By David Alexander WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Navy said on Wednesday that 151 sailors had been disqualified from working as sexual assault counselors and other positions as the military tries to improve how it helps victims following a string of high-profile sexual assault cases. The sailors were disqualified mainly for lack of training after the Navy reviewed the records of about 20,000 personnel who were involved in some way with preventing sexual assault or helping victims, said Lieutenant Commander Chris Servello, a Navy spokesman. News of the Navy action came just weeks after the Army said it had removed 588 people from positions of trust following a similar review of recruiters, drill sergeants, instructors, victim advocates and sexual assault response coordinators. The reviews were ordered by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel as the Pentagon struggles to deal with rising reports of sexual assault and a series of embarrassing sexual assault cases. The number of reported sexual assaults has risen steadily in recent years, jumping from 3,374 in fiscal 2012 to more than 5,000 in fiscal 2013. Many of the crimes go unreported. An annual Pentagon report estimated there were 26,000 sex crimes in the military in 2012, ranging from rape to abusive sexual contact. "The most prevalent reason that we found was that either they didn't have documented training or they had not completed the requisite training required for whatever position they were in," said the Navy's Servello. He said some of those disqualified could be reinstated after completing the appropriate training for the positions. He said he was not aware of any people being disqualified over allegations of sexual misconduct. The Army review also looked at 20,000 records of people to check the suitability of people for the positions, not to take punitive action, said Lieutenant Colonel Alayne Conway, an Army spokeswoman. Of the 588, most were moved to other jobs and 79 are awaiting separation from the Army, she said. "The Army continues to ensure that those in positions of personal trust have the right tools, skills and background needed to carry out their duties effectively," Conway said. (This story was corrected to fix time frame for reported sexual assaults to fiscal 2012 and fiscal 2013, instead of 2012 and 2014, in fifth paragraph) (Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
Kaley Cuoco jokes about rushing into marriage with ex-husband Ryan Sweeting: 'We got married in, like, 6 seconds'
The actress told Variety that she went through her divorce with Sweeting while starring on "The Big Bang Theory."
- Business Insider
Experts say Dominion and Smartmatic could win their defamation lawsuits, but MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell says they have 'zero' chance
The Trump backers Rudy Giuliani, Sydney Powell, and Mike Lindell face defamation lawsuits from Dominion and Smartmatic that may succeed, experts say.
Hungary is entering its toughest period since the start of the coronavirus pandemic and over the next two weeks hospitals will come under strain like never before, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Thursday. "I have only bad news," Orban said in a Facebook video. On Thursday, Hungary reported 4,385 new infections, the highest number this year.
- The Week
President Biden on Wednesday nominated three people for the U.S. Postal Service board of directors. The nominations would fill vacant seats on the board and allow Biden to indirectly assert control over an independent agency beset by service delays and rumored cuts by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a major Republican donor appointed last year under former President Donald Trump. Biden nominated Ron Stroman, the recently retired deputy postmaster general; Amber McReynolds, a vote-by-mail advocate who heads the National Vote at Home Institute; and Anton Hajjar, former general counsel of the American Postal Workers Union. If confirmed to the nine-member board, "the new slate would create a Democratic advantage and potentially the votes to oust DeJoy, whose summer overhaul led to precipitous service declines that snarled up untold numbers of Americans' bills, prescriptions, and paychecks," The Washington Post reports. At a House Oversight Committee hearing earlier Wednesday, DeJoy said he plans to be postmaster general for "a long time," telling Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), "Get used to me." "DeJoy spent most of the hearing dodging questions about his forthcoming strategic plan for the Postal Service, which includes higher prices and slower delivery," the Post reports, citing two people familiar with the plan. DeJoy said the 10-year plan should be ready in March and conceded it might include lower delivery standards for first-class mail and fewer airplanes to transport mail, a move that would slow service across the country. Even if the newly configured board — the six current members are older men, five of them white — doesn't fire DeJoy, he's unlikely to get the same level of support for his cost-cutting measures. "The board has the right to hire and to fire postmaster generals, so DeJoy's certainly going to have to function in a way that he keeps the support of the board," Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union, told The Associated Press. "He's going to be dealing with some changing dynamics on the board." More stories from theweek.comDemocrats should take the Romney-Cotton proposal seriouslyThe GOP's apathy for governing is being exposedThe MyPillow guy might be Trump's ultimate chump
