TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya's navy has rescued 84 African emigrants from a boat that was foundering off its coast, state news agency Lana said, after hundreds drowned this month trying to reach Europe. Navy boats and special forces picked up the Africans, who were from a number of different countries, north of the capital Tripoli late on Tuesday, Lana said late on Wednesday. They were brought to the port of Zawiya for processing by the country's department for illegal emigrants. Hundreds of people have died this month trying to reach Lampedusa, an island south of Sicily, by boat from North Africa. Many have come via Libya, which is facing a breakdown of civilian rule two years after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi. The flow of refugees has also been fuelled by civil war in Syria and unrest in Egypt and other Arab and African countries. Italy has increased patrols in the Mediterranean waters between its coast and Libya and Tunisia since more than 360 mainly Eritrean migrants drowned in early October when their boat capsized off Lampedusa. An estimated 200 people went missing when a second boat sank a week later. (Reporting by Ulf Laessing; Editing by John Stonestreet)
- Yahoo News 360
Recent history shows the opportunity to pass major bills can disappear quickly. What should Democrats’ top priority be?
- The Week
The evenly split Senate is having a hard time agreeing who's in charge.Georgia's two new Democratic senators were sworn in Wednesday, giving Republicans and Democrats 50 senators each, with Vice President Kamala Harris as a Democratic tiebreaker. The two parties are now working out a power-sharing agreement, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) commitment to the filibuster is standing in the way.McConnell on Thursday formally acknowledged Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) as the chamber's new majority leader. But as he has been for days, McConnell again implored Democrats to preserve the filibuster that lets a senator extend debate and block a timely vote on a bill if there aren't 60 votes to stop it. Democrats "have no plans to gut the filibuster further, but argue it would be a mistake to take one of their tools off the table just as they're about to govern," Politico reports; More progressive senators do want to remove the option completely.If his filibuster demands aren't met, McConnell has threatened to block the Senate power-sharing agreement that would put Democrats in charge of the body's committees. But Democrats already seem confident in their newfound power, with Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) telling Politico that "Chuck Schumer is the majority leader and he should be treated like majority leader." Giving in to McConnell "would be exactly the wrong way to begin," Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) echoed.Other Democrats shared their resistance to McConnell's demands in tweets. > McConnell is threatening to filibuster the Organizing Resolution which allows Democrats to assume the committee Chair positions. It's an absolutely unprecedented, wacky, counterproductive request. We won the Senate. We get the gavels.> > -- Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) January 21, 2021> So after Mitch McConnell changed the Senate rules at a blistering pace during his 6 years in charge, he is threatening to filibuster the Senate's organizing resolution unless the Democratic majority agrees to never change the rules again.> > Huh.> > -- Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) January 21, 2021More stories from theweek.com Biden removes Trump's Diet Coke button from the Oval Office Austria introduces measures to fight rising anti-Semitism 7 brutally funny cartoons about Trump's White House exit
- Associated Press
Iran's capital and major cities plunged into darkness in recent weeks as rolling outages left millions without electricity for hours. With toxic smog blanketing Tehran skies and the country buckling under the pandemic and other mounting crises, social media has been rife with speculation. Within days, as frustration spread among residents, the government launched a wide-ranging crackdown on Bitcoin processing centers, which require immense amounts of electricity to power their specialized computers and to keep them cool — a burden on Iran's power grid.
- Architectural Digest
800 feet up in the sky, the Dreamy 6,000 square foot space offers panoramic views from the East River to the HudsonOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- CBS News
The vice president's residence at the Naval Observatory, where Harris will live, is undergoing repairs.
