Afghanistan, John Kirby, The Pentagon, Us Department Of Defense, Allied Forces, Austin Miller, Taliban, Taliban Government

Afghanistan, John Kirby

Pentagon downplays newest Afghanistan clashes

The Pentagon downplayed Monday the impact of attacks by Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan over the weekend as US and allied forces began their withdrawal from the country.

5/4/2021 4:50:00 AM

The Pentagon downplayed Monday the impact of attacks by Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan over the weekend as US and allied forces began their withdrawal from the country.

The Pentagon downplayed Monday the impact of attacks by Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan over the weekend as US and allied forces began their withdrawal from the country.

INSIDERThe "Already" singer and "Sorry Not Sorry" rapper shared a rare picture of them in matching outfits with their oldest daughter and twins Rumi and Sir.5h agoWhat are the blood clots associated with the Johnson Johnson COVID-19 vaccine? 4 questions answered

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The pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was lifted on April 23, 2021. SOPA Images/Light Rocket via Getty ImagesTwo vaccines – the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the U.S. and the AstraZeneca vaccine in Europe – have been linked to an increased chance of a rare type of blood clot. Researchers are investigating what causes these clots and are starting to propose some answers. Dr. Mousumi Som, a professor of medicine at Oklahoma State University, explains what these rare clots are and how they are forming after people get vaccinated. 1. What are the blood clots? A small number of people in the U.S. have developed dangerous blood clots after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The clots have mostly been occurring in people’s brains and, paradoxically, are associated with low platelet counts. Normally, platelets help a person stop bleeding when they get injured. If you get a cut or have an injury, the body responds by sending platelets which act as a temporary patch. The patch attracts other platelets and they stick together to stop blood loss. Since platelets normally help the clotting process, this combination of low platelets and extreme clotting makes these clots medically unusual. These specific types of clots – called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis – although rare, affect around two to five people per million per year and are potentially life-threatening without treatment. Vaccines aren’t normally a trigger for this kind of clot. 2. Who is having these clots? As of April 24, 2021, out of the 8 million people vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the U.S., about 16 people have developed these blood clots. The clots occurred from six to 13 days after immunization, and the majority were in women between the ages of 18 and 48. On April 26, 2021, news reports indicated that at least one man had developed a clot. The man is in his 30s and was hospitalized from a clot in his leg about two weeks after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Health officials in Europe have also reported that the AstraZeneca vaccine – a COVID-19 vaccine authorized and approved in Europe but not in the U.S. – has caused about 200 cases of low-platelet clotting. Importantly, both the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and the AstraZeneca vaccine use a type of harmless virus called an adenovirus to deliver instructions to the human body on how to build an immune response to COVID-19. This is called a viral vector vaccine. The fact that the both vaccines use a viral vector and both are associated with blood clots has led many health experts to think that the clotting issues of the two vaccines may share the same mechanism. 3. Why are women getting more clots than men? At this point, doctors still don’t know what makes women more susceptible than men, nor what puts a person at risk for these clots. These clots can occur, though rarely, in people who don’t get a vaccine. Scientists know that women are three times more likely to develop this type of clot without receiving the vaccine. Many researchers think this is because of birth control or other hormonal replacements that women take. 4. Why might the vaccines be causing blood clots? Researchers believe that this specific low-platelet clotting is similar to a reaction some individuals get when they receive a blood thinner called heparin, called heparin-induced thrombocytopenia. Doctors sometimes use heparin to thin a person’s blood in the case of a heart attack or a blood clot when blood flow needs to be reestablished. But some people experience the opposite reaction, and their blood ends up clotting more instead. This happens because the body triggers an unwanted immune response after receiving heparin. In these patients, heparin attaches to a product released from platelets called platelet factor 4. When this happens, the immune system considers the combined platelet factor 4 and heparin a problem, so it creates antibodies in response. These antibodies attach to the heparin and platelet factor 4 complex, and the body – which now thinks it needs to repair an injury – causes more clotting while using up even more platelets. This results in the low platelet count seen in these patients. When doctors have looked at the blood of patients who developed clots after receiving the Johnson & Johnson or AstraZeneca vaccine, it looked very similar to the blood of people who have the low-platelet clotting reaction to heparin. This has led scientists and doctors to believe that the same process might be leading to these clots caused by the two vaccines.This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts. It was written by: Mousumi Som, Oklahoma State University. Read more:Restart of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine: A doctor explains why benefits far outweigh risksNo, vaccine side effects don’t tell you how well your immune system will protect you from COVID-19COVID-19 causes some patients’ immune systems to attack their own bodies, which may contribute to severe illness Mousumi Som works fr the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences. She has received funding from Eli Lilly and NIAID for drug related research on COVID treatments. She is affiliated with the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners and the Osteopathic Founders Foundation. .

