After a 14-hour drive from New Brunswick, utility crews parked their trucks in Dedham and are resting before what they expect will be a busy Christmas.
- 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.
- Yahoo News
The Justice Department’s inspector general announced Monday that he had started an investigation into whether current or former officials in the department had engaged in an “improper attempt” to overturn the 2020 presidential election to keep Donald Trump in power.
- The Telegraph
Russian authorities target Navalny's associates and wife in series of police raids ahead of protests
Russian authorities raided the homes of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny and his associates on Wednesday, piling pressure on opposition figures ahead of a major rally planned for this weekend. Masked police on Wednesday afternoon broke down the door of Mr Navalny’s rented flat despite the pleas from his wife who was inside, asking for her lawyer, Veronika Polyakova. Ms Polyakova arrived at her house but was not allowed in to witness the search, a clear violation of the Russian law,she told the Dozhd TV channel. In the biggest wave of police action against the opposition in months, law enforcement agents raided at least seven homes on Wednesday, including a Moscow property owned by Mr Navalny but where he has not lived for years, and the office of his associates who run his YouTube channel. A video posted online by Lyubov Sobol, a close ally of Mr Navalny, showed black-clad masked men break down the door and walk into the office.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.comTrump's impeachment lawyer said he thinks 'the facts and the law will speak for themselves'Sarah Huckabee Sanders' shameless campaign for governorMitch McConnell is the GOAT
Russia and the United States have struck a deal to extend the New START nuclear arms control treaty, the Kremlin said on Tuesday, a move that preserves the last major pact of its kind between the world's two biggest nuclear powers. The White House did not immediately confirm the Kremlin's announcement but said President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin had discussed the issue by telephone and agreed that their teams work urgently to complete the extension by Feb. 5, when the treaty expires. Signed in 2010, the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) is a cornerstone of global arms control.
- 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.
- The Week
Did the Proud Boys help plan, lead the Capitol siege? Prosecutors are looking, and the video looks damning.
At least six members of the Proud Boys, a group of right-wing nationalist "Western chauvinists," have been arrested in connection with the Jan. 6 violent siege of the U.S. Capitol. Among those charged is Joseph Biggs, a Proud Boy leader who led about 100 men from former President Donald Trump's "Stop the Steal" rally to the Capitol. Prosecutors and federal investigators are now trying to determine how closely the Proud Boys communicated during the siege and whether they planned the incursion in advance, The New York Times reports. Investigators have recently turned their attention to two Proud Boy organizers on the West Coast, Ethan Nordean of Auburn, Washington, and Eddie Block from Madera, California, the Times reports, citing a federal law enforcement official. Nordean, also called Rufio Panman, has not been charged, and Block, who live-streamed the insurrection, told the Times that federal agents seized his electronic equipment on Friday. Investigator are also scrutinizing the role of Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio, who was not at the riot because he had been banned from Washington, D.C., two days earlier. Still, "despite having launched one of the most sprawling inquiries in American history, investigators have yet to unearth clear-cut evidence suggesting there was a widespread conspiracy to assault the Capitol," the Times reports. The Wall Street Journal made a pretty compelling case Tuesday that the Proud Boys were at least key instigators of the assault, based on a thorough review of video and social media posts. The Proud Boys have publicly downplayed their involvement in the Capitol incursion. Tarrio told the Times a week after the siege that it was misguided and anyone who damaged the Capitol or assaulted police should be prosecuted. The handful of Proud Boys arrested after being filmed breaking into the Capitol, like Dominic Pezzola, "obviously, they didn't help our cause," he added. Federal authorities as of Monday had charged about 150 of the more than 800 people who charged into the Capitol, and "it's likely not everyone will be tracked down and charged with a crime," The Associated Press reports. There were few arrests during the incursion, and "federal prosecutors are focusing on the most critical cases and the most egregious examples of wrongdoing." Some Capitol insurrectionists were turned in to the FBI by friends and family members, AP notes, but in dozens of cases, the rioters themselves "downright flaunted their activity on social media." More stories from theweek.comTrump's impeachment lawyer said he thinks 'the facts and the law will speak for themselves'Sarah Huckabee Sanders' shameless campaign for governorMitch McConnell is the GOAT
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
Immigrant rights activists energized by a new Democratic administration and majorities on Capitol Hill are gearing up for a fresh political battle to push through a proposed bill from President Joe Biden that would open a pathway to citizenship for up to 11 million people. The multimillion-dollar #WeAreHome campaign was launched Monday by national groups including United We Dream and the United Farm Workers Foundation. “We are home,” a young woman's voice declares in the first video spot showing immigrants in essential jobs such as cleaning and health care.
