House manager Rep. Diana DeGette explained that many of the rioters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 were planning to return to Washington, D.C. on President Joe Biden's inauguration and were "waiting on President Trump's instructions."
- Lexington Herald-Leader
Lexington is poised to become the third city in Kentucky to ban conversion therapy for LGBTQ youth.
- The Week
Nearly 25 years after 19-year-old college student Kristin Smart vanished while walking back to her dorm, a former classmate, Paul Flores, 44, has been charged with one count of murder in connection with her disappearance. Flores' father, Ruben Ricardo Flores, 80, was also arrested on Tuesday and accused of helping his son dispose of Smart's remains. Smart, a freshman at California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, disappeared in May 1996 after attending a party. Witnesses said Paul Flores said he would make sure she made it safely back to her dorm, but Smart was never seen again. Classmates described Flores as awkward and unpopular, the Los Angeles Times reports, and during questioning from authorities, he admitted to lying about how he got a black eye. Investigators used search dogs and radar equipment to try to find Smart's body, but her remains have never been discovered. She was declared dead in 2002. San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson told reporters on Tuesday that new evidence in the case was secured in 2016, and in 2019, after hearing a podcast about the Smart case, witnesses came forward and were interviewed for the first time by authorities. Search warrants were issued for the home of Flores, his father, his mother, and his sister, and during a second search of Flores' home, physical evidence "related to the murder of Kristin Smart" was found, Parkinson said. An attorney for Paul Flores declined to comment, while an attorney for Ruben Flores told the Times his client is "absolutely innocent." Parkinson said police will continue to look for Smart's remains, and in a statement, her family said they hope the arrests of Paul and Ruben Flores will be "the first step to bringing our daughter home." More stories from theweek.comTrump finally jumps the sharkThe girl at the center of the Matt Gaetz investigation also reportedly went on his scrutinized Bahamas trip7 brutally funny cartoons about Mitch McConnell's corporate hypocrisy
- The Independent
White nationalist website calls Tucker Carlson’s ‘replacement’ rant ‘one of the best things Fox News has ever aired’
The Fox News host has won the praise of an officially designated hate group after appearing to endorse the racist ‘replacement’ theory
- The Independent
Leaked recording from RNC fundraiser reveals ‘uproarious’ laughter from sponsors for ridicule of former first lady
- Associated Press
When hotel director Calvin Lucock and restaurant owner Unn Tove Saetran said goodbye to one of the last groups of migrants staying in one of the seaside resorts they manage in Spain’s Canary Islands, the British-Norwegian couple didn’t know when they would have guests again. The Spanish government — struggling to accommodate 23,000 people who disembarked on the islands in 2020 — contracted hundreds of hotel rooms left empty due to the coronavirus travel restrictions. The deal not only helped migrants and asylum-seekers have a place to sleep, it also allowed Lucock to keep most of his hotel staff employed.
The victim was used as a replacement for another corpse, whose family wanted to avoid a burial ban.
- The Independent
Fox News host under fire for defending white nationalist conspiracy theory
- The Independent
Senator from Texas hauled in more than $5.3 million in 2021 first quarter
- Reuters Videos
ACTIVISTS RAISING HANDS AND SHOUTING "Happy Cosmonautics Day!"ACTIVIST DRESSED AS DARTH VADER SAYING (Russian) "We have a mission of intergalactic scale! We must walk down the Gagarin boulevard and collect all the space junk! Any questions?"Location: Irkutsk, RussiaEntertainment workers dressed up as characters from Star Warsand cleaned up the Gagarin boulevard in Siberiato mark the 60th anniversary of the first human space flight(SOUNDBITE) (Russian) ENTERTAINMENT WORKER, PAVEL PUZOV, SAYING: "We, entertainment workers, had an idea to help with cleaning up our city. But then we got an idea to do it on the Cosmonautics Day in costumes so that we match in style."
- Lexington Herald-Leader
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said a Biden administration plan to remove all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by September is a “grave mistake” that would abandon the allied global fight against terrorism.
- The Independent
One of the police officers involved has been sacked
- The Independent
During a memorial service at the US Capitol Rotunda for Officer William Evans, President Joe Biden picked up a toy dropped by the officer’s daughter, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told his family that while “no words are adequate” to address their loss, “we hope it’s a comfort to you that so many now know about your dad and know he’s a hero”. “And that the President of the United States is picking up one of your distractions.” Officer Evans was killed outside the Capitol on 2 April after a driver struck two officers before slamming into a security barrier outside the Capitol, then exited the car with a knife, according to police.
