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- Yahoo News
Over the past week, a growing number of Republicans began sounding the alarm about the number and content of executive orders being issued by President Joe Biden.
- The Independent
Jill Biden spent her first week as First Lady reshaping the role. Melania Trump spent hers isolated in a tower
New first lady signals she will be an active and constant presence in the White House - drawing stark contrasts to her predecessor
Russian President Vladimir Putin told the virtual “Davos Agenda” conference on Wednesday that recent events in the U.S. had underscored the danger of “public discontent” combined with “modern technology.”The big picture: Putin, a late addition to the speakers' list, is facing protests at home over the arrest of opposition figure Alexey Navalny. Several experts and activists criticized the World Economic Forum for inviting him, with chess champion and Kremlin critic Garry Kasparov tweeting that Putin’s appearance showed he was “desperate to reassure his cronies he's still acceptable in the West despite his brutal crackdown.”Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.What he’s saying: Putin said growing inequality and “systemic socio-economic problems” were “splitting the society,” adding: “This pressure shows through even in those countries which seem to possess well-established civic and democratic institutions.” * He said Big Tech firms had established monopolies, and questioned whether their services were serving “the public interest” or further contributing to the divide. * “We have seen all of this quite recently in the United States, and everybody understands quite well what I’m talking about," he said.Between the lines: This could also be read as a self-serving argument from Putin, who has sharply curtailed freedoms online and was only yesterday forced to respond to a viral YouTube video in which Navalny claimed he owned a “billion dollar palace."The other side: Putin’s style diverged sharply from Chinese President Xi Jinping, who addressed the conference on Monday. * Xi appeared polished and camera-ready, breaking his speech into four themes and speaking in sweeping terms about international cooperation. * Putin was late to start, sat in a slouched position and peppered his speech with economic statistics in a tone that alternated between combativeness and disinterest.Worth noting: Putin also contended that countries facing internal divisions were seizing on “external enemies,” particularly “countries that do not agree to become docile, easy to control satellites.” * He argued that the increasing the use of tools like sanctions would only increase the risk of future “military force.”Go deeper: Biden's Russia challengeSupport safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
- Architectural Digest
Let’s get loudOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- The Telegraph
Germany and Russia create 'green' foundation that skirts US sanctions to finish Nord Stream pipeline
A German state has been accused of using a 'green' foundation backed with Russian money to bypass US sanctions against the completion of the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, the northeasternmost state in Germany, set up the Climate and Environmental Protection MV foundation earlier this month claiming its goal was to “further environmental projects in the Baltic Sea region.” One such project, the state confirmed, would be assisting in the completion of the North Stream 2 gas pipeline, construction of which has been complicated by US sanctions. But it appears that finishing the gas line is likely to be the foundation’s primary aim. The Russian state-owned gas company Gazprom gets to choose its chairperson, while funding it with an initial €20 million. State governor Manuela Schwesig, of the Social Democrats, justified the foundation's involvement in the gas project, saying "we have always taken the view that the Baltic Sea pipeline is part of climate protection." Speaking to state broadcaster ARD on Sunday, Ms Schwesig said the foundation would “neither build nor operate the pipeline,” but conceded that part of its function would be “providing assistance where US sanctions threaten German companies.” The US Senate imposed penalties on companies involved in the project at the end of 2019, fearing that the pipeline, which delivers gas directly from the Russian port of Vyborg, would give Moscow too much control over European energy supplies. The sanctions led Swiss company Allseas to pull out with just 150 kilometers of piping left to lay. With Russian ships now preparing to lay the last stretch of piping, the foundation is likely to take over logistics work on German soil. This task was previously conducted by a small German harbour which US senators threatened last summer with “crushing legal and economic sanctions.” A legal assessment obtained by the environmental organisation German Environmental Help concluded that the foundation would get around US sanctions, as these do not target state organisations. But it also concluded that, if the foundation’s primary aim was financial, it would be an abuse of German charity law. Politicians have also voiced concerns about Russian influence. "Ninety nine percent of the text of the statutes is about climate and environmental protection, but 99 percent of the money comes directly from Nord Stream 2 AG, which is owned by Gazprom," said Alexander Graf Lambsdorff of the opposition Free Democrats in a local radio interview. US President Joe Biden indicated on Tuesday that he would not change the policy of his predecessor of pressuring Berlin to halt construction. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Mr Biden "continues to believe that Nord Stream 2 is a bad deal for Europe." Mr Biden held his first phone call with Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday, but read-outs of the conversation published by both sides suggest that Nord Stream 2 did not come up. Mr Biden also spoke to Russian President Vladmitir Putin this week, but Nord Stream 2 was also not mentioned in the read-out of the conversation. Ms Merkel has vowed to complete the project, hinting that she would only be prepared to talk if the US also put its energy imports from Russia “on the table.” But the recent incarceration of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, coupled with a desire to reset relations with Washington after four tricky years, have increased pressure in Germany for her to change her course. The European parliament also voted last week in favour of a resolution which demands an immediate stop to the construction as a consequence of Mr Navalny’s arrest.
