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CPAC

Calls to can Goya Foods grow after CEO Unuane repeats Trump's election lies

Calls for a boycott of Goya beans, chickpeas and other foodstuffs have grown louder after chief executive Robert Unanue made a series of false claims about the presidential election in a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, in Florida on Sunday. Unanue has previously courted controversy with praise for Donald Trump, which last year prompted Ivanka Trump to pose, infamously, with a can of Goya beans. Onstage in Orlando, Unanue called Donald Trump “the real, legitimate and still actual president of the United States”.

Andrew Cuomo

Charlotte Bennett said New York governor harassed her last spring

A second woman has come forward to accuse New York governor Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment in a move that has prompted the under-fire Democrat to launch an independent investigation into the allegations. Charlotte Bennett, who was an executive assistant and health policy adviser in the Cuomo administration until November, told The New York Times that he had harassed her last spring, during the height of New York’s fight against the coronavirus – which Cuomo led and which at the time gave him an international reputation for good leadership.

Capitol Riots

Police: Militia attack groups want to ‘blow up Capitol’ during Biden speech

Militia groups involved in the 6 January insurrection want to stage another attack around Joe Biden’s upcoming address to Congress, aiming to “blow up” the complex and kill lawmakers, the acting chief of the US Capitol police has warned. In alarming testimony to a House subcommittee, Yogananda Pittman said that threats were circulating that directly targeted the president’s first formal speech to a joint session of Congress. A date for the event has not yet been announced.

Andrew Cuomo

Governor says comments possibly ‘misinterpreted’ - calls to resign

A collective of former New York state legislative employees on Monday denounced Andrew Cuomo’s apology for his past behavior, after the governor was accused of sexually harassing two women, and called for his removal or resignation. Members of the Sexual Harassment Working Group also said they expected more allegations to follow – and accused Cuomo of “gaslighting” his accusers. New York attorney general Letitia James, meanwhile, announced the first step in mounting an external investigation of the governor’s behavior.

CPAC

Completely insane Donald Trump repeats his big lies at far-right summit

Donald Trump on Sunday launched his attempted political comeback, teasing a possible run for the presidency in 2024 and denouncing Joe Biden for “the most disastrous first month of any president in modern history”. The former president made his first speech since leaving the White House at the rightwing Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida, to an effusive reception. Trump claims, entirely falsely, that he actually won the 2020 election but was fraudulently denied his victory.

CPAC canceled an Anti-Semite

American fascists, extremists, bigots and violent members meet in Florida

The theme of the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference is “America Uncanceled.” But this week, just days before CPAC was set to kick off in Orlando, Florida, conference organizers announced they’d had to cancel one of their own scheduled speakers. “We have just learned that someone we invited to CPAC has expressed reprehensible views that have no home with our conference or our organization,” CPAC organizers tweeted Monday, referring to right-wing social media figure Young Pharaoh.

CPAC

Hyatt Hotels says stage resembling Nazi rune is 'abhorrent'

The Hyatt Hotels Corporation called symbols of hate “abhorrent” on Sunday after the design of a stage at the right-wing Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at one of its hotels drew comparisons to a Norse rune used by Nazis during the second world war.

The Oracle of Omaha

Warren Buffett admits to a rare 'mistake'

In his annual letter to shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway (BRKB), investing guru Warren Buffett disclosed that the company took an $11 billion writedown last year on its 2016 purchase of Precision Castparts, describing it as "a mistake." The 90-year-old billionaire, Berkshire's chairman since 1970, said in the company's annual letter to shareholders that the "ugly" writedown had a simple explanation.

COVID-19

CDC signs off on Johnson & Johnson vaccine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Sunday formally accepted the recommendation from its advisory panel that Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine can be given to people ages 18 and older in the United States. The announcement by CDC Director Rochelle Walensky will allow vaccinations to begin as soon as the doses are received. Walensky called the decision "another milestone toward an end to the pandemic."

CPAC

News outlets diverge over airing Trump's speech

CNN and MSNBC did not air former President Trump's speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Sunday while Fox News and other conservative outlets such as Newsmax and OANN carried his remarks live. Fox News began airing Trump's speech after the former president took to to the stage at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday. CNN continued on with coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and MSNBC continued to air its "PoliticsNation" program, though it aired a short clip from the speech.

CPaC

Trump wins straw poll with 55 percent

Former President Trump won the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) straw poll on Sunday, with 55 percent of respondents saying they would vote for him in a hypothetical 2024 primary. In the straw poll that demonstrated Trump's hold on the GOP, 21 percent said they’d vote for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and 4 percent said they’d go with South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R). Almost 7 in 10 of the poll’s participants said they would like to see Trump run for president in 2024, compared with 15 percent who said they would not and 17 percent who said they were unsure.

COVID-19

Justice Department appeals order blocking federal eviction ban

The Justice Department is appealing a ruling by a U.S. judge in Texas blocking the federal eviction moratorium, the agency announced late Saturday, arguing that the ban remains broadly in effect in the meantime. The court in the Eastern District of Texas blocked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s moratorium on Thursday, ruling that the federal government had overstepped its authority in imposing the sweeping ban. The decision “does not extend beyond the particular plaintiffs in that case, and it does not prohibit the application of the CDC’s eviction moratorium to other parties,” acting Assistant Attorney General Brian Boynton argued. “For other landlords who rent to covered persons, the CDC’s eviction moratorium remains in effect."

COVID-19

Fauci urges Americans to take any of three Covid vaccines available to them

The nation’s leading infectious disease expert has urged Americans to take whatever vaccine is immediately available to them, following this weekend’s approval of the Johnson & Johnson single-dose jab as a third option in the fight against Covid-19.

Republicans

Republican predicts Trump won’t be party’s presidential nominee in 2024

Bill Cassidy, the Louisiana Republican senator, predicted on Sunday morning that Donald Trump will not be the party’s nominee for president in 2024, pointing to the number of seats lost by Republicans in the House and Senate over the four years Trump was in office.

News

Poll

Joe Biden's approval tops 60 percent in new poll

President Joe Biden is starting his tenure in White House with the approval of 61 percent of voters, according to a new Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey released exclusively to The Hill on Monday.


CPAC

Hyatt Hotels says stage resembling Nazi rune is 'abhorrent'

The Hyatt Hotels Corporation called symbols of hate “abhorrent” on Sunday after the design of a stage at the right-wing Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at one of its hotels drew comparisons to a Norse rune used by Nazis during the second world war.

Andrew Cuomo

Charlotte Bennett said New York governor harassed her last spring

A second woman has come forward to accuse New York governor Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment in a move that has prompted the under-fire Democrat to launch an independent investigation into the allegations. Charlotte Bennett, who was an executive assistant and health policy adviser in the Cuomo administration until November, told The New York Times that he had harassed her last spring, during the height of New York’s fight against the coronavirus – which Cuomo led and which at the time gave him an international reputation for good leadership.


Capitol Riots

Police: Militia attack groups want to ‘blow up Capitol’ during Biden speech

Militia groups involved in the 6 January insurrection want to stage another attack around Joe Biden’s upcoming address to Congress, aiming to “blow up” the complex and kill lawmakers, the acting chief of the US Capitol police has warned. In alarming testimony to a House subcommittee, Yogananda Pittman said that threats were circulating that directly targeted the president’s first formal speech to a joint session of Congress. A date for the event has not yet been announced.

John Geddert

US Olympic gold medal-winning gymnastics coach shoots himself dead

John Geddert took his own life with a gun just hours after he was brought up on two dozen charges including sexual assault, human trafficking and running a criminal enterprise, WLNS-TV reported. Geddert's suicide was confirmed by the office of Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, according to NBC 25 News.

Shortnews

COVID-19

Justice Department appeals order blocking federal eviction ban

The Justice Department is appealing a ruling by a U.S. judge in Texas blocking the federal eviction moratorium, the agency announced late Saturday, arguing that the ban remains broadly in effect in the meantime. The court in the Eastern District of Texas blocked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s moratorium on Thursday, ruling that the federal government had overstepped its authority in imposing the sweeping ban. The decision “does not extend beyond the particular plaintiffs in that case, and it does not prohibit the application of the CDC’s eviction moratorium to other parties,” acting Assistant Attorney General Brian Boynton argued. “For other landlords who rent to covered persons, the CDC’s eviction moratorium remains in effect."

