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Matt Gaetz Scandal

Matt Gaetz scandal deepens as associate admits paying 17-year-old for sex

Joel Greenberg expected to plead guilty to federal charges and could be key witness

The scandal engulfing Matt Gaetz, one of Donald Trump’s brashest supporters in Congress, deepened on Friday after an associate admitted sex trafficking involving a minor and agreed to cooperate with investigators. Joel Greenberg, a former tax collector in Florida, said he and unidentified others paid a 17-year-old girl for sex and he provided the girl with drugs, according to court papers cited by multiple media outlets. Greenberg, 37, is expected to plead guilty to six federal charges, including financial crimes, in court in Orlando on Monday.

Matt Gaetz Scandal

Federal investigators seeking cooperation from former Gaetz girlfriend, second key witness

Federal investigators scrutinizing Rep. Matt Gaetz are seeking the cooperation of a former Capitol Hill intern who was once a girlfriend of the Florida Republican, sources familiar with the matter tell CNN. Investigators could also soon gain the formal cooperation of a second key witness, former Florida county tax collector Joel Greenberg, who is approaching a deadline this week to strike a plea agreement with the government on more than two dozen charges he's facing. The pursuit of the cooperation comes as investigators are nearly finished collecting evidence, one source said.

Office of Legal Counsel (OLC)

Judge's decision on Bill Barr memo puts spotlight on secretive DOJ office

A small but powerful section of the Department of Justice (DOJ) is under renewed scrutiny after a federal judge tore into former Attorney General William Barr and ordered the DOJ to release a memo that let former President Trump claim he was exonerated by the Mueller probe. Critics of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), which provides legal advice to the White House and Cabinet agencies, have long argued it acts as a rubber stamp for the president and essentially drafts laws behind closed doors.

Liz Cheney

Elise Stefanik eventually voted in as House Republican's new No. 3 leader

Her win is the culmination of a fast-paced effort by GOP leaders to remove Rep. Liz Cheney

Elise Stefanik cruised to victory in a vote to replace Liz Cheney as House Republicans' third-ranked leader, capping off a tumultuous month in the GOP conference sparked by its bitter divisions over Donald Trump. Stefanik won in a 134-46 secret-ballot vote, defeating her sole challenger Rep. Chip Roy of Texas — an unsurprising outcome after she aggressively campaigned for the No. 3 spot, scooping up endorsements from top party leaders and Trump. The 36-year-old New Yorker, known as a moderate turned Trump ally who's used her fundraising skills to help elect a new class of GOP women.

The Quick Vote

Republicans removed Cheney from leadership role over Trump ‘big lie’ criticism

House Republicans voted quickly on Wednesday to remove Liz Cheney as their No. 3 leader over her repeated criticism of Donald Trump, a massive shakeup that ties the party tighter to Trump and threatens to create a new litmus test in the GOP. The fast-moving campaign to dump Cheney, Congress' highest-ranking Republican woman, and replace her with a Trump loyalist was orchestrated by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and his top deputies. The California Republican and his allies complained that Cheney’s constant readiness to call out Trump’s lies.

anti-vaxxers

Anti-Maskers ready to start masking — to protect themselves from the vaccinated

A conspiracy ripping through the anti-vax world may finally drive some anti-maskers to do the unthinkable: wear a mask and keep their distance. The conspiracy — which comes in several shapes and sizes — more or less says the vaccinated will “shed” certain proteins onto the unvaccinated who will then suffer adverse effects. The main worry is the “shedding” will cause irregular menstruation, infertility, and miscarriages. The entirely baseless idea is a key cog in a larger conspiracy that COVID-19 was a ploy to depopulate the world, and the vaccine is what will cull the masses.

War

Death toll surges as Palestinians flee Israeli fire in Gaza

Thousands of Palestinians grabbed children and belongings and fled their homes Friday as Israel barraged the northern Gaza Strip with tank fire and airstrikes, killing a family of six in their house and heavily damaging other neighborhoods in what it said was an operation to clear militant tunnels.

National Garden of American Heroes

Biden kills Trump’s sculpture garden of ‘American heroes’

President Joe Biden on Friday revoked several of the executive orders issued in his predecessor’s last year in office that were penned to address conservative cultural grievances, including the sculpture garden he proposed on July 4 at an event at Mount Rushmore.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Marjorie Taylor Greene is ‘deeply unwell’ after 2019 video surfaces

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has said the Republican extremist Marjorie Taylor Greene has a “fixation” on progressive members of Congress, and warned that Greene’s behavior has “raised concerns” among Democrats. Greene, a Trump loyalist and a promoter of the QAnon conspiracy theory, was elected to the House in 2020, and has spent her first months in office harassing Ocasio-Cortez and other progressive Democrats.

Merrick Garland

Senate Democrats urge not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo

A group of Senate Democrats are urging Attorney General Merrick Garland not to fight a court order demanding the release of a 2019 Justice Department (DOJ) memo that essentially cleared former President Trump of criminal wrongdoing following the special counsel's investigation.

Liz Cheney

Elise Stefanik eventually voted in as House Republican's new No. 3 leader

Elise Stefanik cruised to victory in a vote to replace Liz Cheney as House Republicans' third-ranked leader, capping off a tumultuous month in the GOP conference sparked by its bitter divisions over Donald Trump. Stefanik won in a 134-46 secret-ballot vote, defeating her sole challenger Rep. Chip Roy of Texas — an unsurprising outcome after she aggressively campaigned for the No. 3 spot, scooping up endorsements from top party leaders and Trump. The 36-year-old New Yorker, known as a moderate turned Trump ally who's used her fundraising skills to help elect a new class of GOP women.

The Quick Vote

Republicans removed Cheney from leadership role over Trump ‘big lie’ criticism

House Republicans voted quickly on Wednesday to remove Liz Cheney as their No. 3 leader over her repeated criticism of Donald Trump, a massive shakeup that ties the party tighter to Trump and threatens to create a new litmus test in the GOP. The fast-moving campaign to dump Cheney, Congress' highest-ranking Republican woman, and replace her with a Trump loyalist was orchestrated by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and his top deputies. The California Republican and his allies complained that Cheney’s constant readiness to call out Trump’s lies.

