Officials say about 75% of the people who live in the area decided to stay despite being under an evacuation notice.
- Associated Press
Ethiopia’s government is under growing pressure to allow the world to see firsthand what has occurred in its embattled Tigray region as its Nobel Peace Prize-winning prime minister rejects “partisan interventions.” Millions of dollars in aid to Ethiopia, a key security ally in the region, are at stake. Last month The Associated Press exposed the killing of an estimated 800 people in the city of Axum, citing several witnesses, and a week later Amnesty International reported “many hundreds” killed there, citing more than 40 witnesses.
With U.S. policy toward North Korea in limbo as the new administration in Washington conducts a months-long policy review, former officials and experts are sparring over whether to shift focus from seeking the North's full denuclearisation. The administration of President Joe Biden says its review of North Korea policy will be finished in coming months, before announcing its plans for handling a rolling crisis that has bedevilled generations of U.S. presidents.
- Associated Press
Jimmy Vesey scored twice, Frederik Andersen made 26 saves in his return from an injury and the NHL-leading Toronto Maple Leafs completed a three-game sweep of the Edmonton Oilers with a 6-1 victory Wednesday night. John Tavares and Zach Hyman each had a goal and an assist, and William Nylander and Ilya Mikheyhev also scored to help Toronto improve to 18-4-2.
- Reuters Videos
"Today was the bloodiest day since the coup happened on the 1st of February."Christine Schraner Burgener, The United Nation's special envoy for Myanmar, confirmed 38 people were killed in protests on Wednesday.It was the country's most violent day since demonstrations broke out against last month's military coup.Police and soldiers opened fire with live rounds in several towns and cities, witnesses said.Four children were among those killed, according to aid agency Save the Children and local media reported hundreds have been arrested.A 19-year-old woman, Kyal Sin, also known as 'Angel' was one of two shot in the second largest city Mandalay.Images showed her in the protests wearing a T-shirt that read 'Everything will be Ok.'One youth activist described in a message to Reuters that it was " horrific, it's a massacre."Wednesday's bloodletting more than doubled the death toll since protests began.A spokesman for the ruling military council did not respond to requests for comment.In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said the United States was "appalled" by the increase in violence."We call on all countries to speak with one voice to condemn brutal violence by the Burmese military against its own people and to promote accountability for the military's actions that have led to the life loss of life of so many people in Burma."Meanwhile, the U.N. Security Council is due on Friday to hold a closed session on Myanmar.
- Associated Press
SpaceX’s futuristic Starship looked like it aced a touchdown Wednesday, but then exploded on the landing pad with so much force that it was hurled into the air. The failure occurred just minutes after SpaceX declared success. The full-scale prototype of Elon Musk's envisioned Mars ship soared more than 6 miles (10 kilometers) after lifting off from the southern tip of Texas on Wednesday.
- Associated Press
The New Orleans Saints cut eight-year veteran tight end and special teams regular Josh Hill on Wednesday and also voided the contract of Jared Cook, who was due to become a free agent this offseason. The decision to release the 6-foot-5, 250-pound Hill saves the Saints about $2.6 million in salary cap space for the coming season. The termination of Cook's contract was a formality but also signifies the Saints' intention to let Cook test the free-agent market rather than proactively looking to extend him after a season in which he caught 37 passes for 504 yards and seven touchdowns.
- Reuters Videos
The death of South Korea's first transgender soldier, Byun Hui-su, triggered an outpouring of condolences on Thursday. The 23-year-old staff sergeant was discharged from the military last year for undergoing gender reassignment surgery.Byun was found dead by emergency officials at her home in the city of Cheongju, south of Seoul, on Wednesday.The military originally said it wasn't in a position to comment, which drew sharp criticism on social media but on Thursday South Korea's Defence Ministry Deputy spokesman Moon Hong-Sik broke the silence:"We express condolences for the unfortunate death of former Sergeant Byun Hui-su."Byun went public and launched a landmark legal challenge against senior military officials last year over her dismissal. She had expressed hope of continuing to serve in the military's female corps.LGBT rights groups said her bravery in coming forward had inspired and empowered others.The case triggered debate in South Korea's LBGT community over how transgender members of the military are treated in a country that requires all able-bodied men to serve for around two years.
- Architectural Digest
The talk show host completely renovated the five-bedroom Beverly Hills home last year
- USA TODAY
Poll: Americans are more interested in getting stimulus than in seeing bipartisanship support for bill
Americans are more interested in seeing $1,400 stimulus checks issued to Americans faster than see any potential bill receive bipartisan support, according to a recent Monmouth poll.
