CDC Director Rochelle Walensky implored states to exercise caution in rolling back safety measures, noting that coronavirus cases and deaths increased 2 percent this week.'Please hear me clearly' »
FBI Director Chris Wray is set to testify for the first time since the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, with lawmakers likely to press him on whether the bureau adequately communicated with other law enforcement agencies about the potential for violence that day. Questions about the FBI's preparations for the riot, and investigations into it, are expected to dominate Wray's appearance Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The violence at the Capitol made clear that a law enforcement agency that revolutionized itself after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to deal with international terrorism is now scrambling to address homegrown violence from white Americans.
A Filipino-American is slashed in the face with a box cutter. Advocates and activists say these are hate crimes, and often linked to rhetoric that blames Asian people for the spread of Covid-19. The FBI warned at the start of the Covid outbreak in the US that it expected a surge in hate crimes against those of Asian descent.
The leader of Taiwan's main opposition party the Kuomintang (KMT) said on Tuesday he is in no rush to travel to China to meet President Xi Jinping, and that Beijing's proposals to get Taiwan to accept Communist rule had "no market" on the island. The KMT ruled China before retreating to Taiwan at the end of a civil war with the Communists in 1949. While ties across the Taiwan Strait have improved dramatically in the last three decades, Beijing continues to claim Taiwan as its own territory.
At the White House COVID-19 response team briefing on Monday, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky expressed concern about a leveling off of the decline in weekly coronavirus cases.
With a vote of 97-72, the Georgia state House on Monday passed a bill supported by Republicans that would roll back voting access. House Bill 531 requires a photo ID for absentee voting, limits weekend early voting days, restricts ballot drop box locations, and sets an earlier deadline to request an absentee ballot. State Rep. Barry Fleming (R), the bill's chief sponsor, said it is "designed to begin to bring back the confidence of our voters back into our election system."
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Democrats' hopes of including a minimum wage increase in their $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill seemed all but dead as the Senate prepared to debate its own version of the House-passed aid package. Four days after the chamber's parliamentarian said Senate rules forbid inclusion of a straight-out minimum wage increase in the relief measure, Democrats on Monday seemed to have exhausted their most realistic options for quickly salvaging the pay hike. “At this moment, we may not have a path but I hope we can find one” for pushing the federal pay floor to $15 an hour, said No. 2 Senate Democratic leader Richard Durbin of Illinois.
Boeing and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) announced Tuesday local time that they've completed the first test flight of a pilotless fighter-like jet devised to operate alongside crewed aircraft. Why it matters: The "Loyal Wingman" combat drone is serving as the foundation for the Boeing Airpower Teaming System being developed for the company's global defense customers. It has the potential to "revolutionize the RAAF's air combat tactics playbook," per The Drive.
A U.N. human rights investigator said on Monday that it was "extremely dangerous" for the United States to have named Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler as having approved an operation to capture or kill journalist Jamal Khashoggi but not to have taken action against him. Agnes Callamard, special rapporteur on summary executions who led a U.N. investigation into Khashoggi's 2018 murder, reiterated her call for sanctions targeting Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's assets and his international engagements. He approved an operation to capture or kill Khashoggi, according to a declassified U.S. intelligence released on Friday as the United States imposed sanctions on some of those involved but spared the crown prince himself in an effort to preserve relations with the kingdom.
A Pakistani court on Monday granted bail to a Christian man convicted in 2018 while still a teenager of insulting Islam by posting a picture of Islam's holiest site on social media, a defense lawyer said. The court order in the eastern city of Lahore came more than four years after Nabeel Masih was arrested. He was detained after a mob accused him of committing blasphemy by sharing a picture of Kaaba in Mecca on Facebook.
MyPillow's outspoken Trump-supporting chief executive was censored during an interview at CPAC – an event branded “America Uncanceled” – after he launched into conspiracy theories linking the coronavirus vaccine with the devil. Mike Lindell was speaking on Sunday to Liz Willis, the host of conservative YouTube channel Right Side Broadcasting Network (RSBN), when he delivered a somewhat meandering set of conspiracy theories relating to the pandemic, the presidential election and Israel. “In Israel right now, from the prime minister on down, we don't know what happened, but obviously, he congratulated Biden, but after that, we got a little suspect,” Mr Lindell said during the segment that was edited out by RSBN on their YouTube channel.
A Chinese state-backed hacking group has in recent weeks targeted the IT systems of two Indian vaccine makers whose coronavirus shots are being used in the country's immunisation campaign, cyber intelligence firm Cyfirma told Reuters. Rivals China and India have both sold or gifted COVID-19 shots to many countries. India produces more than 60% of all vaccines sold in the world.
Police in Sri Lanka said Monday they have arrested two people in connection with the death of a 9-year-old girl who was repeatedly beaten during a ritual they believed would drive away an evil spirit. The two suspects — the woman performing the exorcism and the girl's mother — appeared in court on Monday to hear charges over the girl's death, which occurred over the weekend in Delgoda, a small town about 40 kilometers (25 miles) northeast of the capital, Colombo. According to police spokesperson Ajith Rohana, the mother believed her daughter had been possessed by a demon and took her to the home of the exorcist so a ritual could be performed to drive the spirit away.