7h agoBiden's Proposals Aim to Give Sturdier Support to the Middle ClassPerhaps the most striking difference between the middle class of 50 years ago and the middle class today is a loss of confidence — the confidence that you were doing better than your parents and that your children would do better than you. President Joe Biden’s multitrillion-dollar suite of economic proposals is aiming to both reinforce and rebuild an American middle class that feels it has been standing on shifting ground. And it comes with an explicit message that the private sector alone cannot deliver on that dream and that the government has a central part to play. “When you look at periods of shared growth,” said Brian Deese, director of Biden’s National Economic Council, “what you see is that public investment has played an absolutely critical role, not to the exclusion of private investment and innovation, but in laying the foundation.” Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York Times If the Biden administration gets its way, the reconstructed middle class would be built on a sturdier and much broader plank of government support rather than the vagaries of the market. Some proposals are meant to support parents who work: federal paid family and medical leave, more affordable child care, free prekindergarten classes. Others would use public investment to create jobs, in areas like clean energy, transportation and high-speed broadband. And a higher minimum wage would aim to buoy those in low-paid work, while free community college would improve skills. That presidents pitch their agendas to the middle class is not surprising given that nearly 9 out of 10 Americans consider themselves members. The definition, of course, has always been a nebulous stew of cash, credentials and culture, relying on lifestyles and aspirations as much as on assets. But what cuts across an avalanche of studies, surveys and statistics over the past half-century is that life in the middle class, once considered a guarantee of security and comfort, now often comes with a nagging sense of vulnerability. Before the pandemic, unemployment was low and stocks soared. But for decades, workers have increasingly had to contend with low pay, sluggish wage growth and more erratic schedules as well as a lack of sick days, parental leave and any kind of long-term security. At the same time, the cost of essentials like housing, health care and education have been gulping up a much larger portion of their incomes. The trend can be found in rich countries all over the world. “Every generation since the baby boom has seen the middle-income group shrink and its economic influence weaken,” a 2019 report from the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation concluded. In the United States, the proportion of adults in the middle bands of the income spectrum — which the Pew Research Center defines as roughly between $50,000 and $150,000 — declined to 51% in 2019 from 61% 50 years ago. Their share of the nation’s income shrank even more over the same period, to 42% from 62%. Their outlook dimmed, too. During the 1990s, Pew found rising optimism that the next generation would be better off financially than the current one, reaching a high of 55% in 1999. That figure dropped to 42% in 2019. The economy has produced enormous wealth over the past few decades, but much of it was channeled to a tiny cadre at the top. Two wage earners were needed to generate the kind of income that used to come in a single paycheck. “Upper-income households pulled away,” said Richard Fry, a senior economist at Pew. Corrosive inequality was just the beginning of what appeared to be a litany of glaring market failures, like the inability to head off ruinous climate change or meet the enormous demand for affordable housing and health care. Companies often channeled profits to buy back stock instead of using them to invest or raise wages. The evidence was growing, liberal economists argued, that the reigning hands-off economic approach — low taxes on the wealthy; minimal government — was not producing the broad-based economic gains that sustained and grew the middle class. “The unregulated economy is not working for most Americans,” said Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate in economics. “The government has an important role,” he emphasized, in regulating the private sector’s excesses, redistributing income and making substantial public investments. Skeptics have warned of government overreach and the risk that deficit spending could ignite inflation, but Biden and his team of economic advisers have nonetheless embraced the approach. “It’s time to grow the economy from the bottom and middle out,” Biden said in his speech to a joint session of Congress last week, a reference to the idea that prosperity does not trickle down from the wealthy but flows out of a well-educated and well-paid middle class. He underscored the point by singling out workers as the dynamo powering the middle class. “Wall Street didn’t build this country,” he said. “The middle class built the country. And unions built the middle class.” Of course, the economy that lifted millions of postwar families into the middle class differed sharply from the current one. Manufacturing, construction and mining jobs, previously viewed as the backbone of the labor force, dwindled — as did the labor unions that aggressively fought for better wages and benefits. Now only 1 out of every 10 workers is a union member, while roughly 80% of