There was a large emergency response at a Bloomingdale hotel early Saturday after a shooting occurred there, a village official said.
- Associated Press
Veteran linebacker Kyle Van Noy is moving on after one season with the Miami Dolphins, and he's not happy about it. The Dolphins told Van Noy he will be released, two people familiar with the discussion confirmed to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Tuesday because the Dolphins had not commented. In a statement, Van Noy said he was disappointed and surprised.
Using Zoom to connect online for meetings or virtual catch-ups during the pandemic has gone next level in a California court. The phenomenon of utilizing Zoom to connect online for business meetings or family catch-ups amid the coronavirus pandemic has gone next level in California: A Sacramento plastic surgeon showed up for his virtual traffic court hearing from the operating room — while apparently operating. Dr. Scott Green was scheduled to appear in front of Sacramento Superior Court Commissioner Gary Link on Thursday, and he arrived on time, albeit from the operating room, donning surgical scrubs.
U.S. Supreme Court justices on Tuesday appeared inclined to uphold two Republican-backed voting restrictions in Arizona in a case that could further hobble the Voting Rights Act, a landmark 1965 federal law that prohibits racial discrimination in voting. During nearly two hours of oral arguments by teleconference the court's conservative justices, who hold a 6-3 majority, asked questions indicating they could issue a ruling that would make it harder to prove violations of the Voting Right Act. The important voting rights case was heard at a time when Republicans in numerous states are pursuing new restrictions after former President Donald Trump made false claims of widespread fraud in the Nov. 3 election he lost to Democratic President Joe Biden.
- Associated Press
When Eddie Murphy made the original “Coming to America,” he was, almost indisputably, the funniest man in America. Murphy was at the very height of his fame, coming off “Beverly Hills Cop II” and the stand-up special “Raw.” Arsenio Hall, Murphy’s longtime friend and co-star in “Coming to America,” remembers them sneaking out during the shoot to a Hollywood nightclub while still dressed as Prince Akeem and his loyal aide Semmi.
Boeing and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) announced Tuesday local time that they've completed the first test flight of a pilotless fighter-like jet devised to operate alongside crewed aircraft.Why it matters: The "Loyal Wingman" combat drone is serving as the foundation for the Boeing Airpower Teaming System being developed for the company's global defense customers. It has the potential to "revolutionize the RAAF's air combat tactics playbook," per The Drive.Get market news worthy of your time with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free.#LoyalWingman has flown into the history books! Together with @AusAirForce, we’ve completed the first test flight for this smart, human-machine team aircraft. pic.twitter.com/oV5qz6AJIu— The Boeing Company (@Boeing) March 2, 2021 The big picture: A Boeing test pilot was monitoring from a ground control station in South Australia's outback during the autonomous plane's flight, according to a joint statement from Boeing and the RAAF.The Australian government has invested US$31 million in the product, which Boeing said previously has drawn interest from countries including the U.S., Reuters notes. It's the first military plane designed and made in Australia in over 50 years.What they're saying: Air Vice-Marshal Cath Roberts, RAAF Head of Air Force Capability, said in a statement, "The Loyal Wingman project is a pathfinder for the integration of autonomous systems and artificial intelligence to create smart human-machine teams."Flashback: Boeing's pilotless vehicle flies for first timeLike this article? Get more from Axios and subscribe to Axios Markets for free.
- Associated Press
Sri Lankan Roman Catholic Church officials declared a “Black Sunday” this weekend to demand justice for the victims of 2019 Easter Sunday bomb attacks that killed more than 260 people. Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith said Tuesday that the church has been given part of a presidential commission's report into the coordinated suicide bomb attacks on April 21, 2019, but many questions remain about its findings. A power struggle between the then president and prime minister which led to a communications breakdown and a resulting lapse in security coordination is said to have enabled the attacks, which occurred despite prior foreign intelligence warnings.
An eagle-eyed 'Harry Potter' fan noticed leads being replaced by random actors in a 'Prisoner of Azkaban' scene
A viral TikTok pointed out an error with characters like Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley during a scene in the third movie.
