We'll see unseasonably warm weather this coming week
- Yahoo News
- The Week
The United States aims to acquire an additional 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, President Joe Biden said on Tuesday, enough to inoculate most Americans by summertime, as he races to curb a pandemic he warned could still get worse. Biden's administration will purchase 100 million doses each of the vaccines made by Pfizer Inc and BioNTech, and Moderna Inc, increasing the overall total doses to 600 million, with delivery expected by summer. The vaccines are not approved for use by most children.
- NBC News
While the Democratic-controlled House could pass the bill again, its chances of clearing the Senate are nil.
- The Telegraph
Germany and Russia create 'green' foundation that skirts US sanctions to finish Nord Stream pipeline
A German state has been accused of using a 'green' foundation backed with Russian money to bypass US sanctions against the completion of the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, the northeasternmost state in Germany, set up the Climate and Environmental Protection MV foundation earlier this month claiming its goal was to “further environmental projects in the Baltic Sea region.” One such project, the state confirmed, would be assisting in the completion of the North Stream 2 gas pipeline, construction of which has been complicated by US sanctions. But it appears that finishing the gas line is likely to be the foundation’s primary aim. The Russian state-owned gas company Gazprom gets to choose its chairperson, while funding it with an initial €20 million. State governor Manuela Schwesig, of the Social Democrats, justified the foundation's involvement in the gas project, saying "we have always taken the view that the Baltic Sea pipeline is part of climate protection." Speaking to state broadcaster ARD on Sunday, Ms Schwesig said the foundation would “neither build nor operate the pipeline,” but conceded that part of its function would be “providing assistance where US sanctions threaten German companies.” The US Senate imposed penalties on companies involved in the project at the end of 2019, fearing that the pipeline, which delivers gas directly from the Russian port of Vyborg, would give Moscow too much control over European energy supplies. The sanctions led Swiss company Allseas to pull out with just 150 kilometers of piping left to lay. With Russian ships now preparing to lay the last stretch of piping, the foundation is likely to take over logistics work on German soil. This task was previously conducted by a small German harbour which US senators threatened last summer with “crushing legal and economic sanctions.” A legal assessment obtained by the environmental organisation German Environmental Help concluded that the foundation would get around US sanctions, as these do not target state organisations. But it also concluded that, if the foundation’s primary aim was financial, it would be an abuse of German charity law. Politicians have also voiced concerns about Russian influence. "Ninety nine percent of the text of the statutes is about climate and environmental protection, but 99 percent of the money comes directly from Nord Stream 2 AG, which is owned by Gazprom," said Alexander Graf Lambsdorff of the opposition Free Democrats in a local radio interview. US President Joe Biden indicated on Tuesday that he would not change the policy of his predecessor of pressuring Berlin to halt construction. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Mr Biden "continues to believe that Nord Stream 2 is a bad deal for Europe." Mr Biden held his first phone call with Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday, but read-outs of the conversation published by both sides suggest that Nord Stream 2 did not come up. Mr Biden also spoke to Russian President Vladmitir Putin this week, but Nord Stream 2 was also not mentioned in the read-out of the conversation. Ms Merkel has vowed to complete the project, hinting that she would only be prepared to talk if the US also put its energy imports from Russia “on the table.” But the recent incarceration of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, coupled with a desire to reset relations with Washington after four tricky years, have increased pressure in Germany for her to change her course. The European parliament also voted last week in favour of a resolution which demands an immediate stop to the construction as a consequence of Mr Navalny’s arrest.
- The Week
Did the Proud Boys help plan, lead the Capitol siege? Prosecutors are looking, and the video looks damning.
