Search efforts in Petrinja, Croatia, continued well into the night after a powerful earthquake killed at least six people in central Croatia.
- 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.comSarah Huckabee Sanders' shameless campaign for governorChuck Schumer tried to unseat Susan Collins, and now it's personalDemocrats are getting Chuck Grassleyed
- NBC News
- Associated Press
Immigrant rights activists energized by a new Democratic administration and majorities on Capitol Hill are gearing up for a fresh political battle to push through a proposed bill from President Joe Biden that would open a pathway to citizenship for up to 11 million people. The multimillion-dollar #WeAreHome campaign was launched Monday by national groups including United We Dream and the United Farm Workers Foundation. “We are home,” a young woman's voice declares in the first video spot showing immigrants in essential jobs such as cleaning and health care.
The Biden administration will purchase 200 million more coronavirus vaccines and funnel more to states now, in a bid to deliver on the U.S. president's promise to curb the pandemic, a senior administration official said on Tuesday. Biden, who took office last week, is in a race to contain the virus as faster-spreading variants threaten to increase the death toll across the United States, which has already been hard-hit. The administration is briefing state governors on Tuesday about its plans to increase the amount of the vaccine going to those local governments to 10 million doses per week for the next three weeks, up from 8.6 million currently, according to the official who declined to be named, who previewed a policy the president has not yet discussed.
- 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, 2021 McConnell 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, 2021 Schumer 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, 2021 More stories from theweek.comSarah Huckabee Sanders' shameless campaign for governorChuck Schumer tried to unseat Susan Collins, and now it's personalDemocrats are getting Chuck Grassleyed
- The Telegraph
An Iranian-American has been sentenced by Iran to 10 years in prison on spying charges, despite his family alleging he never had a trial or an opportunity to defend himself, becoming the latest dual national held in the country amid tensions with the West. A family spokesman confirmed the sentencing of Emad Shargi. Iran's judiciary acknowledged the sentence without naming him or saying how many years in prison he'd face. Mr Shargi's case represents the first to land publicly on the administration of Joe Biden. Mr Biden has expressed a willingness to re-enter the nuclear deal, but has said he wants Iran to return to the limits of the deal first. Iran has demanded the US first lift sanctions. Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili claimed Mr Shargi had been freed on bail and re-arrested while trying to flee the country. While saying he had no information on the details of Mr Shargi's arrest, the family spokesman said he was cleared of all charges in December 2019, only to be convicted in absentia later. "He was called to court one day in late November 2020 and simply shown a judgment finding him guilty, having never been presented any evidence, given an opportunity to respond or being put on trial," the spokesman said. The US State Department said it was "aware of the reports that Iran has detained another US citizen." Mr Esmaili, speaking to journalists Tuesday, said Mr Shargi had been convicted on espionage charges and of providing military information to foreign countries.
- Associated Press
- NBC News
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.
- The Telegraph
North Korea’s acting ambassador to Kuwait reportedly defected with his family to South Korea in 2019, the latest in a series of revelations of escapes by top officials that are expected to infuriate the authoritarian regime. The secret defection of Ryu Hyun-woo was unveiled on Monday by two sources in the defector community, and raises questions about the loyalty of the country’s elite to the ruling Kim dynasty at a time when the country is beset with crippling financial woes. Mr Ryu was serving as the embassy’s charge d’affaires after So Chang-sik, the ambassador, was expelled from Kuwait because of a 2017 United Nations resolution aimed at curbing the pariah state’s overseas diplomatic missions. Mr Ryu's defection was first reported by South Korea’s Maeil Business newspaper and backed up by Thae Yong Ho, who was North Korea’s deputy ambassador to the UK and one of the highest profile defections when he fled in 2016 to Seoul. Mr Thae is now a legislator in the South. Mr Thae said Mr Ryu defected shortly after Jo Song Gil, a senior North Korean diplomat who disappeared from Italy in late 2018 with his wife and who later resurfaced in South Korea. Mr Ryu is believed to be the son-in-law of Jon Il Chun, who once oversaw a ruling Worker’s Party bureau responsible for managing the Kim family’s secret coffers, dubbed Room 39. Kuwait had been a key source of foreign currency for Pyongyang, which sent thousands of labourers, mostly for construction projects. Overseas workers were worth an estimated $500 million to Pyongyang before the United Nations ordered their repatriation by the end of 2019 under its sanctions regime to curb the North’s nuclear weapons programme. Mr Ryu was reported as saying that he had decided to defect to “let my children have a better future.” Mr Thae has also spoken of disillusionment with the totalitarian regime after living on the outside and of the desire to “give freedom” to his children, calling for other officials to follow suit. “I want to deliver to my colleagues working around the world and North Korean elites that there is an alternative to North Korea, and the door is open,” he said in an interview at the recent Reuters Next conference. South Korea’s National Intelligence Service declined to comment.
