Florida A&M University is one of 10 schools benefiting from a $10 million TikTok fund that aims to provide scholarships to Black, Latinx and Indigenous students pursuing medical and health care careers.
- The Telegraph
Joe Biden believes a patched-up relationship with Boris Johnson will help to decide the "destiny of the world" as the president-elect is set to head to the UK for his first foreign visit outside of North America, sources have told the Telegraph. A close friend of Mr Biden said the leaders will bury differences over Brexit as British officials said they expected the UK to be one of the first foreign destinations, in what would be a major diplomatic coup for Mr Johnson. Mr Biden is due to be sworn in on Wednesday. Sources who would be closely involved in any visit have circled the G7 summit in June, hosted in the UK, as the potential date for the new president’s trip across the Atlantic. Mr Biden opposed Brexit, and feels strong loyalties to his ancestral home in Ireland. He warned repeatedly last year, including directly to Mr Johnson, that the Good Friday Agreement must not become a "casualty of Brexit". But a friend of Mr Biden told The Telegraph: "Boris is a conservative, Joe's a moderate [Democrat] so I think they can get over it. I think they'll end up getting along. "Joe's view will be that they'll have the destiny of the world on their shoulders so he'll want to overcome any political differences. "I think there'll be more empathy than there was between Boris and Donald Trump. Boris seemed to get along with Trump, but I don't know if he really did."
- Associated Press
A federal judge in Washington on Friday night halted a plan to release and put on house arrest the Arkansas man photographed sitting at a desk in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office during last week's riot at the U.S. Capitol. Richard Barnett will instead be brought to Washington, D.C., immediately for proceedings in his case, Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell ordered Friday night, staying a decision by another judge to confine Barnett to his home in Gravette, Arkansas, until his trial. Howell's ruling came hours after U.S. Magistrate Judge Erin Wiedemann in Arkansas set a $5,000 bond for Barnett and ordered that a GPS monitor track his location.
- The Independent
Kayleigh McEnany leaves White House after final two-minute press briefing following deadly Capitol riot
Trump’s press secretary refused to take questions following the deadly insurrection at the US Capitol earlier this month
A 1st Armored Division soldier at Fort Bliss, Texas has been charged with sexually assaulting three women over the past year, including a fellow soldier who was found dead a year on New Year's Eve.
- National Review
Eleven years ago, Dan Senor and Saul Singer dubbed Israel the “Start Up Nation” for its disproportionately large number of technology start-ups and NASDAQ stock listings. Make way for the Vaccination Nation. Israel leads the world in COVID-19 vaccinations. It has already vaccinated nearly a quarter of its population, including 75 percent of the population most at risk, people over age 60. It has administered 24.5 doses per 100 persons, nearly double the next-best country (the United Arab Emirates) and about 8 times as many people per capita as in the U.S. and the U.K. Israel’s per capita vaccination rate is 24 times that of the normally efficient Germans and 50 times better than the world average. Only three other countries in the world — the U.S., China, and the U.K. — have administered more vaccines. Why is Israel doing so much better than anyone else? Israel’s small size simplifies logistics. But there are other factors. First, unlike American states, which have administered only about a third of the doses they have received, Israeli made sure it was ready to use its supply. Officials set up large vaccination centers and mobile units in advance. They reached out to minority groups, such as the ultra-Orthodox and Arab citizens, ahead of the roll-out to encourage vaccine uptake. Israel started vaccinations in mid-December and by the end of the month was vaccinating more than 150,000 people a day. Second, Israel secured a large supply from Pfizer by promising to provide comprehensive safety and effectiveness data. Israel has a nationwide, computerized health database that can provide anonymized outcomes for all citizens, letting Pfizer use the country of nearly nine million as a real-time laboratory. In return, Pfizer has pledged to provide enough doses to vaccinate every Israeli over 16 by the end of March. In addition, Israel was the first country outside of North America to approve the Moderna vaccine and has purchased six million doses. Israel also paid premium prices — a wise investment in ending the economic devastation occasioned by pandemic lockdowns. Needless to say, Israel is good at planning for and executing during emergencies. Senor and Singer identified universal army service as promoting Israelis’ resourcefulness and willingness to take the initiative to improve existing