By William James and Guy Faulconbridge LONDON (Reuters) - London Mayor Boris Johnson threw his weight on Sunday behind the campaign to leave the European Union, dealing a blow to David Cameron by increasing the chance British voters will ditch membership in a June referendum. In a move that electrified the referendum campaign by pitting one of Britain's most charismatic politicians against the prime minister, Johnson said Cameron had failed to deliver fundamental reform with an EU deal struck on Friday. Johnson, a political showman whose buffoonish and eccentric exterior is thought to mask a fierce ambition to succeed Cameron, said he loved European culture, civilization and food but that the European project was in danger of getting out of democratic control. "The last thing I wanted was to go against David Cameron or the government, but after a great deal of heartache I don’t think there’s anything else I can do. I will be advocating Vote Leave," Johnson told reporters outside his north London home 20 minutes after texting the prime minister his decision. "I want a better deal for the people of this country to save them money and to take back control," said Johnson, mayor since 2008 and a member of parliament for Cameron's Conservative Party. Sterling fell in Asia as concern grew that Britain would quit the EU. The pound fell around 1 percent against the dollar, euro and yen. Johnson, 51, said he would not take part in debates against members of his own party. But his decision gives the "out" campaign a de facto leader who is one of Britain's most high-profile politicians. Betting odds of a British exit rose to a 33 percent chance from about 29 percent, according to bookmakers. Johnson dismissed questions from reporters about whether joining the campaign to leave the EU was the first step toward a bid to succeed Cameron. On the contrary, he said with a smile, Cameron should stay no matter who won the June 23 referendum. PARTY DIVIDE By challenging Cameron less than 48 hours after the prime minister hailed a deal struck with other EU leaders as giving Britain a special status, Johnson deepened a divide in the ruling Conservative Party, split over Europe for three decades. Cast as Britain's biggest strategic decision in at least a generation, voters will be asked on June 23: "Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?" A British exit from the EU would rock the Union - already shaken by differences over migration and the future of the euro zone - by ripping away its second-largest economy, one of its top two military powers and by far its richest financial center. Pro-Europeans, including former Prime Ministers Tony Blair and John Major, have warned that an exit could also trigger the break-up of the United Kingdom by prompting another Scottish independence vote. A poll published before Johnson's move showed the "in" campaign with a lead of 15 percentage points. Polls suggest about a fifth of voters are undecided. BIG BATTALIONS Johnson, instantly recognizable by his thatch of platinum-blond hair, had repeatedly avoided staking out a clear position on Britain's EU membership. But on Sunday, he said the EU was "in real danger of getting out of proper democratic control" and national sovereignty had been eroded. "There’s too much judicial activism, there’s too much legislation coming from the EU," said Johnson. Cameron's backing for EU membership has the support of the City of London, major companies, much of the Labour Party, major trade unions, international allies and Scottish nationalists. Opposed are several bickering "out" campaign groups. Cameron's most senior Cabinet colleagues have stuck with him, although one close ally, Justice Secretary Michael Gove, did rebel with five other Cabinet colleagues. "The big battalions of the argument are unquestionably ranged against people like me: We are portrayed as crazy cranks and all the rest of it. I don't mind, I happen to think that I'm right," Johnson said. By throwing his influence behind the out campaign, Boris has shifted the balance of the campaign and thus made a British exit more likely, said some analysts. "Boris Johnson’s decision to campaign for 'out' is a huge boost for the Leave campaign," said Hugo Dixon, a Reuters columnist and author of "The In/Out Question", a book in support of Britain's membership. "He is a popular figure who crosses traditional political lines. The chance of Brexit has risen," said Dixon, who is also editor of the pro-EU InFacts group. A third of voters said Johnson would be important in helping them decide which way to vote, an Ipsos MORI poll showed. Cameron has said he will step down as prime minister before 2020. If Britain remains in the EU, Johnson's chances of getting the top job could be tarnished by having openly opposed him. But if Britain opts to leave, Johnson would be a leading candidate to succeed Cameron. (Editing by Andrew Roche and Peter Cooney)
- Yahoo News
A fifth member of Congress has tested positive for COVID-19 following last week’s lockdown at the Capitol — a surge of cases that had been predicted as a result of the Jan. 6 occupation.
