Biden urges mental health support for students


Throughout Tuesday’s State of the Union handle, President Joe Biden mirrored on the psychological toll the coronavirus pandemic has taken on youngsters. Biden fastened a number of the blame on social media and proposed an initiative to offer $1 billion in new federal funding to assist psychological well being care in colleges, together with hiring psychological well being professionals and constructing on applications initiated from coronavirus aid funds.

Ukrainian at Capitol rally urges Utahns not to be ‘detached’ from the dangers of the Russian invasion


Upwards of a thousand individuals gathered Monday on the Utah Capitol, the place, for the primary time within the state’s historical past, the blue and yellow Ukrainian flag flew alongside the U.S. and Utah flags.

The rally was a wanted present of assist for the embattled European nation, stated Ivan Bagmet, a Ukrainian man who was compelled to flee along with his household to the U.S. practically eight years in the past.

As a Ukrainian nationalist dwelling in Donetsk — one of many areas that Russian President Vladimir Putin not too long ago declared impartial as a pretext for invasion — Bagmet advised The Salt Lake Tribune that he confronted harsh persecution that culminated in an try on his life in 2014.

The subsequent day, his younger household of 4 fled to Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, after which flew to Utah.

“[The invasion] isn’t just Ukraine’s downside, it’s everybody else’s downside as nicely,” he stated, referencing Putin’s ominous remarks about nuclear arms. “It’s not going to cease in Ukraine, and proper now it’s a menace to the entire world, together with [the] United States.”

All through the rally, Ukrainians within the crowd raised impassioned shouts of their native language, voicing assist for his or her countrymen who are actually combating for his or her lives half a world away. For them, even the Ukrainians dwelling in Utah, Russia’s invasion hits near residence.

Bagmet stated he has household and associates nonetheless dwelling in Donetsk and Kyiv, together with his mother and father and in-laws.

“As quickly because it began, principally, my brother known as me. It was like 5:38 a.m. within the morning, Ukrainian time,” he stated. “For me, it was, like, principally center of the day. … He simply wakened at 5:38 a.m. as a result of the constructing was shaking from explosions. And he simply known as me and stated, ‘Hey, it appears prefer it’s began.’”

What adopted had been days spent on the telephone, checking in on family members, ensuring that everybody was OK.

Thus far, Ukrainian forces have managed to stymie the Russian invasion.

“I do know that nations [are] normally born in tears and blood, and I consider that’s what’s happening with Ukrainian individuals proper now,” Bagmet stated. “As a result of Putin stated he [was] going to take over Ukraine inside 48 hours. As you recognize, it’s been 5 days … and Ukrainian individuals [are] combating again.”

Regardless of the satisfaction he has in his nation, and his fellow nationalists, Bagmet stated Ukraine alone won’t be able to win this conflict. Russia is simply too skilled and is a far higher army energy than its neighbor.

So Ukraine is counting on different international locations to supply help.

“As soon as, eight years in the past, I stay in a peaceable nation,” Bagmet stated, warning that the peaceable life loved by many People is fragile. “So, please, don’t be indifferent. Please, attempt to assist for those who can.”

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Vlada Yaremenko, from Ukraine, joins lots of of protesters collect on the Utah Capitol for a rally in assist of Ukraine, on Monday, Feb. 28, 2022.

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson and some lawmakers spoke on the rally, held to point out solidarity with Ukrainians in Europe and in Utah after an identical occasion on the Capitol on Saturday.

Attendees held yellow flowers, waved flags, and joined in chants of “Ukraine!” and “Zelensky!” — referring to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who the audio system usually known as a “hero.”

Rep. Jordan Teuscher, D-South Jordan, stated Russia’s assault on Ukraine impacts not solely Ukrainians like his spouse and her household, but additionally Utahns.

“This assault in opposition to Ukraine isn’t just an assault in opposition to Ukraine, however an assault in opposition to democracy and an assault in opposition to each single one in every of us,” he stated.

The governor and lieutenant governor echoed that sentiment of their transient remarks.

“Our horror at what’s unfolding in Europe with our associates is heightened by the conclusion that freedom, democracy, justice and self-determination is below assault,” Henderson stated. “We stand with Ukraine not simply due to what’s occurring to its individuals … but additionally as a result of the invasion right into a sovereign nation highlights the fragility of all that we maintain expensive.”

The lieutenant governor additionally quoted Sen. Mitt Romney, referring to Putin as a “small, evil, feral-eyed man” who she stated, “deserves each little bit of scorn and condemnation for his evil actions.”

Romney appeared on CNN on Sunday and stated Republicans’ assist of the Russian president was “nearly treasonous.”

In his speech, Cox expressed love for the 1,500 Ukrainians dwelling within the state, however he additionally spoke to Utah’s Russian inhabitants, saying, “We don’t maintain you accountable for the acts of a madman.”

