Alecia Reid reports.
- NBC News
- The Telegraph
The foreign ministers of Hungary and Ukraine were expected to meet in Kyiv on Wednesday for talks on repairing badly strained relations but Budapest said its diplomatic missions in the ex-Soviet republic had received threats of "bloodletting" violence. The two countries are at loggerheads over the right of some 150,000 ethnic Hungarians living in Transcarpathia in western Ukraine to use their native tongue, especially in education. Prime Minister Viktor Orban's nationalist government in Budapest has responded by blocking Kyiv's efforts to build closer ties with NATO and the European Union, of which Hungary is a member.
President Obama's former speechwriter says he's "preemptively frustrated" with President Biden's effort to find unity with Republicans.What they're saying: Cody Keenan told Axios that Biden's messaging team has "struck all the right chords," but at some point "they're gonna have to answer questions like, 'Why didn't you achieve unity?' when there's an entire political party that's already acting to stop it."Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.Keenan spent 14 years writing for Obama, including working alongside Biden for eight of those years. He acknowledged being embittered by his own experience, especially after Sen. Mitch McConnell pledged to make his former boss a one-term president. * "Until the Republican Party steps up and tells their own voters what's really happening with the truth, it's going to be elusive," Keenan said. "It's not up to (President Biden) alone to deliver. He can't."Keenan helped Obama with the first volume of his memoir, "A Promised Land." He stopped working with the former president on New Year's Eve and has taken a full-time role at Fenway Strategies. The firm is run by another ex-Obama speechwriter — Jon Favreau — and presidential aide, Tommy Vietor. * "It just seemed like a natural spot after the book and the elections and, you know, [Obama] is not going to do a ton, especially with Biden in office," Keenan said.Keenan is also writing a book, titled "Grace," about the 10 days from the 2015 shooting at a historic Black church in Charleston, South Carolina, to the eulogy Obama delivered for Rev. Clementa Pinckney. * Obama ended by singing "Amazing Grace." * The title also nods to Keenan's newborn daughter, named Grace.Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
- The Independent
Mike Pence is homeless after leaving office and ‘couch-surfing’ with Indiana politicians, report says
Mike Pence has been residing in public housing for the past eight years
A man in Portland, Oregon has been charged with bias crimes after allegedly kicking and racially attacking an Asian American woman last week. The incident, which left the victim with “some trouble walking,” occurred on a TriMet bus in the area of Southeast 52nd Avenue and Foster Road at 5:45 p.m. on Jan. 22. Eschright also allegedly used racial slurs during the encounter, mentioning the coronavirus in regards to the victim’s race and skin color.
- Architectural Digest
Let’s get loudOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- The Telegraph
President Biden's plan to replace the government’s fleet of 650,000 cars and trucks with electric vehicles assembled in the U.S. by union workers is easier said than done. Why it matters: The populist "Buy American" message sounds good, but the vehicles Biden wants are still several years away and his purchase criteria would require an expensive overhaul of automakers' manufacturing strategies, not to mention a reversal of fortune for labor organizers long stymied by Tesla and other non-union companies.Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.Reality check: Right now, not a single model fits the president's criteria: battery-powered, made in America, by union workers. * Tesla produces the vast majority of EVs in the U.S., and all of its models contain at least 55% American-made parts, according to federal data. But Tesla doesn't have a union and CEO Elon Musk has run afoul of federal labor laws. * General Motors' Chevrolet Bolt is the only U.S.-built EV made by union labor. But it's made mostly with parts imported from Korea. Just 24% of the content is considered domestic. * The Nissan Leaf, another popular EV, is made in Tennessee. But the factory is non-union and only 35% of the parts are domestic. "Made in America" itself is confusing, because current rules governing "domestic" content include parts made in both the U.S. and Canada. * Under the American Automobile Labeling Act, passed in 1992, every car requires a label disclosing where the car was assembled, the percentage of equipment from the U.S. and Canada combined, and the country where the engine and transmission were built. * The newly passed US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement adds another layer of rules about the origin of parts.Biden wants to change the whole system of determining whether a federal vehicle is "American." * Today, the government requires federal vehicles to have at least 50 percent of their components made in America, but loopholes allow the most valuable parts like engines or steel to be manufactured elsewhere, Biden told reporters Monday. * He wants a higher threshold and tighter rules that would directly benefit American workers. Be smart: It's all doable, but definitely not within Biden's four-year term in office. * "It just doesn't add up," said Joe Langley, a forecasting analyst for IHS Markit. "The product is still a few years away." * And replacing 650,000 federal vehicles with EVs would require an increase in U.S. investment through the whole supply chain, including electric motors, batteries and vehicles — all of which will take time, Langley said. * Union leaders are glad Biden is focused on the industry's future. "He sees new technology as a way to grow our industry and our economy," a spokesperson for the United Auto Workers told Axios.Some of that investment is already happening. GM, for example, is overhauling several factories to produce electric vehicles in Tennessee and Michigan. Ford will make its upcoming e-Transit van in Missouri. * But GM, Ford and Stellantis (the newly merged FiatChrysler and Peugeot) just recently committed to build more EVs at union factories in Canada. * And Ford is ramping up production of its highly anticipated Mustang Mach-E in Mexico. What to watch: There could be some surprise winners from Biden's plan. * A handful of well-funded EV startups such as Lordstown Motors, Rivian and Workhorse are developing plug-in commercial vehicles like vans and trucks — things that are often needed in government fleets. * "This could put wind in the sails of a lot of new startups," said Langley.Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.