systems. Pfizer packages its vaccine in trays of 1,000 doses, which, because of the need for ultra-cold storage, must be all be used within a short period of time once they have been defrosted. The large number of doses limits vaccinations to centers that can line up large numbers of recipients. Israel figured out how to repackage the trays into smaller lots of doses to improve flexibility for delivering doses to a broader range of providers and less populated locations. Israelis are also willing to buck established authority. The Pfizer multi-dose vaccine vials were authorized to hold five doses. This led many American vaccinators to discard vaccine remaining after administering five doses, even if it was adequate to provide one or two extra doses, for fear of running afoul of FDA instructions (the FDA eventually clarified that it is acceptable to use every obtainable full dose). Israelis, in contrast, were willing from the start to use windfall sixth and seventh doses. American vaccinators have been reluctant to give remaining doses to people outside of government-mandated priority order — New York’s Governor Cuomo promised hefty fines for vaccinating out of order — leading to doses’ being discarded at the end of the day. Israeli providers vaccinated end-of-day walk-ins outside of the guidelines to avoid wasting valuable doses. Finally, Israelis’ willingness to pull together and treat the pandemic as if it were a war and the government’s successful roll-out have changed Israelis’ initial reluctance into eagerness to be vaccinated. Prime Minister Netanyahu set an example by being the first Israeli to be vaccinated. The prophet Isaiah said Israel would function as “a light unto the nations,” providing spiritual and moral guidance to the world. Modern-day Israel, the Start-Up Nation, can provide technological and practical guidance as well.
- Yahoo News Video
A friendly $100 wager over the 2020 presidential election has landed in a Florida small claims court.
- Architectural Digest
- Associated Press
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will resign her Senate seat on Monday, two days before she and President-elect Joe Biden are inaugurated. Aides to the California Democrat confirmed the timing and said Gov. Gavin Newsom was aware of her decision, clearing the way for him to appoint fellow Democrat Alex Padilla, now California's secretary of state, to serve the final two years of Harris' term. Padilla will be the first Latino senator from California, where about 40% of residents are Hispanic.
- NBC News
Eighty-seven percent of Republicans approve of how Trump is doing his job in a new NBC News poll, but half of all voters say Trump is "definitely worse than most" presidents.
- The Telegraph
The US claimed on Saturday that staff at a Chinese virology laboratory became sick with a Covid-like illness in autumn 2019, months before the coronavirus spread widely from Wuhan. In a long-awaited document from the state department, the Trump administration called for an investigation as it published dubious accusations that a possible "laboratory accident" at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) may be the source of the global pandemic. The claims were dismissed by analysts who insist the disease came from a naturally occurring event. In a statement late on Friday claiming to reveal "undisclosed information", the state department said it "has reason to believe that several researchers inside the WIV became sick in autumn 2019, before the first identified case, with symptoms consistent with both Covid-19 and common seasonal illnesses." The statement also said that the lab had been carrying out research on a bat coronavirus similar to the Sars-CoV-2 strain that spread globally and that the lab had collaborated with China's military on publications and secret projects. Some experts were nonplussed by the announcement. "Zero details given," noted Kristian Andersen, an immunologist at Scripps Research, rating the statement as "an F". The fact that Wuhan was home to the world's leading coronavirus research facility before it became known as ground zero for the pandemic has led to speculation that the virus could have originated in the lab.
Fanny Mergui has no doubt: Moroccan Jews "are already packing their suitcases" to board direct flights to Israel after the kingdom normalised ties with the Jewish state.
- Associated Press
Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard conducted a drill Saturday launching anti-warship ballistic missiles at a simulated target in the Indian Ocean, state television reported, amid heightened tensions over Tehran’s nuclear program and a U.S. pressure campaign against the Islamic Republic. Footage showed two missiles smash into a target that Iranian state television described as “hypothetical hostile enemy ships” at a distance of 1,800 kilometers (1,120 miles). Iranian state television described the drill as taking place in the country’s vast central desert, the latest in a series of snap exercises called amid the escalating tensions over its nuclear program.
