By Letitia Stein TAMPA Fla. (Reuters) - Florida Governor Rick Scott on Friday signed into law harsher penalties for crimes in which a fetus is harmed or killed, no matter how early in the pregnancy. The legislation drew passionate support this spring from a Florida woman whose boyfriend tricked her into taking pills known to induce abortion during the initial weeks of a pregnancy. The new law allows offenders to be charged with a separate crime for causing harm to a fetus at any stage of development, even if the perpetrator did not know the woman was pregnant. Prior Florida law applied only in limited circumstances and when the fetus was far enough along to survive outside the womb. "There is no timeline anymore for justice for an unborn child of a pregnant woman," said the bill's Republican sponsor, state Representative Larry Ahern. Florida becomes the 38th state allowing a separate charge for the death of a fetus during a crime against the mother, according to a legislative bill analysis. The laws in other states take effect at different developmental stages. Lobbying for the Florida law's passage this spring was Remee Jo Lee, who lost a pregnancy at nearly seven weeks gestation after her boyfriend gave her pills known to induce abortion, which he put in a bottle labeled as an antibiotic. Boyfriend John Welden was charged under the federal Unborn Victims of Violence Act. But in a deal with federal prosecutors, he pleaded guilty to lesser charges of tampering with a consumer product resulting in bodily injury and conspiracy to commit mail fraud. He was sentenced to serve more than 13 years in prison. The new state law would have given Florida prosecutors more options for charging him under state law. But the new law does not affect women choosing to terminate a pregnancy, said Republican state Senator Kelli Stargel, who also sponsored the legislation. "You're wanting that baby and someone violently takes it from you - it needs to be a crime," she said. (Reporting by Letitia Stein; Editing by Barbara Goldberg, Eric Beech and David Gregorio)
- 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
Former President Donald Trump’s “big lie” about a stolen election may have been discredited over and over in the courts, and disgraced by the attack on the U.S. Capitol, but the corrosive effect of his dishonesty will linger on, complicating efforts to strengthen American elections.
President Obama's former speechwriter says he's "preemptively frustrated" with President Biden's effort to find unity with Republicans.What they're saying: Cody Keenan told Axios that Biden's messaging team has "struck all the right chords," but at some point "they're gonna have to answer questions like, 'Why didn't you achieve unity?' when there's an entire political party that's already acting to stop it."Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.Keenan spent 14 years writing for Obama, including working alongside Biden for eight of those years. He acknowledged being embittered by his own experience, especially after Sen. Mitch McConnell pledged to make his former boss a one-term president. * "Until the Republican Party steps up and tells their own voters what's really happening with the truth, it's going to be elusive," Keenan said. "It's not up to (President Biden) alone to deliver. He can't."Keenan helped Obama with the first volume of his memoir, "A Promised Land." He stopped working with the former president on New Year's Eve and has taken a full-time role at Fenway Strategies. The firm is run by another ex-Obama speechwriter — Jon Favreau — and presidential aide, Tommy Vietor. * "It just seemed like a natural spot after the book and the elections and, you know, [Obama] is not going to do a ton, especially with Biden in office," Keenan said.Keenan is also writing a book, titled "Grace," about the 10 days from the 2015 shooting at a historic Black church in Charleston, South Carolina, to the eulogy Obama delivered for Rev. Clementa Pinckney. * Obama ended by singing "Amazing Grace." * The title also nods to Keenan's newborn daughter, named Grace.Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
- The Telegraph
A doctor with terminal cancer killed a female pediatrician and then himself after taking hostages at a children's clinic in Austin, Texas. Dr Bharat Narumanchi held hostages in a five-hour siege before killing Dr Katherine Lindley Dodson. Narumanchi had applied for a volunteer position at the clinic a week ago and was declined. He later came back carrying a pistol, a shotgun and two duffel bags. Police spokesman Jeff Greenwalt said Narumanchi had recently been given "weeks to live" after a cancer diagnosis. He said: "The case as far as who did this is closed. We know who did it. And we know that there's no longer a threat to the public. But we really, really want to answer the question of why." Dr Lindley Dodson, 43, was beloved by patients and their families. Karen Vladeck, whose two children were among her patients, told the Austin American-Statesman: "You saw her at your worst when your kid was sick, and she just always had a smile on her face. "She made you feel like you were the only parent there, even though there was a line of kids waiting." During the siege a SWAT team used a megaphone to communicate with the armed doctor. A hostage negotiator shouted: "Your life is very important to me. And I know life is very important to you. "You don't deserve to go through this. For all you have done for others. That is why I want to help you work through this. You have saved a lot of lives." Police first sent in a robot and then officers went into the medical office where they found two bodies. They did not comment on how the two doctors died. A police spokesman said: "The SWAT situation has ended. Two subjects have been located and were pronounced deceased."