- The Week
In an interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Monday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said his caucus won't allow Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to dictate the agenda in the Democratic-led 50-50 Senate or demand an end to the legislative filibuster as a precondition for a power-sharing pact. "We've told McConnell no on the organizing resolution, and that's that. So there's no negotiations on that," Schumer said, suggesting he had a secret plan. "There are ways to deal with him." Maddow included an update when she broadcast the interview Monday night. "While we were airing that right now, and you were watching it, Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell just put out a statement that he is folding on this" and willl "agree to go forward with what Sen. Schumer told him he must," she said. "Sen. Mitch McConnell has caved and Sen. Schumer has won that fight. That was quick. Let's see what else we can do." No sooner has the portion of Rachel Maddow's interview with Senator Majority Leader Chuck Schumer aired than Mitch McConnell has put out a statement that he is folding, ending the stand-off. pic.twitter.com/9qR1jpKXkf — Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) January 26, 2021 McConnell said he would allow the Senate to move forward because two Democrats had reiterated their opposition to ending the filibuster, effectively taking that option off the table. Maddow asked Schumer about that, too, and he didn't answer directly. "The caucus is united with the belief that I have: We must get big, strong, bold things done," Schumer said. The Democratic caucus is also "totally united" that "we will not let Mitch McConnell dictate to us what we will do and not do," and "we have tools that we can use," notably the budget reconciliation process," he added. "We will come together as a caucus and figure it out." "We will not let Mitch McConnell dictate to us what we will do and not do." Here's Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer earlier in his interview with Rachel Maddow, talking about the filibuster specifically, and getting things done. pic.twitter.com/xOAKWfe2Fu — Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) January 26, 2021 Schumer also suggested he is not interested in playing cat-and-mouse with McConnell's Republicans again. Watch below. "We will not repeat that mistake." Senate Majority Leader Schumer cites Obama era lessons in prioritizing legislation over bad faith Republican 'bipartisanship.' pic.twitter.com/gpc1kBP45w — Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) January 26, 2021 More stories from theweek.comSarah Huckabee Sanders' shameless campaign for governorTrump's impeachment lawyer said he thinks 'the facts and the law will speak for themselves'Mitch McConnell is the GOAT
- Associated Press
One day after the deadly insurrection in Washington, a Pennsylvania school district announced it was suspending a teacher who, the district asserted, “was involved in the electoral college protest that took place at the United States Capitol Building.” Three weeks later, Jason Moorehead is fighting to restore his reputation and resume teaching after he says the Allentown School District falsely accused him of being at the Capitol during the siege. The district says Moorehead’s social media posts about the events of Jan. 6, and not just his presence in Washington that day, are a focus of its probe.
The Biden administration has put on hold two big arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which were approved in the final weeks of the Trump administration, a State Department official told me. Why it matters: The sales of F-35 jets and attack drones to the UAE and a large supply of munitions to Saudi Arabia will be paused pending a review. That signals a major policy shift from the Trump era, and may herald sharp tensions with both Gulf countries.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.Driving the news: A senior State Department official told me the department is “temporarily pausing the implementation of some pending U.S. defense transfers and sales to allow incoming leadership an opportunity to review it”. * The official claimed that was a “routine administrative action typical to most any transition,” intended to ensure U.S. arms sales “meet our strategic objectives." * The suspension of the arms deals was first reported by Bloomberg News.The big picture: The F-35 deal came in the context of the U.S.-brokered normalization agreement between the UAE and Israel. * Israel had been the only country in the region to possess the F-35, but dropped its objections to the sale after protracted discussions with the Trump administration. * Secretary of State Tony Blinken said in his confirmation hearing that the Biden administration supported Israel's recent normalization deals, but would review some of the commitments the Trump administration had made to achieve them. * Blinken also committed to ending U.S. support for the war in Yemen. The Biden administration is concerned the munitions included in that deal will be used there.Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.
