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Trump Says COVID-19 Booster Shot ‘Probably Not’ for Him But Admits He’s ‘Not Against’ It

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The debate over vaccination in the US has mostly devolved into a highly politicized issue. In Friday’s NPR-PBS Newshour-Marist poll, over 95% of Democrats said they have previously been vaccinated or will be vaccinated. In contrast, only 62% of Republicans surveyed agreed to get their shot while 37% of them said no to the vaccine.

Former US President Donald Trump, who received his COVID-19 vaccine shortly before leaving the White House in January, has indicated he is unlikely to get the booster shot expected to be approved by US health regulators in the coming months, although he stressed he is “not against it.”

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Trump assured he feels “like I’m in good shape” and because of that he “probably won’t” receive his third vaccine shot to bolster the immune response to the novel coronavirus.

“I’ll look at stuff later on. I’m not against it, but it’s probably not for me,” Trump added.

According to the outlet, despite plans by the Biden administration to roll out boosters later in September, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only authorized a COVID-19 booster shot for certain individuals with vulnerable immune systems. The FDA and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advisory committee have not yet given the official go-ahead for third shots to be given to Americans.

Earlier, Trump suggested that people should get vaccinated during a rally in Alabama in August, which was met with boos for a short period of time.

“You know what? I believe totally in your freedoms. I do. You’ve got to do what you have to do. But I recommend, take the vaccines. I did it. It’s good. Take the vaccines,” Trump addressed the crowd at the rally held in Cullman on August 21, noting that he was OK with some people booing at him for advising vaccination. 

The former president underscored at the time that although people at the rally “got your freedoms,” he “happened to take the vaccine.”

“If it doesn’t work, you’ll be the first to know, OK? I’ll call up, Alabama. I’ll say, ‘Hey, you know what?’ But it is working. But you do have your freedoms. You have to keep — you have to maintain that,” he concluded.

Similar pushes in favor of the approved vaccines have also been backed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who serves as one of the top GOP members in the chamber, and who made a public service advertisement encouraging fellow Kentuckians to get the vaccine. US Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) also voiced a similar stance after having received his first inoculation in July.

The increased efforts to push more Americans toward vaccination coincided with a nationwide outbreak of the Delta strain, which has put a heavy burden on hospital systems and medical professionals. According to official data, the increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations has disproportionately impacted unvaccinated citizens.

And according to the aforementioned poll, it is primarily Republican supporters who hesitate to get vaccinated. In comparison, 5% of Democrats and 17% of Independents have declared they will not get the vaccine.

The poll also found substantial support for a booster shot, with 81% of fully vaccinated Americans saying they would get one, and 19% saying they were unsure. As of Friday, about 62% of eligible US citizens have received all of their shots.



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[Ticker] US to lift Covid travel-ban on EU tourists

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Fully vaccinated travellers from the EU and the UK will be let back into the US from “early November” onward, the White House said on Monday, ending an 18-month ban and prompting airline firms’ shares to climb. “This new international travel system follows the science to keep Americans … safe,” a US spokesman said. The EU recently recommended increased restrictions on US visitors, amid anger at lack of US reciprocity.

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Ten women and girls killed every day in Mexico, Amnesty report says | Global development

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At least 10 women and girls are murdered every day in Mexico, according to a new report that says victims’ families are often left to carry out their own homicide investigations.

The scathing report, released on Monday by Amnesty International, documents both the scale of the violence and the disturbing lack of interest on the part of Mexican authorities to prevent or solve the murders.

“Mexico is continuing to fail to fulfil its duty to investigate and, therefore, its duty to guarantee the rights to life and personal integrity of the victims as well as to prevent violence against women,” says the report, Justice on Trial.

“Feminicidal violence and the failings in investigation and prevention in northern Mexico are not anecdotal, but rather form part of a broader reality in the country,” the report adds.

Femicide has been rife in Mexico for decades – most notoriously in an epidemic of murders which claimed the life of some 400 women in the border city Ciudad Juárez during the 1990s. In recent years, a growing feminist movement has held massive street protests against the violence, but authorities have proved unwilling to take action to stop the killing.

“It’s always a question of political will,” said Maricruz Ocampo, a women’s activist in the state of Querétaro.

Ocampo has been part of teams lobbying state governors to issue an alert when femicides reach scandalously high levels – a move to raise awareness and mobilise resources. But officials often resist such moves, she said, as governors worry about their states’ images and investment.

“They refuse to recognise there is a problem,” she said.

The president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has also downplayed the problem. He branded the women protesting on 8 March, International Women’s Day, as “conservatives” and alleged a dark hand manipulating the demonstrations.

When asked last year about rising violence against women, he responded, “Tell all the women of Mexico that they are protected and represented, that we’re doing everything possible to guarantee peace and quiet and that I understand that our adversaries are looking for ways to confront us.”

Mexico recorded the murders of 3,723 women in 2020. Some 940 of those murders were investigated as femicides.

The Amnesty report focused on Mexico state, a vast collection of gritty suburbs surrounding Mexico City on three sides. It has become notorious for femicides over the past decade – and for the way the former president, Enrique Peña Nieto, a former Mexico state governor, ignored the problem.

The report found cases of families carrying out their own detective work, which were ignored by investigators. In many cases, authorities contaminated crime scenes or mishandled evidence. They often did not even pursue leads such as geolocation information from victims’ mobile phones.

In the case of Julia Sosa, whose children believe she was killed by her partner, two daughters found her body buried on the suspect’s property – but had to wait hours for police to arrive and process the crime scene. One of her daughters recalled the subsequent interview process, in which “the police officer was falling asleep”.

Sosa’s partner hanged himself, prompting police to close the case, even though family members said there were more leads to pursue.

In states rife with drug cartel violence, activists say cases of femicides go uninvestigated as impunity is commonplace.

“The authorities say it’s organised crime and that’s it,” said Yolotzin Jaimes, a women’s rights campaigner in the southern state of Guerrero. “Many of these aggressors find protection under the excuse of organised crime.”

The persistence of femicides is a stark contrast to recent gains by the women’s movement in Mexico. The country’s supreme court decriminalised abortion earlier this month. A new congress recently sworn in has gender parity and seven female governors will be installed by the end of year – up from just two before last June’s election’s

The decriminalisation of abortion “let off some steam” from the pressure driving the protests “because part of the demands was over the right to choose,” Ocampo said. “But when it comes to violence, we still see it everywhere.”

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US official urges EU to speed up enlargement

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Gabriel Escobar, the US’ newly-appointed acting deputy secretary of state for South Central Europe, has urged Europe to speed up Western Balkans enlargement. “To return 20 years later and see that there hasn’t been much progress on that front was a little disappointing,” he told the RFE/RL news agency Friday, referring to his last post in Europe in 2001. “We would like to see a more rapid integration,” he said.

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