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Poached, Congress smells a plot but ignores key issues

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On a day that the Congress lost nearly its entire legislature group in Meghalaya, the party reacted not with concern over unabated shrinkage but with cries of unholy conspiracy against it.

That probably sums up what has brought India’s grand old party to passages that have become less and less grand; it speaks of a setup grievously in denial of its own failures and fault lines, and its refusal to effect correction.

For more than two years now, the Congress has been helmed by an ailing — and probably reluctant — Sonia Gandhi while Rahul Gandhi has bumbled and fumbled between whether he wants to remain former president of the party or is willing to give the title a future shot.

The Congress isn’t quite the state of Denmark, but something is rotten in it. The trouble is, the leadership is too high-nosed for the stink to reach it. Those that can sense it probably fall into two categories — those that are so loyal they are holding their breath, and those that are calling the stench and being labelled disloyal for it.

“It says something about what the Congress has reduced itself to, that the party of power in this country, the party that held power the longest is petulantly complaining about much small parties pecking at it,” said a senior, though disgruntled, Congressman.

“If we cannot mind our house, others will come to prey.”

He made it a point to make mention of the departure of Ahmed Patel, astute backroom player, closest aide to Sonia and probably the mover of key levers of a party going through a rather prolonged and testing transition. Since Patel’s passing, differences between the Rahul camp, party elders who continue to favour Sonia’s ways, and the bitter ginger group christened the G-23 have sharpened and spilled into the open.

The leader of an old Congress ally pointedly complained about the persisting uncertainties in the party: “The perception has set in that the party is in perpetual stagnation. This is a time for the leading Opposition to give dynamic direction; instead, it is bogged down in its own crises.”

He was referring not only to the frequent feuding between factions in the Congress-ruled states of Punjab, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh but, in the main, to the unresolved leadership question.

Several front organisations of the Congress have again begun drumming up the demand that Rahul resume reins of the party. A schedule for organisational elections was unveiled at the party’s last working committee meeting in October, but it offered no clarity whether Rahul will even offer himself for a contest in August-September of 2022.

“Well-placed sources” in the party were only willing to go as far as to give the assurance that Rahul “would consider” the top job.

The de facto truth, though, is that Rahul is leader of the party, its chief spokesperson and campaigner and, for the better part, its chief arbiter.

Rahul may not be anybody in the hierarchy of the Congress party, but he cannot be nobody in the hierarchy of the Congress party. He stands at the core of the Congress, its crisis and its resolution, one way or another.

If the critical issue of the formal leadership of the party — to be decided at an election whose dates remain undecided but cannot be forever put off — lies unresolved, it is also because Rahul has chosen not to resolve it.

That leaves him comfortable leeway in terms of commitments to public life and its requirements over and above the imperatives of his personal life, which, evidently, he holds too dear to sacrifice.

He will not categorically say he is prepared to lead the party, he will not categorically say he will not. That leaves the Congress, and Congressmen across the country, uncertain and shot through with a sense of being unled. No wonder others are able to nibble at them.

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New season coming in May 2022

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The Stranger Things season 4 release date is confirmed for summer 2022. Netflix announced that news in the Stranger Things season 4 episode titles video on Stranger Things Day 2021.

That’s much later than fans were expecting to see the new season, which is set over spring break 1986. We all thought we’d see the new season of Stranger Things in the spring of 2022, but now, we’ll all be waiting for Stranger Things season 4 in the summer of 2022.

Well, we might not have to wait that long, according to a new rumor about the Stranger Things season 4 release date.

Stranger Things season 4 release date rumor

The rumor, which was first seen on Deuxmoi and was later shared on Twitter, is that Stranger Things season 4 is coming on May 27, 2022.

When we first saw the rumor, we thought it might be a little bit late. Now that we know that the new season’s coming in the summer of 2022, it makes more sense for a few reasons.

