Rep. Diana DeGette's chief of staff details what the congresswoman told her about people storming the Capitol.
- The Week
The new Biden administration has yet not disclosed the secrets of Area 51 or explained what the Air Force really knows about UFOs, but it did clarify, at least, the mystery of the vanished "Diet Coke button" former President Donald Trump would use to summon refreshments in the Oval Office. The usher button, as it is formally known, is not gone, even if it is no longer used to summon Diet Cokes, a White House official tells Politico.The White House official "unfortunately wouldn't say what Biden will use the button for," Politico's Daniel Lippman writes, suggesting Biden might summon Orange Gatorade and not the obvious answer, ice cream — or, let's get real, coffee. What's more, there are evidently two usher buttons in the Oval Office, one at the Resolute Desk and the other next to the chair by the fireplace, a former White House official told Politico, adding that Trump didn't actually use the Diet Coke button all that much because "he would usually just verbally ask the valets, who were around all day, for what he needed."In any case, it is not the placement of the button that matters, of course, but how you use it. And Biden will presumably know better than to order ice cream treats during a top-secret national security briefing.More stories from theweek.com Democrats are getting Chuck Grassleyed MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell permanently banned from Twitter Josh Hawley knows exactly what he's doing
- Associated Press
The Biden administration on Monday suspended some of the terrorism sanctions that former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo imposed on Yemen’s Houthi rebels in his waning days in office. The Treasury Department said it would exempt certain transactions involving the Houthis from sanctions resulting from Pompeo's designation of the group as a “foreign terrorist organization” on Jan. 10. The exemption will expire Feb. 26, according to a statement from Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control announcing a general license for transactions that involve entities owned by the Iran-backed Houthis.
Pirates who seized 15 sailors when they stormed a Turkish-crewed container ship in the Gulf of Guinea two days ago have not yet made contact with authorities, Turkey's foreign minister said on Monday. "We have not yet received word from the pirates," foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters in Ankara. Turkey was in contact with officials in Gabon, where he said the Liberian-flagged container ship Mozart had docked with its remaining crew, and with authorities in neighbouring countries.
- The Week
In an interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Monday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said his caucus won't allow Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to dictate the agenda in the Democratic-led 50-50 Senate or demand an end to the legislative filibuster as a precondition for a power-sharing pact. "We've told McConnell no on the organizing resolution, and that's that. So there's no negotiations on that," Schumer said, suggesting he had a secret plan. "There are ways to deal with him."Maddow included an update when she broadcast the interview Monday night. "While we were airing that right now, and you were watching it, Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell just put out a statement that he is folding on this" and willl "agree to go forward with what Sen. Schumer told him he must," she said. "Sen. Mitch McConnell has caved and Sen. Schumer has won that fight. That was quick. Let's see what else we can do."> No sooner has the portion of Rachel Maddow's interview with Senator Majority Leader Chuck Schumer aired than Mitch McConnell has put out a statement that he is folding, ending the stand-off. pic.twitter.com/9qR1jpKXkf> > -- Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) January 26, 2021McConnell said he would allow the Senate to move forward because two Democrats had reiterated their opposition to ending the filibuster, effectively taking that option off the table. Maddow asked Schumer about that, too, and he didn't answer directly."The caucus is united with the belief that I have: We must get big, strong, bold things done," Schumer said. The Democratic caucus is also "totally united" that "we will not let Mitch McConnell dictate to us what we will do and not do," and "we have tools that we can use," notably the budget reconciliation process," he added. "We will come together as a caucus and figure it out."> "We will not let Mitch McConnell dictate to us what we will do and not do." Here's Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer earlier in his interview with Rachel Maddow, talking about the filibuster specifically, and getting things done. pic.twitter.com/xOAKWfe2Fu> > -- Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) January 26, 2021Schumer also suggested he is not interested in playing cat-and-mouse with McConnell's Republicans again. Watch below. > "We will not repeat that mistake." Senate Majority Leader Schumer cites Obama era lessons in prioritizing legislation over bad faith Republican 'bipartisanship.' pic.twitter.com/gpc1kBP45w> > -- Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) January 26, 2021More stories from theweek.com Democrats are getting Chuck Grassleyed Biden did not, in fact, remove Trump's 'Diet Coke button' from the Resolute Desk, White House clarifies MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell permanently banned from Twitter
- Los Angeles Times Opinion
- Associated Press
Five days into her new role, Jill Biden signaled Monday that she'll be a more active first lady, with a trio of virtual appearances before governors' spouses, young Latinos and library officials. Jill Biden's early moves seemed designed to signal that she intends to be more active than her predecessor, Melania Trump. Mrs. Trump often allowed weeks to pass between her public appearances.
- The Telegraph
A Texan teenager who tipped off the FBI about his father's alleged involvement in the Capitol riots said he would "do it again", despite claiming his father threatened to shoot him for being a "traitor". Jackson Reffitt, 18, said he felt a moral obligation to report his father to the authorities after watching him participate in the violent riots on live TV. His father, Guy, 48, was arrested at his home in Wylie, Texas on January 16 and faces charges of obstruction of justice and knowingly entering a restricted building. According to court documents, Mr Reffitt had allegedly threatened his wife and children, saying: “If you turn me in, you’re a traitor and you know what happens to traitors … traitors get shot”. The younger Mr Reffitt said he was "afraid" of what his father might think of him, but told local station Fox 4 that he had acted according to his "moral compass".
