of West Virginia, praised Sinema and released his own statement confirming he wouldn’t either.

Sinema and Manchin’s rebellion comes at a time of deep concern for American democracy. Republican lawmakers in 19 states have signed into law 34 new laws that impose new voting restrictions.

  • Why didn’t Sinema support changing the rules? The senator said she “will not support separate actions that aggravate the underlying disease of division that infects our country.”

  • Why is this important? Since no Republican supports the voting rights bills or changing the filibuster rules, Democrats can only move forward if Sinema and Manchin vote with them.

Supreme Court blocks Biden’s workplace vaccine or testing rules

Joe Biden in Delaware last year
Joe Biden in Delaware last year. The United States leads the world in the average daily number of new infections reported. Photograph: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

The Supreme Court has stopped the Biden administration from requiring unvaccinated employees of big companies to test themselves weekly and wear a mask at work.

The court’s conservative majority opposed the rule, but allowed the imposition of a vaccination mandate for most U.S. healthcare workers. The mandate applies to health care providers who receive federal funding from Medicare or Medicaid, which could affect 76,000 health facilities and home care providers.

More than 80 million people would have been affected by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s vaccine or test rule for businesses with at least 100 employees.

  • What is the supreme plead in court? The conservative majority ruled that the administration had exceeded its authority in its attempt to impose the requirement.

  • … and the dissident liberals? The three judges argued that the court was the one that went too far in overruling the health experts in its judgment.

In other news…

Novak Djokovic
Reigning men’s tennis champion Novak Djokovic has had his visa canceled by Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke ahead of the 2022 Australian Open. Photo: Kelly Defina/AP
  • Novak Djokovic’s Australian visa canceled again a few days before the start of the Australian Open. The Australian immigration minister’s decision will likely mean Djokovic is expelled and unable to play in the tournament.

  • The House Select Committee has subpoenaed Twitter, Meta, Alphabet and Reddit for records related to the Capitol attack. Congressman Bennie Thompson said previous requests for cooperation had been ignored.

  • The Republican Party has indicated its intention to withdraw from the US presidential debates, after claiming he was biased against him. The New York Times first reported that the Republican National Committee sent a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates on Thursday.

  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces new calls for his resignation after new allegations from the parties on the eve of Prince Philip’s socially distanced funeral. At the time, outdoor gatherings were limited to six people or two households.

Stat of the day: Covid created 20 ‘pandemic billionaires’ in Asia

A vendor in front of the Chinese character fu (good fortune) at Lunar New Year.
A salesman in front of the Chinese character you (good fortune) in the Lunar New Year. There were over 200 new billionaires in the Asia-Pacific region. Photograph: Teh Eng Koon/AFP/Getty

The pandemic has exacerbated a brutal division of wealth in Asia: As 140 million people have fallen into poverty after losing their livelihoods, Covid has created 20 new “pandemic billionaires”, according to an Oxfam report. The new billionaires profited from the international response to the crisis, selling pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and services.

Don’t Miss This: Big Thief Explains Why Recording Is Like Sex

big thief
‘We don’t let ourselves be the cliché rock star – you’re on stage, people are screaming – but that’s where you can get lost in yourself’ Photography: Josh Goleman

Big Thief is an exception to the rule: whatever makes them work “could be the downfall of any other group,” writes Marissa R Moss. Singer Adrianne Lenker and guitarist Buck Meek are divorced, bassist Max Oleartchik lives in another country, and the band members have separate side musical projects. The “alchemy” of these elements is “what makes Big Thief Big Thief in the first place,” Meek tells Moss in this piece what makes the band tick, the pain, and why recording is like sex.

Last thing: French bakers have trouble with supermarket baguettes

Baguettes in a bakery in Paris, France.
Baguettes in a bakery in Paris, France. Photography: Chesnot/Getty Images

French bakers have accused a major supermarket chain offering below-inflation prices for baguettes of “demagogy”. The Leclerc group pledged on Tuesday to cut profit margins to cap the cost of signature French bread at 29 eurocents (24p), leading bakers, farmers and millers to accuse it of ‘throwing a campaign that destroys values”.

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