First of all, technically, TV and movie summer starts the last week of April, basically, and runs through September. So, when Netflix says “Summer 2022,” that could mean May 2022.

Second, we also know that May 27 is the Friday of Memorial Day weekend. Netflix has released Stranger Things over holiday weekends in the past. Stranger Things season 2 premiered on Halloween weekend in 2017 and Stranger Things season 3 premiered on Fourth of July weekend in 2019.

And, last but not least, the last week of May is the deadline for the 2022 Emmys. If Stranger Things season 4 comes out by May 31, 2022, the season will be eligible for the Emmys.

Obviously, there’s a chance Netflix doesn’t care about any of that and wants to roll out Stranger Things season 4 in July 2022. We know Stranger Things season 3 was the most popular of the first three seasons, and it was released in the summer. Maybe, that’s the plan for season 4?

Knowing what we do so far, this is probably the most realistic Stranger Things season 4 release date we’ve seen.

Stay tuned for more news about the Stranger Things season 4 release date on Netflix.

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Omicron Covid Variant, Covid Variant In South Africa, Delta Variant: New Covid Variant Cause For Concern, “Not Panic”: What Joe Biden Said

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Cause For Concern, 'Not Panic': What Joe Biden Said On New Covid Variant

President Joe Biden told Americans not to “panic” over the newly identified Covid variant.

Washington:

G7 health ministers on Monday called for “urgent action” to combat the newly identified Omicron Covid-19 variant spreading across the world as US President Joe Biden said the strain is “not a cause for panic”.

Australia and Japan led the growing list of countries imposing fresh travel restrictions or slamming shut their borders as the new strain identified last week spreads rapidly to Europe, Asia and North America.

However Biden told Americans he did not foresee new lockdowns or extending travel restrictions for now because of Omicron.

While no deaths have yet been reported from Omicron, and it remains unclear how infectious and how resistant the strain may prove to vaccines, its emergence underscores how besieged the world remains by Covid-19, nearly two years after the first cases were recorded.

Many governments, particularly in western Europe, had already struggled with rapid rises in cases and have reintroduced mandatory mask-wearing, social-distancing measures, curfews or lockdowns — leaving businesses fearing another grim Christmas.

Following emergency talks, G7 health ministers said “the global community is faced with the threat of a new, at a first evaluation, highly transmissible variant of COVID-19, which requires urgent action.”

The World Health Organization said the overall risk from Omicron was “very high” and warned that any major surge would put pressure on health systems and cause more deaths.

‘More tools’

“If another major surge of Covid-19 takes place driven by Omicron, consequences may be severe,” the WHO cautioned, concluding that “the overall global risk related to the new VOC (variant of concern) Omicron is assessed as very high.”

Scientists in South Africa said they had detected the new variant with at least 10 mutations, compared with three for Beta or two for Delta — the strain that hit the global recovery and sent millions worldwide back into lockdown.

However, South African doctor Angelique Coetzee, who raised the alarm over Omicron, said the cases she saw suggested the symptoms were milder than other variants.

Biden stressed that the United States was in a good position to control Omicron’s spread.

“We have more tools today to fight the variant than we’ve ever had before,” he said, adding that his chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci expects current vaccines to work against the new variant, with boosters enhancing protection.

US drugmaker Pfizer and the backers of Russian vaccine Sputnik V said separately they were working on versions of their Covid-19 vaccines targeting Omicron, while US pharmaceutical company Moderna had said on Friday that it would develop a booster shot against the variant.

The announcement of the new variant sent stock markets and oil prices tumbling last week, however they have rebounded somewhat since.

US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said Monday that Omicron could slow the recovery of the US economy and labour market, and heighten uncertainty regarding inflation.

‘Should not be penalised’

Omicron has prompted some countries to tighten border controls.

On Monday, Japan joined Israel in announcing plans to bar all new foreign travellers. Australia announced it was delaying by two weeks the relaxation of restrictions that would have allowed skilled workers and foreign students to enter.

