Here are the top stories for Wednesday, January 6, 2021.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
- Associated Press
Hundreds of Holocaust survivors in Austria and Slovakia got their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine Wednesday, an acknowledgement of past suffering and a tribute to resilience 76 years after Soviet troops liberated the Auschwitz death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland. More than 400 Austrian survivors, most in their 80s or 90s, were expected to get shots at the convention center in Vienna. “We owe this to them,” said Erika Jakubovits, who organized the capital vaccination drive for the Jewish Community of Vienna.
- The Week
President Biden announced Tuesday that his administration intends to order an additional 100 million doses of both the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines. The extra 200 million doses, which Biden said should arrive by the summer, would boost the country's supply by about 50 percent to 600 million shots total, meaning that there would be enough shots available to inoculate 300 million people in the coming months without the Food and Drug Administration granting approval for any other vaccine candidates. Pres. Biden says his admin has ordered 200 million more COVID-19 vaccine doses that will be available by summer, increasing the total number ordered from 400 million to 600 million pic.twitter.com/VFZ3qTmUK9 — NowThis (@nowthisnews) January 26, 2021 It's another sign that the government is raising expectations for the vaccine rollout. On Monday, Biden upped the daily vaccination goal from 1 million to 1.5 million throughout his first 100 days in office and suggested that any American who wants a shot could be able to get one by the spring. FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver applauded the administration for getting more ambitious, though he noted it could be difficult — impossible, even, unless the shots are approved for children — to find 300 million willing Americans to get vaccinated by the end of summer. In practice it's going to be hard to find 300m Americans willing to get vaccinated by Sept. 22. (It's literally impossible until vaccines are approved for children.) And we'll probably eventually mix in some one-dose vaccines. Still, ramping up to 2-2.5m/day is a laudable goal. — Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) January 26, 2021 More stories from theweek.comMitch McConnell is the GOATSarah Huckabee Sanders' shameless campaign for governorTrump's impeachment lawyer said he thinks 'the facts and the law will speak for themselves'
Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny is being used by the West to try to destabilise Russia, a prominent hardliner and ally of President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday, saying he must be held to account for repeatedly breaking the law. Navalny was remanded in custody for 30 days last week after returning from Germany where he had been recovering from a nerve agent poisoning. Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Security Council, called for Navalny to face the full force of the law in comments that offered a glimpse into the mood inside Russia's security establishment after tens of thousands of Navalny's supporters protested against his jailing on Saturday.
- 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.
- Associated Press
Authorities in Singapore said Wednesday that they had detained without trial a 16-year-old student who made detailed plans and preparations to launch “terrorist attacks” on two mosques with a machete. The Internal Security Department said the Singaporean teen was inspired by an Australian gunman who killed 51 worshippers at two mosques in New Zealand in 2019. The teen was detained in December, and was the youngest terror suspect to be held under the country's Internal Security Act, it added.
- Yahoo News Video
The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Antony Blinken as America’s top diplomat, tasked with carrying out President Biden’s commitment to reverse the Trump administration’s “America First” doctrine that weakened international alliances.
The U.S. Senate is expected to confirm President Joe Biden's nominee for secretary of state, veteran diplomat Antony Blinken, on Tuesday, after the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted strongly in favor of his appointment. After the 15-3 vote by the committee, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the full Senate would vote on Blinken at noon EST (1600 GMT) on Tuesday. Although the three committee no votes came from Republicans, Blinken is expected to be confirmed with strong bipartisan support.
- The Independent
Missouri senator has faced calls to resign over objection to Biden election win
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.
- 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.
- Architectural Digest
Let’s get loudOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
Known to millions around the world for her staunch defence of Trump, now it's her turn to speak for herself.
The foreign ministers of Hungary and Ukraine were expected to meet in Kyiv on Wednesday for talks on repairing badly strained relations but Budapest said its diplomatic missions in the ex-Soviet republic had received threats of "bloodletting" violence. The two countries are at loggerheads over the right of some 150,000 ethnic Hungarians living in Transcarpathia in western Ukraine to use their native tongue, especially in education. Prime Minister Viktor Orban's nationalist government in Budapest has responded by blocking Kyiv's efforts to build closer ties with NATO and the European Union, of which Hungary is a member.
- 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.
- Associated Press
Immigrant rights activists energized by a new Democratic administration and majorities on Capitol Hill are gearing up for a fresh political battle to push through a proposed bill from President Joe Biden that would open a pathway to citizenship for up to 11 million people. The multimillion-dollar #WeAreHome campaign was launched Monday by national groups including United We Dream and the United Farm Workers Foundation. “We are home,” a young woman's voice declares in the first video spot showing immigrants in essential jobs such as cleaning and health care.
Weeks after other Latin American countries began inoculating their citizens against coronavirus, Brazil finally administered its first shot on Jan. 17 using China's Sinovac Biotech Ltd vaccine. With efficacy of just over 50% - barely above Brazil's threshold for regulatory approval - the Chinese shot was not the government's first choice. The country's principle strategy - to manufacture 100 million doses of the AstraZeneca PLC vaccine locally - has been plagued by repeated delays.