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A family ponders inviting racist cousins to a wedding – Chicago Tribune



Dear Amy: I’m from a small family (I have one brother), and while growing up, my two cousins (my aunt’s sons) were like brothers to me – we always spent vacations, holidays, and family celebrations together.

Fast-forward 30 years and we aren’t as close as we used to be – for various reasons.

I relocated to the West Coast and my family is in the Midwest.

I see my parents and my brother often, but I haven’t seen my cousins since the pandemic began because we have differing opinions on vaccinations and social-distancing (I believe in both; they don’t).

Our daughter is engaged, deeply in love, and very happy in an interracial relationship.

My spouse and I are quite fond of our future son-in-law and his family.

My dilemma is this: Both of my cousins have expressed racist views and used racial slurs in the past.

I do not trust that they will be supportive of our daughter’s marriage. I’m not comfortable with them attending her wedding.

Should I call them directly and address the issues outright? Should I quietly not invite them? Honestly, I love my cousins, but I don’t like them or their world views, and I don’t know what to do.

– Stressed in the West

Dear Stressed: If you aren’t comfortable being in proximity to these men for health or cultural reasons, then – follow your instincts.

But I’m leaning in favor of considering an invite for these two bozos, or at least opening it up for discussion – because if your daughter and her fiancé are hosting a family wedding, well, families are made up of all sorts of people, and sometimes these people are jerks, losers, and racists.

There are many variables to ponder here, however, including how awful your cousins really are, and how tolerant the bride, groom, and his family are willing or able to be.

Fortunately for you, this decision should be made by the marrying couple, so you can kick this in their direction.

I suggest that you be completely honest with them: “Bert and Ernie are … the worst. They are racist fools. But they are my cousins. There – you have it.”

Your daughter and her fiancé may not have any interest in or feel any obligation toward these family members, and if so – the decision is an easy one.

If the cousins don’t make the list and you are asked why, you can tell them the truth: “Your racist views knocked you off of the invite list.”

Dear Amy: I have been best friends with “Penny” for over 60 years. Last year we had an argument over the phone regarding COVID vaccines.

In addition to the risk factor of her age, she has health issues, but is an adamant anti-vaxxer.

I was concerned for her health and told her that she was wrong not to get vaccinated.

Since that moment, we haven’t texted or spoken.

I feel sad about not contacting her, but notice that she hasn’t reached out to me, either.

I think she has written me off. Her birthday is approaching.

Do I send a card?

– Ex-bestie

Dear Ex: Your argument with “Penny” seemed focused on how receiving a vaccine would be in her best interest.

Even though you framed your point of view as concern about her, people don’t like being told that their own health decisions are “wrong.”

Putting aside the idea that vaccines can have a communal impact; when it comes to her own health, Penny’s choice is her own to make.

You seem to be against the idea of reconciling – and on the fence about being in touch at all – but I don’t really see a downside to reaching out.

If you’re truly done with this relationship, then you should let this milestone day pass without reaching out. But surely, even though you two had an argument, aren’t you on some level happy to see that this fellow human being (who according to you has health problems) has reached another birthday?

Dear Amy: “Torn” described a long-ago sexual relationship with his sister-in-law, which started when he was 15.

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I almost never agree with you because you obviously hate men, and so I have to admit that I was shocked and surprised at your compassionate response to Torn.

Yes, he was sexually exploited by an older woman. This was wrong, he is suffering, and you were right to recognize it.

– One of the Men You Hate

Dear One: I’ll take the backhanded compliment, and thank you for it.

Got a question for Amy? Enter it here and we’ll send it to her.

Sign up here to receive the Ask Amy newsletter to get advice e-mailed to your inbox every morning, and for a limited time — get the book “Ask Amy: Essential Wisdom from America’s Favorite Advice Columnist” for $5.

©2021 Amy Dickinson.

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Indonesian families sue government over deaths from syrup medicines | Indonesia



A dozen families, whose relatives died or fell ill after consuming cough syrup medicines, have sued the Indonesian government and companies accused of supplying the products.

At least 199 people, many of them young children, have died as a result of acute kidney injury since August, prompting the government to ban some syrup medicines and launch an investigation.

Agence France-Presse, which reported news of the lawsuit, said the class action been launched against the ministry of health, the country’s food and drug agency and seven companies implicated in selling dangerous syrups.

Families are seeking compensation of about 2 bn rupiah (£103,000) for every person killed and about 1 bn rupiah for every person injured, according to Awan Puryadi, a legal representative of the victims’ relatives.

He told AFP that the authorities had failed to prevent the sale of harmful medicines. “No one has claimed responsibility. They are very disappointed with the current situation,” Puryadi said.

Indonesia’s food and drug agency has suspended the licences of at least three manufacturers that were producing syrup medicines while police investigate.

According to a World Health Organization product alert issued in November, eight products in Indonesia were found by the national regulatory authority to contain dangerous levels of ethylene glycol and/or diethylene glycol – colourless liquids that are typically used in antifreeze.