- Business Insider
Dr. Fauci has a stunningly simple way to explain how Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine differs from Pfizer's and Moderna's shots
All three of the COVID-19 shots authorized for use in the US train the body to recognize the coronavirus, but J&J's uses a cold virus instead of mRNA.
A nuclear-capable, long-range U.S. bomber flew over the capitals of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia on Wednesday in a show of solidarity with NATO allies, the U.S. Air Force said, amid Western concerns over a more assertive Russia. "This mission sends a clear message that our commitment to our NATO allies is unshakeable," Gen. Jeff Harrigian, U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa commander said in a statement.
- The Week
Former Vice President Mike Pence broke his silence Wednesday with an op-ed in The Daily Signal, criticizing congressional Democrats for their voter reform push and giving new life to former President Donald Trump's baseless claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. Despite being a central target of the mob that breached the Capitol on Jan. 6 because of his refusal to answer Trump's call to somehow block the Electoral College certification, Pence claimed the election was "marked by significant irregularities and numerous instances of officials setting aside election law." He said he shares "the concerns of millions of Americans" about its integrity, suggesting he still hasn't fully broken with Trump on the matter. For many people, the show of loyalty was baffling. That said, Pence's op-ed didn't outright call the 2020 vote fraudulent. Rather, he framed its outcome as uncertain so he could launch into his argument about why Congress should not pass HR 1, the For the People Act, which includes measures such as required early voting and same-day voter registration in every state. Pence called the bill "an unconstitutional power grab" with the sole goal of giving "leftists a permanent, unfair, and unconstitutional advantage in our political system." Read the full op-ed at The Daily Signal. More stories from theweek.comJoe Biden just yanked away stimulus checks from 17 million Americans7 scathingly funny cartoons about Trump's CPAC appearanceAfter 50 years, a long-lost family photo has made its way back where it belongs
- Business Insider
Meghan Markle wore earrings from Mohammed bin Salman 3 weeks after Saudi agents murdered Jamal Khashoggi, report says
Markle was unaware of the rumors that the Saudi crown prince could be connected to the killing when she wore the earrings, a source told Insider.
- The Telegraph
Boris Johnson will act unilaterally to give supermarkets and their suppliers more time to adapt to post-Brexit trade arrangements in Northern Ireland in a major escalation of tensions with Brussels. The Prime Minister told the Commons: "The position of Northern Ireland within the UK internal market is rock solid and guaranteed... We leave nothing off the table in order to ensure we get this right." Brandon Lewis, the Northern Ireland Secretary, confirmed that the UK is extending the grace period for supermarkets agreed with the EU last year by six months. The move sparked a fresh row with the EU, which is jointly responsible for the Northern Ireland Protocol governing trade and new border checks in the province. The European Commission said the EU had "strong concerns" over the unilateral move because "this amounts to a violation of the relevant substantive provisions of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland and the good faith obligation under the Withdrawal Agreement." "This is the second time that the UK government is set to breach international law," said Lord Frost's opposite number Maros Sefcovic, referring to earlier UK threats to override the Withdrawal Agreement. The commission threatened retaliation through enforcement measures in the Withdrawal Agreement and trade deal in response. The temporary relaxation for checks on supermarkets and their suppliers had been due to expire at the end of this month under the terms of Northern Ireland Protocol, which is part of the Withdrawal Agreement reached in 2019 and which came into force this year. However, in a written ministerial statement published on Wednesday, Mr Lewis said suppliers moving goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland will now not be required to fill out the extra paperwork for agrifoods when the deadline expires. Instead, the UK will unilaterally extend the deadline until October while continuing to try to secure agreement with the European Commission for a longer extension as requested by Michael Gove.
