CDC Director Rochelle Walensky Overrules Panel’s Recommendation, Approves Covid Booster to Align with What Joe Biden Wanted

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky Overrules Panel’s Recommendation, Approves Covid Booster to Align with What Joe Biden Wanted

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Committee Approves Two Nominees to Environmental Posts Over GOP Opposition

Against Republican opposition, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) approved on Sept. 22 Jeff Prieto as General Counsel for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Jennifer B. Sass as a member of the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB), an independent agency.

The two were approved alongside two uncontroversial nominees to the CSB, Stephen A. Owens and Sylvia E. Johnson.

Sen. Shelly Moore Capito (R.-W.V.), ranking member of the EPW committee, explained her concerns with the two nominees.

“CSB plays a critical role in analyzing why industrial accidents occur, and how they can avoid them in the future, in a technical and unbiased manner. Dr. Sass’s criticism of the chemical industry included deriding the EPA for engaging with the American Chemistry Council about implementing the Toxic Substances Control Act in a transparent manner,” said Sen. Capito.

“I was troubled by her attempt to conceal that attack, and other statements right after the hearing,” Sen. Capito continued. “She took down her entire Twitter page. This kneejerk reaction when confronted with hard questions shows she is not the right person for a board committed to transparency.”

The Epoch Times could not independently confirm the criticism attributed to Sass. A Twitter handle linked to Sass in posts from the Natural Resources Defense Council, @JBSass, no longer exists.

Sen. Capito also voiced opposition to Prieto, citing the Biden administration’s efforts to broaden the amount of water under federal authority by defining them as Waters of the United States (WOTUS), and claiming that the Biden administration’s environmental policies could significantly harm the American economy.

EPW Chairman Tom Carper (D.-Del.) spoke in favor of Prieto’s nomination.

“Mr. Prieto has dedicated over 20 years of his distinguished career to public service, serving across multiples departments in the executive branch.” said Carper. “At his hearing, he demonstrated the kind of intelligence, the kind of poise, and the kind of forthright commitment to EPA’s mission that will make him an outstanding General Counsel.”

Carper also voiced support for all three ESB nominees: “I am confident that each of these nominees to the Chemical Safety Board is immensely qualified and committed to making meaningful contributions to the Board’s mission.”

After approving the nominees, the committee held a hearing on recycling and the circular economy.

The approved nominees will next be considered by the full Senate.

The Epoch Times has reached out to Sen. Capito for comment.


Nathan Worcester is an environmental reporter at The Epoch Times.

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FDA approves booster shots for high-risk patients and people 65 and over

The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday evening approved Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus booster shots for people considered high-risk of severe illness and those 65 and older. 

The approval also allows booster shots for people ages 18 to 64 who work in the healthcare field, or whose job puts them at high risk for serious complications for the virus.

According to Axios, this approval comes just days after the FDA’s advisory board overwhelmingly rejected booster shots for widespread use among the public.

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Vietnam approves Abdala vaccine as president visits Cuba

FILE PHOTO: Doses of Cuba’s Abdala coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine are seen at a vaccination center in Caracas, Venezuela July 1, 2021. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero/File Photo

September 18, 2021

HANOI (Reuters) -Vietnam has approved Cuba’s Abdala vaccine for use against the new coronavirus, the government said on Saturday, as the Southeast Asian country is battling its worst outbreak.

Abdala becomes the eighth COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in Vietnam, which has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the region, with only 6.3% of its 98 million people having received at least two shots.

The announcement came hours after President Nguyen Xuan Phuc left Hanoi for an official visit to Havana.

Vietnam has recorded 667,650 coronavirus infections and 16,637 deaths, the vast majority in the Delta-driven outbreak from late April.

“The ministry of health has approved Abdala vaccine, based on the country’s urgent need for its COVID-19 fight,” the government said in a statement.

The ministry last month said Cuba would supply large quantities of Abdala to Vietnam and transfer the production technology by the end of the year.

Vietnam and Cuba are among the last five Communist-ruled countries in the world, along with China, Laos and North Korea.

In July, Vietnam urged the United States to end its “hostile policy” toward Cuba and lift its longstanding trade embargo after rare anti-government protests on the island.

