Politically Charged: Arizona officials create ‘fictional’ gang to punish Phoenix protesters. Originally reported Feb. 4, 2021
- The State
The preliminary data comes from Israel, which leads the world in per capita vaccinations.
- USA TODAY Opinion
The problem in 2020 was with the Republican candidate. That won't change in 2024 if Trump stays on top.
- USA TODAY
A pilot at American Airlines radioed Sunday that an unidentified object flew over their jet during a flight while they were over New Mexico.
- The Telegraph
Calm, controlled and forensic, Alex Salmond sought to finish off his protege, but it may well be voters who do the job
Anyone who has the slightest doubt that we are witnessing the gory end of a fairly spectacular political phenomenon, namely the double-act of Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon, couldn’t have caught even the briefest of snatches of his icily frank performance at Holyrood on Friday. It’s over and so, too, must surely loom the love affair that much of the Scottish electorate appears to have had with Ms Sturgeon over the last year. The diehards will stay but how can she keep normally non-nationalist voters, who defeated her in the 2014 referendum, and who’ve been won over by her daily television appearances in the battle against the Covid. And the polls suggest they might back her in an election in two months time and in any subsequent referendum. But Salmond said on Friday that Ms Sturgeon wasn’t fit to run an independent country and that she had, without doubt, broken the ministerial code about what they knew and when of allegations - which he denied - against him of sexual assault. He did believe that it was up to an independent inquiry - not him - to decide whether she should resign, but Salmond did rage against the fact that the Crown Office said that evidence could be published then subsequently said it should be ‘unpublished’. This was an issue that he believes should lead the Lord Advocate to ‘consider his position’, in other words submit his resignation. Salmond said he had been the subject of a ‘witch hunt’ by people close to the First Minister, including Peter Murrell - Ms Sturgeon's husband - who had been contacting people to secure allegations against him. And after a judicial inquiry into an investigation by the Scottish Government had found in his favour - costing the taxpayer over £500,000 - a senior government special advisor had told a colleague ‘We’ll get him in the criminal case’. Salmond said that the Scottish Government had delayed settling the judicial review, even when they knew they’d lose, in the hope, he added, that the criminal case against him "would ride to the rescue like the cavalry coming over the hill". In a display of all the forensic debating powers which once made him a power not just in Scottish, but UK, politics, Salmond sought to finish his former protege off as a political leader. He said that in spite of all the bad publicity the country had suffered in recent days. “Scotland hasn't failed, its leadership has failed." He said he wanted Scotland to be independent, but he also wanted it to be somewhere with robust safeguards where citizens were not subject to “arbitrary authority” . Wearing an SNP tie and lapel badge - he’s not now a party member - he kept mostly calm and controlled as he went carefully through a catalogue of what he said was a campaign against him. Nobody should forget, as Sturgeon will undoubtedly make plain when she gives evidence next week, that the root of this incredible saga was allegations of sexual assault levelled against Salmond - claims he denied - by two civil servants. And when members of the committee sought to question him about this episode he twice repeated the same mantra - namely that two judges and one jury had cleared him. He did urge the committee to continue to get agreement to publish the censored evidence but in relation to his main ‘target’ - his successor as First Minister - Salmond said that while he hadn’t made any allegations against others that he couldn’t corroborate, for that reason he hadn’t made any specific allegation against Sturgeon. However, in what sounded like a threat, he insisted that he was being prevented from disclosing evidence ‘way beyond’ what he’d so far been allowed to reveal. But a question remains at the end of all of this, based on the evidence we heard on Friday. Namely, can voters really continue to say they retain confidence in Sturgeon when they understand that what they’re backing is a government that is besmirching not just the good name of important national institutions, but of Scotland itself?
