- Yahoo News
Counterintelligence official Michael Orlando joins a growing chorus of voices on both sides of the political aisle who point to China as a major national security threat, particularly in terms of technology and cybersecurity.
- The Telegraph
Police in Portland, Oregon have arrested fifteen suspects after a mob of around 200 alleged Antifa members smashed up the Democrat headquarters and federal immigration offices in the city on Wedensday, while three people were arrested after a crowd in Seattle attacked buildings and burnt a US flag. The two Pacific Northwest cities have been hotspots for protests and violence since the Black Lives Matter demonstrations began last year in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd. There were also protests in Denver, Colorado; Columbus, Ohio and Sacramento in California. Portland Police released photographs of eight of the 15 arrested suspects as well as images of confiscated items including knives, batons and bullet-proof vests.
- Associated Press
Libya’s coast guard intercepted on Friday more than 80 Europe-bound migrants in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of the North African country, the U.N. migration agency said. The migrants were returned to Libyan soil, said the International Organization for Migration. “So far this year, some 300 people, including women and children, were returned to the country and ended up in detention,” said the IOM.
- The Week
One of former President Donald Trump's last acts in office was issuing a directive extending free Secret Service protection to his four adult children and two of their spouses for the next six months, three people with knowledge of the matter told The Washington Post.It's not just his adult children benefiting — Trump also directed that former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and former National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien continue to receive Secret Service protection for six months, two people familiar with the matter told the Post. This 24-hour security, funded by taxpayer money, is expected to cost millions.Under federal law, only Trump, former first lady Melania Trump, and their 14-year-old son, Barron, are entitled to Secret Service protection now that they have left the White House; while Donald and Melania can receive protection for the rest of their lives, Barron is only entitled to it up until his 16th birthday.The Post notes that presidents have the ability to order Secret Service protection for anyone they want, but it is extremely unusual for an outgoing president to order this type of security for their children who are well into adulthood. It is also unclear if there is precedent for ordering security for former aides. Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush requested security extensions for their daughters, who were in college when their presidencies ended. Once former President Barack Obama was out of office, his daughters — one in high school, the other on a gap year from college — received a short extension of security.During Trump's presidency, his adult children took more than 4,500 trips, including vacations and business travel for the Trump Organization, the Post reports. Taxpayers paid millions of dollars for Secret Service agents to accompany them on those jaunts.More stories from theweek.com Trump's team fired the White House chief usher right before Biden took office, maybe at Biden's request 7 brutally funny cartoons about Trump's White House exit Biden removes Trump's Diet Coke button from the Oval Office
The European Union and Turkey pressed each other on Thursday to take concrete steps to improve relations long strained by disagreements over energy, migration and Ankara's human rights record. Turkey, which remains an official candidate for EU membership despite the tensions, is facing the threat of EU economic sanctions over a hydrocarbons dispute with Greece in the eastern Mediterranean, but the mood music between Brussels and Ankara has improved since the new year.
- Associated Press
The master tenant of a cluttered, dilapidated San Francisco Bay Area warehouse where 36 people perished in a late-night fire in 2016 is scheduled to plead guilty Friday to the deaths, avoiding a second trial after the first ended in a hung jury. Families of several victims told the East Bay Times last week that prosecutors told them Derick Almena, 50, will plead guilty to 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter in exchange for a nine-year sentence. Almena may serve little or none of that term because of time already spent behind bars and credit for good behavior.
Beau Biden, who served in the Guard, is buried at St. Joseph on the Brandywine Church cemetery in Greenville, Delaware.
