August 2, 2017

On Wednesday, President Trump and Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) introduced the RAISE Act, a skills-based immigration system that the White House says would "make America more competitive, raise wages for American workers, and create jobs."

"The RAISE Act ends chain migration and replaces our low-skill system with a new, points-based system for receiving a green card," Trump said. "This competitive application process will favor applicants who can speak English, financially support themselves and their families, and demonstrate skills that will contribute to our economy. The RAISE Act prevents new migrants and new immigrants from collecting welfare and protects U.S. workers from being displaced."

The senators added that the program is modeled on similar merit-based systems used in Canada and Australia, a point that has also been promoted by Trump.

Some immigration experts remain skeptical, including Tamar Jacoby, the Republican president of ImmigrationWorks USA. "I'm concerned that what the Trump administration intends with a merit-based program is not to add to the high-skilled; it's to cut away everything around the high-skilled," Jacoby told HuffPost. "It's not my first concern that they're going to bring too many computer programmers. It's that they're not going to bring enough of other different kinds of workers that we need." Jeva Lange

3:02 p.m.

It will probably be necessary for fully vaccinated people to head in for a third COVID-19 vaccine shot within a year, according to the head of Pfizer.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla says people will "likely" need to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose within 12 months after they've been fully vaccinated, CNBC reported on Thursday. His comments were reportedly made on April 1 but just became public.

"It is extremely important to suppress the pool of people that can be susceptible to the virus," he reportedly told CNBC at an event.

Bourla also reportedly said it's possible that getting vaccinated against COVID-19 annually will be necessary.

Previously, Pfizer said that an analysis of a phase 3 study found that its COVID-19 vaccine remained highly effective at least six months after the second dose. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, explained that with this data, "we know for sure" the vaccine is effective for six months, though it's "highly likely that it will be effective for considerably longer period of time." But Fauci added "we very well may need to get booster shots to keep up the level of protection." Moderna has also said its vaccine remains highly effective for at at least six months.

In February, Pfizer said that it was studying a booster dose of its vaccine, with Bourla at the time saying "we believe that the third dose will raise the antibody response 10-to-20 fold." Brendan Morrow

1:23 p.m.

Yet another movie franchise is about to go Mads.

Mads Mikkelsen has joined the cast of the upcoming fifth Indiana Jones film, Deadline reported on Thursday. He'll be starring opposite Fleabag's Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who recently landed the role of the female lead, as well as, of course, Harrison Ford himself.

Details about Mikkelsen's character in the movie weren't revealed — though fans were quick to speculate he could be the antagonist — and it still isn't clear what the overall plot of the sequel is. James Mangold is directing the new Indy installment, though, with Steven Spielberg only producing this time.

This is, of course, just the latest big movie series that Mikkelsen can add to his resume after previously having roles in Star Wars, James Bond, and Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, and he's also set to replace Johnny Depp in the Harry Potter spin-off series Fantastic Beasts. Just think of Mikkelsen as Thanos, making his way through Hollywood and collecting every major film series into some sort of casting Infinity Gauntlet. And like Thanos, his eventual appearance in every ongoing movie franchise may well be inevitable. Brendan Morrow

12:49 p.m.

LaMarcus Aldridge of the Brooklyn Nets has unexpectedly announced he's retiring from the NBA over a health issue, revealing "one of the scariest things I've experienced" occurred during his last game.

Aldridge, who just signed with the Nets in March, announced Thursday he will retire from the NBA after 15 years. He explained that during his most recent game, he "played while dealing with an irregular heartbeat," and it "really worried me even more" when his "rhythm got even worse" later that evening.

"The next morning, I told the team what was going on and they were great getting me to the hospital and getting me checked out," he said. "Though I'm better now, what I felt with my heart that night was still one of the scariest things I've experienced."

For that reason, the 35-year-old said it's "time to put my health and family first" and retire. Before signing with the Brooklyn Nets, Aldridge previously played for the San Antonio Spurs and the Portland Trail Blazers, and he was the second overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, notes TMZ. Aldridge had missed the Nets' most recent two games, according to ESPN.

Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks said the team "fully supports" Aldridge's decision, as "his health and well being are far more important than the game of basketball." Aldridge concluded his announcement by telling fans that "you never know when something will come to an end, so make sure you enjoy it everyday." He added, "I can truly say I did just that." Brendan Morrow

12:47 p.m.

