By Laila Kearney SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A California city in the pricey San Francisco Bay Area will vote on Tuesday on a bid to raise its minimum wage to $12.30, which if passed would be among the highest municipal "living wage" rates in the United States. The vote by the city council in Richmond, home to 100,000 people east of San Francisco, comes at a time when Democratic politicians across the United States are raising concerns about the growing gap between the poorest and richest Americans. The wage hike, which got a preliminary nod by the city council two weeks ago, would increase wages gradually from $8 to $9 an hour by the end of 2014 and to $9.60 in 2015. The $12.30 wage would be fully phased in by 2017. The higher wage would apply to most workers in the industrial city, although it would exempt businesses with fewer than 10 employees. It would also exempt the city's youth summer employment and Welfare-to-Work programs. Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin said in a statement filed with the city that the wage increase would "help workers and their families avoid poverty and economic hardship and enable them to meet basic needs." Advocates of raising the minimum wage argue that it stimulates the economy since low-income people spend a higher percentage of their income, while opponents contend that it could slow hiring at a time when the U.S. economy is still facing high unemployment. Richmond's move comes as President Barack Obama pushes Congress to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, from $7.25, following enactment of higher minimum wages by nearly half of all states and the District of Columbia. Obama's call has failed to win the backing of the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives. A move by Connecticut last month to raise its minimum wage to $10.10 by 2017, the highest state rate in the nation, has added to momentum on the matter, as did a move by a Seattle suburb to raise its minimum wage for travel and hospitality workers to $15 an hour last year. If the Richmond wage ordinance passes, it would be higher than the minimum wage in nearby San Francisco, where the minimum entry pay is $10.74. The ordinance would require employers to post notices of the wage hikes in their establishments and provide payroll records to the city if investigated for possible wage violations. At last month's Richmond City Council meeting, most attendees voiced support for raising the minimum wage. But several business owners and residents said they were concerned a wage hike would force businesses to move out of Richmond, limit jobs and drive up the cost of goods and services. The Richmond Chamber of Commerce and the local merchants association were not immediately available to comment. (Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Dan Grebler)
- Yahoo News
Early data on the rollout of the vaccines for COVID-19 shows that minority populations in the United States already disproportionately affected by the pandemic are not being immunized at the same rate as white Americans.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Monday that Democrats may try to pass much of President Joe Biden's coronavirus relief bill using a process that would bypass a Republican filibuster and could pass with a majority vote. Biden wants Congress to pass a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief proposal, but many Republicans have balked at the price tag. The Senate is split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, with Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris holding the tie-breaking vote.
- Associated Press
A federal judge on Sunday blocked the release of a Tennessee man who authorities say carried flexible plastic handcuffs during the riot at the U.S. Capitol earlier this month. U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell for the District of Columbia set aside an order by a judge in Tennessee concerning the release of Eric Munchel of Nashville. After testimony at a detention hearing, U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Frensley for the Middle District of Tennessee determined Friday that Munchel wasn’t a flight risk and didn’t pose harm to the public.
- The Telegraph
Israel will ban passenger flights in and out of the country from Monday for a week as it seeks to stop the spread of new coronavirus variants. "Other than rare exceptions, we are closing the sky hermetically to prevent the entry of the virus variants and also to ensure that we progress quickly with our vaccination campaign," said Benjamin Netanuahu, the Israeli prime minister. It came as a study in Israel reported a 60 per cent drop in over-60s being hospitalised with coronavirus three weeks after being vaccinated, in the latest sign that the jabs are effective. According to Maccabi, an Israeli healthcare provider, there was a significant decrease in hospitalisations from day 23 onwards, which was two days after patients received their second jab. Also on Sunday, Israel expanded its rapid vaccination drive to include 16-18 year-olds in an effort to get them back in schools to take their winter examinations. The winter matriculation certificate is a significant part of university and military admissions. At least one dose has been administered to around a quarter of Israel’s 9 million-strong population. The vaccine is generally available to over 40s or, with parental permission, those aged between 16 and 18. Israel struck a deal with Pfizer at the beginning of January that allowed them to expedite delivery of the vaccine, in return for sharing extensive data on their vaccination campaign with the rest of the world. Yuli Edelstein, the Israeli health minister, told The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday that the data from their vaccination programme suggests a first dose offered around 30 per cent protection from coronavirus.
