Charges have been refiled against a Philadelphia police officer in connection with an incident involving a Temple University student during the George Floyd protest this past summer.
- Associated Press
The February storm is unforgiving, violently shaking the humanitarian rescuers’ vessel as they try to revive a faulty engine and save African migrants drifting in the Mediterranean Sea after fleeing Libya on unseaworthy boats. Not only must they brave 70 kph (43 mph) winds and 4-meter (13-foot) waves, but also win the race against the Libyan coast guard, which has been trained and equipped by Europe to keep migrants away from its shores. In recent days, the Libyans had already thwarted eight rescue attempts by the Open Arms, a Spanish NGO vessel, harassing and threatening its crew in the international waters of the central Mediterranean where 160 people have died so far this year.
- Associated Press
Zion Williamson scored 32 points in his first game since being named a first-time All-Star, and the New Orleans Pelicans beat the Detroit Pistons 128-118 on Wednesday night. Williamson had many highlights to enjoy against Detroit. One of his flourishes featured his throw down of Lonzo Ball's alley-oop lob.
- Yahoo News
Mitch McConnell: Nancy Pelosi's plan for investigating the Capitol attack is a 'bizarre partisan concept'
Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he’s concerned Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s plan to establish a commission to probe the assault on the U.S. Capitol would be overly “partisan.”
The first big real-world study of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to be independently reviewed shows the shot is highly effective at preventing COVID-19, in a potentially landmark moment for countries desperate to end lockdowns and reopen economies. Up until now, most data on the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines has come under controlled conditions in clinical trials, leaving an element of uncertainty over how results would translate into the real world with its unpredictable variables. The research in Israel - two months into one of the world's fastest rollouts, providing a rich source of data - showed two doses of the Pfizer shot cut symptomatic COVID-19 cases by 94% across all age groups, and severe illnesses by nearly as much.
- The Telegraph
The Northern Ireland Protocol must be abolished rather than tweaked, the European Research Group will urge the Government on Thursday. The hardline Tory Brexiteers will publish a report, seen by The Telegraph, urging Boris Johnson to overhaul the problematic protocol rather than work with the EU to amend it. It comes amid a growing outcry over bureaucracy and checks, required under the protocol, hampering the inward flow of some goods to Northern Ireland from Great Britain. The protocol was established to smooth trade friction arising from Northern Ireland remaining inside the UK internal market while continuing to apply some EU rules. The Brexiteer MPs propose replacing it with a “mutual enforcement” arrangement, via which both the UK and EU would agree voluntarily to enforce each other’s rules. This would see the UK apply EU customs regulations in Northern Ireland, undertaking checks “at source” in warehouses and factories instead of checks taking place at a border. The ERG’s 38-page report comes after Michael Gove and Maros Sefcovic, the EU Commission vice-president, on Wednesday night issued a joint statement declaring both the UK and EU’s “full commitment” to “the proper implementation of the protocol”. The pair’s statement acknowledged that “joint action” was needed to make it work, but their declaration of support for it disappointed Tory Eurosceptics and Unionists. A UK Government source was also downbeat on the prospect of a breakthrough over the issues surrounding the protocol, conceding “there was no real progress” made in the meeting between Mr Gove and Mr Sefcovic. The source added that there “seems to be a lack of understanding on the EU side” of the situation on the ground in Northern Ireland and how the protocol is impacting people’s everyday lives there. It appeared Mr Sefcovic has “not been given any political room for manoeuvre” by hardliners in the Commission and member states, the source added, saying the bloc appeared to have forgotten its aborted move to trigger Article 16 of the protocol last month. The ERG, which boasts more than 50 MP supporters, called in senior Brexiteer lawyers Martin Howe QC, Barnabas Reynolds and James Webber to help draft its report. Their publication, entitled “Re-uniting the Kingdom: How and why to replace the Northern Ireland Protocol”, argues the mechanism has “had a profound and negative effect” on the UK’s internal market, as well as the constitutional position of Northern Ireland. It sees the ERG formally join the growing chorus of opposition to the protocol, which has been led by the Democratic Unionist Party and other Unionists who insist it is unworkable. This week DUP leader Arlene Foster, the First Minister of Northern Ireland, and senior party DUP MPs announced they were backing legal action against it. She has said a “long-term solution rather than sticking plasters” is needed, adding: “Whether it is the flow of parcels, supermarket goods, chilled meats or medicines, from GB to NI, the United Kingdom single market has been ruptured.” Mark Francois, chairman of the ERG, told The Telegraph: “As this report makes crystal clear, from the viewpoint of the ERG, the NI protocol has to go. We’ve recommended an alternative called mutual enforcement which gives both sides what they need without infringing the sovereignty of either party.” He added: “We very much hope that just as the EU swore blind they would never abandon the backstop and then did so, they may yet abandon their adherence to the protocol as well.” Eurosceptic Tories were buoyed last week by Downing Street’s promotion of Lord Frost to the Cabinet to lead on the UK’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU, believing he will take a tougher approach to Brussels than Mr Gove, who holds the brief until the end of this month.
