The Allegheny County Health Department will require churches and organizations to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines during Lenten Fish Frys. KDKA's Paul Martino has more.
- Yahoo News
Israel's rapid rollout provides the first real-world proof that COVID vaccination works as well as promised
Now that a huge share of Israelis have been vaccinated, experts are looking at the country’s experience as a kind of real-world, real-time experiment, with unique data that could start to answer some of our most pressing questions about the power of vaccines to curb the pandemic.
- Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and 13 other Republican senators introduced a bill Tuesday to authorize the continuation of Keystone XL Pipeline construction.
- Associated Press
A Pakistani teacher, social worker and activist was arrested on Wednesday in the northwestern city of Peshawar, after a court denied him bail on charges of terror financing and sedition, his daughter said. Gulalai Ismail tweeted that her father, Mohammad Ismail, was taken into custody in a long-standing case that also charges her and her mother since 2019. According to Gulalai Ismail, the local court in Peshawar granted the provincial counter-terrorism authorities permission to hold her father for questioning for three days.
- National Review
Kerry Defended Taking Private Jet to Iceland for Environmental Award: ‘the Only Choice for Somebody Like Me’
White House climate czar John Kerry traveled to Iceland by private jet in 2019 to accept an environmental award and defended his transportation choice to a reporter at the time by calling it, “the only choice for somebody like me.” Kerry flew to Iceland in October, 2019 to receive the Arctic Circle award, an iceberg sculpture, for his leadership on climate issues and being “a consistent voice pressuring the American authorities to commit to tackle environmental matters,” according to Icelandic outlet RUV. During the trip, Kerry was confronted by Icelandic reporter Jóhann Bjarni Kolbeinsson on whether his use of a private jet was an “environmental way to travel.” “If you offset your carbon, it’s the only choice for somebody like me, who is traveling the world to win this battle,” Kerry responded. The former secretary of state went on to emphasize his climate accomplishments, including negotiating the Paris accord for the U.S. and bringing Chinese President Xi to the table. “I’ve been involved in this fight for years,” Kerry said. “I believe the time it takes me to get somewhere, I can’t sail across the ocean, I have to fly to meet with people and get things done,” he continued. “But what I’m doing almost full-time is working to win the battle of climate change. And in the end, if I offset and contribute my life to do this, I’m not going to be put on the defensive.” Last week, Kerry recommended that oil and gas workers should pivot to manufacturing solar panels if their jobs are eliminated as a consequence of the Biden administration’s environmental policies. Biden signed several executive orders on climate change last week aimed at achieving the goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. During his first week in office, the president reentered the Paris climate accord, from which the Trump administration withdrew the U.S. in 2017. Biden also canceled the permit on the Keystone pipeline, a project that would have created about 11,000 U.S. jobs this year, according to the Keystone XL website. Many of the workers are temporary, but 8,000 are union workers.
- Miami Herald
The gunman who mowed down five FBI agents at the door of his Sunrise apartment has been identified as David Lee Huber, a 55-year-old who until Tuesday’s outburst of violence seems to have lived a largely innocuous life.
- The Week
House Democrats are adding a new element to their second impeachment case against former President Donald Trump: Republicans. The House's impeachment managers, all Democrats, released their impeachment trial brief on Tuesday deeming Trump "singularly responsible" for inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. And to capitalize on the support of 10 Republicans who voted with every Democrat to charge Trump, the managers included a whole section dedicated to how the article of impeachment was approved "with bipartisan support." The section of the trial brief emphasizes the speed with which House members took up impeachment after the riot, specifying that "five days after the assault on the Capitol, an article of impeachment for incitement of insurrection was introduced in the House," and that it was approved two days later. "The House acted with urgency because President Trump's rhetoric and conduct before, during, and after the riot made clear that he was a menace to the nation’s security and democratic system," the brief argues. To solidify their point, the impeachment managers quoted statements from Republicans who voted to charge Trump. Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.), for example, noted in a statement that "it cannot be ignored that President Trump encouraged this insurrection." Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.) stated that even after the riot, where five people were killed and many more injured, Trump "has not addressed the nation to ask for calm." And House Republican Caucus Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) simply said that "there has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution." Trump's trial begins in the Senate next week. It's still unclear if any Senate Republicans will vote for his impeachment, making it unlikely that Democrats will get the 67 votes they need for conviction. More stories from theweek.comMarjorie Taylor Greene is getting exactly what she wantsDemocrats may only have one chance to stop America from becoming a one-party stateStephen Bannon, pardoned by Trump, may now be charged over the same scheme in New York
- Associated Press
Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the Pakistani-British man acquitted of the 2002 gruesome beheading of American journalist Daniel Pearl off death row and moved to a so-called government “safe house." Ahmad Saeed Omar Sheikh, who has been on death row for 18 years, will be under guard and will not be allowed to leave the safe house, but he will be able to have his wife and children visit him.