- The Daily Beast
Erin Schaff/ReutersThe acting chief of the U.S. Capitol Police just came with the receipts.Testifying before a House Appropriations subcommittee about the catastrophic breakdown that allowed thousands of MAGA rioters to breach the Capitol, Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman revealed that her predecessor called the House sergeant-at-arms, Paul Irving, at 12:58 p.m. to request the National Guard as rioters breaching the building and forced lawmakers into hiding.Former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, who resigned after the riot, called Irving again seven minutes later, according to phone records pulled by Pittman—and then called him at least three more times until 1:45 p.m.“When there’s a breakdown you look for those commanders with boots on the ground to provide that instruction,” Pittman said. “That did not happen, primarily because those operational commanders at the time were so overwhelmed, they started to participate and assist the officers… versus providing that guidance and direction.”First Capitol Riot Hearing Only Raised More Questions About Jan. 6The receipts–which support the narrative that a series of unanswered calls, withheld information, and conflicting orders led to complete malfunction—directly contradicted Irving’s testimony.On Tuesday, Sund testified that he asked for National Guard backup just after 1 p.m. But Irving insisted that was wrong. He said he did not remember the conversation with Sund and claimed he didn’t get an official request until “shortly before 1:30 p.m.” Troops were not approved to help overwhelmed officers at the Capitol until 2:10 p.m.“Mr. Irving stated that he was concerned about the ‘optics’ of having the National Guard present and didn’t feel that the intelligence supported it,” Sund said Tuesday. Irving, who resigned in the wake of the riot, said that was “categorically false.”On Tuesday, Irving said that if Sund, Senate sergeant-at-arms Michael Stenger, or any other leaders concluded ahead of Jan. 6 that unarmed National Guardsmen were needed, he “would not have hesitated” to ensure the reinforcement was ready.Pittman’s testimony—and her insistence that Capitol Police did everything possible to contain the insurrection—was just the latest twist in a series of finger-pointing between the top law enforcers in charge of securing the Capitol. During hearings before lawmakers this week, officials have blamed one another for the widespread failures.One failure, Pittman conceded on Thursday, was that nobody in law enforcement knew the mob would be so violent.She told lawmakers that they were prepared for militia groups, white supremacists, and other extremists to be present, but the small organization was not prepared for thousands of “everyday” Americans “who took on a mob mentality.” (Acting D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee revealed on Tuesday that the FBI intel consisted merely of an email sent on Jan. 5.)Officials believe over 10,000 demonstrators were at the Capitol on Jan. 6 and that 800 breached the building. About 1,200 police officers responded, Pittman said.She also made the stunning admission that since Jan. 6, Capitol Police have maintained heightened security because they learned that militia groups have chatted about plans to “blow up the Capitol and kill as many members as possible” in connection with the State of the Union, which has no scheduled date yet. “We know that the insurrectionists that attacked the Capitol weren’t only interested in attacking members of Congress and officers. They wanted to send a symbolic message to the nation as [to] who was in charge of that legislative process,” Pittman said. On Tuesday, Irving insisted that Capitol Police were privy to intelligence provided by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security that “did not support” the likelihood of a coordinated assault at the Capitol.An NYPD Cop’s Road From Terror ‘Victim’ to Capitol Rioter“The department was not ignorant of intelligence indicating an attack of the size and scale we encountered on the sixth. There was no such intelligence,” Pittman said Thursday. “Although we knew the likelihood for violence by extremists, no credible threat indicated that tens of thousands would attack the U.S. Capitol. Nor did the intelligence received from the FBI or any other law enforcement partner indicate such a threat.”Pittman added that because officers at the Capitol were not prepared for a violent mob, lockdown procedure was not properly executed. She added that some officers were also not sure when to use lethal force, and that radio communications between law enforcers were not robust.Five individuals died during the violent riots. Four were pro-Trump protesters, including Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt, who was shot and killed by a police officer after attempting to break into the Speaker’s Lobby. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick died after allegedly clashing with rioters. In the days after the siege, at least two officers died by suicide.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.
- Business Insider
An ex-girlfriend tipped off the FBI about an alleged US Capitol rioter after he called her a 'moron'
Richard Michetti was arraigned Tuesday in Philadelphia over his alleged participation in the January 6 insurrection.
