A Japanese court has ordered a restaurant chain and two personnel to pay more than half a million dollars damages to the family of a man who killed himself after being forced to work nearly 200 hours overtime a month. Tokyo District Court said the president of Tokyo-based Sun Challenge, a steak house chain, and another official had been culpable in failing to stop the unidentified employee from working excessive hours. "With only one holiday given to him every several months, the psychological load of prolonged work and power harassment caused his mental disorder," said presiding judge Akira Yamada, according to a Kyodo News report on Tuesday. Yamada ordered the company and its two officials to pay a total of 58 million yen ($510,000) to the parents of the man, who was 24 when he took his own life in November 2010. The employee began working for Sun Challenge in 2007 and was appointed restaurant manager in July 2009. In the seven months before he hanged himself, he had worked an average of 190 hours overtime every month and had taken just two days off. He had also been subjected to physical violence and verbal attacks by his supervisor. The ruling was "epoch-making", a lawyer for the man's parents told Kyodo, noting that unusually in a suicide claim, there had been no finding of comparable negligence on the part of the employee to offset the blame attached to the company. "This is a ruling that encourages workers suffering from prolonged work and power harassment," the lawyer, who was not named, was quoted as saying. Japan's culture of long working hours and unpaid overtime is regularly criticised as a leading cause of mental and physical illness among employees. The term "karoshi", which means "death by overwork", entered the lexicon a few years ago amid a surge in the number of people dying because of stress-related problems, or taking their own lives.
- NBC News
"The situation at the border isn't going to be transformed overnight," a senior Biden transition official told NBC News in an exclusive interview.
- National Review
Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) warned Friday that one-third of Republican voters could leave the party if GOP senators vote in impeachment proceedings to convict President Trump. Paul made the comments in an interview on Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle. The senator’s remarks come amid an increasing divide between congressional Republicans who oppose impeaching the president and a smaller number who support the measure following the riots at the Capitol on January 6. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) is reportedly hopeful that Republicans can use impeachment to purge Trump from the GOP, although he would need the support of at least 16 additional Republican senators to vote to convict. “Look, I didn’t agree with the [Capitol] fight that happened last week, and I voted against overturning the election, but at the same time, the impeachment is a wrongheaded, partisan notion, [and] if Republicans go along with it, it’ll destroy the party,” Paul said during the interview. “A third of the Republicans will leave the party,” Paul continued. “This isn’t about, anymore, the Electoral College, this is about the future of the party, and whether you’re going to ostracize and excommunicate President Trump from the party. Well, guess what? Millions of his fans will leave as well.” While a majority of Americans believe Trump should be removed from office immediately, just 17 percent of Republicans support expelling Trump from the presidency, according to an Axios–Ipsos poll released on Thursday. Support for Trump among Republicans has fallen since the Capitol riots; however, 60 percent believe the party should continue to follow Trump once he leaves office, an ABC News/Washington Post poll found.
After a probe found "significant errors of judgment and procedure" in the termination of the employee, GitHub's head of human resources resigned, GitHub Chief Operating Officer Erica Brescia said on Sunday. "In light of these findings, we immediately reversed the decision to separate with the employee and are in communication with his representative," Brescia said in a blog https://bit.ly/2KnkVhI, adding that the company apologized to that employee.
- The Telegraph
Five Hong Kong protesters who reportedly fled to Taiwan by boat six months ago have arrived in the United States and intend to seek asylum, according to an activist group. The activists, all under the age of 30, faced protest-related arrests or charges in Hong Kong, and escaped the city by boat in July last year, the Washington, DC-based Hong Kong Democracy Council (HKDC) said. They are the latest protesters to seek sanctuary in the West after Beijing imposed a national security law on Hong Kong in June that makes it easier to crack down on dissent in the Chinese city. In recent weeks, police have arrested dozens of pro-democracy activists and former lawmakers in Hong Kong. The HKDC statement didn't confirm that the five that are now in the US had been in Taiwan - a popular destination for protesters, but which closed its borders last year because of the pandemic. Simon Chu, managing director of the nonprofit HKDC, said he had welcomed the five to the US last week after a "perilous journey to freedom". "The dangerous trip made by these activists illustrates how it remains difficult for Hong Kongers to seek safe harbour in the US and that options for safe passage are limited," he said. "Their desperate effort exemplifies the rapidly deteriorating human rights condition and growing humanitarian crisis Hong Kong is in right now," he said. Media in Taiwan had reported last year that the five had been intercepted by the Taiwanese coast guard as they tried to flee to the self-ruled island in late July. Officials in Taiwan have repeatedly declined to comment on the case. Activists say the five were held incommunicado in Taiwan as negotiations were carried out to help them leave for the US. In August, another group of Hongkongers attempted to flee to Taiwan in a speedboat, but were caught by the Chinese coastguard. Ten of the 12 Hongkongers were sentenced to up to three years in prison for organising and participating in an illegal border crossing last month after a "secret" trial that was condemned by Britain and others.
- The Independent
Police announce second arrest at security perimeter set-up to protect Joe Biden’s inauguration
- The Week
President-elect Joe Biden's inaugural address will outline how he plans to handle the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent economic fallout while in office, and he will also urge Americans to move on from their current political divisions and unify, advisers and allies told Bloomberg. Although those sources anticipate Biden will acknowledge the difficulties of the moment, they expect the overall tone of the speech to be optimistic in contrast to President Trump's "American carnage" speech in 2017."People want to know someone is in charge, help is on the way, chaos is behind us now," said Matt Teper, who served as Biden's chief speech writer at the beginning of his tenure as former President Barack Obama's vice president. "There's a recognition that things aren't great right now, but there's definitely hope that they're going to get better."Teper added that a darker outlook is neither "the tone anyone wants" to hear nor Biden's way of "looking at the world." Rather, Teper said, he operates more along the lines of "'we're going to fix things and we're going to move forward.'"Still, Bloomberg notes, that message of unity and healing likely won't be accepted blindly across the political spectrum, especially since House Democrats impeached Trump just a week before. Read more at Bloomberg.More stories from theweek.com 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment Trump's vaccine delay is getting suspicious The pandemic windfall
- Yahoo News Video
The spokesman for Republican U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert has quit less than two weeks after she was sworn into office, saying he felt like he need to due to the insurrection at the nation's Capitol.
Kevin McCarthy warned members to not call out colleagues by name, citing potential political violence
Members of the House Republican Conference ignored leader Kevin McCarthy last week when he warned them against criticizing colleagues by name based on intelligence that doing so could trigger more political violence. Why it matters: McCarthy made clear that name-dropping opponents, instead of spelling out complaints in more general terms, can put a literal target on a politician, especially with tensions so high following the events of Jan. 6.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.That's what happened to Rep. Liz Cheney, the GOP conference chairperson, after she said she would support impeaching President Trump. * She and several other members had to increase their security and take extra precautions because of death threats and other alarming warnings after their colleagues singled them out in their complaints.What McCarthy said: The House minority leader issued his warning during a conference call last Monday. He said his concern was driven by the FBI briefings he receives. * "It doesn’t matter which side of the position you were: I respect it, I respect why you did what you did. But what we are saying on television, when we say a member’s name. ... This is not the moment in time to do it." * "You can incite something else. The country is very divided and we know this. Let’s not put any member, I don’t care who they are Republican, Democrat or any person not even in Congress. Watch our words closely. I get these reports on a weekly basis. I’ve seen something I haven’t seen before.”Several minutes later, McCarthy repeated the message: “Emotions are high. What you say matters. Let’s not put other people in danger. Let’s watch what words we’re using and definitely not be using other members' names in any media.”Days later, some GOP members ignored him and openly criticized their colleagues * Rep. Adam Kinzinger tweeted that the name of his Republican colleague, Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene, "will be one forgotten by next January." * Rep. Lauren Boebart (R-Colo.) mocked Speaker Nancy Pelosi over the House's new mask fines.One of the most blatant attacks, leading to a media firestorm, was when several members of the House Freedom Caucus went after Cheney for voting to impeach Trump. * On the day of the vote, the members circulated a petition to remove her from her leadership role. * Cheney is now fielding a series of threats against her, many from fiery Trump supporters angered by her vote, a source with direct knowledge of the threat said. * “We don’t comment on security matters,” Cheney’s communications director, Jeremy Adler, told Axios.What we’re hearing: McCarthy's team told Axios he isn't looking for repercussions. Spokesman Matt Sparks said the leader wants to lower the temperature and is encouraging members to be mindful of the current environment.Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.
The U.S. Army has identified a 1st Armored Division staff sergeant from Fort Bliss, Texas found dead at his home Thursday.
Brazil's health regulator is seeking further data on Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine before considering its approval for emergency use. Documents supporting drugmaker Uniao Quimica's application for emergency use of the vaccine have been returned to the company because they did not meet its minimum criteria, the watchdog said on Saturday. In a statement on the Health Ministry's website, regulator Anvisa said the request failed to provide adequate assurances on Phase III clinical trials and issues related to the manufacture of the vaccine.
- NBC News
Couy Griffin, a county commissioner in New Mexico, planned to return to the Capitol with guns on Jan. 20, the FBI said.
- Associated Press
When Joe Biden takes the oath of office Wednesday outside a wounded U.S. Capitol, he will begin reshaping the office of the presidency itself as he sets out to lead a bitterly divided nation struggling with a devastating pandemic and an insurrection meant to stop his ascension to power. Biden had campaigned as a rebuke to President Donald Trump, a singular figure whose political power was fueled by discord and grievance. The Democrat framed his election as one to “heal the soul” of the nation and repair the presidency, restoring the White House image as a symbol of stability and credibility.
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) called on his Republican Party to rebuild itself and "repudiate the nonsense that has set our party on fire" in an in an op-ed for The Atlantic Saturday on the QAnon conspiracy theory.Why it matters: Many of the mob involved in the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol Hill riots wore items signaling their support for the far-right QAnon and a prominent member of the cult was among those arrested following the siege.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here. * Several Republicans who ran for Congress last year publicly supported or defended the QAnon movement or some of its tenets — something Sasee noted in his op-ed, headlined "QAnon is Destroying the GOP From Within." * Sasse blames the violence on "the blossoming of a rotten seed that took root in the Republican Party some time ago and has been nourished by treachery, poor political judgment, and cowardice."Driving the news: Sasse wrote in his op-ed that "until last week, many party leaders and consultants thought they could preach the Constitution while winking at QAnon." * "They can't," he added. "The GOP must reject conspiracy theories or be consumed by them. Now is the time to decide what this party is about." * Sasse criticized House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) for not denouncing QAnon supporter Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) when she was running for Congress in 2020. * "She's already announced plans to try to impeach Joe Biden on his first full day as president," Sasse wrote. "She'll keep making fools out of herself, her constituents, and the Republican Party."Worth noting: Sasse said before the House impeached President Trump for a second time he'd consider "definitely consider" any articles of impeachment against him over his conduct and comments at a rally before the riots. * The Nebraska senator criticized Trump's embrace of QAnon supporters last August, warning that Democrats could "take the Senate" this "will be a big part of why they won." * Months later, the Democrats went on to win control of the Senate.The bottom line: Sasse wrote that his party faces a choice when Trump leaves office: "We can dedicate ourselves to defending the Constitution and perpetuating our best American institutions and traditions, or we can be a party of conspiracy theories."Go deeper: * The Capitol siege's QAnon roots * House freshmen at war after Capitol siegeSupport safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
- The Week
Israel has vaccinated at least 25 percent of its population against the coronavirus so far, which leads the world and makes it "the country to watch for herd effects from" the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, says infectious disease expert David Fishman. Recently, the case rate in Israel appears to have declined sharply, and while there could be a few reasons for that, it's possible the vaccination effort is beginning to play a role.> Israel's reproduction number appears to have declined rather sharply in recent days, with around 25% of the country vaccinated, and some additional percentage having at least partial immunity via prior infection. pic.twitter.com/sVyCYYd9dj> > — David Fisman (@DFisman) January 17, 2021One study from Clalit that was published last week reports that 14 days after receiving the first Pfizer-BioNTech shot, infection rates among 200,000 Israelis older than 60 fell 33 percent among those vaccinated compared to 200,000 from the same demographic who hadn't received a jab.At first glance, Fishman writes, that might seem disappointing since clinical trials suggested the vaccine was more than 90 percent effective. But he actually believes the 33 percent figure is "auspicious." Because vaccinated and non-vaccinated people are mingling, there could be "herd effects of immunization." In other words, when inoculated people interact with people who haven't had their shot, the latter individual may still be protected because the other person is. On a larger scale, that would drive down the number of infections among non-vaccinated people, thus shrinking the gap between the two groups' infection rates.> Estimated vaccine efficacy is a function of relative risk of infection in the vaccinated...when there is indirect protection via herd effects, we expect efficacy estimates to decrease because the risk among unvaccinated individuals declines.> > — David Fisman (@DFisman) January 17, 2021More data needs to come in, and Fishman thinks "we'll know more" this week, but he's cautiously optimistic about how things are going.More stories from theweek.com 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment Trump's vaccine delay is getting suspicious The pandemic windfall
Moderna will deliver 7.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Switzerland in batches in the months ahead, putting the country among the world leaders in inoculating its population, the head of Moderna's European business said. Staner said Switzerland would not get privileged treatment because it was the first country to chose Moderna as a supplier. Swiss regulators have approved vaccines from Moderna and from Pfizer with partner BioNTech.
- Miami Herald
A man who did prison time for aggravated stalking and has convictions for domestic violence and violating a restraining order has an 18-year-old girl he has kidnapped at gunpoint, Pembroke Pines police said.
- Associated Press
President-elect Joe Biden’s plan to scrap President Donald Trump’s vision of “America First” in favor of “diplomacy first” will depend on whether he's able to regain the trust of allies and convince them that Trumpism is just a blip in the annals of U.S. foreign policy. From Europe to the Middle East and Asia, Trump’s brand of transactional diplomacy has alienated friends and foes alike, leaving Biden with a particularly contentious set of national security issues. Biden, who said last month that “America's back, ready to lead the world, not retreat from it,” might strive to be the antithesis of Trump on the world stage and reverse some, if not many, of his predecessor’s actions.
For Yuuki Hamazono, it was a relief to find bars and restaurants in Tokyo flouting the Japanese government's request to close by 8 p.m. The 30-year-old financial trader was one of many people out in the Shimbashi nightlife district during the first weekend of an expanded state of emergency, with the government pleading for residents to stay home to contain the coronavirus. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared a state of emergency for Tokyo and surrounding prefectures this month.
- The Telegraph
Scientists say Colombia must cull its so-called “cocaine hippos” that roam the Magdalena river basin as they are breeding voraciously and are an increasing menace. The marshlands of Colombia have been home to these giant mammals since they were illegally imported in the late 1980s by the notorious drug lord, Pablo Escobar. When he was shot dead in 1993, the Colombian government took control of his extravagant estate, including his personal zoo. Most of the animals were shipped away, but four hippos were left to fend for themselves in a pond, and now there are dozens of them living in the wild. Although nobody knows exactly how many there are, estimates put the total number between 80 and 100, making them the largest invasive species on the planet. Scientists forecast that the number of hippos will swell to almost 1,500 by 2040. They conclude, that at that point, environmental impacts will be irreversible and numbers impossible to control. “Nobody likes the idea of shooting a hippo, but we have to accept that no other strategy is going to work,” ecologist Nataly Castelblanco-Martínez told The Telegraph.
- Associated Press
President-elect Joe Biden on Saturday filled out his State Department team with a group of former career diplomats and veterans of the Obama administration, signaling his desire to return to a more traditional foreign policy after four years of uncertainty and unpredictability under President Donald Trump. Biden will nominate Wendy Sherman as deputy secretary of state and Victoria Nuland as undersecretary of state for political affairs — the second- and third-highest ranking posts, respectively.