Restaurants celebrate lifting of ban to remain open
- NBC News
One person suspected of human trafficking was arrested on state charges during "Operation Lost Angels," the FBI said.
President Joe Biden will continue his flurry of executive orders on Monday, signing a new directive to require the federal government to “buy American” for products and services. Why it matters: The executive action is yet another attempt by Biden to accomplish goals administratively without waiting for the backing of Congress. The new order echoes Biden's $400 billion campaign pledge to increase government purchases of American goods.Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.What they're saying: "President Biden is ensuring that when the federal government spends taxpayer dollars they are spent on American made goods by American workers and with American-made component parts," the White House said in a fact sheet.The big picture: Biden’s action kick offs another week in which the president will seek to undo many Trump policies with executive actions, while signaling the direction that he wants to take the country. * Biden will also reaffirm his support for the Jones Act, which requires maritime shipments between American ports to be carried on U.S. vessels. * Last week, Biden signed an order to attempt to raise the minimum wage for federal contractors and workers to $15 an hour.The bottom line: Former President Trump also attempted to force the federal government to rely on U.S. manufacturers for procurement with "buy American" provisions. * But supply chains — with some parts and components made outside of the U.S. — require long and complicated efforts to boost domestic manufacturing. Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
Russia will supply Mexico with 24 million doses of the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine over the next two months, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said after a phone call on Monday with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Putin's pledge to provide 24 million doses marks a sharp increase from a previous target from last week of 7.4 million doses through March, though some doubts over Russia's production capacity persist. Russia's vaccine diplomacy has developed goodwill in Latin America after other pharmaceutical companies including U.S.-based Pfizer Inc announced shortfalls in distribution plans.
- 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 Week
Senate Democrats are drawing a line at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) demand that a power-sharing agreement in the 50-50 Senate include a pledge to retain the legislative filibuster. "If we gave him that, then the filibuster would be on everything, every day," Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) told NBC's Chuck Todd on Sunday's Meet the Press. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) offered McConnell "word for word" the same power-sharing agreement used in the first half of 2001, and McConnell's insistence on adding the filibuster pledge is "a non-starter."But until Schumer and McConnell reach agreement on the Senate's operating rules, Republicans still retain much of the majority they lost last Wednesday."Without an organizing accord, Republicans remain in the majority of most Senate committees," and "veteran Democrats eager to seize the gavels and advance their long dormant agendas can only wait and wonder," The Washington Post explains. "Newly sworn-in Democratic senators cannot get committee assignments until an organizational deal is struck," leaving the old GOP-majority structures in place, and "Democrats can't unilaterally impose an organizing agreement because they would need Republican support to block a filibuster."The filibuster has evolved into a sclerotic de facto requirement for a 60-senator supermajority on all legislation. Frustration with obstruction by the minority led Senate Democrats to end the filibuster for some presidential appointees and lower-court judges in 2013, and McConnell continued eroding the filibuster as majority leader, killing it for Supreme Court nominees and further easing the confirmation of presidential appointees.A handful of Democratic centrists would prefer to keep the filibuster — for now. But there is mounting pressure from inside and outside the chamber. "There is absolutely no reason to give Sen. McConnell months and months to prove what we absolutely know — that he is going to continue his gridlock and dysfunction from the minority," said Eli Zupnick, a spokesman for the anti-filibuster liberal coalition Fix Our Senate.More stories from theweek.com Trump must be prosecuted Josh Hawley knows exactly what he's doing 5 scathingly funny cartoons about Biden's COVID-19 push
- Yahoo News Video
The Supreme Court on Monday brought an end to lawsuits over whether Donald Trump illegally profited off his presidency.
