By Diego Ore and Brian Ellsworth CARACAS (Reuters) - Two Venezuelans died from gunshot wounds during protests against socialist President Nicolas Maduro, witnesses and local media said on Saturday, pushing the death toll from almost two months of anti-government demonstrations to 33. Troops briefly clashed with a small group of protesters who attempted to block a highway in an upscale neighborhood of the capital after thousands of opposition sympathizers marched to demand the release of students imprisoned during the unrest. Demonstrators complaining of soaring prices and product shortages have vowed to remain in the streets until Maduro resigns, although there are few signs that the country's worst turmoil in a decade will force him from office. Argenis Hernandez, 26, was shot in the abdomen as he was demonstrating near a barricade in the central city of Valencia and died early on Saturday in a nearby hospital, according to local media reports. A motorcyclist attempted to cross the barricade and opened fire on demonstrators when they would not let him through, wounding Hernandez. Bus driver Wilfredo Rey, 31, died on Friday night after being shot in the head during a confrontation between demonstrators and hooded gunmen in the western city of San Cristobal, according to residents of the neighborhood where the incident took place. Rey had not been involved in the protests, they said. The protests began in February with sporadic demonstrations by university students. They intensified after three people were killed following a February 12 rally in downtown Caracas. Jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez called on Maduro to resign in a letter read out by his wife at a rally. "Maduro, if you resign, you will open a path toward peace for Venezuelans," wrote Lopez, who was jailed last month on charges including instigating violence after helping turn the protests into a national movement. "The solution is in your hands." A group of demonstrators later gathered near Plaza Altamira, which has been a hot-spot of opposition protests, but the National Guard dispersed them with tear gas. DUELLING MARCHES The opposition has repeatedly declined Maduro's offers for dialogue about the situation, saying they refuse to take part in meetings that will provide little more than photo-ops for the ruling Socialist Party. Maduro says their refusal to engage in dialogue is evidence they are interested in snatching power rather than negotiating. During a rally following the pro-government march, Maduro accused opposition extremists of setting fire to a military university in San Cristobal earlier this week. "Can this be called protest? This is terrorism, this is fascism," Maduro said. "These 'Chuckies' are the direct descendants of the Nazis," he said, referring to the murderous doll of the horror movie series - a designation often used by government leaders to describe the violent protesters. Demonstrations have ranged from peaceful marches to violent clashes between police and hooded protesters hurling rocks and Molotov cocktails. They have also involved street barricades made of trash and debris that is set on fire, snarling traffic and angering drivers of all political persuasions. Opposition sympathizers accuse troops of using excessive force against demonstrators, spurring outrage that has helped keep the protests going. Maduro says adversaries are seeking to destabilize the government as part of a Washington-backed coup similar to the one that briefly ousted socialist leader Hugo Chavez in 2002. Prosecutors in recent days ordered the arrest of two opposition mayors following accusations they had not done enough to clear barricades in their municipalities. Congress on Tuesday asked prosecutors to open a criminal probe of Maria Corina Machado, an opposition legislator and high-profile protest leader, for crimes including treason and inciting civil war in association with the unrest. (Additional reporting by Javier Faria in San Cristobal; editing by Gunna Dickson)
- Associated Press
A federal judge on Tuesday barred the U.S. government from enforcing a 100-day deportation moratorium that is a key immigration priority of President Joe Biden. U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton issued a temporary restraining order sought by Texas, which sued on Friday against a Department of Homeland Security memo that instructed immigration agencies to pause most deportations.
- NBC News
The suspension will last at least 30 days and has been in effect since last week, YouTube said in an email.
