Snow Trails kicks off opening weekend with COVID guidelines
- The Independent
- National Review
- Associated Press
Germany, France and Britain pressed Iran on Saturday to back off the latest planned violation of its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, saying that Tehran has “no credible civilian use” for uranium metal. The International Atomic Energy Agency said Thursday Iran had informed it that it had begun installing equipment for the production of uranium metal. It said Tehran maintains its plans to conduct research and development on uranium metal production are part of its “declared aim to design an improved type of fuel.”
- The Week
European governments said the credibility of their COVID-19 vaccination programmes was at risk on Friday after U.S. pharmaceutical firm Pfizer announced a temporary slowdown of deliveries of its vaccines. Shots developed by Pfizer with its German partner BioNTech began being delivered in the European Union at the end of December, but around nine of the 27 EU governments complained of "insufficient" doses at a meeting this week, a participant said. Pfizer initially said deliveries were proceeding on schedule, but then on Friday announced there would be a temporary impact on shipments in late January to early February caused by changes to manufacturing processes to boost output.
- Associated Press
A federal judge in Washington on Friday night halted a plan to release and put on house arrest the Arkansas man photographed sitting at a desk in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office during last week's riot at the U.S. Capitol. Richard Barnett will instead be brought to Washington, D.C., immediately for proceedings in his case, Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell ordered Friday night, staying a decision by another judge to confine Barnett to his home in Gravette, Arkansas, until his trial. Howell's ruling came hours after U.S. Magistrate Judge Erin Wiedemann in Arkansas set a $5,000 bond for Barnett and ordered that a GPS monitor track his location.
- The Independent
- The Telegraph
The US yesterday claimed staff at a Chinese virology laboratory became sick with a Covid-like illness in autumn 2019, months before the coronavirus spread widely from Wuhan. In a long-awaited document from the State Department, the Trump administration called for an investigation as it published dubious new accusations that a possible “laboratory accident” at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) may be the source of the global pandemic. The claims, which came as the outgoing Trump administration fired parting shots at its rivals, were dismissed by analysts who noted the lack of evidence suggesting the disease came from anything other than a naturally occurring event. In a statement late on Friday night claiming to reveal previously “undisclosed information”, the State Department said it “has reason to believe that several researchers inside the WIV became sick in autumn 2019, before the first identified case of the outbreak, with symptoms consistent with both COVID-19 and common seasonal illnesses.” The statement also said that staff at the lab had been carrying out research on a bat coronavirus similar to the SARS-CoV-2 strain that subsequently spread globally and that the lab had collaborated on publications and secret projects with China’s military. Some experts were nonplussed by the announcement. “Zero details given,” noted Kristian Andersen, an immunologist at Scripps Research, rating the statement as “an F”. The fact that Wuhan was home to the world’s leading coronavirus research facility before it became known as ground zero for the global pandemic has led to fevered but unfounded speculation that the virus could have originated in the lab. While Mr Pompeo's statement offered little beyond insinuation, and no hard evidence that the outbreak began in the lab, the State Department was on firmer ground when it accused the Chinese Communist Party of systematically preventing an investigation into the pandemic’s origin. “The CCP has prevented independent journalists, investigators, and global health authorities from interviewing researchers at the WIV, including those who were ill in the fall of 2019,” it said. A World Health Organisation team that travelled to China this week to investigate the origins of the coronavirus found itself at the centre of a propaganda battle, caught between a Chinese government determined to extol its leadership in fighting the virus and an outgoing US administration eager to shift blame away from its own contentious pandemic response. Landing in Wuhan on Thursday after months of delay, the 13 members of the WHO investigative team were whisked away for two weeks' quarantine before their politically fraught task of attempting to definitively identify the origins of the coronavirus begins in earnest. Since emerging from the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, the death toll from COVID-19 has now surpassed two million, raising the stakes for questions over where the virus came and how the early response was handled. The Chinese Communist Party has launched a propaganda campaign portraying itself as a global leader against the pandemic, seeking to reshape the narrative about where and when the pandemic began, while covering up early missteps which may have facilitated its global spread. In the US, where more than 393,000 Americans have died amid a disastrous pandemic response, President Donald Trump has repeatedly sought to blame Beijing for what he calls the Chinese virus. Ever since the outbreak, Chinese authorities have attempted to control the narrative over the origins of the pandemic, claiming it existed abroad before it was discovered in Wuhan and at times promoting baseless conspiracy theories, including that the virus was a US military biological weapon. They have also restricted access to foreign journalists trying to report on the impact and origins of coronavirus. In December, a BBC team which visited Yunnan to investigate a mystery illness that killed three mine workers in 2012 reported being tailed by plainclothes officers in unmarked cars, and having their route blocked by a "broken-down" lorry, which they were told had been placed across the road a few minutes before their arrival. Yunnan, and the cave systems within its rolling jungle, is the site of major coronavirus research. WIV senior virologist Professor Shi Zhengli has become known as "China's Batwoman" for her work there to predict and prevent virus outbreaks. Prof Shi, her lab and the Chinese government have dismissed allegations that the virus might have leaked from the facility. But when she emailed the BBC telling them she would welcome WHO researchers to the WIV, the news organisation later received a call from the lab’s press office, saying she had been speaking in a personal capacity and her answers had not been officially approved. Instead the arrival of the WHO investigative team to Wuhan was stymied by months of delays and sensitive diplomatic negotiations. When visa issues blocked the arrival of the team earlier this month, speculation grew that Beijing was deliberately delaying the team’s arrival. A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman sought to allay concerns, blaming the delay on a “misunderstanding". "There's no need to over-interpret this," she said. But the frustration of WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was clear when he issued a rare public rebuke, saying on Tuesday he was "very disappointed" that China had not authorised the entry of the team. On Wednesday, China recorded its first coronavirus death in eight months as infections topped 138 new cases, the highest one-day jump since early March 2020, intensifying pressure on Chinese authorities to appear in control. Then as the WHO team departed for Wuhan on Thursday, the investigators hit a final snag, as two of the 15 experts were barred from boarding their flight after they tested positive for antibodies during a layover in Singapore. Mr Pompeo meanwhile continued rehashing allegations against the WHO first aired by President Trump, saying on Monday that the organisation “was corrupted by China's influence, and bought cheap”. Insisting they must “do their actual jobs with transparency and accountability”, he repeated previous threats by President Trump to withdraw funding from the organisation, writing “we won't keep wasting taxpayer $$$ to subsidize Chinese influence operations.” By the time the WHO team is released from quarantine, the Trump administration will have left office, removing one source of pressure on the investigators. But another source will remain however, as Chinese authorities maintain a keen interest in controlling the outcome of the WHO investigation, finally underway more than a year after the global pandemic began.