“The Battle For Britney”

Bombshell Claim: Does Britney Spears have dementia?

Last week, Britney Spears posted a video of herself dancing on Instagram, accompanied by an uncharacteristically long, emoji-filled caption. While the post covered an eclectic array of topics—her love of travel, her desire to install a koi pond in her backyard, her pride in her garden—it was her blunt reaction to the recent spate of documentaries about her life and controversial conservatorship that made headlines.

Colonial Pipeline

Gasoline demand spikes in several states after pipeline hack

A growing number of gas stations along the East Coast are without fuel as nervous drivers aggressively fill up their tanks following a ransomware attack that shut down the Colonial Pipeline, a critical artery for gasoline. The panic-buying threatens to exacerbate the supply shock."Panicked buying" is "running stations in the region dry," Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, told CNN Business.

News

Matt Gaetz Scandal

Matt Gaetz scandal deepens as associate admits paying 17-year-old for sex

The scandal engulfing Matt Gaetz, one of Donald Trump’s brashest supporters in Congress, deepened on Friday after an associate admitted sex trafficking involving a minor and agreed to cooperate with investigators. Joel Greenberg, a former tax collector in Florida, said he and unidentified others paid a 17-year-old girl for sex and he provided the girl with drugs, according to court papers cited by multiple media outlets. Greenberg, 37, is expected to plead guilty to six federal charges, including financial crimes, in court in Orlando on Monday.


War

Death toll surges as Palestinians flee Israeli fire in Gaza

Thousands of Palestinians grabbed children and belongings and fled their homes Friday as Israel barraged the northern Gaza Strip with tank fire and airstrikes, killing a family of six in their house and heavily damaging other neighborhoods in what it said was an operation to clear militant tunnels.

National Garden of American Heroes

Biden kills Trump’s sculpture garden of ‘American heroes’

President Joe Biden on Friday revoked several of the executive orders issued in his predecessor’s last year in office that were penned to address conservative cultural grievances, including the sculpture garden he proposed on July 4 at an event at Mount Rushmore.


Vanessa & Tiffany Trump

‘Inappropriately close’ to Secret Service agents

Two Trump family members got “inappropriately – and perhaps dangerously – close” to agents protecting them while Donald Trump was president, according to a new book on the US Secret Service. Zero Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Secret Service, by the Washington Post reporter Carol Leonnig, is published next week. The Guardian obtained a copy.

USA

New study estimates more than 900,000 people have died of COVID-19

A new study estimates that the number of people who have died of COVID-19 in the U.S. is more than 900,000, a number 57% higher than official figures. Worldwide, the study's authors say, the COVID-19 death count is nearing 7 million, more than double the reported number of 3.24 million.

Shortnews

Colonial Pipeline

Gasoline demand spikes in several states after pipeline hack

A growing number of gas stations along the East Coast are without fuel as nervous drivers aggressively fill up their tanks following a ransomware attack that shut down the Colonial Pipeline, a critical artery for gasoline. The panic-buying threatens to exacerbate the supply shock."Panicked buying" is "running stations in the region dry," Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, told CNN Business.

Read More
Colonial Pipeline

Gasoline demand spikes in several states after pipeline hack

A growing number of gas stations along the East Coast are without fuel as nervous drivers aggressively fill up their tanks following a ransomware attack that shut down the Colonial Pipeline, a critical artery for gasoline. The panic-buying threatens to exacerbate the supply shock.

As of 4 pm ET Tuesday, 8.5% of gas stations in North Carolina and 7.7% in Virginia didn't have gasoline, according to outage figures reported by GasBuddy, an app that tracks fuel prices and demand. The Virginia figure was flat from 11 am ET, while North Carolina was up from 5.8% previously.

Rising outages are also being reported at gas stations in Georgia (5.8%), Florida (2.8%) and South Carolina (3.5%), according to GasBuddy, which collects user reports and shares the information with the government during emergencies.

"Panicked buying" is "running stations in the region dry," Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, told CNN Business.
He warned that the "irrational behavior" could prolong supply issues "for weeks."

Tiffany Wright of AAA Carolinas criticized what she described as "irresponsible behavior at the pump."

The far right conspiracy

New York AG sues Jacob Wohl for $2.75 million over robocalls

New York Attorney General Letitia James announced Thursday that her office has filed a lawsuit against bumbling right-wing conspiracy theorists Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman over robocalls the pair allegedly made to suppress the Black vote ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

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The far right conspiracy

New York AG sues Jacob Wohl for $2.75 million over robocalls

New York Attorney General Letitia James announced Thursday that her office has filed a lawsuit against bumbling right-wing conspiracy theorists Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman over robocalls the pair allegedly made to suppress the Black vote ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

“Hi, this is Tamika Taylor from Project 1599, the civil rights organization founded by Jack Burman and Jacob Wohl,” the automated recordings told the targeted voters.

“Mail-in voting sounds great, but did you know that if you vote by mail, your personal information will be part of a public database that will be used by police departments to track down old warrants and be used by credit card companies to collect outstanding debts? The CDC is even pushing to use records for mail-in voting to track people for mandatory vaccines. Don’t be finessed into giving your private information to the man, stay home safe and beware of vote by mail.”

James says 5,500 New Yorkers were affected; she’s asking for Wohl and Burkman to pay $500 for each violation and forfeit all profits. If successful, they will be on the hook for $2.75 million, in addition to the felony charges they face in other states for the alleged scheme.

Wohl and Burkman have a history of failed schemes, including an attempt to pin false sexual assault allegations on now-U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, former special counsel Robert Mueller, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Caron Nazario

Police Chief: No apology needed for pepper-spraying

After a video of Army Lieutenant Caron Nazario being pepper-sprayed by Windsor, Virginia cops during a traffic stop went viral last week, Police Chief Rodney D. Riddle said he didn’t feel Nazario was owed an official apology. “My guys missed opportunities to verbally de-escalate,” Riddle admitted of the incident late last year that saw two officers with guns drawn barking at Nazario to get out of his car for allegedly not having a rear license tag.

