Hong Kong Calls U.S. Sanctions Against Officials ‘Despicable’

Football Goes on in N.Y. Despite Pandemic Limits on School, Work

Buffalo Bills fans will be allowed to attend the second home playoff game in person, after the success of New York’s pilot plan for last week’s game, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Monday.

The announcement comes as coronavirus cases statewide continue to climb, businesses and schools are closed in parts of the state, and hospital capacity is being closely monitored.

Cuomo touted the success of the pilot program, which allowed fans to attend the Jan. 9th game, saying it “went smoothly.” He has said the program could be a model for other businesses to reopen.

The Bills, the only AFC East team that hasn’t won a Super Bowl, are known for their rambunctious and defensive “Bills Mafia” fans. After years playing in the shadow of the New England Patriots, the Bills are having their best season in decades. The team is 13-3 and favored ahead of the Jan. 16 match against the Baltimore Ravens.

The approximately 6,700 people attending the game must adhere to social distancing, wear masks, and obtain a negative Covid-19 test result prior to the game, Cuomo said.

Of 203,904 tests reported on Sunday, 6.72%, or 13,714, were positive including hot spot areas, according to state data. There were 8,645 hospitalizations, up 161 from the day prior, and 170 virus-related fatalities on Sunday.

Dr. Anthony Fauci Remains Optimistic For Fall Theater And Music Venue Reopenings

Nationwide Covid surges and a disappointingly slow vaccine rollout notwithstanding, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci reiterated over the weekend his belief that live theater venues could reopen during fall 2021.

Participating in a virtual conference held Saturday by the Association of Performing Arts Professionals, Fauci said that, depending on the vaccine rollout, the reopening of live venues “will occur some time in the fall of 2021.”

By the “early to mid-fall,” the infectious disease expert said, “you can have people feeling safe performing onstage as well as people in the audience.”

Fauci’s comments were consistent with statements he made early last month, when he told NBC that a vaccine rollout this spring and early summer could allow Broadway to reopen its stages by late summer or early fall.

As he noted in December, though, the possible reopenings will depend on widespread vaccinations. He said Saturday that an effective level of herd immunity would mean that 70 percent to 85 percent of the population had received vaccines. Fauci cautioned, however, that audiences can expect to continue wearing masks for the immediate future, and that venues might consider requiring audience members to show proof of negative Covid test results.

He also encouraged venue owners to examine ventilation systems and make appropriate improvements to air flow.

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Regions Financial Q4 Profit Rises 61%, Results Top Estimates – Quick Facts

Regions Financial Corp. (RF) on Friday reported fourth-quarter net income available to common shareholders increased to $588 million or $0.61 per share from $366 million or $0.38 per share in the year-ago quarter.

Total revenue for the quarter rose 13.9 percent to $1.69 billion from $1.48 billion in the same quarter last year, reflecting growth in both net interest income and non-interest income. Adjusted total revenue also rose 11.7 percent to $1.66 billion from $1.48 billion last year.

On average, analysts polled by Thomson Financial expected the company to report earnings of $0.42 per share on revenues of $1.56 billion for the quarter. Analysts’ estimates typically exclude special items.

Bernie Sanders’s Meme-Worthy Inauguration Coat Is Selling Out

The indelible image of Bernie Sanders bundled up in a jacket and mittens at the U.S. presidential inauguration didn’t just spawn memes around the world — it also led to a massive spike in sales.

Burton Snowboards, the Vermont outerwear company that made the coat the senator wore at Joe Biden’s inauguration, said its website has been inundated with visitors in the past few days. Sales of the Edgecomb down jacket on Wednesday were more than double that of the previous 17 days combined, and the specific color worn by Sanders has sold out.

Viewers worldwide seized on Sanders’s amusingly pragmatic outfit as the latest example of his “grumpy chic” aesthetic — leading to a popularmeme showing manipulated images of him sitting in other locations. The style has caught the attention of designer fashion labels, and a 2017 collection from European brand Balenciaga riffed on his campaign logo.

As Burton sold its jackets, the woman who made the senator’s mittens was inundated with orders too. Jen Ellis, the Vermont teacher who gifted Sanders the mittens years ago, told disappointed shoppers Wednesday night that she had already sold out.

Hong Kong Calls U.S. Sanctions Against Officials ‘Despicable’

Hong Kong’s government expressed its “utmost anger” toward a U.S. decision to sanction six officials from the city and China, calling the move “insane, shameless and despicable.”

The U.S. is attempting to “intervene” in the internal affairs of China and Hong Kong, and “obstruct” their efforts to safeguard national security, the city’s government said in astatement on Saturday. Secretary of State Mike Pompeoannounced Friday that the U.S. would sanction the officials as part of President Donald Trump’s executive order on Hong Kong normalization.

The move is the latest among a raft of measures the White House has taken to punish China after Beijing imposed national security laws in Hong Kong last year. The law has cast doubt on whether the former colony can still have the “high degree of autonomy” promised before the British handed it back to China in 1997. The U.S. has begun revoking the “special status” the city had enjoyed, and also sanctioned officials including Chief Executive Carrie Lam.

“The U.S. acts are displaying double standards and hypocrisy, let alone blatantly breaching international laws and basic norms governing international relations,” the Hong Kong government said in the statement. The excuse that the U.S. uses to sanction the officials was “lame” and “could hardly stand up to challenge,” it added.