The triplets are out and are ready for the snowball challenge with Pete!
- The Independent
White House admits Biden cannot force people to wear masks or get vaccines as Texas and Mississippi drop safeguards
With Republican governors in Texas and Mississippi rolling back Covid-related public health safeguards, the Joe Biden administration has recognised the stark reality when it comes to overseeing the pandemic response: There’s only so much the White House can do. On Wednesday, Mr Biden was highly critical of Governors Greg Abbott of Texas and Tate Reeves of Mississippi, who have both decided to dispense with mask mandates in their states and limitations on businesses, including restaurants that had previously been forced to operate at reduced capacity.
A man who plowed a rented van into dozens of people in Toronto in 2018 is guilty of murdering 10 people and attempting to murder 16, a judge ruled on Wednesday, dismissing a defense argument that a mental disorder left the driver unaware of how horrific his actions were. Alek Minassian, 28, told police he was motivated by a desire to punish society for his perceived status as an "incel" - short for involuntary celibate - because he believed women would not have sex with him. Minassian had pleaded that he was not criminally responsible.
Prince Harry's wife Meghan has accused Buckingham Palace of "perpetuating falsehoods" about her and her spouse, saying the royal couple would not be silent in telling their story. Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, made the comments to American talk show host Oprah Winfrey in an interview about why they quit their royal roles that is due to be broadcast on U.S. television on Sunday. An advance excerpt of the interview was released on Wednesday, hours after Buckingham Palace said it was "very concerned" about reports in the Times newspaper that assistants working for Meghan two years ago had been bullied by her.
Wall Street slumped on Thursday and global stock markets declined after U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell repeated his pledge to keep credit flowing until Americans are back to work, rebutting investors who have openly doubted he can stick to that promise once the pandemic passes. Benchmarket U.S. Treasury yields rose toward last week's highs as Powell spoke, and the dollar hit a three-month high. With COVID-19 vaccines rolling out and the government fiscal taps open "there is good reason to think we will make more progress soon" toward the Fed's goals of maximum employment and 2% sustained inflation, Powell told a Wall Street Journal forum.
An explosives team visited the site in the town of Bovenkarspel, 55 km (35 miles) from the capital, where police said a metal cylinder involved in the explosion had been recovered. It "must have been placed" there, police spokesman Menno Hartenberg told Reuters. A security guard in the testing centre alerted police to a "loud blast" that broke several windows shortly before 7 a.m., a police statement said.
- Reuters Videos
Hundreds of protesters, many wearing hard hats and clutching makeshift shields, gathered behind barricades in different parts of Yangon to chant slogans against military rule.There were no reports of injuries in Yangon but four people were wounded in the northwestern town of Kale, where police fired live ammunition to disperse a crowd after protesters threw things at advancing police, a witnesses said.At least 21 protesters have been killed since the turmoil began. The army has said one policemen was killed.The Feb. 1 coup halted Myanmar's tentative steps towards democracy after nearly 50 years of military rule, and has drawn condemnation and sanctions from the United States and other Western countries, and growing concern among its neighbours.
- LA Times
President Biden pulled Neera Tanden's nomination to serve as his budget director. She didn't have enough Senate votes to be confirmed.
The Senate on Thursday voted 51-50 — with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie — to proceed to debate on President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus rescue package, likely setting up a final vote this weekend.The state of play: Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) is forcing the Senate clerk to read the entire 628-page bill on the floor, a procedural move that will likely add 10 hours to the 20 hours already allotted for debate.Get market news worthy of your time with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free.During that time, Republicans will propose amendments — some unrelated to COVID relief — intended to force uncomfortable votes for Democrats, in a practice known as vote-a-rama.Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) promised Thursday that the Senate will stay in session "no matter how long it takes" to finish voting on the "American Rescue Plan."Because the bill is being considered under the budget reconciliation process, it only requires a simple majority to pass, rather than the usual 60-vote Senate threshold for major legislation.Driving the news: Speaking on the Senate floor ahead of the vote to proceed, Schumer accused Johnson of going to "ridiculous lengths" to show his opposition to a COVID relief package widely supported by the American public — including a majority of Republicans.What they're saying: "It will accomplish little more than a few sore throats for the Senate clerks who work very hard day in, day out to help the Senate function," Schumer said."Still, we are delighted that the senator from Wisconsin wants to give the American people another opportunity to hear what's in the American Rescue Plan. We Democrats want America to hear what's in the plan," he continued."Oh, yes, when the senior senator from Wisconsin reads, the American people will get another chance to hear about the tax breaks for low-income workers, and assistance for American families struggling with child care — two measures that help make the American Rescue Plan one of the single largest anti-poverty bills in recent history."Go deeper: Senate Republicans plan to exact pain before COVID relief voteLike this article? Get more from Axios and subscribe to Axios Markets for free.