Donald Trump opened an office in Florida on Monday that will handle his duties as a former U.S. president and seek to further his administration's agenda. "The Office will be responsible for managing President Trump's correspondence, public statements, appearances, and official activities to advance the interests of the United States and to carry on the agenda of the Trump Administration through advocacy, organizing, and public activism," a statement said. The announcement came on the same day the House of Representatives delivered to the Senate an impeachment article charging Trump with inciting insurrection in a speech to supporters before the deadly attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6.
- Associated Press
The patter of paws is being heard in the White House again following the arrival of President Joe Biden's dogs Champ and Major. Major burst onto the national scene late last year after Biden, then president-elect, broke his right foot while playing with the dog at their home in Wilmington, Delaware. The Bidens adopted Major in 2018 from the Delaware Humane Association.
- The Telegraph
Nicola Sturgeon's husband should be investigated for possible perjury over sworn evidence he gave to the Alex Salmond inquiry, the interim Scottish Labour leader has said. Peter Murrell, who is also the SNP’s chief executive, is facing questions over the existence of messages to other party officials related to the criminal probe that Mr Salmond faced. When he gave evidence to the Holyrood inquiry under oath last month, Mr Murrell said there were no other messages between himself and party officials about Mr Salmond, other than an exchange in which he spoke about pressure being applied to police to investigate the former party leader.
A U.S. voting machine company filed a $1.3 billion lawsuit against former President Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani, accusing him of defamation in what it called his "big lie" campaign about widespread fraud in the presidential election, court documents on Monday showed. The Denver-based company, Dominion Voting Systems Inc, filed an earlier lawsuit against pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell, whom the company also accused of spreading false conspiracy theories about the election that Trump lost to Democrat Joe Biden. A senior Dominion employee, Eric Coomer, also filed a defamation lawsuit against the Trump campaign, saying he had been driven into hiding because of death threats from Trump supporters.
- Associated Press
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said Israel will be closing its international airport to nearly all flights, while Israeli police clashed with ultra-Orthodox protesters in several major cities and the government raced to bring a raging coronavirus outbreak under control. The entry of highly contagious variants of the virus, coupled with poor enforcement of safety rules in ultra-Orthodox communities, has contributed to one of the world's highest rates of infections. It also has threatened to undercut Israel's highly successful campaign to vaccinate its population against the virus.
- The Telegraph
China ramped up its pressure on democratic Taiwan over the weekend, with an unusually large number of fighter jets approaching the island in a "test" for the new administration of US President Joe Biden. On Sunday, 12 Chinese fighter jets entered Taiwan’s air defence identification zone, along with a reconnaissance aircraft and two anti-submarine aircraft, Taiwan’s defence ministry said. A day earlier, China sent eight bomber planes capable of carrying nuclear weapons and four fighter jets to the same area to the southwest of the island, as well as one reconnaissance aircraft. On both occasions, Taiwan sent up aircraft, issued radio warnings to the Chinese aircraft, and deployed air defence missile systems to monitor their activity. Beijing claims self-governing Taiwan as part of its territory, and has been angered by a show of increased US support for Taiwan during Donald Trump’s administration. In recent months, China has carried out frequent, at times daily, incursions aimed at pressuring President Tsai Ing-wen’s government to accept Beijing’s demand that it recognise Taiwan as part of China. These incursions have usually consisted of just one or two reconnaissance planes in recent weeks, rather than the warplanes seen over the weekend.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal by Sheldon Silver, the once-powerful New York State Assembly Speaker, of his conviction on corruption charges that resulted in a 6-1/2-year prison sentence. Silver, 76, began serving his sentence last August despite being in poor health. Two conservative justices, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas, said they would have taken up Silver's appeal.
- Associated Press
Federal law enforcement officials are examining a number of threats aimed at members of Congress as the second trial of former President Donald Trump nears, including ominous chatter about killing legislators or attacking them outside of the U.S. Capitol, a U.S. official told The Associated Press. The threats, and concerns that armed protesters could return to sack the Capitol anew, have prompted the U.S. Capitol Police and other federal law enforcement to insist thousands of National Guard troops remain in Washington as the Senate moves forward with plans for Trump's trial, the official said.
