Noon COVID-19 update
- The Independent
Rioters who entered Capitol building may not be charged if they didn’t engage in violence, report says
Federal officials do not want to crush court system with hundreds of cases
- Associated Press
A 34-year-old grizzly bear captured in southwestern Wyoming has been confirmed as the oldest on record in the Yellowstone region, Wyoming wildlife officials said. Grizzly bear 168 was captured last summer after it preyed on calves in the Upper Green River Basin area. Biologists learned of the bear’s longevity after euthanizing the bruin, which had preyed on cattle and then finally, calves.
- The Telegraph
Russian police detained Yulia Navalnaya, the wife of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, at a protest in Moscow on Saturday as demonstrations in support of the opposition leader swept across Russia. Authorities detained at least 1,600 people at unauthorised rallies in Moscow and dozens of cities across the country, with some reports of violent clashes between protesters and riot police. At least 10,000 people joined protests in Moscow, according to estimates, in a test to Vladimir Putin. Protests began in Russia’s Far East and Siberia on Saturday morning. Seven time zones east of Moscow, about 3,000 people marched across the city of Vladivostok on the Pacific Ocean, chanting “Navalny!” In Novosibirsk, chants “Putin is a thief” rang out in freezing minus 19 C temperatures as opposition supporters walked across the city to the main square.
- Business Insider
Barely any time has passed since President Biden's inauguration, and Republicans have already returned to their bag of shenanigans.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), incoming chair of the Senate Budget Committee who caucuses with the Democrats, told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday that Democrats plan to push a coronavirus relief package through the chamber with a simple majority vote. Why it matters: "Budget reconciliation" would allow Democrats to forgo the Senate's 60-vote requirement and could potentially speed-up the next relief package for millions of unemployed Americans. Democrats hold the the 50-50 split in the Senate with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as the tie-breaking vote.Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.What he's saying: "What we cannot do is wait weeks and weeks and months to go forward. We have got to act now," Sanders said. * "We're going to use reconciliation — that's 50 votes in the Senate, plus the vice president — to pass legislation desperately needed by working families in this country right now." * When asked if he wants a relief bill passed before former President Trump's impeachment trial begins the week of Feb. 8, he said: "We've got to do everything. This is not — you don't have the time to sit around, weeks on impeachment and not get vaccines into the arms of people."Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.
- Associated Press
A Federal Aviation Administration employee and QAnon follower from California who had been on the FBI's radar is facing federal charges after he confessed to taking part in the siege of the U.S. Capitol, according to court documents released Friday. Kevin Strong, 44, of Beaumont, surrendered to authorities on Friday and appeared in a federal court in Riverside, where a judge ordered him held on $50,000 bond, said Laura Eimiller, spokeswoman for the FBI in Los Angeles. It wasn't immediately clear whether Strong had raised the bond.
- The Telegraph
The acrimonious split within Republican ranks widened over the weekend as Donald Trump made his foray back into politics, backing the re-election of a hard-line supporter as chair of the party in Arizona. His wholehearted support for Kelli Ward was seen by allies as the former president firing a warning shot across the bows of any Republican senators considering backing his impeachment.
- Yahoo News Video
It's a club Donald Trump was never really interested in joining and certainly not so soon: the cadre of former commanders in chief who revere the presidency enough to put aside often bitter political differences and even join together in common cause.
U.S. President Joe Biden's administration next week will release more policies it believes are needed to tackle climate change and is urging China to toughen one of its targets on greenhouse gas emissions, his top climate advisers said on Saturday. Gina McCarthy, the White House's national climate adviser, did not say what policies would be released. A memo seen by Reuters on Thursday showed Biden will unveil a second round of executive orders as soon as Jan. 27 that include an omnibus order to combat climate change domestically and elevate the issue as a national security priority.
- Associated Press
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said Israel will be closing its international airport to nearly all flights, while Israeli police clashed with ultra-Orthodox protesters in several major cities and the government raced to bring a raging coronavirus outbreak under control. The entry of highly contagious variants of the virus, coupled with poor enforcement of safety rules in ultra-Orthodox communities, has contributed to one of the world's highest rates of infections. It also has threatened to undercut Israel's highly successful campaign to vaccinate its population against the virus.
- NBC News
"I couldn't believe it, it was like an animal. That's the only way I can put it, it was like an animal," the woman said of the assault in Harlem.
- The Telegraph
China ramped up its pressure on democratic Taiwan over the weekend, with an unusually large number of fighter jets approaching the island in a "test" for the new administration of US President Joe Biden. On Sunday, 12 Chinese fighter jets entered Taiwan’s air defence identification zone, along with a reconnaissance aircraft and two anti-submarine aircraft, Taiwan’s defence ministry said. A day earlier, China sent eight bomber planes capable of carrying nuclear weapons and four fighter jets to the same area to the southwest of the island, as well as one reconnaissance aircraft. On both occasions, Taiwan sent up aircraft, issued radio warnings to the Chinese aircraft, and deployed air defence missile systems to monitor their activity. Beijing claims self-governing Taiwan as part of its territory, and has been angered by a show of increased US support for Taiwan during Donald Trump’s administration. In recent months, China has carried out frequent, at times daily, incursions aimed at pressuring President Tsai Ing-wen’s government to accept Beijing’s demand that it recognise Taiwan as part of China. These incursions have usually consisted of just one or two reconnaissance planes in recent weeks, rather than the warplanes seen over the weekend.