- The Independent
Jill Biden spent her first week as First Lady reshaping the role. Melania Trump spent hers isolated in a tower
New first lady signals she will be an active and constant presence in the White House - drawing stark contrasts to her predecessor
- 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.
- The Telegraph
The leader of the Proud Boys extremist group has been unmasked as a "prolific" former FBI informant. Enrique Tarrio, 36, worked undercover exposing a human trafficking ring, and helped with drug and gambling cases, according to court documents. Tarrio's documented involvement with law enforcement related to the period 2012 -2014. There was no evidence of him cooperating after that. But the revelation raised further questions over why police did not take further steps to secure the US Capitol ahead of the riots on Jan 6. At least half a dozen members of the Proud Boys were arrested over involvement in the riots. Tarrio denied ever being an informer, telling Reuters: "I don’t know any of this. I don’t recall any of this."
Britain will announce on Tuesday whether it will bring in mandatory quarantine in hotels for some or all arrivals, the country's coronavirus vaccination minister said as he warned the public not to book summer vacations. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he was looking at the option of introducing quarantine hotels for those coming to Britain to prevent the risk of "vaccine-busting" new coronavirus variants entering the country. Nadhim Zahawi, the minister responsible for the rollout of the United Kingdom's COVID-19 vaccination programme, said details would come later on Tuesday.
- The Independent
Grandmother ‘overjoyed’ to be outside after receiving Covid-19 vaccine killed in Portland vehicle attack
Police have not released a motive in the attack
- Associated Press
The Biden administration on Wednesday paused or put under review a wide swath of Trump-era foreign policies as America’s new top diplomat took the helm of the State Department. The administration placed at least temporarily holds on several big-ticket arms sales to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, while newly installed Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he is looking urgently at a terrorism designation against Yemen’s Houthi rebels that his predecessor enacted shortly before leaving office. On his first full day on the job, Blinken said the administration has initiated a comprehensive review of the U.S. relationship with Russia and is examining details of a U.S.-Taliban peace deal signed nearly a year ago.
- Yahoo News Video
In remarks on Tuesday, President Biden said his administration will increase COVID-19 vaccine doses to states from 8.6 million to 10 million every week. He also said that states and territories will get a three-week forecast of vaccine supply.
"Our veterans, families and caregivers will benefit from the return of Joining Forces, and our nation will as well."
- Architectural Digest
Let’s get loudOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
Canada will soon make foreign travel harder in a bid to clamp down on the coronavirus, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday without giving details, prompting major provinces to demand action. A second wave of coronavirus is sweeping Canada and health officials say some hospitals run the risk of being overwhelmed. Trudeau is urging Canadians not to travel abroad and said Ottawa intended to introduce more restrictions.
- The Independent
‘There appeared to be no remorse,’ says Calcasieu Parish sheriff Tony Mancus
- Associated Press
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday criticized Iran's hard-liner dominated judiciary over last week's prosecution of the countrys telecommunications minister. Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi was released on bail after he was summoned for prosecution. Judiciary officials cited his refusal to block Instagram and impose limitations on the bandwidth of other foreign social media and messaging systems.
- NBC News
Analysis: Biden had nothing to gain and everything to lose from fighting a quixotic war over the filibuster just days into his presidency.
Explainer: Why Trump's post-presidency perks, like a pension and office, are safe for the rest of his life
The impeachment proceeding against Donald Trump on a charge of inciting the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol has fueled speculation online that he could lose some of the benefits extended to former presidents. But according to legal experts, under the laws currently in effect, Trump will retain perks including a pension, office space and security detail even in the unlikely event that he is convicted by the Senate in its impeachment trial. Trump can thank a relatively obscure law, the Former Presidents Act.
- 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.
- Associated Press
Authorities in Singapore have detained without trial a 16-year-old student who made detailed plans and preparations to carry out “terrorist attacks” on two mosques with a machete. The Singaporean teen was inspired by an Australian white supremacist who killed 51 worshippers at two mosques in New Zealand in 2019, the Internal Security Department said Wednesday. The teen detained in December was the youngest terror suspect to be held under the country's Internal Security Act, it added.