By Louis Charbonneau (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday suggested that Washington would not insist that Iran answer unresolved questions about its past nuclear activities because the United States already knows exactly what Tehran has done. U.S. officials have previously said Iran must answer a set of queries the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has about past Iranian activities that may have been related to atomic weapons research and that some sanctions relief under a possible nuclear deal would depend on resolving those questions. So far, the IAEA has been unable to resolve all of its questions about so-called possible military dimensions of past Iranian nuclear work. Tehran says the agency's evidence about past weapons-related activities is fabricated and insists its nuclear program is peaceful. Speaking to reporters via teleconference, Kerry suggested Washington was prepared to be flexible on this issue. "We're not fixated on Iran specifically accounting for what they did at one point in time or another," Kerry said. "We know what they did. We have no doubt. We have absolute knowledge with respect to the certain military activities they were engaged in." "What we're concerned about is going forward," Kerry said. "It's critical to us to know that going forward, those activities have been stopped, and that we can account for that in a legitimate way." The United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China have a self-imposed June 30 deadline to finish a long term nuclear deal with Iran under which it would curb sensitive nuclear activities for at least a decade in exchange for sanctions relief. Officials close to the talks say they will likely run into early July. An interim deal between Iran and the six powers from April said Iran would need to address the IAEA's concerns under any final agreement. Over the weekend, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the six powers of stepping up concessions to Tehran as the deadline for a deal approaches. Separately, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power rejected on Tuesday suggestions by a U.N. sanctions monitoring panel that Washington may be keeping silent about Iranian sanctions violations to avoid disrupting the nuclear talks. The panel said in April it has received no new confirmed reports of Iranian violations despite numerous media reports of Iranian weapons shipments abroad in violation of a U.N. embargo. "Absolutely not," Power told a congressional hearing. "There's no pulling of our punches, even during these negotiations." (Reporting by Louis Charbonneau; Editing by Grant McCool)
- Yahoo News
NBA player turned conspiracy theorist stages one-man pro-Trump protest amid inaugural security prepared for thousands
The extra security measures appeared to have kept many protesters away from the Capitol and inaugural activities, but not one man.
- Yahoo News
Republicans built up QAnon backer Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, but now are they afraid of what they created?
On the eve of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, freshman Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the combative Georgia Republican known for her association with QAnon, was back on Twitter after a 12-hour suspension, and back to making waves.
- CBS News
Vice presidents since Vice President Walter Mondale have been living in the residence at the Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C.
Capt. Scott Moss, who led the NOSC in Knoxville, was relieved of command by Capt. Dale Maxey.
- The Telegraph
Donald Trump spent his first night as a private citizen settling into his new home at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, where he has reportedly already begun preparing for his upcoming impeachment hearing. Mr Trump’s final engagement in Washington DC as president was attending his farewell at Joint Base Andrews in DC, which was attended only by some 250 of his most loyal aides and supporters. Notably absent were close White House aides and his own vice president Mike Pence. The former president then left for Florida as President Joe Biden was being sworn in, where he received a much warmer welcome. Supporters lined Mr Trump’s route to Mar-a-Lago, waving “Trump 2020” flags and signs reading “welcome home!”, while others screamed “I love you” as his motorcade drove past. Some still refused to accept the results of the election.
Russian forces have killed a Chechen separatist guerrilla commander believed to have been involved in a deadly bombing at Moscow's Domodedovo airport in 2011, authorities said on Wednesday. Aslan Byutukayev was one of six militants killed during a special operation in the village of Katyr-Yurt, about 1,500 km (930 miles) south of Moscow, Chechen regional leader Ramzan Kadyrov said. Byutukayev is supected of being behind a bombing that killed nearly 40 people in the arrivals hall of Domodedovo airport in 2011.
President Biden warned dozens of staffers and appointees Wednesday to treat everyone with respect, or else “I will fire you on the spot.” What he's saying: Everyone, regardless of their background, is "entitled to be treated with decency and dignity. That’s been missing in a big way the last four years," Biden said at the virtual swearing-in ceremony for incoming administrators. "I expect you to do that for all the folks you deal with."Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here. * "I’m not joking when I say this: If you’re ever working with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone, I promise you I will fire you on the spot," he added. "On the spot. No ifs or buts." * He also emphasized that as government officials, they work for the people.The big picture: Biden's comments reinforce his vision of unity and equity for the U.S. as expressed in his inauguration address earlier in the day — starting with his very own administration. What to watch: Biden signed an order on Wednesday launching a "whole-of-government" initiative designed to root out systemic racism and prioritize equity across the federal government.Go deeper: Biden embarks on a consequential presidencyBe smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.
Marine F-35B Joint Strike Fighter aircraft and the Navy destroyer The Sullivans will deploy as part of the strike group.
