By Timothy Gardner and Thomas Ferraro WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, in an abrupt election-year shift in strategy, opened the possibility on Tuesday of allowing a vote on congressional approval of the long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline. "I'm open to anything that will move energy efficiency," Reid, a long-time foe of the project, told reporters. He was referring to a bill that would save energy through tougher building codes sponsored by Senators Jeanne Shaheen, a New Hampshire Democrat, and Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican, that the Senate is expected to consider as early as next week. Details were unclear, but in exchange for Republicans supporting the efficiency bill, Reid could permit a vote on a measure that would allow Congress to approve the bill of the pipeline. The vote could allow Democratic senators facing tough elections in November to be seen as supporting the project. But even if the bill passes the Senate and a similar bill passes in the House of Representatives, it is likely that President Barack Obama would veto it. The Obama administration has been considering the pipeline for more than five years. Earlier this month, the State Department said it would again delay a decision on the pipeline until the Nebraska Supreme Court settles a dispute over the path of the pipeline, effectively delaying the decision until after the November 4 elections. "We are discussing what to do," a senior Democratic aide said, making no prediction on when a decision would be made on whether to allow a vote on TransCanada Corp's pipeline. The project would bring more than 800,000 barrels per day of heavy oil from Canada's Alberta province to refineries in Texas. "I'm trying to work something out," Reid told reporters. "But they (Senate Keystone backers) keep moving the ball." Reid said Republicans initially wanted a non-binding sense of the Senate vote on Keystone. But now they are pushing to be allowed to offer an amendment or other measure that allows Congress to force approval the project. "We ought to have a vote that matters," said Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota. ELECTION STRATEGY Democratic Senators up for reelection in November, such as Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Mark Begich of Alaska, support the pipeline. A Democratic political strategist, speaking on the condition he not be identified by name, said there are two reasons why Reid is now open to a Keystone vote. "First, he wants to get Shaheen-Portman to the floor. Democrats really want to legislate and move this bill, and a Keystone vote could help clear the way," the strategist said. "The other reason is to give Democrats like Landrieu a chance to be on the record in support of Keystone," he said. The White House has threatened to veto previous attempts by Congress to force approval of the project. (Reporting by Richard Cowan, Timothy Gardner and Thomas Ferraro; Editing by Ros Krasny, Sandra Maler and Diane Craft)
- The Independent
18-year-old man from Ohio with assault rifle and wearing gas mask taken into custody
- The Telegraph
The Duchess of Sussex wrote the card attached to the wreath sent by her and Prince Harry to ensure that, in a small way, she played a part in the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral service. Meghan, who is heavily pregnant with the couple's second child, had hoped to attend the ceremony but was advised against travelling by her doctor. The 39-year-old was watching the funeral on television at home in Montecito, California. The Sussexes' tribute was among nine family wreaths laid in the Quire of St George's Chapel, propped against the stalls on each side of the Duke's coffin. Buckingham Palace aides declined to provide details of the other wreaths, saying they were private. But a source close to the Sussexes confirmed that theirs had been designed and handmade by Willow Crossley, a Cotswold florist known for her natural, rustic arrangements. The variety of locally sourced flowers, some of which were picked from the designer's garden, were chosen due to their particular significance.
Stop brushing off blood clots linked to birth control, say 3 women who could have died from pill-linked clots
You're more likely to get a blood clot on birth control than after a vaccine, but that narrative can undermine women's life-threatening experiences.
- Associated Press
Skipper Tom Slingsby and the defending SailGP champion Australian crew capsized the U.S. team’s foiling 50-foot catamaran on Bermuda’s Great Sound on Friday during its first training session for the global tour’s season opener. Slingsby said there were only minor injuries and the boat was quickly righted before being towed back to base. U.S. skipper Jimmy Spithill said there was enough damage that the high-tech boat could be out of action for a few days.