The growing list of countries to impose travel curbs on southern Africa includes Britain, Cambodia, Indonesia, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia and the United States.

“The people of Africa cannot be blamed for the immorally low level of vaccinations available in Africa — and they should not be penalised for identifying and sharing crucial science and health information with the world,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.

China’s President Xi Jinping on Monday pledged Africa one billion Covid vaccine doses as the continent struggles to acquire enough jabs to immunise against the disease.

The first confirmed case of the Omicron variant was in South Africa on November 9, with infections spreading rapidly in the country.

With the spread of the new variant and rising cases overall, governments are struggling to enforce new measures.

Dutch police arrested a couple who fled a quarantine hotel and boarded a flight to Spain, despite one of them having tested positive for Covid.

And populations are continuing to rebel — tens of thousands took to the streets in Austria over the weekend to object to mandatory vaccinations.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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Donald Trump Jr., World-Renowned Moron, Urges Vaccine Protests as Omicron Poses “Very High Risk”

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If there’s one important lesson people should have learned over the last five years, it’s to never listen to a Trump ever again. Probably the best example of this lesson can be found in Donald Trump and company’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic which, as a reminder, included lying to the public about how serious the virus was, putting the president’s son-in-law in charge of the government’s response, politicizing mask-wearing, and regularly holding super-spreader events. To listen to anything a Trump has to say about the disease at this point would be like listening to a proctologist’s advice after they were found to have performed a series of simple surgeries that left patients shitting out of their mouths. And yet, for some reason, people with the last name Trump still think they’re imminently qualified to make medical recommendations on the matter.

Speaking to Fox News on Saturday, Donald Trump Jr. took a break from taunting NBA players behind his computer screen to rage against vaccine mandates. Praising protests in Europe, the ex-president’s namesake said Americans should be fighting back against the one thing giving us a chance of ever ending the pandemic his father so royally botched. “You don’t hear about what’s going on as it relates to the riots in Europe on a daily basis now against the vaccine mandates, because our media wants to block that out,” Trump Jr. claimed falsely. (In fact, European protests have been extensively covered by, among others, The New York TimesABC News, and The Washington Post.) “They’re going to make sure that you never hear about it because they don’t want you getting these kind of ideas that freedom may actually still exist in some parts of the world. Europe is pushing back and America’s sitting there like sheep like, ‘Oh this is great we’ll just go along with’ what these guys who have gotten nothing right in the last two years tell us. It’s absolute insanity.”

Does Junior realize that two years ago his father was president? Sadly, the jury is out there. Where the jury isn’t out is on the matter of the effectiveness of vaccine mandates, which are very much working, both in the U.S. and in Europe, and on the effectiveness of the vaccines when it comes to preventing seriousness illness and death; as of September, unvaccinated people were 11 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than their fully vaccinated counterparts.

Don Jr.’s call for people to rise up against one of the most important tools we have to fight COVID-19 comes amid the threat of the new omicron variant, which the World Health Organization has labeled a variant “of concern” and said poses a “very high global risk.” In the last few days, the U.S., Britain, the European Union and other nations imposed travel restrictions on flights from southern Africa, but experts believe they may be too late. (On Sunday, Canadian officials announced that two cases of the variant had already been detected in Ontario.)

Saturday, of course, wasn’t the first time Don Jr. had something uniquely stupid to say about vaccine mandates. In August, he lashed out at the Biden administration for its vaccine push, writing, “Next they’re going to waterboard you till you get vaccinated.” His online store, the shopping destination of choice for assholes, is currently selling apparel that read, “Powered by Natural Immunity” and “My Science Is Better Than Yours.”

In the same Fox interview, Jr. criticized Biden for…not curing cancer. “He was also going to cure cancer, if I remember correctly, Dan,” Trump Jr. told Dan Bongino. “Remember that? Everyone was, ‘Oh, that’s great, we should definitely elect him.’ I haven’t seen much movement on that.”

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