(Editing by William Mallard)

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U.S. State Department approves potential $500 million Saudi maintenance deal

FILE PHOTO: Helicopters fly in formation during a military parade in preparation for the annual Haj pilgrimage in Mecca September 17, 2015. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood/File Photo

September 16, 2021

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – – The U.S. State Department has approved a potential agreement covering up to $500 million in military support services for Saudi Arabia, and has sent the agreement to Congress for review, the Pentagon said on Thursday.

It was the first major defense agreement for Saudi Arabia sent to Congress since President Joe Biden took office on Jan. 20. It comes after criticism of U.S. ties to the kingdom over its human rights record and involvement in the civil war in Yemen.

The package would provide continued maintenance support services for a wide range of helicopters, including a future fleet of CH-47D Chinook helicopters. The announcement said the vendor was not yet known.

“This proposed sale will support U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives by helping to improve the security of a friendly country that continues to be an important force for political stability and economic growth in the Middle East,” the State Department said in a statement.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle and Mike Stone; Editing by Karishma Singh)

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State approves $600M in borrowing for North Carolina municipalities

Charlotte is poised to borrow more than $100 million for public safety and housing development projects.

North Carolina’s Local Government Commission (LGC) unanimously approved Charlotte’s plan Tuesday to borrow nearly $125 million for police and fire stations, a police helicopter and to fund other capital improvement projects. The Charlotte Housing Authority also received unanimous approval to borrow more than $40 million in bonds for two multiple-family housing developments.

The LGC, which is chaired by State Treasurer Dale Folwell, and staffed by the Department of State Treasurer, must monitor the finances of more than 1,100 local government units. The commission also approves borrowing for the units after determining whether they can afford to repay the debt. The commission approved nearly $600 million in refinancing requests Tuesday.

Charlotte plans to build three new police stations and a new fire station and to acquire land for future fire stations. Its other projects include an animal care and control facility renovation, and the city also will buy a new fleet repair station. The financing would not lead to a tax increase for city residents. The debt service will be paid from revenues to the Municipal Debt Service Fund.

Residents in Garner will see a property tax rate increase of up to 2 cents per $100 of valuation under a financing plan approved Tuesday by the LGC. The commission green-lighted Garner’s plan to sell $69 million in general obligation bonds.

More than $35 million would be used for new parks and greenways and to improve existing ones. Another $24 million would be used for new streets, bike lanes and sidewalks, and $6.5 million would pay for the construction and expansion of public safety facilities. The remaining $2.9 million would be spent on stormwater improvements.

Morrisville homeowners will see a property tax increase of up to 3 cents per $100 of valuation under the town’s plan. The LGC approved $37 million in the sale of general obligation bonds for parks and recreation improvements, construction, transportation projects, new fire stations and other public safety improvements. The town’s population increased by 68.9% from 18,745 in 2010 to 31,670 in 2019, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

The LGC approved $13.5 million in general obligation bonds for Mount Holly. It would lead to a 7.5 cents per $100 of valuation property tax increase for residents. The money will be used for land to connect the city’s greenway system and new parks.

Other financing requests approved Tuesday by the LGC:

• Lincoln County: $20 million to build an emergency management building;

• Nash County: $16 million for a new detention center;

• Shelby: $10 million for streets and sidewalks;

• Vance County: $5.1 million for maintenance projects at multiple schools;

• Dare County: $3 million to purchase land for an emergency management service station and youth center;

• Brevard: $2.3 million to build a new community center building and parking lot;

• Elizabethtown: $2 million for street repair and resurfacing.

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Victoria Health APPROVES crowd of 70 for boxing, BANS worship of 10

During a health crisis, the application of Covid restrictions should be applied equally across the community. This does not appear to be happening, with Victoria once again caught side-lining a religious event while permitting a sporting match.

Rosh Hashanah is the second holiest day on the Jewish calendar that requires ten men called ‘minyan’ to gather.

Jewish groups tried to get approval from Victoria Health for this gathering, agreeing to abide by social distancing regulations. The health department rejected their application on the grounds of risk. Last Friday, this dispute made its way to the Federal Court where it was subsequently dismissed.

