Britain's highest court on Friday rejected a bid by a woman who was stripped of her U.K. citizenship for joining the Islamic State group to return to challenge the decision.'There is no perfect solution' »
President Biden and Senate Democrats drew fire from progressives after opting to not fight a ruling that would strip a $15 minimum wage increase from the Senate's COVID-19 relief legislation. To pass the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan with just 50 votes, Democrats in the Senate are using a process called budget reconciliation, which requires the approval of the Senate parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough. On Wednesday, MacDonough ruled that the provision increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 by 2025 violated the Senate's “Byrd rule,” which prohibits “extraneous” provisions from being included in budget legislation passed through reconciliation.
Sri Lanka has reversed a controversial mandatory order to cremate the bodies of all those who died of Covid-19. Critics had said the order was intended to target minorities and did not respect religions. The cremation of bodies is forbidden in Islam.
The state of emergency Japan set up to curb the spread of the coronavirus will be lifted in six urban areas this weekend and remain in the Tokyo area for another week, a government minister said Friday. Partially lifting the emergency, and just a week early, underlines Japan's eagerness to keep business restrictions to a minimum to keep the economy going. Japan has never had a mandatory lockdown, but has managed to keep infections relatively low, with deaths related to COVID-19 at about 7,700 people.
U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday said the United States would stand with Ukraine and hold Russia accountable for its aggression against Crimea, according to a statement released by the White House on the anniversary of Moscow's 2014 annexation of the peninsula. "The United States does not and will never recognize Russia's purported annexation of the peninsula, and we will stand with Ukraine against Russia's aggressive acts. We will continue to work to hold Russia accountable for its abuses and aggression in Ukraine," Biden said.
It is looking ever more probable that Donald Trump will run for the White House again in 2024. All eyes are on his speech this Sunday at CPAC, the annual conservative conference, which like Mr Trump has relocated from Washington to Florida. An adviser told The Telegraph that Mr Trump has spent the last weeks taking a break, and practising his golf swing, but is keen to re-engage in the fight.
Two U.S. Navy warships operating in the Mideast have been struck by coronavirus outbreaks, authorities said Friday, with both returning to port in Bahrain. A dozen troops aboard the USS San Diego, an amphibious transport dock, tested positive for COVID-19, said Cmdr. Rebecca Rebarich, a spokeswoman for the Bahrain-based 5th Fleet. “All positive cases have been isolated on board, and the (ships) remains in a restricted COVID bubble,” Rebarich told The Associated Press.
President Joe Biden headed for Texas on Friday as the state works to recover from a severe winter storm that caused serious damage to homes and businesses, left millions without power or clean water for days, and killed at least two dozen. Biden and his wife, first lady Jill Biden, were traveling to Houston where he will meet with Republican Governor Greg Abbott, Senator John Cornyn and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner to discuss the recovery from last week's storm. Biden will bring empathy and pledges of financial help from Washington, but no lectures about the dangers of underregulation or calls for the federal government to monitor the state's power grid.
Addressing the annual CPAC conference of American conservatives, Texas Senator Ted Cruz mocked a former Republican speaker for reportedly telling him to “go f*** himself” during an audiobook recording. During a high-energy roving-microphone speech in which he repeatedly referenced the Star Wars movies and implored Americans to “have fun” rather than fall prey to “cancel culture”, Mr Cruz complained that many in the right-wing establishment “act like they've got a stick inserted somewhere it doesn't belong. He then referred to Mr Boehner's reported comments.
Hungary may have to tighten lockdown curbs as coronavirus infections are expected to rise "drastically" in the next two weeks, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Friday, as the daily tally of new infections jumped to 4,668, the highest this year. Orban also said all the 2.5 million to 2.6 million Hungarians who have registered for COVID-19 vaccinations so far would receive at least one dose by Easter, in early April. Orban, speaking on state radio, said he hoped to get vaccinated with a shot developed by China's Sinopharm early next week.
Stacey Abrams, whose voting rights work helped make Georgia into a swing state, exhorted Congress on Thursday to reject “outright lies" that have historically restricted access to the ballot as Democrats began their push for a sweeping overhaul of election and ethics laws. “A lie cloaked in the seductive appeal of election integrity has weakened access to democracy for millions,” Abrams, a Democrat who narrowly lost Georgia's 2018 gubernatorial race, said during a committee hearing for the bill, which was introduced as H.R. 1 to signal its importance to the party's agenda. Democrats feel a sense of urgency to enact the legislation ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, when their narrow majorities in the House and Senate will be at risk.
During Friday's pre-taped White House virtual Black History Month event, there will also be an emphasis on vaccinations targeting Black Americans, a community that has been skeptical of the vaccine due to historic medical research studies that have used and abused Black people. The two most cited studies are the Tuskegee syphilis study, also known as the Tuskegee Experiment, and the story of Henrietta Lacks whose cancer cells were used for research at Johns Hopkins Hospital without her or her family's consent. There is a maximum effort by the Biden administration for vaccinations and mask-wearing to decrease the number of people contracting and dying from COVID-19.
Philippine police said on Thursday they were looking into a government review of thousands of killings in the country's "war on drugs", after the justice minister made an unprecedented admission to the United Nations of widespread police failures. Human Rights Watch described Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra's video statement on Wednesday as an "astounding disclosure". Guevarra said police had in many cases failed to examine weapons and crime scenes after officers had shot dead suspected drug dealers.
