It was no drought-buster but the rain that rolled over Northern California on Christmas Day was still welcome. Andria Borba reports from Ocean Beach in San Francisco. (12-25-20)
- The Independent
Kayleigh McEnany leaves White House after final two-minute press briefing following deadly Capitol riot
Trump’s press secretary refused to take questions following the deadly insurrection at the US Capitol earlier this month
- The Telegraph
Scientists say Colombia must cull its so-called “cocaine hippos” that roam the Magdalena river basin as they are breeding voraciously and are an increasing menace. The marshlands of Colombia have been home to these giant mammals since they were illegally imported in the late 1980s by the notorious drug lord, Pablo Escobar. When he was shot dead in 1993, the Colombian government took control of his extravagant estate, including his personal zoo. Most of the animals were shipped away, but four hippos were left to fend for themselves in a pond, and now there are dozens of them living in the wild. Although nobody knows exactly how many there are, estimates put the total number between 80 and 100, making them the largest invasive species on the planet. Scientists forecast that the number of hippos will swell to almost 1,500 by 2040. They conclude, that at that point, environmental impacts will be irreversible and numbers impossible to control. “Nobody likes the idea of shooting a hippo, but we have to accept that no other strategy is going to work,” ecologist Nataly Castelblanco-Martínez told The Telegraph.
- Associated Press
From “emaciated” refugees to crops burned on the brink of harvest, starvation threatens the survivors of more than two months of fighting in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. The first humanitarian workers to arrive after pleading with the Ethiopian government for access describe weakened children dying from diarrhea after drinking from rivers. A local official told a Jan. 1 crisis meeting of government and aid workers that hungry people had asked for “a single biscuit.”
- Yahoo News Video
A 16-year-old boy has admitted to fatally shooting his newborn daughter and leaving her body inside a fallen tree in the woods in Wisconsin, according to prosecutors.
Pfizer Inc has been holding on to second doses for each of its COVID-19 vaccinations at the request of the federal government and anticipates no problems supplying them to Americans, a spokeswoman said in a statement on Friday. Pfizer's comments run counter to a report in the Washington Post that the federal government ran down its vaccine reserve in late December and has no remaining reserves of doses on hand. "Operation Warp Speed has asked us to start shipping second doses only recently," the spokeswoman said.
- NBC News
She displayed “a round metallic object later identified as a Military Police Challenge Coin” and said she was part of law enforcement, police said.
- Architectural Digest
You'll love the twist these designers have put on old-school entertainmentOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- National Review
Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) on Sunday advised the president not to grant presidential pardons to the rioters who stormed the Capitol this month, warning that doing so would “destroy” Trump. “Mr. President, your policies will stand the test of time. You’re the most important figure in the Republican party. You can shape the direction of the party. Keep your movement alive,” Graham said on Fox News. “There are a lot of people urging the president to pardon folks who participated in defiling the Capitol, the rioters,” Graham continued. “I don’t care if you went there and spread flowers on the floor, you breached the security of the Capitol, you interrupted a joint session of Congress, you tried to intimidate us all, you should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and to seek a pardon of these people would be wrong. I think it would destroy President Trump and I hope we don’t go down that road.” On Wednesday, a large group of Trump supporters overpowered Capitol Police and forced their way into the halls of Congress. Pence and the assembled lawmakers evacuated the Senate floor, where a joint session of Congress was being held to certify the presidential election results. The violence followed a rally outside the White House earlier in the day where President Trump addressed the “Save America March” and repeated his claims that November’s election was rife with voter fraud that threatened to deprive him of his rightful second term. The violence on January 6 resulted in five dead, including a Capitol Police officer. Since then, dozens of criminal cases have been brought in connection with the riot. Graham defended Trump’s rhetoric at the rally, which received bipartisan condemnation and sparked a second impeachment against the president by House Democrats. “President Trump never said, ‘Go into the capitol and try to interrupt a joint session of Congress.’ That was the choice they made and they need to live with that choice,” Graham said. Graham added that there were “irregularities in mail-in voting,” but said “the election is over,” noting that the electoral votes have been certified.” “It is now time to move on,” the South Carolina Republican said. Graham also had a message for incoming president Joe Biden, calling on him to stand up against the second impeachment of Trump, which the Senate is expected to take up after he leaves office.
- Associated Press
No criminal charges will be filed against a former temporary elections worker authorities have said mistakenly discarded nine military ballots ahead of the November presidential election, a federal prosecutor announced Friday. Officials have previously blamed the decision to toss out the ballots on an unidentified and improperly trained contract worker who had been handling mail-in ballots for the county for two days. The ballots were later retrieved from the trash and were counted with other mailed ballots after the Nov. 3 election.
China promised on Saturday to donate 500,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses to the Philippines as the two countries signed infrastructure deals aimed at boosting post-pandemic recovery efforts, officials said. Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte imposed one of the world's longest and strictest lockdowns to contain the virus in March last year - bringing one of Asia's fastest-growing economies to a standstill. "As a friend of the Philippines and your closest neighbour, we will firmly stand with the people of the Philippines until the defeat of this virus," senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi said during a meeting with the Philippines' foreign minister.
- Miami Herald
“I thought, ‘This could be the end,’” the D.C. police officer said.