At the same time that the Jewish religious event was effectively shut down, the same Victorian Health Department permitted a boxing match to go ahead in front of a live crowd of sixty-nine people.

The Muay Thai boxing event was held indoors at the Melbourne Pavilion in Kensington under ‘restricted activity directions’ which Victoria health created for professional sporting events.

Victorian Police confirmed that they were in attendance at the Father’s Day boxing match, but did not find any breach of public health orders.

All of this is happening while police lay in wait outside places of worship all over the city, particularly within the Jewish community.

The Health Department justified their exemption by saying the fight fit into the special category of ‘professional or high-performance sports persons’. No one at the Health Department has explained why professional sport is ‘less risky’ than religious gatherings.

Everyone at the boxing event abided by Covid-safe directions, where the crowd signed a good faith declaration that they had not been at a Covid hot spot. Religious groups were not given the opportunity to do the same.

The Jewish community are not the only ones being discriminated against by the Victorian Health Department. Gyms, clubs, and restaurants are also closed – not to mention playgrounds.

Even when religious communities are given approval, they have found themselves the target of heavy-handed police attention.

“The obvious overreach of the police in the Caulfield and St Kilda East areas during the two days of Rosh Hashanah was most disturbing,” said Rabbi Yaakov Glasman in a Facebook post.

“I am not referring to the police response to the clear violations of the current health regulations in the form of illegal prayer services. All Victorians must abide by the law even if they vehemently disagree with it.

“I am referring to the many members of the Jewish community who, like last year, were participating in the Project High Holydays experience as sanctioned and approved by DHS and Victoria Police themselves but were accosted by the police for doing just that.”

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House Committee Approves NDAA Amendment Requiring Report on Pandemic Origins

The House Armed Services Committee approved an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) FY2022, which would require top government agencies to investigate and publish an unclassified report on the true origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rep. Mike Johnson’s (R-La.) amendment (pdf) was accepted on a bipartisan basis.

“My amendment to the NDAA will REQUIRE U.S. Defense and Intelligence agencies to create an unclassified report regarding the TRUE ORIGINS of the pandemic. The American people deserve to know! We must hold the Chinese Communists—and anyone else involved—ACCOUNTABLE!” wrote Johnson in a Facebook post on Wednesday.

Johnson’s bill would require the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency to coordinate with the Secretary of Defense and the Director of National Intelligence to create the public report.

Republican members of Congress have been calling on the full government to take action to hold the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) accountable for any possible cover-up of the pandemic and misinformation about the origins of the virus.

“In the face of mounting evidence and unanswered questions regarding the origins of COVID-19, my amendment will mandate a comprehensive investigation into how the pandemic was unleashed on the world,” Johnson said in a written statement. “It is critical for us to have these answers to help prevent future pandemics.”

In addition to Johnson’s amendment, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) had an amendment passed by the panel, which would investigate whether the participants in the Military World Games in Wuhan in 2019 were infected by the virus.

These two amendments are the latest pieces of legislation that the GOP members have offered to hold the CCP accountable for the initial mishandling of the pandemic in 2019, and to investigate where the outbreak started, how it was spread, and how the CCP was involved.

Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) said that China should be investigated and held accountable at the very least for preventing the World Health Organization and the U.S. Center for Disease Control from entering China and investigating the origins of the virus at the start of the pandemic in January. “… That alone is why China is morally culpable, why they should be held accountable for the spread of the coronavirus,” Banks said at the Liberty University Conference on U.S.–China relations in July 2020.

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) speaks during an event in National Harbor, Md., on Feb. 26, 2020. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) agreed that China was not transparent with other countries and knew there was a virus early on, because they cut off travel inside of China, “between Wuhan and other cities in China, but not internationally. So again, … I completely agree with the take that Jim had on this. … They did allow it to spread, and then they also spread misinformation, through their contacts at the World Health Organization,” Crenshaw said.

Some moderate Democrats have also voiced concerns about the CCP’s role in the spread of the pandemic.

Reps. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.), Kendra Horn (D-Okla.), and former representative Max Rose (D-N.Y.) in July 2020 led the Blue Dog Coalition to introduce the Preventing China from Exploiting COVID-19 Act. This bill was aimed at requiring the director of national intelligence to work with the heads of the Department of Defense, State Department, and Department of Homeland Security to assess the possible ways China has and could further undermine the United States’ and its allies’ interests during the pandemic.

