Investigators work to solve Christmas morning bombing as conspiracy theories grow.
- Yahoo News
On Friday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki described a multipronged approach to combating domestic extremism.
- The Independent
Judge denies release for 26-year-old accused of taking part in the deadly Capitol attacks then returning to Washington on Inauguration Day
- The Telegraph
Russian police detained Yulia Navalnaya, the wife of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, at a protest in Moscow on Saturday as demonstrations in support of the opposition leader swept across Russia. Authorities detained at least 1,600 people at unauthorised rallies in Moscow and dozens of cities across the country, with some reports of violent clashes between protesters and riot police. At least 10,000 people joined protests in Moscow, according to estimates, in a test to Vladimir Putin. Protests began in Russia’s Far East and Siberia on Saturday morning. Seven time zones east of Moscow, about 3,000 people marched across the city of Vladivostok on the Pacific Ocean, chanting “Navalny!” In Novosibirsk, chants “Putin is a thief” rang out in freezing minus 19 C temperatures as opposition supporters walked across the city to the main square.
- Associated Press
Libya’s coast guard intercepted on Friday more than 80 Europe-bound migrants in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of the North African country, the U.N. migration agency said. The migrants were returned to Libyan soil, said the International Organization for Migration. “So far this year, some 300 people, including women and children, were returned to the country and ended up in detention,” said the IOM.
- Associated Press
President Joe Biden's first calls to foreign leaders went to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador at a strained moment for the U.S. relationship with its North American neighbors. Mexico's president said Saturday that Biden told him the U.S. would send $4 billion to help development in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala — nations whose hardships have spawned tides of migration through Mexico toward the United States.
- The Telegraph
Exclusive: Notorious Albanian gangster smuggles mobile phone into British prison cell to post birthday wishes to family
An Albanian gangster jailed for 27-years for smuggling huge quantities of heroin and cocaine into Britain has been making a mockery of justice by running a social media account from his prison cell. Posing with fellow gang members, Valjet Pepaj, has even used Instagram to flirt with women on the outside, boasting that he expects to be free in four years. The 31-year-old was given a lengthy sentence in April 2018 after admitting three counts of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. He was jailed alongside two other men following a six month undercover police operation which resulted in the seizure of 50 kilograms of heroin and cocaine, worth in excess of £2 million.
- National Review
Tulsi Gabbard, the former Democratic representative from Hawaii, on Friday expressed concern that a proposed measure to combat domestic terrorism could be used to undermine civil liberties. Gabbard’s comments came during an appearance on Fox News Primetime when host Brian Kilmeade asked her if she was “surprised they’re pushing forward with this extra surveillance on would-be domestic terror.” “It’s so dangerous as you guys have been talking about, this is an issue that all Democrats, Republicans, independents, Libertarians should be extremely concerned about, especially because we don’t have to guess about where this goes or how this ends,” Gabbard said. She continued: “When you have people like former CIA Director John Brennan openly talking about how he’s spoken with or heard from appointees and nominees in the Biden administration who are already starting to look across our country for these types of movements similar to the insurgencies they’ve seen overseas, that in his words, he says make up this unholy alliance of religious extremists, racists, bigots, he lists a few others and at the end, even libertarians.” She said her concern lies in how officials will define the characteristics they are searching for in potential threats. “What characteristics are we looking for as we are building this profile of a potential extremist, what are we talking about? Religious extremists, are we talking about Christians, evangelical Christians, what is a religious extremist? Is it somebody who is pro-life? Where do you take this?” Gabbard said. She said the proposed legislation could create “a very dangerous undermining of our civil liberties, our freedoms in our Constitution, and a targeting of almost half of the country.” “You start looking at obviously, have to be a white person, obviously likely male, libertarians, anyone who loves freedom, liberty, maybe has an American flag outside their house, or people who, you know, attended a Trump rally,” Gabbard said. The Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2021 was introduced in the House earlier this week in the aftermath of rioting at the U.S. Capitol earlier this month that left five dead. “Unlike after 9/11, the threat that reared its ugly head on January 6th is from domestic terror groups and extremists, often racially-motivated violent individuals,” Representative Brad Schneider (D., Ill.) said in a statement announcing the bipartisan legislation. “America must be vigilant to combat those radicalized to violence, and the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act gives our government the tools to identify, monitor and thwart their illegal activities. Combatting the threat of domestic terrorism and white supremacy is not a Democratic or Republican issue, not left versus right or urban versus rural. Domestic Terrorism is an American issue, a serious threat the we can and must address together,” he said.
