The latest on coronavirus in Maryland.
- The Independent
Kayleigh McEnany leaves White House after final two-minute press briefing following deadly Capitol riot
Trump’s press secretary refused to take questions following the deadly insurrection at the US Capitol earlier this month
- Associated Press
From “emaciated” refugees to crops burned on the brink of harvest, starvation threatens the survivors of more than two months of fighting in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. The first humanitarian workers to arrive after pleading with the Ethiopian government for access describe weakened children dying from diarrhea after drinking from rivers. A local official told a Jan. 1 crisis meeting of government and aid workers that hungry people had asked for “a single biscuit.”
- The Telegraph
Scientists say Colombia must cull its so-called “cocaine hippos” that roam the Magdalena river basin as they are breeding voraciously and are an increasing menace. The marshlands of Colombia have been home to these giant mammals since they were illegally imported in the late 1980s by the notorious drug lord, Pablo Escobar. When he was shot dead in 1993, the Colombian government took control of his extravagant estate, including his personal zoo. Most of the animals were shipped away, but four hippos were left to fend for themselves in a pond, and now there are dozens of them living in the wild. Although nobody knows exactly how many there are, estimates put the total number between 80 and 100, making them the largest invasive species on the planet. Scientists forecast that the number of hippos will swell to almost 1,500 by 2040. They conclude, that at that point, environmental impacts will be irreversible and numbers impossible to control. “Nobody likes the idea of shooting a hippo, but we have to accept that no other strategy is going to work,” ecologist Nataly Castelblanco-Martínez told The Telegraph.
- NBC News
She displayed “a round metallic object later identified as a Military Police Challenge Coin” and said she was part of law enforcement, police said.
- 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.
- Yahoo News Video
A 16-year-old boy has admitted to fatally shooting his newborn daughter and leaving her body inside a fallen tree in the woods in Wisconsin, according to prosecutors.
- Associated Press
Guatemalan soldiers blocked part of a caravan of as many as 9,000 Honduran migrants Saturday at a point not far from where they entered the country seeking to reach the U.S. border. The soldiers, many wearing helmets and wielding shields and sticks, formed ranks across a highway in Chiquimula, near the Honduras border, to block the procession of migrants. Guatemala’s immigration agency distributed a video showing a couple of hundred men scuffling with soldiers, pushing and running through their lines, even as troops held hundreds more back.
- The Week
Israel has vaccinated at least 25 percent of its population against the coronavirus so far, which leads the world and makes it "the country to country watch for herd effects from" the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, says infectious disease expert David Fishman. Recently, the case rate in Israel appears to have declined sharply, and while there could be a few reasons for that, it's possible the vaccination effort is beginning to play a role.> Israel's reproduction number appears to have declined rather sharply in recent days, with around 25% of the country vaccinated, and some additional percentage having at least partial immunity via prior infection. pic.twitter.com/sVyCYYd9dj> > — David Fisman (@DFisman) January 17, 2021One study from Clalit that was published last week reports that 14 days after receiving the first Pfizer-BioNTech shot, infection rates among 200,000 Israelis older than 60 fell 33 percent among those vaccinated compared to 200,000 from the same demographic who hadn't received a jab.At first glance, Fishman writes, that might seem disappointing since clinical trials suggested the vaccine was more than 90 percent effective. But he actually believes the 33 percent figure is "auspicious." Because vaccinated and non-vaccinated people are mingling, there could be "herd effects of immunization." In other words, when inoculated people interact with people who haven't had their shot, the latter individual may still be protected because the other person is. On a larger scale, that would drive down the number of infections among non-vaccinated people, thus shrinking the rate gap between the two groups. > Estimated vaccine efficacy is a function of relative risk of infection in the vaccinated...when there is indirect protection via herd effects, we expect efficacy estimates to decrease because the risk among unvaccinated individuals declines.> > — David Fisman (@DFisman) January 17, 2021More data needs to come in, and Fishman thinks "we'll know more" this week, but he's cautiously optimistic about how things are going.More stories from theweek.com 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment How 'bewildered' Trump campaign aides would reportedly discreetly escape election challenge meetings New Yorker reporter's footage provides 'clearest view yet' of Capitol rioters inside Senate chamber
- The Telegraph
Almost a third of recovered Covid patients will end up back in hospital within five months and one in eight will die, alarming new figures have shown. Research by Leicester University and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found there is a devastating long-term toll on survivors of severe coronavirus, with many people developing heart problems, diabetes and chronic liver and kidney conditions. Out of 47,780 people who were discharged from hospital in the first wave, 29.4 per cent were readmitted to hospital within 140 days, and 12.3 per cent of the total died. The current cut-off point for recording Covid deaths is 28 days after a positive test, so it may mean thousands more people should be included in the coronavirus death statistics. Researchers have called for urgent monitoring of people who have been discharged from hospital.
- The Independent
Police discover more than 500 rounds of ammunition at checkpoint into security-heavy capital
Guatemalan security forces on Sunday used sticks and tear gas to beat back a large migrant caravan bound for the United States, just days before the advent of a new U.S. administration, which urged travelers to abandon the journey. Between 7,000 and 8,000 migrants, including families with young children, have entered Guatemala since Friday, authorities say, fleeing poverty and violence in a region hammered by the coronavirus pandemic and back-to-back hurricanes in November. A large section of the caravan clashed on a road early on Sunday with Guatemalan security officials, some 3,000 of whom had mustered by the village of Vado Hondo, about 55 km (34 miles) from the borders of Honduras and El Salvador.
- Associated Press
New satellite images of a refugee camp in Ethiopia’s embattled Tigray region show more than 400 structures have been badly damaged in what a research group believes is the latest “intentional attack” by fighters. The report by the U.K.-based DX Open Network nonprofit, shared with The Associated Press, says “it is likely that the fire events of 16 January are yet another episode in a series of military incursions on the camp as reported by (the United Nations refugee agency).” The Shimelba camp is one of four that hosted 96,000 refugees from nearby Eritrea when fighting erupted in early November between Ethiopian forces and those of the defiant Tigray region.
- The Week
Alexey Navalny, a Russian opposition leader and fierce critic of the Kremlin, flew back to Moscow following five months in Berlin, where he was recovering after he was allegedly poisoned by Russia's FSB spy agency. At airport border control, Navalny kissed his wife goodbye before Russian law enforcement promptly detained him, as expected.> BREAKING: Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny detained at border control by policeman pic.twitter.com/P2zpnfOtNN> > -- Amichai Stein (@AmichaiStein1) January 17, 2021Moscow's prison service said it had orders to arrest Navalny because he violated conditions after an embezzlement conviction. Navalny, one of Russian Putin Vladimir Putin's top rivals, has maintained the charges were politically motivated. Still, while he was always aware of his impending detainment, he told reporters it never crossed his mind not to return home to Moscow. "This is my home," he told reporters who traveled with him. "I'm not scared of anything."Alexei Makarin, the deputy director of the Center for Political Technologies in Moscow, told Bloomberg that Navalny could have stayed in Germany, but in that case the Russian people "would quickly lose interest in him." Now, the anti-corruption activist may be seen as a "symbol of resistance behind bars and a big risk for Putin."Navalny's wife and lawyer, however, opted to wait behind passport control where Navalny was taken, which reportedly suggests there's a chance he'll be released "with a writ of summons."As far as the United States is concerned, if Russia does continue to hold Navalny, former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul argues it will be the first big foreign policy test for the Biden administration. > Three days before his swearing in, @JoeBiden and his new national security team was just handed their first major foreign policy crisis from Putin- how to respond to @navalny arrest.> > -- Michael McFaul (@McFaul) January 17, 2021More stories from theweek.com 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment How 'bewildered' Trump campaign aides would reportedly discreetly escape election challenge meetings New Yorker reporter's footage provides 'clearest view yet' of Capitol rioters inside Senate chamber
The white woman caught on tape getting into a physical altercation with a Black female security guard the evening before the Capitol riots lost her job at UMass Hospital. The termination occurred after her daughter went viral for exposing her identity on social media. On January 5th, Therese Duke and a group of pro-Trump protesters that included other family members were filmed harassing Ashanti Smith, a security guard working at Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington D.C.
- The Independent
Biden’s plan to get 100m Americans vaccinated in first 100 days is ‘doable,’ Dr Fauci says
An aftershock jolted Indonesia's Sulawesi island on Saturday as rescue workers combed the rubble of collapsed buildings for survivors after an earthquake killed at least 46 people on Friday and sent thousands of residents fleeing in panic. The country's disaster mitigation agency said no damage or casualties were reported from Saturday's magnitude-5.0 tremor in the West Sulawesi districts of Mamuju and Majene, which shook the area a day after the magnitude-6.2 quake. Agency head Doni Monardo told local TV the search continued for people who could still be trapped alive under rubble, and a spokesman told reporters emergency measures had been put in place in the province to help rescue efforts.
- Associated Press
President-elect Joe Biden will deliver an appeal to national unity when he is sworn in Wednesday and plans immediate moves to combat the coronavirus pandemic and undo some of President Donald Trump’s most controversial policies, his incoming chief of staff said Sunday. Biden intends a series of executive actions in his first hours after his inauguration, an opening salvo in what is shaping up as a 10-day blitz of steps to reorient the country without waiting for Congress, aide Ron Klain said. Biden will end Trump’s restriction on immigration to the U.S. from some Muslim-majority countries, move to rejoin the Paris climate accord and mandate mask-wearing on federal property and during interstate travel.
- The Telegraph
Angela Merkel’s party elected her centrist ally Armin Laschet as its new leader on Saturday, putting him in pole position to succeed her as chancellor later this year. The 59-year-old Mr Laschet openly pitched himself to the Christian Democrat party (CDU) as the continuity candidate to inherit Mrs Merkel's mantle when she steps down at September’s elections after 15 years in power . “We'll only win if we stay strong in the middle of society,” Mr Laschet told party delegates in his final pitch for their votes. “We have to win, not because we want to win, but because we have to for our country, for our future.” His victory was a clear rejection of his main rival, Friedrich Merz, who campaigned on a pledge to reverse years of centrism under Mrs Merkel and take the party back to its conservative roots. Mr Laschet prevailed easily, winning the votes of 521 party delegates to 466 for Mr Merz in the final round of voting. A third contender, Norbert Röttgen, was eliminated in the first round. The vote was held online because of the coronavirus pandemic. The party will hope the result will finally put an end to years of division over its idoleogical direction. For Mr Merz, the perennial ghost at the CDU banquet, the dream of becoming chancellor is surely over after losing two leadership elections in three years.
- Miami Herald
Cindy Falco Dicorrado may have wanted a bagel at an Einstein Bros. Bagels near Boca Raton but she may have had to settle for eating one in a Palm Beach County jail the next morning.
- Associated Press
President-elect Joe Biden on Saturday filled out his State Department team with a group of former career diplomats and veterans of the Obama administration, signaling his desire to return to a more traditional foreign policy after four years of uncertainty and unpredictability under President Donald Trump. Biden will nominate Wendy Sherman as deputy secretary of state and Victoria Nuland as undersecretary of state for political affairs — the second- and third-highest ranking posts, respectively.