- The Week
Less than a week before the inauguration, Vice President Mike Pence has reportedly called Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to offer his congratulations.Pence and Harris spoke over the phone Thursday, with Pence congratulating the incoming vice president and offering "his belated assistance," The New York Times reported on Friday and The Associated Press confirmed.This is the first time Pence and Harris have spoken since their debate in October, and the call was "described as gracious and pleasant," the Times writes. President Trump has yet to speak with President-elect Joe Biden since the election, having spent more than two months falsely claiming to have won.Pence may invite Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, to the vice-presidential residence prior to next week's inauguration, according to the Times, though this is reportedly not set in stone due to scheduling issues created by the ongoing security concerns following last week's Capitol riot.Trump is reportedly expected to leave Washington, D.C. the morning of the inauguration. The president previously confirmed he will skip Biden's swearing-in, but Pence is expected to attend.More stories from theweek.com 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment Trump's vaccine delay is getting suspicious Biden's inaugural address expected to push unity, optimism
- The Telegraph
Government must 'get a grip' of what is now a full-blown crisis in the fishing industry, say fishermen
Scotland's fishermen have told Boris Johnson his Brexit trade deal leaves them with the "worst of both worlds" amid export delays and collapsing market prices. In a letter to the Prime Minister, the Scottish Fishermen's Federation (SFF) said the industry was facing "mounting financial losses" and the only way to ensure a fair price was a 72-hour round trip to land catch in Denmark. Elspeth Macdonald, the trade group's chief executive, said there was "huge disappointment and a great deal of anger about your failure to deliver on promises made repeatedly to this industry." She accused him of having "spun a line" about a 25 per cent uplift in the UK's quota and demanded urgent details of promised compensation for the disruption. Her concerns were echoed by Scotland's seafood processors, who said ministers in both London and Edinburgh need to "get a grip" of the long delays exporters are facing. A third of fishing boats in Scotland are tied up at harbours and the industry is estimated to be losing £1 million per day. Exporters warned they face possible bankruptcy amid a suspension of road deliveries due to border delays. Transport company DFDS stopped exports last week after delays in getting new paperwork introduced following the expiry of the Brexit transition period for EU border posts in France. It aims to resume the service on Monday. Paperwork has to be approved before consignments can be sent to DFDS's warehouse in South Lanarkshire and then on to English Channel ports. In her letter to the Prime Minister, Ms McDonald said: "Many fishing vessels are tied to the quay wall.” She added: "This industry now finds itself in the worst of both worlds. Your deal leaves us with shares that not only fall very far short of zonal attachment, but in many cases fail to ‘bridge the gap’ compared to historic catches, and with no ability to leverage more fish from the EU, as they have full access to our waters. "This, coupled with the chaos experienced since 1st January in getting fish to market means that many in our industry now fear for their future, rather than look forward to it with optimism and ambition."
- NBC News
Federal law enforcement hasn't had to use significant legal and technical resources at its disposal because of online documentation.
- National Review
Senator Ben Sasse (R., Neb.) on Friday called for the rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol last week to be “prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” saying those who participated in the unrest that left five dead were “terrorists attacking this country’s constitutionally-mandated transfer of power.” Sasse’s comments come after the Department of Justice said in court documents that the rioters breached the Capitol with the intent to “capture and assassinate elected officials.” In a memo requesting that “QAnon shaman” Jacob Anthony Chansley be kept in detention, Justice Department lawyers in Arizona wrote that “strong evidence, including Chansley’s own words and actions at the Capitol” show that the intent was to harm elected officials. Sasse said it would be “wrong” of “rage-peddlers” to “try to whitewash the attack on the Capitol, saying that a few bad apples got out of control.” “Every American needs to understand what the Department of Justice has just made public: Investigators have strong evidence to suggest that some of the rioters who stormed the United States Capitol planned to kidnap and possibly assassinate the Vice President,” he said. “These men weren’t drunks who got rowdy — they were terrorists attacking this country’s constitutionally-mandated transfer of power,” he added. “They failed, but they came dangerously close to starting a bloody constitutional crisis.” He concluded: “They must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The FBI is investigating widespread calls for violence across the country and every American has an obligation to lower the temperature.” Last week, before the House impeached President Trump for a second time on an “incitement of insurrection” charge, Sasse had vowed to consider any articles of impeachment against Trump that came before the Senate. “The House, if they come together and have a process, I will definitely consider whatever articles they might move,” Sasse said in an interview with CBS. “I believe the president has disregarded his oath of office…what he did was wicked.”
- Associated Press
People throughout the San Francisco Bay area on Saturday night reported feeling a magnitude 4.2 earthquake that hit the region. The earthquake hit 8:01 p.m and had an epicenter about 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) southeast of Aromas, a town of about 2,650 people that straddles Monterey and San Benito counties, the U.S. Geological Survey said. The San Jose Mercury News reported that social media activity indicates that the earthquake was felt not only in the counties near where it was centered, but at least as far as San Francisco and Contra Costa counties.
