Some business owners in Queens are assessing the damage Saturday after a huge fire, and more than half a dozen firefighters were hurt battling the blaze; CBS2's Kiran Dhillon reports.
- The Independent
Mr Johnson said Democrats have to choose between 'being vindictive or staffing administration to keep nation safe’
- 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.
As his first directive in office, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin issued a memo asking his senior military leaders to send him reports on sexual assault prevention programs and assess which have worked and which haven’t.Why it matters: Military leaders have grappled with a steady increase in sexual misconduct reports since 2006. The consistent trend has concerned senators, who repeatedly asked Austin how he plans to tackle this problem during his confirmation hearings, per AP.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here. * Austin agreed this was an urgent matter, telling senators, “This starts with me and you can count on me getting after this on Day One.” * Lawmakers have repeatedly called for action, including changes in the Code of Military Justice.By the numbers: According to department reports, there was a 13% spike in reports in 2018 and a 3% increase in 2019. * Nate Galbreath, the acting director of the Pentagon’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, said the increase in reports suggests that more people were willing to come forward, therefore gaining confidence in the justice system. * Last April he also stated that he was cautiously optimistic that the lower increase in 2019 reports suggested a trend in declining assaults.Where it stands: Last year officials announced a new system in which any victim who refuses to file a public criminal report can provide details about their alleged attacker so investigators can evaluate if they have been involved in other crimes.What’s next: Austin plans to host a meeting on the matter with senior leaders in the coming days. * Each leader is to submit a summary of the sexual assault and harassment measures they have taken in the last year and evaluate which ones show promise and which don’t. * Austin also asked for relevant data for the past decade, including efforts to support victims. * He also stated in his memo, “Include in your report the consideration of novel approaches to any of these areas,” adding, “we must not be afraid to get creative.”Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
- Associated Press
Ultra-Orthodox demonstrators clashed with Israeli police in two major cities on Sunday, as authorities faced new difficulties in enforcing coronavirus restrictions in the country's religious communities. The clashes occurred in Jerusalem and Ashdod as police attempted to close religious schools that had opened in violation of lockdown orders. This has contributed to a disproportionate infection rate, with the ultra-Orthodox community accounting for over one-third of Israel's coronavirus cases, despite making up just over 10% of the population.
- 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 5 scathingly funny cartoons about Biden's COVID-19 push 7 brutally funny cartoons about Trump's White House exit 'No way' McConnell has had a post-Trump 'epiphany,' political scientist says
Pirates off Nigeria's coast kidnapped 15 sailors from a Turkish container ship in the Gulf of Guinea on Saturday in a brazen and violent attack that was farther from shore than usual. One sailor was killed in the raid, an Azerbaijani citizen, while those kidnapped are from Turkey, according to the respective governments and a crew list obtained by Reuters. Accounts from crew, family members and security sources described a sophisticated and well-orchestrated attack on Saturday in which armed pirates boarded the ship and breached its protective citadel, possibly with explosives.
- The Telegraph
The SNP has revealed a "roadmap to a referendum" on Scottish independence, with the latest poll showing a majority want a fresh vote. Mike Russell, the Scottish Government's Constitution Secretary, will present the 11-point document to the party's policy forum on Sunday. It says a "legal referendum" will be held after the pandemic if there is a pro-independence majority following May's election. The roadmap states any attempt by the UK Government to challenge the legality of the referendum in the courts will be "vigorously opposed". A Section 30 order - part of the Scotland Act 1998 which allows Holyrood to pass laws normally reserved to Westminster - was granted by the UK Government ahead of the 2014 independence referendum.
- FOX News Videos
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, provides insight into Trump’s impeachment trial on ‘Fox News Sunday.’
- Associated Press
Anti-abortion leaders across America were elated a year ago when Donald Trump became the first sitting U.S. president to appear in person at their highest-profile annual event, the March for Life held every January. The mood is more sober now — a mix of disappointment over Trump’s defeat and hope that his legacy of judicial appointments will lead to future court victories limiting abortion rights. Meanwhile, Trump, whose administration took numerous steps to curtail abortion access, has been replaced as president by Joe Biden, a staunch supporter of abortion rights.
Guyana said late on Saturday that a Venezuelan navy vessel detained two vessels that were fishing in Guyana's exclusive economic zone, the latest dispute in a long-running border conflict between the two South American nations. Caracas says much of eastern Guyana is its own territory, a claim that is rejected by Georgetown. The conflict has flared up in recent years as Guyana has started developing oil reserves near the disputed area.
- The Telegraph
Israel has started vaccinating teenagers as it expanded its world-leading Covid-19 vaccination campaign to 16-18 year-olds in an effort to get them back in schools to take their winter exams on schedule. At least one dose has been administered to over 25 per cent of Israel’s 9.25 million population, with just over 10.5 per cent having received a second dose. Working its way down its priority list, the vaccine in Israel is now available to anyone over 40 or, with parental permission, those aged between 16 and 18. The winter matriculation certificate is a large part of university and military admissions. Israel struck a deal with Pfizer at the beginning of January that allowed them to expedite delivery of the vaccine so that all over 16s would be inoculated by the end of March, in return for extensive data on their vaccination campaign to share with the world. Israeli health minister, Yuli Edelstein, told The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday that the data from their vaccination programme suggests a first dose gave just 30 per cent protection from coronavirus. “We are just at the beginning of the (vaccination) campaign, we do see cases of people that after getting the first dose still get sick with the coronavirus,” he said.
