The US did not reject Russia’s offer of cooperation in developing a coronavirus vaccine, according to a Moscow health official, who says help wasn’t even proffered, despite claims from CNN.
On Thursday, the American broadcaster claimed Russia had offered the US “unprecedented cooperation” to Operation Warp Speed, the US multi-agency body dedicated to creating Covid-19 vaccines and treatments. Citing an unnamed “senior Russian official,” the news network said the Americans had refused help from Moscow due to a “general sense of mistrust.”
Alexey Kuznetsov, an assistant to Russia’s Health Minister, rebuffed CNN’s assertion, explaining that his ministry did not send an “official proposal” to the US.
According to the American network, US officials believe the Russian vaccine to be so incomplete that any assistance didn’t generate any interest at all, with one official saying, “There’s no way in hell the US will try [the Russian vaccine] on monkeys, let alone people.”
On August 11, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the country had registered the world’s first Covid-19 vaccine, named Sputnik V. Developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, the vaccine will be available to the general public from January 2021. The process of creating the vaccine has been criticized by some Western countries, who claim that the speedy production means it hasn’t yet been proved safe.
1947 – Independence for India. After three decades, the Indian independence movement, led by Mohandas Gandhi, achieved its goal on this day in 1947 as a free and independent India was established, ending nearly 200 years of British rule.
A Justice Department inspector general’s report says FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith altered an email in June 2017 to downplay Carter Page and his relationship with the CIA. Pictured: Page participates in a discussion on ‘politicization of Justice Department and the intelligence community in their efforts to undermine the president’ hosted by Judicial Watch at the One America News studios on Capitol Hill, May 29, 2019. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
A former FBI attorney will plead guilty to making false statements in documents used to obtain a surveillance warrant against former Trump aide Carter Page, his lawyer told the Associated Press on Friday.
Clinesmith’s lawyer, Justin Shur, told the Associated Press that his client will plead guilty to a single charge of making false statements as part of a cooperation agreement with the government.
The New York Times first reported that Clinesmith was entering the plea deal and would be charged in federal court.
Attorney General William Barr hinted Thursday that the indictment was coming in the Durham probe, though he said it was not “earth-shattering.” He told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that other “significant” developments will happen in the Durham probe closer to the election.
A Justice Department inspector general’s report said that an FBI attorney identified as Clinesmith altered an email in June 2017 to downplay Carter Page’s relationship with the CIA.
Page had served as an “operational contact” for the CIA through at least 2013, but Clinesmith altered an email to say that he was “not a source” for the spy agency.
Clinesmith took part in other aspects of Crossfire Hurricane, the name of the FBI investigation of the Trump campaign, and later joined the special counsel’s team.
He took part in the decision to send an FBI special agent into a counterintelligence briefing with Donald Trump and Michael Flynn in August 2016. The agent, Joe Pientka, was tasked with collecting evidence on Flynn to use as part of Crossfire Hurricane.
Clinesmith also exchanged anti-Trump text messages with another FBI lawyer after the November 2016 election, according to a Justice Department inspector general’s report released on June 14, 2018.
Isaiah 56:1, 6-7 Psalm 67 Romans 11:13-15, 29-32 Matthew 15:21-28
In John’s Gospel, Mary told Jesus that the wine at a wedding was about to run out. Although he seemed to disregard her implicit request, he quickly provided far more wine than anyone had hoped for. In today’s Gospel, Jesus jousted verbally with a clever pagan woman, and, “Behold!” Jesus ceded his position.
Perhaps it might be better to say they conceded, suggesting that both sides were involved in the resolution: She placed her faith in him as Lord and he responded to her need.
Matthew positioned this story immediately after an unfriendly interchange between Jesus and some of Jerusalem’s elite, the religious purists who critiqued the disciples’ irreligious table etiquette. Jesus undercut their complaints by saying that nobody is defiled by food, while what comes out of one’s mouth reveals and reinforces what’s in the heart. Then he ran into a woman who was ready to use her mouth.
Scholars and preachers make excuses for the way Jesus talked to this unnamed woman but their justifications are generally more pious than historically probable. The story is stark: Jesus first ignored and then insulted this woman. He acted like a man of his time. This audacious woman, whom later tradition named Justa, started with two strikes against her: her gender and the fact that her people, the Canaanites, were traditional enemies of the Jews.
Justa flouted both those disadvantages. She breached her gender role by approaching a man for help. She defused the ethnic antagonism by calling on him as the Son of David, thereby showing respect for him and calling on the Jewish tradition that made kings responsible for the welfare of widows, orphans and foreigners.
Hearing him say that his mission was only to Israel, she simply intensified her approach and bowed before him as one who worships. He retorted that his mission was to God’s children, not foreign dogs.
Rising to the occasion as no one ever had before, she used his own words to disarm him. Picture her at his feet, looking up with a unique combination of pleading and mischievousness. Throwing him entirely off guard, she replied: “Ah Lord, but those puppies jump for the scraps wherever they fall!”
That got him. “O woman, great is your faith!”
Of all people, Justa, like the centurion whose servant Jesus healed, expressed the sort of faith Jesus sought but didn’t find in his disciples. In fact, her faith was great enough to call Jesus to enlarge his vision.