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COVID-19

Justice Department appeals order blocking federal eviction ban

The Justice Department is appealing a ruling by a U.S. judge in Texas blocking the federal eviction moratorium, the agency announced late Saturday, arguing that the ban remains broadly in effect in the meantime. The court in the Eastern District of Texas blocked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s moratorium on Thursday, ruling that the federal government had overstepped its authority in imposing the sweeping ban. The decision “does not extend beyond the particular plaintiffs in that case, and it does not prohibit the application of the CDC’s eviction moratorium to other parties,” acting Assistant Attorney General Brian Boynton argued. “For other landlords who rent to covered persons, the CDC’s eviction moratorium remains in effect."

The CDC’s September order banning evictions amid the pandemic cited a 1944 public health law that gives the agency certain powers to prevent communicable diseases from crossing state lines. The Biden administration recently extended the moratorium through June.

“The federal government cannot say that it has ever before invoked its power over interstate commerce to impose a residential eviction moratorium,” U.S. District Judge J. Campbell Barker wrote in the decision.

“It did not do so during the deadly Spanish Flu pandemic,” Campbell said. “Nor did it invoke such a power during the exigencies of the Great Depression. The federal government has not claimed such a power at any point during our Nation’s history until last year.”

Barker, an appointee of President Donald Trump, also said the government’s justification for the ban under the commerce clause of the Constitution was open-ended: “The federal government thus claims authority to suspend residential evictions for any reason, including an agency’s views on ‘fairness,’” he wrote.

The Justice Department filed a notice of appeal Saturday.

Boynton noted that Congress had signed off on the ban in his statement on the appeal.

"The CDC’s eviction moratorium, which Congress extended last December, protects many renters who cannot make their monthly payments due to job loss or health care expenses,” he said. “By preventing people from becoming homeless or having to move into more-crowded housing, the moratorium helps to slow the spread of Covid-19.”

Intel report

Saudi prince approved Khashoggi murder

The Biden administration on Friday released a long-secret intelligence report concluding that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had approved the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. "We assess that Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman approved an operation in Istanbul, Turkey to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi," the report reads.

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Intel report

Saudi prince approved Khashoggi murder

The Biden administration on Friday released a long-secret intelligence report concluding that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had approved the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. "We assess that Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman approved an operation in Istanbul, Turkey to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi," the report reads.

The report was finally released more than a year after it was first completed by the intelligence community under former President Donald Trump and briefed to the relevant congressional committees, officials said on Thursday.
“We’ve made it clear that this administration will not sweep anything under the rug, and that President Biden will follow the law,” a senior administration official said ahead of the report’s release. The official added that the release was “in honor of Jamal and this horrific crime.”

“Our aim going forward is to make sure nothing like this ever happens again,” the official said.

Mob Attack

Capitol Hill officer details racist abuse

A Capitol Police officer who was part of the response to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol building says he experienced racist abuse from a crowd of rioters who had broken into the building. Harry Dunn, who is Black, told The New York Times for a report published Thursday that around 20 people called him a racist slur after one rioter initiated the chants in response to Dunn's declaration that he had voted for President Biden in the November election. The exact language the rioters used was not detailed in the report.

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Mob Attack

Capitol Hill officer details racist abuse

A Capitol Police officer who was part of the response to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol building says he experienced racist abuse from a crowd of rioters who had broken into the building. Harry Dunn, who is Black, told The New York Times for a report published Thursday that around 20 people called him a racist slur after one rioter initiated the chants in response to Dunn's declaration that he had voted for President Biden in the November election. The exact language the rioters used was not detailed in the report.

"They’re saying, 'Trump is our rightful president. Nobody voted for Joe Biden.' I needed to catch my breath. So I said, 'I voted for Joe Biden. What? My vote doesn’t matter?'" Dunn told the newspaper.

"A woman responded, 'This [slur] voted for Joe Biden!' Everybody that was there started joining in. 'Hey, [slur]!' It was over 20 people who said it," he added.

Dunn's account of the racism he faced during the Capitol siege was revealed publicly this week, though lawmakers had cited it during the Senate's impeachment trial of former President Trump.

Seven Republicans broke with their party and voted to convict Trump of inciting the attack on the Capitol, short of the 17 needed to reach a two-thirds threshold in the chamber.

Dunn told ABC News in a separate interview earlier this week that he saw people assaulting police officers with pro-law enforcement "Blue Lives Matter" flags during the attack, which left dozens of Capitol Police officers injured. One officer died during the riot.

"I got called a [N-word] a couple dozen times ... protecting this building," Dunn told ABC News on Monday. “Is this America? They beat police officers with Blue Lives Matter flags. They fought us, they had Confederate flags in the U.S. Capitol.”

Dunn's latest comments come as the Senate Homeland Security Committee and Senate Rules Committee held a joint hearing on Tuesday to investigate how rioters overwhelmed police during the attack and how relevant agencies should respond in the future.

Poll

Biden with 50 percent approval

About half of Americans approve of President Biden’s job performance nearly a month into his presidency, though Democrats and Republicans are sharply divided in their perceptions, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday. The survey, which questioned more than 1,000 U.S. adults from Feb. 11 to Feb. 14, found that overall, Biden currently has a positive job approval rating of 50 percent, compared to 38 percent who disapprove.

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Poll

Biden with 50 percent approval

About half of Americans approve of President Biden’s job performance nearly a month into his presidency, though Democrats and Republicans are sharply divided in their perceptions, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday. The survey, which questioned more than 1,000 U.S. adults from Feb. 11 to Feb. 14, found that overall, Biden currently has a positive job approval rating of 50 percent, compared to 38 percent who disapprove.

Biden’s approval rating remains relatively unchanged from Quinnipiac’s first poll of his presidency released earlier this month, which showed that about 49 percent of Americans approved of his job performance, compared to 36 percent who had a negative perception of the new administration.

Wednesday’s poll, which reported a margin of error of 3 percentage points, found that Democrats overwhelmingly support Biden’s performance, 91 percent to 2 percent, while Republicans disapprove 82 percent to 11 percent.

Among survey respondents who were registered voters, Biden’s job approval lies at 52 percent to 38 percent, which Quinnipiac noted is nearly the inverse of former President Trump’s at the same point in 2017, when the Republican had a negative job approval rating of 38 percent to 55 percent.

Quinnipiac University polling analyst Tim Malloy said in a press release on the poll’s findings that Biden’s approval numbers are “solid, but not particularly dazzling.”

Malloy added, however, “there may be some solace in the knowledge that his predecessor spent four years in office without getting very close to 50 percent.”

When it comes to the coronavirus pandemic, 58 percent of those surveyed said they approved of Biden’s efforts to combat the virus, with 48 percent approving of his handling of the American economy, which has suffered for months as businesses have been forced to shut down and layoff workers during the pandemic.

Quinnipiac began conducting the poll the same day Biden announced that the U.S. had secured an additional 200 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine, adding that the country should have enough doses from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech to inoculate every American by the end of July.

The administration is also engaged in ongoing negotiations with Congress on the president’s proposed $1.9 trillion relief package. Democratic leaders in Congress have indicated they are prepared to pass the bill, called the American Rescue Plan, with or without Republican votes in the coming weeks.

However, Americans are mixed when it comes to the administration’s plans for reopening schools amid the pandemic, with 42 percent approving and 38 percent indicating disapproval with Biden’s response.

Biden clarified Tuesday that his goal is to have the majority of K-8 schools physically reopened five days a week by the end of his first 100 days in office. The remarks came after White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last week that Biden aimed to have more than 50 percent of schools holding at least one day of in-person learning per week by the end of his first 100 days.

USA - Mexico

Biden formally ends Trump's border emergency

President Joe Biden on Thursday formally terminated former President Donald Trump's two-year-old declaration of a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border and halted the flow of government funds toward construction of the border wall. But roughly 3,600 troops deployed to the border won’t be coming home anytime soon, according to the Pentagon. In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Kamala Harris, in her capacity as president of the Senate, Biden called the order by his predecessor "unwarranted." Biden also announced that government funds would no longer be diverted toward construction of a border wall, stating that he was "directing a careful review of all resources appropriated or redirected to that end."

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USA - Mexico

Biden formally ends Trump's border emergency

President Joe Biden on Thursday formally terminated former President Donald Trump's two-year-old declaration of a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border and halted the flow of government funds toward construction of the border wall. But roughly 3,600 troops deployed to the border won’t be coming home anytime soon, according to the Pentagon.