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.
Thai authorities are preparing a plan to ease restrictions for travellers vaccinated against the coronavirus, senior officials said on Wednesday, as the country looks to revive a tourism industry battered by travel curbs. Measures for vaccinated visitors would be introduced step-by-step and could include shortening the mandatory quarantine for all arrivals from two weeks to three days for those vaccinated, or waiving it entirely, Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor (TAT) Yuthasak Supasorn said. The tourism ministry has also requested 100,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine for tourism workers in Chon Buri, Krabi, Phang Nga, Chiang Mai and Phuket.
- Associated Press
When “WandaVision” wraps its initial run next month on the Disney+ streaming service, Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda will make her next appearance in the big-screen “Doctor Strange” sequel. It’s storytelling that determines how and when characters from the Marvel Comics universe hopscotch between TV and movies, Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige said Wednesday. “All of the crossover between series, between films, will always vary based on the story,” Feige said.
- Business Insider
A judge dismissed claims by a Capitol riot suspect that he shouldn't be held responsible because Trump put him up to it
Lawyers for William Chrestman, a Proud Boys member, argued that the group believed it had Trump's "official endorsement."
- Associated Press
Paul McCartney is finally ready to write his memoirs, and will use music — and a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet — to help guide him. McCartney, 78, will trace his life through 154 songs, from his teens and early partnership with fellow Beatle John Lennon to his solo work over the past half century. Irish poet Paul Muldoon is editing and will contribute an introduction.
- Business Insider
Donald Trump has fought hard to keep his personal tax returns, and the Trump Organization's a secret. The Supreme Court just let prosecutors get them.
- Business Insider
A preliminary study from Israel suggests people vaccinated against COVID-19 have lower viral loads, which are linked to less spread of the virus.
- The Daily Beast
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/GettyAs Donald Trump prepares to play the role of Republican kingmaker and continue on as the party’s hyper-spiteful, self-interested leader, he has been inundated with requests for endorsements—both from GOP stalwarts to help them retake the House and Senate in next year’s midterms and from prospective candidates looking to unseat or succeed their fellow Republican lawmakers. And of course, the ex-president has his demands and conditions.Once he and his remaining advisers start vetting conservative candidates or a possible slate of MAGA primary challengers in earnest, Trump has told several people he prefers to back candidates who haven’t ever conceded he lost the 2020 election, according to two sources familiar with the matter. If a potential candidate seeking Trump’s support has a proven record of saying Trump lost and that the months-long push to overturn the 2020 election was a mistake, that could be a nonstarter, the former president has said in recent weeks.Reached for comment on Wednesday evening, senior Trump adviser Jason Miller said, “No official criteria has been set yet for endorsements from President Trump.”Naturally, he also wants the Trump-approved candidates to make fighting election “fraud” a top priority in their campaigning, the two sources said. In reality, there is zero evidence that any of the widespread voter or election “fraud” conspiracies that Trump, his lieutenants, and much of the GOP mainstream claim occurred last year actually happened. After the election in November was initially and correctly called for the Democratic nominee Joe Biden, Trump, along with his lawyers and staunch allies, embarked on a long and increasingly authoritarian crusade to try to nullify Biden’s decisive victory and keep Trump in power. These efforts culminated in the bloody Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, when Trump supporters tried to stop Congress certifying Biden's electoral win. Trump’s role in instigating the mob violence led to his second impeachment.On the day and immediate aftermath of the rioting, various high-profile Republicans expressed disgust, with some openly blaming Trump for the violence and trying to distance themselves as quickly as possible from him. It took mere days for almost all of them to come crawling back to the former president, however, as more and more of the party’s elite realized that Trump’s popularity and vast influence in the GOP remained intact even after Jan. 6.And with his iron grip on the Republican Party all but guaranteed for the foreseeable future, the former president isn’t satisfied with simply remaining the primary driver of the GOP’s agenda and public image. He wishes to codify his anti-democratic “Big Lie” of the 2020 election as part of the official positions of his party, and wants to essentially make the publicly voiced belief of the lie a political litmus test. And so far, his party, as well as the conservative movement and right-wing media, are more than willing to help him do it, body count be damned.Trump Keeps Begging His Impeachment Lawyers to Push the Big LieThis week, the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) features panels on the usual right-wing culture war topics like “censorship” and “cancel culture”—but the spotlight at the annual convention is focused squarely on pushing the Big Lie that the election was somehow “stolen” from Trump with four separate panels on “protecting elections” dedicated to the conspiracy theory. The former president is himself scheduled to speak on Sunday, in a speech that his boosters are trying to bill as the big “coming out” for the next phase of his political life, and as a reassertion of his dominance in the GOP. According to two people who’ve discussed preparations for the address with Trump, the ex-president is planning to use his CPAC speaking slot in part to declare, once again, that he won the 2020 presidential election. (He clearly didn’t.)According to another source familiar with Trump’s upcoming CPAC speech, he will bring up the 2020 election as a way to also pivot to and discuss the crackdowns, restrictions, and “reforms” that he believes Republicans should pursue and enact ahead of the 2022 and 2024 elections.The panels at this year’s CPAC also include an appearance by Cleta Mitchell, a former Trump campaign attorney who resigned from her job at Foley & Lardner after the firm said it was “concerned” to learn about her role in helping President Trump try to overturn the election. Mitchell’s panel includes comments from Jenny Beth Martin, the founder of Tea Party Patriots, which the Jan. 6 “Stop the Steal” organizers listed as a partner in organizing the Washington, D.C., rally that led to the riot. The panel will address what organizers called the “Failed States” of Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Nevada—where, in reality, the Trump legal team and its allies failed to get the legitimate election results thrown out.CPAC 2021 Will Be One Big Lie Fest—and Fox Nation Is Sponsoring ItA separate panel on “protecting elections” (dubbed “Why Judges & Media Refused to Look at the Evidence”) features Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks, who spoke at the Jan. 6 “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington and urged “patriots” in attendance to “start taking down names and kicking ass”—comments which prompted House Democrats to introduce a resolution to censure the Alabama Republican. Brooks will appear alongside Adam Laxalt, a former Republican attorney general in Nevada and Trump campaign staffer who falsely claimed that immigrants voted in the 2020 election and sued the state to overturn Biden’s victory there.Matt Schlapp, formerly a top Trump surrogate and the current chair of the American Conservative Union that organizes CPAC, telegraphed that Trump’s election lie would feature prominently at the conference during an appearance on CNN this week and still clung to the myth of titanic 2020 fraud, despite prodding from host Chris Cuomo. “There was widespread voter fraud in the last election,” Schlapp said, shrugging off the dozens of lawsuits the Trump campaign and its allies lost.“Just because you fail in court doesn’t mean you don’t have a good case,” Schlapp argued.And as CPAC and its conservative speakers push the Big Lie down in Florida, House Republicans in the nation’s capital are finding it hard to avoid the claim, much less denounce it. During an appearance on ABC’s This Week on Sunday, Rep. Steve Scalise repeatedly refused to say that the 2020 election was not “stolen” when pressed by host Jonathan Karl.Last week, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, another diehard supporter and adviser of the former president, attended a workshop focused on training conservative activists to lobby state and local governments against the use and purchase of voting machines like the ones manufactured by Dominion Voting Systems. Trump-connected lawyers such as Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, and Lin Wood made Dominion the focus of bizarre conspiracy theories involving Venezuela and other alleged actors, prompting billion-dollar defamation lawsuits targeting several Trumpworld luminaries.Most of these Trump allies who’ve been getting sued or legally threatened by voting-tech companies lately were only doing what Trump told them to do.Polls show that Republican voters have increasingly embraced conspiracy theories about the 2020 election. A USA Today/Suffolk Poll published on Sunday showed 73 percent of Trump voters believe President Biden was not legitimately elected.That belief appears to be spurring GOP lawmakers to action, as well—not to reduce fraud, but to limit legal voting. A new study by the Brennan Center for Justice shows that state lawmakers have introduced 253 bills to restrict voting rights in 43 states since Biden won the election.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.
