RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia denounced on Tuesday the killing of a prominent Syrian rebel leader, saying his death in a Russian air strike last week did not serve the cause of peace in Syria. Zahran Alloush, 44, who headed the rebel group Jaysh al-Islam, was killed when Russian warplanes struck near Damascus on Friday. His death was a major blow to rebel control of the eastern suburbs of Damascus. "We believe that assassinating Zahran Alloush or fighting leaders that have supported a peaceful solution and fights Daesh (Islamic State) in Syria does not serve the peace process in Syria," Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told journalists at a joint news conference with Mevlut Cavusoglu, his Turkish counterpart. Cavusoglu had accompanied Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on a visit to Saudi King Salman in Riyadh. Sunni powers Saudi Arabia and Turkey are two of the main supporters of Syrian rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad, who is backed by Russia and Shi'ite Muslim power Iran. Alloush's death came nearly two weeks after more than 100 Syrian opposition and rebel groups, including Jaysh al Islam, met in Saudi Arabia to coordinate stands before peace talks in January. The United Nations said on Saturday that the U.N. Syria mediator, Staffan de Mistura, plans to bring together Syria's warring parties on Jan. 25 in Geneva to begin talks to try to end nearly five years of civil war. "I don't know the reason that made them do something like this. But what I do know is that if we wanted to reach a peaceful solution in Syria, we must deal with all the Syrian groups whose hands are not smeared with terrorism," Jubeir said. At the same news conference, Jubeir said Erdogan and King Salman had agreed their countries would set up a "strategic cooperation council" that will be managed by their foreign ministers, Jubeir said. He said the council would deal with security, military, economic, trade, energy and investment between the two countries. "The aim of this council is to bring about a qualitative transformation of between Turkey and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia so they would be truly strategic and to serve the interests of the two countries and peoples," Jubeir said. (Reporting by Omar Fahmy, writing by Sami Aboudi, editing by Larry King)
- The Independent
McEnany said social media bans were not ‘about stopping violence. This is about stopping Trump, stopping his ideology, his movement, by removing him from society. We should all stand against it’
A row with drug firm AstraZeneca has caused Italy to block 250,000 doses to be sent to Australia.
- NBC News
Deep economic hardship — rising income inequality and escalating costs of health care and college tuition — could be driving the shift.
Austrian authorities have suspended inoculations with a batch of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine as a precaution while investigating the death of one person and the illness of another after the shots, a health agency said on Sunday. "The Federal Office for Safety in Health Care (BASG) has received two reports in a temporal connection with a vaccination from the same batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the district clinic of Zwettl" in Lower Austria province, it said.
- Business Insider
Ted Cruz's claims about undocumented people getting $1,400 stimulus checks were shot down by Dick Durbin as 'just plain false'
Senators Dick Durbin and Ted Cruz scuffled on Saturday, after Cruz said the $1.9 trillion stimulus package included payments to "illegal aliens."
'Lesson fully received': An 18-year-old charged in the Capitol riot says he was 'wrong' and begged a judge to release him
A Georgia teenager who boasted on Instagram about storming the Capitol in January begged a federal judge to release him ahead of his trial.
Past US presidents have left a legacy of untruths ranging from the bizarre to the horrifying.
President Biden said Saturday that the Senate passage of his $1.9 trillion COVID relief package means the $1,400 direct payments for most Americans can begin going out later this month. Driving the news: The Senate voted 50-49 Saturday to approve the sweeping legislation. The House is expected to pass the Senate's version of the bill next week before it heads to Biden's desk for his signature.Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with Axios Markets. Subscribe for freeThe big picture: As part of the legislation, individuals who make less than $75,000 or heads of households who make up to $112,500 will qualify for the $1,400 payments. Couples who make less than $150,000 will get $2,800.Individuals who make between $75,000 and $80,000 and couples who earn between $150,000 and $160,000 will receive a reduced payment.Parents who qualify will get an additional $1,400 for every child claimed on their most recent tax returns.What he's saying: "Everything that is in this package is designed to relieve the suffering and meet the most urgent needs of the nation and put us in a better position to prevail," Biden said following the Saturday passage of the bill. "This plan will get checks out the door, starting this month to the American people who so desperately need the help," he added. "The resources in this plan will be used to expand and speed up manufacturing and distribution of vaccines so we can get every single American vaccinated sooner rather than later.""I promised the American people that help is on the way. Today, I can say we've taken one more giant step forward in delivering on that promise." The bottom line: "This plan puts us on a path to beating the virus. This plan gives those families who are struggling the most the help and breathing room to get through this moment. This plan gives small businesses in this country a fighting chance to survive," Biden said. More from Axios: Sign up to get the latest market trends with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free
A Missouri pastor is reportedly seeking 'professional counseling' after he told women to lose weight and strive to be like Melania Trump for their husbands
Pastor Stewart-Allen Clark of Missouri's Malden First General Baptist Church gushed over an "epic trophy wife" and warned, "don't let yourself go."
