Watch: Breezy and cold today
- NBC News
- The Week
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 governorTrump's impeachment lawyer said he thinks 'the facts and the law will speak for themselves'Mitch McConnell is the GOAT
- The Telegraph
- The Independent
Mike Pence has been residing in public housing for the past eight years
- Associated Press
- Yahoo News Video
- The Telegraph
Hong Kong has begun using "ambush lockdowns" to suddenly close off and test everyone inside neighbourhoods where coronavirus cases have spiked, as a spate of recent outbreaks lay bare the rampant inequality in the wealthy Chinese finance hub. Police cordoned off a row of densely packed tenement buildings in the Yau Ma Tei area overnight on Tuesday through to Wednesday morning to conduct mandatory tests. The new tactic involves authorities giving no warning of an impending lockdown. City leader Carrie Lam said such "ambush style" lockdowns were needed to ensure people did not flee before testers move in. "I thank residents in the restricted area for their cooperation," she wrote on her Facebook page Wednesday as the lockdown was lifted. A similar two-day lockdown in a neighbourhood over the weekend was leaked to the media a day before police moved in. Tuesday night's operation was small. Some 330 tests were conducted in 20 buildings, with one coronavirus case found. But authorities say further ambush lockdowns may be necessary in the days ahead. Hong Kong was one of the first places to be struck by the coronavirus after it spilled out of central China. It has recorded just over 10,000 infections with some 170 deaths by imposing effective but economically ruinous social distancing measures for much of the last year. In recent weeks stubborn clusters have emerged in low-income neighbourhoods notorious for some of the world's most cramped housing. On paper Hong Kong is one of the richest cities in the world. But it suffers from pervasive inequality, an acute housing shortage and eye-watering rents that successive administrations have failed to solve. The average flat in Hong Kong is about 500 square feet (46 square metres) and sells for around HK$7 million (£650,000). Rents are punishing. Many therefore squeeze themselves into even smaller subdivided flats known as "cage homes" – cubicles that can be as tiny as 50 square feet or even less, with shared bathrooms and showers inside ageing walk-up buildings. It is in these kinds of building where many clusters have been located in recent weeks.
- Architectural Digest
Let’s get loudOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- The Independent
‘There appeared to be no remorse,’ says Calcasieu Parish sheriff Tony Mancus
- Associated Press
A top ally of Alexei Navalny vowed Tuesday to keep up the fight to free the jailed Russian opposition leader and his battle to influence this year's parliamentary election despite a government crackdown on nationwide protests and its attempts to create a climate of fear. U.S. officials said President Joe Biden raised concerns about Navalny's arrest in his call Tuesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the G7 foreign ministers also criticized the jailing of Navalny and the demonstrators demanding his release. Lawyer and politician Lyubov Sobol told a news conference that Navalny's Foundation for Fighting Corruption and his team's regional offices will continue to operate even amid the “arrests of our followers and allies, open criminal probes (and) criminal probes that are yet to come."
Nguyen Phu Trong, Vietnam's ruling Communist Party chief, has been nominated for a rare third term, a Party official said, according to several state media articles that were published on Wednesday then subsequently amended, removing the comments. On Monday, more than 1,600 delegates began nine days of mostly closed-doors meetings at the Party's five-yearly Congress, during which a new leadership team will be picked to bolster Vietnam's ongoing economic success - and the legitimacy of the Party's rule. Trong, 76, who is also Vietnam's president and architect of its anti-corruption campaign, had been widely tipped to continue as party chief despite health issues and old age - which should technically disqualify him for the position, although "special case" exceptions are granted.
- NBC News
"The member in question had been advised numerous times about the requirements and had refused to be tested," the House speaker said.
- The Telegraph
Juries should be temporarily cut from 12 to seven to help reduce delays in court trials and cut the backlog in cases, says Labour. David Lammy, shadow Justice Secretary, said smaller juries would reduce the space required to hold trials in a socially-distanced manner. He claimed the change which was last deployed during the second world war for trials except in cases of treason or murder would reduce the likelihood of jurors becoming infected. Data obtained by Labour showed that 599 court staff, judges, lawyers and jurors had tested positive for Covid-19 in a recent period of seven weeks. Mr Lammy also urged ministers to speed up the roll-out of Nightingale courts, in order to help clear the Crown Court backlog of more than 54,000 cases. It comes after four criminal justice inspectorates for England and Wales warned of their ‘grave concerns’ about the impact of the backlog on the justice system. The change was also urged last week by former appeal court judge Sir Ernest Ryder who also suggested some mid-level offences could also be heard before “intermediate courts” comprising a panel of three led by a judge instead of a jury to cut the growing case backlog. The idea of reducing the size of juries, which would require a change in law, was floated early in the pandemic by Robert Buckland, the Justice Secretary, and Lord Burnett, the Lord Chief Justice and head of the judiciary. However, it has been shelved because of evidence that it would not significantly increase capacity. Instead, ministers have favoured increased use of technology, self-distancing and protective measures such as screens in courts, the opening of 18 Nightingale courts in public buildings and plans for extended court hours through a two-shift-a-day system in individual courts. Mr Lammy said: “Victims of rape, murder, domestic abuse, robbery and assault are facing delays of up to four years because of the government’s failure to act. “Justice cannot be delayed any further. Labour is calling on the government to tackle the backlog by speeding up the roll-out of Nightingale courts and temporarily introducing wartime juries of seven until the pandemic is over.” However, it will be opposed by barristers. James Mulholland QC chair of the Criminal Bar Association said: “Reducing jury numbers is a convenient way to avoid the proper solution – investing in more space and more courtrooms for criminal work. The number of Nightingale courtrooms used exclusively for crime barely touches double figures; dozens short of the extra numbers required. “It is important to reiterate at this crucial period that we must retain faith in the processes that have made our criminal justice system one of the fairest in the world. A jury of twelve must continue to be the means by which serious criminal allegations are determined and it must remain a beacon of light amidst the darkness that surrounds us.”