- The Telegraph
David Cameron has accused Theresa May of making a “very bad mistake” by combining the role of National Security Adviser and Cabinet Secretary during her tenure. The former prime minister heaped criticism on his successor, saying her decision in 2018 to hand both roles to one person, Sir Mark Sedwill, “temporarily weakened” Whitehall’s national security infrastructure. “They are two jobs,” Mr Cameron said on Monday. “Even if you were a cross of Einstein, Wittgenstein & Mother Teresa, you couldn’t possibly do both jobs.” The Cabinet Secretary is the most senior civil servant on Whitehall and is the senior policy adviser to the Prime Minister. The NSA is the central co-ordinator and adviser to the prime minister and cabinet on security, intelligence, defence, and some foreign policy matters. The roles were split up again by Boris Johnson after he took office. Addressing MPs and peers who sit on the Joint Committee on the National Strategic Security, Mr Cameron conceded it was a “mistake” that the Government’s future pandemic planning had focused on flu rather than respiratory diseases in the years leading up to the Covid-19 outbreak. “I think there was a pretty good flu pandemic plan but it was a flu plan rather than a respiratory diseases plan,” he said. He also admitted that more lessons should have been learned from the SARS epidemic in 2004. He questioned what had happened to a unit that he said was set up during his administration in the Cabinet Office to concentrate on “global virus surveillance”. Mr Johnson is now pushing for an international version of such a unit. He has called on global leaders to join a “global pandemic early warning system to predict a coming health crisis”, part of his five-point plan for curbing future pandemics. It would require “a vast expansion of our ability to collect and analyse samples and distribute the findings, using health data-sharing agreements covering every country”, the Prime Minister has said. Mr Cameron ruled out returning to the political arena when asked on Monday whether he would consider a comeback. “No,” he said. “Thinking about Donald Trump making a comeback is enough to keep us all spinning over.” He added that he was “happy doing what I’m doing for Alzheimer’s and dementia” and highlighted a fragile states council he has set up with former Liberian and Rwandan ministers. Asked whether he missed being prime minister, he quipped that he did not miss Wednesdays at noon, the time at which he faced his weekly Commons showdown with the Leader of the Opposition during Prime Minister’s Questions. Mr Cameron seized the opportunity to restate his criticism of Mr Johnson for axing the Department for International Development (DfID), branding it another “mistake”. “Having the Foreign Office voice around the (National Security Council) table and the DfID voice around the table I think is important,” Mr Cameron said. He added: “Can you really expect the foreign secretary to do all of the diplomatic stuff and be able to speak to the development brief as well? That's quite a task, so I think it is good to have both.”
- The Telegraph
European Commission raises hopes of coronavirus vaccine passports to ease travel for work and tourism
European Union plans for a coronavirus vaccine passport could be opened up to British tourists and other non-EU holidaymakers, Brussels said on Monday. Ursula von der Leyen said the EU-wide “Digital Green Pass” would be proposed this month and that it could be a first step towards a virus passport for travel from outside the bloc. "The Digital Green Pass should facilitate Europeans‘ lives. The aim is to gradually enable them to move safely in the EU or abroad - for work or tourism,” the European Commission president said. The chief spokesman for the European Commission said the process would be done "step by step". “We work on a European solution now, this is where we start and then anything else would need to come after,” he said. "We’re of the view that in collaboration with the World Health Organisation there should be a way to scale this up globally." The UK said it was looking into the idea. “The Department for Transport will work and speak to countries across the world in terms of how they may look to introduce passports," the Prime Minister’s spokesman said in London. The Green Pass will include information such as whether the carrier has ever had coronavirus, been tested or vaccinated and is aimed at “facilitating safe free movement in the European Union.” The legislation will be put forward on March 17. Spanish Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto said that work should be speeded up to save the summer season and enable safe travel from the UK. “It is important to have the tools ready to start mobility and make Europe a safe travel destination again as soon as the virus incidence data allows for this,” Ms Maroto said at a meeting of EU tourism ministers in Lisbon.
