Emergency crews respond to Monday morning fire
- NBC News
Election experts have uniformly declared that the 2020 election was conducted fairly.
Congressional leaders, including House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, will skip President Trump's departure ceremony in Maryland tomorrow morning in favor of attending mass with incoming President Joe Biden ahead of his inauguration, congressional sources familiar with their plans tell Axios.Why it matters: Their decision is a clear sign of unity before Biden takes the oath of office.Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.What we're hearing: The Catholic service will take place at St. Matthew’s church in downtown Washington D.C., about 10 blocks from the White House. It is expected to begin at 8:45am, sources with direct knowledge tell Axios. * Punchbowl News first reported details of the service.Trump's sendoff will be held at Joint Base Andrews at 8am on Wednesday. Trump requested a military-style sendoff with a band and possibly a flyover. Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
- The Independent
- National Review
Arizona Republicans are proposing a ban on the use of local resources to assist in any federal activity that could be seen as oppositional to the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment Firearm Freedoms Act, introduced by State Representative Leo Biasiucci last week, would make Arizona the fifth state — joining Alaska, Idaho, Kansas and Wyoming — with a policy of keeping state resources from enforcing any federal law or executive rule that runs contrary to the right to bear arms. “This state and all political subdivisions of this state are prohibited from using any personnel or financial resourced to enforce, administer, or cooperate with any act, law, treaty, order, rule or regulation of the United States government that violates Amendment II of the Constitution of the United States,” the bill reads. Any “act, law, treaty, order, rule or regulation of the United States government that violates Amendment II of the Constitution of the United States is null, void and unenforceable in this state,” the bill adds, though federal laws override those at the state level. The law would effectively make the Grand Canyon State a “Second Amendment sanctuary,” a term first used by a southern Illinois state’s attorney in 2010. Similar “sanctuary” policies are in place in hundreds of towns and counties nationwide. The Arizona Republicans’ move comes ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, a Democrat who has vowed to enact gun control measures, including instituting universal background checks and an assault weapon and high-capacity magazine ban. While campaigning in Texas, Biden said that failed presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke — who famously promised voters, “hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15” — would “lead” his administration’s gun control policy. “I’m going to guarantee you, this is not the last you’ve seen of this guy,” Biden told a his arm on O’Rourke. “You’re going to take care of the gun problem with me. You’re going to be the one that leads this effort.”
- The Telegraph
A beauty firm executive has been ordered to pay £600 costs after his Irish Setter puppy mauled a deer in Richmond Park leading bystanders to form a human shield around the wounded animal. Franck Hiribarne was training his pet Alfie in the royal park in south-west London when the gun dog gave chase to the deer forcing it to run onto the road where it was struck by a car. Footage shared on social media showed Alfie circling the injured deer before biting and dragging in front of bystanders who responded by attempting to protect the animal by forming a human shield around it.
- The Week
Constitutionally-speaking, Chief Justice John Roberts is meant to preside over President Trump's impeachment trial, but he apparently wants out, Politico reports.Multiple Republican and Democratic sources have reportedly told Politico that Roberts is seeking a way to avoid the job because of how things played out when he oversaw Trump's first impeachment trial last year. Roberts, Politico notes, has worked hard to keep the Supreme Court apolitical during his tenure, so he was reportedly displeased that he "became a top target of the left" during the proceedings. "He wants no further part of this," one source told Politico, although there's been no official word from Roberts' camp about what he'll ultimately do.Trump's trial is a bit of a constitutional oddity. On the one hand, it's a presidential impeachment, but on the other hand, the trial will take place after he leaves office, which is why there's a chance Roberts may have some wiggle room. Historically, either the vice president or the longest-serving member of the Senate have taken up the mantle for lower-level impeachments, per Politico. That means Vice President-elect Kamala Harris or Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) could be the choice. Read more at Politico.More stories from theweek.com 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment Trump's White House staff and alumni are reportedly using the same excuse to skip his big sendoff Melania Trump released a farewell video. So did Colbert's Late Show Melania Trump.
