The coronavirus lockdown has been a unique social experience that has had significant effects on our social relationships. Some have been strengthened while others have come under severe strain. Many people have found themselves confined for prolonged periods of time with other people and have come into conflict with each other.
- Yahoo News
Fresh off his inauguration Wednesday, President Biden began his term with executive orders on measures ranging from curbing the coronavirus pandemic to addressing racial inequality, many of which roll back measures enacted by former President Donald Trump’s administration.
- 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.
Residents of Kamala Harris' ancestral village are celebrating with firecrackers and food as she is sworn into office as vice president of the United States. The story: According to the Associated Press, Thulasendrapuram, a village in Tamil Nadu, India, beamed with a festive atmosphere during Harris’ inauguration as U.S. vice president on Wednesday. The villagers watched the inauguration live, holding Harris’ portraits while setting off firecrackers.
- 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
- 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
Biden’s homeland security nominee pledges to tackle domestic extremism and prevent another attack on the Capitol
Less than two weeks after a violent mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, Alejandro Mayorkas, President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee for Homeland Security Secretary, assured senators that, if confirmed, he will “tackle the threat of domestic extremism” and prevent future attacks.
- National Review
Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) on Wednesday warned fellow Republicans that if they try to “erase Donald Trump from the party, you’re going to get erased.” “I hope people in our party understand the party itself,” he told Fox News hours after President Joe Biden was sworn-in. “Most Republicans like his policies. A lot of Republicans like his style,” Graham said. “A lot of people are disappointed with him personally at times but appreciate the outcomes he’s achieved for our country.” Asked if he thinks Trump will try to start another political party — according to the Wall Street Journal, the former president is toying with the idea of forming a “Patriot Party” — Graham said he hoped Trump does not, adding that he would like to see him “stay the leader of the Republican Party.” He defended Trump’s presidency as “a good four years for judges, for rebuilding the military, for bringing order to the border, for historic peace agreements in the Mideast.” He also commended the former president’s appointment of three Supreme Court justices. “I hope President Trump understands that his legacy and his best future lies with the Republican Party,” he said. He added that removing Trump from the party “would be a disaster … The one way Democrats can survive is for the Republican Party to crack up. The best way for the Republican Party to crack up is try to move forward without Donald Trump.” A number of Republicans have disavowed Trump in recent weeks after a mob of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6, leaving five people dead. A handful of House Republicans joined Democrats in voting to impeach the president for “incitement of insurrection.”
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".
- 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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Germans on Thursday to stop complaining about the slow roll-out of a vaccine against COVID-19 and defended a decision to extend a lockdown as necessary to stem a more aggressive variant of the coronavirus. Speaking at a news conference, Merkel said it would be a mistake to ease curbs now given the mutation first identified in England had been found in Germany, Europe's most populous country and largest economy. "Our efforts face a threat and this threat is clearer now than at the start of the year and this is the mutation of the virus," said Merkel, adding that the new variant was not yet dominant in Germany.
- 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
Indonesia's leader on Wednesday assured relatives of 62 people killed in a Sriwijaya Air plane crash that they will be compensated. President Joko Widodo visited the command center at Jakarta’s international container terminal where tons of plane debris hauled by divers from seafloor were collected for an investigation into what caused the Boeing 737-500 to nosedive into the Java Sea shortly after takeoff from Jakarta on Jan. 9.
- The Telegraph
Travellers may have to pay for two weeks in hotel quarantine Lockdown: Is there a case for an early release from restrictions? Oxford scientists preparing new jab to combat emerging strains Surge of attacks on supermarket staff Subscribe to The Telegraph for a month-long free trial Priti Patel has refused to rule out tougher border controls in order to protect the roll-out of the coronavirus vaccine. Speaking at a Downing Street press conference, Ms Patel said that the current measures are in place to safeguard the UK from the spread of new variants. "When it comes to borders and travel, it's right that the Government does everything we can right now to protect the roll-out of this vaccine," she said. "The public needs to show proof of a negative test, we have quarantine, we've taken action at the border when new strains have appeared, such as the South African strain and the Denmark virus. It's right that we take every single precautionary measure." Ms Patel did not comment on reports that 'quarantine hotels' could soon be introduced where new arrivals would have to pay to self-isolate. She also confirmed that there will be a new £800 fine for those who attend house parties or large gatherings. "We will not stand by while a small minority of people put others at risk," she said. Follow the latest updates below.