Mohammad Mosaed is an Iranian reporter who has twice been arrested by the government. The Committee to Protect Journalists awarded him its 2020 International Press Freedom Award. Mohammad Mosaed, an Iranian freelance journalist who has twice been arrested by the government for his investigative reporting and criticism of Iranian officials, was detained by Turkish border officials earlier this year after fleeing Iran following a prison summons.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday that he would "absolutely" support former President Donald Trump again if he secured the Republican nomination in 2024.
Josh Venable, a longtime Michigan GOP operative and chief of staff to former U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, can trace the arc of the state's Republican Party clearly. “This was the state where to be Republican was defined by Gerald Ford and George Romney,” Venable said, referring to the moderate former president and former governor. Now, he said, it's defined by Mike Shirkey, the state Senate majority leader who was overheard calling the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot a “hoax"; Meshawn Maddock, the new co-chair of the state party who backed former President Donald Trump's false claims of voter fraud; and the Proud Boys.
China is expected to reveal a robust increase in defence spending at the March 5 annual opening of parliament, as its economy rebounds from the COVID-19 pandemic and military tensions rise, Chinese and Western security experts said. With the coronavirus hammering its economy, China last year announced a 6.6 per cent boost in defence spending to $178 billion, the lowest rate of increase in three decades. The new administration of President Joe Biden has moved quickly to remind Beijing that the United States intends to compete with China's growing influence and military strength in the Asia-Pacific.
The African Union is backing calls for drugmakers to waive some intellectual property rights on COVID-19 medicines and vaccines to speed up their rollout to poor countries, the head of its disease control body said on Thursday. South Africa and India, which both manufacture drugs and vaccines, made the proposal at the World Trade Organization last year, saying intellectual property (IP) rules were hindering the urgent scale-up of vaccine production and provision of medical products to some patients. They have faced opposition from some developed nations, but the backing of the African Union may give renewed impetus for the push to relax IP rules.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told sailors on the USS Nimitz Thursday that he hopes to avoid long ship deployments like the more than 10 months they just spent at sea. But as he made his first aircraft carrier visit as Pentagon chief, he acknowledged the demand for American warships around the globe as he wrestles with security threats from China in the Pacific and Iran in the Middle East. Standing in the ship's hangar bay, Austin said he will make a decision soon on whether to send a carrier back to the Middle East, where the Nimitz had been.
President Joe Biden heads to Texas on Friday to tour some of the areas hit hardest by the winter storm last week. While he's there, he won't be meeting with Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. Cruz has a speaking engagement that day at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida.
Myanmar's U.N. ambassador strongly opposed the military coup in his country and appealed for “the strongest possible action from the international community” to restore democracy in a dramatic speech to the U.N. General Assembly Friday that drew loud applause from diplomats from the world body's 193 nations. Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun urged all countries to issue public statements strongly condemning the military coup and refuse to recognize the military regime and ask its leaders to respect the free and fair elections in November won by Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party. Tun's surprise statement not only drew applause but commendations from speaker after speaker at the assembly meeting including ambassadors representing the European Union, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the new U.S. ambassador, Linda Thomas Greenfield, who joined others in calling it “courageous.”
There were no immediate reports of injuries. The Southeast Asian nation has been in crisis since the army seized power on Feb. 1 and detained civilian government leader Aung San Suu Kyi and much of her party leadership after the military complained of fraud in a November election. There have been daily protests and strikes by democracy supporters for about three weeks, often drawing hundreds of thousands of people across the diverse country.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who excoriated former President Donald Trump over the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot less than two weeks ago, said on Thursday that he would "absolutely" vote for Trump if he became the 2024 Republican presidential nominee. McConnell, who Trump blasted last week as "a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack," said he expects to see an open contest for the Republican White House nomination in 2024 but showed no hesitation in backing Trump when asked whether he would vote for him as nominee. Trump is expected to talk about the possibility of a 2024 run when he speaks to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, on Sunday, nearly two months after his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to overturn his defeat in November's election by Democrat Joe Biden.
A Polish judge fiercely critical of the government's judicial reforms is immune from prosecution and can work, an appeal court said, contradicting a Supreme Court disciplinary chamber ruling in a sign of divisions in the legal system. The removal of judge Igor Tuleya's immunity from prosecution in November by the disciplinary chamber highlighted a rift over the rule of law between the Polish government and critics including the European Union and many judges, who say the chamber is not independent and do not accept its authority.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki is facing criticism for an old tweet about Syria. Psaki in 2017 questioned the legality of airstrikes launched by the Trump administration. On Thursday the Biden administration launched attacks on Iran-backed militia groups in Syria.
“How about we skip ‘he won’t win’ cycle and not do 2016 all over again. Trump can absolutely win another presidential election.”
“With independents deserting him, there is simply no path for Trump to get back into the White House — except as a tourist.”
“They might as well cancel the 2024 primaries...because there is no way he can lose.”
“The next Republican presidential primary will be heavily shaped by Trump — whether or not he decides to run again.”
“Donald Trump will not be running for president again. He will, however, continue to tease the possibility of a 2024 run.”