Groceries were also provided.
- The State
Each tiny white dot is a supermassive black hole located in its own faraway galaxy.
- The Daily Beast
REUTERSBill Burns, the career diplomat tapped by President Biden to run the CIA, told a Senate panel Wednesday that his utmost priority as director will be to combat the technological and economic might of China.In a remarkably amicable exchange with the Senate intelligence committee, where controversies over intelligence failures and abuses have characterized nomination hearings for aspirant CIA directors since 9/11, Burns said the CIA would have to “relentlessly sharpen” its arsenal of digital weapons and its understanding of Beijing’s own.That and other aspects of Burns’ testimony received enthusiastic support from intelligence-committee Senators of both parties, which seem to have reached consensus that China seeks, as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), the vice chair of the panel, put it, to “replace the United States as the world’s most powerful and influential nation.” Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) mused that during the Cold War, the U.S. had “an organizing principle” that the current geopolitical competition with China provides.But Burns, a former deputy secretary of state and ambassador to Russia, also said U.S. rivalry with China was dissimilar to “the competition with the Soviet Union in the Cold War.” Burns defined U.S.-China competition as less of a “security and ideological” clash than one over economic and technological primacy. He spoke less of prospective covert measures against China than he did of providing “the best possible intelligence on the nature of Chinese intelligence and capabilities.”Whether the U.S. can avoid a cold war with a rising global power is a central question facing U.S. foreign policy at the dawn of the Biden administration. Biden’s stated approach thus far has been to pursue “great power competition” without the trade war of the Trump administration and with the prospect of cooperation on climate change. Yet there is also an appetite in Washington for a far more aggressive confrontation. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) urged Burns not “take the pressure off” China in order to reach a deal on climate.Sasse, Bennet and other lawmakers also focused on China as a way to imply the diminution in priority of the CIA’s ongoing lethal counterterrorism operations, something Biden has placed under review. There was practically no discussion of CIA counterterrorism during the two hour hearing. Two senators who have been relentlessly critical of CIA counterterrorism abuses, Democrats Ron Wyden and Martin Heinrich, usually the panel’s dissenters on agency nominees, both cheered Burns. Wyden noted Burns’ hearing was becoming a “full fledged bouquet tossing contest.”‘Financial Batman’ in the Lead to Run Biden’s CIAUnlike his predecessor Gina Haspel, Burns has no ties to the CIA’s post-9/11 human-rights abuses. “I believe the CIA’s former enhanced interrogation program included torture,” Burns affirmed in a questionaire for the committee.Notably, however, Burns did not turn a page on CIA counterterrorism, saying only that he would need to balance emergent challenges with “the continuing threat posed by terrorist groups, 20 years after 9/11.” He said those still at the agency who took part in the torture program would face no professional consequence. In the questionnaire, he stopped short of committing to providing the classified Senate torture review to Guantanamo defense attorneys representing people the CIA tortured. Wyden lambasted U.S. intelligence agencies’ purchase of commercially available data on Americans as an end-run around the Fourth Amendment. Burns pledged “transparency” over the purchases – but did not pledge to end them.Burns also emphasized restoring a respect for the “courage [and] expertise” of intelligence officials after the Trump administration persecuted whistleblowers, purged officials it considered disloyal and sought generally to suborn the intelligence apparatus to its agenda. He was not Biden’s first choice for the job – former national security adviser Tom Donilon declined it – but said Biden told him to “deliver intelligence to him straight.” He also acknowledged that he will not be Biden’s closest intelligence adviser; that will be Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, whom he called “my longtime friend and colleague.”As a foreign-policy traditionalist over his three decades in diplomatic life, one who held senior appointments under both parties, Burns was embraced as a signal of a restored status quo ante during a volatile period in American politics. His testimony followed encomia for him from two foreign-policy greybeards, George H.W. Bush Secretary of State James Baker and Obama CIA Director Leon Panetta. Baker called Burns’ nomination “a bipartisan no-brainer.”While Burns has been a consumer of intelligence rather than a producer during his government career, he wrote one of the most prescient pieces of analysis of the past generation. As the Bush administration was preparing to invade Iraq, Burns, as assistant secretary of state for the Mideast, wrote what has become known as the “Perfect Storm” memo. Burns accurately predicted in July 2002 that “a horrible wave of bloodletting and private vengeance” would result from a U.S. occupation. It was a warning to Secretary of State Colin Powell at a time when the White House disdained such concerns as disloyalty or defeatism and discouraged the CIA from producing similar analysis. Still, Burns did not resign when Bush invaded.“He is not going to try to impose any particular formula with regard to reform. He knows how to work with a professional workforce, having had a whole career in the foreigh service. He’ll be open to suggestions and initiatives from below,” said Paul Pillar, who was the CIA’s senior Middle East analyst when Burns was assistant secretary of state. “Ambassador Burns is, in my judgement, an excellent nominee for director of the CIA. He brings to the job utmost experience in what U.S. foreign policy most needs from the intelligence community: as a senior consumer at the State Department, he has an excellent feel for what the sorts of questions are that need to be addressed by the community.”During the hearing, Burns alluded to his 2002 memo with modesty. “It was imperfect. We got it about half-right and half-wrong,” he said. “But it was an honest effort to express our concerns… without that, policy choices suffer.”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.
Kaley Cuoco thought she was meeting with her 'Big Bang Theory' costars to discuss a 13th season - instead she found out the show was ending
The actress said she was "in a state of shock" when Jim Parsons said he wanted to leave the series, which ended the popular CBS sitcom.
The White House has 132 rooms and its own restaurant. Here's what it's like inside Joe Biden's new home.