- The Week
Anthony Scaramucci was right: The White House appears to be having trouble rounding up a sizable crowd for President Trump's official send-off from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on Wednesday."In what looks like a desperate attempt to build a crowd for the crowd-obsessed president, an email has been making the rounds to current and former White House officials inviting them, and as many as five plus-ones, to Trump's elaborate exit ceremony," Politico reported Tuesday morning. "The go-to excuse for skipping out has been the 6 a.m. call time at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. But truly, many just don't want to be photographed sending off their former boss."Trump's current staffers have a good reason to avoid their outgoing boss. "Former White House officials and campaign staffers who would typically land plum jobs in corporate America after serving their time are now out in the cold," Politico says. One former White House official who got out early put it this way: "No one wants to touch them, they're just toxic." Another former Trump aide, pointing to the fallout from the Jan. 6 insurrection, was more blunt, telling Politico: "They're f---ed."Trump will be the first president since Andrew Johnson, another member of the tiny impeached president club, to skip the inauguration of his successor. "Johnson snubbed Ulysses S. Grant in 1869," The Washington Post notes. More stories from theweek.com Trump issues last-minute order attempting to free his appointees from ethics commitments 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment Trump leaves the White House for the last time as president
Beijing is touting a state programme that gives Taiwanese in China priority for COVID-19 vaccines, prompting concern within Taiwan's government which sees it as the latest Chinese tool to win over the island's population. China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory, is making the free-of-charge offer at a time when the democratic island has yet to begin vaccinations of its own, with Chinese government departments and state media quoting Taiwanese in China in support of the programme. "This shows the mainland's warmth and affection towards us," a Taiwanese teacher surnamed Wang was quoted as saying in a post this month by China's United Front Work Department, which is in charge of co-opting overseas Chinese and non-communists.
- Yahoo News Video
Already facing allegations of stealing more than $600,000 in federal funds from a health care school she directed, a Tennessee state senator has been charged in a new fraud case, the U.S. attorney’s office in Memphis said Tuesday.
- The Independent
Ms Harris is expected to move into the 128-year-old residence once a number of repairs have been made
- Architectural Digest
Mercedes-Benz’s Hyperscreen, General Motors’ Bright Drop, and Jeep’s Electric Wrangler were among the unveils that turned headsOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- The Week
President Biden's inaugural address has won some high praise on Fox News.Fox News anchor Chris Wallace on Wednesday praised Biden's "great" inaugural address, going as far as to deem it the best he's ever watched in his life."I thought it was a great speech," Wallace said. "I've been listening to these inaugural addresses since 1961 -- John F. Kennedy, 'ask not.' I thought this was the best inaugural address I ever heard."Biden during his first address as president declared that "democracy has prevailed" and urged unity, saying politics "doesn't have to be a raging fire destroying everything in its path." Wallace noted the speech and the ceremony itself was especially meaningful coming exactly two weeks after a mob of former President Donald Trump's supporters stormed the Capitol building in an attempt to disrupt Congress' certification of the election results."It was a less an inaugural address and more part sermon, part pep talk," Wallace said.The Fox News anchor also called for those in the media to particularly take note of Biden's comment that "there is truth and there are lies, lies told for power and for profit, and each of us has a duty and a responsibility ... to defend the truth and defeat the lies.""Now he's gotta turn words, rhetoric into reality and action," Wallace added. "But I thought it was a great start." > Fox News's Chris Wallace: "This was the best inaugural address I ever heard." pic.twitter.com/W2tauGp5g5> > -- Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) January 20, 2021More stories from theweek.com Cheap, 'generic' drug reduces COVID-19 death risk by 75 percent, trials suggest Michael Flynn's brother was in a key Pentagon meeting during Jan. 6 Capitol siege, despite earlier denials Bernie Sanders steals the inauguration with his grumpy chic outfit
- The Telegraph
At least 28 people were killed and dozens more injured when two suicide bombers targeted a busy market in central Baghdad this morning, in the first such attack for two years. Terrorists from the Islamic State group were suspected to be responsible for the explosions which ripped through a busy open air market, although there was no immediate confirmation from the group. The Iraqi interior ministry said the first suicide bomber had rushed into the market near Baghdad’s Tayaran Square and claimed to feel sick, so that people would gather around him. He then detonated his explosives, causing carnage. As more onlookers tried to help around the victims, a second attacker detonated his bomb among them, the ministry's statement said. Police sources said that at least 28 people had died in the attack but warned that number could rise as some of the 73 wounded people were in a critical condition. Iraqi authorities did not immediately say who they believed was behind the bombing, but called it a terrorist incident, a reference usually used for attacks by IS.
- NBC News
Patrick Edward McCaughey allegedly told the officer, “Come on man, you are going to get squished, just go home.”
Former California Rep. Randall "Duke" Cunningham was convicted of taking bribes from defense contractors.