“Bipartisan concerns in Congress about Chinese government policies have only increased once COVID-19 emerged in China and spread to virtually every country in the world. Since the start of this pandemic, we have witnessed a pattern of alarming behavior from the Chinese government in a range of areas,” said Murphy in a press statement.

While Democrat House leaders have not joined the call to hold the CCP accountable, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on June 23 laid out an eight-pronged plan focused on the communist regime and other bodies to “ensure Americans get the accountability and transparency they deserve.”

“We cannot allow the wrongdoing of China to go unnoticed—and more importantly, to not allow the accountability to happen,” McCarthy said at a press conference in Washington.

The first item on the agenda, he said, is to introduce legislation compelling the government to declassify intelligence relating to the origins of the CCP virus, which caused COVID-19.

President Joe Biden on May 26 ordered the intelligence community to produce a report in 90 days on the origins of the virus, which was first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan. He said intelligence agencies are looking at rival theories, including the possibility of a laboratory accident in China.

The Biden administration said they won’t take immediate action on China to pressure the communist regime for an independent probe into whether COVID-19 originated in a Wuhan lab until there is an “international consensus,” national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on June 20.

Cathy He contributed to this report.

Masooma Haq

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Pope Francis approves appointment of Communist bishop to Wuhan

WUHAN, China (LifeSiteNews) – The Vatican has given its approval to ordain a new bishop to the long-vacant see of Wuhan, accepting a well-known Chinese Communist Party (CCP) insider, the only candidate put forward by the CCP for Vatican consideration. 

Father Francis Joseph Cui Qingqi, O.F.M., is to be ordained as Bishop of Wuhan at the Cathedral of St. Joseph on September 8the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, AsiaNews confirmed Sunday.

Cui’s appointment fills the seat which has lay vacant since 2007, becoming the fourth bishop to be consecrated under the Sino–Vatican agreement since its renewal in October 2020 and the sixth since the deal was first struck in 2018. 

 The report from AsiaNews, which acts as the official press agency of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, details Cui’s candidacy for the Wuhan seat as uncontested, with the CCP making him their sole recommendation. 

 After an agreement was signed between the Church and Chinese authorities in 2018 for episcopal appointments, and again renewed for two more years in 2020, the CCP released updated guidelines in May 2021, redefining the terms under which Catholic bishops will be selected. 

The outspoken former bishop of Hong Kong, Cardinal Joseph Zen, has repeatedly warned of the dangers posed by the Vatican’s accord with Communist China. The cardinal described the Pope’s actions as “encouraging a schism. You are legitimizing the schismatic church in China.” 

Zen noted that signing to show one’s submission to the “schismatic church” means that “[y]ou are cheating the whole world. You are cheating the faithful. To sign the document is not to sign a declaration. When you sign, you accept to be a member of that church under the leadership of the communist party. So terrible, terrible.” 

Although the contents of the original agreement are still secret, it is understood by China experts that the Pope formally confirms the appointment of bishops in China from nominations made by the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, the state-controlled, overground church in China. 

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LifeSiteNews will hand-deliver this petition to the Holy See, recording the moment traditional Catholics from around the world stood up for the Traditional Latin Mass.

Pope Francis has issued a new decree, “Traditiones Custodes,” severely restricting the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM).

Please SIGN and SHARE this petition with other Catholics, and ask the Pope to reconsider this new and divisive Motu Proprio.

Pope Francis’ decree clamps down hard on the TLM. In it, he effectively does away with Pope Benedict’s protection of it, handing bishops in every diocese the right to suppress it, while demanding new priests get permission from their bishop and the Vatican to offer the Mass of the Ages. 

As Catholics who value Tradition and know the place of the Magisterium in safeguarding the Deposit of Faith, it is time to speak up and have our voices heard

Francis has decried rigidity and intolerance for years, but now is showing intolerance and rigidity himself by forcing his very narrow understanding of liturgy on one of the true sources of good fruit in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church.

