Two San Francisco-area residents accused of painting over a "Black Lives Matter" mural are facing hate crime charges. Nicole Anderson, 42, and David Nelson, 53, both of Martinez, were charged Tuesday with three misdemeanor counts, including a hate crime violation, the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement. In the video, which had previously been shared on social media and by the Martinez Police Department, a man can be heard saying, "the narrative of police brutality, the narrative of oppression, the narrative of racism, it's a lie."
- Yahoo News
NBA player turned conspiracy theorist stages one-man pro-Trump protest amid inaugural security prepared for thousands
The extra security measures appeared to have kept many protesters away from the Capitol and inaugural activities, but not one man.
- Yahoo News
Republicans built up QAnon backer Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, but now are they afraid of what they created?
On the eve of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, freshman Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the combative Georgia Republican known for her association with QAnon, was back on Twitter after a 12-hour suspension, and back to making waves.
- 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.
The United Nations Office for Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs said on Wednesday it has halted programs in Venezuela that provide cash transfers to the poor via local nonprofit organizations. The U.N. office known as OCHA is asking the government of President Nicolas Maduro to establish clear rules regarding cash transfers. "We're working with pertinent authorities so that the (cash transfer programs) are in line with the country's financial/banking regulatory framework with the aim of reactivating them, guaranteeing the safety of humanitarian workers and continuing to support ... vulnerable people," OCHA said in an email.
- Yahoo News
Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States in Washington, D.C., Wednesday. In his inaugural address, Biden called for national unity and an end to the "uncivil war." He also signed 17 executive actions, rolling back measures enacted by President Trump.
- Associated Press
A Massachusetts-based political scientist and author is accused of secretly working for the government of Iran while lobbying U.S. officials on issues like nuclear policy, federal authorities said Tuesday. Kaveh Lotfolah Afrasiabi was arrested by FBI agents at his home in Watertown, Massachusetts, on Monday, officials said. Afrasiabi appeared before a Boston federal court judge via videoconference during a brief hearing and a detention hearing was scheduled for Friday.
- 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
Beijing is touting a state programme that gives Taiwanese in China priority for COVID-19 vaccines, prompting concern within Taiwan's government which sees it as the latest Chinese tool to win over the island's population. China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory, is making the free-of-charge offer at a time when the democratic island has yet to begin vaccinations of its own, with Chinese government departments and state media quoting Taiwanese in China in support of the programme. "This shows the mainland's warmth and affection towards us," a Taiwanese teacher surnamed Wang was quoted as saying in a post this month by China's United Front Work Department, which is in charge of co-opting overseas Chinese and non-communists.
- LA Times
Southern Californians arrested in the assault on U.S. Capitol include a doctor, salon owner, and actor/model.
- Associated Press
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has spent much of his long career casting Israel's Arab minority as a potential fifth column led by terrorist sympathizers, is now openly courting their support as he seeks reelection in the country's fourth vote in less than two years. The Joint List, an alliance of Arab parties that secured a record 15 seats in the 120-member Knesset last March, is riven by a dispute over whether it should work with Netanyahu's right-wing Likud at a time when less objectionable center-left parties are in disarray.
A British prosecutor hired by the Hong Kong government to lead a case against democracy activists has pulled out after coming under pressure in Britain including 'disgraceful' comments by its foreign minister, city authorities said on Wednesday. David Perry, a Queen's Counsel, was due to lead the case against tabloid media magnate Jimmy Lai and several others, including veteran democracy activists Martin Lee and Margaret Ng. But Hong Kong's Department of Justice noted "growing pressure and criticism" of Perry in Britain for taking the case, adding in a statement that he had "concerns about such pressures and the exemption of quarantine" and "indicated that the trial should proceed without him".
- 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
- Yahoo News
CIA Director Gina Haspel is marking the end of a tenure that was often publicly quiet, but often included behind-the-scenes resistance to some of President Trump’s controversial moves.