Britain will be able to work with the European Union to ensure there is no disruption to vaccine supplies, Health Minister Matt Hancock said on Tuesday, arguing protectionism was not right during a pandemic. German Health Minister Jens Spahn earlier said he backed proposals to restrict vaccines leaving the EU, saying Europe should have its "fair share". The European Commission later said it had no plans to impose an export ban, explaining its proposal would require firms to register vaccine exports.
- FOX News Videos
Biden administration has system in place where reporters will not ask president tough questions: Media critic
Steve Krakauer, editor at Fourth Watch, says 'it shouldn't be contingent' on one reporter to ask Biden tough questions.
- Associated Press
President Joe Biden has brought back Dr. Kevin O'Connor as his physician, replacing President Donald Trump's doctor with the one who oversaw his care when he was vice president. The White House confirmed that Dr. Sean Conley, the Navy commander who served as the head of the White House Medical Unit under Trump and oversaw his treatment when he was hospitalized with COVID-19, will assume a teaching role at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. O'Connor, a retired Army colonel, was Biden's doctor during his entire tenure as vice president, having remained in the role at Biden's request.
- The Telegraph
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has announced the establishment of its embassy in Tel Aviv as the US national security advisor announced that America hopes to build “on the success of Israel’s normalisation agreements” under the Biden administration. The UAE cabinet decision to approve establishing the embassy comes after they signed the Abraham Accords in September, becoming the first Gulf state to establish a full diplomatic relationship with Israel. No further details about the embassy were given in UAE media. While Israel’s government recognises Jerusalem as its capital, the international community does not, with Palestinians claiming East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state. Most countries base their embassies in Tel Aviv. Before the deal, Israel only had peace deals with only two Arab countries, Egypt and Jordan - where it has fortified embassies. Most Arab countries had previously refrained from recognising Israel, believing that recognition should only be granted if serious concessions are made in the Palestinian peace process. Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco later agreed to follow in the UAE’s footsteps and normalise ties with Israel under US-brokered deals.
- Associated Press
A federal judge on Sunday blocked the release of a Tennessee man who authorities say carried flexible plastic handcuffs during the riot at the U.S. Capitol earlier this month. U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell for the District of Columbia set aside an order by a judge in Tennessee concerning the release of Eric Munchel of Nashville. After testimony at a detention hearing, U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Frensley for the Middle District of Tennessee determined Friday that Munchel wasn’t a flight risk and didn’t pose harm to the public.
Vigorous efforts are needed for Russia and the United States to reach a deal on extending the New START nuclear arms control pact before it expires next month, the Kremlin said on Tuesday. New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty), which was signed in 2010 and is set to expire on Feb. 5, limits the numbers of strategic nuclear warheads, missiles and bombers that Russia and the United States can deploy.
- The Telegraph
Indian and Chinese soldiers armed with sticks and stones have brawled again along their disputed frontier, Delhi said, as the neighbours' months-long border stand-off continued. Indian security officials said there were clashes after at least 18 Chinese soldiers tried to cross into Indian-claimed territory at Naku La in Sikkim on January 20. Soldiers on both sides were carrying firearms, but did not use them. A senior Indian Army official told the Telegraph that four Indian soldiers were wounded after they challenged the Chinese PLA soldiers. All four Indian wounded had been hospitalised, and their condition was described as stable. The officer said the number of injured Chinese was “in double figures”. An official army statement gave few details, describing the clash as a minor stand-off and saying it had been "resolved by local commanders as per established protocols". The military asked journalists "to refrain from overplaying or exaggerating" the incident. Zhao Lijian, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, urged India "not to take any unilateral action that may further complicate or exacerbate the border tension." Yet an opinion piece in China's Global Times, a hawkish state-owned tabloid, said the reports were false and blamed Indian rumour-mongering. Tensions have been high since May when deadly clashes erupted high in the Karakoram mountains along the poorly defined frontier between the rivals. Both sides have mobilized tens of thousands of soldiers, artillery and fighter aircraft along the fiercely contested border known as the Line of Actual Control, or LAC, that separates Chinese and Indian-held territories from Ladakh in the west to India's eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims in its entirety. May's brawl exploded into hand-to-hand combat with clubs, stones and fists on June 15 that left 20 Indian soldiers dead. China is believed to also have had casualties, but has not given any details. Indian and Chinese army commanders met for the ninth round of talks after a gap of two-and-a-half months in Ladakh on Sunday but neither side released any details of the outcome.
