Allegheny County officials said a large sinkhole opened up in the Strip District.
- NBC News
- The Telegraph
Alexei Navalny, the Russian opposition leader, was arrested immediately after returning to the country for the first time since he was poisoned with a nerve agent. The plane carrying Mr Navalny from Germany, where the 44-year-old had been recovering from a poisoning he blames on Russian authorities, landed at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport around 8:15 pm. The pilot had told passengers there was a delay for "technical reasons" and then that the flight had been diverted from Vnukovo, another Moscow airport where Mr Navalny's supporters and media had gathered for his return. President Vladimir Putin's most well-known opponent was returning to Russia for the first time since the poisoning in August, in defiance of warnings from officials that they would arrest him for breaking the terms of a suspended prison sentence. Mr Navalny is defying the Kremlin’s threats to jail him under one of several active criminal cases, which are widely regarded as politically motivated.
- National Review
Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) warned Friday that one-third of Republican voters could leave the party if GOP senators vote in impeachment proceedings to convict President Trump. Paul made the comments in an interview on Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle. The senator’s remarks come amid an increasing divide between congressional Republicans who oppose impeaching the president and a smaller number who support the measure following the riots at the Capitol on January 6. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) is reportedly hopeful that Republicans can use impeachment to purge Trump from the GOP, although he would need the support of at least 16 additional Republican senators to vote to convict. “Look, I didn’t agree with the [Capitol] fight that happened last week, and I voted against overturning the election, but at the same time, the impeachment is a wrongheaded, partisan notion, [and] if Republicans go along with it, it’ll destroy the party,” Paul said during the interview. “A third of the Republicans will leave the party,” Paul continued. “This isn’t about, anymore, the Electoral College, this is about the future of the party, and whether you’re going to ostracize and excommunicate President Trump from the party. Well, guess what? Millions of his fans will leave as well.” While a majority of Americans believe Trump should be removed from office immediately, just 17 percent of Republicans support expelling Trump from the presidency, according to an Axios–Ipsos poll released on Thursday. Support for Trump among Republicans has fallen since the Capitol riots; however, 60 percent believe the party should continue to follow Trump once he leaves office, an ABC News/Washington Post poll found.
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.
- Associated Press
From “emaciated” refugees to crops burned on the brink of harvest, starvation threatens the survivors of more than two months of fighting in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. The first humanitarian workers to arrive after pleading with the Ethiopian government for access describe weakened children dying from diarrhea after drinking from rivers. A local official told a Jan. 1 crisis meeting of government and aid workers that hungry people had asked for “a single biscuit.”
- The Independent
The man said he got lost driving around Washington DC
- The Telegraph
Five Hong Kong protesters who reportedly fled to Taiwan by boat six months ago have arrived in the United States and intend to seek asylum, according to an activist group. The activists, all under the age of 30, faced protest-related arrests or charges in Hong Kong, and escaped the city by boat in July last year, the Washington, DC-based Hong Kong Democracy Council (HKDC) said. They are the latest protesters to seek sanctuary in the West after Beijing imposed a national security law on Hong Kong in June that makes it easier to crack down on dissent in the Chinese city. In recent weeks, police have arrested dozens of pro-democracy activists and former lawmakers in Hong Kong. The HKDC statement didn't confirm that the five that are now in the US had been in Taiwan - a popular destination for protesters, but which closed its borders last year because of the pandemic. Simon Chu, managing director of the nonprofit HKDC, said he had welcomed the five to the US last week after a "perilous journey to freedom". "The dangerous trip made by these activists illustrates how it remains difficult for Hong Kongers to seek safe harbour in the US and that options for safe passage are limited," he said. "Their desperate effort exemplifies the rapidly deteriorating human rights condition and growing humanitarian crisis Hong Kong is in right now," he said. Media in Taiwan had reported last year that the five had been intercepted by the Taiwanese coast guard as they tried to flee to the self-ruled island in late July. Officials in Taiwan have repeatedly declined to comment on the case. Activists say the five were held incommunicado in Taiwan as negotiations were carried out to help them leave for the US. In August, another group of Hongkongers attempted to flee to Taiwan in a speedboat, but were caught by the Chinese coastguard. Ten of the 12 Hongkongers were sentenced to up to three years in prison for organising and participating in an illegal border crossing last month after a "secret" trial that was condemned by Britain and others.
- FOX News Videos
IRIS Independent Research president Rebecca Grant joins 'Fox Report' to discuss foreign policy under a Biden administration.
- National Review
- The Independent
Police discover more than 500 rounds of ammunition at checkpoint into security-heavy capital
China promised on Saturday to donate 500,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses to the Philippines as the two countries signed infrastructure deals aimed at boosting post-pandemic recovery efforts, officials said. Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte imposed one of the world's longest and strictest lockdowns to contain the virus in March last year - bringing one of Asia's fastest-growing economies to a standstill. "As a friend of the Philippines and your closest neighbour, we will firmly stand with the people of the Philippines until the defeat of this virus," senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi said during a meeting with the Philippines' foreign minister.
- Associated Press
When Joe Biden takes the oath of office Wednesday outside a wounded U.S. Capitol, he will begin reshaping the office of the presidency itself as he sets out to lead a bitterly divided nation struggling with a devastating pandemic and an insurrection meant to stop his ascension to power. Biden had campaigned as a rebuke to President Donald Trump, a singular figure whose political power was fueled by discord and grievance. The Democrat framed his election as one to “heal the soul” of the nation and repair the presidency, restoring the White House image as a symbol of stability and credibility.
- 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.
Following the attack by supporters of President Donald Trump against the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, the social media company said it will now prohibit ads for accessories such as gun safes, vests and gun holsters in the United States. Three U.S. senators sent a letter to Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg on Friday asking him to permanently block advertisements of products that are clearly designed to be used in armed combat.
- Associated Press
President-elect Joe Biden’s plan to scrap President Donald Trump’s vision of “America First” in favor of “diplomacy first” will depend on whether he's able to regain the trust of allies and convince them that Trumpism is just a blip in the annals of U.S. foreign policy. From Europe to the Middle East and Asia, Trump’s brand of transactional diplomacy has alienated friends and foes alike, leaving Biden with a particularly contentious set of national security issues. Biden, who said last month that “America's back, ready to lead the world, not retreat from it,” might strive to be the antithesis of Trump on the world stage and reverse some, if not many, of his predecessor’s actions.
- The Week
- Reuters Videos
An aftershock jolted Indonesia’s Sulawesi island on Saturday (January 16) as rescue workers combed the rubble of collapsed buildings for survivors after an earthquake killed over 40 people Friday and sent thousands of residents fleeing in panic. The country’s disaster mitigation agency said no damage or casualties were reported from Saturday’s magnitude-5.0 tremor in the West Sulawesi districts of Mamuju and Majene, which shook the area a day after the magnitude-6.2 quake. Agency head Doni Monardo told local TV the search continued for people who could still be trapped alive under rubble, and a spokesman told reporters emergency measures had been put in place in the province to help rescue efforts. More than 820 people were injured and about 15,000 left their homes after the quake, the agency said. Some sought refuge in the mountains, while others went to cramped evacuation centres, witnesses said.