"Sunday Morning" remembers some of the notable figures who left us this week, including Siegfried Fischbacher, half of the entertainment duo Siegfried & Roy.
- Associated Press
The acting chief of the U.S. Capitol Police says there has been a more than 93% increase in the number of threats received by members of Congress in the first two months of this year compared with the same period last year. Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman testified Wednesday before a House subcommittee. Pittman says there has also been more than a 118% increase in total threats from 2017 to 2020.
Protesters blocked some roadways in Lebanon for a second day on Wednesday after the currency's fall to a new low further enraged a population long horrified by the country's financial meltdown. In the past year, Lebanon has been through a popular uprising against its political leaders, the bankruptcy of the state and banking system, a COVID-19 pandemic and, in August, a huge blast that killed 200 people and destroyed parts of Beirut. The financial crisis has wiped out jobs, raised warnings of growing hunger and locked people out of their bank deposits.
- USA TODAY
At least 13 people died after an SUV with 25 passengers collided with a semitruck full of gravel near the U.S.-Mexican border in California.
- The Independent
A directive from the Catholic church body says the J&J vaccine was produced with abortion-derived cell lines
- The Daily Beast
Ben Birchall/WPA Pool/GettyMeghan Markle has denied detailed accusations of “bullying” her former Buckingham Palace staff and accused opponents of conducting a “calculated smear campaign” in advance of her much-hyped CBS interview with Oprah Winfrey this Sunday.If Meghan and Prince Harry had anticipated an open field to criticize the royal family and/or air various grievances, certain Buckingham Palace sources seem determined to torpedo their ambitions prior to Sunday night.Harry and Meghan Are Begged to Delay Oprah Broadcast While Prince Philip Is Gravely IllRoyal aides told The Times of London that Meghan was the subject of an official bullying complaint made in October 2018 by Jason Knauf, Meghan and Harry’s former communications secretary. The Times reported that the complaint detailed how Meghan allegedly “drove two personal assistants out of the household and was undermining the confidence of a third staff member.” Prince Harry asked Knauf not to pursue the complaint, a source told the paper.“Staff would on occasion be reduced to tears” because of the duchess, The Times reported. One aide, anticipating a confrontation with Meghan, told a colleague: “I can’t stop shaking.” Another aide claimed it felt “more like emotional cruelty and manipulation, which I guess could also be called bullying.”Knauf, in an email to Simon Case, then the Duke of Cambridge’s private secretary, said the palace’s head of HR, Samantha Carruthers, “agreed with me on all counts that the situation was very serious.” He added: “I remain concerned that nothing will be done.”Knauf, who is now chief executive of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s Royal Foundation, said in his email: “I am very concerned that the Duchess was able to bully two PAs out of the household in the past year. The treatment of X was totally unacceptable… The Duchess seems intent on always having someone in her sights. She is bullying Y and seeking to undermine her confidence. We have had report after report from people who have witnessed unacceptable behavior towards Y.”Sympathetic sources around Harry and Meghan relayed their frustration and hurt with the attitudes of palace officials in Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family.However, palace sources told The Times that the bullying allegations had not been investigated by the palace and that officials had made Meghan more “welcome” than the couple’s supporters have long claimed. One source said of the bullying complaint: “I think the problem is, not much happened with it. It was, ‘How can we make this go away?,’ rather than addressing it.”Another source told The Times: “Senior people in the household, Buckingham Palace and Clarence House, knew that they had a situation where members of staff, particularly young women, were being bullied to the point of tears. The institution just protected Meghan constantly. All the men in grey suits who she hates have a lot to answer for, because they did absolutely nothing to protect people.”The paper said the sources were speaking out now in advance of Meghan’s Sunday night interview to give their view of Harry and Meghan’s royal life, presumably anticipating that it may be very different from what the couple may relay to Winfrey. The broadcast of the interview—the result of a reported two years’ worth of planning by Meghan and Winfrey—is being criticized as ill-timed given the illness and hospitalization of Prince Philip.Buckingham Palace declined to comment to The Times.The paper also details how Meghan wore earrings to a formal dinner in 2018 that were a wedding gift from Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who the CIA concluded last week had ordered the assassination of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. The dinner took place three weeks after Khashoggi was killed. At the time Meghan said the earrings were borrowed. “The duchess does not deny this was what she said, despite being aware of their provenance,” The Times reported.In a statement to The Times, a spokesperson for the Sussexes said of the various allegations: “Let’s just call this what it is—a calculated smear campaign based on misleading and harmful misinformation. We are disappointed to see this defamatory portrayal of The Duchess of Sussex given credibility by a media outlet. It’s no coincidence that distorted several-year-old accusations aimed at undermining The Duchess are being briefed to the British media shortly before she and The Duke are due to speak openly and honestly about their experience of recent years.“In a detailed legal letter of rebuttal to The Times, we have addressed these defamatory claims in full, including spurious allegations regarding the use of gifts loaned to The Duchess by The Crown. The Duchess is saddened by this latest attack on her character, particularly as someone who has been the target of bullying herself and is deeply committed to supporting those who have experienced pain and trauma. She is determined to continue her work building compassion around the world and will keep striving to set an example for doing what is right and doing what is good.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
For the first time ever, the celebrity dermatologist let a patient take a smoke break halfway through the procedure to calm down.