- The Daily Beast
TwitterSouth Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg acknowledged during his interviews with police investigators last year that he was reading political articles—including a conspiracy theory-laden piece about Joe Biden—on his phone just before he struck and killed a pedestrian with his car.Ravnsborg is currently facing three misdemeanor charges, calls from Gov. Kristi Noem to resign, and impeachment proceedings for killing 55-year-old Joseph Boever on the side of a highway last year.Ravnsborg, who was returning from a political dinner on Sept. 12, initially told police after striking Boever that he thought he’d hit a deer and eventually left the scene of the incident. The following morning, however, Boever’s body was found. In videos released this week, interrogators can be seen informing the attorney general last September that Boever’s glasses were found inside his vehicle, revealing that the victim’s “face came through your windshield,” contradicting Ravnsborg’s claims that he was unaware he hit a man until the next day.The newly released videos also show investigators going through the top attorney’s phone records and revealing that Ravnsborg was scanning through websites while driving at night, settling on one article in particular just before he hit Boever.“At 10:20:49, you were on the Dakota Free Press site,” one investigator told the attorney general, in a clip first flagged by Media Matters research fellow Timothy Johnson. “These are all on your work phone. A minute later, you were on the RealClearPolitics website.”South Dakota AG Jason Ravnsborg was reading Joe Biden conspiracy theories at John Solomon's Just The News website while driving when he slammed into a man, killing him and hitting him so hard the man's face came through the windshield. (Ravnsborg claimed he thought he hit a deer) pic.twitter.com/Lz9dWb7SBa— Timothy Johnson (@timothywjohnson) February 26, 2021 “And then, about a minute later, this article was pulled up through the Just The News,” the interrogator continued, referencing the site founded by pro-Trump columnist John Solomon.The investigator, meanwhile, went on to note that the article in question was “about Joe Biden and something to do with China” and that Ravnsborg was on that link up to a minute before the accident, further asking the attorney general if he remembered reading this while driving.Ravnsborg contended that he remembered “looking at those” but that he then “set his phone down,” prompting the investigator to point out that this activity on his phone occurred only a minute or so before he called 911 to report the accident.“So the concern being is that before the time of impact, there was a time period that went by before you called 911,” the investigator pushed back. “You had to realize what was going on, come to a stop, get your bearings back about you, get out and look at the damage a little bit, figure out what the hell is going on, figure out where you are, call 911.”“So it’s reasonable to say that a minute or two minutes passed from impact to when you were on the phone with 911, right? That would be reasonable,” the interrogator concluded.The article in question, meanwhile, appears to have been a Just The News write-up of a right-wing documentary claiming that then-nominee Biden and his family had a long history of self-enrichment in China. During the final months of the 2020 election, President Donald Trump and his media allies attempted to make controversies surrounding Biden’s son Hunter a focal point of the campaign.The interrogators continued to grill Ravnsborg on his phone usage during the time of the fatal collision. While the attorney general insisted that he didn’t “remember reading the article” and that he believes he set his phone down before hitting Boever, the authorities expanded on the article’s content in more detail and showed he clicked the link to it. “It’s about some conspiracy with Joe Biden in China,” one investigator noted. “I guess I would say I glance at headlines a lot. I don’t read articles while I’m driving,” Ravnsborg replied, adding, “I’ve never heard of Just the News.”Fox News Parts Ways With John Solomon, Architect of Trump’s Ukraine ConspiraciesSolomon, meanwhile, has been a major player in the pro-Trump media ecosystem for years now. Following a long journalistic career that included stops at The Washington Times, Newsweek/The Daily Beast, and Washington Post, Solomon became the go-to “investigative reporter” for Fox News host Sean Hannity, who repeatedly amplified Solomon’s questionable reporting on the so-called liberal “deep state” plot against Trump.After his work was slapped with the “opinion” tag following newsroom complaints during his time at The Hill, Solomon eventually branched out on his own, founding the right-wing website Just The News in late 2019. He also came under scrutiny during Trump’s first impeachment hearing, when it was revealed that he had been in frequent contact with Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Giuliani’s Ukrainian associates. The Hill’s editor-in-chief announced that Solomon’s columns on Ukraine, which helped fuel Giuliani’s Ukrainian dirt-digging efforts on Biden, would be placed under review.Solomon did not immediately respond to a request for comment on this story.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.
- The Independent
The attack was carried out on Iranian-backed militias
Villagers living on both sides of the Line of Control dividing the Himalayan region of Kashmir welcomed an agreement between long-time foes India and Pakistan to stop shelling from each side, but some were sceptical it would hold. The nuclear-armed neighbours signed a ceasefire agreement along the Line of Control (LoC) in 2003, but that has frayed in recent years and there have been mounting casualties. In a joint statement on Thursday, India and Pakistan said they would observe a ceasefire.
