Mar 04,2021

More than 10,000 pieces of new news a day. News update non-stop 24/7.  Mitch McConnell on Donald Trump: We're looking to the 'future,' not 'the past'.  OnPolitics: Keep your eyes on the (COVID) money.  Dems advance police reform despite 'defund' claims.  Attorney for former LSU football coach Les Miles wants internal investigation released.  Inspector General’s Report Cites Elaine Chao for Misuse of Office.  Reopening, Stimulus, Wildlife Cameras: Your Wednesday Evening Briefing.  Biden’s honeymoon is over, but he retains majority approval..  A Black Police Officer Is Reinstated, 121 Years Later.  As Democrats bring back earmarks for transportation projects, billions of dollars from years ago sits unused.  Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI): HR 1 Bill Asserts The Complete Control Of The Federal Government Over Our Election Process.  More than 10,000 pieces of new news a day. News update non-stop 24/7.  Democrats line up behind Shalanda Young amid new jostling over Biden budget pick.  Gov. Newsom suggests teachers 'not comfortable going back in' won’t be required to return to schools.  Accuser's attorney slams Cuomo apology as 'full of falsehoods'.  'The average benefit will be about $6,300' per family under the American Rescue Plan, expert says.  Lawmakers, policy analysts call for federal unemployment to offer $400 weekly boost, expire in September.  Ariel's John Rogers: Here's what companies can do to help close the racial wealth gap.  Virginia U.S. senators send White House list of candidates for U.S. Attorney posts.  U.S. House cancels Thursday session after police warn of possible plot on Capitol.  Neera Tanden’s OMB nomination failed. Her fallback plan remains a mystery..  House scraps work schedule amid security threat.  
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Mitch McConnell on Donald Trump: We're looking to the 'future,' not 'the past'
       
“We're dealing with the present and the future, not looking back to the past," McConnell told Fox News. OnPolitics:The GOP's Trump problemOnly one of the Senate Republican impeachers – Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska – is planning to be on a ballot in 2022. In his Fox interview on Wednesday, McConnell said "absolutely we support Sen. Murkowski," and dismissed the complaints about impeachment during Trump's speech. The CPAC speech came less than two weeks after Trump issued a scathing attack on McConnell over his criticism regarding the Jan. 6 insurrection. "Yeah, well, I want to thank him for the 15-point margin I had in 2014 as well," McConnell told reporters.
OnPolitics: Keep your eyes on the (COVID) money
       
More numbers for you:Senate Democrats reached a deal with President Joe Biden to limit the eligibility for $1,400 checks in his $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill. with President Joe Biden to limit the eligibility for $1,400 checks in his $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill. for health insurance through the federally run HealthCare.gov in the first two weeks of the three-month special enrollment period. Who lives, who dies, who is actually getting a COVID checkIt's the question that many Americans want to know: Who is eligible for a $1,400 stimulus check? Who's not quite as happy: Many Americans who could have received at least some payment will now receive none.
Dems advance police reform despite 'defund' claims
       
Dems advance police reform despite 'defund' claimsHouse Democrats are hustling to pass a police overhaul bill named after George Floyd. They also want to avoid a debate that turned into a political liability last year with false claims the law slashes police budgets.
Attorney for former LSU football coach Les Miles wants internal investigation released
       
USA TODAY sued LSU for access to the report in January, after the university refused to release it. "We appreciate that Coach Miles is dropping his objection to the records being released," said Scott Sternberg, attorney for USA TODAY. The internal investigation into Miles is the latest discovery by USA TODAY, which has revealed widespread mishandling of sexual misconduct allegations by LSU’s athletic department and broader administration. Though his actions were deemed to be improper, Miles appears to have faced no public repercussions from LSU. Kansas was not aware of the allegations when it hired Miles in 2018, the school said when USA TODAY disclosed the allegations Feb. 24.
Inspector General’s Report Cites Elaine Chao for Misuse of Office
       
WASHINGTON — The Transportation Department’s inspector general asked the Justice Department in December to consider a criminal investigation into what it said was Elaine Chao’s misuse of her office as transportation secretary in the Trump administration to help promote her family’s shipping business, which is run by her sister and has extensive business ties with China. In a report made public on Wednesday, the inspector general said the Justice Department’s criminal and public integrity divisions both declined to take up the matter in the closing weeks of the Trump administration, even after the inspector general found repeated examples of Ms. Chao using her staff and her office to help benefit her family and their business operations and revealed that staff members at the agency had raised ethics concerns. “A formal investigation into potential misuses of position was warranted,” Mitch Behm, the department’s deputy inspector general, said on Tuesday in a letter to House lawmakers, accompanying a 44-page report detailing the investigation and the findings of wrongdoing. Ms. Chao, the wife of Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, announced her resignation on Jan. 7, the day after the Capitol riot. At the time of her departure, an aide to Ms. Chao said her resignation was unrelated to the forthcoming release of the investigation.
Reopening, Stimulus, Wildlife Cameras: Your Wednesday Evening Briefing
       
“Neanderthal thinking.”That’s how President Biden criticized the governor of Texas and others who have relaxed Covid-19 restrictions. He insisted that it was a “big mistake” for people to stop wearing masks, and that they should continue with social distancing and hand washing. “It’s critical, critical, critical, critical that they follow the science,” Mr. Biden said. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, echoed Mr. Biden’s remarks, her third such warning in less than a week. Scientists are urging caution until we know more about whether vaccinated people can still spread the virus and about emerging virus variants.
Biden’s honeymoon is over, but he retains majority approval.
       
Whatever honeymoon period he may have briefly enjoyed, President Biden is now past it, according to the results of a Monmouth University poll released on Wednesday. Mr. Biden’s approval rating now stands at 51 percent nationwide, with 42 percent of the country disapproving. That’s a much narrower split than his 54 percent approval and 30 percent disapproval in another Monmouth survey that was conducted just after he took office. The poll found widespread support for the Covid-19 relief bill making its way through Congress, with 62 percent saying they want to see it passed. Two-thirds supported the bill’s provision increasing additional unemployment benefits to $400 a week from $300 a week.
A Black Police Officer Is Reinstated, 121 Years Later
       
Last year, Spectrum News 1 in Los Angeles reported on Mr. Davison’s work, bringing it to an even wider audience. Little is known about Mr. Green, who appears to have been laid off in 1890. But Mr. Stewart was covered regularly by local news outlets, even before he became an officer. Mr. Stewart and Mr. Green were appointed to the Police Department in March. A jeering crowd gathered around Mr. Stewart in 1889, shortly after he became an officer, according to a report in The San Francisco Chronicle.
As Democrats bring back earmarks for transportation projects, billions of dollars from years ago sits unused
       
And unlike other federal transportation funding that has to be prioritized in multiyear plans and spent within four years, earmarked money typically doesn’t expire. Last week, before Democrats had confirmed their plans, state officials gathered virtually to discuss the return of earmarks. In some cases, the earmarked money was dwarfed by the size of a project it was attached to. One of the largest is $16 million for a highway project in Bartow County, Ga., known at the time as the U.S. 411 Connector. Earmarked funds for the Massachusetts interchange have been tapped and a preconstruction conference is scheduled for this month, said Kristen Pennucci, a spokeswoman for the state transportation department.
Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI): HR 1 Bill Asserts The Complete Control Of The Federal Government Over Our Election Process
       
Listen To The Full Interview Below:Congressman Mike Gallagher (R-WI/8) joined Fox News Radio's Guy Benson Show to talk about the Democrat backed 'election integrity' bill HR 1 aimed at reforming election laws. Rep. Mike Gallagher said,"It really is remarkable in its aggressiveness and what it is trying to do, which is nothing less than fundamentally remake our entire election system and nationalize it. I mean, that is the thrust of the bill is to assert the complete control of the federal government over our election process, which has traditionally been determined by the states." But that is a conversation and a decision that must be made at the state level, not at the federal government level. But it is a state decision, not a federal government decision."
Democrats line up behind Shalanda Young amid new jostling over Biden budget pick
       
Tanden’s withdrawal marked the first major political setback for the Biden White House as it has raced in its opening weeks to confirm key nominees in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Gavin Newsom and close ties to White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain. “And what has become evident in the last few days is [Young] has that same kind of background.”The White House did not respond to a request for comment. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday the administration still hopes to find Tanden a new position elsewhere. Senate Republicans responded by repeatedly praising her candor: Sen. Lindsey Graham, the top GOP lawmaker on the Senate Budget Committee, opened his statement at the Tuesday hearing by pledging to vote for her confirmation.
Gov. Newsom suggests teachers 'not comfortable going back in' won’t be required to return to schools
       
"Since the height of the winter surge, we have successfully shifted the conversation from whether to reopen schools to when," Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement Monday. State legislatures have allocated $2 billion from the package to support public school needs with personal protective equipment, ventilation upgrades and COVID-19 testing. We’re going to provide supports, supplementary supports for people with compromised immune systems, people that are not comfortable going back in," he told reporters. Newsom has faced fierce backlash for his strict response to the coronavirus pandemic, prompting an effort to recall him for his governorship.
Accuser's attorney slams Cuomo apology as 'full of falsehoods'
       
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s apologetic news conference Wednesday afternoon was "full of falsehoods and inaccurate information," according to the attorney of a former staffer who has accused him of sexual harassment. The other aide was Lindsey Boylan, who accused the governor of forcibly kissing her in an essay published on Medium last week. And a third woman with no professional ties to the governor, Anna Ruch, accused Cuomo of making unwanted advances, touching her exposed lower back and asking to kiss her. CUOMO'S CREEPY COVID TEST COMMENTS RESURFACENew York Attorney General Letitia James has launched an investigation into the women’s claims.
'The average benefit will be about $6,300' per family under the American Rescue Plan, expert says
       
If the American Rescue Plan is signed into law, "The average benefit will be about $6,300," for families, according to Elaine Maag, a principal research associate at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, who cited the center's recent report. Here's how much money families could receive from three of the proposals in the American Rescue Plan if it's signed into law. Child Tax Credit: Up to $3,600 per childOne of the American Rescue Plan's proposals is the expansion of the Child Tax Credit. This would be a major increase from the current Child Tax Credit, which only provides an annual maximum of $2,000 per child from birth through age 16. Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit: Up to $8,000The American Rescue Plan also includes a refundable Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, which could help Americans claim thousands of additional dollars to offset the costs of child care.
Lawmakers, policy analysts call for federal unemployment to offer $400 weekly boost, expire in September
       
The House passed its version of legislation early Saturday, and the Senate is debating provisions this week. Some, including Pancotti, are calling for federal benefit expirations to be tied to labor market indicators, such as the unemployment rate. Without action, 11.4 million people are expected to start losing jobless aid on March 14, according to estimates from The Century Foundation. The weekly federal unemployment boost was up for debate again this week with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) A growing body of research has shown no such correlation between boosted unemployment pay and people not returning to work.
Ariel's John Rogers: Here's what companies can do to help close the racial wealth gap
       
John Rogers of Ariel Investments told CNBC on Wednesday that corporations can play a critical role in helping close the racial wealth gap in the United States. In an interview on "Closing Bell," the firm's co-CEO and chief investment officer pointed to retirement savings plans as one place to start addressing it. It found that while Black Americans now report similar ownership levels of 401(k) plans as white respondents, at 53% compared with 55%, respectively, differences in savings rates persist. Rogers said there are a number of factors contributing to Black Americans accumulating less in retirement savings than white Americans. We're much more likely to take hardship loans, early withdrawals to help support expanded families," Rogers contended.
Virginia U.S. senators send White House list of candidates for U.S. Attorney posts
       
Slideshow ( 2 images )WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Virginia’s U.S. Senate Democrats said on Wednesday they were submitting four potential candidates to the White House to be considered for the state’s top two federal prosecutor posts. For the Western District of Virginia U.S. Attorney, they are recommending Erin Ashwell, who serves as chief deputy attorney general for Virginia, and Christopher Kavanaugh, an assistant U.S. Attorney who helped prosecute self-professed Neo-Nazi James Alex Fields, Jr, for killing a counterprotester at the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Biden will decide who to nominate, but traditionally each state’s home senators play a role in interviewing, vetting and recommending candidates for the nation’s 93 U.S. Attorney jobs. The U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Virginia is known for handling many of the country’s high-profile terrorism and national security-related prosecutions. Acting U.S. Attorney Raj Parekh, a career federal prosecutor who is the first person of color to lead the office, did not apply for the job.
U.S. House cancels Thursday session after police warn of possible plot on Capitol
       
But a House Democratic aide said that the police warning, based on intelligence that “an identified militia group” could present a security threat, contributed to the change in plans. “The United States Capitol Police Department is aware of and prepared for any potential threats towards members of Congress or towards the Capitol complex,” it said in its statement. The police statement noted that the department already has made “significant security upgrades” at the Capitol, home to the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. On Tuesday, Acting House Sergeant at Arms Timothy Blodgett notified members of Congress of a possible security threat spanning Thursday through Saturday. Blodgett told lawmakers that the Capitol Police department has “enhanced” its security posture for the coming days.
Neera Tanden’s OMB nomination failed. Her fallback plan remains a mystery.
       
Her selection was driven by White House chief of staff Ron Klain, one of Tanden’s key allies inside Biden World. She had deep policy experience and had been helpful to the campaign by providing policy support. The Alaska Republican was the one Republican who had not stated where she stood on Tanden’s nomination to head OMB. “There was no hint of if you do this, I will do that,” said the aforementioned White House adviser. Murkowski has not said whether she ever made up her mind on Tanden’s nomination.
House scraps work schedule amid security threat
       
Razor wire fencing still encloses much of the Capitol Hill area, and members and staffers must enter through checkpoints manned by armed National Guard troops. Nonetheless, congressional leaders say they will heed the security warnings, with members still shaken from the violence that many of them witnessed two months ago. Some of the security presence, particularly the National Guard, appears to have diminished in recent weeks, though tighter new procedures — such as metal detectors into the House chambers — remain in place. Capitol security officials have indicated that they plan to beef up security for lawmakers in transit, recognizing that many have been targeted in recent months when they’re away from the building. We continue to see far-right extremist groups that are fueled by misinformation and conspiracy theories quickly become the most dangerous threat to society.”
U.S. House cancels Thursday session after police warn of possible plot on Capitol
       
“The United States Capitol Police Department is aware of and prepared for any potential threats towards members of Congress or towards the Capitol complex,” it said in its statement. The statement noted that police have made “significant security upgrades” at the Capitol, home to the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. On Tuesday, Acting House Sergeant at Arms Timothy Blodgett notified Congress members of a possible security threat spanning Thursday through Saturday. Congress has held hearings on the riot and congressional leaders in coming days are expected to receive recommendations for new, permanent security measures at the Capitol. The House impeached Trump on Jan. 13 on a charge of inciting an insurrection, focusing on an incendiary speech he made to supporters shortly before the mob converged on the Capitol.
New Virginia PAC forms to diversify state's political landscape
       
Lack of diversity within campaigns has been a longstanding issue in both Democratic and Republican politics. People of color represent less than 1 percent of all political consultants. “We want to create networks of support.”The group is launching in the heat of Virginia’s crowded and diverse gubernatorial primary. Their ultimate goal, Kasey said, is for the state’s political landscape to become so diverse that groups like theirs are obsolete. “And a lot of the old Virginia still kind of permit permeates the politics in the commonwealth.”
Kaufman’s revenge
       
Kaufman’s revenge Presented by Defending Democracy TogetherWith help from Allie BiceWelcome to POLITICO’s 2021 Transition Playbook, your guide to the first 100 days of the Biden administrationTED KAUFMAN does not strike the pose of a #resistance icon. If the Biden administration isn’t explicitly anti-Wall Street, it’s certainly the least Wall Street White House in many decades. Kaufman’s anti-Wall Street streak may be more visceral than Biden’s, but it’s not completely out of step with it. NEC director BRIAN DEESE worked for Wall Street firm BlackRock as the global head of sustainable investing after working all eight years of the Obama administration. As a senator, Kaufman’s two central objectives were reforming presidential transitions and hemming in Wall Street after the Great Recession.
Beto O’Rourke on TX lifting its mask mandate: ‘This action is going to kill more Texans than have already died’
       
Former Congressman Beto O’Rourke expresses his outrage over Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s decision to reopen businesses to full capacity and the lack of leadership in the state amid a crush of crises
U.S. Civilian Contractor Dies During Rocket Strike On Iraq Air Base
       
Last month, there were three similar rocket attacks in Iraq, blamed by the U.S. on Iran-backed militants. The largest strike hit a base in the northern city of Irbil, where such attacks are rare, on Feb. 15. There, a barrage of rockets struck a base used, among others, by U.S. forces, next to the civilian airport. Last year, an American strike in Baghdad killed powerful Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani and Kataib Hezbollah leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. A Twitter account used by a representative of Kataib Hezbollah praised what he called the "Iraqi resistance" for today's attack on the Ain al-Asad air base.
Police uncover ‘possible plot’ by militia to breach Capitol
       
Capitol Police say they have intelligence showing a “possible plot” by a militia group to breach the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, nearly two months after a mob of supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the iconic building to try to stop Congress from certifying now-President Joe Biden's victory. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, file photo, rioters storm the Capitol, in Washington. Capitol Police say they have intelligence showing a “possible plot” by a militia group to breach the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, nearly two months after a mob of supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the iconic building to try to stop Congress from certifying now-President Joe Biden's victory. Police were ill-prepared for the mass of Trump supporters in tactical gear, some armed, and it took hours for National Guard reinforcements to come. “We have obtained intelligence that shows a possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group on Thursday, March 4.” Police did not identify the militia group in the statement.
‘Unusual’ restrictions placed on National Guard before Capitol riot, general says
       
WASHINGTON — Defense Department leaders placed unusual restrictions on the National Guard for the day of the Capitol riot and delayed sending help for hours despite an urgent plea from police for reinforcement, according to testimony Wednesday that added to the finger-pointing about the government response. Guard troops who had been waiting on buses were then rushed to the Capitol, arriving in 18 minutes, Walker said. “The Army senior leadership” expressed “that it would not be their best military advice to have uniformed Guardsmen on the Capitol,” Walker said. Contee said Sund was pleading with Army officials to deploy National Guard troops as the rioting escalated. Thousands of National Guard troops are still patrolling the fenced-in Capitol, and multiple committees across Congress are investigating mistakes made on Jan. 6.
EU, Britain clash again over trade rules
       
Commission vice-president Maroš Šef?ovi? said in a statement that UK’s decision to unilaterally extend a grace period on checks for goods moving between Britain and Northern Ireland amounts to “a violation” of the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol. The Protocol was designed to ensure an open border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic after Brexit. The sensitivity of Northern Ireland’s status was underscored earlier this year when the EU threatened to ban shipments of coronavirus vaccines to Northern Ireland as part of moves to shore up the bloc’s supply. Šef?ovi? held discussions Wednesday with cabinet minister David Frost, the former chief Brexit negotiator now responsible for EU relations. Before their talks, Šef?ovi? said he would tell Frost “the European Commission will respond to these developments in accordance with the legal means established by the Withdrawal Agreement and the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.”
Cuomo responds to harassment scandal: ‘I’m not going to resign’
       
In the face of multiple sexual harassment claims and a pending investigation from the state attorney general’s office, Gov. Andrew Cuomo apologized for his behavior but rejected calls for his resignation, saying, “I’m not going to resign. “I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable,” Cuomo said. I feel awful about it and, frankly, I am embarrassed about it.”The governor said he “never touched anyone inappropriately. More New York Covid-19 News:
Voting rights an intensifying partisan battleground, as Democrats push H.R. 1 and Republicans alter election procedures at state level
       
Yet to many Republicans, it amounts to an unwarranted federal intrusion into a process that states should control. The bill would mandate early voting, same-day registration and other long-sought changes that Republicans reject. “ Former Virginia attorney general and Trump administration official Ken Cuccinelli is spearheading a $5 million campaign to pressure Senate Democrats to oppose H.R. Democrats say their aim is to make it easier for more people to vote, regardless of partisan affiliation. But challenges lie ahead in the Senate, which is split 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats, including the independents who caucus with Democrats.
Collins to back Haaland for Interior, sealing her approval
       
The announcement makes Haaland's confirmation by the Senate nearly certain and follows Haaland's endorsement last week by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Manchin, a moderate from West Virginia, had been publicly undecided through two days of hearings on Haaland’s nomination by President Joe Biden. The landmark law, co-sponsored by Collins in the Senate, authorizes nearly $3 billion on conservation projects, outdoor recreation and maintenance of national parks and other public lands. Interior oversees the nation's public lands and waters and leads relations with nearly 600 federally recognized tribes. The Senate energy panel is set to vote on Haaland's nomination Thursday.
Schumer says Senate will take up relief bill as early as Wednesday
       
Members of the Sexual Harassment Working Group also said they expected more allegations to follow – and accused Cuomo of “gaslighting” his accusers. Letitia James, the state attorney general, meanwhile, announced the first step in mounting an external investigation of the governor’s behaviour. Cuomo, the son of a former governor and himself a former US housing secretary, is one of America’s most prominent governors. On Sunday he acknowledged for the first time that some of his behaviour towards women “may have been insensitive or too personal”. Now.” New York’s US senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and the congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are among Democrats who demanded an independent investigation.
National Guard troops defending Capitol say they’ve been made sick by eating raw chicken, mouldy bread, and metal shavings
       
The sergeant also claimed the troops, some of whom he said have been hospitalised after eating the food provided for them, were also served mouldy bread and food containing metal shavings. “Yesterday, for instance, there were 74 different meals found with raw beef in them,” the sergeant told WXYZ before providing them with photos of the undercooked meat. “Since the beginning of the mission on 7 January, we’ve served about 26,000 personnel more than 1.2 million meals. And of that, in 0.01 per cent we’ve discovered the appearance of undercooked meals,” the spokesperson said. Five people died and several more were injured on that day, causing House members to barricade themselves inside their offices.
Analysis: Lord Frost wastes no time in ruffling Brussels' feathers
       
The new tougher approach is believed to be backed by Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis. This will not bother Lord Frost, who only began his new role as minister for relations with the EU on Monday, one jot. It is an open secret that he is no fan of the Northern Ireland Protocol and he has form when it comes to ruffling feathers in Brussels during his spell as the UK’s chief Brexit negotiator. Lord Frost was determined that the same mistakes made by his predecessor would not be repeated during the trade talks. Lord Frost has now plucked the same page out of his negotiating playbook to try and shake Brussels out of its complacency over the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Confirmation unsure for Biden health secretary nominee Xavier Becerra
       
Her withdrawal marks the president’s first failure as he seeks Senate confirmation for his cabinet nominees. She will bring valuable perspective and insight to our work.” Tanden’s confirmation had faced increasingly steep odds. Republican senators who opposed her nomination cited tweets attacking members of both parties prior to her nomination. Biden’s cabinet is slow to fill as some of his nominations hit hurdles on the way to confirmation. The president’s prospective health secretary, Xavier Becerra, faces a crucial committee vote in the Senate finance committee, where he is taking heat from Republicans for his support of abortion rights.
House cancels Thursday votes amid security threats at Capitol
       
The House of Representatives canceled votes Thursday in Washington amid new security threats at the Capitol and members will work late into the evening Wednesday. House leadership announced the sudden change in plans Wednesday. The House was to vote Thursday on the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, but instead the House will vote on that police reform measure late Wednesday and cancel votes for the remainder of the week. WARREN, PRESSLEY AMONG DEMS PUSHING TO STRIP POLICE OF 'QUALIFIED IMMUNITY'Police announced Wednesday increased security at the Capitol amid new potential threats to lawmakers and the Capitol complex. Lawmakers are still reeling from Jan. 6 riot when pro-Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, destroyed property, threatened lawmakers and forced Congress to evacuate.
Facebook lifting political ad ban imposed after 2020 election
       
Facebook says it’s lifting a ban on political ads starting Thursday. “We put this temporary ban in place after the November 2020 election to avoid confusion or abuse following Election Day. Both Democratic and Republican digital strategists were furious over the Facebook ban on political ads. Google – the other giant when it comes to digital political advertising – also instituted a ban surrounding the 2020 general election. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ON FOX BUSINESSFacebook and Google are the two biggest digital platforms for political ads.
Watchdog finds GOP congressman harassed staff, drank while serving as White House physician
       
After allegations emerged that Jackson had improperly distributed prescription drugs, created a hostile work environment, and had problems with drinking, the White House withdrew his nomination. AdvertisementJackson went on to win a crowded Republican primary race to represent a district in northeastern Texas and was elected to Congress in 2020. “I also categorically deny any implication that I was in any way sexually inappropriate at work, outside of work, or anywhere with any member of my staff or anyone else. Jackson had previously recounted to witnesses that he found that rule to be stupid, investigators found. AdvertisementFormer subordinates interviewed by investigators additionally raised the concern that Jackson took Ambien, a powerful sleep-aid medication, to help him sleep during long overseas travel.
In a concession to Democratic moderates, Biden signs off on tighter income limits for stimulus checks
       
Under the changes agreed to by Biden and Senate Democratic leaders, individuals earning $75,000 per year and couples earning $150,000 would still receive the full $1,400-per-person benefit. Narrowing eligibility for the stimulus checks was just one change Democratic moderates such as Shaheen and Senator Joe Manchin of West Virgina had been seeking. Senate Democrats do not intend to adopt the suggested change to unemployment benefits, and they will stay at $400 per week, the aide said. The unemployment benefits are set to expire March 14; the Biden bill would extend them through August. With 50 votes in the Senate, Democrats must stay united to pass the legislation, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking any tie.
Progressive loss in State House primary resurfaces debate over ranked-choice voting
       
If Tuesday’s race was a test of Massachusetts liberals’ electoral mettle, they did not pass. To some, this week’s outcome points to the need for ranked-choice voting, a system Massachusetts voters rejected last year, 55 percent to 45 percent. It was “a tragic thing to see that the first election to happen after the defeat of [ranked-choice voting] on the ballot last year is one where ranked-choice voting very well could have led to a different outcome,” said Jonathan Cohn, elections committee chair for Progressive Massachusetts, which had backed Jaramillo. For Turco, discussion of ranked-choice voting amounts to “sour grapes,” and his victory is a win for the political center. Jaramillo, who supports ranked-choice voting, said he considered Tuesday a victory in that “this community overwhelmingly voted for pro-worker, pro-immigrant, pro-women values,” he said.
State Police colonel tasked with reform is accused of breaking rules to promote his allies
       
But now a lawsuit filed by three veteran supervisors alleges recent improprieties around the agency’s promotional exam and promotions process, laying blame with Mason. Kevin M. Burke, a former state legislator, district attorney, and state public safety head, said the suit adds fuel to complaints he’s heard for years about colonels “playing around” with promotions. Ahern alleged the department avoided promoting him in retaliation for investigating corruption, including within State Police. Fifth in line was the third plaintiff: Carmelo Ayuso, 61, who identifies as Black and Hispanic and is president of the Massachusetts Minority State Police troopers Association. Cape & Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe, whose office works closely with State Police, lauded Mason’s work as colonel.
Former staffer to Arizona Sen. Wendy Rogers files $500K notice of claim against state
       
The former assistant to Arizona state Sen. Wendy Rogers has filed a $500,000 notice of claim Wednesday against the state, alleging a wrongful termination. Michael Polloni, the former aide, "was bullied, harassed, and humiliated during his employment by Sen. Rogers," the claim — a precursor to a lawsuit — states. The claim follows the dismissal on Tuesday of an ethics complaint made by Polloni against Rogers, R-Flagstaff, alleging a hostile work environment. The Arizona Department of Administration, which along with the state was named as the "responsible government entities," were not immediately available for comment. The claim filed Wednesday does not name the senator but an accompanying statement said Polloni may take "additional legal remedies" against her.
Horde of candidates vying to replace the late Ron Wright of Arlington in Congressional District 6
       
At least 18 candidates are running in the special election to replace the late Arlington Republican Ron Wright in Congress. The lesser-known GOP candidates are Arlington business and English lecturer Michael Ballantine, tax attorney John Anthony Castro of Mansfield, Arlington lawyer Sery Kim, Austin caregiver Jenny Garcia Sharon, Arlington businessman Michael Wood, Arlington police officer Travis Rodermund and Arlington Republican Mike Egan. Michael F. Olson, Bishop of Fort Worth, leads the funeral service for Congressman Ron Wright Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021, at Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth, Texas. Moses is making his first run for public office, while Lassiter was a 2021 candidate for the Fort Worth City Council. Though the district leans Republican, a strong Democratic candidate could be a threat if the candidate can make the runoff.
As Republicans welcome maskless crowd, Democrats say those following COVID-19 precautions are essentially shut out of government process
       
At some hearings, few or no GOP lawmakers wear masks — like Wednesday's in the Assembly Committee on Constitution and Ethics. The committee held a public hearing on bills that would bar government officials and employers from mandating COVID-19 vaccinations and prohibit public health departments from closing church buildings during a public health emergency, among other measures. Committee Chairman Chuck Wichgers of Muskego held the public hearing in a large hearing room, with spaced-out seating for lawmakers and the public. The Capitol rotunda and another Capitol hearing room, which is about 500 square feet, were used as an overflow area for the crowd. Wisconsin's statewide mask mandate applies to parts of the state Capitol, but not in areas that the Legislature and Supreme Court control.
Majority of Nevadans support Sisolak’s handling of COVID-19 pandemic, poll shows
       
Steve Sisolak and President Joe Biden are leading the state and nation, with more than half supporting Sisolak’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Steve Sisolak speaks during a press conference announcing a new grant program aimed at helping small businesses and nonprofits in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @csstevensphotoPresident Joe Biden, left, and Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak, right. Steve Sisolak and President Joe Biden are leading the state and nation, according to results of The Nevada Poll released Tuesday. “Governor Sisolak has failed Nevadans at every turn during this pandemic,” the state GOP said.
Defense officials restricted sending National Guard to Capitol riot
       
Defense Department leaders placed unusual restrictions on the National Guard for the day of the Capitol riot and delayed sending help for hours despite an urgent plea from police for reinforcement. The hourslong delay cost the National Guard precious minutes in the early hours of the rioting. Another military official who testified said that then-acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller wanted to make the decisions of how the National Guard was used following criticism last spring. Much of the focus on Wednesday’s Senate hearing centered on communications between the National Guard and the Defense Department. Contee said Sund was pleading with Army officials to deploy National Guard troops as the rioting escalated.
Top Cuomo aide quits virus task force, another leaves executive chamber
       
Gareth Rhodes left a high-level position on Cuomo's coronavirus task force to return to his job in the state Department of Financial Services. Two sources close to Rhodes said he left in protest because of sexual harassment accusations raised by two former staffers and a third woman against Cuomo. The sources said more Cuomo staffers, including in the press office, were considering exits. A third woman said Cuomo made inappropriate advances on her at a wedding at which she and Cuomo both were guests. Cuomo faces an investigation overseen by state Attorney General Letitia James.
Did James Fuller Plymell III need to die?
       
Like Morris, Schroff, now 27, received all of her police training in the Willamette Valley. “You need to get out of the car,” Schroff interjected, lowering her voice. “I’m a licensed driver,” Plymell told her, still seated. “You’re gonna get tased if you don’t get out of the car,” Schroff warned as she tugged at Plymell’s arm. Bell, who had never encountered Plymell before, ran toward the Nissan, where Schroff and Morris were grappling with Plymell.
Official: Democrats OK tightened income limits for relief
       
The COVID-19 relief measure Senate Democrats planned to unveil will also retain the $400 weekly emergency jobless benefits that were included in a House-approved version of the legislation, the official said. The Senate bill was expected to largely mirror the House-approved package, with the most glaring divergence the Senate’s dropping of language boosting the federal minimum wage to $15 hourly. Democrats’ push to include it in later legislation suggested an effort to satisfy progressives while avoiding jeopardizing the current package. Progressives, though, were still smarting over the virtual certainty that the Senate bill will lack the minimum wage boost, up from $7.25 hourly locked in since 2009. Opposition by moderates including Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., has left Democrats without the votes needed to salvage it.
EU, Britain clash again in latest post-Brexit spat
       
BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union said Wednesday that Britain's “unilateral action" on trade rules will breach international law and is threatening legal action as post-Brexit tensions continue to escalate between the two sides. Commission vice-president Maroš Šef?ovi? said in a statement that UK's decision to unilaterally extend a grace period on checks for goods moving between Britain and Northern Ireland amounts to “a violation" of the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol. The Protocol was designed to ensure an open border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic after Brexit. “This is the second time that the UK government is set to breach international law," Šef?ovi? said. The EU's anger was sparked by the British government's decision to extend until October a grace period for checks on agri-food entering Northern Ireland that was set to expire at the end of the month.
Watch Now: Boxing granny knocks out Parkinson's symptoms, and more of today's top videos
       
President Biden criticized states such as Texas and Mississippi for lifting Covid-19 restrictions, saying that we are on the cusp of being abl…
Panel OKs Arizona bill to allow larger families to save more for college, tax free
       
"So families aren't even getting to the $2,000 or the $4,000,'' Livingston said. "But for the few families that could, I don't think we should discriminate if they have more than one kid.'' So a couple that has eight grandchildren could, at least theoretically, get a $32,000 reduction in the amount against which their state income taxes are computed. She noted that Arizona has a progressive tax rate: The more someone earns, the higher the tax bracket. And Kaiser said he'd be happy to support legislation to create a flat tax rate, something Democrats generally oppose.
House passes civilian review board bill after nixing change to Louisville mayoral election
       
FRANKFORT — The House passed a bill Wednesday to give indirect subpoena power to Louisville's new civilian review board for police oversight, shortly after a controversial provision to change the manner of the city's mayoral election was stripped from the legislation. Louisville Metro Council voted 25-1 in November to create the 11-member civilian review board, which can initiate investigations of the police by its inspector general but not issue subpoenas to compel testimony and documents. Under House Bill 309, Louisville's civilian review board would have only indirect subpoena power, having to receive permission from an existing Metro Council committee that controls the board's "powers, duties, membership, internal protocols and reporting requirements." Much of the push behind the creation of the civilian review board and legislation to grant it subpoena power were the racial justice protests last year responding to the fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor. House Bill 309 now heads to the Senate, which had SB 247 on its orders of the day Wednesday but did not take up the bill.
Eight injured in 'suspected terrorist' stabbings in Sweden
       
“In fact, the campaign’s cash balance is actually higher than previously listed on the campaign finance reports. In the 2016 cycle, before Donald Trump was elected, the Jordan campaign received a little over $733,000 and spent about $423,000, according to FEC records. But in 2020, they soared: he raked in $18.6 million and spent $13.2 million, and now sits on a $6 million stash. “FEC reports carry-forward financial information to subsequent reports,” he said. “The lack of a quorum of commissioners until the end of last year meant that FEC enforcement had stalled.
Threats to Capitol prompt House to cancel Thursday votes
       
House Democrats will accelerate passage of a sweeping police reform bill, bringing the legislation to the floor Wednesday night — and canceling votes Thursday — amid revelations of new threats to the Capitol. Democrats had initially intended a Thursday vote on the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021. "[There's] growing concern about threats to the Capitol and Democratic lawmakers in particular tomorrow," one Democratic lawmaker texted. The heightened security has been condemned by many of Trump's Republican allies on Capitol Hill, who have accused Democrats of maintaining unnecessary precautions against a nonexistent threat simply to portray Trump's supporters as universally violent. Although the House will now be on recess beginning Thursday, the Senate is scheduled to remain in session as it continues work on a massive coronavirus relief package.
US Border: Unaccompanied kids being held by Border Patrol for 77 hours on average
       
On average, over the last 21 days the US Border Patrol, part of Customs and Border Protection, arrested around 340 children who crossed the US-Mexico border alone, according to preliminary data outlined in the document. The Biden administration has been reluctant to call the situation unfolding on the US-Mexico border a crisis, instead referring to it as a challenge. After being taken into Border Patrol custody, unaccompanied children are turned over to HHS. in January 2019, the year where there were surges on the border, the Border Patrol encountered 5,515 unaccompanied children. Customs and Border Protection acknowledged the increases in border crossing.
Nikki Haley doesn’t understand Republican hatred of a diverse America, says former senior GOP strategist
       
A former senior strategist in the Republican Party has said that former Trump UN Ambassador and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley does not understand the hatred of a diverse America brewing with the base of the GOP. Please enter your email address Please enter a valid email address Please enter a valid email address SIGN UP Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy notice Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. The reason why he became the Republican nominee is because that's who the Republican Party is. He said that what really unites the Republican base "is this complete hate of a diverse America," adding that any Republican who takes a stand against Donald Trump doesn't "recognize what the modern Republican Party fundamentally is".
Klobuchar tears into Ron Johnson for conspiracy theory blaming Jan 6 on ‘provocateurs’
       
Minnesota Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar has resisted Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson's repeated attempt to divert the blame from the Capitol riot onto a few so-called "provocateurs". During a joint Senate hearing Wednesday, Mr Johnson said he was only trying to seek out "the truth". Please enter your email address Please enter a valid email address Please enter a valid email address SIGN UP Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy notice Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Mr Johnson read selectively from the piece aloud: "Then, a loud, bellowing shout from behind: ‘Forward!
Judge refuses to name fame-craving ‘incel’ killer as she convicts him of 10 murders
       
“The accused committed a horrific crime, one of the most devastating tragedies this city has ever endured, for the purpose of achieving fame,” Judge Molloy wrote in the ruling. Judge Molloy rejected that argument. Read our privacy notice Thanks for signing up to the News newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. But Judge Molloy appeared to reject that explanation as well. In delivering her verdict, Judge Molloy read out the names of all 26 victims.
Mariah Carey’s estranged older brother sues her for defamation
       
Mariah Carey’s older brother Morgan Carey is suing the singer over claims she made in her 2020 memoir, The Meaning of Mariah Carey. According toTMZ, the singer's estranged brother claims Mariah damaged his reputation when she wrote about an allegedly violent struggle he had with their father, and an alleged attack against their mother. According to court documents obtained by TMZ, a passage in the book reads: “It took 12 cops to pull my brother and father apart. Independent Culture Newsletter The best in film, music TV & radio straight to your inbox every week Please enter your email address Please enter a valid email address Please enter a valid email address SIGN UP Thanks for signing up to the Independent Culture newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy notice Independent Culture Newsletter The best in film, music TV & radio straight to your inbox every week Thanks for signing up to the Independent Culture newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent.
Biden urges Democrats to stick together on $1.9trn Covid relief plan as progressives grumble it’s not enough
       
Joe Biden spoke to House Democrats on a conference call on Wednesday to urge them to continue backing his $1.9trn Covid relief plan, a wide-ranging proposal that has been taking weeks to wend its way towards the legislative finish line. “It’s good policy,” Mr Biden said, “and it’s good politics.”After a public round of fawning introductory remarks from Mr Biden and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the president threw on the cloak of privacy to field questions from members gathered virtually for the House Democrats’ annual retreat. Please enter your email address Please enter a valid email address Please enter a valid email address SIGN UP Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy notice Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Senate Democrats had planned to vote on their own Covid relief package this week.
Thousands of asylum seekers cross US-Mexico border after year-long wait
       
Asylum seekers who have been waiting at the border for over a year while they pursued their cases have started entering the US this week. After taking office in January, President Biden announced it would suspend enrolment in the Trump administration’s Migration Protection Protocols program, known as MPP, also known as the “remain in Mexico” program.
Warnings of possible QAnon threat to Capitol prompt House lawmakers to cancel Thursday schedule
       
The House of Representatives will dash its schedule for 4 March following warnings from security officials of a possible threat to the US Capitol, two months after a deadly insurrection inside the halls of Congress. A DHS terrorism advisory bulletin due to a “heightened threat environment” across the US in the wake of the Capitol riots remains in effect through the end of April. House lawmakers have moved the remainder of their schedule to Wednesday night to avoid putting lawmakers at risk on Thursday. Please enter your email address Please enter a valid email address Please enter a valid email address SIGN UP Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy notice Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent.
Trump accused of ‘political interference’ in case of Huawei executive held in Canada
       
Donald Trump’s comments about intervening in the case of a Huawei executive to get a better trade deal with China are being cited by lawyers as a reason to have her extradition case dismissed. The former president’s alleged political interference and violation of her legal rights have now been presented as reasons by her lawyers that Ms Meng’s extradition case should be thrown out. Please enter your email address Please enter a valid email address Please enter a valid email address SIGN UP Thanks for signing up to the News newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy notice Thanks for signing up to the News newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. China’s ambassador to Canada said in a video press conference on Twitter on Wednesday that Ottawa could restore relations between the two countries by quickly releasing Ms Meng.
More than 200,000 Americans signed up for Obamacare within two weeks of Biden reopening healthcare marketplace
       
Joe Biden re-opened the federal health insurance marketplace to uninsured Americans from 15 February through 15 May. Please enter your email address Please enter a valid email address Please enter a valid email address SIGN UP Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy notice Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Nearly 15 million Americans lost employer-sponsored health insurance plans by October 2020, according to a report from the Commonwealth Fund. Following his inauguration, Mr Biden issued an executive order to temporarily reopen the government’s insurance marketplace.
'Shock, disappointment': Jewish groups react to NDP MP Niki Ashton event with ex-U.K. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn
       
Share this Story: 'Shock, disappointment': Jewish groups react to NDP MP Niki Ashton event with ex-U.K. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn'Shock, disappointment': Jewish groups react to NDP MP Niki Ashton event with ex-U.K. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn A report found the Labour party had committed 'unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination' involving anti-Semitism during Corbyn's time as leader Photo by Wheatley/WENN; Chris Wattie/ReutersArticle content OTTAWA – A prominent Canadian Jewish advocacy group says it was shocked to find out that NDP MP Niki Ashton is joining a talk with former U.K. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who was forced to resign over his handling of a report concluding his party did not take action to prevent anti-Semitism. Try refreshing your browser, or 'Shock, disappointment': Jewish groups react to NDP MP Niki Ashton event with ex-U.K. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn Back to video He was reacting to an upcoming virtual “conversation” announced by MP Niki Ashton on social media Thursday between herself and Corbyn on March 20, 2021. Rick Smith, head of the Broadbent Institute, a left-wing think-tank bearing the name of former NDP leader Ed Broadbent, also described Ashton’s participation as “unfortunate” on social media. This is not the first time Ashton is at the centre of controversy surrounding an event she attends. At the time, the NDP took a step back from Ashton, noting “the position advanced by these organizations is not the party’s position”.
Russia and Turkey Scramble to Avoid Conflict. And What do U.S. Democratic Primaries Mean for Moscow?
       