- Associated Press
The chief European Union diplomat in Venezuela left the country on Tuesday, a week after the government of Nicolás Maduro ordered her expulsion following the EU's decision to impose sanctions on several Venezuelan officials accused of undermining democracy or violating human rights. Isabel Brilhante Pedrosa tweeted a photograph of Caracas showing the mountain range that flanks the Venezuelan capital to the north and the message “infinite thanks to all Venezuelans for their affection.” The Venezuelan government’s action against Brilhante Pedrosa came after the European Union’s foreign ministers sanctioned 19 Venezuelan officials, freezing their assets and banning them from traveling to the bloc, citing the deteriorating situation Venezuela faces after December 2020 elections.
- Associated Press
A former Pakistani prime minister Wednesday defeated a ruling party candidate in Senate elections in a major setback to the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan, election authorities and opposition parties said. Yusuf Raza Gilani defeated the ruling Tehreek-e-Insaf party's Hafeez Sheikh, an adviser to Khan who was made finance minister in December 2020, an indication he will continue this position after becoming a Senator.
- The Independent
John Brennan says ‘there are so few Republicans in Congress who value truth, honesty, and integrity’
- Associated Press
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — “Trump needs you,” one fundraising email implored. “President Trump’s Legacy is in your hands," another pleaded. Others advertised “Miss Me Yet?” T-shirts featuring Donald Trump's smiling face.
- Associated Press
The Tesla Model S debuted nearly a decade ago and instantly portended the future of electric vehicles. Tesla’s continual updates along the way have kept the rest of the automotive industry in catch-up mode. Only recently has a model come out to rival the Model S: the Porsche Taycan.
Government ministers and officials were following Prime Minister Narendra Modi lead by opting on Tuesday for an Indian-made COVID-19 vaccine approved without late-stage efficacy data, instead of the AstraZeneca one. India's health, foreign and law ministers, and state governors, all flocked to Twitter to express support for the much-criticised Bharat Biotech's COVAXIN vaccine, after it was administered to Modi on Monday.
- Associated Press
In Iraq’s holiest city, a pontiff will meet a revered ayatollah and make history with a message of coexistence in a place plagued by bitter divisions. One is the chief pastor of the world-wide Catholic Church, the other a pre-eminent figure in Shiite Islam whose opinion holds powerful sway on the Iraqi street and beyond. Pope Francis and Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani are to meet on Saturday for at most 40 minutes, part of the time alone except for interpreters, in the Shiite cleric’s modest home in the city of Najaf.
A high-level Chinese study says a massive work scheme is reducing Uighur population density in Xinjiang.
CrossFit has publicly disavowed Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene over the Republican's previous support for QAnon and other conspiracy theories.
- WCVB - Boston
They all called on Apple to find a solution. But from Apple's perspective, one might not be needed because the phones can still work.