- National Review
President Joe Biden on Monday expressed support for the Chicago Teachers Union in its fight against reopening schools for in-person learning, saying, “I know they want to work.” The CTU voted Monday to defy the city school district and continue to work remotely. “They just want to work in a safe environment, and as safe as we can rationally make it, and we can do that,” Biden said. Biden’s comments came in response to a question about the union at a news conference after an event on American manufacturing, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. White House staffers were reportedly briefed about the ongoing standoff in the nation’s third-largest district by American Federation of Teachers chief Randi Weingarten. Asked if teachers should return to school, the president said, “we should make school classrooms safe and secure for the students, for the teachers and for the help that is in those schools maintaining those facilities.” The president added, “we should be able to open up every, every school, kindergarten through eighth grade, if in fact we administer these tests, and we’ll have the added advantage I might add, a putting millions of people back to work.” Biden did not mention Chicago or Democratic Mayor Lori Lightfoot in his response. He said widespread testing and functioning ventilation systems are key to reopening schools – both of which have fueled disagreements between Chicago Public Schools officials and the CTU, which is a local affiliate of the AFT. Weingarten said the White House is “really concerned about reopening and really concerned about doing it right.” “I felt it was my moral obligation to brief the White House this weekend, which I did,” she said, adding that she briefed Biden senior staffers on “what was going on in Chicago, from my perspective.” She indicated she was “very pleased” with his comments on Monday. Politically powerful national teachers unions make up a key part of Biden’s base. First Lady Jill Biden along with Weingarten and National Education Association President Becky Pringle held a virtual event with 11,000 teachers last week. About 70,000 elementary school students are scheduled to return to in-person learning on February 1 for the first time since schools closed in March 2020, according to the Chicago Public School’s coronavirus reopening plan. Around 10,000 elementary school teachers and staff were expected to report to work on Monday to prepare for the reopening. However, CTU members voted to stay at home due to disagreements with CPS over the reopening plan. Eighty-six percent of all CTU members cast ballots with 71 percent opting to continue to work from home. The union is advocating for members with medically vulnerable relatives at home to receive accommodations for remote work and for teachers to only be required to return to in-person instruction upon receiving a vaccination. It is also pushing for increased testing of staff and students as well as a public health metric that would determine when schools should reopen or close. Union members said they were encouraged to hear Biden’s comments on the situation, according to the Sun-Times. CTU Vice President Stacy Davis Gates said Biden “is not taking sides” but is “prioritizing the safety of every stakeholder in every city in every state in this country.”
- Associated Press
Israeli troops on Tuesday shot and killed a Palestinian suspected of trying to attack soldiers at a West Bank intersection, the military said. The Israeli army said the incident occurred near near the Israeli settlement of Ariel in the occupied West Bank.
- NBC News
Snow in Las Vegas and the biggest snowstorm in 30 years forecast to hit parts of California are just some of the superlatives from this week's winter siege.
China said on Tuesday it will conduct military exercises in the South China Sea this week, just days after Beijing bristled at a U.S. aircraft carrier group's entry into the disputed waters. A notice issued by the country's Maritime Safety Administration prohibited entry into a portion of waters in the Gulf of Tonkin to the west of the Leizhou peninsula in southwestern China from Jan. 27 to Jan. 30, but it did not offer details on when the drills would take place or at what scale. A U.S. carrier group led by the USS Theodore Roosevelt entered the South China Sea on Saturday to promote "freedom of the seas," the U.S. military said, days after Joe Biden began his term as president.
A 19-year-old Tibetan monk has reportedly died after battling two months of alleged mistreatment under Chinese authorities. Tenzin Nyima, also known as Tamay, served at Dza Wonpo monastery in Wonpo township, Kandze prefecture, a Tibetan area in the Sichuan province of China. Nyima was first arrested in November 2019 after distributing leaflets with three other monks according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).
- Architectural Digest
Everything they need to put the horrors of moving behind themOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest