Hollywood's iconic 101 Coffee Shop has officially closed its doors due to the coronavirus pandemic. Katie Johnston reports.
- The Telegraph
Police in Portland, Oregon have arrested fifteen suspects after a mob of around 200 alleged Antifa members smashed up the Democrat headquarters and federal immigration offices in the city on Wedensday, while three people were arrested after a crowd in Seattle attacked buildings and burnt a US flag. The two Pacific Northwest cities have been hotspots for protests and violence since the Black Lives Matter demonstrations began last year in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd. There were also protests in Denver, Colorado; Columbus, Ohio and Sacramento in California. Portland Police released photographs of eight of the 15 arrested suspects as well as images of confiscated items including knives, batons and bullet-proof vests.
- 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 Biden removes Trump's Diet Coke button from the Oval Office 7 brutally funny cartoons about Trump's White House exit McConnell is already moving to strangle the Biden presidency
- Yahoo News
Counterintelligence official Michael Orlando joins a growing chorus of voices on both sides of the political aisle who point to China as a major national security threat, particularly in terms of technology and cybersecurity.
- Yahoo News Video
President Joe Biden issued a warning Wednesday to his appointees that a hostile workplace will not be allowed in his administration.
- Associated Press
The master tenant of a cluttered, dilapidated San Francisco Bay Area warehouse where 36 people perished in a late-night fire in 2016 is scheduled to plead guilty Friday to the deaths, avoiding a second trial after the first ended in a hung jury. Families of several victims told the East Bay Times last week that prosecutors told them Derick Almena, 50, will plead guilty to 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter in exchange for a nine-year sentence. Almena may serve little or none of that term because of time already spent behind bars and credit for good behavior.
- The Telegraph
Donald Trump spent his first hours as a private citizen scrambling to find lawyers to represent him in his upcoming impeachment trial, as he settled into his new home at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. One of Mr Trump’s first calls after leaving office was to Lindsey Graham, South Carolina senator and staunch ally, telling him he was now “looking for some lawyers” for the imminent Senate hearing. "[Trump] said, 'I really don't know the lay of the land here,' and he's looking for some lawyers," Mr Graham told Punchbowl News. "I'm trying to help him there, and he's just trying to put together a team." Mr Trump will not be drawing on his usual litigators: Rudy Giuliani, his longtime personal lawyer, is likely to step aside as he could be called as a witness, while attorneys who represented him at the first impeachment hearing have declined.
- 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.
- CBS News
Vice presidents since Vice President Walter Mondale have been living in the residence at the Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C.
The European Union and Turkey pressed each other on Thursday to take concrete steps to improve relations long strained by disagreements over energy, migration and Ankara's human rights record. Turkey, which remains an official candidate for EU membership despite the tensions, is facing the threat of EU economic sanctions over a hydrocarbons dispute with Greece in the eastern Mediterranean, but the mood music between Brussels and Ankara has improved since the new year.
- Architectural Digest
800 feet up in the sky, the Dreamy 6,000 square foot space offers panoramic views from the East River to the HudsonOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- The Week
One of former President Donald Trump's last acts in office was issuing a directive extending free Secret Service protection to his four adult children and two of their spouses for the next six months, three people with knowledge of the matter told The Washington Post.It's not just his adult children benefiting — Trump also directed that former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and former National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien continue to receive Secret Service protection for six months, two people familiar with the matter told the Post. This 24-hour security, funded by taxpayer money, is expected to cost millions.Under federal law, only Trump, former first lady Melania Trump, and their 14-year-old son, Barron, are entitled to Secret Service protection now that they have left the White House; while Donald and Melania can receive protection for the rest of their lives, Barron is only entitled to it up until his 16th birthday.The Post notes that presidents have the ability to order Secret Service protection for anyone they want, but it is extremely unusual for an outgoing president to order this type of security for their children who are well into adulthood. It is also unclear if there is precedent for ordering security for former aides. Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush requested security extensions for their daughters, who were in college when their presidencies ended. Once former President Barack Obama was out of office, his daughters — one in high school, the other on a gap year from college — received a short extension of security.During Trump's presidency, his adult children took more than 4,500 trips, including vacations and business travel for the Trump Organization, the Post reports. Taxpayers paid millions of dollars for Secret Service agents to accompany them on those jaunts.More stories from theweek.com Biden removes Trump's Diet Coke button from the Oval Office 7 brutally funny cartoons about Trump's White House exit McConnell is already moving to strangle the Biden presidency
- The Independent
Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene has filed articles of impeachment against Joe Biden the day after he was inaugurated as president. The lawmaker, who has ties to the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory, took to Twitter to announce the move against the new president. “I’ve just filed articles of impeachment on president Joe Biden, we will see how this goes," she said.
A 35-year-old man in Belarus set himself on fire outside the government headquarters in Minsk on Friday and was hospitalised after passers-by and police put out the flames with a fire extinguisher, police said. The man could be seen on fire on a sprawling, largely empty square in the centre of Minsk near a statue of Lenin in video footage shared online. The motives for the man's act were not immediately clear and investigators were working to establish the background, the Belarusian Investigative Committee said in a statement.
- Associated Press
Indonesian authorities on Thursday ended the search for remaining victims and debris from a Sriwijaya Air jet that nosedived into the Java Sea, killing all 62 people on board. Transportation minister Budi Karya Sumadi said retrieval operations have ended after nearly two weeks, but that a limited search for the missing memory unit from the cockpit voice recorder will continue. The memory unit apparently broke away from other parts of the voice recorder during the crash.
- The New York Times
Donald Trump departed the White House on Wednesday and left a Republican Party turned upside down. Many Republicans tried not to let Trump change things, vowing never to vote for him or work in his administration — and to publicly shame those who did. Others bit their tongues and looked past his erratic behavior and racial grievances, justifying their indifference by pointing to the conservative policies he championed. And there were others — comprising the most vocal segment of elected Republicans and a considerable portion of the voters who helped Trump win 10 million more votes than he did in 2016 — who are still with him, defying every last-straw prediction about the end of the iron grip Trump has on the GOP. Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York Times Here is a taxonomy of the types of Republicans Trump leaves in his wake. Never Trumpers They wrote open letters, boycotted the Republican National Convention twice, started podcasts and websites and raised millions of dollars for their efforts to defeat him. The prospect of a Trump presidency was always unsettling to some Republicans who feared that his high self-regard and his nonchalance about the limits of political power were a recipe for disaster. But as his term wore on, this group came to include some surprising names like George Conway, whose wife, Kellyanne Conway, was one of the strategists who helped run Trump’s first campaign and remained loyal to him until the end of his presidency. Conway found company with other Republicans whom the Trump wing of the party branded as “establishment” — a pejorative that recalled their work for previous presidential nominees like Sens. John McCain and Mitt Romney. And their group, the Lincoln Project, worked for the past two years to convince Republican voters that Trump was a stain on their party. The New ‘RINOs’ The term RINO used to mean “Republican in name only,” and it’s not a description that anyone was likely to use for Mark Brnovich, the conservative attorney general of Arizona. That was before Trump and his loyalists redefined the term to mean any party official who dared to cross him. Brnovich is a former Maricopa County prosecutor who has fought for Arizonans’ right to attend church during the pandemic and argued against relaxing rules for casting absentee ballots. Still, he drew the ire of Trump supporters when he made what he thought were two entirely reasonable decisions as his state’s chief law enforcement officer. First, after investigating complaints about ballots that were supposedly ruined by bleeding marker ink, a conspiracy theory that became known as “Sharpie-gate” in the right-wing media, he determined there was nothing to it. Then, Brnovich refused to sign onto a far-fetched lawsuit by the state of Texas that called on the Supreme Court to throw out millions of votes in four swing states, including Arizona. “It’s as simple as this,” Brnovich said in an interview. “It’s about the rule of law, not the rule of political expediency.” Brnovich is not alone. Politicians whose names were once synonymous with the party’s hard right are now ridiculed as spineless and soft by Trump’s most faithful followers because they did not support his efforts to push state legislatures and Congress to declare Trump the winner. In Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger are now being targeted for defeat by Trump loyalists after Trump attacked them for refusing to go along with him. Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, daughter of the former vice president and liberal arch-villain Dick Cheney, now faces a challenge to her leadership post in the House Republican conference for her impeachment vote against Trump. Vice President Mike Pence, who has been so loyal to Trump that his critics mocked him as a subservient yes man, was attacked as a traitor by people who called for his execution after he refused to interfere with the formal certification of the election. After four years of keeping most of their disagreements with Trump private, a growing number of Republicans have taken a stand against the nominal leader of their party. And they say they worry about setting a precedent for elected officials to disregard the law if it suits them politically. “I’m very concerned that we’re using the sophisticated and subtle tools of the law to bend what should not be bent in a direction we find politically preferable,” said Dave Yost, the attorney general of Ohio. As office holders whose power over the electoral process is significant though often overlooked, Yost said that officials like him “have to accept that there are constraints on their preferred outcomes.” Like Brnovich in Arizona, Yost was one of only seven Republican state attorneys general who did not join an amicus brief in support of the ill-fated case brought by their colleague in Texas, Ken Paxton. They were among the small but pivotal minority of state and local office holders whose opposition helped thwart Trump and the Republicans who aided him in an attempt to deny Joe Biden his victory. The system held, but just barely. Trump Republicans Nowhere was Trump’s hold on Republican lawmakers as evident as it was in Washington on Jan. 6 at the demonstrations leading up to the storming of the Capitol. Republican state legislators from Missouri, West Virginia, Tennessee and other states were among those who gathered to cheer on Trump. Paxton, the Texas attorney general, was also there. In one episode that many Republicans said was especially troubling, a political arm of the Republican Attorneys General Association, known as the Rule of Law Defense Fund, paid for a robocall before Jan. 6 that called on “patriots like you” to “march to the Capitol building and call on Congress to stop the steal.” The existence of the call, which several Republican attorneys general have since disavowed and said they were unaware of, underscored the extent to which Trump’s die-hard supporters were leaning on elected officials to support his spurious fraud claims. Two people with direct knowledge of tense discussions that took place among the attorneys general after word of the call leaked said that a donor had demanded it and made a contribution contingent upon its release. “We’ve come to a point where there are so many individuals with great wealth who will support even the most fringe ideas and candidates,” said Richard F. Holt, a Republican who has raised money for presidential candidates dating back to Richard Nixon. “Now just about anybody, no matter how far out, can come up with half a million dollars,” Holt said. Party leaders and major donors now see threats that Republicans could face from obscure but well-funded candidates whose primary motivation for seeking office is that they are aggrieved over Trump’s defeat. Geoffrey Kabaservice, a historian and the author of “Rule and Ruin,” which documents the waning influence of moderates in the Republican Party, said that while the far right had always been an important constituency for Republicans in elections, its power was usually diluted by mainstream influences. But that is much less the case today. “The Republican Party needed those people at the grassroots so it could win,” Kabaservice said. “But it also knew it needed to keep those people under control so it could attract some moderate, business-friendly people.” “And that’s fallen apart,” he added. Who Wins? The future of the party isn’t the Never Trumpers; they abandoned ship. It’s the war between the New RINOs and the Trump Republicans. The anger and vitriol directed at lawmakers who broke with Trump has left few willing to speak up on even the most seemingly straightforward matters. After Brnovich declined to challenge the Arizona results, commenters on far-right message boards said that he had destroyed any hope of a future in the Republican Party. One Republican state legislator claimed to have secured $500,000 from a donor to fund an investigation of her own into Arizona’s ballots and also vowed to hinder the attorney general’s office in future election investigations by stripping it of the necessary funding. Alex Jones, the far-right purveyor of disinformation, showed up at a rally in Maricopa County and warned of “another 1776” if Trump weren’t declared the winner. At the Capitol riot, Trump supporters urging Congress to overrule the 81 million Americans who had voted for Biden were waving the yellow Gadsden flag — once a ubiquitous sight at Tea Party rallies where conservatives railed against government tyranny. Brnovich said he couldn’t get past the hypocrisy of it. “We all claim that we’re federalists, and we don’t want overreach,” he said, adding in reference to his fellow Republican attorneys general: “I don’t know why anyone thought it would be a good idea to get involved in a federal election. It’s a stupid idea.” Yost, the Ohio attorney general, initially opposed Trump in 2016 but eventually got past his misgivings for the sake of party unity. Now, he said, he is still thinking about the consequences of the robocall before the riot. “There’s a guy named Brian Sicknick — he’s dead,” Yost said, referring to the Capitol Police officer who died after being hit in the head when the pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol. “I don’t know who swung that fire extinguisher, but I lie awake at night wondering whether or not it was one of the people who got that call.” This article originally appeared in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company
- NBC News
A GoPro camera was found inside a bathroom and changing area at a Premier Athletics facility, which trains young cheerleaders, gymnasts and dancers in Franklin.
A big fire on Thursday at the Serum Institute of India killed five people, a government official told reporters, but the world's biggest vaccine maker said it would not affect production of the AstraZeneca coronavirus shot. Videos and pictures from Reuters partner ANI showed black smoke billowing from a multi-storey building in SII's massive headquarters complex in the city of Pune in Maharashtra state. "We have learnt that there has unfortunately been some loss of life at the incident," SII Chief Executive Adar Poonawalla said on Twitter.
- Associated Press
China on Thursday expressed hope the Biden administration will improve prospects for people of both countries and give a boost to relations after an especially rocky patch, while getting in a few final digs at former Trump officials. “I think after this very difficult and extraordinary time, both the Chinese and American people deserve a better future,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters at a daily briefing. “Many people of insight in the international community are looking forward to the early return of Sino-U.S. relations to the correct track in making due contributions to jointly address the major and urgent challenges facing the world today,” Hua said.
Chinese Actress Faces Backlash After Allegedly Hiring 2 Women to Have Her Babies Then Abandoning Them
Chinese actress Zheng Shuang is facing massive backlash after being accused by her former partner, producer Zhang Heng, of abandoning their two children born to U.S.-based surrogate mothers. An international scandal: In a 2019 audio recording that emerged on Monday, Heng said Shuang decided to abandon the children before they were even born following the end of their relationship, South China Morning Post reports. Shuang’s father purportedly made the suggestion to abandon the children at the hospital.
- The Week
Trump's team fired the White House chief usher right before Biden took office, maybe at Biden's request
When President Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden arrived at the White House on Wednesday afternoon, there was no chief usher to greet them. He had been fired at about 11:30 a.m., half an hour before Biden was sworn in as president, The New York Times reports. Former first lady Melania Trump had hired the chief usher, Timothy Harleth, from the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., in 2017, after the previous chief usher, Angella Reid, was dismissed a few months into Donald Trump's term.The White House chief usher is in charge of the first family's residence, overseeing everything from personnel issues to budgets. It is typically an apolitical job, and ushers typically stay through several administrations. Reid, hired in 2011, was only the ninth chief usher since 1885, though she was the first woman hired for the job. The Bidens had communicated to the White House counsel that they intended to bring in their own chief usher, a person familiar with the process told the Times. A Biden White House official told CNN that Harleth "was let go before the Bidens arrived," though CNN reports it was the Bidens who gave him the ax.Harleth was already in hot water with Trump's team, though. He "had found himself in an untenable position" since the election, "trying to begin preparations for a new resident in the White House, even as its occupant refused to concede that he would be leaving the premises," the Times reports. And Trump's chief of staff, Mark Meadows, was "unhappy" with Harleth "for trying to send briefing books about the residence to the Biden transition team in November." Harleth "had worked with Jill Biden's staff for weeks to organize the move of household belongings," The Washington Post adds.The absence of a chief usher was one manifestation of the chaotic transition period, but it doesn't entirely explain the curious breach in protocol where nobody opened the doors for the BIdens when they arrived at the White House, the Times notes. The doors, which awkwardly stood closed for about 10 long seconds as the Bidens watched, are typically opened by Marine guards.Once the Bidens passed through the doors into the newly sanitized White House, things got better, the Post reports. "Awaiting Biden in a room adjacent to the Oval Office were two trays stacked with chocolate chip cookies, each one in plastic wrap with a gold presidential seal."More stories from theweek.com Biden removes Trump's Diet Coke button from the Oval Office 7 brutally funny cartoons about Trump's White House exit McConnell is already moving to strangle the Biden presidency