- Business Insider
Rep. Adam Kinzinger tore into Sen. Josh Hawley for his 'smug' CPAC speech, saying 5 people died because of 'what you did'
"Like, there are five people dead, two that took their own life on top of that, as a result of what you did," Kinzinger said of Hawley.
- The Independent
The Trump administration allegedly spent $10bn in hospital relief funds on Operation Warp Speed
- The Week
With a vote of 97-72, the Georgia state House on Monday passed a bill supported by Republicans that would roll back voting access. House Bill 531 requires a photo ID for absentee voting, limits weekend early voting days, restricts ballot drop box locations, and sets an earlier deadline to request an absentee ballot. The measure now heads to the state Senate for more debate. State Rep. Barry Fleming (R), the bill's chief sponsor, said it is "designed to begin to bring back the confidence of our voters back into our election system." Democrats and civil rights organizations disagree, arguing that it would make it much harder for people to vote, especially voters of color. State Rep. Renitta Shannon (D) said it is "pathetically obvious" that the bill is in response to Georgia voters turning out in record numbers for November's presidential election, making the state blue for the first time in decades. Voters also showed up in January for the Senate runoffs, when Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock defeated the Republican incumbents, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler. This gave Republicans the message "that they were in a political death spiral," Shannon said. "And now they are doing anything they can to silence the voices of Black and brown voters specifically, because they largely powered these wins." Demonstrators marched outside the Capitol on Monday to protest the bill, which the Rev. James Woodall, president of the Georgia NAACP, called one of the "most egregious, dangerous, and most expensive voter suppression acts in this entire nation, rolling back years of hardball progress and renewing our own reputation for discrimination." More stories from theweek.comWill COVID-19 wind up saving lives?Harry Potter game will reportedly allow transgender characters after J.K. Rowling uproarDemocrats need to choose: The filibuster or democracy
- Associated Press
The Philippine president has dismissed his former ambassador to Brazil after she was seen on video physically abusing a Filipino member of her household staff. President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday night he had approved a recommendation to fire Marichu Mauro, revoke her retirement benefits and disqualify her from public office for life. The Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila said at the time that the unidentified victim had returned to Philippines and that it was trying to reach her amid an investigation.
- Associated Press
More than 75 former U.S. attorneys are throwing their support behind President Joe Biden’s nominee for associate attorney general and urging congressional leaders to quickly confirm her to the post. Vanita Gupta has been nominated for the No. 3 position in the Justice Department, a position in which she would be responsible for overseeing the department’s civil, antitrust and civil rights litigation, but also for helping to implement policy decisions on a host of nationwide issues. The Senate has scheduled the confirmation hearing for Gupta and Lisa Monaco, Biden’s nominee for deputy attorney general, for March 9.
- Business Insider
The White House says it never wants an assassination like Khashoggi's again, but won't punish MBS for ordering the killing
Biden's White House has essentially leaned on the importance of the diplomatic relationship with Saudi Arabia in defense of its actions.
The comic legends told Jimmy Kimmel that Louie Anderson was cast in the classic 1980s comedy because he was one of three names given to them.
A reimagining of the classic movie is in the works starring Halle Bailey, Melissa McCarthy, and Awkwafina. Here are the characters they're portraying.