This week on the podcast:— The leaders of Russia and Turkey meet in Moscow on Thursday in a bid to de-escalate fighting in Syria which has brought the two countries to the brink of direct military confrontation. Financial Times Bureau Chief Henry Foy joins us in the studio to discuss what is at stake for both countries. The episode was recorded and edited at CM Records Studio in central Moscow. Read More:Russia’s Syria gamble under pressure as Turkey attacks in IdlibHawks say Sanders will be weak on Russia. But Putin should fear a President Bernie
Insurrection and Sedition in Russian Translation
       
In other words, I’m very into sedition and insurrection these days. Russian has four main words for insurrection, ranging from big and planned to spontaneous and/or violent. And then there’s ???? (rebellion, revolt, uprising), which is often even less organized and even more riotous than ????????? or ?????. To describe what happened in Washington D.C. on Jan. 6, Russian newspapers and commentators used pretty much every word in the book — ?????, ????, ????????? — subtleties of language be damned. ????????? ???????? ?????? ? ????????????????? ? ?????? (Democrats accused Trump of sedition).
State moving to strip Des Moines Public Schools superintendent of license over in-person learning
       
DES MOINES, Iowa (WOI) -The superintendent of Iowa’s largest school district is at risk of losing his administrator license. According to a report by WOI in Des Moines, a document filed on February 3rd with the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners alleges Des Moines Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Thomas Ahart violated Iowa law by not submitting or implementing a lawful return-to-learn plan for the 2020-21 school year. At the time, Iowa law required at least 50% of instruction to be in-person unless a district was granted a temporary waiver for 100% remote learning. In its notice of hearing and statement of charges, the board says it received complaints on September 30th and October 21th regarding Des Moines Public School not returning to the classroom. Ahart is scheduled to appear before an administrative law judge, who is acting on behalf of the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners, on May 20th.
Christine Blasey Ford’s Lawyer Is Representing One Of Andrew Cuomo’s Accusers
       
The lawyer who represented Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser is representing one of the women who has accused Democratic New York Gov. “This is textbook sexual harassment.”Katz represented Christine Blasey Ford in September 2018. The lawyer who represented Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser is representing one of the women who has accused Democratic New York Gov. Katz represented Christine Blasey Ford in September 2018 when Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her in high school. (RELATED: With No Lawyer Or Public Relations Rep And Little Backing From Prominent Women’s Groups, Tara Reade Stands Alone)“Ms.
South Dakota House lawmakers leave AG impeachment in doubt
       
He said that a "fair and transparent" hearing on impeachment was not possible while lawmakers are under a gag order. However, Nick Nemec, Boever's cousin who has been outspoken against the attorney general since shortly after the crash, confronted lawmakers with his frustrations. That creates a higher vote threshold to move forward with impeachment than if the House were to take up the matter during this year's legislative session. If the Legislature reconvenes, the House would need a simple majority to advance the impeachment charges to the Senate. There, it would require two-thirds of senators to convict and remove the attorney general from office.
AOC Warns Biden That Giving Relief Checks to Fewer People Than Trump Would Be Nonsensical 'Own-Goal'
       
"I don't understand the political or economic wisdom in allowing Trump to give more people relief checks than a Democratic administration. "I don't understand the political or economic wisdom in allowing Trump to give more people relief checks than a Democratic administration." Conservative Dems have fought so the Biden admin sends fewer & less generous relief checks than the Trump admin did. "That means more generous relief checks, $15 min wage, ending the filibuster to protect our democracy. But one is that this would likely ensure that many of oft-discussed middle-class suburbanites who flipped from Trump to Biden will have received stimulus checks from Trump but not Biden.
House to vote on bill named in honor of George Floyd aimed at preventing police misconduct
       
PoliticsThe House of Representatives is slated to vote Wednesday on legislation aimed at preventing police misconduct that Democrats named in honor of George Floyd, whose death in police custody sparked nationwide calls to overhaul policing and address racial injustice. Supporters of the bill say it would improve law enforcement accountability and work to root out racial bias in policing. Democrats have reintroduced the legislation and are on track to approve the measure for a second time with their House majority. It would ban racial and religious profiling by law enforcement at the federal, state and local levels, and it would overhaul qualified immunity, a legal doctrine that critics say shields law enforcement from accountability. The House intends to vote on the bill Wednesday night though it had earlier been slated for Thursday.
Trump wants GOP supporters’ cash. So does the party. Therein could lie a rub
       
Save America has more than $80 million in cash on hand, including $3 million raised after the CPAC speech, according to a person familiar with the total. He’s already endorsed a Republican challenger to GOP Rep. Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, who voted to impeach Trump over the U.S. Capitol riot. Money raised through Trump’s website now goes to Save America JFC, a joint fundraising agreement between the two. AdvertisementAnd the National Republican Senatorial Committee warned this week that its “limited edition” T-shirts featuring Trump were almost sold out. Regardless of Trump’s next move, the GOP is unlikely to remove him from its sales pitch anytime soon.
Paterson city councilmen Michael Jackson, Alex Mendez indicted in voting fraud case, Grewal says
       
Joe MalinconicoPaterson PressPATERSON — Two City Council members — Michael Jackson and Alex Mendez — have been indicted on various voting fraud charges stemming from last May’s Paterson elections, the New Jersey Attorney General announced on Wednesday. “These indictments are an important step in our prosecution of these two sitting city councilmen on charges including second-degree election fraud,” said Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. But neither Khalique nor Razyen were identified as being covered in the Jackson and Mendez indictments. Jackson and Mendez were charged by the state grand jury in separate indictments, Jackson on Feb. 17 and Mendez on Feb. 24, authorities said. They were indicted on charges of election fraud, fraud in casting mail-in votes, unauthorized possession of ballots, tampering with public records and falsifying records.
Team Biden surprises with positive vaccine news
       
Vaccine manufacturer Merck, a competitor of Johnson & Johnson, then agreed to help manufacture the newly approved vaccine to double its U.S. capacity, a move brokered by the Biden White House. Using the Defense Production Act, the Biden administration allocated $100 million to expand drug manufacturing and to convert a Merck facility into a manufacturing plant. Everything clicked into place on Saturday, when the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was approved by the FDA. Postal Service and FedEx hubs for delivery on Tuesday, when the first Johnson & Johnson vaccines were administered to Americans. Still, the challenge of vaccinating enough Americans to reach herd immunity is momentous and not entirely within Biden’s control.
U.S. weighs possible retaliation for rocket attack in western Iraq
       
The White House warned that the U.S. may consider a military response to the rocket attack that hit an airbase in western Iraq where American and coalition troops are housed. "Thank God, no one was killed by the rocket, but one individual, a contractor, died of a heart attack. Those strikes were in response to an attack on American forces in northern Iraq earlier in February. "Coalition forces are in Iraq to fight Daesh at the invitation of the Iraqi government," he tweeted, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS. Marotto, the coalition spokesperson, said the Iraqi security forces were leading an investigation into the attack.
U.N. Says 38 Killed in Myanmar in ‘Bloodiest Day’ Since Coup Began
       
At least 38 people were killed in Myanmar on Wednesday, the biggest one-day toll in a worsening repression of anti-coup protests, the United Nations special representative for the country said. The representative, Christine Schraner Burgener, reported the deaths as news emerged that the junta’s own choice for U.N. envoy had abruptly resigned. Wednesday’s developments came as the United States, which is president of the United Nations Security Council for March, scheduled a meeting on Friday to deal with the crisis in Myanmar, diplomats said. Myanmar has been thrown into turmoil since a military junta seized control on Feb. 1 and arrested the civilian leaders whose party, the National League for Democracy, had won an overwhelming victory in national elections. Security forces have used increasingly brutal means to crush the anti-coup protests.
US Border: Unaccompanied kids being held by Border Patrol for 77 hours on average
       
On average, over the last 21 days the US Border Patrol, part of Customs and Border Protection, arrested around 340 children who crossed the US-Mexico border alone, according to preliminary data outlined in the document. The average time in Border Patrol facilities, which are not designed to hold children, was 77 hours, longer than the 72 permitted under US law. After being taken into Border Patrol custody, unaccompanied children are turned over to HHS. in January 2019, the year where there were surges on the border, the Border Patrol encountered 5,515 unaccompanied children. Customs and Border Protection acknowledged the increases in border crossing.
House cancels Thursday session after police warn of 'possible plot to breach the Capitol'
       
WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives canceled its Thursday session after receiving information about a possible security threat at the Capitol on March 4. The United States Capitol Police said Wednesday they were aware of a “possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group,” and a notice sent to all congressional offices said the agency was bolstering its security presence on Capitol Hill. March 4 has been highlighted by the debunked QAnon conspiracy as the “true inauguration day” for former President Donald Trump. More:Police bolster security at US Capitol as QAnon theory claims Trump will become president March 4The Senate has not announced plans to discontinue its Thursday session. The House moved its remaining votes for the week to Wednesday night to avoid putting lawmakers at risk on Thursday.
General: Pentagon hesitated on sending Guard to Capitol riot
       
Guard troops who had been waiting on buses were then rushed to the Capitol, arriving in 18 minutes, Walker said. “The Army senior leadership” expressed “that it would not be their best military advice to have uniformed Guardsmen on the Capitol,” Walker said. Much of the focus at Wednesday’s Senate hearing was on communications between the National Guard and the Defense Department. Contee said Sund was pleading with Army officials to deploy National Guard troops as the rioting escalated. Thousands of National Guard troops are still patrolling the fenced-in Capitol, and multiple committees across Congress are investigating mistakes made on Jan. 6.
BBC apologizes for interview with man impersonating US senator Cory Booker
       
The BBC has issued a correction and apology on its website for airing an interview with a man who claimed to be the US senator Cory Booker but was actually someone impersonating the Democratic politician from New Jersey. The BBC said that the interview “has not appeared elsewhere”, and no audio clips or videos are circulating online, though one Twitter user heard the interview on New York’s WNYC public radio station and could tell something was amiss. “Listening to the @bbcworldservice Newshour on @wnyc and trying to figure out how they did an entire interview with someone they introduced as Senator Cory Booker, who I’m pretty sure was definitely not Senator Booker, and didn’t realize it,” wrote Twitter user Amy Eason. Tyresse Horne, another Twitter user, tweeted to Booker saying, “did you do an interview today with the BBC discussing the Khashoggi killing? I Googled to see if there was a different Cory Booker,” tweeted another user, Charles Clarkson, after learning of the BBC’s correction.
Hopefully Whoever Replaces Neera Tanden as OMB Nominee Has Never Called Ted Cruz a “Vampire”
       
That was a no-go for the White House, as Politico reported, and Biden accepted Tanden’s letter withdrawing from consideration. “You should be judged by the time,” one White House official told PBS correspondent Yamiche Alcindor. “And the time we were in, we just had a fool in the White House tweeting all kinds of shit. — How the COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Was Hobbled by Turf Wars and Magical Thinking— From the Archive: The Complicated Dynamic Between the Young JFK, His Formidable Brother, and Their Tycoon Father— Not a subscriber? Join Vanity Fair to receive full access to VF.com and the complete online archive now.
Republican Governors Celebrate COVID Anniversary With Bold Plan to Kill Another 500,000 Americans
       
On Tuesday, the governor announced that he was ending Texas‘s mask mandate and allowing businesses to reopen at 100% capacity by March 10. (Shortly thereafter, Mississippi governor Tate Reeves also announced that his state would no longer require people to wear masks, and that businesses will be able to operate at full capacity.) Abbott’s decision to effectively fully return to pre-pandemic normality, while the pandemic is still raging, was reminiscent of the time last spring when he lifted COVID restrictions—which, you guessed it, caused cases to spike in the weeks that followed. While Texas has recently seen a slowdown in infections, just 6.57% of the state has been fully vaccinated as of Monday, according to Johns Hopkins University, far short of the level it needs to achieve herd immunity. “There is light at the end of the tunnel, but we cannot let our guard down now to ensure victory is inevitable; we can’t assume that,” he said.
“You Want Him Weakened So He Can’t Run”: Democrats Are Playing War Games With Andrew Cuomo’s Political Future
       
Rumors have been swirling among New York Democrats that more women will be coming forward with new allegations. Democratic political operatives I spoke to said Cuomo would be unlikely to survive if a new accuser came forward. Another reason Cuomo looks like he will weather the storm is that powerful Democrats aren’t motivated to push him out the door. “If you’re James, you want him weakened so he can’t run,” the political consultant said. “The behavior described in these allegations against Governor Cuomo is completely unacceptable, and every allegation of sexual harassment must be taken seriously and be reviewed,” she said.
White House Doc Who Said Trump Could Live to 200 Reportedly Sexually Harassed Staff, Got Wasted on the Job
       
Remember Ronny Jackson? Former White House doctor nicknamed the Candyman because of the way he allegedly doled out prescription drugs? Claimed that Donald Trump had “incredibly good genes” and that if he’d eaten a little healthier, he could have lived to be “200 years old”? Earned a nomination to run the Department of Veterans Affairs, which he later withdrew over accusations that he created a toxic work environment and was drunk on an overseas work trip? There’s a new Pentagon report out concerning his behavior, and it’s not a great look!
Pence Can’t Quit the Big Election Lie That Nearly Got Him Killed
       
The bill serves “one goal only: to give leftists a permanent, unfair, and unconstitutional advantage in our political system,” Pence wrote in the Daily Signal, arguing H.R.1 would hinder election reform at the state and local level. As is characteristic of those sowing unfounded doubt on the election process, the former vice president kept it vague. “I share the concerns of millions of Americans about the integrity of the 2020 election,” Pence wrote, reiterating evidence-free allegations of “an election marked by significant voting irregularities and numerous instances of officials setting aside state election law.” The op-ed—among his most substantial remarks since the Capitol attack—was notably without mention of the man who popularized such election misinformation, as Politico’s Kyle Cheney pointed out. “I do think he should’ve stood up for Trump,” one CPAC volunteer told the Times of the former president’s impossible request that Pence overturn Biden’s legitimate election victory. Join Vanity Fair to receive full access to VF.com and the complete online archive now.
Who Is Kathy Hochul, the Politician Who Could Become the First Female Governor of New York?
       
To say that Kathy Hochul has kept a low profile during her six-plus years as lieutenant governor of New York State is an understatement. That could all change within the next few weeks, or perhaps even days. If Governor Cuomo, increasingly beset by charges of sexual harassment (with a third woman going public with her accusations this week), finally resigns, then Hochul would become the state’s governor, making her the first woman to ever hold that position and the second person in a little more than a decade to do so because of scandal. (In 2008, then lieutenant governor David Paterson was elevated to the governor’s position when Eliot Spitzer resigned following revelations that he had been a regular customer of a high-end prostitution ring.) He might even try to mollify his critics by announcing that he will not run for a fourth term in 2024.
Jen Shah Leaked Audio: Real Housewives Star UNLOADS in Shocking Tirade!
       
Despite a minor scandal early on, Jen Shah was one of the standouts from the reality series as it progressed. New, leaked behind-the-scenes audio reveals that she's even worse off camera, which if you've watched the show, you know is saying a lot. Which you expect from Jen Shah, but not like this. To say that it is a challenge to make out what Jen Shah appears to be saying, or to whom is an understatement. Those who had watched Jen on RHOSL could not help but observe that, well, she'd been a lot like this on camera.
Senate bill will narrow income eligibility for $1,400 stimulus checks
       
Washington (CNN) President Joe Biden has agreed to a compromise with moderate Democrats to narrow the income eligibility for the next round of $1,400 stimulus checks that are included in a bill the Senate is expected to take up this week, a Democratic source told CNN Wednesday. The new proposal will completely cut off those who earn more than $160,000 a year and individuals who earn more than $80,000 a year. The House legislation , which passed Saturday, set the income caps at $200,000 for couples and $100,000 for individuals. But the same households will receive the full payment of $1,400 per person, including children. Individuals earning less than $75,000 and couples earning less than $150,000 will -- just as in the House bill.
Live Updates: Narrower Income Limits for Stimulus Checks Win Biden’s Approval
       
michael barbaro From “The New York Times,” I’m Michael Barbaro. michael barbaro OK, and in terms of size and scale, how does this package number three stack up against the first two? jim tankersley You get aid to state and local governments, who have had to lay off a lot of workers. michael barbaro So this is non-traditional stimulus, but stimulus uniquely suited to a pandemic recession? michael barbaro Jim, this is a pretty historic thing to pass on a party line vote, $1.9 trillion in economic stimulus.
March 2, 2021 Covid-19 stimulus updates
       
It’s a similar strategy they already deployed in February during the initial vote-a-rama on the bill. Still, Schumer has urged Democrats privately to vote against Republican amendments that comes up and not split the caucus. Another amendment to block high-end earners from receiving stimulus payments passed with overwhelmingly bipartisan support. And a group of eight Democrats voted “yes” on an amendment that would have banned immigrants in the country illegally from receiving stimulus checks. Multiple aides familiar with the talks are still optimistic that the legislation would come to the floor for consideration tomorrow.
Mixed-status citizenship and stimulus checks: What to know for the next payment
       
If it becomes part of the final stimulus bill, the move to include mixed-status families in the new, upcoming stimulus check would extend to millions. Note that for a mixed-status family to qualify for stimulus money, one member needs to have a Social Security number. One spouse is a "lawful permanent resident" with a Social Security number and the other isn't a citizen and doesn't have a Social Security number. Neither parent is a US citizen or "lawful permanent resident" with a Social Security number, and a child is a US-born citizen with a Social Security number. With the first stimulus check from the CARES Act, only those with a Social Security number qualified for a payment.
Stimulus check eligibility update: Here are the winners and losers, according to the latest plan
       
Wondering where your next stimulus check is hiding? The good news is, Congress has all but signed off on this third round of stimulus checks, which have bipartisan support. Here’s what we know so far:WinnersDependents aged 17-24, including college students: Previous stimulus checks only paid for dependents up to age 16, and the amounts were $500-$600. Previous stimulus checks only paid for dependents up to age 16, and the amounts were $500-$600. Note that any of these details could change in the final Senate bill.
Mo’ money, less relief
       
And hate to break it to you, but not everyone is getting a third relief check. You may have a COVID-19 relief check coming your wayHave a sweet six-figure income? Senate Democrats reached a deal with President Joe Biden to limit the eligibility for $1,400 checks in his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill to Americans earning less than $80,000, according to two sources. Biden's COVID-19 relief plan includes a child tax credit boost popular with Democrats but a "nightmare" to Republicans. "I fully support a woman’s right to come forward, and I think it should be encouraged in every way," Cuomo said.
House cancels Thursday session after police warn of 'possible plot to breach the Capitol'
       
WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives canceled its Thursday session after receiving information about a possible security threat at the Capitol on March 4. The United States Capitol Police said Wednesday they were aware of a “possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group,” and a notice sent to all congressional offices said the agency was bolstering its security presence on Capitol Hill. March 4 has been highlighted by the debunked QAnon conspiracy as the “true inauguration day” for former President Donald Trump. More:Police bolster security at US Capitol as QAnon theory claims Trump will become president March 4The Senate has not announced plans to discontinue its Thursday session. The House moved its remaining votes for the week to Wednesday night to avoid putting lawmakers at risk on Thursday.
Capitol Police ups security after uncovering ‘possible plot’ by ‘militia group’
       
The Capitol Police is increasing security in an effort to thwart a potential attack Thursday by “an identified militia group,” the department revealed Wednesday. Scott ApplewhiteWednesday’s statement from the department also comes in the midst of weeks of congressional hearings into the Jan. 6 Capitol siege. Last week, Congress heard from the acting Capitol Police chief and the acting House sergeant-at-arms, as well as their predecessors who resigned in the wake of the riot. Members of the National Guard walk near the US Capitol Building on Capitol Hill on March 3, 2021. It is not clear what additional reinforcements the Capitol Police took up in the wake of the March 4 threat.
Cuomo rips de Blasio, NYC amid apology over sex harassment claims
       
Andrew Cuomo took time to take a swipe at Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York City during a press briefing Wednesday where he repeatedly apologized over sexual harassment accusations leveled against him by three women. “You also have New York City, which is in a very precarious situation. “We have to get New York City functional again and safe again and viable again — and we have to do that quickly,” he continued. “Governor Cuomo insulted the people of New York City today in a pathetic distraction from his woes. It’s the second time in two weeks that Cuomo has offered up a hellscape depiction of New York City as de Blasio has blasted away at his administration.
Lawmakers pan Gov. Cuomo’s comments on sexual harassment allegations
       
Andrew Cuomo issued over allegations of sexual harassment lodged by three women. Matthew McDermott for NY PostAdded state Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Queens), “Cuomo didn’t address anything today. “If Cuomo was sorry, he would have resigned yesterday.”Several political groups and lawmakers, including Democrats, have called for Cuomo to step down as governor. The briefing did nothing to change the mind of state Sen. Gustavo Rivera. “The Cuomo press conference was a master class in gaslighting, but changes nothing,” the Bronx Democrat told The Post.
Capitol Police say intelligence shows militia group may be plotting to breach the Capitol
       
ADThe Capitol Police and the FBI have been criticized for not acting on intelligence supplied by the FBI’s Norfolk field office shortly before the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. We are always on alert for any potential threats.”The D.C. police declined to discuss their response to the potential threat. “In regards to public safety planning, MPD does not discuss operational tactics,” police spokeswoman Alaina Gertz said in an email. ADIn addition to the National Guard and increased police presence, the Capitol grounds have been surrounded by security fencing since the Jan. 6 insurrection. But after that briefing, members of Congress reacted negatively to the idea of maintaining expansive physical barriers to the Capitol.
Amy Klobuchar’s surprise call for filibuster reform shows urgency of the moment - The Washington Post
       
“I would get rid of the filibuster,” Klobuchar says. “I have favored filibuster reform for a long time and now especially for this critical election bill.”In the past, Klobuchar, who chairs the Senate Rules Committee, has indicated she was open to eliminating the filibuster, but these comments to Mother Jones are her most definitive statement to date. Though her Democratic colleagues Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have said they would not support abolishing the filibuster, Klobuchar notes that the spread of new GOP anti-voting bills boosts the need for Democrats to enact HR 1 — and that increases the pressure to end or alter the Senate filibuster. “We have a raw exercise of political power going on where people are making it harder to vote and you just can’t let that happen in a democracy because of some old rules in the Senate,” she says.
Live updates House scraps plans for Thursday session after security officials warn of possible plot to breach Capitol
       
The full Senate might not vote on Merrick Garland’s nomination to be attorney general until “into next week,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) said Wednesday, accusing Senate Republicans of refusing to expedite Garland’s confirmation. The Judiciary Committee voted 15 to 7 on Monday to advance his nomination, with four Republicans joining the panel’s 11 Democrats to approve the move. “Unfortunately, there was an objection to expediting his nomination so he would get to work at the Department of Justice,” Durbin said. It was not immediately clear who was raising an objection to voting on Garland’s nomination, or for what reason. Some said they did so because he would not answer their questions at his confirmation hearing and in written follow-ups.
Virginia governor candidate Pete Snyder reveals election-integrity plan
       
EXCLUSIVE - Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Pete Snyder revealed on Wednesday his plan to ensure election integrity in the state as the race for governor heats up. "Having secure, legal, and trustworthy elections is something that we must demand in our Commonwealth," Snyder told Fox News in a statement. "The pillars of my plan are the first steps to restoring voter confidence and protecting our democracy," Snyder said in a statement. IN VIRGINIA GUBERNATORIAL RACE, AMANDA CHASE CASTS HERSELF AS 'TRUMP IN HEELS'Snyder's announcement comes as many Republicans say they have lost faith in U.S. elections. State Sen. Amanda Chase appears to be the only Republican in the race for governor making stolen election claims part of her campaign.
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves on lifting COVID restrictions: 'If not now, when?'
       
Reeves joined Texas Gov. “It is a full 100% opening of the state,” he told host Neil Cavuto. MISSISSIPPI ANNOUNCES BUSINESSES FREE TO REOPEN WITHOUT STATE-IMPOSED CORONAVIRUS RULESThe only remaining limitations in Mississippi are a 50% capacity restriction for large indoor venues and “a few restrictions on K-12 schools,” Reeves said. Ending COVID-19 restrictions doesn’t mean residents in his state will stop taking steps to mitigate the spread, especially if they are part of a vulnerable population, Reeves added. But my rhetorical question back is: ‘If not now, when?’”FOX Business’ Brittany De Lea contributed to this article.
Rep. Zeldin on Cuomo harassment allegations: ‘Big question’ whether others will come forward
       
Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., says a "big question" remains as to whether others will come forward with allegations against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D.Three women have come forward with harassment allegations against the governor, prompting calls for his resignation. REP. LEE ZELDIN: "There's two big questions that are still left. TRUMP ALLY REP. LEE ZELDIN EXPLORING NY GOVERNOR BID AMID CUOMO CONTROVERSIESThere is certainly … a long standing battle between Governor Cuomo and individuals in his own party. No one is stepping forward and reminiscing on that time five years ago when Governor Cuomo went to bat for them.
McConnell blasts COVID relief bill as 'wildly out of proportion' with America's needs
       
The $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package passed by the House is "a wildly out-of-proportion response to where the country is at the moment," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told "The Story" Wednesday. "This $1.9 trillion bill is the same size of the bill we passed last April, right in the middle of the pandemic," McConnell told host Martha MacCallum. Only 9% of this $1.9 trillion is related to health care, and less than 1% of this $1.9T bill is related to vaccines." Despite his criticism, McConnell said he suspected the bill would narrowly pass the Senate, with moderate Democrat Sens. There's nobody [who's] going to come close to beating Lisa Murkowski when she runs for reelection next year."
Whitmer defends secret payout to former health director as Michigan GOP demands details
       
The Michigan governor was pressed on whether the deals amount "hush money," as alleged by state Republicans. "The nature of the separation agreement is that when someone leaves, there are terms to it and you cannot share every term to it. Michigan GOP communications director Ted Goodman blasted Whitmer on Wednesday, claiming she appeared to be "buying the silence" of top state health officials amid the coronavirus pandemic. The scrutiny comes following revelations that former Michigan Department of Health Director Robert Gordon and Whitmer had quietly reached a secret separation agreement that netted a $155,506 payout for Gordon. The Michigan governor on Tuesday was threatened with a subpoena by state GOP lawmakers who accused the governor of having "bought the silence" of her former employees.
Facebook to lift its ban on political advertising
       
(CNN Business) Facebook (FB) said it plans to lift a moratorium on US political advertising this Thursday, ending a ban that had been in place since the November elections. The move reopens the door to ads on Facebook by political campaigns as well as issue advertisers. It follows what Facebook said was "a lot of feedback" on its approach to political advertising. Google GOOGL also lifted its similar ban on political advertising last week. And in some cases, the limitations on issue advertising reportedly ended up blocking pro-vaccine ads.
Venezuela's Guaido calls for opposition input into new electoral body
       
Slideshow ( 2 images )CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido said on Wednesday that he would support naming a new electoral council but said its members should not be chosen unilaterally by the National Assembly currently held by the ruling socialist party. The socialists won handily, but neither the opposition nor its international allies like the United States and European Union recognize the legitimacy of the new, socialist-held parliament. Maduro argues that the conditions of the December 2020 elections were the same as when the opposition won control of the legislature in December 2015, and that opposition parties chose not to participate because they thought they would lose. Maduro has overseen an economic collapse that has led to a humanitarian crisis since taking office in the once-prosperous OPEC nation in 2013. Washington has imposed sanctions to try to oust Maduro, who it accuses of corruption, rights violations and rigging his 2018 re-election.
Ron Klain has one of the busiest jobs in D.C. — and one of the most active Twitter feeds, too
       
Now, six weeks into the Biden administration, it’s not the president but his White House chief of staff, Ron Klain, whose online activity is generating the most intrigue in Washington. By comparison, White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted a total of only 43 times in the same 37-day stretch. Most of Klain’s tweets — about 40 percent — are retweets from journalists or news organizations who post about the work of the administration. So certainly what he’s projecting and communicating about is reflective of what we’re focused on internally day to day,” Psaki said. “We decided pretty early on we want people engaging on Twitter,” said Rob Flaherty, the White House digital director.
EU, Britain clash again in latest post-Brexit spat
       
European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic speaks during a media conference, after a General Affairs Council meeting, at the European Council building in Brussels, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. (John Thys, Pool via AP)European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic speaks during a media conference, after a General Affairs Council meeting, at the European Council building in Brussels, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. Commission vice-president Maroš Šef?ovi? said in a statement that UK’s decision to unilaterally extend a grace period on checks for goods moving between Britain and Northern Ireland amounts to “a violation” of the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol. The Protocol was designed to ensure an open border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic after Brexit. The sensitivity of Northern Ireland’s status was underscored earlier this year when the EU threatened to ban shipments of coronavirus vaccines to Northern Ireland as part of moves to shore up the bloc’s supply.
'Neanderthal Thinking:' Biden Says Too Soon For States To Lift Mask Mandates
       
'Neanderthal Thinking:' Biden Says Too Soon For States To Lift Mask MandatesEnlarge this image toggle caption Alex Brandon/AP Alex Brandon/APPresident Biden said on Wednesday that states like Texas and Mississippi are making a big mistake by ending mandates to wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at a time when the nation is making a push to boost vaccinations. "The last thing — the last thing — we need is the Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime, everything's fine, take off your mask. It still matters," Biden told reporters as he met with a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the Oval Office. It was uncharacteristically harsh language from Biden, who has placed a premium on civility. The governors argued that cases have fallen, so the public should be able to make their own decisions about safety.
Employment rose among those in California universal-income experiment, study finds
       
When the program started in February 2019, 28% of the people slated to get the free money had full-time jobs. It could cost nearly $3 trillion a year to provide a guaranteed income to everyone. Still, guaranteed income programs seem to be gaining momentum across the country. More than 40 mayors have joined Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, with many planning projects of their own. Tubbs said that’s a big difference from when he first announced this guaranteed income program four years ago.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo vows to remain in office; former aides reject latest apology
       
Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday said he intends to remain in office in the face of sexual harassment allegations that have weakened his support and led to calls for his resignation. “I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable,” Cuomo said. Cuomo said he will “fully cooperate” with an investigation into the allegations being overseen by the state’s independently elected attorney general. The harassment allegations follow accusations that Cuomo covered up the true COVID-19 death toll on nursing home residents. “I didn’t know at the time I was making her feel uncomfortable.
House suddenly amends week’s schedule because of reported QAnon-linked threat to U.S. Capitol
       
The U.S. House is abruptly finishing its work for the week given the threat of violence at the Capitol by a militia group seeking to storm the building, as happened in the deadly siege on Jan. 6. See: Police uncover possible militia plot to breach Capitol this weekHouse Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland notified lawmakers late Wednesday of the sudden schedule change.
Nicola Sturgeon chokes back tears as she rejects 'absurd' claims she was out to destroy Alex Salmond
       
Ms Sturgeon said on Wednesday: "I am not accepting that that happened, therefore I am clearly not accepting that was authorised." Ms Sturgeon has claimed she "forgot" about the March 29 talks despite the explosive content. The ministerial code requires this to be recorded and officials to be informed, which Ms Sturgeon did not do until June that year. On Wednesday, Ms Sturgeon did not dispute she may have used this language but said that "crucially" she had not stepped in. A spokesman for Ms Sturgeon said: "The First Minister today dismantled all of the claims which have been made against her.
Creator of CPAC golden Trump statue admits it was made in China, after saying Mexico
       
Golden statue of former US president Donald Trump at CPAC (AFP via Getty)The golden Donald Trump statue that appeared at last week’s conference for the country’s conservatives was actually made in China — rather than Mexico — the creator reportedly admitted. Artist Tommy Zegan told reporters last week that the six foot statue of the former US president was assembled in Mexico — a country routinely belittled by Mr Trump. It immediately went viral after it was wheeled into the hall at the Hyatt Regency in Orlando, Florida, for last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), where Mr Trump delivered an address on Sunday. "Two years ago, when I saw all those statues of naked Trump and Trump on a toilet, I said, 'You know what? I can do better,' " Mr Zegan said.
Scaramucci says if GOP goes with Trump in 2024 he'll 'liquidate' the party
       