Boris Johnson has been warned by some of his foreign ambassadors that a planned coal mine in Cumbria is damaging his reputation. The PM wants to lead the world on climate change, but the ambassadors say his tacit support for the mine is bringing accusations of hypocrisy. The issue has flared as the UK co-hosts a coalition of nations pledging to phase out coal in power generation.
Republican lawmakers in Georgia muscled legislation through the state House on Monday that would roll back voting access, over the objection of Democrats and civil rights groups gathered at the Capitol to protest. The bill comes after record turnout led to Democratic wins in Georgia's presidential election and two U.S. Senate runoffs. House Bill 531 passed the lower legislative chamber by a vote of 97-72.
One hundred seventy members of the U.S. House of Representatives signed a bipartisan letter sent to Secretary of State Antony Blinken urging President Joe Biden's administration to address "troubling" human rights issues as it formulates policy for dealings with Turkey. The letter, dated Feb. 26 and made public on Monday, notes that NATO ally Turkey has long been an important U.S. partner but says the administration of President Tayyip Erdogan has strained the relationship.
The plane laden with vaccines had just rolled to a stop at Santiago's airport in late January, and Chile's president, Sebastián Piñera, was beaming. The source of that hope: China – a country that Chile and dozens of other nations are depending on to help rescue them from the COVID-19 pandemic. China's vaccine diplomacy campaign has been a surprising success: It has pledged roughly half a billion doses of its vaccine to more than 45 countries, according to a country-by-country tally by The Associated Press.
Merrick Garland, President Joe Biden's pick for attorney general, moved a step closer on Monday to securing Senate confirmation as the top U.S. law enforcement official, with the Judiciary Committee throwing its weight behind his nomination. The federal appellate judge won bipartisan support in a 15-7 tally in the Senate Judiciary Committee to advance his nomination to the Senate floor for a vote that Democrats hope will be held this week. Among the four Republicans voting in favor of Garland were two former chairmen of the committee, Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham.
Duterte, whose six-year term ends next year, has been reading the names of government employees and officers implicated in graft and corruption in his TV appearances to highlight his campaign against abuses and irregularities. But Duterte, a former government prosecutor who has threatened drug suspects with death and is known for his expletives-laden outbursts, has faced criticisms for abusive behavior himself. In his televised remarks Monday night, Duterte lashed out at Vice President Leni Robredo for criticizing the government's handling of the coronavirus outbreak and vaccination campaign.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing Griddy Energy, claiming the company that charges wholesale electric prices for customers used deceptive advertising. The lawsuit comes after Griddy customers reported spikes in electric bills during the winter storm in February. “Griddy misled Texans and signed them up for services which, in a time of crisis, resulted in individual Texans each losing thousands of dollars,” Paxton said in a statement.
Mass gatherings took place in Jerusalem on Sunday as Israelis celebrated the Jewish holiday of Purim in violation of coronavirus restrictions. Authorities had been concerned about a repeat of last year, when Purim celebrations helped fuel an initial wave of the coronavirus in the earliest days of the global pandemic. The government urged people to celebrate at home this year, and police attempted to block traffic from entering Jerusalem and declared strict limits on public gatherings.
France has used only a quarter of its AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses, a health ministry official indicated on Tuesday, saying its utilisation rate stood at 24% as of Feb. 28, well below a target set at 80-85%. This compares with 82% for vaccines made by Pfizer/BioNTech and 37% for those made by Moderna. "It is true that we are facing issues with AstraZeneca vaccines," the official said without elaborating.
And while Mr Biden has kept Mr Trump's policy in place to send new migrants back to Mexico due to concerns about Covid spread, the new president has already begun rolling back other Trump-era policies that hardened the border against refugees and other migrants seeking opportunities or safe haven in the US. The Biden administration has ended Mr Trump's so-called Remain in Mexico programme that forced more than 70,000 asylum-seekers to stay south of the border while their cases wound their way through immigration courts. Thousands of those enrollees have now crossed into the US under the Biden administration's supervision.
The report, issued by the office of the director of national intelligence, concludes that the Saudi crown prince “approved” the operation that resulted in the brutal murder of the Saudi journalist, dissident and U.S. resident two years ago. Release of the intelligence assessment is an important step in revealing the truth about Khashoggi's assassination. Unfortunately, the Biden administration has also decided to impose no meaningful penalty against Bin Salman.
China and the United States should remove all barriers to travel between the two countries if the United States achieves herd immunity for COVID-19 with 90% of its population vaccinated, potentially by August, a Chinese epidemiologist has said. The United States is the worst-hit nation in the world by case count, with nearly 30 million infections so far, though new cases have been declining. China has COVID-19 largely under control, with relatively small clusters of new local infections in recent months.
“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.”