- The Telegraph
They became so close during the course of their nearly 30-year friendship that she was known as “and also” on account of her name always appearing on the Duke of Edinburgh’s guest list. So it was hardly a surprise when the Countess Mountbatten of Burma was included in the 30-strong congregation for Prince Philip’s funeral, handpicked by the Queen. Also known as Penny Knatchbull, later Lady Romsey and Lady Brabourne, the 68-year-old mother of three was the Duke’s carriage driving partner and one of his closest confidantes. Yet it emerged on Saturday that the Countess, pictured below, was actually representing her husband, the Earl of Mountbatten of Burma, who is unwell and therefore unable to attend.
LONDON (Reuters) -Helen McCrory, the "beautiful and mighty" British actress known for playing steely female characters on stage and screen, has died of cancer at the age of 52, her husband, Damian Lewis, said on Friday. The shock announcement drew tributes from author JK Rowling, fellow actors including Michael Sheen and from the artistic director at London's National Theatre who hailed McCrory as "unquestionably one of the great actors of her generation". On screen she starred as Narcissa Malfoy in Harry Potter films, as the matriarch of a crime family in Peaky Blinders and as the wife of former prime minister Tony Blair, Cherie.
Two Russian warships transited the Bosphorus en route to the Black Sea on Saturday and 15 smaller vessels completed a transfer to the sea as Moscow beefs up its naval presence at a time of tense relations with the West and Ukraine. The reinforcement coincides with a huge build-up of Russian troops near Ukraine, something Moscow calls a temporary defensive exercise, and follows an escalation in fighting in eastern Ukraine between Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian government forces.
- Associated Press
Kelly Loeffler had a warning. The former U.S. senator from Georgia, defeated in a January runoff amid Republican infighting, told her hometown GOP committee Saturday that only a unified party can avoid a repeat in the 2022 midterms. In the hours after Loeffler’s plea, at least 10 local party committees voted to condemn Gov. Brian Kemp, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger or both for not helping overturn President Donald Trump’s November defeat.
- Miami Herald
Florida’s Department of Health on Saturday announced 6,323 new confirmed cases of COVID-19.
- The Daily Beast
DOJ/Criminal ComplaintA heavy metal guitarist and self-described “founding” member of the Oath Keepers who stormed the U.S. Capitol armed with bear spray has become the first Jan. 6 insurrectionist to plead guilty and cooperate with the feds, prosecutors said Friday.Jon Ryan Schaffer, a 53-year-old from Indiana, pleaded guilty to obstruction of an official proceeding and entering a restricted building with a deadly or dangerous weapon during a Friday hearing. During the hearing, Judge Amit Mehta also revealed that Schaffer will be sponsored for witness protection. “The defendant in this case admits forcing his way into the U.S. Capitol on January 6 for the express purpose of stopping or delaying congressional proceedings essential to our democratic process. These actions are disgraceful and unacceptable,” FBI Deputy Director Paul M. Abbate said in a statement. The plea, which requires his full cooperation with federal prosecutors in their ongoing investigation, marks the first time a rioter has copped to his crimes on Jan. 6. It’s been exactly 100 days since thousands of MAGA rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol to prevent Joe Biden's electoral certification. So far, 400 individuals have been charged in connection to the riots. Schaffer was released after the Friday hearing until his sentencing, though he must now submit to court supervision in the Northern District of Indiana, surrender his passport, and stay away from Washington, D.C. His release came after his attorney argued for no travel restrictions, claiming Schaffer is an “internationally known musician and recording artist.”Plea negotiations between Schaffer’s lawyers and federal prosecutors were unintentionally disclosed earlier this month after sealed Department of Justice documents were accidentally filed on the public docket. “The government’s ongoing plea negotiations with this defendant are the first and most advanced plea negotiations involving any of the over 300 Capitol Riot defendants,” federal prosecutors wrote in the April 5 filing. By pleading guilty on Friday, Schaffer will likely face a four-year prison sentence. The guitarist and founding member of the heavy metal band Iced Earth was initially charged in January with six crimes for participating in the Jan. 6 siege while wearing a hat that proclaimed him to be an “Oath Keepers Lifetime Member.” Anti-Vaxxer Hubby and Wife Charged After Boasting Online About Capitol RiotIn his plea agreement, Schaffer “acknowledged he is a founding lifetime member of the Oath Keepers,” and admitted to traveling to D.C. to protest the results of the presidential election, which he believed was rigged, prosecutors stated.