Saturday morning forecast
- The Independent
After a probe found "significant errors of judgment and procedure" in the termination of the employee, GitHub's head of human resources resigned, GitHub Chief Operating Officer Erica Brescia said on Sunday. "In light of these findings, we immediately reversed the decision to separate with the employee and are in communication with his representative," Brescia said in a blog https://bit.ly/2KnkVhI, adding that the company apologized to that employee.
- National Review
Small groups of protesters rallied outside fortified statehouses over the weekend ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.The big picture: Some protests attracted armed members of far-right extremist groups but there were no reports of clashes, as had been feared. The National Guard and law enforcement outnumbered demonstrators, as security was heightened around the U.S. to avoid a repeat of the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riots, per AP. Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.> Shout out to all the 50 states and 3 territories who are on their way to Washington, D.C. to support the 59th Presidential Inauguration. @TexasGuard is on their way! pic.twitter.com/Jfat7WpFV1> > — District of Columbia National Guard (@DCGuard1802) January 16, 2021Virginia National Guard soldiers are issued their M4 rifles and live ammunition on the east front of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 17. "More reporters and law enforcement members were present than protesters" in Washington, D.C., USA Today notes. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty ImagesBoogaloo Bois members outside Oregon's State Capitol in Salem on Jan. 17. Photo: John Rudoff/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesNational Guard soldiers protect the Department of Health Care Services building near the California State Capitol on Jan. 17. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty ImagesMinnesota State Patrol stand guard as a few people who support President Donald Trump sit outside the state capitol building on Jan. 17 in St Paul. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images A woman and child look on as members of the Washington National Guard and state police stand outside the state Capitol in Olympia, Washington, on Jan. 17. Photo: Jason Redmond/AFP via Getty ImagesA protester carries a crossbow outside the Capitol in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on Jan. 17. Photo: Kena Betancur/AFP via Getty ImagesAn armed member of the the Boogaloo Boys protests outside of the Kentucky State Capitol on Jan. in Frankfort. Photo: Jon Cherry/Getty ImagesMembers of the Utah National Guard stand watch as a man carries an upside down American flag as he walks the grounds of the Utah State Capitol building in Salt Lake City on Jan. 17. Photo: George Frey/AFP via Getty ImagesA Nevada Highway Patrol vehicle passes by the State Capitol on Jan. in Carson City. Photo: Ronda Churchill/AFP via Getty ImagesArmed groups rally in front of a closed Texas State Capitol in Austin on Jan. 17. Photo: Matthew Busch/AFP via Getty ImagesArmed members of the Boogaloo group in front of the State Capital in Concord, New Hampshire, on Jan. 17. Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty ImagesSupporters of the Second Amendment outside the Georgia Capitol building on Jan. 17 in Atlanta. Photo: Megan Varner/Getty ImagesA couple of Trump supporters outside the Colorado State Capitol on Jan. 17 in Denver. Photo: Michael Ciaglo/Getty ImagesNew Mexico State Police patrol around the state capitol in Santa Fe on Jan. 17. Photo: Paul Ratje/AFP via Getty ImagesTrump supporters stand outside the Capitol Building in Phoenix, Arizona, on Jan. 17. Photo: Olivier Touron/AFP via Getty ImagesA man speaks with law enforcement in front of the state capitol building in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, on Jan. 17. Photo: Logan Cyrus/AFP via Getty Images Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
- Associated Press
- 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
A woman identified as having taken part in the storming of the US Capitol is accused of stealing a laptop belonging to top Democrat Nancy Pelosi which she hoped to sell to a Russian spy agency, according to the FBI. There is no indication Riley June Williams, a 22-year-old careworker from Pennsylvania, took a laptop from Ms Pelosi's office. The FBI, which is working off a tip, said in the court record the "matter remains under investigation." The complaint, filed late Sunday in US District Court in Washington, sought the arrest of Williams on grounds including "violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds." Relying on several photos and videos of the chaotic January 6 riot, an FBI agent said Williams was seen near the office of Ms Pelosi, US House Speaker. A witness, identified in the court document only as W1 but who claimed to be "the former romantic partner of Riley June Williams," alleged that Williams planned to send the laptop to a friend in Russia to sell it to the SVR foreign intelligence agency. That sale "fell through for unknown reasons, and Williams still has the computer device or destroyed it," the affidavit says.
- The Independent
The latest updates from the White House and beyond on 17 January 2021
- Associated Press
Pakistan’s prime minister reacted angrily Monday to media reports of a text exchange between an Indian TV anchor and a former media industry executive that suggests a 2019 Indian airstrike inside Pakistan was designed to boost Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s chances for re-election. Imran Khan took to Twitter to respond to Indian media reports of an exchange on the WhatsApp messaging service between popular Indian TV anchor Arnab Goswami and Partho Dasgupta, the former head of a TV rating company.
- Reuters Videos
The protesters had gathered on a square in front of the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum art galleries, carrying signs reading "Freedom: stop this siege" and chanting "What do we want? Freedom!". None wore masks, which are not mandatory, and few respected social distancing rules. Authorities had declined an application for the protest to be held on Museum Square. The demonstrators refused to leave when police told them to do so, and some threw fireworks.
- 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, policymakers 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 policymakers 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
President Emmanuel Macron on Monday hailed a major step for “enlightened Islam” in France after Muslim leaders approved a charter that rejects extremism and upholds the "primacy of Republican principles over religious values”. Mr Macron has been pushing for the charter since November after a jihadist killed a schoolteacher for showing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in class. He called it “a hugely important step” and “truly a foundational text in the relationship between the state and Islam of France”. “Everything starts now,” he told Muslim leaders after an Elysée meeting rubber-stamping the text. However, it received a sceptical response from some religious scholars and experts. The 10-article “charter of principles” comes after six weeks of sometimes fraught talks within the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM), an umbrella body representing Islam in relation with the state. Negotiations almost collapsed last month when Chems-Eddine Hafiz, the council's vice-chairman, walked out amid claims that Islamist council members were spreading falsehoods that "the charter aims to attack the dignity of faithful Muslims". Entente over the charter seen is seen as key to Mr Macron’s fight to banish a culture of “separatism” in French society, which is also the subject of a new bill debated in parliament on Monday.
- The Independent
- National Review
President Trump signed an executive order on Monday expanding access to personal firearms for federal law enforcement officials. The order is one of the last of Trump’s presidency, with Joe Biden set to be sworn into office on Wednesday. The purpose of the order is to remove “undue obstacles” for law enforcement officers and prosecutors to obtain concealed carry licenses, as well as to expand protections for prosecutors and judges. “It shall be the policy of the United States to remove any undue obstacle preventing current or retired Federal law enforcement officers from carrying a concealed firearm,” the order states. The order also directs the U.S. Attorney General to “propose a regulation…to provide that the special deputation as a Deputy United States Marshall shall be granted upon request to any Federal prosecutor” who faces risk of harm as a result of his or her work. The special deputation would grant a prosecutor the right to concealed carry of a firearm. It is unclear if the incoming Biden administration will work to carry out the order. Biden announced earlier this month that he will nominate Merrick Garland, the prosecutor who headed the investigation against Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, to the position of attorney general. Biden himself is preparing several executive orders for the first days of his presidency, in an attempt to reverse several Trump administration policies. Among other issues, Biden will rejoin the Paris Climate Accords and end Trump’s immigration restrictions on some Muslim-majority nations.
- The Telegraph
Miners trapped underground in eastern China for more than a week after a blast at a gold mine have managed to send up a note to rescuers, the local government said on Monday. The blast occurred eight days ago on Sunday afternoon at a mine near Qixia city in eastern Shandong province, leaving 22 miners trapped underground more than 600 metres from the mine’s entrance. After a long period without any contact, rescuers were able to drill through the mine on Sunday afternoon and said they heard "knocking sounds". A note was then sent up from the trapped miners saying that 12 were still alive, the local government said in a statement Monday. "We are in urgent need of cold medicine, painkillers, medical tape, external anti-inflammatory drugs, and three people have high blood pressure," the note read.
Yosemite National Park officials are asking the public’s help for any information regarding a 41-year-old Asian woman who went missing after going on a day hike to the Upper Yosemite Fall last week. The woman was identified as "Alice" Yu Xie, a Chinese national living in the United States, according to a post shared by the park on Saturday. “If you were on the trail to the top of Yosemite Falls on January 14 or 15, 2021, even if you did not see this individual, or have any information regarding this individual, please call 209/372-0216 during business hours, or Yosemite Emergency Communications Center at 209/379-1992 after hours,” the park said.
The United States has informed Germany that it plans to impose sanctions on a Russian pipe-laying ship involved in construction of the Russian-led Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, the German Economy Ministry said on Monday. "We're taking note of the announcement with regret," an Economy Ministry spokesman in Berlin said. German business daily Handelsblatt had earlier reported the U.S. sanctions would go into effect on Tuesday as part of the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
- The Independent
Trump news - live: Pelosi raises alarm over loyalist installed at NSA, as Biden finalises inauguration speech
Follow the latest updates