Sen. John Kennedy slams the Biden administration over continuing school closures.
- The Independent
John Brennan says ‘there are so few Republicans in Congress who value truth, honesty, and integrity’
- Architectural Digest
Zoë’s newsletter comes to a web page near you, and the theme of the day is dampOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
I received my first dose of the coronavirus vaccine in New York City and had to battle a flawed booking system
An Insider reporter struggled to book an appointment and had to wait in line for hours to get the first dose of the Moderna vaccine.
Paying ransoms to kidnappers is fuelling the mass abduction of students in northern Nigeria, analysts say.
- LA Times
President Biden pulled Neera Tanden's nomination to serve as his budget director. She didn't have enough Senate votes to be confirmed.
- Associated Press
When Eddie Murphy made the original “Coming to America,” he was, almost indisputably, the funniest man in America. Murphy was at the very height of his fame, coming off “Beverly Hills Cop II” and the stand-up special “Raw.” Arsenio Hall, Murphy’s longtime friend and co-star in “Coming to America,” remembers them sneaking out during the shoot to a Hollywood nightclub while still dressed as Prince Akeem and his loyal aide Semmi.
The de facto U.S. and Canadian embassies in Taiwan on Tuesday praised the quality of pineapples grown on the island, depicting photographs of their top diplomats in Taipei with the fruit after an import ban by China. China last week stopped the import of Taiwanese pineapples, citing "harmful creatures" it said could come with the fruit. Infuriated Taiwanese authorities called the ban a political move to further pressure the island, a charge that China denied.
- LA Times
Op-Ed: It's official. Mohammed bin Salman is responsible for Jamal Khashoggi's murder. Hold him accountable
President Biden's failure to punish the Saudi crown prince defies justice and weakens the rule of law everywhere.
Britain, France and Germany are pressing ahead with a U.S.-backed plan for a resolution by the U.N. nuclear watchdog's board criticising Iran for curbing cooperation with the agency, despite Russian and Iranian warnings of serious consequences. The International Atomic Energy Agency's 35-nation Board of Governors is holding a quarterly meeting this week against the backdrop of faltering efforts to revive Iran's nuclear deal with major powers now that U.S. President Joe Biden is in office. Iran has recently accelerated its violations of the 2015 deal in an apparent bid to raise pressure on Biden, as each side insists the other must move first.
- Associated Press
For years, Boston city leaders have vowed to diversify the police department so it looks more like the community it serves. The percentage of officers of color is up slightly compared to 2018, but the racial makeup of the overall force is largely the same as 10 years ago and only slightly more diverse than 20 years ago, according to data compiled in a 2015 audit of the department.
- Associated Press
The Supreme Court appeared ready Tuesday to uphold voting restrictions in Arizona in a key case that could make it harder to challenge a raft of other voting measures Republicans have proposed following last year's elections. All six conservative justices, appointed by Republican presidents, suggested they would throw out an appellate ruling that struck down the restrictions as racially discriminatory under the landmark Voting Rights Act. Less clear is what standard the court might set for how to prove discrimination under the law, first enacted in 1965.
- Associated Press
The Philippine president has dismissed his former ambassador to Brazil after she was seen on video physically abusing a Filipino member of her household staff. President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday night he had approved a recommendation to fire Marichu Mauro, revoke her retirement benefits and disqualify her from public office for life. The Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila said at the time that the unidentified victim had returned to Philippines and that it was trying to reach her amid an investigation.
