Reuters sources say Washington has dropped plans to add Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent to a U.S. investment blacklist, but it's also toughened existing measures against designated firms. Julian Satterthwaite reports.
- The Independent
‘It’s unfortunate’: Ashley Biden confirms first lady snubbed her mother on traditional White House handover
"I think we’re all OK with it,' says incoming first daughter in first ever TV interview
- The Week
U.S. prosecutors have imposed the first conspiracy charge against a person who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, The Washington Post reports.Thomas Edward Caldwell was arrested early Tuesday morning on four federal counts pertaining to the riot, including conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, per the Post. He allegedly organized a group of militia members who attacked the Capitol building, praising their actions in Facebook posts after the event.Caldwell's group of "eight to 10 individuals" wore "helmets and military-style gear and were seen moving purposefully toward the top of the Capitol steps and leading the move against police lines," the Post reports. He had been planning the siege at least a week earlier, sending a Facebook message on Jan. 1 that showed he was scouting hotels near the Capitol that "would allow us to go hunting at night if we wanted to," the charging affidavit says. He allegedly sent the message to Jessica Watkins, the founder of the "Ohio State Regular Militia" who was arrested last week after participating in the attack.Caldwell seemingly didn't try to hide his involvement at the Capitol, allegedly sharing video of the attack in the evening of Jan. 6. "We need to do this at the local level. Lets [sic] storm the capitol in Ohio. Tell me when!" Caldwell wrote on Facebook, the FBI says in its charging documents.Caldwell was allegedly a member of the Oath Keepers, an extremist group that, along with the Three Percenters and Proud Boys, is being investigated for its role in sparking the Capitol attack.More stories from theweek.com Trump's White House staff and alumni are reportedly using the same excuse to skip his big sendoff 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment Trump tried to act like a mob boss. Instead he's just a thug.
Pat Cowan, a Republican official in west Texas, would rather blow up her party than see it controlled by “weak” Republicans who increasingly are distancing themselves from President Donald Trump since the U.S. Capitol riots he is accused of inciting. “You can’t tell those Republicans from the Democrats!” she scoffed in an interview at her home in Levelland, Texas.
- Architectural Digest
- Associated Press
A court in Thailand on Tuesday sentenced a former civil servant to a record prison term of 43 years and six months for breaching the country's strict law on insulting or defaming the monarchy, lawyers said. The Bangkok Criminal Court found the woman guilty on 29 counts of violating the country’s lese majeste law for posting audio clips to Facebook and YouTube with comments deemed critical of the monarchy, the group Thai Lawyers for Human Rights said. “Today’s court verdict is shocking and sends a spine-chilling signal that not only criticisms of the monarchy won’t be tolerated, but they will also be severely punished,” said Sunai Phasuk, a senior researcher for the group Human Rights Watch.
- The Independent
The stories of Beau, Hunter, Naomi and Ashley Biden
- The Telegraph
Angela Merkel has been accused of cherrypicking expert coronavirus advisers who agree with her in order to push through her demands for a tougher lockdown. Germany agreed new lockdown measures on Tuesday, with Mrs Merkel is pushing for tighter restrictions despite falling infection numbers. She is said to be concerned new mutations of the virus detected in Britain and South Africa could cause a new surge of infections in Germany. Germany is to extend its lockdown until February 14 and tighten restrictions. Fractious talks between Angela Merkel and regional leaders stretched on for over eight hours and continued late into the night. At pone point they agreed to take a ten-minute break to cool tempers, as regional leaders objected to Mrs Merkel's demands to keep schools and nurseries closed. Eventually a compromise was agreed under which individual regions are free to reopen schools but attendance will remain optional. Most regions are expected to keep them closed. Other measures agreed include the mandatory use of FFP2 medical grade facemasks on public transport, in place of the cloth facemasks currently used. But regional leaders stopped short of imposing a national curfew, or making it compulsory to work from home. Instead employers are to be strongly encouraged to allow staff to work from home.
- The Week
A woman accused of breaching the Capitol and planning to sell to Russia a laptop or hard drive she allegedly stole from Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office was arrested in Pennsylvania's Middle District Monday, the Department of Justice said.Driving the news: Riley June Williams, 22, is charged with illegally entering the Capitol as well as violent entry and disorderly conduct. She has not been charged over the laptop allegation and the case remains under investigation, per the DOJ.Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.The big picture: Video footage appears to show Williams entering the Capitol with other rioters on Jan. 6. She appears to direct them up a staircase in the building. * Following the siege, a person called the FBI tip line to identify Williams and claimed that she told them she planned to send the computer device to a friend in Russia, per a DOJ statement of facts. It's alleged the friend planned to then sell it to Russia’s foreign intelligence service. * The caller said the transfer fell through and alleged that Williams either still has the device or destroyed it. Of note: Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff confirmed the laptop's disappearance on Jan. 8 but said it was "only used for presentations." For the record: Williams had developed a sudden interest in President Trump's politics and "far-right message boards," her mother told ITV News on Jan. 16. * Her mother said her daughter fled after the insurrection. * Williams also deleted her social media accounts and changed her phone number, according to FBI officials.Go deeper: Deadly Capitol riot: The people facing federal chargesBe smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.