- NBC News
Skylar Mack, 18, was jailed for violating quarantine protocols after isolating for two days and abandoning her tracking device in the Cayman Islands.
- Yahoo News Video
The spokesman for Republican U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert has quit less than two weeks after she was sworn into office, saying he felt like he need to due to the insurrection at the nation's Capitol.
- National Review
President-elect Joe Biden has chosen Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine to be his assistant secretary of health, setting her up to become the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the Senate. Levine, a pediatrician and former Pennsylvania physician general, will serve as the top deputy to Health and Human Services Secretary-designee Xavier Becerra. “Dr. Rachel Levine will bring the steady leadership and essential expertise we need to get people through this pandemic — no matter their zip code, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability — and meet the public health needs of our country in this critical moment and beyond,” Biden said in a press release. “She is a historic and deeply qualified choice to help lead our administration’s health efforts.” Vice President-elect Kamala Harris said that Levine is “a remarkable public servant with the knowledge and experience to help us contain this pandemic, and protect and improve the health and well-being of the American people.” Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, a Democrat, appointed Levine to her current position in 2017. She was confirmed by the Republican-majority Pennsylvania Senate for her roles as health secretary and physician general. Levine, a graduate of Harvard University and Tulane University School of Medicine, has become the public face of the state’s coronavirus pandemic response. She faced calls to resign from her post last spring after reports that she had removed her 95-year-old mother from her personal care home after ordering all nursing homes and long-term facilities in the state to accept coronavirus patients from hospitals, despite concerns about older people’s vulnerability to the virus. She defended the decision, saying her mother who is “more than competent to make her own decisions” had requested the move.
- The Telegraph
The arrest of an Egyptian woman for baking and selling cupcakes bearing iced genitals sparked national debate across Egypt on Monday when the state’s security apparatus turned its full attention to the “cupcake incident”. The baker, whose identity has not been released by the authorities, was arrested on Monday reportedly on charges of ‘violating family values’ after photos of the adult cakes went viral on Facebook. She was later released on bail worth EGP 5,000 (£233). A group of “older” women had been enjoying the cakes at a birthday party at Cairo’s elite Gezira Sporting Club and posted the photo in the club’s Facebook group. Though the photos were taken down by the club’s management after complaints, they went viral on social media after being leaked outside of the private group days later. This led to the involvement of MPs and the formation of a legal committee to investigate the crime. According to Egypt’s Youm7 newspaper, the baker denied making the graphic decorations on top of the cakes. It is unclear from reports whether the group of women ordered the cakes, were sent them by accident, or decorated them themselves. The incident has garnered massive attention across Egypt’s state-controlled media, with the female baker being made an example of, in the country’s latest attempt at controlling public morality. The scandal quickly became the top-trending topic on Egyptian social media and prime-time TV hosts began to condemn the women on air, adding to the growing debate over cupcake gate. An Egyptian MP on Monday evening called for Dr Ashraf Sobhy, the minister of youth and sport (as the incident took place in a sporting club) to be summoned to provide an explanation. The minister quickly announced he had formed a legal committee to investigate the incident. According to newspaper Akhbar el-Yom, fines may be issued against the group of women - who were not arrested alongside the baker - if the investigation finds them guilty. The newspaper also reported claims that the toppers had been imported from America. From TikTok influencers to actresses, belly-dancers and novelists - the arrest of the baker is the latest in a string of charges and jail-time brought against Egyptians in recent years for harming public morals. Earlier this month two female TikTok influencers, who had served time in jail also for “violating family values” were acquitted, in the continued struggle for freedom of expression in the conservative country.