- Associated Press
With chants of “Long live Kamala Harris,” fireworks and prayers, residents of a tiny Indian village celebrated her inauguration as U.S. vice president. People flocked to the village and its Hindu temple in southern India, to watch Harris, who has ancestral roots in the village, take her oath of office on Wednesday in Washington. The villagers chanted “Long live Kamala Harris” while holding portraits of her and blasted off fireworks the moment she took the oath.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson resisted calls for an inquiry into his government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic on Wednesday as the country's death toll neared 100,000 and his chief scientist said hospitals were looking like war zones. There have been calls for a public inquiry from some doctors and bereaved families into the management of the crisis. As hospital admissions soared, the government's chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance, said there was enormous pressure on the National Health Service with doctors and nurses battling to give people sufficient care.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attempted to execute a “Hail Mary” decision to legalize dozens of illegal settler outposts deep in the West Bank one day before Biden’s inauguration. He failed.Why it matters: The mass legalization of outposts would have been a highly provocative step, broadening Israeli control over land in the West Bank and further reducing the chances of a future peace deal with the Palestinians.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.Background: Trump dramatically changed U.S. policy on Israeli settlements in the West Bank, offering them new legitimacy and giving Israel a free hand with regards to settlement activity. * The Biden administration is expected to return to the traditional U.S. policy of treating settlements as illegitimate and objecting to further construction.Driving the news: In recent weeks, Netanyahu tried to put several settlement plans in motion before Biden assumes office, knowing it will be more difficult or even impossible later. * Earlier this week, Netanyahu pressed Minister of Defense Benny Gantz to agree to pass a Cabinet-level decision to legalize five outposts and lay the groundwork to legalize 40 more. * The outposts in question are deep in the West Bank. Some are located in isolated areas in an attempt to prevent Palestinian territorial contiguity. * The settler lobby put pressure on Netanyahu in recent weeks to legalize the outposts and also lobbied his Cabinet ministers.Netanyahu resisted the pressure for a time, but he reversed course as part of his efforts to ensure the support of the settler lobby ahead of the March elections. * Israel's Ministry of Justice opposed the move because Netanyahu's caretaker government is not allowed to make dramatic decisions ahead of the elections. * The Foreign Ministry was also opposed, arguing the step would be seen as a provocative and defiant move 24 hours before Biden’s inauguration and create tensions with the new U.S. administration. * Until an hour before the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Netanyahu was still pressing Gantz to agree. Gantz refused and prevented what he called an "irresponsible" move.Worth noting: Last week, the Israeli government approved plans for 800 new housing units in West Bank settlements — half of them in isolated settlements deep in the West Bank. * On Tuesday evening, Israel's land authority began marketing land for the building of 2,600 new housing units in settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.What to watch: In the coming days, the Biden administration will have to publicly articulate its new policy on Israeli settlements. That could renew tensions with the Israeli government.Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.
- Yahoo News Video
Alejandro Mayorkas, President-elect Joe Biden’s pick to head the Department of Homeland Security, said during his Senate confirmation hearing that he would execute Biden’s plan to stop building the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Mayorkas also said that CBP and ICE play “critical roles” in the federal government and that he wouldn’t abolish them.
- Yahoo News 360
Recent history shows the opportunity to pass major bills can disappear quickly. What should Democrats’ top priority be?
- Associated Press
India began supplying coronavirus vaccines to its neighboring countries on Wednesday, as the world’s largest vaccine making nation strikes a balance between maintaining enough doses to inoculate its own people and helping developing countries without the capacity to produce their own shots. India's Foreign Ministry said the country would send 150,000 shots of the AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine, manufactured locally by Serum Institute of India, to Bhutan and 100,000 shots to the Maldives on Wednesday. India's ambassador to Nepal, Vinay Mohan Kwatra, said Wednesday that New Delhi would supply Nepal with 1 million doses free of charge, with the first to arrive as early as Thursday.
An ultra royalist group in Thailand launched a new political party on Wednesday to defend King Maha Vajiralongkorn, amid unprecedented calls for reform of the monarchy by a youth-led protest movement. Veteran politician Warong Dechgitvigrom will lead the new party, which he said will fight political groups whose true intention was to topple the monarchy. "Before we defend ... today we declare war, we will fight to protect the monarchy," Warong told a news conference.