Dr. Mark Ghaly has the latest on the state’s infection rates, the vaccine rollout and more.
- Reuters Videos
Angel, also known as Kyal Sin, was killed when she was shot in the head while protesting on the streets of Mandalay. The phrase on the T-shirt that she was wearing on the day she was killed, "Everything will be OK," went viral on social media as users posted it in defiance of security forces who killed 38 people, according to the United Nations.During her open-casket funeral, mourners sang revolutionary songs and chanted anti-coup slogans.Police and soldiers opened fire with live rounds on Wednesday (March 3) with little warning, witnesses said, a day after neighbouring countries had called on the junta to show restraint.
- Associated Press
SpaceX’s futuristic Starship looked like it aced a touchdown Wednesday, but then exploded on the landing pad with so much force that it was hurled into the air. The failure occurred just minutes after SpaceX declared success. The full-scale prototype of Elon Musk's envisioned Mars ship soared more than 6 miles (10 kilometers) after lifting off from the southern tip of Texas on Wednesday.
- USA TODAY
The back-and-forth between Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell underscores GOP turmoil as they look to regain control of Congress and the White House.
Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya expects mass protests against veteran President Alexander Lukashenko to start up again in the spring and to be more organised than last year. Speaking to Reuters on a visit to Finland, Tsikhanouskaya said a majority of Belarusians still thought Lukashenko should step down and they had spent the winter getting organised. "The chair under Lukashenko is shaking," she said.
- The Week
Former Vice President Mike Pence broke his silence Wednesday with an op-ed in The Daily Signal, criticizing congressional Democrats for their voter reform push and giving new life to former President Donald Trump's baseless claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. Despite being a central target of the mob that breached the Capitol on Jan. 6 because of his refusal to answer Trump's call to somehow block the Electoral College certification, Pence claimed the election was "marked by significant irregularities and numerous instances of officials setting aside election law." He said he shares "the concerns of millions of Americans" about its integrity, suggesting he still hasn't fully broken with Trump on the matter. For many people, the show of loyalty was baffling. That said, Pence's op-ed didn't outright call the 2020 vote fraudulent. Rather, he framed its outcome as uncertain so he could launch into his argument about why Congress should not pass HR 1, the For the People Act, which includes measures such as required early voting and same-day voter registration in every state. Pence called the bill "an unconstitutional power grab" with the sole goal of giving "leftists a permanent, unfair, and unconstitutional advantage in our political system." Read the full op-ed at The Daily Signal. More stories from theweek.comJoe Biden just yanked away stimulus checks from 17 million Americans7 scathingly funny cartoons about Trump's CPAC appearanceAfter 50 years, a long-lost family photo has made its way back where it belongs
- Associated Press
Ethiopia’s government is under growing pressure to allow the world to see firsthand what has occurred in its embattled Tigray region as its Nobel Peace Prize-winning prime minister rejects “partisan interventions.” Millions of dollars in aid to Ethiopia, a key security ally in the region, are at stake. Last month The Associated Press exposed the killing of an estimated 800 people in the city of Axum, citing several witnesses, and a week later Amnesty International reported “many hundreds” killed there, citing more than 40 witnesses.
- Associated Press
The Transportation Department’s watchdog asked the Justice Department to criminally investigate Elaine Chao late last year over concerns that she misused her office when she was transportation secretary under President Donald Trump but was rebuffed, according to a report released Wednesday. The report said the department’s inspector general found that Chao used her staff and office for personal tasks and to promote a shipping business owned by Chao’s father and sisters, in an apparent violation of federal ethics rules. Chao, the wife of Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, stepped down from her job early this year in the last weeks of the Trump administration, citing her disapproval over the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol by Trump’s supporters.
Security forces are accused of opening fire without warning on protesters in several cities.