In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Kamala Harris, in her capacity as president of the Senate, Biden called the order by his predecessor "unwarranted." Biden also announced that government funds would no longer be diverted toward construction of a border wall, stating that he was "directing a careful review of all resources appropriated or redirected to that end."

Biden's proclamation represents his latest effort to undo some of the previous administration's most controversial policies in his opening weeks in office, many of which were related to immigration and law enforcement at the southern border.

But for the troops on the ground, not much will change. Roughly 3,600 military personnel will continue providing support to the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection in the form of surveillance, maintenance, logistics and transportation until September, Pentagon spokesperson Lt. Col. Chris Mitchell said.

In response to the pandemic in March of last year, an additional 600 personnel were deployed to the border to operate 60 additional surveillance sites, Mitchell said. Those troops will leave by March 31.

Mitchell stressed that the troops are not helping with wall construction. That effort is overseen by the Army Corps of Engineers, which directed the contractors working on the border not to install any additional physical barriers. The only work that will occur is the construction activity necessary to close down each site, he said.

Trump's national emergency declaration in February 2019 came after a 35-day government shutdown that resulted in him signing a bipartisan government funding bill allocating $1.375 billion for border security.

That amount was far less than the $5.7 billion Trump had sought to build a wall separating the U.S. and Mexico, so the then-president circumvented Congress by declaring a national emergency at the border.

In total, Trump's declaration diverted more than $6 billion from the Pentagon and Treasury Department to construct or repair as many as 234 miles of border barrier. Of those funds, $3.6 billion were earmarked for military construction, $2.5 billion were dedicated to a Defense Department drug prevention program and $600 million were from a Treasury Department drug forfeiture fund.

The order was met by legal challenges and rebukes among members of Congress from both parties. Additionally, a bipartisan group of nearly five dozen former national security officials condemned the decision.

Politics

Andrew Cuomo

Governor says comments possibly ‘misinterpreted’ - calls to resign

A collective of former New York state legislative employees on Monday denounced Andrew Cuomo’s apology for his past behavior, after the governor was accused of sexually harassing two women, and called for his removal or resignation. Members of the Sexual Harassment Working Group also said they expected more allegations to follow – and accused Cuomo of “gaslighting” his accusers. New York attorney general Letitia James, meanwhile, announced the first step in mounting an external investigation of the governor’s behavior.


Republicans

Republican predicts Trump won’t be party’s presidential nominee in 2024

Bill Cassidy, the Louisiana Republican senator, predicted on Sunday morning that Donald Trump will not be the party’s nominee for president in 2024, pointing to the number of seats lost by Republicans in the House and Senate over the four years Trump was in office.

CPAC

Completely insane Donald Trump repeats his big lies at far-right summit

Donald Trump on Sunday launched his attempted political comeback, teasing a possible run for the presidency in 2024 and denouncing Joe Biden for “the most disastrous first month of any president in modern history”. The former president made his first speech since leaving the White House at the rightwing Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida, to an effusive reception. Trump claims, entirely falsely, that he actually won the 2020 election but was fraudulently denied his victory.


CPAC canceled an Anti-Semite

American fascists, extremists, bigots and violent members meet in Florida

The theme of the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference is “America Uncanceled.” But this week, just days before CPAC was set to kick off in Orlando, Florida, conference organizers announced they’d had to cancel one of their own scheduled speakers. “We have just learned that someone we invited to CPAC has expressed reprehensible views that have no home with our conference or our organization,” CPAC organizers tweeted Monday, referring to right-wing social media figure Young Pharaoh.

Lindsey Boylan

Andrew Cuomo denies former aide's sexual harassment allegations

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is denying allegations from a former aide who accused him of sexual harassment, including an unwanted kiss, in a Medium post on Wednesday. Lindsey Boylan alleged that in 2018, the Democratic governor kissed her on the lips following a one-on-one briefing in his New York City office.

Shortnews

CPaC

Trump wins straw poll with 55 percent

Former President Trump won the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) straw poll on Sunday, with 55 percent of respondents saying they would vote for him in a hypothetical 2024 primary. In the straw poll that demonstrated Trump's hold on the GOP, 21 percent said they’d vote for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and 4 percent said they’d go with South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R). Almost 7 in 10 of the poll’s participants said they would like to see Trump run for president in 2024, compared with 15 percent who said they would not and 17 percent who said they were unsure.

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CPaC

Trump wins straw poll with 55 percent

Former President Trump won the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) straw poll on Sunday, with 55 percent of respondents saying they would vote for him in a hypothetical 2024 primary. In the straw poll that demonstrated Trump's hold on the GOP, 21 percent said they’d vote for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and 4 percent said they’d go with South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R). Almost 7 in 10 of the poll’s participants said they would like to see Trump run for president in 2024, compared with 15 percent who said they would not and 17 percent who said they were unsure.

Ninety-five percent said they want the Republican Party to continue with Trump’s agenda and policies, with 3 percent saying the GOP should change direction and 2 percent saying they were uncertain.

The CPAC straw poll also asked respondents who they would support for president in a theoretical race if Trump was not a candidate. The results showed DeSantis with a wide lead at 43 percent support.

In that race, Noem came behind the Florida governor at 11 percent, followed by Donald Trump Jr. at 8 percent and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) both at 7 percent.

“So again you see how important to everybody here — the grassroots, the base of the conservative movement, the base of the Republican Party — it is either President Trump or a Trump candidate,” pollster Jim McLaughlin, who announced the poll’s results at CPAC, said.

The poll ended up recording a 97 percent approval rating for Trump's job performance, including 87 percent who strongly approved.

McLaughlin declared the outcome of the poll just before the former president’s anticipated speech at CPAC.

The speech is his first major appearance since he was replaced as president and comes as Trump aims to hold on to his leadership role in the GOP following his second impeachment after the Capitol riot.

Despite public fractures in the party over the past few weeks, Republicans sought to show the GOP united during CPAC.

Joe Biden

Schumer sets up confirmation blitz in Senate

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is teeing up a blitz of confirmation floor votes on President Biden's nominees this week. The focus on nominations comes as Senate Democrats are waiting for the House to send them Biden's proposed $1.9 trillion coronavirus bill. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) wants a House vote on the bill by Friday, allowing the Senate to take it up as soon as next week. In the meantime, Schumer said that Democrats would be working to confirm four Biden picks.

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Joe Biden

Schumer sets up confirmation blitz in Senate

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is teeing up a blitz of confirmation floor votes on President Biden's nominees this week. The focus on nominations comes as Senate Democrats are waiting for the House to send them Biden's proposed $1.9 trillion coronavirus bill. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) wants a House vote on the bill by Friday, allowing the Senate to take it up as soon as next week. In the meantime, Schumer said that Democrats would be working to confirm four Biden picks.

"The Senate will continue the process of confirming President Biden's nominees with a vote on Linda Thomas-Greenfield to serve as the next U.N. ambassador," he said from the Senate floor Monday.

The Senate is expected to hold an initial vote on Thomas-Greenfield's nomination Monday night.

After they wrap up Biden's United Nations pick, Schumer said they would turn to Tom Vilsack's nomination to be the secretary of Agriculture. Under a deal stuck earlier this month, the Senate is expected to hold a vote to confirm Vilsack, who held the same position during the Obama administration, on Tuesday.

Schumer is also teeing up votes on former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) to lead the Department of Energy and Miguel Cardona, Connecticut's commissioner of education, to be Education secretary.

"Both nominees have been advanced by the respective committees with bipartisan votes, a pattern this week and at a time when our nation is gripped by a once in a century crisis. The president deserves to have his nominees approved quickly by this chamber so they can immediately get to work healing our great country," Schumer said.

Biden has gotten seven Senate-approved nominees confirmed so far, after getting only one through on his first day in office: Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines.

Getting four confirmed in one week would be the most Biden has gotten through the Senate in a similar time frame since taking office.

Kentucky

County GOP chair calls on Mitch McConnell to resign

A county GOP chairman in Kentucky is calling for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to resign from his leadership position in the Senate over his floor speech last weekend saying former President Donald Trump was responsible for the Capitol riot. “Given that the county party I represent supports President Trump overwhelmingly and your complete and total disdain for the will of your constituents here in Nelson County I am formally demanding you immediately resign your leadership position within our party’s caucus in the United States Senate,” Don Thrasher, chairman for the Republican Party of Nelson County, said.