- The Daily Beast
ATTILA KISBENEDEKBack when he was still running Russia’s FSB, Nikolai Patrushev, a longtime Putin crony who now heads the Russian Security Council, famously referred to himself and his colleagues as representatives of the “new nobility.”Nepotism is now breeding a new generation of Russian “nobles,” who are poised to take over the Kremlin upon the retirement of their fathers. These princelings—some of whom already occupy exalted positions in the government and the corporate world—are accused of benefiting from their parents’ money, mostly stolen from the state, via offshore accounts. They also travel abroad and educate their children in America and Europe, while paying homage to the Kremlin leadership, which portrays the West as an enemy.Anti-corruption campaigners claim that the children of the officials and oligarchs who enable Putin’s repressive kleptocracy are effectively being used to evade Western sanctions, and must be targeted themselves in order to deter the Kremlin from future criminal behavior.European Union foreign ministers met in Brussels last week and reportedly decided to add four Russian officials responsible for the incarceration of Russian democrat Alexei Navalny to a list of six Russians already sanctioned in connection with Navalny’s August 2020 poisoning.The Daily Beast reported in January that the Biden administration was also considering imposing a fresh round of sanctions as part of its own response to the treatment of the opposition leader. On Tuesday, the U.S. Treasury Department announced that, in coordination with the EU's measures, it would be imposing sanctions on seven top Russian government officials, including FSB Director Aleksandr Bortnikov, Presidential Policy Directorate Chief Andrei Yarin, and the Presidential Executive Office's First Deputy Chief of Staff, Sergei Kiriyenko.Team Biden Weighs Fresh Sanctions on Russia for Poisoning and Jailing NavalnyBut Navalny and his team are advocating for sanctions to be imposed on an even wider range of Russian oligarchs, who form the backbone of Putin's regime, as well on the sons of Putin’s henchmen. Sanction-related travel bans and asset freezes for Putin’s siloviki—strongmen—have proved inconvenient but some appear happy to stay in Russia and sunbathe on the Black Sea instead of the Mediterranean so long as they can evade financial restrictions by transferring their assets to their adult children.After the West imposed sanctions against Russia for the invasion of Crimea, Navalny said: “If the meaning of the sanctions is to exert real pressure on the mafia that has seized power (and this is precisely what is declared), then their sons would be included… These little sons are calmly cruising on their yachts and eating crème brulée in cafes on the streets of European cities.”Navalny and Vladimir Ashurkov, the executive director of Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, have included two princelings on a suggested sanctions list that accompanied a letter Ashurkov sent to President Biden earlier this year: Denis Bortnikov, son of FSB chief Aleksandr Bortnikov, and Dmitry Patrushev, son of Bortnikov’s predecessor, Nikolai Patrushev, who now heads Putin’s National Security Council. The document claims that both sons act as “wallets” for their fathers’ “ill-gotten gains.”Ashurkov told the Daily Beast that these two men are deeply corrupt and senior enough within the government structure to be sanctioned in their own right. He insisted it was not his role to tell Western governments what to do but said it would be appropriate to widen the sanctions on further offspring of the siloviki. “I think it is logical that the immediate family of people involved in human rights abuses and corruption are also banned from Western countries,” he said.There is a precedent in Washington for sanctioning the sons of Putin’s enablers: Roman Rotenberg, son of Russian billionaire Boris Rotenberg, and Roman’s cousin Igor Rotenberg, son of Arkady Rotenberg, have both been sanctioned because of their financial ties to their fathers. In late 2017, the U.S. Treasury added Artem Chaika, son of Russian Prosecutor-General Yuri Chaika, to those sanctioned under the Global Magnitsky Act. And in April 2018, the Treasury designated Kirill Shamalov, Putin's former son-in-law, for sanctions. But these four represent only a fraction of the new generation of Russian elite that reaps the rewards of the corruption and repressive Putin regime.Retired U.S. diplomat Steven Pifer, currently a fellow at the Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin, thinks it’s a finely balanced calculation. “While I'm not fully comfortable with targeting family members, perhaps it is time to sanction spouses and children along with the primary individual,” he told The Daily Beast. “If a Russian oligarch can’t travel, that’s one thing. If his spouse can’t make her shopping trips to London and kids can’t get to their colleges in the West, that would be a different degree of pressure.”There is no shortage of potential targets among Russia’s princeling class. Not surprisingly, both of Nikolai Patrushev's sons graduated from the FSB Academy, which trains its students to become spies against the West. Dmitry Patrushev, 43, is on the list of targets suggested by Navalny’s organization. He was appointed Minister of Agriculture in 2018 after heading the Russian Agricultural Bank and bringing it deeply and scandalously into debt (close to a billion dollars in 2016). (Despite, or maybe because of, Dmitry's much-publicized failures at the bank, that same year Putin personally awarded him the Order of Honor and the Association of Russian Bankers named him Banker of the Year.)Dmitry's brother, Andrei Patrushev, aged 39, worked for the FSB before becoming an advisor to Rosneft chairman Igor Sechin (one of Putin's oldest KGB buddies) in 2006, at age 25. The next year President Putin awarded him the coveted Order of Honor “for the achieved labor success and many years of conscientious work.” Later Andrei became a top official at Gazprom Neft. He now co-owns a marine geology firm, which in 2019 had an annual gross revenue of $155 million, and is on the board of the prestigious Russian Association of Arctic Explorers. Both Patrushev sons have large seaside vacation homes near Putin's infamous palace at Gelendzhik.Viktor Zolotov, who was already on the U.S. sanctions list, has known Putin for years and is said to enjoy the Russian president's deepest trust. Zolotov heads the powerful 300,000-person Russian National Guard, which is used to brutally suppress street protests. (In 2018, after Alexei Navalny exposed illegalities in procurement contracts for the National Guard, Zolotov published a video message in which he challenged Navalny to a duel and promised to make “good, juicy mincemeat” of him.) Zolotov’s son-in-law, Yuri Chechikhin, 44, is a business partner of the oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who gave him a stake in his construction business, which earns several billion rubles a year, including through lucrative government contracts.Zolotov’s son Roman Zolotov, age 40, was educated at the FSB academy and worked at the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD), where his dad served as deputy minister, for a number of years. He is co-owner of a Russian company called Quantum Technologies and serves on the boards of various state-owned companies. Roman, who has a vacation home in Gelendzhik along with the Patrushevs, is also deputy head of the Moscow Department of Sports and Tourism, an actor and a film producer. While Roman was still earning a modest salary at the MVD, he and his brother-in-law Yuri produced several low-grade Russian movies, one of which featured Roman in the cast. Both men own mansions outside Moscow that are valued at over $10 million each.Yuri Chaika, currently Russian representative to the Caucasus Region, was Russian prosecutor-general from 2006 to 2020 and presided over the Kremlin’s sustained campaign of persecution of civil society. During Chaika’s tenure as prosecutor-general, his sons, 45-year-old Artem Chaika and 33-year-old Igor Chaika, created huge business empires. A January 2020 article in Forbes Russia, drawing on an earlier, explosive investigation by Navalny, describes how the two Chaika brothers, beginning with Artem’s illegal seizure of a large shipping enterprise in 2002, each achieved staggering wealth. They accumulated countless companies—construction, shipping, refuse collection, property development, industrial products and food export—and through rigged auctions, massive government subsidies and uncompetitive state contracts made them profitable. All the while, their father prevented legal challenges to their dubious business practices.An investigation by Navalny’s FBK revealed that Artem Chaika bought a $3 million home near Lake Geneva in 2013 and has Swiss residence.The brothers Arkady and Boris Rotenberg are Putin's friends from childhood and former judo sparring partners of the Russian president. (Arkady recently to came to Putin’s rescue by claiming, unconvincingly, that he was the owner of “Putin’s palace,” exposed by Navalny.)Putin Says He Doesn’t Know Anything about the Billion-Dollar Palace Russia Built HimSince Putin became president in 2000, the pair have become billionaires, supplying pipelines to the state-controlled energy corporation Gazprom and landing exclusive contracts for the Sochi Olympics. In 2014 the EU and U.S. sanctioned both brothers as a result of the Crimea invasion. A 2020 U.S. Senate report accused the Rotenbergs of circumventing financial sanctions by buying expensive art through Barclays Bank, as well as by handing over assets to their sons.Roman Rotenberg, 39, is the son of Boris Rotenberg. He studied international business in London, is a British citizen and owns a £3.3 million home in London’s exclusive Belgravia district. Roman, who is first vice-president of the Russian Hockey Federation, is also the formal owner of many of his father’s companies, including those in Finland, where he and his father Boris have citizenship. Arkady’s son Igor Rotenberg, 47, has held numerous positions in the Putin government and also is on the boards of several gas and power companies. His net worth was recently estimated at $1.1 billion.These names represent the tip of a large iceberg. Anti-corruption campaigners believe Russia’s princelings are not only destined to continue the Kremlin's anti-democratic and corrupt governing practices; they also are likely to ensure that the huge gap between the haves and the have-nots in Russia continues to grow. In 2019, 10 percent of Russians owned 83 percent of the country’s wealth. Among the world’s leading economies, Russia is the country with the most striking material inequality.In a speech at the State Department on Feb. 4, President Biden urged the Kremlin to release Navalny from prison and emphasized that “we will not hesitate to raise the cost on Russia.” Biden also said that he told President Putin in a telephone call that “the days of the United States rolling over in the face of Russia’s aggressive actions—interfering with our elections, cyberattacks, poisoning its citizens—are over.” So perhaps the U.S. will consider the recommendations of Navalny’s team and include Russian oligarchs—and maybe some princelings—on its sanctions list.Before last week’s meeting in Brussels Russia warned that it would be “ready to react” to any new sanctions by the EU. But in fact there is not much Russia can do, beyond expelling a few more diplomats from Moscow or sanctioning specific Western officials, which would have little impact. In 2014, after being blacklisted by Russia in retaliation for U.S. sanctions, the late Senator John McCain joked: “I guess this means my spring break in Siberia is off, my Gazprom stock is lost, and my secret bank account in Moscow is frozen.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
- Associated Press
Joe Exotic of “Tiger King" fame has found new attorneys who say they plan to file a motion for a new trial in a matter of months. Joe Exotic, whose real name Joseph Maldonado-Passage, was sentenced in January 2020 to 22 years in federal prison for violating federal wildlife laws and for his role in a failed murder-for-hire plot targeting his chief rival, Carole Baskin, who runs a rescue sanctuary for big cats in Florida. Baskin was not harmed.
- Associated Press
Israel's Supreme Court on Monday dealt a major blow to the country's powerful Orthodox establishment, ruling that people who convert to Judaism through the Reform and Conservative movements in Israel are also Jewish and entitled to become citizens. The landmark ruling, 15 years in the making, centered around the combustible question of who is Jewish and marked an important victory for the Reform and Conservative movements.
- Yahoo News Video
China has pledged half a billion doses of its vaccine to more than 45 countries as experts raise concerns
China’s vaccine diplomacy campaign has been a surprising success: It has pledged roughly half a billion doses of its vaccine to more than 45 countries, according to a country-by-country tally by The Associated Press. With just four of China’s many vaccine makers able to produce at least 2.6 billion doses this year, a large part of the world’s population will end up inoculated not with the fancy Western vaccines boasting headline-grabbing efficacy rates, but with China’s humble, traditionally made shots.
The lawyer for the 'QAnon Shaman' wants to use Trump's speech before the insurrection as part of his defense
"QAnon Shaman" Jacob Chansley's lawyer has blamed Donald Trump for inciting his client to storm the Capitol building on January 6.
- The Independent
Seven government figures blocked from accessing financial assets in the US
A U.N. human rights investigator said on Monday that it was "extremely dangerous" for the United States to have named Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler as having approved an operation to capture or kill journalist Jamal Khashoggi but not to have taken action against him. Agnes Callamard, special rapporteur on summary executions who led a U.N. investigation into Khashoggi's 2018 murder, reiterated her call for sanctions targeting Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's assets and his international engagements. He approved an operation to capture or kill Khashoggi, according to a declassified U.S. intelligence released on Friday as the United States imposed sanctions on some of those involved but spared the crown prince himself in an effort to preserve relations with the kingdom.
Turkey's government plans to shut down the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), the ruling AK Party's deputy parliament chairman was quoted as saying on Tuesday, the most senior official to endorse nationalist demands for its closure. President Tayyip Erdogan's government and its nationalist MHP allies accuse the HDP of links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), accusations that escalated after Ankara said Turkish captives were killed by the PKK in Iraq last month. The MHP have repeatedly called for the HDP's closure over links to the PKK, which Turkey, the European Union, and United States designate a terrorist organisation.