- Associated Press
- The Independent
‘There appeared to be no remorse,’ says Calcasieu Parish sheriff Tony Mancus
Morocco's health ministry has started distributing COVID-19 vaccines across the country as it prepares to become the first African state to roll out a mass immunisation programme this week. Appointments have been made for health workers and citizens are registering online to receive the vaccine in 3,000 locations, said Ben Azouz Mohammed, head of the ministry's vaccination programme. Morocco on Friday received 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by India's Serum Institute and it expects to get 500,000 doses of vaccine from China's Sinopharm on Wednesday.
- Yahoo News Video
A video compiled by Just Security reveals the reaction of people who watched former President Donald Trump’s Jan. 6 speech before the Capitol was attacked.
- Architectural Digest
Let’s get loudOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- Associated Press
The U.S. military is exploring the possibility of using a Red Sea port in Saudi Arabia and an additional two airfields in the kingdom amid heightened tensions with Iran, the military said Tuesday. While describing the work as "contingency" planning, the U.S. military said it already has tested unloading and shipping cargo overland from Saudi Arabia's port at Yanbu, a crucial terminal for oil pipelines in the kingdom. Using Yanbu, as well as air bases at Tabuk and Taif along the Red Sea, would give the American military more options along a crucial waterway that has come under increased attack from suspected mine and drone boat attacks by Yemen's Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.
- Los Angeles Times Opinion
- The Week
With former President Donald Trump's Senate impeachment trial looming, several Republicans in the upper chamber are reportedly rallying around the argument that impeaching a president who is already out of office is unconstitutional. As The Dispatch and Politico note, scholars in legal circles that span the political spectrum generally disagree, and Trump himself suggested ex-presidents could be tried a year ago. Per The Washington Post, when Trump was impeached for the first time, he complained that Congress should be going after former President Barack Obama instead over comments he made about health care. "We should impeach him for that," Trump said. "Why aren't we impeaching him?" Some of his staunchest allies in Congress concurred, including Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who stated explicitly in 2019 that former presidents are subject to impeachment. Gaetz didn't change his mind this time around, though he made the case Trump's actions aren't impeachment-worthy. Regardless, the comments raise questions about the sincerity of the argument. Can’t overstate the importance of reporters conveying that this position was fabricated rapidly to give Republican senators dishonest cover to acquit Trump. Clearly evident in the genesis of the talking point. https://t.co/pC0nmIADoP — Brian Beutler (@brianbeutler) January 26, 2021 More stories from theweek.comSarah Huckabee Sanders' shameless campaign for governorChuck Schumer tried to unseat Susan Collins, and now it's personalDemocrats are getting Chuck Grassleyed
European Union member states could take AstraZeneca to court for a breach of supply contracts if the company does not honour the COVID-19 vaccine delivery schedule, Latvian foreign affairs minister Edgars Rinkevics said on Tuesday. "The possibility should be evaluated, and it should be coordinated among the EU countries," the minister told Reuters, via his spokesman. Each EU member state has a separate supply contract with the company.
- 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.