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Kentucky

County GOP chair calls on Mitch McConnell to resign

A county GOP chairman in Kentucky is calling for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to resign from his leadership position in the Senate over his floor speech last weekend saying former President Donald Trump was responsible for the Capitol riot. “Given that the county party I represent supports President Trump overwhelmingly and your complete and total disdain for the will of your constituents here in Nelson County I am formally demanding you immediately resign your leadership position within our party’s caucus in the United States Senate,” Don Thrasher, chairman for the Republican Party of Nelson County, said.

McConnell supported Trump throughout his presidency and worked with him frequently, but the GOP Senate leader split from the president after the Capitol on Jan. 6. He voted to acquit Trump in the Senate impeachment trial, but only because he said he did not believe the Senate could constitutionally convict a non-sitting president.

In his speech after his vote, he said “there’s no question — none — that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day.”

Thrasher took exception to those comments.

“Your leadership in the US Senate does not represent the Republican voters that put our faith in you the last primary election,” Thrasher wrote.

Thrasher told the Washington Post that McConnell “stirred up the hornets’ nest even worse” with his speech after his vote and that it only made more people mad.

In his statement, Thrasher said he agreed with a statement Trump issued on Tuesday blasting McConnell.

Trump said McConnell “will never do what needs to be done, or what is right for our Country.”

Thrasher led a failed resolution in January with the Kentucky Republican committee that would have told McConnell to condemn Trump’s impeachment trials.

Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump

$640M in outside income during White House years

Former White House advisors Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner made as much as $640 million during their time in the Trump administration, according to an analysis by a government watchdog group. The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) found the couple earned anywhere between $172 million and $640 million in outside income, according to their financial disclosures.

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Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump

$640M in outside income during White House years

Former White House advisors Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner made as much as $640 million during their time in the Trump administration, according to an analysis by a government watchdog group. The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) found the couple earned anywhere between $172 million and $640 million in outside income, according to their financial disclosures.

The daughter and son-in-law of former President Trump both pledged to forego government salaries in an attempt to sidestep concerns over nepotism. But CREW’s review shows the couple, like Trump, still earned considerable sums from the Trump Hotel in Washington.

“All told, Ivanka made more than $13 million from the hotel since 2017, dropping from about $4 million a year between 2017 and 2019 to about $1.5 million last year, at least in part due to the pandemic,” according to the report, which called the hotel a “locus of influence peddling in the Trump administration.”

The financial disclosures, which report income in ranges, also showed a sharp drop in Ivanka Trump’s stake in the hotel. In her final disclosure she listed the value of her ownership in the hotel between $100,000 to $250,000 this year after previously claiming her stake to be worth between $5 million and $25 million. She did not report selling any of her ownership share in the hotel.

During his final year working for the administration, Kushner also opened a new offshore holding company located in the British Virgin Islands, Kushner Companies BVI Limited, which holds several assets, including the Puck Building LP, which is valued at more than $25 million.

Alejandro Mayorkas

Josh Hawley delays quick confirmation

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) announced on Tuesday he would place a hold on Alejandro Mayorkas, President-elect Joe Biden’s choice to lead the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Hawley, who has come under fire recently amid allegations that he played a role in the Capitol riot early this month, made the announcement just hours after the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs wrapped its hearing with Mayorkas. The move delays the nomination of a post Democrats have argued is critical to fill immediately to protect national security.

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Alejandro Mayorkas

Josh Hawley delays quick confirmation

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) announced on Tuesday he would place a hold on Alejandro Mayorkas, President-elect Joe Biden’s choice to lead the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Hawley, who has come under fire recently amid allegations that he played a role in the Capitol riot early this month, made the announcement just hours after the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs wrapped its hearing with Mayorkas. The move delays the nomination of a post Democrats have argued is critical to fill immediately to protect national security.

“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.

“Just today, he declined to say he would enforce the laws Congress has already passed to secure the border wall system. Given this, I cannot consent to skip the standard vetting process and fast-track this nomination when so many questions remain unanswered," he added.

Hawley’s opposition comes as Biden and Democrats argue the attacks on the Capitol make the post a top priority. Hawley was the first senator to announce he would vote against certification of the 2020 election results.

His hold could stall a nomination otherwise expected to advance once Democrats gain control of the Senate on Wednesday. Defeating the hold will require a 50 vote threshold cloture vote and eats up days of floor time, complicating the process.

Mayorkas, who previously served as the deputy secretary of DHS under the Obama administration, did not earn any Republican votes when he was confirmed in 2013.

"We are facing unprecedented challenges and threats to our national security, and our country urgently need a confirmed Secretary of Homeland Security in place on day one to protect the American people. Alejandro Mayorkas is one of the most knowledgeable homeland security experts in the country," Biden transition spokesman Sean Savett said in a statement to The Hill.

"The Senate held swift confirmation votes for the DHS Secretary nominee in 2009 and 2017 in order for them to start on day one for good reason. Senator Hawley's threat to disrupt historical practice and try to leave this vital position vacant is dangerous, especially in this time of overlapping crises when there is not a moment to waste."

Hawley’s opposition stems from an exchange where the lawmaker asked Mayorkas if he would obligate $1.4 billion in funds set aside for Trump’s border wall.

“If I may strike at the fundamental point that I believe you were inquiring of, which is will I follow the law and the execution of my responsibilities should I have the privilege of serving as the Secretary of Homeland Security. And the answer is yes I will follow the law. And what I would need to do is to understand what the law provides with respect to the obligation of funds to construct a border wall, and then see what the opportunities are to discontinue any such obligations,” Mayorkas said.

Hawley then thanked Mayorkas for getting “right to the nub” of his question.

He also asked Mayorkas about Biden’s plans to give legal status to 11 million people residing in the U.S., something Hawley said concerned him “especially in this time of severe economic distress that has fallen disproportionately on working class Americans.”

Mayorkas called the move a “path to citizenship for the individuals who have been in this country for many years, who have contributed to our communities, and to this nation's economic prosperity."

"I would be privileged to work with Congress to pass immigration reform legislation that provides that path, and provides a permanent solution to what is clearly a broken system,” he added.

Business

CPAC

Calls to can Goya Foods grow after CEO Unuane repeats Trump's election lies

Calls for a boycott of Goya beans, chickpeas and other foodstuffs have grown louder after chief executive Robert Unanue made a series of false claims about the presidential election in a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, in Florida on Sunday. Unanue has previously courted controversy with praise for Donald Trump, which last year prompted Ivanka Trump to pose, infamously, with a can of Goya beans. Onstage in Orlando, Unanue called Donald Trump “the real, legitimate and still actual president of the United States”.


The Oracle of Omaha

Warren Buffett admits to a rare 'mistake'

In his annual letter to shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway (BRKB), investing guru Warren Buffett disclosed that the company took an $11 billion writedown last year on its 2016 purchase of Precision Castparts, describing it as "a mistake." The 90-year-old billionaire, Berkshire's chairman since 1970, said in the company's annual letter to shareholders that the "ugly" writedown had a simple explanation.

"Go back to China Bitch"

Washington Post denounces abuse of reporter

The Washington Post on Thursday denounced online abuse that targeted one of its reporters after a photo of her speaking with Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) was shared on Twitter. The attacks on White House correspondent Seung Min Kim came after Huffington Post reporter Igor Bobic on Wednesday shared a photo of Kim showing Murkowski a tweet from Neera Tanden, President Biden's nominee for Office of Management and Budget director, in which Tanden criticized Murkowski.


Oversight Board

Facebook’s ‘Supreme Court’ to receive new powers

The outside group with the final say on whether Donald Trump can be reinstated on Facebook is expected to be given greater powers in the coming months to decide which content is allowed on the world's largest social network, according to Thomas Hughes, administrative director of the so-called Oversight Board.

G999 Josip Heit

Stiftung Warentest: A questionable offer with crypto coin G999

Now the German consumer protection organization Stiftung Warentest has also issued an urgent warning against the professional criminal Josip Heit and his fraud network around the cryptocurrency G999. Particularly fatal in this regard is the statement of the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin), which clarified to Finanztest that GSB Gold Standard Banking Corporation AG "does not have a permit to offer banking and/or financial services transactions in Germany."