- The Telegraph
Israel will ban passenger flights in and out of the country from Monday for a week as it seeks to stop the spread of new coronavirus variants. "Other than rare exceptions, we are closing the sky hermetically to prevent the entry of the virus variants and also to ensure that we progress quickly with our vaccination campaign," said Benjamin Netanuahu, the Israeli prime minister. It came as a study in Israel reported a 60 per cent drop in over-60s being hospitalised with coronavirus three weeks after being vaccinated, in the latest sign that the jabs are effective. According to Maccabi, an Israeli healthcare provider, there was a significant decrease in hospitalisations from day 23 onwards, which was two days after patients received their second jab. Also on Sunday, Israel expanded its rapid vaccination drive to include 16-18 year-olds in an effort to get them back in schools to take their winter examinations. The winter matriculation certificate is a significant part of university and military admissions. At least one dose has been administered to around a quarter of Israel’s 9 million-strong population. The vaccine is generally available to over 40s or, with parental permission, those aged between 16 and 18. Israel struck a deal with Pfizer at the beginning of January that allowed them to expedite delivery of the vaccine, in return for sharing extensive data on their vaccination campaign with the rest of the world. Yuli Edelstein, the Israeli health minister, told The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday that the data from their vaccination programme suggests a first dose offered around 30 per cent protection from coronavirus.
California Governor Gavin Newsom's office has decided to lift the orders as ICU availability in the regions that remained under the stay-at-home order, including the Bay area and Southern California are projected to rise above the 15% threshold that triggered the lockdown measures, according https://bit.ly/3sSPOfp to San Francisco Chronicle. California has reported over 3.1 million cases and 36,745 deaths so far, a Reuters tally showed. Strict stay-at-home orders were renewed for much of California in December to avert a crisis in hospitals.
- NBC News
The governor ordered a halt to nonessential medical procedures last year, which the attorney general then said applied to "any type of abortions."
- National Review
President Biden will sign a fresh round of executive orders during his first full week in office, including actions loosening restrictions around abortion and immigration. Biden will issue and order to rescind the Mexico City policy, which prohibits U.S. funding for foreign organizations that perform or promote abortions. The administration also dodged last week on whether Biden plans to scrap the Hyde Amendment, which bars taxpayer funding of elective abortions under Medicaid. On immigration, Biden plans to establish a task force focused on reuniting migrant families who were separated as a result of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, according to a memo outlining the upcoming executive actions obtained by The Hill. Biden will order an immediate review of the public-charge rule, which denies U.S. entry to migrants considered likely to become dependent on the government. The president also plans to roll back Trump administration policies on asylum and take “other actions to remove barriers and restore trust in the legal immigration system, including improving the naturalization process.” At the same time, Biden will take a page from the Trump administration’s playbook and sign an order directing federal agencies to tighten requirements on buying goods and services made in America from American businesses. Trump signed a similar directive during his first months in office. The president will also sign orders related to racial equity, including establishing a commission on police and bringing back Obama-era rules on transferring military-style equipment to local law enforcement. Another order will direct the Justice Department to improve prison conditions and begin the process of eliminating private prisons. Biden may also sign an order reversing a ban on transgender troops serving in the military. On climate change, Biden is expected to sign an order installing regulations to “combat climate change domestically and elevate climate change as a national security priority.”
- Associated Press
Federal law enforcement officials are examining a number of threats aimed at members of Congress as the second trial of former President Donald Trump nears, including ominous chatter about killing legislators or attacking them outside of the U.S. Capitol, a U.S. official told The Associated Press. The threats, and concerns that armed protesters could return to sack the Capitol anew, have prompted the U.S. Capitol Police and other federal law enforcement to insist thousands of National Guard troops remain in Washington as the Senate moves forward with plans for Trump's trial, the official said Sunday.
Barely 1.6% of 1.44 million people with refugee status who were prioritised for resettlement in another country of asylum last year found new homelands through the U.N. refugee agency, the lowest number in nearly two decades, it said on Monday. The drop to 22,770 admissions was due to lower quotas set by recipient countries, limited flights and delays in processing during the coronavirus pandemic, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said. In 2019, it resettled 63,696 refugees in need of transfer from one asylum country to another.
- NBC News
Because the incident happened in New York, the men may have legal recourse, but in nearly half the states, they would not.
- The Telegraph
China ramped up its pressure on democratic Taiwan over the weekend, with an unusually large number of fighter jets approaching the island in a "test" for the new administration of US President Joe Biden. On Sunday, 12 Chinese fighter jets entered Taiwan’s air defence identification zone, along with a reconnaissance aircraft and two anti-submarine aircraft, Taiwan’s defence ministry said. A day earlier, China sent eight bomber planes capable of carrying nuclear weapons and four fighter jets to the same area to the southwest of the island, as well as one reconnaissance aircraft. On both occasions, Taiwan sent up aircraft, issued radio warnings to the Chinese aircraft, and deployed air defence missile systems to monitor their activity. Beijing claims self-governing Taiwan as part of its territory, and has been angered by a show of increased US support for Taiwan during Donald Trump’s administration. In recent months, China has carried out frequent, at times daily, incursions aimed at pressuring President Tsai Ing-wen’s government to accept Beijing’s demand that it recognise Taiwan as part of China. These incursions have usually consisted of just one or two reconnaissance planes in recent weeks, rather than the warplanes seen over the weekend.