- The Daily Beast
GettyWhen Sen. Josh Hawley voiced his support late last year for giving millions of Americans $2,000 checks, he said he got a call from Sen. Bernie Sanders’ camp. What happened next was the formation of one of Capitol Hill’s stranger political odd couples, as the Trumpist Republican from Missouri and the Democratic Socialist from Vermont joined together to make a very public push for a shared priority.That partnership might have continued last week, with another Hawley announcement that put him in league with Sanders and other progressives: his support for requiring companies with revenues of $1 billion or more to pay their workers a $15 hourly minimum wage.But of course, something rather important happened since Hawley and Sanders first joined forces. The Missouri Republican was a lead endorser and amplifier of former President Donald Trump’s conspiracy theories that he unfairly lost the 2020 election—theories that fueled the deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob on Jan. 6. In a now-infamous photograph, Hawley was pictured raising his fist in solidarity with those gathered outside the Capitol that morning. When the Senate convened after the mob was cleared, Hawley was the only senator to speak in favor of objecting to the Electoral College certification.So when Hawley floated his minimum wage plan on Friday, no apparent public or private efforts to collaborate with progressives followed. There was no sequel to the fight for $2,000 checks. Hawley told The Daily Beast on Tuesday that he had not gotten a call from Sanders or any Democratic colleague about the proposal or spoken with any of them about it. Sanders, meanwhile, declined to say if he had even talked to Hawley, only saying in response to questions that Democrats had moved on from an effort to force companies to pay a $15 wage in their COVID bill. A source close to Sanders confirmed that the two men did not speak about the proposed amendment to require companies to pay a $15 minimum wage.Asked if Democrats wanted to work with him right now, Hawley said, “I don’t think they particularly want to work with anybody.”But that doesn’t appear to be so.Sen. Jon Ossoff—the Democrat from Georgia who won his race for Senate the same day Hawley encouraged the mob that attacked it—told The Daily Beast on Tuesday, “I’m not going to rule out working with any colleagues.” He said he’d be open to considering Hawley’s proposal, adding, “I’m encouraged that there is interest among Republican senators in taking action to increase wages.”Ever since Jan. 6, Democrats have contemplated how they could work again as normal with the over 150 congressional Republicans who voted to object to the 2020 election results and who spread conspiracies that President Joe Biden somehow did not win fairly. Relationships on typically chummy Capitol Hill have been strained, with flare-ups and personal attacks boiling over in committee hearings. Some Democratic lawmakers now keep lists of who they can work with and who they cannot, based on the votes that took place after the attack on Jan. 6.But Hawley’s case might be a unique test of the strained new atmosphere on Capitol Hill. To some Democrats, no other high-profile GOP lawmaker is more associated with the events of Jan. 6. Among many, particularly activists, Hawley is now firmly persona non grata—a contemptible figure who has fully earned himself a career as a pariah. “Josh Hawley has a lot to answer to,” said Joe Sanberg, a California businessman and advocate for raising the wage. “I don’t think he’s a relevant part of the conversation about the righteous fight for the minimum wage for 22 million people who earn less than $15 an hour.”But few, if any, occupy the space on the political spectrum that the freshman Republican has staked out—space that has situated Hawley to find, on occasion, common ground with progressives.In addition to the splashier $2,000 check campaign and the minimum wage proposal, Hawley has introduced legislation to require some colleges to pay off the debts of students who default on their loans and bills to rein in pharmaceutical prices. He has been an outspoken critic of Wall Street and corporate America, albeit from a conservative perspective, but in ways that found him occasionally hitting similar notes as some on the left.For many progressives who might be inclined to agree with some of Hawley’s proposals, wariness and skepticism about the ambitious senator’s populist overtures have prevailed. Many have noted that his brand of populism is animated by a nationalist, anti-immigration sentiment they find xenophobic or even racist; others simply don’t take his stances all too seriously.Show-Me State Tells Hawley to Show Himself Out, Poll Finds“I have always been immensely skeptical of it,” said Marshall Steinbaum, an economics professor at the University of Utah who focuses on inequality, labor, and antitrust issues. “It’s not a matter of making common cause with strange political bedfellows… I definitely take the view that having Hawley in some putative coalition discredits that coalition.”But other Democrats have welcomed the emergence of Republicans who could, potentially, help them advance the pro-worker economic policies they’ve been campaigning on for years. Clearly, Sanders previously believed that working with Hawley could help deliver direct relief to people hit hard by the pandemic. "We are working on bipartisan legislation," Sanders said in a speech from the Senate floor in December. "And Senator Hawley has done a very, very good job on this."Hawley, meanwhile, has been a vocal critic of the “radical left.” But when the partnership with Sanders emerged last year, he told reporters, “Hey, as I’ve said, I’ll work with