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Caron Nazario

Police Chief: No apology needed for pepper-spraying

After a video of Army Lieutenant Caron Nazario being pepper-sprayed by Windsor, Virginia cops during a traffic stop went viral last week, Police Chief Rodney D. Riddle said he didn’t feel Nazario was owed an official apology. “My guys missed opportunities to verbally de-escalate,” Riddle admitted of the incident late last year that saw two officers with guns drawn barking at Nazario to get out of his car for allegedly not having a rear license tag.

They pepper-spraying Nazario in the face, before realizing he did in fact have his license tag taped to the rear window of the new car. Riddle went so far as to partially blame Nazario, saying that he wished he’d “complied a whole lot earlier.” The incident is now the subject of a $1 million lawsuit against the officers involved, one of whom was fired earlier this week after an internal investigation.

Fox & Friends

Harry and Meghan cause for Prince Philip's death

Minutes after the British royal family announced that Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, Prince Philip, had died at the age of 99, the sleuths at Fox & Friends blamed their inevitable culprits: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Host Brian Kilmeade immediately linked the death of the extremely old and sickly Duke of Edinburgh to Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, which aired last month and contained shocking claims of racism and cruel treatment against Meghan by royal family members.

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Fox & Friends

Harry and Meghan cause for Prince Philip's death

Minutes after the British royal family announced that Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, Prince Philip, had died at the age of 99, the sleuths at Fox & Friends blamed their inevitable culprits: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Host Brian Kilmeade immediately linked the death of the extremely old and sickly Duke of Edinburgh to Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, which aired last month and contained shocking claims of racism and cruel treatment against Meghan by royal family members.

Kilmeade said on Friday’s show: “There are reports that [Philip] was enraged after the interview and the fallout from the interview with Oprah Winfrey, so here he is trying to recover and he’s hit with that.”

Kilmeade then went on to cite Piers Morgan, of all people, as evidence that Philip’s health was hit by the Oprah interview. Morgan resigned in disgrace from his show, Good Morning Britain, after thousands of people complained about his repeated attacks on Meghan. The low point came when he said didn’t believe her admission that she felt suicidal.

The Fox & Friends host said: “Piers Morgan was saying on his morning show, which he famously walked off of, is like ‘Really? Your grandfather is in the hospital, you know he’s not doing well, is this really the time you have to put out this interview?’ Evidently, it definitely added to his stress.”

Philip left his London hospital after a month-long stay for treatment of an unspecified infection. He also underwent a procedure for a pre-existing heart condition in that time. He was also 99 years old.

Ghislaine Maxwell

New charges as US prosecutors expand criminal case

Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite accused of aiding in her former partner Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual abuse of minor girls, faces two more charges, a new Manhattan federal court indictment filed on Monday reveals. This indictment also identified a new accuser in the case, referred to as “minor victim-4” in court papers, and expanded the timeframe of Maxwell’s alleged participation in Epstein’s abuse by seven years – from 1994 to 2004, rather than from 1994 to 1997. Maxwell now faces a total of eight counts.

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Ghislaine Maxwell

New charges as US prosecutors expand criminal case

Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite accused of aiding in her former partner Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual abuse of minor girls, faces two more charges, a new Manhattan federal court indictment filed on Monday reveals. This indictment also identified a new accuser in the case, referred to as “minor victim-4” in court papers, and expanded the timeframe of Maxwell’s alleged participation in Epstein’s abuse by seven years – from 1994 to 2004, rather than from 1994 to 1997. Maxwell now faces a total of eight counts.

The new charges, sex trafficking conspiracy and sex trafficking of a minor, involve “minor victim-4”.

The indictment alleges that “minor victim-4” was “recruited to provide Epstein with sexualized massages” that he or his associates – including Maxwell – paid for.

Maxwell allegedly met “minor victim-4” at Epstein’s south Florida home around 2001, when the girl was around 14-years-old, and “interacted with [her] on multiple occasions”, according to court papers.

During their interactions, which happened from 2001 to 2004, Maxwell allegedly “groomed minor victim – 4 to engage in sexual acts with Epstein through multiple means.”

Maxwell did so by asking “minor victim-4” about her family and life. She “also sought to normalize inappropriate and abusive conduct by, among other things, discussing sexual topics in front of minor victim-4 and being present when minor victim-4 was nude in the massage room of the Palm Beach residence,” according to the court documents.

On multiple occasions from 2001 to 2004, this victim gave Epstein nude massages, during which he “engaged in multiple sex acts” with her. Maxwell would sometimes call this victim to schedule these massages, court papers allege.

During this timeframe, Epstein and Maxwell invited her to travel with him, and said they would help her get a passport. She declined their offer.

The court papers also allege that during this period, Epstein’s staff, including Maxwell, sent the victim gifts – such as lingerie – at her Florida home.

Maxwell and Epstein were both accused of encouraging this girl “to recruit other young females to provide sexualized massages to Epstein”.

She did so, the indictment claims, by bringing “multiple females, including girls under the age of 18” to Epstein’s south Florida home.

“On such occasions, both minor victim-4 and the girl she brought were paid hundreds of dollars in cash,” court papers state.

Maxwell has maintained her innocence since her arrest last summer at a secluded luxury home in New Hampshire.

When Maxwell was arrested, she faced six counts, including conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and perjury.

Her attorneys did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the new charges.

She is being held in federal detention in Brooklyn.

Epstein, a convicted sex offender, was found dead in his cell in federal custody in New York in August 2019, where he was awaiting trial on serious charges just over a month after his arrest on charges of sex trafficking girls as young as 14.

Epstein and Maxwell’s arrests have spurred intense scrutiny of Prince Andrew, who was a friend of both purported sex traffickers.

Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s many accusers, alleged in a civil lawsuit that Maxwell lured her into Epstein’s circle under the false pretense of massage work.

After being pulled into their orbit, Maxwell forced her to have sex with powerful men, including Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, when she was just 17, Giuffre claimed. Maxwell denies the claims. Andrew directly and via statements from Buckingham Palace has vehemently and repeatedly denied all of Giuffre’s claims.

