About one year ago, an alert from local medical officials about unexplained pneumonia became the world’s first warning of the pandemic to come. The WHO is waiting to get a team to Wuhan.
- The Week
The evenly split Senate is having a hard time agreeing who's in charge.Georgia's two new Democratic senators were sworn in Wednesday, giving Republicans and Democrats 50 senators each, with Vice President Kamala Harris as a Democratic tiebreaker. The two parties are now working out a power-sharing agreement, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) commitment to the filibuster is standing in the way.McConnell on Thursday formally acknowledged Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) as the chamber's new majority leader. But as he has been for days, McConnell again implored Democrats to preserve the filibuster that lets a senator extend debate and block a timely vote on a bill if there aren't 60 votes to stop it. Democrats "have no plans to gut the filibuster further, but argue it would be a mistake to take one of their tools off the table just as they're about to govern," Politico reports; More progressive senators do want to remove the option completely.If his filibuster demands aren't met, McConnell has threatened to block the Senate power-sharing agreement that would put Democrats in charge of the body's committees. But Democrats already seem confident in their newfound power, with Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) telling Politico that "Chuck Schumer is the majority leader and he should be treated like majority leader." Giving in to McConnell "would be exactly the wrong way to begin," Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) echoed.Other Democrats shared their resistance to McConnell's demands in tweets. > McConnell is threatening to filibuster the Organizing Resolution which allows Democrats to assume the committee Chair positions. It's an absolutely unprecedented, wacky, counterproductive request. We won the Senate. We get the gavels.> > -- Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) January 21, 2021> So after Mitch McConnell changed the Senate rules at a blistering pace during his 6 years in charge, he is threatening to filibuster the Senate's organizing resolution unless the Democratic majority agrees to never change the rules again.> > Huh.> > -- Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) January 21, 2021More stories from theweek.com Biden removes Trump's Diet Coke button from the Oval Office Biden's team reportedly realized after inauguration that Trump really had no vaccine distribution plan James Bond movie No Time to Die delayed another 6 months
- The Independent
Michael Flynn’s brother reveals he was involved in Capitol riot response after Army denied it, report says
Apparent U-turn by Pentagon officials could pose questions about police response
- Yahoo News
Counterintelligence official Michael Orlando joins a growing chorus of voices on both sides of the political aisle who point to China as a major national security threat, particularly in terms of technology and cybersecurity.
- Yahoo News 360
Recent history shows the opportunity to pass major bills can disappear quickly. What should Democrats’ top priority be?
European Union lawmakers passed a resolution on Thursday calling for the bloc to stop the completion of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to take Russian natural gas to Europe, in response to the arrest of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. Navalny, Russian President Vladimir Putin's most prominent critic, was detained at the weekend and later jailed for alleged parole violations after flying back to Russia for the first time since being poisoned by a military grade nerve agent. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has continued to back the pipeline between Germany and Russia despite criticism elsewhere in the EU, said on Thursday her view of the project had not changed despite the Navalny case.
- Associated Press
Indonesian authorities on Thursday ended the search for remaining victims and debris from a Sriwijaya Air jet that nosedived into the Java Sea, killing all 62 people on board. Transportation minister Budi Karya Sumadi said retrieval operations have ended after nearly two weeks, but that a limited search for the missing memory unit from the cockpit voice recorder will continue. The memory unit apparently broke away from other parts of the voice recorder during the crash.
- NBC News
- National Review
The Twitter account of Iran's Supreme Leader on Friday carried the image of a golfer resembling former President Donald Trump apparently being targeted by a drone, vowing revenge over the killing of a top Iranian general in a U.S. drone attack. The post carried the text of remarks by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in December, in which he said "Revenge is certain", renewing a vow of vengeance ahead of the first anniversary of the killing of top military commander General Qassem Soleimani in the attack in Iraq.
- Associated Press
China on Thursday expressed hope the Biden administration will improve prospects for people of both countries and give a boost to relations after an especially rocky patch, while getting in a few final digs at former Trump officials. “I think after this very difficult and extraordinary time, both the Chinese and American people deserve a better future,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters at a daily briefing. “Many people of insight in the international community are looking forward to the early return of Sino-U.S. relations to the correct track in making due contributions to jointly address the major and urgent challenges facing the world today,” Hua said.
