A beloved long-time custodian at the Memphis Zoo was given a special surprise after losing everything in a recent house fire.
- The Independent
- Associated Press
A federal judge in Washington on Friday night halted a plan to release and put on house arrest the Arkansas man photographed sitting at a desk in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office during last week's riot at the U.S. Capitol. Richard Barnett will instead be brought to Washington, D.C., immediately for proceedings in his case, Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell ordered Friday night, staying a decision by another judge to confine Barnett to his home in Gravette, Arkansas, until his trial. Howell's ruling came hours after U.S. Magistrate Judge Erin Wiedemann in Arkansas set a $5,000 bond for Barnett and ordered that a GPS monitor track his location.
- 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.
- National Review
Eleven years ago, Dan Senor and Saul Singer dubbed Israel the “Start Up Nation” for its disproportionately large number of technology start-ups and NASDAQ stock listings. Make way for the Vaccination Nation. Israel leads the world in COVID-19 vaccinations. It has already vaccinated nearly a quarter of its population, including 75 percent of the population most at risk, people over age 60. It has administered 24.5 doses per 100 persons, nearly double the next-best country (the United Arab Emirates) and about 8 times as many people per capita as in the U.S. and the U.K. Israel’s per capita vaccination rate is 24 times that of the normally efficient Germans and 50 times better than the world average. Only three other countries in the world — the U.S., China, and the U.K. — have administered more vaccines. Why is Israel doing so much better than anyone else? Israel’s small size simplifies logistics. But there are other factors. First, unlike American states, which have administered only about a third of the doses they have received, Israeli made sure it was ready to use its supply. Officials set up large vaccination centers and mobile units in advance. They reached out to minority groups, such as the ultra-Orthodox and Arab citizens, ahead of the roll-out to encourage vaccine uptake. Israel started vaccinations in mid-December and by the end of the month was vaccinating more than 150,000 people a day. Second, Israel secured a large supply from Pfizer by promising to provide comprehensive safety and effectiveness data. Israel has a nationwide, computerized health database that can provide anonymized outcomes for all citizens, letting Pfizer use the country of nearly nine million as a real-time laboratory. In return, Pfizer has pledged to provide enough doses to vaccinate every Israeli over 16 by the end of March. In addition, Israel was the first country outside of North America to approve the Moderna vaccine and has purchased six million doses. Israel also paid premium prices — a wise investment in ending the economic devastation occasioned by pandemic lockdowns. Needless to say, Israel is good at planning for and executing during emergencies. Senor and Singer identified universal army service as promoting Israelis’ resourcefulness and willingness to take the initiative to improve existing systems. Pfizer packages its vaccine in trays of 1,000 doses, which, because of the need for ultra-cold storage, must be all be used within a short period of time once they have been defrosted. The large number of doses limits vaccinations to centers that can line up large numbers of recipients. Israel figured out how to repackage the trays into smaller lots of doses to improve flexibility for delivering doses to a broader range of providers and less populated locations. Israelis are also willing to buck established authority. The Pfizer multi-dose vaccine vials were authorized to hold five doses. This led many American vaccinators to discard vaccine remaining after administering five doses, even if it was adequate to provide one or two extra doses, for fear of running afoul of FDA instructions (the FDA eventually clarified that it is acceptable to use every obtainable full dose). Israelis, in contrast, were willing from the start to use windfall sixth and seventh doses. American vaccinators have been reluctant to give remaining doses to people outside of government-mandated priority order — New York’s Governor Cuomo promised hefty fines for vaccinating out of order — leading to doses’ being discarded at the end of the day. Israeli providers vaccinated end-of-day walk-ins outside of the guidelines to avoid wasting valuable doses. Finally, Israelis’ willingness to pull together and treat the pandemic as if it were a war and the government’s successful roll-out have changed Israelis’ initial reluctance into eagerness to be vaccinated. Prime Minister Netanyahu set an example by being the first Israeli to be vaccinated. The prophet Isaiah said Israel would function as “a light unto the nations,” providing spiritual and moral guidance to the world. Modern-day Israel, the Start-Up Nation, can provide technological and practical guidance as well.