Anthony Scaramucci, managing partner of SkyBridge Capital and former White House communications director for the Trump administration, says if the Republican Party goes with Trump as its 2024 nominee, he'll work to make the GOP a "minority party for at least a generation." However, Scaramucci, who has publicly and repeatedly disavowed Trump, thinks Trump would be defeated once again if he's the nominee. What's more, if the Republican Party embraces "Trumpism," Scaramucci said there's a large working group exploring ideas on starting another party, with many willing participants ready to contribute money to make a third party viable. "I am not starting a new party," Trump said. Scaramucci, a life-long Republican, said Trump has turned the party into "a Trump personality cult" instead of a principle-based organization.
Cuomo on reopenings: ‘Some states are going too far, too fast’
       
Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday argued that “some states” are being too hasty in relaxing restrictions as COVID cases continue to decline. Cuomo, 63, urged New Yorkers stricken by “COVID fatigue” not to let their guard down amid the lingering pandemic. BIDEN'S COVID-19 RELIEF BILL INCLUDES BILLIONS IN AID FOR STATES THAT DON'T NEED IT“Environmentally, we can’t relax too soon,” Cuomo said. COVID fatigue. In my opinion, some states are going too far, too fast.
Los Angeles Times files suit to unseal search warrant used to obtain senator’s phone
       
The Los Angeles Times has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to unseal the warrant that authorized federal authorities to search Sen. Richard M. Burr’s cellphone as part of the FBI investigation into stock trades just as the coronavirus pandemic began to surge across the country. The lawsuit, which was filed Feb. 24 but became public late Tuesday, seeks to have a federal judge make public the warrant, supporting affidavits and related materials connected to the search of the North Carolina senator’s phone. The Times first reported on the search warrant, which was served May 13 on the Republican lawmaker at his home in Washington. Much of the stock Burr sold was invested in businesses that in subsequent weeks were hit hard by the plunging market. In January, Burr’s lawyers announced the Justice Department had dropped its investigation.
Ex-White House doctor made sexist comments, drank, took sleeping pills on duty: Report
       
The Department of Defense inspector general released a scathing report Wednesday on the conduct of Ronny Jackson, now a congressman from Texas, when he worked as a top White House physician. AdvertisementAfter interviewing 78 witnesses and reviewing a host of White House documents, investigators concluded that Jackson, who achieved the rank of rear admiral, failed to treat his subordinates with dignity and respect. The report also said the investigation into Jackson “was limited in scope and unproductive” as Trump’s White House counsel insisted on being present at all interviews, which had a “potential chilling effect” on the probe. And witnesses said Jackson took sleep medication on long overseas travel, which left subordinates worried that it could have left him incapacitated and unable to work. After allegations emerged that Jackson had created a hostile work environment and improperly distributed prescription drugs, the White House withdrew the nomination.
Guard commander details breakdowns that delayed troops as Capitol was attacked
       
The Pentagon had removed his authority to quickly deploy his troops, which also slowed the response to the riot, he said. Military officials had authorized Guard troop deployment at 3:04 p.m., according to the Pentagon, an approval that was itself delayed as officials there debated concerns about the optics of sending troops into the Capitol. He said he could have had 150 troops at the Capitol in 20 minutes. He also said that he believed that Pentagon officials’ concerns about optics were misguided and that forces needed to be quickly sent to the Capitol to help repel the rioters. Meanwhile, Capitol Police say they have uncovered intelligence of a “possible plot” by a militia group to breach the US Capitol on Thursday.
House on the cusp of passing landmark voting rights, ethics bill
       
By Brian Slodysko and Lisa Mascaro | Associated PressWashington — House Democrats are poised to pass a sweeping elections and ethics bill, offering it up as a powerful counterweight to voting rights restrictions advancing in Republican-controlled statehouses across the country. This bill “will put a stop at the voter suppression that we’re seeing debated right now,” said Rep. Nikema Williams, a new congresswoman who represents the Georgia district that deceased voting rights champion John Lewis held for years. In Iowa, the legislature has voted to cut absentee and in-person early voting and prevent local elections officials from setting up additional locations to make early voting easier. It would limit states’ ability to purge registered voters from their rolls and mandate the restoration of former felons’ voting rights. Some Democrats have discussed options like lowering the threshold to break a filibuster, or creating a workaround that would allow priority legislation, including a separate John Lewis Voting Rights bill, to be exempt.
Bay Area man gets six years for gun, meth found after scuffle with BART cop
       
Malcolm Cummings, 27, was sentenced at a Wednesday afternoon court hearing before U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam. Before he was sentenced, Cummings apologized for making a “horrible mistake.”“I never expected to catch a federal case. Cummings was arrested in September 2019 on an Oakland train bound for the Dublin/Pleasanton station, according to the criminal complaint against him. Johnson told Cummings he knew he had drugs, to which Cummings replied, “Sorry,” the complaint says. As the train pulled up to the Coliseum station, Johnson allegedly told Cummings to put his hands behind his back; Cummings responded by leaving the train and running away.
Colorado defense lawyers request investigation of judicial branch be modeled after Elijah McClain probe
       
The Colorado Criminal Defense Bar this week called for the investigation into alleged sexism, harassment and cover-ups at the Colorado Judicial Branch to be modeled after the independent investigation into the death of Elijah McClain in Aurora. “It’s incredibly important to restore public trust in the state judiciary,” said Tristan Gorman, legislative policy coordinator for Colorado Criminal Defense Bar. “You never know who went to law school together, who worked together, who has served on some board,” she said. The group is expected to draft a request for proposal for investigators in the coming weeks. The proposal will then be open for about a month before the investigators are chosen.
Jussie Smollett hires former Cook County prosecutor to lead defense team
       
A former Cook County prosecutor has been hired as Jussie Smollett’s lead defense attorney. But Uche said he filed paperwork in court last month to join Smollett’s defense team and will be working as the lead attorney in the case. Uche said he plans to use his experience as a former prosecutor in the state’s attorney’s office to aid in Smollett’s defense. “I think it helps to have an idea of how prosecutors look at evidence and at cases,” Uche told the Chicago Sun-Times Wednesday. “From what I’ve seen of the evidence ... I’ve won multiple cases I think are more difficult than this,” he said.
NBA star's trustee vote shows race fight in South Carolina
       
English was one of the first Black players at the University of South Carolina in 1972 and perhaps its most famous. More than one in four people in South Carolina are Black. Of the 61 judges on the supreme, appeals or circuit courts in South Carolina, just nine are Black. There was another trustee candidate running unopposed at Lander University in Greenwood and a vote was not called in that race. “It shows how much work is left to do in South Carolina,” said Cobb-Hunter a Democrat from Orangeburg first elected in 1992.
House prepares to pass landmark voting rights, ethics bill that touches on virtually every aspect of the electoral process
       
Courts and even Trump’s last attorney general, William Barr, found his claims about the election to be without merit. But, spurred on by those lies, state lawmakers across the U.S. have filed more than 200 bills in 43 states that would limit ballot access, according to a tally kept by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University.
Lansing mayor added to suit against police over man's death
       
The mayor of Lansing has been added to a federal lawsuit that alleges excessive force by city police caused the death of a 54-year-old man last year. The lawsuit states Schor "pursuant to the Charter, at all times relevant, was granted final decision-making authority concerning the supervision of the LPD." The lawsuit alleges that officers used "excessive force" and the department permitted "collusive statements" by the officers in the death of Anthony Hulon of Lansing. Hulon died April 11 while restrained face-down in police custody in the Lansing jail after telling officers, "I can't breathe." Hulon was handcuffed behind his back and pinned to the ground by Lansing police in a cell, according to the lawsuit.
Report: $2.59 trillion needed to improve U.S. infrastructure over next decade
       
The largest funding gap exists in surface transportation — encompassing roads, railways and other ground-level transportation infrastructure — where an additional $1.2 billion would be needed. Borrowing the money, taxes on corporations and wealthy individuals, and user fees like a gas tax or a vehicle-miles-traveled fee have all been floated as possible options. Meanwhile, 37 states have raised their gas tax to fund infrastructure improvements since 2010. The federal gas tax has not increased since 1993. White House officials have questioned whether the gas tax is a sustainable long-term solution as U.S. automakers increasingly pivot to electric vehicles.
EU, Britain clash again in latest post-Brexit spat
       
BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union said Wednesday that Britain's “unilateral action" on trade rules will breach international law and is threatening legal action as post-Brexit tensions continue to escalate between the two sides. Commission vice-president Maroš Šef?ovi? said in a statement that UK's decision to unilaterally extend a grace period on checks for goods moving between Britain and Northern Ireland amounts to “a violation" of the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol. The Protocol was designed to ensure an open border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic after Brexit. “This is the second time that the UK government is set to breach international law," Šef?ovi? said. “This also constitutes a clear departure from the constructive approach that has prevailed up until now."
Mississippi close to putting limits on transgender athletes
       
(AP) — The Mississippi House voted Wednesday to ban transgender athletes from competing on girls' or women's sports teams in the state's schools and universities. Mississippi is one of more than 20 states with lawmakers proposing restrictions on athletics or gender-confirming health care for transgender minors this year. “Girls deserve to compete on a level playing field,” Republican Rep. Becky Currie read from a text as she explained the bill to the Mississippi House. “Allowing males to compete in girls' sports destroys fair competition and women's athletic opportunities." Currie said she would not take any questions from colleagues because she believed everyone had already decided how to vote.
Police: Live pipe bomb found at polling place in Iowa
       
ANKENY, Iowa (AP) — The discovery of a live pipe bomb at a central Iowa polling place as voters were casting ballots in a special election forced an evacuation of the building, police said. Officers called to the Lakeside Center in Ankeny around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday found a device that looked like a pipe bomb in grass near the center. Police later confirmed in a news release that the device was a pipe bomb. The banquet hall was being used as a polling place for an Ankeny school district special election. “I want to also add that there is no way of knowing how long this device had been at the Lakeside Center,” Fitzgerald said in a tweet, saying officials don't know whether the pipe bomb was related to the election.
Huawei CFO lawyer says Trump comments a 'salvo' in trade war
       
Peck said Trump’s comments make it clear he hoped to use Meng as leverage in trade negotiations with China. “These words cast a pall over these proceedings,” said Peck. His words amount to an abuse of process.”Peck said the “abhorrent nature of the president’s words” put a stain on the extradition proceedings and the Canadian justice system. “The requesting state’s conduct ... has subverted this process, has destroyed the integrity of the process,” said Peck. Peck told Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes that the United States views Huawei as a threat and that attacks on China have come from both Republicans and Democrats.
Senate has no space for ballots it got after court fight
       
But after the Senate spent more than two months fighting to enforce a subpoena seeking access to the 2.1 million voted ballots, it apparently doesn't know what to do with them. Last week, a judge ordered the ballots and vote tabulation equipment handed over so the Senate can try to show if problems with the election led to former President Donald Trump’s loss. He included a photo of a box truck loaded with shrink-wrapped pallets of boxes filled with ballots. “Please advise us when the Senate is ready to receive the subpoenaed materials and where they should be delivered,” Sellers wrote. “If the Senate no longer wants the materials delivered, the county stands ready to discuss next steps.”
The Latest: Dozens of federal inmates refuse vaccine
       
HARTFORD, Conn. -- More than 200 inmates at the federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut, have declined to get vaccinated against COVID-19, including numerous medically vulnerable prisoners who have been seeking release to home confinement due to concerns about the coronavirus, according to federal officials. Federal prosecutors disclosed in a new court document filed Tuesday that nearly 550 of the approximately 800 inmates at the prison complex have been offered a COVID-19 vaccine and 336 have received at least the first of two doses. Another 212 inmates declined. Some inmates may be worried or confused about the safety of the vaccines, or do not trust them, said Ariadne Ellsworth, a Yale Law School student and member of the legal team representing Danbury inmates who filed a class-action lawsuit accusing federal officials of not doing enough to protect them from the coronavirus. “Our understanding is that, as more information has become available and individuals have had more opportunities to educate themselves about the vaccine, a number of class members who initially declined the vaccine have since informed the facility that they are now willing to take it,” Ellsworth said.
'Neanderthal thinking': Biden on states lifting mask restrictions
       
President Biden criticized states such as Texas and Mississippi for lifting Covid-19 restrictions, saying that we are on the cusp of being able to change the nature of the disease and that "the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking."
Arizona prison guard alleges sex assaults by supervisor
       
PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona corrections officer has alleged in a lawsuit against the state that she was subjected to a hostile environment while working at a prison where her supervisor was accused of sexually assaulting her and three others who worked there. The lawsuit filed Tuesday seeks unspecified damages and said managers at the Arizona State Prison Complex in Florence turned a blind eye to pervasive sexual harassment and created an atmosphere where Sgt. Jason McClelland believed he could harass others without consequences. The corrections officer who sued the state and corrections officials alleged that McClelland first sexually assaulted her when he pulled her behind cabinets at the Florence prison in early 2019. The lawsuit also claimed McClelland brought her to a prison building in September 2019 — where he turned off the lights, blocked her from leaving and sexually assaulted her.
Arizona prison guard alleges sex assaults by supervisor
       
McClelland was charged in August with sexually assaulting the officer and a nurse who worked for the state’s prison health care provider. A few months later, McClelland was charged with sexually assaulting two other people who worked at the prison, according to the lawsuit. Mark Mendoza, an attorney representing McClelland, didn’t immediately respond to telephone messages seeking comment on the lawsuit and sexual assault allegations. Officials on Wednesday declined to confirm that the four alleged victims had worked there. The Associated Press is not identifying the officer who filed the lawsuit because it generally does not name alleged sexual assault victims.
US infrastructure gets C- from engineers as roads stagnate
       
But it was not able to push Congress to pass any broad plan to update the nation’s roads and bridges, rails and airports. Four areas got Cs: bridges, which dropped from a C+ to a C in 2021, energy, drinking water and solid waste. “This report card is a warning and a call to action,” Buttigieg told The Associated Press. In its report card, the group said years of inaction has had consequences. According to the report card, the nation is only paying about half of what it needs to lift overall U.S. infrastructure to an acceptable “B” level.
House prepares to pass landmark voting rights, ethics bill
       
Updated 3 times AlertMeWashington — House Democrats are poised to pass a sweeping elections and ethics bill, offering it up as a powerful counterweight to voting rights restrictions advancing in Republican-controlled statehouses across the country. This bill “will put a stop at the voter suppression that we’re seeing debated right now,” said Rep. Nikema Williams, a new congresswoman who represents the Georgia district that deceased voting rights champion John Lewis held for years. “Democrats want to use their razor-thin majority not to pass bills to earn voters’ trust, but to ensure they don’t lose more seats in the next election,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said from the House floor on Tuesday. It would limit states’ ability to purge registered voters from their rolls and mandate the restoration of former felons’ voting rights. Some Democrats have discussed options like lowering the threshold to break a filibuster, or creating a workaround that would allow priority legislation, including a separate John Lewis Voting Rights bill, to be exempt.
Dems tighten relief benefits, firm up support for virus bill
       
“He’s pleased with the progress that is being made with the rescue plan,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said of Biden, reflecting the flexibility he and all Democrats will need to prevail. “He’s always said he’s open to good ideas.”So far, Republicans have presented a unified front against the bill. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said he wants unanimous GOP opposition. The House will have to approve the Senate’s version before shipping it to Biden, which Democrats want to do before the last round of emergency jobless benefits run dry March 14. “I would expect a very long night into the next day and keep going on,” said Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., describing GOP plans to force votes.
Barbara Johns' family wants graduation photo to be basis of her statue at U.S. Capitol
       
Julie Langan, director of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, said now that the General Assembly has approved of a Johns statue, the state will next submit its recommendation to the architect of the U.S. Capitol for its formal acceptance. Those five will make presentations to the commission, which will pick the sculptor. Langan said the state is looking for a realistic rendition. The state has a working budget of $500,000 for the project, including $375,000 for the sculptor's work process. During Wednesday's meeting members of the panel took turns expressing their excitement about adding a statue of Johns to the Statuary Hall collection, where Virginia's other statue depicts George Washington.
Arkansas lawmakers send governor near-total abortion ban
       
(AP) — Arkansas lawmakers on Wednesday approved legislation banning nearly all abortions, sending the bill to a Republican governor who has expressed reservations about the move. Another sweeping abortion ban was signed into law by South Carolina’s governor last month but was quickly blocked by a federal judge due to a legal challenge by Planned Parenthood. “It’s pro-life legislation and I support pro-life legislation,” Hutchinson said shortly before the House vote. Arkansas has some of the strictest abortion laws in the country and two years ago Hutchinson signed into law a measure that would trigger an abortion ban if the Roe decision was overturned. “This abortion ban is plainly unconstitutional and we stand ready to challenge it and any effort to block Arkansans from care or dictate their personal medical decisions,” the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas said in a statement.
Kremlin agents targeting Russians in UK, MI5 warns
       
MI5 has quietly stepped up the security protection offered to potential Kremlin targets living in the UK in the aftermath of the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury in 2018. Both MI5 and Downing Street are under pressure to show they are taking the threat from Russia seriously. MI5 believes the Kremlin is eager to rebuild its spying capabilities in the UK – after their agents were expelled from the embassy following the Salisbury attack. But, the agents said, the Russian agencies are particularly interested in developing assets outside the embassy, using individuals posing as “journalists or academics or tourists”. The MI5 officers also admitted that the British agency was at first stunned by the brazenness of the attack on the Skripals.
Andrew Cuomo apologises over harassment allegations but refuses to resign – video
       
Andrew Cuomo made clear that he would not quit in the wake of multiple sexual misconduct allegations against him. ‘I’m not going to resign,’ the New York governor said at his press conference. ‘I’m going to do the job the people of the state elected me to do.’The Democrat apologised for engaging in behaviour that made anyone feel uncomfortable, but insisted he had never touched anyone inappropriately. A number of lawmakers of both parties have called on the Democratic governor to resign as the state attorney general investigates the allegations against him. I never intended it, and I will be the better for this experience,’ Cuomo said.
Leak of Bombshell CBS Investigation Led to Multimillion-Dollar Settlement
       
In the summer of 2018, CBS hired two prominent law firms, Debevoise & Plimpton and Covington & Burling, to conduct an investigation into the sexual-misconduct allegations swirling around Les Moonves—CEO of CBS Corporation at the time—and the CBS News unit. That, of course, is one of the main reasons big corporations hire law firms, and pay them millions of dollars in fees, to do such investigations. Now we’ve learned there was also another legal matter arising out of the leak of the draft report, which was an indisputable violation of the witnesses’ expectation of privacy. The leak infuriated CBS employees and cast suspicion on the law firms handling the investigation. Anyone who may have disclosed draft information to The New York Times did so without authority and in violation of their obligations.”The New York Times published two articles about the draft report on December 4.
Ex-White House doctor bullied colleagues and drank on the job, report finds
       
The unpublished report compiled by the defense department’s inspector general was first obtained by CNN, and includes testimony from 60 witnesses about Jackson’s behavior at work. He was later appointed physician to the president by former presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump until 2018. The new report from the Pentagon watchdog found that Jackson “disparaged, belittled, bullied and humiliated” more junior colleagues, including making “sexual and denigrating” comments about a female co-worker. In a statement, Jackson said the inspector general had resurrected “false allegations” because he had “refused to turn my back on President Trump”. Jackson’s office noted that Obama had promoted him to rear admiral “after the alleged events” outlined in the report.
AfD placed under surveillance by German intelligence as a suspected far-Right threat
       
The far-Right Alternative for Germany party (AfD) was designated as a suspected extremist threat by German intelligence and placed under surveillance on Wednesday. It was rejected by AfD leaders as “purely political” and aimed at “massively damaging the party, especially in an election year.”The AfD is the first party in the German Bundestag to be designated a suspected extremist threat. It means members of Germany’s largest opposition party can have their emails and phone conversations monitored and their movements watched. The move comes at a turbulent time for the AfD, which became the first far-Right party to win seats in the German parliament since the sixties in 2017, after campaigning on an openly anti-Islam and anti-migrant platform. When it became the largest opposition party after the two main parties formed a grand coalition under Angela Merkel, its rise looked unstoppable.
As scrutiny intensifies, Scottish Government obfuscation lets Sturgeon off the hook
       
Nevertheless, Mr Hamilton’s version of events contrasted sharply with the First Minister’s attitude to getting involved on Mr Salmond’s behalf. She said: "I think it would have been highly inappropriate for me to intervene on Mr Salmond's behalf. But the reality is that on Wednesday this committee didn’t look the best vehicle to sit in judgment on the circumstances that led to the failed government inquiry into Mr Salmond behaviour. The Tories’ Murdo Fraser said that these men could corroborate Mr Aberdein’s version of events, but Ms Sturgeon said neither man had been present at the discussion with the government official. And she asked why, if the committee wished to examine this matter further, it hadn’t invited Mr Aberdein and the unnamed government official to give evidence.
Audoo is trying to ensure musicians get paid properly when their music is played
       
The idea for Audoo was born four years ago, in Selfridges on Oxford Street. Ryan Edwards was in there with his wife when he heard one of his band’s songs, “Domino Effect”, playing over the tannoy. “How much are you going to get paid for that?” asked his wife, very reasonably. “I don’t know,” he said. “But don’t buy that very expensive handbag.” He came up with Audoo to ensure that all musicians get paid properly whenever and wherever their music is played.
Anger from Native American and animal rights groups as Wisconsin hunters kill 216 wolves
       
Wisconsin's Department of Natural Resources ended its grey wolf hunting season early after hunters and trappers in the state killed 216 wolves over the weekend. Native American tribes in the area consider the wolves sacred, and usually use their allotment of hunting licenses to protect the wolf population, rather than killing them. Please enter your email address Please enter a valid email address Please enter a valid email address SIGN UP Thanks for signing up to the News newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy notice Thanks for signing up to the News newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. In 2020, the Trump administration removed the grey wolf from the Endangered Species List.
Buckingham Palace launches probe into Meghan Markle ‘bullying’ allegations
       
Buckingham Palace will launch an investigations into allegations of bullying made against Meghan, Duchess of Sussex by former members of staff, a spokesperson has said. Staff were reported in The Times to have claimed Meghan had driven out two personal assistants during her time as a working royal, with staff alleged to have been “humiliated” on a number of occasions. Buckingham Palace said in a statement: “We are clearly very concerned about allegations in The Times following claims made by former staff of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Members of staff involved at the time, including those who have left the Household, will be invited to participate to see if lessons can be learned. Read our privacy notice Thanks for signing up to the News newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent.
New York’s Covid ‘patient zero’ says he objects to being called a super-spreader
       
The lawyer once known as “Patient Zero” of New York’s coronavirus epidemic says he now appreciates life more than ever - as long as you don’t call him a super-spreader. “Somebody said to me, in all of this there were touches of humanity?” he told the Journal. Please enter your email address Please enter a valid email address Please enter a valid email address SIGN UP Thanks for signing up to the News newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy notice Thanks for signing up to the News newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Now that his name was known throughout the country, people who had COVID or knew someone who did called Garbuz for advice.
Capitol rioter who ‘hit cops with fire extinguisher’ bused to DC by Turning Points USA
       
A pro-Trump rioter involved in the storming of the US Capitol who allegedly hit police officers with a fire extinguisher travelled to Washington, DC on a bus organised by conservative group Turning Points USA (TPUSA). “This historic event will likely be one of the largest and most consequential in American history,” Mr Kirk wrote. Please enter your email address Please enter a valid email address Please enter a valid email address SIGN UP Thanks for signing up to the News newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy notice Thanks for signing up to the News newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. A judge ruled that Mr Sanford could be released before his trial with GPS monitoring of his whereabouts.
Man arrested in connection with QAnon vandalism at ‘America’s Stonehenge’
       
Police have made an arrest after a 15-month investigation into an act of vandalism at a New Hampshire landmark dubbed "America's Stonehenge". A lawyer representing Mr Russo entered a not guilty plea on his behalf Tuesday, the Associated Press reported. Please enter your email address Please enter a valid email address Please enter a valid email address SIGN UP Thanks for signing up to the News newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy notice Thanks for signing up to the News newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Bail for Mr Russo was set at $3,000, and his hearing is scheduled on 21 April.
Thirteen people killed in horrific California crash were among group of migrants who cut through border fence
       
The deadly California crash that killed 13 people took place after more than 40 migrants entered the US through a hole cut in the border fence. The tragedy unfolded when a Ford Expedition carrying 25 people smashed into a gravel truck near El Centro, California. The Suburban immediately caught fire after entering the US, but all the occupants managed to escape and were taken into custody by Border Patrol officers. Please enter your email address Please enter a valid email address Please enter a valid email address SIGN UP Thanks for signing up to the News newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy notice Thanks for signing up to the News newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent.
Dr Seuss: Universal theme park ‘evaluating’ attractions inspired by author’s work after books pulled from publication
       
A Universal theme park in Orlando, Florida is “evaluating” its section inspired by Dr Seuss after six of the author’s books were removed from publication. Some of the work of Theodor Seuss Geisel has come under scrutiny for containing racist tropes and undertones. Universal Orlando, a resort and theme park, contains an area known as Seuss Landing inspired by several of the author’s works. Read our privacy notice Independent Culture Newsletter The best in film, music TV & radio straight to your inbox every week Thanks for signing up to the Independent Culture newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy noticeThe Independent has contacted Universal Orlando for further comment.
Austin Mayor blasts Greg Abbott for ‘breaking promise’ on mask mandate
       
Austin’s mayor has attacked Texas governor Gregg Abbott for his decision to drop a mask-wearing mandate, accusing him of both “breaking a promise” and ignoring science. On Tuesday, Republican Greg Abbott, governor of Texas, the nation’s second most populated state, announced he was lifting a mandate that required people to wear masks. “Please hear me clearly - at this level of cases with variants spreading, we stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained.”Please enter your email address Please enter a valid email address Please enter a valid email address SIGN UP Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy notice Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy noticeOn Wednesday, Austin mayor Steve Adler, a Democrat, claimed Mr Abbott had “created ambiguity where none should exist”.
Domestic travelers to New York no longer have to quarantine if they're fully vaccinated for COVID
       
Domestic travelers to New York will no longer be required to quarantine if they can provide proof that they've been fully vaccinated within the past 90 days. First, I fully support a woman's right to come forward and I think it should be encouraged in every way. First, I fully support a woman's right to come forward and I think it should be encouraged in every way. We have a full plate - we have COVID, we have rebuilding, a teetering New York City... so no. Two former aides - Charlotte Bennett and Lindsay Boylan - say Cuomo sexually harassed them when they were working for him.
Black officer is fired by Tampa police for using the N-word on bodycam
       
A black officer had been fired after a random audit of his bodycam captured him using the N-word multiple times, police have said. Delvin White was fired Tuesday for 'violations of policy that prohibit discriminatory conduct', according to disposition letter released by the Tampa Police Department. White - an eight year veteran of the department - was a resource officer at Middleton High School at the time of his firing. Camera footage also captured White using the word twice while arresting someone for trespassing on November 30, police said. 'Officer White is a beloved and trusted member o'f the East Tampa community that he was raised in and that he protected every day.
South Carolina senators add a firing squad as an alternative method to the death penalty
       
South Carolina senators Tuesday added a firing squad as an alternative method of the death penalty if the state can't execute condemned inmates by way of lethal injection. South Carolina Sen Greg Hembree (left) and South Carolina Sen Dick Harpootlian both spoke in favor of a bill that would add the firing squad as an alternative method for the death penalty on Tuesday. The state hasn't had the chemicals to do lethal injection for yearsStates that use a firing squad for death penalty South Carolina would become just the fourth state to allow a firing squad as a method for the death penalty. The states that already allow the firing squad death penalty are as follows: 1. It would become just the fourth state to allow a firing squad with Utah, Oklahoma and Mississippi, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
Covid relief US: Joe Biden cuts off stimulus checks for those earning over $80k
       
President Joe Biden is 'comfortable' cutting off stimulus checks to Americans who make more than $80,000, the White House indicated Wednesday, bowing to pressure from Senate moderates. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are calling for recurring relief checks to be included in future relief packages. The House version of the bill, which passed early Saturday, also phased out stimulus checks, but had a higher ceiling. The two other series of stimulus checks have also been tailored by income. Both Biden and Trump supported stimulus checks.
Lithuania to open Taiwan trade office, the latest sign of discontent with China by a ‘17+1’ member
       
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said his country gets “almost no benefits” from being in the “17+1” trade group with China and other Central and Eastern European nations. Photo: EPA-EFE
Democrats have controlled Virginia government for two years. Here’s what they’ve done.
       
Democrats passed bills to open absentee voting to anyone who wants to cast a ballot early or vote by mail, not just those who have an acceptable excuse. Democrats have dismissed those claims, saying they perpetuate baseless theories that the voting system is susceptible to widespread manipulation. Climate changeBefore Democrats regained power, the state had passed no significant laws aimed at addressing climate change. In higher education, Democrats delivered on one of their biggest priorities — free community college for low- to middle-income students. TaxesThough the Democratic majorities have rewritten swathes of state policy to make Virginia more culturally progressive, they’ve shown less appetite for addressing economic disparities by changing the tax code.
Jim Jordan’s campaign faces questions over accounting discrepancies that exceed $100K
       
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Federal Election Commission on Tuesday asked U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan’s campaign committee to explain large accounting discrepancies between reports it filed several years ago and corrected reports the committee filed earlier this year. Several March 2 letters from the FEC ask Jordan’s campaign to explain:* an increase in disbursements totaling $122,706.60 on its 2018 post-general election report. * a decrease in receipts totaling $111,950.54 on Jordan’s campaign finance report for the first quarter of 2019. “The campaign has filed an amendment with the FEC to correct its campaign finance reports going back to 2018,” said a statement from Jordan’s campaign manager, Kevin Eichinger. From 2019 through 2020, Jordan raised $18,637,140, spent $13,268,968 and finished with more than $6 million in the bank.
Bipartisan senators introduce bill to strip Biden of war powers
       
“Last week’s airstrikes in Syria show that the executive branch, regardless of party, will continue to stretch its war powers,” Kaine said. | Leigh Vogel-Pool/Getty ImagesSenior Biden administration officials have begun briefing Congress this week about the Syria strikes, but they have yet to brief lawmakers directly. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) told POLITICO on Tuesday that he sat in on a staff-level briefing because the Biden administration had yet to schedule sessions for senators. Smith said the standoff “without a doubt” will revive a simmering debate on war powers and revising decades-old war authorizations, but reiterated that he supports Biden's move as justified to defend U.S. personnel. The Biden administration published a long-secret intelligence report last week that blamed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for approving the operation that killed Khashoggi, but the administration declined to impose direct penalties on the crown prince.
US warns of ‘possible’ plan to seize US Capitol on March 4
       
Plot is centred on QAnon belief Trump is true president and will assume office, but conspiracists warn of ‘false flag’. “The United States Capitol Police Department is aware of and prepared for any potential threats towards members of Congress or towards the Capitol complex,” the Capitol Police, a law enforcement agency tasked with protecting Capitol grounds, said in a release. “We have obtained intelligence that shows a possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group on Thursday, March 4. — Julia E. Ainsley (@JuliaEAinsley) March 3, 2021The possible plot appears to be connected to a theory related to the far-right QAnon conspiracy movement. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene is known for her past support of aspects of the QAnon movement.
Mike Pence repeats claims of election fraud in op-ed against voting rights bill
       
The opinion piece is one of Pence’s first statements since leaving office amid a bitter feud with his longtime ally Trump. Pence never criticized Trump for putting his life in danger but he did break with him by attending Biden’s inauguration.
EU will go to court over UK's 'unilateral action' on Northern Ireland Protocol
       
The British decision constitutes a "violation" of the provisions of the Northern Ireland Protocol under the EU-Britain Brexit Agreement and the "obligation of good faith" under that agreement. In order to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland and preserve the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, the protocol allows Northern Ireland to adhere to certain EU rules. However, this is caused friction between the DUP and the UK government over the need for customs declarations and some checks on goods entering Northern Ireland from mainland Britain. This is a "temporary" measure designed to avoid major disruptions "as part of a pragmatic and proportionate implementation of the Northern Ireland protocol," Northern Ireland Minister Brandon Lewis stressed in a written statement to Parliament. A unilateral announcement is deeply unhelpful to building the relationship of trust and partnership that is central to the implementation of the Protocol".
Biden’s Bare-Minimum Response to Russia’s Attempted Navalny Assassination
       
On Tuesday, the Biden Administration announced a set of sanctions against Russia, in response to its attempted assassination, this past August, of the opposition politician Alexey Navalny with a nerve agent. The sanctions were at once more than any U.S. Administration had done and less than would seem rational or proportionate if viewed purely as a response to an attempted murder. Those it did include have all previously been sanctioned by the European Union: five were listed in the fall, in response to Navalny’s poisoning, and two were sanctioned last week, in response to Navalny’s arrest and imprisonment upon returning to Moscow. And we’re neither seeking to reset our relations with Russia, nor are we seeking to escalate.”But what is the Administration seeking to do? Morally, the Biden Administration had to act, because the President ran on the promise of being tough on Russia.
Republicans Accuse Biden of Trying to Score Political Points by Ending Pandemic
       
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—After Joe Biden announced that there would be enough vaccine for all adult Americans by the end of May, leading Republicans accused the President of trying to score political points by ending the pandemic. Leading the charge was the House Minority Leader, Kevin McCarthy, who called Biden’s anti-pandemic measures “partisan politics at its worst.”“So now we learn that the pandemic will be ended by a White House that is a hundred per cent controlled by Democrats,” he said. “Where’s the so-called unity, President Biden?”Senator Ted Cruz concurred. “After vowing that there would be enough vaccine in July, Joe Biden broke his promise and is now saying May,” the Texas lawmaker said. “I think the American people will see right through this.”Finally, Senator Ron Johnson called Biden’s actions to bring the pandemic to a close “blatant,” adding, “This is just another attempt to undo Donald Trump’s legacy.”Read More Satire from the Borowitz Report
Cuomo, Contrite Over Sexual Harassment Accusations, Refuses to Resign
       
He stressed that he “never touched anyone inappropriately.”“I never knew at the time that I was making anyone feel uncomfortable,” he said. “And I certainly never meant to offend anyone or hurt anyone or cause anyone any pain. Few, if any, top officials have vociferously defended Mr. Cuomo, with most Democrats repeatedly calling for an independent investigation into the claims, now to be overseen by the state attorney general, Letitia James. The news conference on Wednesday was the governor’s first briefing in nine days, the longest he had gone without taking questions from reporters since the coronavirus pandemic began. The governor, a third-term Democrat, had previously sought to explain that some of his past remarks and questions to staff had been misconstrued, and “may have been insensitive or too personal.”
Watchdog finds G.O.P. congressman harassed staff and recklessly drank while serving as White House physician.
       