- The Week
Michael Flynn's brother was in a key Pentagon meeting during Jan. 6 Capitol siege, despite earlier denials
Lt. Gen. Charles Flynn, the Army's deputy chief of staff for operations and training — and brother to disgraced former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn — did participate in a critical Jan. 6 meeting to discuss deploying the National Guard to the besieged Capitol, The Washington Post reports. The Army had denied several times that Flynn was involved in the conference call at the Pentagon with Washington, D.C., officials and Capitol Police, the Post notes, but both Flynn and the Pentagon confirmed his presence on Wednesday.During the tense meeting, D.C. officials and the Capitol Police chief had pleaded for the National Guard to help protect and clear the Capitol of violent rioters pushing to keep former President Donald Trump in office, but the Pentagon officials had stalled, worrying about the "optics" of having the National Guard at the Capitol. Charles Flynn told the Post he had "entered the room after the call began and departed prior to the call ending as I believed a decision was imminent" from Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy "and I needed to be in my office to assist in executing the decision." The National Guard arrived at the Capitol three hours after the call.It made sense for Flynn to be in the meeting, given his position, but "the episode highlights the challenge for the Army in having an influential senior officer whose brother has become a central figure in QAnon, the extreme ideology that alleges Trump was waging a battle with Satan-worshiping Democrats who traffic children," the Post reports. Flynn had also urged Trump to declare martial law and was involved in the Jan. 6 events."Charlie Flynn is an officer of an incredibly high integrity," McCarthy told the Post on Jan. 12, eight days before he left office Wednesday. "This guy has given a lot to this country. It is incredibly awkward for this officer every day for what is going on with him and his brother, but he puts his head down in, and he is locked in to serve the Constitution."More stories from theweek.com Trump's team fired the White House chief usher right before Biden took office, maybe at Biden's request 7 brutally funny cartoons about Trump's White House exit Biden removes Trump's Diet Coke button from the Oval Office
The European Parliament called on EU governments to recognise Juan Guaido as Venezuela's interim president in a resolution on Thursday, after a downgrade of his status by the bloc earlier this month. The EU's 27 states said on Jan. 6 they can no longer legally recognise Guaido as the country's legitimate head of state after he lost his position as head of parliament following legislative elections in Venezuela in December, despite the EU not recognising that vote. The European Parliament "calls on ... the member states to unequivocally recognise the constitutional continuation of the legitimate National Assembly of Venezuela elected in 2015 and the legitimate interim President of Venezuela Juan Guaido", it said.
- NBC News
Southlake is known for its top-ranked public schools. But a heated fight over a diversity plan has some parents questioning their future in the city.
- Associated Press
Iran's capital and major cities plunged into darkness in recent weeks as rolling outages left millions without electricity for hours. With toxic smog blanketing Tehran skies and the country buckling under the pandemic and other mounting crises, social media has been rife with speculation. Within days, as frustration spread among residents, the government launched a wide-ranging crackdown on Bitcoin processing centers, which require immense amounts of electricity to power their specialized computers and to keep them cool — a burden on Iran's power grid.
- National Review
President Joe Biden on Thursday unveiled a plan to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, which includes issuing ten executive orders and directing agencies to use the wartime Defense Production Act to require U.S. companies to prioritize manufacturing supplies such as N95 masks, swabs, and other equipment. The executive orders will aim to increase COVID-19 vaccinations, bolster testing and reopen schools. “The National Strategy provides a roadmap to guide America out of the worst public health crisis in a century,” the plan says. “America has always risen to the challenge we face and we will do so now.” The United States’ fight against COVID-19 sits on a precipice as Biden takes office: nearly 3,000 Americans are dying each day of the virus as more infectious strains continue to spread. A further increase in the number of cases could prove even more deadly as many hospitals nationwide are already stretched to their limits. Biden’s plan to give 100 million shots in 100 days will include ramping up vaccine production using the Defense Production Act and increasing the number of vaccination sites by creating federal community vaccination centers in stadiums, gymnasiums and conference centers. The sites will be staffed with thousands of additional workers, some of whom will come from federal agencies and the military, as well as first responders. The Democrat will recommend that all states begin vaccinating people 65 and older, as well as a number of essential workers, including teachers and grocery store employees. Officials say they believe they have the supply and resources to increase vaccinations — up from 17 million shots that have been recorded in a little over a month — but will need funding from Congress for vaccinations and other efforts, asking for more than $400 million for the pandemic response as part of a $1.9 trillion stimulus package. “While we will urgently execute the strategy, we do need Congress to act — and act quickly. Congress must provide the necessary funding in the Covid relief package, the American Rescue Plan, that the president will soon be sending them,” Jeffrey Zients, Biden’s Covid-19 response coordinator, told reporters. The president is also set to sign an executive order requiring people to don masks in airports and on airplanes, trains and maritime vessels. He will mandate that international travelers have tested negative for COVID-19 before they depart for the U.S. To achieve his goal of reopening the majority of K-8 schools in his first 100 days in office, he will sign a presidential memorandum reimbursing schools for additional cleaning, protective equipment and other associated costs using disaster relief funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The U.S. Senate on Wednesday approved Avril Haines as the Director of National Intelligence, the nation's top intelligence job, making her the first of President Joe Biden's nominees to be approved. The vote was 84-10, with all the "no" votes coming from Republicans. Both Democrats and leading Republicans issued statements praising the nominee.
- NBC News
A GoPro camera was found inside a bathroom and changing area at a Premier Athletics facility, which trains young cheerleaders, gymnasts and dancers in Franklin.
- Associated Press
Indonesian authorities on Thursday ended the search for remaining victims and debris from a Sriwijaya Air jet that nosedived into the Java Sea, killing all 62 people on board. Transportation minister Budi Karya Sumadi said retrieval operations have ended after nearly two weeks, but that a limited search for the missing memory unit from the cockpit voice recorder will continue. The memory unit apparently broke away from other parts of the voice recorder during the crash.
- The Week
Trump's team fired the White House chief usher right before Biden took office, maybe at Biden's request
When President Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden arrived at the White House on Wednesday afternoon, there was no chief usher to greet them. He had been fired at about 11:30 a.m., half an hour before Biden was sworn in as president, The New York Times reports. Former first lady Melania Trump had hired the chief usher, Timothy Harleth, from the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., in 2017, after the previous chief usher, Angella Reid, was dismissed a few months into Donald Trump's term.The White House chief usher is in charge of the first family's residence, overseeing everything from personnel issues to budgets. It is typically an apolitical job, and ushers typically stay through several administrations. Reid, hired in 2011, was only the ninth chief usher since 1885, though she was the first woman hired for the job. The Bidens had communicated to the White House counsel that they intended to bring in their own chief usher, a person familiar with the process told the Times. A Biden White House official told CNN that Harleth "was let go before the Bidens arrived," though CNN reports it was the Bidens who gave him the ax.Harleth was already in hot water with Trump's team, though. He "had found himself in an untenable position" since the election, "trying to begin preparations for a new resident in the White House, even as its occupant refused to concede that he would be leaving the premises," the Times reports. And Trump's chief of staff, Mark Meadows, was "unhappy" with Harleth "for trying to send briefing books about the residence to the Biden transition team in November." Harleth "had worked with Jill Biden's staff for weeks to organize the move of household belongings," The Washington Post adds.The absence of a chief usher was one manifestation of the chaotic transition period, but it doesn't entirely explain the curious breach in protocol where nobody opened the doors for the BIdens when they arrived at the White House, the Times notes. The doors, which awkwardly stood closed for about 10 long seconds as the Bidens watched, are typically opened by Marine guards.Once the Bidens passed through the doors into the newly sanitized White House, things got better, the Post reports. "Awaiting Biden in a room adjacent to the Oval Office were two trays stacked with chocolate chip cookies, each one in plastic wrap with a gold presidential seal."More stories from theweek.com 7 brutally funny cartoons about Trump's White House exit Biden removes Trump's Diet Coke button from the Oval Office Biden has stopped construction on Trump's border wall, but the fate of outstanding contracts is unclear
- Yahoo News Video
Former Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama delivered a recorded message to President Biden on Wednesday night.
- Architectural Digest
800 feet up in the sky, the Dreamy 6,000 square foot space offers panoramic views from the East River to the HudsonOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- The Independent
Michael Flynn’s brother reveals he was involved in Capitol riot response after Army denied it, report says
Apparent U-turn by Pentagon officials could pose questions about police response
- Associated Press
A powerful earthquake shook parts of the southern Philippines on Thursday night, but authorities said it was too deep to cause major damage and no tsunami warning was issued. The quake measured magnitude 7.0 and was located 95.8 kilometers (60 miles) below the sea and about 210 kilometers (130 miles) southeast of Pondaguitan in Davao Occidental province, the U.S. Geological Survey said. In Davao city, President Rodrigo Duterte’s hometown, some residents ran out of their houses as the ground shook and power cables and business signs swayed, but there were no reports of damage or injuries.