- The Telegraph
Some business and personal taxes “have to go up”, Lord Hague, the former Conservative leader and close ally of Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, has warned. In a new article for The Telegraph, Lord Hague writes that people who oppose some form of tax rises in the current climate are buying into “dangerous illusions”. The intervention the day before Mr Sunak stands up to deliver his Budget will raise eyebrows, given the fierce debate about tax rises in the party and the pair’s close relationship. Mr Sunak took over Lord Hague’s seat of Richmond, Yorks, when the latter stepped down as a Tory MP in 2015. Both men will appear at the Budget event together on Friday. “It pains me to say, after spending much of my life arguing for lower taxes, that we have reached the point where at least some business and personal taxes have to go up,” Lord Hague writes. He adds: "Conservatives need to remember that for 200 years, from Pitt in 1797 to Thatcher and Cameron in our own day, keeping the country creditworthy has stood them in very good stead." The Chancellor has been mulling over a string of tax rises or raids for his Budget but has faced warnings from prominent Conservative backbenchers and even David Cameron. Such public support from a prominent Tory grandee as Lord Hague will only further speculation Mr Sunak is preparing to defy calls not to raise taxes, or at least indicate rises are coming soon. The Telegraph can reveal Mr Sunak will announce a £300 million funding boost to save summer sports such as cricket and tennis from the Covid-triggered cash squeeze. Tens of millions of pounds are expected to go to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), allowing it to protect grassroots cricket and ease the return of fans into grounds. Lord Ian Botham, the former England cricket captain, told The Telegraph: “Everyone in the cricketing world will be delighted. It’s been a tough time for the sport.” Mr Sunak is also preparing to spend £408 million to help museums, theatres and galleries in England to reopen once coronavirus restrictions start to ease, it was reported on Monday night. The Chancellor will also announce a new scheme to help 130,000 small businesses expand by funding improvements in their digital operations and offering MBA-like business training. One part of the scheme, dubbed “Help to Grow”, will offer vouchers of up to £5,000 for businesses to buy new software to improve their online operations. Another will see 30,000 small company leaders offered training at some of the UK’s finest business schools and mentoring so they can improve their plans for growth. A Treasury source said the £520 million scheme is one of the “big bets” in the Budget and was inspired by Mr Sunak’s own experience of taking an MBA course at Stanford University in America. Boris Johnson said on Monday that he believed a "strong, jobs-led recovery" was coming, adding: “I think [it] could be much stronger than many of the pessimists have been saying over the last six months or so." Mr Sunak, in a video shared on Twitter, also offered notes of optimism amid frank warnings about the state of the economy, saying: “We have to believe there is light at the end of the tunnel now.”
- The Daily Beast
Sergei Ilnitsky/APHe’s sent Wagner mercenaries to Ukraine, Syria, and Libya; faced U.S. indictments for assigning his “troll farm” to interfere in the 2016 presidential election; and even dispatched white supremacists and neo-Nazis to sow anti-Western sentiment in African nations. Now Yevgeny Prigozhin, the catering magnate commonly referred to as “Putin’s chef,” has trained his attention a little closer to Russia’s doorstep: Europe and the Baltic States.A joint investigation by The Daily Beast, the Dossier Center, German broadcaster ARD, Delfi.ee in Estonia, and Siena.lt in Lithuania reveals that operatives closely associated with the Russian oligarch’s previously exposed influence operations organized a two-day conference in Berlin from Jan. 14-15 pegged to economic and environmental issues affecting Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Germany.The Baltic Sea Region Strategic Dialogue was the first of what is meant to be a series of so-called “foresight sessions” to “create a new vision of the post-pandemic future” for the aforementioned countries, with an ostensible focus on COVID-19, Brexit, environmental sustainability, e-governance, and digital technology. Participants included Rihards Kols, the head of the Foreign Relations Committee of Latvia’s parliament, as well as several members of the German Bundestag including Stefan Keuter, a member of the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party.The event was organized by two organizations, both of them closely connected to the Association for Free Research and International Cooperation, or AFRIC.As The Daily Beast reported, AFRIC is run by Prigozhin’s St. Petersburg-based organization. According to internal documents obtained by the Dossier Center, AFRIC was conceived as a “network of agents