The report, which was obtained by The New York Times, shed light on a number of rumors that had dogged Dr. Jackson beginning in 2018, after former President Donald J. Trump nominated him to lead the Veterans Affairs Department. After allegations emerged that Dr. Jackson had improperly distributed prescription drugs, created a hostile work environment, and had problems with drinking, the White House withdrew his nomination. Dr. Jackson went on to win a crowded Republican primary race to represent a district in northern Texas and was elected to Congress in 2020. The 37-page report, first described by CNN, painted a picture of a physician who engaged in reckless and sometimes threatening behavior, creating an uncomfortable environment for subordinates. A majority of the 60 witnesses interviewed by investigators said that Dr. Jackson had created a negative work environment, and nearly all of them said they had either personally witnessed, experienced or heard from colleagues about Dr. Jackson “screaming, cursing or belittling subordinates.”
Live Updates: Narrower Income Limits for Stimulus Checks Win Biden’s Approval
       
michael barbaro From “The New York Times,” I’m Michael Barbaro. michael barbaro OK, and in terms of size and scale, how does this package number three stack up against the first two? jim tankersley You get aid to state and local governments, who have had to lay off a lot of workers. michael barbaro So this is non-traditional stimulus, but stimulus uniquely suited to a pandemic recession? michael barbaro Jim, this is a pretty historic thing to pass on a party line vote, $1.9 trillion in economic stimulus.
President Biden Says U.S. Will Have Enough Vaccines for 'Every Adult in America' by End of May
       
The president also directed states to prioritize educators, calling for every teacher to receive at least one dose by the end of MarchPresident Biden Says U.S. Will Have Enough Vaccines for 'Every Adult in America' by End of MayPresident Joe Biden said Tuesday that the United States will be able to drastically move up its vaccination timeline, announcing that the nation will have enough vaccine supply for every American adult by the end of May. During a briefing on the administration's COVID-19 vaccination efforts, Biden said that the nation has made "important progress" on vaccine distribution. "We're now on track to have enough vaccine supply for every adult in America by the end of May," Biden said, a significant move forward from the administration's previous timeline from the end of July. However, Biden, 78, said that this does not mean that all American adults will actually receive a shot by the end of May. "But it's not enough to have the vaccine supply.
George Floyd’s Sisters Miss Him 'Every Day' as Family Prepares for Officer’s Murder Trial
       
His sister, LaTonya Floyd, knows him as the kid brother she taught to sing a favorite song: the REO Speedwagon hit "Keep on Loving You." To read more about how George Floyd's siblings remember him, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE on newsstands Friday, or subscribe here. His sister Bridgett Floyd, 30, is the foundation's president and chairwoman. Image zoom Bridgett Floyd | Credit: Uzoma Obasi/The Creative GroupThe foundation aims to provide college scholarships and created an internship program at George's alma mater, Texas A&M University-Commerce, in his name. Within the extended family, George had sway as well.
Illinois City to Distribute $25K in Reparations for Black Residents to Use on Housing
       
Evanston, Illinois, is set to become the first U.S. city to compensate Black Americans for loss of generational wealth due to slaveryIllinois City to Distribute $25K in Reparations for Black Residents to Use on HousingEvanston, Illinois, is on the verge of doing something no other American city has done before: offer reparations to Black residents. As Simmons explained it, white residents panicked when their increasing Black neighbors created "pockets" around the city. Later, Black residents in Evanston were moved to what would become known as the 5th Ward, segregating them from the wealthier parts of the city. "Banks in Evanston would not loan to Black families for housing [and] the real estate agencies would not show you anything other than the 5th Ward." The first batch of reparations will be going out to residents this spring, ABC reported, and Simmons hopes Illinois and other cities around the country explore similar legislation.
Kayleigh McEnany Talks White House Handoff to Jen Psaki, Who Reacts to McEnany’s New Fox News Job
       
"I wish her all the best," the former Trump White House press secretary said of her successorDespite their political differences, there's no bad blood between former and current White House press secretaries Kayleigh McEnany and Jen Psaki, they both say. "I left her a note saying that much," said McEnany, who served as President Donald Trump's White House spokeswoman and regularly made headlines for sparring with reporters. "We've met previously one time," McEnany said, "and she [Psaki] was very kind and so were some of her colleagues in the press shop." In the White House briefing room Tuesday, a reporter mentioned the news of McEnany's hiring at Fox News to Psaki, asking if she would be willing to sit with the former press secretary for an interview. I met her when we were both CNN contributors, and we did a few shows — I'm not sure how many — together."
Macron warned 'no renegotiating' possible for nuclear deal as Iran ramps up 'animosity'
       
Macron warned 'no renegotiating' possible for nuclear deal as Iran ramps up 'animosity'Added: 03.03.2021 11:13 | 24 views | 0 commentsPRESIDENT MACRON has suffered a diplomatic slapdown after being warned by Tehran that the 2015 nuclear deal is not up for renegotiation.
The Seuss debate isn't 'cancel culture.' It's the GOP's beloved free market at work.
       
Added: 03.03.2021 20:20 | 12 views | 0 commentsThe escalating rhetoric on so-called "cancel culture" is conservatives' way of saying they are losing power in society and they want someone to stop that.
'Total s**tshow!' Merkel's deputy hits out at EU in extraordinary Cabinet tantrum
       
'Total s**tshow!' Merkel's deputy hits out at EU in extraordinary Cabinet tantrumAdded: 03.03.2021 13:17 | 14 views | 0 commentsANGELA Merkel's Vice Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, dismissed the EU's vaccine rollout as a "total s**tshow", it has emerged, as criticism of Brussels' strategy continues to mount.
ISIS terrorists gun down three 'innocent girls' who worked for Afghan TV: 'No one is safe'
       
ISIS terrorists gun down three 'innocent girls' who worked for Afghan TV: 'No one is safe'Added: 03.03.2021 12:03 | 21 views | 0 commentsTHE ISLAMIC State has claimed responsibility for gunning down three innocent women who worked for an Aghanisatan TV station.
Budget 2021: Rishi Sunak sets out economic recovery plan
       
Added: 03.03.2021 12:36 | 25 views | 0 commentsThe chancellor is delivering his first Budget since the coronavirus pandemic was declared, in the Commons.
Changes to Obamacare are hiding in plain sight in the $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill
       
Changes to Obamacare are hiding in plain sight in the $1.9 trillion Covid relief billAdded: 03.03.2021 21:18 | 7 views | 0 commentsDemocrats are proposing big changes to the Affordable Care Act. Here's why the debate is less fierce this time.
Lawmakers raise concerns over reports of National Guard troops being served 'raw, moldy food' at Capitol
       
Added: 03.03.2021 10:14 | 17 views | 0 commentsA bipartisan group of members of Michigan's congressional delegation sent the chief of the National Guard a letter Tuesday complaining about the food being provided to members of the state's National Guard while stationed at the US Capitol.
Republicans condemned Trump after the Capitol attack. Now they are opening the door to him as the future of the party.
       
Republicans condemned Trump after the Capitol attack. Now they are opening the door to him as the future of the party.
Former NBA star says Covid-19 has sparked anti-Asian violence in the US
       
Former NBA star says Covid-19 has sparked anti-Asian violence in the USAdded: 03.03.2021 13:18 | 25 views | 0 commentsFormer NBA star Jeremy Lin says he's seen a rise in racism across the US since the coronavirus pandemic started and says the country must address the issue of anti-Asian violence.
Michelle Obama has first interview on 'Good Morning America' since Biden's inauguration
       
Michelle Obama has first interview on 'Good Morning America' since Biden's inaugurationAdded: 03.03.2021 17:20 | 10 views | 0 commentsFormer first lady Michelle Obama spoke with ABC's "Good Morning America" anchor Robin Roberts in her first interview since Joe Biden's inauguration.
Michelle Obama reflects on 'glorious' inauguration mixed with concern 'about more riots'
       
Michelle Obama reflects on 'glorious' inauguration mixed with concern 'about more riots'Added: 03.03.2021 14:04 | 19 views | 0 commentsTo Michelle Obama, President Joe Biden's inauguration was a "glorious day" mixed with concerns about more violence after the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot.
Tim Allen says he 'kind of liked' when President Trump made people angry
       
Tim Allen says he 'kind of liked' when President Trump made people angryAdded: 03.03.2021 18:27 | 11 views | 0 commentsTim Allen got political on a podcast, saying he "realized" he "kind of liked" when President Trump pissed people off.
Andrew Cuomo’s press conference blasted by critics as calls for governor to resign continue
       
Added: 03.03.2021 20:47 | 8 views | 0 commentsCritics blasted New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo after he apologized Wednesday for his past behavior following multiple allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior as many don't feel his remarks got the "Love Guv" out of hot water.
McConnell blames Biden’s ‘sweeping left-wing amnesty plan' for fueling border surge
       
Added: 03.03.2021 21:08 | 8 views | 0 commentsSenate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday blamed President Biden’s “sweeping left-wing amnesty plan” for fueling the escalating migrant crisis on the southern border -- and said it sidelined the interests of American workers.
So Is Joe Biden a Nazi, Too?
       
Added: 03.03.2021 19:29 | 8 views | 0 commentsIs Joe Biden a Nazi? I only ask because he's doing a lot of the same things that the previous incumbent of the White House did, and that guy was always being called a Nazi.
'Optimistic' Biden recommits to cancer cure hunt
       
Added: 03.03.2021 20:20 | 11 views | 0 commentsPresident Joe Biden is "optimistic" that progress can be made in the battle against cancer, convening a meeting in the Oval Office with a group of bipartisan House and Senate members to push for more action.
WH: Biden to find Tanden another administration post
       
Added: 03.03.2021 21:07 | 8 views | 0 commentsWhite House Press secretary Jen Psaki says there will be no announcement this week on a new budget nominee after Neera Tanden withdrew her nomination Tuesday. Psaki said President Joe Biden is looking for another administration post for Tanden.
A.I. investment in drug discovery quadrupled in 2020, closely watched A.I. report finds
       
Everything to know about $400 weekly unemployment benefits as the stimulus package moves to the Senate
PPP Loans Are Supposed to Be Tax Free. These 19 States Didn't Get the Memo
       
Right now, 19 states tax forgiven PPP loans, either by including them as taxable income or disallowing deductions for business expenses made with the loans, says Katherine Loughead, senior policy analyst for the Tax Foundation, which has published a map showing the loans' tax status by state. Legislatures in at least seven of the 19 states in question--Arizona, Arkansas, Hawaii, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Virginia--have introduced bills to exclude PPP loans from taxation. And it's hard to compare the impact with past years, since PPP loans are new. But second-draw PPP loans in Wisconsin are expected to be taxed, says Irina Petrashkevich, senior manager for tax policy and advocacy for the American Institute of CPAs. There, PPP loans are fully tax-free for corporations, but taxable for individuals--even though the PPP targets the smallest businesses, in addition to those with up to 500 employees.
D.C. Guard chief says ‘unusual’ restrictions slowed deployment of backup during Capitol riot
       
Walker described the Pentagon’s restrictions as “unusual,” noting that he did not have such limitations last summer, when the D.C. Guard was tasked with responding to local racial-justice protests after the killing of George Floyd. Much of the hearing focused on how long it took the Pentagon to give the members of the D.C. Guard who were already deployed that day a new mission and send them to the Capitol. Though the acting defense secretary called up the full D.C. Guard shortly after 3 p.m. in response to the riot, he did not give the members of the D.C. Guard who were already deployed that day a new mission and send them to the Capitol until 4:32 p.m., Salesses said. He acknowledged, however, that the D.C. Guard did not receive that change in assignment until 5:08 p.m., more than half an hour later. In addition to congressional inquiries, the inspectors general of several federal agencies are investigating officials’ response.
Capitol Police officials say intel on possible March 4 plot being taken 'seriously'
       
The intelligence, which an FBI bulletin said could involve the "Three Percenters" group, which prosecutors call extremist, is being taken "seriously," the Capitol Police officials said in a statement posted on Twitter. The Capitol complex remains surrounded with temporary fencing topped with razor wire and some 5,000 National Guard troops remain on site. An internal U.S. Capitol Police bulletin distributed Tuesday contains information about a possible militia plot to storm the Capitol on or around March 4, sources told ABC News. An FBI spokesperson did not immediately comment on the intelligence information. One law enforcement source said that initial intelligence does not support a crowd of 50,000 is coming to Washington, D.C., this week.
‘I Really Believe the Senate Is Broken’
       
The $15 minimum wage is an incredibly popular and populist policy. Why is the White House allowing them to torpedo this measure before it even gets to the floor? Joe Biden started out strong on the $15 minimum wage, and they have to commit to that in the same way. I really believe the Senate is broken. But look, the minimum wage [provision] is targeting help to the lowest wage workers, and this is targeting the highest wealth individuals.
David Shor’s (Updated) 2020 Autopsy and 2022 Forecast
       
Do you have any sense what was behind the large rightward shift among Hispanic voters? In the summer, following the emergence of “defund the police” as a nationally salient issue, support for Biden among Hispanic voters declined. I’m not claiming that white liberals are somehow less racist than people of color, to the extent that question even makes sense. I mean, Hispanic voters are more liberal on immigration than white voters. If you look at, for example, decriminalizing border crossings, that’s not something that a majority of Hispanic voters support.
Andrew Cuomo Refuses to Resign
       
New York governor Andrew Cuomo. Photo: Jeenah Moon/Getty ImagesAs numerous allegations of sexual harassment mount against New York governor Andrew Cuomo, along with calls for his resignation, the embattled Democrat held his first press conference in weeks on Wednesday to address the situation. Cuomo is currently facing three allegations of sexual harassment. Days later, Charlotte Bennett, a former executive assistant who worked for Cuomo in 2019, shared a similar experience with the New York Times. Then, this past week, a third woman named Anna Ruch — who never worked with Cuomo — told the Times that Cuomo tried to kiss her without her consent at a wedding in 2019.
The GOP’s Establishment Is More Populist Than Its Trumpists
       
Photo: Alex Wong/Getty ImagesDonald Trump is gone from D.C., but the divisions he sowed among congressional Republicans remain. “It’s important that we not be a personality-based party,” Senate Minority Whip John Thune told Politico this week. As congressman Jim Jordan, the Platonic ideal of a Trump apostle, tweeted last month, “The Republican Party is no longer the ‘wine and cheese’ party. To the contrary, the Congressional Republicans most worshipful of Trump also tend to be among the most orthodox in their economic views. Graphic: Brookings Institute/The Washington PostTo be sure, no GOP senators support a $15 minimum wage either.
Ronny Jackson Harassed Staff, Drank on Duty As White House Doctor, Report Finds
       
The retired Navy rear admiral served as physician to the president from 2013 to 2018 under former presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump. He previously worked in the White House Medical Unit under former president George W. Bush. A major aspect of the report was focused on how Jackson treated subordinates under his leadership. The claims included drunkenness while on duty, overprescribing medications, and promoting a hostile work environment. Jackson was elected to Congress in 2020 after winning a runoff election in the Republican primary and defeating his Democratic challenger in the general.
Cuomo Says He’s ‘Embarrassed’ About Sexual-Harassment Claims But Won’t Resign
       
Cuomo also apologized again, saying, “I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable. That is the last thing I would ever want to do,” Cuomo said. In her account, Boylan alleged that Cuomo gave her an unwanted kiss on the lips after a meeting. Asked specifically about the photo with Ruch, Cuomo said, “You can find hundreds of pictures of me making the same gesture with hundreds of people. They elected me, and I’m gonna serve the people of the state of New York,” Cuomo said.
Moderate Democrats Strip Stimulus Checks From 12 Million Voters for No Reason
       
Nor could moderates claim to have the public on their side; the relief checks were overwhelmingly popular in their initially proposed form. However, the benefit would disappear for individuals earning more than $80,000 annually and couples earning more than $160,000. Here are the two big downsides to this measure:• It means that 12 million fewer adults and 5 million fewer kids will receive relief checks from the bill. — Dan Roosien (@droosien) March 3, 2021So, what do Democrats gain at the cost of denying checks to 12 million potential 2022 voters? But this still doesn’t constitute a rational basis for creating a 70 percent tax rate on income above $75,000 — while giving 12 million voters a reason to resent your party.
‘The Real World’ Co-Creator Jonathan Murray on the New York ‘Homecoming’
       
Seven years ago, Rolling Stone interviewed Real World co-creator Jonathan Murray about the newest season of the groundbreaking MTV reality show. With The Real World coming up on that 30-year milestone, the network became an obvious home for The Real World Homecoming: New York, which premieres with the launch of Paramount+ on March 4th. Watch The Real World: Homecoming with free trial to Paramount+ hereWe caught up with Murray again to talk about the birth of The Real World back in 1992, how it laid the template for all reality TV that followed, what fans can expect from this new season, and the possibility of other classic Real World seasons getting the same Homecoming treatment in the future. That’s pretty young for The Real World, but I had an older sister and she controlled the remote. This kind of programming, particularly those early seasons of The Real World, we would jump in and out of scenes.
Covid Relief Package to Include Billions for Black Farmers
       
The Covid relief package is providing a platform for a historic Senate newcomer to deliver for a long-struggling constituency: black farmers. On a call with reporters Wednesday, Warnock celebrated the inclusion of the Emergency Relief for Farmers of Color Act in the $1.9 trillion Covid package. (The class-action Pigford settlements between the USDA and black farmers covered pervasive Civil Rights violations from 1983 to 2010.) Stabenow insisted this was just one piece of Democratic efforts to address “longstanding areas of discrimination and racial disparity on land ownership and farmers, particularly in the South.”In recent days, the massive Covid relief package experienced a significant setback, with the $15 minimum wage being struck from the bill by the Senate parliamentarian. Seeking to rally crestfallen liberals, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer pointed to provisions like debt relief for black farmers to insist that the Covid relief package will be “the most progressive thing we have had in decades.”
We Don’t Need Andrew Cuomo
       
No amount of smoothing or spin can overshadow the indelible photograph published in the New York Times on Monday night: Governor Andrew Cuomo, red-faced and leering, clutching the face of a woman half his age at a wedding while she recoils in disgust. What should come next for Andrew Cuomo is a swift resignation, followed by a statewide investigation. In Cuomo tradition, the governor denied these aspirations; his father Mario also declined to seek the nomination in 1992. The truth, of course, was that Cuomo’s leadership, respectability, and strength was a veneer. Unlike the servers and bartenders he briefly barred from vaccination eligibility, Andrew Cuomo is not an essential worker.
Curtis Flowers, wrongfully incarcerated for 23 years, will get maximum compensation, judge says
       
– Curtis Flowers, who was wrongfully incarcerated for 23 years, will receive the state's maximum compensation of $500,000, Mississippi 5th Circuit Judge George Mitchell judge ruled Tuesday. Some experts indicated there was evidence of more than one person involved in the crime, yet Flowers was the only person ever charged. Flowers' first three trials ended in convictions, which were overturned by the state Supreme Court for prosecutorial misconduct. In 2020, Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch said the state would not try the case a seventh time, leaving Flowers a free man. Flowers' legal team, which includes civil rights attorney Rob McDuff, will also receive $50,000 for helping Flowers receive the compensation.
WH: Biden to find Tanden another administration post
       
WH: Biden to find Tanden another administration postWhite House Press secretary Jen Psaki says there will be no announcement this week on a new budget nominee after Neera Tanden withdrew her nomination Tuesday. Psaki said President Joe Biden is looking for another administration post for Tanden.
Drone shows moment Iranian missiles attacked US forces based in Iraq
       
Drone shows moment Iranian missiles attacked US forces based in IraqNewly released footage shows an Iranian ballistic missile attack in retaliation for the assassination of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in Iraq.
Biden on states lifting mask mandates: 'The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking'
       
Biden on states lifting mask mandates: 'The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking'President Joe Biden said it's a “big mistake” for states to lift pandemic restrictions and mask mandates.
First lady Jill Biden visits Connecticut school, calls for safe return to classroom
       
?First lady Jill Biden spoke to children at an elementary? school in Connecticut on Wednesday with newly minted Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, saying that, as a teacher herself, she wants to return to the classroom — but only if teachers and students can do so safely. But we just know that we have to get back safely,” Biden told the students at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in Meriden. “The biggest thing is we’re going to do this together.”First lady Jill Biden and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona tour Benjamin Franklin Elementary School on March 3, 2021, in Meriden, Conn. Mandel Ngan/Pool via APThe stimulus package includes $130 billion for schools. The president recognizes this?,? which is why he took bold action yesterday to get teachers and school staff vaccinated quickly?,” Cardona said. ?First lady Jill Biden and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona visit a classroom as they tour Benjamin Franklin Elementary School.
Republicans refocus on state ‘bailouts’ in Biden stimulus bill after ‘Pelosi subway’ cut
       
John Raoux/APThe less-flashy state and local aid is equally unnecessary, Republican senators said, arguing that the funds would bail out Democratic local governments or allow them to increase spending. APSen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) said that for Democratic state governments, “it is like manna from Heaven for them. They have state governments that have not been well managed. On Wednesday, Biden signed off on lowering the income cap for people getting stimulus checks from $100,000 to $80,000. The bill includes $1,400 stimulus checks for adults earning up to $75,000 per year, with smaller checks for people up to $80,000.
SUV in deadly wreck came through hole in border fence
       
Gregory Bovino, the Border Patrol’s El Centro sector chief, told the Associated Press that surveillance footage taken before the early Tuesday wreck captured a Ford Expedition and Chevrolet Suburban drive through the breached fence. All those inside escaped and were taken into custody by Border Patrol agents. The 1997 red Ford Expedition, which was jammed with 25 people, continued traveling before it was T-boned by a semi-truck hauling gravel a short time later, killing 13 inside. The opening in the border fence that the vehicles rolled through was about 30 miles east of the crash scene. Gregory Bull/APA California Highway Patrol report said the Expedition entered an intersection right in front of the big rig, which hit the left side of the SUV.
CBS forced to pay actress Bobbie Phillips millions after Les Moonves allegations leaked
       
Bobbie Phillips attends the premiere of "Without Limits" on August 8, 1998 at Mann Village Theater in Westwood, California. CBS paid actress Bobbie Phillips (right) millions of dollars in a legal settlement after sexual harassment claims she made against disgraced ex-executive Les Moonves (left), according to a report. CBS has been forced to pay actress Bobbie Phillips millions of dollars in a legal settlement after sexual harassment claims she made against disgraced ex-executive Les Moonves were leaked to the New York Times, a report said Wednesday. The settlement was reached after CBS hired two law firms — Debevoise & Plimpton and Covington & Burling — to investigate sexual misconduct allegations made by several women at the network against Moonves, Vanity Fair reported. As a result, CBS and Covington were forced to pay Phillips millions of dollars for breaching her confidentiality agreement by letting the information leak to the New York Times, according to Vanity Fair.
‘Full of falsehoods’: Cuomo accuser’s lawyer rips press conference
       
Andrew Cuomo’s remarks Wednesday were “full of falsehoods and inaccurate information” — including his denial that he ever “touched anyone inappropriately,” the lawyer for one of his accusers said. “The governor’s press conference was full of falsehoods and inaccurate information, and New Yorkers deserve better,” Katz said. A photo of the alleged incident also shows Ruch, 33, appearing extremely uncomfortable as Cuomo towered over her with his hands holding either side of her face. Katz also said Bennett reported Cuomo’s “sexually harassing behavior immediately to his chief of staff and chief counsel.”Attorney Debra Katz and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Janice Dean: We Know Now There’s No Way Cuomo Will Ever Resign
       
There's no way he'll ever resign, ever. You know, he talks about light at the end of the tunnel. But it's not going to come by him resigning, we just know that now today." "I just think he's all about himself and he can never, ever admit, although he did apologize, but remember, he didn't apologize except to the woman that took offense to his Italianess. I apologize to the woman who took offense to me being Italian.
NYC City Councilman On Gov. Cuomo: “This Is Why People Say He Is A Sociopath”
       
On Fox Across America with Jimmy Failla, NYC City Councilman Joe Borelli discussed the culture of bullying and fear that has surrounded Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration for and explains why many people have called Gov Cuomo a "sociopath" for years." This is why people say he's a dictator, he's a megalomaniac. But he's caught immediately trying to handpick the person who's going to investigate him after he's been caught handpicking investigators himself many times in the past. And this is the culture that existed in Albany for the entire time that Governor Andrew Cuomo was governor."
Senators grill Biden nominee as proxy for wider Iran-deal debate
       
The debate comes as the Biden administration’s diplomacy on Iran has stalled. Meanwhile, U.S. personnel in Iraq have continued to come under rocket fire by militia groups, some of which have ties to Iran. “I remain clear-eyed about the threat that Iran poses to our interests and those of our allies,” Sherman said. ADSen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) probed Sherman on any contacts she had with Iranian officials during the Trump administration. ADThe decision by Sherman and other Biden officials to pledge to get a better deal, rather than defending the Obama accord on its own merits, has frustrated some on the left.
Opinion | ‘Big Lie’ promoter Kayleigh McEnany lands at Fox News, naturally
       
In her debut interview as a Fox News contributor, McEnany issued a lament about the criticisms that had come her way. ADADFor someone who bristles at being called a liar, perhaps McEnany should have thought twice before promoting the Big Lie. With its McEnany move, Fox News not only is overlooking McEnany’s Big Lie participation; it is also rewarding her with a job. ADADIn her interview with McEnany, Faulkner asked whether she thought Trump was responsible for the Capitol riots. But that’s what you get with McEnany: small dishonesties punctuated by the occasional Big Lie.
LIVE UPDATES: Cuomo apologizes at press conference but says he won't resign
       
Andrew Cuomo apologized on Wednesday following allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior by three women, but he fell short of resigning. After her bombshell essay on Medium, another former aide, Charlotte Bennett, also came forward with sexual harassment allegations, claiming she was 25 years old at the time. CUOMO HIRES CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER AFTER SEXUAL HARASSMENT ALLEGATIONS, NURSING HOME SCANDALCuomo said in a statement issued Sunday that some of the things he's said in the past "have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation." Lawmakers have called for independent investigations and the resignation of Cuomo, 63, including several members of the Democratic party. CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPFollow below for more updates on the reaction to Cuomo's most recent public comments.
Kayleigh McEnany talks undergoing double mastectomy, potential run for office
       
Former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany shared the story behind her "very tough" decision to have a double mastectomy in an exclusive interview on "The Faulkner Focus" Wednesday. The prognosis led her to undergo a preventative double mastectomy in 2018. "My mom got a double mastectomy ... it was a hard path, and it's one I knew I wanted to go down to keep myself from ever getting cancer," McEnany expressed. McEnany added that her decision was several years in the making and her husband, Sean Gilmartin, supported her unconditionally. FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY KAYLEIGH MCENANY JOINS FOX NEWS FAMILYSince McEnany shared her story at the Republican National Convention in 2020, multiple women have reached out to her about her inspirational story.
Andrew Cuomo’s press conference blasted by critics as calls for governor to resign continue
       
Hard to believe, because he continues to be shameless," the New York Post editorial board wrote after the press conference. The Democratic governor said he was "embarrassed" as he choked up but refused to resign amid growing calls to give up his position. CUOMO APOLOGIZES AFTER MISCONDUCT ALLEGATIONS BUT DENIES TOUCHING ANYONE 'INAPPROPRIATELY': 'I AM EMBARRASSED’"I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable. "They obviously felt uncomfortable. "The Governor’s press conference was full of falsehoods and inaccurate information, and New Yorkers deserve better," Katz said.
Accuser Lindsey Boylan slams NY Gov. Cuomo's response to sexual misconduct allegations
       
"I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable," he said. CUOMO'S CREEPY COVID TEST COMMENTS RESURFACEDebra Katz, an attorney for Bennett, called Cuomo’s public appearance "full of falsehoods and inaccurate information." During his Wednesday appearance, Cuomo refused demands from dozens of state lawmakers that he resign. "I never knew at the time that I was making anyone feel uncomfortable. And if I ever did make people feel uncomfortable, which I now understand that I have, I apologize for it."
McConnell blames Biden’s ‘sweeping left-wing amnesty plan' for fueling border surge
       
Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday blamed President Biden’s "sweeping left-wing amnesty plan" for fueling the escalating migrant crisis on the southern border -- and said it sidelined the interests of American workers. "Just six weeks into unified Democratic government, we already have another crisis brewing on our southern border," McConnell said on the Senate floor. He said instead that the Department of Homeland Security is working to "replace the cruelty" of the Trump administration with "an orderly humane and safe immigration process." The big backdrop behind this whole discussion is the sweeping left-wing amnesty plan that the Biden Administration unveiled before they were even sworn in," McConnell said. TRUMP USES CPAC SPEECH TO TEAR INTO BIDEN ON BORDER CRISIS"It’s not fair to American citizens and workers," he said.
Republican can win NYC mayoral election again, Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa insists
       
A Republican can win this year's mayoral election in New York City, longtime radio host Curtis Sliwa told "America’s Newsroom" Wednesday. The number of shootings and murders in New York City soared in 2020, according to year-end crime data released by the New York Police Department (NYPD) in January. "The criminals are on the streets and the subways and worse yet, [New York Gov. That means a little ticket, like you would get for a parking violation and they’re back in the streets to do it again." And that’s when New York City blossomed into the cultural, entertainment empire that it is in the world.
Maria Shriver reacts to Andrew Cuomo's apology: 'Will that be enough?'
       
Maria Shriver, a journalist and the ex-wife of former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, questioned whether an apology for alleged unwanted sexual advances, issued Wednesday by New York Gov. The Democratic governor has been accused of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior by three women, two of whom worked under him. Cuomo was previously married to Kerry Kennedy, the daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, who was Maria Shriver's uncle. "I’m embarrassed by what happened... I’m embarrassed that someone felt that way in my administration. I’m embarrassed and hurt and I apologize that somebody who interacted with me felt that way," he added.
Biden says Texas and Mississippi over lifting COVID restrictions, guilty of ‘Neanderthal thinking’
       
President Biden took a swipe at Republican governors in Texas and Mississippi Wednesday, accusing them of "Neanderthal thinking" following their decision to reverse COVID safety policies, including mask mandates. Greg Abbott pointed to lower case counts and the increase in vaccine accessibility as justification to revoke all state imposed coronavirus regulations starting March 10. We know that COVID spread isn’t neatly contained by state borders, and explosions in COVID cases can increase the likelihood of new COVID variants to develop or spread to new places. CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP"Getting a shot in someone's arm and getting the second shot…[is] going to take time. And it's critical, critical, critical, critical that they follow the science," Biden told reporters from the White House.
D.C. National Guard chief: Pentagon took 3 hours to greenlight troops during Capitol assault
       
"The approval for Chief Sund's request would eventually come from the acting secretary of defense and be relayed to me by Army senior leaders at 5:08 p.m. — 3 hours and 19 minutes later," he said. Not 'good optics'National Guard Troops walk along the East plaza of the U.S. Capitol Building with the dome of the Capitol in the background on Monday, Feb. 8, 2021 in Washington, DC. Ultimately, once D.C. National Guard troops arrived that evening, they helped re-establish the security perimeter on the east side of the Capitol to allow for the joint session of Congress resume in counting the Electoral College votes, he said. DC National Guard troops stand watch at the U.S. Capitol on January 08, 2021 in Washington, DC. Salesses said in his opening remarks that Miller "ordered the full mobilization" of the D.C. National Guard at 3:04 p.m.
U.S. calls for release of AP journalist, five others charged in Myanmar
       
FILE PHOTO: U.S. State Department Spokesman Ned Price speaks to reporters during a news briefing at the State Department in Washington, U.S., March 1, 2021. REUTERS/Tom Brenner/PoolWASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Wednesday called on military authorities in Myanmar to release an Associated Press journalist and five other members of the media detained while covering demonstrations against a military coup. U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said he was “appalled and revulsed” by reports and images of a crackdown on protesters, in which Myanmar security forces killed at least 38 people on Wednesday. Thein Zaw, 32, a Burmese journalist for U.S. newswire the Associated Press, was among six journalists who were detained during the protests and charged with violating a public order law, according to their lawyer. “We are deeply concerned about the increasing attacks on and arrests of journalists,” said Price.
Pentagon moved slowly to approve January 6 Capitol Police request for National Guard
       
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Pentagon officials took more than three hours to approve a request by the U.S. Capitol Police for National Guard troops to back up police under attack by rioters at the Capitol on Jan. 6, a military commander told a Senate hearing Wednesday. Major General William Walker, the District of Columbia’s National Guard commander, told senators that an emotional Capitol Police chief Brian Sund, who resigned after the riot, contacted him at 1:49 p.m. on Jan. 6 to request urgent National Guard backup as violent demonstrators began to attack the Capitol building. Walker told a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security and Rules committees that the day before the riot, he requested and received Pentagon permission to have on standby a 40-member “quick reaction force” and 155 other D.C. guard members. Walker said defense officials did not give him final permission to deploy Guard forces until 3 hours and 19 minutes after he received the Capitol Police chief’s urgent request. Officials of the Homeland Security Department and the FBI told senators that months before the Jan. 6 riots, both agencies circulated intelligence reports on domestic extremist groups.
Cuomo apologizes but will not resign in wake of sexual harassment allegations
       
Cuomo said his behavior toward the women who have accused him of misconduct was unintentional and maintained that he never touched anyone inappropriately. Three women, including two former aides, have come forward recently to say that Cuomo had sexually harassed them or made inappropriate remarks. Lindsey Boylan, who first came forward in December, said the unwanted advances included an unsolicited kiss on the lips in Cuomo’s New York City office, which Cuomo denied. The complaints about sexual misconduct emerged after questions mounted over Cuomo’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic last year as it torn through nursing homes. New York state politicians, many of them fellow Democrats, have said that Cuomo tried to silence his critics and routinely governed through intimidation.
Orbán walkout shakes up European (political) family drama
       
The question for both Orbán and the EPP now is whether the rupture benefits or damages them in the long term. Publicly, EPP group leaders played down talk of victory and defeat. “I am very happy that the EPP group is so united,” group leader Manfred Weber told reporters. But its MEPs remained part of the EPP group in the European Parliament, despite moves by some to kick them out. The next chapter in this political family drama will likely come if Fidesz is expelled from the EPP party umbrella.
Big Brother takes on German far right
       
“The BfV’s actions towards the AfD are purely political,” tweeted Alice Weidel, the leader of the AfD group in the Bundestag. The AfD began as a one-issue party in 2013, opposing German-led bailouts of Greece and other indebted members of the eurozone. The intelligence service cited the organizations’ anti-immigrant and anti-Islam positions as justification for the move. Surveillance of several AfD regional chapters in eastern Germany soon followed, yet the intelligence service stopped short of monitoring the entire party. If the investigation concludes that the AfD is intent on destroying German democracy, what would happen next is unclear.
Mea Cuomo
       
Mea Cuomo Presented by New Yorkers for Responsible GamingHe’s back. Asked specifically who he was apologizing to, Cuomo referred to former aide Charlotte Bennett, though not by name. Learn moreCovid-19 UpdateNew mass vaccination sites, operated by New York State in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, opened in Albany, Buffalo, Rochester and Yonkers today. Cuomo detailed the state’s plans to immediately deploy the first tranche of the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine in New York. Cuomo to resign because this is about an abuse of power,” Wiley saidShaun Donovan has released his racial equity plan.
‘I will fight till the end,’ says convicted Nicolas Sarkozy
       
PARIS – Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy took to national television on Wednesday evening to plead his innocence and claim he was subjected to judicial harassment, two days after being convicted of corruption. He has appealed the decision and says he will appeal until the European Court of Human Rights if he needs to. Ten years during which considerable means have been put to use” he said, “in order to absolutely find something to reproach from me. Sarkozy, whose jail sentence has crushed his supporters’ hopes of a return for 2022, stated again that he had “turned the page” on politics. Later this month, Sarkozy returns to court for a separate trial, in which he is accused of illegal campaign financing.
Pentagon Report Finds Ex-W.H. Doc Rep. Jackson Bullied Staff, Made Sexual Remarks
       
NEW YORK (AP) — The Department of Defense inspector general released a scathing report Wednesday on the conduct of Ronny Jackson, now a congressman from Texas, when he worked as a top White House physician. The report also said the investigation into Jackson “was limited in scope and unproductive” as Trump’s White House counsel insisted on being present at all interviews, which had a “potential chilling effect” on the probe. And witnesses said Jackson took sleep medication on long overseas travel, which left subordinates worried that it could have left him incapacitated and unable to work. After allegations emerged that Jackson had created a hostile work environment and improperly distributed prescription drugs, the White House withdrew the nomination. Jackson was well liked by most members of the Obama and Trump staffs and grew close to both presidents.
Austin wants to pivot to China. But can he pay for it?
       