Politics

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Marjorie Taylor Greene is ‘deeply unwell’ after 2019 video surfaces

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has said the Republican extremist Marjorie Taylor Greene has a “fixation” on progressive members of Congress, and warned that Greene’s behavior has “raised concerns” among Democrats. Greene, a Trump loyalist and a promoter of the QAnon conspiracy theory, was elected to the House in 2020, and has spent her first months in office harassing Ocasio-Cortez and other progressive Democrats.


Merrick Garland

Senate Democrats urge not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo

A group of Senate Democrats are urging Attorney General Merrick Garland not to fight a court order demanding the release of a 2019 Justice Department (DOJ) memo that essentially cleared former President Trump of criminal wrongdoing following the special counsel's investigation.

Liz Cheney

Elise Stefanik eventually voted in as House Republican's new No. 3 leader

Elise Stefanik cruised to victory in a vote to replace Liz Cheney as House Republicans' third-ranked leader, capping off a tumultuous month in the GOP conference sparked by its bitter divisions over Donald Trump. Stefanik won in a 134-46 secret-ballot vote, defeating her sole challenger Rep. Chip Roy of Texas — an unsurprising outcome after she aggressively campaigned for the No. 3 spot, scooping up endorsements from top party leaders and Trump. The 36-year-old New Yorker, known as a moderate turned Trump ally who's used her fundraising skills to help elect a new class of GOP women.


The Quick Vote

Republicans removed Cheney from leadership role over Trump ‘big lie’ criticism

House Republicans voted quickly on Wednesday to remove Liz Cheney as their No. 3 leader over her repeated criticism of Donald Trump, a massive shakeup that ties the party tighter to Trump and threatens to create a new litmus test in the GOP. The fast-moving campaign to dump Cheney, Congress' highest-ranking Republican woman, and replace her with a Trump loyalist was orchestrated by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and his top deputies. The California Republican and his allies complained that Cheney’s constant readiness to call out Trump’s lies.

Matt Gaetz Scandal

Federal investigators seeking cooperation from former Gaetz girlfriend, second key witness

Federal investigators scrutinizing Rep. Matt Gaetz are seeking the cooperation of a former Capitol Hill intern who was once a girlfriend of the Florida Republican, sources familiar with the matter tell CNN. Investigators could also soon gain the formal cooperation of a second key witness, former Florida county tax collector Joel Greenberg, who is approaching a deadline this week to strike a plea agreement with the government on more than two dozen charges he's facing. The pursuit of the cooperation comes as investigators are nearly finished collecting evidence, one source said.

Shortnews

Dr. Anthony Fauci

Jim Jordan told to ‘shut your mouth’ after ranting endlessly

During a meeting of the House Coronavirus Crisis Subcommittee on Thursday, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) had to intervene in a shouting match between Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Dr. Anthony Fauci by telling Jordan to “shut your mouth.” Jordan ranted at Fauci for several minutes, demanding the doc provide definite answers on when the pandemic will end, when public health mandates will be lifted, and when Americans will have their “liberties” back.

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Dr. Anthony Fauci

Jim Jordan told to ‘shut your mouth’ after ranting endlessly

During a meeting of the House Coronavirus Crisis Subcommittee on Thursday, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) had to intervene in a shouting match between Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Dr. Anthony Fauci by telling Jordan to “shut your mouth.” Jordan ranted at Fauci for several minutes, demanding the doc provide definite answers on when the pandemic will end, when public health mandates will be lifted, and when Americans will have their “liberties” back.

“You’re indicating liberty and freedom. I look at it as a public health measure to prevent people from dying and going to hospital,” Fauci said, adding that life will return to normal when people get vaccinated.

When Jordan complained that no one was allowed to criticize Fauci, he shot back: “You’re making this a personal thing.” Jordan claimed he wasn’t but Fauci said, “You are, that’s exactly what you’re doing.” Jordan kept ranting after his time expired, prompting Waters to yell, “You need to respect the chair and shut your mouth!” Jordan’s home state of Ohio is experiencing a nearly 25 percent surge in new cases, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

Dan Crenshaw

Texas Republican will be temporarily blind

Rep. Dan Crenshaw will be "effectively blind" for about a month and “off the grid” for the coming weeks after emergency eye surgery, the Texas Republican announced Saturday. Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL, lost an eye in an IED blast in Afghanistan, which also caused “extensive damage” to his other retina. Within the past few days, Crenshaw said he had begun to experience “dark, blurry spots” that were affecting his sight, after which he went Thursday to an ophthalmologist, where he learned that his retina was in the process of detaching. Crenshaw said the news was “terrifying” and the prognosis “very bad.”

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Dan Crenshaw

Texas Republican will be temporarily blind

Rep. Dan Crenshaw will be "effectively blind" for about a month and “off the grid” for the coming weeks after emergency eye surgery, the Texas Republican announced Saturday. Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL, lost an eye in an IED blast in Afghanistan, which also caused “extensive damage” to his other retina. Within the past few days, Crenshaw said he had begun to experience “dark, blurry spots” that were affecting his sight, after which he went Thursday to an ophthalmologist, where he learned that his retina was in the process of detaching. Crenshaw said the news was “terrifying” and the prognosis “very bad.”

“Anyone who knows the history of my injuries knows that I don’t have a ‘good eye,’ but half a good eye,” Crenshaw said in a statement. “It was always a possibility that the effects of the damage to my retina would resurface, and it appears that is exactly what has happened.”

Crenshaw said he’ll be resting face-down for about a week, unable to see anything, after getting a “gas bubble” put in place to serve as a “bandage” for the retina in emergency surgery Friday at a VA clinic in Houston.

Crenshaw won’t be doing any interviews or posting on social media, he said, save for health updates. His offices will still be working.

“I have gotten through worse before, and I will get through this,” Crenshaw added.