- The Daily Beast
Greg Nash/ReutersBureaucratic restrictions and public-relations concerns from the Army and top Trump administration Pentagon appointees unreasonably restrained the D.C. National Guard from responding to the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, its commander testified to the Senate in a dramatic Wednesday session.The Guard commander, Major General William Walker, described receiving a “frantic” phone call from the then-head of the Capitol Police, Steven Sund, shortly before 2 p.m., as the breach was underway.Yet because of the restrictions from Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller, Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy, and the “best military advice” of senior Army officers, Walker and his 155 Guardsmen could not respond to the scene of the insurrection for another three hours and 19 minutes—restrictions Walker pointedly noted were not placed upon him during the summer’s Black Lives Matter protests in Washington, D.C.Had Walker been able to deploy to the Capitol “immediately,” as he testified he wanted, around 2 p.m.—a process he said took less than 20 minutes—“that number could have made a difference,” Walker said. “We could have helped extend the perimeter and pushed back the crowd.”FBI Director Shoots Back, Insisting Bureau Shared Intel Ahead of Capitol InsurrectionIt was perhaps the most intense moment thus far in a series of Senate hearings on Jan. 6 that have prompted dueling claims of irresponsibility, recriminations that have focused overwhelmingly on security and intelligence failures, rather than the politicians who spread the inciting lie that the Democrats stole the presidential election and hailed the violent protest called for by President Donald Trump.Army and Pentagon officials have heard this critique from Walker in the press and pushed back on it. Yet it was clear at the hearing that even senior Republican senators considered the Pentagon’s restrictions on the D.C. National Guard unacceptable.Walker described pre-insurrection letters from McCarthy, relaying instructions from Miller—whom Trump installed atop the Pentagon shortly after losing the election—that withheld from Walker the issuance of “weapons, ammunition, batons, ballistic protection equipment, to include body armor.” He did not have preapproval to mobilize a quick-reaction force of 40 Guardsmen and found it “unusual” to be denied a typical commanders’ authority to protect his own forces.As well, Walker described an instruction that afternoon from McCarthy to provide a “concept of operations” for the Guard before getting approval to shift from backing up the D.C. police and relieving beleaguered Capitol Police officers. “In 19 years, I never had that before happen,” Walker told senators. In several instances that day, Walker acted on his own initiative to muster the quick-reaction force at the D.C. Armory and get his Guardsmen protective gear, ahead of the belated approval to deploy to the Capitol.Neither Miller nor McCarthy testified. Instead, a senior Pentagon civilian, Robert Salesses, was left to effectively testify that Walker was wrong.Walker testified that two Army three-star generals, Charles Flynn and Walter Piatt, told him on Jan. 6 afternoon phone calls that they advised against sending the Guard to the Capitol because it was a poor “optics” and “could incite the crowd.” Salesses stoically said that Piatt, who is not in the chain of command, told him he never “used the word ‘optics,’” which represents the second revision in Piatt’s story, as the Army general recently acknowledged he may have indeed used that word.Walker shot back: “There were people in the room with me on that call that heard what they heard.”But Salesses’ broader point was that the restrictions Miller placed on Walker were political. “There was a lot of things that happened in the spring the department was criticized for,” Salesses said, referring to the Pentagon’s use of the National Guard to suppress the Black Lives Matter protests in Washington.Yet Salesses, questioned by Republican senators, could not explain all the Pentagon restrictions on the National Guard.The National Guard was on the streets of D.C. on Jan. 6 to support the D.C. police, in an unarmed and unarmored fashion, at 30 city traffic-control points and six Metro stations. Walker said he had to seek approval from the Pentagon to accompany the police in moving a traffic point over by a single block. The quick-reaction force, stationed initially at Joint Base Andrews just outside the district, was “not [designed] to respond to the events of the Capitol,” Salesses pleaded. “I don’t know if that’s true,” Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) replied, quickly prompting Walker’s agreement.Salesses also had to concede that over a half-hour passed between his account of Miller finally authorizing the Guard deployment, at 4:32 p.m., and notifying Walker of that decision at 5:08 p.m. Asked what accounted for that delay by an incredulous Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Salesses said only, “Senator, it’s an issue.”“That’s a significant problem for the future,” Blunt said.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get 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.
Buckingham Palace is investigating claims that the duchess bullied royal staff ahead of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's interview with Oprah.
- Associated Press
House Democrats passed sweeping voting and ethics legislation Wednesday over unanimous Republican opposition, advancing to the Senate what would be the largest overhaul of the U.S. election law in at least a generation. House Resolution 1, which touches on virtually every aspect of the electoral process, was approved on a near party-line 220-210 vote. It would restrict partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts, strike down hurdles to voting and bring transparency to a murky campaign finance system that allows wealthy donors to anonymously bankroll political causes.
- The Independent
Republicans ‘increasingly irritated’ by Marjorie Taylor Greene’s repeated efforts to disrupt work of Congress, report says
Reps Cheney, Issa, and Kinzinger were among GOP who voted against adjournment
A Palm Beach mansion owned by the Trump family just hit the market for $49 million, and it's right across the street from Mar-a-Lago
The home was previously owned by Donald Trump's sister, who sold it to Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump in 2018.
- Associated Press
A New Zealand man is facing criminal charges after allegedly posting online threats against two Christchurch mosques that were the sites of a terrorist attack that left 51 people dead. Police on Thursday arrested the 27-year-old man and charged him with threatening to kill. Police Superintendent John Price told reporters the threats were made earlier this week on the website 4chan, which has been used as a forum in the past by white supremacists.