The Mega Millions $1 billion jackpot is the third largest in US history. Here are Friday’s winning numbers.

The Mega Millions $1 billion jackpot is the third largest in US history. Here are Friday's winning numbers.

Would-be billionaires flocked to gas stations and convenience stores across the nation in the hopes of defying astronomical — to put it lightly — odds and cashing in on the $1 billion Mega Millions jackpot.

Friday’s colossal prize is the third-highest lottery jackpot in U.S. history and the second-highest Mega Millions total, according to the Mega Millions website. The game’s big prize was last won in Wisconsin in September.

Friday’s winning numbers were 4, 26, 42, 50, 60 and Mega Ball 24. It wasn’t immediately clear if anyone won, though the interest in the winning numbers was obvious — the Mega Millions website was unresponsive around 11 p.m. Eastern, when the numbers were supposed to be announced.

The fifth-largest lottery jackpot in the country’s history was claimed Wednesday. The $731.1 million Powerball jackpot was won in Maryland, with a cash-only payout for that massive prize worth $546 million.

The winning numbers in Tuesday’s $865 million Mega Millions drawing were 10, 19, 26, 28, 50 and Mega Ball 16. The cash-only lump sum was $638.8 million. Eleven tickets matched five numbers, according to the Mega Millions website, including a pair of $2 million winners in Florida.

‘Still in some shock’: North Carolina COVID-19 nurse wins $1 million second-chance lottery drawing

The odds of someone winning the Mega Millions are 1 in 302,575,350.

Statisticians in various news reports tried to encapsulate the long odds of winning Friday’s coveted jackpot. Ronald L. Wasserstein, executive director of the American Statistical Association, told USA TODAY, “Humans are not naturally equipped to understand such big numbers.”

Steven Bleiler, a mathematics and statistics professor at Portland State University, told the Associated Press people should imagine a swimming pool 40 feet wide, 120 feet long and 5 feet deep, filled with M&Ms, only one of which is green. To win, all a player must do is jump in blindfolded and wade around until finding the single green M&M.

Or perhaps try Wasserstein’s example: Stand on the corner of a football field and start laying out dollar bills until you’ve placed 302,575,350 of them: That’ll take up about 585 football fields, he said.

Contributing: Ryan W. Miller and Elinor Aspegren, USA TODAY; The Associated Press.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Mega Millions $1 billion jackpot: Here are the winning numbers

#Mega #Millions #billion #jackpot #largest #history #Fridays #winning #numbers

read more

Is Biden’s rush to reverse Trump policies in nation’s best interest?

Yahoo News


Biden administration unveils plan to combat domestic extremism

White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced at a briefing on Friday that the Biden administration will roll out a three-pronged, interagency plan to assess and combat the threat posed by domestic violence extremism.Why it matters: The federal government’s approach to domestic extremism has come under scrutiny in the wake of the Jan. 6 attacks on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob. In his inaugural address, Biden repudiated political extremism, white supremacy and domestic terrorism, vowing to defeat them.Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.What they’re saying: “The Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol and the tragic deaths and destruction that occurred underscored what we have long known. The rise of domestic violent extremism is a serious and growing national security threat,” Psaki said. * “The Biden administration will confront this threat with the necessary resources and resolve. We are committed to developing policies and strategies based on facts, on objective and rigorous analysis, and on our respect with constitutionally protected free speech and political activities,” she conntinued.How it works: 1. Biden has sent a request for newly confirmed Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines to conduct a threat assessment in coordination with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security that Psaki said will produce a “fact-based analysis on which we can shape policy.” 2. The White House National Security Council will be tasked with building capacity to tackle and disrupt extremist networks. Homeland security adviser Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall has asked Joshua Gelser, a former NSC counterterrorism director, to lead a 100-day investigation. 3. The administration will work to mobilize other factions of the government to address “evolving threats, radicalization, the role of social media, opportunities to improve information sharing, operational responses and more.”Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.