In addition to briefing Austin and Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks, Davidson met with other top officials and the new China task force, the person said. Lawmakers, who have been calling for a beefed up military presence in the region to deter China, like what they see so far. "I don't accept the premise that we have to spend more money on the military to adequately deter China." Like his predecessors, Austin will be challenged to turn the doctrinal shift into a boost for resources in the region. “I doubt we will see any major cuts in acquisition programs in this first budget request, but you never know.
Pentagon probe slams ex-White House Dr. Jackson’s behavior
       
FILE - In this Jan. 16, 2018, file photo, then-White House physician Dr. Ronny Jackson speaks to reporters during the daily press briefing at the White House, in Washington. The Department of Defense inspector general has released a scathing report on the conduct of Ronny Jackson, now a congressman from Texas, when he worked as a top White House physician. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)FILE - In this Jan. 16, 2018, file photo, then-White House physician Dr. Ronny Jackson speaks to reporters during the daily press briefing at the White House, in Washington. The Department of Defense inspector general has released a scathing report on the conduct of Ronny Jackson, now a congressman from Texas, when he worked as a top White House physician. After allegations emerged that Jackson had created a hostile work environment and improperly distributed prescription drugs, the White House withdrew the nomination.
Search on for Alaska helicopter piloted by tribal official
       
Search on for Alaska helicopter piloted by tribal officialUniversity of Alaska Board of Regents member Andy Teuber listens to a discussion during a meeting at UAA on Sept. 12, 2019, in Anchorage, Alaska. The U.S. Coast Guard is searching for an overdue helicopter piloted by Teuber who is the former head of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. The U.S. Coast Guard is searching for an overdue helicopter piloted by Teuber who is the former head of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. However, she said searchers could not yet “confirm that was that helicopter.” A Coast Guard helicopter and cutter on Wednesday did not locate the debris and were still searching, Preston said. Teuber had headed the health consortium since 2008, according to a biography posted on the Alaska Federation of Natives webpage.
Biden: Texas, Mississippi decision to end mask mandates 'big mistake'
       
President Joe Biden said states like Texas and Mississippi are making “a big mistake” in ending their mask mandates. Biden encouraged social distancing, said it is “critical” that states “follow the science.”
'Embarrassed' Cuomo Apologizes But Won't Resign Over Sexual Harassment Allegations
       
'Embarrassed' Cuomo Apologizes But Won't Resign Over Sexual Harassment AllegationsEnlarge this image toggle caption Office of the NY Governor via AP Office of the NY Governor via APIn his first press briefing since three women came forward with claims of sexual harassment, New York Gov. New York's attorney general is conducting an investigation into the sexual harassment allegations, which were raised in the past week by two former aides and a woman who met Cuomo at a wedding. "I fully support a woman's right to come forward and I think it should be encouraged in every way," Cuomo said. Lindsey Boylan, a former economic adviser in his administration, described a nonconsensual kiss and touching from the governor amid a culture that "not only condoned but expected" sexual harassment and bullying. Asked later by a reporter whether he had personally taken the sexual harassment training New York requires employers to give to their employees, Cuomo replied, "The short answer is yes."
West Virginia lowers general age limit for virus vaccine
       
FILE - West Virginia Gov. (AP Photo/Chris Jackson, file)FILE - West Virginia Gov. (AP Photo/Chris Jackson, file)CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia Gov. West Virginia expects to receive a surge in coronavirus vaccine doses this week after a one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine gained emergency use authorization. ADVERTISEMENT“Remember, the last thing we want in West Virginia is to have a bunch of vaccines just sitting on the shelf,” Justice said.
Arkansas lawmakers send governor near-total abortion ban
       
(AP) — Arkansas lawmakers on Wednesday approved legislation banning nearly all abortions, sending the bill to a Republican governor who has expressed reservations about the move. Another sweeping abortion ban was signed into law by South Carolina’s governor last month but was quickly blocked by a federal judge due to a legal challenge by Planned Parenthood. “It’s pro-life legislation and I support pro-life legislation,” Hutchinson said shortly before the House vote. Arkansas has some of the strictest abortion laws in the country and two years ago Hutchinson signed into law a measure that would trigger an abortion ban if the Roe decision was overturned. “This abortion ban is plainly unconstitutional and we stand ready to challenge it and any effort to block Arkansans from care or dictate their personal medical decisions,” the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas said in a statement.
Facebook says it will resume political ads March 4
       
Facebook Inc. FB, -1.39% is resuming political, electoral, and social issue advertising Thursday after a temporary ban following the November 2020 U.S. presidential election. "Unlike other platforms, we require authorization and transparency not just for political and electoral ads, but also for social issue ads, and our systems do not distinguish between these categories," Facebook said in a post Wednesday. "We've heard a lot of feedback about this and learned more about political and electoral ads during this election cycle. As a result, we plan to use the coming months to take a closer look at how these ads work on our service to see where further changes may be merited."
Here’s who would get another stimulus check as Biden agrees to new income limits
       
There have been negotiations over who will get stimulus checks in the next big COVID-19 aid package, with President Joe Biden agreeing to new income limits after moderate Democratic senators voiced concerns about money going to people who aren’t in dire need. So who looks set to receive the upcoming direct payments of $1,400?
Jim Jordan Under Scrutiny for Nearly $3 Million in Unreported Campaign Funds
       
“The campaign has filed an amendment with the FEC to correct its campaign finance reports going back to 2018. In the 2016 cycle, before Donald Trump was elected, the Jordan campaign received a little over $733,000 and spent about $423,000, according to FEC records. But in 2020, they soared: he raked in $18.6 million and spent $13.2 million, and now sits on a $6 million stash. “FEC reports carry-forward financial information to subsequent reports,” he said. “The lack of a quorum of commissioners until the end of last year meant that FEC enforcement had stalled.
Biden response to report on Khashoggi killing angers both Saudi Arabia and its critics
       
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia. (Mikhail Klimentyev / Sputnik )Throughout his campaign, President Biden vowed to take a harder line with Saudi Arabia. "It is undeniable that Saudi Arabia is a hugely influential country in the Arab world and beyond," Price told reporters Monday. In Crown Prince Mohammed, the Biden administration is dealing with a figure who began stirring up controversy even before Khashoggi's assassination. Saudi Arabia maintains that Tiger Squad operatives acted beyond their orders; eight of 11 suspects have been sentenced to jail time or death.
QAnon and conspiracy theories are taking hold in churches. Pastors are fighting back
       
Signers of letter, called "Say No To Christian Nationalism," included Jerushah Duford, the granddaughter of the late Rev. "We've seen that those who embrace Christian nationalism are also more likely to believe in conspiracies." For some pastors, church climates in the last year have become too much to bear. Swieringa recently got a new part-time job pastoring at Kibbie Christian Reformed Church in South Haven, Mich., where masks are mandatory. But he noticed that the concerns about sex trafficking were more specific to a QAnon belief in "Democrat pedophilia."
Assemblywoman Sydney Kamlager declares victory in state Senate seat race
       
Assemblywoman Sydney Kamlager declared victory Wednesday in the race for the 30th Senate District seat, which stretches from Century City to South L.A., after amassing a large early lead in the vote count against six other candidates. “Woke up this morning to the next chapter ... and I’m ready,” Kamlager said in a Facebook post on her personal page. Before assuming office in the Assembly in 2018, Kamlager was an elected member of the L.A. Community College District Board of Trustees. Kamlager will be the only Black woman in the state Senate. Having a Black woman — a working mother — in the state Senate is critically important for perspective in the fight for recovery, justice and equity.”Times staff writer Melanie Mason and City News Service contributed to this report.
Three candidates for Lieutenant Governor of R.I. hope to bring something new to role: Youth
       
The role of Rhode Island’s lieutenant governor is seen as ambiguous at best and unnecessary at worst. Rhode Island has seen unexpected candidates for lieutenant governor in the past. The late Robert Healy of the Cool Moose Party ran for lieutenant governor several times, promising that he would abolish the office if he were elected. They’d prefer to be recognized for their dedication to public service and to Rhode Island than anything else. “I want to help people and I think that [public service] is the best direct way to do it.”
States rapidly expand access as vaccine supplies rise
       
Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are reserving the first doses of the new one-shot vaccine from Johnson & Johnson for teachers. Giving the vaccine to teachers and other school staff “will help protect our communities,” Pennsylvania Gov. In Wisconsin, teachers will get priority when the state receives its first shipment of about 48,000 doses of the J&J vaccine, health authorities said. Pennsylvania teachers will likewise be first in line when an expected 94,000 doses of the J&J formula arrive this week. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky encouraged Americans to “do the right thing” even if states lift their restrictions.
Live pipe bomb found at Iowa polling place, police say
       
Associated PressANKENY, Iowa — The discovery of a live pipe bomb at a central Iowa polling place as voters were casting ballots in a special election forced an evacuation of the building, police said. Officers called to the Lakeside Center in Ankeny around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday found a device that looked like a pipe bomb in grass near the center. Police later confirmed in a news release that the device was a pipe bomb. The banquet hall was being used as a polling place for an Ankeny school district special election. Fitzgerald and police said other polling places in Ankeny were checked and no other bombs or suspicious devices were found.
'Shouldn’t be isolating by race': New Berlin School Board member said he 'completely' disagrees with Black History Month
       
A New Berlin School Board member said he "completely" disagrees with Black History Month because it is not inclusive enough. "I don’t see Jewish History Month, I don’t see American Indian History Month, I don’t see Asian History Month, Indian History Month. I completely disagree with Black History Month, I really do, because if we’re going to be inclusive we shouldn’t be isolating by race, period," said Jeffrey Kurth, who is white. RELATED:Wisconsin students wanted to make a schoolwide virtual presentation on Black History Month. He also said he believes in diversity, inclusion and the celebration of all cultural, ethnic and other differences in the district's schools.
Zion man gets 12-year prison sentence for conspiring to help Islamic State
       
So she handed Jones a 12-year prison sentence at the end of a lengthy hearing, noting that Jones did not plan his own attack or make actual contact with the Islamic State, as far as anyone knows. The pair got to know each other and discussed the Islamic State. Muhamed later told Schimenti that Islamic State fighters were being tracked by drones through compromised cellphones. He also told Schimenti he thought Islamic State fighters could use cellphones for bombs. Schimenti introduced Muhamed to Jones, who then reached out to Bilal, thinking that Bilal could help Muhamed travel into Islamic State territory, records show.
'I'll give you Cincinnati.' Sycamore grad convinces Tucker Carlson there's one good city run by Democrats
       
Carlson asked Tafuri to name one city Democrats have improved in the United States. Tafuri didn't hesitate. But Carlson didn't give all the credit to the Democrats by adding, "It's not a very leftwing city." "When I was growing up in Cincinnati, downtown Cincinnati was a 9-5 city," Tafuri said. "If we can bring people together on that, good job, Cincinnati," Pepper said.
Michigan House OKs $4.2B in COVID spending, ties $1.2B to power checks on Whitmer
       
The Michigan House on Wednesday gave final legislative approvals to a $4.2 billion supplemental spending plan that ties nearly $1.2 billion in federal funding to measures that would limit the pandemic powers of Gov. The legislation includes $1.9 billion in education funding and $2.3 billion for unemployment, property tax relief and the state health department's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. About $3.4 billion of the funding is in the form of federal relief funds approved by Congress in December. About $136 million in state funding would be awarded to some districts if they offer at least 20 hours per week of in-person instruction by March 22. Another $160 million in federal funds would go toward K-8 summer programs, credit recovery programs and before and after school programs.
Michigan Senate gives subpoena power to education committee
       
The GOP-controlled Senate has the ability to give any of its committees subpoena power through an adopted resolution. However, the capability is usually reserved for the Oversight Committee, which was also granted subpoena power through the new resolution. In an interview, Senate Education Chairwoman Lana Theis, R-Brighton, said she has no plans for future subpoenas. However, according to the resolution, the new subpoena power appears to focus on "state records and files." The Senate resolution also gave subpoena power to the Senate Oversight Committee.
Projects GOP tied to Pelosi, Schumer dropped from virus bill
       
WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans opposing a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that passed the House have pointed to two transportation projects as examples of pork that would politically benefit Democrats leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. Now those projects are out of the bill. Drew Hammill, a spokesperson for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, said the Senate Parliamentarian has ruled that a subway extension through downtown San Jose did not meet requirements for inclusion in the bill because it is part of a pilot project. The project was set to receive about $141 million under the bill that passed in the House. Also, the $1.5 million in funding to maintain and operate a bridge connecting Canada and the United States in upstate New York, Schumer's home state, has been removed by Senate drafters of the bill.
New York will loosen some virus restrictions on gatherings
       
NEW YORK (AP) — New York will loosen restrictions on gatherings, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday at his first news conference since an investigation was announced into sexual harassment allegations against him by three women. The Democratic governor said that that limit for outdoor private gatherings will rise from 10 to 25 starting March 22. The limit for indoor gatherings in public spaces will go from 50 to 100 and the limit for outdoor public events will go from 50 to 200 on the same date, he said. In addition to the phased reopening, Cuomo said New York state is receiving an initial shipment of 164,000 doses of the newly approved Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.
Pentagon probe slams ex-White House Dr. Jackson's behavior
       
The Pentagon report, in part, focused on Obama’s 2014 trip to the Philippines. Witnesses said he created so much noise they worried it would wake Obama. “He had kind of bloodshot eyes,” the woman told investigators. “You could smell the alcohol on his breath, and he leaned into my room and he said, ‘I need you.’ I felt really uncomfortable.”The Department of Defense investigation, which was first reported by CNN, also found that Jackson violated the medical unit’s alcohol policy on a trip to Argentina. And witnesses said Jackson took sleep medication on long overseas travel, which left subordinates worried that it could have left him incapacitated and unable to work.
She Bought A Wedding Ring For Her Husband In November; The Post Office Still Hasn’t Delivered It
       
Postal Service are now hitting a suburban couple where it hurts: on the ring finger. They’re stars of a love story four years in the making, but you wouldn’t know it by Marc’s bare ring finger. Abby bought a special wedding band for Marc, inscribed with the GPS coordinates of where they met at Soldier Field. Asked if he thinks he’ll ever get the ring, Marc laughed. “It was perfect for us, and the only thing that was missing was the ring,” Abby said.
France bans far-right 'paramilitary' group Génération Identitaire
       
France has banned a notorious far-right “paramilitary” group linked to the gunman in the Christchurch mosque attack and accused of inciting discrimination, hatred and violence. Interior minister Gérald Darmanin announced the Génération Identitaire organisation was being dissolved after a council of ministers meeting on Wednesday. Génération Identitaire has carried out several high-profile actions to block migrants from entering France. The government rejected Génération Identitaire claims that its aim was to “defend and promote local, regional, French and European identities” through various activities. Last month, Génération identitaire leader Clément Gandelin, 26, vowed to fight the group’s dissolution in court.
Capitol riot probe zeroes in on Pentagon delay in sending troops
       
“Consequently, at 5:20pm (in under 20 minutes) the District of Columbia National Guard arrived at the Capitol,” Walker said. Mobilizing a large force of guard troops in a few hours amounts to lightning quickness in military terms, he emphasized. In his testimony, agreed with Capitol security officials that Pentagon leaders gave a tepid response to urgent pleas for aid during a 2:30 p.m. call on Jan. 6. Other officials who testified addressed the intelligence assessment that led Capitol security officials to dismiss the need for preemptive National Guard support. Never, those former Capitol security officials said, did they anticipate an organized, coordinated assault on the legislative branch that would overwhelm the 1,200 officers on-site and result in a breach of the building.
Andrew Cuomo says he will not quit over sexual harassment allegations
       
Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday he would not resign as New York governor following the emergence of sexual harassment allegations. “It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it.”Cuomo said he would “fully cooperate” with an inquiry into the accusations, which is being overseen by the state attorney general, Letitia James. When the third-term governor was asked about calls for his resignation, Cuomo said: “I wasn’t elected by politicians. Bennett has alleged Cuomo asked her about her sex life and whether she would consider a relationship with an older man. Debra Katz, the attorney who represents Bennett, said Cuomo’s press conference was “full of falsehoods and inaccurate information”.
Rishi Sunak slashes an extra £4 billion a year from daily spending on public services
       
Rishi Sunak has slashed an extra £4 billion a year from day-to-day spending on public services from next year, prompting warnings of a return to austerity for prisons and local government. The Chancellor’s latest move comes on top of cuts he made at the spending review last November, when he slashed £10 billion per year from departmental budgets from this year onwards. This means other departments could need to absorb reductions in spending at the next spending review this autumn. The Office for Budget Responsibility, the Treasury’s independent forecaster, warned that by cutting more than £15 billion a year from department resource spending from 2022/23 onwards, the coming spending review will be “challenging”. We’ll have to wait until later this year to see exactly how these things are allocated between different areas.
Nicola Sturgeon chokes back tears as she rejects 'absurd' claims she was out to destroy Alex Salmond
       
Ms Sturgeon said on Wednesday: "I am not accepting that that happened, therefore I am clearly not accepting that was authorised." She argued that Mr Salmond knew of the identity of one of the two women who had come forward as he had previously apologised to her for his behaviour. Ms Sturgeon said she had not ordered a police investigation into the leak as she wanted to respect the committee's inquiry. Mr Salmond was last week adamant Ms Sturgeon knew about the allegations at a meeting with Mr Aberdeen in her parliamentary office on March 29, 2018. Ms Sturgeon has claimed she "forgot" about the March 29 talks despite the explosive content.
Cult deprogrammers inundated with requests to help people lost in Trump election, QAnon conspiracy theories
       
Cult deprogrammers are flush with work as the family members of Trump-conspiracy believers and QAnon supporters seek professional help for their loved ones. According to an NPR report, professional counselors specializing in cult deprogramming are facing a mountain of requests from people hoping to break their loved ones free of Trump-related conspiracy theories. According to the cult experts, social media plays a significant role in exposing vulnerable people to conspiracy theories. Please enter your email address Please enter a valid email address Please enter a valid email address SIGN UP Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy notice Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent.
Stephen Miller says undocumented migrants pose as teenagers to get into US high schools
       
Donald Trump’s former senior adviser Stephen Miller has claimed that some adult undocumented immigrants are posing as teenagers and attending US high schools. Mr Miller spearheaded the former president’s immigration policies, such as child separation, which have been branded “cruel” by the new Biden administration. “You know what, some of those adults are going to end up in high schools around America – if they are open at all – pretending to be minors. Please enter your email address Please enter a valid email address Please enter a valid email address SIGN UP Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy notice Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent.
‘Black box’ from Tiger Woods’s SUV will reveal how fast he was going before crash
       
The so-called “black box” from the Genesis SUV driven by Mr Woods last week will reveal how fast the professional golfer was travelling in the seconds before crashing early last Tuesday. Please enter your email address Please enter a valid email address Please enter a valid email address SIGN UP Thanks for signing up to the News newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy notice Thanks for signing up to the News newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. If there was no crime, we close out the case, and it was a regular traffic collision,” Mr Schloegel said. Mr Woods was not intoxicated at the time of the crash, officials said, while blood samples will not be requested by the sheriff’s department, Mr Schloegl added.
How police are warding off threats from QAnon and militias threatening violence on 4 March
       
Please enter your email address Please enter a valid email address Please enter a valid email address SIGN UP Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy notice Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Mr Trump’s supporters have referred to 4 March as “true Inauguration Day”, according to an internal security bulletin from Tuesday from from House Sergeant at Arms Timothy Blodgett, obtained by CBS News and other outlets. That security bulletin names a far-right militia, the “Three Percenters,” as posing a threat. The Democratic congressional aide suggested to The Independent that it’s no accident the SAA’s bulletin has leaked to the press.
COVID-19: Joe Biden discourages 'Neanderthal' thinking on masks
       
The president says that mask wearing should continue while vaccines are being administered across the US.
Covid US: 108 migrants tested positive before being released into Texas
       
At least 108 migrants from Mexico tested positive for coronavirus before they were released into Texas by the US Border Patrol over the past five weeks, a new report claims. The spokesman, Felipe Romero, said the 108 individuals who tested positive account for 6.3 percent of the more than 1,700 migrants who have received rapid tests at a Brownsville bus station before being released into the state since January 25. At least 108 migrants from Mexico tested positive for coronavirus before they were released into Texas by the US Border Patrol over the past five weeks, a new report claims. They said those who tested positive were merely separated from negative individuals while they waited to be released. 'The migrants who test positive at the B-Metro facility are advised of quarantine procedures and are asked to socially distance.'
Wife of ex-governor wanted for corruption pleads for halt to 'persecution'
       
… What I’m asking for is to stop this bitter political persecution,” López Torres said. After the arrest warrants were issued on Monday, the FGR said it would seek the assistance of Interpol to locate and arrest Sandoval should he be outside the country. In her radio interview, López Torres asserted that the accusations against her husband and family are based on lies and falsehoods. It’s political persecution,” López Torres said. Although the latest arrest warrants stem from a federal investigation, the ex-governor’s wife accused current Nayarit Governor Antonio Echevarría of involvement in the fabrication of accusations against her family.
Facebook Derails Russian Effort to Mislead Pro-Navalny Protesters
       
Facebook on Wednesday said it derailed a deceptive campaign to use hundreds of bogus Instagram accounts to mislead people in Russia protesting the arrest of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. The network of Instagram accounts used hashtag and location "poisoning" typically associated with spam or financial scams to drown out posts by protesters, according to Facebook global threat disruption lead David Agranovich. Some of the location tags were places where protesters planned to gather in Moscow and Saint Petersburg, Facebook said. The U.S.-based social network said its automated systems detected and disabled 530 Instagram accounts being used in the campaign. Facebook reported that 55,000 people followed one or more of the Instagram accounts.
Joe Biden, Senate Dems Want To Reduce the Number of Six-Figure Households Getting $1,400 'Relief' Checks. Progressives Are Furious.
       
President Joe Biden and Senate Democratic leaders have agreed to a compromise version of their $1.9 trillion spending bill that modestly lowers the income ceiling for receiving a $1,400 relief check. The slightly more generous spending bill passed by the House earlier this week excludes single-filers earning $100,000 or more, and couples earning $200,000. The changes, reports the Washington Post's Jeff Stein, would reduce the sticker price of the "relief" bill by about $12 billion. The idea behind restricting the number of employed, six-figure earners getting government support is to shore up the support of Senate moderates. Fretting that families pulling down six-figure incomes will suffer if they don't receive an additional $1,400 has been a mainstay of Democratic messaging on their spending bill.
Police: Live pipe bomb found at polling place in Iowa
       
Ankeny Police investigate the scene at the Lakeside Center where a suspicious package was found on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, in Ankeny, Iowa. Police later confirmed that the device was a pipe bomb. Police later confirmed that the device was a pipe bomb. (Brian Powers/The Des Moines Register via AP)ANKENY, Iowa (AP) — The discovery of a live pipe bomb at a central Iowa polling place as voters were casting ballots in a special election forced an evacuation of the building, police said. Police later confirmed in a news release that the device was a pipe bomb.
Progressives grumble but won't sink relief bill over fewer stimulus checks
       
Liberal House Democrats are grumbling over the Senate's move to reduce eligibility for stimulus checks in a COVID-19 relief package, but say they won't block the legislation when it returns to the lower chamber for a vote. House Democrats last week passed a massive $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill that included a new round of stimulus checks, providing $1,400 for individuals earning up to $75,000 annually and couples earning up to $150,000. The cash stipend would phase out, under the House bill, at income levels of $100,000 for individuals and $200,000 for couples. Liberals are furious at the change, but said it's more important to pass the massive relief package quickly than to bog down the debate over a single provision. But she, too, suggested it was not a deal-breaker for House Democrats when the chamber votes on the measure again, likely next week.
Retailers fear a return of the mask wars
       
Retailers and grocery stores are fearing a resurgence of the mask wars from earlier in the pandemic as Texas and other states start scaling back coronavirus restrictions. ADVERTISEMENT“Relaxing common-sense, non-intrusive safety protocols like wearing masks is a mistake,” said Jason Brewer, executive vice president of communications and state affairs at the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA). For that reason, experts recommend wearing a mask after being vaccinated and continuing with other protocols like physical distancing and frequent hand washing. The move by Texas and Mississippi also comes on the heels of a renewed effort by the business community to promote mask wearing, along with other mitigation steps. Scaling back mask rules at the state level also run the risk of creating challenges for vaccine distribution, industry groups warn.
Cuomo addresses harassment claims, vows to stay in office
       
In this image taken from video from the Office of the NY Governor, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference, Wednesday, March 3, 2021, in Albany, N.Y. (Office of the NY Governor via AP)In this image taken from video from the Office of the NY Governor, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference, Wednesday, March 3, 2021, in Albany, N.Y. (Office of the NY Governor via AP)ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York Gov. “I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable,” Cuomo said. The harassment allegations follow accusations that Cuomo covered up the true COVID-19 death toll on nursing home residents .
Germany places entire far-right AfD under surveillance — reports
       
Germany's Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) have placed the Alternative for Germany (AfD) under surveillance, according to local media. AfD leaders and their most offensive remarks Alice Weidel Alice Weidel generally plays the role of "voice of reason" for the far-right populists, but she, too, is hardly immune to verbal miscues. AfD leaders and their most offensive remarks Beatrix von Storch Initially, the AfD campaigned against the euro and bailouts — but that quickly turned into anti-immigrant rhetoric. AfD leaders and their most offensive remarks Andre Poggenburg Poggenburg, former head of the AfD in the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt, has also raised eyebrows with extreme remarks. AfD leaders and their most offensive remarks ... and again Gauland was roundly criticized for a speech he made to the AfD's youth wing in June 2018.
Democrats Have Decided to Send Checks to Fewer People for No Actual Good Reason
       
After being badgered to death by moderate Senate Democrats, the Biden administration has agreed to put stricter limits on who will be eligible for a relief check as part of its big COVID recovery bill. On Wednesday, Democrats said they would phase down the checks more quickly for higher earners than originally planned. Married couples who file jointly will still receive their entire check if they make up to $150,000. But payments will fall to zilch for those earning more than $160,000, down from the previous threshold of $200,000. Unsurprisingly, progressive Democrats are not pleased about this (just check any Hill reporter’s mentions right now).
Germany to spy on far-right AfD party, reports say
       
Once the AfD was seen as an insurgent force. Now support is stuck at around 10% in the polls. Being placed under surveillance for extremism makes it unlikely that the party will increase its share by winning over mainstream voters.
UN: 38 killed in ‘bloodiest day’ since coup hit Myanmar
       
More than 50 people have died since the military seized power on February 1 and many have been wounded. At least 38 people were killed in anti-coup protests in Myanmar on Wednesday, the United Nations said, in the bloodiest crackdown yet on peaceful demonstrations against a military coup. Security forces opened fire on people protesting against military rule across Myanmar, a day after neighbouring countries called for restraint and offered to help Myanmar resolve the crisis. “Another video clip showed a protester was taken away from police and they shot him from very near, maybe one metre. Myanmar Frontier reported a death toll of at least 16 pro-democracy protesters, including six people in Yangon, the country’s largest city.
Biden refused to sanction MBS over Khashoggi's murder because he doesn't want his relationship with Saudi Arabia to get worse, officials say
       
A newly declassified US intel report said the Saudi crown prince approved Jamal Khashoggi's killing. Crown Prince Mohammed in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on November 20, 2019. The Treasury Department announced sanctions against Saudi officials last Friday, but none of them targeted Crown Prince Mohammed. And in an apparent slight against Crown Prince Mohammed, Psaki said on February 16 that Biden's opposite number was not Crown Prince Mohammed, but his father, King Salman. The 85-year-old king relinquished the day-to-day running of Saudi Arabia to Crown Prince Mohammed in 2017.
Six Journalists including an AP reporter detained and charged while covering Myanmar unrest
       
Six journalists including an Associated Press reporter were detained and charged with allegedly violating a public order law while reporting on Myanmar unrest, the AP reported Tuesday. Oo represents AP journalist Thein Zaw who was covering demonstrations against the military coup in Myanmar. “Myanmar authorities must release all journalists being held behind bars and stop threatening and harassing reporters for merely doing their jobs of covering anti-coup street protests,” Committee to Protect Journalists Southeast Asia Representative Shawn Crispin said, the AP reported. “Independent journalists must be allowed to freely and safely report the news without fear of retribution,” AP Vice President for International News Ian Phillips said, the AP reported. The junta amended the law used to charge the journalists to broaden its scope and increase the maximum allowed prison time last month, the AP reported.
Turkey has stopped insulting us but action still needed, France says
       
PARIS (Reuters) - Turkey has stopped insulting France and the European Union, providing some reassurance, but ties will remain fragile until it takes concrete action, France’s foreign minister said. FILE PHOTO: France's President Emmanuel Macron gestures next to Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a photo opportunity at the NATO leaders summit in Watford, Britain December 4, 2019. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan spoke with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday as part of those efforts, their first call since September. A French diplomatic source said the two leaders had, however, had a “frank” exchange of views. “Actions are needed and we will be able to position ourselves when those actions are carried out.
Facebook took down fake Iranian, Russian networks pushing political messages around the globe
       
WASHINGTON — Facebook announced Wednesday it recently took down separate networks of fake Iranian and Russian accounts attempting to promote pro-regime messages at home and stoke divisions inside targeted countries like Israel, underscoring the persistence of foreign influence campaigns on U.S.-based social media platforms. One of the Iranian networks used fake accounts to target audiences in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel and the United Kingdom, posting memes, political cartoons and other content in Arabic, English, Pashto and Hebrew about news and domestic politics, Facebook said. FacebookFor profile pictures, Facebook said, the Russian accounts used celebrity or computer-generated photos, and the accounts appeared to have been created in bulk and purchased from a third-party broker. Facebook removed this post as part of a wider crackdown on fake Iranian and Russian accounts attempting to stoke political division. FacebookThe fake accounts were quickly detected by Facebook's automated systems and shut down, Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook's head of cybersecurity policy, told NBC News.
Congress renews gun safety push with background check bills
       
The bills introduced Tuesday in the House and Senate would extend current federal background check requirements to transactions conducted by unlicensed and private sellers. The gun safety group Giffords estimates that 22% of U.S. gun owners purchased their last firearm without completing a background check. Polling shows that more than 90% of Americans support a universal background check system. Last month, to mark the third anniversary of the Parkland shooting, Biden called for the passage of “common sense” gun safety laws. He cited a background checks bill among his top priorities.
Cuomo to stay in office amid harassment claims
       
Cuomo to stay in office amid harassment claimsBesieged by sexual harassment allegations, a somber New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he will not resign and again apologized, saying he "learned an important lesson" about his own behavior around women.
WH: 'Assessing impact' of latest Iraq base attack
       
WH: 'Assessing impact' of latest Iraq base attackThe White House is warning the U.S. may consider another military response to the latest rocket attack early Wednesday that hit an air base in western Iraq where American and coalition troops are housed.
Pentagon report: Rep. Ronny Jackson harassed staff, used alcohol on duty
       
WASHINGTON - The Pentagon has released a biting report of the conduct of Texas Republican Rep. Ronny Jackson during his tenure as White House physician in the Trump administration. The Defense Department inspector general, who released the report, said Jackson made "sexual and denigrating statements about one of his female medical subordinates to another of his subordinates." He served in the White House Medical Unit under both Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush before being elevated to the top medical position by Obama in 2013. In 2011, he was promoted to director of the White House Medical Unit. Two years later, Jackson became physician to the president in the Obama White House.
President Biden on states lifting mask mandates: 'The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking'
       
WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden on Wednesday said it's a “big mistake” for states to lift pandemic restrictions, calling it a result of "Neanderthal thinking." "The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that, `In the meantime, everyone's fine, take off your mask,'" he said. It still matters"His comments came the day after the GOP governors of Texas and Mississippi said they're lifting COVID-19 restrictions, including mask mandates. "The fact is if you want to wear a mask, you can still wear a mask," Cornyn said. "Even though it's counterintuitive," added White House COVID-19 adviser Andy Slavitt, "it's actually the most important time for people to make sure we run through the tape and finish that up."
Capitol riot could serve as inspiration for terrorism: experts
       
The successful breach of the Capitol on the Jan. 6 siege could serve as inspiration for terrorists, a group of national security officials testifying before the Senate Wednesday agreed. “We do assess that the breach on the Capitol could inspire others to act,” Smislova told the Senate. A group of national security officials testifying before the Senate Wednesday agreed that the successful breach of the Capitol on the Jan. 6 siege could serve as inspiration for terrorists. Last week, Congress heard from the acting Capitol Police chief and the acting House sergeant-at-arms, as well as their predecessors who resigned in the wake of the riot. During the acting officials’ testimony, acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman revealed that intelligence agencies have uncovered threats from far-right extremists to “blow up” the US Capitol when Biden delivers his first joint address to both houses of Congress.
Cuomo’s top female adviser, Melissa DeRosa, weighs in on sex harassment allegations
       
Andrew Cuomo’s executive staff, said Wednesday she is “incredibly proud” of the administration’s record on women’s issues, weighing in as the governor spoke in public for the first time on sexual harassment allegations against him. DeRosa stood by her longtime boss as the governor again addressed inappropriate remarks he made in the workplace, as well as accusations of inappropriate touching at the wedding of an aide. “I am incredibly proud of the work that this administration has done to further women’s rights,” said DeRosa, joining Cuomo at an Albany press briefing, his first since the scandal exploded. DeRosa specifically cited workplace protections the administration championed. Charlotte Bennett TwitterLike her boss, DeRosa on Wednesday urged New Yorkers to wait for the results of state Attorney General Letitia James’ independent probe into the allegations.
‘Tiger King’ Joe Exotic hires new legal team to file for fresh trial
       
Joe Exotic has hired a legal team that once worked the missing-husband case of his key rival, Carole Baskin — and they plan to use unaired footage from “Tiger King” to push for a new trial. Disappointed after failing to get a pardon from President Donald Trump, the reality star — whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage — confirmed Tuesday that he had hired Phillips & Hunt. “We are honored to announce that Joe has retained our firm,” his new attorney, John Phillips, said Tuesday in a video shared by the official Joe Exotic Twitter page. “We’re going to seek a new trial, and justice in the criminal and civil courts,” Philips said after flying to visit Maldonado-Passage at Fort Worth’s Federal Medical Center. “I became familiar with all things ‘Tiger King.’ For sure, I know there is material in there that will help him out,” Phillips said, without teasing possible revelations.
U.S. contractor dies as rocket attacks in Iraq pose fresh challenge to Biden
       
While similar rocket attacks have routinely been claimed by or blamed on Iran-backed militia groups, Washington is trying to blunt the tensions that soared between Washington and Tehran during President Donald Trump’s years in office. But we’re identifying who’s responsible, and we’ll make judgments from that point.”Western officials point to Biden’s response to rocket attacks on U.S. service personnel in Iraq last week as a case in point. ADADRecent attacks on U.S.-linked bases have been claimed by splinter groups that have announced themselves since the deaths of Soleimani and Muhandis. Although U.S. officials say that those groups are backed by Iran, the extent of Tehran’s control over individual attacks remains unclear. As night fell Wednesday, there was no claim of responsibility for the latest rocket attacks.
Live updates Biden blasts ‘Neanderthal thinking’ of governors who lifted covid-19 mandates in Texas, Mississippi
       
President Biden condemned on March 3 a move by Mississippi and Texas governors to end to their states’ mask mandates, saying, “These masks make a difference.” (The Washington Post)Biden on Wednesday sharply criticized the decisions by Texas Gov. … The last thing, the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking — that, 'In the meantime, everything’s fine. “I wish the heck some of our elected officials would.”On Tuesday, Abbott ended his state’s mask mandate and boasted in all-caps on Twitter that “Texas is OPEN 100%. Ahead of Biden’s remarks to reporters, White House press secretary Jen Psaki urged Americans to continue wearing masks and practicing social distancing, even as the governors of Texas and Mississippi have lifted the restrictions in their states. “We need to remain vigilant,” Psaki said at a daily press briefing.
Covid-19 live updates As states roll back restrictions, Biden slams ‘Neanderthal thinking’
       
Biden on Wednesday sharply criticized the decisions by Abbott and Mississippi Gov. … The last thing, the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking — that, 'In the meantime, everything’s fine. Forget it.’ It still matters.”Biden added that it is “critical, critical, critical” that state leaders “follow the science” and that Americans continue to wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines. “I wish the heck some of our elected officials would.”On Tuesday, Abbott ended his state’s mask mandate and boasted in all-caps on Twitter that “Texas is OPEN 100%. “We need to remain vigilant,” Psaki said at a daily news briefing.
South Carolina adds firing squad to list of execution methods
       
South Carolina senators Tuesday added a firing squad to the electric chair as alternatives if the state can’t execute condemned inmates by way of lethal injection. An inmate could choose a firing squad if they prefer. South Carolina still uses the electric chair first powered up in 1912 after taking over the death penalty from counties, which usually used hanging. South Carolina Gov. A Republican and a Democrat, both former prosecutors, proposed adding the firing squad.
Virginia county's proposed rules affecting American flag blasted as insult to Old Glory
       
In Virginia's largest county -- Fairfax, officials are considering restrictions on the size and number of flags residents and businesses can display – with no exception for the American flag. --Limit the number of flags you can fly at your home to two, including national, state, military or college flags. "There's a lot of veterans who feel very strongly about this, Democrat veterans, Republican veterans," he continued. "The proposed ordinance aims to allow residents to still fly flags proudly with reasonable guidelines, while protecting everyone's First Amendment rights." If the Planning Commission signs off on the proposal tonight, it would then go to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors next Tuesday for final approval.
Dan Gainor: Hidin' Biden – still no presidential press conference but Dems like basement strategy
       
That strategy is going strong 43 days into his presidency as he still hasn’t held a press conference. White House press secretary Jen Psaki continues to avoid topics, vowing to "circle back," while mostly giving reporters the run-around. As long as President Joe is kept out of the limelight, he can’t generate too much controversy. Only this is the anti-Trump strategy that got Biden into the White House. It was headlined: "It's long past time for Joe Biden to start taking questions from the press."
Ohio GOP Senate candidates call for their Republican governor to reopen state after COVID lockdowns
       
Former Ohio state treasurer Josh Mandel on Wednesday told Fox News that he’s "calling on Gov. TEXAS GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES PLAN TO DROP MASK MANDATE AND FULLY REOPEN BUSINESSESMandel spoke soon after issuing a statement on his push to reopen Ohio. "We intend on keeping the mask mandate," DeWine spokesman Dan Tierney said. "The governor does not intend to lift that [mask mandate] because we still need to protect Ohioans who have not had the opportunity to get the vaccine yet," Tierney added. The coronavirus restrictions implemented in Ohio have been very unpopular with many on the right.
AOC invokes Denmark in minimum wage debate — critics point out Denmark doesn't have a federal minimum wage
       
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., omitted a key detail on Wednesday while comparing the U.S. federal minimum wage to the wage paid to Danish McDonald’s workers. The New York congresswoman called the discussion around raising the federal minimum wage "utterly embarrassing" in a tweet published Tuesday night. There is one thing Ocasio-Cortez’s argument left out, though: Denmark doesn’t have a nationally mandated minimum wage. Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet came as Congress debates raising the federal minimum wage to $15. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and Tom Cotton, R-Ark., penned a joint op-ed published on FoxNews.com supporting a more modest minimum wage increase.
House Democrats' H.R. 1 would create new public financing of congressional campaigns
       