- The Independent
Explainer: Why Trump's post-presidency perks, like a pension and office, are safe for the rest of his life
The impeachment proceeding against Donald Trump on a charge of inciting the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol has fueled speculation online that he could lose some of the benefits extended to former presidents. But according to legal experts, under the laws currently in effect, Trump will retain perks including a pension, office space and security detail even in the unlikely event that he is convicted by the Senate in its impeachment trial. Trump can thank a relatively obscure law, the Former Presidents Act.
- Yahoo News Video
China toughened its language toward Taiwan on Thursday, warning after recent stepped-up military activities near the island that "independence means war" and that its armed forces were taking action to respond to provocation and foreign interference.
- Associated Press
A Florida fire captain accused of stealing COVID-19 vaccines meant for first responders turned himself in Wednesday afternoon, sheriff's officials said. Polk County Fire Rescue Capt. Anthony Damiano, 55, faces a felony charge of falsifying an official record as a public servant and misdemeanor petit theft, according to a Polk County Sheriff's Office news release. Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said at a news conference Tuesday that paramedic Joshua Colon, 31, was arrested Monday for covering up Damiano’s theft.
The move could save the service millions of dollars and provide wearers with better protection in the field.
- NBC News
President Joe Biden vowed to ultimately put an end to private prisons, but activists says the move isn't enough to fully address mass incarcerations.
India said on Thursday it had curbed an increase in COVID-19 infections, with a fifth of its districts reporting no new cases for a week, even as its immunisation campaign has covered 2.4 million people. The country of 1.35 billion has recorded the highest number of cases in the world after the United States, though the rate of infection has come down significantly since a mid-September peak. "India has successfully contained the pandemic," Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said, noting that fewer than 12,000 cases were reported in the past 24 hours.
The aim control enhancer was once under consideration for the U.S. Special Operations Command's "Iron Man" suit program.
- The Independent
Biden’s new sign language interpreter runs a right-wing Facebook group and has been pictured in a MAGA hat
One video featuring Heather Mewshaw is titled ‘Joe Biden is literally and legally not the President elect’
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had hoped to declare victory over the pandemic before the elections on March 23, but new fast-spreading variants of COVID-19 have dashed those hopes.Why it matters: Netanyahu's main political vulnerability is his handling of the pandemic. He has acknowledged that his poll numbers will be directly connected to the rates of vaccinations, new infections and deaths, as well as his ability to reopen the economy.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.He had wanted to base his election push on Israel's world-leading vaccination campaign, which has already seen 21% of the over-16 population obtain both doses, including 70% in the highest-priority groups (medical workers and people over 60). * But Israel is also in the midst of its worst COVID-19 wave to date, with daily death tolls hitting record highs. The capacity of the medical system is stretched close to a breaking point. * Four weeks of lockdown have only just begun to slow Israel's rate of new cases, which remains among the highest in the world, adjusted for population. Israeli officials say the fast spread is due to new virus variants. * The government is likely to prolong the lockdown for another week or two.Between the lines: The infection rate is particularly high in ultra-Orthodox communities, which have largely not complied with lockdown rules and kept schools open even as they were closed elsewhere. * Netanyahu has faced harsh criticism for not enforcing the lockdown among the ultra-Orthodox community, which constitutes an important chunk of his right-wing political bloc. * When the police did attempt to enforce the lockdown in recent days, violent riots erupted in ultra-Orthodox cities. That only generated more criticism of Netanyahu. * A Channel 12 poll published on Tuesday found that 61% of Israelis — and 52% of right-wing voters — want ultra-Orthodox parties excluded from the next coalition government.The state of play: Recent polls showed Netanyahu's Likud party stable with 29-30 seats, with public praise over the vaccination campaign balanced out by criticism about the lockdown and rising death toll.What’s next: Netanyahu's broader political bloc is short of the 61-seat majority needed to form the next coalition. Without a positive change in the COVID-19 numbers by March, he will have a hard time reaching it.Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
Antony Blinken began his first full day as U.S. secretary of state on Wednesday promising to repair ties with global partners and show the world that America can lead, while tackling climate change, the erosion of democracies and other complex issues. Greeted in the lobby and outside by a crowd of State Department employees limited by coronavirus measures, Blinken, who served as No. 2 at the State Department under former Democratic President Barack Obama, was greeted with applause. As challenges he cited the coronavirus pandemic, climate change, the global economy, threats to democracies, fights for racial justice, and the dangers to security and global stability posed by rivals and adversaries.