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The Critical Hour
The mainstream news outlets play it safe by parroting the perspectives of their corporate benefactors. The Critical Hour uses clear, cutting edge insight and analysis to examine national and international issues impacting the global village in which we live.

Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine Stumbles in Quest for US Regulatory Approval

Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine Stumbles in Quest for US Regulatory Approval
"The Oxford-AstraZeneca effort held great promise to help arrest the pandemic," the New York Times reported Tuesday. "But a series of miscues caused it to fall behind in the US."

Dr. Jehan "Gigi" El-Bayoumi, professor of medicine and founding director of the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences' Rodman Institute, joins us to discuss AstraZeneca's series of communication blunders in getting its vaccine, developed with Oxford University, approved for use in the US. According to the New York Times, the mistakes "damaged the company’s relationship with regulators, raised doubts about whether its vaccine will stand up to intense public and scientific scrutiny and, in at least one instance, slowed the vaccine’s development." 

Gary Flowers, radio talk show host and public policy analyst, returns to discuss the half dozen civil rights organizations getting the word out about the planned closure of more than half of early runoff voting sites in key Georgia counties.  Representatives from the Georgia NAACP, the ACLU of Georgia and the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote a letter to the Cobb County Board of Commissioners and Board of Elections and Registration, “urging them not to cut back on early voting sites,” Common Dreams reported. The letter, according to the outlet, said, in part, "While these closures are likely to adversely affect many Cobb County voters, we are especially concerned that these closures will be harmful to Cobb County's Black and Latinx voters because many of the locations are in Black and Latinx communities."

Dr. Linwood Tauheed, associate professor of economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, joins us to discuss Tuesday’s decision by the Supreme Court to deny a "last-minute attempt by President Trump’s allies to overturn the election results in Pennsylvania, a blow to the president’s continuing efforts to reverse his loss to Democrat Joe Biden," as reported by the Washington Post.

Dr. Colin Campbell, Washington, DC, senior news correspondent, joins us to discuss Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) comments Tuesday saying she opposes granting a waiver to retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, the recent pick by Biden to lead the Defense Department. "I have great respect for Gen. Austin. His career has been exemplary, and I look forward to meeting him and talking to him more, but I opposed a waiver for Gen. [James] Mattis, and I will oppose a waiver for Gen. Austin," Warren told reporters, according to The Hill. Austin has not been retired from the military for the required seven years in order to lead the Pentagon, and thus he would require a waiver from Congress to take the job.  

Dr. Kenneth Surin, professor emeritus of literature and professor of religion and critical theory at Duke University; and Neil Clark, journalist and broadcaster, join us to discuss the latest news about the Brexit trade deal. Reuters reported Wednesday, “The EU and Britain had cast Thursday's meeting as a chance to break an impasse in negotiations but both acknowledge there was a danger that a trade deal would elude them" before Britain leaves the bloc on December 31.

Teodrose Fikremariam, co-founder and former editor of the Ghion Journal, returns to discuss his latest article, “Cult vs Culture: the Myopic Politics of Woyanes, Neftegnas and Gallas.” He also analyzes how the current fighting in Ethiopia's Tigray Region risks leaving manufacturing and other businesses in ruin. He says the COVID-19 pandemic laid a foundation of economic fallout even before the fighting in the country began.  

Robert Fantina, journalist and Palestine activist, joins us to discuss the recent murder of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, allegedly by Israeli gunmen. A Tuesday CounterPunch article entitled "Gangsterism as Foreign Policy: Assassinations are Becoming the New Norm," condemns this latest killing as not only "an attempt to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program, but as a legitimate and successful display of state power.”

Mark Sleboda, Moscow-based international relations and security analyst, joins us to discuss Japan’s plans to develop its own missiles capable of reaching North Korea. According to a Wednesday report in the Wall Street Journal, the new plans represent “part of a defense buildup that would give Tokyo the ability to strike if it anticipates an attack."  

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