Public health officials reported 4,699 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Illinois on Monday, the lowest daily case count since late October, as the state's average infection rate also continued to decline. Katie Johnston reports.
- Associated Press
- NBC News
Jacob Fracker, an off duty police officer charged in connection with the violent riots at the U.S. Capitol, is a member of the Virginia National Guard, an official said on Thursday, becoming the first known person currently in the military to be arrested over last week's events. President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, forcing lawmakers to flee the inner chambers of the building, fearing for their lives. On Wednesday, the Department of Justice said Fracker, along with another off duty police officer, Thomas Robertson, were charged after they were photographed inside the Capitol "making an obscene statement in front of a statue of (Revolutionary hero) John Stark."
- The Telegraph
- Associated Press
- Charlotte Observer
An Army private first class was arraigned on sexual assault charges before a military judge.
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told President Donald Trump in a letter this week that the attack on the Capitol could tarnish the legacy of the administration. In the Jan. 12 letter, Azar cited what he called the administration's successes, including the rapid development of coronavirus vaccines and therapeutics, which he said saved "hundreds of thousands or even millions of American lives." But, Azar, who will remain on the job until President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20, voiced concern that last week's mob siege of the Capitol building and Trump's unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud "threaten to tarnish these and other historic legacies of this administration."
- Associated Press
- NBC News
As blizzard conditions impacted parts of the Midwest, two Southern California coastal locations registered a national high temperature of 94.
- The Telegraph
- The Week
President Trump's approval rating has fallen to the lowest level of his presidency, with a significant drop among Republicans.In the latest Pew Research Center poll released Friday, Trump received a job approval rating of 29 percent, which is his lowest-ever number in this poll and a decline of nine percentage points from August. Additionally, Pew notes that "much of the decline has come among Republicans and GOP leaners," 60 percent of whom approve of Trump's job performance compared to 77 percent in August.Additionally, Pew found that Trump voters "have grown more critical of their candidate's post-election conduct," as the "share of his supporters who describe his conduct as poor has doubled over the past two months, from 10 percent to 20 percent." The poll also found that only 29 percent of respondents said Trump should remain a major figure in U.S. politics in the years to come, while 68 percent said he shouldn't be.The poll was conducted in the wake of last week's deadly attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob, which led to Trump becoming the first president in American history to be impeached twice. In the poll, three-quarters of respondents said Trump bears either a lot or some responsibility for the riot, while only 24 percent said he isn't responsible at all. Ahead of his upcoming Senate impeachment trial, 54 percent of respondents also said it would be better for Trump to be removed from office than finish his term, a possibility that has been ruled out due to the trial not being expected to begin until President-elect Joe Biden is in office.Pew Research Center conducted its poll by surveying 5,360 U.S. adults from Jan. 8-12. The margin of error is 1.9 percentage points. Read more at Pew Research Center.More stories from theweek.com Trump's vaccine delay is getting suspicious 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment The worst-case scenario for America's immediate future
China promised on Saturday to donate 500,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses to the Philippines as the two countries signed infrastructure deals aimed at boosting post-pandemic recovery efforts, officials said. Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte imposed one of the world's longest and strictest lockdowns to contain the virus in March last year - bringing one of Asia's fastest-growing economies to a standstill. "As a friend of the Philippines and your closest neighbour, we will firmly stand with the people of the Philippines until the defeat of this virus," senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi said during a meeting with the Philippines' foreign minister.
- Yahoo News Video
A friendly $100 wager over the 2020 presidential election has landed in a Florida small claims court.
- Architectural Digest
- Associated Press
A 16-year-old boy has admitted fatally shooting his newborn daughter and leaving her body inside a fallen tree in the woods in southern Wisconsin, according to prosecutors. Logan Kruckenburg-Anderson, of Albany, is charged as an adult with first-degree intentional homicide and hiding a corpse. According to a criminal complaint, the teen took the infant shortly after she was born Jan. 5 to a wooded area in Albany, about 80 miles (129 kilometers) southwest of Milwaukee, placed her inside a fallen tree and shot her twice in the head.
- The Guardian
Critics condemn ‘callous betrayal’ after Trump officials set in motion transfer of Oak Flat to Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton Protesters in Oak Flat in June 2015. Oak Flat is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its spiritual and cultural significance. Photograph: Ross D Franklin/AP As one of its last acts, the Trump administration has set in motion the transfer of sacred Native American lands to a pair of Anglo-Australian mining conglomerates. The 2,422-acre Arizona parcel called Oak Flat is of enormous significance to the Western Apache and is now on track for destruction by what is slated to be one of the largest copper mining operations in the United States. Steps for the controversial land transfer from the US government, which owns the land, to the miners were completed on Friday morning, when a final environmental assessment was published. The government must soon transfer title to the land. Native Americans in the area have compared it to historical attacks on their tribes. “What was once gunpowder and disease is now replaced with bureaucratic negligence,” said Wendsler Nosie, founder of activist organization Apache Stronghold and a member of the Apache band descended from Geronimo. “Native people are treated as something invisible or gone. We are not. We don’t want to be pushed around any more.” The move comes after the administration sped up the environmental approval process for the transfer by a full year. During a meeting with environmental groups, regional Forest Service officials attributed the accelerated timeline to “pressure from the highest levels” of the US Department of Agriculture, though the government says it is only because the work was finished more quickly than expected. The recipient of the land is a firm called Resolution Copper, which was set up by the miners Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton. “The Forest Service is clearly jumping through flaming hoops to get this done for Rio Tinto before Trump leaves office,” said Randy Serraglio, conservation advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity. He called it “a callous betrayal of Native people who value the land as sacred.” Last May, Rio Tinto blasted a sacred Aboriginal site in western Australia’s Juukan Gorge. The widespread public outcry and investor revolt over the destruction led the Rio Tinto chairman, Simon Thompson, to promise that the company would “never again” destroy sites of “exceptional archaeological and cultural significance” during mining operations. The Resolution Copper east plant near Superior in Arizona. Photograph: Nancy Wiechec/Reuters Called Chi’chil Bildagoteel in Apache, Oak Flat is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its spiritual and cultural significance to at least a dozen south-west Native American tribes. It contains hundreds of indigenous archaeological sites dating back 1,500 years and is a place where Apache tribes have performed ceremonies for centuries. Yet thousands of feet beneath Oak Flat is a copper deposit estimated to be one of the largest in the world and worth more than $1bn. If the mine goes forward as planned, it will consume 11 square miles, including Apache burial grounds, sacred sites, petroglyphs and medicinal plants. Unbeknown to tribes and environmental groups who had long opposed mining Oak Flat, the land transfer was passed by Congress and signed by Barack Obama in December 2014 as a last-minute rider to a Department of Defense spending bill. The legislation calls for giving Oak Flat to Resolution Copper in exchange for 5,736 acres of its privately held land across Arizona that are desirable for recreation or conservation. While conducting its environmental review, the Forest Service acknowledged that the mine will destroy sites sacred to Native Americans but claimed the loss was an unavoidable consequence of the land exchange mandate. The San Carlos Apache Tribe filed a lawsuit in US district court in Phoenix on Thursday alleging, among other things, that by moving forward with the land exchange the Forest Service is violating the National Historic Preservation Act, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and an 1852 treaty between the United States and Western Apache tribes. On Friday, the judge denied a request to delay publication of the environmental assessment, and ruled that the transfer could take place in 55 days. In a separate action this week, Apache Stronghold filed a lien on Oak Flat claiming that the land was owned by the Apache according to the 1852 treaty – under which Oak Flat was deemed a part of the Apache homeland – and the Forest Service did not have legal title to the property. The Arizona representative Raúl Grijalva and Vermont senator Bernie Sanders also plan to introduce the Save Oak Flat Act in Congress to repeal the land exchange. Tribes and environmental groups are hopeful Oak Flat can still be preserved. “There are plenty of things an incoming Biden administration can do to stop this,” said Serraglio of the Center for Biological Diversity. Even if Oak Flat ends up in the hands of Resolution Copper through title transfer “there is no guarantee they will be able to get any of the other federal permits to actually do the mine”.
- The Telegraph
Wearing a giant furry hat, black leather jacket and a beaming smile, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un introduced “the world’s strongest weapon” – a new submarine-launched ballistic missile – at a nighttime parade on Thursday in Pyongyang. The display of North Korea’s military might followed a rare congress of the ruling Workers' Party, during which leader Kim denounced the United States as his country's “foremost principal enemy” and vowed to strengthen the North’s nuclear war deterrent. On Friday, the reclusive regime’s state media released 100 photos of a mass celebration of the national armory, including tanks and rocket launchers, all flanked by rows of marching soldiers, noticeably not wearing masks. Military aircraft were illuminated by LED lights as they flew overhead in formation. “They’d like us to notice that they’re getting more proficient with larger solid rocket boosters,” tweeted Ankit Panda, a North Korea expert and author of ‘Kim Jong Un and the Bomb’, as the parade unfolded in Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung square. As the spectacle reached its climax, the military rolled out what analysts said appeared to be new variants of solid-fuel short-range ballistic missiles – which are more quickly deployed than liquid-fuelled versions - and four Pukguksong-class submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs).
- The Week
Less than a week before the inauguration, Vice President Mike Pence has reportedly called Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to offer his congratulations.Pence and Harris spoke over the phone Thursday, with Pence congratulating the incoming vice president and offering "his belated assistance," The New York Times reported on Friday and The Associated Press confirmed.This is the first time Pence and Harris have spoken since their debate in October, and the call was "described as gracious and pleasant," the Times writes. President Trump has yet to speak with President-elect Joe Biden since the election, having spent more than two months falsely claiming to have won.Pence may invite Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, to the vice-presidential residence prior to next week's inauguration, according to the Times, though this is reportedly not set in stone due to scheduling issues created by the ongoing security concerns following last week's Capitol riot.Trump is reportedly expected to leave Washington, D.C. the morning of the inauguration. The president previously confirmed he will skip Biden's swearing-in, but Pence is expected to attend.More stories from theweek.com Trump's vaccine delay is getting suspicious 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment The worst-case scenario for America's immediate future