According to the WHO, the consumption of such compounds, especially by children, may result in serious injury or death. Toxic effects can include “abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, inability to pass urine, headache, altered mental state, and acute kidney injury which may lead to death”, the WHO has warned.

In October, the World Health Organization issued an alert over four Indian-made cough and cold syrups that it said could be linked to acute kidney injuries and the deaths of 70 children in the Gambia.

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Kevin Lankinen, Predators take down Islanders 4-1



Kevin Lankinen made a career-high 48 saves and the Nashville Predators beat the New York Islanders 4-1 on Friday night for their seventh victory in nine games.

Filip Forsberg and Roman Josi scored and Matt Duchene and Mikael Granlund added empty-net goals. The Predators have won nine straight games against the Islanders, the longest active streak against a single opponent. The Predators are 11-1-1 in their last 13 overall against the Islanders.

“Lanky knew what he was doing. We had great goaltending,’’ Forsberg said. “The reason we are happy is the play of our goaltender.”

Mathew Barzal scored for New York midway through the third period.

“That’s a good hockey team over there,’’ Barzal said of the Predators, who are 7-1-1 in their last nine games. “They are heavy and strong with good D. It could have gone either way.”

The Predators were coming off 4-3 comeback win at New Jersey on Thursday night in which they scored with nine seconds left in the third period and won 33 seconds into overtime.

“We played two solid games against two very good teams,″ said Duchene, whose goal was the 300th of his career. “The Islanders threw the kitchen sink at us in the third.”

Forsberg opened the scoring on a power play with 5:42 left in the first with his eighth goal of the season. Duchene and Josi assisted.

Josi, the Predators captain, made it 2-0 on a power play at 8:22 of the second. Forsberg and Duchene assisted.

Josi has 10 points in his last seven games against the Islanders, including four assists in Nashville’s 5-4 home Nov. 17. The Swiss-born defenseman is four points from tying David Legwand for most points (566) in Predators history.

Lankinen made nine saves in the first, 18 in the second and 21 more in the third. The 27-year-old Finnish goaltender played the previous two seasons with Chicago.

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“Kevin was great. He was really good down the stretch,’’ Predators coach John Hynes said. “It’s great to see him get rewarded.”

Islanders Lane Lambert said he was pleased with the Islanders’ offense which generated a season-high 49 shots. But Lankinen was there to stop all but one as the Islanders lost for only the fourth time in 12 home games.

“We did a good job at times,’’ Lambert said. “It was just one of those nights.”

Predators defenseman Ryan McDonagh left the game nine minutes into the third period after he was struck in the nose on a shot by Islanders defenseman Alexander Romanov. McDonagh, the former Rangers captain, wears a face shield.

The Islanders scratched forward Kyle Palmieri, who was placed on injured reserve on Thursday retroactive to Nov. 21 … The Islanders also scratched forwards Cal Clutterbuck (day-to-day with an undisclosed injury) Ross Johnston and Hudson Fasching, who was recalled from AHL Bridgeport on Thursday along with Cole Bardreau who skated in Clutterbuck’s spot on a line with Casey Cizikas and Matt Martin … The Predators scratched forwards Eeli Tolvanen and Cody Glass.

Islanders: Host Chicago on Sunday night,

Predators: At Tampa Bay on Thursday night.

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WHO estimates 90% of world have some resistance to Covid | Coronavirus



The World Health Organization estimates that 90% of the world population now has some resistance to Covid-19, but warned that a troubling new variant could still emerge.

Gaps in vigilance were leaving the door open for a new virus variant to appear and overtake the globally dominant Omicron, the WHO director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said.

“WHO estimates that at least 90% of the world’s population now has some level of immunity to Sars-CoV-2, due to prior infection or vaccination,” said Tedros, referring to the virus that causes the Covid-19 disease.

“We are much closer to being able to say that the emergency phase of the pandemic is over – but we’re not there yet,” he told reporters.

“Gaps in surveillance, testing, sequencing and vaccination are continuing to create the perfect conditions for a new variant of concern to emerge that could cause significant mortality.”

Last weekend marked one year since the organisation announced Omicron as a new variant of concern in the Covid-19 pandemic, Tedros noted.

It has since swept round the world, proving significantly more transmissible than its predecessor, Delta.

Last week, the latest real-world study of updated Covid boosters showed that new vaccines by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna are likely to provide better protection compared with the original shots.

The study of more than 360,000 people indicated that the boosters offer increased protection against new variants in people who have previously received up to four doses of the older vaccine.

Since their introduction to the US in September, the vaccine boosters, which contain both original and Omicron BA.4/5 coronavirus strain, provided greater benefit to younger adults aged 18-49 years that those in the older age group.

Tedros said there were now more than 500 highly transmissible Omicron sub-lineages circulating – all able to get around built-up immunity more easily, even if they tended to be less severe than previous variants.

Around the world, 6.6 million Covid deaths have been reported to the WHO, from nearly 640 million registered cases. But the UN health agency says this will be a massive undercount and unreflective of the true toll.

Tedros said more than 8,500 people were recorded as having lost their lives to Covid last week, “which is not acceptable three years into the pandemic, when we have so many tools to prevent infections and save lives”.

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