- The Telegraph
Investigators in Indonesia are probing whether a malfunctioning automatic throttle could have brought down the Sriwijaya Airlines flight that nosedived into the Java Sea on January 9. A person familiar with the investigation told Bloomberg that the autothrottle was producing more thrust in one of the Boeing 737-500’s two engines than the other after the plane took off from Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta airport carrying 62 people. Unequal thrust can cause a plane to roll onto its side and descend abruptly and autothrottle malfunctions have previously caused incidents on the 737 and led to the Tarom airlines crash in Romania in 1995, which killed 60 people. The source said the device had been having problems on previous flights made by the aircraft. Nurcahyo Utomo, the lead investigator at Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee, confirmed that a malfunctioning throttle was “one of the factors that we are looking at, but I can’t say at this point that it’s a factor for the crash or there was a problem with it." Earlier this month, officials investigating the tragedy were reported to be looking at a possible link to the 27-year-old plane’s prolonged grounding because of travel restrictions and reduced timetables during the Covid-19 pandemic.
A British prosecutor hired by the Hong Kong government to lead a case against democracy activists has pulled out after coming under pressure in Britain including 'disgraceful' comments by its foreign minister, city authorities said on Wednesday. David Perry, a Queen's Counsel, was due to lead the case against tabloid media magnate Jimmy Lai and several others, including veteran democracy activists Martin Lee and Margaret Ng. But Hong Kong's Department of Justice noted "growing pressure and criticism" of Perry in Britain for taking the case, adding in a statement that he had "concerns about such pressures and the exemption of quarantine" and "indicated that the trial should proceed without him".
- Associated Press
China imposed sanctions on nearly 30 former Trump administration officials moments after they left office on Wednesday. In a statement released just minutes after President Joe Biden was inaugurated, Beijing slapped travel bans and business restrictions on Trump’s secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, national security adviser Robert O’Brien and U.N. ambassador, Kelly Craft. Others covered by the sanctions include Trump’s economic adviser Peter Navarro; his top diplomat for Asia, David Stilwell; health and human services secretary, Alex Azar; along with former national security adviser John Bolton and strategist Stephen Bannon.
- Yahoo News Video
President Joe Biden issued a warning Wednesday to his appointees that a hostile workplace will not be allowed in his administration.
- The Telegraph
The White House's top adviser on Covid-19 has said he feels liberated now that Donald Trump has left office – because now he can finally tell Americans the truth about the virus. In extraordinary remarks to reporters at a briefing on the virus, Anthony Fauci said that President Joe Biden's administration would be "completely transparent, open and honest" with the public rather than "point fingers", like his predecessor. Dr Fauci, who often clashed publicly with Mr Trump, also said he felt "really uncomfortable" about things said by the White House as it dealt with the virus that has now killed more than 400,000 Americans, including announcements on hydroxychloroquine – and he said he feared "repercussions" from Mr Trump if he misspoke. Speaking at his first White House briefing as President Biden's top Covid adviser, Dr Fauci was asked to compare his experience under the previous administration to the new one. The 80-year-old initially said he wasn't sure he could "extrapolate" based on first impressions. But then he said: "One of the things that was very clear as recently as about 15 minutes ago, when I was with the president, is that one of the things that we're going to do is to be completely transparent, open and honest. "If things go wrong, not point fingers but to correct them and to make everything we do be based on science and evidence."
- The Independent
Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene has filed articles of impeachment against Joe Biden the day after he was inaugurated as president. The lawmaker, who has ties to the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory, took to Twitter to announce the move against the new president. “I’ve just filed articles of impeachment on president Joe Biden, we will see how this goes," she said.
- Architectural Digest
The U.S. Senate Finance Committee scheduled a meeting for Friday to consider the nomination of Janet Yellen for Treasury Secretary, raising the possibility that she could be confirmed by the full Senate later that day, congressional sources said. The new administration of President Joe Biden is pushing for speedy confirmation of key cabinet members to accelerate efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and move forward with economic relief measures. As the Senate continues to consider Yellen's nomination, the Treasury Department on Wednesday named several people to senior Treasury posts that do not require Senate confirmation.
- Associated Press
A powerful earthquake shook parts of the southern Philippines on Thursday night, but authorities said it was too deep to cause major damage and no tsunami warning was issued. The quake measured magnitude 7.0 and was located 95.8 kilometers (60 miles) below the sea and about 210 kilometers (130 miles) southeast of Pondaguitan in Davao Occidental province, the U.S. Geological Survey said. In Davao city, President Rodrigo Duterte’s hometown, some residents ran out of their houses as the ground shook and power cables and business signs swayed, but there were no reports of damage or injuries.