Political Analysis: Brooks & Capehart On Bombings In Afghanistan, Jan. 6 Riot

New York Times columnist David Brooks and Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart join Amna Nawaz to discuss the week in politics, including the bombings in Kabul, Afghanistan that killed U.S. service members, the commission investigating the Jan. 6 riot, and voting rights legislation.

Iconic Views: The Spanish Steps In Rome, Italy (4K)

Piazza di Spagna, with the Spanish Steps, is one of the most famous in Rome. It owes its name to the palace of Spain, seat of the Iberian state embassy to the Holy See. In the center of the square there is the famous Barcaccia fountain, which dates back to the early Baroque period, built by Pietro Bernini and his son, the most famous Gian Lorenzo. On the side of via Frattina stands the Palazzo di Propaganda Fide, owned by the Holy See. In front of its facade, designed by Bernini (while the side facade is instead by Francesco Borromini), stands the column of the Immaculate Conception, which was raised after the proclamation of the dogma by the will of King Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies in thanks for one escaped attack, and inaugurated on December 8, 1857.The monumental staircase of 135 steps, commissioned by Cardinal Pierre Guérin de Tencin, was inaugurated by Pope Benedict XIII on the occasion of the Jubilee of 1725: it was built, thanks to French funding starting from 1721, to connect the embassy of the Bourbons of Spain, to which the square owes its name, to the church of the Trinità dei Monti.It was designed by both Alessandro Specchi and Francesco De Sanctis after generations of long and heated discussions on how the steep slope on the side of the Pincio should be urbanized to connect it to the church. The solution chosen was that of De Sanctis: a large staircase decorated with numerous garden terraces, which in spring and summer is beautifully decorated with many flowers. The sumptuous, aristocratic staircase, located at the apex of a long road axis that led to the Tiber, was designed so that the scenic effects gradually increased as you approached. Typical of the great Baroque architecture was in fact the creation of long, deep perspectives culminating with scenes or backgrounds of a monumental nature. The church of the Santissima Trinità dei Monti is one of the 5 French-speaking Catholic churches of Rome, together with San Luigi dei Francesi, San Nicola dei Lorenesi, Sant’Ivo dei Bretoni and Santi Claudio e Andrea dei Borgognoni.

Cover Previews: France Magazine – October 2021

Visit the fabled Paris bookshop Shakespeare and CompanyOutside the Paris bookshop Shakespeare and Company. Pic: Bonnie ElliottOutside the Paris bookshop Shakespeare and Company. Pic: Bonnie Elliott

“There are bookshops so packed with history, eccentricity and cultural clout they become a story themselves and the subject of literature. They have the kind of aura that extends beyond bookshelves and rises above commerce, offering writers and readers a refuge from the storms outside, a place where you feel a potential literary superstar just to hang out there.

City Lights in San Francisco (est. 1953), Strand bookstore in New York (est. 1927) and Foyles in London (est. 1903) fall into this category, but the stand-out trailblazer of them all has to be Shakespeare and Company in Paris, ‘a novel in three words’, as the founder of its current manifestation, George Whitman, once described it.”

Walking Tour: Brighton – Southeast England (4K)

Brighton is a seaside resort and one of the two main areas of the city of Brighton and Hove. Located on the southern coast of England, in the county of East Sussex, it is 47 miles south of London. Archaeological evidence of settlement in the area dates back to the Bronze Age, Roman and Anglo-Saxon periods.

Aerial Views: Island Of Sardinia, Italy (4K Video)

Sardinia is a large Italian island in the Mediterranean Sea. It has nearly 2,000km of coastline, sandy beaches and a mountainous interior crossed with hiking trails. Its rugged landscape is dotted with thousands of nuraghi – mysterious Bronze Age stone ruins shaped like beehives. One of the largest and oldest nuraghi is Su Nuraxi in Barumini, dating to 1500 B.C. 

Views: Goat Herding With Drones & Smartphones In Inner Mongolia (Video)

Troubled by his missing goat, Hu-Chun, a herder living in the steppes of Inner Mongolia, embarks on a journey to bring Ghalatar back into the fold. With a smartphone in hand and a motorcycle as his faithful steed, Hu-Chun traverses the mountain and desert plains herding around 500 goats. As a college-educated man who has returned from the city to continue his family’s agricultural way of life, Hu-Chun is part of a new generation of Mongolian herders embracing technology and a traditional lifestyle. He has also installed a 360-degree camera on top of a hill to monitor the precipitous terrain surrounding his home… continue reading on https://o6g7.app.link/kCWWETUZ1ib

Analysis: How Moderna & Pfizer-BioNTech Created Vaccines In Record Time

The decision to pivot an entire business to focus on the coronavirus is an obvious one in hindsight, at least for Moderna, BioNTech and Pfizer, which succeeded beyond anyone’s expectations — and will reap billions of dollars in sales of their vaccines this year alone.