- Architectural Digest
- Associated Press
Pakistani authorities sacked a local police chief and 11 other policemen for failing to protect a Hindu temple that was set on fire and demolished last month by a mob led by hundreds of supporters of a radical Islamist party, police said Friday. The 12 policemen were fired over “acts of cowardice" and “negligence" for not trying to stop the mob when it attacked the temple, with some having fled the scene. Another 48 policemen were given various punishments following a probe into the attack, the police statement said.
- Yahoo News Video
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced parliamentary and presidential elections on Friday, the first in 15 years, in an effort to heal long-standing internal divisions. The move is widely seen as a response to criticism of the democratic legitimacy of Palestinian political institutions, including Abbas's presidency. It also comes days before the inauguration of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, with whom the Palestinians want to reset relations after they reached a low under President Donald Trump.
US police held back a mob for hours in a "barbaric" battle at the Capitol. Here are their stories.
The man accused of throwing a fire extinguisher during the Washington, D.C. riots last week has been arrested. Robert Sanford, a retired Chester Fire Department firefighter, was arrested on Thursday and charged with assault on a police officer, among other offenses. Attorney Enrique Latoison argues Sanford went on a free bus to the rally for Trump at the Capitol, but he did not enter the government building.
- Associated Press
No criminal charges will be filed against a former temporary elections worker authorities have said mistakenly discarded nine military ballots ahead of the November presidential election, a federal prosecutor announced Friday. Officials have previously blamed the decision to toss out the ballots on an unidentified and improperly trained contract worker who had been handling mail-in ballots for the county for two days. The ballots were later retrieved from the trash and were counted with other mailed ballots after the Nov. 3 election.
The U.S. government carried out the 13th and final federal execution under President Donald Trump's administration early on Saturday, days before his successor Joe Biden takes office with a promise to try to end the death penalty. Dustin Higgs, 48, was pronounced dead at 1:23 a.m. EST (0623 GMT), the federal Bureau of Prisons said in a statement, after a late-night Supreme Court ruling cleared the way for the execution to proceed. Since resuming federal executions last year after a 17-year hiatus, Trump, a long-time proponent of capital punishment, has overseen more executions than any U.S. president since the 19th century, including three this week.
- The Week
A bipartisan group of three House members said Thursday that they will nominate Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman for the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor awarded by Congress, for facing off against a mob of rioters in the Capitol during the Jan. 6 siege and potentially saving the Senate."He's a hero!" said Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.), who is introducing the resolution with Reps. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) and Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.). The Senate started evacuating a minute after Goodman lured a crowd of rioters away from a nearby door to the chamber, according to a video by HuffPost's Igor Bobic.Goodman served in Iraq in the Army's 101st Airborne Division, but little else is known about him and he "isn't saying anything at all publicly — not to reporters, not on social media," The Associated Press reports.But Goodman isn't the only officer who showed heroism during the mob siege, and several D.C. Metropolitan Police reinforcements involved in the battle at the West Terrace told their harrowing stories to The Washington Post. One Capitol Police officer was killed by the rioters, and nearly 60 D.C. police officers and an unknown number of Capitol Police were injured.D.C. officer Michael Fanone, 40, was filmed being bludgeoned with metal pipes and flag poles after the West Terrace mob dragged him down the entrance stairs. "We were battling 15,000 people," not 50, he told the Post. "It looked like a medieval battle scene." After the mob hit him with a stun gun, the Post adds, "Fanone suffered a mild heart attack and drifted in and out of consciousness."Officer Daniel Hodges, 32, was captured in another viral video with his head being smashed in a door. Rioters tried to gouge his eyes out before he even got to the West Terrace tunnel, he told the Post. "The zealotry of these people is absolutely unreal," he said, adding that he didn't want to draw his gun "because I knew they had guns — we had been seizing guns all day" — and "we would have lost" in a firefight.Rows of bludgeoned officers from D.C., then surrounding jurisdictions, fended off the rioters in hand-to-hand combat for hours. The West Terrace was "one of the few places where police prevented rioters from breaking through," the Post reports. "Had those rioters succeeded, authorities said, thousands more people could have poured into the Capitol, with possible catastrophic consequences." Read more war stories, and watch the disturbing videos, at The Washington Post.More stories from theweek.com 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment Trump reportedly began 'choreographing' premature victory speech weeks before election Trump's vaccine delay is getting suspicious
- Yahoo News Video
A white military veteran shot and wounded a 15-year-old girl when he fired his gun into a car carrying four Black teens during a tense confrontation at a Trump rally near the Iowa Capitol last month.