Promising $2 billion in state aid, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Wednesday his plan to encourage schools to reopen for in-person education next year.
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- Associated Press
A Turkish appeals court on Friday overturned the acquittal of nine people, including philanthropist Osman Kavala, in a case related to nationwide protests in 2013, according to court documents seen by Reuters. The case had ended with the surprise acquittal of nine defendants last February due to insufficient evidence. The trial was followed closely by Turkey's Western allies and rights groups, who said it was symbolic of what they saw as a crackdown on dissent under President Tayyip Erdogan.
- The Week
The evenly split Senate is having a hard time agreeing who's in charge.Georgia's two new Democratic senators were sworn in Wednesday, giving Republicans and Democrats 50 senators each, with Vice President Kamala Harris as a Democratic tiebreaker. The two parties are now working out a power-sharing agreement, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) commitment to the filibuster is standing in the way.McConnell on Thursday formally acknowledged Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) as the chamber's new majority leader. But as he has been for days, McConnell again implored Democrats to preserve the filibuster that lets a senator extend debate and block a timely vote on a bill if there aren't 60 votes to stop it. Democrats "have no plans to gut the filibuster further, but argue it would be a mistake to take one of their tools off the table just as they're about to govern," Politico reports; More progressive senators do want to remove the option completely.If his filibuster demands aren't met, McConnell has threatened to block the Senate power-sharing agreement that would put Democrats in charge of the body's committees. But Democrats already seem confident in their newfound power, with Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) telling Politico that "Chuck Schumer is the majority leader and he should be treated like majority leader." Giving in to McConnell "would be exactly the wrong way to begin," Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) echoed.Other Democrats shared their resistance to McConnell's demands in tweets. > McConnell is threatening to filibuster the Organizing Resolution which allows Democrats to assume the committee Chair positions. It's an absolutely unprecedented, wacky, counterproductive request. We won the Senate. We get the gavels.> > -- Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) January 21, 2021> So after Mitch McConnell changed the Senate rules at a blistering pace during his 6 years in charge, he is threatening to filibuster the Senate's organizing resolution unless the Democratic majority agrees to never change the rules again.> > Huh.> > -- Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) January 21, 2021More stories from theweek.com Trump's team fired the White House chief usher right before Biden took office, maybe at Biden's request 7 brutally funny cartoons about Trump's White House exit Biden has stopped construction on Trump's border wall, but the fate of outstanding contracts is unclear
- National Review
Biden Admonishes Reporter for Questioning Whether Vaccine Goal Is Ambitious Enough: ‘Give Me a Break’
President Biden pushed back on a reporter at a press briefing on Thursday, who questioned whether the new administration’s coronavirus vaccine goal is ambitious enough. Biden has set a goal to vaccinate 100 million Americans during his first 100 days in office. During the press conference, Biden called the Trump administration’s distribution of coronavirus vaccines a “dismal failure so far,” warning that “things are going to continue to get worse before they get better.” However, the seven-day rolling average for coronavirus vaccine doses administered to Americans currently sits at 912,000, according to the Bloomberg vaccine tracker. (On Wednesday alone, 1.6 million doses were administered.) This indicates that the Biden administration is not far from its goal of vaccinating one million Americans per day. On Thursday, Associated Press reporter Zeke Miller asked Biden if the vaccination goal was “high enough,” since “that’s basically where the U.S. is right now.” “When I announced it you all said it wasn’t possible. Come on, give me a break, man,” Biden responded. “It’s a good start, a hundred million.” Internal projections from the Trump administration showed that the U.S. could administer at least 170 million doses by the end of April, two Trump administration officials told Bloomberg. During the press conference, Biden also announced that he would invoke the Defense Production Act to “accelerate the making of everything that’s needed to protect, test, and vaccinate and the care of our people.” Biden warned that the death toll from coronavirus infections would hit 500,000 in February. Over 408,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 as of Thursday.
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- The Telegraph
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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.
- The Week
Majority of House GOP reportedly supports removing Liz Cheney from leadership after impeachment vote
House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney is facing an internal resistance after splitting from her party on former President Donald Trump's impeachment.Cheney, the No. 3 Republican in the House, was one of only a handful of Republicans who voted to impeach Trump over his role in inciting the Capitol riot. More than a majority of GOP House members have since indicated they'd support ousting Cheney from her leadership spot, while at least two other Republicans have lined up to replace her, Politico reports.At least 107 House members — more than half the caucus — privately support removing Cheney from power, multiple GOP sources involved in the effort told Politico. Meanwhile New York Reps. Elise Stefanik and Lee Zeldin, who defended Trump during both of his impeachments, are reportedly looking to replace her.House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) have said they don't intend to remove Cheney. But McCarthy also echoed Republicans' reported anger that Cheney voiced her support of impeachment the day before the House vote, giving Democrats time to use her views in their own arguments. "Questions need to be answered," such as the "style in which things were delivered," McCarthy told reporters Thursday.Many other Republicans, including some who voted against impeachment, meanwhile don't want Cheney removed just for "vot[ing] her conscience," as Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) put it. Others argue removing Cheney would fly in the face of the party's unification message in the post-Trump era — something Cheney herself is trying to counter by making "making calls to all corners of the conference to hear lawmakers out," Politico reports.More stories from theweek.com Trump's team fired the White House chief usher right before Biden took office, maybe at Biden's request 7 brutally funny cartoons about Trump's White House exit Biden has stopped construction on Trump's border wall, but the fate of outstanding contracts is unclear
The European Parliament called on EU governments to recognise Juan Guaido as Venezuela's interim president in a resolution on Thursday, after a downgrade of his status by the bloc earlier this month. The EU's 27 states said on Jan. 6 they can no longer legally recognise Guaido as the country's legitimate head of state after he lost his position as head of parliament following legislative elections in Venezuela in December, despite the EU not recognising that vote. The European Parliament "calls on ... the member states to unequivocally recognise the constitutional continuation of the legitimate National Assembly of Venezuela elected in 2015 and the legitimate interim President of Venezuela Juan Guaido", it said.
- Associated Press
The jackpot for the Mega Millions lottery game has grown to $1 billion ahead of Friday night’s drawing after more than four months without a winner thanks to bad luck, poor odds and reduced play partially blamed on the coronavirus pandemic. It’s only the third time a lottery jackpot has grown so large, but much has changed since the last time such a big prize was up for grabs in 2018. The odds of winning a jackpot remain the same — incredibly small — but for a variety of reasons fewer people are playing Mega Millions or Powerball, the two lottery games offered in most of the country.
- The Week
It's the end of a very caffeinated era.When former President Donald Trump occupied the Oval Office, he quite literally had a button on his desk that ordered a Diet Coke to the room whenever it was pressed. But as a glimpse at President Biden's desk just hours after his inauguration shows, the soda-summoning button is gone.> President Biden has removed the Diet Coke button. When @ShippersUnbound and I interviewed Donald Trump in 2019, we became fascinated by what the little red button did. Eventually Trump pressed it, and a butler swiftly brought in a Diet Coke on a silver platter. It's gone now. pic.twitter.com/rFzhPaHYjk> > — Tom Newton Dunn (@tnewtondunn) January 21, 2021While it may have sounded just too weird to be true, Trump's Diet Coke obsession and his button to match were absolutely real. No word on if Biden will install some kind of ice cream-ordering alternative.More stories from theweek.com Trump's team fired the White House chief usher right before Biden took office, maybe at Biden's request 7 brutally funny cartoons about Trump's White House exit Biden has stopped construction on Trump's border wall, but the fate of outstanding contracts is unclear
- The Independent
Michael Flynn’s brother reveals he was involved in Capitol riot response after Army denied it, report says
Apparent U-turn by Pentagon officials could pose questions about police response
Hungary has signed a deal to buy Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine, the first European Union country to do so, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto told a briefing during talks in Moscow on Friday. With its order for Russia's COVID-19 vaccine, Hungary is the first EU member to break ranks and unilaterally approve the shot as frustrations build in Europe over delays in supplies of Western vaccines that are hampering an economic recovery. The agreement comes only days after Hungary's drug regulator gave approval for use of Britain's AstraZeneca and Russia's Sputnik V vaccines against the coronavirus, as Budapest strives to lift coronavirus lockdown measures to boost its economy.
- Architectural Digest
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Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., reacted to Amazon offering President Biden help to distribute the vaccine after President Trump left office.
- The Telegraph
British would-be homebuyers in Spain are set to face disruption and delays of up to a year on property deals because of a Franco-era security law that due to Brexit they are no longer exempt from. A real estate association from Alicante has written to the UK ambassador in Spain asking for the British government to persuade the government in Madrid to change the 1975 law, under which non-EU homebuyers in areas deemed important to national security must be vetted by the Defence Ministry. Jesualdo Ros, secretary general of the Provia real estate promoters association, estimates that in the Vega Baja area of Alicante alone the rule will affect 800 British families on an annual basis, given the amount of business in previous years seen in property hotspots such as Orihuela on the Costa Blanca. Mr Ros says the process of receiving the security pass takes around six months, but fears that this could double due to a huge increase in applications. Until Brexit came into force this month, the Vega Baja area typically saw around 100 purchases from non-EU buyers a year, mostly involving Russians. “Six months is already a long time to keep the seller waiting, and no bank will maintain its credit conditions for that time. If this period gets longer, things will get worse,” Mr Ros told The Telegraph. Read more: How to buy a holiday home in Spain He said representatives of Spain’s real estate sector had been suggesting either scrapping or speeding up the vetting process since 2012. “Not only is it a massive source of frustration for the seller and buyer, but it also affects the image of Spain as a receptor country for foreign residents.” Areas near army and naval bases, such as that of Cartagena, 40 miles from the Vega Baja, and border regions are listed as sensitive security zones. Among the areas most affected are coastal areas near Gibraltar in Cádiz province as well as parts of Alicante and Murcia, all popular destinations for British tourists and residents. Among the documents required to pass the vetting process is a copy of the would-be purchaser’s criminal record in their home country with an official translation. The British Embassy in Spain confirmed that the rules had changed for British buyers in restricted military areas. “We are aware of this issue and have sought further guidance from the Spanish authorities on this matter. We will update our public guidance (Living in Spain Guide on gov.uk) as necessary in due course,” it said in a statement. The law was passed in 1975 when Spain was still ruled by General Franco, and was expanded by a 1978 decree shortly before Spain passed its democratic Constitution. The rule applied to all foreign buyers until Spain joined the EU in 1986, when an exemption was put in place for citizens from the bloc.
With the dawn of the Biden administration comes Cholleti Vinay Reddy, the country’s first Indian American presidential speechwriter. Reddy’s roots originate from Pothireddypeta, a rural village in the Indian state of Telangana, whose residents have been celebrating his latest milestone: Biden’s inaugural address. Born and raised in Dayton, Ohio, Reddy is believed to have acquired his political acumen from his grandfather, Tirupathi, who served as the village sarpanch (head) for 30 years.