jobs in the United States are in the service sector. And it is these types of jobs — in health care, education, child care, disabled and senior care — that are expected to continue expanding at the quickest pace. Most of them, though, fall short of paying middle-income wages. That does not necessarily reflect their value in an open market. Salaries for teachers, hospital workers, lab technicians, child care providers and nursing home attendants are determined largely by the government, which collects tax dollars to pay their salaries and sets reimbursements rates for Medicare and other programs. They are also jobs that are filled by significant numbers of women, African Americans, Latinos and Asians. “When we think about what is the right wage,” Stiglitz asked, “should we take advantage of discrimination against women and people of color, which is what we’ve done, or can we use this as the basis of building a middle class?” Biden’s spending plans — a $2.3 trillion infrastructure package called the American Jobs Plan and a $1.8 trillion American Families Plan that concentrates on social spending — aim to take account of just how much the workforce and the economy have transformed over the past half-century and where they may be headed in the next. The president’s economic team took inspiration from Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal and the public programs that followed it. After World War II, for instance, the government helped millions of veterans get college educations and buy homes by offering tuition assistance and subsidized mortgages. It created a mammoth highway system to undergird commercial activity and funneled billions of dollars into research and development that was used later to develop smartphone technology, search engines, the human genome project, magnetic resonance imaging, hybrid corn and supercomputers. Biden, too, wants to fix roads and bridges, upgrade electric grids and invest in research. But his administration has also concluded that a 21st-century economy requires much more, from expanded access to high-speed broadband, which more than one-third of rural inhabitants lack, to parental leave and higher wages for child care workers. “We’ve now had 50 years of the revolution of women entering the labor force,” and the most basic necessities that make it possible for parents to fully participate in the workforce are still missing, said Betsey Stevenson, a professor at the University of Michigan and a former member of the Obama administration’s Council of Economic Advisers. She paused a few moments to take it in: “It’s absolutely stunning.” Right before the pandemic, more women than men could be found in paying jobs. Ensuring equal opportunity, Stevenson noted, includes “the opportunity to get high-quality early-childhood education, the opportunity to have a parent stay home with you when you’re sick, the opportunity for a parent to bond with you when born.” When it comes to offering this type of support, she added, “the United States is an outlier compared to almost every industrialized country.” The administration also has an eye on how federal education, housing and business programs of earlier eras largely excluded women, African Americans, Asians and others. In the Biden plan are aid for colleges that primarily serve nonwhite students, free community college for all, universal prekindergarten and monthly child payments. “This is not a 1930s model anymore,” said Julian Zelizer, a political science professor at Princeton University. And it is all to be paid for by higher taxes on corporations and the top 1%. Passage in a sharply polarized Congress is anything but assured. The multitrillion-dollar price tag and the prospect of an activist government have ensured the opposition of Republicans in a Senate where Democrats have the slimmest possible majority. But public polling from last year showed widening support for the government to take a larger role. “What is so remarkable about this moment is this notion that public investment can transform America, that these are things government can do,” said Felicia Wong, president of the left-leaning Roosevelt Institute. “This is fundamentally restructuring how the economy works.” This article originally appeared in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company headtopics.com

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Afghan forces, Taliban clash as US returns army base to KabulFighting between government forces and Taliban across several provinces leaves scores of insurgents dead, Afghan Defence Ministry says, as it takes control of a US military base in volatile Helmand province

'Small' Afghanistan attacks have no significant impact on troop pullout -U.S. The Pentagon on Monday said 'small harassing attacks' in Afghanistan over the weekend had not had a significant impact on the United States' military withdrawal from the country.

U.S. sends more firepower to Middle East as troops withdraw from AfghanistanPentagon spokesman John Kirby has previously said that Defense Department leadership will continue to assess security threats in Afghanistan against troops.

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Padma Lakshmi’s mom says her daughter is 'like a woman I wanted to be’Sheinelle Jones interviewed Padma Lakshmi's mother, Vijaya Lakshmi, for the newest episode of 'Through Mom's Eyes.' That’s amazing! My mom my think that but have never expressed it. 😞 I’m just doing everything wrong lol at 39. A beautiful compliment.