- National Review
President Joe Biden on Monday expressed support for the Chicago Teachers Union in its fight against reopening schools for in-person learning, saying, “I know they want to work.” The CTU voted Monday to defy the city school district and continue to work remotely. “They just want to work in a safe environment, and as safe as we can rationally make it, and we can do that,” Biden said. Biden’s comments came in response to a question about the union at a news conference after an event on American manufacturing, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. White House staffers were reportedly briefed about the ongoing standoff in the nation’s third-largest district by American Federation of Teachers chief Randi Weingarten. Asked if teachers should return to school, the president said, “we should make school classrooms safe and secure for the students, for the teachers and for the help that is in those schools maintaining those facilities.” The president added, “we should be able to open up every, every school, kindergarten through eighth grade, if in fact we administer these tests, and we’ll have the added advantage I might add, a putting millions of people back to work.” Biden did not mention Chicago or Democratic Mayor Lori Lightfoot in his response. He said widespread testing and functioning ventilation systems are key to reopening schools – both of which have fueled disagreements between Chicago Public Schools officials and the CTU, which is a local affiliate of the AFT. Weingarten said the White House is “really concerned about reopening and really concerned about doing it right.” “I felt it was my moral obligation to brief the White House this weekend, which I did,” she said, adding that she briefed Biden senior staffers on “what was going on in Chicago, from my perspective.” She indicated she was “very pleased” with his comments on Monday. Politically powerful national teachers unions make up a key part of Biden’s base. First Lady Jill Biden along with Weingarten and National Education Association President Becky Pringle held a virtual event with 11,000 teachers last week. About 70,000 elementary school students are scheduled to return to in-person learning on February 1 for the first time since schools closed in March 2020, according to the Chicago Public School’s coronavirus reopening plan. Around 10,000 elementary school teachers and staff were expected to report to work on Monday to prepare for the reopening. However, CTU members voted to stay at home due to disagreements with CPS over the reopening plan. Eighty-six percent of all CTU members cast ballots with 71 percent opting to continue to work from home. The union is advocating for members with medically vulnerable relatives at home to receive accommodations for remote work and for teachers to only be required to return to in-person instruction upon receiving a vaccination. It is also pushing for increased testing of staff and students as well as a public health metric that would determine when schools should reopen or close. Union members said they were encouraged to hear Biden’s comments on the situation, according to the Sun-Times. CTU Vice President Stacy Davis Gates said Biden “is not taking sides” but is “prioritizing the safety of every stakeholder in every city in every state in this country.”
- The Telegraph
A doctor with terminal cancer killed a female pediatrician and then himself after taking hostages at a children's clinic in Austin, Texas. Dr Bharat Narumanchi held hostages in a five-hour siege before killing Dr Katherine Lindley Dodson. Narumanchi had applied for a volunteer position at the clinic a week ago and was declined. He later came back carrying a pistol, a shotgun and two duffel bags. Police spokesman Jeff Greenwalt said Narumanchi had recently been given "weeks to live" after a cancer diagnosis. He said: "The case as far as who did this is closed. We know who did it. And we know that there's no longer a threat to the public. But we really, really want to answer the question of why." Dr Lindley Dodson, 43, was beloved by patients and their families. Karen Vladeck, whose two children were among her patients, told the Austin American-Statesman: "You saw her at your worst when your kid was sick, and she just always had a smile on her face. "She made you feel like you were the only parent there, even though there was a line of kids waiting." During the siege a SWAT team used a megaphone to communicate with the armed doctor. A hostage negotiator shouted: "Your life is very important to me. And I know life is very important to you. "You don't deserve to go through this. For all you have done for others. That is why I want to help you work through this. You have saved a lot of lives." Police first sent in a robot and then officers went into the medical office where they found two bodies. They did not comment on how the two doctors died. A police spokesman said: "The SWAT situation has ended. Two subjects have been located and were pronounced deceased."
- The Week
Biden did not, in fact, remove Trump's 'Diet Coke button' from the Resolute Desk, White House clarifies
The new Biden administration has yet not disclosed the secrets of Area 51 or explained what the Air Force really knows about UFOs, but it did clarify, at least, the mystery of the vanished "Diet Coke button" former President Donald Trump would use to summon refreshments in the Oval Office. The usher button, as it is formally known, is not gone, even if it is no longer used to summon Diet Cokes, a White House official tells Politico. The White House official "unfortunately wouldn't say what Biden will use the button for," Politico's Daniel Lippman writes, suggesting Biden might summon Orange Gatorade and not the obvious answer, ice cream — or, let's get real, coffee. What's more, there are evidently two usher buttons in the Oval Office, one at the Resolute Desk and the other next to the chair by the fireplace, a former White House official told Politico, adding that Trump didn't actually use the Diet Coke button all that much because "he would usually just verbally ask the valets, who were around all day, for what he needed." In any case, it is not the placement of the button that matters, of course, but how you use it. And Biden will presumably know better than to order ice cream treats during a top-secret national security briefing. More stories from theweek.comSarah Huckabee Sanders' shameless campaign for governorMitch McConnell is the GOATThe left's fake Senate majority
- NBC News
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said that warrants have been issued for David Vowell, who faces two counts of first degree murder.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had hoped to declare victory over the pandemic before the elections on March 23, but new fast-spreading variants of COVID-19 have dashed those hopes.Why it matters: Netanyahu's main political vulnerability is his handling of the pandemic. He has acknowledged that his poll numbers will be directly connected to the rates of vaccinations, new infections and deaths, as well as his ability to reopen the economy.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.He had wanted to base his election push on Israel's world-leading vaccination campaign, which has already seen 21% of the over-16 population obtain both doses, including 70% in the highest-priority groups (medical workers and people over 60). * But Israel is also in the midst of its worst COVID-19 wave to date, with daily death tolls hitting record highs. The capacity of the medical system is stretched close to a breaking point. * Four weeks of lockdown have only just begun to slow Israel's rate of new cases, which remains among the highest in the world, adjusted for population. Israeli officials say the fast spread is due to new virus variants. * The government is likely to prolong the lockdown for another week or two.Between the lines: The infection rate is particularly high in ultra-Orthodox communities, which have largely not complied with lockdown rules and kept schools open even as they were closed elsewhere. * Netanyahu has faced harsh criticism for not enforcing the lockdown among the ultra-Orthodox community, which constitutes an important chunk of his right-wing political bloc. * When the police did attempt to enforce the lockdown in recent days, violent riots erupted in ultra-Orthodox cities. That only generated more criticism of Netanyahu. * A Channel 12 poll published on Tuesday found that 61% of Israelis — and 52% of right-wing voters — want ultra-Orthodox parties excluded from the next coalition government.The state of play: Recent polls showed Netanyahu's Likud party stable with 29-30 seats, with public praise over the vaccination campaign balanced out by criticism about the lockdown and rising death toll.What’s next: Netanyahu's broader political bloc is short of the 61-seat majority needed to form the next coalition. Without a positive change in the COVID-19 numbers by March, he will have a hard time reaching it.Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
- Yahoo News
Despite mounting pressure, President Biden hasn't yet offered any specific legislative proposal to forgive student loans.
The move, officials say, could save the service millions of dollars and provide wearers with better protection in the field.
- FOX News Videos
Biden administration has system in place where reporters will not ask president tough questions: Media critic
Steve Krakauer, editor at Fourth Watch, says 'it shouldn't be contingent' on one reporter to ask Biden tough questions.
- The Week
Career officials at the State Department "don't expect huge improvements" under the Biden administration, a U.S. diplomat told Politico. So far, people who stuck it out for four years under the Trump administration feel like they're being snubbed in favor of political appointees as higher-level positions get filled. On the one hand, Politico reports, the fact that not a single career official was named in the first wave of top appointments that require Senate confirmation is seen as "a slight to the hardworking rank-and-file officials," especially after they felt they were not treated well under the previous administration. "The diplomatic corps has been battered and bruised," the diplomat told Politico. "Why not come explain your thinking? I'm prepared for disappointment and under-delivering from this team." But the criticism may not all be personal. Brett Bruen, a consultant who previously served on the Obama National Security Council, suggested that passing over holdovers from the Trump years could hinder policy decisions. "None of the people who were there for the last four years, who understand how the world has changed, will be in the room when the big decisions were being made," he told Politico. A spokesperson for Secretary of State Antony Blinken tried to ease the concerns, telling Politico "career experts will always be at the center of our diplomacy." Read more at Politico. More stories from theweek.comMitch McConnell is the GOATWho is the Cinderella in the GameStop fairy tale?The left's fake Senate majority
- NBC News
"The member in question had been advised numerous times about the requirements and had refused to be tested," the House speaker said.
Explainer: Why Trump's post-presidency perks, like a pension and office, are safe for the rest of his life
The impeachment proceeding against Donald Trump on a charge of inciting the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol has fueled speculation online that he could lose some of the benefits extended to former presidents. But according to legal experts, under the laws currently in effect, Trump will retain perks including a pension, office space and security detail even in the unlikely event that he is convicted by the Senate in its impeachment trial. Trump can thank a relatively obscure law, the Former Presidents Act.
- Associated Press
President Joe Biden spoke to Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Wednesday and offered his administration's commitment to protecting the Senkaku Islands, a group of uninhabited islets administered by Tokyo but claimed by Beijing, the White House said. Biden has previously expressed a commitment to the 1960 Japan-U.S. security treaty that covers the Senkaku Islands.