2020 brought catastrophic flooding, swarms of locusts, deadly landslides, back-to-back cyclones and hurricanes, and massive wildfires. We look back at the year around the globe.
- The Independent
First family orders sesame bagels with cream cheese
- The Telegraph
Russia has opened criminal cases that could see protestors jailed for years after tens of thousands of people took to the streets at the weekend to demand the release of opposition leader Alexei Navalny. The crackdown came as supporters of Mr Navalny, who is facing more than a decade behind bars on charges seen as politically motivated, defied the Kremlin with calls for further rallies. More than 3,000 people were arrested nationwide on Saturday, a record for Russian protests, in the biggest demonstrations the country has seen in years. Investigators said they were opening criminal probes over hooliganism and violence against the police, which could see some of those who attended the rallies sentenced to up to five years in prison. Police said 4,000 people turned out in Moscow on Saturday, but observers and media put that figure in the tens of thousands. More than 10,000 took to the streets in Saint Petersburg and there were demonstrations in dozens of other cities across the country, including in Yakutsk, Siberia where temperatures reached -50C. The rallies were called by Mr Navalny, Russia’s most prominent critic of President Vladimir Putin, after he was arrested on his return to Moscow following months in Germany recovering from a poisoning he says was orchestrated by the state.
- Associated Press
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Sunday he has tested positive for COVID-19 and that the symptoms are mild. Mexico's president, who has been criticized for his handling of his country's pandemic and for not setting an example of prevention in public, said on his official Twitter account that he is under medical treatment. José Luis Alomía Zegarra, Mexico’s director of epidemiology, said López Obrador had a “light” case of COVID-19 and was “isolating at home.”
- The Week
In candid interview, Birx says she knew working with Trump White House would be the end of her federal career
Dr. Deborah Birx, who served as the White House coronavirus response coordinator while former President Donald Trump was still in office, opened up about her time working with the Trump administration during an exclusive interview with CBS News' Margaret Brennan on Sunday.Birx was often criticized for not pushing back enough on Trump's comments about the pandemic, and while she suggested her reactions could be misinterpreted -- like the time Trump asked her about whether COVID-19 could be treated with a bleach injection -- she did anticipate the gig would likely be the end of her federal career. "You can't go into something that's that polarized and not believe you won't be tainted by that experience," she told Brennan, adding that she'll "need to retire" within the next few weeks.> WATCH: Birx reacts to claims that she became an "apologist" for Trump and *that* moment where the former president suggested using disinfectant as a potential treatment for COVID19> > "I wasn't prepared for that. I didn't even know what to do in that moment." pic.twitter.com/2ddCblGllH> > -- Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) January 24, 2021> "I know that I wouldn't be allowed to really continue successfully within the federal government," Birx tells @margbrennan, calling her role leading the COVID19 task force a "terminal event" for her career> > Adds she will probably retire in the next 4-6 weeks from @cdcgov pic.twitter.com/dHHT2styEN> > -- Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) January 24, 2021Birx did say she wished she had "been more publicly outspoken" about certain things like COVID-19 testing, especially because she's been known to "push the envelope" in private. But she suggested that, ultimately, the culture of the White House proved too unfamiliar. > Birx's biggest mistake leading the Trump coronavirus task force? > > "I always feel like I could have done more, been more outspoken, maybe been more outspoken publicly. I didn't know all the consequences of all of these issues."> > More of her interview on today's @FaceTheNation pic.twitter.com/egZeFZCQ0W> > -- Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) January 24, 2021More stories from theweek.com 5 scathingly funny cartoons about Biden's COVID-19 push Trump's pressure on DOJ to sue states over election in Supreme Court reportedly 'got really intense' Republicans back Biden's coronavirus response at a surprisingly high rate, poll suggests
- NBC News
The Biden administration aims for 100 million vaccinations within his first 100 days as president.
- The Telegraph
Russian police detained Yulia Navalnaya, the wife of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, at a protest in Moscow on Saturday as demonstrations in support of the opposition leader swept across Russia. Authorities detained at least 1,600 people at unauthorised rallies in Moscow and dozens of cities across the country, with some reports of violent clashes between protesters and riot police. At least 10,000 people joined protests in Moscow, according to estimates, in a test to Vladimir Putin. Protests began in Russia’s Far East and Siberia on Saturday morning. Seven time zones east of Moscow, about 3,000 people marched across the city of Vladivostok on the Pacific Ocean, chanting “Navalny!” In Novosibirsk, chants “Putin is a thief” rang out in freezing minus 19 C temperatures as opposition supporters walked across the city to the main square.
- Associated Press
A 34-year-old grizzly bear captured in southwestern Wyoming has been confirmed as the oldest on record in the Yellowstone region, Wyoming wildlife officials said. Grizzly bear 168 was captured last summer after it preyed on calves in the Upper Green River Basin area. Biologists learned of the bear’s longevity after euthanizing the bruin, which had preyed on cattle and then finally, calves.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), incoming chair of the Senate Budget Committee who caucuses with the Democrats, told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday that Democrats plan to push a coronavirus relief package through the chamber with a simple majority vote. Why it matters: "Budget reconciliation" would allow Democrats to forgo the Senate's 60-vote requirement and could potentially speed-up the next relief package for millions of unemployed Americans. Democrats hold the the 50-50 split in the Senate with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as the tie-breaking vote.Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.What he's saying: "What we cannot do is wait weeks and weeks and months to go forward. We have got to act now," Sanders said. * "We're going to use reconciliation — that's 50 votes in the Senate, plus the vice president — to pass legislation desperately needed by working families in this country right now." * When asked if he wants a relief bill passed before former President Trump's impeachment trial begins the week of Feb. 8, he said: "We've got to do everything. This is not — you don't have the time to sit around, weeks on impeachment and not get vaccines into the arms of people."Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.
- The Telegraph
The acrimonious split within Republican ranks widened over the weekend as Donald Trump made his foray back into politics, backing the re-election of a hard-line supporter as chair of the party in Arizona. His wholehearted support for Kelli Ward was seen by allies as the former president firing a warning shot across the bows of any Republican senators considering backing his impeachment.
- Yahoo News Video
It's a club Donald Trump was never really interested in joining and certainly not so soon: the cadre of former commanders in chief who revere the presidency enough to put aside often bitter political differences and even join together in common cause.
- NBC News
Samuel Camargo faces four charges including civil disorder, knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority.
- Associated Press
Canada said its officials have met online with former diplomat Michael Kovrig, who has been held in China for more than two years in a case related to an executive of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei. Canada’s Foreign Ministry said officials led by Ambassador Dominic Barton were given “on-site virtual consular access” to Kovrig on Thursday. Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor have been confined since Dec. 10, 2018, just days after Canada detained Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, who is also the daughter of the founder of the Chinese telecommunications equipment giant.
- The Telegraph
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has announced the establishment of its embassy in Tel Aviv as the US national security advisor announced that America hopes to build “on the success of Israel’s normalisation agreements” under the Biden administration. The UAE cabinet decision to approve establishing the embassy comes after they signed the Abraham Accords in September, becoming the first Gulf state to establish a full diplomatic relationship with Israel. No further details about the embassy were given in UAE media. While Israel’s government recognises Jerusalem as its capital, the international community does not, with Palestinians claiming East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state. Most countries base their embassies in Tel Aviv. Before the deal, Israel only had peace deals with only two Arab countries, Egypt and Jordan - where it has fortified embassies. Most Arab countries had previously refrained from recognising Israel, believing that recognition should only be granted if serious concessions are made in the Palestinian peace process. Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco later agreed to follow in the UAE’s footsteps and normalise ties with Israel under US-brokered deals.
- Associated Press
President Joe Biden attended Mass for the first time since taking office, worshipping Sunday at the church he frequented when he was vice president. Biden, the nation’s second Catholic president, picked Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Washington's Georgetown neighborhood, a few miles from the White House. It's where the nation’s only other Catholic president, John F. Kennedy, often went to Mass.
- NBC News
A motive wasn't immediately known. Mayor Joe Hogsett said the shooting had brought "terror to our community."
China reported 80 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, mostly in the northeast where some residents complained they were short of food amid an ongoing local lockdowns, down from Friday's 107. Saturday's toll included 65 domestic cases, with more than half in the northeastern provinces of Heilongjiang and Jilin. China, which this weekend marked the anniversary of the world's first coronavirus lockdown in the central city of Wuhan, is facing its worst wave of local cases since March last year.
- The New York Times
It’s been less than two weeks since Reps. Peter Meijer, Tom Rice and Liz Cheney broke with nearly all of their Republican colleagues in the House and voted to impeach President Donald Trump, but in their home states, the backlash is already growing. In Michigan, a challenger to Meijer received a boost when Steve Bannon promoted him on his podcast. In South Carolina, a local Republican is getting so many calls urging him to run against Rice that he can’t keep his phone charged. Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York Times And in Wyoming, a state senator called Cheney, the No. 3 Republican in the House, “out of touch” with her home state as he announced his primary campaign against her. The 10 House Republicans who voted for impeachment are already facing a fleet of primary challengers, censures and other rebukes from their hometown Republican Party organizations, an indication that the battle over Trump will play a defining role in shaping the direction of the party during the next two years. “Trump might be gone, but Trumpism is virtually guaranteed to be a part of the 2022 elections,” said Ken Spain, a former senior official at the National Republican Congressional Committee. “The tectonic plates have shifted within the GOP, and now members are trying to figure out how to straddle the fault lines.” The impeachment votes are not only being framed as a loyalty test to Trump, they are also being used to tie the incumbents to Democrats like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who for more than a decade has been the central bogeywoman in Republican congressional campaigns, with mixed results. While some senior Republican officials in Washington, like Sen. Mitch McConnell, now the minority leader, have begun trying to create some distance between the party and Trump, there is little indication that would-be Republican primary voters are interested in a political divorce. Nearly all of the House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump have either already been formally censured by local branches of the GOP, face upcoming censure votes or have been publicly scolded by local party leaders. Efforts across the country to punish these lawmakers offer vivid illustrations of the divisions cleaving a party that has been shut out of power. There are already multiple Republicans in South Carolina angling to challenge Rice, a conservative from a Trump-friendly district whose vote to impeach shocked his colleagues and drew a rebuke from the chair of the South Carolina Republican Party. “I am 100% sure that Tom Rice is going to be primaried,” said Ken Richardson, school board chair in Horry County, who is leaning toward running against Rice himself. He said he has had to charge his phone three times a day to keep up with the nonstop calls and texts urging him to enter the race. “I don’t know what he was thinking. I’m sure he’s got his reasons for why he voted the way he voted,” Richardson added. “If there’s ever been a Trump country, we live in Trump country.” Another potential challenger to Rice, former Mayor Mark McBride of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, said he believed Trump was the rightful winner of the 2020 election (he is not), and has collected several hundred signatures on a petition calling for Rice’s resignation. “The president didn’t instigate it,” McBride said of the riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6. “The idea of the impeachment trial going to the Senate, Tom Rice created a foundation for it to continue on.” Tom Norton, a Michigan businessman and Army veteran who lost a 2020 primary to Meijer, said the congressman called him to give him a heads-up the day he voted to impeach Trump. Norton immediately filed paperwork to mount another campaign against Meijer in 2022. Norton said he believed Meijer made a mistake in blaming Trump for inciting the riot. “We have a lot of people with a lot of passion, and we can’t control everybody,” he said, before going on to exaggerate the pockets of unrest that took place alongside last year’s largely peaceful protests for racial justice. “Blaming President Trump is the same thing as blaming Kamala Harris and Joe Biden for all the riots that antifa did last summer.” Rep. John Katko of Central New York, who was the first GOP lawmaker to back impeachment, is one of the few remaining Republicans who represents a Democratic-leaning district. Some Republicans in his district were outraged by his vote. “‘Not very happy’ would be the politest way to say it,” said Fred Beardsley, chair of the Oswego County Republican Committee. “We’re very upset. I’m tremendously upset.” “I think Mr. Katko crossed a line,” he continued. “He double-crossed us.” For Katko and Reps. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, David Valadao of California, and Fred Upton and Meijer of Michigan, all Republicans who voted for impeachment and hail from states likely to lose seats in this year’s redistricting process, the shapes of the districts they may seek to represent in 2022 have yet to be determined. Democratic state legislators in New York and Illinois could draw Katko and Kinzinger into districts represented by fellow incumbent Republicans, potentially cutting off a path for a Trumpian insurgent, while commissions will determine district lines in California, Michigan and Ohio. Gene Koprowski, a conservative filmmaker who filed to run against Kinzinger, said he did so to start raising money but he is waiting for the Illinois Legislature to redraw its congressional district maps before formally beginning a campaign. Challengers to Cheney, who represents the single at-large Wyoming district, don’t face the same calculation. Anthony Bouchard, a state senator, announced his campaign Wednesday as President Joe Biden was being inaugurated. By Thursday night, he was a guest on Newsmax TV and Laura Ingraham’s program on Fox News. “Liz Cheney’s longtime opposition to President Trump and her most recent vote for impeachment shows just how out-of-touch she is with Wyoming,” Bouchard said in his announcement. “Wyoming taxpayers need a voice in Congress who will stand up to Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats, and not give them cover.” Many of the 10 Republicans who voted for impeachment have survived challenging races before. In California, Valadao won his 2016 race by 13 percentage points while Hillary Clinton carried his district by 16 points. He lost to a Democrat by less than 1,000 votes in 2018 before winning the seat back in November, even though Biden