It would provide public matching funds for qualifying congressional and presidential candidates at a rate of 6:1, among many other provisions. The public match program would be funded by a new 4.75% surcharge on criminal and civil penalties and settlements that corporations pay to the U.S. government. "I'm particularly disturbed by the fact that if this bill passes, taxpayer dollars will be directly funneled to congressional candidates and campaigns," Pfluger said. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the small-dollar match program for congressional candidates would cost $1.6 billion over 10 years, the presidential candidate match program would cost $905 million, and the new $25 pilot voucher program would cost $60 million. The House bill establishes the "Freedom from Influence Fund" for public election financing only for House and presidential candidates.
Biden still hasn’t held a press conference after 43 days in office
       
President Biden has been in office for 43 days without holding an official press conference and critics have taken notice. President Trump took 28 days to take questions from the press, while President Obama did it after only 21 days in office and President George W. Bush took 34 days. White House press secretary Jen Psaki recently said, "Not yet," when asked when Biden would hold his first press conference. CNN’s Jake Tapper tweeted that "Biden’s 15 most recent predecessors all held a formal solo press conference within 33 days of taking office." Whenever Biden’s address occurs, it would be the latest Joint Session address in decades.
Biden won't deliver speech to Congress until after vote on coronavirus bill, Psaki says
       
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said President Biden will wait to address a joint session of Congress until after Congress decides on the American Rescue Plan, his coronavirus relief package. Meanwhile, as for his first address to Congress, past presidents have traditionally given a speech to Congress during their first year in office, often in February. An address to a joint session of Congress is like a State of the Union, though it technically is not called that until the president's second year in office. Bush delivered one of the earliest addresses to a joint session, taking place on Feb. 9, 1989. Former President Barack Obama delivered his address on Feb. 24, 2009; former President George W. Bush delivered his on Feb. 27, 2001; and former President Bill Clinton delivered his on Feb. 17.
President Joe Biden slams governors for lifting mask mandates, calls it 'Neanderthal thinking'
       
President Joe Biden on Wednesday slammed states that rolled back Covid-19 restrictions on businesses and rescinded mask mandates for residents, calling the moves a "big mistake." Tate Reeves, both republicans, announced Tuesday they would allow businesses to reopen at 100% capacity and lift mask mandates. "Look, I hope everybody's realized by now these masks make a difference," Biden told reporters at the White House. He added that it is "critical, critical, critical" that state officials "follow the science" and encourage Americans to continue to wear masks and follow all public health guidelines. "I know you all know that," Biden told reporters.
Few Democratic governors speak up on Cuomo sexual harassment allegations
       
Andrew Cuomo's fellow Democratic governors are speaking out about the sexual harassment claims against the New York leader. The predominantly muted response from Democratic governors shows the uncertainty surrounding Cuomo's fate in politics. Cuomo is also backed by the Democratic Governors Association, a nonprofit political advocacy group that backs many Democratic governors. "The credible allegations of sexual harassment against Governor Cuomo are reprehensible," RGA spokesman Will Reinert told CNBC. "The allegations against Governor Cuomo are serious and warrant a thorough investigation," the governor, Albert Bryan, told CNBC.
'Highly misleading at best': Dale reacts to Mike Pence's op-ed on 2020 election
       
CNN's Daniel Dale fact-checks claims former Vice President Mike Pence made in an op-ed , where he alleges that there were "voting irregularities" that took place during the 2020 US election.
China poses 'biggest geopolitical test' for the U.S., Secretary of State Blinken says
       
WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday China represented America's "biggest geopolitical test of the 21st century," saying the Asian nation was the only country with enough power to jeopardize the current international order. And we will engage China from a position of strength," Blinken said in a speech laying out the Biden administration's foreign policy vision. On trade, the administration will invest in American workers and companies and insist on a "level playing field," because "when we do, we can out-compete anyone," Blinken said. As an official during the Obama administration, Blinken himself supported the NATO military intervention in Libya, as well as policies supporting the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen. We will fight for every American job, and for the rights, protections and interests of all American workers," he said.
Pipe bomb found, safely detonated at Iowa polling location
       
Voting was interrupted for about three hours Tuesday when a pipe bomb was found outside an Iowa polling location, officials said. Authorities lifted the evacuation order and voting resumed after the device was safely detonated, but no arrests were immediately made in connection with the incident. It wasn't clear how long the device was there, as about a dozen voters had to be directed to other polling stations, Fitzgerald said. "I’m deeply concerned to learn that a pipe bomb was found at a polling place in Ankeny earlier today," she said Tuesday in a tweet. I’m deeply concerned to learn that a pipe bomb was found at a polling place in Ankeny earlier today.
Confirmation unsure for Biden health secretary nominee Xavier Becerra
       
Slideshow ( 3 images )The 14-14 party-line vote sent Becerra’s nomination to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell for further action. Becerra’s fate will depend on Senate Democrats’ ability to stick together and support him, possibly with a tie-breaking vote by Vice President Kamala Harris. “His qualifications to be HHS Secretary seem to be minimal beyond suing HHS,” said Senator Bill Cassidy, a Louisiana Republican who is also a physician. But both Crapo and Cassidy said they would work with Becerra to lower healthcare costs if he won confirmation. His opposition made it impossible for Democrats to overcome unified Senate Republican opposition to Tanden.
Iran looms over Senate hearing for Biden nominee for senior U.S. State post
       
REUTERS/Denis BalibouseWendy Sherman, who helped negotiate the international accord in 2015, promised a new approach to Iran at her Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing. Former Republican President Donald Trump withdrew from the pact in 2018. Sherman said she did not know what the administration’s ultimate Iran policy would be, but stressed that Biden was determined not to let Iran obtain a nuclear weapon. Menendez said while he supported the Biden administration’s decision to engage with Iran, any policy needed bipartisan support to succeed. She can be confirmed without Republican support, since Democrats control the Senate.
U.S. House set to pass sweeping election bill, Senate prospects unclear
       
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday is expected to pass its flagship election reform bill, which would update voting procedures and require states to turn over the task of redrawing congressional districts to independent commissions. The bill is one of many the House Democrats are voting on early in the Congress on a number of priorities, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, policing and the environment. President Joe Biden, a Democrat, has said he would sign the bill into law if it cleared both the House and the Senate. In 33 states, state legislatures control at least part of the process of drawing those maps, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. It also comes as state lawmakers in 43 states have introduced legislation to place more limits on voting, according to the Brennan Center for Justice.
Cuomo: 'I am not going to resign'
       
Andrew Cuomo is facing growing calls for his resignation after former staffer Lindsey Boylan detailed allegations of sexual harassment against him last Wednesday. | Scott Heins/Getty Images Cuomo: 'I am not going to resign'An emotional Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that he would not step down in the face of multiple accusations of sexual harassment. “I am not going to resign,” Cuomo said in his first public appearance since the accusations surfaced last week. Some top staff members have begun to leave as Cuomo's troubles mount.
House Democratic leaders press Biden for their budget chief pick
       
The three leaders were huddling on a separate issue Tuesday night when they learned Tanden's nomination had been pulled. They decided to immediately reach out to the White House, trying to get both Biden and a top aide, Steve Ricchetti, on the line. Biden said Tanden will still serve a role in his administration but did not specify the position. Both Democrats and Republicans praised Young on Tuesday during her first confirmation hearing to be deputy director. “You’ll get my support, maybe for both jobs,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told Young during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Budget Committee.
'Neanderthal thinking': Biden criticizes Texas, Mississippi for lifting mask mandates
       
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden criticized the decisions in Texas and Mississippi to roll back statewide mask mandates and other Covid-19 health guidelines as "Neanderthal thinking." We are on the cusp of being able to fundamentally change the nature of this disease because the way in which we are able to get vaccines," Biden told reporters. "The last thing we need is the Neanderthal thinking that, in the meantime, everything is fine, take off our mask, forget it," he added. Greg Abbott announced Tuesday that it was "now time to open Texas 100 percent," citing the economic impact of the virus. "It is critical, critical, critical that they follow the science," Biden said of the governors.
Cuomo apologizes amid sexual harassment claims but says he won't resign
       
Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday publicly addressed the claims of sexual harassment against him, apologizing for remarks he said "made people feel uncomfortable" but rebuffing demands that he resign. "I was elected by the people of the state of New York," Cuomo said, in his first televised remarks since the multiple claims became public. After delivering a lengthy briefing on the state of the pandemic, Cuomo turned his attention to three allegations of harassment he faces. "I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable. In a statement to NBC New York, Cuomo spokesperson Caitlin Girouard said, "There is simply no truth to these claims."
It’s back to school for Jill Biden and new education chief
       
Biden and Cardona were also visiting a Pennsylvania middle school on Wednesday. To help nudge that along, Biden said Tuesday he is pushing states to administer at least one coronavirus vaccination to every teacher, school employee and child-care worker by the end of March. He said the president’s directive that teachers and school staff be vaccinated quickly will be “my top priority.”At Benjamin Franklin Elementary School, Biden and Cardona saw kids seated some distance apart at individual desks, each one wearing a mask. Biden asked the teacher in the sensory room whether she had seen anxiety in children increasing because of the pandemic. Biden and Cardona later listened as another teacher described her transition back to in-person learning.
Hulu's New Billie Holiday Biopic Falls Short Of Capturing Her Real Story
       
Hulu's New Billie Holiday Biopic Falls Short Of Capturing Her Real StoryThough Andra Day plays the jazz legend with conviction, The United States vs. Billie Holiday fictionalizes the particulars of Holiday's life, where the real story is dramatic enough. The song is central to Hulu's new biopic, "The United States Vs. Billie Holiday." Now comes Hulu's "The United States Vs. Billie Holiday," directed by Lee Daniels from a script by playwright Suzan-Lori Parks. (SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE UNITED STATES VS. BILLIE HOLIDAY")ANDRA DAY: (As Billie Holiday, singing) Oh, love me. WHITEHEAD: In some ways, "The United States Vs. Billie Holiday" offers a corrective to "Lady Sings The Blues."
Reports: Myanmar security forces kill at least 34 protesters
       
(AP Photo)YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Myanmar security forces dramatically escalated their crackdown on protests against last month’s coup, killing at least 34 protesters Wednesday in several cities, according to accounts on social media and local news reports compiled by a data analyst. Videos from Wednesday also showed security forces firing slingshots at demonstrators, chasing them down and even brutally beating an ambulance crew. As part of the crackdown, security forces have also arrested hundreds of people, including journalists. Ignoring that appeal, Myanmar’s security forces on Wednesday continued to attack peaceful protesters. Security forces are believed to single out medical workers for arrest and mistreatment because members of the medical profession launched the country’s civil disobedience movement to resist the junta.
Senate expected to begin stimulus debate today
       
So let's chat stimulus, and its impact on Americans, as the Senate is going to be considering its version of an economic package. KRISTEN MYERS: And what kind of differences do you think are going to remain between the House and Senate bills? We know that the Senate is not going to include that minimum wage hike to $15 an hour. Where do you think we're going to be after the Senate passes their own package? Story continuesAnother change that was announced earlier today is that, under pressure from Senate Democratic moderates, the President has agreed to change the stimulus payment slightly.
New stimulus check thresholds would leave 12 million adults without payments
       
“In fact, the campaign’s cash balance is actually higher than previously listed on the campaign finance reports. In the 2016 cycle, before Donald Trump was elected, the Jordan campaign received a little over $733,000 and spent about $423,000, according to FEC records. But in 2020, they soared: he raked in $18.6 million and spent $13.2 million, and now sits on a $6 million stash. “FEC reports carry-forward financial information to subsequent reports,” he said. “The lack of a quorum of commissioners until the end of last year meant that FEC enforcement had stalled.
Andy Martino reacts to Yankees manager Aaron Boone taking leave of absence to receive pacemaker
       
The WeekDuring the campaign for the two Georgia Senate races, Joe Biden repeatedly promised to pass $2,000 stimulus checks if the Democrats won. Under pressure from moderate Senate Democrats, he has reportedly agreed to cut down the formula under which the checks will be sent out. Now the phase-out will start start in the same place but end at $80,000 for singles and $160,000 for couples. The $1,400 promise clearly implied at least that the checks would go out according to the previous formula used under Trump. "Moderation," for Senate Democrats, apparently means breaking their party's promises in the service of unpopular, pointless actions that make their president seem less generous than Donald Trump.
Rocket attack hits Iraqi air base hosting U.S.-led coalition troops
       
Ten rockets were fired at an Iraqi military base hosting U.S.-led coalition troops Wednesday, the latest in a series of rocket attacks in Iraq with this one just days before the pope is due to visit the country. Major Gen. Tahseen al-Khafaji of the Iraqi security forces told NBC News that there was no damage reported at the base. Wednesday’s rocket attack follows a U.S. airstrike last week in eastern Syria that killed one fighter in an Iranian-backed militia and wounded two others, according to the Pentagon. Story continuesNBC News has previously reported that Iranian-backed militias were most likely behind the Irbil rocket attack in February, and that the weapons and tactics resembled previous attacks by the Iranian-linked militias. However, it was unclear if Iran had encouraged or ordered the rocket attack.
10 rockets hit a base hosting US troops in Iraq, the 2nd such attack in a month
       
A US soldier at the Taji base complex, which hosts Iraqi and US troops, in 2014. ALI AL-SAADI/AFP via Getty ImagesTen rockets struck a base hosting US forces in Iraq early Wednesday. Ten rockets hit an air base in Iraq hosting US-led coalition and Iraqi troops, officials in the country said. An Iraqi military source said the attack was launched from just west of the city Baghdadi, near the base. A February 16 rocket attack on a northern Iraqi air base, used by the US military, killed a civilian contractor and injured a US soldier.
Pentagon report: Rep. Ronny Jackson harassed staff, used alcohol on duty
       
WASHINGTON - The Pentagon has released a biting report of the conduct of Texas Republican Rep. Ronny Jackson during his tenure as White House physician in the Trump administration. He served in the White House Medical Unit under both Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush before being elevated to the top medical position by Obama in 2013. Who is Ronny Jackson? In 2011, he was promoted to director of the White House Medical Unit. This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Pentagon: Rep. Ronny Jackson harassed staff, used alcohol on duty
Canadian banks raise some mortgage rates, lower others
       
Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are reserving the first doses of the new one-shot vaccine from Johnson & Johnson for teachers. Giving the vaccine to teachers and other school staff “will help protect our communities," Pennsylvania Gov. In Wisconsin, teachers will get priority when the state receives its first shipment of about 48,000 doses of the J&J vaccine, health authorities said. Pennsylvania teachers will likewise be first in line when an expected 94,000 doses of the J&J formula arrive this week. And in Massachusetts, about 400,000 teachers, child care workers and school staff will be eligible to register for vaccinations starting March 11, Gov.
South China Sea: Taiwan fires up missile tests to coincide with Beijing’s month of military drills
       
Taiwan will stage six rounds of missile tests this month along with other military drills to step up its defence capabilities, as the People’s Liberation Army conducts a month-long exercise in the South China Sea. Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China. Taiwan’s drills come as the PLA conducts a month-long exercise, which started on Monday, in a zone with a radius of 5km (3.1 miles) west of the Leizhou Peninsula in Guangdong province. Analysts said although Taiwan’s missile tests and military drills would have been scheduled well ahead of time, publicising the schedule also served as a warning to Beijing over its growing military intimidation against the self-ruled island. More from South China Morning Post:This article South China Sea: Taiwan fires up missile tests to coincide with Beijing’s month of military drills first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app.
Manhattan Beach police officer charged with sexting a juvenile
       
A Manhattan Beach police officer has been charged with sending sexually explicit messages to a juvenile whom he met when she came to the department’s headquarters to report a crime, prosecutors said Wednesday. The teenager and Cheatham met sometime in 2019, when she arrived at Manhattan Beach Police headquarters to report a crime, prosecutors said. From November 2019 to June 2020, Cheatham allegedly sent “numerous sexually explicit messages through social media sites,” according to the statement. Cheatham was hired in October 2018, according to a post on the Manhattan Beach Police Department’s Facebook page. We respectfully ask the public to keep an open mind as this case proceeds through the court process.”
N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, facing harassment probe, apologizes but vows to stay in office
       
Besieged by sexual harassment allegations, a somber New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo apologized Wednesday, saying he “learned an important lesson” about his own behavior around women, but he said he intended to remain in office. “I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable,” Cuomo said at a Wednesday news conference. Before Wednesday’s news conference, the governor last spoke to reporters during a teleconference call on Feb. 22. Cuomo started Wednesday’s news conference focusing on the latest data on the coronavirus pandemic.
Biden slams ‘Neanderthal thinking’ of lifting mask rules
       
By Betsy Klein | CNNPresident Joe Biden sharply criticized states such as Texas and Mississippi for lifting Covid-19 restrictions against pleas from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other top public health officials, accusing those in power of “Neanderthal thinking.”“I think it’s a big mistake. Look, I hope everybody’s realized by now, these masks make a difference. Greg Abbott of Texas and Tate Reeves of Mississippi to relax restrictions. “The last thing — the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime, everything’s fine, take off your mask, forget it. It still matters,” Biden said, referencing a card he keeps in his pocket with the daily death toll of the virus amid his administration’s push to get vaccines into arms.
Antioch man gets federal charge for gun discovered after police dog bit him, feds say
       
ANTIOCH — Federal prosecutors have filed a felony gun case against an Antioch man who was allegedly found with a pistol after an “altercation” with an officer that included getting bit by a police K9, court records show. He was charged this week, but the arrest happened back in December, according to court records. He recognized Jobe as someone with an active arrest warrant for violating parole. The officer took steps to arrest Jobe for the outstanding warrant. The criminal complaint doesn’t specify what kind of force police used, other than noting the K9 bit Jobe.
Man gets five years for his role in Bay Area drug trafficking ring as a teen
       
SAN FRANCISCO — A man who was 18 when he was arrested and charged with playing a “managerial” role in a multistate drug ring centered in the Tenderloin neighborhood was sentenced to five years in federal prison on Wednesday morning. The sentence for Jorge Enrique Torres-Viera, 20, was the least allowable under federal law, as he pleaded guilty to a drug distribution offense that carried a mandatory minimum of five years. Prosecutors say that the leaders of the ring included his mother and uncle — among other family — which allowed him to climb the ranks of the drug ring despite his young age. “His family connections meant that unlike other defendants before this court, (Torres-Viera) never sold drugs on the streets of San Francisco. Torres-Viera’s role including cleaning these apartments and collecting rent, according to court records.
Arizona Senate demands 2.1 million ballots and now? It has no idea what to do with them
       
For two months, the Arizona Senate has been demanding that Maricopa County turn over the 2.1 million ballots cast in the November election. In January, Senate President Karen Fann issued a third subpoena ordering the county to deliver the ballots by Jan. 13. The standoff ended last week when Superior Court Judge Timothy Thomason ordered the county to comply with the Senate subpoena. Late Monday, a lawyer for the Senate asked Maricopa County to hold off on delivering the ballots. I’m just guessing here, but maybe it’s because the Senate subpoena demanded that the ballots be delivered to 1700 W. Washington, which is the address of the Senate?
Milwaukee sergeant disciplined in Frank Jude case being considered for promotion
       
A Milwaukee police sergeant who was once accused of participating in a “code of silence” regarding the brutal 2004 beating of Frank Jude is up for promotion to lieutenant. Bradley Blum’s promotion Thursday, which would be his second in the last six years. Two commissioners still on the board, Fred Crouther and Ann Wilson, voted to approve Blum’s promotion in 2015. During the state criminal trial of three off-duty officers, Blum contradicted four other witnesses and said he never saw anyone kick or assault Jude. In a deposition for a civil case regarding the beating, Blum invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination over the course of an hour.
States rapidly expanding vaccine access as supplies surge
       
Buoyed by a surge in vaccine shipments, states and cities are rapidly expanding eligibility for COVID-19 shots to teachers, 55-and-over Americans and other groups as the U.S. races to beat back the virus and reopen businesses and schools. Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are reserving the first doses of the new one-shot vaccine from Johnson & Johnson for teachers. In Wisconsin, teachers will get priority when the state receives its first shipment of about 48,000 doses of the J&J vaccine, health authorities said. Pennsylvania teachers will likewise be first in line when an expected 94,000 doses of the J&J formula arrive this week. It’s going to make our schools get back to the business of teaching our kids,” Pennsylvania Gov.
CPS parents, organizers demand elected school board
       
Dozens of community organizers called on Mayor Lori Lightfoot to support an elected school board for Chicago Public Schools at a rally Wednesday outside City Hall where they chanted, “Who has the power? The so-called Elected Representative School Board legislation, which passed the Illinois House, died at the end of January’s lame-duck session in Springfield after senate leaders did not call it for a vote. During her mayoral run, Lightfoot campaigned on promises to support legislation creating an elected board. Jitu Brown, national director of the Journey for Justice Alliance, which pushes for research-based school improvements, said he’s fought for an elected board since 2006. Instead, his 12-year-old son attends a CPS school in Morgan Park — more than a half-hour drive from their home in Austin on the West Side.
House prepares to pass landmark voting rights, ethics bill
       
WASHINGTON — House Democrats are poised to pass a sweeping elections and ethics bill, offering it up as a powerful counterweight to voting rights restrictions advancing in Republican-controlled statehouses across the country. “Our purpose was to remove ... obstacles of participation for Democrats or Republicans,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday on the House floor. The measure, which was all but certain to pass the House in a vote expected Wednesday, has been a priority for Democrats since they won their majority in 2018. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court appeared ready to uphold voting restrictions in Arizona, which could make it harder to challenge state election laws in the future. “Democrats want to use their razor-thin majority not to pass bills to earn voters’ trust, but to ensure they don’t lose more seats in the next election,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said from the House floor on Tuesday.
Nevada parents sue baby food manufacturers
       
A group of local parents are suing four baby food manufacturers after a congressional report released last month found their products are tainted with high levels of toxic metals. (Getty Images)A group of local parents are suing four national baby food manufacturers after a congressional report released last month found their popular products are tainted with high levels of toxic metals. Had the families suing known how much toxic metal the food products contained, they would not have purchased them, the complaint argues. Similar lawsuits have been filed in states including California, New York, Illinois, Idaho, Wyoming, Texas, Colorado, Georgia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey since the congressional report was released. According to the complaint, the FDA’s maximum level of lead in bottled water is 5 ppb, but Gerber baby food contained about 48 ppb of lead and Beech-Nut baby food contained as much as 886 ppb.
Nevada on brink of reporting 5,000th COVID-19 death
       
Nevada on Wednesday reported 395 new coronavirus cases and 20 additional deaths, state data shows. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhotoNevada on Wednesday reported 395 new coronavirus cases and 20 additional deaths over the preceding day, state data shows. Updated figures posted to the Department of Health and Human Services’ coronavirus website brought state totals to 294,684 COVID-19 cases and 4,987 deaths. Two days in the past week — Sunday and Monday — saw zero new deaths reported in the state. New cases also were well above the 14-day moving average of daily recorded cases, which dropped to 281.
‘Embarrassed’ Cuomo responds to sexual misconduct claims, says no intention of stepping down
       
The appearance and mea culpa, which he said was made against the advice of his lawyers, came as lawmakers and critics call for his removal over the misconduct allegations and uproar over the administration’s withholding of data related to the number of nursing home residents who died of COVID-19.
Alcohol, drug use, possibly gangs linked to shooting at North Sea house party, police say
       
Detectives investigating the shooting at an East End house party that left three wounded early Tuesday said alcohol and drug use, as well as potential gang affiliations, may have all played a role in the escalation to gunfire. Southampton Town police said Wednesday it now appears that about 40 people, mostly male, were at the rented house at 26 Long Springs Rd. in North Sea, along with "six to eight dancers," when gunfire erupted around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday. Police said all took themselves to a hospital, with one of the men then being airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital for treatment. Police said the house had been rented for one night though VRBO, in violation of Town Code, which prohibits single-day rentals.
4 candidates file to replace East Portland lawmaker accused of harassment
       
Four people are vying to fill the seat vacated by Rep. Diego Hernandez, who is resigning later this month from the state House of Representatives after women accused him of harassment. In November 2020, Hernandez easily won reelection even though he only spent $16,000 on his campaign and independent investigators hired by the Legislature were looking into allegations he sexually harassed women. The third-term Democratic lawmaker, once considered a rising star of his party, had faced allegations of harassment for months. She chairs the David Douglas School Board and worked as policy adviser to former Portland Commissioner Steve Novick, then to Mayor Ted Wheeler. She ran unsuccessfully for a Portland City Council seat in 2018 and worked as advocacy director and a registered lobbyist for the group Communities of Color.
Facebook lifts ban on US political, social issue ads
       
Barbara OrtutayAssociated PressFacebook says it is lifting its ban on political and social-issue ads put in place after the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Political candidates, groups and others will be able to place ads on Facebook and Instagram beginning on Thursday. Facebook halted U.S. political ads when the polls closed on Nov. 3, an extension of an earlier restriction on new political ads in the week leading up to Election Day. “We’ve heard a lot of feedback about this and learned more about political and electoral ads during this election cycle,” the company said in a blog post Wednesday. “As a result, we plan to use the coming months to take a closer look at how these ads work on our service to see where further changes may be merited.”Twitter has banned political ads permanently.
Trump weighs 2024 White House run without Mike Pence, allies say
       
“President Trump hasn’t made any decisions regarding a potential 2024 run, but the buried lede here is that the media can’t stop talking about him,” Trump adviser Jason Miller said. While Trump didn’t formally announce his candidacy at CPAC on Sunday, his first public appearance since leaving office on Jan. 20, he hinted at another bid. The former vice president is himself considered a top-tier potential candidate in 2024. A Harvard-Harris poll conducted Feb. 23-25 found that 42% of Republican voters preferred Trump as their 2024 nominee, compared to 18% for Pence, who placed second. Without Trump, Pence led the field with the support of 36% of Republican voters, followed by Texas Senator Ted Cruz at 13%.
Upton, Biden meet to discuss ways to fight cancer
       
Washington — President Joe Biden met with Michigan Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, and a bipartisan group of members of Congress on Wednesday to discuss pathways to end cancer. Biden's son Beau died from brain cancer at age 46 in 2015, while Biden was serving as vice president to then-President Barack Obama. Biden and Upton then worked with Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colorado, to pass a $6.3 billion package in 2016 that would fund research on cancer and other diseases, fight the opioid epidemic and expedite government reviews of pharmaceuticals. Upton has said he and Biden have had a "strong working relationship" since their collaboration on the 2016 cancer legislation known as the 21st Century Cures Act. Described as a "moonshot" effort to cure cancer, the legislation provided a boost in funding for the National Institutes of Health, including $1.8 billion for cancer initiatives.
Whitmer makes case for $300M in bridge repairs in proposed 2022 budget
       
Gretchen Whitmer Wednesday made a case for Michigan bridge repairs in her proposed $67.1 billion 2022 budget. She said there were more than 500 support beams added to the bridge in the last few years as a stopgap. In 2020, Whitmer announced plans to borrow up to $3.5 billion over the next four years to pay for road repairs. And this past fall, the state closed on an $800 million bond issue as one of the first installments of the $3.5 billion plan. The $3.5 billion in bonds is expected to cost about $5.2 billion if repaid through $206.6 million annual debt service payments over 25 years.
Arizona Republicans target Democrat in defamation lawsuit
       
PHOENIX (AP) — Two Republican politicians in Arizona have sued Democratic state Rep. Charlene Fernandez, alleging defamation after she signed a letter with other lawmakers urging the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate their possible connections to the riot at the U.S. Capitol. Rep. Mark Finchem and former Rep. Anthony Kern have said they were outside the Capitol on Jan. 6, when rioters disrupted the certification of the presidential election. Both politicians have denied any wrongdoing. Fernandez, who lives in Yuma, and the rest of the state House and Senate Democratic caucuses signed the letter and sent it Feb. 12 to FBI Director Christopher Wray and acting Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen asking for help determining the possible roles of Finchem, Kern and other Republicans in the riot. Finchem and Kern claimed in the lawsuit filed Friday in Yuma County Superior Court that the letter was a smear and that Fernandez “baselessly” accused them of the “highest possible crimes against the Government of the United States.”
Idaho Senate OKs plan for lawmakers to call special sessions
       
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The Senate on Wednesday approved a new version of a constitutional amendment allowing the part-time Idaho Legislature to call itself into session. Special sessions would be limited to topics defined ahead of lawmakers going into the session. A previous version of the measure cleared the House but ran into problems in the Senate, in part, because special sessions would not have had limits on topics. Idaho is one of 14 states where only the governor can call a special legislative session, and the sessions are limited to topics defined ahead of the sessions. The proposed constitutional amendment stems from lawmaker dissatisfaction with restrictions — and their inability to do anything about them — that Republican Gov.
Minister, LGBT advocate plans bid for NC Rep. Cawthorn seat
       
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A western North Carolina county commissioner and LGBT activist announced on Wednesday that she would seek to unseat first-term GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn next year. Beach-Ferrara, a Buncombe County commissioner since 2012, is a United Church of Christ minister and founder of the Campaign for Southern Equality. The group pressed for legalizing same-sex marriage in Southern states and nationwide in the 2010s. The state's congressional map will be redrawn in time for the 2022 elections. There is no requirement that a candidate live in the U.S. House district for which the person is seeking the seat.
GOP takes aim at Biden's health care pick on abortion rights
       
Perceptions changed after Becerra was appointed California attorney general in 2017. “What I just see is his getting involved in way too many abortion cases,” said Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats for Life of America. Yes, the laws were bad in California, but he has an abortion agenda.”Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., echoed those views. As attorney general, "you spent an inordinate amount of time and effort suing pro-life organizations,” he said, questioning Becerra recently. Because I think the majority of the American people would not want their secretary of Health and Human Services focused or fixated on expanding abortion when we got all of these public health issues to deal with.”
Facebook lifts ban on US political, social issue ads
       
Facebook says it is lifting its ban on political and social-issue ads put in place after the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Political candidates, groups and others will be able to place ads on Facebook and Instagram beginning on Thursday. Facebook halted U.S. political ads when the polls closed on Nov. 3, an extension of an earlier restriction on new political ads in the week leading up to Election Day. “We’ve heard a lot of feedback about this and learned more about political and electoral ads during this election cycle,” the company said in a blog post Wednesday. “As a result, we plan to use the coming months to take a closer look at how these ads work on our service to see where further changes may be merited.”Twitter has banned political ads permanently.
State legislation requiring schools to reopen remains largely unchanged as it advances
       
Proposed state legislation that would require Kentucky schools to reopen to some form of in-person instruction by the end of March advanced to the Senate Wednesday without largescale changes demanded by some parents. Black families in JCPS are less likely to feel comfortable sending their children back to in-person instruction compared to white families. All three of the school board members who voted against JCPS' reopening plan said it did not do enough to help disadvantaged students. More: JCPS is reopening schools. Their kids attend an in-person learning hub based in a JCPS school, where they are "babysat" instead of taught.
Judge grants temporary injunction on bills limiting Gov. Andy Beshear's COVID-19 powers
       
FRANKFORT — A judge ordered a temporary injunction Wednesday blocking the implementation of three bills passed by the Kentucky General Assembly in January that limited Gov. Andy Beshear's power to enact emergency orders and regulations to slow the spread of COVID-19. Beshear filed the lawsuit shortly after the legislature overrode his vetoes House Bill 1, Senate Bill 1 and Senate Bill 2 on Feb. 2, with Shepherd granting a partial and temporary injunction on HB 1 the next day. Senate Bill 2 gives legislative committees more oversight and control over emergency administrative regulations the governor enacts, also with a 30-day expiration. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today at the top of this page.
Biden blasts Texas, Mississippi over lifting COVID restrictions as 'Neanderthal thinking'
       
President Joe Biden on Wednesday blasted states like Texas that are planning to lift COVID restrictions, saying such a move is a "big mistake." Greg Abbott said Tuesday that he was lifting the state's face mask mandate and would allow businesses to fully reopen on March 10. Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announced similar moves. Biden at the White House said "masks make a difference" and said "the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking."
Trans prisoners’ needs 'cannot come at a cost to the safety' of female inmates, former prison governors warn
       
Trans prisoners’ needs “cannot come at a cost to the safety” of female inmates, a coalition of prison governors, barristers and academics have warned. The controversial comments come after a judicial review was held at the High Court this week over the Ministry of Justice's (MoJ) policy of placing trans women in women's prisons. The current policy is being challenged by a prisoner, who cannot be identified and is known only as FDJ, who claims she was sexually assaulted behind bars in 2017. FDJ claims that she was sexually assaulted in prison by a trans woman, known as J, who had convictions for "serious sexual offences against women". J was being housed in the general population of a women's prison.
NY Governor Cuomo says he is 'embarrassed' by harassment allegations but will not resign
       
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, in his first public briefing since a string of sexual harassment allegations were made against him, apologised to the women but said he had no plans to resign. A solemn-looking Mr Cuomo addressed the allegations after a week-long absence, saying he was “embarrassed” and regretful of some of his past behaviour with women. Asked a question about a photograph which showed him holding accuser Anna Ruch at a wedding in 2019, Mr Cuomo replied: “I understand the feelings of Ms Ruch. You can find hundreds of pictures of me making the same gesture with hundreds of people: women, men, children. You can find hundreds of pictures of me kissing people, it’s my customary way of greeting.
Rishi Sunak's Budget used John McDonnell's ideas, says Jeremy Corbyn
       
Jeremy Corbyn has accused Rishi Sunak of stealing the economic policies of his hard-Left Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell for Wednesday's Budget. Many of Mr Sunak's announcements, including the relocation of civil servants to the North of England, were policy proposals in Labour's 2019 manifesto, the party's former leader Mr Corbyn said. "The Chancellor had obviously read quite a lot of my friend [Mr McDonnell's] proposals before the last election, in which he pointed out that he wanted to move jobs to the North," Mr Corbyn told the Commons. He said it was Mr McDonnell who had originally proposed that the UK create a furlough scheme and bring about a Green Industrial Revolution, which he said was similar to Mr Sunak's policies to create green jobs. Mr Corbyn said Mr McDonnell had "sent substantial papers to the Treasury" proposing a furlough scheme last year, while the Government's proposal to increase corporation tax to 25 per cent by 2023 is only slightly less than Mr Corbyn's proposal of 26 per cent, which he campaigned for at the last election.
The key allegations Nicola Sturgeon faces - and what she said to rebut them
       
Charge 1: Lying to parliamentMs Sturgeon has been accused of misleading Holyrood several times - a resignation matter if done deliberately. She has told Holyrood that she did not know about the allegations facing Mr Salmond until April 2, 2018, when he told her about them in her home. Ms Sturgeon admitted she understood scepticism around her claims to have forgotten the March meeting but insisted this was true. Charge 2: Wasting public moneyWhen Mr Salmond finally won his judicial review in January 2019, a judge said that the civil service investigation against him had been “tainted by apparent bias”. Ms Sturgeon faces the claim that the Scottish Government ignored legal advice and continued fighting the case, adding to taxpayers' costs, despite knowing chances of success were slim.
Rishi Sunak rejects 'pork barrel politics' claim over £1bn regeneration fund
       
Rishi Sunak rejected claims of "pork barrel politics" on Wednesday night as it emerged that 40 of the 45 constituencies to benefit from a £1 billion regeneration fund are Tory seats. The Chancellor said the criteria for awarding the money were based on economic need and transparent, with public details provided. Mr Sunak also faced Labour criticism over another £4.8 billion levelling up fund that prioritised his constituency of Richmond, in North Yorkshire, and those of four other Cabinet ministers. "What we're interested in is making sure that wherever you grow up, wherever you happen to live, that this Government is helping to provide opportunity for you and creating jobs in your area," he said. "I firmly believe that, whether it's a levelling up fund or our freeports initiative or any of the other things we're doing, that we are delivering and making good on that promise."
Facebook to allow US political adverts after four-month ban
       
Facebook will lift its ban on political advertising in the United States on Thursday, ending a four-month blockade that began just after November's contentious election. The ban was briefly lifted on December 15 for adverts relating to January's run-off election for Georgia's two US Senate seats, but re-imposed it afterwards. On Wednesday, Facebook said: "We’re resuming political, electoral and social issue ads in the United States on Thursday, March 4. The lifting of the ban was first revealed by Politico, which cited emails from Facebook to its political advertisers. Facebook's broad definition of "political" advertising in the US had also caught charities, campaigners and publishers of political books.
Telling the truth – the radical centrepiece of Rishi Sunak's plan for recovery revealed
       
At times there were echoes of a shiny-suited Chris Tarrant on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Amid the whirlwind of new announcements, even taxation hawks barely noticed the vortex of fiscal drag swirling around them. He was glad corporation tax wasn’t rising immediately, glad it was eventually. One minute he was lamenting Government tax hikes, the next portraying the Chancellor as some kind of Bryllcreamed, besuited, latter-day Ayn Rand. Up he stood, glowering and bristling at “a budget that completely fails to take responsibility for the b******s they’ve made of Brexit”.
Canadian 'incel' found guilty of murder over Toronto van attack that killed 10 people
       
