Another cold night
Calls for the abolition of the British monarchy were made on social media following Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's interview with Oprah.
Megyn Kelly says Meghan Markle always claims to be a 'victim' after bombshell Oprah interview: 'Give me a break'
"Everyone victimizes Meghan! Everyone! The palace! The press!" the former Fox News host, who was fired for making racist statements, said.
- Business Insider
A new lab study shows troubling signs that Pfizer's and Moderna's COVID-19 shots could be far less effective against the variant first found in South Africa
A mutation called E484K appeared to help the variant, first found in South Africa, to evade antibodies produced by the vaccines, the authors said.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson avoided wading into the clash of British royals on Monday, praising the queen but sidestepping questions about racism and insensitivity at the palace after an interview by Prince Harry and his wife Meghan. The former Hollywood actress, whose mother is Black and father is white, accused the royal family of pushing her to the brink of suicide. In a tell-all television interview, she said someone in the royal household had raised questions about the colour of her son's skin.
- USA TODAY
Roy Blunt is the fifth veteran Republican senator to avoid a reelection race in 2022, joining Rob Portman, Pat Toomey, Richard Shelby and Richard Burr.
- The New York Times
Most Republicans who spoke at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, avoided acknowledging the events of Jan. 6. But less than 30 seconds into his speech, Sen. Josh Hawley confronted them head on. That day, Hawley said, had underscored the “great crisis moment” in which Americans currently found themselves. That day, he explained, the mob had come for him. The “woke mob,” that is. In the weeks since, they had “tried to cancel me, censor me, expel me, shut me down.” To “stop me,” Hawley said, “from representing you.” Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York Times “And guess what?” he went on, his tempo building, the audience applauding: “I’m here today, I’m not going anywhere, and I’m not backing down.” The appeal from Missouri’s junior senator reflected what has become standard fare in a Republican Party still in thrall to Donald J. Trump. As Hawley’s audience seemed to agree, his amplification of the former president’s false claims of a stolen election was not incitement for the mob of rioters who stormed the Capitol on Jan 6; it was a principled stand against the “radical left.” Yet to some of the senator’s earliest supporters, it was precisely for its ordinariness that the speech stood out, the latest reminder of the distance between the Josh Hawley they thought they had voted for and the Josh Hawley who now appeared regularly on Fox News. Against the backdrop of Trump’s GOP, the idea had been that Hawley was different. Sworn in at 39 years old, he ascended to the Senate in part by selling himself as an intellectual in a movement that increasingly seemed to shun intellect. Whereas Trump fired off brash tweets littered with random capitalizations and adverbs like “bigly,” Hawley published essays on subjects like medieval theology. Throughout his life, whether as a student at Stanford or a law professor in Missouri, Hawley had impressed people as “thoughtful” and “sophisticated,” a person of “depth.” And as a growing number of conservatives saw it, he also had the proper ideas. From the time he was a teenager, he had criticized the free-market allegiance at the center of Republican orthodoxy; when he arrived in Washington, he immediately launched into a crusade against Big Tech. The conservative think-tank class embraced him as someone who had the right vocabulary, the right suits and the right worldview to translate Trump’s vague populist instincts into a fresh blueprint for his party’s future — someone elite enough, in other words, to be entrusted with the banner of anti-elitism. Which is in part why, when Hawley became the first senator to announce that he would object to the certification of Joe Biden as president, many of his allies underwent a public mourning of sorts. They’d expected as much from, say, Ted Cruz — as one senior Senate aide put it, the Texas Republican, who had filibustered Obamacare while its namesake was still in office, had always been transparent about his motivations. But Hawley? To survey Hawley’s life is indeed to see a consistency in the broad strokes of his political cosmology. Yet interviews with more than 50 people close to Hawley cast light on what, in the haze of charm and first impressions, his admirers often seemed to miss: an attachment to the steady cadence of ascension, and a growing comfort with doing what might be necessary to maintain it. Hawley’s Stanford adviser, the historian David Kennedy, struggled to reconcile his memories with the now-infamous image of the senator, fist raised in solidarity with pro-Trump demonstrators shortly before they descended on the Capitol. “The Josh I knew was not an angry young person,” he recalled. “But when I see him now on television, he just always seems angry — really angry.” Kennedy acknowledged that Hawley was just one of many Republicans in the Trump era who had steeped their brand in “anger and resentment and grievance.” But for many of those once close to Hawley, that was the point: How did a man who seemed so special turn out to be just like everyone else? And what, they wondered, did Josh Hawley have to be so angry about? When Hawley arrived in Washington in January 2019 as Missouri’s