The nation’s leading infectious diseases expert finally opened up on Monday about one of the most infamous claims about COVID-19 made by the former president.'Oh, my goodness gracious' »
The new Biden administration has yet not disclosed the secrets of Area 51 or explained what the Air Force really knows about UFOs, but it did clarify, at least, the mystery of the vanished "Diet Coke button" former President Donald Trump would use to summon refreshments in the Oval Office. The usher button, as it is formally known, is not gone, even if it is no longer used to summon Diet Cokes, a White House official tells Politico. The White House official "unfortunately wouldn't say what Biden will use the button for," Politico's Daniel Lippman writes, suggesting Biden might summon Orange Gatorade and not the obvious answer, ice cream — or, let's get real, coffee.
Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny is being used by the West to try to destabilise Russia, a prominent hardliner and ally of President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday, saying he must be held to account for repeatedly breaking the law. Navalny was remanded in custody for 30 days last week after returning from Germany where he had been recovering from a nerve agent poisoning. Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Security Council, called for Navalny to face the full force of the law in comments that offered a glimpse into the mood inside Russia's security establishment after tens of thousands of Navalny's supporters protested against his jailing on Saturday.
A group of U.N experts has criticized Sri Lanka's requirement that those who die of COVID-19 be cremated, even it goes against a family's religious beliefs, and warned that decisions based on “discrimination and aggressive nationalism” could incite hatred and violence. The experts, who are part of the Special Procedures of the U.N Human Rights Council, said in a statement Monday that rule amounts to a human rights violation. “We deplore the implementation of such public health decisions based on discrimination, aggressive nationalism and ethnocentrism amounting to persecution of Muslims and other minorities in the country,” the experts said.
Steve Krakauer, editor at Fourth Watch, says 'it shouldn't be contingent' on one reporter to ask Biden tough questions.
President Joe Biden has brought back Dr. Kevin O'Connor as his physician, replacing President Donald Trump's doctor with the one who oversaw his care when he was vice president. The White House confirmed that Dr. Sean Conley, the Navy commander who served as the head of the White House Medical Unit under Trump and oversaw his treatment when he was hospitalized with COVID-19, will assume a teaching role at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. O'Connor, a retired Army colonel, was Biden's doctor during his entire tenure as vice president, having remained in the role at Biden's request.
Germany's health minister supported European Union proposals to introduce restrictions on COVID-19 vaccines on Tuesday as tensions grew with AstraZeneca and Pfizer over sudden supply cuts just a month after the bloc started vaccinating citizens. The EU has proposed setting up a register of vaccine exports, amid frustration over delays in deliveries of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 shot and other supply problems. "I can understand that there are production problems but then it must affect everyone in the same way," Health Minister Jens Spahn told ZDF television.
Republican Senator Josh Hawley filed an ethics counter-complaint against seven Democratic senators who called for an investigation into him and Ted Cruz. Both senators have faced widespread criticism and calls for them to resign for their role in trying to challenge Joe Biden's election victory. Five people were killed when Pro-Trump rioters attacked the Congress as lawmakers gathered to certify the electoral college results earlier this month.
Relatives of migrants from Guatemala said Monday they believe that 13 of the 19 charred corpses found in a northern Mexico border state could be their loved ones and the country's Foreign Ministry said it was collecting DNA samples from a dozen relatives to see if there was a match with any of the bodies. If true, the killings would revive memories of the 2010 massacre of 72 migrants in the same gang-ridden state of Tamaulipas. Ramiro Coronado told The Associated Press by telephone that he had a relative among a group of 13 migrants who left the province of San Marcos and were travelling together before family members lost contact with them on Thursday.
