Buffalo barber opens his shop for people to come in out of the cold – National & International News – TUE 27Dec2022



Buffalo barber opens his shop for people to come in out of the cold. Border crisis: Supreme Court allows Title 42 to stay in place indefinitely. China rushes to vaccinate elderly amid COVID surge, but many are hesitant.



Buffalo barber opens his shop for people to come in out of the cold

The blistering winter weather this past week has left more than 60 dead in the US. In Buffalo, NY, alone, at least 34 have succumbed to the freezing weather. Buffalo is famous for rough winters and its hardy citizens are no novices when it comes to blizzards. But the severity of this storm seems to have caught even them off guard. Even more heart-rending are the stories of people froze to death in their cars after becoming trapped. And the city’s emergency workers expect to find more victims as the weather warms and snows covering cars melt away.

Over the Christmas weekend, Craig Elston, owner of the C&C Cutz barbershop in Buffalo, was moved to do something for his fellow Buffalonians after witnessing just this sort of tragic scene. “Once I seen the first person laid out with family and kids with them in the snow, it broke my heart,” Elston recalls. “And I’m sitting in here with heat and light, and the barbershop is warm. And it’s a big space that can heat and shelter other people. So it just naturally, you know, came upon me, like, Craig, open the barbershop up, do a live video on all platforms and let people know that they can come here and get some type of shelter”.

And that’s what he did. On Christmas Eve, Elston took to TikTok, Facebook and other social media with a simple message: “Please, man, anybody out there that’s stuck, do not stay in your car, man. The barbershop here welcomes you. Get some heat, get some electricity, charge your phone, get in contact with your family”.

An unforgettable Christmas

Craig Elston in front his Buffalo, NY, barber shop where he sheltered dozens of people.

Soon after, several people arrived to take Elston up on his offer. In all about 50 people came in and out over the weekend. At one time, about 30 people were sheltered in Elston’s shop. “People were actually sleeping here, a lot of people I’ve never even met before, a lot of people that was visiting Buffalo and they got stranded in cars, or a lot of people that was without heat and gas. I just wanted them to have somewhere where they could come charge their phone and see if they could get somebody to come help them”.

Elston and others ventured out to a nearby corner store for food and drink. Neighbors came with food as well, and some in the shop got food from the vending machine. Elston and the people in his shop enjoyed an unusual Christmas meal of “Vienna sausages, Hot Pockets, chips, peach tea”. The group also watched movies and a football game on Elston’s TV.

Sadly, Elston missed Christmas with his daughters who were snowed-in with their mothers in different parts of the city. Still, Elston says this Christmas will stay with him for a long time. “I’m never going to forget this Christmas because, in front of my eyes, I’ve seen people that was almost half – like, half to death here. If I can have an opportunity to help somebody, I think that’s what we all supposed to do”. 

Click here to listen to the full story (about 5 minutes; opens in new tab).

Click here for stunning photos of Buffalo’s blizzard (opens in new tab).


Border crisis: Supreme Court allows Title 42 to stay in place indefinitely

The Supreme Court has granted a petition from the attorneys general of several Republican-led states to allow Title 42 to remain in place. The Trump administration first established Title 42 in March 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic. The measure allows US border authorities to quickly expel migrants coming over the border, without allowing them to request asylum. The right to request asylum is guaranteed both under US law and international refugee law. The Trump administration nevertheless adopted the measure, ostensibly to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Since then, the measure has been used to expel migrants more than 2.5 million times. That doesn’t mean 2.5 million people, as many attempted to cross multiple times and then turned back.

President Biden has been trying to revoke Title 42 since he assumed office. Since Title 42 was an executive action, and the executive branch has authority to implement enforcement policy in immigration matters, Biden and the Department of Homeland Security should have the authority to end it whenever they choose. But lower federal courts have on several occasions sided with GOP-led states who don’t want the measure lifted. 

Today’s decision by the Supreme Court leaves Title 42 in place while the court considers an appeal from the GOP states. There’s no set timeline for when the court will hear the case or issue a ruling. This could potentially push any decision back until June 2023.

Click here for the full story (opens in new tab).



China rushes to vaccinate elderly amid COVID surge, but many are hesitant

Over the last three years, China implemented a strict “Zero COVID” policy that would lock down entire cities when only a few infections emerged. This created economic chaos and immense hardship for ordinary citizens. However, the government seems to have done little to prepare for what would happen when the inevitable happened and the country re-opened. For instance, few new hospital beds or ICU units were added. China is also lagging behind on vaccinations of the elderly. Officially, 90% of Chinese have received at least one vaccine dose, but only two-thirds of those over 80.

With runaway numbers of infections and many deaths, China has ramped up efforts to vaccinate the elderly. Authorities are now going door-to-door, offering up to 500 yuan ($70) to anyone over 60 willing to take a vaccine. However, many elderly people are skeptical about the safety and efficacy of Chinese vaccines. This is in part because the Chinese government hasn’t published its findings for vaccine trials in people 60 and older. Some don’t want vaccines at all, while others would prefer to have non-Chinese vaccines like Pfizer or Moderna. Given current trends, experts predict between 1 and 2 million COVID deaths in China by the end of 2023.

Click here for the full story (opens in new tab).



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