Hillary Clinton

Supreme Court rebuffs bid for deposition about emails

The Supreme Court on Monday denied a bid by a right-wing government watchdog group to require former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to face a deposition over her use of personal email while she served as secretary of State. In an unsigned order issued without comment, the justices declined an appeal from Judicial Watch that followed a ruling last August by a federal appeals court panel which said Clinton could not be compelled to sit for a deposition.

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Hillary Clinton

Supreme Court rebuffs bid for deposition about emails

The Supreme Court on Monday denied a bid by a right-wing government watchdog group to require former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to face a deposition over her use of personal email while she served as secretary of State. In an unsigned order issued without comment, the justices declined an appeal from Judicial Watch that followed a ruling last August by a federal appeals court panel which said Clinton could not be compelled to sit for a deposition.

Judicial Watch had sought to depose Clinton and aide Cheryl Mills over Clinton’s use of a personal email server in connection to the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

Clinton’s emails were subject to numerous investigations including by the FBI, which declined to charge her with violating federal records-keeping requirements or other crimes.

The issue of Clinton’s emails figured as a major political issue in her unsuccessful 2016 presidential campaign against former President Trump.

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton issued a statement in response to the court's move.

"Hillary Clinton ignored the law but received special protection from both the courts and law enforcement," he said. "For countless Americans, this double standard of justice has destroyed confidence in the fair administration of justice."

Donald Trump

Capitol rioters posed 'zero threat'

Donald Trump has defended some of his supporters who rioted at the US Capitol on 6 January, saying they posed “zero threat” to the lawmakers who had assembled there to certify the electoral college vote that confirmed Joe Biden’s election victory. Trump complained to Fox News’s Laura Ingraham that law enforcement was “persecuting” the Capitol rioters, while “nothing happens” to leftwing protesters. Five people, including a police officer, died in the riot.

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Donald Trump

Capitol rioters posed 'zero threat'

Donald Trump has defended some of his supporters who rioted at the US Capitol on 6 January, saying they posed “zero threat” to the lawmakers who had assembled there to certify the electoral college vote that confirmed Joe Biden’s election victory. Trump complained to Fox News’s Laura Ingraham that law enforcement was “persecuting” the Capitol rioters, while “nothing happens” to leftwing protesters. Five people, including a police officer, died in the riot.

Trump acknowledged that those who stormed the Capitol “went in and they shouldn’t have done it”. But he added: “Some of them went in and they’re, they’re hugging and kissing the police and the guards. You know, they had great relationships. A lot of the people were waved in and then they walked in and they walked out.”

More than 300 people have been charged in connection with the riot. Authorities have said they believe at least 100 more could face charges.

The attack followed a fiery Trump rally outside the White House in which he urged a group of his supporters to “fight like hell” for him at the Capitol. A week later, the House of Representatives impeached Trump for a second time, but the Senate eventually acquitted him of inciting the attack.

During the interview on Fox News, Trump also criticised Dr Anthony Fauci, the US infectious disease expert. “I frankly didn’t listen to him too much,” he said.

Fauci was one of Trump’s key advisers at the start of the pandemic, but later fell out with the former president over the handling of the crisis. In January Fauci described the “liberating feeling” of being able to speak scientific truth about the coronavirus without fear of “repercussions” from Trump.

Tom Reed

New York Republican accused of sexual misconduct won’t seek re-election

Tom Reed, a Republican congressman from western New York who was accused last week of rubbing a female lobbyist’s back and unhooking her bra without her consent in 2017, apologized to the woman on Sunday and announced he will not run for re-election next year. Reed, 49, said the incident involving Nicolette Davis occurred “at a time in my life in which I was struggling”. He said he entered treatment that year as he was “powerless over alcohol”. Reed apologized to his wife and children and to Davis and said he planned “to dedicate my time and attention to making amends for my past actions”.

Business

COVID-19

Walmart to stop requiring masks for vaccinated workers and shoppers

American companies began to rethink their requirements for face masks after federal health regulators relaxed their guidelines this week, and on Friday Walmart made the first big move to bend to the new view. The U.S.’s largest private employer said it would no longer require vaccinated workers and shoppers to wear masks in stores and warehouses outside of municipalities that require it. Walmart’s new policy for its 1.6 million U.S. workers goes into effect May 18, the company said, while vaccinated customers could shop maskless immediately.


National Rifle Association

Judge dismisses NRA bankruptcy case

A federal bankruptcy judge dismissed an effort by the National Rifle Association to declare bankruptcy on Tuesday, ruling that the gun rights group had not filed the case in good faith. The ruling slams the door on the NRA's attempt to use bankruptcy laws to evade New York officials seeking to dissolve the organization. In his decision, the federal judge said that "using this bankruptcy case to address a regulatory enforcement problem" was not a permitted use of bankruptcy.

From the Desk of Donald J. Trump

Trump's blog isn't lighting up the internet

Four months after former President Donald Trump was banished from most mainstream social media platforms, he returned to the web last Tuesday with “From the Desk of Donald J. Trump,” essentially a blog for his musings. A week since the unveiling, social media data suggests things are not going well. The ex-president’s blog has drawn a considerably smaller audience than his once-powerful social media accounts.


Fox & Friends

DeSantis gives Fox 'exclusive' of him signing election bill

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, continuing his ongoing feud with most of the “corporate media,” on Thursday signed into law a contentious election bill during an event where only Fox News was allowed to observe.

Gates Foundation

Bill and Melinda Gates announce divorce after 27 years

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, announced Monday that they are parting ways after nearly three decades of marriage. “After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage,” the pair said in a statement.

Berkshire Hathaway

Warren Buffett names Greg Abel as next CEO

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett has confirmed that the vice-chairman of his Berkshire Hathaway investment conglomerate, Greg Abel, will succeed him as chief executive. The 90-year-old’s succession plan was teased out of him – apparently by accident – by his longtime business partner, 97-year-old Charlie Munger, at the company’s annual meeting over the weekend. Buffett, speaking to CNBC in an interview broadcast on Monday, confirmed the choice.