MyPillow Desaster

Mike Lindell just got sued for $1.3 billion over election conspiracies

Dominion, the voting machine company at the center of baseless election fraud claims by supporters of former President Donald Trump, filed a lawsuit against the MyPillow CEO and his company on Monday for more than $1.3 billion. In a 115-page complaint filed in D.C. federal court, Dominion alleges that Lindell’s conspiracy claims are not the result of an earnest belief in election fraud, but a ploy to sell pillows.

Gold Standard Banking Corporation AG (GSB)

G999 Boss Josip Heit allegedly involved in dirty human trafficking

The public prosecutor's office in Frankfurt is now also investigating the alleged banker Josip Heit. According to the investigators, the Croatian is a key figure in a network of human traffickers operating throughout Europe. Specifically, prosecutors are charging him with promoting prostitution, extortion, coercion, promoting child prostitution, tax evasion and fraud.

CYBERSECURITY

North Korean hackers are 'the world’s leading bank robbers'

Federal prosecutors on Wednesday announced charges against three North Korean government hackers accused of participating in a wide range of cyberattacks, including the destructive 2014 assault on Sony Pictures Entertainment hack, the global WannaCry ransomware attack in 2017 and a range of digital bank heists.

Shortnews

COVID-19

CDC signs off on Johnson & Johnson vaccine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Sunday formally accepted the recommendation from its advisory panel that Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine can be given to people ages 18 and older in the United States. The announcement by CDC Director Rochelle Walensky will allow vaccinations to begin as soon as the doses are received. Walensky called the decision "another milestone toward an end to the pandemic."

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COVID-19

CDC signs off on Johnson & Johnson vaccine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Sunday formally accepted the recommendation from its advisory panel that Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine can be given to people ages 18 and older in the United States. The announcement by CDC Director Rochelle Walensky will allow vaccinations to begin as soon as the doses are received. Walensky called the decision "another milestone toward an end to the pandemic."

"This vaccine is also another important tool in our toolbox to equitably vaccinate as many people as possible, as quickly as possible," Walensky said in a statement.

A senior administration official told reporters Sunday evening that Johnson & Johnson will ship 3.9 million doses immediately, and vaccine distribution centers will start receiving them as early as Tuesday.

Experts have said the vaccine could be targeted at places like rural communities, health centers or individual physician offices because of its relatively easy storage requirements.

However, senior administration officials said the goal is equitable distribution, and doses will be allocated to states by population, just as the vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are.

Most communities will have doses of all three vaccines, but not every vaccination site will because of limited availability. Officials stressed people should take whatever vaccine is available.

An administration official said the 3.9 million doses are Johnson & Johnson's entire inventory. There will not be any additional deliveries next week, and the official said governors are aware distribution through the early and middle parts of March will be "uneven."

A total 20 million doses of J&J's vaccine will be sent in March, but they will be concentrated more toward the end of the month. The U.S. has paid for 100 million doses, which the company has pledged will be delivered by June.

The U.S. paid more than $1 billion to aid in the manufacturing and delivery of J&J's vaccine. Nearly a year ago, the company also won $465 million in federal funding for vaccine research and development, bringing its U.S. funding total on the project to almost $1.5 billion.

The nation's third coronavirus vaccine arrives days after the United States surpassed 500,000 COVID-19 deaths.

While nursing home deaths have sharply dropped, as have overall cases and deaths, the CDC is warning the decline in new cases has stalled amid a rise in more contagious variants of the virus.

At the same time, governors across the country are lifting coronavirus restrictions, including mask mandates and capacity limits, despite warning signs of a new spike from the virus mutations.

"This third safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine comes at a potentially pivotal time," Walensky said in the statement.

"CDC’s latest data suggest that recent declines in COVID-19 cases may be stalling and potentially leveling off at still very high numbers. That is why it is so critical that we remain vigilant and consistently take all of the mitigation steps we know work to stop the spread of COVID-19 while we work our way toward mass vaccination," Walensky said.

CPAC

News outlets diverge over airing Trump's speech

CNN and MSNBC did not air former President Trump's speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Sunday while Fox News and other conservative outlets such as Newsmax and OANN carried his remarks live. Fox News began airing Trump's speech after the former president took to to the stage at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday. CNN continued on with coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and MSNBC continued to air its "PoliticsNation" program, though it aired a short clip from the speech.

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CPAC

News outlets diverge over airing Trump's speech

CNN and MSNBC did not air former President Trump's speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Sunday while Fox News and other conservative outlets such as Newsmax and OANN carried his remarks live. Fox News began airing Trump's speech after the former president took to to the stage at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday. CNN continued on with coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and MSNBC continued to air its "PoliticsNation" program, though it aired a short clip from the speech.

Trump was the last scheduled speaker to at CPAC. During his first major post-presidency address, the former president attacked the Biden administration, the media and immigrants, in many ways echoing the first campaign speech he made when announcing his 2016 presidential campaign.

Trump's relationship with media has largely been combative, with the former president sometimes even attacking outlets that were sympathetic to him. He attacked Fox News over its polling and after the outlet declared Biden the winner of the Arizona in the 2020 election.

During his speech, Trump also attacked the multiple changes the Biden administration made after assuming office, many of which reversed the actions of the Trump administration, including ending the transgender military ban, rejoining the Paris Climate agreement and reversing Trump's visa ban on legal immigration.

He also repeated numerous false claims about voter fraud and the results of the 2020 election.

Trump revealed in his speech that he would not be starting a new political party, ending speculation that he was starting a separate party.

Payments

Federal Reserve suffers widespread disruption

The Federal Reserve suffered a widespread disruption in multiple payment services Wednesday, including a system that banks and businesses rely on to zip trillions of dollars around the financial system each day. After experiencing problems for several hours, the crucial payment system, known as Fedwire, resumed normal operations shortly before 3 p.m. ET, according to the Fed's website.

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Payments

Federal Reserve suffers widespread disruption

The Federal Reserve suffered a widespread disruption in multiple payment services Wednesday, including a system that banks and businesses rely on to zip trillions of dollars around the financial system each day. After experiencing problems for several hours, the crucial payment system, known as Fedwire, resumed normal operations shortly before 3 p.m. ET, according to the Fed's website.

Other Fed services are still down, however.

In a statement, the Fed blamed an "operational error" and said it is working to restore services and communicate with customers.

Banks, businesses and government agencies rely on Fedwire to transfer vast sums of money around the US banking system. More than $3 trillion was transferred daily using Fedwire during the fourth quarter.

The problems were widespread. Fed staff "became aware of a disruption for all services" beginning around 11:15 a.m. ET, according to a message on the Fed website.

"Our technical teams have determined that the cause is a Federal Reserve operational error," the message said.
In an update, the Fed said that it has "taken steps to help ensure the resilience" of Fedwire and national settlement service applications "including to the point of failure."

It's not clear how many banks or companies are affected by the outage.

Gemini, the cryptocurrency exchange backed by the Winklevoss twins, said some of its systems are experiencing outages because of the Fed disruption. "All funds remain secure while we investigate the issue," Gemini said in a status update.

A person familiar with the matter at a major bank told CNN Business that Fedwire flows have resumed. There are few concerns that any payments will fail to be executed due to the outage, the person added.

Neo Fascist Organization

Twitter permanently suspends 'Project Veritas' group

Twitter permanently suspended an account belonging to Project Veritas on Thursday, citing repeat violations of the site's policies against publishing private information. A Twitter spokesperson confirmed that the main Project Veritas account was permanently suspended, while founder James O'Keefe had his account temporarily locked. Several recent tweets on O'Keefe's timeline appeared to have been deleted by Thursday afternoon. Twitter did not immediately return a request for comment regarding private information shared by Veritas and O'Keefe.

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Neo Fascist Organization

Twitter permanently suspends 'Project Veritas' group

Twitter permanently suspended an account belonging to Project Veritas on Thursday, citing repeat violations of the site's policies against publishing private information. A Twitter spokesperson confirmed that the main Project Veritas account was permanently suspended, while founder James O'Keefe had his account temporarily locked. Several recent tweets on O'Keefe's timeline appeared to have been deleted by Thursday afternoon. Twitter did not immediately return a request for comment regarding private information shared by Veritas and O'Keefe.

Founded in 2010, Project Veritas is a right-wing group that routinely published undercover sting videos, some of which have been accused of deceptive editing. Last October the group was criticized after claiming to have uncovered a witness to voter fraud in Minnesota only for the witness to backtrack on his claims days later and accuse Project Veritas operatives of trying to bribe him, according to multiple reports.