A self-described "incel" who drove a van into a crowded Toronto pavement in 2018 in one of Canada's worst attacks was found guilty of murdering 10 people and attempting to kill 16 others on Wednesday. Alek Minassian, 28, faces a minimum of 25 years but could be given consecutive terms for each murder conviction later this month, effectively a life sentence. During the trial, prosecutors argued Minassian was motivated by his hatred of women after becoming radicalised by an online community of like-minded men who described themselves as "incels" or "involuntary celibates" and whose sexual frustrations led them to embrace a misogynist ideology. Minassian told police that he had been inspired by other "incels" who had used violence as a form of retribution for being spurned by women. The attacker's defence team had argued Minassian was unable to distinguish right from wrong because of his autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
South Park vaccination special: Cartman weaponises social distancing in vaccination special trailer
       
A new trailer has been unveiled for an upcoming South Park vaccination special. Independent Culture Newsletter The best in film, music TV & radio straight to your inbox every week Please enter your email address Please enter a valid email address Please enter a valid email address SIGN UP Thanks for signing up to the Independent Culture newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy notice Independent Culture Newsletter The best in film, music TV & radio straight to your inbox every week Thanks for signing up to the Independent Culture newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. For the occasion, South Park – the fictional Colorado town where the programme is set – has been renamed South ParQ. Even the name of the South Park YouTube channel has been changed to South ParQ Studios.
Restaurant owner sued by 17 female staff members ‘for taking up-skirt photos with cameras on his shoes’
       
Seventeen women have filed a lawsuit against a restaurant owner in Illinois, who has been accused of using covert cameras on his shoes to secretly film “up-skirt” videos of female employees. Michael Papandrea, 59, in police custody ((Illinois State Police))The restaurant owner has been accused of using covert cameras located on his shoes to take the up-skirt videos and is scheduled in court on 22 April to face 17 charges related to the alleged footage. Disbelief.”Please enter your email address Please enter a valid email address Please enter a valid email address SIGN UP Thanks for signing up to the News newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy notice Thanks for signing up to the News newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. The attorney said that more women might soon join the lawsuit and urged former employees of Mr Papandrea to come forward with any concerns.
War crime allegations in Palestinian territories to be investigated by International Criminal Court
       
An investigation into alleged war crimes in the Palestinian territories has been launched by the International Criminal Court (ICC). Nearly a month after the court ruled that it did have the necessary jurisdiction, a formal inquiry has been launched. The ICC's outgoing prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, said her office had carried out a "painstaking preliminary examination" lasting "close to five years". Predictably, like February's announcement about jurisdiction, Wednesday's development was welcomed by the Palestinian Authority (PA), but rejected by Jerusalem. Ms Bensouda has reportedly also vowed to look into the actions of Hamas, which fired rockets indiscriminately into Israel during the 2014 war.
Dr. Fauci donated his personal 3-D model of coronavirus to the Smithsonian
       
Dr. Anthony Fauci donated his personal 3-D model of the coronavirus to the Smithsonian National Museum of American on Tuesday as part of a ceremony honouring him with the museum’s Great Americans Medical. Mr Fauci, director of the Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, chief medical adviser to the White House, and in many ways the public face of the public health response to Covid, called the award “extraordinary and humbling”. “This has been a terrible year in so many respects,” he said during a ceremony on Tuesday, which, owing to the pandemic, was done virtually. The collection for the show already includes a photo of a New York man wearing a ‘Fauci’ T-shirt. Read our privacy notice Thanks for signing up to the News newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent.
Conservation officer fired for refusing to kill two orphaned bear cubs in 2015 sues to get job back
       
A former Canadian conservation officer who was fired for refusing to kill two orphaned bear cubs in 2015 has sued to get his job back. Casavant was subsequently fired from his position for refusing an order and despite being terminated, he is suing to get his job back. Scroll down for videoCanadian conservation officer, Bryce Casavant (left and right), who was fired for refusing to kill two orphaned bear cubs in 2015 has reportedly sued to get his job backLast year, Casavant won a lengthy legal fight over his dismissal. 'Instead of complying with the kill order, he took the cubs to a veterinarian who assessed them and transferred them to the North Island Recovery Centre. Meanwhile, the two cubs Casavant refused to kill were rehabilitated and named Jordan and Athena.
Rep. Ronny Jackson wanted aide to film him eating fertilzed bird eggs on Manila trip
       
One witness recalled seeing Jackson drinking in the hotel lobby almost immediately after arriving in Manila. Witnesses 'observed RDML Jackson drink four to six alcoholic beverages in addition to what he already consumed before arriving,' according to the report. Jackson and two witnesses 'returned to their hotel where RDML Jackson and Manila Witness 1 planned to eat balut in RDML Jackson’s room. It said the investigation was hampered by the Trump administration which insisted interviews with White House Medical Unit staff could only be conducted in the presence of White House counsel. Prior to working as the White House physician Jackson also worked in the White House medical unit under the George W. Bush administration.
Biden says Texas and Mississippi reopening is a 'big mistake'
       
AdvertisementPresident Joe Biden called it a 'big mistake' for Texas and Mississippi to reopen completely amid the coronavirus pandemic, referring to the decisions in the Oval Office as 'neanderthal thinking'President Joe Biden has blasted the Republican governors of Texas and Mississippi for dropping mask mandates and fully reopening their states before their populations are vaccinated against COVID-19. 'I think it's a big mistake,' Biden said on Wednesday in the Oval Office. Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves immediately followed suit announcing he is rolling back all county mask mandates and removing statewide restrictions on all businesses from today. Asked about the reopenings in Mississippi and Texas, Psaki pointed Biden's push for Americans to wear masks for his first 100 days in office. 'I wish Texas, Mississippi and others state would just hold off another little bit.
Armenian opposition leader probed for inciting violence
       
Armenian investigators said a criminal case had been opened after opposition leader Vazgen Manukyan (pictured December 2020) had urged supporters to join protests and called on the army to rebelAdvertising Read moreYerevan (AFP)Armenian investigators said Wednesday that opposition leader Vazgen Manukyan had been charged with making calls to overthrow the constitutional order after he urged the army to rebel against the current leader. Manukyan, a 75-year-old veteran politician who has been put forward by the opposition to replace Pashinyan, has been ordered to report to investigators on Thursday morning. "Charges have been filed against Vazgen Manukyan," Armenia's Investigative Committee said in a statement released to AFP, adding he was accused of inciting violence and making calls overthrow the constitutional order. Last week Pashinyan defied calls to resign and accused the military of an attempted coup. In 1990-1991, Manukyan was post-Soviet Armenia's first prime minister and also served as defence minister in 1992-1993.
EU warns UK over delayed N.Ireland food checks
       
Graffiti in a loyalist area of south Belfast, Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis triggered the dispute by announcing that London will delay from April until October 1 a grace period under which food and farm products can flow to Northern Ireland from mainland Britain without customs inspections. That referred to a previous attempt by London -- later dropped -- to override the protocol in the Withdrawal Agreement relating to Northern Ireland. Sefcovic said he would press the EU's objections in a phone call later Wednesday with Britain's Brexit minister David Frost. Brussels had agreed the initial grace period, which was to end in April, to allow Northern Ireland supermarkets time to work out new supply chains.
Austria ex-minister who danced with Putin gets Rosneft nomination
       
In 2018, Karin Kneissl, then Austria's foreign minister, made headlines when she invited Putin to her wedding and danced with him. Kneissl has been nominated to the Rosneft board as an independent director, said a government decree released on Wednesday. If Rosneft's shareholders approve her nomination, she will join former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, who has served as board chairman since 2017. Rosneft, Russia's biggest oil producer, is headed by Igor Sechin, one of Putin's most loyal allies. After a number of EU countries in 2018 expelled Russian diplomats over the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in the UK, Austria said it would not follow, stressing its neutrality.
Antony Blinken says China poses 21st century’s greatest geopolitical challenge
       
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks about the foreign policy priorities for the Biden administration on Wednesday.
Trump Served With Civil Rights Suit After Capitol Riot
       
Attorneys for Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and the NAACP have served former President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago club with a lawsuit filed against him in February. Thompson and the NAACP filed suit against Trump alleging that his incendiary rhetoric and false claims of a “stolen” election amounted to a conspiracy to interfere with civil rights by inciting the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. Trump advisers did not immediately provide comment on who, if anyone, at this point is representing the former president for this lawsuit. When Trump was served, it was merely signed for by a “Ricky,” according to the court document. Johnson dismissed the suits against Campbell and Verizon but has appealed a federal judge’s dismissal of his suit against The Huffington Post.
Biden criticizes Texas and Mississippi for lifting restrictions: 'Neanderthal thinking'
       
(CNN) President Joe Biden sharply criticized states such as Texas and Mississippi for lifting Covid-19 restrictions against pleas from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other top public health officials, accusing those in power of "Neanderthal thinking." Greg Abbott of Texas and Tate Reeves of Mississippi to relax restrictions. "The last thing -- the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime, everything's fine, take off your mask, forget it. "It's critical -- critical, critical, critical -- that they follow the science: Wash your hands, hot water, do it frequently. And I know you all know that.
Ban on no-knock raids should pass Kentucky legislature with bipartisan majorities
       
For years before her death, I have been advocating an end to no-knock raids. I introduced legislation to end no-knock raids and cheered when the Metro Council voted unanimously to end these raids. I cheered, though, not just for the memory of Breonna, but with the understanding that ending no-knock raids will also save the lives of police. 'Deadly serious':NAACP leaders, Beshear encourage COVID-19 vaccine receptivenessBoth parties now understand that no-knock raids are a danger to the community and to the police. Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers has introduced legislation to ban no-knock raids throughout the state.
House Democrats Argue Republicans Lack Standing to Sue Because They Are Doing the Very Thing They Claim Is Illegal
       
An attorney representing House Democrats on Wednesday said Republicans lacked standing in their lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the House proxy voting rule because they’ve repeatedly utilized the rule when it suits their needs. Their letters say they were unable to physically attend the vote due to "the ongoing public health emergency." House Republicans complained about the use of proxy voting allowing Members to cast their vote remotely when COVID made traveling to Washington unsafe. A district court judge dismissed the initial lawsuit in August, reasoning that the judicial branch did not have the authority to review the rule because its function was strictly legislative, but House Republicans appealed to the circuit court. Read below for House Democrats’ letter to the court:3 3 2021 House Letter Dc Circuit Mark Green by Law&Crime on Scribd[image via YouTube]Have a tip we should know?
South Dakota Legislative Leaders Seek to Suspend Impeachment of Attorney General
       
(Reuters) - Leaders of South Dakota's legislature said on Tuesday they would push to suspend impeachment action against Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg over his conduct in a fatal car crash until criminal charges lodged against him are resolved. Governor Kristi Noem demanded the resignation of Ravnsborg, a fellow Republican facing three misdemeanor charges in the accident. A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced an impeachment resolution in the state's Republican-controlled House of Representatives. In a joint statement on Tuesday, House Speaker Spencer Gosch and other legislative leaders called for halting impeachment proceedings at least until "the courts have concluded their business" in the case. The suspension was expected to be adopted by a House committee as an amendment to the impeachment resolution on Wednesday.
Senate GOP will force clerks to read bill to delay COVID relief vote
       
Democrats on Wednesday were grumbling over the prospect of having to factor an additional 10 hours of floor time into passing the bill. Any senator can force a reading of a bill on the floor but the formality is almost always skipped by unanimous consent to avoid wasting time. A Republican senator said Johnson will force a reading of the Senate substitute, which will include several changes compared to the 630-page House passed-relief bill. First Black secretary of Senate sworn in Republican Ohio Senate candidate calls on GOP rep to resign over impeachment vote MORE (D-N.Y.). Democrats have removed both projects from the Senate version of the bill.
National Guard troops defending Capitol say they’ve been made sick by eating raw chicken, mouldy bread, and metal shavings
       
National Guard troops stationed at the US Capitol have complained that they are being made ill after being served undercooked meat and meals containing metal shavings. The sergeant also claimed the troops, some of whom he said have been hospitalised after eating the food provided for them, were also served mouldy bread and food containing metal shavings. Please enter your email address Please enter a valid email address Please enter a valid email address SIGN UP Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy notice Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. And of that, in 0.01 per cent we’ve discovered the appearance of undercooked meals,” the spokesperson said.
Myanmar army tells U.N. it is ready to weather sanctions, isolation, envoy says
       
Protesters lie on the ground after police open fire to disperse an anti-coup protest in Mandalay, Myanmar, March 3, 2021. REUTERS/StringerU.N. special envoy on Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, said 38 people died on Wednesday - the most violent day since the coup - as the military quelled protests. Schraner Burgener is due to brief the U.N. Security Council on Friday. “The answer was: ‘We are used to sanctions, and we survived’,” she told reporters in New York. “I hope that they recognize that it’s not only an internal affair, it hits the stability of the region,” Schraner Burgener said of China and Russia.
AP journalist charged in Myanmar
       
An Associated Press reporter and five other journalists are facing up to three years in prison after authorities in Myanmar arrested and charged them with violating a public order law. The Associated Press reports that one of its journalists Thein Zaw, 32, was arrested while covering the anti-coup protests in Yangon, Myanmar's largest city. Tin Zar Oo, an attorney representing Thein Zaw, told the AP that the journalists have been charged under a law that punishes those who cause public fear, knowingly spread false information or agitate criminal offense against a government employee. Reporters from Myanmar Now, Myanmar Photo Agency, 7Day News, Zee Kwet online news and one freelance reporter were also arrested, according to the AP. Dozens of deaths have been reported since the protests began, with security forces opening fire on demonstrators.
ICC opens investigation into war crimes in Palestinian territories
       
The international criminal court has launched an investigation into alleged war crimes in the Palestinian territories, including the period covered by the 2014 Gaza war, potentially placing hundreds of Israelis – including soldiers and senior political figures – at risk of prosecution. The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, added: “The decision of the international court to open an investigation against Israel today for war crimes is absurd. Of course it doesn’t say a word against Iran and Syria, and other tyrannical regimes, frequently committing real war crimes,” he said. The inquiry will also look at whether rocket fire by Hamas and other groups from Gaza amounts to war crimes. Hazem Qassem, a Hamas spokesperson in Gaza, told Reuters: “We welcome the ICC decision to investigate Israeli occupation war crimes against our people.
Israel accuses Iran of link to oil spill off its shores
       
TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Israel accused Iran on Wednesday of being linked to a recent oil spill off its shores that caused major ecological damage, calling the incident environmental terrorism. FILE PHOTO: A clump of tar is seen on the sand after an offshore oil spill drenched much of Israel's Mediterranean shoreline with tar, at a beach in Ashdod, southern Israel February 21, 2021. “Iran is (conducting) terrorism by damaging the environment, and (when) Iran is damaging the environment it isn’t just hurting the state of Israel,” Gamliel said. ECOLOGICAL DISASTERThe oil spill blackened beaches up and down the Israeli coast, and clumps of sticky black tar have washed up on the shores of south Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, as well. The ship tracking data did not show any destinations in Iran, though it is common for vessels to conceal their movements there.
Facebook took down fake Iranian, Russian networks pushing political messages around the globe
       
WASHINGTON — Facebook announced Wednesday it recently took down separate networks of fake Iranian and Russian accounts attempting to promote pro-regime messages at home and stoke divisions inside targeted countries like Israel, underscoring the persistence of foreign influence campaigns on U.S.-based social media platforms. One of the Iranian networks used fake accounts to target audiences in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel and the United Kingdom, posting memes, political cartoons and other content in Arabic, English, Pashto and Hebrew about news and domestic politics, Facebook said. FacebookFor profile pictures, Facebook said, the Russian accounts used celebrity or computer-generated photos, and the accounts appeared to have been created in bulk and purchased from a third-party broker. Facebook removed this post as part of a wider crackdown on fake Iranian and Russian accounts attempting to stoke political division. FacebookThe fake accounts were quickly detected by Facebook's automated systems and shut down, Nathaniel Geicher, Facebook's head of cybersecurity policy, told NBC News.
Michigan lawmakers slam "highly inadequate" food given to National Guardsmen still protecting the Capitol
       
As a result, he said, the 983 members of the state's National Guard still protecting the Capitol were often forced to purchase food with their own money. "Since January 6, there have been no National Guard members hospitalized because of illness from food. "The National Guard continues to closely monitor the quality and safety of meals provided to its personnel." Approximately one-fifth of the National Guard troops still working within the Capitol perimeter are from Michigan, CBS affiliate WUSA9 reported. All National Guard troops will leave Capitol grounds by March 12, the outlet said.
15 Minutes: Kyle Villemain, Founder of The Assembly
       
× Expand Courtesy of the subject Kyle Villemain of The Assembly. It’s a digital, statewide magazine about people, institutions, and ideas in North Carolina that launched last month. We think North Carolinians want that kind of magazine-style writing you can read about national figures—and that kind of reporting should be done here. There is a lot of innovation in North Carolina around journalism, but a lot is city-specific, like the INDY, or Axios Charlotte, or there are industry-specific outlets like Business North Carolina, EdNC, or North Carolina Health News. It gives us a broad perspective, and we found a good response [from] folks who want that kind of reporting.
Placing the Proud Boys on Canada’s Terrorism List Is a Threat to the Left
       
Civil Liberties Matter Following 9/11, the extensive exploitation of relaxed civil liberties was used as a pretext to engage in egregious human rights abuses. Because of a street-fighting division of the Proud Boys, nuance is required in parsing the case of the organization. Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes, getting a kick out of Chapman’s actions, invited Chapman to join the club. Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio claims that Chapman left in 2017 to form “his own thing.” He applied to rejoin in October 2020 but was rejected. What is very clear is that even if McInnes and his Proud Boys say they weren’t initially interested in the alt-right or street fighting, the street-fighting alt-right were very much interested in the Proud Boys.
Video: Tenant Organizers Protest the Re-opening of Housing Court
       
Tens of thousands of New Yorkers have been unable to cover rent due to the pandemic and the economic crisis it has caused. Members of a variety of tenants’ organizations — including Crown Heights Tenant Union, Brooklyn Eviction Defense, Cosecha, DSA Housing Working Group, Met Council on Housing and and the PSL — rallied at Brooklyn Housing Court calling for cancellation of the rents. Although the demonstrators tried to enter both Brooklyn Housing Court and Brooklyn Borough Hall, they were barred from doing so by a phalanx of police officers. It would work very much like the rent relief program that was rolled out over the summer. A note to our readers: Although the housing court has reopened, tenants can file hardship forms through May 1st and likely won’t have to pay rent until then.
Alicia Garza on the Problem of Celebrity in Social Movements
       
Technology and the rise of social media have made that question even more complex, shifting our understanding of leadership — and the responsibilities of a leader. A platform in King’s day might have been a church congregation, whereas today a platform could be a social media page. Every actor within a social movement has a role to play and contributions to offer that at some point should be recognized. Black Lives Matter started as a hashtag and then grew into a series of social media pages that connected people online. It doesn’t matter how many people follow me on social media if I am not moving them to do something amazing together offline.
The Tide of Feminist Organizing Is Rising in Chile
       
Interview by Claudia KorolKarina Nohales and Alondra Carrillo are two of the most prominent members of the Chilean 8M Feminist Coordinating Committee (Coordinadora Feminista 8 de Marzo, or CF8M). The group, formed in the midst of Latin America’s powerful feminist wave, has become a leading presence on the Chilean left, especially after the revolts of October 2019 shook Chile to its core. Even with those misgivings, the results of the October 2020 plebiscite have drawn social movements like the CF8M into the heart of the constitutional process. This unexpected turn of events led the once-skeptical social movements to embrace the constitutional process as a vital arena of social transformation. Karina and Alondra are today candidates for the Constituent Assembly, the body responsible for rewriting the Chilean constitution.
Steve Cobble Was an Architect of Hope
       
Subscribe to The Nation Subscribe now for as little as $2 a month! Subscribe to The Nation Subscribe now for as little as $2 a month! Subscribe to The Nation Subscribe now for as little as $2 a month! When Steve Cobble unexpectedly passed away last week at the age of 69, we lost a giant and a dearly beloved brother. After my 1988 campaign, Cobble served as political director of the Rainbow Push Coalition and remained my personal adviser and strategist.
Bernie Is Right: We Shouldn’t Let the Senate Parliamentarian Block a $15 Minimum Wage
       
He has promised to force a vote on the $15 minimum wage this week. While $15 an hour still isn’t really enough to live on, it would more than double the current minimum wage. Even so-called deficit hawks, who oppose greater government spending on principle, should be behind a minimum wage hike. For the duration of Barack Obama’s presidency, the value of the minimum wage plummeted, when adjusted for inflation. The point here is not that Republicans care a great deal about helping minimum wage workers — they don’t.
Democrats Need to Hold Andrew Cuomo Accountable
       
Subscribe to The Nation Subscribe now for as little as $2 a month! Subscribe to The Nation Subscribe now for as little as $2 a month! Subscribe to The Nation Subscribe now for as little as $2 a month! Less than a year ago, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was touted as the golden boy of American politics. But in order to make the claim that they are the more ethical party, Democrats have to first clean house, starting with Cuomo.
Biden: With Defense Production Act, enough vaccines by end of May – People's World
       
A worker packs a box of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine into a cooler for shipping from a facility in Shepherdsville, Ky., Monday, March 1, 2021. Biden credited the stepped-up timetable to his ongoing use of the Defense Production Act and the establishment of a partnership between two long-time corporate rivals, Merck and Johnson and Johnson. Biden said the country is in a “war” against the coronavirus, justifying his sweeping measures against it. “When we came into office, the prior administration had contracted for not nearly enough vaccine to cover adults in America. First, the Republican governor of one huge state announces he will ignore the president’s pleas for caution and that he will end mask mandates and immediately open up his state entirely.
Narrative of fear: Republicans try to block LGBTQ Equality Act
       
Major changesUnder the Equality Act, the meaning of “public accommodations” will be greatly expanded. The Equality Act would outlaw unequal treatment or harassment of all individuals that fall under any protected category where there are currently limitations. The Equality Act specifically names the RFRA and says it cannot be used as a pretext for discrimination against protected groups. Further, the Equality Act makes it so legislation protecting members of the LGBTQ community is permanently enshrined in federal law. The GOP fear narrativeAlthough the Republican Party has been seemingly turning in on itself with post-election internal divisions, its elected officials have remained united against the Equality Act.
Republicans make the FBI look like the good guys
       
Instigator turned investigator Sen. Josh Hawley, left, questions FBI Director Chris Wray at a Senate hearing on Tuesday. President Biden has directed his national intelligence director to work with the FBI and Department of Homeland Security to gauge the threat from white supremacists. Wray said the number of domestic terrorism investigations has grown from 1,000 when he became FBI director in 2017 to 2,000 now. The number of arrests of white supremacists has tripled, he said. “Some of those people clearly came to Washington, we now know, with the plans and intentions to engage in the worst kind of violence we would consider domestic terrorism,” Wray said.
The Cuomo sexual harassment allegations are a test for Democrats
       
When the first woman came forward to report sexual harassment by New York Gov. In other words, if Cuomo is a test for Democrats, he’s unlikely to be the last one — or the hardest. And what Democrats do about Cuomo will be, to some degree, a test of how seriously they take sexual harassment allegations in an era when they’re in power. On the other hand, Cuomo was already damaged in the public eye when the most recent allegations came to light. But the allegations against Cuomo will be just one of many tests of Democrats’ values in the coming months and years.
QAnon believers think Trump will be inaugurated again on March 4
       
They have tried to rationalize Biden becoming president in increasingly outrageous ways, claiming that Biden and Trump are working together and even that Trump and Biden somehow switched bodies. This is actually relevant to the conspiracy theory: QAnon believers argue that in ending the gold standard, Roosevelt transferred power to a group of shadowy foreign investors who have since been controlling the US government. The March 4 conspiracy theory has been spreading on both mainstream and alternative right-wing social media platforms alike. Many QAnon followers have also migrated to largely unmoderated social media platforms like Gab, MeWe, Telegram, CloutHub, Rumble, and Parler, which recently came back online. But individual QAnon followers have resorted to violence in the past, including Matthew Wright, who is serving an eight-year sentence for engaging in an armed standoff with police at the Hoover Dam.
Giving people free money helps them get better jobs, cash experiment shows
       
Instead, after a year of operating the program, cash transfer recipients were more likely to obtain full-time jobs than a group of people who were not receiving money but providing data to researchers as a comparison. The program started its cash disbursements in February 2019 as the nation's first mayor-led guaranteed income program. Since losing his reelection bid to a Republican pastor last year, the Democrat's been working full time with Mayors for Guaranteed Income, an organization that aims to pilot guaranteed income programs in cities across the country. That way, cash recipients would spend their money naturally as if they weren't being watched, Tubbs noted. I'm looking forward to our data informing policymakers and others about the need to have a guaranteed income in this country."
“This Is War”: Inside the Secret Chat Where Far-Right Extremists Devised Their Post-Capitol Plans
       
“THIS IS ME,” Lang wrote over one video that showed an angry mob confronting police officers outside the Capitol. ProPublica gained access to the group after Lang sent an invitation to a reporter’s social media account. For a time, he ran Social Model Management, which promised to help prospective models get “social media famous” by unlocking “industry secrets” that would triple their Instagram followers. More recent social media posts by Lang acknowledged his struggle to stay sober and a deepening interest in religion. “Guys please this is a MILITIA group to defend our country from communism - private message each other if you want to flirt.
America’s Andrew Cuomo Problem
       
Cable-news shows treated Andrew Cuomo like a living legend this summer, thanks to his supposedly superlative handling of the coronavirus pandemic, yet his past few weeks really have been the stuff of myth. Cuomo’s COVID-19 approach no longer looks quite so good. Read: No, COVID-19 is not a metaphorThe more immediate threat to Cuomo are claims of sexual harassment. Cuomo has insisted that his behavior was misinterpreted as flirting and, in short, apologized if anyone was offended, while remaining essentially defiant about the actual behavior. There have been a few calls for Cuomo to resign, though so far they are not widespread.
Andrew Cuomo Says He’s Sorry — But Won’t Resign Over Those Sexual Harassment Claims
       
After three women accused him of sexual harassment and making unwanted advances, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo publicly apologized on Wednesday, but said he would not resign. It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it,” Cuomo said at a press briefing. Cuomo was first accused of harassment by a former aide, Lindsey Boylan, who worked in his office from 2015 to 2018. In a Feb. 24 Medium post, Boylan said Cuomo asked her to play strip poker and repeatedly made comments indicating he found her attractive.
Trump’s Pentagon Blocked Troops From Getting to the Capitol Riots For Hours, DC National Guard Commander Said
       
The DC National Guard had 340 troops either deployed or ready to deploy to help DC police handle traffic around the city that day. Walker said he could have had 155 National Guard troops at the Capitol within 20 minutes of getting the order. For hours, crowds stormed the Capitol on live TV while National Guard troops waited for permission to deploy. Once the green light was given, National Guard troops arrived at the Capitol in 18 minutes, said Walker. Salesses did not address why that order was not passed on to the National Guard until 5:08 p.m.
Ireland’s main science funder plans for budget boost
       
Ireland’s main science funder plans for budget boostScience Foundation Ireland (SFI), the nation’s biggest science funder, is planning a major boost to its budget. Separately, the strategy allocates €11 million in 2021 for early career researchers pursuing basic research. “Ireland’s meteoric rise after this initial SFI investment was the envy of the world,” says Boland, who is also a member of an SFI-supported materials science research center. “I really hope that this is intended to include women as SFI center leaders and as SFI research professors, where female representation has been abysmally low,” she says. “You cannot ignore the fact that universities provide the foundations that underpin all SFI research programs.”
Why The Salamander Letter From Murder Among The Mormons Was So Controversial
       
Netflix's new docuseries Murder Among the Mormons explores the infamous Salt Lake City bombings that left two people dead in 1985. But behind the case is a much larger story about deception and fraud that all ties back to a Mormon Church document known as the Salamander Letter. The “White Salamander” letter changed this. Discovered in the mid-1980s, the letter was purportedly written by Martin Harris, the scribe of Joseph Smith and an important figure in early Mormonism. The letter was immediately controversial.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo apologizes for sexual harassment scandal but says 'I'm not going to resign'
       
"I fully support a woman’s right to come forward, and I think it should be encouraged in every way," Cuomo said during a news conference from the Capitol's Red Room, looking directly into the camera. Cuomo made clear he has no intention of stepping down, saying: "I am not going to resign." "I'm going to do the job the people of the state of New York elected me to do," Cuomo said. Cuomo cedes control of sexual harassment investigationJon Campbell is a New York state government reporter for the USA TODAY Network. Support local journalismWe cover the stories from the New York State Capitol and across New York that matter most to you and your family.
Michael Moore says Texans don’t deserve vaccine
       
So u don’t need our precious vaccine. “Yes, we must and will find a way to vaccinate the poor and people of color in Texas. Michael Moore was ripped on social media for saying that people who live in Texas don’t deserve the COVID-19 vaccine. “The rest of us must find a way to protect ourselves from the policies and politicians of Texas,” Moore wrote. Many criticized the “Bowling for Columbine” director for saying Texans don’t deserve the vaccine, regardless of who they voted for.
Thai activist arrested for burning king’s portrait
       
BANGKOK – An anti-government activist accused of burning a portrait of Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn was arrested on Wednesday police said, the latest among dozens of people charged in recent months for insulting the monarchy. “The burning of the royal portrait was done by me and I am solely responsible, the movement is not involved,” Chaiamorn wrote on his band’s Facebook page, a post his lawyer confirmed was authentic. At least 61 people have subsequently been charged with lese majeste, according to legal aid group Thai Lawyers for Human Rights. The portrait burning took place hours before protesters marched on a military base to urge the king to give up direct control over army units transferred to him in 2019 by the government of Prayuth, a former military chief. Police used rubber bullets against the protesters for the first time on Sunday, as well as tear gas and water cannon.
Biden faces steep challenges to reach renewable energy goals
       
Disruption from the pandemic has cost the renewable energy industry, which relies heavily on labor, about 450,000 jobs. To reach Biden’s 100 percent renewable energy goal will require a massive buildout of grid infrastructure to get energy from the windy plains or offshore wind farms over long distances to cities where electricity is needed. The wind power industry and clean energy advocates say the new administration can make the country an offshore wind power leader. Estimates of employment in the US clean energy sector range from about 700,000 to 3 million jobs. “Justice for disadvantaged communities and welcoming legacy energy workers into the clean power workforce are vital aspects of the success of the clean energy transition,” said Heather Zichal, chief executive officer of the American Clean Power Association.
Andrew Cuomo says ‘I feel awful’ but ‘never touched anyone inappropriately’
       
Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that “I feel awful” about the sexual harassment allegations against him but insisted, “I never touched anyone inappropriately.”Cuomo also said he was acting against legal advice to tell New Yorkers, “I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable.”“It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it,” he said as his voice choked up. “I feel awful about it and frankly I am embarrassed by it and that’s not easy to say –but that’s the truth.”Cuomo’s remarks were the first he’s made in person since a spiraling sexual harassment scandal erupted last week, leading to calls for his resignation — despite his having agreed to an independent investigation by state Attorney General Letitia James. The controversy was sparked by former aide Lindsey Boylan, 36, who accused Cuomo, 63, of kissing her “on the lips” without warning in his Manhattan office in 2018. Boylan, now a Democratic candidate for Manhattan borough president, also alleged in an online essay that Cuomo told her, “Let’s play strip poker,” during an October 2017 flight on his official state jet. Boylan’s claims led another former Cuomo aide, Charlotte Bennett, 25, to allege in a report published Saturday that he asked her inappropriate personal questions, told her he was open to relationships with women in their 20s and left her feeling that he “wanted to sleep with me.”And in a report on Monday, Anna Ruch, a 33-year-old former White House staffer under then-President Barack Obama, accused Cuomo of coming on to her, grabbing her face and kissing her after he officiated at the 2019 wedding of an administration aide, Gareth Rhodes, to another former Obama staffer, Alexa Kissinger.
Live updates Biden criticizes governors of Texas, Mississippi for ending mask mandates amid ongoing pandemic
       
Biden on Wednesday sharply criticized the decisions by Texas Gov. … The last thing, the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking — that, 'In the meantime, everything’s fine. Forget it.’ It still matters.”Biden added that it is “critical, critical, critical” that state leaders “follow the science” and that Americans continue to wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines. “I wish the heck some of our elected officials would.”On Tuesday, Abbott ended his state’s mask mandate and boasted in all-caps on Twitter that “Texas is OPEN 100%. “We need to remain vigilant,” Psaki said at a daily press briefing.
The Daily 202: McCaul calls for bigger crackdown on domestic terrorism. That includes Jan. 6.
       
believes two things: The attack was domestic terrorism, and it showed law enforcement needs broader powers to fight back, like those granted after 9/11. “In today’s world, the FBI tells me they’re having more domestic terrorism cases than international terrorism,” McCaul, a former Homeland Security Committee chairman, said in an interview. “And that what happened January 6th is an act of domestic terrorism, that we are going to begin to charge people.”The Biden administration has made countering domestic extremism a priority. “When you’re talking about al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and elsewhere, they’re not governed by the Constitution; but domestic terrorism is,” McCaul said. ADAs my colleagues Devlin Barrett and Matt Zapotosky report that Wray told the committee domestic terrorism has roughly doubled over the past year.
Race in America: Rise in Anti-Asian Violence
       
LIVE Washington Post LiveRace in America: Rise in Anti-Asian ViolenceAsian Americans have been increasingly targeted in verbal and physical attacks since the coronavirus pandemic. A spate of recent assaults against seniors, including one that resulted in the death of an 84-year-old Thai man, has renewed national attention around the issue. On Wednesday, March 3 at 2:00pm ET, national reporter Michelle Ye Hee Lee speaks with actor/producer Daniel Dae Kim, about the growing fears in the community, calls for action and his own advocacy.
New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo says he will not resign, offers new apology for his behavior with women
       
“I have learned from what has been an incredibly difficult situation for me as well as other people,” he said. “I feel awful about it, and frankly I am embarrassed by it, and that is not easy to say. Some New York legislators and one House member from the state’s Democratic delegation, have called for his resignation. She said she gave a statement about the interaction with a special counsel to the governor and showed the New York Times contemporaneous text messages discussing Cuomo’s behavior. “It is my way of greeting people.” He noted that it was also a habit of his father, former New York Gov.
Rubio slams $1.9T COVID relief bill: Bailout for 'predator' Cuomo, 'irresponsible' Newsom
       
The coronavirus relief package is a "fraud" because it includes measures that go beyond the scope of providing aid to Americans that struggled during the pandemic, Sen. Marco Rubio said on Wednesday. You put out a bill, you call it COVID relief, and people that are on their way to work, what they hear on the news is $1.9 trillion in COVID relief. And people are like, OK, that's good because we need relief and $1.9 trillion is a lot of money and so forth. The problem is that's not what the bill is," Rubio, R-Fla., told "Fox & Friends." Rubio said that he "is prepared to vote for more coronavirus relief."
Can police search your house without a warrant?
       