- The Week
President Biden reeled in a record-breaking $145 million in so-called dark money from anonymous donors during his presidential campaign, topping the $113 million that went to Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) before his failed presidential bid in 2012, Bloomberg reports.It's not surprising that Biden set the mark given that the $1.5 billion he hauled in overall was the most ever for a challenger to an incumbent president, but it's notable in large part because Democrats have been at the forefront of a movement to ban dark money in politics since it means that supporters can back a candidate without scrutiny. Plus, Bloomberg notes, anonymous donors "will have the same access to decision makers as those whose names were disclosed, but without public awareness of who they are or what influence they might wield." As Meredith McGehee, the executive director of campaign finance reform advocacy group Issue One, told Bloomberg, "the whole point of dark money is to avoid public disclosure while getting private credit."Still, it seems the Democratic Party was willing to embrace the strategy in the hopes of defeating former President Donald Trump, who only brought in $28.4 million from anonymous donors. Read more at Bloomberg.More stories from theweek.com 7 brutally funny cartoons about Trump's White House exit McConnell is already moving to strangle the Biden presidency 'No way' McConnell has had a post-Trump 'epiphany,' political scientist says
- Associated Press
Iran's capital and major cities plunged into darkness in recent weeks as rolling outages left millions without electricity for hours. With toxic smog blanketing Tehran skies and the country buckling under the pandemic and other mounting crises, social media has been rife with speculation. Within days, as frustration spread among residents, the government launched a wide-ranging crackdown on Bitcoin processing centers, which require immense amounts of electricity to power their specialized computers and to keep them cool — a burden on Iran's power grid.
- NBC News
Attorneys for Rittenhouse did not object to the changes. Rittenhouse is accused of killing two amid protests last year.
- The Week
President Biden has issued another two executive orders aimed at the coronavirus pandemic's economic fallout.Millions of Americans have claimed unemployment insurance as they lost their jobs amid the pandemic, not to mention thousands of noncitizen workers who haven't been eligible for the benefits. Congress has so far passed two relief bills aimed at helping those who have lost their jobs, though many families are still struggling. Biden is pushing Congress to pass another $1.9 trillion stimulus program, but took initial and immediate relief steps Friday with another round of executive orders.The first order would increase how much families are given through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program each week. About 12 million families rely on the program, and this order would boost food stamp benefits for a family of four by 15 percent, National Economic Council Director Brian Deese tells The New York Times. And while Biden has called for another round of $1,400 stimulus checks, this order would direct the IRS to ensure Americans are getting their $600 payments as well. Notably, the order will also let people claim unemployment benefits even if they quit their job because they feel unsafe working it during the pandemic, among other economic benefits aimed at low-income Americans.The second order meanwhile lays the groundwork for ensuring federal workers and contractors are paid at least $15 per hour and can access paid leave, CNN reports. It also undoes some of former President Donald Trump's orders that let a president hire and fire employees for political reasons and limited federal workers' bargaining rights.Biden has spent the first two days of his presidency issuing executive orders to combat Trump's policies on immigration, climate, the pandemic, and more.More stories from theweek.com 7 brutally funny cartoons about Trump's White House exit McConnell is already moving to strangle the Biden presidency 'No way' McConnell has had a post-Trump 'epiphany,' political scientist says
- Associated Press
Someone in Michigan bought the winning ticket for the $1.05 billion Mega Millions jackpot, which is the third-largest lottery prize in U.S. history. The winning numbers for Friday night’s drawing were 4, 26, 42, 50 and 60, with a Mega Ball of 24. The winning ticket was purchased at a Kroger store in the Detroit suburb of Novi, the Michigan Lottery said.
- The Independent
Rioters who entered Capitol building may not be charged if they didn’t engage in violence, report says
Federal officials do not want to crush court system with hundreds of cases
- The Telegraph
Joe Biden is considering turning to Hollywood for his next British ambassador, according to UK officials who are working the phones to closely monitor his selection. Two top businessmen with a TV background are thought to be in contention for the London job, one of the plum assignments in the US diplomatic circuit. One is Jeffrey Katzenberg, the former chairman of Walt Disney Studios who is considered one of the most powerful men in the Los Angeles film scene. At Disney, Mr Katzenberg helped make hits like Aladdin and The Lion King. He later co-founded DreamWorks Animation, which produced Shrek and Kung Fu Panda. Mr Katzenberg hosted an event for Mr Biden during the presidential election campaign and gave $617,800 to the Biden Victory Fund. The second is David Cohen, who stepped down as senior executive vice-president of the telecoms giant Comcast this month, when the switch in US president took place.
- Associated Press
Syrian state media said Israeli warplanes fired several missiles toward central Syria early on Friday, killing a family of four — including two children — and wounding four other people. There was no immediate comment from Israel on the claim. Separately, the Israeli military said it downed a drone that had crossed into Israel from Lebanon.
- Architectural Digest
“The materials and colors took center stage,” said David Lucas when it came to the design of the home.Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- The Independent
Priest who attended pro-Trump rally ahead of Capitol insurrection is suspended from post and may be defrocked
Reverend Mark Hodges described event as ‘joyful, positive and orderly’
- FOX News Videos
The Judge highlights the agenda of the new Biden presidency
- NBC News
Biden's acting attorney general signed off on reassigning prosecutor who objected to family separations
The incident would have made Wilkinson aware families were being separated long before the Texas pilot program for zero tolerance was known to the public.
