Russia escalates energy war: The nation cut off natural gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria in response to Western sanctions imposed because of the Russia-Ukraine war, reports CNN. Russian energy company Gazprom released a statement saying they've fully cut off Poland's PGNiG and Bulgaria's Bulgargaz after both refused to pay in rubles. Though the stoppage won't completely topple the countries, European leaders have called the move "blackmail." Time to start looking into alternative energy sources, lads.
Weather time: Cold April hysteria at all-time high. Please make it stop.
I’m dreaming of a cold April …
SAID NO ONE EVER!
Temps will run 5-7 degrees below normal again as our 2nd coldest April since the Ford administration continues. Hang in there, folks!
— Seattle Weather Blog (@KSeattleWeather) April 27, 2022
Harvard sets aside $100 million endowment for slavery reparations: According to Reuters, the fund's goal is to "close the educational, social, and economic gaps that are legacies of slavery and racism." They also released a report detailing the history of slavery at the university, which found that Harvard enslaved 70 people from its founding in 1636 to 1783, when Massachusetts banned slavery.
In case you weren't aware: The art world's focus right now is centered on the Venice Biennale in Italy. There are a ton of interesting-looking pavilions made by artists representing their county at the event. The big news, however, is that British artist Sonia Boyce took home the coveted Golden Lion prize for Feeling Her Way. The work combines collage, video, music, and sculpture, prominently featuring a video of five Black female musicians "who improvise and play with their voices." The jury said of the installation that Boyce "proposes, consequently, another reading of histories through the sonic. In working collaboratively with other black women, she unpacks a plenitude of silenced stories.” Yummy artspeak! More below:
60% of Americans have been infected with COVID, says the CDC: According a new report, the omicron variant is responsible for much of that number after sweeping the nation at the end of last year. Because of the high rate of infections, that could mean there are less life-threatening cases and deaths relative to infections, reports the New York Times. “We will see less and less severe disease, and more and more a shift toward clinically mild disease,” immunologist Florian Krammer told the Times.
Meanwhile: On PBS's NewsHour yesterday, Dr. Anthony Fauci said, "We are certainly right now in this country out of the pandemic phase." In a follow up interview with WaPo, Fauci clarified that he meant the country is finally “out of the full-blown explosive pandemic phase." "We’re really in a transitional phase, from a deceleration of the numbers into hopefully a more controlled phase and endemicity,” he said.
The B-52s are going on a farewell tour this summer after decades on the road: And they are kicking off the North American leg of the tour on August 22 in good ol' Seattle. Grab your tix while you still can.
If this man keeps edging student loan borrowers, I swear to God...Biden apparently told the Congressional Hispanic Caucus that he's "looking at different options" to relieve $1.6 trillion in federal student loan debt, reports CBS News. That includes an "unspecified but substantial" amount of that debt, after previously promising to relieve at least $10,000. Later, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the administration would make a decision about debt relief between now and August. Make the call now, Joseph!
Absolutely shocking: A new report about the Seattle Police Department revealed that some Seattle police officers consistently ignored the state's mask mandate and refused direct orders to comply, reports the Seattle Times. Cops? Breaking the law? Making working environments less safe? Unbelievable. Accountability officials called the lack of mask adherence a "serious cultural issue." More from Mike Carter at the Times:
"The report states that the department was fined $17,500 last year after receiving two notices of “serious violations” of the Washington Administrative Code over officers’ refusal to comply with the mandates after inspections by the state Department of Labor and Industries. The report noted that it was difficult for command staff to demand officers comply with the regulations because some captains and assistant chiefs didn’t mask up, either."
Redmond to pay out $7.5 million to the family of Andrea Churna, an unarmed woman shot and killed by a Redmond police officer in 2020 as she laid prone on the ground, reports KOMO. Churna's attorney said the money will go to her estate, family and 8-year-old son.
Sound Transit shows off new trains for Tacoma's light rail extension: Yesteday, the transit agency unveiled the first of five trains for the extension, which will run from St. Joesph's Hospital to the Tacoma Dome, reports KING 5. Each train can hold up to 100 people. The lines are set to open "by the first quarter of 2023."
HAPPENING NOW: Sound Transit debuts the arrival of the first of five new Light Rail vehicles for the Hilltop Tacoma Link Extension. Tune into @KING5Seattle for more… pic.twitter.com/YbXS6BiI9W
— Lionel Donovan, III (@LionelDonovan3) April 26, 2022
Remember Paxlovid? The Biden administration announced plans to boost use of COVID antiviral Paxlovid as cases in many parts of the country start to slowly creep up, reports CBS News. The federal government will allow more pharmacies to order the treatment directly and will launch further test-to-treat sites "where American can get diagnosed and receive the pills in a single visit."
God bless the corner of Belmont and Pine: The big brains behind Fogón and La Josie's are opening a new cocktail bar and Mexican grocery called El Lugar Bodega Bar, reports CHS Blawg. The one-stop shop will take over the space formerly occupied by boba shop Oasis right next door to Fogón. Owner Noel Cortez says you can expect to buy tortas, "pan dulce pop-ups, micheladas, birria bowls, and paleta cocktails with sweet watermelon, lime juice, tequila, and chile powder."
For your listening pleasure: Masarima's "Freak Like U."