- The Telegraph
South Korean president under fire for saying adoptive parents should be able to 'change' their child
Children’s rights groups in South Korea have condemned comments by President Moon Jae-in suggesting that adoptive parents who do not get along with a child should be able to “change” it for another one. Mr Moon was responding to a question at a press conference on Monday about the government’s efforts to prevent child abuse in light of the death late last year of a 16-month-old girl, allegedly at the hands of her adoptive parents. The case has provoked outrage in South Korea, with the adopted mother of Jung-in charged with murder on January 13. The woman, identified only by her family name, Jang, was originally charged with fatal child abuse and neglect in December. Commenting on the case, Mr Moon said, “Even after adoption, the adoptive parents need to check if the adoption is working out for them. So there should be measures allowing them to cancel the adoption or, if they still want to adopt a child, then they should be able to change the child." The press conference, which was being broadcast live on national television, triggered an immediate response, with critics saying the president was suggesting that children were “goods” that could be returned for a refund. Groups representing adoptees and parents who have given homes to children staged a protest in front of the presidential Blue House the same day, demanding an apology from the president and changes to the system of adoptions in Korea. “Mr Moon’s comments are no different from those of adoption agencies, who treat adoption as a business," Jeon Young-soon, head of an association of parents, told The Korea Herald. Na Kyung-won, a member of the opposition People Power Party, also condemned the president’s comments, saying, “For adopted children, the horrific ordeal is being abandoned again by their adoptive parents. Mr Moon has made a serious error." A petition has also been started on the president’s website, stating, “Adoption is not like shopping for a child. When people have made up their minds to care for a child for his or her whole life, they adopt the child with love that is beyond comparison”. Government officials insist the president’s comments have been misunderstood and taken out of context. South Korea traditionally has low levels of domestic adoption, in part due to the importance of blood relations and the stigma attached to children born out of wedlock. Many Korean children find adoptive parents overseas.
- The Week
Constitutionally-speaking, Chief Justice John Roberts is meant to preside over President Trump's impeachment trial, but he apparently wants out, Politico reports.Multiple Republican and Democratic sources have reportedly told Politico that Roberts is seeking a way to avoid the job because of how things played out when he oversaw Trump's first impeachment trial last year. Roberts, Politico notes, has worked hard to keep the Supreme Court apolitical during his tenure, so he was reportedly displeased that he "became a top target of the left" during the proceedings. "He wants no further part of this," one source told Politico, although there's been no official word from Roberts' camp about what he'll ultimately do.Trump's trial is a bit of a constitutional oddity. On the one hand, it's a presidential impeachment, but on the other hand, the trial will take place after he leaves office, which is why there's a chance Roberts may have some wiggle room. Historically, either the vice president or the longest-serving member of the Senate have taken up the mantle for lower-level impeachments, per Politico. That means Vice President-elect Kamala Harris or Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) could be the choice. Read more at Politico.More stories from theweek.com Trump issues last-minute order attempting to free his appointees from ethics commitments 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment Trump leaves the White House for the last time as president
Biden's transition team lawyers have reminded Vice President-elect Kamala Harris' niece, Meena, that she can't profit off her famous aunt's image, after she unveiled a collaboration between her company and Beats By Dre.Why it matters: Following Republican attacks, President-elect Joe Biden pledged that neither his family nor Harris' would profit from their service as president and vice president. Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America. * While Meena Harris did nothing illegal, it underscored the challenge of keeping relatives in line, and of adhering to the higher ethical standards that the incoming administration has pledged.The backdrop: The specially curated products come in a black box and include a black hoodie emblazoned with the word AMBITIOUS on the front; a Bluetooth speaker with the word PHENOMENAL across it; and the over-ear headphones. * Ambitious refers to the criticism some leveled against Harris — who was a first-term senator — as Biden weighed a variety of female candidates to be his running mate. * Phenomenal is a female-powered lifestyle brand of which Meena Harris is CEO.The spine connecting the two earpieces reads, "The First But Not The Last," an apparent reference to Kamala Harris' becoming the first female vice president. * While the products are not for sale, they were gifted to influencers and celebrities ahead of the inauguration.The team surrounding the incoming vice president was not made aware of the collaboration in advance, people familiar with the situation told Axios. The lawyers followed up and told Meena Harris that she — like anyone else — cannot profit off of Harris' image or likeness once she becomes vice president. * Meena Harris's team did not respond to a request for comment. * Meena is the daughter of Kamala Harris' sister, Maya.Between the lines: The optics of Meena Harris' business ventures are especially challenging after Democrats spent four years criticizing business deals involving President Trump and his children, and after Biden's public pledge to avoid any influence-peddling. * “My son, my family will not be involved in any business, any enterprise that is in conflict with or appears to be in conflict,” he said last year. * In December, lawyers for the presidential transition team started "drafting new rules for the Biden White House that are likely to be more restrictive than the rules that governed the Obama administration," per the Washington Post. The bottom line: Phenomenal has sold several other items inspired by Kamala Harris since Biden announced her as his running mate. * They include a sweatshirt with "MVP" on it, standing for "Madam Vice President," and another with the phrase "I'm speaking" on the front — a nod to a moment when Kamala Harris complained about being interrupted during a vice-presidential debate. * After Kamala Harris received the "too-ambitious" criticism, her niece created and sold a pink sweatshirt with "AMBITIOUS" written on the front. * “I look at her as another figure in history and someone to be celebrated,” she said of her aunt during an interview with the New York Times.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.