At least six members of the Proud Boys, a group of right-wing nationalist "Western chauvinists," have been arrested in connection with the Jan. 6 violent siege of the U.S. Capitol. Among those charged is Joseph Biggs, a Proud Boy leader who led about 100 men from former President Donald Trump's "Stop the Steal" rally to the Capitol. Prosecutors and federal investigators are now trying to determine how closely the Proud Boys communicated during the siege and whether they planned the incursion in advance, The New York Times reports. Investigators have recently turned their attention to two Proud Boy organizers on the West Coast, Ethan Nordean of Auburn, Washington, and Eddie Block from Madera, California, the Times reports, citing a federal law enforcement official. Nordean, also called Rufio Panman, has not been charged, and Block, who live-streamed the insurrection, told the Times that federal agents seized his electronic equipment on Friday. Investigator are also scrutinizing the role of Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio, who was not at the riot because he had been banned from Washington, D.C., two days earlier. Still, "despite having launched one of the most sprawling inquiries in American history, investigators have yet to unearth clear-cut evidence suggesting there was a widespread conspiracy to assault the Capitol," the Times reports. The Wall Street Journal made a pretty compelling case Tuesday that the Proud Boys were at least key instigators of the assault, based on a thorough review of video and social media posts. The Proud Boys have publicly downplayed their involvement in the Capitol incursion. Tarrio told the Times a week after the siege that it was misguided and anyone who damaged the Capitol or assaulted police should be prosecuted. The handful of Proud Boys arrested after being filmed breaking into the Capitol, like Dominic Pezzola, "obviously, they didn't help our cause," he added. Federal authorities as of Monday had charged about 150 of the more than 800 people who charged into the Capitol, and "it's likely not everyone will be tracked down and charged with a crime," The Associated Press reports. There were few arrests during the incursion, and "federal prosecutors are focusing on the most critical cases and the most egregious examples of wrongdoing." Some Capitol insurrectionists were turned in to the FBI by friends and family members, AP notes, but in dozens of cases, the rioters themselves "downright flaunted their activity on social media." More stories from theweek.comMitch McConnell is the GOATSarah Huckabee Sanders' shameless campaign for governorTrump's impeachment lawyer said he thinks 'the facts and the law will speak for themselves'
- Associated Press
A senior Yemeni security official was found dead on Wednesday in the southern port city of Aden, a day after unknown armed men abducted him outside his home, officials said. According to the officials, Brig. Ibrahim Harad was taken late on Tuesday in front of his house in Aden’s Buraiqeh district. Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest nation, has been convulsed by civil war since 2014, when the Iran-backed Houthi rebels took control of the country’s north, including the capital, Sanaa.
- The Telegraph
- NBC News
Jacob Fracker was one of two off-duty Rocky Mount police officers who participated in the Capitol siege, authorities said.
Britain will be able to work with the European Union to ensure there is no disruption to vaccine supplies, Health Minister Matt Hancock said on Tuesday, arguing protectionism was not right during a pandemic. German Health Minister Jens Spahn earlier said he backed proposals to restrict vaccines leaving the EU, saying Europe should have its "fair share". The European Commission later said it had no plans to impose an export ban, explaining its proposal would require firms to register vaccine exports.
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- The Week
Career officials at the State Department "don't expect huge improvements" under the Biden administration, a U.S. diplomat told Politico. So far, people who stuck it out for four years under the Trump administration feel like they're being snubbed in favor of political appointees as higher-level positions get filled. On the one hand, Politico reports, the fact that not a single career official was named in the first wave of top appointments that require Senate confirmation is seen as "a slight to the hardworking rank-and-file officials," especially after they felt they were not treated well under the previous administration. "The diplomatic corps has been battered and bruised," the diplomat told Politico. "Why not come explain your thinking? I'm prepared for disappointment and under-delivering from this team." But the criticism may not all be personal. Brett Bruen, a consultant who previously served on the Obama National Security Council, suggested that passing over holdovers from the Trump years could hinder policy decisions. "None of the people who were there for the last four years, who understand how the world has changed, will be in the room when the big decisions were being made," he told Politico. A spokesperson for Secretary of State Antony Blinken tried to ease the concerns, telling Politico "career experts will always be at the center of our diplomacy." Read more at Politico. More stories from theweek.comMitch McConnell is the GOATSarah Huckabee Sanders' shameless campaign for governorTrump's impeachment lawyer said he thinks 'the facts and the law will speak for themselves'
- Architectural Digest
Let’s get loudOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- The Independent
Pirates who seized 15 sailors when they stormed a Turkish-crewed container ship in the Gulf of Guinea two days ago have not yet made contact with authorities, Turkey's foreign minister said on Monday. "We have not yet received word from the pirates," foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters in Ankara. Turkey was in contact with officials in Gabon, where he said the Liberian-flagged container ship Mozart had docked with its remaining crew, and with authorities in neighbouring countries.
- NBC News