The most famous home in America also comes with a movie theater, bowling alley, and underground bunkers.
- National Review
A federal judge on Tuesday indefinitely banned the Biden administration from enforcing a 100-day pause on deportations of most illegal immigrants in response to a lawsuit from Texas, which argued that the moratorium violated federal law and could saddle the state with additional costs. U.S. district judge Drew Tipton issued a preliminary injunction Tuesday, dealing a blow to President Biden’s efforts to follow through on his campaign promise to pause most deportations. The pause would not have applied to those who have engaged in terrorism or espionage or who pose a danger to national security. It would also have excluded those who were not present in the U.S. before November 1, 2020, those who agreed to waive the right to remain, and those whom the ICE director individually determined need to be removed by law. Tipton first ruled on January 26 that the pause violated federal law on administrative procedure and that the U.S. failed to show why a deportation pause was justified. He issued a temporary two-week restraining order, which was set to expire Tuesday. Texas attorney general Ken Paxton argued that Biden’s January 20 memorandum violated federal law and an agreement with the Department of Homeland Security that Texas be consulted before reducing immigration enforcement or pausing deportations. As part of the agreement, DHS must give Texas 180 days notice of any proposed change on any matter that would reduce enforcement or increase the number of “removable or inadmissible aliens” in the United States. However, the ruling does not require deportations to resume at their previous pace and immigration agencies have broad discretion in enforcing removals and processing cases. In the wake of the first ruling, authorities deported hundreds of people to Central America and 15 people to Jamaica. The administration has also continued deportations that began under the Trump administration due to a public-health law in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
- Business Insider
After suing Mike Lindell, Sidney Powell, and Rudy Giuliani, Dominion says it will go after others who spread claims of election fraud - and it's 'not ruling anyone out'
Asked whether the company would sue Fox News after Mike Lindell, Dominion CEO John Poulos said the voting-machine company was "not ruling anyone out."
India announced an expansion of its COVID-19 vaccination programme on Wednesday but warned that breaches of coronavirus protocols could worsen an infection surge in many states. Nearly a month after the health minister declared that COVID-19 had been contained, states such as Maharashtra in the west and Kerala in the south have reported a spike in cases amid growing reluctance to wear masks and maintain social distancing. India's infections are the second highest in the world at 11.03 million, swelled by a further 13,742 in the past 24 hours, health ministry data showed.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex say they will continue to support their royal patronages despite not being allowed to do so as royals.
Sacha Baron Cohen and Isla Fisher are one of Hollywood's most private couples. Here's a timeline of their 20-year relationship.
Fisher has said being with Cohen is like "winning the lottery" ... even if she has to deal with his many shenanigans.
- USA TODAY Opinion
'What you need to know is that my client believes he won Georgia, the Electoral College and the presidency. As crazy as that sounds, he believes it.'
A 22-year-old Russian social media influencer is facing heavy criticism online for posing naked on top of an endangered elephant in Bali, Indonesia for her 553,000 Instagram followers. Alesya Kafelnikova received backlash for the short video she posted on Feb. 13, where she was filmed lying naked on top of a “critically endangered” Sumatran elephant, according to The Sun. In a follow-up post, Kafelnikova shared an image presumably with the same elephant and said in the caption, “To love nature is human nature.”
Turkey said on Tuesday that four Greek jets harassed a Turkish research vessel in the Aegean Sea but Athens denied the accusation, which comes as the two NATO members seek to resume talks over maritime disputes. The Cesme research vessel started survey work last week in international waters between the two countries, prompting Greece to protest. The Turkish defence ministry said the four Greek F-16s approached the Cesme on Monday and one dropped a chaff flare two nautical miles from the vessel.
- Business Insider
"I don't believe [Trump] should be playing a role in the future of the party or the country," Cheney said.
- Associated Press
Twenty20 specialist Mohammad Hafeez has declined a central contract offer from the Pakistan Cricket Board. The allrounder “politely turned down” a contract offer in category C for 2020-21, the cricket board said Wednesday. “While I am disappointed, I fully respect his decision,” PCB chief executive Wasim Khan said in a statement.
- Associated Press Videos
The White House says it continues to stand by Neera Tanden, President Joe Biden's pick to lead the Office of Management and Budget, despite the opposition of a growing number of Senators, throwing her nomination increasingly into doubt. (Feb. 23)
- KCRA - Sacramento Videos
Zachary Simmons, the San Joaquin County corrections officer accused of raping and sexually assaulting multiple female inmates, was in court Monday. KCRA 3 spoke with one of the survivors who testified against him. See more in the video above.
'Superman & Lois' showrunner and star paid homage to the superhero's first comic appearance in the series premiere
Showrunner Todd Helbing and star Tyler Hoechlin tell Insider what it was like paying homage to Superman's early days in the comics and cartoons.
- Associated Press
Former Nissan Chief Executive Hiroto Saikawa told a Japanese court Wednesday he believed the compensation for his predecessor Carlos Ghosn was too low “by international standards,” and so he supported Ghosn’s retirement packages to prevent him from leaving. “Mr. Ghosn had outstanding abilities and achievements,” Saikawa said, testifying in Tokyo District Court in the criminal trial of Greg Kelly, a former senior executive at Nissan Motor Co.
Mara Wilson details the perils of child stardom and draws a line between her experiences with those of Britney Spears.
- Associated Press
Visiting Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has proclaimed his Muslim-majority nation a choice destination for religious tourism by Sri Lankans, most of whom are Buddhists. In talks with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Wednesday, Khan highlighted Buddhist heritage sites in Pakistan and stressed the building of cultural ties, the Pakistan Embassy said in a statement.