- The Independent
Biden news - live: Marjorie Taylor Greene to remain on House committees as Pelosi says GOP now party of QAnon
Live updates on Joe Biden from the White House and Trump news
Women in China's system of detention camps for ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims in its western region of Xinjiang were subject to rape, sexual abuse and torture, according to a BBC report on Wednesday. The British broadcaster said on its website "several former detainees and a guard have told the BBC they experienced or saw evidence of an organised system of mass rape, sexual abuse and torture." Beijing strongly denies accusations of abuse in Xinjiang, and has said the complexes it set up in the region provided vocational training to help stamp out Islamist extremism and separatism, and to teach new skills.
They died when their aircraft went down while conducting night-vision goggle proficiency training.
- Associated Press
A second Chinese lawyer who represented a Hong Kong pro-democracy activist was stripped of his license on Tuesday as Beijing attempts to crush opposition to its tighter control over the territory. Ren Quanniu, who represented one of 12 Hong Kong activists who tried to flee to Taiwan, said he had his license revoked by the Henan Provincial Justice Department. Thousands of Hong Kong residents have fled the territory since Beijing’s imposition of a tough new security law that some say is destroying the territory’s Western-style civil liberties.
- Architectural Digest
According to AD100 designer Rodman Primack, who recently set up shop in the town: “Design thinking actually created modern Aspen and its great music and art institutions”Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- National Review
President Joe Biden’s recent executive order to expand food assistance to U.S. households, while well-intentioned, represents a substantial overreach of the executive branch and a blatant attempt to override the intent of Congress. If successful, this dangerous precedent would open the door to major expansions of the social safety net without congressional approval. Congress must resist the president’s attempts to subvert the intent of existing law. Less than one week into the Biden presidency, the new administration issued a series of executive orders focused on COVID-19 economic relief. One such order seeks to expand food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps. In it, President Biden instructed the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to take “immediate steps to make it easier for the hardest-hit families to enroll and claim more generous benefits in the critical food and nutrition assistance area.” In reality, the executive order asks a federal agency — the USDA — to intentionally misinterpret the Families First Act and subvert the constitutional authority of Congress over the legislative process. The Families First Act, which passed in March 2020, clearly outlined that states could request waivers from the Agriculture Department to provide emergency allotments to SNAP households “not greater than the applicable maximum monthly allotment for the household size.” In normal times, 60 percent of households enrolled in SNAP do not receive the maximum benefit because they have income from other sources — such as earnings — that they can use for purchasing food. The emergency allotments recognized that millions of people lost jobs or faced other employment disruptions when the pandemic hit, and that those enrolled in SNAP were at particular risk for job loss in the early aftermath of the pandemic. Rather than requiring SNAP households to report a job or income change to their state agency and wait for bureaucrats to recalculate their benefits, the emergency allotments gave every SNAP recipient the maximum allowed. This was, admittedly, not a very targeted effort. Some families received a boost in SNAP dollars without a change in household income or financial circumstances. But the immediacy of the economic shock brought on by the pandemic, and the employment instability that persists today, necessitated an equally expedient policy response. The Agriculture Department, under President Trump, had approved emergency allotment plans for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands — but only in accordance with the law. The department extended these emergency-allotment waivers numerous times, most recently extending them through January 2021. The USDA — and Congress itself — also offered states flexibility in the aftermath of the pandemic. According to federal government spending data, all of the efforts outlined above have caused SNAP benefits to rise more than 40 percent in the last fiscal year, with more than $31 billion in added spending compared to FY 2019. Class-action suits have been filed in Pennsylvania and California by people who disagree with the USDA’s interpretation of the law: that regular SNAP plus emergency allotments cannot extend benefits beyond the maximum benefit level. Lawyers for the lawsuits argue that the law allows the USDA to approve emergency allotments in the amount of the