- The Telegraph
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has announced the establishment of its embassy in Tel Aviv as the US national security advisor announced that America hopes to build “on the success of Israel’s normalisation agreements” under the Biden administration. The UAE cabinet decision to approve establishing the embassy comes after they signed the Abraham Accords in September, becoming the first Gulf state to establish a full diplomatic relationship with Israel. No further details about the embassy were given in UAE media. While Israel’s government recognises Jerusalem as its capital, the international community does not, with Palestinians claiming East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state. Most countries base their embassies in Tel Aviv. Before the deal, Israel only had peace deals with only two Arab countries, Egypt and Jordan - where it has fortified embassies. Most Arab countries had previously refrained from recognising Israel, believing that recognition should only be granted if serious concessions are made in the Palestinian peace process. Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco later agreed to follow in the UAE’s footsteps and normalise ties with Israel under US-brokered deals.
- The Independent
Donald Trump and Kayleigh McEnany were sued last year over lack of translator at Covid events
New U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, during his first phone call with his Japanese counterpart, reaffirmed America's commitment to Tokyo to defending a group of East China Sea islets claimed by both Japan and China, the Pentagon said. Austin, in talks with Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi, confirmed that Article 5 of the U.S.-Japan security treaty, which stipulates U.S. defence obligations to Japan, covers the uninhabited islands, the Pentagon said in a statement.
- Associated Press
The Supreme Court on Monday ordered a further review by a lower court of a lawsuit brought by a Texas death row inmate who objects to a policy that bars a chaplain from accompanying him into the death chamber. The justices ordered Ruben Gutierrez's case sent back to a federal trial-level court for additional proceedings. The justices in June had blocked Gutierrez's execution after Texas changed its policy and barred all spiritual advisers from the death chamber.
- The Week
Rep. Matt Gaetz's (R-Fla.) attacks on Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) have drawn some sharp pushback from her spokesperson.Gaetz has been slamming Cheney over her vote to impeach former President Donald Trump in the House of Representatives, and he's planning a trip to her home state of Wyoming for an event as he demands she step down as House Republican Conference chair. Now, a spokesperson for Cheney is hitting back. "Rep. Gaetz can leave his beauty bag at home," a spokesperson for Cheney told the Washington Examiner on Sunday. "In Wyoming, the men don't wear make-up." Cheney, the third highest-ranking Republican in the House, voted to impeach Trump earlier this month for incitement of insurrection following a deadly attack on the Capitol by his supporters, saying, "The president of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack." Since then, Politico writes she has been "fighting to keep her political career alive."Before his planned Thursday trip to Wyoming, Gaetz said on Twitter over the weekend that he does "not want her job" and is "unequivocally" not "seeking a position in House Leadership" — but he added, "I also know Wyoming can do better." Cheney has defended her vote and her statement condemning Trump, saying, per the Washington Examiner, "All of us have an obligation to the Constitution and an obligation to do what we believe is right, what our oath compels us to do, that is above politics, above partisanship." In response to the statement from Cheney's spokesperson, Punchbowl News' Jake Sherman wrote that while it might be "easy to rag on people like" Gaetz on background, the "risk is someone on the fence is taken aback by this." More stories from theweek.com Josh Hawley knows exactly what he's doing Trump must be prosecuted 5 scathingly funny cartoons about Biden's COVID-19 push
- FOX News Videos
Three Connecticut female student athletes who filed a discrimination complaint over transgender competition argue that the president's new executive order is not fair.
- Business Insider
Barely any time has passed since President Biden's inauguration, and Republicans have already returned to their bag of shenanigans.
Guyana said late on Saturday that a Venezuelan navy vessel detained two vessels that were fishing in Guyana's exclusive economic zone, the latest dispute in a long-running border conflict between the two South American nations. Caracas says much of eastern Guyana is its own territory, a claim that is rejected by Georgetown. The conflict has flared up in recent years as Guyana has started developing oil reserves near the disputed area.