- Associated Press
The chief European Union diplomat in Venezuela left the country on Tuesday, a week after the government of Nicolás Maduro ordered her expulsion following the EU's decision to impose sanctions on several Venezuelan officials accused of undermining democracy or violating human rights. Isabel Brilhante Pedrosa tweeted a photograph of Caracas showing the mountain range that flanks the Venezuelan capital to the north and the message “infinite thanks to all Venezuelans for their affection.” The Venezuelan government’s action against Brilhante Pedrosa came after the European Union’s foreign ministers sanctioned 19 Venezuelan officials, freezing their assets and banning them from traveling to the bloc, citing the deteriorating situation Venezuela faces after December 2020 elections.
A professional chef shares the 2 Trader Joe's frozen-food favorites he always buys for an easy meal under $5
The 22-ounce bag of frozen, ready-made chicken costs $4.99 and the rice will run you $2.99 for a box of three portions at Trader Joe's.
The actor who plays Migs Mayfield on the show said "it's f---ing crazy times" in regards to cancel culture.
- Business Insider
Biden cuts 16 million people off from stimulus checks after striking deal with moderate Senate Democrats, study says
Biden approved phasing out direct payments entirely for individuals making above $80,000 a year and married couples earning more than $160,000.
- Associated Press
England's top-order batsmen struggled against India's pace and spin before a fighting half century by Ben Stokes rallied the visitors to 144-5 at tea on day one of the fourth and final test on Thursday. Stokes looked to dominate India’s spin threat of Axar Patel (2-48) and Ravichandran Ashwin by scoring 55 off 121 balls, but fell leg before wicket to an arm ball off third spinner Washington Sundar.
Parents of girls released by kidnappers had thrown stones at officials during the reunion ceremony.
- The Independent
Conservative youth activist Charlie Kirk promoted buses in now-deleted tweet two days before storming of Congress
- The Daily Beast
Michael Reaves/GettyAttorneys for Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and the NAACP have served former President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago club with a lawsuit filed against him in February. Thompson and the NAACP filed suit against Trump alleging that his incendiary rhetoric and false claims of a “stolen” election amounted to a conspiracy to interfere with civil rights by inciting the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.The suit names Trump alongside his attorney Rudy Giuliani and the right-wing extremist groups the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers as co-defendants and builds off the 1871 “Ku Klux Klan Act,” which was “intended to protect against conspiracies, through violence and intimidation, that sought to prevent Members of Congress from discharging their official duties,” according to a complaint.If Jan. 6 Was ‘Domestic Terror,’ Who Was the Terrorist in Chief?“The Defendants conspired to prevent, by force, intimidation and threats, the Plaintiff, as a Member of Congress, from discharging his official duties to approve the count of votes cast by members of the Electoral College following the presidential election,” the lawsuit alleges.It accuses the defendants of acting “in concert to incite and then carry out a riot at the Capitol” that “created grave danger of harm” to Thompson and other lawmakers. Similar to the case laid out by Democrats in Trump’s impeachment trial last month, the suit lays out a timeline of Trump’s “concerted campaign” to retain power at any cost, from his refusal to commit to a peaceful transition before the election to his explicit endorsement of efforts to overturn the election result to his fiery rally speech on January 6.Trump “solicited the support of, and endorsed the belligerent and violent actions of, organizations such as the Proud Boys that expressed support of his reelection,” the suit alleges.Trump advisers did not immediately provide comment on who, if anyone, at this point is representing the former president for this lawsuit. When Trump was served, it was merely signed for by a “Ricky,” according to the court document.Several Trump attorneys who The Daily Beast asked about this said they had no involvement. As of Tuesday, Alan Dershowitz, a member of the Trump legal defense for the ex-president’s first Senate impeachment trial, said “nobody [on the Trump team] has reached out to me yet” regarding this suit, but added that he personally believes Trump’s rhetoric on Jan. 6 is “protected by the First Amendment” and that “I would hope that the ACLU would take on a case like this.”The suit adds to a growing list of legal troubles now facing former President Trump, his family, and his associates, since leaving office.After a victory at the Supreme Court in February, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance obtained copies of Trump’s tax returns. The paperwork is reportedly part of a city fraud investigation looking into whether the former president lied about the value of his assets in order to gain financial advantages.It’s unclear who will represent Trump, the Proud Boys, and the Oath Keepers in the latest suit but court records show that Austin, Texas-based attorney Joseph D. Sibley IV accepted service of the suit on behalf of Giuliani. Sibley, a graduate of Harvard Law school, is a former U.S. Army Ranger.“I am representing Mayor Giuliani in the Thompson lawsuit, and I will also be representing him in the Smartmatic and Dominion cases,” Sibley told The Daily Beast on Wednesday afternoon.Orange Is the New Orange: Trump Just Might Go to JailSibley handles breach of contract, intellectual property, and other commercial law cases but has also represented clients in defamation cases and provided expert commentary for The Washington Post on defamation suits.He represented far-right blogger Charles Johnson in a 2020 libel lawsuit that was originally filed against Verizon, The Huffington Post, and reporter Andy Campbell for a 2019 article which labeled Johnson a “Holocaust-Denying White Nationalist”—a description Johnson strongly denies. Johnson dismissed the suits against Campbell and Verizon but has appealed a federal judge’s dismissal of his suit against The Huffington Post.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.
