February 8, 2022


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COVID-19 | Governor Gavin Newsom announced yesterday that California’s statewide indoor mask mandate for persons vaccinated against Covid-19 will end next week. Newsom cited a 65% drop in Covid-19 cases since the peak of the Omicron surge as a factor in ending the mandate. More states are expected to take similar actions easing COVID-related restrictions in the coming days. [more]

UKRAINE | Following a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron said the coming days will be crucial to efforts aimed at de-escalating tensions in Ukraine. Macron is scheduled to meet with Ukrainian leaders today in Kiev for related talks. [more]

PRIVACY | The U.S. Internal Revenue Service said yesterday that is is reversing an earlier decision and will not go forward with plans to require taxpayers to use third-party facial recognition software to authenticate their access to some IRS records and services. [more]

JOBS | Ford Motor Co. announced yesterday that it would temporarily slow or suspend production at eight vehicle assembly plants in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada this week due to ongoing computer chip shortages. [more]

ELECTION MAPS | The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday put on hold a lower federal court’s ruling that Alabama’s latest re-drawn congressional district map violated the Voting Rights Act. The earlier court finding had found that the congressional district makeup in Alabama did not sufficiently represent the state’s 27% black population. [more]

MUSIC | Punk music icon Iggy Pop and French contemporary music group Ensemble intercontemporain have been named the recipients of this year’s Polar Music Prize.  [more]

AFRICA | An estimated 14 million people across the Horn of Africa are facing severe hunger caused by the most extreme drought in the region in decades, according to a report released today by the U.N. World Food Programme. [more]

WHITE HOUSE RESIGNATION | White House science advisor Eric Lander resigned his position yesterday following an investigation into workplace policy violations. Lander, the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, has reportedly acknowledged his “disrespectful and demeaning” actions toward colleagues that led to the investigation. [more]

PRESIDENTIAL RECORDS | Reports say 15 boxes of presidential records were retrieved from the Florida home of former U.S. President Donald Trump in January by the National Archives and Records Administration. The Presidential Records Act requires that presidential papers and communications be turned over to the National Archives for preservation. [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1587, Mary, Queen of Scots, was executed at Fotheringhay Castle by order of her rival, Queen Elizabeth I of England. [more history]

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