- National Review
Senator Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) blocked a quick confirmation of Alejandro Mayorkas as Joe Biden’s Department of Homeland Security secretary, citing Mayorkas’s immigration policy stance. Mayorkas is a former Obama administration official considered the architect of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allowed illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children a renewable deportation deferment, without providing a path to citizenship. The confirmation hearings for Mayorkas come as Biden has pledged to undue many of the Trump administration’s restrictions on immigration, although it is unclear how quickly the Biden administration can act on those promises. “Mr. Mayorkas has not adequately explained how he will enforce federal law and secure the southern border given President-elect Biden’s promise to roll back major enforcement and security measures,” Hawley said in a statement. “Given this, I cannot consent to skip the standard vetting process and fast-track this nomination when so many questions remain unanswered.” Biden is reportedly set to propose an immigration-reform bill that would grant roughly eleven million illegal immigrants a path to citizenship over eight years. The bill could also grant citizenship to agricultural workers and illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. However, the proposal is not expected to include Republican-backed border security measures. The looming immigration debates in Congress come as a new migrant caravan continues to travel toward the U.S.-Mexico border. Several thousand people in the caravan clashed with Guatemalan security forces while crossing the border from Honduras on Sunday. “There’s help on the way, but now is not the time to make the journey,” a Biden official said in comments to NBC.
- The Telegraph
Vaccine ‘passports’ would risk spreading coronavirus, the Government warned on Tuesday, despite the European Commission tentatively backing the idea. EU leaders will have their first discussions on the vaccination certificates at a video summit on Thursday. The Department of Health confirmed that vaccine passports were not being considered in Britain because it is not yet known whether the vaccines stop you being a carrier. That could mean British tourists missing out on EU holidays because they will not have the vaccination certificates, which the commission said could be used in the EU “and beyond”. It is unlikely that Britain would accept the certificates from EU citizens hoping to travel to the UK. Brussels said that using the vaccination certificates to allow greater travel and tourism in the EU was “premature” at this stage but left the door open for the plans to be picked up in the future. “We feel that now this is the time for these vaccine certificates to be recognised across the European Union, and even beyond the European Union.” said Margaritis Schinas, a commission vice-president. Mr Schinas said it was “perfectly imaginable that this can open avenues for other use, including facilitating travel”. But EU heads of state and government would have to agree to the idea and enough Europeans would have to be vaccinated first, he said. The commission said member states should set ambitious targets to vaccinate at least 80 percent of health and social care professionals and people over 80 years old by March 2021 and a minimum of 70 percent of the total adult population by summer. The bloc started jabs three weeks ago and has so far approved two vaccines - from BioNTech/Pfizer and from Moderna - with others soon expected to follow. But its pace of vaccination trails behind countries such as the US, Britain, Israel and the United Arab Emirates. In a swipe at Britain, Mr Schinas said the EU had opted for “safety first” instead of granting emergency approval for vaccines as the UK had. “It is not a race between countries but a race against time in Europe,” he said. The commission said the EU would agree the minimum data necessary for the vaccination certificate and ensure it would respect data privacy laws by the end of January. The common approach could be “scaled up globally” by becoming a model for the certification systems of the World Health Organisation. Greek prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, whose country is dependent on tourism, has called for the certificates to allow for vaccinated people to travel freely around Europe. Other countries, including Germany, are more cautious, especially after the arrival of the British variant on the Continent, and are against any plan which discriminates between those who have the jab and don’t. Chancellor Angela Merkel and leaders of Germany's 16 states were expected to extend and tighten a partial lockdown beyond January last night, as fears grow over virus variant strains believed to be more contagious. The former Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has told Times Radio he's feeling "optimistic" about being able to travel in 2021, and has already booked two summer holidays, including a trip to Italy in June.
- The Independent
Trump ends term with ‘patriotic education’ report which makes excuses for slavery and calls anti-abortion movement ‘great reform’
White House website says report is “rebuttal of reckless 're-education' attempts that seek to reframe American history around idea that United States is not an exceptional country but an evil one”
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Sunday that a convoy of trucks carrying emergency oxygen supplies for Brazil's northern Amazonas state, where a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic has hit hard, has departed and is set to arrive at the border by Monday morning. Reading from a message sent by Justo Noguera, governor of Venezuela's southern Bolivar state, Maduro said during a state television appearance that the six trucks would arrive at the Santa Elena de Uairen border crossing by morning, where they would be handed over to Brazilian health authorities. From there, the trucks - carrying some 136,000 liters of oxygen, enough to fill 14,000 individual canisters - would take 14 hours to arrive in Manaus, the capital of Amazonas, whose hospital system is collapsing due to the pandemic.
- NBC News
Suspect William McCall Calhoun Jr. faces a host of charges stemming from the Jan. 6 pro-Trump riot at the U.S. Capitol Building.
- Associated Press
A lot of the characters are the same for President-elect Joe Biden but the scene is far starker as he reassembles a team of veteran negotiators to get back into the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. President Donald Trump worked to blow up the multinational deal to contain Iran’s nuclear program during his four years in office, gutting the diplomatic achievement of predecessor Barack Obama in favor of what Trump called a maximum pressure campaign against Iran. Down to Trump's last days in office, accusations, threats and still more sanctions by Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Iran's decision to spur uranium enrichment and seize a South Korean tanker, are helping to keep alive worries that regional conflict will erupt.
- Yahoo News Video
President-elect Joe Biden has tapped Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine to be his assistant secretary of health, leaving her poised to become the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
- The Telegraph
The Kremlin said on Tuesday it would not heed calls by some Western countries for sanctions over Russia's detention of poisoned opposition politician Alexei Navalny because his case was a purely domestic matter. Navalny was detained on Sunday after flying back to Russia for the first time since he was attacked with a military-grade nerve agent last summer while travelling in Russia's east, and has urged Russians to take to the streets in protest.
- The Independent
‘If you turn me in, you’re a traitor and you know what happens to traitors...traitors get shot,' he told his children