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.
Marvel Studios president hints 'we probably could' see characters like Jessica Jones again 'someday' in the MCU
"I'm not exactly sure...but perhaps someday," Kevin Feige said of the possibility that Netflix or ABC characters would enter the MCU.
- KCRA - Sacramento Videos
Crystal and Chris Jackson just received word Sunday night that their three sons are not allowed to attend Sacramento's Sacred Heart Parish School anymore, and they said it's all because of Crystal's online presence as a model on the adult, membership-based website OnlyFans.
- 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
Rival neighbors Pakistan and India have pledged to stop firing weapons across the border in disputed Kashmir, promising to adhere to a 2003 accord that has been largely ignored, officials from both sides said on Thursday. Since gaining independence from British rule in 1947, they have fought two of their three wars over control of Kashmir, which is divided between them and claimed by both in its entirety.
- The Daily Beast
Jim Watson./GettyLouis DeJoy had a defiant message on Wednesday for those craving to see him ousted as U.S. Postmaster General: “Get used to me.”The comment came after Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) asked the embattled U.S. Postal Service chief how long he would remain as Postmaster General—“long time,” DeJoy spat back—during a Wednesday hearing in the House Oversight Committee.That exchange was indicative of the entire proceeding, which was frequently chippy, combative, and fueled by Democratic lawmakers’ outrage over DeJoy’s handling of the USPS at a time of worsening mail delays and difficult questions about the service’s long-term viability.DeJoy’s crack to Cooper made Democrats’ blood boil even more. But he may have a point, at least for now: because the postmaster general is installed by the service’s board of governors—and not by the president—it means that President Joe Biden, or Congress, cannot fire DeJoy even if they wanted to.His removal would only be possible when Biden fills Democratic vacancies on the USPS Board of Governors, which has the authority to hire and fire postmasters general. Confirming those spots in the Senate will take time, though the Washington Post reported on Wednesday that Biden has identified three nominees to move forward.In the meantime, though, Democratic lawmakers are working with DeJoy on urgent legislation to reform the agency’s finances and employee pension burden, even while many publicly call for his resignation.To many Democrats, DeJoy’s performance on Wednesday on Capitol Hill may make that balancing act harder: they found much to dislike not only in what the postmaster general said, but how he said it.“I gotta say—I just don’t think the postmaster gets it,” said Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), a member of the Oversight Committee who questioned DeJoy on Wednesday about the agency’s delivery standards. “I think it’s time for him to go.”“I thought he approached a lot of our questions with that exact same attitude, which was one of sneering condescension,” Krishnamoorthi told The Daily Beast after the hearing, invoking DeJoy’s response to Cooper. “That’s not gonna fly, man. Not gonna fly.”Wednesday’s hearing was the second time in DeJoy’s short tenure that he has been subjected to a high-profile grilling in the House Oversight Committee. Shortly after taking the USPS’ top job in June 2020, delays and irregularities quickly began to mount—a particularly alarming development for lawmakers on the eve of an election in which more voters than ever planned to vote by mail.Biden to Nominate 3 New USPS Board Members, Opening Path to Oust DeJoyIn a contentious August 2020 hearing, Democrats interrogated the former logistics executive and GOP mega-donor on everything from cuts in overtime hours to the price of a stamp. Questioning from Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) produced a memorable DeJoy response: “I will submit that I know very little about postage and stamps.”By the time House Democrats called DeJoy back to Capitol Hill this week, their worst fears about the USPS delays’ impact on the voting system had failed to materialize. But they still had plenty of questions about DeJoy’s stewardship of the USPS: in October, the USPS inspector general issued a report finding that the changes DeJoy made to delivery schedules and protocol led to the worsening delays. Already battered by the pandemic, the USPS limped into a busy holiday season, and is now providing the poorest service that many longtime observers of the agency have ever seen.Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), a member of the Oversight panel, was a 29-year veteran of the USPS before she came to Congress. She told The Daily Beast after the hearing that she has never seen the service in such dire straits as it is now: “I don’t think we’ve ever confronted this,” she said.The unprecedented delays are happening around the country. In Washington, D.C., just 40 percent of all first-class mail arrived on time by the end of December 2020—compared to nearly 90 percent the same time the year before. Chicago residents are receiving holiday packages a month-and-a-half late. Lawmakers are inundated with calls and emails from frustrated constituents looking for answers; this week, 33 senators signed a letter to DeJoy asking him to explain the recent delays.DeJoy apologized for those delays at the top of Wednesday’s hearing. “We must acknowledge that during this peak season we fell far short of meeting our service goals,” he said. “I apologize to those customers who felt the impact of our delays"But Lawrence expressed concern about DeJoy’s forthcoming “strategic plan” to get the USPS through this difficult stretch. Though the postmaster general has not revealed specifics, he testified on Wednesday that he will propose cuts to delivery standards, including the standard that local mail be delivered within two days. Democrats believe that would be a disastrous move at a time when the USPS is struggling to compete with private-sector competitors, particularly if it is coupled with consumer cost increases, which DeJoy has suggested.“To say that’s what’s bold and needed… that’s not leadership,” said Lawrence. “He has to prove himself. He heard us loud and clear, that he needs to prove himself.”The Michigan Democrat stopped short of saying that DeJoy deserved removal, and told The Daily Beast that she and other Democrats are working with the USPS on postal reform legislation. On Wednesday, CNN reported that Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) was supportive of working with DeJoy to pass reforms.In the wake of the new political reality in Washington, the postmaster general has begun to attempt outreach to Democratic lawmakers. Lawrence said that during the last administration, DeJoy did not take her calls or respond to her—but after the 2020 election, they had a “cordial” call.Other Democrats see any charm offensive as too little, too late. Krishnamoorthi said he is supportive of working with whatever USPS leadership is in office in order to pass reforms, but argued that DeJoy should go as soon as is possible.Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), a senior member of the Oversight Committee, issued a statement after DeJoy’s hearing hailing Biden’s nomination of three appointees to the USPS Board of Governors—and explicitly stated his hope they would remove DeJoy. “These nominations are an important first step toward reforming the Postal Service,” said Connolly. “My hope is the newly constituted Board will do the right thing and bring in a new, qualified Postmaster General.”A majority of the nine-member board would be required to support DeJoy’s removal. Currently, there are four Republican appointees, and two Democratic appointees. If all Biden’s choices are confirmed, Democrats would hold a majority on the board.The Republicans on the Oversight Committee had questions for DeJoy about mail delays, but largely cast him as a victim in an anti-Trump Democratic crusade. Rep. James Comer (R-KY), the top Republican on the panel, compared the party’s concerns about USPS delays—and Trump’s potential role in those delays—to the Trump impeachment investigation he said was predicated on “baseless conspiracies.”Far-right Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), meanwhile, suggested that the root cause of USPS delays was actually the Black Lives Matter protests that took place over the summer, and read articles from fringe outlets like the Gateway Pundit to prove his point. And Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA) raised the unfounded belief in widespread conspiracies about election fraud while saying it was not time to get into “specifics.”At one point, tempers flared when Connolly said that Republicans who voted to object to the Electoral College certification on Jan. 6 had “no right to lecture” anyone on the dangers of partisanship.Democrats left more concerned about the fate of the USPS, however, than the state of things in Congress. “It’s not some theoretical concept,” said Krishnamoorthi. “It’s not some abstract issue, it’s real for every single one of us… I’ve gotta tell you, people are starting to work around the mail, which is a scary concept.”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.
- Business Insider
What we learned during the first major hearing into the Capitol riots. Plus, the latest on Tiger Woods' condition.