A three-day in-person conference kicked off Friday in Rancho Murieta with keynote speaker Congressman Tom McClintock.
- 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
“By signing this order, President Biden indicates that he’s more interested in the views of the citizens of Paris than in the jobs of the citizens of Pittsburgh,” Cruz said.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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
- The Independent
Biden news: 200m more Covid vaccine doses on order as only 5 GOP senators back Trump impeachment trial
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- Architectural Digest
Let’s get loudOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- The Telegraph
Mitch McConnell, the US Senate Republican leader, said on Monday he would agree to a power-sharing agreement with Democrats, dropping demands that had held up the basic organisation and daily work of the 50-50 chamber for days. Democrat Chuck Schumer, now the majority leader thanks to Vice President Kamala Harris' tie-breaking vote, and Mr McConnell had been at odds over the Republican's request that Democrats promise to protect the filibuster, which requires a 60-vote supermajority to advance most legislation. Mr Schumer has refused to guarantee the filibuster would stay. But in a statement, Mr McConnell cited comments from moderate Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, who said they would not favour eliminating the filibuster. "The legislative filibuster was a key part of the foundation beneath the Senate's last 50-50 power-sharing agreement in 2001," Mr McConnell said. "With these assurances, I look forward to moving ahead with a power-sharing agreement modeled on that precedent." A spokesman for Mr Schumer, Justin Goodman, said in a statement, "We're glad Senator McConnell threw in the towel and gave up on his ridiculous demand. We look forward to organising the Senate under Democratic control and start getting big, bold things done for the American people." Some liberal Democrats have suggested killing the filibuster to help advance President Joe Biden's agenda, though Mr Biden has not signaled support for such a move. In recent years, the 60-vote threshold has brought the Senate nearly to a halt on major legislation. With Ms Harris unable to attend every Senate session, the two party leaders have been discussing an arrangement to govern day-to-day operations, similar to one struck the last time the Senate was equally split two decades ago. Senate committees have still not been reorganised under Democratic control. Democrats could unilaterally change the rules to require only a simple majority to approve bills, a move sometimes called the "nuclear option", if all 50 members voted together and Ms Harris provided the tie-breaking vote. By declining to guarantee as part of the deal that the filibuster will be protected, Mr Schumer preserves the threat as leverage in negotiations over Mr Biden's priorities, such as a new round of coronavirus relief.
- 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.
Pope Francis on Wednesday marked the 76th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp by urging people to keep a close watch on ideological extremism, because "these things can happen again". He spoke three weeks after displays of anti-Semitism surfaced at the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6 and two weeks after one of Montreal's largest synagogues was vandalised and almost set on fire. Speaking at his general audience, held inside the papal library because of coronavirus restrictions, Francis said it was imperative that the world did not forget.
- The Independent
Joe Biden’s inaugural ceremony viewership surpassed Donald Trump’s
Google will not make contributions from its political action committee this cycle to any member of Congress who voted against certifying the results of the presidential election, following the deadly Capitol riot on January 6.Why it matters: Several major businesses paused or pulled political donations following the events of Jan. 6, when pro-Trump rioters, riled up by former President Trump, stormed the Capitol on the day it was to certify the election results.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here. * Facebook also paused its political donations and is reviewing its policies. Microsoft paused its PAC as well. * The social media giant said Sunday it will decide by Feb. 15 after soliciting employee feedback about whether it will continue stopping donations to members of Congress who voted against certifying the election results.What they're saying: "After the disturbing events at the Capitol, NetPAC paused all contributions while undertaking a review. Following that review, the NetPAC board has decided that it will not be making any contributions this cycle to any member of Congress who voted against certification of the election results," said José Castañeda, a Google spokesperson.What's next: Other companies that announced a pause in political donations following the riot will have to announce next steps.Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
- Yahoo News Video
At the White House briefing on Tuesday, press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that President Biden planned to speak with Russian President Vladimir Putn about issues that included the SolarWinds hack, reports of Russian bounties on American soldiers and interference in the 2016 election.
- Associated Press
The Vatican has cleared a retired U.S. bishop of multiple allegations he sexually abused minors and teenagers, rejecting lay experts' determination that a half-dozen claims were credible and instead slapping him on the wrist for what it called “flagrant" imprudent behavior. The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith exonerated retired Cheyenne, Wyoming Bishop Joseph Hart of seven accusations of abuse and determined that five others couldn’t be proven “with moral certitude.” A 13th allegation wasn’t addressed in the decree.
Britain will be able to work with the European Union to ensure there is no disruption to vaccine supplies, Health Minister Matt Hancock said on Tuesday, arguing protectionism was not right during a pandemic. German Health Minister Jens Spahn earlier said he backed proposals to restrict vaccines leaving the EU, saying Europe should have its "fair share". The European Commission later said it had no plans to impose an export ban, explaining its proposal would require firms to register vaccine exports.
A federal judge in Texas on Tuesday temporarily blocked a move by new U.S. President Joe Biden to halt the deportation of many immigrants for a 100-day period, a swift legal setback for his ambitious immigration agenda. U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton, an appointee of former President Donald Trump in the Southern District of Texas, issued a temporary restraining order that blocks the policy nationwide for 14 days following a legal challenge by Texas. The Biden administration is expected to appeal the ruling, which halts the deportation freeze while both parties submit briefs on the matter.
- Associated Press
After 18 years of denial, the Pakistani suspect convicted and later acquitted in the 2002 beheading of American journalist Daniel Pearl has told a court he played a “minor" role in the killing, the Pearl family lawyer said Wednesday. A letter handwritten by Ahmad Saeed Omar Sheikh in 2019, in which he admits limited involvement in the killing of the Wall Street Journal reporter, was submitted to Pakistan's Supreme Court nearly two weeks ago. It wasn't until Wednesday that Sheikh's lawyers confirmed their client wrote it.
- 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.
The U.S. State Department is reviewing a Trump administration determination that China has committed genocide by repressing Uighur Muslims in its Xinjiang region to make sure it sticks, President Joe Biden's pick to be U.N. ambassador said on Wednesday. "The State Department is reviewing that now because all of the procedures were not followed," Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations committee. Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the move last week, one day before Biden took office, "after careful examination of the available facts," accusing the Chinese Communist Party of crimes against humanity targeting the Uighurs and other Muslim minorities since at least March 2017.