What Harry thinks of The Crown, what the Queen got Archie for Christmas, and other key information.
- The Daily Beast
Prince Harry Tells Friend James Corden He Left the Royal Family Because It Was Destroying His Mental Health
KOEN VAN WEELPrince Harry has said that he stepped back from royal duties because the British press was “toxic” and “destroying” his mental health.In an extraordinary interview unparalleled in the annals of royal history, Harry gave a candid interview to his close friend James Corden on The Late Late Show while they toured Los Angeles on an open-air double-decker bus. Corden was a guest at Harry and Meghan’s wedding in 2018 and arrived at the evening reception dressed as Henry VIII. Another guest at the wedding, Oprah Winfrey, has taped an interview primarily with Meghan that will be screened next weekend.Oprah Winfrey’s Interview With Meghan Markle and Harry Will ‘Shine a Light on What They Have Been Through’The two men were served afternoon tea, which Corden said he had provided to remind Harry of home, however the tea service was abandoned after the bus braked sharply, depositing the contents of a tea trolley on top of the prince.“Clear it up, Harry,” Corden joked as the prince picked up tea cups and scones.While the 17-minute long package had a humorous tone and was packed with jokes and gags, it also provided the most candid insight yet into why Harry withdrew from royal duties.Asked about his decision to leave royal life, Harry said he was left with no choice because the British press “was destroying my mental health.”He said of the “toxic” situation: “I did what any husband and father would do—I need to get my family out of here.”In what will be perceived as a dig at the royal establishment that refused to accept Harry and Meghan’s proposal of a hybrid public-private role, Harry said: “We never walked away, and as far as I’m concerned, what decisions are made on that side, I will never walk away.”Royal Family ‘Wringing Their Hands’ at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s ActivismHarry said that his life now would continue to be about “public service” and added that he and Meghan were “trying to bring some compassion and try to make people happy and try to change the world in any small way we can.”When Harry said he and Meghan often watched Jeopardy! and Netflix (with whom the couple recently signed a $100 million production deal) in the evenings after putting Archie to bed, Corden asked him about The Crown and its controversial portrayal of his family’s history.Harry, who joked he would like to be played in the series by Damian Lewis, said he preferred it to the tabloid media coverage of the royals because it “does not pretend to be news.”He added: “It’s fictional. But it’s loosely based on the truth.“Of course it’s not strictly accurate, but it gives you a rough idea about what that lifestyle—the pressures of putting duty and service above family and everything else—what can come from that.”He continued: “I’m way more comfortable with The Crown than I am seeing the stories written about my family, or my wife or myself, because it’s the difference between fiction—take it how you will—and being reported on as fact because you’re supposedly news. I have a real issue with that.”Harry also opened up about meeting Meghan and how he knew she was the one on their second date.“We hit it off with each other, and we were just so comfortable in each other’s company,” he said.“Dating me or any member of the royal family is kind of flipped upside down. All the dates become dinners or watching the TV or chatting at home.“We went from zero to 60 in the first two months.”Meghan, who is pregnant with the couple’s second child, made a cameo in the interview via FaceTime when Harry and Corden paid a trip to the house from the ’90s TV show The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.When Corden suggested the couple should buy the house, Meghan said: “I think we’ve done enough moving.”During the visit to the house, Corden and Harry spoke to the owner and jokingly made an offer to buy it, before Harry asked if he could use the toilet.“I’m actually dying for a pee. Can I use your bathroom?” he asked.Showing that family relations are at least still somewhat functional, Harry said his grandmother, the queen, bought his son Archie a waffle maker for Christmas.He revealed Meghan now makes waffles with a “beautiful organic mix” and they eat them for breakfast with toppings including berries and syrup.He also said that both his grandparents know how to use Zoom, but joked that his grandfather slams the laptop shut physically to finish a call.Over to you, Oprah.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.
