WATCH: Mild Temperatures Return Tomorrow
- Yahoo News
As of Dec. 24, President Trump has issued clemency in the form of pardons or commutations to more than 90 people, from relatively obscure white-collar or non-violent drug offenders to the famous (conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza; Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio) and the infamous (four security contractors with the Blackwater firm who murdered more than a dozen civilians in Iraq).
- The Guardian
* Three people lightly injured and possible human remains found * Unclear if or how remains are linked to downtown explosionLaw enforcement officers raided an address near Nashville and and a person of interest has reportedly been identified in the investigation of an apparent bomb blast that rocked the downtown of Tennessee’s biggest city on Christmas morning.Three people were lightly injured in the blast and some possible human remains have been found near the site of an RV that exploded and caused serious damage to Nashville’s historic core. It is not clear if or how the remains are linked to the incident.What is certain is the bizarre nature of the attack.Police were responding to an early morning report of shots fired when they encountered the RV blaring a recorded warning that a bomb would detonate in 15 minutes, Metro Nashville police chief John Drake said. Police evacuated nearby buildings and called in the bomb squad. The RV exploded shortly afterward.Police believe the blast was intentional but don’t yet know a motive or target, and Drake noted that officials had not received any threats before the explosion.On Saturday afternoon investigators with the FBI, Nashville police and others arrived in the 100 block of Bakertown Road in the Nashville suburb of Antioch just after mid-day. “Information developed during the course of the investigation led us to this address,” said Darrell DeBusk, an FBI public affairs officer.DeBush said he was unaware of anyone in custody at that time. Previously, law enforcement officials have said they are not engaged in an active manhunt and that there is ongoing threat to the city.Drake said investigators at the scene “have found tissue that we believe could be remains, but we’ll have that examined and let you know at that time.” CBS reported that several sources had confirmed that Nashville area resident Anthony Quinn Warner, 63, had a similar make and model vehicle to the suspect RV and was linked to the address being raided.The blast sent black smoke and flames billowing from the heart of downtown Nashville’s tourist scene, an area packed with honky-tonks, restaurants and shops. Buildings shook and windows shattered streets away from the explosion near a building owned by AT&T that lies one block from the company’s office tower, a landmark in downtown.On Saturday morning teams of experts were still collecting debris from a wide area of the blast site. The damage to the AT&T building has prompted some speculation that it was the target of the attack.“We do not know if that was a coincidence, or if that was the intention,” police spokesman Don Aaron said. He said earlier that some people were taken to the department’s central precinct for questioning but declined to give details.AT&T said the affected building is the central office of a telephone exchange, with network equipment in it. The blast interrupted service, but the company declined to say how widespread outages were.Sweeping communications outages continued to plague large swathes of Tennessee on Saturday. Police emergency systems in Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama, as well as Nashville’s Covid-19 community hotline and a handful of hospital systems, remained out of service due to an AT&T central office being affected by the blast. The building contained a telephone exchange, with network equipment in it but the company has declined to say exactly how many people have been impacted.AT&T said that it was bringing in portable cell sites and was working with law enforcement to get access to make repairs to its equipment. The company noted that “power is essential to restoring” service.The Federal Aviation Administration temporarily halted flights out of Nashville airport because of telecommunications issues associated with the explosion.The FBI will be taking the lead in the investigation, agency spokesman Joel Siskovic said. Federal investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were also on the scene. The FBI is the primary law enforcement agency responsible for investigating federal crimes, such as explosives violations and acts of terrorism.
- Associated Press
Four people have been arrested in connection with the 2018 crash of a helicopter that killed a central Mexican governor and her husband — who had preceded her as governor — authorities said Friday. The Agusta 109 helicopter crashed in flames 10 minutes after takeoff on Dec. 24 that year while carrying newly installed Puebla Gov. Martha Erika Alonso and her husband, former Gov. Rafael Moreno Valle, as well as three other people. The Puebla state prosecutor's office said the four suspects worked for a Rotor Flight Services, a company “related to the functioning of the aircraft,” It said the suspects were accused of culpable homicide, damage to another's property and false testimony.
DUBAI (Reuters) -At least 10 climbers have died and several more are missing in mountains north of Iran's capital Tehran after heavy snowfall, state media reported on Saturday, and the seven crew members of a ship are also missing after storms in the Gulf. Heavy snow and winds in several parts of Iran in the past few days have closed many roads and disrupted transport. Several climbers remain unaccounted for since Friday when two deaths were reported, while the number reported as missing has increased as concerned families contact the authorities, state television said.
