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The House lawmaker who is chairing a hearing on the Jan. 6 riot says the U.S. Capitol Police’s acting chief failed to understand the threat facing lawmakers that day. (Feb. 25)
- The Week
U.S. Capitol Police will maintain "enhanced and robust" security, as militia groups tied to the deadly Jan. 6 riot reportedly discussed a desire to "blow up the Capitol." Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman revealed these reported threats during a congressional hearing Thursday about the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol building, in which she was asked about heightened security in the nation's capitol, including fencing and National Guard presence, per Politico. "We know that members of the militia groups that were present on Jan. 6 have stated their desires that they want to blow up the Capitol and kill as many members as possible with a direct nexus to the State of the Union," Pittman said. Based on this, Pittman told lawmakers officials believe it's "prudent that Capitol Police maintain its enhanced and robust security posture" until "vulnerabilities" are addressed. She said, however, that "we have no intention of keeping the National Guard soldiers or that fencing any longer" than needed. Pittman also noted that the "insurrectionists that attacked the Capitol" on Jan. 6, when Congress was meeting to certify the election results, hoped to "send a symbolic message to the nation as to who was in charge of that legislative process." Politico reports that "while authorities are aware of future attacks being discussed by the militia groups that attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, it's unclear how developed or serious the intelligence around those plans may be." No date for President Biden's first address to a joint session of Congress has been set. Pittman previously apologized in the wake of the Jan. 6 riot for "our failings," and on Thursday, she told lawmakers that officials knew there was a "likelihood for violence by extremists," though she also said that "no credible threat indicated that tens of thousands would attack the U.S. Capitol." More stories from theweek.comThe MyPillow guy might be Trump's ultimate chumpThe GOP's apathy for governing is being exposed5 cartoons about Andrew Cuomo's nursing home scandal
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- The Independent
The woman was fired from her job for her alleged role in riots but says she does not regret it
The militaries of India and Pakistan said in a rare joint statement on Thursday that they had agreed to observe a ceasefire along the disputed border in Kashmir, having exchanged fire hundreds of times in recent months. The nuclear-armed neighbours signed a ceasefire agreement along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Kashmir region in 2003, but the truce has frayed in recent years, and there have been mounting casualties among villagers living close to the de facto border. "Both sides agreed for strict observance of all agreements, understandings and cease firing along the Line of Control and all other sectors with effect from midnight 24/25 Feb 2021," the joint statement said.
- Business Insider
An ex-girlfriend tipped off the FBI about an alleged US Capitol rioter after he called her a 'moron'
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- The Daily Beast
Erin Schaff/ReutersThe acting chief of the U.S. Capitol Police just came with the receipts.Testifying before a House Appropriations subcommittee about the catastrophic breakdown that allowed thousands of MAGA rioters to breach the Capitol, Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman revealed that her predecessor called the House sergeant-at-arms, Paul Irving, at 12:58 p.m. to request the National Guard as rioters breaching the building and forced lawmakers into hiding.Former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, who resigned after the riot, called Irving again seven minutes later, according to phone records pulled by Pittman—and then called him at least three more times until 1:45 p.m.“When there’s a breakdown you look for those commanders with boots on the ground to provide that instruction,” Pittman said. “That did not happen, primarily because those operational commanders at the time were so overwhelmed, they started to participate and assist the officers… versus providing that guidance and direction.”First Capitol Riot Hearing Only Raised More Questions About Jan. 6The receipts–which support the narrative that a series of unanswered calls, withheld information, and conflicting orders led to complete malfunction—directly contradicted Irving’s testimony.On Tuesday, Sund testified that he asked for National Guard backup just after 1 p.m. But Irving insisted that was wrong. He said he did not remember the conversation with Sund and claimed he didn’t get an official request until “shortly before 1:30 p.m.” Troops were not approved to help overwhelmed officers at the Capitol until 2:10 p.m.“Mr. Irving stated that he was concerned about the ‘optics’ of having the National Guard present and didn’t feel that the intelligence supported it,” Sund said Tuesday. Irving, who resigned in the wake of the riot, said that was “categorically false.”On Tuesday, Irving said that if Sund, Senate sergeant-at-arms Michael Stenger, or any other leaders concluded ahead of Jan. 6 that unarmed National Guardsmen were needed, he “would not have hesitated” to ensure the reinforcement was ready.Pittman’s testimony—and her insistence that Capitol Police did everything possible to contain the insurrection—was just the latest twist in a series of finger-pointing between the top law enforcers in charge of securing the Capitol. During hearings before lawmakers this week, officials have blamed one another for the widespread failures.One failure, Pittman conceded on Thursday, was that nobody in law enforcement knew the mob would be so violent.She told lawmakers that they were prepared for militia groups, white supremacists, and other extremists to be present, but the small organization was not prepared for thousands of “everyday” Americans “who took on a mob mentality.” (Acting D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee revealed on Tuesday that the FBI intel consisted merely of an email sent on Jan. 5.)Officials believe over 10,000 demonstrators were at the Capitol on Jan. 6 and that 800 breached the building. About 1,200 police officers responded, Pittman said.She also made the stunning admission that since Jan. 6, Capitol Police have maintained heightened security because they learned that militia groups have chatted about plans to “blow up the Capitol and kill as many members as possible” in connection with the State of the Union, which has no scheduled date yet. “We know that the insurrectionists that attacked the Capitol weren’t only interested in attacking members of Congress and officers. They wanted to send a symbolic message to the nation as [to] who was in charge of that legislative process,” Pittman said. On Tuesday, Irving insisted that Capitol Police were privy to intelligence provided by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security that “did not support” the likelihood of a coordinated assault at the Capitol.An NYPD Cop’s Road From Terror ‘Victim’ to Capitol Rioter“The department was not ignorant of intelligence indicating an attack of the size and scale we encountered on the sixth. There was no such intelligence,” Pittman said Thursday. “Although we knew the likelihood for violence by extremists, no credible threat indicated that tens of thousands would attack the U.S. Capitol. Nor did the intelligence received from the FBI or any other law enforcement partner indicate such a threat.”Pittman added that because officers at the Capitol were not prepared for a violent mob, lockdown procedure was not properly executed. She added that some officers were also not sure when to use lethal force, and that radio communications between law enforcers were not robust.Five individuals died during the violent riots. Four were pro-Trump protesters, including Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt, who was shot and killed by a police officer after attempting to break into the Speaker’s Lobby. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick died after allegedly clashing with rioters. In the days after the siege, at least two officers died by suicide.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.