- The Week
In an interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Monday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said his caucus won't allow Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to dictate the agenda in the Democratic-led 50-50 Senate or demand an end to the legislative filibuster as a precondition for a power-sharing pact. "We've told McConnell no on the organizing resolution, and that's that. So there's no negotiations on that," Schumer said, suggesting he had a secret plan. "There are ways to deal with him." Maddow included an update when she broadcast the interview Monday night. "While we were airing that right now, and you were watching it, Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell just put out a statement that he is folding on this" and willl "agree to go forward with what Sen. Schumer told him he must," she said. "Sen. Mitch McConnell has caved and Sen. Schumer has won that fight. That was quick. Let's see what else we can do." No sooner has the portion of Rachel Maddow's interview with Senator Majority Leader Chuck Schumer aired than Mitch McConnell has put out a statement that he is folding, ending the stand-off. pic.twitter.com/9qR1jpKXkf — Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) January 26, 2021 McConnell said he would allow the Senate to move forward because two Democrats had reiterated their opposition to ending the filibuster, effectively taking that option off the table. Maddow asked Schumer about that, too, and he didn't answer directly. "The caucus is united with the belief that I have: We must get big, strong, bold things done," Schumer said. The Democratic caucus is also "totally united" that "we will not let Mitch McConnell dictate to us what we will do and not do," and "we have tools that we can use," notably the budget reconciliation process," he added. "We will come together as a caucus and figure it out." "We will not let Mitch McConnell dictate to us what we will do and not do." Here's Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer earlier in his interview with Rachel Maddow, talking about the filibuster specifically, and getting things done. pic.twitter.com/xOAKWfe2Fu — Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) January 26, 2021 Schumer also suggested he is not interested in playing cat-and-mouse with McConnell's Republicans again. Watch below. "We will not repeat that mistake." Senate Majority Leader Schumer cites Obama era lessons in prioritizing legislation over bad faith Republican 'bipartisanship.' pic.twitter.com/gpc1kBP45w — Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) January 26, 2021 More stories from theweek.comSarah Huckabee Sanders' shameless campaign for governorChuck Schumer tried to unseat Susan Collins, and now it's personalDemocrats are getting Chuck Grassleyed
- The Independent
‘There appeared to be no remorse,’ says Calcasieu Parish sheriff Tony Mancus
A federal judge in Texas on Tuesday temporarily blocked a move by new U.S. President Joe Biden to halt the deportation of many immigrants for a 100-day period, a swift legal setback for his ambitious immigration agenda. U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton, an appointee of former President Donald Trump in the Southern District of Texas, issued a temporary restraining order that blocks the policy nationwide for 14 days following a legal challenge by Texas. The Biden administration is expected to appeal the ruling, which halts the deportation freeze while both parties submit briefs on the matter.
- NBC News
"The member in question had been advised numerous times about the requirements and had refused to be tested," the House speaker said.
- Associated Press
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for a man charged in the killing last year of a 24-year-old Indianapolis police officer who was fatally shot as she responded to a domestic violence call. The Marion County Prosecutor's office filed the request Tuesday asking for the death penalty against Elliahs Dorsey, who is charged in the April 9, 2020, killing of Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Officer Breann Leath. Leath and three other officers were responding to a domestic violence call involving Dorsey when she was shot to death through the door of an Indianapolis apartment, police said.
- The Week
Biden did not, in fact, remove Trump's 'Diet Coke button' from the Resolute Desk, White House clarifies
The new Biden administration has yet not disclosed the secrets of Area 51 or explained what the Air Force really knows about UFOs, but it did clarify, at least, the mystery of the vanished "Diet Coke button" former President Donald Trump would use to summon refreshments in the Oval Office. The usher button, as it is formally known, is not gone, even if it is no longer used to summon Diet Cokes, a White House official tells Politico. The White House official "unfortunately wouldn't say what Biden will use the button for," Politico's Daniel Lippman writes, suggesting Biden might summon Orange Gatorade and not the obvious answer, ice cream — or, let's get real, coffee. What's more, there are evidently two usher buttons in the Oval Office, one at the Resolute Desk and the other next to the chair by the fireplace, a former White House official told Politico, adding that Trump didn't actually use the Diet Coke button all that much because "he would usually just verbally ask the valets, who were around all day, for what he needed." In any case, it is not the placement of the button that matters, of course, but how you use it. And Biden will presumably know better than to order ice cream treats during a top-secret national security briefing. More stories from theweek.comSarah Huckabee Sanders' shameless campaign for governorChuck Schumer tried to unseat Susan Collins, and now it's personalDemocrats are getting Chuck Grassleyed
- Yahoo News Video
A former pathologist at an Arkansas veterans’ hospital has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison after pleading guilty last year to involuntary manslaughter in the death of a patient that he misdiagnosed.
