Though not as intense as a few days prior, light snow flurried down in Plattsburgh, New York, on Sunday, Dec. 20.
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President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed executive orders on housing and ending the Justice Department's use of private prisons as part of what the White House is calling his “racial equity agenda.”The big picture: Biden needs the support of Congress to push through police reform or new voting rights legislation. The executive orders serve as his down payment to immediately address systemic racism while he focuses on the pandemic.Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.Details: Biden will direct the Department of Housing and Urban Development to examine how previous administrations undermined fair housing policies and laws, according to senior officials. * Another executive order directs the attorney general not to renew Justice Department contracts with privately operated criminal detention facilities. Domestic policy czar Susan Czar confirmed at a press briefing that the order does not apply to private immigration facilities, which fall under the Department of Homeland Security. * One executive order calls for "re-establishing federal respect for tribal sovereignty" following years of tension between tribal governments and former President Trump. * Biden also ordered the Department of Health and Human Services to examine how Trump's rhetoric about COVID-19 may have led to discrimination against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.The intrigue: The Biden administration signaled the executive orders are a preview of what's to come on its racial equity agenda as it prepares legislative proposals to fight discrimination and poverty.The bottom line: Biden's early moves on racial equity are a major shift in tone from Trump, who often praised Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, denounced research of slavery and racial justice, and ordered agencies to end diversity training. Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.
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‘There appeared to be no remorse,’ says Calcasieu Parish sheriff Tony Mancus
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Let’s get loudOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
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Joe Biden challenged Vladimir Putin over the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, and reports of Russian bounties on the heads of US soldiers in Afghanistan, in their first presidential phone call. Mr Biden also raised concerns about Russian "aggression" against Ukraine, and reaffirmed Washington's "strong support for Ukraine's sovereignty." The US president said he was willing to extend the New START nuclear arms control treaty for five years. Kremlin officials said documents had been exchanged to extend the pact. Mr Biden also raised concerns over Russian cyber hacking, interference in US elections, and treatment of peaceful protesters. Mr Biden made clear he would "act firmly in defence of our national interest in response to malign actions by Russia," the White House said. The Kremlin said Mr Putin told Mr Biden that he supports "normalisation" of relations between their two countries. Mr Putin "noted that the normalisation of relations between Russia and the United States" would benefit "the entire international community," the Kremlin said.
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Former President Donald Trump opened an office in Florida on Monday that will handle his duties as a former U.S. president and seek to further his administration's agenda.
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.
- National Review
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) voted in favor of a resolution declaring the impeachment trial of former President Trump “unconstitutional” on Tuesday. The point of order resolution was put forward by McConnell’s colleague from Kentucky, Rand Paul, and effectively forced Republicans to declare on the record whether they consider the impeachment trial constitutional, given that it’s taking place after Trump has left office. The resolution failed after a majority of senators voted against it, meaning the impeachment trial will go ahead as planned. However, only five Republicans voted against the resolution: Mitt Romney of Utah, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. At the close of the impeachment trial itself, at least 17 Republican senators would need to join Democrats in order to convict Trump. “I think there will be enough support on” the point-of-order resolution “to show there’s no chance they can impeach the president,” Paul told reporters before the vote on Tuesday. “If 34 people support my resolution that this is an unconstitutional proceeding, it shows they don’t have the votes and we’re basically wasting our time.” Senator Collins said following the vote that there would be little chance of an impeachment conviction. “I think it’s pretty obvious from the vote today that it is extraordinary unlikely that the president will be convicted,” Collins told The New York Times. “Just do the math.” McConnell was reportedly pleased with the idea of impeaching Trump, after the former president incited a mob of his supporters to amass at the Capitol on January 6, though the majority leader later said publicly that he hadn’t decided whether to vote to convict. The mob breached the Capitol and forced lawmakers to evacuate, and five people died in the riots including a Capitol police officer. An impeachment conviction could allow the Senate to bar Trump from running for office again, however a number of Republican senators have come out against the impeachment push. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida said it would be “arrogant” for the Senate to prevent Trump from running again. “Voters get to decide that,” Rubio told Chis Wallace on Fox News Sunday. “Who are we to tell voters who they can vote for in the future?” Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas also voiced skepticism regarding the impeachment trial. “I think a lot of Americans are going to think it’s strange that the Senate is spending its time trying to convict and remove from office a man who left office a week ago,” Cotton told the Associated Press on Monday.
Venezuela's Juan Guaido is a "privileged interlocutor" but no longer considered interim president, European Union states said in a statement on Monday, sticking by their decision to downgrade his status. The EU's 27 states had said on Jan. 6 they could no longer legally recognise Guaido as after he lost his position as head of parliament following legislative elections in Venezuela in December, despite the EU not recognising that vote. Following the disputed re-election of President Nicolas Maduro in 2018, Guaido, as head of parliament, became interim president.
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The CEO of MyPillow will no longer be able to use his Twitter. MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell has been permanently banned from Twitter for "repeated violations of our Civic Integrity Policy," the company told CNN. While Twitter didn't specify what tweet prompted Lindell's final suspension, he has in recent weeks been pushing false claims about widespread fraud in the 2020 election. Twitter's Civic Integrity Policy states that users may not use the platform "for the purpose of manipulating or interfering in elections or other civic processes," including by posting "false or misleading information about the procedures or circumstances around participation in" elections. Under this policy, five or more strikes will lead to a permanent suspension. Lindell, who visited former President Donald Trump at the White House earlier this month and was seen with notes referencing "martial law," also could soon be hit with a potential defamation lawsuit for his election claims. Dominion Voting Systems has threatened to sue the MyPillow boss over his promotion of a false conspiracy theory that the company's machines were used to change the outcome of the presidential race. Dominion on Monday sued Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, who also promoted the false claims. Lindell told The New York Times he would "welcome" a lawsuit from Dominion. Twitter's suspension of Lindell comes after the company earlier this month permanently banned Trump due to the "risk of further incitement of violence" following the deadly Capitol riot. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has defended the decision, while at the same time saying that "a ban is a failure of ours ultimately to promote healthy conversation." More stories from theweek.comSarah Huckabee Sanders' shameless campaign for governorDemocrats are getting Chuck GrassleyedBiden's reverse triangulation
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