By Helen Murphy and Fernando Peinado BOGOTA (Reuters) - Thousands of Colombian farmers and state workers marched through Bogota on Thursday, banging pots and pans as they converged on the capital after 11 days of increasingly violent protests against agricultural and trade policies they say have left them impoverished. Students wearing balaclavas pelted shop windows with rocks near the capital's main square and clashed with riot police who fired tear gas to disperse them. Bogota imposed a curfew in three of the more populated areas of the city after violence continued into the night. "Long live the farmers' strike! Food sovereignty," protesters chanted as they waved anti-government banners. President Juan Manuel Santos, who has been unable to end the so-called national strike that has united potato growers, milk producers and teachers, acknowledged agriculture is in crisis, but called for peaceful dissent while talks about possible solutions are going on. "The farm sector has been abandoned," the center-right president said in a televised address early on Thursday. "The protests are valid ... but, via dialogue, we will resolve the problems ... We are in a storm, but we will persevere." Protesters wearing typical farmer attire of woolen ponchos, brimmed hats and rubber boots to show their solidarity, marched in 15 columns toward the Plaza Bolivar, where the presidential palace and Congress are located. There were also protests in Medellin, Cali and elsewhere across the nation. Farmers have blocked roads, snarling city-bound traffic and piling pressure on Santos three months before he must decide whether to run for a second term. The government's tough peace negotiations with Marxist FARC rebels are creating their own contentious national debate at the same time. "My purchase power is zero, it's only enough to survive," said Orlando Pamo, 50, an indigenous father of six from central Tolima province who earns less than the minimum wage farming citrus and other fruits. "The government wants us off the land so it can be given to big business. We don't get the benefits companies get." Santos said he will lift import duties on 23 products, including some fertilizers and pesticides, to help lower crop production costs. He also is working to find more permanent solutions for the farm sector's problems. Clashes between police and protesters over removal of the barricades resulted in at least one death and scores of injuries and arrests since the strike began on August 19. Looting was reported in several towns and blocked roads have prevented food getting to market, raising prices for consumers. Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon has accused the FARC rebels of infiltrating the protests and seeking to rope peaceful farmers into their struggle against the government. "Please, let's not fall into the hands of the violent," said Santos. "Do not allow them to gain strength from these protests because it will distort the entire meaning of the demonstration and it leads to unnecessary confrontations that have led to deaths." SECOND WAVE The already grueling life of farming families has become harder in recent years since income from harvests has failed to cover costs of fertilizers and transportation. Potato, corn and milk producers complain that free trade agreements with Europe and the United States have made it almost impossible to compete with cheaper imports. Droughts followed by unusually heavy rains have also made farming conditions difficult over the past several years. The demonstrations are the second wave of national strikes this year against agricultural and economic policies. "More demonstrations will follow in the coming days if there is no response from the government," said Julio Roberto Gomez, head of the nation's second biggest union confederation, as protesters banged pots and pans behind him. Even though Santos has made improving the conditions of the poor and cutting the jobless rate a priority, difficulties for farmers are unlikely to change in the coming months. Finance Minister Mauricio Cardenas said it would be impossible to meet all demands from the different protest groups. "The country is on the right track and the economy is an example worldwide," he said on local radio. "But if you add up everything they want, there's no way to give them it all. They are seeking significant resources. There isn't enough money to cover the demands of all the sectors." (Additional reporting by Peter Murphy; editing by Jackie Frank and Stacey Joyce)
A boy who was killed in an alleged murder-suicide by his father has been identified as 9-year-old Pierce O’Loughlin. Family tragedy: The boy and his father, Stephen O'Loughlin, 49, were both found dead at their home on Scott Street, Marina District in San Francisco on Wednesday afternoon, SF Chronicle reports. The boy’s mother, Lesley Hu, asked authorities to check on her son after learning that he did not show up for school that day.
- National Review
A senior Biden transition official is warning migrants hoping to cross the southern border into the U.S. during the early days of the new administration that “now is not the time” to come. “There’s help on the way, but now is not the time to make the journey,” an unnamed Biden official said, NBC News reported. The Biden administration is looking to end the Trump administration’s policy of requiring that migrants wait in Mexico as immigration courts consider their asylum applications. Those who have been waiting at the border will be considered first for entry over migrants who only recently arrived. Additionally, the Biden administration will scrap the stricter restrictions the previous administration imposed on asylum seekers, which limit who is eligible for entry. However, any immigration legislation proposed by the Biden administration will address illegal immigrants living in the U.S. rather than new migrants arriving at the border, the official said. “The situation at the border isn’t going to be transformed overnight,” the official explained, saying that migrants seeking to gain asylum right away “need to understand they’re not going to be able to come into the United States immediately.” A caravan of about 2,000 Honduran migrants desperate to reach the U.S. forced their way past Guatemalan authorities Friday night and are expected to reach the southern border within the next few weeks. The caravan “will not find when they get to the U.S. border that from Tuesday to Wednesday, things have changed overnight and ports are all open and they can come into the United States,” the official cautioned. “We have to provide a message that help and hope is on the way, but coming right now does not make sense for their own safety … while we put into place processes that they may be able to access in the future,” the official said. In 2018, just before the midterm elections, a caravan of thousands of Central American migrants headed for America’s southern border. Similarly, in early 2017, just before President Trump took office, a caravan made its way to the border, drawing the ire of Trump.
Small groups of protesters rallied outside fortified statehouses over the weekend ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.The big picture: Some protests attracted armed members of far-right extremist groups but there were no reports of clashes, as had been feared. The National Guard and law enforcement outnumbered demonstrators, as security was heightened around the U.S. to avoid a repeat of the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riots, per AP. Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.> Shout out to all the 50 states and 3 territories who are on their way to Washington, D.C. to support the 59th Presidential Inauguration. @TexasGuard is on their way! pic.twitter.com/Jfat7WpFV1> > — District of Columbia National Guard (@DCGuard1802) January 16, 2021Virginia National Guard soldiers are issued their M4 rifles and live ammunition on the east front of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 17. "More reporters and law enforcement members were present than protesters" in Washington, D.C., USA Today notes. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty ImagesBoogaloo Bois members outside Oregon's State Capitol in Salem on Jan. 17. Photo: John Rudoff/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesNational Guard soldiers protect the Department of Health Care Services building near the California State Capitol on Jan. 17. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty ImagesMinnesota State Patrol stand guard as a few people who support President Donald Trump sit outside the state capitol building on Jan. 17 in St Paul. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images A woman and child look on as members of the Washington National Guard and state police stand outside the state Capitol in Olympia, Washington, on Jan. 17. Photo: Jason Redmond/AFP via Getty ImagesA protester carries a crossbow outside the Capitol in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on Jan. 17. Photo: Kena Betancur/AFP via Getty ImagesAn armed member of the the Boogaloo Boys protests outside of the Kentucky State Capitol on Jan. in Frankfort. Photo: Jon Cherry/Getty ImagesMembers of the Utah National Guard stand watch as a man carries an upside down American flag as he walks the grounds of the Utah State Capitol building in Salt Lake City on Jan. 17. Photo: George Frey/AFP via Getty ImagesA Nevada Highway Patrol vehicle passes by the State Capitol on Jan. in Carson City. Photo: Ronda Churchill/AFP via Getty ImagesArmed groups rally in front of a closed Texas State Capitol in Austin on Jan. 17. Photo: Matthew Busch/AFP via Getty ImagesArmed members of the Boogaloo group in front of the State Capital in Concord, New Hampshire, on Jan. 17. Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty ImagesSupporters of the Second Amendment outside the Georgia Capitol building on Jan. 17 in Atlanta. Photo: Megan Varner/Getty ImagesA couple of Trump supporters outside the Colorado State Capitol on Jan. 17 in Denver. Photo: Michael Ciaglo/Getty ImagesNew Mexico State Police patrol around the state capitol in Santa Fe on Jan. 17. Photo: Paul Ratje/AFP via Getty ImagesTrump supporters stand outside the Capitol Building in Phoenix, Arizona, on Jan. 17. Photo: Olivier Touron/AFP via Getty ImagesA man speaks with law enforcement in front of the state capitol building in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, on Jan. 17. Photo: Logan Cyrus/AFP via Getty Images Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
After a probe found "significant errors of judgment and procedure" in the termination of the employee, GitHub's head of human resources resigned, GitHub Chief Operating Officer Erica Brescia said on Sunday. "In light of these findings, we immediately reversed the decision to separate with the employee and are in communication with his representative," Brescia said in a blog https://bit.ly/2KnkVhI, adding that the company apologized to that employee.
- Yahoo News Video
The New Yorker on Sunday published 12 minutes of new, surreal footage from inside the Capitol during the mob rampage that left five people dead earlier this month.
- National Review
Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) on Sunday advised the president not to grant presidential pardons to the rioters who stormed the Capitol this month, warning that doing so would “destroy” Trump. “Mr. President, your policies will stand the test of time. You’re the most important figure in the Republican party. You can shape the direction of the party. Keep your movement alive,” Graham said on Fox News. “There are a lot of people urging the president to pardon folks who participated in defiling the Capitol, the rioters,” Graham continued. “I don’t care if you went there and spread flowers on the floor, you breached the security of the Capitol, you interrupted a joint session of Congress, you tried to intimidate us all, you should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and to seek a pardon of these people would be wrong. I think it would destroy President Trump and I hope we don’t go down that road.” On Wednesday, a large group of Trump supporters overpowered Capitol Police and forced their way into the halls of Congress. Pence and the assembled lawmakers evacuated the Senate floor, where a joint session of Congress was being held to certify the presidential election results. The violence followed a rally outside the White House earlier in the day where President Trump addressed the “Save America March” and repeated his claims that November’s election was rife with voter fraud that threatened to deprive him of his rightful second term. The violence on January 6 resulted in five dead, including a Capitol Police officer. Since then, dozens of criminal cases have been brought in connection with the riot. Graham defended Trump’s rhetoric at the rally, which received bipartisan condemnation and sparked a second impeachment against the president by House Democrats. “President Trump never said, ‘Go into the capitol and try to interrupt a joint session of Congress.’ That was the choice they made and they need to live with that choice,” Graham said. Graham added that there were “irregularities in mail-in voting,” but said “the election is over,” noting that the electoral votes have been certified.” “It is now time to move on,” the South Carolina Republican said. Graham also had a message for incoming president Joe Biden, calling on him to stand up against the second impeachment of Trump, which the Senate is expected to take up after he leaves office.
- Associated Press
Guatemalan police and soldiers launched tear gas and wielded batons and shields against a group of Honduran migrants that tried to push through their roadblock early Sunday. A group of about 2,000 migrants had stopped short of the roadblock the night before.
Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sydney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America. * The letter also orders Lindell to "preserve and retain all documents relating to Dominion and your smear campaign against the company." * Lindell also must preserve all communications with any member of the Trump campaign, in addition to communications with Rudy Giuliani, Powell, Jenna Ellis and Lin Wood. The big picture: Lindell met with Trump last week and was caught by photographers with notes referencing martial law and Sidney Powell. The CEO has become known for pedaling election-overturning conspiracies and last year promoted a fake cure to the coronavirus. What they're saying: Dominion's letter reads... "Despite knowing your implausible attacks against Dominion have no basis in reality, you have participated in the vast and concerted misinformation campaign to slander Dominion ... Litigation regarding these issues is imminent."A spokesperson for My Pillow did not immediately return a request for comment. Read the full letter here: Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
- The Telegraph
A woman identified as having taken part in the storming of the US Capitol is accused of stealing a laptop belonging to top Democrat Nancy Pelosi which she hoped to sell to a Russian spy agency, according to the FBI. There is no indication Riley June Williams, a 22-year-old careworker from Pennsylvania, took a laptop from Ms Pelosi's office. The FBI, which is working off a tip, said in the court record the "matter remains under investigation." The complaint, filed late Sunday in US District Court in Washington, sought the arrest of Williams on grounds including "violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds." Relying on several photos and videos of the chaotic January 6 riot, an FBI agent said Williams was seen near the office of Ms Pelosi, US House Speaker. A witness, identified in the court document only as W1 but who claimed to be "the former romantic partner of Riley June Williams," alleged that Williams planned to send the laptop to a friend in Russia to sell it to the SVR foreign intelligence agency. That sale "fell through for unknown reasons, and Williams still has the computer device or destroyed it," the affidavit says.
- National Review
President Trump signed an executive order on Monday expanding access to personal firearms for federal law enforcement officials. The order is one of the last of Trump’s presidency, with Joe Biden set to be sworn into office on Wednesday. The purpose of the order is to remove “undue obstacles” for law enforcement officers and prosecutors to obtain concealed carry licenses, as well as to expand protections for prosecutors and judges. “It shall be the policy of the United States to remove any undue obstacle preventing current or retired Federal law enforcement officers from carrying a concealed firearm,” the order states. The order also directs the U.S. Attorney General to “propose a regulation…to provide that the special deputation as a Deputy United States Marshall shall be granted upon request to any Federal prosecutor” who faces risk of harm as a result of his or her work. The special deputation would grant a prosecutor the right to concealed carry of a firearm. It is unclear if the incoming Biden administration will work to carry out the order. Biden announced earlier this month that he will nominate Merrick Garland, the prosecutor who headed the investigation against Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, to the position of attorney general. Biden himself is preparing several executive orders for the first days of his presidency, in an attempt to reverse several Trump administration policies. Among other issues, Biden will rejoin the Paris Climate Accords and end Trump’s immigration restrictions on some Muslim-majority nations.
"This is also a desire that's shared by other GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries," he told Bloomberg TV https://bloom.bg/369WLz9 in an interview. The Qatari foreign minister added that his government was supporting ongoing discussions between Iran and South Korea to secure the release of an oil tanker seized by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard early this month.
World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned Monday the world is "on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure" because of unequal COVID-19 vaccine distribution.Why it matters: Tedros noted during an executive session that 39 million vaccine doses had been administered in 49 higher-income countries, while one lowest-income nation had "just 25 doses." Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America. * This "me-first" approach will ultimately "prolong the pandemic, the restrictions needed to contain it, and human and economic suffering," he added.Of note: The WHO itself faced criticism in an interim report on Monday for being slow to respond to the outbreak after it was first detected in late 2019 in China, which was also singled out for failings early on. * "The global pandemic alert system is not fit for purpose," said the preliminary report by the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response, an independent panel commissioned by the WHO. * "The WHO has been underpowered to do the job."What they're saying: China's public health measures "could have been applied more forcefully by local and national health authorities" in January, said the report's panel of experts, led by former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. * The experts noted it was unclear why the WHO did not meet until the third week of January 2020, nor why it was unable to agree to declaring a Public Health Emergency of International Concern until a week later.What to watch: A World Health Organization team of researchers is in Wuhan, China, investigating the origins of the pandemic. * Tedros said his focus is on the roll-out of the global vaccine-sharing scheme COVAX, which is due to begin next month. Over 180 countries have signed up to the WHO-led scheme. * He hopes that by World Health Day on April 7, COVID-19 vaccines "are being administered in every country, as a symbol of hope for overcoming both the pandemic and the inequalities that lie at the root of so many global health challenges."Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
A new visa will give 5.4m Hong Kong residents the right to resettle in Britain. How many will leave?
- The Telegraph
Miners trapped underground in eastern China for more than a week after a blast at a gold mine have managed to send up a note to rescuers, the local government said on Monday. The blast occurred eight days ago on Sunday afternoon at a mine near Qixia city in eastern Shandong province, leaving 22 miners trapped underground more than 600 metres from the mine’s entrance. After a long period without any contact, rescuers were able to drill through the mine on Sunday afternoon and said they heard "knocking sounds". A note was then sent up from the trapped miners saying that 12 were still alive, the local government said in a statement Monday. "We are in urgent need of cold medicine, painkillers, medical tape, external anti-inflammatory drugs, and three people have high blood pressure," the note read.
- National Review
A Russian judge ruled Monday that opposition leader Alexei Navalny must remain in retail detention for 30 days after he was detained on Sunday immediately upon his return to Moscow, where he traveled after recovering in Germany from a near-fatal poisoning attack. “The court arrested Navalny for 30 days. Until February 15,” the judge’s spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh wrote on Twitter. Navalny’s lawyers learned of the Monday morning hearing just minutes before it began at a police station, instead of a normal courtroom, in the outskirts of Moscow. The judge allotted the attorneys just 30 minutes to familiarize themselves with the case and another 20 minutes to speak to their client. Navalny’s spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said the ruling “cannot even be called a parody of the rule of law.” “They detained him at the border, took him to places unknown, his lawyer was not granted access, the hearing was carried out urgently right in the police station and he was detained for 30 days,” Yarmysh said. Navalny was already scheduled to appear at a January 29 hearing on charges that he had violated the parole terms of a previous suspended sentence by staying in Germany while undergoing treatment, the reason for which he was officially detained. He received the earlier suspended prison sentence and probation order in 2014 for embezzlement and money laundering, a case which the European Court of Human Rights in 2018 called politically motivated. He has called the criminal cases against him “fabricated” and said the authorities’ intent is to deter him from returning. After the court’s ruling, Navalny urged people to take to the streets in protest. “Don’t be afraid, take to the streets. Don’t go out for me, go out for yourself and your future,” Navalny said in a video posted to YouTube. Navalny nearly died over the summer after being poisoned by Novichok, a Soviet-era nerve agent. He had been on a flight to Moscow after meeting with supporters in Siberia when he fell ill. The Russian dissident blames Russian President Vladimir Putin for the poisoning, though the Kremlin has denied having any involvement. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday called for the opposition leader’s “immediate and unconditional release,” and said his detention was “the latest in a series of attempts to silence Navalny and other opposition figures.”
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden plans to quickly extend travel restrictions barring travel by most people who have recently been in much of Europe and Brazil soon after President Donald Trump lifted those requirements effective Jan. 26, a spokeswoman for Biden said. Trump signed an order Monday lifting the restrictions he imposed early last year in response to the pandemic - a decision first reported Monday by Reuters - after winning support from coronavirus task force members and public health officials. Soon after Trump's order was made public, Biden spokeswoman Jen Psaki tweeted "on the advice of our medical team, the Administration does not intend to lift these restrictions on 1/26."
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) called on his Republican Party to rebuild itself and "repudiate the nonsense that has set our party on fire" in an in an op-ed for The Atlantic Saturday on the QAnon conspiracy theory.Why it matters: Many of the mob involved in the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol Hill riots wore items signaling their support for the far-right QAnon and a prominent member of the cult was among those arrested following the siege.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here. * Several Republicans who ran for Congress last year publicly supported or defended the QAnon movement or some of its tenets — something Sasee noted in his op-ed, headlined "QAnon is Destroying the GOP From Within." * Sasse blames the violence on "the blossoming of a rotten seed that took root in the Republican Party some time ago and has been nourished by treachery, poor political judgment, and cowardice."Driving the news: Sasse wrote in his op-ed that "until last week, many party leaders and consultants thought they could preach the Constitution while winking at QAnon." * "They can't," he added. "The GOP must reject conspiracy theories or be consumed by them. Now is the time to decide what this party is about." * Sasse criticized House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) for not denouncing QAnon supporter Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) when she was running for Congress in 2020. * "She's already announced plans to try to impeach Joe Biden on his first full day as president," Sasse wrote. "She'll keep making fools out of herself, her constituents, and the Republican Party."Worth noting: Sasse said before the House impeached President Trump for a second time he'd consider "definitely consider" any articles of impeachment against him over his conduct and comments at a rally before the riots. * The Nebraska senator criticized Trump's embrace of QAnon supporters last August, warning that Democrats could "take the Senate" this "will be a big part of why they won." * Months later, the Democrats went on to win control of the Senate.The bottom line: Sasse wrote that his party faces a choice when Trump leaves office: "We can dedicate ourselves to defending the Constitution and perpetuating our best American institutions and traditions, or we can be a party of conspiracy theories."Go deeper: * The Capitol siege's QAnon roots * House freshmen at war after Capitol siegeSupport safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
- The Independent
Flight passenger who assisted dying man with Covid-19 says he was given $200 credit for ‘inconvenience’
Man who helped fellow passenger experiencing respiratory failure on plane said phone call and voucher from airline felt like ‘slap in the face’
Yosemite National Park officials are asking the public’s help for any information regarding a 41-year-old Asian woman who went missing after going on a day hike to the Upper Yosemite Fall last week. The woman was identified as "Alice" Yu Xie, a Chinese national living in the United States, according to a post shared by the park on Saturday. “If you were on the trail to the top of Yosemite Falls on January 14 or 15, 2021, even if you did not see this individual, or have any information regarding this individual, please call 209/372-0216 during business hours, or Yosemite Emergency Communications Center at 209/379-1992 after hours,” the park said.
- The Telegraph
US President-elect Joe Biden plans to quickly extend travel restrictions barring travel by most people who have recently been in the UK and much of Europe and Brazil soon after President Donald Trump lifted those requirements effective from Jan. 26. Mr Trump signed an order Monday lifting the restrictions he imposed early last year in response to the pandemic after winning support from coronavirus task force members and public health officials. Soon after Mr Trump's order was made public, Biden spokeswoman Jen Psaki tweeted "on the advice of our medical team, the Administration does not intend to lift these restrictions on 1/26." She added: "With the pandemic worsening, and more contagious variants emerging around the world, this is not the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel." Until Mr Biden acts, Mr Trump's order ends restrictions the same day that new Covid-19 test requirements take effect for all international visitors. Mr Trump is due to leave office on Wednesday. Last week, the head of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention signed an order requiring nearly all air travellers to present a negative coronavirus test or proof of recovery from Covid-19 to enter the United States starting on Jan. 26. The restrictions Mr Trump rescinded have barred nearly all non-US citizens who within the last 14 days have been in Brazil, the United Kingdom, Ireland and the 26 countries of the Schengen area in Europe that allow travel across open borders. The US restrictions barring most visitors from Europe have been in place since mid-March when Mr Trump signed proclamations imposing them, while the Brazilian entry ban was imposed in May. Ms Psaki added that "in fact, we plan to strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of Covid-19."