President Rodrigo Duterte has grown impatient over the delay in the arrival of coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccines from the COVAX facility, Malacañang said Friday.

Naiinip na! Duterte ‘impatient’ over vaccine delivery delay: Palace

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By Prince Golez

President Rodrigo Duterte has grown impatient over the delay in the arrival of coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccines from the COVAX facility, Malacañang said Friday.

“Tatapatin ko kayo. Si Presidente ang nagsalita na. Siya mismo naiinip na. Kinakailangan dumating na ang mga bakuna,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a PTV 4 interview.

“Kaya naman siguro dahil nagsalita na ng ganyan ang Presidente eh gagalaw na nang mabilis ang lahat,” added Roque.

Earlier, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez, Jr. said the absence of an indemnification law has delayed the delivery of 117,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech through COVAX of the World Health Organization.

The COVID doses were supposed to arrive in the Philippines mid-February.

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Texas governor lifts mask mandate, opening state ‘100 percent’

Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Tuesday lifted a state mask mandate and said he was authorizing businesses restricted because of the coronavirus pandemic to open “100 percent.”

“For nearly half a year, most businesses have been open either 75 percent or 50 percent and during that time, too many Texans have been sidelined from employment opportunities,” Abbott said.

“Too many small business owners have struggled to pay their bills,” the Republican governor said in a speech to the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce.

“This must end. It is now time to open Texas 100 percent,” he said to cheers and applause from his audience.

“Every business that wants to be open should be open.”

Abbott said he was lifting the restrictions because of the arrival of Covid-19 vaccines, and better testing and treatments.

“Texas now has the tools to protect Texans from the virus,” he said.

Abbott imposed a mask mandate in the second most populous US state eight months ago.

He said an executive order rescinding his previous Covid-19 orders and restrictions would take effect on Wednesday.

Abbott’s move lifting restrictions came despite a warning on Monday by Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“I am really worried about reports that more states are rolling back the exact public health measures we have recommended to protect people from Covid-19,” Walensky said.

“I remain deeply concerned about a potential shift in the trajectory of the pandemic,” she said.

“Now is not the time to relax the critical safeguards that we know can stop the spread of Covid-19,” the CDC director said.

“Continue wearing your well-fitted mask and taking the other public health prevention actions that we know work.”

Agence France-Presse

Palace believes PH vaccine supply won’t be interrupted: ‘Tuluy-tuloy na ‘to’

By Prince Golez

President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman expressed confidence that there will be no supply interruption to the government’s Covid-19 vaccination program.

On Wednesday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the country is set to receive more vaccine doses from the COVAX Facility and China’s Sinovac Biotech over the next months.

“Tuluy-tuloy na po iyan dahil may inaasahan po tayong isang milyon galing po sa Sinovac, ito na po iyong bibilhin natin. Ang ginagamit natin ay iyong donated lamang ‘no. Pero kung matatandaan ninyo, February, talagang magdi-deliver sila ng 50,000 at pagdating po ng Marso magdi-deliver sila ng 950,” Roque said in an interview on Dobol B sa News TV.

The secretary also said another 500,000 vaccine doses shipped by the COVAX Facility would arrive in the country this month.

“Iyong COVAX Facility ay inaasahan po natin na mayroon pa tayong 500,000 plus so sigurado po iyan darating ng Marso. So sa tingin ko po hindi na maaantala ito at pagdating po ng Abril eh diyan naman po sisipa iyong marami rin nating nabili rin ‘no,” according to him.

“Kaya nga po kampante po ang gobyerno na tuluy-tuloy na po ito at sa lalong mabilis na panahon sana matapos po natin ang mga health workers, 3.4 million po iyan. Pagkatapos po sana ay mayroon na tayong makuha para sa mga seniors dahil iyon na po ang ating susunod na target ng ating vaccination,” he added.

The Philippines launched its Covid-19 vaccination campaign on Monday with doses of Sinovac vaccines donated by Chinese government.

Dr. Seuss pulls six books over racist imagery

by Peter HUTCHISON

They are beloved by generations of early readers for their wacky rhyming tales and mischievous plotlines, but six Dr. Seuss books are being pulled because of imagery now considered racist.

Dr. Seuss Enterprises — the publisher of the bestselling children’s books — announced Tuesday that it is taking the six titles, which include “If I Ran the Zoo” and “The Cat’s Quizzer,” out of print.

The move comes as criticism grows in the United States over the way minority communities have been portrayed in many of the author’s books.

Dr. Seuss Enterprises said it had made the decision after carrying out a review of its collection last year with the help of experts, including teachers.

“These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong,” the company said in a statement.

The other titles being consigned to history are “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” “McElligot’s Pool,” “On Beyond Zebra!” and “Scrambled Eggs Super!”

“Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises’s catalog represents and supports all communities and families,” the statement added.

Dr. Seuss Enterprises made the announcement on what would have been the birthday of the famous children’s book author.

Seuss, born Theodor Seuss Geisel in Massachusetts in 1904, published more than 60 books during his lifetime, including some of the most popular children’s books of all time.

His most famous works include “The Cat in the Hat,” “Green Eggs and Ham” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” He died in 1991.

– ‘Orientalism’ –
Seuss’s books have sold more than 650 million copies and have been translated into dozens of languages.

They are being reevaluated, however, over their portrayal of Black and Asian people.

A 2019 study published in the “Research on Diversity in Youth Literature” journal studied 50 of his books.

The report concluded that 43 of the 45 characters of color had “characteristics aligning with the definition of Orientalism.”

The two Black characters in the books were identified as “African” and both “align with the theme of anti-Blackness,” the study said.

Stereotypical characters portrayed as “Arabian” appear in “If I Ran the Zoo,” “On Beyond Zebra!” and “Scrambled Eggs Super!”

“The Cat’s Quizzer” also features “Arabian” figures as well as a character portrayed as “a Japanese.”

“And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” features a “Chinese man” with a rice bowl and chopsticks.

The study also said Seuss published anti-Black and anti-Semitic cartoons in a magazine in the 1920s as well as racist anti-Japanese propaganda during World War II.

However, his wartime cartoons for the liberal-leaning daily New York newspaper PM were also praised for railing against racism, anti-semitism and American isolationism.

– ‘Wise decision’ –
Seuss’s stepdaughter Lark Grey Dimond-Cates told the New York Post “there wasn’t a racist bone” in Seuss’s body but described the withdrawal of the six books as “a wise decision.”

The announcement sparked a bidding frenzy for the scrapped books on eBay. The leading bid for a first edition of “On Beyond Zebra!” soared from $14.99 on Monday to $810 at 2:15 pm (1915 GMT) Tuesday.

On Saturday, a school district in Virginia suggested it was moving away from Dr. Seuss books while not banning them completely, saying recent research had “revealed strong racial undertones” in many of them.

In 2017, a school librarian in Cambridge Massachusetts said she would not accept a gift of ten Dr. Seuss books from then-first lady Melania Trump because many of his books were “steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes.”

Agence France-Presse

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