Echoing his weblog put up revealed on-line Monday, Cox urged Utahns to place apart division, although the U.S. is “flawed,” he stated.

“Our Ukrainian associates are reminding us what it means to be American,” Cox stated on the rally. “They want us. They want a united us. They want the very best of us. And we want them.”

Mayor Erin Mendenhall, who spoke below a sky she described as “nearly as blue because the stripe on the Ukrainian flag,” stated Russia’s assault on Ukraine was private for her.

Her household fled Russian-occupied Lithuania throughout World Warfare II, she stated, and so they had been by no means in a position to return. “Our democracy is simply as secure as our dedication to it,” she stated.

Mendenhall additionally known as on Utahns to ship assist to the Salt Lake Metropolis sister cities of Chernivtsi in Ukraine, and Izhevsk in Russia.

The rally was held on one other busy day on the Utah Legislature, however Republican Home Speaker Rep. Brad Wilson stated that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine warranted lawmakers hitting the “pause button.”

Simply hours earlier than the rally, the Utah Legislature unanimously handed a invoice denouncing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and urging the U.S. federal authorities to “restore peace in Europe.”

The rally closed with a prayer from Rabbi Samuel Spector of Congregation Kol Ami, in addition to a prayer in Ukrainian from a lady sporting a blue scarf who was recognized solely as Anna.

The rally’s host, entrepreneur Owen Fuller, stated that the Utah Capitol could be lit up in yellow and blue for Ukraine as soon as the sky darkened Monday night, as had been the governor’s mansion, the College of Utah’s block U. and lots of companies all through Salt Lake Metropolis and the state.

Cox stated that the one different time the Utah Capitol has been lit up was throughout the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Hong Kong leader urges calm as lockdown fears cause panic buying | Coronavirus pandemic


Hong Kong’s chief has appealed for calm after residents stripped grocery store cabinets naked amid fears of obligatory mass COVID-19 testing and a rumoured city-wide lockdown.

Native media reported obligatory COVID testing would begin after March 17, prompting fears that folks can be pressured to isolate and households with members testing constructive can be separated.

Below a so-called “dynamic zero COVID” coverage, the Chinese language territory is imposing among the hardest pandemic restrictions on Earth, at the same time as the remainder of the world learns to dwell with the virus.

Hong Kong Chief Government Carrie Lam on Tuesday appealed to the general public “to not fall prey to rumours to keep away from pointless fears being stirred,” whereas insisting the availability of meals and items stays regular, based on a authorities assertion.

“There isn’t a want for members of the general public to fret, they need to keep vigilant and take note of the data disseminated by the federal government in order to keep away from being misled by rumours.”

Isabella Ng Fung-sheung, affiliate head of the Division of Asian and Coverage Research on the Training College of Hong Kong, described the town’s pandemic technique as a “catastrophe” that was fuelling worry and anxiousness among the many group.

“Bizarre residents are extraordinarily anxious,” Ng informed Al Jazeera. “Individuals are frantically seizing all meals accessible within the supermarkets.”

Ng mentioned an earlier announcement that the college summer time holidays can be moved to March and April had additionally prompted “chaos amongst colleges, lecturers, dad and mom and college students,” whereas strict journey and quarantine guidelines have been “scaring individuals and traders off”.

“Faculties should grapple on their very own to determine the right way to rearrange the curriculum,” Ng mentioned.

Metropolis-wide lockdown

Officers are planning to check the town’s 7.4 million individuals 3 times over 9 days, with the federal government recommending that folks keep dwelling in the course of the interval, the Sing Tao Each day newspaper reported, citing unidentified sources.

Exemptions can be made for many who purchase meals, search medical therapy and keep societal operations. Hong Kong’s inventory market would proceed to function, the paper mentioned.

Lam had beforehand mentioned she was not contemplating a city-wide lockdown.

An expat resident informed Al Jazeera he had spent the final 4 days making an attempt to get groceries by way of a preferred grocery store’s on-line supply service with out success.

“Final night time we went to ParKnShop, traces have been 10-15 individuals deep at every register, provides of contemporary meat have been restricted to non-existent,” the resident mentioned, requesting anonymity resulting from concern over the town’s sweeping nationwide safety regulation, which has been used to quash most dissent within the metropolis. “Cabinets appeared decently stocked on most different objects.”

“I feel the federal government operated on the belief that ‘zero COVID’ was all the time going to work and didn’t develop any contingency plans in case it didn’t,” the resident mentioned. “Now they’re left scrambling to catch up.”

After maintaining coronavirus infections close to zero for a lot of the pandemic, the Chinese language-ruled metropolis has seen per capita instances surge above the peaks skilled in pandemic-ravaged international locations corresponding to the US and United Kingdom. On Monday, authorities reported greater than 34,000 instances, up from simply over 100 initially of February, and 87 deaths. Amenities for storing lifeless our bodies at hospitals and public mortuaries have reached most capability, leading to our bodies being saved in beds or trolleys in hallways.