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin will not testify in his murder trial, as his defense rested its case on Thursday without testimony from the defendant.

Chauvin told the judge he would invoke his Fifth Amendment right not to take the stand. He is facing murder and manslaughter charges over the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man who died while Chauvin placed him under arrest in May 2020.

"The question of whether Chauvin would testify was the subject of weeks of speculation," writes The Associated Press. "The risks were high: Testifying could have opened him up to devastating cross-examination, with prosecutors replaying the video of the arrest and forcing Chauvin to explain, one frame at a time, why he kept pressing down on Floyd."

Prosecutors presented their case for two weeks, arguing Chauvin's knee on Floyd's neck ultimately killed him, and that Chauvin wrongfully used excessive force even after Floyd stopped resisting. The defense argued over the course of two days that Floyd's underlying health conditions and drug use were to blame for his death. Closing arguments will begin Monday morning.

Read more at The Associated Press. The Week Staff

11:05 a.m.

Rolling out a new version of Instagram for kids is a very, very bad idea, child safety advocates are telling Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

The Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, a non-profit organization, has coordinated a letter to Zuckerberg signed by health and child safety advocates calling for the company to cancel plans to launch a version of Instagram for children under 13, NBC News reports. The groups argue that such an app "would put young users at great risk."

"Instagram, in particular, exploits young people's fear of missing out and desire for peer approval to encourage children and teens to constantly check their devices and share photos with their followers," they write. "The platform's relentless focus on appearance, self-presentation, and branding presents challenges to adolescents' privacy and wellbeing."

Instagram head Adam Mosseri confirmed last month that the company was "exploring" a version of the app for children under 13, who are not officially allowed on Instagram, as was first reported by BuzzFeed News. A spokesperson for Instagram told NBC that it's looking for "practical solutions to the ongoing industry problem of kids lying about their age to access apps," suggesting this could be a way to provide kids who are already online with a "safe and age-appropriate" experience.

But the advocates counter that children between 10 and 12 who lie about their age to get on Instagram are unlikely to actually use a new version for kids, which they would see as "babyish," so this plan would "likely increase the use of Instagram by young children who are particularly vulnerable to the platform's manipulative and exploitative features."

The Instagram spokesperson told NBC the company will "prioritize" the safety and privacy of children in any such app and will "consult with experts in child development, child safety and mental health, and privacy advocates to inform it." Brendan Morrow

10:16 a.m.

The number of Americans filing new jobless claims has just significantly declined to again reach the lowest level of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Labor Department said Thursday that 576,000 Americans filed new jobless claims last week, a decline of 193,000 claims from the week prior. This was the lowest level of new weekly jobless claims since March 2020, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Last month, the number of weekly jobless claims also declined to the lowest level of the pandemic up until that point by sinking to 684,000, although the number unexpectedly rose the following week. But the most recent U.S. jobs report showed the economy added 916,000 jobs in March, easily surpassing economists expectations, while the unemployment rate declined to six percent.

The same morning these latest jobless claims were released on Thursday, the Commerce Department also said that retail sales soared 9.8 percent in March, the biggest jump since May 2020.

"Stellar jobless claims plus off the charts retail sales packs a positive one two punch and sends strong signals that the economy is full steam ahead toward recovery," eTrade managing director of investment strategy Mike Loewengart told The Washington Post. "While we haven't necessarily seen the market move on strong economic beats or misses, it's certainly a step in the right direction."

Brendan Morrow

9:22 a.m.

It's officially official: the J-Rod era has come to an end.

Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez confirmed to NBC's Today on Thursday they have broken up after four years together, calling off their two-year engagement.

"We have realized we are better as friends and look forward to remaining so," they told Today. "We will continue to work together and support each other on our shared businesses and projects. We wish the best for each other and one another's children. Out of respect for them, the only other comment we have to say is thank you to everyone who has sent kind words and support."

It was previously reported last month that the two had broken up after twice postponing their wedding amid the pandemic. But they subsequently gave fans hope by deeming these reports "inaccurate," saying they were "working through some things" but were still together — though recently, Lopez was spotted not wearing her engagement ring on Instagram.

And now, after this month-long emotional rollercoaster and conflicting information over whether love is, in fact, dead, we can now officially confirm: yes, it is. Brendan Morrow

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