After a winter storm dumped snow, ice and rain across the Chicago area Tuesday and Wednesday, another is expected Friday morning.
- Yahoo News
Black National Guardsman describes being deployed to protect Biden’s inauguration: 'I just felt this huge sense of pride'
As most of the 25,000 National Guardsmen who were called upon to protect Washington, D.C., during the presidential inauguration began heading home this week, one Black service member agreed to speak to Yahoo News about the experience of protecting the nation’s capital in the wake of a pro-Trump riot on Capitol Hill.
President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed a raft of executive actions to combat climate change, including pausing new oil and gas leases on federal land and cutting fossil fuel subsidies, as he pursues green policies he billed as a boon to the economy. The orders map out the direction for the Democratic president's climate change and environmental agenda and mark a reversal from policies under his Republican predecessor Donald Trump, who sought to maximize U.S. oil, gas and coal output by removing regulations and easing environmental reviews. "In my view, we've already waited too long to deal with this climate crisis," Biden said at a White House ceremony, noting the threats the nation faces from intensifying storms, wildfires and droughts linked to climate change.
- Associated Press
A group of U.N experts has criticized Sri Lanka's requirement that those who die of COVID-19 be cremated, even it goes against a family's religious beliefs, and warned that decisions based on “discrimination and aggressive nationalism” could incite hatred and violence. The experts, who are part of the Special Procedures of the U.N Human Rights Council, said in a statement Monday that rule amounts to a human rights violation. “We deplore the implementation of such public health decisions based on discrimination, aggressive nationalism and ethnocentrism amounting to persecution of Muslims and other minorities in the country,” the experts said.
- Yahoo News Video
At the White House briefing on Tuesday, press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that President Biden planned to speak with Russian President Vladimir Putn about issues that included the SolarWinds hack, reports of Russian bounties on American soldiers and interference in the 2016 election.
Google will not make contributions from its political action committee this cycle to any member of Congress who voted against certifying the results of the presidential election, following the deadly Capitol riot on January 6.Why it matters: Several major businesses paused or pulled political donations following the events of Jan. 6, when pro-Trump rioters, riled up by former President Trump, stormed the Capitol on the day it was to certify the election results.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here. * Facebook also paused its political donations and is reviewing its policies. Microsoft paused its PAC as well. * The social media giant said Sunday it will decide by Feb. 15 after soliciting employee feedback about whether it will continue stopping donations to members of Congress who voted against certifying the election results.What they're saying: "After the disturbing events at the Capitol, NetPAC paused all contributions while undertaking a review. Following that review, the NetPAC board has decided that it will not be making any contributions this cycle to any member of Congress who voted against certification of the election results," said José Castañeda, a Google spokesperson.What's next: Other companies that announced a pause in political donations following the riot will have to announce next steps.Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
The U.S. Senate is expected to confirm President Joe Biden's nominee for secretary of state, veteran diplomat Antony Blinken, on Tuesday, after the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted strongly in favor of his appointment. After the 15-3 vote by the committee, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the full Senate would vote on Blinken at noon EST (1600 GMT) on Tuesday. Although the three committee no votes came from Republicans, Blinken is expected to be confirmed with strong bipartisan support.
- Associated Press
An 80-year-old writer accused of defaming Thailand's monarchy in 2015 because of comments he made at a public seminar about the constitution was acquitted Tuesday by the Criminal Court. The court ruled that Bundit Aneeya had not violated the lese majeste law because he had not specifically referred to royalty and had not used rude language. The court last week gave a record sentence of 43 1/2 years under the law to a woman arrested six years ago who posted audio clips online deemed critical of the monarchy.
- The Telegraph
AstraZeneca vaccines meant for and paid for by the EU could have ended up in Britain, diplomatic sources in Brussels claimed today. The suspicion is that the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company supplied the UK from the EU vaccine stock because Britain paid a higher price for the dose and approved it sooner. On Monday, Brussels threatened to block EU vaccine exports to non-EU countries, after AstraZeneca revealed that it would not be able to fulfil its contractual obligations as originally hoped. Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president, said on Tuesday that the EU would press on with the export mechanism that would force companies to ask for permission before vaccines could leave the bloc. In a speech to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Mrs von der Leyen said, “Europe invested billions to help develop the world's first Covid-19 vaccines to create a truly global common good. Europe is determined to contribute to this global common good but it also means business.” She added: “And now, the companies must deliver. They must honour their obligations and this is why we will set up a vaccine export to transparency mechanism.” A European Commission spokesman said: "How worried are we about the state of vaccinations? Well, we are worried that is for sure. We are dealing with a very important pandemic and vaccination is very important." The UK is dependent on the Pfizer vaccine, which is produced in Belgium, and is expecting almost 3.5million doses to be delivered in the next three weeks. That supply could be jeopardised if the EU decided to block the exports after the AstraZeneca controversy.