#Bidens #rush #reverse #Trump #policies #nations #interest

read more

California’s ban of flavored tobacco products put on hold as referendum qualifies for 2022 ballot

California’s ban of flavored tobacco products put on hold as referendum qualifies for 2022 ballot

Californians will vote in 2022 on whether the state should ban the sale of flavored tobacco products, including flavored vaping cartridges.

Lawmakers approved the ban in 2020, but a referendum qualified Friday, meaning voters will have their say in November 2022. In the meanwhile, the law won’t take effect. Major tobacco companies backed the referendum in hopes of overturning the law.

The flavored tobacco ban restricts sale of the products but does not criminalize possession. It also exempts loose-leaf tobacco, premium cigars and shisha tobacco used in hookah. It bars the sale of flavors including — but not limited to —“fruit, chocolate, vanilla, honey, candy, cocoa, dessert, alcoholic beverage, menthol, mint, wintergreen, herb, or spice.” Violators who sell the products would be fined $250.

Supporters of the law cast the referendum as “a battle between the people of California and Big Tobacco over the health, lives and future of our kids.”

“Big Tobacco is going to use every deceptive trick in their playbook just so they can continue to market and profit from hooking young kids on their candy-flavored products,” Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said in a statement.

A group backed by the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and Philip Morris USA, called the California Coalition for Fairness, supported placing the referendum on the ballot.

“The California Coalition for Fairness will focus on educating voters about why this law is unfair and goes too far,” the group said in a statement. “We agree that youth should never have access to any tobacco products, but this can be achieved without imposing a total prohibition on products that millions of adults choose to use.”

The ban on menthol flavor has been a particular point of contention. Supporters of the ban, including doctors and groups fighting cancer, said the minty flavor has been marketed to low-income youth and Black and Latino communities. Opponents of the ban say it unfairly takes away products preferred by those groups while allowing the continued sale of products flavored by the wealthy, like cigars.

Turning to the ballot can be an effective way for opponents to resist state laws. In 2020, voters through a referendum rejected a law that would have eliminated cash bail.

#Californias #ban #flavored #tobacco #products #put #hold #referendum #qualifies #ballot

read more

L.A. County won’t be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 till 2022 unless pace improves, Garcetti warns

L.A. County won’t be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 till 2022 unless pace improves, Garcetti warns

The COVID-19 vaccine rollout in California has been scattered and slower than expected as supplies remain scarce and counties expand access and offer the doses at different paces, but more people are getting vaccinated every day.

Those seeking to sign up for the vaccine have been plagued by confusion over who’s eligible, technical issues on appointment websites, quickly filled slots, and, for some, long wait times at vaccination sites.

#County #wont #fully #vaccinated #COVID19 #pace #improves #Garcetti #warns

read more

Biden news – live: President won’t stop Trump impeachment as he launches economic ‘rescue’ plan

Biden news - live: President won’t stop Trump impeachment as he launches economic ‘rescue’ plan

