By Aleksandar Vasovic and Maria Tsvetkova ODESSA/SLAVIANSK, Ukraine (Reuters) - Pro-Russian rebels shot down a Ukrainian helicopter in fierce fighting near the eastern town of Slaviansk on Monday, and Kiev drafted police special forces to the southwestern port city of Odessa to halt a feared westward spread of rebellion. Ukraine said the Odessa force, based on "civil activists", would replace local police who had failed to tackle rebel actions at the weekend. Its dispatch was a clear signal from Kiev that, while tackling rebellion in the east, it would vigorously resist any sign of a slide to a broader civil war. Odessa, with its ethnic mix from Russians to Ukrainians, Georgians to Tatars a cultural contrast to the pro-Russian east, was quiet on Monday. Ukrainian flags flew at half-staff for funerals of some of the dozens killed in clashes on Friday. But in the east, fighting intensified around the pro-Russian stronghold of Slaviansk, a city of 118,000, where rebel fighters ambushed Ukrainian forces early in the day. The Interior Ministry said five paramilitary police were killed. Separatists said four of their number had also died. The sound of an air-raid siren could be heard in the center of Slaviansk, and a church bell rang in the main square. The self-declared pro-Russian mayor of Slaviansk Vyacheslav Ponomarev told Reuters by telephone: "(The Ukrainians) are deploying ever more forces here. Recently there was a parachute drop. ... For us, they are not military, but fascists." Russia's Foreign Ministry called on Kiev to "stop the bloodshed, withdraw forces and finally sit down at the negotiating table". It also published an 80-page report detailing "widespread and gross human rights violations" in Ukraine over the past six months for which it blamed the new government and its Western allies. CONCERNS FOR KIEV Russia denies Ukrainian and Western charges it is seeking to undermine the country of 45 million and using special forces to lead the insurgency, as it did before annexing Crimea in March. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said he feared neither side could now control forces unleashed. "I'm convinced we are struggling against a situation that has taken on a dynamic of its own. There are groups in eastern Ukraine that are not listening to either Kiev ... or Moscow." NATO's top military commander, General Philip Breedlove, said on Monday he did not think regular Russian troops would enter eastern Ukraine, saying Moscow could achieve its goals through other means. Breedlove told a defense conference in the Canadian capital, Ottawa the most likely course of action was that Russian President Vladimir Putin "will continue doing what he's doing, discrediting the (Ukrainian) government, creating unrest, trying to set the stage for a separatist movement" to ensure Moscow maintained a hold on eastern Ukraine. Ukraine's Defence Ministry said rebels had shot down a military helicopter, the fourth since Friday, with heavy machine-gun fire. The helicopter crashed into a river and the crew was rescued but there were no details of their condition. Diana, 15, who lives near Slaviansk in a single-storey house at the strategic junction of the road between Kharkiv and Rostov, said she saw Ukrainian tanks fire on rebel cars. A fuel tank at a petrol station exploded and fighters fired at houses. "My father was injured in the head by glass splinters. It's terrifying. There's just nowhere to live now. Everything is broken, our television, our computer; they shot at our car." The violence in Odessa marked a watershed for Ukraine. It increased fears that trouble could spread to the capital in the approach to Friday's celebrations of the Soviet victory in World War Two, an event that could kindle tensions over Kiev's relations with its former communist masters in Moscow. Over 40 people were killed in Friday's clashes, the worst since pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovich fled to Moscow in February during protests by Ukrainians demanding closer ties to Europe. Most were pro-Russians killed when the building they occupied was set ablaze by petrol bombs. It is not clear who started the fire, but Moscow accuses Kiev of inciting violence. On Sunday, hundreds besieged a police station where fellow pro-Moscow activists were held after street fighting that led up to the house blaze. Police freed 67 of them, infuriating Kiev. "The police in Odessa acted outrageously," Interior Minister Arseny Avakov wrote on his Facebook page. "The 'honour of the uniform' will offer no cover." He said he had sent the newly formed Kiev-1 force to Odessa after sacking the entire Odessa force leadership. The units Avakov referred to emerged partly from the uprising against Yanukovich early this year. That could fuel anger among the government's opponents, who accuse it of promoting "fascist" militant groups, such as Right Sector, that took part in the Kiev uprising over the winter. Alexander, a man in his mid-20s who said he took part in the anti-Kiev actions, agreed with Avakov that police had done nothing. "But this special new battalion, they're stormtroopers from Western Ukraine who'll be hunting our people all over the city." ODESSA'S ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE Loss of control