A New Orleans police officer groomed and raped a 14-year-old girl he was assigned to take to a rape kit exam, a lawsuit alleges
The lawsuit alleges the officer began grooming the girl as they sat in the waiting room of a New Orleans children's hospital.
- The Week
Trump inadvertently boosts Biden's stimulus messaging with another statement raging against McConnell
Former President Donald Trump has released a new post-presidency statement, and Democrats might just be glad he did. The former president, who remains permanently banned from Twitter, released a statement Thursday once again raging against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), blasting him as the "most unpopular politician in the country" while blaming him for Republicans' Senate losses in Georgia — losses for which Trump himself has been blamed by other Republicans. One of the reasons Republicans lost the two Georgia Senate runoffs in January, Trump argues, was "Mitch McConnell's refusal to go above $600 per person on the stimulus check payments when the two Democrat opponents were touting $2,000 per person in ad after ad." The statement offered "quite the pre-stimulus political gift to Democrats," wrote National Journal's Josh Kraushaar, while The Washington Post's Dave Weigel noted that Trump "remarkably" used this opportunity to "validate Biden's messaging on the $1,400 checks instead of whacking him and Democrats for curtailing them." Remarkably, Trump also uses this statement to validate Biden's messaging on the $1400 checks instead of whacking him and Democrats for curtailing them. "The $2000 will be approved anyway by the Democrats." https://t.co/M9dXoX13VS — Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) March 4, 2021 Indeed, Trump writes that "the $2,000 will be approved anyway by the Democrats," while offering no comment on the fact that the new checks are actually for $1,400, nor on Biden's recent compromise that narrows the eligibility. Politico's Gabby Orr observed that Trump "could have put out a statement saying the income phase-outs in the Biden stimulus bill are going to mean he gave checks to more Americans," but "instead he's still targeting his own party with stuff like this." This was just Trump's latest statement in this vein after he released another one last month describing McConnell as an "unsmiling political hack." He also mentioned McConnell in a recent Conservative Political Action Conference speech, in which he took credit for McConnell's recent re-election. McConnell told Fox News he "didn't watch" the speech and that "we're dealing with the present and the future, not looking back to the past." More stories from theweek.com7 scathingly funny cartoons about Trump's CPAC appearanceThe Republican grievance perpetual motion machineTrump wants revenge on Alaska's Sen. Murkowski. His advisers think he won't follow through because the flight is too long.
- Business Insider
How much YouTube pays influencers for 100,000, 1 million, and 150 million views, according to top creators
We spoke with creators on YouTube who broke down how much money they've made on a single video from Google.
- The Week
Trump wants revenge on Alaska's Sen. Murkowski. His advisers think he won't follow through because the flight is too long.
Don't bet on former President Donald Trump traveling to campaign against Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) — and not because of any sudden change of heart. A new report from The Washington Post discusses the Alaska Republican's influence during President Biden's administration, as well as the fact that Trump is "vowing publicly and privately to work to oust her" as she seeks a fourth Senate term in 2022. Murkowski was one of seven Republican senators who voted to convict Trump in his second impeachment trial, and she's reportedly "higher on his list of enemies" than other lawmakers, coming in just under Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) At the same time, the Post reports that while Trump "does want to spend money against" Murkowski, some "people in his circle doubt, though, that he will be as much of a potent force in the race because traveling to campaign against her would require such a long flight, which Trump generally avoids." There's also the fact that, the Post says, Trump's advisers "recognize the complexity of winning in Alaska," which uses ranked-choice voting, though the report adds that it's likely Murkowski will face pro-Trump opposition in the race in some form. Trump recently went after Murkowski during his first speech since leaving office at the Conservative Political Action Conference, naming her while he slammed a series of Republican "grandstanders" and called on supporters to "get rid of them all." Murkowski has defended her vote to impeach Trump, saying she couldn't "be afraid of" the political repercussions and that if Alaska voters decide that "because I did not support my party that I can no longer serve them in the United States Senate, then so be it." More stories from theweek.com7 scathingly funny cartoons about Trump's CPAC appearanceThe Republican grievance perpetual motion machineWhich states best handled the pandemic? There's no clear answer.
- Business Insider
Biden supports making a temporary $3,000 payment to parents in the stimulus bill permanent going forward
Senate Democrats want to make the larger tax credit permanent and give families an option to receive monthly checks. Biden wants a permanent one too.
- Fort Worth Star-Telegram
The pastor has since “taken a leave of absence and is seeking professional counseling,” the church said.
