The Senate passed a version of the president's COVID-19 relief package, moving forward with the legislation containing nearly $2 trillion in benefits.'Relieve the suffering' »
Thanks to natural mutations, more-infectious and potentially deadlier variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 are now racing around the globe and are threatening to turn back the recent progress against the disease due to vaccination. Last week Houston became the first big American city to report the presence of all five variants that have medical experts worried — a California strain called B.1.427/B.1.429, a New York variant classified as B.1.526, the Brazilian P.1 strain, a strain called B.1.351 that is believed to have originated in South Africa, and the U.K. mutation B.1.1.7, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts will become the dominant strain in the U.S. by the end of the month. P.1, for instance, has been found to make reinfection easier, while new studies show that B.1.1.7 extends the infectious period beyond the original strain.
Demonstrators from Thailand's student-led pro-democracy movement held a peaceful protest Saturday outside Bangkok's Criminal Court to bring public attention to the plight of several of their detained leaders. The movement, a coalition of several groups, was launched last year with demands for Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and his government to step down, the constitution to be amended to make it more democratic and the monarchy to be reformed to make it more accountable. There were several protest marches Saturday, but the main one was held by a new faction of the student-led anti-government movement that calls itself REDEM — short for Restart Democracy — whose last demonstration on Feb. 28 ended in disarray amid violence.
Iran will soon present a "constructive" plan of action, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Friday, after European sources said Tehran gave positive signs about opening informal talks about its nuclear programme. "As Iran's FM (foreign minister) & chief nuclear negotiator, I will shortly present our constructive concrete plan of action - through proper diplomatic channels," Zarif said on Twitter. A French diplomatic source and another European source said on Thursday that Iran had given encouraging signs in recent days about opening the informal talks after European powers scrapped plans to criticise Tehran at the U.N. nuclear watchdog.
One highlight of Pope Francis' historic visit to Iraq is his meeting Saturday with a revered religious leader for Shiite Muslims, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. Francis has spent years trying to improve Christian relations with Muslims and has already forged close ties with a prominent Sunni figure, Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, grand imam of Al-Azhar, the seat of Sunni learning in Cairo. The 90-year-old al-Sistani is the top Shiite cleric in Iraq and a powerhouse in the Shiite world.
Thousands of Indian farmers blocked a massive expressway on the edges of New Delhi on Saturday to mark the 100th day of protests against agricultural laws that they say will devastate their income. Thousands of them have hunkered down outside New Delhi's borders since late November to voice their anger against three laws passed by Parliament last year. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government says the laws are necessary to modernize agriculture, but farmers say they will leave them poorer and at the mercy of big corporations.
Former President Donald Trump has clashed again with his Republican Party, demanding that three Republican groups stop using his name and likeness for fundraising, a Trump adviser said on Saturday. The adviser, confirming a report in Politico, said lawyers for Trump on Friday had sent cease-and-desist letters to the Republican National Committee, National Republican Congressional Campaign and National Republican Senate Campaign, asking them to stop using his name and likeness on fundraising emails and merchandise.
Security forces in Myanmar again used force Saturday to disperse anti-coup protesters, a day after a U.N. special envoy urged the Security Council to take action to quell junta violence that this past week left more than 50 peaceful demonstrators dead and scores injured. Protests were reported Saturday morning in the country's biggest city, Yangon, where stun grenades and tear gas were used against demonstrators. On Wednesday, 18 people were reported killed there.
The Senate voted on Thursday to take up President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid bill, but put off the start of a contentious debate until the full text of the 628-page bill was read aloud.
Israel on Friday postponed plans to vaccinate Palestinians who work inside the country and its West Bank settlements until further notice. COGAT, the Israeli military agency coordinating day-to-day affairs with the Palestinian Authority, attributed the postponement to “administrative delays,” adding that a new start date for the campaign would be determined later. The vaccination program was supposed to begin on Sunday at West Bank crossings into Israel and at Israeli industrial zones.
Turkey's pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) said on Friday it would keep campaigning under a different banner if a court outlawed its current organisation over alleged links to militants. Officials told Reuters this week that Turkey's top appeals court had launched an enquiry into the HDP, the third largest party in parliament, in a step that could ultimately lead to a ban. If the HDP is shut down of course we have our own preparations.
While the Wyoming National Guard was sending more than 100 troops to Washington, D.C., to help with security around President Joe Biden's inauguration in January, Gov. Mark Gordon quietly mobilized dozens of Guard troops and others in case of violence at the state Capitol in Cheyenne. The all-but-undisclosed local deployment Jan. 15-21, specifics of which came to light Friday after an inquiry by The Associated Press, stood in stark contrast with the state's contribution to U.S. Capitol security praised by Gordon and other top Wyoming officials. John Barrasso and Cynthia Lummis and Rep. Liz Cheney, all Republicans — likewise have posed in photos with and lauded the Wyoming troops at the U.S. Capitol but not those working similar duty back home.