- The Week
Anthony Scaramucci was right: The White House appears to be having trouble rounding up a sizable crowd for President Trump's official send-off from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on Wednesday."In what looks like a desperate attempt to build a crowd for the crowd-obsessed president, an email has been making the rounds to current and former White House officials inviting them, and as many as five plus-ones, to Trump's elaborate exit ceremony," Politico reported Tuesday morning. "The go-to excuse for skipping out has been the 6 a.m. call time at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. But truly, many just don't want to be photographed sending off their former boss."Trump's current staffers have a good reason to avoid their outgoing boss. "Former White House officials and campaign staffers who would typically land plum jobs in corporate America after serving their time are now out in the cold," Politico says. One former White House official who got out early put it this way: "No one wants to touch them, they're just toxic." Another former Trump aide, pointing to the fallout from the Jan. 6 insurrection, was more blunt, telling Politico: "They're f---ed."Trump will be the first president since Andrew Johnson, another member of the tiny impeached president club, to skip the inauguration of his successor. "Johnson snubbed Ulysses S. Grant in 1869," The Washington Post notes. More stories from theweek.com 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment Melania Trump released a farewell video. So did Colbert's Late Show Melania Trump. Chief Justice John Roberts reportedly wants no part of Trump's impeachment trial
A woman was filmed having a meltdown after being asked by passengers to wear a mask properly while riding a train in Taiwan amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The unidentified woman reportedly rode the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) train from New Taipei City's Banqiao District to Taoyuan's Zhongli District bound for Taichung on Sunday without a mask, according to Taiwan News. Rex Huang, a member of the Facebook group Breaking News Commune, shared more details on what happened.
- National Review
At the outset of the pandemic, the government undertook a deliberate effort to reduce economic activity in what was widely thought to be a necessary measure to slow the spread of COVID-19. Whereas most recessions call for policy that stimulates the economy, the COVID-19 recession called for the opposite — measures that would enable workers and businesses to hit pause until a vaccine or therapeutic became widely available. Now that vaccines are being administered, policy-makers face a different challenge — not keeping Americans inside, but getting them back to work as quickly as possible. In this context, President-elect Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package misses the mark. The proposal gives a nod to public health — with $20 billion allocated to vaccine distribution, $50 billion to testing, and $40 billion to medical supplies and emergency-response teams — but fails to address the most pressing hurdles to COVID-19 immunity. Vaccines sit unused not for lack of funding but thanks to burdensome rules determining which patients can receive shots and which doctors can administer them. Additional spending to speed up vaccine distribution is welcome, but its effects will be muted if bureaucratic hurdles remain in place. Even if the public-health provisions were to succeed in reopening the economy, much of the rest of Biden’s plan guarantees that it will reopen weaker. For one, an expanded unemployment-insurance top-up of $400 a week would mean more than 40 percent of those receiving unemployment benefits would make more off-the-job than on-the-job at least until September, and possibly for longer. The food-service and retail industries hit hardest by the pandemic would see the largest shortfalls in labor, exacerbating the challenges they’ve faced over the past year. Enhanced unemployment may have been reasonable when we wanted workers to stay home, but it’s catastrophic when we want them to go back to work. Meanwhile, Biden’s proposed minimum-wage increase to $15 nationally would eliminate an estimated 1.3 million jobs, hitting low-income states hardest. In Mississippi, where the median wage is $15, as many as half the state’s workers would be at risk. A minimum-wage hike may be high on the Democratic wish list, but it does not belong in an emergency-relief bill. The Biden plan isn’t all Democratic priorities, though. He took a page from Trump’s book and proposed $1,400 checks to households, bringing the second-round total to $2,000. With household income now 8 percent above the pre-pandemic trend, additional checks would do little more than pad savings accounts. Indeed, 80 percent of the recipients of last year’s checks put the money into savings or debt payments, not consumption. The flagship item in Biden’s plan would do little to spur economic growth even on Keynesian assumptions. The same goes for state and local aid, for which Biden is seeking $370 billion on top of $170 billion in public-education grants. The total of $540 billion far surpasses the roughly $50 billion hit to state and local tax revenues last year. As we wrote in December, states and cities are slow to spend federal grants, so the lion’s share of this stimulus would not show up until 2023. Rather than attempting to stimulate the economy, Biden is hoping to launder bailouts of profligate Democratic states through COVID-19 relief. Other parts of the bill — expansions of the earned-income and child-tax credits — are defensible long-term structural reforms, but as year-long emergency measures, they will have the same muted effect as direct checks. By including a slew of proposals unrelated to the pandemic, Biden has weakened his hand in negotiations and made it less likely that urgent measures pass quickly. In the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic, economic policy-makers rose to the occasion. Following an unprecedented external shock, the U.S. economy has emerged in relatively good shape, with less unemployment and bankruptcy than most feared. But the policies implemented to curb COVID-19 are not suited for what will begin to become, over the course of this year, a post-pandemic economy. Biden may have campaigned during a recession, but he is taking office during a recovery. He should govern accordingly.