- NBC News
Jennifer Ryan faces charges of disorderly conduct and knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful entry.
Bee Nguyen, Georgia's first Vietnamese American state representative, donned an áo dài to her swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday. Regarded as the most popular national costume of Vietnam, the áo dài for women is a long dress with a contoured top that flows over loose-fitting trousers that reach the sole of the feet. Nguyen, 39, decided to wear the garment in response to the Capitol siege on Jan. 6, in which rioters carried the South Vietnamese flag.
- Associated Press
In the week since a mob laid siege to the U.S. Capitol, the House has impeached President Donald Trump. Twitter and other social media sites have banned Trump and thousands of other accounts. Officer Eugene Goodman isn't saying whether he thinks he saved the Senate, as many of the millions who've viewed the video believe.
- The Week
President Trump's approval rating has fallen to the lowest level of his presidency, with a significant drop among Republicans.In the latest Pew Research Center poll released Friday, Trump received a job approval rating of 29 percent, which is his lowest-ever number in this poll and a decline of nine percentage points from August. Additionally, Pew notes that "much of the decline has come among Republicans and GOP leaners," 60 percent of whom approve of Trump's job performance compared to 77 percent in August.Additionally, Pew found that Trump voters "have grown more critical of their candidate's post-election conduct," as the "share of his supporters who describe his conduct as poor has doubled over the past two months, from 10 percent to 20 percent." The poll also found that only 29 percent of respondents said Trump should remain a major figure in U.S. politics in the years to come, while 68 percent said he shouldn't be.The poll was conducted in the wake of last week's deadly attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob, which led to Trump becoming the first president in American history to be impeached twice. In the poll, three-quarters of respondents said Trump bears either a lot or some responsibility for the riot, while only 24 percent said he isn't responsible at all. Ahead of his upcoming Senate impeachment trial, 54 percent of respondents also said it would be better for Trump to be removed from office than finish his term, a possibility that has been ruled out due to the trial not being expected to begin until President-elect Joe Biden is in office.Pew Research Center conducted its poll by surveying 5,360 U.S. adults from Jan. 8-12. The margin of error is 1.9 percentage points. Read more at Pew Research Center.More stories from theweek.com Trump's vaccine delay is getting suspicious The worst-case scenario for America's immediate future Statehood for D.C. and Puerto Rico only needs 50 votes
European governments said the credibility of their COVID-19 vaccination programmes was at risk on Friday after U.S. pharmaceutical firm Pfizer announced a temporary slowdown of deliveries of its vaccines. Shots developed by Pfizer with its German partner BioNTech began being delivered in the European Union at the end of December, but around nine of the 27 EU governments complained of "insufficient" doses at a meeting this week, a participant said. Pfizer initially said deliveries were proceeding on schedule, but then on Friday announced there would be a temporary impact on shipments in late January to early February caused by changes to manufacturing processes to boost output.