Hong Kong has promised to stay with a COVID elimination coverage to align with mainland China, which prioritises curbing outbreaks in any respect price. Town’s present restrictions, together with closing companies corresponding to bars, magnificence salons and gymnasiums, are probably the most draconian because the begin of the pandemic in 2020.

The principles have exacerbated separation fears amongst many households, with many fleeing the town forward of the mass testing scheme and the constructing of tens of hundreds of isolation centres.

The worldwide monetary centre, lengthy branded as “Asia’s World Metropolis,” has been experiencing an exodus of expertise as among the world’s hardest border controls close to the two-year mark ad infinitum.

Lam, who inspected a mainland Chinese language-built isolation centre on Monday, mentioned the staff had raced in opposition to the clock to “create a miracle” within the metropolis’s building business.

The Tsing Yi facility, positioned within the northwest of the town, would supply about 3,900 rooms for contaminated individuals with delicate or no signs and others who must isolate, she mentioned.

Resolution urges FDA to reconsider requirements for blood donation


Bennett Johnson donates blood on the ARUP blood drive held on the Senate constructing on the state Captiol on Monday. (Paul Nelson, KSL NewsRadio)

Estimated learn time: 4-5 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — A joint decision on the Utah Legislature urges the federal Meals and Drug Administration to alter “outdated and discriminatory protocols” for blood donation concerning homosexual and bisexual males.

SJR11 was launched Monday by state Sen. Derek Kitchen, D-Salt Lake Metropolis, and was highlighted by the senator throughout a blood drive held on the Capitol for “all blood donors.” The drive was organized by Kitchen to assist handle ongoing nationwide blood shortages.

In January, the American Crimson Cross declared the first-ever blood disaster and urged all People to donate to assist improve provide to fight the “worst blood provide scarcity in over a decade.”

However some People who’re keen to reply the decision and roll up their sleeves might face obstacles in doing so. Zachary Marks expressed frustration on the obstacles he confronted in his need to assist.

“It is simply actually discouraging when it is one thing that I need to do. My physique makes blood, wholesome blood, and I would like to have the ability to give it to different individuals. And I am unable to simply due to like one particular label,” Marks mentioned Monday.

“The wholesome habits that individuals can have do not matter when it is, like, you mark a field that you just’re homosexual, after which hastily it is such as you can’t donate in any respect,” he added.

The FDA’s present blood donation tips require homosexual or bisexual males to abstain from sexual exercise for 3 months previous to donating blood.

“We want blood, and homosexual males need to take part,” Kitchen mentioned. “Homosexual males need to be part of the answer, and there is a variety of homosexual individuals within the state of Utah that need to assist us with our blood scarcity. So, I feel it is time for us to raise that ban.”

The ban on homosexual and bisexual males donating blood was imposed in 1983 by the company throughout the early years of the HIV epidemic. The ban was lifted in 2015 and amended to permit donations after abstaining from sexual exercise for a 12 months — which was later adjusted in 2020 to the present three-month interval amid rising stress and a nationwide scarcity of blood donations.

“On the FDA, we need to do all the pieces we will to encourage extra blood donations, which incorporates revisiting and updating a few of our current insurance policies to assist guarantee we’ve an enough blood provide whereas nonetheless defending the protection of our nation’s blood provide,” Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Middle for Biologics Analysis and Analysis, wrote of the change.

The administration acknowledged that the amended coverage would stay in place after the COVID-19 pandemic, however advocates are calling for an entire change. The American Medical American Affiliation argued that the coverage “singles out and bans blood donors based mostly on their inherent attributes relatively than the chance components they current.”

The affiliation added that every one blood is examined and donors may be screened. Others argue that the screening course of might not flag all contaminated individuals. Blood assessments can stay detrimental for a interval of seven to 10 days after somebody has been contaminated, in response to the American Crimson Cross.

The coverage is a “holdover from the AIDS disaster” and creates a stigma for homosexual and bisexual males, Kitchen mentioned, including that individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation, can contract the virus.

The decision goals to acknowledge “that outdated and discriminatory protocols of the previous are contributing to the present disaster within the nation’s blood provide and urges the federal authorities to pursue with renewed vigor substitute of the specific, time-based exclusion of homosexual and bisexual males as blood.”

If handed, the decision presents a chance for Utah to steer out on the difficulty.

“Utah is a very distinctive place as a result of we have, you recognize, we have overcome a variety of obstacles with regard to our non secular neighborhood and our LGBTQ neighborhood, and we have come a good distance,” Kitchen mentioned.

“It is our job as state lawmakers and legislators to concentrate on good well being coverage. And on the finish of the day, this decision helps scale back the stigma that homosexual males carry in the case of their participation in well being care,” he mentioned. “We now have a variety of training and a protracted highway to go, however with this decision we’ve a chance to start to cut back that stigma which simply merely is not true.”

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