- The Week
President-elect Joe Biden on Saturday released a statement criticizing President Trump for refusing to sign the $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill passed by Congress earlier this week.Biden warned "this abdication of responsibility has devastating consequences," noting that millions of Americans will lose enhanced unemployment benefits (which are set to expire Saturday), small businesses will go longer without federal aid, and eviction moratoriums will end next week unless Trump decides to sign the bill.> Biden calls Trump not yet signing the covid relief bill an “abdication of responsibility.” He says Trump should sign it and again argues for “more action that we’ll need to take early in the new year to revive the economy and contain the pandemic.” pic.twitter.com/OsqFNRtWEc> > — Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) December 26, 2020It's unclear whether Trump will relent, though he continued to criticize the package because it designates just $600 for stimulus checks for individuals. Democratic lawmakers seem to be on board with his call to push that figure up to $2,000 per person, but the GOP appears hesitant. Biden didn't address stimulus checks specifically in his latest statement, but he said that while Trump signing the current bill is "critical," it's a "first step and down payment on more action that we'll need to take" after he steps into the Oval Office.More stories from theweek.com Joe Biden's anti-revolution takes shape 7 scathing cartoons about Russia's massive cyberattack The Christmas of 1918
- The Telegraph
A reward of more than a quarter of a million dollars has been offered to anyone who helps find the person behind the mysterious Christmas Day bombing in Nashville, Tennessee. Local businessmen and celebrities made the offer after three people were injured and at least 41 buildings damaged when an RV exploded in the city’s downtown around 6.40am on Friday. Marcus Lemonis, a businessman and TV host, offered $250,000 “to anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest and conviction”, adding: “We can't have our streets terrorised like this.” Others who then added to the cash pot include a local tourism body, the Fox Sports host Clay Travis and a shop located near the explosion. The motive for the attack remains unclear. The RV sent out a recorded message urging the area to be evacuated and saying it would explode in 15 minutes.
- Associated Press
A team of French investigators will come to Beirut next month to participate in interrogating former Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn, a Lebanese justice ministry official said Saturday. Former auto executive Ghosn, who is a Lebanese, Brazilian and French national, fled Japan in a dramatic escape that drew headlines last year, arriving in Lebanon on Dec. 30, 2019. In addition to his trial in Japan, the 66-year-old businessman is facing a number of legal challenges in France, including tax evasion and alleged money laundering, fraud and misuse of company assets while at the helm of the Renault-Nissan alliance.
- The Independent
President seems to be banking on Republican politicians disrupting the vote-counting session on 6 January
- The Week
China is on course to overtake the United States as the world's biggest economy by 2028, the Center for Economics and Business Research predicted in a report released Saturday. The two countries have long been expected to swap places, but CEBR anticipates the pace has accelerated thanks to China recovering more quickly from the COVID-19 pandemic.A year ago, the CEBR pegged 2033 as the transition year, but China's economy is expected to grow by 2 percent in 2020, the lone major global economy to expand, while the U.S. economy is expected to contract by 5 percent. The report also anticipates China will become a "high-income economy" by 2023, though living standards are expected to remain much lower than in the U.S.China is not an outlier in its region when it comes to future economic growth. "Other Asian economies are also shooting up the table," said Douglas McWilliams, the CEBR's deputy chair. "One lesson for western policymakers, who have performed relatively badly during the pandemic, is that they need to pay much more attention to what is happening in Asia rather than simply looking at each other." Read more at The Guardian and Bloomberg.More stories from theweek.com Joe Biden's anti-revolution takes shape 7 scathing cartoons about Russia's massive cyberattack The Christmas of 1918
- The Telegraph
Royal Caribbean, the world's largest cruise company, is trying to prevent victims of the 2019 New Zealand volcanic eruption from suing in the US. Passengers from the Royal Caribbean ship Ovation of the Seas took a trip to White Island, a popular tourist site, last December, when a volcano suddenly erupted, killing 27 visitors and injuring 25 more. Ivy and Paul Reed, from the US state of Maryland, who suffered burns as a result of the eruption, and Australians Marie and Stephanie Browitt, who lost family members because of the eruption, filed separate lawsuits against Royal Caribbean claiming that the cruise line did not properly explain the dangers of visiting White Island. Peter Gordon, a lawyer for the Browitt family, told the Australian Broadcasting Company that Royal Caribbean should have known that the volcano could erupt before allowing its passengers to visit White Island.
George Blake, who died in Russia on Saturday at the age of 98, was the last in a line of British spies whose secret work for the Soviet Union humiliated the intelligence establishment when it was discovered at the height of the Cold War. Britain says he exposed the identities of hundreds of Western agents across Eastern Europe in the 1950s, some of whom were executed as a result of his treason. His case was among the most notorious of the Cold War, alongside those of a separate ring of British double agents known as the Cambridge Five.
