Authorities say they believe the incident is domestic but the exact relationship is unknown.
U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday told Saudi King Salman he would work for bilateral ties "as strong and transparent as possible," the White House said, ahead of the expected release of a sensitive U.S. intelligence report on the 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The report is a declassified version of a top-secret assessment that sources say singles out the 85-year-old king's son Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for approving the murder of Khashoggi in the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul. Saudi Arabia denies that the 35-year-old crown prince, the de facto ruler of the kingdom, approved the killing.
Canada's COVID-19 vaccination campaign is ramping up after earlier supply disruptions and the number of inoculations last week hit a five-week high, officials said on Thursday. Canada has deals with Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc, but both companies ran into production problems last month and reduced shipments. The country trails many other nations in the total number of inoculations and critics accuse Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal government of bungling the rollout.
- Business Insider
Experts say Dominion and Smartmatic could win their defamation lawsuits, but MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell says they have 'zero' chance
The Trump backers Rudy Giuliani, Sydney Powell, and Mike Lindell face defamation lawsuits from Dominion and Smartmatic that may succeed, experts say.
- LA Times
A man was hospitalized Wednesday after being shot while walking pop star Lady Gaga's French bulldogs in Hollywood. Two of the dogs were abducted.
- The Telegraph
It is looking ever more probable that Donald Trump will run for the White House again in 2024. His opponents, including some within the Republican Party, say four years is an eternity in politics and much can change. But, in reality it isn’t four years. Candidates will begin officially announcing their runs in early 2023. That's only two years from now. And they will be quietly cultivating donors and influential backers long before that. So it is actually quite a narrow window for anyone else to overhaul Mr Trump before his campaign juggernaut gets going. All eyes are on his speech this Sunday at CPAC, the annual conservative conference, which like Mr Trump has relocated from Washington to Florida. The speech will see him fully re-emerge from his post-presidential cocoon. Indications emanating from Mar-a-Lago suggest the speech will be designed to leave any would-be presidential nominees in no doubt whatsoever that he is still the presumptive first choice. An adviser told The Telegraph that Mr Trump has spent the last weeks taking a break, and practicing his golf swing, but is keen to re-engage in the fight. In terms of age, Mr Trump would be 78 on Election Day 2024. If successful, he would become the oldest person ever elected president. But he would only be six months older than Joe Biden was on Election Day 2020. Even Mitt Romney admitted this week that the former president would win easily if he decides to run. Mr Romney, who has twice voted to convict Mr Trump in impeachment trials, said: "I don't know if he'll run in 2024 or not, but if he does, I'm pretty sure he will win the nomination." There are a host of other contenders, but Mr Trump is far ahead of all of them in polls. Nikki Haley, his former UN ambassador and a 2024 hopeful, got a clear message of his thinking. After she criticised Mr Trump over the July 6 riot at the US Capitol he refused her request for a meeting at Mar-a-Lago. Mike Pence, who as his vice president would be the obvious successor to Mr Trump, has declined an invitation to speak at CPAC. That was surprising as he usually speaks. Mr Pence is said to be planning to stay out of the public eye for at least six months. Meanwhile, Ted Cruz, who finished second to Mr Trump in the race for the Republican nomination in 2016, had been looking to go one better this time. Instead, he may have already fallen at the first hurdle following a disastrous decision to go on a family holiday to Cancun while Texas, the state he represents as a senator, was buckling under a devastating storm that left millions without power. (See video below)
Hungary is entering its toughest period since the start of the coronavirus pandemic and over the next two weeks hospitals will come under strain like never before, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Thursday. "I have only bad news," Orban said in a Facebook video. On Thursday, Hungary reported 4,385 new infections, the highest number this year.
- The Independent
Republican says ‘those big bills are people who gambled on a very, very low rate’ after reports people resorted to using life savings for higher fees amid the freeze
- Associated Press
The United States launched airstrikes in Syria on Thursday, targeting facilities near the Iraqi border used by Iranian-backed militia groups. The Pentagon said the strikes were retaliation for a rocket attack in Iraq earlier this month that killed one civilian contractor and wounded a U.S. service member and other coalition troops. The airstrike was the first military action undertaken by the Biden administration, which in its first weeks has emphasized its intent to put more focus on the challenges posed by China, even as Mideast threats persist.
- The Daily Beast
Erin Schaff/ReutersThe acting chief of the U.S. Capitol Police just came with the receipts.Testifying before a House Appropriations subcommittee about the catastrophic breakdown that allowed thousands of MAGA rioters to breach the Capitol, Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman revealed that her predecessor called the House sergeant-at-arms, Paul Irving, at 12:58 p.m. to request the National Guard as rioters breaching the building and forced lawmakers into hiding.Former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, who resigned after the riot, called Irving again seven minutes later, according to phone records pulled by Pittman—and then called him at least three more times until 1:45 p.m.“When there’s a breakdown you look for those commanders with boots on the ground to provide that instruction,” Pittman said. “That did not happen, primarily because those operational commanders at the time were so overwhelmed, they started to participate and assist the officers… versus providing that guidance and direction.”First Capitol Riot Hearing Only Raised More Questions About Jan. 6The receipts–which support the narrative that a series of unanswered calls, withheld information, and conflicting orders led to complete malfunction—directly contradicted Irving’s testimony.On Tuesday, Sund testified that he asked for National Guard backup just after 1 p.m. But Irving insisted that was wrong. He said he did not remember the conversation with Sund and claimed he didn’t get an official request until “shortly before 1:30 p.m.” Troops were not approved to help overwhelmed officers at the Capitol until 2:10 p.m.“Mr. Irving stated that he was concerned about the ‘optics’ of having the National Guard present and didn’t feel that the intelligence supported it,” Sund said Tuesday. Irving, who resigned in the wake of the riot, said that was “categorically false.”On Tuesday, Irving said that if Sund, Senate sergeant-at-arms Michael Stenger, or any other leaders concluded ahead of Jan. 6 that unarmed National Guardsmen were needed, he “would not have hesitated” to ensure the reinforcement was ready.Pittman’s testimony—and her insistence that Capitol Police did everything possible to contain the insurrection—was just the latest twist in a series of finger-pointing between the top law enforcers in charge of securing the Capitol. During hearings before lawmakers this week, officials have blamed one another for the widespread failures.One failure, Pittman conceded on Thursday, was that nobody in law enforcement knew the mob would be so violent.She told lawmakers that they were prepared for militia groups, white supremacists, and other extremists to be present, but the small organization was not prepared for thousands of “everyday” Americans “who took on a mob mentality.” (Acting D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee revealed on Tuesday that the FBI intel consisted merely of an email sent on Jan. 5.)Officials believe over 10,000 demonstrators were at the Capitol on Jan. 6 and that 800 breached the building. About 1,200 police officers responded, Pittman said.She also made the stunning admission that since Jan. 6, Capitol Police have maintained heightened security because they learned that militia groups have chatted about plans to “blow up the Capitol and kill as many members as possible” in connection with the State of the Union, which has no scheduled date yet. “We know that the insurrectionists that attacked the Capitol weren’t only interested in attacking members of Congress and officers. They wanted to send a symbolic message to the nation as [to] who was in charge of that legislative process,” Pittman said. On Tuesday, Irving insisted that Capitol Police were privy to intelligence provided by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security that “did not support” the likelihood of a coordinated assault at the Capitol.An NYPD Cop’s Road From Terror ‘Victim’ to Capitol Rioter“The department was not ignorant of intelligence indicating an attack of the size and scale we encountered on the sixth. There was no such intelligence,” Pittman said Thursday. “Although we knew the likelihood for violence by extremists, no credible threat indicated that tens of thousands would attack the U.S. Capitol. Nor did the intelligence received from the FBI or any other law enforcement partner indicate such a threat.”Pittman added that because officers at the Capitol were not prepared for a violent mob, lockdown procedure was not properly executed. She added that some officers were also not sure when to use lethal force, and that radio communications between law enforcers were not robust.Five individuals died during the violent riots. Four were pro-Trump protesters, including Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt, who was shot and killed by a police officer after attempting to break into the Speaker’s Lobby. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick died after allegedly clashing with rioters. In the days after the siege, at least two officers died by suicide.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
- The Independent
‘Sickening, pathetic, unimaginably cruel’: Marjorie Taylor Greene under fire for misgendering trans-daughter of colleague
It comes after MTG installed a sign saying male and female are the only two genders
- Associated Press
Looking at individual stats reveals nothing about the Utah Jazz. Take note: The Jazz are off to the best start in franchise history, are on pace to shatter the NBA record for 3-pointers made per game, have won 20 of their last 22 games and just handed the reigning champion Los Angeles Lakers their worst loss of the season. “They’re the hottest team in the league,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said after his team, which was without Anthony Davis and Dennis Schroder, lost 114-89 in Salt Lake City on Wednesday night.
The Weasleys are the largest family in the series, so even the biggest fans may not have heard all these fun facts and hidden secrets about them.
- USA TODAY
'Get used to me': Defiant Postmaster General Louis DeJoy pushes back at lawmakers at tense hearing on mail delays
Tempers flared as Democrats pressed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on delays in holiday mail and slow deliveries of prescription medicines.
- Associated Press
Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm won Senate confirmation Thursday to be energy secretary, joining President Joe Biden's Cabinet as a leader of Biden’s effort to build a green economy as the United States moves to slow climate change. The vote was 64-35, with all Democrats and 14 Republicans, including GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, voting yes. Granholm, 62, served two terms as governor in a state dominated by the auto industry and devastated by the 2008 recession.
- Associated Press
Stacey Abrams, whose voting rights work helped make Georgia into a swing state, exhorted Congress on Thursday to reject “outright lies" that have historically restricted access to the ballot as Democrats began their push for a sweeping overhaul of election and ethics laws. “A lie cloaked in the seductive appeal of election integrity has weakened access to democracy for millions,” Abrams, a Democrat who narrowly lost Georgia's 2018 gubernatorial race, said during a committee hearing for the bill, which was introduced as H.R. 1 to signal its importance to the party's agenda. Democrats feel a sense of urgency to enact the legislation ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, when their narrow majorities in the House and Senate will be at risk.
The White House is losing hope that congressional Republicans will back U.S. President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid bill despite a campaign-style push that has won support from business leaders, local government officials, unions and voters. The administration has heavily promoted the "American Rescue Plan" as crucial to getting millions of unemployed back to work and children back into schools. The House of Representatives will vote on it as soon as Friday.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he has not made a decision yet on the future of the two-decade-old Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States, leaving the fate of the pact hanging in the balance. Duterte has said the United States should pay more if it wants to maintain the VFA, which he unilaterally cancelled last year in an angry response to an ally being denied a U.S. visa. "I have not yet decided on what to do, to abrogate or renew," Duterte said in a late-night televised address on Wednesday.
- Associated Press
Ecuador experienced its deadliest prison riots ever this week when seemingly coordinated fights broke out in facilities in three different cities, leaving 79 inmates dead as of Wednesday and exposing the limited control that authorities have over people behind bars. Hundreds of police officers and military personnel converged on the prisons after the unrest began Monday night in the maximum-security wings as rival gangs fought for leadership. President Lenín Moreno, whose term ends in May, on Wednesday said he will ask other South American countries for help to tackle the crisis in Ecuador's prisons and acknowledged the system is deficient and lacks financial resources.
In the week since Washington offered to talk with Tehran about reviving the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran has curbed U.N. monitoring, threatened to boost uranium enrichment and its suspected proxies have twice rocketed Iraqi bases with U.S. soldiers. In return, the United States and three allies, Britain, France and Germany, have responded with a studied calm. The response - or lack of one - reflects a desire not to disrupt the diplomatic overture in hopes Iran will return to the table and, if not, that the pressure of U.S. sanctions will keep taking its toll, U.S. and European officials said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Bahrain's Crown Prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa on Thursday discussed Iran and the possible involvement of the Gulf state in establishing a vaccine plant in Israel, the two countries said. Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates formalised ties with Israel on Sept. 15 in part over shared concerns about Iran, in a deal forged by former U.S. President Donald Trump. Trump withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers, a move praised by Israel which has objected to the accord.