Former CIA Chief of Station Dan Hoffman says ‘we still don’t know’ how much information Russians accessed during the attack.
- NBC News
"The situation at the border isn't going to be transformed overnight," a senior Biden transition official told NBC News in an exclusive interview.
After a probe found "significant errors of judgment and procedure" in the termination of the employee, GitHub's head of human resources resigned, GitHub Chief Operating Officer Erica Brescia said on Sunday. "In light of these findings, we immediately reversed the decision to separate with the employee and are in communication with his representative," Brescia said in a blog https://bit.ly/2KnkVhI, adding that the company apologized to that employee.
- Associated Press
- The Telegraph
President Emmanuel Macron on Monday hailed a major step for “enlightened Islam” in France after Muslim leaders approved a charter that rejects extremism and upholds the "primacy of Republican principles over religious values”. Mr Macron has been pushing for the charter since November after a jihadist killed a schoolteacher for showing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in class. He called it “a hugely important step” and “truly a foundational text in the relationship between the state and Islam of France”. “Everything starts now,” he told Muslim leaders after an Elysée meeting rubber-stamping the text. However, it received a sceptical response from some religious scholars and experts. The 10-article “charter of principles” comes after six weeks of sometimes fraught talks within the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM), an umbrella body representing Islam in relation with the state. Negotiations almost collapsed last month when Chems-Eddine Hafiz, the council's vice-chairman, walked out amid claims that Islamist council members were spreading falsehoods that "the charter aims to attack the dignity of faithful Muslims". Entente over the charter seen is seen as key to Mr Macron’s fight to banish a culture of “separatism” in French society, which is also the subject of a new bill debated in parliament on Monday.
- National Review
- The Independent
Bill Barr told Trump that ‘clownish’ legal team was lying to him about ‘bull***’ voter fraud claims, reports say
Relationship between Barr and Trump fell apart after Trump’s attention overtaken by election fraud conspiracy theories
- NBC News
The "avowed white supremacist and Nazi sympathizer" took part in the Jan. 6 insurrection, federal authorities said.
The officer who may have saved the life of Vice President Mike Pence could now be giving him the side-eye. The cop hailed as a hero for leading a crowd of insurrectionists away from the Senate floor and potentially saving hundreds of lawmakers’ lives has, perhaps, left the vice president on read. Vice President Mike Pence has reportedly reached out to thank Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman for his heroism on Jan. 6, but they have yet to connect.
- National Review
At the outset of the pandemic, the government undertook a deliberate effort to reduce economic activity in what was widely thought to be a necessary measure to slow the spread of COVID-19. Whereas most recessions call for policy that stimulates the economy, the COVID-19 recession called for the opposite — measures that would enable workers and businesses to hit pause until a vaccine or therapeutic became widely available. Now that vaccines are being administered, policymakers face a different challenge — not keeping Americans inside, but getting them back to work as quickly as possible. In this context, President-elect Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package misses the mark. The proposal gives a nod to public health — with $20 billion allocated to vaccine distribution, $50 billion to testing, and $40 billion to medical supplies and emergency-response teams — but fails to address the most pressing hurdles to COVID-19 immunity. Vaccines sit unused not for lack of funding but thanks to burdensome rules determining which patients can receive shots and which doctors can administer them. Additional spending to speed up vaccine distribution is welcome, but its effects will be muted if bureaucratic hurdles remain in place. Even if the public-health provisions were to succeed in reopening the economy, much of the rest of Biden’s plan guarantees that it will reopen weaker. For one, an expanded unemployment-insurance top-up of $400 a week would mean more than 40 percent of those receiving unemployment benefits would make more off-the-job than on-the-job at least until September, and possibly for longer. The food-service and retail industries hit hardest by the pandemic would see the largest shortfalls in labor, exacerbating the challenges they’ve faced over the past year. Enhanced unemployment may have been reasonable when we wanted workers to stay home, but it’s catastrophic when we want them to go back to work. Meanwhile, Biden’s proposed minimum-wage increase to $15 nationally would eliminate an estimated 1.3 million jobs, hitting low-income states hardest. In Mississippi, where the median wage is $15, as many as half the state’s workers would be at risk. A minimum-wage hike may be high on the Democratic wish list, but it does not belong in an emergency-relief bill. The Biden plan isn’t all Democratic priorities, though. He took a page from Trump’s book and proposed $1,400 checks to households, bringing the second-round total to $2,000. With household income now 8 percent above the pre-pandemic trend, additional checks would do little more than pad savings accounts. Indeed, 80 percent of the recipients of last year’s checks put the money into savings or debt payments, not consumption. The flagship item in Biden’s plan would do little to spur economic growth even on Keynesian assumptions. The same goes for state and local aid, for which Biden is seeking $370 billion on top of $170 billion in public-education grants. The total of $540 billion far surpasses the roughly $50 billion hit to state and local tax revenues last year. As we wrote in December, states and cities are slow to spend federal grants, so the lion’s share of this stimulus would not show up until 2023. Rather than attempting to stimulate the economy, Biden is hoping to launder bailouts of profligate Democratic states through COVID-19 relief. Other parts of the bill — expansions of the earned-income and child-tax credits — are defensible long-term structural reforms, but as year-long emergency measures, they will have the same muted effect as direct checks. By including a slew of proposals unrelated to the pandemic, Biden has weakened his hand in negotiations and made it less likely that urgent measures pass quickly. In the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic, economic policymakers rose to the occasion. Following an unprecedented external shock, the U.S. economy has emerged in relatively good shape, with less unemployment and bankruptcy than most feared. But the policies implemented to curb COVID-19 are not suited for what will begin to become, over the course of this year, a post-pandemic economy. Biden may have campaigned during a recession, but he is taking office during a recovery. He should govern accordingly.