- The Telegraph
Politics latest news: Boris Johnson admits lobbying 'boundaries not properly understood' amid Greensill scandal - watch PMQs live
Civil servant allowed to join Greensill while working in Whitehall Lord Frost to hold Brussels talks over NI trade tensions European countries will not guarantee extradition to UK Coronavirus latest news: I would lift restrictions quicker, says Cambridge risk expert Subscribe to The Telegraph for a month-long free trial Boris Johnson has suggested that some of the "boundaries" between civil servants and business have not been "properly understood" during a fiery clash in PMQs over lobbying. u Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer used all of his questions to tackle the Prime Minister over the recent revelations emerging over the Greensill scandal, including asking if he believed "that the current lobbying rules are fit for purpose?" Mr Johnson responded: "I indeed share the widespread concern about some of the stuff that we're reading at the moment and I know that the Cabinet Secretary shares my concern as well. "I do think it is a good idea in principle that top civil servants should be able to engage with business and should have experience of the private sector. "When I look at the accounts I'm reading to date it's not clear that those boundaries had been properly understood and I've asked for a proper independent review of the arrangements that we have to be conducted by Nigel Boardman and he will be reporting in June." It comes after the Prime Minister expanded the review into lobbying to hunt for civil servants with second jobs, after further revelations that one of Britain’s most senior civil servants worked as an adviser to the finance firm Greensill. It is understood to have personally alarmed the Prime Minister, who had already ordered lawyer Nigel Boardman to investigate David Cameron's lobbying activities. A Cabinet Office spokesperson said: "The Boardman review into Greensill Capital and supply chain finance will be wide ranging and will also consider the issues raised so the public can judge whether they were appropriately handled at the time." Follow the latest updates below.
- The Conversation
Long time there: U.S. troops maneuver around the central part of the Baghran river valley as they search for remnants of Taliban and al-Qaida forces on Feb. 24, 2003. Aaron Favila/Pool/AP PhotoThe United States will bring home its over 3,000 remaining soldiers in Afghanistan by Sept. 11, 2021, delaying its planned withdrawal for five months in an effort to bolster faltering peace talks between the Afghan government and Taliban insurgent group. The new troop withdrawal date is symbolic, marking the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks that within weeks led to the U.S. invasion of Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. But it fails to meet former President Donald Trump administration’s planned May 1 troop withdrawal, which was negotiated with the Taliban as part of a 2020 U.S. peace accord with the group. U.S. intelligence agencies and many security analysts worried that a U.S. exit from Afghanistan on the earlier date would undermine peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government and potentially lead the Taliban to regain control of the country. The war in Afghanistan has been long, complicated and deadly, and the road to peace fraught. Here are five stories explaining the history of the Afghan conflict and the faltering peace process. 1. Negotiations to end a ‘forever war’ First, some history on how the U.S. ended up at war with the Taliban. “It was on Afghan soil that Osama bin Laden hatched the plot to attack the U.S.,” wrote Abdulkader Sinno, an Afghanistan expert at Indiana University, in a 2019 article about the possibility of the U.S. ending its war there. “The Taliban, the de facto rulers of much of Afghanistan in the wake of a bloody civil war, had given bin Laden and his supporters shelter.” Former U.S. President Donald Trump long signaled his intention to end America’s “forever wars” like the conflict in Afghanistan. In 2018, his secretary of defense – then James Mattis – agreed to negotiate a U.S. withdrawal directly with the Taliban, rather than in three-way talks that included the Afghan government. The move acknowledged there was “little hope for an outright U.S. victory over the Taliban at this point,” wrote Sinno. And for the Taliban, that was a win. They had fought “the world’s strongest military power to a stalemate,” Sinno wrote. A market in the Old City of Kabul, Afghanistan, Sept. 8, 2019. AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi 2. Troop withdrawal On Nov. 17, 2019, Trump announced the U.S. would withdraw about half of its 4,500 troops from Afghanistan as part of a cease-fire agreement with the Taliban – a prelude to U.S. peace talks with the Taliban. The large troop reduction was a blow to Afghanistan’s U.S.-trained national army, which had seen 45,000 troops killed from 2015 to 2019 in the conflict with the Taliban, according to scholar Brian Glyn Williams, who worked on the U.S. Army’s Information Operations team in eastern Afghanistan during the war. The Afghanistan National Army relies on American troops for “essential training, equipment and other support,” wrote Williams. Williams said Trump’s withdrawal schedule may also signal U.S. weakness to the ethnic Pashtun tribes of southeast Afghanistan. “These 60 tribes, or clans, have for centuries maintained – and shifted – the country’s balance of military and political power. They are always calculating which of the rival factions or warring parties is in the strongest position and seeking to join that side,” wrote Williams. 3. Peace deal is signed The U.S. in February 2020 signed its peace deal with the Taliban, following a weeklong truce and 18 months of stop-and-go negotiations. Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other U.S. officials meet with senior Taliban leaders in Doha, Qatar, in November 2020. Patrick Semansky/Pool/AFP via Getty Images The four-part agreement committed the U.S. to withdrawing the rest of its soldiers from Afghanistan by May 1, 2021 – the date that Biden just pushed back. In exchange, the Taliban agreed to enter talks with the Afghan government, and to bar extremist groups like al-Qaida from using Afghanistan as a base to attack the U.S. and its allies. “But peace in Afghanistan will take more than an accord,” wrote Elizabeth B. Hessami, a scholar of peace-building at Johns Hopkins University. In an article published shortly after the accord was signed, Hessami wrote, “History shows that economic growth and better job opportunities are necessary to rebuild stability after war.” Hessami noted that insurgent groups typically recruit people who “desperately need an income.” Wired magazine reported back in 2007 that the Taliban paid its soldiers far better than the Afghan government paid its military. “Creating well-paid alternatives to extremist groups, then, is a critical piece in solving Afghanistan’s national security puzzle,” wrote Hessami. 4. Can the Taliban be trusted? In September 2020, six months after the U.S.-Taliban accord, the Taliban entered into talks with the Afghan government in Doha, Qatar. The two sides are supposed to establish a comprehensive cease-fire and negotiate a potential power-sharing agreement. But Sher Jan Ahmadzai, director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska Omaha, questions whether the Taliban were negotiating in good faith. In the months after the U.S.-Taliban accord, violence levels in Afghanistan actually increased. “Some Taliban fighters have insisted they will continue their jihad ‘until an Islamic system is established,’” he wrote, “leading to concerns that the organization is not actually committed to peace.” “Many question whether the Taliban can be held accountable for what they’ve promised,” wrote Ahmadzai. For example, international and domestic observers of the Afghan peace process have also been unable to confirm that the Taliban have actually severed their relationship with al-Qaida. Afghans also “fear losing the meaningful achievements that came out of international engagement in Afghanistan, such as women’s empowerment, increased freedom of speech and a more vibrant press,” according to Ahmadzai. 5. What’s at stake Biden delayed troop withdrawal in an attempt to secure a deal between the Taliban and the Afghan government that protects such rights. If peace talks collapse, Afghan women may have the most to lose. Women were required to be fully veiled in public when the Taliban ruled Afghanistan. Kabul, 1996. Roger Lemoyne/Liaison “The Taliban’s rule of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 was the darkest time for Afghan women,” wrote the women’s rights scholars Mona Tajali and Homa Hoodfar in a March 5, 2021, article. “Assuming an austere interpretation of Islamic Sharia and Pashtun tribal practices, the group limited women’s access to education, employment and health services. Women were required to be fully veiled and have male escorts.” Women have been largely excluded from the Doha negotiations. One of just four female negotiators on the Afghan government’s 21-member team, Fawzia Koofi, survived an assassination attempt, apparently by the Taliban. [Over 100,000 readers rely on The Conversation’s newsletter to understand the world. Sign up today.]This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts. Read more:After US and Taliban sign accord, Afghanistan must prepare for peaceAfghanistan peace talks begin – but will the Taliban hold up their end of the deal?
The top executives of more than three dozen Michigan-based companies, including General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co, on Tuesday issued a joint statement opposing Republican-backed legislation to restrict voting. The move appeared to be pre-emptive, after Georgia companies such as Coca-Cola Co and Delta Air Lines Inc endured public backlash for failing to take a stronger stance before that state enacted a raft of voting limits last month. "Government must avoid actions that reduce participation in elections - particularly among historically disenfranchised communities," the statement, which bore the names of 37 top executives, read in part.
- Associated Press
Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac will donate 50,000 doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to South American soccer confederation CONMEBOL in a bid to protect players for upcoming tournaments. CONMEBOL announced Tuesday that the jabs will be used to inoculate players ahead of the Copa America in June and for other regional tournaments. “This is a huge step forward to beat the COVID-19 pandemic, but it doesn’t mean that we will in any way relax,” CONMEBOL president Alejandro Domínguez said in a statement.
- Business Insider
4 reasons the Democratic push for a huge infrastructure package will be tougher than the stimulus scramble
The path ahead for Democrats on upwards of $3 trillion of infrastructure spending looks different from the one that produced a $1.9 trillion stimulus.
- The Independent
Less support for requirement to carry card with them to enter a business
- Business Insider
Biden meets with bipartisan group on $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan, saying he's open to negotiate
Biden insisted the meeting with both Republican and Democratic lawmakers wasn't just "window dressing" and that he's willing to talk size and scope.
Saint Vincent residents describe what it was like to wake up to a volcano eruption and share how the country is coming together to rebuild
The volcano remained active throughout the weekend, exploding again on both Monday and Tuesday morning. Monday's was the largest eruption yet.