anybody.”The senators’ efforts on stimulus checks prompted commentators to raise their eyebrows—at a “budding left-right populist alliance,” as The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent put it. Ultimately, the bill that passed on Dec. 26 fell far short of what the duo asked for, with direct checks of only $600, and a standalone floor vote on $2,000 checks they pushed for later was blocked by Senate GOP leadership. But that full amount will almost certainly come eventually, with the Democratic-controlled Congress slated to send out $1,400 direct payments as part of a new relief plan this month.The new round of relief was still an abstraction when Capitol Hill was ruptured on Jan. 6, the very day Democrats sealed the Senate majority. In the aftermath, seven Senate Democrats requested that the Senate Ethics Committee open an investigation to obtain a “complete account” of Hawley’s role, and that of Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX), in the events of the day. Arguing that they had “lent legitimacy to the mob’s cause and made future violence more likely,” the senators said the body to determine whether the Republicans violated the rules and therefore merited punishment—including expulsion. Sanders was not on the letter.In response, Hawley accused the Democrats of trying to “cancel” him and filed his own complaint to the Ethics panel about their letter.The Missouri senator proceeded to play virtually no role in the shaping of the COVID relief plan that developed after Biden took office. Most Senate Democrats have avoided declaring they will never work with him again, but no one is rushing to work with him.Hawley has nevertheless tried to get a piece of the ongoing stimulus action, especially on the minimum wage, which has become a key focus of the current relief plan. In addition to proposing a requirement for “billion-dollar” companies to pay a $15 hourly wage, Hawley rolled out what he called the “Blue-Collar Bonus,” a tax credit intended to give employees of smaller companies a way to reach the $15 threshold, at government expense. Critics responded that the structure of his plan would give companies huge loopholes to avoid paying a fair wage.It also explicitly excludes non-citizens and undocumented workers—a nonstarter for Democrats, and a sign to progressives like Sanberg that it’s impossible to take any good in Hawley’s proposals without also taking on the bad. “He has terrible judgment. He’s always trying to move to where he thinks political winds are—when you’re moving with political winds without any moral center, it takes you right into hurricanes,” he said.But Pete d’Alessandro, a former top Sanders political adviser in Iowa, said sometimes there isn’t a choice. “Are you not gonna work with every single senator who thinks we still need to look into the election?” he told The Daily Beast. “Because there’s more than Hawley on that. If you buy into what Congress is supposed to do, if you draw these buckets, there’s not gonna be a lot of people to work with, at some point.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
- The Telegraph
Data boost prompts calls for faster freedoms Schools accused of 'blackmailing' parents into testing consent Search 'closing in' on unknown patient with Brazilian variant Covid generation will feel 'glad' to have lived through pandemic Subscribe to The Telegraph for a month-long free trial European countries should "get on" with using the AstraZeneca vaccine in elderly people to save lives, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has said, as a new study found that a single dose gives remarkable protection. Adam Finn, professor of paediatrics at the University of Bristol, presented new research, not yet peer-reviewed, on people over the age of 80 which found that one shot of either the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccine prevented severe disease that would lead to hospital admission. The findings showed that one dose of the AstraZeneca jab was 80.4 per cent effective against preventing illness severe enough to require hospital admission. Urging other countries to use their stocks of the Oxford jab, he told a briefing: "The UK is well forward, this age group have been immunised now, we're down into people in their 60s, we've achieved 90 per cent uptake. "But there are lots of doses of AstraZeneca vaccine available in European countries, and they are not being given to people over the age of 65, in some cases in countries over the age of 55, for lack of data. "Well, here are the data. There are data from Public Health England and Scotland and now from us, showing that you can save lives in elderly people by giving them a dose of AstraZeneca vaccine. "And those countries need to get on and start doing that as fast as possible." Follow the latest updates below.
Myanmar's ambassador to the United Nations in New York has formally staked his claim as the country's legitimate representative while the junta seeks to replace him in a dispute that will likely have to be settled by the world body's 193 member states. Myanmar state television announced on Saturday that Kyaw Moe Tun had been fired for betraying the country, a day after he urged countries to use "any means necessary" to reverse a Feb. 1 coup that ousted the nation's elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi. But in letters to the U.N. General Assembly president Volkan Bozkir and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken - seen by Reuters on Tuesday - Kyaw Moe Tun said he remains Myanmar's U.N. ambassador.
- LA Times
When the 'Punky Brewster' star embarked on a new documentary, she found that confronting her past, including surviving sexual assault, was the only way forward.