- Associated Press
The impeachment case against Donald Trump is heading toward its historic Senate trial, but Republican senators are easing off their criticism of the former president and shunning calls to convict him over the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol. House Democrats were to carry the sole impeachment charge of “ incitement of insurrection ” across the Capitol late Monday, the prosecutors making the ceremonial walk to the Senate. Now Democrats are being confronted by a tangle of Republican legal arguments against the legitimacy of the trial and questions whether Trump's repeated demands to overturn Joe Biden's election really amounted to incitement.
Tacoma Police spokeswoman Wendy Haddow said police were alerted to the street racers and a 100-person crowd blocking area streets, according to the News Tribune. When the patrol car responded, the crowd began pounding on the vehicle's windows, she told local media. “He was afraid they would break his glass,” Haddow told the News Tribune, saying the officer sped away from the scene for his own safety.
- Associated Press
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said Israel will be closing its international airport to nearly all flights, while Israeli police clashed with ultra-Orthodox protesters in several major cities and the government raced to bring a raging coronavirus outbreak under control. The entry of highly contagious variants of the virus, coupled with poor enforcement of safety rules in ultra-Orthodox communities, has contributed to one of the world's highest rates of infections. It also has threatened to undercut Israel's highly successful campaign to vaccinate its population against the virus.
- The Telegraph
Russian President Vladimir Putin compared the organisers of mass anti-Kremlin protests at the weekend to “terrorists” as he dismissed an investigation by the jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny into his personal wealth. The president, who never says Mr Navalny’s name in public, took the surprising step of directly addressing allegations he owns a billion-dollar residence on the Black Sea, dubbed by the opposition leader as “Putin’s Palace”. The comments came after demonstrations on Saturday that saw tens of thousands of people take to the streets over Mr Navalny’s arrest on his return to Russia after months recovering from a poisoning, and wider anger over corruption. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell is due to visit Moscow early next month to press the Kremlin on the opposition leader’s arrest, he said after a meeting of European foreign ministers to decide on a response to the last week’s events. "The council considered it completely unacceptable and condemned mass detentions and police brutality over the weekend. We call on Russia for the release of Mr Navalny," said Mr Borrell. Mr Borrell has insisted on sticking to his planned trip, which would be the first to Moscow by an EU foreign policy chief since 2017, despite opposition from several countries. During a call with university students on Monday, Mr Putin, referring to a claim by authorities that the opposition had lured minors into taking part in the rallies, said that young people should not be used for political ends. “That’s what terrorists do. They put women and children in front of themselves,” he said during a video call with Russian university students. Surveys of the protesters found the vast majority of those taking part were adults.
- The Independent
Biden news: Experts find major ‘gaps’ in Trump pardons as White House scrambles to rollout vaccine plan
Latest developments from Washington DC and beyond
- The Week
Ohio will have a new senator after the 2022 midterm elections.Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) announced Monday that he won't seek re-election after his second term ends in 2022, reports The Cincinnati Enquirer. It sounds like the political polarization in Congress is a major reason for his departure. In a statement, Portman, who has built a reputation as one of the more bipartisan lawmakers in the Senate, said "it has gotten harder and harder to break through the partisan gridlock and make progress on substantive policy." He also told the Enquirer that "if we continue pushing out to the right and to the left, there's not going to be much left in the middle to solve the real problems we face."Portman said he isn't sure who will run to replace him, but noted "there's plenty of candidates out there." The Enquirer reports the seat is expected to remain safely Republican, and possibilities include Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Ohio GOP Chair Jane Timken, former Ohio state treasurer Josh Mandel, and J.D. Vance, the author of the memoir Hillbilly Elegy. Read more at The Cincinnati Enquirer.More stories from theweek.com Trump must be prosecuted Josh Hawley knows exactly what he's doing 5 scathingly funny cartoons about Biden's COVID-19 push