of influence” meant to provide “expert evaluations and opinions beneficial to Russia” in Africa. Founded in 2018, AFRIC sent “election observers”—many of them well-known white supremacists and neo-Nazis from Europe—to try to sway democratic races in Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Africa, in races in which other arms of Prigozhin’s vast empire often supported one or more of the candidates.Russia Is Using Undercover Racists to Exploit Africa’s Anti-Racist Political RevoltLast week, the FBI announced that Prigozhin had been added to its Most Wanted list for his alleged “conspiracy to defraud the United States by impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful functions of the Federal Election Commission, the United States Department of Justice, and the United States Department of State” from 2014 to 2018. A $250,000 award was posted for any information leading to his arrest.As with most of Prigozhin’s foreign influence operations, this one consists of a series of nesting doll structures registered outside of Russian Federation territory and helmed, at least on paper, by non-Russians. The same cast of characters recurs, both at the hierarchical level of these operations and among the Western political figures they aim to cultivate.For instance, one of the organizers of the conference was ADMIS Consultancy, a company founded and operated by Vaiva Adomaityte, a Lithuanian national who is also a member of AFRIC’s administration. An occupational psychologist and self-described “global change expert,” Adomaityte has participated in at least one of AFRIC’s three conferences in Berlin, co-authored its “Africa Vision” report, and has been an AFRIC representative at the Russia-Africa summit in Sochi in 2019. She is also a confidante and associate of Yulia Afanasyeva, the Prigozhin operative who established AFRIC in 2018 out of the oligarch’s “back office” in St. Petersburg, as leaked documents obtained by the Dossier Center demonstrate.Adomaityte previously edited a questionnaire written by Afanasyeva for AFRIC’s similarly named “foresight session” in Berlin in 2019. She also wrote to the Hilton Hotel complaining about substandard accommodations and to settle AFRIC’s billing dispute with the management. Adomaityte even updated her résumé to account for her work on behalf of AFRIC. In one awkwardly worded letter dated March 3, 2020, she wrote to Afanasyeva in English, “Shall I start calling you my God Mother I wonder... sounds much ore badass then God Father.”AFRIC-related events, in fact, appear to be the only ones with which Adomaityte’s ADMIS Consultancy has ever worked. Afanasyeva even hired and paid for a Russian social media expert to work on ADMIS Consultancy’s social media pages, as per the correspondence obtained by the Dossier Center. The Baltic Sea event in January took place in the same Hilton Hotel in Berlin as previous AFRIC conferences. One of the earlier events was presided over by Aleksandr Malkevich, a top Prigozhin operative who was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2018 for running a subsidiary company working on behalf of the oligarch’s Project Lakhta, a global political and election interference operation. Malkevich, according to the Treasury Department, ran a company called USA Really, which “engaged in efforts to post content focused on divisive political issues but is generally ridden with inaccuracies. In June 2018, USA Really attempted to hold a political rally in the United States, though its efforts were unsuccessful.”Still another co-organizer of the Baltic Sea conference was the Federal Association for Economic Development and Foreign Trade in Germany, better known by its acronym BWA. BWA and ADMIS consultancy co-hosted AFRIC’s last event in Berlin, an online conference on global consequences of COVID-19 in June 2020.BWA is headed by Michael Schumann, a German business consultant specializing in China. Under Schumann’s leadership, BWA has developed partnerships with a series of Russian outfits in Germany including the Association of Russian Businesses and the Dialogue of Civilizations think tank, which was founded in 2016 by Vladimir Yakunin, a former KGB officer and close confidant of Vladimir Putin. Yakunin was the vice president of Russia’s state rail monopoly until 2015, a year after he was sanctioned by the United States for his alleged involvement in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. So far he has evaded EU sanctions.Two other BWA members, Volker Tschapke and Urs Unkauf, acted as AFRIC election observers in Madagascar, DRC, Zimbabwe and South Africa in the past few years. Tschapke and Unkauf were also present at AFRIC’s second and third conferences in Berlin, in July 2019 and January 2020, respectively. Yulia Afanasyeva, Prigozhin’s St. Petersburg-based operative, is also a member of BWA. Misha Japaridze/AP Afanasyeva did not respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment on this story.Adomaityte said in a Zoom interview that she had no information about Afanasyeva’s involvement