By Paul Carsten BEIJING (Reuters) - China's Baidu Inc said on Wednesday it has established a 20 billion yuan ($3 billion) investment fund, Baidu Capital, as the country's dominant search engine seeks a way to remain relevant in the smartphone era and beyond. Investments will focus on mid- and late-stage deals in the internet sector, in Chinese yuan, U.S. dollars and other currencies, with individual funding amounts ranging from $50 million to $100 million, the company said on its official WeChat mobile messaging account. For Baidu, the need to future-proof the company and hold onto users by finding new technologies is becoming more pressing. Not only have both the search giant's main rivals Tencent Holdings Ltd and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd fared better with mobile users in China, the world's biggest smartphone market, but a post-smartphone era of artificial intelligence, virtual reality and augmented reality could shake up the technology sector again. To address that possible future, Baidu announced last month the creation of Baidu Venture, a $200 million fund to invest in those three fields. As for Baidu Capital, its money will come from large insurance funds, securities companies and others, and investment institutions with a state background have also expressed interest in participating, the company said without naming any firms. The fund will have two or three managing partners, drawn from the investment industry, with a background in the internet sector and private equity, Baidu said, also without naming any candidates. A Baidu spokeswoman declined to comment beyond the statement on WeChat. In its latest earnings, Baidu posted its steepest-ever quarterly profit decline and the slowest growth in revenue in nearly eight years, hit by a healthcare scandal that ensnared the company this year and saw regulators slap curbs on one of its most lucrative advertising businesses: the medical sector. Baidu expects its third-quarter revenue to range from a 1.9 percent fall to a 1.1 percent gain from the previous year. (Reporting by Paul Carsten; Editing by Stephen Coates and Christian Schmollinger)
- Yahoo News
Former President Donald Trump’s “big lie” about a stolen election may have been discredited over and over in the courts, and disgraced by the attack on the U.S. Capitol, but the corrosive effect of his dishonesty will linger on, complicating efforts to strengthen American elections.
- 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.
- The Week
John Kerry: American workers 'fed a false narrative' that shift to clean energy is 'coming at their expense'
President Biden on Wednesday turned his attention to climate issues, signing executive orders that seek to halt new oil and gas leases on public lands and waters, conserve 30 percent of federal lands and waters by 2030, and find ways to double wind production by the same year. John Kerry, the first-ever United States Climate Envoy, championed the actions, reiterating his belief that the climate crisis is "existential" and "failure, literally, is not an option." While briefing reporters, Kerry was asked about potential job losses in the fossil fuel industry, and whether he had a message for workers who believe they are witnessing the end of their livelihoods. Kerry explained that those workers "have been fed a false narrative" by the Trump administration about the shift to clean energy, which he said will not come "at their expense." He added that, before the COVID-19 pandemic, the solar and wind energy industries were growing swiftly, while coal plants have been closing over the last few decades. "The same people can do those jobs. But the choice of doing the solar power one now is a better choice," he said, also pointing out the health risks associated with coal mining. John Kerry says oil and gas workers have been fed a "false narrative" that action on climate change will hurt their livelihoods, and that President Biden wants to "make sure that those folks have better choices" for jobs in the energy sector https://t.co/Nj065CIsxp pic.twitter.com/czkjomesi8 — CBS News (@CBSNews) January 27, 2021 Republicans like Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) weren't buying the reassurance, suggesting that Kerry's statement lacked empathy, although he didn't explicitly refute the notion that an industry transition may be feasible for fossil fuel workers. John Kerry's message to the tens of thousands of Americans who lost their jobs thanks to the Biden administration: go make solar panels. Where is the empathy that Joe Biden promised in his inauguration? https://t.co/CvQovUlEoD — Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) January 27, 2021 More stories from theweek.comWith Senate Republicans balking at convicting Trump, Democrats explore alternative censuresGameStop makes the case for financial regulationMitch McConnell is the GOAT
- Architectural Digest
Let’s get loudOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- The Telegraph
The leader of the Proud Boys extremist group has been unmasked as a "prolific" former FBI informant. Enrique Tarrio, 36, worked undercover exposing a human trafficking ring, and helped with drug and gambling cases, according to court documents. Tarrio's documented involvement with law enforcement related to the period 2012 -2014. There was no evidence of him cooperating after that. But the revelation raised further questions over why police did not take further steps to secure the US Capitol ahead of the riots on Jan 6. At least half a dozen members of the Proud Boys were arrested over involvement in the riots. Tarrio denied ever being an informer, telling Reuters: "I don’t know any of this. I don’t recall any of this."