“Schaffer admitted to being among the first individuals to push past the damaged doors and into the Capitol building, forcing officers to retreat. Schaffer and others advanced toward five or six backpedaling USCP officers while members of the mob swelled inside of the Capitol and overwhelmed the officers,” prosecutors said in a press release announcing his plea agreement. “The officers ultimately deployed a chemical irritant to disperse the mob. Schaffer was among the people who were sprayed in the face, after which exited while holding his own bear spray in his hands.”During the siege, Schaffer allegedly sprayed multiple U.S. Capitol police officers with bear spray as they breached the government building. A criminal complaint also states Schaffer verbally assaulted officers inside the building. Long before his decision to storm the Capitol alongside his paramilitary members, prosecutors state Schaffer held far-right extremist views. “During an interview in 2017, Schaffer identified himself as an ‘anarchist’ and referred to the federal government as a ‘criminal enterprise.’ During that same interview, Schaffer stated that the 2016 Presidential election was ‘rigged,’” the complaint states. After the election, Schaffer attended several Trump rallies protesting the election results, including one March event where he told reports, “If somebody wants to bring violence, I think there’s a lot of us here that are ready for it. We don’t want that, but if they bring it we’re going to respond to that, trust me.”So far, prosecutors have charged over a dozen Oath Keepers with conspiracy, including Jessica Watkins, a 38-year-old former Army vet accused of recruiting members to “fight hand to hand” to take over the Capitol. Prosecutors describe the Oath Keepers as “an organization that characterizes itself as a militia of former law enforcement and military personnel and has often, as a group, urged President Trump to declare Martial Law in order to prevent Congress from certifying the Electoral College Results.” Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
In London's East End, there was both adoration for the monarchy and sharp criticism of some members of Britain's royal family on the eve of the funeral of Prince Philip, who died a week ago after seven decades of service to his wife Queen Elizabeth. The queen, heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles and other senior royals will pay their last respects to Philip on Saturday at a ceremonial funeral at Windsor Castle that will be broadcast live by television stations across the world. "My TV's always off - I watch YouTube and just internet and social media stuff," said Johnathan Roach, a 33-year-old window cleaner in Whitechapel, east London.
- Fort Worth Star-Telegram
The organization is not requiring its players to get vaccinated, but is making them aware of the benefits of doing so.
- Associated Press
It was messy and hectic in Aisha al-Abed’s kitchen, as the first day of Ramadan often is. What is traditionally a jovial celebration of the start of the Muslim holy month around a hearty meal was muted and dispirited for her small Syrian refugee family.
- Business Insider
India is the world's biggest vaccine producer but it's struggling to get enough COVID-19 vaccines to give to its own population
India set a goal to fully vaccinating 300 million people by August but so far only 15.5 million people have been fully vaccinated.
- Yahoo News
The Biden administration is in a political and scientific conundrum. Even as its experts project confidence in the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine, they are taking pains to show that safety and transparency are paramount. That could be a risky calculation.
- The Independent
Disgraced general Michael Flynn, Tulsa Sheriff Vic Regalado, and Jim Caviezel, an actor who played Jesus in movie The Passion of the Christ, were among the speakers at the two-day event
- NY Daily News
Rescue divers searching the Seacor Power, a commercial vessel that capsized earlier this week off Louisiana, have pulled two more bodies from the lift boat’s engine room. The Coast Guard would not release their names but confirmed Donjon Marine commercial divers found the crew members unresponsive on Friday, the fourth straight day of search efforts. Prior to the tragic discovery, some had ...
- WCVB - Boston
Massachusetts has reported nearly 1,300 COVID-19 cases in Bay State schools in the past week.
J.K. Rowling, Cillian Murphy, Bonnie Wright, and Florence Pugh are some of the people who have reacted to the news of Helen McCrory's death.
The gunman began firing as soon as he drove up to FedEx site before killing himself, police say.