Apple

Record revenues of $90bn amid Covid buying surge

Apple executives announced record revenues on Wednesday, with earnings far surpassing analysts’ expectations. Revenue was up 54% year-over-year to nearly $90bn. Sales in China doubled. Mac sales were a third higher than predicted and iPhone sales came in around $48bn – roughly $6.5bn higher than initial estimates.

Bitcoin Fog

Feds arrest an alleged $336M Bitcoin-laundering kingpin

For a decade, Bitcoin Fog has offered to obscure the source and destination of its customers' cryptocurrency, making it one of the most venerable institutions in the dark web economy. Now the IRS says it has finally identified the Russian-Swedish administrator behind that long-running anonymizing system and charged him with laundering hundreds of millions of dollars worth of bitcoins, much of which was sent to or from dark web drug markets. What gave him away? The trail of his own decade-old digital transactions.

Shortnews

Voltswagen

Volkswagen accidentally posts new company name

Volkswagen on Monday appeared to accidentally announce a rebranding with the new name “Voltswagen,” before quickly removing the press release from its website. On Monday morning, the German automaker posted a statement on its website announcing the “rebranding,” in an apparent shift towards its investment in electric vehicles, before taking it down, USA Today reported. In the release, the automaker said the rebranding is “more than a name change."

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Voltswagen

Volkswagen accidentally posts new company name

Volkswagen on Monday appeared to accidentally announce a rebranding with the new name “Voltswagen,” before quickly removing the press release from its website. On Monday morning, the German automaker posted a statement on its website announcing the “rebranding,” in an apparent shift towards its investment in electric vehicles, before taking it down, USA Today reported. In the release, the automaker said the rebranding is “more than a name change."

"‘Voltswagen’ is a public declaration of the company’s future-forward investment in e-mobility,” the release said, according to USA Today, which saved a photo of the statement before it was removed.

“The new name and branding symbolize the highly-charged forward momentum Voltswagen has put in motion, pursuing a goal of moving all people point-to-point with EVs,” the statement added.

A person familiar with the company’s plans told USA TODAY that Volkswagen is planning on making the change permanently. The source added that the company was not hacked, that the announcement was not a joke, and that it was not a marketing ploy.

Volkswagen’s plans to rebrand come as several automakers are beginning to invest more in electric vehicles. In November, General Motors announced that it was investing $27 billion through 2025 as part of its commitment to electric and autonomous vehicles. Additionally, the company unveiled plans to launch 30 electric vehicles globally by 2025.

Recovery

White House downplays surprising February jobs gain

Top White House officials took little solace in the better-than-expected February jobs report, insisting Friday that the U.S. was far from a full and equitable recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The February jobs report released Friday showed the U.S. gaining 379,000 jobs last month, nearly double the consensus estimates of economists. The unemployment rate also dropped 0.1 percentage points to 6.2 percent, its lowest level since March 2020, as businesses prepared for a post-pandemic world.

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Recovery

White House downplays surprising February jobs gain

Top White House officials took little solace in the better-than-expected February jobs report, insisting Friday that the U.S. was far from a full and equitable recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The February jobs report released Friday showed the U.S. gaining 379,000 jobs last month, nearly double the consensus estimates of economists. The unemployment rate also dropped 0.1 percentage points to 6.2 percent, its lowest level since March 2020, as businesses prepared for a post-pandemic world. President Biden’s top advisers, however, sought to spotlight how much economic damage the U.S. needs to repair and shortcomings of the rebound so far as Democrats push a $1.9 trillion aid bill through Congress.

“If you think today's jobs report is ‘good enough,’ then know that at this pace … it would take until April 2023 to get back to where we were in February 2020,” tweeted White House chief of staff Ron Klain.

If you think today's jobs report is "good enough," then know that at this pace (+379,000 jobs/month), it would take until April 2023 to get back to where we were in February 2020.

— Ronald Klain (@WHCOS) March 5, 2021
Even with February’s gain, the U.S. is still 9.5 million jobs short of replacing those lost to the pandemic, and 18 million Americans are on some form of jobless aid, according to the Labor Department. The unemployment rate has also been artificially depressed by the exit of nearly 5 million Americans from the workforce since the onset of the pandemic.

Cecilia Rouse, chair of Biden’s White House Council of Economic Advisers, highlighted in a Friday analysis how Black and Hispanic women have suffered the greatest declines in labor force participation.

“Black women were only 14 percent of the female labor force in February 2020, but have accounted for a disproportionate 26 percent of female labor force dropouts since then,” she wrote. “Hispanic women were only 17 percent of the female labor force in February 2020 but have accounted for 27 percent of the female labor force dropouts.”

The White House’s concerns are shared broadly by economists, who are generally optimistic in the economy’s prospects for 2021 but concerned about the depth of damage yet to be repaired.

“The pace of job growth in February was a pleasant surprise, but it is still too early to get excited,” wrote Nick Bunker, economic research director at Indeed.com.

“At this pace, it will take about four and a half years to get back to where the labor market would have been without the pandemic. Millions of Americans out of work do not have that time,” Bunker wrote.

Even so, Republicans — who are almost unanimously opposed to Biden's relief bill — touted the surprising February jobs gain as proof the recovery is well underway.

"America’s hard work and perseverance during the challenges of the last year are finally being realized, and more Americans are being vaccinated," said Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), former chairman of the Joint Economic Committee. "With a third vaccine now available for distribution, expectations are set for a record recovery from the pandemic-induced recession."

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.

“The Battle For Britney”

Bombshell Claim: Does Britney Spears have dementia?

Last week, Britney Spears posted a video of herself dancing on Instagram, accompanied by an uncharacteristically long, emoji-filled caption. While the post covered an eclectic array of topics—her love of travel, her desire to install a koi pond in her backyard, her pride in her garden—it was her blunt reaction to the recent spate of documentaries about her life and controversial conservatorship that made headlines.

The Rock for president?

Dwayne Johnson: I’ll run if the people want it

The professional wrestler turned star actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson said on Monday that he would run for US president if he felt he had enough support from Americans. Johnson, 48, one of the highest-paid and most popular actors in the United States, has been flirting with a possible White House bid for several years.

DMX

Swaggering but troubled rapper, dies at 50

Earl Simmons, the snarling yet soulful rapper known as DMX, who had a string of No. 1 albums in the late 1990s and early 2000s but whose personal struggles eventually rivaled his lyrical prowess, died on Friday in White Plains, N.Y. He was 50. His family announced the death in a statement. He had been on life support at White Plains Hospital after suffering what his family called “a catastrophic cardiac arrest” a week earlier.

Taylor Swift

Fearless (Taylor’s Version) review – old wounds take on new resonances

In 2012, Def Leppard announced in robust style that they would be rerecording their biggest hits. It was provoked by a dispute with their former record label, designed to “punch them in the bollocks”, said frontman Joe Elliott. “We fucking built that company. We built their penthouse sushi bar, wherever it may be, and they just treated us like shit.”

Zach Avery

US actor in low-budget films accused of running $690m Ponzi scheme

On the surface Zachary Horwitz, 34, appeared to be the stereotypical wannabe actor, attempting to build his career in Hollywood by taking a series of low-impact roles. But while playing small parts in predominantly low-budget films, Horwitz was also running a $690m Ponzi scheme.

HBO

Tina Turner keeps on rollin’ in bold, unsettling documentary

Toward the beginning of Tina, the most expansive documentary yet on one of pop’s most unstoppable forces of nature (HBO), Tina Turner is heard talking about her past, especially her often horrific years with her late husband Ike. “It wasn’t a good life,” she says. “It was in some areas. But the goodness did not balance the bad.”

Armie Hammer

Woman claims he violently raped her for four hours

The woman who allegedly spearheaded the tidal wave of sexual assault claims against Armie Hammer has now come forward to detail how she thought she was going to die during an alleged encounter in April of 2017 in Los Angeles, where she claims she was violently raped by the actor over the course of four hours.

Oscars 2021

Two female directors and nine actors of color nominated in historic year

Two female directors – Chloé Zhao and Emerald Fennell – are in the running for the best director prize at this year’s Oscars, marking the only time more than one woman has ever been in contention for the award in a single year. Only five women have ever been in the running for the award; only one – Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker in 2010 – has won.

Grammy awards 2021

Women rule as Taylor Swift and Beyoncé break records

It was a historic, triumphant night for women in music at the 2021 Grammys, as a range of female artists took home the top awards. HER took home song of the year for the Black Lives Matter anthem I Can’t Breathe, Taylor Swift became the first woman to win album of the year three times, and the rapper Megan Thee Stallion won both best new artist and best rap performance for her Savage remix with Beyoncé, now the most awarded singer (male or female) and female artist of all time.

Jlo & A-Rod

Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez insist they haven’t split up

Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez are disputing claims that they have split up. After reports on Friday in multiple outlets that the two had called off their longterm engagement, A-Rod and J.Lo told TMZ the news was “inaccurate,” and they’re “working through some things.” They insisted that neither had cheated. For the time being, A-Rod is in Miami while J.Lo shoots a movie in the Dominican Republic.

Corinne Masiero

Actor strips at 'French Oscars' in protest at closure of cinemas

A French actor stripped naked on stage during a scaled-back César Awards ceremony in Paris to protest against the government’s closure of theaters and cinemas during the coronavirus pandemic. Corinne Masiero had “no culture no future” written on her chest and “give us art back Jean” on her back, in a message to the prime minister, Jean Castex.

Page Six

Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez break up

They’ll be J-Rod no more. Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez have broken up. The superstar couple were photographed just last month blissfully hugging in the Dominican Republic, where Lopez, 51, is filming her latest movie, “Shotgun Wedding.” Reports this week said their twice-postponed wedding was back on track.

Magazine

anti-vaxxers

Anti-Maskers ready to start masking — to protect themselves from the vaccinated

A conspiracy ripping through the anti-vax world may finally drive some anti-maskers to do the unthinkable: wear a mask and keep their distance. The conspiracy — which comes in several shapes and sizes — more or less says the vaccinated will “shed” certain proteins onto the unvaccinated who will then suffer adverse effects. The main worry is the “shedding” will cause irregular menstruation, infertility, and miscarriages. The entirely baseless idea is a key cog in a larger conspiracy that COVID-19 was a ploy to depopulate the world, and the vaccine is what will cull the masses.


Wuhan

Rand Paul clashes with Dr. Anthony Fauci over coronavirus origins

Anthony Fauci on Tuesday clashed with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) over the role of the Wuhan, China, virology lab in the origins of COVID-19. During a Senate hearing on the pandemic response, Paul alleged that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) had been sending funding to the Wuhan lab, which then "juiced up" a virus that was originally found in bats to create a supervirus that can infect human cells.

Ex-wife Judith gets $42,000 a month

Money problems: Rudy Giuliani cuts down his entourage

Rudy Giuliani, the former personal lawyer for ex-president Donald Trump, has reduced the size of his personal entourage. Giuliani laid off several staffers and independent contractors in the last few weeks, according to one of the people, who said the ousted employees had been told that the former New York mayor was seeking to cut costs.


30-meter-tall CZ-5B core

A huge Chinese rocket part is making an out-of-control descent to Earth

An enormous rocket component that China recently launched into space is out-of-control in orbit and is expected to make a chaotic reentry into the atmosphere this week, provoking concerns about a possible impact in a populated area. The rocket debris, which is estimated to weigh more than 20 metric tons, will most likely splash down in remote ocean waters, but its current trajectory also passes over urban areas as far north as New York state and as far south as New Zealand, reports Andrew Jones of SpaceNews.

Soccer

How will the new European Super League work?

On Sunday night 12 European football clubs announced the formation of a new competition, the Super League, to widespread criticism from governments, their own domestic leagues, football federations as well as Uefa and supporters around the world.

UFOs

Pentagon confirms leaked photos and video of are legitimate

Furthering the growing interest in unidentified flying objects, or what the US government refers to as unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP), the Department of Defense confirmed on Thursday that recently leaked photos and videos of UFOs were legitimate and taken by navy personnel.