- National Review
Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, refuted a claim by the Biden administration that the outgoing Trump administration left no plan for distributing coronavirus vaccines. President Biden said at a White House press conference on Thursday that the Trump administration’s distribution of coronavirus vaccines has been a “dismal failure,” and set a goal to vaccinate 100 million Americans by the end of April. Meanwhile, sources in the Biden administration claimed that the previous administration left no vaccine distribution plan. “There is nothing for us to rework. We are going to have to build everything from scratch,” one source told CNN on Thursday. However, Dr. Fauci directly refuted this claim after Biden left the press conference. “We certainly are not starting from scratch,” Dr. Fauci told reporters. Regarding the Trump administration’s vaccination effort, Dr. Fauci said, “You can’t say it was absolutely not usable at all.” The seven-day rolling average of coronavirus vaccines administered to Americans is 914,000, according to the Bloomberg vaccine tracker, with 1.6 million doses administered on Wednesday alone. Biden’s plan calls for a million Americans to be vaccinated each day. When asked by a reporter whether the goal to vaccinate one million people per day is not ambitious enough, Biden said that the goal was a “good start.” “When I announced it you all said it wasn’t possible. Come on, give me a break, man,” Biden said.
- The Telegraph
Donald Trump spent his first hours as a private citizen scrambling to find lawyers to represent him in his upcoming impeachment trial, as he settled into his new home at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. One of Mr Trump’s first calls after leaving office was to Lindsey Graham, South Carolina senator and staunch ally, telling him he was now “looking for some lawyers” for the imminent Senate hearing. "[Trump] said, 'I really don't know the lay of the land here,' and he's looking for some lawyers," Mr Graham told Punchbowl News. "I'm trying to help him there, and he's just trying to put together a team." Mr Trump will not be drawing on his usual litigators: Rudy Giuliani, his longtime personal lawyer, is likely to step aside as he could be called as a witness, while attorneys who represented him at the first impeachment hearing have declined.
- Associated Press
A prominent Chicago family law attorney who was charged last summer with sexually assaulting a colleague has been charged with doing the same thing to two other women, including a client who says he told her that if he didn't have sex with him, she'd lose custody of her children. Prosecutors outlined the new charges against David Pasulka, 61, during a court hearing on Wednesday that ended with Judge Susana Ortiz setting his new bail amount at $100,000 on charges of sexual assault, aggravated sex assault and criminal sexual abuse. Pasulka, who was already out on bond in the initial case, was released from custody after posting the new amount, according to the Cook County Jail.
Capt. Scott Moss, who led the NOSC in Knoxville, was relieved of command by Capt. Dale Maxey.
- Yahoo News Video
Already facing allegations of stealing more than $600,000 in federal funds from a health care school she directed, a Tennessee state senator has been charged in a new fraud case, the U.S. attorney’s office in Memphis said Tuesday.
- The Week
A Delaware News Journal reporter captured a powerful, private moment on Wednesday as Joe Biden gave his first address as president of the United States. "Poignant moment," the reporter, Patricia Talorico, captioned the photo, which swiftly went viral. "While Joe Biden gave his inauguration speech, a lone man in a uniform knelt at the Delaware grave of his son Beau."> Poignant moment: While Joe Biden gave his inauguration speech, a lone man in a uniform knelt at the Delaware grave of his son Beau. pic.twitter.com/QkCuJRHzTz> > — Patricia Talorico (@PattyTalorico) January 20, 2021As Talorico explained in a subsequent article, "Delaware is a tiny state." She described how back in 2002, when she was struggling with an assignment from her editor, Beau Biden approached her to ask if she was okay while she sat alone on a bench at an elementary school in Wilmington. "He wasn't in office at the time," she wrote. "He was just being kind. It wasn't a grand gesture, just a small one, but somehow, it made a difference that day. I never forgot that act of kindness."On Wednesday, Beau — who died of a brain tumor in 2015 at the age of 46 — was on Talorico's mind, and she decided to drive by his grave to say "a short prayer" when she saw "a lone man in a blue uniform kneeling at Beau's grave. No one else was around … In my car, I had the radio tuned to CNN. Joe Biden was being sworn in as president and was about to begin his address."As Talorico writes, "The journalist in me wanted to go back and find out [the man's] identity and ask why he was there. The person who once received a kind gesture from Beau when I needed it most knew it was a time to be respectful, and I drove away." Read her full story at Delaware News Journal.More stories from theweek.com Biden removes Trump's Diet Coke button from the Oval Office Austria introduces measures to fight rising anti-Semitism 7 brutally funny cartoons about Trump's White House exit
Returned Honduran migrants are directing anger against their president this week after their U.S.-bound caravan was blocked by the region's security forces, accusing him of making their county unlivable while thwarting their escape to a better life. Honduras is reeling from two back-to-back hurricanes that devastated Central America in November, as well as an historic economic contraction on the back of coronavirus pandemic. President Juan Orlando Hernandez has also been under fire from U.S. prosecutors that have accused him of having ties to drug cartels, an allegation he has strongly denied.