- The Telegraph
Brussels on Wednesday demanded that tens of millions of British-made coronavirus vaccines be diverted from the UK to make up a supply shortfall in the jabs in the EU. The European Commission said it was contractually entitled to doses from two UK plants making the AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine as its row with the British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant deepened. The British Government said it had a deal with AstraZeneca to supply 100 million doses of the vaccine with agreed delivery schedules. British sources said that, once the UK factories had fulfilled their commitment to Britain, AstraZeneca would be free to supply other countries – something the firm's CEO, Pascal Soriot, confirmed in an interview on Tuesday. But Stella Kyriakides, the EU's health commissioner, said: "We reject the logic of first come, first served. That might work at the neighbourhood butchers, but not on our contracts and not in our advanced purchase agreements." She said there was " no priority clause" in the EU contract between the four production plants in the agreement, two factories in the EU and the two in the UK. "In our contract it is not specified that any country or the UK has priority... This needs to be absolutely clear," Ms Kyriakides said.
- Architectural Digest
Let’s get loudOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
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.
- Associated Press
The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Antony Blinken as America’s top diplomat, tasked with carrying out President Joe Biden’s commitment to reverse the Trump administration’s “America First” doctrine that weakened international alliances. Senators voted 78-22 to approve Blinken, a longtime Biden confidant, as the nation’s 71st secretary of state, succeeding Mike Pompeo.
Known to millions around the world for her staunch defence of Trump, now it's her turn to speak for herself.
- The Telegraph
AstraZeneca vaccines meant for and paid for by the EU could have ended up in Britain, diplomatic sources in Brussels claimed today. The suspicion is that the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company supplied the UK from the EU vaccine stock because Britain paid a higher price for the dose and approved it sooner. On Monday, Brussels threatened to block EU vaccine exports to non-EU countries, after AstraZeneca revealed that it would not be able to fulfil its contractual obligations as originally hoped. Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president, said on Tuesday that the EU would press on with the export mechanism that would force companies to ask for permission before vaccines could leave the bloc. In a speech to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Mrs von der Leyen said, “Europe invested billions to help develop the world's first Covid-19 vaccines to create a truly global common good. Europe is determined to contribute to this global common good but it also means business.” She added: “And now, the companies must deliver. They must honour their obligations and this is why we will set up a vaccine export to transparency mechanism.” A European Commission spokesman said: "How worried are we about the state of vaccinations? Well, we are worried that is for sure. We are dealing with a very important pandemic and vaccination is very important." The UK is dependent on the Pfizer vaccine, which is produced in Belgium, and is expecting almost 3.5million doses to be delivered in the next three weeks. That supply could be jeopardised if the EU decided to block the exports after the AstraZeneca controversy.
Five people were arrested in Sydney in largely peaceful Australia Day protests on Tuesday with thousands defying public health concerns and rallying across the nation against the mistreatment of the Indigenous people. The Jan. 26 public holiday marks the date the British fleet sailed into Sydney Harbour in 1788 to start a penal colony, viewing the land as unoccupied despite encountering settlements. But for many Indigenous Australians, who trace their lineage on the continent back 50,000 years, it is "Invasion Day".
- Associated Press
Israel's military chief Tuesday warned the Biden administration against rejoining the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, even if it toughens its terms, adding he's ordered his forces to step up preparations for possible offensive action against Iran during the coming year. The comments by Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi came as Israel and Iran both seek to put pressure on President Joe Biden ahead of his expected announcement on his approach for dealing with the Iranian nuclear program.