Security chiefs warn that the storming of the US Capitol may embolden some home-grown extremists.
China said on Wednesday it was seeking details about 25 of its nationals who were among 61 crew on two supertankers seized by Indonesia on suspicion of illegally transferring oil. Indonesia said on Sunday it had seized the vessels after they were detected making the transfer from Iranian-flagged MT Horse to Panamanian-flagged MT Freya, causing an oil spill. The Indonesian authorities said the seizure was not related to U.S. sanctions, which Washington imposed in a bid to shut off Iran's oil exports in a dispute over Tehran's nuclear programme.
- Associated Press
Immigrant rights activists energized by a new Democratic administration and majorities on Capitol Hill are gearing up for a fresh political battle to push through a proposed bill from President Joe Biden that would open a pathway to citizenship for up to 11 million people. The multimillion-dollar #WeAreHome campaign was launched Monday by national groups including United We Dream and the United Farm Workers Foundation. “We are home,” a young woman's voice declares in the first video spot showing immigrants in essential jobs such as cleaning and health care.
- The Telegraph
Brussels on Wednesday demanded that tens of millions of British-made coronavirus vaccines be diverted from the UK to make up a supply shortfall in the jabs in the EU. The European Commission said it was contractually entitled to doses from two UK plants making the AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine as its row with the British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant deepened. The British Government said it had a deal with AstraZeneca to supply 100 million doses of the vaccine with agreed delivery schedules. British sources said that, once the UK factories had fulfilled their commitment to Britain, AstraZeneca would be free to supply other countries – something the firm's CEO, Pascal Soriot, confirmed in an interview on Tuesday. But Stella Kyriakides, the EU's health commissioner, said: "We reject the logic of first come, first served. That might work at the neighbourhood butchers, but not on our contracts and not in our advanced purchase agreements." She said there was " no priority clause" in the EU contract between the four production plants in the agreement, two factories in the EU and the two in the UK. "In our contract it is not specified that any country or the UK has priority... This needs to be absolutely clear," Ms Kyriakides said.
Steven Brandenburg admits he believed inoculation could harm people, prosecutors in Wisconsin say.
Guatemalan Maya families said on Monday they feared relatives were among bodies found over the weekend in a remote part of northern Mexico along a route popular with migrant smugglers heading towards the U.S. border. After receiving a tip off in the border state of Tamaulipas in northern Mexico, Mexican authorities recovered 19 bodies, many of which had gunshot wounds and were badly charred. Evaristo Agustin was among some 30 indigenous men and women who traveled to the foreign ministry in Guatemala City from distant highland provinces on Monday after word spread their relatives may be among the deceased.
- Architectural Digest
Let’s get loudOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- Associated Press
The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Antony Blinken as America’s top diplomat, tasked with carrying out President Joe Biden’s commitment to reverse the Trump administration’s “America First” doctrine that weakened international alliances. Senators voted 78-22 to approve Blinken, a longtime Biden confidant, as the nation’s 71st secretary of state, succeeding Mike Pompeo.
- The Independent
Missouri senator has faced calls to resign over objection to Biden election win
Microsoft co-founder turned philanthropist Bill Gates says he has been taken aback by the volume of "crazy" and "evil" conspiracy theories about him spreading on social media during the COVID-19 pandemic, but said on Wednesday he would like to explore what is behind them. In an interview with Reuters, Gates said the millions of online posts and "crazy conspiracy theories" about him and about top U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci had likely taken hold in part because of the combination of a frightening viral pandemic and the rise of social media. "Nobody would have predicted that I and Dr. Fauci would be so prominent in these really evil theories," Gates said.
- Associated Press
The Vatican has cleared a retired U.S. bishop of multiple allegations he sexually abused minors and teenagers, rejecting lay experts' determination that a half-dozen claims were credible and instead slapping him on the wrist for what it called “flagrant" imprudent behavior. The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith exonerated retired Cheyenne, Wyoming Bishop Joseph Hart of seven accusations of abuse and determined that five others couldn’t be proven “with moral certitude.” A 13th allegation wasn’t addressed in the decree.
The Russian leader says his first call with the new US president was "business-like and frank".