- The Telegraph
Miners trapped underground in eastern China for more than a week after a blast at a gold mine have managed to send up a note to rescuers, the local government said on Monday. The blast occurred eight days ago on Sunday afternoon at a mine near Qixia city in eastern Shandong province, leaving 22 miners trapped underground more than 600 metres from the mine’s entrance. After a long period without any contact, rescuers were able to drill through the mine on Sunday afternoon and said they heard "knocking sounds". A note was then sent up from the trapped miners saying that 12 were still alive, the local government said in a statement Monday. "We are in urgent need of cold medicine, painkillers, medical tape, external anti-inflammatory drugs, and three people have high blood pressure," the note read.
- National Review
- NBC News
She displayed "a round metallic object later identified as a Military Police Challenge Coin" and said she was part of law enforcement, police said.
- The Independent
Care worker charged in Capitol riots investigated by FBI for trying to ‘steal Pelosi’s laptop and sell it to Russia’
Riley Williams intended the laptop to end up in the hands of Russia’s foreign intelligence service, former partner claims
Yosemite National Park officials are asking the public’s help for any information regarding a 41-year-old Asian woman who went missing after going on a day hike to the Upper Yosemite Fall last week. The woman was identified as "Alice" Yu Xie, a Chinese national living in the United States, according to a post shared by the park on Saturday. “If you were on the trail to the top of Yosemite Falls on January 14 or 15, 2021, even if you did not see this individual, or have any information regarding this individual, please call 209/372-0216 during business hours, or Yosemite Emergency Communications Center at 209/379-1992 after hours,” the park said.
- The Telegraph
Rainforest frogs have evolved to wave instead of croak to attract females as waterfalls are too loud
Rainforest frogs have evolved to replace croaking with waving to attract females because waterfalls are too loud, a study has found. Glass frogs belonging to the Sachatamia orejuela species choose habitats located deep in the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador because they can blend in to the mossy surroundings and avoid predators. However the croaking of the frogs is often drowned out by the background noise of rushing water, even when they are in close proximity to their potential mates. The amphibians have now evolved and developed new techniques in an attempt to attract females, with individual frogs raising their hand above their body while bobbing their head. This is the first time that waving has been spotted in place of the traditional mating call, researchers from the University of California found. The frogs did not maintain their habit of waving during the entire observation period, which was attributed to the amount of energy that the gesture uses up. Different species of frog in the Borneo and Indian jungles have previously been spotted dancing as part of their mating rituals, but this was in addition to vocalisations rather than as a replacement. “A handful of other frog species around the world use visual signaling, in addition to high-pitched calls, to communicate in really loud environments,” said lead researcher Rebecca Brunner, a conservation biologist. “What's interesting is that these species are not closely related to each other, which means that these behaviours likely evolved independently, but in response to similar environments - a concept called convergent evolution.” Ms Brunner said that she hopes the findings will draw attention to the vast diversity of species that inhabit the Amazon. “One of the best things about fieldwork is that nature is always full of surprises, you never know what discoveries you may happen upon,” Ms Brunner said. The evolution from croaking with waving can create an added danger of its own to male frogs, the researchers also discovered. “Presumably visual cues also increase predation risk, although their habitats are incredibly slippery and hard to access,” they wrote. The findings were published in the journal Biology.
- Yahoo News Video
The New Yorker on Sunday published 12 minutes of new, surreal footage from inside the Capitol during the mob rampage that left five people dead earlier this month.
