Cruise worker returning home after 2 months
- Associated Press
President Joe Biden has brought back Dr. Kevin O'Connor as his physician, replacing President Donald Trump's doctor with the one who oversaw his care when he was vice president. The White House confirmed that Dr. Sean Conley, the Navy commander who served as the head of the White House Medical Unit under Trump and oversaw his treatment when he was hospitalized with COVID-19, will assume a teaching role at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. O'Connor, a retired Army colonel, was Biden's doctor during his entire tenure as vice president, having remained in the role at Biden's request.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal by Sheldon Silver, the once-powerful New York State Assembly Speaker, of his conviction on corruption charges that resulted in a 6-1/2-year prison sentence. Silver, 76, began serving his sentence last August despite being in poor health. Two conservative justices, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas, said they would have taken up Silver's appeal.
- The Week
Senate Democrats are drawing a line at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) demand that a power-sharing agreement in the 50-50 Senate include a pledge to retain the legislative filibuster. "If we gave him that, then the filibuster would be on everything, every day," Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) told NBC's Chuck Todd on Sunday's Meet the Press. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) offered McConnell "word for word" the same power-sharing agreement used in the first half of 2001, and McConnell's insistence on adding the filibuster pledge is "a non-starter."But until Schumer and McConnell reach agreement on the Senate's operating rules, Republicans still retain much of the majority they lost last Wednesday."Without an organizing accord, Republicans remain in the majority of most Senate committees," and "veteran Democrats eager to seize the gavels and advance their long dormant agendas can only wait and wonder," The Washington Post explains. "Newly sworn-in Democratic senators cannot get committee assignments until an organizational deal is struck," leaving the old GOP-majority structures in place, and "Democrats can't unilaterally impose an organizing agreement because they would need Republican support to block a filibuster."The filibuster has evolved into a sclerotic de facto requirement for a 60-senator supermajority on all legislation. Frustration with obstruction by the minority led Senate Democrats to end the filibuster for some presidential appointees and lower-court judges in 2013, and McConnell continued eroding the filibuster as majority leader, killing it for Supreme Court nominees and further easing the confirmation of presidential appointees.A handful of Democratic centrists would prefer to keep the filibuster — for now. But there is mounting pressure from inside and outside the chamber. "There is absolutely no reason to give Sen. McConnell months and months to prove what we absolutely know — that he is going to continue his gridlock and dysfunction from the minority," said Eli Zupnick, a spokesman for the anti-filibuster liberal coalition Fix Our Senate.More stories from theweek.com Josh Hawley knows exactly what he's doing Trump must be prosecuted 5 scathingly funny cartoons about Biden's COVID-19 push
- The Telegraph
Israel will ban passenger flights in and out of the country from Monday for a week as it seeks to stop the spread of new coronavirus variants. "Other than rare exceptions, we are closing the sky hermetically to prevent the entry of the virus variants and also to ensure that we progress quickly with our vaccination campaign," said Benjamin Netanuahu, the Israeli prime minister. It came as a study in Israel reported a 60 per cent drop in over-60s being hospitalised with coronavirus three weeks after being vaccinated, in the latest sign that the jabs are effective. According to Maccabi, an Israeli healthcare provider, there was a significant decrease in hospitalisations from day 23 onwards, which was two days after patients received their second jab. Also on Sunday, Israel expanded its rapid vaccination drive to include 16-18 year-olds in an effort to get them back in schools to take their winter examinations. The winter matriculation certificate is a significant part of university and military admissions. At least one dose has been administered to around a quarter of Israel’s 9 million-strong population. The vaccine is generally available to over 40s or, with parental permission, those aged between 16 and 18. Israel struck a deal with Pfizer at the beginning of January that allowed them to expedite delivery of the vaccine, in return for sharing extensive data on their vaccination campaign with the rest of the world. Yuli Edelstein, the Israeli health minister, told The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday that the data from their vaccination programme suggests a first dose offered around 30 per cent protection from coronavirus.
- Associated Press
A federal judge on Sunday blocked the release of a Tennessee man who authorities say carried flexible plastic handcuffs during the riot at the U.S. Capitol earlier this month. U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell for the District of Columbia set aside an order by a judge in Tennessee concerning the release of Eric Munchel of Nashville. After testimony at a detention hearing, U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Frensley for the Middle District of Tennessee determined Friday that Munchel wasn’t a flight risk and didn’t pose harm to the public.