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Qatar pledged $60 million on Thursday to help construct a natural gas pipeline running from Israel into the Gaza Strip, the Qatari government said, a project that aims to ease the energy crisis that long has afflicted the impoverished Palestinian enclave. Natural gas now flowing through a pipeline in Israel from the eastern Mediterranean will be transported via a new extension into Gaza, the Qatari Foreign Ministry announced on its website.
The first big real-world study of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to be independently reviewed shows the shot is highly effective at preventing COVID-19, in a potentially landmark moment for countries desperate to end lockdowns and reopen economies. Up until now, most data on the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines has come under controlled conditions in clinical trials, leaving an element of uncertainty over how results would translate into the real world with its unpredictable variables. The research in Israel - two months into one of the world's fastest rollouts, providing a rich source of data - showed two doses of the Pfizer shot cut symptomatic COVID-19 cases by 94% across all age groups, and severe illnesses by nearly as much.
- The Independent
Biden news - live: Trump Jr deposed over inaugural funds as White House defends migrant camp after AOC attack
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The militaries of India and Pakistan issued a rare joint statement Thursday (February 25), saying that they had agreed to observe a ceasefire along the disputed border in Kashmir.The nuclear-armed neighbors signed a ceasefire agreement along the Line of Control in the Kashmir region in 2003, but the truce has frayed in recent years, and there have been mounting casualties among villagers living close to the de facto border.The joint statement said: "Both sides agreed for strict observance of all agreements, understandings and cease firing along the Line of Control and all other sectors with effect from midnight 24/25 Feb 2021."The return to a truce was settled by the two armies director-generals of military operations.There has been a significant increase in ceasefire violations since 2014, leading to nearly 300 civilian fatalities, according to a source in Pakistan's military.Since the start of the year, India had counted 591 violations by Pakistan.Kashmir has long been a flashpoint between the neighbors, which claim the region in full but rule only parts.But tensions were renewed after New Delhi withdrew the autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir state in August 2019 and split it into two federally administered territories.Politicians in Indian Kashmir said they welcomed the commitment to return to a ceasefire, one of the few signs of cooperation in recent years between the neighbors who have fought three full-scale wars since gaining independence in 1947.
- Associated Press
India's coast guard has found a boat adrift in the Andaman Sea carrying scores of Rohingya refugees, including eight who had died, officials said Thursday. The boat left Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh on Feb. 11 with 90 people, including 23 children, on board and its engine failed on Feb. 15, Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava said. Two Indian coast guard ships were sent to help the refugees, and the Indian government is in discussions with Bangladesh to ensure their safe return, Srivastava said.
China has promised to dedicate its new "five-year plan" to tackling climate change, but concerns about economic growth and energy security are expected to temper the country's green ambitions. Vice premier Han Zheng said in October that the 2021-2025 plan, due to be delivered to parliament in March, would be "dedicated to addressing climate change" and "focus on the country's new vision" to bring emissions to a peak before 2030 and achieve "carbon neutrality" by 2060. But experts said Beijing is still likely to give regions leeway to focus on growth and build new coal-fired power stations to head off energy shortages.
Some on-screen love interest age gaps are surprising, and other times, actors are almost the same age as their on-screen children.
- The Week
Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) on Tuesday unveiled a plan to gradually raise the minimum wage to $10, rather than the $15 their Democratic colleagues are targeting. The reaction among conservatives was mixed. Brad Polumbo, writing in The Washington Examiner, called the plan an "abandonment" of fiscal conservatism, likening it to "something out of" Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) office. The plan, Polumbo continues, "ignores everything conservatives are supposed to understand about economics and the perils of big government," asserting that while both Romney and Cotton market themselves as "pro-family social conservatives," their plan "would hurt working families if implemented." At The National Review, however, John McCormack writes that research has shown the plan wouldn't cost any jobs at its median estimates, and high-end estimates point to around 100,000 losses. McCormack's colleague Robert VerBruggen thinks it will "resonate with the public" as a middle ground policy that comes attached to an immigration enforcement measure — in addition to the gradual wage increase, the Romney-Cotton plan would require businesses to use the "E-verify system" to ensure their employees are in the country legally and eligible to work. At Bloomberg, Michael Strain, the director of of economic policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, praised the Romney-Cotton plan for its patience, noting that it would delay the increase until after the coronavirus pandemic "is in the rear-view mirror," whereas the Democratic proposal backed by President Biden would start churning in June. But he doesn't believe it will prevent Democrats from continuing to lobby for further raises, and ultimately doesn't solve the fact that "Republicans would still be on the losing side of a popular issue." He is also skeptical of the immigration enforcement tradeoff. He described it as a "politically interesting pairing," but explained he'd "rather see a modest minimum wage increase paired with policies that would improve employment and skills." More stories from theweek.comIt's been 1 year since Trump infamously tweeted the 'coronavirus is very much under control' in the U.S.The MyPillow guy might be Trump's ultimate chumpBiden nominates postal board slate that could oust Louis DeJoy after DeJoy vows to stay put