- Associated Press
The U.S. Census Bureau is suspending efforts to create neighborhood-level statistics on the citizenship and age of residents, using 2020 census data, in the latest rollback of Trump administration census-related initiatives that critics feared would be used to favor Republicans and whites during the drawing of state and local districts. As part of an order President Joe Biden signed Wednesday on the 2020 census, the Census Bureau said Friday that it would discontinue efforts to create citizenship tabulations at the city-block level using 2020 census data combined with administrative records.
A slim majority of Americans say former President Donald Trump should be convicted by the Senate of inciting an insurrection and barred from holding public office, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, which showed a sharp partisan divide over the issue. The national public opinion poll, conducted on Wednesday and Thursday, found that 51% of Americans think Trump should be found guilty for inciting the deadly storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Another 37% said Trump should not be convicted and the remaining 12% said they were unsure.
- Business Insider
The Bidens were reportedly left waiting outside the White House on Inauguration Day because Trump sent the staff home
The Trumps sent the butlers home "so there would be no-one to help the Bidens when they arrived," a source told The National Journal.
- The Telegraph
Thousands of Hong Kongers were ordered to stay in their homes on Saturday for the city's first coronavirus lockdown as authorities battle an outbreak in one of its poorest and most densely packed districts. The order bans anyone inside multiple housing blocks within the neighbourhood of Jordan from leaving their apartment unless they can show a negative test. Officials said they planned to test everyone inside the designated zone within 48 hours "in order to achieve the goal of zero cases in the district". The South China Morning Post said the measures covered about 150 housing blocks and up to 9,000 people with hundreds of police on standby to enforce the lockdown. Hong Kong was one of the first places to be struck by the coronavirus after it burst out of central China.
- Associated Press
Canada said its officials have met online with former diplomat Michael Kovrig, who has been held in China for more than two years in a case related to an executive of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei. Canada’s Foreign Ministry said officials led by Ambassador Dominic Barton were given “on-site virtual consular access” to Kovrig on Thursday. Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor have been confined since Dec. 10, 2018, just days after Canada detained Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, who is also the daughter of the founder of the Chinese telecommunications equipment giant.
Iran urged new U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday to "choose a better path" by returning to a 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and global powers, but said the opportunity would be lost if Washington insists on further Iranian concessions up front. Under Biden's predecessor Donald Trump, Washington withdrew from the deal - designed to stop Iran developing a nuclear weapon - and bolstered sanctions in a bid to force Tehran into talks on a broader agreement that also addressed its ballistic missile program and support for proxies around the Middle East.
- The Telegraph
British families returning from foreign holidays will have to pay for an extra 10 days in an airport hotel under heavy guard, in plans backed by the Home Office. Senior Cabinet ministers are likely to approve a plan to force people returning from overseas to quarantine in a hotel to ensure that they cannot bring variants of Covid-19 back into the UK. The chief dispute at Cabinet level is whether the hotel quarantine rules apply to all visitors or just to those returning from coronavirus hotspots. Downing Street sources confirmed that hotel quarantining was likely to form part of the “next steps”, after Boris Johnson made clear at his press conference on Friday that more would have to be done on securing the borders. The plans will be thrashed out at a meeting of the Government’s Covid-Operational committee, chaired by Mr Johnson, the Prime Minister, on Tuesday. Home Secretary Priti Patel and Health Secretary Matt Hancock are understood to back tougher measures while Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and Chancellor Rishi Sunak support a more targeted approach. Ms Patel is understood to be pushing for all returning travellers, including Britons, to spend 10 days in a designated hotel near an airport or port on returning. Talks are already underway with hotel chains including Holiday Inn-owner IHG. Taxpayers would cover the cost of security guards to ensure they did not attempt to leave the hotel or go home. One Home Office source said: “You have to do it for everything or it makes it pointless.” One source said: “Officials are sounding out which chains would be interested. They are empty. It makes sense for a lot of them. “It is working out what it looks like in practice, that is what is happening over the weekend.” The hope is that the current numbers of arrivals (around 10,000 a day) will slow to a trickle of several thousand visitors a day once the measures are adopted. The quarantine plan is favoured to Australian-style border closures which could leave Britons stranded and force the Government to fund an airlift operation to bring them home.
- Associated Press
As a student in college and seminary, then as a pastor in Texas, Dwight McKissic has been affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention for more than 45 years. “It would feel like a divorce,” McKissic said. If he does, he would be following in the footsteps of several other Black pastors who have recently exited in dismay over what they see as racial insensitivity from some leaders of the predominantly white SBC.
U.S. President Joe Biden's administration next week will release more policies it believes are needed to tackle climate change and is urging China to toughen one of its targets on greenhouse gas emissions, his top climate advisers said on Saturday. Gina McCarthy, the White House's national climate adviser, did not say what policies would be released. A memo seen by Reuters on Thursday showed Biden will unveil a second round of executive orders as soon as Jan. 27 that include an omnibus order to combat climate change domestically and elevate the issue as a national security priority.