It wasn’t such a clear decision in the early months of 2020, though that’s when Moderna’s chief executive, Stephane Bancel, and BioNTech’s chief, Ugur Sahin, starting turning their ships, they told CNBC in interviews for this documentary about the vaccine race, produced by CNBC senior health and science reporter Meg Tirrell and senior digital producer Sam Rega.

“The night that China locked down Wuhan, I’m like: ‘When was the last time I know a city has been locked down because of an infectious disease?’” Bancel recalled. “And what goes through my mind is: what do the Chinese know that we don’t know?“ Bancel said he awoke sweating at 4 a.m., realizing, “Jeez, there’s going to be a pandemic like 1918.” For Sahin, it was reading a paper in the Lancet in late January describing the outbreak in China.

“I did a number of calculations, fast calculations, and realized it had already spread,” Sahin said. “And it was clear that it was already too late to stop the disease.” But he was convinced BioNTech, then focused mainly on personalized cancer therapies, may be able to do something. His company reached out to Pfizer, he said, proposing to work on a vaccine for the novel coronavirus using the same technology, messenger RNA, on which they’d already partnered to try to tackle the flu.

“We had the first contact a few days after starting the project,” Sahin said. “At that time, Pfizer was not yet interested.” Albert Bourla, Pfizer’s CEO, confirmed Sahin’s account, saying in the earliest months of 2020, he was focused on maintaining the company’s operations in China. But by late February, he said, he’d determined Pfizer needed to work on a treatment and a vaccine.

“What is the best approach?” Bourla said he asked his team. Kathrin Jansen, head of Pfizer’s vaccine research and development, said they assessed all existing technologies, including protein-based vaccines and vaccines using viral vectors. “They all have too few pros and too many cons,” she said.

But messenger RNA was a risk; it had never been used before as an approved vaccine or drug. “I wrestled a little bit with the decision,” Bourla said. But after another meeting with the team, “they convinced me.” That’s when Sahin called a second time. The outbreak, by that point, was already in New York, he said. Reaching Jansen, he described the work that BioNTech already had underway, and asked if Pfizer would like to work together. “And I said: absolutely,” Jansen remembered. “Let’s talk about this.”

At Moderna, it was never a question that messenger RNA would be the way forward; that was the technology around which the company was founded in 2010. But that didn’t mean questions didn’t exist. “Even going into March, there were voices that said vaccines were false hope,” recalled Dr. Stephen Hoge, Moderna’s president.

“It did feel for a period of time that we needed to defend even the idea of trying.” “When we were thinking about how do we get into Phase 1, what does it look like to prepare for a pandemic, the eyes of the world felt as though they were looking at Moderna as this biotech … ‘what are they trying to do?’” said Hamilton Bennett, Moderna’s senior director of vaccine access and partnerships.

“It was only when we transitioned in that March notification from the WHO that this was a global pandemic, it’s an emergency, that I think people started to realize that what we’re doing isn’t playing in a sandbox trying to demonstrate our technology,” Bennett said. “We’re developing a vaccine that’s going to stop the pandemic.” The companies succeeded, in what became one of the greatest medical races in history. Here, they recall how it happened.

Travel: Top Ten Beautiful Towns To Visit In Portugal

Portugal is a southern European country on the Iberian Peninsula, bordering Spain. Its location on the Atlantic Ocean has influenced many aspects of its culture: salt cod and grilled sardines are national dishes, the Algarve’s beaches are a major destination and much of the nation’s architecture dates to the 1500s–1800s, when Portugal had a powerful maritime empire.

Covid-19: Can Vaccines Keep Up With Variants?

The race between covid-19 vaccines and variants is on. Alok Jha, The Economist’s science correspondent, and Natasha Loder, health policy editor, discuss what this means for the future Read more of our coverage on coronavirus: https://econ.st/3t1L6wx

Hiking Tours: Sigmund-Thun Gorge In Austria (4K)

Where tremendous glaciers once covered the land, today one of Austria’s most astonishing spectacles of nature awaits amazed visitors. The gorge in Kaprun combines breathtaking beauty with mystical scenery and experiences that leave lasting memories.

Some 14,000 years ago, during the late ice age, a glacier completely covered the valley of Kaprun and gorged its way through the calcareous schist rocks of the Maiskogel and the Bürgkogel mountains. When the glacier melted, it left behind a gorge through which the river Ache of Kaprun ran. The river dug itself 32 metres deep into the ground and left behind strikingly smooth surfaces and natural whirlpools. Visitors move along narrow rock faces across wooden catwalks and numerous other bridges. Make sure not to miss the white water spectacle of Kaprun’s Ache River!