- The Independent
Trump claims Florida ‘doing well’ as cases pass 1.25m with death toll nearly seven times that of Japan
President blames ‘lockdowns’ as infections surge in Republican-governed states
- The Week
Scientists are homing in on the potential cause of allergic reactions to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recorded six severe allergic reactions (all of which were treated successfully) out of the 272,001 doses administered through Dec. 19, and the compound polyethylene glycol, known as PEG, has become a leading suspect in the cases, The Wall Street Journal reports. While still speculative at this point — allergies to PEG are rare and the reactions may have been to something else, per the Journal — PEG is found in other drugs, cosmetics, and food and is known to trigger anaphylaxis on rare occasions, though not all forms of the compound are "equal" in terms of allergic potential.Part of the challenge of pinpointing PEG as the likely catalyst for the reactions is that the compound in the vaccines "is different than what has been previously associated with allergic reactions," James Baker, an immunologist who heads the Michigan Nanotechnology Institute for Medicine and the Biological Sciences at the University of Michigan, told the Journal.PEG is also found in the Moderna vaccine. A health care worker became the first known person to experience an allergic reaction to that shot on Thursday. Dr. Hossein Sadrzadeh, who said he has a history of allergies, reported tingling sensations, an elevated heart rate, and low blood pressure shortly after his inoculation. The symptoms were akin to a reaction he had previously had to shellfish, he said. He was discharged a few hours later.The incidents, while concerning, are rare — more than 1 million Americans have been vaccinated — and scientists and public health officials maintain the vaccines are safe, effective, and crucial to ending the pandemic. Read more at The Wall Street Journal and CNN.More stories from theweek.com Joe Biden's anti-revolution takes shape 7 scathing cartoons about Russia's massive cyberattack The Christmas of 1918
- Yahoo News Video
Widespread communications outages continued to affect large areas of Tennessee on Saturday after a recreational vehicle exploded early Christmas morning in downtown Nashville.
- The Telegraph
Archaeologists excavating a snack bar in the ruins of Italy’s Pompeii have uncovered “exceptional” frescoes, and obscene graffiti likely directed at the establishment’s seventh century owner. The volcanic ash which buried the town during the eruption of Mt Vesuvius in AD79 has preserved an intimate historical record of the Roman town 14 miles southeast of Naples, and the lives of its 13,000 inhabitants. One of these inhabitants was called Nicias and was likely a freed slave from Greece, according to excavators who recently uncovered an inscription insulting the man. “NICIA CINAEDE CACATOR” reads the scrawled graffiti on a fresco of a chained dog painted onto the bar of the Thermopolium of Regio V, a cheap street food eatery. “An inverted s****er” is how archaeologists rendered the slur, though the adjective carries a homosexual connotation from its derivation from the ancient Greek term for catamite.
STOCKHOLM (Reuters) -The new variant of coronavirus linked to a rapid rise in infections in Britain has been detected in Sweden after a traveller from the United Kingdom became ill and tested positive, the Swedish Health Agency said on Saturday. Health Agency official Sara Byfors told a news conference the traveller had been isolating and that no further positive cases had so far been detected. The unidentified traveller was staying in Sormland, south of Stockholm, according to Signe Makitalo, a regional infection control doctor.
The Islamist group also burnt down the church in the Christian village in northeast Nigeria.
- Miami Herald
Ready to fly out of Donald J. Trump Airport in Palm Beach County?
- The Telegraph
A Russian cat rescued from a rubbish separator at a waste processing plant has been adopted by the Ulyanovsk region’s environment ministry and given an honorary title. The black and white cat has achieved local celebrity status in Ulyanovsk, a city 435 miles east of Moscow, after surveillance camera footage showed a worker at the sorting facility grabbing a bag from a conveyor belt and opening it to discover the feline inside. “I felt something soft inside the bag,” plant worker Mikhail Tukash told the tabloid Moskovsky Komsomolets, Reuters reported. “I cut the bag open slightly and I saw eyes looking back at me.” The footage shows the conveyor belt come to a stop as Mr Tukash shows his colleagues the cat, which remains calm as he strokes it with gloved hands. “I needed to cut the bag to screen it for metals. I was just doing my job,” Mr Tukash told local television in the city, which is known as the birthplace of Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin. The local channel reported that workers at the plant had previously rescued an African hedgehog nicknamed Vezunka, which means lucky in Russian, and two red-eared slider turtles. The region’s environment ministry lauded Mr Tukash for the rescue, writing that the male cat was “on the brink of death” and would have “ended up in the trash separator” had Mr Tukash not grabbed him. The well-fed and friendly cat was likely an abandoned household pet, the ministry said. “If you can’t keep an animal at home, you can always give it away to a shelter,” minister Gulnara Rakhmatulina said in a statement. After adopting the cat and bestowing upon him the honorary title of honorary deputy in charge of wildlife protection, the ministry released photos of him catnapping in the minister’s chair. The ministry has announced a contest to name the rescued cat.
- Associated Press
Health officials in Thailand said Saturday that two new clusters of coronavirus cases have been found that appear to be linked to a major outbreak discovered a week earlier among migrant workers in an industrial province near Bangkok. The new cases were found in 19 members of a motorcycling club who held a holiday gathering on Lanta island in the southern province of Krabi, and in nine people who were in a gambling den in the eastern province of Rayong, said the Disease Control Department. The first of the motorcyclists to be diagnosed with the virus had come from Samut Sakhon province, where the outbreak among migrant workers occurred.