- The Week
It's the end of a very caffeinated era.When former President Donald Trump occupied the Oval Office, he quite literally had a button on his desk that ordered a Diet Coke to the room whenever it was pressed. But as a glimpse at President Biden's desk just hours after his inauguration shows, the soda-summoning button is gone.> President Biden has removed the Diet Coke button. When @ShippersUnbound and I interviewed Donald Trump in 2019, we became fascinated by what the little red button did. Eventually Trump pressed it, and a butler swiftly brought in a Diet Coke on a silver platter. It's gone now. pic.twitter.com/rFzhPaHYjk> > — Tom Newton Dunn (@tnewtondunn) January 21, 2021While it may have sounded just too weird to be true, Trump's Diet Coke obsession and his button to match were absolutely real. No word on if Biden will install some kind of ice cream-ordering alternative.More stories from theweek.com Austria introduces measures to fight rising anti-Semitism 7 brutally funny cartoons about Trump's White House exit McConnell is already moving to strangle the Biden presidency
- The Independent
Michael Flynn’s brother reveals he was involved in Capitol riot response after Army denied it, report says
Apparent U-turn by Pentagon officials could pose questions about police response
Britain's environment minister said on Friday no decision had been taken on plans to give everyone who tested positive for COVID-19 a payment after newspapers reported people could be given 500 pounds ($683.75) to incentivise them to take tests. Newspapers said the government was considering the plan in England because surveys suggested that some people with symptoms were not taking tests because lower paid workers did not want to self-isolate if they were positive and so be unable to work. Currently, only some people receiving welfare benefits receive a 500 pound payment if they are told to self-isolate, but according to an official policy paper seen by the Guardian newspaper and others, ministers were looking at making this a universal payment to all who tested positive.
A Starbucks branch in Dublin, Ireland compensated a female customer of Thai descent €12,000 ($14,600) after one of its employees drew a smiley face with "slanty" eyes on her cup. Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) adjudication officer Kevin Baneham forced Atercin Liffey Unlimited trading as Starbucks Tallaght to pay Suchavadee Foley for the Jan. 12 incident, according to The Irish Times. Baneham, while recounting Foley’s story, said the woman was interrupted by a female employee from Brazil while trying to spell out her name in her order.
- NBC News
A GoPro camera was found inside a bathroom and changing area at a Premier Athletics facility, which trains young cheerleaders, gymnasts and dancers in Franklin.
- National Review
During her first press conference on January 20, President Joe Biden’s White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, was asked by an EWTN reporter about Biden’s intentions on killing two pro-life policies: the Hyde amendment (a measure that prohibits direct federal funding of elective abortions under Medicaid) and the Mexico City Policy (an executive order that denies funding to overseas organizations that perform or promote abortion). Psaki said she’d have more to say in the coming days on the Mexico City Policy — a measure backed by every Republican president since Reagan and rescinded by every new Democratic president shortly following his inauguration. And on Thursday, Anthony Fauci announced that Biden will indeed be scrapping the policy. Psaki dodged on the Hyde amendment. “I will just take the opportunity to remind all of you that he is a devout Catholic, and somebody who attends church regularly. He started his day attending church with his family this morning,” she said. “But I don’t have anything more for you on that.” The Hyde amendment has been the most important pro-life public policy in America for over four decades. It has survived for 45 consecutive years — regardless of partisan control of the White House and Congress — and by one estimate, it has saved 60,000 human lives from abortion each year it has been in place. Does Psaki’s dodge on the Hyde amendment mean anything at all? It could just be that Biden didn’t want to do anything on his first day to alienate a majority of the country that opposes taxpayer funding of abortion. It’s impossible to square the calls to unity and religious themes of his inauguration with repealing the Hyde amendment — a measure that Biden himself portrayed as a policy that protects fundamental conscience rights when he supported it from 1976 to 2019. “I will continue to abide by the same principle that has guided me throughout my 21 years in the Senate: those