of Odessa would be a huge economic and political blow for Ukraine, a country that borders several NATO members and aspires to join the military alliance, a primary source of concern for the Kremlin. A city of a million people, with a history as the cosmopolitan southern gateway for the tsars' empire, Odessa has two ports, including an oil terminal, and is a transport hub. Many on the city's streets were shocked by the violence. "People who brought this to our city were not and are not and will not be true citizens of Odessa," said Alexei, 40, an ethnic Russian. "We are Odessa, and this is a special place." Rabbi Fichel Chichelnitsky, an official with Odessa's 70,000-strong Jewish community, said: "I'm hoping these deaths serve as a stern warning to everyone that this is not a game." The chant "Odessa is a Russian city!" was heard at pro-Russian demonstrations through the weekend. Many Russians agree. Founded by Empress Catherine the Great, it has played a key role in Russian imperial history. Soviet film director Sergei Eisenstein set scenes of a massacre of civilians during a 1905 uprising on the grand steps that sweep down to the port. The images from "The Battleship Potemkin" are among the most famous in cinema history. Diplomacy continued over the weekend. Germany said on Sunday it was pressing for a second meeting in Geneva to bring Russia and Ukraine together with the United States and European Union. Moscow and Kiev accuse each other of wrecking an earlier accord on April 17. Berlin said it was doing what it could to make sure a presidential election planned for May 25 went ahead. "The election would be not just a means for stabilization but also a strong signal for a better future for Ukraine," Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said. He said a referendum planned by pro-Russian separatists in the eastern city of Donetsk, where rebels have proclaimed a "Donetsk People's Republic", would only increase tensions. Certainly, failure by Kiev authorities to conduct the election in rebel-controlled eastern cities would give Moscow grounds to question the legitimacy of any government emerging, just as it challenges the present administration. (Additional reporting by Ralph Boulton, Natalia Zinets and Elizabeth Piper in Kiev, Maria Tsvetkova in Slaviansk and Matt Robinson in Donetsk, and Randall Palmer in Ottawa; Writing by Ralph Boulton; Editing by Will Waterman, Peter Cooney and Andre Grenon)
- Yahoo News
Some of the House Republicans who supported Wednesday’s impeachment of President Trump are providing detailed explanations for their votes in the face of backlash from GOP loyalists.
The top federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C. said on Friday there is no "direct evidence" to suggest that rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol had formed "kill capture teams." The comments by Acting U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin appeared to be an effort to walk back claims federal prosecutors in Arizona had made in a court filing late on Thursday, in which they alleged there was evidence that rioters intended "to capture and assassinate elected officials." Sherwin said that his office is leading the prosecution effort, but as local offices help to run down suspects in their districts, there may have been a "disconnect" on the evidence obtained so far in the cases.
Bee Nguyen, Georgia's first Vietnamese American state representative, donned an áo dài to her swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday. Regarded as the most popular national costume of Vietnam, the áo dài for women is a long dress with a contoured top that flows over loose-fitting trousers that reach the sole of the feet. Nguyen, 39, decided to wear the garment in response to the Capitol siege on Jan. 6, in which rioters carried the South Vietnamese flag.
- Yahoo News
Some of the dozens of arrests tied to last Wednesday's attempted insurrection at the Capitol carried out by militant supporters of President Trump.
- Yahoo News Video
On the morning of Jan. 6, many Black Americans celebrated the news that the Rev. Raphael Warnock had defeated Sen. Kelly Loeffler in a runoff election to become the first African American U.S. senator from the state of Georgia. But just hours later, President Trump addressed a mass rally of his supporters in Washington, D.C., exhorting them to head to the U.S. Capitol to make their displeasure known to lawmakers who were set to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election. Black Americans share their reactions.
Bottoms is set to be vice chair in charge of the campaign organization’s civic engagement and voter protection. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has been nominated by President-elect Joe Biden as a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee. In the role, Bottoms would be in charge of civic engagement and voter protection.
- Associated Press
A friendly $100 wager over the 2020 Presidential election has landed in a Florida small claims court. Before the election, Sean Hynes, a Trump supporter from St. Petersburg, reached out to Jeffrey Costa, an acquaintance who is a Biden supporter from Atlanta. The deal was sealed on Facebook Messenger: If Trump won, Costa would pay $100.