- The Telegraph
The Duchess of Sussex has accused Buckingham Palace of “perpetuating falsehoods,” alluding to her belief that royal aides leaked stories about her and Prince Harry and failed to defend them from untruths. In a preview clip from their no-holds-barred interview with Oprah Winfrey the Duchess referred to the Royal Family as "The Firm", while she acknowledged that speaking out came with "risk" but said a lot had been "lost already" and that they should not be expected to remain silent. It was the second excerpt of the interview released by US network CBS ahead of the two-hour special, which will be broadcast in the UK on Monday evening on ITV. The 30-second clip was the first time the Duchess has been heard giving a full answer to one of Ms Winfrey's questions. It is thought to have been released in reaction to this week’s revelations that Meghan had been accused of bullying staff, although the interview was recorded before the allegations became public knowledge. “They obviously want to maximise their content,” a source close to the Duchess said of CBS. “They are very clever at making intoxicating TV.” The fact that the slickly produced interview is designed to shock has caused consternation in palace quarters, not least as it coincides with the Duke of Edinburgh’s longest ever hospital stay. Aides have signalled their intention to distance themselves from the programme. One said: “We are trying to maintain a dignified silence. It’s a media circus and we do not want to be drawn into it.” They point out that it was recorded two weeks ago, suggesting that any attempt to capitalise on the publicity surrounding the bullying allegations was "opportunistic". Members of the Royal Family have not requested, and have not been offered, advanced sight of the recording or a transcript and are expecting to watch it “like everybody else”. The rights to the two-hour programme, which was extended by 30 minutes after the interview was conducted, have been sold across the globe, in more than 17 countries from Australia to Norway, as well as sub-Saharan Africa. The Sussexes are not being paid for the interview, which will net a fortune for CBS and Ms Winfrey’s production company Harpo. In the latest clip, Ms Winfrey asks the Duchess: "How do you feel about the palace hearing you speak your truth today?" The Duchess replied: "I don't know how they could expect that after all of this time, we would still just be silent if there is an active role that The Firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us. "And if that comes with risk of losing things, I mean, I've...there's a lot that's been lost already." Your truth This is an American term that has been used by the Duchess herself. Ms Winfrey is alluding to the fact that the Royal Family and the “grey suits” at Buckingham Palace will hear Meghan’s own version of events for the first time. By speaking “her truth” the Duchess will be providing her own perspective and personal opinion. But the use of the word suggests that other people’s versions of those events have not been truthful. The Sussexes have become ardent followers of American self-help guru Brené Brown, taking to heart her guidance that: “You either walk into your story and own your truth, or you live outside of your story, hustling for your worthiness.” When news of the Duchess’s pregnancy was announced recently, it was accompanied by a picture taken by their friend and photographer Misan Harriman, who said: "I always look for truth with my lens and this is what you see in this image, their truth, their love, it is undeniable".
- Business Insider
Rudy Giuliani, who helped lead Trump's bogus election-fraud conspiracy theory, is being mocked after warning of the dangers of misinformation
After spending months pushing Trump's election fraud conspiracy theory, Giuliani unexpectedly warned of the dangers of misinformation.
- The Telegraph
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex expect to be notified if formal allegations of bullying are made against them by Buckingham Palace, it is understood. The couple have not been contacted about the investigation into claims that their staff were bullied and left “broken”, “terrified” and “shaking” with fear. The unprecedented inquiry will be headed by a human resources manager from the Royal Household, who will invite Sussex employees past and present to be interviewed about their experiences in a bid to improve policies and ensure “lessons have been learned". A palace aide has indicated that the Duke and Duchess would not be involved, or even informed, about the process, which is carefully billed as an internal “review” for staff rather than a formal investigation. This is despite the fact that the allegations relate directly to the couple’s behaviour towards their staff, which prompted a formal complaint sent to human resources in October 2018 that was not pursued. A source close to the Sussexes said the couple had not been informed of the investigation by Buckingham Palace and had no idea about its scope. Asked if they would want to be involved, or to have the right of reply, the source said: “If it was an investigation into them, of some description, there would have to be a formal process where we would have to be involved. “A formal HR investigation involves formal accusations. If this was a formal office setting, we would have already been fired or have already quit, depending on your point of view.”
Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle's wedding-dress embroiderer says she hasn't heard from the royal family since revealing she's on the brink of homelessness
"It just makes me feel like I don't exist," Chloe Savage, who worked on Kate Middleton's and Meghan Markle's wedding dresses, told Insider.
- Business Insider
GOP Sen. Marsha Blackburn says being called a 'Neanderthal' is actually a good thing after Biden criticized states for lifting mask mandates
They're "hunter-gatherers, they're protectors of their family, they are resilient," Blackburn said of Neanderthals, who are now extinct.
- Business Insider
Jeffrey Epstein's New York home is about to sell for $50 million, more than $40 million under asking price
Proceeds from the sales will go to Epstein's estate, which established a victim's fund for women accusing Epstein of sexually abusing them as minors.