Thousands of farmers across India blocked roads on Saturday with makeshift tents, tractors, trucks and boulders to pressure the government to roll back agricultural reforms that have triggered months-long protests.
- Raleigh News and Observer
The Tigers will be back on the practice field on Wednesday. Here’s what we’re watching for this spring.
- The Telegraph
Former SNP minister demands release of Salmond documents and says Sturgeon must go if they show conspiracy
A former SNP minister has called for secret documents about the Alex Salmond affair to be made public and said Nicola Sturgeon should resign if they prove allegations of a conspiracy. Alex Neil, an MSP who held senior cabinet posts in Edinburgh under both Mr Salmond and Ms Sturgeon, called for transparency from both the Scottish Government and the Crown Office, which have both been criticised for withholding evidence. Mr Salmond has alleged that senior figures in the SNP, including Ms Sturgeon’s husband and her chief of staff, conspired against him by using sexual assault allegations to attempt to ruin his political career and potentially imprison him. Ms Sturgeon has said claims of a conspiracy involving not only the SNP but the prosecution service and other public bodies are ridiculous.
- Reuters Videos
Just over two weeks after being poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent in Siberia,Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny woke up from a drug-induced comaand began responding to the words of his wife Yulia.He had been evacuated here for emergency treatment - Berlin’s Charite hospital - and he was weak.He would later describe it as a period of appalling hallucinations.It was September 2020 – almost five months before his eventual return to Russia.Reuters spoke to more than a dozen people who visited Navalny or communicated with him during his time in Germany.These people gave insights into the funding of his political operations.They also recounted that he never wavered in his single-minded mission: to displace Vladimir Putin.In mid-October 2020, Navalny moved from Berlin at night, by helicopter to the village of Ibach in the Black Forest – set in a high valley.He, his wife and his son lived in an apartment guarded by armed police. That’s according to three people who visited him there.Here Navalny spent about two months to drive himself back to physical fitness with intense workouts.23-year-old Bjoern Leber became his personal trainer."He had a few problems with his co-ordination, well more than a few. At the beginning he had problems getting into the car and that was when I first realized it. So on our first fitness plans I focused in co-ordination and then strength. Because he had been lying for so long he barely had any strength and could only just manage five press ups and they were pretty shaky."The two men spent hours boxing, juggling and running in the apartment. They also used a counter-current swimming pool in the basement spa.When not exercising, Leber said Navalny worked on his MacBook, had physiotherapy, or went sightseeing."I taught him a bit of German and by the end he could count really well, from one to 20. Then I motivated him in German because he asked me to and he taught me a few Russian words. I can't remember much though. I asked him whether he thought going back to Russia was a good idea and at one point he said: If I don't try I will never know.”By early December, Navalny and his team were in Freiburg near the French border.It was here that he secretly began work on a feature length film with Putin as its target.'A Palace for Putin' would allege that Putin is the owner of a sprawling estate on Russia’s Black Sea coast.It was released on YouTube on January 19, two days after Navalny’s arrest, and has been watched at least 113 million times.The team filmed in various locations, including Dresden - outside the apartment Putin lived in in the 80s as a KGB agent.In Berlin - where Navalny visited the archives of the Stasi secret police to see Putin's identity card.And also at the Black Forest Studios – where staff were sworn to secrecy.The Kremlin has dismissed the report.[Russian President, Vladimir Putin] "I have not seen this movie, simply because of the lack of spare time. But I had a look at video-digest my assistant brought me. I want to answer your question straight away: nothing named there in the video as my property belongs to me or my close relatives, and never did. Never. " Some of Navalny’s supporters hoped he would stay out of Russia, at least for a while.Russian authorities dropped unambiguous hints that he would be jailed if he returned.But a German official confirmed to Reuters that Navalny made no request to stay.Navalny used Instagram to announce his planned return to Russia,writing “Russia is my country, Moscow is my city and I miss it.”Upon landing his arrest was swift.A couple of weeks later, a Moscow court jailed Navalny for nearly three years for parole violationsignoring a Western outcry over his treatment and nationwide protests that had attracted tens of thousands in the middle of winter.Some supporters wondered if he should have waited longer before returning.Those who got to know Navalny in Germany, meanwhile, are focused on his personal fate.Personal trainer Leber sent Navalny a text saying, "'Stay strong.'"But he only got one tick, the message wasn’t read.
- LA Times
After Tiger Woods' car crash Tuesday, celebs and sports figures such as Alex Rodriguez, Jada Pinkett Smith, Cher and Magic Johnson tweeted their well wishes.