junior senator, he positioned himself as the intellectual heir of Trumpism — the politician who could integrate the president’s populist instincts into a comprehensive ideology for the GOP. In his maiden speech, he summoned the lamentation of cultural erosion he’d been refining since high school, arguing that the “great American middle” had been overlooked by a “new, arrogant aristocracy.” For conservatives who felt Trump had identified uncomfortable truths about the party despite ultimately governing like a typical Republican, Hawley’s arrival was timely. That July, conservative writers and policy experts gathered at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington for the inaugural National Conservatism Conference, meant to map a departure from the corporate-class policies that for decades had defined conservatism. Hawley, who in his keynote speech decried the “cosmopolitan consensus,” was introduced as the fledgling movement’s “champion in the Senate.” He did not discourage whispers about 2024, and some younger Trump campaign aides, who saw him as the “refined” version of their boss, mused privately about working for him should he run. It wasn’t long before Donald Trump Jr. was inviting him to lunch at his father’s Washington hotel. Even so, he baffled his party’s leadership as he tried to derail the confirmation of some of Trump’s conservative judicial nominees, deeming their records on social issues like abortion and same-sex marriage insufficiently pure. But it was Trump’s refusal to accept the election results that offered the first real stress test for the brand Hawley had labored to cultivate — whether it was possible to be both the darling of the conservative intelligentsia and the “fighter” the party’s base craved. He had reason to believe it was. He was comfortable paying “the price of admission,” as one Republican official put it, to a place in Trump’s GOP, in part because nothing in his short political career had suggested there would ever be a cost. Early on, few had blinked when he embraced the president during a visit to Missouri. He had courted far-right figures during his campaign, yet still received plum speaking slots at high-minded conferences. And so on Dec. 30, Josh Hawley became the first Senate Republican to announce his intent to challenge Biden’s congressional certification. Hawley’s team was adamant that he had not been motivated by a potential presidential bid in 2024, but among other things had been moved by a December video conference with 30 constituents who said they felt “disenfranchised” by Biden’s victory. “He knows the state well after two campaigns, and I think he knew that Missourians supported the president,” said James Harris, a longtime political adviser to Hawley. He tried to thread the needle as he always had, wrapping his objection not in fevered “STOP THE STEAL” tweets but in questions about the constitutionality of mail-in voting in Pennsylvania. And, had there been no violence, perhaps his gambit would have worked. But when Hawley and others lent their voices to Trump’s lie of rampant voter fraud, people listened. Hawley spent much of Jan. 6 hiding with his colleagues in a Senate committee room as Trump supporters stormed the Capitol. He sat hunched against the wall, eyes fixed on his phone, as Republicans and Democrats alike blamed him for the madness. Later that evening, when senators safely reconvened to finish certifying the election, Hawley forged ahead with his objection. The reckoning was swift. Simon & Schuster dropped plans to publish his book, “The Tyranny of Big Tech.” Major donors severed ties. Yet something else happened, too. Hawley saw a surge in small-dollar donations to his campaign, making January his best fundraising month since 2018. As Axios first reported, the $969,000 he amassed easily offset defections from corporate political action committees. Added to that was the applause of the Senate Conservatives Fund, which has since bundled more than $300,000 for Hawley. As his advisers saw it, the lessons of the Trump era — that success in today’s GOP means never having to say you’re sorry — were clear. And Josh Hawley was nothing if not a star student. In the weeks since, Hawley has vowed to sue the “woke mob” at Simon & Schuster for dropping his book. He’s written for The New York Post about “the muzzling of America.” He has appeared on Fox News to discuss said muzzling. And while he said shortly after the riot that he would not run for president in 2024, his advisers have continued to hype him as “one of the favorites” of a potential Republican primary field. Hawley tested his new cri de coeur on a live audience on Feb. 26, at the gathering of the conservative faithful in Orlando. “You know, on Jan. 6, I objected to the Electoral College certification,” he began. “Maybe you heard about it.” The room erupted. “I did,” he went on, “I stood up —” His words were drowned out by cheers. It had not been the mood of his speech. But as he paused to take in the standing ovation, Hawley seemed happy. This article originally appeared in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company
Joining hundreds of women in Istanbul to protest at China's treatment of Uighurs, Nursiman Abdurasit tearfully thinks of her jailed mother in Xinjiang and fears that Uighurs like her in Turkey may one day be sent back under an extradition deal. Beijing approved an extradition treaty between the two nations in December and with the deal awaiting ratification by Ankara's parliament, activists among some 40,000 Uighurs living in Turkey have stepped up efforts to highlight their plight.