The National Rifle Association said Friday it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will seek to reincorporate in Texas, calling New York, where it is currently registered, a "toxic political environment." The big picture: The move comes just months after New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit to dissolve the NRA, alleging the group committed fraud by diverting roughly $64 million in charitable donations over three years to support reckless spending by its executives.Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America. * The NRA then sued James in federal court, accusing her of violating its right to free speech. * Karl Racine, attorney general for Washington, D.C., filed a separate lawsuit in August against the gun lobby and its foundation "for misusing charitable funds to support wasteful spending by the NRA and its executives."What they're saying: "Today, the NRA announced a restructuring plan that positions us for the long-term and ensures our continued success as the nation’s leading advocate for constitutional freedom – free from the toxic political environment of New York," the NRA's Wayne LaPierre said in letter to members and supporters Friday. * "The plan can be summed up quite simply: We are DUMPING New York, and we are pursuing plans to reincorporate the NRA in Texas," LaPierre added. * "Under the plan, the NRA will continue what we’ve always done – confronting anti-gun, anti-self-defense and anti-hunting activities and promoting constitutional advocacy that helps law-abiding Americans." * "Our work will continue as it always has. No major changes are expected to the NRA’s operations or workforce. " LaPierre also claimed Friday that the NRA is "as financially strong as we have been in years," despite the organization laying off or furloughing dozens of employees, canceling its national convention and cutting salaries last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, per AP. * A spokesperson for the NRA said in May that like "every other business and nonprofit, we are forced to make tough choices in this new economic environment," per AP. * In its bankruptcy petition filed in Texas, the NRA listed assets and liabilities of as much as $500 million each, Bloomberg reported. Go deeper: The NRA's dwindling political influenceEditor's note: This story has been updated with additional details. Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
Bottoms is set to be vice chair in charge of the campaign organization’s civic engagement and voter protection. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has been nominated by President-elect Joe Biden as a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee. In the role, Bottoms would be in charge of civic engagement and voter protection.
- Associated Press
A Florida waitress who noticed bruises on an 11-year-old boy flashed him a handwritten note asking him if he needed help, and when he nodded yes, she called the police, authorities said. Orlando police credited Flaviane Carvalho, a waitress at Mrs. Potato Restaurant, with coming to the boy's aid on New Year's Eve when the child’s parents weren’t looking. Police took the boy to a hospital where doctors found bruises on his face, earlobes and arms.
- The Week
A reserve of second-dose COVID-19 vaccines set to be repurposed as first doses is already empty, state and federal officials briefed on distribution plans tell The Washington Post.Both the coronavirus vaccines currently authorized in the U.S. require two doses to be fully effective. So when distribution of first doses began, the Trump administration held back matching second doses to make sure recipients would be fully protected against COVID-19. Amid a massive demand for more doses, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced earlier this week that the department would begin doling out those reserved doses to more people, saying increased production speed would make up for the soon-to-be-depleted reserve.But as officials soon learned, the federal government had stopped stockpiling second dose vaccines weeks ago, they tell the Post. Both first and second doses were instead taken right off the manufacturing line. That meant Azar's announcement reportedly released a stockpile that didn't exist. The U.S. had already reached its maximum distribution capacity, and new doses distributors were expecting next week weren't coming, the Post reports.HHS spokesperson Michael Pratt confirmed in an email to the Post that the last of the reserve had been taken out for shipment this weekend. He didn't acknowledge Azar's comments, but said Operation Warp Speed had "always intended to transition from holding second doses in reserve as manufacturing stabilizes and we gained confidence in the ability for a consistent flow of vaccines." he also said states had only ordered 75 percent of the vaccines available to them. Read more at The Washington Post.More stories from theweek.com Trump's vaccine delay is getting suspicious The worst-case scenario for America's immediate future Statehood for D.C. and Puerto Rico only needs 50 votes
- The Telegraph
Brad Vercosa has passed Jimmy’s Sport Shop in Mineola, Long Island countless times, but last Thursday he approached the counter, still in his slippers, to buy his first gun. The construction company owner is one of nearly five million Americans who have purchased their first firearm over the past 12 months, driving what analysts are calling the greatest gun-buying spree in the country’s history. The seeds were sown with the onset of the pandemic last spring, and grew in response to Black Lives Matter demonstrations and pro-Trump rallies over the summer. But for many of Jimmy Gong’s customers in Mineola – a suburban village 20 miles east of the skyscrapers of Manhattan – the storming of the Capitol by pro-Trump demonstrators on January 6 was the inflection point. The following day is one of the busiest Gong, 46, can remember, even accounting for a 150 per cent rise in demand. And he expects business to keep booming. After Donald Trump’s impeachment on Wednesday, the FBI warned of possible armed protests and “domestic terrorism”, amid reports of armed far-Right groups planning to gather at all 50 state capitals and in Washington DC in the run-up to Joe Biden being sworn in as president.