- The Telegraph
A Christian girl has been taken into care in Pakistan after allegedly being abducted by a Muslim man who forced her to marry him and kept her chained up in a cattle pen. The girl spent five months chained up in the pen in the yard of her 45-year-old captor's home, where she was forced to work all day clearing the animals’ dung, her family claim. They said that when she was rescued by police last month, she had cuts on her ankles left by the shackles put on her by captor, who is also said to have raped her repeatedly. The case has now been taken up by human rights groups, who say the family's initial complaint to police went ignored for three months. They claim that every year, hundreds of girls from Pakistan's Christian and Hindu minority groups are abducted and forced into Muslim marriage, with the justice system often turning a blind eye for fear of offending Islamic hardliners. They say that Britain, which gives £302 million in aid last year to Pakistan, should insist that more is done to counter prejudices against minorities and challenge institutionalised tolerance of sexual abuse. In November, The Telegraph reported on the case a 14-year-old girl allegedly kidnapped by a Muslim man who then used threats of violence to make her sign false papers consenting to marriage. When she escaped from his custody, a court initially ruled the marriage legal and returned her to her abductor's home. She is now in hiding, with the British charity Aid to the Church in Need petitioning Boris Johnson to allow her to seek asylum in Britain.
- The Independent
Nancy Pelosi called pro-Trump rioters ‘Putin puppets’ and the Capitol siege a ‘gift’ to the Russian president
- Associated Press
Masks off the minute you step inside. Since becoming one of the world's first destinations to open up for tourism, Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, has promoted itself as the ideal pandemic vacation spot. With its cavernous malls, frenetic construction and legions of foreign workers, Dubai was built on the promise of globalization, drawing largely from the aviation, hospitality and retail sectors — all hard hit by the virus.
- NBC News
"The situation at the border isn't going to be transformed overnight," a senior Biden transition official told NBC News in an exclusive interview.
- The Telegraph
Meghan Markle argues 'quintessentially private letter' was 'triple barrelled' breach of her rights, High Court hears
The Duchess of Sussex has argued that the publication of a “quintessentially” private letter she sent to her father was a “tripled barrelled” invasion of her rights and that any argument to the contrary was “utterly fanciful.” She has insisted that the letter was a “heartfelt plea from an anguished daughter” published only for commercial gain. The Duchess, 39, has accused the Mail on Sunday of a “plain and serious" breach “not just of her right to respect for her correspondence, but also her private and family life" by reproducing extracts of the letter in a “sensational" context. She is suing Associated Newspapers, the owner of the newspaper, for breach of privacy and copyright. Her claim concerns the publication of five articles, three in the MailOnline and two in the Mail on Sunday, in February 2019. At a two-day summary judgment hearing, being heard remotely at the High Court, the Duchess’s lawyers have argued there is “no real prospect” of the newspaper winning the case and that it should therefore be resolved without a trial. Such an application can be brought when one party believes it has such an overwhelmingly strong case that the judge does not need to hear witness evidence.
Police stopped a car of Black men and confiscated two of their guns at Virginia's annual "Lobby Day" on Monday while white gun rights activists defied local laws unimpeded in the state capital of Richmond. In a day with racial tensions on display, Black protesters denounced what they called a double standard in a state where people are free to openly carry firearms. Virginians converge on the capitol each Lobby Day to petition state legislators on issues of public interest, but the day has been dominated by gun rights activists in recent years.