Our Lord said that “a bad tree cannot bear good fruit”, and yet we see more and more souls drawn to Christ through the TLM, with marriages dedicated to God and open to many children, and vocations also abounding in traditional seminaries, orders and priestly societies.

Indeed, the Traditional Latin Mass has been a source of unity for the Catholic Church for more than 1500 years, producing great saints, repentant sinners, and souls won for Christ across the world. *Read below how Benedict XVI decried attacks against the TLM and its adherents.

To attempt to restrict the Traditional Latin Mass, as a new generation are rediscovering the treasures of God’s Church, will inevitably cause further division and hurt among the faithful, risking the loss of some souls who will regretfully turn away

Souls are now at stake with this Motu Proprio, as some will drift away from the Deposit of Faith in disillusionment, while others that are far from God will never be touched by the profound beauty and reverence found in the Traditional Latin Mass. 

Please SIGN and SHARE this petition to Pope Francis, urging him to reconsider his decision, not least for the good of souls and the glory of God, and making sure as many cardinals support the TLM as possible. 

Click “Show Petition Text” on the right to read the letter to Pope Francis.

Finally, please pray, fast and do penance for the salvation of souls, including that of our shepherds, during this turbulent time in Church history.


‘BREAKING: Pope Francis abrogates Pope Benedict’s universal permission for Old Mass’ –

‘ANALYSIS: Pope restricts ‘divisive’ Traditional Latin Mass, says 52-yr-old Novus Ordo is ‘unique expression’ of Church’s liturgy’ –

* Pope Benedict XVI (Spirit of the Liturgy, 2000):

“For fostering a true consciousness in liturgical matters, it is also important that the proscription against the form of liturgy in valid use up to 1970 [the older Latin Mass] should be lifted. Anyone who nowadays advocates the continuing existence of this liturgy or takes part in it is treated like a leper; all tolerance ends here. There has never been anything like this in history; in doing this we are despising and proscribing the Church’s whole past. How can one trust her at present if things are that way?”

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Under new rules released earlier this year, however, no mention of the Pope or the Vatican is made regarding the process of appointing bishops. In fact, “Catholic bishops are approved and consecrated by the Chinese Catholic Bishops’ Conference,” after being appointed by the CCP, according to Article XVI of the new rules. 

“Obviously, the Vatican was unable to refuse the appointment, even if the concrete possibilities of assessing its suitability were evidently limited,” the AsiaNews report reads, noting that Cui’s “democratic” nomination was confirmed by the CCP just under a year ago on September 27, 2020. 

Installing a new bishop in Wuhan “had long been hoped for, as proof and symbol of the autonomy of the official church recognized and controlled by the Chinese Communist Party,” AsiaNews added. 

Cui’s selection by Communist rulers comes as no surprise, given that the priest was instrumental in implementing the demands of the CCP within the Wuhan diocese. 

In 2012, while Father Joseph Shen Guo’an was diocesan administrator during the elongated period of sede vacante, 19 of the dioceses 23 priests convened to decide on parish appointments themselves, without the obstruction of the regime. 

Consequently, after forging ahead with reassignments within the Wuhan diocese, the provincial government “interrogated the priests and warned against any changes,” according to a La Stampa report at the time. 

Despite the efforts of the government, the priests resolved to continue with their plans, but were met just a week later with a severe reprisal from Chinese authorities, who escorted “15 priests and several nuns … to the office of the provincial Religious Affairs Bureau for a meeting.” At this meeting, the leadership in the diocese was reshuffled, with Shen being removed as administrator, to be replaced with a “management committee” headed up by Cui. 

La Stampa reported that “[n]o priests and nuns except Fr. Cui were allowed to speak at the [December] meeting.” Cui, who was absent from the November meeting in which clergy appointments were made without state approval, “was seen to be with government officials before arriving at the diocese” in December.  

Before Shen’s removal in 2012, the CCP apparently “had supported him as an episcopal candidate, setting the date of his ordination for June 9, 2011,” but suddenly halted plans within days of his consecration, leaving him to act as administrator, according to AsiaNews. 

LifeSiteNews contacted both the Holy See Press Office and Vatican Dicastery for Communication to confirm the Pope’s involvement in the process of appointing the new Wuhan bishop, but received no reply before publication. 

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