- The Daily Beast
Jonathan Ernst via ReutersROME—If you look closely at President Joe Biden’s credenza in his first Oval Office photo op, there is a carefully placed shot of the then-vice president shaking hands with Pope Francis after he was inaugurated as pope in 2013. Biden flew to Rome for the papal ceremony—and has regularly quoted the pontiff on the campaign trail, especially on race and economic disparities.And yet the placement of the photo immediately drew ire among conservative Catholics, many of whom posted on social media that it was “opportunistic” to display a photo with the pope and still support abortion and LGBTQ rights. Many among the most conservative anti-Francis Catholic commentators have gone so far as to say Biden is complicit in the further destruction of the Catholic Church, but the Vatican is not likely to comment on matters seen as political. Those who have long-criticized this pope for opening up a dialogue on both abortion forgiveness and LGBTQ rights are the loudest opponents to the new U.S. president.The Plot to Bring Down Pope FrancisAs the second Catholic ever to be elected president (after John F. Kennedy in 1960), Biden now has the dubious task of balancing his faith and his politics, which are worlds apart. And he won’t have an easy time convincing any of the U.S. church’s hard-core conservatives that he should be recognized as a member of the Roman Catholic Church. St. Louis, Mississippi, priest Michael O’Connor was quick to remind the conservative faithful that Biden “masquerades as a Catholic” and, as he has said in the past, “Joe Biden is an embarrassment to Catholicism.”On Inauguration Day, Archbishop Jose Gomez, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued a damning statement about the new president, which angered the more liberal factions of the U.S. church and reportedly ruffled feathers in Rome. “Our new president has pledged to pursue certain policies that would advance moral evils and threaten human life and dignity,” he wrote. “Most seriously in the areas of abortion, contraception, marriage, and gender. Of deep concern is the liberty of the church and the freedom of believers to live according to their consciences.”The statement was immediately rebuked by Francis-loving Catholics, including the influential Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, who tweeted, “Today, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued an ill-considered statement on the day of President Biden’s inauguration,” he wrote. “Aside from the fact that there is seemingly no precedent for doing so, the statement, critical of President Biden, came as a surprise to many bishops, who received it just hours before it was released.” In other words, Gomez was not speaking for all the U.S. bishops.Today, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued an ill-considered statement on the day of President Biden’s inauguration.— Cardinal Cupich (@CardinalBCupich) January 20, 2021 Massimo Faggioli, professor of historical theology at Villanova University and the author of the new book Joe Biden and Catholicism in the United States, told The Daily Beast that on some issues, Biden will have to navigate “a very difficult path between a religious constituency of moderates and a radical-progressive Democratic Party especially on ethical issues: abortion but also LGBT, religious liberty.”A case in point happened in November 2019 on the campaign trail, when Father Robert Morey, the priest at Saint Anthony Catholic Church in Florence, South Carolina, denied Holy Communion to Biden over his stance on abortion. “Sadly, this past Sunday, I had to refuse Holy Communion to former Vice President Joe Biden,” Morey told the local media. “Holy Communion signifies we are one with God, each other, and the church. Our actions should reflect that. Any public figure who advocates for abortion places himself or herself outside of church teaching.”Faggioli says Biden’s faith is more about witness than proclamation or proposition. “For Catholics anxious to see immediate results: This takes time to have an impact both on the church and in the public square. In some sense it’s similar to what is happening with Pope Francis’ pontificate,” he says, referring to the struggles this pope has had with hard-core conservatives in the right-wing of the church.Biden does have a fan in Pope Francis, whose own struggles with conservative Catholics are well-documented. Francis was one of the first world leaders to send Biden congratulations both after his election and after his inauguration, which irked many conservatives who quietly campaigned to keep Trump in office. “At a time when the grave crises facing our human family call for far-sighted and united responses, I pray that your decisions will be guided by a concern for building a society marked by authentic justice and freedom, together with unfailing respect for the rights and dignity of every person, especially the poor, the vulnerable, and those who have no voice,” the pope wrote in his message to Biden on Wednesday.The same pope once questioned Trump’s Christianity when asked about his desire to build a wall on the U.S. southern border. “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not of building bridges, is not Christian,” Francis said about Trump in 2017.Did Pope Francis Just Sink Trump?But having Francis on his side will not guarantee Biden the support of Catholic Americans. On the contrary, Biden has been the subject of a campaign among conservatives who preferred Trump and who aren’t ready to accept Biden’s compromise Catholicism.“But there is something new,” Faggioli says. “Biden’s Catholicism represents a new synthesis between the integralist or neo-medieval Catholic model of imposition of values from the top on society—something we can call the Opus Dei model—and the 20th-century assimilationist, often hidden Catholicism—like at the time of JFK and John Kerry.”In other words, Biden’s brand of Catholicism is more opaque—and closer to Francis. “This is part of the appeal because you may not agree with Joe Biden on all issues,” Faggioli says. “But I sense that many American believers can see something in his faith that is true, that is authentic in him.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. 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