maximum benefit, which if true, would mean that households could receive the maximum SNAP benefit plus the maximum emergency allotment — essentially doubling benefit amounts. A federal judge in California agreed with the USDA, while the Pennsylvania case is ongoing. The Biden administration’s executive order is encouraging its USDA to misinterpret the 2020 law in a similar way. The legislative text is not ambiguous. It is hard to imagine Congress being any clearer than, “to address temporary food needs not greater than the applicable maximum monthly allotment for the household size.” If Congress had wanted to give people more than the SNAP maximum, it would have done so. In fact, Congress eventually did just that — expanding benefits by 15 percent in the COVID-19 relief package passed last month. If the Biden administration is successful in this attempt, it will open the door to a number of executive actions aimed at expanding the safety net without congressional action. If political appointees in the Biden administration feel unconstrained by the law, we will see larger benefits directed to an increasing number of people. Such action not only undermines the integrity of the social safety net by going around Congress, it disregards the separation of powers ensconced in the founding documents of our republic. The American public has been largely supportive of efforts by Congress to provide economic relief to struggling households. Let’s keep that authority in its proper place.
In a show of solidarity, social media users have started changing their profile photos to an illustration of Vicha Ratanapakdee, an 84-year-old Thai man who died after being shoved in San Francisco last week. The attack, which was caught on surveillance video, occurred as Ratanapakdee was walking along Anza Vista and Fortuna Avenues at 8:30 a.m. on Jan. 28. For no apparent reason, Antoine Watson, 19, darted from the right side of the camera frame to push Ratanapakdee to the ground, leaving him with life-threatening injuries.
- Yahoo News Video
In a White House briefing on Wednesday, press secretary Jen Psaki said President Biden was not breaking a campaign promise of delivering Americans $2,000 in coronavirus relief. Psaki said the current proposal of $1,400 in a relief bill would be in addition to $600 relief checks that were distributed during the Trump administration.
The Scottish parliament on Wednesday rejected a call for the government to investigate how Donald Trump funded his purchase of two golf courses in Scotland, a request dismissed as "pathetic" by one of the former U.S. president's sons. The Scottish Green Party brought forward a motion calling on ministers to seek an "unexplained wealth order" (UWO) against Trump over his acquisition of the golf courses and resorts in north and west Scotland.
- Associated Press
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has denounced student protesters as “terrorists" and vowed to crackdown on demonstrations opposing the appointment of a government loyalist to head Istanbul’s most prestigious university. Students and faculty members of Bogazici University have spent weeks protesting Erdogan’s Jan. 1 appointment of Melih Bulu, an academic who once ran for parliament as a candidate for Erdogan’s party. Scores of students have been detained amid the protests, some taken away following raids of their homes.
The Biden administration indicated on Tuesday it is in no hurry to engage with China, a strategic rival it has vowed to out-compete, and said it and would do so once it was in "lockstep" with allies and partners. President Joe Biden has spoken to many world leaders since taking office on Jan. 20, but has yet to speak to his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, and White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told a briefing she could not say when a call might take place. Psaki said that with Antony Blinken in place as U.S. secretary of state, "there are additional layers to engage with the Chinese," but both she and State Department spokesman Ned Price said speaking to allies and partners came first.
- Associated Press
The United States on Tuesday declared the military roundup of civilian leaders in Myanmar a coup, and said it would look for ways to impose more sanctions or other penalties on the country's military and officers. The military power grab poses challenges for the two-week-old Biden administration, which says it wants to support wobbly democracy movements globally, but also wants to avoid driving countries like Myanmar toward China. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a supporter of Myanmar civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, called Tuesday for “the strongest possible sanctions" and a U.S.-led effort to rally international condemnation against the coup leaders, including in the United Nations.
- The Independent
Lindsey Graham proven wrong immediately after trying to defend numerous Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene's statements
Senator says he would want to have conversations with Ms Greene before passing judgement on her prior comments