of us who are opposed to abortion should not be compelled to pay for them,” Biden wrote to a constituent in 1994. “As you may know, I have consistently — on no fewer than 50 occasions — voted against federal funding of abortions.” Biden reiterated his support for the “middle-of-the-road” policy in 2008, but under pressure from progressive activists during the most recent Democratic presidential primary, he abandoned his support for the Hyde amendment in June 2019. This made it clear that Biden would sign a bill killing the Hyde amendment if it made it to his desk, but it remains unclear whether Congress has the votes and the will to pass such a bill. Representative Rosa DeLauro, chair of the powerful House appropriations committee, is pushing full steam ahead to kill the Hyde amendment, and Speaker Pelosi has said she’s supportive of the effort. But former Democratic congressman Dan Lipinski — who lost a primary in 2020 because of his pro-life stance — said in an interview with National Review in December that he doesn’t think Pelosi will even put a bill killing the Hyde amendment on the floor. In Lipinski’s view, Pelosi might not have the votes and it could cost Democrats the majority in 2022. Polling shows that taxpayer funding of abortion is deeply unpopular. Still, that’s just one sincere pro-life Democrat’s (informed) opinion, and it’s entirely possible the House will pass a bill killing the Hyde amendment. If the House passes a bill ending the Hyde amendment, a lot will depend on West Virginia Democratic senator Joe Manchin. The Hyde amendment is attached to spending bills that are subject to a 60-vote threshold, and Manchin has sworn up and down that he will not get rid of the filibuster. And Manchin told National Review in December that he is “strongly opposed” to getting rid of the Hyde amendment. “As a life-long Catholic, I have always been pro-life and believe that the Hyde amendment ensures federal funds are not used to perform abortions anywhere in the country,” Manchin said in a written statement. “Repealing the Hyde amendment would be foolish and I’m strongly opposed to this push from some Members of Congress. If this legislation is brought before the Senate I will vote against repealing the Hyde amendment.” Still, even if Manchin keeps his word on the filibuster, it remains possible Democrats could try to expand taxpayer funding of abortion when they pass a budget-reconciliation bill, which only needs a simple majority but is subject to complex rules. In budget reconciliation, Democrats will likely attempt to pass a government-run health-insurance program (the “public option”), and Biden explicitly cited his support for a public option as a rationale for abandoning his support for the Hyde amendment. Manchin hasn’t commented on whether he could support such a public option. Of course, there’s no reason that a public option must fund elective abortion. In November 2009, the House passed a health-care bill that applied the Hyde amendment to the public option, but neither provision made it into law. As president, Biden could insist on supporting such a public option if that’s what he wanted. As senator, Joe Manchin could do the same. They may not be able to dodge the issue for long, and they won’t be able to hide behind their faith when it comes time to choose. And if they pass a bill that kills or weakens the America’s most important pro-life policy for the last 45 years, they won’t be able to plausibly claim that they are restoring American unity.
- The Week
And he's off -- to the crooning of Frank Sinatra and the escaped laughter of CNN anchors.President Trump departed with his family from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on Wednesday, four years to the day after he took his oath of office. He got out of Dodge a few hours before President-elect Joe Biden's swearing-in ceremony and is headed to Florida to begin his post-White House life.As Trump's plane took off, Frank Sinatra's "My Way" blared, which was certainly on the nose. The whole scene amused CNN's coverage crew, who couldn't hold back a few chuckles. It's been a long four years, after all. > Just an incredible segue. pic.twitter.com/EJgQQv3qzi> > -- Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) January 20, 2021More stories from theweek.com Cheap, 'generic' drug reduces COVID-19 death risk by 75 percent, trials suggest Michael Flynn's brother was in a key Pentagon meeting during Jan. 6 Capitol siege, despite earlier denials Bernie Sanders steals the inauguration with his grumpy chic outfit
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A California sheriff’s deputy was killed and another deputy was wounded in a shoot-out with a suspect who gunned down a K-9 before he was fatally shot, authorities said.