A probe into Rudy Giuliani's business and overseas dealings has resumed, according to AP. The criminal investigation will look into the legality of his conversations with Ukrainian officials. A federal criminal investigation into Rudy Giuliani has resumed, according to the Associated Press.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said on Saturday, in a bid to push forward peace talks with the Taliban, that his government was ready to discuss holding fresh elections, insisting that any new government should emerge through the democratic process. "Transfer of power through elections is a non-negotiable principle for us," Ghani told lawmakers at the opening of parliament session in Kabul. President Ghani met U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad in Kabul during the past week to discuss ways to inject momentum in the stalled peace negotiations with Taliban representatives being held in Qatar.
The National Science Foundation said Friday that it could cost up to $50 million just to clean up the debris at a renowned radio telescope that collapsed last year in Puerto Rico, adding that investigations into what caused its cables to fail are still ongoing. The update is part of a report that the federal agency, which owns the telescope, had to submit to Congress as the investigation continues into the Arecibo telescope. It was until recently the world's largest radio telescope and was used to study pulsars, detect gravitational waves, search for neutral hydrogen and detect habitable planets, among other things.
Quality food preservation, storage space, and good-looking design are priorities among kitchen designers when it comes to refrigerators Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest
A crash that left 13 people dead on Tuesday may be linked to a breach of the US-Mexico border. US authorities said the crash occurred after two vehicles broke through a border fence. More than two dozen people were piled inside a 1997 Ford Expedition that normally seats eight.
The group took aim at Mr Cruz after he voted against the congressional certification of the electoral college votes despite the ransacking of the Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters on 6 January. In a 17 January statement, the group said that “Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley deserve the most blame for firing up the violent mob of Trump supporters that attacked the U.S Capitol and killed five people”. On the fundraising page for the billboard campaign, the group adds that “rioters who broke into the Senate were quoted as saying Cruz 'would want us to do this.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan handily won a vote of confidence from the National Assembly on Saturday, days after the embarrassing defeat of his ruling party's key candidate in Senate elections. Khan secured the votes of 178 members of the lower house of Parliament, which is comprised of 340 lawmakers. The 11-party opposition alliance — the Pakistan Democratic Movement —boycotted the assembly's special session.
A member of the far-right nationalist Proud Boys was in communication with a person associated with the White House in the days just before the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol, according to a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation. Location, cellular and call record data revealed a call tying a Proud Boys member to the Trump White House, the official said. The FBI has not determined what they discussed, and the official would not reveal the names of either party.
The US Navy fired a carrier captain after he wrote a letter about a coronavirus outbreak that leaked. After an investigation, the Navy stood by its decision to relieve Capt. Brett Crozier of his command. Emails show that fellow warship captains believed Crozier was "doing the right thing."
Tucker Carlson appeared to change his tune on supporters of the false QAnon conspiracy theory during his primetime show on Friday, describing them as “gentle people waving American flags” following the Capitol insurrection. The Fox News host said QAnon supporters “like this country” and suggested some were “maybe kind of confused with the wrong ideas” while referring to the entirely inaccurate conspiracy theory, which claims former President Donald Trump is defending the world from a wealthy network of child predators, conveniently including his apparent political enemies, like Hillary Clinton, while ignoring his own friends and allies. “Do you ever notice how all the scary internet conspiracy theorists – the radical QAnon people – when you actually see them on camera or in jail cells, as a lot of them now are, are maybe kind of confused with the wrong ideas, but they're all kind of gentle people now waving American flags?” he asked during his opening show on Friday, adding: “They like this country.”
Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat, sided with Republicans and seven other senators from her party to vote down a minimum wage increase amendment to President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill. It was the way she did it that drew condemnation on social media and some comparisons to the late John McCain. Sinema stood on the Senate floor and flashed a thumbs down when her name was called to vote.
An interim report summarizing the WHO investigation into the origins of the virus has been scrapped. The WHO says this summary will be published with the full report "in coming weeks". This comes as the independence of the investigation from Chinese influence has come under scrutiny.
A Friday vote on Capitol Hill became the longest vote in the Senate's modern history. The vote on a Sanders-backed minimum wage amendment was held open for 11 hours and 50 minutes. The extended open vote was attributed to a Democratic scramble to get votes for future amendments.
Kim Kardashian West filed for divorce from Kanye West, Insider confirmed in February. TMZ reported that Kardashian West and her kids will stay in the mansion she and West bought in 2014. The Hidden Hills, California home is close to the other Kardashians' houses, TMZ reported.
“Taking humans to Mars would require an investment astronomically out of kilter with the possible benefits.”
“Can a Mars settlement be a freer society than we enjoy on Earth? Maybe.”
“What we learn...may spark the next revolution that will make life in 2071 beyond anything we can imagine right now.”
“Our presence on Mars could jeopardize one of our main reasons for being there — the search for life.”
“The future of geologic investigation of other worlds lies with highly improved versions of our Mars rovers.”