Problems are piling up at Illinois' unemployment office over names and social security numbers being mailed to complete strangers. The state says it wants to hear from the people who got the personal information, but when those people call no one is listening.
- 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
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.
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
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 'No way' McConnell has had a post-Trump 'epiphany,' political scientist says McConnell is already moving to strangle the Biden presidency
- 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.
- 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 'No way' McConnell has had a post-Trump 'epiphany,' political scientist says McConnell is already moving to strangle the Biden presidency
Exclusive: AstraZeneca to supply 31 million COVID-19 shots to EU in first quarter, a 60% cut - EU source
AstraZeneca Plc has informed European Union officials on Friday it would cut deliveries of its COVID-19 vaccine to the bloc by 60% to 31 million doses in the first quarter of the year due to production problems, a senior official told Reuters. The decrease deals another blow to Europe's COVID-19 vaccination drive after Pfizer Inc and partner BioNTech SE slowed supplies of their vaccine to the bloc this week, saying the move was needed because of work to ramp up production. AstraZeneca was expected to deliver about 80 million doses to the 27 EU countries by the end of March, the official who was involved in the talks said.
- Architectural Digest
- 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.
- The Telegraph
The alleged ringleader of Asia’s biggest crime syndicate and one of the world’s most wanted men has been arrested in the Netherlands, with Australian authorities pushing for his extradition to face trial. Police had been chasing alleged drug kingpin Tse Chi Lop, 57, for years until his arrest by Dutch police on Friday acting on a request from Australia’s federal police. In a statement on Sunday, Australian authorities said a man "of significant interest" to law enforcement agencies had been detained. A police spokeswoman confirmed his name as Tse Chi Lop. Tse is expected to be extradited after appearing before a judge, Dutch police spokesman Thomas Aling said, adding that his arrest by national police took place without incident at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport. "He was already on the most-wanted list and he was detained based on intelligence we received," Aling said. The Chinese-born Canadian citizen has been compared to Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. He has been named by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) as the suspected leader of the Asian mega-cartel known as "Sam Gor", a major producer and supplier of methamphetamines globally. Sam Gor is believed to launder its billions in drug money through businesses springing up in Southeast Asia’s Mekong region – including casinos, hotels and real estate. Australia’s federal police said Friday’s arrest followed an operation that in 2012-2013 nabbed 27 people linked to a crime syndicate spanning five countries. The group were accused of importing "substantial quantities of heroin and methamphetamine" into Australia, long a lucrative market for drug traffickers. "The syndicate targeted Australia over a number of years, importing and distributing large amounts of illicit narcotics, laundering the profits overseas and living off the wealth obtained from crime," the Australian police said. As part of the 2012-2013 raids across Melbourne, police seized AUS$9 million (US$7 million) worth of assets, including cash, designer handbags, casino chips and jewellery. The arrest of Tse Chi Lop almost a decade after that operation’s launch is a major breakthrough for Australian authorities. The country’s attorney-general will now begin preparing a formal extradition request for the alleged drug lord to face trial. Most of Asia’s meth comes from "Golden Triangle" border areas between Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and southwest China which are pumping unprecedented quantities of synthetic drugs into global markets. A study by the UNODC says Southeast Asia’s crime groups are netting more than $60 billion a year. The production of methamphetamine – either in tablet "yaba" form or the highly potent crystallised "ice" version – as well as ketamine and fentanyl, take place primarily in Myanmar’s eastern Shan state, but much of the precursor chemicals needed to cook them flows across the border from China. Thailand in 2018 netted more than 515 million yaba tablets, 17 times the amount for the entire Mekong region a decade ago, said the UNODC. Drug hauls feature near daily in headlines across the region, with traffickers finding more creative ways to ship out their illicit products.
- NBC News
Biden's team appears ready to invest political capital trying to get Congress to approve another round of stimulus payments.
A billion-dollar Mega Millions jackpot that has been building for four months will be up for grabs on Friday, available to whoever can beat the one-in-302 million odds. "We generally see a lot of the sales occur on the day of the drawings," Mega Millions spokesman Seth Elkin, of the Maryland State Lottery and Gaming Control Agency, said by telephone. The selection of the six numbers will be the 37th semi-weekly drawing since the last grand prize winner was picked on Sept. 15, the longest jackpot dry spell Mega Millions has ever had, Elkin said.
- Associated Press
The words of Donald Trump supporters who are accused of participating in the deadly U.S. Capitol riot may end up being used against him in his Senate impeachment trial as he faces the charge of inciting a violent insurrection. At least five supporters facing federal charges have suggested they were taking orders from the then-president when they marched on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 to challenge the certification of Joe Biden's election win. Jacob Chansley, the Arizona man photographed on the dais in the Senate who was shirtless and wore face paint and a furry hat with horns, has similarly pointed a finger at Trump.
In the city where the virus first emerged there is now an insistence that it came from elsewhere.
- 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
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday that Pfizer had reassured him it would meet Canada's vaccine order in full by end-March as, with a second COVID wave spreading across the country, he hinted at a clampdown on citizens leaving home. Pfizer, which is retooling a European manufacturing plant, told Canada on Tuesday it would receive no vaccine next week, promising more pain for provinces already complaining about a shortage of supplies. Pfizer also said it would cut supplies to the European Union.
- Yahoo News Video
It's a club Donald Trump was never really interested in joining and certainly not so soon: the cadre of former commanders in chief who revere the presidency enough to put aside often bitter political differences and even join together in common cause.
- The Telegraph
The Biden administration has already set itself on a collision course with Saudi Arabia after its director of National Intelligence vowed to declassify a report on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. The push to release the intelligence community’s assessment of the murder of the dissident journalist, which is believed to implicate Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has the potential to trigger a major fallout with the kingdom. Avril Haines, who was confirmed in her new role on Thursday, told Congress “we will follow the law” regarding the report, referring to the Trump administration’s refusal to release the full version for US House representatives. The CIA is said to have concluded with a high degree of confidence that Prince Mohammed, or MBS - a close ally of the previous government - ordered the Washington Post columnist’s assassination at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018. However, its contents have not been made public. MBS, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, has denied he ordered the murder and the Trump administration publicly stood by him despite international condemnation.
- 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
Former police officer who climbed over fences to get into Capitol during riot claims he was there to see art
Regular phone camera roll shows no images from January 6 but ‘deleted’ folder filled with images and videos of officer inside Capitol building during riot