The group, which frequently targets Democratic politicians and media organizations, scored a victory last year when an ABC News correspondent was suspended after a Veritas video showed him claiming that the network does not care about newsworthy issues.

They have also published videos of a "Good Morning America" anchor complaining about the network ignoring her story on disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.

COVID-19

Democrats blast Facebook over anti-vaccine pages

Reps. Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) blasted Facebook over anti-vaccine pages on its platform. The Democrats wrote a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg demanding to know why anti-vaccination pages are allowed to spread misinformation on the platform, and how the company plans to remove them. The letter comes after anti-vaccine demonstrators staged a protest at Dodgers Stadium on Saturday, forcing the Los Angeles Fire Department to close the gates for roughly an hour.

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COVID-19

Democrats blast Facebook over anti-vaccine pages

Reps. Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) blasted Facebook over anti-vaccine pages on its platform. The Democrats wrote a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg demanding to know why anti-vaccination pages are allowed to spread misinformation on the platform, and how the company plans to remove them. The letter comes after anti-vaccine demonstrators staged a protest at Dodgers Stadium on Saturday, forcing the Los Angeles Fire Department to close the gates for roughly an hour.

The Washington Post reported that a Facebook page with nearly 3,000 followers organized the protest.

“California is currently being ravaged by COVID-19. Among those affected, communities of color, immigrant communities, frontline low-wage workers and other vulnerable communities bear the brunt of the pandemic,” the lawmakers wrote.

“It is crucial to the fight against COVID-19, and to ensuring society can move beyond this pandemic, that such public health efforts are not interrupted. Any disruption to similar mass vaccinations sites can easily lead to unnecessary infections and deaths,” they wrote.

Gomez and Pocan asked for information on how the Facebook group was able to organize, and had websites that linked to multiple sources of coronavirus misinformation, including the baseless “Plandemic” narrative.

They also asked what actions the platform is taking to ensure similar pages and efforts are removed from the site.

“Lives are literally hanging in the balance of your corporate actions and decisions, you must do more,” the lawmakers wrote. “Congress is closely watching your response. We will not hesitate to act in this matter should it be required.”

Facebook said in December that it would remove misinformation about coronavirus vaccines as vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna were nearing approval.

In October, the platform also banned advertisements that discouraged people from getting vaccines, including those that paint them as useless, harmful or unsafe.

500 Dollar Fine

Bruce Springsteen has DWI and reckless driving charges dropped

Bruce Springsteen pleaded guilty Wednesday to drinking shots of tequila as a New Jersey federal park last year, but prosecutors dropped charges of DWI and reckless driving after he was found to be well within the legal limit. During a virtual arraignment hearing on Wednesday, prosecutors said they could not meet the legal burden for the drunken driving against The Boss, 71, who's blood alcohol content was found to be .02 - well below the state's threshold of 0.8.

Get Lucky

Daft Punk, French electronic music duo, split up after 28 years

Daft Punk, the French duo whose sci-fi aesthetic and euphoric sense of pop transformed electronic music, have split up. They announced the split with a YouTube video featuring a clip from their film Electroma, featuring an intertitle with the dates 1993-2021. Their publicist Kathryn Frazier confirmed the split to Pitchfork, but did not elaborate.

Game of Thrones

Actor Esmé Bianco accuses Marilyn Manson of physical abuse

After hinting that she was also a Manson survivor in an Instagram post last week — joining fellow actress Evan Rachel Wood and at least five other women — Bianco detailed to the Cut the abuse Manson allegedly inflicted on her during the few months she lived with the shock rocker.

RIP

Christopher Plummer, oldest actor to win an Oscar, dies aged 91

Christopher Plummer, the dazzlingly versatile Canadian actor whose screen career straddled seven decades, including such high-profile films as The Sound of Music, The Man Who Would Be King and All the Money in the World, has died aged 91.

Golden Globe Nominations 2021

The biggest snubs and surprises

The Golden Globe nominations 2021 have arrived, triggering a slew of shocking snubs and surprises. One of the most egregious snubs? A complete shutout in the best-drama category for Black-led films, including predicted nominees like Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods, Regina King’s One Night in Miami…, George C. Wolfe’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and Shaka King’s Judas and the Black Messiah.

Evan Rachel Wood

Marilyn Manson dropped by record label amid abuse allegations

In the wake of Evan Rachel Wood’s announcement that Marilyn Manson “horrifically abused” her for years when they were in a relationship, Loma Vista Recordings, which released Manson’s three most recent albums, has parted ways with the singer.

#MeToo

Evan Rachel Wood and four other women accuse Marilyn Manson of abuse

Evan Rachel Wood has accused her former partner Marilyn Manson of years of “horrific” abuse.

Bee Gees

The Gibb Brothers Songbook Vol 1 review – a missed opportunity

It’s not been tested in a lab, but anecdotal belief holds that sibling harmonies vibrate at particularly sublime frequency. On How Can You Mend a Broken Heart, the illuminating Bee Gees documentary released last month, Noel Gallagher and a Jonas Brother reflect wryly on the vicissitudes of being in a band with your brothers, but also on how uncanny the musical entente can be.

COVID-19

Grammy awards postponed weeks before ceremony over Covid concerns

The 2021 Grammy awards will be postponed after a steady increase in Covid-19 cases in California.

Sauvage Fragrance

Dior sticks by Johnny Depp in defiance of 'wife beater' ruling

Evidence suggests defiant Johnny Depp fans have been buying Dior’s Sauvage fragrance in support of the actor, who continues to be the face of the cologne despite a high court judge finding that he violently abused his ex-wife during their relationship.

The jealous president

Trump rips Lady Gaga, Jon Bon Jovi over support for Biden

President Donald Trump is knocking Joe Biden's celebrity support, saying he's bringing in bigger crowds without his Democratic opponent's star-studded surrogates. Speaking about the former vice president during a Monday campaign rally in Scranton, Pa., Trump went on a riff about Biden's high-profile Hollywood endorsements. "Now he's got Lady Gaga," Trump said, as the crowd booed at the mention of the "Rain on Me" singer, who was poised to campaign with Biden in Pittsburgh on Monday. "I could tell you plenty of stories about Lady Gaga," Trump said. "I know a lot of stories about her."

Support

Eminem lends hand to Biden with 'Lose Yourself' campaign ad

Eminem signaled support for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden this week by allowing Biden's campaign to use his hit single "Lose Yourself" in a new advertisement.

Magazin

COVID-19

Fauci urges Americans to take any of three Covid vaccines available to them

The nation’s leading infectious disease expert has urged Americans to take whatever vaccine is immediately available to them, following this weekend’s approval of the Johnson & Johnson single-dose jab as a third option in the fight against Covid-19.


Prince Harry

Prince Harry defends Netflix's The Crown in James Corden interview

The Duke of Sussex has defended the Netflix series The Crown, saying that – while it was not “strictly accurate” – it portrayed the pressures of royal life. In an interview with James Corden for the US programme The Late Late Show, Prince Harry said he minded the intrusions of the media into his family’s life much more than the miniseries, which was “obviously fiction”.

Environment

Atlantic Ocean circulation at weakest in a millennium, say scientists

The Atlantic Ocean circulation that underpins the Gulf Stream, the weather system that brings warm and mild weather to Europe, is at its weakest in more than a millennium, and climate breakdown is the probable cause, according to new data.


Tiger Woods

After the crash: there is precious little left for the 15-times major winner to prove

Summoning the spirit of Ben Hogan might not be enough for Tiger Woods to prolong a remarkable career. That the golf world is not prepared for Woods to call time on tournament pursuits was clear in the aftermath of the road accident which left the stricken 45-year-old requiring prolonged surgery on his right leg. Golf wants to cling on to an individual who transcends the sport and has single-handedly hauled it into a different commercial stratosphere. The post-Woods age has lingered somewhere in the distance for some time, with nobody really willing to address what it may entail.

Alexei Navalny

Artemi Panarin takes leave from Rangers, denies Russia altercation report

Artemi Panarin is taking a leave of absence from the New York Rangers in response to a story being reported in Russia alleging he had a physical altercation with an 18-year-old woman in Riga, Latvia, in 2011.