- National Review
Senator Ben Sasse (R., Neb.) on Friday called for the rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol last week to be “prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” saying those who participated in the unrest that left five dead were “terrorists attacking this country’s constitutionally-mandated transfer of power.” Sasse’s comments come after the Department of Justice said in court documents that the rioters breached the Capitol with the intent to “capture and assassinate elected officials.” In a memo requesting that “QAnon shaman” Jacob Anthony Chansley be kept in detention, Justice Department lawyers in Arizona wrote that “strong evidence, including Chansley’s own words and actions at the Capitol” show that the intent was to harm elected officials. Sasse said it would be “wrong” of “rage-peddlers” to “try to whitewash the attack on the Capitol, saying that a few bad apples got out of control.” “Every American needs to understand what the Department of Justice has just made public: Investigators have strong evidence to suggest that some of the rioters who stormed the United States Capitol planned to kidnap and possibly assassinate the Vice President,” he said. “These men weren’t drunks who got rowdy — they were terrorists attacking this country’s constitutionally-mandated transfer of power,” he added. “They failed, but they came dangerously close to starting a bloody constitutional crisis.” He concluded: “They must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The FBI is investigating widespread calls for violence across the country and every American has an obligation to lower the temperature.” Last week, before the House impeached President Trump for a second time on an “incitement of insurrection” charge, Sasse had vowed to consider any articles of impeachment against Trump that came before the Senate. “The House, if they come together and have a process, I will definitely consider whatever articles they might move,” Sasse said in an interview with CBS. “I believe the president has disregarded his oath of office…what he did was wicked.”
- The Week
Less than a week before the inauguration, Vice President Mike Pence has reportedly called Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to offer his congratulations.Pence and Harris spoke over the phone Thursday, with Pence congratulating the incoming vice president and offering "his belated assistance," The New York Times reported on Friday and The Associated Press confirmed.This is the first time Pence and Harris have spoken since their debate in October, and the call was "described as gracious and pleasant," the Times writes. President Trump has yet to speak with President-elect Joe Biden since the election, having spent more than two months falsely claiming to have won.Pence may invite Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, to the vice-presidential residence prior to next week's inauguration, according to the Times, though this is reportedly not set in stone due to scheduling issues created by the ongoing security concerns following last week's Capitol riot.Trump is reportedly expected to leave Washington, D.C. the morning of the inauguration. The president previously confirmed he will skip Biden's swearing-in, but Pence is expected to attend.More stories from theweek.com Trump's vaccine delay is getting suspicious The worst-case scenario for America's immediate future 5 scathing cartoons about Trump's second impeachment
The man accused of throwing a fire extinguisher during the Washington, D.C. riots last week has been arrested. Robert Sanford, a retired Chester Fire Department firefighter, was arrested on Thursday and charged with assault on a police officer, among other offenses. Attorney Enrique Latoison argues Sanford went on a free bus to the rally for Trump at the Capitol, but he did not enter the government building.
- NBC News
Selena Roth, a 25-year-old Army veteran and spouse, was killed at Schofield Barracks on Oahu.
- The Telegraph
Wearing a giant furry hat, black leather jacket and a beaming smile, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un introduced “the world’s strongest weapon” – a new submarine-launched ballistic missile – at a nighttime parade on Thursday in Pyongyang. The display of North Korea’s military might followed a rare congress of the ruling Workers' Party, during which leader Kim denounced the United States as his country's “foremost principal enemy” and vowed to strengthen the North’s nuclear war deterrent. On Friday, the reclusive regime’s state media released 100 photos of a mass celebration of the national armory, including tanks and rocket launchers, all flanked by rows of marching soldiers, noticeably not wearing masks. Military aircraft were illuminated by LED lights as they flew overhead in formation. “They’d like us to notice that they’re getting more proficient with larger solid rocket boosters,” tweeted Ankit Panda, a North Korea expert and author of ‘Kim Jong Un and the Bomb’, as the parade unfolded in Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung square. As the spectacle reached its climax, the military rolled out what analysts said appeared to be new variants of solid-fuel short-range ballistic missiles – which are more quickly deployed than liquid-fuelled versions - and four Pukguksong-class submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs).
- The Week
Federal prosecutors in a new court filing reportedly point to "strong evidence" that rioters who stormed the Capitol building last week aimed to "capture and assassinate elected officials."The prosecutors included this assessment while asking a judge to detain Jacob Chansley, one of the men who was arrested and charged following the deadly Capitol riot, Reuters reports."Strong evidence, including Chansley's own words and actions at the Capitol, supports that the intent of the Capitol rioters was to capture and assassinate elected officials in the United States government," the prosecutors wrote.Supporters of President Trump stormed the Capitol building on the day Congress was meeting to certify President-elect Joe Biden's election win, leaving five people dead. Trump was subsequently impeached for a second time for "incitement of insurrection" after delivering a speech calling on his supporters to march to the Capitol building.The prosecutors in the filing reportedly wrote that the charges against Chansley "involve active participation in an insurrection attempting to violently overthrow the United States government," adding that the "insurrection is still in progress." They also revealed that Chansley, who was photographed wearing horns at Vice President Mike Pence's desk, allegedly left a note for Pence that warned, "it's only a matter of time, justice is coming," Reuters reports. The filing, Politico writes, "spells out clearly the government's view of an ongoing 'insurrection movement' that is reaching a potential climax as Biden's inauguration approaches." More stories from theweek.com Trump's vaccine delay is getting suspicious The worst-case scenario for America's immediate future 5 scathing cartoons about Trump's second impeachment
- Associated Press
An Arkansas man was accused Thursday of beating a police officer with a pole flying a U.S. flag during last week’s riot at the U.S. Capitol, according to court documents. In an arrest affidavit filed Thursday in federal court in Washington, an FBI agent said Peter Francis Stager is shown in video and photographs striking a prone police officer repeatedly with the flagpole after rioters dragged the officer down the Capitol's west stairs. Confidential informants had recognized Stager in riot video and photographs and alerted authorities, who have charged Stager with interfering with law enforcement officers during a civil disorder, according to the affidavit.
- Charlotte Observer
An Army private first class was arraigned on sexual assault charges before a military judge.
- Architectural Digest
When it came to the lighting in his home, Pardo drew inspiration from the insides of fruits, nuts, and seeds, as well as sea creatures and machine parts.Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest
An upcoming Netflix docuseries will look at the disappearance and death of Canadian tourist Elisa Lam, who stayed at the infamous Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles in 2013. The details: The docuseries, titled “Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel,” was revealed this week by executive producer and director Joe Berlinger, according to Variety. The series attempts to deconstruct what happened to the 21-year-old Canadian student during her stay at the Cecil Hotel.
The document first began circulating in March as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in America.
- The Week
FBI agents know that Proud Boys members were part of the pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol last week, and now they are investigating whether they had a role in planning the violence, people familiar with the matter told The Washington Post. The leader of the Proud Boys — a far-right group with ties to white nationalism — is Enrique Tarrio. He was arrested in Washington, D.C., two days before the riot, which took place immediately after a "Stop the Steal" rally attended by President Trump. Tarrio planned to go to the rally, he told the Post, before he was arrested in connection with the earlier burning of a Black Lives Matter banner that was stolen from a historic Black church.During a Wednesday interview with the Post, Tarrio said the Proud Boys did not orchestrate the riot. "If they think we were organizing going into the Capitol, they're going to be sadly mistaken," he added. "Our plan was to stay together as a group and just enjoy the day. We weren't going to do a night march, anything like that. That's it as far as our day."Tarrio told the Post he is also urging Proud Boys members to stay away from upcoming armed marches, including the Million Militia March scheduled for Inauguration Day. The group is on a "rally freeze and will not be organizing any events for the next month or so," he said.Federal law enforcement is split when it comes to the Proud Boys. Some officials told the Post they are nothing more than a street gang that was only put in the spotlight because Trump publicly mentioned them by name. Others view the group in a more sinister light, and believe it is quickly growing into a more dangerous entity.More stories from theweek.com Trump's vaccine delay is getting suspicious The worst-case scenario for America's immediate future 5 scathing cartoons about Trump's second impeachment
- Associated Press
A 16-year-old boy has admitted fatally shooting his newborn daughter and leaving her body inside a fallen tree in the woods in southern Wisconsin, according to prosecutors. Logan Kruckenburg-Anderson, of Albany, is charged as an adult with first-degree intentional homicide and hiding a corpse. According to a criminal complaint, the teen took the infant shortly after she was born Jan. 5 to a wooded area in Albany, about 80 miles (129 kilometers) southwest of Milwaukee, placed her inside a fallen tree and shot her twice in the head.