When the Navy carrier Roosevelt entered the South China Sea on the same day Chinese bombers and fighters flew into Taiwan's airspace, it signaled how difficult it will be for the Biden administration to craft a new China policy, former Pentagon policy chief Michele Flournoy said Monday. "Taiwan has really become the flashpoint" of U.S. China relations following efforts in the waning days of the Trump administration to bolster military ties to Taiwan, said Flournoy, who was widely expected to be nominated to lead the Pentagon under Biden. The job of defense secretary ultimately went to Retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin.
Vigorous efforts are needed for Russia and the United States to reach a deal on extending the New START nuclear arms control pact before it expires next month, the Kremlin said on Tuesday. New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty), which was signed in 2010 and is set to expire on Feb. 5, limits the numbers of strategic nuclear warheads, missiles and bombers that Russia and the United States can deploy. A failure to extend New START could fuel a potential arms race and tensions between Moscow and Washington, defence experts have warned.
Former White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany spent her time as the president's mouthpiece spinning his words, attacking his enemies, and attempting to undermine the credibility of reporters who questioned his actions. Now, with her days at the White House behind her, Ms McEnany will step into a new role where she can once again use the skill set she cultivated during her time with the president; she'll be joining Fox News. Government watchdog organisation CREW obtained a financial disclosure report that showed Ms McEnany and Fox News entered into an employment agreement on 1 January.
A British socialite charged with recruiting teenage girls for financier Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse in the 1990s asked a judge Monday to dismiss the case on multiple grounds, including that a deal years ago not to prosecute Epstein and others should shield her from prosecution. Lawyers for Ghislaine Maxwell said the indictment against their client was obtained unjustly and doesn't allege crimes specific enough to bring before a jury. The agreement sought to protect Epstein and those around him, but Maxwell was not identified by name in the document that was signed as Epstein agreed to plead guilty to state charges in Florida that forced him to register as a sex offender afterward.
Mexicans hope President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador makes a speedy recovery from COVID-19, though many believe he could have avoided infection if he had more strictly followed the government's own health advice - and worn a face mask. Lopez Obrador's diagnosis on Sunday capped the deadliest week of the coronavirus pandemic in the country with the world's fourth-highest death toll https://tmsnrt.rs/34pvUyi. "He wasn't looking after himself, always walking around without a mask, and not respecting social distancing," said Mexico City rubbish collector Luis Enrique Flores, wheeling his cart past a wall plastered with government posters urging people to wear masks.
Kamala Harris is starting her term as vice president in an impressive, though temporary, residence. After Harris was sworn in, she and her husband, second gentleman Doug Emhoff, relocated from California to Blair House, otherwise known as the president's guest house. Typically, the vice president resides in the U.S. Naval Observatory, but CBS News reports that the historic structure is currently undergoing renovations, and that “repairs to the residence … are more easily conducted with the home unoccupied.”
Blinken, 58, served as deputy secretary of state and deputy national security adviser during the Obama administration. He has pledged to be a leading force in the administration's bid to reframe the U.S. relationship with the rest of the world after four years in which President Donald Trump questioned longtime alliances. He is expected to start work on Wednesday after being sworn in, according to State Department officials.
AstraZeneca denied on Monday its COVID-19 vaccine is not very effective for people over 65, after German media reports said officials fear the vaccine may not be approved in the European Union for use in the elderly. German daily papers Handelsblatt and Bild said in separate reports the vaccine - co-developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University - had an efficacy of 8% or less than 10%, respectively, in those over 65. German officials were concerned that the vaccine may not receive approval from the EU's medicines authority EMA for use in those over 65, Bild said in its online edition.
Iran has sentenced the brother of the country's senior vice president to two years in prison on corruption charges, the website of the Iranian judiciary reported Tuesday. According to the judiciary's spokesman, Gholamhossein Esmaili, the verdict for Mahdi Jahangiri, the brother of Eshaq Jahangiri, is final and cannot be appealed. Mahdi Jahangiri was on the board of the Tehran Chamber of Commerce and was also the founder of the private Gardeshgari Bank.