COVID-19

President Joe Biden to hold memorial as US nears 500,000 Covid deaths

Joe Biden is set to mark the latest tragic milestone of Covid deaths in the US on Monday night, with a candlelit commemoration and moment of silence for the 500,000 who will have lost their lives. With the heart-wrenching landmark approaching, the White House is preparing for a sunset ceremony focused on those who have died and their grieving loved ones. With his wife, Jill Biden, Vice-president Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, by his side, the president is expected to echo the commemoration held for Covid victims at the Lincoln Memorial the night before his inauguration. He said then: “To heal we must remember.”

Serena Williams

What next after her tearful Australian Open exit?

A few hours after Serena Williams walked out of Rod Laver Arena, beaten in the late stages of a grand slam tournament once more, the Eurosport team had converged in front of the cameras to discuss the day’s play. There stood Barbara Schett, last active 15 years ago, who played against Williams three times, and via video link, Williams’s former rival Justine Henin, who retired in Melbourne 10 years ago.

COVID-19

US could have averted 40% of Covid deaths, says panel examining Trump's policies

The US could have averted 40% of the deaths from Covid-19, had the country’s death rates corresponded with the rates in other high-income G7 countries, according to a Lancet commission tasked with assessing Donald Trump’s health policy record. Almost 470,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus so far, with the number widely expected to go above half a million in the next few weeks. At the same time some 27 million people in the US have been infected. Both figures are by far the highest in the world.

Shortnews

Climate Change · Bioterrorism

Bill Gates names the next two monster disasters

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates famously predicted an infectious virus was likely to kill millions of people across the globe five years before COVID-19 did just that. “If anything kills over 10 million people in the next few decades, it’s most likely to be a highly infectious virus rather than a war,” Gates said during a 2015 Ted Talk. “We’ve actually invested very little in a system to stop an epidemic. We’re not ready for the next epidemic,” he warned.

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Climate Change · Bioterrorism

Bill Gates names the next two monster disasters

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates famously predicted an infectious virus was likely to kill millions of people across the globe five years before COVID-19 did just that. “If anything kills over 10 million people in the next few decades, it’s most likely to be a highly infectious virus rather than a war,” Gates said during a 2015 Ted Talk. “We’ve actually invested very little in a system to stop an epidemic. We’re not ready for the next epidemic,” he warned.

Now the billionaire philanthropist has spoken on what the next big crisis facing humanity could be. During an interview on Derek Muller’s YouTube channel Veritasium, Gates pointed out two prominent threats facing the modern world: climate change and bioterrorism.

“Every year that [climate change] would be a death toll even greater than we've had in this pandemic,” Gates said during the interview.

“Also, related to pandemics is something people don’t like to talk about much, which is bioterrorism, that somebody who wants to cause damage could engineer a virus. So that means the chance of running into this is more than just naturally caused epidemics like the current one,” he said.

While Gates said there will certainly be more pandemics in the future, he said humanity could increase its preparedness for one to the point where the world would never have a death toll anywhere near what is occurring today with the coronavirus outbreak, which has infected more than 27 million people and killed more than 2.3 million around the globe.

“Pandemics can be worse in terms of the fatalities. Smallpox was over 30 percent fatality,” Gates said. “We were lucky that the fatality here is not, not super high, but we can nip in the bud...the number of deaths with the right system should be a tenth of what we’ve seen here.”

Gates said the world could prepare for the next pandemic by advancing mRNA research, the technology used in the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, increasing testing to 10 million PCR tests a day and making more investments in diagnostic machines and therapeutics.

Formel 1

Alonso kehrt zu Renault zurück

Der Spanier Fernando Alonso soll übereinstimmenden Medienberichten zufolge 2021 sein Formel-1-Comeback geben. Der zweimalige Weltmeister hat bereits einen Vertrag unterschrieben und soll in der nächsten Saison wieder für Renault fahren. Der 38-Jährige würde demnach das Cockpit von Daniel Ricciardo übernehmen, der zu McLaren wechselt. Alonso wurde mit Renault 2005 und 2006 Weltmeister. Sein letztes Formel-1-Rennen hatte der Asturier beim Saisonfinale 2018 in Abu Dhabi bestritten. Seitdem war er unter anderem in der Rallye Dakar aktiv.

Election 2020

Smartmatic

Lou Dobbs, and the most problematic claims Trump allies made about voting machines

Lou Dobbs is out at Fox Business, just a day after the voting machine company Smartmatic filed a $2.7 billion lawsuit against him, the cable news network and several purveyors of the debunked theory that its technology was used to commit massive voter fraud. The ouster of Dobbs, who was Fox Business’s top-rated host, is merely the latest evidence of the very real impact of the legal threats from Smartmatic and another voting machine company, Dominion.


Impeachment

Trump legal switch hints at larger problems

Former President Trump abruptly changed his legal team over the weekend, underscoring his difficulties in putting together a strong defense just a week before his impeachment trial is to begin. The president announced late Sunday that his legal defense will be led by attorneys David Schoen and Bruce Castor, two figures involved in controversial cases in the past.

After Capitol riot

Tens of thousands of voters drop Republican Party

More than 30,000 voters who had been registered members of the Republican Party have changed their voter registration in the weeks after a mob of pro-Trump supporters attacked the Capitol — an issue that led the House to impeach the former president for inciting the violence. The massive wave of defections is a virtually unprecedented exodus that could spell trouble for a party that is trying to find its way after losing the presidential race and the Senate majority.


‘Dead on arrival’

Trump conviction unlikely after GOP votes to nix trial

Nearly every Senate Republican declared Tuesday that putting a former president on trial for impeachment is unconstitutional, indicating that the House’s case against Donald Trump is almost certain to fail. The procedural vote, forced by Sen. Rand Paul, underscores the significant hurdles facing the House’s impeachment managers, who will need to convince at least 17 Republican senators in order to secure a conviction. Paul’s motion to declare the trial unconstitutional ultimately failed because Democrats opposed it; however, 45 GOP senators voted to affirm the Kentucky Republican's view, delivering an early and possibly fatal blow to the House’s case.

Conspiracy

QAnon thinks Donald Trump will become president again on March 4

Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 19th president of the United States on March 4, 2021. This is the latest conspiracy that QAnon followers have embraced in the wake of President Joe Biden’s inauguration last week, and extremist experts are worried that it highlights the way QAnon adherents are beginning to merge their beliefs — about the world being run by an elite cabal of cannibalistic satanist pedophiles — with even more extreme ideologies.

“The Hill We Climb”

Amanda Gorman’s inaugural poem is a stunning vision of democracy

Among the firsts in Amanda Gorman’s inaugural poem, “The Hill We Climb,” is the concept of democracy that it assumed. Democracy, according to the twenty-two-year-old poet, is an aspiration—a thing of the future. The word “democracy” first appears in the same verse in which Gorman refers to “a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it.” The insurrection at the Capitol on January 6th took place while Gorman was working on the poem, although the “force,” one may assume, is bigger than the insurrection—it is the Trump Presidency that made the insurrection possible, and the forces of white supremacy and inequality that enabled that Presidency itself.”

The new President

Joe Biden sworn in as 46th president on family Bible his son Beau used

Joseph Robinette Biden Jr has been sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, promising to marshal a spirit of national unity to guide the country through one of the most perilous chapters in American history. Millions of Americans watched from home as Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oath of office to Biden on the steps outside the West Front of the US Capitol, just two weeks after they watched in horror as a mob of supporters loyal to his predecessor stormed the building in a violent last stand to overturn the results of the presidential election.

'We did what we came here to do'

The final lie: Donald Trump tries to recast legacy in farewell address

President Donald Trump tried to recast his legacy away from the violence of the past few weeks in his farewell address on Tuesday afternoon. As he leaves office as the only twice-impeached U.S. president, Trump portrayed his political phenomenon as a unifying one, as opposed to the vitriolic, partisan warfare he engaged in throughout his presidency and campaign. And with the memory of his supporters swarming the Capitol in a deadly attack fresh in the nation’s conscience, the president used the address to try to reframe his legacy as a rosier picture of his time in office.

Shortnews

Riley June Williams

Woman offered Pelosi's laptop to the Russians

Federal prosecutors are preparing to charge a 22-year-old woman with felony theft for allegedly taking a laptop from Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office, and they're urging a Harrisburg-area judge to deny her bail. Riley June Williams — who was already facing misdemeanor charges for her presence in the Capitol during the Jan. 6 attacks, while insurrectionists and rioters swarmed the building — was arrested Monday after first fleeing police.