- The Conversation
Many of the resolutions and executive orders Trump signed early in his administration reversed Obama-era decisions involving the fossil fuels industry. AP Photo/Evan VucciThe Trump administration dedicated itself to deregulation with unprecedented fervor. It rolled back scores of regulations across government agencies, including more than 80 environmental rules. The Biden administration can reverse some of those actions quickly – for instance, as president, Joe Biden can undo Donald Trump’s executive orders with a stroke of the pen. He plans to restore U.S. involvement in the Paris climate agreement that way on his first day in office. Undoing most regulatory rollbacks, however, will require a review process that can take years, often followed by further delays during litigation. There is an alternative, but it comes with risks. Biden could take a leaf from the Republicans’ 2017 playbook, when congressional Republicans used a shortcut based on an obscure federal law called the Congressional Review Act to wipe out several Obama administration regulations. Some scholars have called these 2017 repeals arguably “the Trump administration’s chief domestic policy accomplishment of its first 100 days.” Not surprisingly, there’s a lot of interest in having the new Democratic-controlled Congress turn the tables and use the same procedure against Trump’s regulatory rollbacks. However, this procedure is far from a panacea for undoing Trump’s legacy. Its arcane rules can tie the hands of future administrations without providing clear standards for how it applies, and it offers little time for deliberation. How Congress could cancel Trump’s rollbacks The 1996 Congressional Review Act provides a way of undoing new rules issued by executive branch agencies without being mired in agency and court proceedings. Democrats could use it to cancel rollbacks by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Interior Department and others. The Congressional Review Act applies equally whether a rule expands regulation or rolls it back. Within 60 legislative days after a new rule comes out, Congress can disapprove it using streamlined procedures. Senate filibusters are not allowed, and Senate debate is limited to 10 hours. Since only days Congress is in session are counted, the act can apply to regulations that go back several months. Once a rule is disapproved, it’s dead forever. It can’t be reissued. But that isn’t all. The act says no rule can be issued in “substantially the same form” without additional authorization from Congress. How similar does a future rule have to be before it becomes “substantially the same”? There is no definitive answer, so there’s some risk that an unfriendly judge might invalidate a Biden rule dealing with the same subject as a repealed Trump rule. Assuming the Biden rule goes in the opposite direction from the Trump rule, this might not be a major risk. But we can’t really be sure. Time and numbers Democrats may find some appealing targets for the Congressional Review Act. Just in the past few weeks, the Trump administration has adopted rules limiting consideration of public health studies to set air pollution limits, requiring banks to make loans to the firearms and oil industries, and protecting industries other than electric utilities from climate change regulations. These are only some of the last-minute efforts by Trump to sabotage regulations favored by Democrats. The number of congressional votes needed to succeed, particularly in the Senate, will likely narrow the list, however. The Democrats have only 50 senators, and they will need 50 votes plus Vice President Kamala Harris’ tiebreaking vote to use the act. Unless they can find a moderate Republican like Susan Collins of Maine to cross the aisle, they will need every single one of their own senators. That includes Joe Manchin of West Virginia, often their most conservative senator, particularly on fossil fuel issues. Congressional Review Act repeals also take time. Each takes up to 10 hours on the Senate floor. Senate floor time is limited and desperately needed to confirm Biden’s nominees and consider Trump’s impeachment. That’s not to mention a coronavirus relief bill and other priorities. This a strong reason to be selective. Is it time to repeal the act? Progressives view the Congressional Review Act as a remnant of Newt Gingrich’s “Contract with America,” designed as a conservative tool for deregulation. They also point out that the Congressional Review Act’s time limits on repealing a regulation and procedural shortcuts mean that there’s very little opportunity for congressional deliberation. As a law professor specializing in energy and the environment, I have studied Republicans’ use of the Congressional Review Act in 2017. My research shows that their selection of targets was haphazard at best, having little to do with the burdens created by individual regulations. Democrats may find that their selection of Congressional Review Act targets will be driven less by major policy concerns and more by the vagaries of swing voters such as Sen. Manchin. [Deep knowledge, daily. Sign up for The Conversation’s newsletter.] Given reservations by some parts of the party about the Congressional Review Act and how much else Democrats now have on their agenda, it seems unlikely that Democrats will use the act to the same extent as the Republicans did in 2017. Maybe if the Congressional Review Act is now turned against Republican policies after being turned against Democratic policies, we may start to have a healthy debate on whether this mechanism for congressional oversight is worth keeping.This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts. It was written by: Daniel Farber, University of California, Berkeley. Read more:Biden plans to fight climate change in a way no U.S. president has done beforeEPA staff say the Trump administration is changing their mission from protecting human health and the environment to protecting industry Daniel Farber does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
The United States has informed Germany that it plans to impose sanctions on a Russian pipe-laying ship involved in construction of the Russian-led Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, the German Economy Ministry said on Monday. "We're taking note of the announcement with regret," an Economy Ministry spokesman in Berlin said. German business daily Handelsblatt had earlier reported the U.S. sanctions would go into effect on Tuesday as part of the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).