Rep. Madison Cawthorn Mocked For Not Knowing Vatican City Is Its Own Country

Watch live: Biden speaks at Pfizer vaccine manufacturing site as storm delays shipments

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President Joe Biden is speaking Friday at Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing plant in Kalamazoo, Michigan as his administration works to ramp up the supply of doses in the U.S.

Earlier in the day, administration officials said the massive winter storms across the Midwest and Texas have delayed the delivery of 6 million Covid-19 vaccine doses this week, affecting every state in the U.S. The backlog represents three days' worth of delayed shipments, Andy Slavitt, White House senior advisor for Covid response, said during a press briefing.

Slavitt also announced that the administration is working with Florida and Pennsylvania to open five additional vaccination centers.

Four of the five vaccination centers will be in the Florida cities of Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando and Tampa, he said, adding the four sites will have the capacity to vaccinate up to 12,000 people per day. A fifth center in Philadelphia will be able to vaccinate 6,000 people per day, he said.

Read CNBC's live updates to see the latest news on the Covid -19 outbreak.

Singapore Govt Maintains 2021 Growth Outlook

Singapore’s growth outlook for this year was maintained as the government expects a gradual recovery underpinned by the pickup in foreign demand.

In 2021, the city-state economy is projected to grow 4 percent to 6 percent, which was unchanged from the previous forecast, the Ministry of Trade and Industry said Monday.

The economy had contracted 5.4 percent in 2020, in contrast to the 1.3 percent growth logged in 2019.

Gross domestic product shrank 2.4 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter, slower than the 3.8 percent decline initially estimated and also smaller than the 5.8 percent decline posted in the third quarter.

On a quarter-on-quarter basis, the economy expanded 3.8 percent, after rising 9.0 percent growth recorded in the previous quarter. The fourth quarter growth was revised up from 2.1 percent.

According to MTI, outward-oriented sectors are forecast to benefit from the pickup in external demand this year. Meanwhile, the tourism and aviation-related sectors are projected to see a weaker recovery than previously expected due to the slow pace of lifting travel restrictions.

Consumer-facing sectors, namely retail trade and food and beverage services are expected to benefit from an improvement in consumer sentiments, the government noted.

Although the construction and marine and offshore engineering sectors are projected to recover from the low base last year, activity levels at construction worksites and shipyards will continue to be dampened by the requirement for safe management measures.

Crude Oil Futures Settle Lower For 2nd Straight Day

Crude oil prices drifted lower on Friday, pushing the most active oil futures contract to a sharply lower close, as worries about supply disruptions eased after most of the oil companies in Texas prepared to resume production.

Oil companies in Texas had shut down production earlier this week due to extreme cold conditions.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for March ended lower by $1.28 or about 2.1% at $59.24 a barrel, after falling to a low of 58.59 a barrel at one stage.

WTI crude oil futures ended down $0.62 or about 1% at $60.52 a barrel on Thursday, despite having surged to a fresh 13-month high earlier in the session.

Brent crude futures were down $1.29 or 2.02% at $62.64 a barrel a little while ago.

Traders continued to bet on speculation that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies may decide to increase crude output. The agency and its allies, collectively known as OPEC+, are scheduled to meet in the first week of March.

According to a report released by Baker Hughes today, the oil rig count slipped by 1 this week, after rising for twelve successive weeks.

Gold price decline boosts sales, dealers strike it rich

Premiums jump to $7 an ounce

Physical gold demand in India this week surged as local prices dropped to their lowest since June last year, with buying expected to pick up in other Asian centres after the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday week.

Dealers were charging a premium of up to $7 an ounce over official domestic prices, the highest in eight months.

Last week they were charging a premium of up to $5 inclusive of 12.5% import and 3% sales levies.

“Sales are robust. People are buying coins, bars and jewellery because of price correction,” said Chanda Venkatesh, managing director of CapsGold, a bullion merchant based in Hyderabad.

Supplies are limited but demand is robust from jewellers, who are keen to build inventory for the festival and wedding season, said a Mumbai-based dealer with a bullion importing bank.

Rep. Madison Cawthorn Mocked For Not Knowing Vatican City Is Its Own Country

Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) isn’t impressing Twitter users with his understanding of international law.

On Thursday night, the first-term lawmaker criticized a recent rule in Vatican City that says any employee who refuses to get the COVID-19 vaccine without a valid medical reason could be fired.

As RawStory notes, Cawthorn has no medical degree, law degree, degree in religious studies, or any of a number of other accreditations that you might think would be useful when talking about this kind of thing. However, that didn’t stop him from denouncing Vatican City’s decision.

“This doesn’t sound legal,” he tweeted Thursday. ”One shouldn’t be forced against their will to be vaccinated. The vaccination is there for those who want it, and are in need of it due to medical vulnerabilities.”

But many Twitter users pointed out an issue with Cawthorn’s tweet: Vatican City is, in fact, its own country, with the right to make its own laws that might differ from U.S. law.

HuffPost reached out to Cawthorn’s camp for comment, but did not immediately receive a response.