- Reuters Videos
Hyundai Motor is set to replace the batteries in some 82,000 electric vehicles over risks they could catch fire. Combined with an earlier recall, the problem looks set to cost the automaker about $900 million. The latest move mainly applies to its best-selling EV, the Kona. It was first recalled in October for a software upgrade after a series of fires. But in January one of the upgraded cars then caught fire, prompting South Korean authorities to probe whether the first recall was adequate. The unit of LG Chem which makes the batteries said Hyundai had misapplied its suggestions regarding battery management. It said the batteries themselves were not the fire risk. There have been 15 cases of fires involving the Kona EV. Most were in South Korea, but there were two in Canada and one each in Finland and Austria. Hyundai Motor shares were down close to 4 percent in afternoon trade on Wednesday (February 24).
- ABC News Videos
Dr. Cameron Webb, White House senior policy adviser for COVID-19 equity, discusses the challenges facing the country in the distribution of vaccines.
- Associated Press
Luka Doncic slammed the scorer's table in joy this time, rather than anger. The Dallas sensation hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 0.1 seconds remaining — his second go-ahead 3 in the final minute — and the Mavericks avoided a fourth-quarter collapse in a 110-107 victory over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night. The Celtics trailed by 11 points with three minutes to go before Jaylen Brown put them in front in the final minute with a short jumper.
- Business Insider
Texas Lt. Gov. says that people getting huge energy bills 'gambled on a very, very low rate' - but suggests they won't have to pay the full amount
Texans on variable-rate energy deals were faced with enormous bills as the wholesale price of electricity spiked 10,000% during the storms.
- Business Insider
Vaccine makers are testing the safety and efficacy of third doses in anticipation of new coronavirus variants.
- Business Insider
GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger called out Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene for hanging a sign declaring binary gender across the hall from a lawmaker with a trans daughter
Greene and Rep. Marie Newman were sparring over the Equality Act, which would ban discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.
A Chinese couple paid $155,000 in fees to have 7 children in violation of the country's 2-child policy
China ended its one-child policy in 2015, but it's still struggling with declining birth rates and an aging population.
- The Independent
The anchor was called out “fatphobic” on social media
- Business Insider
An ex-girlfriend tipped off the FBI about an alleged US Capitol rioter after he called her a 'moron'
Richard Michetti was arraigned Tuesday in Philadelphia over his alleged participation in the January 6 insurrection.
Christopher Cantwell, known as 'The Crying Nazi,' sentenced to 41 months in prison on extortion charges
Cantwell went viral after he posted a YouTube video of himself crying and pleading with police not to hurt him.
- The Independent
New York congresswoman hits out at controversial Republican over Equality Act
- Yahoo News
Mitch McConnell: Nancy Pelosi's plan for investigating the Capitol attack is a 'bizarre partisan concept'
Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he’s concerned Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s plan to establish a commission to probe the assault on the U.S. Capitol would be overly “partisan.”
- LA Times
Tiger Woods' catastrophic crash in Los Angeles has cast a spotlight on the low-budget documentary series that featured golf's biggest star.
- The Independent
The Democratic operative criticised the Senator’s daughter for receiving a pay increase as a CEO
Jill Biden assures Kelly Clarkson things will get better after her divorce: 'If I hadn't gotten divorced, I never would have met Joe'
In a new interview on "The Kelly Clarkson Show," first lady Jill Biden offered the singer advice about healing after divorce and finding love again.
- The Guardian
Let’s be clear: whatever he may say, Biden absolutely has the power to unilaterally cancel all federal student debt Students activists at Washington University in St Louis pull a mock ball and chain representing student debt. Photograph: Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images At his recent town hall, Joe Biden made a series of convoluted and condescending comments about American student debt. His remarks cast doubt on his ability, or willingness, to confront this country’s ballooning student loan crisis. Within hours, #cancelstudentdebt was trending on Twitter. Biden’s rambling justification of the status quo was peppered with straw men, invocations of false scarcity and non-solutions. He pitted working-class Americans against each other, implying that people who attend private schools aren’t worthy of relief, as though poor students don’t also attend such schools. He said that money would be better spent on early childhood education instead of debt cancellation, as if educators aren’t themselves drowning in student debt, and as if we can’t address both concerns at once. He suggested relying on parents or selling a home at a profit to settle your debt, a luxury those without intergenerational wealth or property cannot afford. And he touted various programs, including Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), that have totally failed borrowers: over 95% of PSLF applicants have been denied. In contrast to Biden’s smug comments, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley recently revealed that she defaulted on her student loans. Similarly, at a recent Debt Collective event, congressional hopeful Nina Turner said that she and her son owe a combined $100,000. Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams has, of course, proudly confessed to being in debt, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has said that becoming a congressperson was easier than paying off her debt. Philadelphia councilmember Kendra Brooks (who is planning to introduce a city resolution calling on the Biden administration to cancel all student debt) has also spoken out about her own struggles as a borrower. Their experience and candor – and commitment to real solutions including cancellation – demonstrate why we need debtors, not millionaires, in our public offices. Let’s be clear about another thing. Biden absolutely has the legal authority to use executive power to cancel all federal student debt. Congress granted this authority decades ago as part of the Higher Education Act. It’s even been put to the test: in response to the Covid pandemic, Donald Trump and his former education secretary, Betsy DeVos, used that authority three times to suspend payments and student loan interest. As he rambled on, Biden gave the distinct impression that he preferred not to have the power to do so. That way he could blame Congress should his campaign promises go unkept. (The day after the town hall, Biden’s press secretary, Jen Psaki, attempted to clarify her boss’s remarks about whether he will use executive authority to cancel student debt. She stated that the administration was still considering the possibility.) Adding to the confusion, Biden seemed unable to keep his own campaign pledges straight, muddling his student debt cancellation proposals. For the record, he campaigned on two distinct planks. One: “immediate” cancellation of $10,000 for every borrower as a form of Covid relief. Two: the cancellation of all undergraduate student loans for debt-holders who attended public universities and HBCUs and who earn up to $125,000 a year. Keeping these two promises is the absolute minimum the Biden administration needs to do to keep the public’s trust. But the Biden administration should, and can, do much more. Biden should cancel all student debt using executive authority. It is the simplest way the new administration can help tens of millions of people who are being crushed by the double whammy of unpayable loans and an economy-destroying pandemic. Yet, to date, all the Biden administration has done for this country’s 45 million student debtors is extend Trump and DeVos’s federal student loan payment suspension. Continuing a flawed Republican policy is hardly a progressive victory – especially not for the 8 million FFEL borrowers who are unconscionably left out of the moratorium. Biden owes this country debt relief not only because he campaigned on it, but because he helped cause the problem. A former senator from Delaware, the credit card capital of the world, he spent decades carrying water for financial interests and expanding access to student loans while limiting borrower protections. Biden’s brand is empath-in-chief, but on student debt he is alarmingly out of touch Biden’s record shows that he won’t address the problem without being pushed. Indeed, the fact that the president has embraced debt cancellation at all (however inadequate his proposals) is testament to ongoing grassroots efforts. The Debt Collective, a group I organize with, has been pushing for student debt abolition and free public college for nearly a decade. On 21 January, we launched the Biden Jubilee 100 – 100 borrowers on debt strike demanding full cancellation within the administration’s first hundred days. A growing list of senators and congresspeople have signed on to resolutions calling on Biden to cancel $50,000 a borrower using executive authority. (It’s worth noting that the $50,000 figure is based on outdated research. After three years of rapidly rising debt loads, the scholars behind it now recommend $75,000 of cancellation.) A growing chorus of voices from across the country and a range of backgrounds are shouting in unison: cancel student debt. Biden’s brand is empath-in-chief, but on student debt he is alarmingly out of touch. The president has shared that his own children borrowed for college and noted that he was the “poorest man in Congress” – meaning the poorest man in a body of millionaires. He didn’t question the ease with which his well-connected kids got well-compensated jobs enabling them to repay their loans, nor mention that people his age were able to go to college without being burdened by a mountain of debt. All people want today is the same opportunity that Biden and his peers had. Instead of acknowledging this generational disparity, Biden reiterated a common criticism of more generous forms of student debt cancellation – that it would help the privileged, specifically the minuscule subset of debt-holders who attended the Ivy League. But as Ocasio-Cortez tweeted in response: “Very wealthy people already have a student loan forgiveness program. It’s called their parents.” As things stand, poor and working people typically pay more for the same degrees than their affluent counterparts due to years or decades of monthly payments and accumulating interest. Our debt-financed higher education system is a tax on poor people who dare pursue a better life. Imagine if, instead of defending the status quo, Biden used his platform to articulate the social benefits of cancelling student debt. He could have said that cancelling student debt will support 45 million Americans and provide an estimated trillion-dollar economic boost over the next decade and create millions of desperately needed jobs. He could have spoken about canceling student debt as a way to help close the racial wealth gap, acknowledging that Black borrowers are the most burdened, or talked about how education should be free and accessible to all if we want to expand opportunity and deepen democracy. He could have acknowledged that cancellation will help struggling seniors, especially those having their social security checks garnished because of student loan defaults. He could have mentioned that debt cancellation is popular, even among many Republicans, and that eliminating it will help his party stay in power. He didn’t say any of that, and so we have to say it. Debtors have to get organized, connecting online and protesting in the streets. We live in a period of intersecting crises. Some of them are very difficult to solve. But cancelling student debt is easy. By refusing to act, the president and his administration are choosing to perpetuate a system that causes profound, pointless, and preventable harm. Astra Taylor is the author of Democracy May Not Exist, but We’ll Miss It When It’s Gone, and an organizer with the Debt Collective