- The Telegraph
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex 'called all the PR shots', say royal sources despite Oprah interview claims she was gagged
The Duchess of Sussex “called all the shots” when it came to managing her own media, royal sources have said, casting doubt on her claim she could not be interviewed by Oprah Winfrey three years ago. Multiple royal sources have told The Telegraph the 39-year-old former actress “had full control” over her media interviews and had personally forged relationships not only with Ms Winfrey, but other powerful industry figures including Vogue editor Edward Enninful. In a teaser clip released from the Sussexes’s interview with the US chat show host, due to be aired in the US on Sunday, the Duchess said it felt “liberating” to be able to speak and accused the Royal family of effectively gagging her and taking away that choice. “It’s really liberating to be able to have the right and the privilege in some ways to be able to say yes, I’m ready to talk, to be able to make a choice on your own and be able to speak for yourself,” the Duchess said. In the clip, the Duchess and Ms Winfrey reference the fact that a royal aide was listening in to their first phone call in February 2018, although it is understood the pair had spoken privately before then.
- The Telegraph
Prince Harry and Meghan's Oprah interview: Five thorny issues that could make for uncomfortable viewing
The Royal family will assume the brace position as it awaits a stream of damaging revelations by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in their Oprah Winfrey interview. The slickly produced, dramatic teasers quashed any lingering hopes that the couple might stick to more mundane and diplomatic subject matters. Instead, they will tell “their truth”, lifting the lid on life behind palace walls in a manner no member of the family has done for decades. The couple intend the interview to draw a line under their grievances and mark the end of that chapter of their lives, allowing them to finally look to the future. But in reality, the issues that they raise, the allegations they make, are expected to be explosive, with potentially serious and long-term implications for the monarchy.
Even with all the compromises—and the agita on the left—the Covid relief bill may be just what the Democrats needed to deliver.
- Raleigh News and Observer
North Carolina’s 91-73 win was its biggest over Duke at the Smith Center since 1998.
Former NBA star Deron Williams says he tried to recruit star players to the Jazz but no one wanted to play in Utah
Deron Williams said he knew he needed help to make the Jazz contenders, but he couldn't find other stars that wanted to join him in Utah.
A Texas high school removed an assignment on chivalry where female students were directed to cater to men like in medieval times
A list of tasks showed female students were asked to "dress in a feminine manner to please the men" and lower their heads when curtsying for men.
- NY Daily News
A Georgia teen charged for alleged involvement in the U.S. Capitol riot now admits he “was wrong” for his actions and hopes to spend his pretrial days with his folks, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Friday. Bruno Cua, 18, is the youngest of more than 300 people accused of having stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 in support of former President Donald Trump and has been in custody since ...
- Business Insider
Susan Rice is burning sage in her West Wing office, once occupied by anti-immigrant hardliner Stephen Miller, used to cleanse a space of negativity
Susan Rice as a prominent Black Democrat is aware of the symbolism of occupying the office where Miller formulated anti-migrant policies.
A YouTuber duo had royal 'experts' comment on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's interview before they'd seen it
YouTubers Josh Pieters and Archie Manners paid four royal commentators to speak about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's upcoming interview with Oprah.
Miley Cyrus said playing her alter ego Hannah Montana on her hit Disney show led to an 'identity crisis'
Miley Cyrus appeared on the "Rock This with Allison Hagendorf" podcast on Friday and spoke about her hit TV show where she starred as Hannah Montana.
Kim Kardashian will reportedly stay in family's $60 million mansion as part of divorce from Kanye West
Kim Kardashian West will stay in the minimalist, beige-filled Hidden Hills, California, home she and Kanye West bought in 2014, TMZ reported.