Justa and Mary are unique personalities in the Gospels. While many people moved Jesus to compassion, these two women opened his mind to new possibilities. In John 6, when Jesus asked Philip where to find bread for the crowd, the author quickly explained that Jesus already knew what he was going to do. But there is no such pretext when Jesus produced wine after telling his mother, “My hour has not yet come.” An honest reading of Justa’s story depicts the second woman who influenced Jesus to change his plan and welcome the faith of foreigners.
The passage from Isaiah chosen to comment on this Gospel makes a similar point. Isaiah tells the Israelites who have come back from exile that salvation is not limited to their nation alone. The people who see themselves as belonging to God must understand that God’s house is a place for all people. Later, Isaiah (66:21) tells his people that foreigners can be priests just like Israelites.
Why did Matthew tell us this story? First, the story illustrates the kind of faith Jesus sought. Justa believed that Jesus not only could, but should respond to her need — gender and nationality aside. Additionally, the story depicts Jesus adjusting his plan because a woman led him to see something differently.
In our day, the document produced by the Amazon synod calls the church to be as open as Jesus was. That meeting called the church to “synodality,” a way of moving forward in harmony by listening to God’s call together. They said this includes paying special attention to the laity and favoring the participation of women, including the possibility of ordaining them to the diaconate.
We might look at today’s Gospel as the prototype of the synod on the Amazon and the future of the church. Behold! God may be calling the church to a newly open mind.
Many aspiring writers ask more experienced writers the question, “Do I have writing talent?” That’s not the right question to ask to know if you should be a writer. Writing is a skill. Sure, some inherent talent with words is helpful. Still, writing success mostly comes down to developing a wide set of writing related skills.
Here are five writing skills you should practice so that you can be a better writer. It doesn’t matter whether you’re seasoned in writing or starting out. Anyone can improve on these particular aspects of writing.
Build Your Vocabulary
It’s highly important to have a well-rounded vocabulary. You don’t have to use all the words you know on a regular basis. But, it is important to know what words are best used in different contexts. Many words have similar meanings. Also, learn how to be sensitive to the subtle differences between words.
This is why it’s good to always have a dictionary or thesaurus on hand. You can always Google a definition. Still, having a paperback of these handy reference books is actually quite helpful. You don’t want to be using the same words over and over again, but also be careful that you don’t use synonyms to be fancy.
Be Clear With Your Writing’s Message
You can write the most brilliant prose you’ve ever read. But, if your readers don’t “get it” then it doesn’t matter how much time you spent writing it. You have to be clear with your message through your writing. If you tend to be long-winded, a lot of people may not be able to follow along well. If you tend to cram too many ideas into a single long paragraph, people may lose your train of thought.
If you feel called to share your literary genius with the world, that’s great. But keep in mind that you want as many people as possible to actually understand what you are saying. That doesn’t mean you have to dumb down what you are saying. It means that you should be as straightforward as possible.
Know When to Put a Piece of Writing Aside to Look at It With Fresh Eyes Later
Sometimes it is best to write something and set it aside. Don’t put it right out into the world right away. It may be fine to let a trusted writer friend look a first draft over. But it’s often the case that putting aside your first draft is the best thing for your writing. Coming back to it the next day can allow you to see a piece with fresh eyes.
Trying to write a piece and edit it in a single sitting can be a daunting task. Put it aside and return to it later. Then, see if anything needs revising, replacing, or rearranging. This delayed editing can make your piece clearer and stronger. Fresh eyes often help you see places where you said things in more words than necessary. They also can tell where you may need to expand upon or make clearer.
Become an Expert in Spelling, Grammar, and Word Usage
There are many writers who tend to write a first draft then lean on someone to edit their work before they submit it. But, it really does help to know learn to proof your work on your own. Eliminating obvious spelling and grammatical errors is very helpful. You can also catch word usage problems yourself that grammar checkers may not find. Then, you can lean on any editor you have to catch more developmental things in your writing rather than the more basic mechanical things.
Most editors prefer having writers who are already pretty good at writing mechanics. This is crucial if you plan on submitting your writing to publications or plan to have it published. That doesn’t mean you have to be one hundred percent perfect all the time. But, keeping typos and errors to a minimum is a must to become a better writer, especially a professional writer.
Don’t Let Disappointment or Rejection Hold You Back from Writing
Most successful writers will tell you that their favorite writing pieces are those that have are rejected the most. Unfortunately, rejection is part of any business. Rejection is especially brutal at times in the writing business. It’s not uncommon for dozens or even hundreds of publishers and editorial publications to turn the same piece down.
To be a successful writer, learn not to take these rejections personally. Just move on to another outlet or the next writing project. You can always return to those pieces later to see if they need revision or just a new audience.
Most of the best writers out there now did not begin as highly-touted writing talents. In fact, many of them faced a major uphill climb to enjoy any professional success at all. The key is being relentless in developing writing skills. Don’t be afraid to submit early and often. Then, don’t stop writing. These are the keys of success in writing.
Talent is something that can be developed, no matter where you start out. Forget about what people think about your writing “talent.” Develop your writing skills and prove the naysayers wrong.