- The Guardian
John Kiriakou, who was jailed in 2012 for identity leak, said his pursuit of a pardon came up in a meeting with Giuliani last yearUS politics – live coverage Rudy Giuliani reportedly rejected Kiriakou’s version of events and said he did not work as a pardon broker because he already represented Trump. Photograph: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty Images An associate of Rudy Giuliani told a former CIA officer a presidential pardon was “going to cost $2m”, the New York Times reported on Sunday in the latest bombshell to break across the last, chaotic days of Donald Trump’s presidency. The report detailed widespread and in some cases lucrative lobbying involving people seeking a pardon as Trump’s time in office winds down. The 45th president, impeached twice, will leave power on Wednesday with the inauguration of Joe Biden. The former CIA officer John Kiriakou, who was jailed in 2012 for leaking the identity of an operative involved in torture, told the Times he laughed at the remark from the associate of Giuliani, the former New York mayor who as Trump’s personal attorney is reportedly a possible pardon recipient himself. “Two million bucks – are you out of your mind?” Kiriakou reportedly said. “Even if I had two million bucks, I wouldn’t spend it to recover a $700,000 pension.” An associate of Kiriakou reported the conversation to the FBI, the Times said. Meant to reward offenders who show contrition, presidential pardons do not imply innocence. Presidents often use them to reward allies but Trump has taken the practice to extremes. Among recent recipients of pardons or acts of clemency are Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about contacts with Russia; the political dirty trickster Roger Stone, who did not turn on Trump during the Russia investigation in which he was convicted of obstructing Congress; Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager convicted in the Russia investigation; and Charles Kushner, father of Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner who was convicted of tax fraud and witness retaliation. The Times report detailed an “ad hoc” White House system for approving pardons which it said was run by the younger Kushner, bypassing the usual “intensive justice department review process intended to identify and vet the most deserving recipients from among thousands of clemency applications”. The report also identified lobbyists it said were seeking pardons on behalf of fee-paying clients. It is not illegal to do so. Margaret Love, who was the United States pardon attorney at the Department of Justice for seven years, told the paper: “This kind of off-books influence peddling, special-privilege system denies consideration to the hundreds of ordinary people who have obediently lined up as required by justice department rules, and is a basic violation of the longstanding effort to make this process at least look fair.” Trump will lose legal protection once he leaves office and faces threats both potential and already in train. He has reportedly discussed issuing pre-emptive pardons to himself, Kushner, Giuliani and other family members and close aides. It is not clear whether a self-pardon would work. Pardons issued as the president leaves the White House are not uncommon. Infamously, Bill Clinton pardoned the fugitive financier Marc Rich on his last day as president in 2001. Kiriakou told the Times his pursuit of a pardon came up during a meeting with Giuliani on another subject, at the Trump International Hotel in Washington last year. During the meeting, which reportedly “involved substantial alcohol”, Giuliani went to the bathroom. It was then, Kiriakou said, that Giuliani’s unnamed associate told him: “It’s going to cost $2m – he’s going to want two million bucks.” The Times said Giuliani rejected Kiriakou’s version of events and said he did not work as a pardon broker because he already represented Trump. “It’s like a conflict of interest,” he was quoted as saying, adding that though he had heard large fees were being offered for pardons, “I have enough money. I’m not starving.” It was reported this week that Trump, angry with Giuliani over the failure of almost all lawsuits mounted against election results, had told staff not to pay his legal fees. Ken Frydman, Giuliani’s press secretary in the 1990s, said: “Lay down with dogs. Wake up with fleas and without $20,000 a day.”