The Conversation

Capitol mob wasn’t just angry white men – there were angry white women as well

There were women among the crowd that marched to the Capitol and stormed the building. Shay Horse/NurPhoto via Getty ImagesThe terror inflicted on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 laid bare America’s problem with violent extremism. The FBI and other law enforcement agencies have begun to piece together the events of that day, while attempting to thwart any impending attacks. Scores of people have been arrested and charged over the attack – the vast majority being men. In the wake of these events, there were stories attributing the violence and destruction to “white male rage” “violent male rage” and “angry white men.” But what about the women? To distill the violent insurrection into a tale of angry male rage is to overlook the threat that women in the mob posed to congressional officials, law enforcement and U.S. democracy that day. Long history of women’s involvement Several women have been identified as alleged participants in the events of Jan. 6. Among those women are a former school occupational therapist, an employee of a county sheriff’s office, a real estate broker and a former mayoral candidate. At least one woman is being investigated for her role in organizing the attack with fellow members of the Oath Keepers, a far-right militia movement. And Ashli Babbit, a female veteran, was shot dead by police while attempting to breach the Senate floor. The women who took part in the siege of the Capitol are part of a long history of women’s participation in extremist violence, both in the United States and abroad. Jessica Watkins, seen here in a photo from the Montgomery County jail, is facing federal charges that she participated in the assault on the U.S. Capitol. Montgomery County Jail via AP Women have buoyed American far-right organizations and causes for centuries. In her recent book on women at the forefront of contemporary white nationalism, author Seyward Darby writes that women are not “incidental to white nationalism, they are a sustaining feature.” Since the late 1800s, women have supported and enabled the terrorist white supremacist organization the Ku Klux Klan, while hundreds of thousands joined its female affiliate, Women of the Ku Klux Klan, and its predecessors. Women helped establish the Klan’s culture, bolstered its recruitment efforts and manufactured its propaganda. Despite its hyper-masculine ideology, which identifies white men as the primary arbiters of political power, women have also held leadership positions within the modern-day Klan. More recently, women have joined the far-right Proud Boys movement, which has openly recruited female foot soldiers. In December, a growing rift between male and female Proud Boys was reported. After experiencing intense sexist backlash from men in the organization, women led by MMA fighter Tara LaRosa began their own group, the Proud Girls USA. To leave one extremist organization in order to form another suggests a deep commitment to the far-right cause. Discounting is dangerous A 2005 study noted a disconnect between the rise in women within American right-wing terrorist organizations and the attention it received from law enforcement. Despite a marked increase in women’s engagement in acts of terror against the state and racial minorities, security officials have largely failed to publicize, search and interrogate women operatives in these organizations, even after they become known to law enforcement. There is also evidence that American far-right women have drawn inspiration and tactical knowledge from women engaged in extremist violence abroad. Evidence from the global war on terror points to the potential dangers of ignoring the growth of violent extremism among women. In Iraq, for example, female terrorists carried out large numbers of deadly suicide attacks against American assets during the U.S. occupation. The rest of the world has since been forced to grapple with the reality of violent women after female terrorists staged lethal attacks in Nigeria, Somalia, Tunisia, the Philippines, Indonesia and France. Recent terror attacks in American cities such as San Bernardino, California, and Las Vegas that featured women among the perpetrators confirm violent women have already inflicted damage on U.S. soil. Ku Klux Klan security guards escort two female members after a Klan meeting in Castro Valley, California, in 1979. AP Photo/PS Gender bias can be deadly In fact, my research suggests that attacks by female terrorists are often more destructive than those executed by their male counterparts. In an analysis of over 2,500 global suicide attacks, I show disparities in the severity of male and female attacks are greatest where gender stereotypes suggest that women are neither violent nor political. Such tropes can blind security officials and civilians to the threat posed by women terrorists, causing them to overlook the potential for female complicity. Female terrorists, including in Iraq, Israel and Nigeria, have been able to deflect suspicion because they were women. My research shows that gender bias can become deadly when it stops effective counterterrorism policies, such as surveillance, searches and interrogations, from being implemented. Additionally, since ordinary citizens played an unusual role in exposing the identities of the Capitol attackers, gender biases among civilians are also relevant. Failure to accept women’s complicity in the Capitol siege and the broader movement may prevent the identification of female offenders and impedes efforts to punish and deter future attacks. American women have been key pillars of support for violent right-wing extremists for centuries. They have been right-wing extremists themselves – racist skinheads, neo-Nazis and Klanswomen. Women are also Oath Keepers, Three Percenters and Proud Boys. They were capitol rioters. To construct an accurate account of the Capitol attack, it’s necessary to ask “Where are the women?” And the answer is, “Right there.”This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts. It was written by: Jakana Thomas, Michigan State University. Read more:Misogyny in the Capitol: Among the insurrectionists, a lot of angry men who don’t like women‘The US is falling apart’: How Russian media is portraying the US Capitol siege Jakana Thomas does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

#Biden #news #live #President #wont #stop #Trump #impeachment #launches #economic #rescue #plan

read more

Retired Gen. Lloyd Austin confirmed to lead Pentagon, becoming nation’s 1st Black secretary of defense

Retired Gen. Lloyd Austin confirmed to lead Pentagon, becoming nation’s 1st Black secretary of defense

 Lloyd J. Austin, a West Point graduate who rose to the Army’s elite ranks and marched through racial barriers in a 41-year career, won Senate confirmation Friday to become the nation’s first Black secretary of defense.