won the district by 10 points. Indeed, a number of those Republicans have strong personal brands at home, which may complicate the efforts of potential primary challengers. Gonzalez, for example, was a star on the Ohio State University football team. And at least some party leaders, shaken by the violence at the Capitol, say the lawmakers who voted to impeach should be granted leeway. “If he was here with us now I’d probably shake his hand and congratulate him for his conviction,” Jim Dicke, Republican national committeeman for Ohio, said of Gonzalez. “There’s a lot to criticize in the process, but if you’re an elected official and you’re asked to vote, you can either say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ or abstain. You’re not allowed to say, ‘Wait, I don’t like the process.’” In New York, Katko has twice survived being the target of Democrats trying to oust him from a Democratic-leaning district. “We can’t be doing our own form of ‘cancel culture,’ whether it’s Liz Cheney or Katko,” said former Rep. Peter King, a moderate Republican who represented a Long Island district for 28 years before retiring last year. King floated the idea that Katko run for governor. “It would be so foolish to go after John Katko,” he said. “He’s one of the best we have. And if we can’t accept difference of opinion, then we’re no different than the other guys.” In fact, Republicans have long battled one another over perceived purity tests, and in recent years the most powerful litmus test in the eyes of primary voters has centered on fealty to Trump. “President Trump enjoys a high approval rating within the Republican Party, and his supporters are loyal,” said Joel Mattila, Republican chair in Clark County, Washington. His committee has already issued a warning to Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, a Republican who voted to impeach. “She’s going to face a primary challenge, based on what I’m hearing,” he said. “It seems like, as people are stewing on it and as time is passing, the intensity level is definitely increasing.” Spain, the former House Republican campaign official, said it would fall to the corporate donors that typically support Republicans to provide financial support to the 10 who voted to impeach Trump. Michael McAdams, the NRCC’s communications director, said that the committee does not engage in primaries. That applies to incumbents in contested races, too. “I would hope,” Spain said, “that members of the business community who are standing on principle and refusing to support Republicans who voted against certifying the election results would focus their energy and resources toward helping those members who did stand up on behalf of the American democratic process.” This article originally appeared in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company
- The Week
President Biden reeled in a record-breaking $145 million in so-called dark money from anonymous donors during his presidential campaign, topping the $113 million that went to Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) before his failed presidential bid in 2012, Bloomberg reports.It's not surprising that Biden set the mark given that the $1.5 billion he hauled in overall was the most ever for a challenger to an incumbent president, but it's notable in large part because Democrats have been at the forefront of a movement to ban dark money in politics since it means that supporters can back a candidate without scrutiny. Plus, Bloomberg notes, anonymous donors "will have the same access to decision makers as those whose names were disclosed, but without public awareness of who they are or what influence they might wield." As Meredith McGehee, the executive director of campaign finance reform advocacy group Issue One, told Bloomberg, "the whole point of dark money is to avoid public disclosure while getting private credit."Still, it seems the Democratic Party was willing to embrace the strategy in the hopes of defeating former President Donald Trump, who only brought in $28.4 million from anonymous donors. Read more at Bloomberg.More stories from theweek.com 5 scathingly funny cartoons about Biden's COVID-19 push Trump's pressure on DOJ to sue states over election in Supreme Court reportedly 'got really intense' Republicans back Biden's coronavirus response at a surprisingly high rate, poll suggests
- The Telegraph
Israel will ban passenger flights in and out of the country from Monday for a week as it seeks to stop the spread of new coronavirus variants. "Other than rare exceptions, we are closing the sky hermetically to prevent the entry of the virus variants and also to ensure that we progress quickly with our vaccination campaign," said Benjamin Netanuahu, the Israeli prime minister. It came as a study in Israel reported a 60 per cent drop in over-60s being hospitalised with coronavirus three weeks after being vaccinated, in the latest sign that the jabs are effective. According to Maccabi, an Israeli healthcare provider, there was a significant decrease in hospitalisations from day 23 onwards, which was two days after patients received their second jab. Also on Sunday, Israel expanded its rapid vaccination drive to include 16-18 year-olds in an effort to get them back in schools to take their winter examinations. The winter matriculation certificate is a significant part of university and military admissions. At least one dose has been administered to around a quarter of Israel’s 9 million-strong population. The vaccine is generally available to over 40s or, with parental permission, those aged between 16 and 18. Israel struck a deal with Pfizer at the beginning of January that allowed them to expedite delivery of the vaccine, in return for sharing extensive data on their vaccination campaign with the rest of the world. Yuli Edelstein, the Israeli health minister, told The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday that the data from their vaccination programme suggests a first dose offered around 30 per cent protection from coronavirus.
- Associated Press
A growing number of Republican senators say they oppose holding an impeachment trial, a sign of the dimming chances that former President Donald Trump will be convicted on the charge that he incited a siege of the U.S. Capitol. House Democrats, who will walk the impeachment charge of “incitement of insurrection” to the Senate on Monday evening, are hoping that strong Republican denunciations of Trump after the Jan. 6 riot will translate into a conviction and a separate vote to bar Trump from holding office again.