- The Telegraph
Nicola Sturgeon has launched an astonishing attack on Alex Salmond after she was accused of behaving like a “tin pot dictator” who risked bringing UK politics into worldwide disrepute. The First Minister accused her former mentor of inventing an “alternative reality” around claims of sexual assault and suggested it was his behaviour towards women, rather than a grand conspiracy, that were the "root" of the allegations against him. Ms Sturgeon was also forced to deny leaning on Scottish prosecutors to censor damning evidence put forward by Mr Salmond, following a fiasco that saw large chunks of his written testimony deleted. The episode over the written evidence, which saw Holyrood quickly back down to the Crown Office which is run by a member of Ms Sturgeon's government, has been seen as a major humiliation for the legislature.
South Dakota's top lawman could be removed after officials say he fatally hit a man with his car.
Chinese President Xi Jinping celebrated "complete victory" in the effort to eradicate rural poverty at a ceremony in Beijing on Thursday to mark a signature initiative of his eight-year tenure. State media credit Xi's leadership with lifting nearly 100 million people from poverty, a milestone he declared in December and framed as a birthday gift for this year's 100th anniversary of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP). In an hour-long speech, Xi hailed what he called a testament to the party's leadership and the advantages of China's political system.
The Weasleys are the largest family in the series, so even the biggest fans may not have heard all these fun facts and hidden secrets about them.
The first big real-world study of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to be independently reviewed shows the shot is highly effective at preventing COVID-19, in a potentially landmark moment for countries desperate to end lockdowns and reopen economies. Up until now, most data on the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines has come under controlled conditions in clinical trials, leaving an element of uncertainty over how results would translate into the real world with its unpredictable variables. The research in Israel - two months into one of the world's fastest rollouts, providing a rich source of data - showed two doses of the Pfizer shot cut symptomatic COVID-19 cases by 94% across all age groups, and severe illnesses by nearly as much.
- The Independent
Biden news - live: Trump Jr deposed over inaugural funds as White House defends migrant camp after AOC attack
Follow all the latest news from the White House
Australia's Fortescue Metals Group has apologised to an Aboriginal group for clearing land on a heritage site while flouting a government condition for representatives of the community to be present when the damage took place. It is the week's second such incident, despite pressure on Australian iron ore miners to show they have improved practices to manage important sites after Rio Tinto destroyed two sacred rock shelters for a mine expansion last May. Fortescue had state government permission to clear the land in the Weelamurra Creek area registered as sacred to the Wintawari Guruma people, on condition that community elders were present to perform salvage and cultural rites, four documents reviewed by Reuters showed.
- The Independent
US Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman argued to maintain increased law enforcement presence at the Capitol ahead of Joe Biden’s first address to Congress, following warnings from militia groups that she says want to “blow up the Capitol and kill as many members as possible” in connection with the president’s upcoming State of the Union. “So based on that information, we think that it’s prudent that Capitol Police maintain its enhanced and robust security posture until we address those vulnerabilities going forward,” she said.
- USA TODAY Opinion
I was assaulted by a Proud Boys supporter in a foreshadowing of the hate to come. I saw that same look on the faces of those who ravaged the Capitol.
- Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Committees in both the House and Senate are meeting to investigate last week’s winter storm and outages.
- Associated Press
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman underwent a “successful surgery” to remove his appendix Wednesday, the royal court said, and he left the hospital soon after the operation. The 35-year-old prince had surgery for appendicitis at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital in the Saudi capital of Riyadh in the morning, according to the royal court. Prince Mohammed, the son of King Salman, has amassed immense powers in the kingdom since being appointed heir to the throne in 2017.
- The Independent
Republican says ‘those big bills are people who gambled on a very, very low rate’ after reports people resorted to using life savings for higher fees amid the freeze
- Associated Press
A New York prosecutor has obtained copies of Donald Trump’s tax records after the Supreme Court this week rejected the former president’s last-ditch effort to prevent them from being handed over. The Manhattan district attorney’s office enforced a subpoena on Trump’s accounting firm within hours of the Supreme Court’s ruling on Monday and now has the documents in hand, a spokesperson for the office, Danny Frost, said Thursday. District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. had been fighting for a year and a half for access to Trump’s tax records for a criminal grand jury investigation into his business dealings.
There's something for any mood you're in right now from comedies ("Easy A") and gangster movies ("Goodfellas") to documentaries ("LA 92").