The 93-2 vote gave President Joe Biden his second Cabinet member; Avril Haines was confirmed on Wednesday as the first woman to serve as director of national intelligence. Biden is expected to win approval for others on his national security team in coming days, including Antony Blinken as secretary of state.

Biden is looking for Austin to restore stability atop the Pentagon, which went through two Senate-confirmed secretaries of defense and four who held the post on an interim basis during the Trump administration.

Austin’s confirmation was complicated by his status as a recently retired general. He required a waiver of a legal prohibition on a military officer serving as secretary of defense within seven years of retirement. Austin retired in 2016 after serving as the first Black general to head U.S. Central Command. He was the first Black vice chief of staff of the Army in 2012 and also served as director of the Joint Staff, a behind-the-scenes job that gave him an intimate view of the Pentagon’s inner workings.

The House and the Senate approved the waiver Thursday, clearing the way for the Senate confirmation vote.

Austin, a large man with a booming voice and a tendency to shy from publicity, describes himself as the son of a postal worker and a homemaker from Thomasville, Georgia. He has promised to speak his mind to Congress and to Biden.

At his confirmation hearing Tuesday, Austin said he had not sought the nomination but was ready to lead the Pentagon without clinging to his military status and with full awareness that being a political appointee and Cabinet member requires “a different perspective and unique duties from a career in uniform.”

As vice president, Biden worked closely with Austin in 2010-11 to wind down U.S. military involvement in Iraq while Austin was the top U.S. commander in Baghdad. American forces withdrew entirely, only to return in 2014 after the Islamic State extremist group captured large swaths of Iraqi territory. At Central Command, Austin was a key architect of the strategy to defeat IS in Iraq and Syria.

Biden said in December when he announced Austin as his nominee that he considered him “the person we need at this moment,” and that he trusts Austin to ensure civilian control of the military. Critics of the nomination have questioned the wisdom of making an exception to the law against a recently retired military officer serving as defense secretary, noting that the prohibition was put in place to guard against undue military influence in national security matters.

Only twice before has Congress waived the prohibition — in 1950 for George C. Marshall during the Korean War and in 2017 for Jim Mattis, the retired Marine general who served as President Donald Trump’s first Pentagon chief.

Austin has promised to surround himself with qualified civilians. And he made clear at his confirmation hearing that he embraces Biden’s early focus on combatting the coronavirus pandemic.

“I will quickly review the department’s contributions to coronavirus relief efforts, ensuring we are doing everything we can — and then some — to help distribute vaccines across the country and to vaccinate our troops and preserve readiness,” he told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Under questioning by senators, Austin pledged to address white supremacy and violent extremism in the ranks of the military — problems that received relatively little public attention from his immediate predecessor, Mark Esper. Austin promised to “rid our ranks of racists,” and said he takes the problem personally.

“The Defense Department’s job is to keep America safe from our enemies,” he said. “But we can’t do that if some of those enemies lie within our own ranks.”

Austin said he will insist that the leaders of every military service know that extremist behavior in their ranks is unacceptable.

“This is not something we can be passive on,” he said. “This is something I think we have to be active on, and we have to lean into it and make sure that we’re doing the right things to create the right climate.”

He offered glimpses of other policy priorities, indicating that he embraces the view among many in Congress that China is the “pacing challenge,” or the leading national security problem for the U.S.

The Middle East was the main focus for Austin during much of his Army career, particularly when he reached senior officer ranks.

#Retired #Gen #Lloyd #Austin #confirmed #lead #Pentagon #nations #1st #Black #secretary #defense

read more