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Riley June Williams

Woman offered Pelosi's laptop to the Russians

Federal prosecutors are preparing to charge a 22-year-old woman with felony theft for allegedly taking a laptop from Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office, and they're urging a Harrisburg-area judge to deny her bail. Riley June Williams — who was already facing misdemeanor charges for her presence in the Capitol during the Jan. 6 attacks, while insurrectionists and rioters swarmed the building — was arrested Monday after first fleeing police.

The initial evidence against her included witness testimony suggesting Riley had told friends she planned to sell Pelosi's laptop to Russian intelligence.

But the first batch of charges did not include the theft, which the FBI indicated remains under investigation.
By elevating the case against Williams, prosecutors are indicating they believe she is the culprit behind the theft of a laptop from Pelosi's office, despite conflicting indications from other rioters and social media posts. Aides to Pelosi say the laptop was only used for presentations.

The impending new charges are an indication of the fast-moving efforts by prosecutors to build on some of the quick initial charges they lodged against Capitol rioters. FBI and Justice Department officials indicated they mounted quick cases to round up some of the insurrectionists and participants in the riots and intended to add more serious charges over time.

A hearing on whether Williams should be detained while awaiting trial is scheduled for Thursday. Williams' attorney Lori Ulrich protested the delay, noting that her client has remained in jail since Monday.

According to the initial case against Williams, a former romantic partner who spoke to authorities claimed to have seen a video of Williams "taking a laptop computer or hard drive from Speaker Pelosi’s office."

"[Witness 1] stated that WILLIAMS intended to send the computer device to a friend in Russia, who then planned to sell the device to SVR, Russia’s foreign intelligence service," the agent noted. "According to [Witness 1], the transfer of the computer device to Russia fell through for unknown reasons and WILLIAMS still has the computer device or destroyed it."

"This matter remains under investigation," the agent concluded.

For now, Williams is facing charges of entering a restricted building and disorderly conduct for her actions inside the Capitol.

The agent handling Williams' case also spoke to law enforcement officials in Harrisburg who had recently interacted with Williams' parents. Williams' mother on Jan. 11 filed a suspicious persons report against the person the FBI has identified as "Witness 1." That witness is described as a former romantic partner of the suspect.

While local officers were present, Williams' mother called her via video, and officers saw her wearing a brown jacket that matched the one she was seen wearing in images from the Jan. 6 riots. Harrisburg officers also spoke with Williams' father, who said he drove with her to Washington for the protests but that they split up for the day while she joined other friends.

The pair drove home from Washington after meeting outside the Capitol.

Chad Wolf

Acting homeland security secretary to step down

Acting homeland security secretary Chad Wolf is stepping down, nine days ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration and amid widespread fears about security in the aftermath of the mob attack on the Capitol last week.

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Chad Wolf

Acting homeland security secretary to step down

Acting homeland security secretary Chad Wolf is stepping down, nine days ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration and amid widespread fears about security in the aftermath of the mob attack on the Capitol last week.

In Congress, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Monday that the House will move forward with impeaching President Trump for a second time if Vice President Pence does not seek to remove him under the 25th Amendment by Wednesday.

Her threat came shortly after House Democrats formally introduced an article of impeachment against Trump, charging him with “incitement of insurrection” for his role in the takeover of the U.S. Capitol by a violent pro-Trump mob on Wednesday.

Democrats say that measure already has 218 co-sponsors, enough to guarantee passage.

Impeachment

Dershowitz says he'd defend Trump again

Alan Dershowitz, the controversial celebrity attorney who defended President Trump during his impeachment trial, said Friday that he would be willing to defend the president again should the House impeach him a second time. Dershowitz said he did not believe Trump committed an impeachable offense in urging supporters to go to the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. The rioters eventually stormed the Capitol in what was became one of the darkest and most embarrassing episodes for the country in recent memory.

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Impeachment

Dershowitz says he'd defend Trump again

Alan Dershowitz, the controversial celebrity attorney who defended President Trump during his impeachment trial, said Friday that he would be willing to defend the president again should the House impeach him a second time. Dershowitz said he did not believe Trump committed an impeachable offense in urging supporters to go to the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. The rioters eventually stormed the Capitol in what was became one of the darkest and most embarrassing episodes for the country in recent memory.

Many observers believe Trump played a direct role in inciting the mob to attack the Capitol, and event that led to the death of a Capitol Police officer and several others, many injuries, and the evacuation of lawmakers.

House Democrats are preparing to impeach Trump and Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) said he was willing to consider it on Friday morning.

But Dershowitz said it was not impeachable.

"He has not committed a constitutionally impeachable offense and I would be honored to once again defend the Constitution against partisan efforts to weaponize it for political purposes,” Dershowitz told The Hill.

Trump egged on supporters at a rally just before the Capitol was hit, urging them to “fight” while repeating his claims that a fair election he lost had been rigged.

Trump was impeached in a largely party-line vote in December 2019 for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. He was acquitted by the Senate last February, with only one GOP senator – Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) – voting to convict and remove Trump on the count of abuse of power.

It’s unclear whether a second impeachment would be successful. Sixty-six senators would need to vote in favor of removing Trump. The effort would also likely need to move quickly, given that Trump only has 12 days remaining in office.

While Dershowitz is willing to defend Trump in another impeachment trial, it’s unclear whether the other attorneys who represented him the first time would do so also.

Trump’s legal team consisted of nine lawyers, including Jay Sekulow, Trump’s personal attorney, and White House counsel Pat Cipollone and other attorneys in the White House counsel’s office.

Michigan voter fraud hearing

Flatulence, unruly drunken witness

A hearing in Michigan on Wednesday regarding voter fraud in the presidential election went viral over alleged flatulence and testimony from an unruly witness. During the nearly five-hour hearing before the Michigan state legislature, President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and other witnesses repeated debunked claims of voter fraud and election misconduct.

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Michigan voter fraud hearing

Flatulence, unruly drunken witness

A hearing in Michigan on Wednesday regarding voter fraud in the presidential election went viral over alleged flatulence and testimony from an unruly witness. During the nearly five-hour hearing before the Michigan state legislature, President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and other witnesses repeated debunked claims of voter fraud and election misconduct, according to MLive.com.

HuffPost reporter Ryan J. Reilly shared a video on Twitter of Giuliani passionately answering a question about Attorney General William Barr’s statement that federal prosecutors had not found evidence of election fraud that would influence the outcome.

During the clip, what sounds like flatulence can be heard as he’s speaking.

A second clip by Reilly was shared 2.3 million times.

Another clip from the hearing went viral of a drunken witness telling the panel baseless accusations of widespread voter fraud.

Roughly 30 seconds into the clip, she interrupts a Michigan representatives trying to ask a follow-up question to a statement she made.

Giuliani can be seen reaching over to her, tapping her arm, and then tapping the table. He appeared to be trying to get the witness' attention.

The clip has been viewed more than 17.7 million times, and the phrase “When Rudy” was trending in response.

The hearing did not show any evidence of widespread voter fraud by the time it was over, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Michigan certified President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the state last Monday, a state he won by roughly 150,000 votes.

Jen Psaki

Biden names White House press secretary

President-elect Joe Biden said Jen Psaki, a former White House communications director, will be his press secretary, one of seven women named to top communications roles Sunday.

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Jen Psaki

Biden names White House press secretary

President-elect announces seven-member all-female communications team. President-elect Joe Biden said Jen Psaki, a former White House communications director, will be his press secretary, one of seven women named to top communications roles Sunday. Ms. Psaki, who has been overseeing the confirmation process for the transition, served in several top roles in the Obama administration, including as State Department spokeswoman.

In addition to Ms. Psaki, Mr. Biden said that his White House communications director will be Kate Bedingfield, who served in the same role for his campaign. Pili Tobar will be deputy communications director, and Karine Jean-Pierre will serve as principal deputy press secretary. Ms. Tobar worked as the communications director for coalitions for Mr. Biden’s campaign, and Ms. Jean-Pierre served as chief of staff to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris during the campaign.

Symone Sanders will serve as senior adviser and chief spokesperson for Ms. Harris, and Ashley Etienne was named her communications director. Elizabeth Alexander will be communications director for first lady Jill Biden. All three served as senior advisers during the campaign.

“I am proud to announce today the first senior White House communications team comprised entirely of women,” Mr. Biden said. 

“These qualified, experienced communicators bring diverse perspectives to their work and a shared commitment to building this country back better.”