- Associated Press
A group of U.N experts has criticized Sri Lanka's requirement that those who die of COVID-19 be cremated, even it goes against a family's religious beliefs, and warned that decisions based on “discrimination and aggressive nationalism” could incite hatred and violence. The experts, who are part of the Special Procedures of the U.N Human Rights Council, said in a statement Monday that rule amounts to a human rights violation. “We deplore the implementation of such public health decisions based on discrimination, aggressive nationalism and ethnocentrism amounting to persecution of Muslims and other minorities in the country,” the experts said.
- The Independent
Biden officials struggle to understand why doses have not been administered, says report, as president promises to ramp-up vaccination rate
AstraZeneca is not doing enough to try to resolve a dispute over delayed COVID-19 vaccine deliveries to the European Union, the bloc's top health official said on Monday, as news emerged the drugmaker is also facing supply problems elsewhere. In a sign of the EU's frustration - after Pfizer also announced a temporary slowdown in vaccine supplies earlier in January - EU health commissioner Stella Kyriakides proposed forcing drugmakers to register in advance their COVID-19 vaccine exports, so the bloc can keep track of what they are doing. AstraZeneca, which developed its shot with Oxford University, told the EU on Friday it could not meet agreed supply targets up to the end of March.
- The Telegraph
The Chinese president, Xi Jinping, has called on Joe Biden to end America's trade war against Beijing, warning against "a new Cold War". In his first speech since Mr Biden entered the White House five days ago, Mr Xi gave a thinly-veiled message to the new US leader to abandon the bellicose stance of his predecessor, Donald Trump. Mr Xi made his comments at a meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, in a speech that could set the tone for relations between Washington and Beijing for the next four years. "To build small cliques or start a new Cold War, to reject, threaten or intimidate others... will only push the world into division," Mr Xi said. While Mr Xi did not mention either Mr Biden or Mr Trump by name, his comments were clearly addressing the hostile relationship that developed between America and Washington during Trump years. In that time, Mr Trump slapped hefty import tariffs on Chinese goods, claiming that unfair trading practices were to blame for the loss of millions of US manufacturing jobs. While Mr Biden has pledged to end Mr Trump's "isolationist" approach to Beijing, he too has said that the US must remain "tough with China", and has accused Beijing of intellectual property theft and giving unfair subsidies to state-owned exporters. Instead, he wants a more unified diplomatic strategy, roping in European nations to pile pressure on Beijing. He also intends to step up criticism of China over its treatment of Uighur Muslims and its new security laws imposed on Hong Kong. Mr Xi, however, said China would not take kindly to either lecturing or sanctions over its human rights record or trade policies. "We should respect and accommodate differences, avoid meddling in other countries' internal affairs and resolve disagreements through consultation and dialogue," he said. "The misguided approach of antagonism and confrontation, be it in the form of cold war, hot war, trade war or tech war, will eventually hurt all countries' interests." Mr Xi expressed confidence that the world would eventually recover from the Covid 19 crisis, which had plunged it into its worst recession since World War II. But in an apparent signal of his view of China's new place in the global order, he stressed: "The world will not go back to the way it was in the past." While he said that Beijing was a supporter of multilateralism - a policy Donald Trump conspicuously abandoned - he envisaged it as a partnership of equals rather than one in which any nation was "superior" to another. Mr Biden is not due to speak at Davos, which is being held as an online summit because of the Covid outbreak. His US climate envoy, John Kerry, is due to address the event instead.
- Associated Press
An Iranian-American has been sentenced to prison on spying charges, Iran's judiciary reported Tuesday, the latest dual national held in the country amid tensions with the West. Iran's judiciary did not name the man sentenced, but said he had been free on bail and re-arrested while trying to flee the country. Many prisoners in Iran have been out on bail amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in the country.
- National Review
A surge of student suicides in the Clark County school district in Nevada is driving the district to reopen for in-person learning, The New York Times reported on Sunday. The coronavirus pandemic forced the mass closure of schools across the country in March 2020, and school districts have struggled to return to in-person learning. The nation’s largest district, New York City public schools, delayed its reopening for weeks in September 2020, while the January 2021 opening of Chicago public schools, the third-largest district, is proceeding in fits and starts. A petition to open Los Angeles County schools, the second-largest district, was rejected on Thursday by the California Supreme Court. The Clark County district, the fifth-largest in the U.S. and encompassing the city of Las Vegas, decided to reopen as much as possible this month after 18 students committed suicide in the months since the pandemic began. That is double the nine suicides recorded by the district in all of 2019. “When we started to see the uptick in children taking their lives, we knew it wasn’t just the Covid numbers we need to look at anymore,” Clark County superintendent Jesus Clark told the Times. “We have to find a way to put our hands on our kids, to see them, to look at them. They’ve got to start seeing some movement, some hope.” It is difficult to establish a clear link between school closures and an increase in suicides, in part because nationwide data on suicides in 2020 has yet to be compiled. However, former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention head Robert Redfield warned in July that an increase in suicides could be one of the consequences of extended school closures. “I don’t think as many parents realize what I’ve tried to say…is there really have been substantial public health negative consequences for children not being in school,” Redfield said during a telebriefing on school reopenings. “We have seen, obviously, increases in adolescent suicide” as well as higher use of drugs.”