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

William and Harry to walk apart as Queen sits alone at funeral

The Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex will walk apart for their grandfather’s funeral, which is likely to see the Queen sitting alone, details released by Buckingham Palace reveal. Prince William and Prince Harry, whose troubled relationship was further strained after the Sussexes’ controversial interview with Oprah Winfrey, will be separated by their cousin Peter Phillips as they walk behind the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh on Saturday.

Fear monger Tucker Carlson

Maybe the vaccine ‘doesn’t work’ and ‘they’re not telling you that’

Fox News host Tucker Carlson seized on Tuesday’s news about the pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to casually suggest to his viewers that the American government knows that the COVID-19 vaccines don’t work but are purposely “not telling you that.”

Shortnews

Robert Redfield

I think COVID-19 escaped from Wuhan laboratory

Robert Redfield, the ex-director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has said for the first time that he believes the COVID-19 pandemic began in a lab in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Redfield made the extraordinary claim in an interview with CNN’s chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta. He provided no evidence for his belief, and stressed that it’s only an opinion—not a fact.

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Robert Redfield

I think COVID-19 escaped from Wuhan laboratory

Robert Redfield, the ex-director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has said for the first time that he believes the COVID-19 pandemic began in a lab in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Redfield made the extraordinary claim in an interview with CNN’s chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta. He provided no evidence for his belief, and stressed that it’s only an opinion—not a fact.

Redfield said: “If I was to guess, this virus started transmitting somewhere in September or October in Wuhan... That’s my own view, it’s only an opinion, I’m allowed to have opinions now.”

The former Trump official went on: “I still think the most likely etiology of this pathogen in Wuhan was from a laboratory. You know, escaped. Other people don’t believe that, that’s fine, science will eventually figure it out.”

A World Health Organization team that went to Wuhan to investigate the virus said the lab-accident theory is “extremely unlikely.”

Tiger Woods

He doesn't remember driving the day of crash: sheriff

Tiger Woods told authorities that he did not remember driving the day he was seriously injured in a one-car wreck after an accident on a California road, according to an affidavit obtained by USA Today Sports. Woods was initially unconscious when he was found in his crashed vehicle, according to the affidavit, which was filed to obtain a search warrant for the “black box” in Woods’s car. "Driver said he did not know and did not even remember driving ... Driver was treated for his injuries at the hospital and was asked there again how the collision occurred. He repeated that he did not know and did not remember driving,” the affidavit read.

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Tiger Woods

He doesn't remember driving the day of crash: sheriff

Tiger Woods told authorities that he did not remember driving the day he was seriously injured in a one-car wreck after an accident on a California road, according to an affidavit obtained by USA Today Sports. Woods was initially unconscious when he was found in his crashed vehicle, according to the affidavit, which was filed to obtain a search warrant for the “black box” in Woods’s car.

"Driver said he did not know and did not even remember driving ... Driver was treated for his injuries at the hospital and was asked there again how the collision occurred. He repeated that he did not know and did not remember driving,” the affidavit read.

According to the newspaper, Woods later repeated this statement at the hospital. Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Johann Schoegl, who submitted the affidavit, said he believed information on the black box, such as the speed the car was traveling when it crashed, would aid in determining the cause of the crash.

"If somebody is involved in a traffic collision, we've got to reconstruct the traffic collision, if there was any reckless driving, if somebody was on their cell phone or something like that. We determine if there was a crime. If there was no crime, we close out the case, and it was a regular traffic collision," Schoegl said this week after the search warrant was executed.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said that although a search warrant was requested, the investigation into Woods’s crash was not criminal in nature.

“The investigators in the accident, or in the collision, they did a search warrant to seize in essence the black box of the vehicle,’’ Villanueva said Wednesday. “And that’s all it is. And they’re going to go through it and see if they can find out what was the performance of the vehicle, what was happening at the time of impact.”

Villanueva added that Woods was “in good spirits,” saying it was “a good sign.”

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.

Elections

Election 2022

Liz Cheney seen as merely first victim of Donald Trump election attacks

Former President Trump's false charge that the election was stolen has rattled the core of the GOP, sparking a nasty clash over who commands the soul of the party. The baseless claims have launched a splinter group of disgruntled Republican officials; and toppled a conservative icon, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), who was ejected this week from the leadership ranks.


Election 2022

Liz Cheney faces the boot in Washington - Wyoming isn’t looking much better

Rep. Liz Cheney’s colleagues are set to boot her from House GOP leadership this month. Now Republicans back in her home state of Wyoming are plotting how to remove her from Congress entirely. There is no shortage of Republicans eager to take on Cheney in a 2022 primary since her vote to impeach President Donald Trump and her subsequent criticism of him tanked her popularity in Wyoming. But the crowded field is also a risk for the anti-Cheney forces, making it more possible for her to win with a plurality.

Election 2020

Liz Cheney stokes GOP rift with 'big lie' rebuke of Trump

Rep. Liz Cheney on Monday escalated her feud with former President Donald Trump and his supporters in Congress, issuing a less-than-subtle swipe at the former president’s latest attempt to claim the 2020 election was stolen from him.


Bernie Moreno

Kellyanne Conway takes sides in Ohio Senate primary

Kellyanne Conway, who served as campaign manager and counselor to former President Donald Trump, has been named a senior adviser to Ohio Senate hopeful Bernie Moreno, taking sides in a race that has become a fight over which GOP candidate is closest to the former president.

Election Fraud

Rudy Giuliani asks court to throw out Dominion's $1.3 billion defamation suit

Rudy Giuliani is asking a federal court to throw out Dominion Voting Systems's $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit against him over his attacks on the company as part of an effort to undermine the credibility of the 2020 election. Giuliani's lawyers on Wednesday filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. The 10-page motion did not specifically address the merits of Dominion's claims, but instead argued Dominion failed to satisfy procedural requirements for such cases. Dominion did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

Donald Trump · Republican Party

Meeting between Trump, Ohio Senate candidates turns tense

A meeting President Trump held with four hopefuls vying for Ohio’s open Senate seat during a fundraiser at his golf club in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Wednesday night soon turned tense, according to Politico.

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.

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.”