President Joe Biden will continue his flurry of executive orders on Monday, signing a new directive to require the federal government to “buy American” for products and services. Why it matters: The executive action is yet another attempt by Biden to accomplish goals administratively without waiting for the backing of Congress. The new order echoes Biden's $400 billion campaign pledge to increase government purchases of American goods.Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.What they're saying: "President Biden is ensuring that when the federal government spends taxpayer dollars they are spent on American made goods by American workers and with American-made component parts," the White House said in a fact sheet.The big picture: Biden’s action kick offs another week in which the president will seek to undo many Trump policies with executive actions, while signaling the direction that he wants to take the country. * Biden will also reaffirm his support for the Jones Act, which requires maritime shipments between American ports to be carried on U.S. vessels. * Last week, Biden signed an order to attempt to raise the minimum wage for federal contractors and workers to $15 an hour.The bottom line: Former President Trump also attempted to force the federal government to rely on U.S. manufacturers for procurement with "buy American" provisions. * But supply chains — with some parts and components made outside of the U.S. — require long and complicated efforts to boost domestic manufacturing. Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
The U.S. Air Force is approaching its sunset date for the Airman Battle Uniform, known as the ABU.
- NBC News
Brittney Gilliam had taken her family for a "Sunday funday" when officers with guns drawn ordered her and the four underage girls with her to exit the car.
- Associated Press
Indonesian authorities have detained the Iranian and Chinese crewmembers of two tankers that were seized for illegally transferring oil in Indonesian waters, an official said Tuesday. “MT Freya did the oil spilling,” Pramandita said.
- National Review
President Biden is expected to suspend new leases for fracking and oil drilling on federal lands on Wednesday. Biden has already signed a number of executive orders aimed at overturning Trump administration policies, including a return to the Paris climate accord. Additionally, Biden blocked further construction of the Keystone XL pipeline designed to route oil from Canada through the U.S., on its way to refineries on the Gulf Coast. The Biden administration has drafted an executive order to halt drilling on federal land pending a review of the federal oil and gas leasing program, people familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal. The order is expected to come as part of a package that will address land conservation and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Biden is also expected to set a goal of protecting 30 percent of federal land and water from future drilling by 2030. During the third debate between Biden and former President Trump in October, Biden said he would push to “transition” the country away from the oil industry. “I would transition from the oil industry, yes,” Biden said. “It has to be replaced by renewable energy over time….And I’d stop giving to the oil industry—I’d stop giving them federal subsidies.” Biden’s recent executive orders on climate and energy have drawn pushback from the oil and gas industries as well as Canada, a major exporter of oil and gas to the U.S. “While we welcome the President’s commitment to fight climate change, we are disappointed but acknowledge the President’s decision to fulfill his election campaign promise on Keystone XL,” Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement last week.
- The Independent
Giuliani slams ‘hate-filled left-wing’ as he responds to $1.3bn defamation lawsuit by Dominion Voting Systems
Donald Trump’s personal lawyer claims legal action is intended to ‘frighten people of faint heart’
- Architectural Digest
Let’s get loudOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- NBC News
The eight other current and former police officers were indicted in what authorities described as a long-term scheme to steal overtime money.
- Associated Press
Israel's military chief Tuesday warned the Biden administration against rejoining the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, even if it toughens its terms, adding he's ordered his forces to step up preparations for possible offensive action against Iran during the coming year. The comments by Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi came as Israel and Iran both seek to put pressure on President Joe Biden ahead of his expected announcement on his approach for dealing with the Iranian nuclear program.
- The Week
With former President Donald Trump's Senate impeachment trial looming, several Republicans in the upper chamber are reportedly rallying around the argument that impeaching a president who is already out of office is unconstitutional. As The Dispatch and Politico note, scholars in legal circles that span the political spectrum generally disagree, and Trump himself suggested ex-presidents could be tried a year ago. Per The Washington Post, when Trump was impeached for the first time, he complained that Congress should be going after former President Barack Obama instead over comments he made about health care. "We should impeach him for that," Trump said. "Why aren't we impeaching him?" Some of his staunchest allies in Congress concurred, including Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who stated explicitly in 2019 that former presidents are subject to impeachment. Gaetz didn't change his mind this time around, though he made the case Trump's actions aren't impeachment-worthy. Regardless, the comments raise questions about the sincerity of the argument. Can’t overstate the importance of reporters conveying that this position was fabricated rapidly to give Republican senators dishonest cover to acquit Trump. Clearly evident in the genesis of the talking point. https://t.co/pC0nmIADoP — Brian Beutler (@brianbeutler) January 26, 2021 More stories from theweek.comSarah Huckabee Sanders' shameless campaign for governorChuck Schumer tried to unseat Susan Collins, and now it's personalDemocrats are getting Chuck Grassleyed
- Los Angeles Times Opinion
Gov. Newsom needs to do a better job communicating California's statewide COVID restrictions with the public, and with other state officials.