These musicians blazed new trails for the genre, often collaborating with or inspiring some of rock's biggest male performers.
Protesters blocked some roadways in Lebanon for a second day on Wednesday after the currency's fall to a new low further enraged a population long horrified by the country's financial meltdown. In the past year, Lebanon has been through a popular uprising against its political leaders, the bankruptcy of the state and banking system, a COVID-19 pandemic and, in August, a huge blast that killed 200 people and destroyed parts of Beirut. The financial crisis has wiped out jobs, raised warnings of growing hunger and locked people out of their bank deposits.
- The Daily Beast
MATHIEU LEWIS-ROLLANDBy Elaine ShannonThe FBI-Homeland Security intelligence bulletin circulated at midnight Tuesday is ominous, but entirely predictable, given widely published reports of far-right chatter over the past several weeks: It alerts local law enforcement officials that extremists may try to breach the U.S. Capitol on Thursday and attack Democratic lawmakers.The warning is based on a malevolent fantasy spread by followers of QAnon, the cultish pro-Trump movement, that Donald Trump will reemerge to take power as the rightful president on March 4, which was Inauguration Day until 1933. Preposterous, but the FBI has learned not to dismiss any threat, no matter how irrational.“It does not take an armed takeover” by an organized group to do a lot of damage, says Tom O’Connor, an FBI agent who investigated suspected domestic terrorists for 23 years. “It takes one person who believes they need to act. How possible is that, I ask you?”Dead easy, as the FBI knows from the many cases in which lone actors or a couple or three angry people unleashed spectacular destruction, including Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, Olympic Park bomber Eric Rudolph, Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, Charleston church shooter Dylan Roof, and, most recently, Nashville bomber Tony Warner.The FBI’s ability to surveil American citizens and build domestic terrorism dossiers on them is tightly restricted by laws and regulations enacted in the post-Watergate era.Which is why the FBI has developed alternative tools and techniques for finding and discouraging people who might be thinking of escalating from radical anti-government speech, which is protected by the First Amendment, to violent action, which is a crime.FBI agents are currently deploying, among other strategies, preemptive interviews, also known as “knock and talk,” as a tactic for dealing with potential troublemakers when there’s insufficient evidence to file criminal charges—for instance, people who have been out bragging in bars or “shit-posting” online about their determination to come to Washington to help restore Trump to the White House, disrupt Congress or the Biden administration or intimidate lawmakers.The knock-and-talk drill is powerful, requires no intrusive technology and no warrant. It goes like this: FBI agents, sometimes with local police partners, knock on doors of people of interest and ask to interview them. The mere appearance of courteous but unsmiling and obviously well-informed badge-carriers, armed with notebooks and a long list of very specific questions, is often enough to chill someone from carrying out a half-baked scheme.“FBI agents and [Joint Terrorism] Task Force [police] officers routinely conduct these interviews with people who may have information or involvement in activity,” O’Connor told SpyTalk. “The effort is to let the interviewee know the FBI is aware they have potential involvement or information. This may slow the person’s potential involvement and most importantly, after building a relationship with the person, may produce information which will stop potential violence.”