- The Telegraph
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex unloaded on Prince Charles, The Duchess of Cambridge, and the tabloid press in their extraordinary tell-all with Oprah Winfrey. But despite the numerous allegations levelled at named and unnamed members of the Royal family, The Queen emerged unscathed, and instead received glowing praise from the couple. Meghan described how "everyone" welcomed her to the royal set-up initially, but singled out the Queen as making her particularly comfortable. In another sign of their positive relationship, the Duchess said: “I just pick up the phone and I call the Queen - just to check-in. Meghan said the Queen has "always been wonderful" to her and that she reminded the Duchess of her own grandmother. "She’s always been warm and inviting," the Duchess added. The Duchess shared a touching anecdote on how her future husband’s grandmother gave her "some beautiful pearl earrings and a matching necklace" for the couple's first joint engagement together, and that the monarch also shared her blanket while travelling together between visits. The pair attended a ceremony for the opening of the new Mersey Gateway Bridge, in Widnes, Cheshire in June 2018 and travelled north on the Royal train.
In Asia, some vaccination programmes are either yet to begin, or are at a very early stage.
- Business Insider
Biden nominates female generals who were passed over by the Pentagon because they feared Trump's reaction
Pentagon officials believed former President Donald Trump would oppose the promotion of female generals, report says.
When Oprah asked Meghan Markle what she thought her life would be like following her wedding, Markle said she could not have imagined what was coming.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's secret wedding couldn't have been an official, legal ceremony, experts say
Experts say Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's secret wedding can't have been official if it took place in their backyard as they described.
Olivia Wilde congratulated her ex Jason Sudeikis after he thanked her in his Critics' Choice acceptance speech
Sudeikis and Wilde broke up in November 2020. Wilde is now reportedly dating pop star, Harry Styles.
China urged the United States on Sunday to remove "unreasonable" curbs on cooperation as soon as possible and work together on issues like climate change, while accusing Washington of bringing chaos in the name of spreading democracy. Last week, U.S. President Joe Biden singled out a "growing rivalry with China" as a key challenge facing the United States, with his top diplomat describing the country as "the biggest geopolitical test" of this century. Speaking at his annual news conference, the Chinese government's top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, struck a tough line even as he outlined where the world's two biggest economies could work together.
- Business Insider
A world-leading health expert has warned that spring breakers could increase the spread of highly-transmissible coronavirus variants across the US.
- The Telegraph
For a monarch determined to slim down and modernise the Royal family for the 21st century, the Queen’s decision not to give her great-grandson Archie the title of prince made perfect sense. Following controversy over the roles and publicly funded privilege of minor members of The Firm, the Queen and the Prince of Wales had already decided to shift the focus to Her Majesty and just six others. What they could not have predicted was that two years later, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would try to weave that perceived snub into a new narrative – one of racism at the heart of the House of Windsor. “They didn't want him to be a prince,” the Duchess told Oprah Winfrey, “which would be different from protocol ... we have in tandem the conversation of, ‘He won't be given security. He’s not going to be given a title.’ And also concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born.” Regardless of its veracity, Harry and Meghan’s claim that there were concerns about the colour of their baby’s skin has the power to do permanent damage to the royal brand. Irrespective of who made the alleged comment about Archie’s skin, the Duke and Duchess have put the Prince of Wales in the eye of the storm by claiming he ignored warnings of possible racist attacks on Archie when decisions were made about his security. A source close to the Sussexes said the couple had seen intelligence and security reports that suggested their son was at a heightened risk, partly because of his mixed race heritage. “Security was paramount to them,” the source said. “On that basis, as a couple, they wanted him to be a prince and that was made clear to the Royal family.”
- Business Insider
Biden eyes trashing Trump-era rules that advocates feared would silence sexual assault survivors on college campuses
The rules were unveiled by former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in the final year of the Trump administration.
7 unanswered questions we can't stop thinking about after Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's jaw-dropping interview
People are now wondering about the status of Prince Harry and Charles' relationship, as well as Meghan Markle's with Kate Middleton.
Princess Diana's chief of staff says Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's royal rift echoes the past - and responsibility for reconciliation lies with 'senior palace management'
Ahead of bombshell Oprah interview, Patrick Jephson told CNN that previous tell-all interviews with the royal family "in all cases" has "backfired."
President Joe Biden does not want to make changes to Senate filibuster rules amid efforts from some Democrats to scrap the legislative roadblock, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday. Psaki told reporters that Biden's preference is not to change Senate rules which currently allow most measures to be effectively blocked without 60 votes in support. Instead, Psaki said Biden's preference is to continue to try and build bipartisan support on issues like infrastructure and immigration.