- National Review
China ratcheted up its rhetoric towards Taiwan on Thursday, bluntly warning the island that “independence means war” after increased Chinese military activity was recorded near Taiwan over the weekend. “We warn Taiwan independence elements: those who play with fire will be burned. Taiwan independence means war,” warned Chinese Ministry of National Defense spokesperson Wu Qian. China sent a total of 28 Chinese fighter jets and bombers into the Taiwan Strait and the island’s southwestern air defense identification zone over the weekend, just days after President Biden’s inauguration. The U.S. responded swiftly with a warning to China to back down from its intimidation tactics. “We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic and economic pressure against Taiwan and instead engage in meaningful dialogue with Taiwan’s democratically elected representatives,” the State Department said Saturday. The State Department reaffirmed that the U.S. commitment to Taiwan is “rock-solid” and said Washington is concerned about China’s “pattern” of intimidation towards its neighbors, including Taiwan. Qian called Taiwan an “inalienable part of China’s territory” and said the the ramped up military activity near the island is a “solemn response to external interference and provocations by Taiwan independence forces.” China is taking “necessary actions to address the current security situation in the Taiwan Strait and to safeguard national sovereignty and security,” Qian said. Taiwan’s defense ministry has not commented on China’s warning. The Chinese began flying military planes through the Taiwan Strait on a regular basis in March, 2019, but the presence near Taiwan over the weekend was the largest in several years.
- The Independent
Jill Biden spent her first week as First Lady reshaping the role. Melania Trump spent hers isolated in a tower
New first lady signals she will be an active and constant presence in the White House - drawing stark contrasts to her predecessor
- Reuters Videos
Russia's parliament has approved an extension of the last major nuclear-weapons treaty remaining with the United States, a key step towards preserving a cornerstone of global arms control. The treaty, called "New START" was last signed in 2010. It was set to expire next week and limits the numbers of strategic nuclear warheads, missiles, and bombers that Russia and the United States can deploy. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov confirmed to the lower house that the agreement is to extend the treaty for a further five years, without any changes being made to it. The TASS news agency also quoted him as saying the deal had been agreed ‘on our terms’. Moscow and Washington had failed to agree an extension under former U.S. President Donald Trump, who wanted to attach certain conditions to the renewal. However, after President Joe Biden spoke with Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, they agreed their teams should work urgently to complete the extension before the February 5th expiry.
- Associated Press
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday criticized Iran's hard-liner dominated judiciary over last week's prosecution of the countrys telecommunications minister. Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi was released on bail after he was summoned for prosecution. Judiciary officials cited his refusal to block Instagram and impose limitations on the bandwidth of other foreign social media and messaging systems.
- Yahoo News
“By signing this order, President Biden indicates that he’s more interested in the views of the citizens of Paris than in the jobs of the citizens of Pittsburgh,” Cruz said.
- The Telegraph
Russian authorities target Navalny's associates and wife in series of police raids ahead of protests
Russian authorities raided the homes of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny and his associates on Wednesday, piling pressure on opposition figures ahead of a major rally planned for this weekend. Masked police on Wednesday afternoon broke down the door of Mr Navalny’s rented flat despite the pleas from his wife who was inside, asking for her lawyer, Veronika Polyakova. Ms Polyakova arrived at her house but was not allowed in to witness the search, a clear violation of the Russian law,she told the Dozhd TV channel. In the biggest wave of police action against the opposition in months, law enforcement agents raided at least seven homes on Wednesday, including a Moscow property owned by Mr Navalny but where he has not lived for years, and the office of his associates who run his YouTube channel. A video posted online by Lyubov Sobol, a close ally of Mr Navalny, showed black-clad masked men break down the door and walk into the office.
As the 76th anniversary on Wednesday of the liberation of Auschwitz draws closer, Bill Harvey, who survived the concentration camp, said he was shocked by displays of anti-Semitism during the U.S. Capitol riot. Some of the supporters of former President Donald Trump who broke into and ransacked the seat of Congress on Jan. 6 wore clothes bearing anti-Semitic messages, or displayed Nazi symbols. Harvey, interviewed by Zoom from his Los Angeles home on Monday, expressed concern that the lessons that should have been learned from World War Two's Nazi Holocaust are fading.
Sen. Rand Paul attends the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the nomination of Linda Thomas-Greenfield to be the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, on Capitol Hill on Jan. 27, 2021. Sen. Rand Paul lost the very first procedural vote of former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial. “The impeachment trial is dead on arrival,” the Kentucky Republican and regular Trump ally declared yesterday after his attempt to short-circuit the impeachment trial on the grounds it is unconstitutional failed by a 55-45 vote.
- Associated Press
After 18 years of denial, the Pakistani suspect convicted and later acquitted in the 2002 beheading of American journalist Daniel Pearl has told a court he played a “minor" role in the killing, the Pearl family lawyer said Wednesday. A letter handwritten by Ahmad Saeed Omar Sheikh in 2019, in which he admits limited involvement in the killing of the Wall Street Journal reporter, was submitted to Pakistan's Supreme Court nearly two weeks ago. It wasn't until Wednesday that Sheikh's lawyers confirmed their client wrote it.