“These interviews are related to [uncovering] potential criminal violence,” he stressed, “and not First Amendment-protected activity. The FBI in no way is looking to chill a citizen’s rights to peaceful protest or free speech.”On Wednesday morning, Jill Sanborn, the FBI’s assistant director for counterterrorism, alluded to the FBI uses of the knock-and-talk technique to deter known violent extremists from traveling to the Capitol for the Jan. 6 event. Testifying before a joint session of the Senate Homeland Security and Rules committees, Sanborn explained that of the 257 people charged so far for taking part in the riot, only one person was already under criminal investigation for domestic terrorism-related activities. Asked why so few documented domestic terrorists were in the crowd, Sanborn replied, “We were aware of some of our subjects that intended to come here. We took overt action by going and talking to them to get them to not come. That worked in the majority of our already predicated cases.”FBI director Christopher Wray made a similar disclosure to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday. “There were individuals on whom we had previously predicated investigations, that we saw getting ready to travel,” Wray said. “…We had agents…approach those individuals, interview them, and even if we didn’t have the basis to charge somebody, it persuaded a number of those people from traveling.”‘Ready to Die’: Two Months of MAGA Mob Warning SignsWray said the FBI has 2,000 open domestic terrorism investigations, a fourfold increse over 2017.Knock-and-talk is “not new and certainly not just for terrorism,” says a retired agent with extensive experience in domestic and foreign counterterrorism investigations. “It's been done for years on organized crime cases. Sometimes to keep people from possibly doing something and sometimes to shake the bushes and see what reaction you get. Put pressure on a group of people, make them worried, make them suspicious and see what they do. In some cases where you are employing [court approved] Title III judicial wiretaps, you do interviews to see who the guys you talked to call. Do they call their bosses or do they warn people? It's a great technique. It works on different levels and it sends the message, ‘We are watching you. We know who you are.’ People think the Internet makes them invisible. Sometimes they need to be reminded that's not true.”Last week, Capitol Police chief Yogananda Pitman disclosed another malign fantasy reported by a FBI-Homeland Security intelligence bulletin—that some domestic extremists were talking of bombing the U.S. Capitol while President Biden was addressing a joint session of Congress in a State of the Union-style event, to assassinate the president and his cabinet and kill every lawmaker in sight.“The State of the Union is the juiciest target this country ever had, but the logistics are challenging,” says a retired senior FBI counterterrorism agent.“We always took the attitude, if your purpose is to stop the State of the Union, all you have to do is set off a bomb somewhere in D.C. and that will shut everything down,” he said, speaking with SpyTalk on condition of anonymity. “If a car bomb goes off in front of Union Station,” four blocks from the Capitol building, “they’ll stop it.”Presumably, the Secret Service would whisk the president away to a bunker and congressional leaders would also go to ground.But, the ex-G-man adds, “If your mission is to blow up the whole Capitol and decapitate the government, you better use a cruise missile because that’s the only way you’re going to get it.”As during previous State of the Union events, when the president travels to the Hill, streets around the Capitol building will be closed. Many are already closed off from the Jan. 6 event. Some will be blocked with buses and trucks. Secret Service, FBI, Homeland Security and local law enforcement surveillance teams will be everywhere, in patrol cars and on foot.Choppers and SniffersCounterterror veterans say that military aircraft and customs and police helicopters will overfly the Capitol and nearby streets, looking for everything from light aircraft to armed drones. Radiation detectors will be mounted in aircraft, cars and in backpacks shouldered by plainclothes agents, so they can head off “dirty” bombs packed with radioactive trash as shrapnel.The Capitol Police force has the biggest bomb squad in Washington, D.C., the ex-G-man says, and if its bomb techs encounter a device they can’t defuse, they’ll be able to summon backup from the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team, which includes specialists trained to render safe unusual explosive devices.“If somebody wanted to put a package bomb on a drone, it would be hard to catch, hard to stop, but it wouldn’t do much damage,” he says. “If somebody wants to put a plane down somewhere, it’s very hard to stop that.”