President Biden has scrapped a ban which stopped transgender people joining the US military.
Fewer than 0.01% of people who received Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine have contracted the virus more than a week after receiving the second dose, a leading Israeli healthcare provider said on Monday. The preliminary results shared by Israeli HMO Maccabi showed that only 20 people out of some 128,600 who received both shots have since been infected with the COVID-19 virus. Israel is a world leader with its rapid vaccine rollout, though the data also comes during a nationwide lockdown that has been helping to stem contagion.
- Yahoo News Video
At the White House briefing on Monday, press secretary Jen Psaki said the Treasury Department is restarting efforts to put Harriet Tubman’s image on the $20 bill. The process began during the Obama administration, but was delayed during the Trump administration.
- The Telegraph
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has announced the establishment of its embassy in Tel Aviv as the US national security advisor announced that America hopes to build “on the success of Israel’s normalisation agreements” under the Biden administration. The UAE cabinet decision to approve establishing the embassy comes after they signed the Abraham Accords in September, becoming the first Gulf state to establish a full diplomatic relationship with Israel. No further details about the embassy were given in UAE media. While Israel’s government recognises Jerusalem as its capital, the international community does not, with Palestinians claiming East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state. Most countries base their embassies in Tel Aviv. Before the deal, Israel only had peace deals with only two Arab countries, Egypt and Jordan - where it has fortified embassies. Most Arab countries had previously refrained from recognising Israel, believing that recognition should only be granted if serious concessions are made in the Palestinian peace process. Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco later agreed to follow in the UAE’s footsteps and normalise ties with Israel under US-brokered deals.
- Associated Press
The Supreme Court on Monday ordered a further review by a lower court of a lawsuit brought by a Texas death row inmate who objects to a policy that bars a chaplain from accompanying him into the death chamber. The justices ordered Ruben Gutierrez's case sent back to a federal trial-level court for additional proceedings. The justices in June had blocked Gutierrez's execution after Texas changed its policy and barred all spiritual advisers from the death chamber.
- The Week
Rudy Giuliani hit with $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit from Dominion over election 'disinformation campaign'
Rudy Giuliani has been hit with a $1.3 billion lawsuit over his false claims about widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.Dominion Voting Systems on Monday filed a defamation lawsuit against Giuliani, personal attorney to former President Donald Trump, after he baselessly alleged the voting machine company was involved in a conspiracy to change votes from Trump to President Biden in 2020, The New York Times reports.The lawsuit was filed in the Federal District Court in Washington and charges Giuliani with making "demonstrably false" claims about the company as part of a "viral disinformation campaign," according to the Times. Dominion is seeking over $1.3 billion in damages.This comes after Dominion previously filed a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit against Sidney Powell, a former Trump lawyer who also repeatedly made false claims accusing the company of being involved in an election fraud conspiracy. In an interview with the Times, Dominion lawyer Thomas A. Clare promised to bring additional lawsuits in the future."There will certainly be others," Clare said. "There are other individuals who have spoken the big lie and have put forward these defamatory statements about Dominion, but then there are also players in the media that have amplified it."Clare also suggested to the Times the company could even sue Trump himself, saying, "We're not ruling anybody out. Obviously, this lawsuit against the president's lawyer moves one step closer to the former president and understanding what his role was and wasn't."More stories from theweek.com Josh Hawley knows exactly what he's doing Trump must be prosecuted 5 scathingly funny cartoons about Biden's COVID-19 push
The United States often sends ships and aircraft into the South China Sea to "flex its muscles" and this is not good for peace, China's Foreign Ministry said on Monday, after a U.S. aircraft carrier group sailed into the disputed waterway. The strategic South China Sea, through which trillions of dollars in trade flows each year, has long been a focus of contention between Beijing and Washington, with China particularly angered by U.S. military activity there. The U.S. carrier group led by the USS Theodore Roosevelt and accompanied by three warships, entered the waterway on Saturday to promote "freedom of the seas", the U.S. military said, just days after Joe Biden became U.S. president..
