Typically this time of year would be busy for rideshare drivers taking people to and from New Years parties and outings, but things have changed because of the pandemic and some are struggling to make ends meet.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- The Week
Capitol Police chief apologizes for riot 'failings,' acknowledges 'we knew that there was a strong potential for violence'
The acting chief of the U.S. Capitol Police has offered an apology to lawmakers following the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol building, acknowledging the department "should have been more prepared." Yogananda Pittman, the acting Capitol Police chief, apologized to Congress during a closed-door briefing on Tuesday for "our failings" during the riot at the Capitol that left five people dead earlier this month, The New York Times reports. "On Jan. 6, in the face of a terrorist attack by tens of thousands of insurrectionists determined to stop the certification of Electoral College votes, the department failed to meet its own high standards as well as yours," Pittman said, according to remarks obtained by the Times. "We fully expect to answer to you and the American people for our failings on Jan. 6. I am here to offer my sincerest apologies on behalf of the department." Supporters of former President Donald Trump breached the Capitol building as lawmakers met to certify President Biden's election win. Pittman told Congress that Capitol Police "should have been more prepared for this attack" and that prior to the riot, "we knew that there was a strong potential for violence and that Congress was the target." "The department prepared in order to meet these challenges, but we did not do enough," Pittman acknowledged, also praising the officers who "performed valiantly" during the attack as "heroes." The apology from Pittman, who the Times notes wasn't serving as acting chief when the Capitol attack occurred, comes as CNN reports that Capitol Police officers are discussing potentially holding a no-confidence vote against department leaders who were working on the day of the pro-Trump riot. A source told CNN, "The rank-and-file of this department has no faith in any of our chiefs, especially the ones in that were here on Jan. 6." More stories from theweek.comMitch McConnell is the GOATSarah Huckabee Sanders' shameless campaign for governorTrump's impeachment lawyer said he thinks 'the facts and the law will speak for themselves'
- 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.
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.
- National Review
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Monday evening that he expects that the impeachment trial of former president Trump will move “relatively quickly” and won’t require many witnesses. “The trial will be done in a way that is fair but … relatively quickly,” Schumer said during an interview with MSNBC that was broadcast Monday night. “I don’t think there’s a need for a whole lot of witnesses,” the New York Democrat said, adding that Democrats will “not let the Republicans be dilatory.” House impeachment managers delivered the single article of impeachment against Trump for “incitement of insurrection” to the Senate on Monday. House Democrats filed the impeachment article after the Capitol riot on January 6 when Trump supporters forced their way past the Capitol Police and marauded through the halls of Congress. Prior to the violence, which ended with five dead, Trump spoke at a rally in front of the White House and encouraged his supporters to “fight like hell.” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had pushed to delay to Senate trial until mid-February to give both the Trump team and Democratic prosecutors time to prepare their arguments. Schumer has said that the impeachment trial will begin the week of February 8. In the impeachment article, Democrats cited the 14th Amendment, which prevents those who “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the U.S. from ever holding public office in the future. If convicted, a separate simple majority vote would be held to determine whether Trump would be barred from running for president in 2024 or any other public office. Some Republicans have criticized what they see as Democrats’ haphazard approach to the impeachment process. Senator Marco Rubio said Trump is entitled to “due process,” and cautioned that “the House doesn’t have much of a record of witnesses because they rammed it through very quickly.” “The first chance I get to vote to end this trial, I will do it, because I think it’s really bad for America,” Rubio said.
- Architectural Digest
Let’s get loudOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- The Independent
Missouri senator has faced calls to resign over objection to Biden election win
- Associated Press
Authorities in Singapore said Wednesday that they had detained without trial a 16-year-old student who made detailed plans and preparations to launch “terrorist attacks” on two mosques with a machete. The Internal Security Department said the Singaporean teen was inspired by an Australian gunman who killed 51 worshippers at two mosques in New Zealand in 2019. The teen was detained in December, and was the youngest terror suspect to be held under the country's Internal Security Act, it added.
Britain will be able to work with the European Union to ensure there is no disruption to vaccine supplies, Health Minister Matt Hancock said on Tuesday, arguing protectionism was not right during a pandemic. German Health Minister Jens Spahn earlier said he backed proposals to restrict vaccines leaving the EU, saying Europe should have its "fair share". The European Commission later said it had no plans to impose an export ban, explaining its proposal would require firms to register vaccine exports.
- The Week
Lots of things went wrong with law enforcement before and during the Jan. 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol by a mob of supporters of former President Donald Trump, and one of them was the long delay in deployment of National Guard reinforcements. Those failures were the focus of a closed-door hearing Tuesday before the House Appropriations Committee, and among those who testified was Maj. Gen. William Walker, commander of the D.C. National Guard. Walker told The Washington Post on Tuesday that the Pentagon had tied his hands. Because Washington, D.C., isn't a state, the president is nominally in charge of the D.C. National Guard. In practice, the defense secretary and Army secretary are in command, but Walker, like all National Guard commanders, typically has the power to take military action in an emergency. "All military commanders normally have immediate response authority to protect property, life, and in my case, federal functions — federal property and life," Walker told the Post. "But in this instance I did not have that authority." In a Jan. 5 memo, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, who was Walker's direct superior until he stepped down last week, prohibited Walker from deploying a ready force of 40 Guardsmen without a formal "concept of operations" plan, the Post reports. In a Jan. 4 memo, acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller had prohibited McCarthy from authorizing the deployment of D.C. Guardsmen carrying helmets, body armor, riot control agents, or weapons without his approval, and said the quick reaction force could be dispatched "only as a last resort." Pentagon officials say the requirement for top-level authorization was a response to the D.C. Guard's participation in Trump's widely criticized crackdown on racial justice protests in June. "When you go back to times when we've done this, like June, we wanted to make sure we were very careful about the employment — careful about fragmentary orders," McCarthy told the Post. There was also concern at the Pentagon about sending soldiers nominally under Trump's command into a riot of Trump supporters, because that might give the impression Guardsmen were aiding a pro-Trump coup, the Post reports. Those concerns, valid as they may be, don't explain why it took three hours for the Pentagon to deploy the National Guard after the rioters had already overrun the Capitol. Read more at The Washington Post. More stories from theweek.comMitch McConnell is the GOATSarah Huckabee Sanders' shameless campaign for governorTrump's impeachment lawyer said he thinks 'the facts and the law will speak for themselves'
- Yahoo News Video
In remarks on Tuesday, President Biden said his administration will increase COVID-19 vaccine doses to states from 8.6 million to 10 million every week. He also said that states and territories will get a three-week forecast of vaccine supply.
Known to millions around the world for her staunch defence of Trump, now it's her turn to speak for herself.
- 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.
Global coronavirus cases surpassed 100 million on Wednesday, according to a Reuters tally, as countries around the world struggle with new virus variants and vaccine shortfalls. The European Union is asking AstraZeneca to publish the contract it signed with the bloc on COVID-19 vaccine supplies, an EU official said, in an escalation of the row over delivery delays. The company pulled out of a meeting with the European Union scheduled for Wednesday.
- The Independent
Joe Biden’s inaugural ceremony viewership surpassed Donald Trump’s
Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny is being used by the West to try to destabilise Russia, a prominent hardliner and ally of President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday, saying he must be held to account for repeatedly breaking the law. Navalny was remanded in custody for 30 days last week after returning from Germany where he had been recovering from a nerve agent poisoning. Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Security Council, called for Navalny to face the full force of the law in comments that offered a glimpse into the mood inside Russia's security establishment after tens of thousands of Navalny's supporters protested against his jailing on Saturday.
- 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.
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.