- The Telegraph
When George H. Bush handed over to his Democratic successor, Bill Clinton, he wrote a heartfelt letter wishing President 42 luck and “great happiness”. George W. Bush offered Barack Obama friendly advice as he was leaving office to “ignore the critics” and that he was "pulling" for him. Since George Washington gave the keys to the White House over to John Adams in 1797, the transfer of power between presidents has largely been peaceful, if on occasion spiteful. This year all norms, however, have been broken. For starters, Donald Trump only conceded last week - at the urging of White House lawyers - after his supporters stormed the US Capitol. The formal process finally began this week, with White House staff pictured removing its current occupants’ belongings - everything from paintings to a taxidermy pheasant.
- Associated Press
Republicans are worried that a corporate backlash stirred by the deadly Capitol insurrection could crimp a vital stream of campaign cash, complicating the party’s prospects of retaking the Senate in the next election. The GOP already faces a difficult Senate map in 2022, when 14 Democratic-held seats and 20 Republican ones will be on the ballot. Eight Republican senators voted to reject Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden, even after the ransacking of the Capitol by a mob of Donald Trump supporters who were exhorted by the president to stop Congress from certifying Biden's victory.
The white woman caught on tape getting into a physical altercation with a Black female security guard the evening before the Capitol riots lost her job at UMass Hospital. The termination occurred after her daughter went viral for exposing her identity on social media. On January 5th, Therese Duke and a group of pro-Trump protesters that included other family members were filmed harassing Ashanti Smith, a security guard working at Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington D.C.
- The Telegraph
A police officer assaulted by rioters outside the Capitol building has described how he pleaded for his life as he heard the mob threaten to kill him with his own gun. Michael Fanone, a 40-year-old father of four, said he was pulled into the crowd and dragged to the ground by the pro-Trump crowd as he attempted to defend the Capitol during the riot on January 6. During the ordeal he was repeatedly Tasered by the rioters, who also stole his spare ammunition and his police radio. Some of the mob then attempted to grab his gun and screamed "kill him with his own gun," he told CNN. Officer Fanone, a more than 18-year veteran of the DC Police force, said he briefly considered using his firearm to fight off the rioters, but realised such a move could easily backfire on him.
- The Week
President Trump is known for going off script, but his premature presidential election victory declaration in the early hours of the morning on Nov. 4 wasn't a completely spur-of-the-moment decision, Axios' Jonathan Swan reports.In the first installment of a reported series on Trump's final two months in office, Swan writes that Trump began "choreographing election night in earnest" during the second week of October following a "toxic" debate with President-elect Joe Biden on Sept. 29 and a bout with COVID-19 that led to his hospitalization. At that point, Trump's internal poll numbers had reportedly taken a tumble, Swan notes.With that in mind, he reportedly called his first White House chief of staff, a stunned Reince Priebus, and "acted out his script, including walking up to a podium and prematurely declaring victory on election night if it looked like he was ahead." Indeed, in the lead up to Election Day, Trump reportedly kept his focus on the so-called "red mirage," the early vote counts that would show many swing states leaning red because mail-in ballots had yet to be counted. Trump, Swan reports, intended to "weaponize it for his vast base of followers," who would go to bed thinking he had secured a second-term, likely planting the seeds of a stolen election. Read more at Axios. > As I've been writing, the plan was to steal the election all along. Fantastic reporting here. https://t.co/k8C73o8vH7> > -- Jonah Goldberg (@JonahDispatch) January 16, 2021More stories from theweek.com 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment Trump's vaccine delay is getting suspicious Statehood for D.C. and Puerto Rico only needs 50 votes
Britain reported its lowest number of daily new coronavirus infections since the start of the year on Saturday, adding to signs that a national lockdown is slowing the spread of a more infectious variant of the disease. However the effect of the recent surge in cases remains clear in the death toll, which was the third-highest on record. Britain has Europe's highest death toll - though more have died in Italy and Belgium on a per capita basis.
- NBC News
Amid frustration and delays of administering current vaccines, Fauci said President-elect Biden's goal of 100 million doses in 100 days is achievable.
- Associated Press
The plane carrying Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny landed Sunday in Moscow, where he faces the threat of arrest. Navalny, who is President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent and determined foe, was returning from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from poisoning by a nerve agent, which he blames on the Kremlin. Russia’s prison service last week issued a warrant for his arrest, saying he had violated the terms of suspended sentence he received on a 2014 conviction for embezzlement.
- The Telegraph
Protesters are expected to descend on statehouses across the United States on Sunday in support of baseless claims that electoral fraud robbed President Donald Trump of a second term, as law enforcement officials girded for possible violence. More than a dozen states have activated National Guard troops to help secure their capitol buildings following an FBI warning of armed protests, with right-wing extremists emboldened by the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6. There were scattered demonstrations on Saturday, but statehouses remained mostly quiet. Security officials have eyed Sunday as the first major flashpoint as that is when the anti-government "boogaloo" movement made plans weeks ago to hold rallies in all 50 states. While many states have erected fences or other barriers to secure their capitols, Texas and Kentucky have taken the further step of closing their capitol grounds to the public. It is just days until Wednesday's Inauguration Day, when Democrat Joe Biden will be sworn in amid extraordinary security efforts in Washington, D.C. The downtown area of the capital was virtually empty on Saturday, with streets near the Capitol closed and battalions of camouflaged National Guard soldiers taking up positions across the city center. Connecticut has activated its National Guard in preparation for as many as 2,000 mostly Trump supporters at its capitol complex in Hartford on Sunday, a state police spokesman said. "We are preparing possibly for anything to happen," said Trooper Pedro Muniz, adding that there had not been any specific threats. "We won't tolerate any acts of violence." The nationwide security scramble followed the attack on the U.S. Capitol in Washington by a mix of extremists and Trump supporters, some of whom called for the death of Vice President Mike Pence as he presided over the certification of Biden's election victory.