- Associated Press
Indonesian authorities said that they seized an Iranian tanker and Panamanian tanker suspected of carrying out the illegal transfer of oil in their country's waters Sunday. The tankers — the Iranian-flagged MT Horse and the Panamanian-flagged MT Frea — were seized in waters off Indonesia's West Kalimantan province, said Wisnu Pramadita, a spokesman for the Indonesian Maritime Security Agency.
A billion-dollar Mega Millions jackpot that has been building for four months will be up for grabs on Friday, available to whoever can beat the one-in-302 million odds. "We generally see a lot of the sales occur on the day of the drawings," Mega Millions spokesman Seth Elkin, of the Maryland State Lottery and Gaming Control Agency, said by telephone. The selection of the six numbers will be the 37th semi-weekly drawing since the last grand prize winner was picked on Sept. 15, the longest jackpot dry spell Mega Millions has ever had, Elkin said.
- The New York Times
Rudy Giuliani, the personal lawyer to former President Donald Trump, conceded Friday night that an associate had sent an email to campaign officials asking that Giuliani be paid $20,000 a day for his work after the Nov. 3 election, but he insisted he was unaware of it at the time. Giuliani acknowledged in a brief phone interview that his associate, Maria Ryan, had sent the email shortly after Election Day. But he maintained that she consulted with another associate, Larry Levy, about what Giuliani should ask for from the campaign while Giuliani was out of town. A copy of the email, reviewed by The New York Times, showed that she sent it from a Giuliani Partners email account. Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York Times “Mr. Giuliani began working the case in the wee hours of the morning on November 4,” Ryan wrote. “He has a team in Washington working out of rented hotel rooms.” She wrote that the company was working on an engagement letter, and that instead of $2,000 an hour, “we will contract for $20,000 a day which will include all of the expenses for Mr. Giuliani and his staff.” The request was sent to at least three campaign officials at a time when the campaign was raising large sums of money for a legal fund to fight the election results. When the Times asked about the fee request in November, Giuliani denied it. He had maintained it was a “lie” that he requested such a fee from the president, even as recently as Friday afternoon on his radio show. “I did not do that,” he said. In the phone interview Friday night, after the Times asked his spokesperson about Ryan’s email, Giuliani said that he told the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and Trump, of the $20,000 amount, “It’s ridiculous, I don’t want to be paid.” Giuliani said he did not recall precisely when he had that conversation. And it was unclear whether he was aware that Ryan had sent the email when the Times first asked him about the fee request. “I never had a single expectation of being paid a penny,” Giuliani said, adding that he’s had a few expenses reimbursed but nothing more. He faulted Trump’s other advisers and blasted them as “incompetent” leading up to the election. “I feel extremely bad that I’m portrayed as some kind of money-grubbing ambulance chaser,” Giuliani said. “I represented him out of my sense of commitment,” he continued. “I didn’t see anything about this that was going to lead to great wealth. I did see a lot about this that was going to lead to great torture.” This article originally appeared in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company
- The Telegraph
The United Kingdom risks becoming a “failed state” unless Boris Johnson considers radical ideas such as replacing the House of Lords with a “senate of the regions”, Gordon Brown has said. Writing The Telegraph, the former prime minister said Mr Johnson should also use the NHS and the Armed Forces to demonstrate the “everyday benefits” of the Union. The future of the Union is one of the biggest issues that the Prime Minister will have to confront this year, as the SNP is expected to gain seats in May’s Holyrood elections that it will use to renew demands for a second independence referendum. A recent poll showed that voters in all four UK nations now expect Scotland to become independent within the next 10 years, with support for Irish reunification also growing. Mr Brown, the former MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, said that “the choice is now between a reformed state and a failed state” and urges Mr Johnson to follow through on his manifesto pledge to set up a commission on democracy to review the way the whole of the UK is governed. Mr Brown writes: “The commission will discover that the United Kingdom urgently needs a Forum of the Nations and Regions that brings them and Boris Johnson together on a regular basis. “No country can have national integration without political inclusion, and the commission might start by learning from the experience of countries such as Australia, Canada, Germany and America where, partly because of British influence in times past, second chambers are senates of their regions, and minorities who can easily be outvoted are guaranteed a stronger voice.” Mr Brown argues that citizens’ assemblies in each region and nation would help the Prime Minister to understand what the public are saying about the issue. He adds that appealing to history and tradition will not work, and Mr Johnson should “focus on the everyday benefits of cooperation and reciprocity, represented by, for example, the National Health Service and our Armed Forces, and the sentiments that inspire them: solidarity and empathy”. A poll for the Sunday Times found that Scotland would vote for independence by 52 per cent to 48 once “don’t knows” are excluded and there is a narrow lead for supporters of Irish reunification among the under-45s in Northern Ireland.
- Associated Press
Four Zimbabwean Cabinet ministers have died of COVID-19, three within the past two weeks, highlighting a resurgence of the disease that is sweeping through this southern African country. President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the coronavirus is reaping a “grim harvest” in the country. Then came the death of the transport minister.
A Disney World employee notified police after suspecting that a person who called to buy tickets was being abused
While a Pennsylvania woman pretended to buy Disney World tickets, a Disney employee reportedly heard her yelling "get off me" and "get away from me."
- The Independent
Priest who attended pro-Trump rally ahead of Capitol insurrection is suspended from post and may be defrocked
Reverend Mark Hodges described event as ‘joyful, positive and orderly’
Eight Chinese bomber planes and four fighter jets entered the southwestern corner of Taiwan's air defence identification zone on Saturday, and Taiwan's air force deployed missiles to "monitor" the incursion, the island's defence ministry said. China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory, has conducted almost daily flights over the waters between the southern part of Taiwan and the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands in the South China Sea in recent months.