- The Independent
‘It was my pleasure to crush a white nationalist insurrection’: DC officer injured in Capitol riot speaks out
Daniel Hodges recounted pro-Trump mob’s attempt to crush him inside a doorway during siege on 6 January
- 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
- The Telegraph
- National Review
Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) warned Friday that one-third of Republican voters could leave the party if GOP senators vote in impeachment proceedings to convict President Trump. Paul made the comments in an interview on Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle. The senator’s remarks come amid an increasing divide between congressional Republicans who oppose impeaching the president and a smaller number who support the measure following the riots at the Capitol on January 6. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) is reportedly hopeful that Republicans can use impeachment to purge Trump from the GOP, although he would need the support of at least 16 additional Republican senators to vote to convict. “Look, I didn’t agree with the [Capitol] fight that happened last week, and I voted against overturning the election, but at the same time, the impeachment is a wrongheaded, partisan notion, [and] if Republicans go along with it, it’ll destroy the party,” Paul said during the interview. “A third of the Republicans will leave the party,” Paul continued. “This isn’t about, anymore, the Electoral College, this is about the future of the party, and whether you’re going to ostracize and excommunicate President Trump from the party. Well, guess what? Millions of his fans will leave as well.” While a majority of Americans believe Trump should be removed from office immediately, just 17 percent of Republicans support expelling Trump from the presidency, according to an Axios–Ipsos poll released on Thursday. Support for Trump among Republicans has fallen since the Capitol riots; however, 60 percent believe the party should continue to follow Trump once he leaves office, an ABC News/Washington Post poll found.
- Architectural Digest
Guatemalan security forces used sticks to beat back a migrant caravan early on Sunday after thousands of people set off from Honduras for the United States this week, just as President-elect Joe Biden prepares to enter the White House. Between 7,000 and 8,000 migrants have entered Guatemala since Friday, according to Guatemala's immigration authority, fleeing poverty and violence in a region hammered by the coronavirus pandemic and back-to-back hurricanes in November. However, around 3,000 Guatemalan security officials mustered in the village of Vado Hondo in eastern Guatemala to hold up the caravan, leading to the clashes on Sunday morning.
- The Telegraph
- Associated Press
The U.S. Department of the Treasury on Friday imposed sanctions on Cuba's Interior Ministry and its leader, accusing them of serious human rights violations. The measures against the ministry and Brigadier Gen. Lázaro Alberto Álvarez Casas include freezing any bank accounts they may have in the United States and blocking any business operations with U.S. entities. The new sanctions, which are largely symbolic, come less than a week before the end of Donald Trump’s presidency, which has been characterized by strong hostility toward the Cuban government.
- 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.
- National Review
Senator Ben Sasse (R., Neb.) on Friday called for the rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol last week to be “prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” saying those who participated in the unrest that left five dead were “terrorists attacking this country’s constitutionally-mandated transfer of power.” Sasse’s comments come after the Department of Justice said in court documents that the rioters breached the Capitol with the intent to “capture and assassinate elected officials.” In a memo requesting that “QAnon shaman” Jacob Anthony Chansley be kept in detention, Justice Department lawyers in Arizona wrote that “strong evidence, including Chansley’s own words and actions at the Capitol” show that the intent was to harm elected officials. Sasse said it would be “wrong” of “rage-peddlers” to “try to whitewash the attack on the Capitol, saying that a few bad apples got out of control.” “Every American needs to understand what the Department of Justice has just made public: Investigators have strong evidence to suggest that some of the rioters who stormed the United States Capitol planned to kidnap and possibly assassinate the Vice President,” he said. “These men weren’t drunks who got rowdy — they were terrorists attacking this country’s constitutionally-mandated transfer of power,” he added. “They failed, but they came dangerously close to starting a bloody constitutional crisis.” He concluded: “They must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The FBI is investigating widespread calls for violence across the country and every American has an obligation to lower the temperature.” Last week, before the House impeached President Trump for a second time on an “incitement of insurrection” charge, Sasse had vowed to consider any articles of impeachment against Trump that came before the Senate. “The House, if they come together and have a process, I will definitely consider whatever articles they might move,” Sasse said in an interview with CBS. “I believe the president has disregarded his oath of office…what he did was wicked.”
- Yahoo News Video
A white military veteran shot and wounded a 15-year-old girl when he fired his gun into a car carrying four Black teens during a tense confrontation at a Trump rally near the Iowa Capitol last month.