- The Independent
In his remaining days as Senate leader, Democrats pressure lawmakers to reach swift vote
- Architectural Digest
When it came to the lighting in his home, Pardo drew inspiration from the insides of fruits, nuts, and seeds, as well as sea creatures and machine parts.Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- Yahoo News Video
A racing pigeon has survived an extraordinary 13,000-kilometer (8,000-mile) Pacific Ocean crossing from the United States to find a new home in Australia. Now authorities consider the bird a quarantine risk and plan to kill it.
- Associated Press
A 16-year-old boy has admitted fatally shooting his newborn daughter and leaving her body inside a fallen tree in the woods in southern Wisconsin, according to prosecutors. Logan Kruckenburg-Anderson, of Albany, is charged as an adult with first-degree intentional homicide and hiding a corpse. According to a criminal complaint, the teen took the infant shortly after she was born Jan. 5 to a wooded area in Albany, about 80 miles (129 kilometers) southwest of Milwaukee, placed her inside a fallen tree and shot her twice in the head.
The United States stands by Taiwan and always will, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft said following a call with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, who told her the island would continue to seek access to U.N. meetings. Craft had planned to visit Taipei this week, in the teeth of strong objections from China which views the island as its own territory.
- The Week
Less than a week before the inauguration, Vice President Mike Pence has reportedly called Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to offer his congratulations.Pence and Harris spoke over the phone Thursday, with Pence congratulating the incoming vice president and offering "his belated assistance," The New York Times reported on Friday and The Associated Press confirmed.This is the first time Pence and Harris have spoken since their debate in October, and the call was "described as gracious and pleasant," the Times writes. President Trump has yet to speak with President-elect Joe Biden since the election, having spent more than two months falsely claiming to have won.Pence may invite Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, to the vice-presidential residence prior to next week's inauguration, according to the Times, though this is reportedly not set in stone due to scheduling issues created by the ongoing security concerns following last week's Capitol riot.Trump is reportedly expected to leave Washington, D.C. the morning of the inauguration. The president previously confirmed he will skip Biden's swearing-in, but Pence is expected to attend.More stories from theweek.com Trump's vaccine delay is getting suspicious The worst-case scenario for America's immediate future Statehood for D.C. and Puerto Rico only needs 50 votes
- The Independent
Nikki Haley launches push to support conservative candidates ahead of rumoured 2024 presidential bid
Former South Carolina governor is tipped to be run for president at next election
- Associated Press
With a chainsaw in his car, Ahmed Abdelal tours the Gaza Strip, asking around for people wanting to cut down trees, regrow orchards or make way for construction. One of the few remaining woodcutters in the Palestinian territory, Abdelal, who learned woodcutting from his father, is struggling to scratch out a living in a traditional job that is less and less in demand. Job opportunities are rare in this Palestinian enclave wedged between Israel, Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea, and so are green spaces.
- The Telegraph
Wearing a giant furry hat, black leather jacket and a beaming smile, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un introduced “the world’s strongest weapon” – a new submarine-launched ballistic missile – at a nighttime parade on Thursday in Pyongyang. The display of North Korea’s military might followed a rare congress of the ruling Workers' Party, during which leader Kim denounced the United States as his country's “foremost principal enemy” and vowed to strengthen the North’s nuclear war deterrent. On Friday, the reclusive regime’s state media released 100 photos of a mass celebration of the national armory, including tanks and rocket launchers, all flanked by rows of marching soldiers, noticeably not wearing masks. Military aircraft were illuminated by LED lights as they flew overhead in formation. “They’d like us to notice that they’re getting more proficient with larger solid rocket boosters,” tweeted Ankit Panda, a North Korea expert and author of ‘Kim Jong Un and the Bomb’, as the parade unfolded in Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung square. As the spectacle reached its climax, the military rolled out what analysts said appeared to be new variants of solid-fuel short-range ballistic missiles – which are more quickly deployed than liquid-fuelled versions - and four Pukguksong-class submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs).