A look at the breakdown of which areas are in what tier of coronavirusrestrictions, and what that means, as millions more in the South East prepareto enter Tier 4 restrictions on Boxing Day.
- The Independent
Local newspapers turn on Lauren Boebert as 68 state politicians demand investigation into Capitol riot role
Lauren Boebert is under fire for sharing details about the location of the House speaker during the Capitol riots
Bee Nguyen, Georgia's first Vietnamese American state representative, donned an áo dài to her swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday. Regarded as the most popular national costume of Vietnam, the áo dài for women is a long dress with a contoured top that flows over loose-fitting trousers that reach the sole of the feet. Nguyen, 39, decided to wear the garment in response to the Capitol siege on Jan. 6, in which rioters carried the South Vietnamese flag.
- Associated Press
A white military veteran shot and wounded a 15-year-old girl when he fired his gun into a car carrying four Black teenagers during a tense confrontation at a Trump rally near the Iowa Capitol last month. Michael McKinney, 25, is charged with attempted murder in the Dec. 6 shooting in Des Moines. McKinney, who was heavily armed and wearing body armor, told police he fired the shot in self-defense.
- The Week
FBI says over 100 people arrested for Capitol siege, including 'liberal activist,' Confederate flag bearer
FBI Director Christopher Wray, in his first public comments since the Jan. 6 violent siege of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Trump, said Thursday that law enforcement has arrested more than 100 people in connection with the assault and is aware of "an extensive amount of concerning online chatter" ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's Jan. 20 inauguration.Most of those arrested so far have been far-right militants, off-duty police, retired military personnel, GOP officials, QAnon adherents, and white supremacists. For example, the man photographed carrying a Confederate battle flag through the Capitol, Kevin Seefried, and his son, Hunter Seefried, surrendered to the FBI in Delaware on Thursday, the Justice Department said.Embed from Getty ImagesAuthorities also arrested "liberal activist" John Sullivan on Thursday, making him, Politico says, "the first person to be charged who appears to have been active in liberal causes." Sullivan, who filmed the siege, claims he was just following the rioters as a "journalist," but the FBI said his own video showed him to be a booster of the lawlessness and even an active participant.Trump supporters, including Rudy Giuliani, and conservative media outlets pointed to Sullivan's arrest to bolster their counterfactual claim that "antifa" or Black Lives Matter were actually behind the assault on the Capitol. But "even before his arrest, left wing activists had described concerns in that community, going back some time, that Sullivan was a provocateur working with others, including his brother James, who has ties to the Proud Boys and runs a pro-Trump organization," Marcy Wheeler notes at EmptyWheel.> pic.twitter.com/oRri9hyHGv> > — New York City Antifa (@NYCAntifa) January 7, 2021"Sullivan's presence in the Capitol, and his previous record of anti-Trump activism, has been the focus of frenzied attention in the right-wing media," Robert Mackey reports at The Intercept, while "left-wing organizers have been keen to stress that they ejected Sullivan from their ranks months ago." Since adopting the nom de guerre "Activist John" last summer, Mackey notes, Sullivan has been blacklisted by "left-wing organizers associated with Black Lives Matter and antifascism in Utah, California, and the Pacific Northwest" who say he's "either a right-wing infiltrator or a dangerously naive amateur."More stories from theweek.com Do Democrats realize the danger they are in? America's rendezvous with reality What 'Blue Lives Matter' was always about
- Yahoo News Video
A racing pigeon has survived an extraordinary 13,000-kilometer (8,000-mile) Pacific Ocean crossing from the United States to find a new home in Australia. Now authorities consider the bird a quarantine risk and plan to kill it.
- NBC News
A Senate aide said they do not expect this to “significantly delay the confirmation process" for Avril Haines.
Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte is one of the most popular presidents in the world, in spite — or perhaps in part because of — his history of prejudiced remarks about women, gay people and minority groups.Driving the news: Polls suggest his daughter and successor as mayor of Davao City, Sara Duterte, is the electorate's top choice to succeed him as president in 2022. But he said Thursday that Sara would not be running.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here. * The presidency, he said, is "not meant for women," as they have a different "emotional setup" than men. * Duterte, who frequently complains about the miseries of his job, added that his daughter would “go through what I went through.”What to watch: Duterte is not eligible to seek re-election at the end of his six-year term, though an attempt by his allies to amend the constitution raised speculation he might try to stick around. * “Even if you serve it to me on a silver platter or give me 10 more years for free, I am done,” he said Thursday.Meanwhile, Duterte is facing a Senate investigation into reports that doses of an unapproved Chinese vaccine were smuggled into the Philippines and given to upward of 100,000 Chinese nationals as well as to some of the soldiers assigned to guard Duterte. * Duterte has told the soldiers not to cooperate with the investigation, and his office described the vaccines as a "gift" from China. * Worth noting: Many of the Chinese nationals in question work in offshore gambling. Several illegal medical clinics catering to Chinese nationals working in offshore gambling were discovered in the Philippines last year.Go deeperBe smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.
- Associated Press
A friendly $100 wager over the 2020 Presidential election has landed in a Florida small claims court. Before the election, Sean Hynes, a Trump supporter from St. Petersburg, reached out to Jeffrey Costa, an acquaintance who is a Biden supporter from Atlanta. The deal was sealed on Facebook Messenger: If Trump won, Costa would pay $100.
Federal prosecutors offered an ominous new assessment of last week's siege of the U.S. Capitol by President Donald Trump's supporters on Thursday, saying in a court filing that rioters intended "to capture and assassinate elected officials." Prosecutors offered that view in a filing asking a judge to detain Jacob Chansley, the Arizona man and QAnon conspiracy theorist who was famously photographed wearing horns as he stood at the desk of Vice President Mike Pence in the chamber of the U.S. Senate. The detention memo, written by Justice Department lawyers in Arizona, goes into greater detail about the FBI's investigation into Chansley, revealing that he left a note for Pence warning that "it's only a matter of time, justice is coming."
- The Week
A reserve of second-dose COVID-19 vaccines set to be repurposed as first doses is already empty, state and federal officials briefed on distribution plans tell The Washington Post.Both the coronavirus vaccines currently authorized in the U.S. require two doses to be fully effective. So when first doses began being doled out, the Trump administration held back matching second doses to make sure recipients would be fully protected against COVID-19. Amid a massive demand for more doses, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced earlier this week that the department would begin doling out those reserved doses to more people, saying increased production speed would make up for the soon-to-be-depleted reserve.But as officials soon learned, the federal government had stopped stockpiling second dose vaccines weeks ago, they tell the Post. Both first and second doses were instead taken right off the manufacturing line. That meant Azar's announcement reportedly released a stockpile that didn't exist. The U.S. had already reached its maximum distribution capacity, and new doses distributors were expecting next week weren't coming, the Post reports.HHS spokesperson Michael Pratt confirmed in an email to the Post that the last of the reserve had been taken out for shipment this weekend. He didn't acknowledge Azar's comments, but said Operation Warp Speed had "always intended to transition from holding second doses in reserve as manufacturing stabilizes and we gained confidence in the ability for a consistent flow of vaccines." he also said states had only ordered 75 percent of the vaccines available to them. Read more at The Washington Post.More stories from theweek.com Do Democrats realize the danger they are in? America's rendezvous with reality What 'Blue Lives Matter' was always about
- The Guardian
Gen Salvador Cienfuegos was arrested last October for allegedly shielding a conspiracy to smuggle drugs into the US Gen Salvador Cienfuegos in Mexico City on 14 September 2016. Photograph: Rebecca Blackwell/AP Mexico has exonerated a former defense minister who US prosecutors alleged was a drug capo nicknamed The Godfather, sparking outrage and claims that the country’s powerful armed forces have become untouchable. Gen Salvador Cienfuegos was arrested at a Los Angeles airport last October for allegedly shielding a multimillion-dollar conspiracy to smuggle drugs into the US. But those charges were dropped by the justice department in November as part of a controversial backroom deal and Cienfuegos returned home to Mexico. On Thursday night Mexico’s attorney general’s office announced it was completely absolving Cienfuegos, the defense chief under the former president Enrique Peña Nieto between 2012 and 2018. It claimed its investigators had found the 72-year-old general had neither met nor communicated with “any criminal group”. Mexico’s nationalist president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who is heavily reliant on the military, defended the move at one of his daily early morning press conferences on Friday. López Obrador, who is best known as Amlo, insisted his government opposed impunity and corruption – but nor were “retaliation” or “revenge” acceptable. “You can just invent crimes,” Amlo added, accusing the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of “fabricating” evidence against Cienfuegos. Those remarks will do little to calm anger over the general’s apparent escape from justice, both in Mexico and the US. Ernesto López Portillo, who runs the citizen security program at Mexico’s Ibero-American University, said the most troubling aspect of the saga was not the thought that the attorney general’s office might have given the green light to such impunity. “It’s the possibility that this impunity is the result of the armed forces imposing itself on the president himself. That is the most serious hypothesis of all,” López Portillo tweeted. Mike Vigil, the DEA’s former chief of international operations, told the Associated Press the decision “could be the straw that broke the camel’s back as far as US-Mexico cooperation in counter-drug activities”. Falko Ernst tweeted: “Holding the upper echelons of state power accountable is a necessary condition for breaking Mexico’s perpetual lethal conflict. Today cements a leap away from this.” Denise Dresser, a prominent political observer and government critic, tweeted: “Salvador Cienfuegos’s exoneration shows how the armed forces are untouchable, they are above the law … and will remain beyond democratic scrutiny.” Dresser claimed the exoneration suggested that the armed forces – which she called Mexico’s “new mafia in power” – are in fact governing Latin America’s number two economy. That was a clear reference to Amlo’s longstanding pledge to fight what he calls Mexico’s “mafia of power”. Mexico’s leader won a landslide election in 2018 promising to eradicate corruption and dismantle what he paints as Mexico’s hidden and dishonest elite. On Friday, Mexico’s president insisted he stood by those pledges. But Amlo acknowledged adversaries would use the exoneration “to attack us and convince people that we are all the same, that there has been no change, that we are cover-uppers and accomplices and tools of of vested interest groups and foreign governments”. The former DEA chief Vigil said the exoneration showed that “despite the political rhetoric of wanting to eliminate corruption, such is obviously not the case”. “The rule of law has been significantly violated,” he added.
- The Conversation
Images taken by the media of the Capitol storming could help law enforcement identify participants. Evelyn Hockstein/For The Washington Post via Getty ImagesThe images from the Jan. 6 siege on the United States Capitol will likely be seared into the memories of many Americans. Photographs and video published in print, online and on television showed protesters breaking windows to enter the building, sitting at a desk in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office and confronting an outnumbered Capitol police force. However, it may be the unpublished images that will be of most interest to law enforcement agencies as they track down and arrest as many of the rioters as possible for breaking a range of laws. The agencies may request or demand that news organizations turn over their unpublished material, which would force the media outlets to make uncomfortable choices. Journalists argue that if they are forced to reveal confidential sources or turn over any news information they have gathered but not yet published, it will erode the trust of sources and the public, who will doubt the independence that journalists often claim. Journalists serve the public, not the government. But is the public better served by bringing criminals to justice than protecting a journalistic principle? Conflicting interests Many of the people who participated in the attack on the Capitol building have been identified and arrested, some with help from photos published by the media and selfies and videos taken by the protesters. As the search for more suspects continues, if authorities seek unpublished images from the news media and media outlets willingly cooperate, it could put journalists in greater danger when covering future protests. Protesters may see them as potential informants and physically attack them to avoid being identified later. If the outlets resist and force authorities to issue subpoenas for the images, it is unlikely to improve the media’s standing with a distrustful public because it may appear the news organizations are obstructing justice. Equipment of media crews damaged during clashes after Trump supporters breached U.S. Capitol security. Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images Dangers of covering protests Covering unrest is always dangerous for journalists, but the situation at the Capitol was especially so. The protesters were supporters of President Donald Trump, who has often referred to the media as the “enemy of the people.” Someone carved the words “Murder the Media” into a door in the building, and news outlets lost thousands of dollars of equipment when it was stolen and smashed by protesters. During protests after George Floyd was killed while being taken into police custody last summer, several reporters were injured and possibly targeted by protesters and police officers. In Seattle, police subpoenaed the Seattle Times and several television stations in June 2020 to obtain unpublished images from protests there to identify people suspected of criminal activity. The news organizations challenged the subpoenas in court under Washington state’s shield law, which protects journalists from being forced to name confidential sources or turn over unpublished information to state authorities. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press filed a brief supporting the news organizations’ position, in which it argued that enforcing the subpoena would jeopardize journalists’ safety as well as their editorial independence. A judge ruled against them. Police later dropped the subpoenas because media appeals of the judge’s decision were likely to take too long to resolve. Journalists often fight subpoenas for their materials. kolderal/Moment/Getty Images Legal protections for journalists Because the Capitol siege happened on federal government property, the incident is being investigated by federal authorities, meaning any court challenges to subpoenas would likely end up in federal court. This complicates matters. Forty states have shield laws, but there is no federal shield law. In 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that journalists do not have a First Amendment right to refuse to reveal sources’ identities in response to a valid grand jury subpoena. The Branzburg v. Hayes decision was so divided, however, that many lower federal courts have limited its reach to grand jury situations. This means that journalists have a better chance of winning if they are subpoenaed to provide evidence in civil lawsuits or at criminal trials. The Jan. 6 incident does not involve confidential sources. Some federal courts have ruled that nonconfidential material gathered by journalists, including unpublished images, is also protected from disclosure, but the protection is usually less comprehensive than for confidential material. Given the seriousness of the Capitol incident, which led to five deaths, it would be difficult for journalists to successfully argue that their interests are more important than those of law enforcement. I have been studying the law regarding journalists and their sources for nearly 24 years. To my knowledge, U.S. journalists have rarely made the argument that they could face physical danger if they are forced to turn over information they have gathered. The closest parallel is a Washington Post reporter who successfully fought a subpoena from a war crimes tribunal 20 years ago because of fears of retribution in foreign conflict zones. One possible solution would be for news outlets to publish all images that have not already been published on their websites. That way, both the public and law enforcement agents would have access without a bruising legal battle over making the images available only to the police. A bonus would be that the public would have even more information about what happened.This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts. It was written by: Anthony Fargo, Indiana University. Read more:The insurrection at the Capitol challenged how US media frames unrest and shapes public opinionHow should you read unnamed sources and leaks? Anthony Fargo does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
A chunk of stimulus payments are missing in action, thanks to a mix up that put as many as 13 million checks into invalid bank accounts.Why it matters: The IRS (by law) was supposed to get all payments out by Friday. Now the onus could shift to Americans to claim the money on their tax refund — further delaying relief to struggling, lower-income Americans.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.What's going on: The newest COVID-19 relief bill — signed in the final days of 2020 — mandated the $600 payment to those making up to $75,000 per year (or 150,000 for joint filers) get out by Jan. 15. * The fast turnaround meant “some payments may have been sent to an account that may be closed or, is or no longer active, or unfamiliar,” according to the IRS website.To get a sense of the speed: It took 19 days to distribute half the first-round payments last spring, but two-thirds of payments were out the door just a week after the latest bill became law, according to an analysis by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. * Billions of those dollars are in the process of being returned to the IRS by tax preparers because of the error, though the IRS would not say how many payments were incorrectly deposited. * Jackson Hewitt estimates funds were deposited in 13 million accounts that were no longer open.How it works: These accounts are typically set up by tax prep companies, most often used by financially constrained taxpayers to get their refunds faster. * Some tax preparers told CNBC that the money would be deposited starting Feb. 1. What’s next: It’s up to those whose payments haven’t been disbursed by today to claim what’s owed on their tax return. * “You can wait until the money shows up, or you’re going to file your return and claim your money there,” Janet Holtzblatt, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center and former official at the Treasury Department’s Office of Tax Analysis, tells Axios. * “There’s going to be confusion” about which option to pick.Of note: Any refunds that also claim the earned-income tax credit — which offsets tax bills for lower income workers — can’t be issued before mid-February, prolonging the delay as the Washington Post points out.What to watch: The incoming Biden administration wants to issue another round of direct payments. Depending on the timing, the IRS could be juggling those checks at the height of tax season. * “I can never say with IRS that things are impossible, but it's going to be a challenge to get those payments out during filing season,” Holtzblatt says.You can check the status of your stimulus payment — and whether you can expect it by paper check, debit card or direct deposit — here.Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.
- Miami Herald
As more rioters from the attack on the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6 get arrested, a clearer picture is emerging of who was there that day. At least a handful of Florida residents have been tracked down, thanks in part to video and images widely circulated on social media.
- Architectural Digest
When it came to the lighting in his home, Pardo drew inspiration from the insides of fruits, nuts, and seeds, as well as sea creatures and machine parts.Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- The Week
The Trump administration executed Corey Johnson on Thursday night, after the Supreme Court lifted stays on both Johnson's execution and another one scheduled for Friday. Both Johnson and the other inmate, Dustin Higgs, tested positive for COVID-19, and their lawyers had argued that the execution drug pentobarbital would cause excruciating pain on the COVID-infected lungs. Johnson's lawyers also pointed to evidence that he was severely mentally disabled. The court's three liberal justices voted to halt the execution.Johnson was convicted of killing seven people in a bloody 1992 drug war in Richmond, Virginia. He was pronounced dead at 11:34 p.m., The Associated Press reports, and reporters heard clapping and whistling from a room reserved for the relatives of his victims. What sounded like praying was heard in a room for Johnson's family members. His last words, aimed in their direction, were "love you." He apologized to his victims and their families in a separate statement.Johnson is the 12th federal inmate put to death since President Trump and former Attorney General William Barr ended a 17-year halt on federal capital punishment in July. President-elect Joe Biden, who will be inaugurated in less than a week, is opposed to capital punishment and has pledged to reinstate the moratorium.Higgs' fate is still up in the air due to another legal dispute involving a federal law that requires inmates to be executed using the techniques approved in the states where they were sentenced. Maryland, which convicted Higgs in 2000 for the 1996 killings of Tamika Black, Tanji Jackson, and Mishann Chinn, abolished the death penalty in 2013. An appellate court has scheduled a hearing to consider the legal quandary for Jan. 27, a week after Biden is sworn in. The Justice Department has asked the Supreme Court to step in and overrule that court so Trump can get his 13th and final execution.More stories from theweek.com Do Democrats realize the danger they are in? America's rendezvous with reality What 'Blue Lives Matter' was always about
The United States announced sanctions on Friday against six Hong Kong or Chinese officials it blamed for implementing a new security law in Hong Kong, following the mass arrests of pro-democracy activists this month. Hong Kong police arrested 53 people on Jan. 5 in dawn raids on democracy activists in the biggest crackdown since China last year imposed a security law which opponents say is aimed at quashing dissent in the former British colony. The six people targeted for new sanctions include Frederic Choi, director of the national security division of the Hong Kong police, and Sun Qingye, a deputy to Zheng Yanxiong, who was appointed in July to head a new national security office in Hong Kong.
- The Telegraph
The United States has rejected a call by the United Nations' aid chief to reverse a decision to designate Yemen’s Houthi rebels as a terrorist organisation on the grounds that it would likely trigger a historic famine. Mark Lowcock, the director general of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs told the Security Council on Wednesday that with 50,000 Yemenis already “essentially starving to death in what is essentially a small famine,” blacklisting the rebel group that controls an area home to 70 per cent of the population would likely result in “a massive famine”. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced last week that he would be designating Yemen’s Houthis as a terrorist organisation, one of his final acts during his last weeks in office that he has spent introducing sanctions related to Iran as part of a “maximum pressure” campaign aimed at bringing the Islamic republic to heel. The Yemeni rebel group has controlled the capital Sanaa since 2014 and has launched cross-border strikes on civilian areas in Saudi Arabia, which leads an Arab coalition fighting the Iran-backed group on behalf of the exiled government. On Friday, the Saudi-led coalition said it had shot down another three Houthi drones carrying explosives towards Saudi Arabia. Mr Lowcock did not question the intent of the terrorist designation but said its likely result would be “large-scale famine on a scale that we have not seen for nearly forty years.” While the US said it will introduce measures to reduce the impact of sanctions on humanitarian activity and imports, Mr Lowcock said this would not work in practice as Yemen imports 90 percent of its food, “nearly all” of which is brought in by the private sector. Commercial traders have told the UN they feared they would be unable to continue imports if the Houthis were blacklisted due to “very risk-averse global supply chains”. “They thought the suppliers, bankers, shippers and insurers they do business with could decline to do business with them if the designation proceeded,” Mr Lowcock explained. “Aid agencies cannot – they simply cannot – replace the commercial import system,” he said, calling on the US to reverse its decision. US deputy ambassador Richard Mills told the Security Council that the US had heard the warnings and would take action to reduce the impact on aid deliveries and food imports. "But we do believe that this step is the right move forward to send the right signal if we want the political process to move forward," he said. The designation is due to come into force on January 19, the day before the inauguration of US president-elect Joe Biden.
- Charlotte Observer
An Army private first class was arraigned on sexual assault charges before a military judge.
The man accused of throwing a fire extinguisher during the Washington, D.C. riots last week has been arrested. Robert Sanford, a retired Chester Fire Department firefighter, was arrested on Thursday and charged with assault on a police officer, among other offenses. Attorney Enrique Latoison argues Sanford went on a free bus to the rally for Trump at the Capitol, but he did not enter the government building.