“It is possible [to hit the Capitol building] with an improvised missile,” Dave Williams, a retired FBI bomb tech who now consults on security, told SpyTalk. “The payload would be limited depending on the delivery system, but 20 pounds of high explosive would get some attention. A drone attack is unlikely, due to electronic jamming systems that could/will be in place. But a homemade rocket/missile has been made by a number of people. And they could easily fire it from a good distance away, a mile or so. It’s not out of the question.”That’s a chilling scenario, because the domestic extremist movement has attracted a significant number of military veterans. Some of them, or some to be recruited in coming months, could have useful artillery skills. Any explosion would yield the kind of publicity terrorists crave.Nightmares of Bombings PastA truck bomb would be a terrorist’s preferred, low-tech method for demolishing part of a massive stone building. The bomb that blew up about a third of the Oklahoma City federal building on April 19, 1995, killing 168 people, consisted of about 4,000 pounds of ANFO— ammonium nitrate fertilizer mixed with fuel oil—concealed in a Ryder moving truck. Williams says it would take at least that much ANFO or another homemade explosive to wreak equivalent damage on the hallowed Capitol building. A car, pickup or van couldn’t hold that much. Large trucks are impossible to hide, and they’re under routine scrutiny in Washington, especially during special events.A smaller amount of stolen military high explosives such as C4, PETN or TNT might do the job, but Williams doubts a terror group could get its hands on enough to create a catastrophic event in Washington.The most diabolical scenario is an explosion, or a series of them, detonated by an insider— or an outsider who has gained access to the building.The pros say that’s been considered. They say that since the anthrax attacks in 2001, the Capitol complex’s air conditioning system has been outfitted with filters that capture particles down to nanograms. These filters are regularly checked with forensic instruments that can detect particles of chemical explosives and also biological and radiological agents.As well, the Capitol Police make regular rounds with dogs trained to sniff explosives. Dog’s noses are often more sensitive than machines, and they like the job.“It’s like play for these dogs,” says Williams.Buzz Kill“They have all kinds of detectors within the Capitol, with all kinds of different levels of sensors,” says the ex-G-man. “The military has mobile systems that you can run out of a Humvee to detect explosives. They’re designed to protect troops out in the field. They work in fields, jungle, deserts.” So, the thinking goes, they’ll work well on Capitol Hill.“At this point, all threats have to be run to ground,” says O’Connor, who retired from the FBI in 2019. “The threat does not have to be fully vetted and confirmed to have actions taken to guard against potential attacks. The threats of overrunning the Capitol were thought by many to be along the same lines. No agencies will be writing off any threats until they are proven non-credible.”Privately, though, some FBI counter-terror hands expect the attack-the-Capitol moment to go sideways.“Guys like this don't want to go toe-to-toe with security forces and police that they know are waiting for them and really, really want another shot at the rioters,” says a retired FBI agent. “The Capitol Police and the National Guard both want to prove to the world that they can do the job and would love for people to try and breach the Capitol again. I expect lots of online rhetoric. I expect several groups to declare Trump is president again. I expect stories of a ‘secret Inauguration' taking place.”And then?Nothing for a while. Then maybe a change of venue.“If I was Capitol Police,” says the ex-Gman, “I would be more concerned about direct actions taken against specific congressional leaders when they are at home or traveling back to their home offices. That is when they are most vulnerable now.”Co-published with SpyTalk, where Jeff Stein leads an all-star team of veteran investigative reporters, writers, and subject-matter experts who will take you behind the scenes of the national security state. Subscribe to get full access to the newsletter and website.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.
A high-level Chinese study says a massive work scheme is reducing Uighur population density in Xinjiang.