President Joe Biden plans to take executive actions on Tuesday to scale back the U.S. government's use of private prisons and bolster anti-discrimination enforcement in the housing market, aides said. The measures are part of a package of steps being taken by the new Democratic president to roll back policies of his Republican predecessor Donald Trump and promote racial justice reforms that he pledged to address during the election campaign. "These are just some of the first steps," said Susan Rice, Biden's domestic policy adviser.
A North Korean diplomat who served as the country's acting ambassador to Kuwait has defected to South Korea, according to South Korean lawmakers who were briefed by Seoul's spy agency. Ha Tae-keung, a conservative opposition lawmaker and an executive secretary of the National Assembly's intelligence committee, said Tuesday he was told by officials from the National Intelligence Service that the diplomat arrived in South Korea in September 2019 with his wife and at least one child. That would make him one of the most senior North Koreans to defect in recent years.
A Brazilian Supreme Court justice on Monday authorized an investigation of Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello to determine whether he is criminally responsible for the COVID-19 crisis in the Amazonian city of Manaus. The largest city in Brazil's vast rainforest region was slammed this month by a severe second wave of infections, and jam-packed hospitals ran out of oxygen. Patients' family members searched for tanks to keep their loved ones breathing, and dozens died asphyxiated.
Iran threatened on Tuesday to block short-notice inspections of its nuclear facilities, demanding Washington reverse economic sanctions before it returns to compliance with a nuclear deal that President Joe Biden aims to restore. Biden, who took office last week, aims to reverse a decision by his predecessor Donald Trump to pull out of the 2015 agreement between Iran and world powers. The agreement lifted sanctions on Iran in return for curbs to Iran's nuclear programme, but after Trump quit and reimposed sanctions, Iran violated its conditions.
A North Carolina state senator announced Tuesday that he's running for the U.S. Senate in 2022, hoping to flip fortunes for Democrats from his state to serve in the chamber after a string of defeats. Jeff Jackson, a Charlotte business attorney, Afghan war veteran and National Guard soldier, unveiled his bid, saying he is committed to “honesty and decency” in politics and helping working people and working families. Jackson, 38, is the second high-profile Democrat to enter the race to succeed three-term Republican Sen. Richard Burr, who is not seeking reelection.
Indonesia's confirmed coronavirus infections since the pandemic began crossed 1 million on Tuesday and hospitals in some hard-hit areas were near capacity. Indonesia's Health Ministry announced that new daily infections rose by 13,094 on Tuesday to bring the country's total to 1,012,350, the most in Southeast Asia. The milestone comes just weeks after Indonesian launched a massive campaign to inoculate two-thirds of the country's 270 million people, with President Joko Widodo receiving the first shot of a Chinese-made vaccine.
Taiwan, claimed by China as its territory, has been on edge since the large-scale incursion by Chinese fighters and nuclear-capable bombers into the southwestern part of its air defence identification zone on Saturday (January 23) and Sunday (January 25), which coincided with a U.S. carrier group entering the South China Sea. The base in the southern city of Tainan, home to F-CK-1 Ching-kuo Indigenous Defence Fighters (IDF), frequently scrambles jets to intercept China's air force.
Afghanistan's Taliban insurgents on Tuesday gave their backing to a vaccination programme to which the World Health Organization's COVAX programme has pledged $112 million. The COVAX programme is a global scheme to vaccinate people in poor and middle income countries against the coronavirus. It aims to deliver at least 2 billion vaccine doses by the end of 2021 to cover 20% of the most vulnerable people in 91 poor and middle-income countries.
“By encouraging this act of terror on our capital, Trump’s legacy is destroyed.”
“Both backers and critics of Trump agreed that he remade the federal judiciary — a change that will impact America for decades.”
“He was largely responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans who did not need to die.”
“I do know what the future should hold for this country. That is to say, a policy of Trumpism without Trump.”
“It will be decades before the consequences of his tenure are fully known.”