- The Independent
Biden news - live: Republican Party suffers ‘mass exodus’ as Marjorie Taylor Greene scandal consumes Congress
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- The Telegraph
A doctor with terminal cancer killed a female paediatrician and then himself after taking hostages at a children's clinic in Austin, Texas. Dr Bharat Narumanchi held hostages in a five-hour siege before killing Dr Katherine Lindley Dodson. Narumanchi had applied for a volunteer position at the clinic a week ago and was declined. He later came back carrying a pistol, a shotgun and two duffel bags. Police spokesman Jeff Greenwalt said Narumanchi had recently been given "weeks to live" after a cancer diagnosis. He said: "The case as far as who did this is closed. We know who did it. And we know that there's no longer a threat to the public. But we really, really want to answer the question of why." Dr Lindley Dodson, 43, was beloved by patients and their families. Karen Vladeck, whose two children were among her patients, told the Austin American-Statesman: "You saw her at your worst when your kid was sick, and she just always had a smile on her face. "She made you feel like you were the only parent there, even though there was a line of kids waiting." During the siege a SWAT team used a megaphone to communicate with the armed doctor. A hostage negotiator shouted: "Your life is very important to me. And I know life is very important to you. "You don't deserve to go through this. For all you have done for others. That is why I want to help you work through this. You have saved a lot of lives." Police first sent in a robot and then officers went into the medical office where they found two bodies. They did not comment on how the two doctors died. A police spokesman said: "The SWAT situation has ended. Two subjects have been located and were pronounced deceased."
- The Week
Haifa is home to Israel's largest population of Holocaust survivors, and Yad Rosa is working around the clock to help them make it through the coronavirus pandemic. Shimon Sabag started Yad Rosa 20 years ago, and over the last 10 months, has had to completely change the way the charity helps these elderly survivors. "This is the moment of truth," Sabag told The Washington Post. "Holocaust survivors see the finish line, but emotionally they are collapsing." There are 192,000 registered Holocaust survivors in Israel, and even before the pandemic, many were struggling — a quarter live below the poverty line, the Post reports, and many of the charities tasked with offering assistance are underfunded. The first Israeli to die of COVID-19 was an 88-year-old Holocaust survivor from Hungary, and since then, roughly 5,300 survivors have tested positive for the virus and 900 have died, the Israeli government said. A Bar-Ilan University study found that for many survivors who witnessed diseases like tuberculosis and dysentery sweep through concentration camps, the isolation they are now experiencing is making them remember the past. "They're returning back to memories of the ghetto, of the camps, of death," psychiatrist Isabella Greenberg told the Post. "Some of my patients feel that this is like Auschwitz." Yad Rosa has changed its services to better assist survivors feeling especially vulnerable now. For those who do not want to travel by bus, volunteers drive them to their appointments and to get the COVID-19 vaccine — they've already helped more than 1,500 get the shot. Dozens of volunteers man a call center, where they check in on survivors to see if they need food, medicine, or just a chat. Contractors have made repairs in the homes of survivors, and more than 2,000 people receive daily food deliveries. Renate Kaufmann, 83, survived the Holocaust in Germany by spending two years hiding in secret spaces. Yad Rosa recently delivered her a wheelchair, and she told the Post she looks forward to being able to go outside again one day, but until then, she must remain patient, just like she was decades ago. "Who is safe?" she said. "There is no safe place in this world." Read more at The Washington Post. More stories from theweek.comWith Senate Republicans balking at convicting Trump, Democrats explore alternative censuresGameStop makes the case for financial regulationMitch McConnell is the GOAT
- Associated Press
At least two journalists tested positive for coronavirus after witnessing the Trump administration's final three federal executions, but the Bureau of Prisons knowingly withheld the diagnoses from other media witnesses and did not perform any contact tracing, The Associated Press has learned. The AP is not identifying the journalists, but has confirmed they both received positive coronavirus tests following the executions earlier this month at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Indiana. The Bureau of Prisons just completed a record number of executions under former President Donald Trump, more than any previous administration.
- The Independent
Biden’s new sign language interpreter runs a right-wing Facebook group and has been pictured in a MAGA hat
One video featuring Heather Mewshaw is titled ‘Joe Biden is literally and legally not the President elect’
- The Telegraph
Germany faces vaccine shortages that will last into April and hamper its efforts to bring the coronavirus under control, the country’s health minister warned on Thursday. “We have at least ten tough tough weeks ahead of us with the vaccine shortages,” Jens Spahn tweeted in a message to German regional leaders. “We should spend that time working together on the matter. That is what the citizens can expect from us in these difficult times.” The European Union is facing severe shortages after vaccine companies were forced to cut planned deliveries because of production problems — an issue the manufacturers say was caused by the bloc ordering too late to allow them to ramp up production. Germany has been caught up in the shortages after Angela Merkel overruled an attempt by Mr Spahn to order sufficient stocks last summer and insisted the country entrust its vaccine orders to the European Commission. “Making vaccines is very complex, and a lot of work is needed to increase capacity that leads to delays,” Mr Spahn told German radio. “But it has to impact everyone in the same way and not just the EU.” EU leaders have accused AstraZeneca, the company which makes the Oxford vaccine, of prioritising deliveries to the UK. The company says Britain placed its orders much earlier.