Carrying a big speaker at protests that have rocked Barcelona since another rapper was jailed for glorifying terrorism and insulting royalty, Alex Reis hands the microphone attached to it to anyone who wants to make some noise. "I'm not here only for him, but for the right to express ourselves and because there's a lot of discontent about things that must change," said Reis, 25, referring to the nine-month sentence that Pablo Hasel began to serve last week. Hasel's case has galvanized a debate over freedom of expression in Spain, prompting the government to announce it would relax free speech laws that ban ridiculing of religious beliefs and insults against the monarchy as well as the glorification of armed separatist movements.
At least two political rights groups advocating democracy have quietly quit Hong Kong and moved overseas, unnerved by a national security law that has fanned fears over the erosion of freedoms under China’s rule, sources told Reuters. In the past, China-focused rights groups had valued the wide-ranging autonomy, including freedom of speech and assembly, guaranteed for Hong Kong when control over the former British colony was returned to Beijing in 1997. But some non-government organisations (NGOs) say the new legislation means they face a choice of either having to leave Hong Kong or work with the same kind of fears and constraints they would encounter in mainland China.
TikTokers tried to prove that snow in Texas was 'fake' as weather conspiracy theories ran wild online
From "fake snow" to Bill Gates, conspiracy theories about the Texas storm are spreading. Right-wing pundits and politicians aren't helping.
Katherine Tai, President Joe Biden's top trade nominee, backed tariffs as a "legitimate tool" to counter China's state-driven economic model and vowed to hold Beijing to its prior commitments, while promising a sweeping new approach to U.S. trade. At her Senate confirmation hearing to become U.S. Trade Representative, Tai also called for a revamp of global trade rules to eliminate what she called "gray areas" exploited by China and end a "race to the bottom" that she said had hurt workers and the environment.
- Associated Press
U.S. Attorney John Durham said Friday that he will resign from his position as the top federal prosecutor in Connecticut but is remaining as a special counsel to oversee the Justice Department's investigation into the origins of the Russia probe that shadowed Donald Trump’s presidency. Durham will resign from his post as U.S. attorney for Connecticut on Monday.
In Eilish's new documentary, the "Lord of the Rings" actor gushes over her music. After he leaves, Eilish asks her brother, "Who was that?"
- Business Insider
Merkel says she won't take AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine because she's too old, as 1.4 million jabs are left unused
The German chancellor said she wasn't eligible because the vaccine isn't approved for people over 65 in Germany.
- Charlotte Observer
ESPN’s Mel Kiper has the Panthers’ picking Mac Jones No. 8 in his latest mock draft. What to make of it.
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill are selling their private island in the Bahamas for $35 million, and it's an 80-minute flight from Miami
The country music couple bought the undeveloped island in 2003 and spent years building a house, beach yurts, and staff quarters.
- The Week
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) wanted to break the ice at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday, so he warmed up the Florida crowd with a questionable joke about his weather preferences. "I gotta say, Orlando is awesome," Cruz said. "It's not as nice as Cancun. But it's nice." Cruz was alluding to the trip he took to Cancun last week in the midst of a massive snowstorm plaguing Texas. Cruz's trip lasted just 11 hours, but the storm — which resulted in a yet-unknown number of deaths and widespread power outages — is still impacting Texans, making his CPAC icebreaker all the more unfunny. As of Wednesday, more than a million Texans still lacked drinkable water in their homes, with 1.2 million people facing "water disruptions," The Texas Tribune reports. Yulissa Gonzalez, a mother of three in North Texas, detailed to The Dallas Morning News how burst pipes have caused her apartment to flood and reek of mildew. Gonzalez is one of hundreds of people in the area still awaiting post-storm repairs, writes The Dallas Morning News. One plumbing company in Austin, Texas, has over 2,500 unfulfilled customer requests, reports the Tribune, and supply chain shortages have only made the increased number of requests more daunting. Cruz, for his part, did help pass out at least one case of water last week. More stories from theweek.comGOP lawmakers reportedly cite 'public health emergency' in skipping votes, despite speaking at CPACJournalist Tim O'Brien, who's seen Trump's taxes, thinks Trump's accountant will now flip in D.A. inquiryJosh Hawley, Senator No
- Business Insider
While Biden visits storm-torn Texas, Sen. Ted Cruz will be giving a speech on 'cancel culture' in Florida
The president is set to tour the state with Gov. Greg Abbott.