in the Baltic Sea conference and that she “felt uncomfortable” talking about AFRIC. She claimed that she was directly hired by BWA in Germany. “We did [earlier] work together with BWA with the AFRIC institution,” she said. “So that was the direct link. However, I was directly requested by the BWA to conduct the research study for the Baltic Sea region.”This account, however, is contradicted by documents obtained by the Dossier Center indicating that not only was Afanasyeva actively involved in organizing the Baltic Sea event, which she attended virtually, but she was in constant communication with Adomaityte about it. Afanasyeva was included in a back-and-forth exchange setting up the venue in the Berlin Hilton; Adomaityte further kept the Russian abreast of how everything had gone.“When we look at the backgrounds [of the people involved], the connection to Prigozhin is clearly visible,” said Indrek Kannik, the former head of analysis of Estonia’s Foreign Intelligence and now the director of the International Centre for Defence and Security in Tallinn. He said the Baltic intelligence services likely follow such influence operations closely.According to a person with direct knowledge of how the Baltic Sea conference was organized, Afanasyeva gave a direct order not to touch on matters of international security and instead focus on economics and ecology. That, too, Kannik said, is textbook tradecraft for the early stages of any successful influence operation.“It is noteworthy that they started with politically uncontroversial topics such as the green deal,” Kannik told The Daily Beast. “They start ‘soft’ and only when they gain some public trustworthiness and a moderately positive image, they take on more relevant topics for the Kremlin such as security, criticism of the Baltic states, Russia’s talking points about dialogue between Europe and Russia, not to mention everything else to do with Crimea and Ukraine.”Another classic tradecraft technique employed by the conferences was employing unwitting foreigners to make the events appear legitimate, in this case by producing ancillary literature. A “strategy recommendation” report, released subsequent to the Berlin conference and branded as an ADMIS Consultancy product, was written by unsuspecting freelancers hired over the internet, The Daily Beast has confirmed. In September, U.S. news outlets reported that Prigozhin’s Internet Research Agency, or “troll farm,” had set up two fake news websites—one catering to the far right, the other to the far left—which hired unwitting American writers to contribute. Even the avatars of the putative editors of these sites were bogus, their faces generated with AI software. The goal was clearly to launder disinformation and propaganda through native participants, whose worldviews intersect with Kremlin interests.The danger with bricks-and-mortar operations like the conferences is that they’re liable to snare respectable and credible participants who are fixtures at similarly themed events. And the participants don’t necessarily have to be influenced or persuaded by Russia propaganda; their mere presence is itself an operational success. Having, say, a government minister from an EU or NATO country photographed alongside a Prigozhin operative is a great way to signal back to Moscow that these exercises pay off.In October 2014, months after Russia’s invasion and occupation of Crimea, the psychological warfare of the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency, orchestrated an entire security conference in Athens using cut-outs and front groups including a local Greek think tank and a Russian institute purportedly devoted to Russian diaspora issues. According to Estonia’s foreign intelligence service, an officer from GRU Unit 54777 even participated in a panel discussion next to Panos Kammenos, a Moscow-friendly Greek politician who subsequently became Greece’s defense minister.One of the people invited to give a presentation at the Baltic Sea event was Mihkel Krusberg, an Estonian official from the Ministry of Environment. He received a personal invitation from Adomaityte a little over two weeks ahead of the conference. Because Krusberg is frequently asked to attend such forums and the other publicly named guests appeared legitimate, Krusberg told The Daily Beast he didn’t see any red flags in the offer. “Had I known about the background of the organizers, I would have politely turned down their invitation,” he said.The Baltic Sea Region Strategic Dialogue was not envisaged as a one-off affair. The same group of organizers is already planning a follow-up conference to focus on the relationship between the Baltic and Nordic countries. According to Adomaityte, it’s scheduled to take place online in late March. “However we are really hoping to have a physical conference in the summer,” she said.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
From fun fashion moments to pets and "Schitt's Creek" references, here are interesting things you might not have seen during the award show.