- Associated Press
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said Israel will be closing its international airport to nearly all flights, while Israeli police clashed with ultra-Orthodox protesters in several major cities and the government raced to bring a raging coronavirus outbreak under control. The entry of highly contagious variants of the virus, coupled with poor enforcement of safety rules in ultra-Orthodox communities, has contributed to one of the world's highest rates of infections. It also has threatened to undercut Israel's highly successful campaign to vaccinate its population against the virus.
- The Telegraph
The acrimonious split within Republican ranks widened over the weekend as Donald Trump made his foray back into politics, backing the re-election of a hard-line supporter as chair of the party in Arizona. His wholehearted support for Kelli Ward was seen by allies as the former president firing a warning shot across the bows of any Republican senators considering backing his impeachment. Underlining Mr Trump’s grip on the Republican grassroots, the Arizona party also voted to censure John McCain’s widow, Cindy, former senator Jeff Flake and governor Doug Ducey, who refused to back the former president’s claims of election fraud. Mr Trump’s intervention came amid reports that he is considering setting up a “Patriot Party” which would spearhead primary challenges to his opponents in the 2022 mid-term elections. The former president has already amassed a massive war chest with his Save America political action committee declaring last month that it had raked in $207.5 million in donations.
The world's largest syringe maker does not have the capacity to substantially increase U.S. supplies of specialty syringes needed to squeeze more doses from Pfizer Inc COVID-19 vaccine vials in the coming weeks, an executive said in an interview. The vaccine made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, one of two authorized for U.S. emergency use, is shipped in vials initially indicated to hold five doses. Six doses can be drawn with special syringes, called low dead space syringes, which minimize the amount of vaccine left in the syringe after use.
- NBC News
The governor ordered a halt to nonessential medical procedures last year, which the attorney general then said applied to "any type of abortions."
- Business Insider
Barely any time has passed since President Biden's inauguration, and Republicans have already returned to their bag of shenanigans.
- Associated Press
Chinese state media have stoked concerns about Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, despite rigorous trials indicating it is safe. A government spokesperson has raised the unsubstantiated theory that the coronavirus could have emerged from a U.S. military lab, giving it more credence in China. As the ruling Communist Party faces growing questioning about China's vaccines and renewed criticism of its early COVID-19 response, it is hitting back by encouraging conspiracy theories that some experts say could cause harm.
- The Telegraph
Sarah Sanders, Donald Trump's former press secretary, announced on Monday that she is running to be governor of Arkansas, setting up a potential Republican primary battle centered around Mr Trump and his legacy. Ms Sanders left the White House in 2019 to return to her home state and is still a strong supporter of the former president. She launched her campaign for governor less than a week after the end of Mr Trump's time in office and as he faces an impending impeachment trial. Ms Sanders said she expected voters in solidly red Arkansas to embrace the former president. In a video announcing her campaign for the Republican nomination, she said: "With the radical left now in control of Washington your governor is your last line of defence. "In fact, your governor must be on the front line. So today I announce my candidacy for governor of Arkansas." Her video featured photographs of Mr Trump and criticisms of socialism, "cancel culture," and the Green New Deal. Ms Sanders is the daughter of former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee. She had been widely expected to run for the office after leaving the White House, and Mr Trump publicly encouraged her to do so. Last year, she laid the groundwork for her candidacy, speaking to various Republican groups around the state. The current Republican governor Asa Hutchinson cannot run again due to term limits and will leave office next year. Ms Sanders will face several other candidates in the Republican primary, including the state's lieutenant governor Tim Griffin and attorney general Leslie Rutledge. Mr Trump won Arkansas by 28 percentage points in the presidential election last year. During her time as press secretary Ms Sanders was staunch defender of Mr Trump. In her video she recalled being the first White House press secretary to require Secret Service protection because of a credible violent threat against her. She condemned the US Capitol riots, which led to Mr Trump's impeachment. Ms Sanders said: "We've seen violence in our streets, at a Congressional baseball practice, and our Capitol. This is not who we are as Americans. "To remain free we must have law and order and resolve our differences peacefully. The radical left's 'solution' is to impose government control and censorship from the top down. But their socialism and cancel culture will not heal America. It will only further divide and destroy us. I will defend your right to be free of socialism and tyranny."
- Yahoo News Video
Israeli authorities on Monday extradited a former teacher accused of sexually abusing her former students in Australia, capping a six-year legal battle that had strained relations between the two governments and antagonized Australia's Jewish community.