- The Week
- The Guardian
Critics condemn ‘callous betrayal’ after Trump officials set in motion transfer of Oak Flat to Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton Protesters in Oak Flat in June 2015. Oak Flat is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its spiritual and cultural significance. Photograph: Ross D Franklin/AP As one of its last acts, the Trump administration has set in motion the transfer of sacred Native American lands to a pair of Anglo-Australian mining conglomerates. The 2,422-acre Arizona parcel called Oak Flat is of enormous significance to the Western Apache and is now on track for destruction by what is slated to be one of the largest copper mining operations in the United States. Steps for the controversial land transfer from the US government, which owns the land, to the miners were completed on Friday morning, when a final environmental assessment was published. The government must soon transfer title to the land. Native Americans in the area have compared it to historical attacks on their tribes. “What was once gunpowder and disease is now replaced with bureaucratic negligence,” said Wendsler Nosie, founder of activist organization Apache Stronghold and a member of the Apache band descended from Geronimo. “Native people are treated as something invisible or gone. We are not. We don’t want to be pushed around any more.” The move comes after the administration sped up the environmental approval process for the transfer by a full year. During a meeting with environmental groups, regional Forest Service officials attributed the accelerated timeline to “pressure from the highest levels” of the US Department of Agriculture, though the government says it is only because the work was finished more quickly than expected. The recipient of the land is a firm called Resolution Copper, which was set up by the miners Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton. “The Forest Service is clearly jumping through flaming hoops to get this done for Rio Tinto before Trump leaves office,” said Randy Serraglio, conservation advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity. He called it “a callous betrayal of Native people who value the land as sacred.” Last May, Rio Tinto blasted a sacred Aboriginal site in western Australia’s Juukan Gorge. The widespread public outcry and investor revolt over the destruction led the Rio Tinto chairman, Simon Thompson, to promise that the company would “never again” destroy sites of “exceptional archaeological and cultural significance” during mining operations. The Resolution Copper east plant near Superior in Arizona. Photograph: Nancy Wiechec/Reuters Called Chi’chil Bildagoteel in Apache, Oak Flat is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its spiritual and cultural significance to at least a dozen south-west Native American tribes. It contains hundreds of indigenous archaeological sites dating back 1,500 years and is a place where Apache tribes have performed ceremonies for centuries. Yet thousands of feet beneath Oak Flat is a copper deposit estimated to be one of the largest in the world and worth more than $1bn. If the mine goes forward as planned, it will consume 11 square miles, including Apache burial grounds, sacred sites, petroglyphs and medicinal plants. Unbeknown to tribes and environmental groups who had long opposed mining Oak Flat, the land transfer was passed by Congress and signed by Barack Obama in December 2014 as a last-minute rider to a Department of Defense spending bill. The legislation calls for giving Oak Flat to Resolution Copper in exchange for 5,736 acres of its privately held land across Arizona that are desirable for recreation or conservation. While conducting its environmental review, the Forest Service acknowledged that the mine will destroy sites sacred to Native Americans but claimed the loss was an unavoidable consequence of the land exchange mandate. The San Carlos Apache Tribe filed a lawsuit in US district court in Phoenix on Thursday alleging, among other things, that by moving forward with the land exchange the Forest Service is violating the National Historic Preservation Act, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and an 1852 treaty between the United States and Western Apache tribes. On Friday, in a separate lawsuit, a judge denied Apache Stronghold’s request to delay publication of the environmental assessment. But as a result of litigation and public pressure the Forest Service agreed to delay the land transfer for 55 days.Apache Stronghold also filed a lien on Oak Flat claiming that the land was owned by the Apache according to the 1852 treaty – under which Oak Flat was deemed a part of the Apache homeland – and the Forest Service did not have legal title to the property. The Arizona representative Raúl Grijalva and Vermont senator Bernie Sanders also plan to introduce the Save Oak Flat Act in Congress to repeal the land exchange. Tribes and environmental groups are hopeful Oak Flat can still be preserved. “There are plenty of things an incoming Biden administration can do to stop this,” said Serraglio of the Center for Biological Diversity. Even if Oak Flat ends up in the hands of Resolution Copper through title transfer “there is no guarantee they will be able to get any of the other federal permits to actually do the mine”. This story was amended on 16 January 2021 to clarify the status of the lawsuits concerning Oak Flat.