The court has previously said that an officer in "hot pursuit" of a suspect believed to have committed a felony crime can enter the person’s home without a warrant if the person goes inside. But, as Justice Stephen Breyer said during the Feb. 24 arguments, there is "a bright-line rule that says hot pursuit is automatically exigent circumstances," meaning circumstances that are exceptions to the typical warrant requirements until the Fourth Amendment. Several justices, both liberal and conservative, suggested that making a distinction between felony and misdemeanor cases would be difficult and problematic. Lange’s lawyer, Jeffrey Fisher, told the justices that it is "not too much to ask for officers to procure a warrant before breaching the Fourth Amendment's most sacrosanct space." "The argument very simply is that hot pursuit has to be hot and it has to be a pursuit ... it has to involve a chase," he suggested.
Majority of House Democrats vote in favor of lowering voting age to 16
       
Progressive Democrats in the House of Representatives unsuccessfully pushed an amendment lowering the federal voting age to 16 as part of the H.R. The vote was 125-302 in the House with the majority of Democrats voting in favor, 125-93, according to C-SPAN. Pressley said in February she was "shocked" that lowering the legal voting age to 16 is a "polarizing" subject of debate. ‘SQUAD’ MEMBER PRESSLEY SAYS SHE'S ‘SHOCKED’ THAT LOWERING VOTING AGE TO 16 IS POLARIZING ISSUEThe idea isn't brand new. Hawaiian lawmakers introduced a bill in January that would lower the voting age from 18 to 16.
'Scary, insidious' where cancel culture is heading: 'Madness of Crowds' author
       
British journalist and author of "Madness of Crowds" Douglas Murray ripped the cancel culture movement and argued its' been going too far for a "very long time." The "Madness of Crowds" author went on to say the cancel culture movement "limits" Americans on what they’re allowed to enjoy and people should be "scared." "The left has a very confused attitude towards cancel culture," Murray said. The British author argued the left doesn’t think cancel culture "exists" and the idea has been "invented by crazy right-wingers." The "Madness of Crowds" author predicted the left will stop the cancel culture movement when the tables turn on their party.
Michael Goodwin: Will Andrew Cuomo resign? Don't bet on it. Here's how governor plans to stay in office
       
Andrew Cuomo’s fellow Democrats demand he resign following three allegations of sexual harassment, there is widespread expectation he’ll quit any day now. ANDREW CUOMO ACCUSED BY THIRD WOMAN OF UNWANTED SEXUAL ADVANCESCuomo, of course, has never been confused with a shrinking violet. CUOMO SHOULD RESIGN: 'PATTERN OF ABUSE OF POWER'That strategy is rooted in a fundamental fact: Nobody can force him to quit. In effect, Cuomo and Jacobs aim to use the investigation to buy time for a cooling-off period. That’s the federal investigation into whether his office illegally withheld an accurate count of nursing home deaths from the Justice Department.
Support for Cuomo's coronavirus response collapses as media pays attention to nursing home deaths: Study
       
Andrew Cuomo now that the mainstream media is spending time on his ongoing nursing home scandal, according to a new study. Sixty-five percent of those who were previously uninformed of Cuomo's nursing home policies had an unfavorable opinion of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a study commissioned by the Media Research Center. MAINSTREAM MEDIA BLASTED FOR ‘BLATANT HYPOCRISY’ AFTER IGNORING SEXUAL HARASSMENT ALLEGATIONS AGAINST CUOMOCuomo was a darling of the liberal media and the nursing home scandals were largely ignored before recent sexual harassment allegations were made against him. As Cuomo takes heat over multiple sexual harassment allegations, news organizations that spent a portion of 2020 fawning over him are covering the nursing home tragedy. MRC president Brent Bozell feels the mainstream media is "complicit" in Cuomo’s nursing home scandal.
Ronny Jackson made sexual comments about subordinate, drank alcohol on trips as WH physician: IG
       
U.S. Rep. Ronny Jackson made "sexual and denigrating" comments about a female subordinate and engaged in inappropriate use of alcohol while on two presidential trips during his time as the White House physician, according to a Pentagon inspector general report. Investigators interviewed 78 witnesses and reviewed White House documents to reach the conclusion that Jackson, R-Texas, failed to treat his subordinates on the White House Medical Unit staff with dignity and respect, the report said. "Three years ago I was the subject of a political hit job because I stood with President Trump," Jackson said. CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APPAllegations of misconduct first arose after Trump nominated Jackson to be Veteran's Affairs secretary in April 2018. The doctor withdrew from the running after the Pentagon inspector general began investigating allegations of workplace misconduct, such as alcohol abuse and mishandling prescription drugs.
Capitol Police Chief Pittman says threats to Congress members up by 93.5% in first 2 months of 2021
       
Capitol Police acting Chief Yogananda Pittman testified before a House Appropriations subcommittee Wednesday that threats to members of Congress have increased by 93.5% within the first two months of 2021, compared to the same time period last year. "This was abundantly clear on January 6, 2021, when insurrectionists attempted to prevent the Congress from certifying the 2020 Electoral College results by storming the U.S. U.S. Capitol Police was forced to reevaluate its budget justification for the 2022 fiscal year following the events of Jan. 6, Pittman said. Meanwhile, U.S. Capitol Police said Wednesday it "obtained intelligence that shows a possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group on Thursday, March 4." The department "is aware of and prepared for any potential threats towards members of Congress or towards the Capitol complex," the statement said.
Cuomo refuses to resign as he apologizes amid sexual harassment scandal
       
"I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable," Cuomo said at a press conference. Asked directly if he would step down from his third term as governor, Cuomo said, "I'm not going to resign,""I work for the people of New York," he added. Ruch's account increased the number of people who have called on Cuomo to resign, among them Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice of New York. After apologizing for making the women feel uncomfortable, Cuomo said "I am embarrassed by it, and that's not easy to say, but that's the truth." Cuomo, during questioning from reporters, later said, "You can go find hundreds of pictures of me kissing people, men, women.
Facebook will allow political ads again starting March 4
       
Facebook said Tuesday it's resuming political, electoral and social issue ads on Thursday after a temporary ban put in place after the November 2020 U.S. presidential election. "Unlike other platforms, we require authorization and transparency not just for political and electoral ads, but also for social issue ads, and our systems do not distinguish between these categories," Facebook said in a post Tuesday. "We've heard a lot of feedback about this and learned more about political and electoral ads during this election cycle. As a result, we plan to use the coming months to take a closer look at how these ads work on our service to see where further changes may be merited." In late February, Google said it would once again letting political ads run on its platform following a pause that began after the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
DC National Guard commander: 'Unusual' Pentagon restrictions slowed response to Capitol riot
       
Maj. Gen. William J. Walker, the commanding general of the Washington, DC, National Guard testified Wednesday that he did not need authorization from Pentagon leaders before deploying troops in response to protests at the nation's capital in the summer of 2020, but that changed in the days before the January 6th insurrection.
Hear why QAnon supporters believe Trump will be president on March 4th
       
Some believers of the QAnon conspiracy theory think that former President Trump will become president again on March 4th. CNN's Sara Sidner explains the origin of that belief.
U.S. senators offer bill to rein in Biden war powers after Syria strike
       
Under the Constitution, Congress, not the president, has the right to authorize war. They have been criticized as allowing “forever wars” that have kept U.S. forces fighting overseas for decades. “Last week’s airstrikes in Syria show that the Executive Branch, regardless of party, will continue to stretch its war powers,” Kaine said in a statement. Members of Congress from both parties have sought repeatedly to repeal the AUMFs in recent years, but efforts have fallen short. The other sponsors of the new measure include Democratic Senators Tammy Duckworth, Chris Coons and Dick Durbin, as well as Republican Senators Mike Lee, Chuck Grassley and Rand Paul.
EU vows legal response as UK moves unilaterally on Northern Ireland
       
BRUSSELS/LONDON (Reuters) - The European Union promised legal action on Wednesday after the British government unilaterally extended a grace period for checks on food imports to Northern Ireland, a move Brussels said violated terms of Britain’s divorce deal. The EU said European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic was holding a call with David Frost, the British minister responsible for ties with the EU, to express his concern. Prime Minister Boris Johnson reiterated a vow on Wednesday to leave nothing off the table to improve post-Brexit trade with Northern Ireland. Shortly afterwards, his Northern Ireland minister, Brandon Lewis, announced the extension of the grace period. Some in Northern Ireland and several leading Brexit supporters want Johnson to scrap the Brexit deal’s so-called Northern Ireland protocol.
5 takeaways from Nicola Sturgeon’s evidence in Salmond probe
       
Lawmakers were uncompromising — and seemingly unconvinced — in the oral evidence session, and the threat of a confidence vote still hangs over Sturgeon’s head. No conspiracy“I want to take this opportunity to say sorry,” Sturgeon said this morning, her voice charged with emotion. Sorry to the women let down by a bungled investigation into abuse allegations; sorry to the taxpayer whose money was lost on a mishandled court case. That may seem an inconsequential detail, but political opponents — and Salmond — say Sturgeon misled parliament with the timeframe she provided. Doomed court caseIn late 2018, the Scottish government pushed on with an ill-fated (and expensive) court case against Salmond, though defeat was all-but-certain.
Judge sets first trial date for Capitol riot
       
Stills from surveillance video at the Capitol show Cua holding the baton while confronting a police officer in a hallway near the Senate chamber. Moss said that while Cua’s actions at the Capitol may have not been among the most egregious that day, his foreknowledge was incriminating. “Perhaps most troubling, sort of with uncanny foresight, he knew what was going to happen,” said the judge. “He was posting about going to the Capitol for the purpose of violence before it happened ... He predicted things were going to happen that I never in a million years would imagine would happen at our Capitol.
Mike Pence Is Back And He's Lying About Election Security
       
In his first public remarks since President Joe Biden’s inauguration, former Vice President Mike Pence is pushing falsehoods about election security in an op-ed he authored for The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. Of particular ire to Pence is Democrats’ first major bill of the 116th Congress, the For The People Act. Trump and his allies filed more than 60 election lawsuits seeking to overturn the election results on that basis. An inquiry by Trump’s Justice Department also concluded there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud that would have changed the outcome of the election. Pence briefly referred to that day in his op-ed, describing it as “tragic.” He failed to acknowledge that members of the mob were chanting “hang Mike Pence” as they roamed the Capitol Building, apparently looking for him to violently persuade him not to certify the results of the 2020 election.
Manchin, Stabenow push $8B tax credit to bring factories for former coal sites
       
The politics: Drawing Republican support is likely to be crucial for the bill, and Daines' support could help its chance. “This bipartisan bill will support jobs and increase investment in coal and other energy producing communities in Montana to ensure they continue playing a part in American energy production," Daines said. The White House did not comment on the bill, but Stabenow said Biden backed the plan. "If manufacturing wanted to go to McGowan County or to Clay County or other areas of West Virginia ... those manufacturers would already be there. There can be an incentive, but Joe [Manchin] needs to understand its not just tax incentives.
Meet the woman ready to come out of Cuomo’s shadow
       
| Gary Gershoff/Getty Images for Housing Works Meet the woman ready to come out of Cuomo’s shadow New York Lt. Gov. And now, as the number of Democrats calling for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s resignation seems to tick up every few hours, Hochul could soon become the second recent lieutenant governor to assume the state’s top post because of an incumbent's sexual misdeeds. The lieutenant governor has said little about the accusations against the governor, who is accused of sexually harassing two former staff members. But it’s a role she’s fiercely defended.
Former White House doctor made sexual comments, abused alcohol while on duty, watchdog finds
       
"I take my professional responsibility with respect to prescription drug practices seriously; and I flat out reject any allegation that I consumed alcohol while on duty," Jackson added. The IG's most scathing findings relate to allegations of unprofessional behavior, including making sexually inappropriate comments about co-workers, according to the 37-page public report. On the same trip, the report says he also failed his duties as the White House physician and a Navy officer by getting drunk and acting inappropriately. It also found "no evidence to support the allegation that RDML Jackson 'got drunk and wrecked a government vehicle.'" The IG made no specific recommendations, leaving it up to the secretary of the Navy to "take appropriate action."
Andrew Cuomo Apologizes But 'Not Going To Resign' Over Sexual Harassment Claims
       
Andrew Cuomo (D) directly addressed the sexual harassment allegations against him at a Wednesday press conference, saying he now realizes his behavior made people “uncomfortable” but that he never touched anyone inappropriately. “I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable,” he said. I feel awful about it, and frankly, I am embarrassed by it.”He will not heed calls to step down, he told reporters. “I’m not going to resign,” he said. When pressed by reporters to address a photo of him with one of his accusers, Cuomo said he now understands she was uncomfortable but that this wasn’t out-of-the-ordinary behavior.
POLITICO Playbook PM: NRCC chief to Trump: Please don’t
       
“‘The United States Capitol Police Department is aware of and prepared for any potential threats towards members of Congress or towards the Capitol complex,’ the agency said in a statement. Emmer, a longtime Trump supporter, wouldn’t go as far as to tell the head of his party to butt out completely, but his intentions were clear. Emmer has officially become the first member of Republican leadership to publicly caution Trump against acting out on his thirst for revenge. …“Senate Democrats need all 50 of their members to kick off consideration of the bill, a vote expected on Wednesday afternoon. 1125 South Ocean Blvd.” With picsWHITE HOUSE ARRIVAL LOUNGE — Reggie Greer has been appointed director of priority placement at PPO and senior adviser on LGBTQ issues at the White House.
Michelle Obama On Biden Inauguration: 'Everyone Was Concerned About More Riots'
       
Former first lady Michelle Obama spoke for the first time on Wednesday about the anxiety she had felt while attending the presidential inauguration of Joe Biden only two weeks after insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to overturn the Nov. 3 election results. “The mood was wonderful, but it was also mixed,” she told Robin Roberts on “Good Morning America.”“I think everyone was concerned about more riots, but we were assured that things were under control. Witnessing 22-year-old inaugural poet Amanda Gorman move the crowd with her poem “The Hill We Climb” also made Obama “proud and moved almost to tears.”“I know there are many, many Amanda Gormans,” she said. We gotta march, we gotta protest, and we have to vote. Young people are starting to put those pieces together.”Watch the full interview below.
Cuomo: 'I never touched anyone inappropriately'
       
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo addressed allegations of sexual harassment against him and apologized for the "pain" that he caused. Cuomo said he "never touched anyone inappropriately" and is "embarrassed.”
China poses 'biggest geopolitical test' for the U.S., says Secretary of State Blinken
       
WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday China represented America's "biggest geopolitical test of the 21st century," saying Beijing was the only country with enough power to jeopardize the current international order. And we will engage China from a position of strength," Blinken said in a speech laying out the Biden administration's foreign policy vision. Blinken said democracy was "under threat" and that the United States needed to lead by example and bolster democratic values around the world. Blinken's speech was titled "A Foreign Policy for the American People," and he stressed that the administration's policies would be designed always with American workers in mind. We will fight for every American job, and for the rights, protections and interests of all American workers," he said.
Police uncover ‘possible plot’ by militia to breach Capitol
       
Capitol Police say they have intelligence showing a “possible plot” by a militia group to breach the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, nearly two months after a mob of supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the iconic building to try to stop Congress from certifying now-President Joe Biden's victory. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, file photo, rioters storm the Capitol, in Washington. Capitol Police say they have intelligence showing a “possible plot” by a militia group to breach the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, nearly two months after a mob of supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the iconic building to try to stop Congress from certifying now-President Joe Biden's victory. Police were ill prepared for the mass of Trump supporters in tactical gear, some armed, and it took hours for National Guard reinforcements to come. “We have obtained intelligence that shows a possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group on Thursday, March 4.” Police did not identify the militia group in the statement.
Cuomo addresses harassment claims, vows to stay in office
       
In this image taken from video from the Office of the NY Governor, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference, Wednesday, March 3, 2021, in Albany, N.Y. (Office of the NY Governor via AP)In this image taken from video from the Office of the NY Governor, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference, Wednesday, March 3, 2021, in Albany, N.Y. (Office of the NY Governor via AP)ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York Gov. “I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable,” Cuomo said. “I didn’t know at the time I was making her feel uncomfortable.
Budget nominee Tanden withdraws nomination amid opposition
       
Neera Tanden, President Joe Biden's nominee for Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), appears beofre a Senate Committee on the Budget hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)Neera Tanden, President Joe Biden's nominee for Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), appears beofre a Senate Committee on the Budget hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden’s pick to head the Office of Management and Budget, Neera Tanden, has withdrawn her nomination after she faced opposition from key Democratic and Republican senators for her controversial tweets. But without Manchin’s support, the White House was left scrambling to find a Republican to support her. White House chief of staff Ron Klain initially insisted the administration was “fighting our guts out” for her.
ICC Investigates Alleged Crimes In Palestinian Territories
       
ICC Investigates Alleged Crimes In Palestinian TerritoriesEnlarge this image toggle caption Bas Czerwinski/AP Bas Czerwinski/APTHE HAGUE, Netherlands — The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said Wednesday she has launched an investigation into alleged Israeli crimes in the Palestinian territories, plunging the court into the midst of one of the most fraught conflicts of the past half century. Of course it doesn't say a word against Iran and Syria, and other tyrannical regimes, frequently committing real war crimes," he said. The investigation will likely also look into alleged crimes by Palestinian militants. Israel blames Hamas and other militant groups for Palestinian war casualties, saying the militants use residential areas as cover to launch rockets and leave the military no choice but to strike back. Human Rights Watch welcomed the court's move as a step toward justice for Israeli and Palestinian victims.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo apologizes for acting in a way 'that made people feel uncomfortable'
       
Andrew Cuomo, under fire amid sexual harassment allegations, apologized during his COVID-19 press conference on Wednesday, saying: "I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable. It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it. I feel awful about it and, frankly, I am embarrassed by it." "I'm not going to resign. I'm going to do the job the people of the state elected me to do," he said.
Former White House physician Ronny Jackson sexually harassed staff, drank alcohol, took Ambien on duty: Pentagon report
       
The investigation also finds that Jackson took the prescription sleep medication Ambien during long flights when he was supposed to be on duty. And this could have impaired Jackson from providing proper medical care during such flights. The Pentagon watchdog report drew from interviews with 78 witnesses, but it still considers its investigation somewhat “limited in scope and unproductive,” because Trump’s White House counsel insisted on being present during the interviews with White House Medical Unit employees. But we were working on his diet,” Jackson revealed in a New York Times interview last year. “We were making the ice cream less accessible, [and] we were putting cauliflower into the mashed potatoes.”The DoD report on Jackson led to the former White House doctor trending on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon.
Former CIA chief says he is ‘increasingly embarrassed’ to be a white man
       
Former CIA director John Brennan arrive at a closed hearing before the Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee May 16, 2018 on Capitol Hill. (Getty Images)Former CIA boss John Brennan said on MSNBC that he's "increasingly embarrassed" to be a white man considering the actions he saw during CPAC. Mr Brennan said: “I’m increasingly embarrassed to be a white male these days with what I see other white males say." These are all people that think they have a huge grievance from a position of significant privilege." New York Times justice correspondent Katie Benner said: "I think what we're seeing right now is a trade-off between national security and power, the amassing of power.
Kentucky seeking federal help as floodwaters cause damage
       
Andy Beshear said “parts of cities are underwater in eastern Kentucky” and Kentucky National Guard members are assisting local and county officials. “These weather events have been brutal on Kentucky,” Beshear said at a news briefing Tuesday afternoon. The state sent engineers to assess the problem and emergency officials are placing sandbags to help control the erosion, state Transportation Secretary Jim Gray said. Nearly 50 counties and cities in Kentucky have issued disaster declarations, according to state Emergency Management Director Michael Dossett. Dossett said the state has reached out to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and asked them to send an investigator to Kentucky to view the damage.
FBI: White Supremacist Violence On The Rise
       
Miller is charged with illegally possessing a gun on Jan. 17, 2018. The indictment doesn’t describe the 2018 incident in which Miller allegedly had the firearm.Miller’s Tuesday arrest sent shockwaves through internet extremist circles. If convicted, Miller faces up to 10 years in prison on the gun charge.Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you.
D.C. Guard Chief Says It Took Over 3 Hours For Approval To Deploy National Guard On Jan. 6
       
Pentagon officials did not answer a request to deploy troops during the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 for more than three hours, the commanding general of the D.C. National Guard testified Wednesday. Maj. Gen. William Walker said the head of the Capitol Police asked for help during the insurrection, and that senior Pentagon officials did not approve deploying the National Guard until three hours and 19 minutes later. “Immediately after the 1:49 p.m. call with Chief Sund, I alerted the Army Senior Leadership of the request,” Walker said. (Photo: Greg Nash/Pool/AP)Sund, who resigned after facing calls to step down following the deadly attack, also blamed the Pentagon for being slow to deploy the National Guard in his own testimony last week. He said he had asked House and Senate security officials for permission to request that the D.C. National Guard be placed on standby days before the insurrection, but was turned down.
Venezuela uses pretrial detention as a punishment, rights group says
       
CARACAS (Reuters) - Nearly three-quarters of all individuals detained in Venezuela for what rights group Penal Forum considers political reasons are awaiting trial, the group said on Monday, arguing it is a sign that authorities use pretrial detention as a punishment. "They are arbitrarily keeping them longer," Romero said, adding that 74% of those 323 detainees "have not even had their trial begin, which is to say, they have not even had one hearing." Rights groups, Venezuela's opposition, and Western democracies including the United States have long argued that President Nicolas Maduro's government uses the justice system to quash political dissent. The government denies that Venezuela holds political prisoners. The group of 323 prisoners includes 23 women, while the rest are men.
Biden sets goal for teachers to get vaccinated, promises enough doses for all U.S. adults by end of May
       
WASHINGTON — President Biden wants teachers across the United States to have at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine by the end of March. President Biden speaking on Tuesday. (Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)That means, Biden said, that long waits for coveted shots could soon end. His goal is to have “a majority” of schools open by the end of his first 100 days in office. Near the conclusion of his remarks, Biden referred to his predecessor’s much-criticized handling of the pandemic.
Cuomo apologizes after misconduct allegations but denies touching anyone 'inappropriately': 'I am embarrassed’
       
CUOMO SHOULD RESIGN: 'PATTERN OF ABUSE OF POWER'"I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable. When asked later, Cuomo said that he had taken the sexual harassment sensitivity training that is required of state workers. "You can find hundreds of pictures of me making the same gesture with hundreds of people, women, men, children, etc., Cuomo said. CUOMO 'FAILED' TO HOLD HIMSELF TO HIGH STANDARD IF ALLEGATIONS TRUE, NY ASSEMBLY'S DEM LEADER SAYSNevertheless, he said he understands Ruch’s "opinion and feelings." Democratic New York State Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" on Wednesday that Cuomo should resign "for the good of the state."
Andrew Cuomo has a problem. But why are Democrats pushing him to resign?
       
It relates to sexually suggestive comments and inappropriate conduct he allegedly directed toward women, two of whom worked for him. Cuomo’s bullying is well known, and sexual harassment allegations made several months ago by one of the women were essentially ignored . One former top staffer, Lindsey Boylan, tweeted back in December that Cuomo sexually harassed her for years. In the 2016 election, Americans elected Donald Trump as president despite multiple accusations of sexual harassment and misconduct. The sexual harassment allegations can help make that happen.
Cuomo addresses harassment claims, vows to stay in office
       
Cuomo said he will “fully cooperate” with the state attorney general’s investigation into sexual harassment allegations. “I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable,” Cuomo said at a Wednesday press conference. Before Wednesday’s press conference, the governor last spoke to reporters during a teleconference call on Feb. 22. He hadn’t spoken publicly since giving New York Attorney General Letitia James a referral to investigate claims that he sexually harassed at least two women in his administration. AdvertisementCuomo started Wednesday’s press conference focusing on the latest data on the coronavirus pandemic.
Myanmar forces reportedly kill at least 33 protesters
       
Associated PressYANGON, Myanmar — Myanmar security forces dramatically escalated their crackdown on protests against last month’s coup, killing at least 33 protesters Wednesday in several cities, according to accounts on social media and local news reports compiled by a data analyst. Videos from Wednesday also showed security forces firing slingshots at demonstrators, chasing them down and even brutally beating an ambulance crew. Their numbers have remained high even as security forces have repeatedly fired tear gas, rubber bullets and live rounds to disperse the crowds, and arrested protesters en masse. As part of the crackdown, security forces have also arrested hundreds of people at protests, including journalists. Ignoring that appeal, Myanmar’s security forces on Wednesday continued to attack peaceful protesters.
German intel agency looking into far-right party AfD
       
By David Rising | Associated PressBERLIN — Germany’s domestic intelligence agency has put the Alternative for Germany party under observation due to suspicions of extreme-right sympathies, German media reported Wednesday, a move against the biggest opposition party in parliament that comes only six months before a national election. It is currently the largest of four opposition parties in the national parliament and has lawmakers in all 16 state assemblies. The party has moved steadily to the right since it was founded in 2013 for critics of the shared euro currency. Several senior figures have quit in recent years, warning that the party was being taken over by far-right extremists. Recent polls have shown support for AfD, which won 12.6% of the vote in 2017, at between 9% and 11%.
$1,400 stimulus checks in COVID relief bill would phase out at $80,000 instead of $100,000, according to deal between Biden and Democrats
       
WASHINGTON – Senate Democrats reached a deal with President Joe Biden to limit the eligibility for $1,400 stimulus checks in his $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill, phasing the payments out for Americans earning over $80,000, according to two sources familiar with the deliberations not authorized to speak on the record. Joint filers would have their checks phase out starting at $150,000 and entirely at $160,000. Pressed on whether Biden agreed to more limited eligibility on the relief checks, Psaki added: "He is comfortable with where the negotiations stand." Some Senate Democrats signaled they would support the compromise. Manchin had originally pushed for the checks to phase out after $50,000 of income, though the House ultimately drafted a $75,000 threshold.
Republicans in charge of Legislature unlikely to give voters the option of raising their sales tax
       
MADISON - Republicans who control the Legislature won't let the sales tax go up and will substantially pare back Democratic Gov. Never going to happen," the Rochester Republican said of Evers' proposal to let local officials raise the sales tax with the permission of voters. Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu of Oostburg concurred, saying at a Wisconsin Counties Association forum that he saw no need to let the sales tax go up. Evers last month recommended allowing counties and larger municipalities to raise the sales tax by half a percentage point if voters approved their plans. Vos implied he didn't want to fund constructing the long-planned office building in Milwaukee or approving initial work on one in Madison.
Only one Colorado law uses the phrase “illegal alien” — and its days are likely numbered
       
Colorado uses the phrase “illegal alien” in just one law, about public contracts. And leaders across the country are pushing to get rid of the term “illegal alien” in official documents. The specific statute directs state agencies not to enter or renew public contracts with a contractor who “knowingly employs or contracts with an illegal alien.” The language would be changed to “a worker without authorization” in all instances where “illegal alien” is currently used. “It becomes OK to treat people we believe are illegal with violence because, after all, they’re criminals,” she said. The bill also specifically refers to immigrant workers in this context and also adds a definition for the phrase.
Report of shots fired at Lafayette’s Centaurus High School a ‘false alarm’
       
Lafayette’s Centaurus High School was placed on lockdown after a teacher at the school reported hearing gunshots, but police have since determined the call was a false alarm. Lafayette police Deputy Chief Brian Rosipajla said one teacher at Centaurus High School, 10300 W. South Boulder Road, reported hearing what sounded like a gunshot at 10:24 a.m. Wednesday. But the Boulder Valley School District tweeted at noon that the call appears to have been a false alarm. Finished first sweep, conducting second sweep.”Rosipajla said units from multiple agencies responded to the call to sweep the school and then the surrounding area. “Every staff member will assess the situation.”Angevine Middle and Ryan Elementary were placed on secure lockout but resumed normal operations just before 11:30 a.m.One eastbound lane of South Boulder Road is closed near the school.
Andrew Cuomo addresses harassment claims, vows to stay in office
       
Andrew Cuomo apologized Wednesday, saying he “learned an important lesson” about his own behavior around women, but he said he intended to remain in office. “I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable,” Cuomo said at a Wednesday press conference. “It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it.”Cuomo said he will “fully cooperate” with the state attorney general’s investigation into sexual harassment allegations. Before Wednesday’s press conference, the governor last spoke to reporters during a teleconference call on Feb. 22. Cuomo started Wednesday’s press conference focusing on the latest data on the coronavirus pandemic.
US contractor killed in rocket attack at Iraq base, Pentagon says
       
At least 10 rockets targeted a military base in western Iraq that hosts U.S.-led coalition troops on Wednesday, March 3, 2021, the coalition and the Iraqi military said. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser, File)WASHINGTON — A U.S. contractor died Wednesday when at least 10 rockets slammed into an air base housing U.S. and other coalition troops in western Iraq, the Pentagon said. “Coalition forces are in Iraq to fight Daesh at the invitation of the Iraqi government,” he tweeted, using the Arabic acronym for IS. “Despicable attacks against Ain al-Asad base in #Iraq are completely unacceptable,” Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod tweeted. The Danish armed forces said two Danes who were at the base at the time of the attack are unharmed.
Las Vegas police retirements up 37% in 2020
       
(Ellen Schmidt/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @ellenkschmidtttSteve Grammas is the president of Las Vegas Police Protective Association. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfayePolice officers mobilize in downtown Las Vegas on June 3, 2020, after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @benjaminhphotoA Las Vegas police officer shouts at a protester to back up as tension between police and demonstrators heightens on May 29, 2020 on the Las Vegas Strip. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @benjaminhphotoA Las Vegas police officer is struck on the shoulder by a water bottle during clashes with protesters from a Black Lives Matter march dedicated to George Floyd on Saturday, May 30, 2020 in Las Vegas. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Left_Eye_ImagesLas Vegas Metro Police are seen patrolling near the Bellagio hotel and casino fountains on the Las Vegas Strip, on Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020.
Cuomo apologizes for his behavior, but says he won't resign
       
"I'm not going to resign," Cuomo said later in his first briefing in a week. State Attorney General Letitia James now is overseeing an investigation, with subpoena power to compel witnesses, including the governor. After referring the case to James, the governor issued a statement saying his behavior with women "may have been insensitive" and "misinterpreted as unwanted flirtation." Bennett, through her lawyer, subsequently issued a statement saying Cuomo "refused to acknowledge or take responsibility for his predatory behavior." Also, legislators and former staffers increasingly are coming forward with complaints of the governor "bullying" behavior.
If curtailing racist imagery in Dr. Seuss is 'cancel culture,' what, exactly, is your culture?
       
It is, instead, about the way in which stated concerns about "cancel culture" can serve as Spackle for frustrations over a changing world. And this being March 2021, one response was obvious and immediate: Wow, they're canceling Dr. Seuss! No one is "canceling" Dr. Seuss, a phrasing by now so detached from reality that it doesn't even make any sense. It's not that some Dr. Seuss books are being taken out of rotation. The fight against "cancel culture" is now a mainstay of Republican rhetoric because it extends that complaint.
Lobbyists try for influence, without as much access to Oregon lawmakers
       
SALEM -- An impromptu five-minute conversation can be politically effective in the halls of the Oregon Capitol. Such encounters have long been crucial for the army of Oregon lobbyists hoping to get a moment with a state legislator. The new way of communicating has slowed the legislative process and made it more cumbersome, lobbyists say. But lobbyists say building relationships and providing reliable information is really how to gain traction with lawmakers. Lobbyists say these small conversations smooth out disagreements and build consensus among legislators and other lobbyists, allowing legislation to move ahead.
Wisconsin hunters kill over 200 wolves in less than 3 days after removal from Endangered Species Act
       
Environmentalists, who fought unsuccessfully in state court to stop the hunt, said the killings had occurred during breeding season, when gray wolves are especially vulnerable. They said the large number of wolves killed in such a short time underscored the need for President Joe Biden to put the gray wolf back on the list of animals protected under the Endangered Species Act.
Palace to investigate after Meghan accused of bullying staff
       
LONDON (AP) — Buckingham Palace said Wednesday it was launching an investigation after a newspaper reported that a former aide had made a bullying allegation against the Duchess of Sussex. The Times of London reported allegations that the duchess drove out two personal assistants and left staff feeling “humiliated.” It said an official complaint was made by Jason Knauf, then the communications secretary to Meghan and her husband, Prince Harry. He now works for Harry’s elder brother, Prince William. The palace said it was “clearly very concerned” about the allegations. It said in a statement that the palace human resources team “will look into the circumstances outlined in the article” and would seek to speak to current and former staff.
Louisiana colleges fail to meet harassment training mandate
       
Agency heads have to compile annual reports documenting the number of employees who completed the training requirements, the number of sexual harassment complaints received over the last year and the number of complaints that resulted in disciplinary action. Reports from cabinet agencies, statewide elected officials' departments and higher education are submitted to the governor's Division of Administration. Republican Sen. Sharon Hewitt, chair of the Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee, plans a hearing to review the reports covering the first two years of the new requirements. She wants to look at agencies where training compliance is lower or harassment complaints are higher. “The point of the statistics is to get a gauge of the level of incidences that are being reported, the compliance on training, how responsive agencies are,” Hewitt said.
Former Pakistan PM wins Senate election in setback to gov't
       
Khan in the past several days had campaigned intensely for Sheikh to ensure he wins the election. Senate elections have been seen as a test for Khan, who came to power in 2018 parliamentary elections. Khan had hoped to improve his standing in the 100-member Senate, where his party had only 15 seats entering the elections. Both chambers of parliament have legislative powers and any bill passed by the National Assembly must be approved by the Senate before it becomes a law. In turn, any legislation by the Senate goes to the National Assembly, where Khan has a simple majority.
Cuomo addresses harassment claims, vows to stay in office
       
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Besieged by sexual harassment allegations, a somber New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo apologized Wednesday, saying he “learned an important lesson” about his own behavior around women, but he said he intended to remain in office. “I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable,” Cuomo said at a Wednesday press conference. “It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it.”Cuomo said he will “fully cooperate” with the state attorney general’s investigation into sexual harassment allegations. He hadn't spoken publicly since giving New York Attorney General Letitia James a referral to investigate claims that he sexually harassed at least two women in his administration.
General: Pentagon hesitated on sending Guard to Capitol riot
       
Guard troops who had been waiting on buses were then rushed to the Capitol, arriving in 18 minutes, Walker said. The hourslong delay cost the National Guard precious minutes in the early hours of the rioting. Much of the focus on Wednesday’s Senate hearing centered on communications between the National Guard and the Defense Department. Contee said Sund was pleading with Army officials to deploy National Guard troops as the rioting escalated. Thousands of National Guard troops are still patrolling the fenced-in Capitol, and multiple committees across Congress are launching investigations into mistakes made on Jan. 6.
Senate Focuses on State Spending in Biden’s Relief Plan
       
President Biden has OK'd making the stimulus checks' salary eligibility more targeted in the Senate bill. Here's what it means and where the Senate bill stands.
GOP takes aim at Biden's health care pick on abortion rights
       
Lawmakers in 19 state legislatures have introduced almost 50 major bills this year to ban most or all abortions, according to the nonpartisan Guttmacher Institute. Abortion opponents are hoping that litigation over a state law will reach the Supreme Court, now clearly leaning to the right. It could serve as a vehicle for overturning the Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion. Roughly the same percentage of Republicans said abortion should usually be legal, the survey showed. Becerra, 63, was a reliable Democratic vote for abortion rights during more than 20 years representing a Los Angeles-area district in the U.S. House.
German far-right party put under surveillance first time since Nazi era
       
"The agenda is clear. First we are made a 'case to investigate', now we are a 'suspected case' and are under surveillance - and at some point there will be a request to ban our party," said Alexander Gauland, the AfD's parliamentary floor leader. "That, thank God, will be a decision for the Constitutional Court and not the BfV. "Gauland and AfD co-leader Tino Chrupalla told a news conference that they had only learnt about the decision, first reported by the magazine Der Spiegel, from media reports. The Constitutional Court ruled that, while it resembled Adolf Hitler's Nazi party, it was too weak to endanger democracy.
Gov. Cuomo Says He Will Not Resign Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations: ‘I Never Touched Anyone Inappropriately’
       
Andrew Cuomo addressed the mounting sexual harassment allegations against him Wednesday, saying he “never touched anyone inappropriately.”“I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable. Cuomo Addresses Sexual Harassment AllegationsThe governor faces allegations from three women in their 20s and 30s, including two who worked with him at different times. She claims to The New York Times the governor touched her face and kissed her inappropriately. CBS2’s political reporter Marcia Kramer asked the governor about a photo that surfaced showing Cuomo holding Ruch’s face. What matters is if anybody was offended by it.”After the allegations surfaced Monday, Rhodes’ wife expressed support for Ruch on social media, saying “I am so proud of Anna for sharing her story.
Why Israel fears the ICC war crimes investigation
       
The date of 13 June 2014 listed by the international criminal court’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, as the starting point for its investigation into potential war crimes committed by Israelis and Palestinians is a significant one. Tensions escalated rapidly: Israel would within weeks launch its third war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip while Palestinian militants would launch rockets into Israel. And if there is a wider risk for Israel, it is that the broad framing of the probe will allow an investigation of other alleged crimes including Israeli settlement-building in the occupied territories. As Matthew Cannock, the head of Amnesty International’s centre for international justice, put it: “This is a momentous breakthrough for justice after decades of non-accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity. “The ICC investigation provides the first genuine prospect for thousands of victims of crimes under international law to gain long overdue access to justice, truth and reparations.
US contractor dies during rocket attack on military base in Iraq
       
A US contractor died of cardiac failure after rocket fire hit an Iraqi base hosting American-led troops on Wednesday, the Pentagon said, two days before Pope Francis’ visit to the country. Iraqi security forces were on the scene and investigating, but it was too early to attribute responsibility, it said. Col Wayne Marotto, a spokesman for the US-led forces, said 10 rockets had hit the base at 7:20 am . Iraqi security forces said they had found the platform from which the “Grad-type rockets” had been fired. More rockets hit a US military contracting company working north of the capital and the US embassy in Baghdad days later, but only injuries were reported.
US warned of possible militia plot to attack Capitol on Thursday
       
Federal authorities on Wednesday warned that people associated with identified militia groups have been discussing plans for another to attack on the US Capitol with the aim of removing Democratic politicians on or about 4 March. The FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the US Capitol police department has obtained intelligence pointing to a possible plot to “breach the Capitol by an identified militia group” on Thursday, the agency said on Wednesday. The Capitol police statement noted that it had already made “significant security upgrades” at the Capitol. The FBI has warned of extremist online “chatter” about attacking the Capitol on 4 or 6 March. House security are no longer anticipating protests or violence from groups traveling to Washington on Thursday, the sergeant, Timothy Blodgen, reported.
Sections of Salmond legal advice 'hidden' ahead of Sturgeon grilling
       
Key sections of legal advice received by ministers about Alex Salmond’s court challenge were hidden from MSPs ahead of Nicola Sturgeon’s witness session, it has emerged. John Swinney, the Deputy First Minister, finally agreed to release the advice on Tuesday evening, as MSPs prepared to pass a vote of no confidence in him for ignoring repeated demands to publish it. However, it was alleged that important sections had not appeared, with the Scottish Tories refusing to withdraw their plan for a no confidence vote in the First Minister’s most trusted lieutenant as a result. Jackie Baillie, the Labour deputy leader, said that in more than two decades sitting on Holyrood committees, she had never felt “so frustrated” as she had been trying to extract documents from the Scottish Government.
Andrew Cuomo chokes up as he denies inappropriate touching and refuses to resign
       
And I think it should be encouraged in every way,” Mr Cuomo said, becoming emotional as he began an apology. Please enter your email address Please enter a valid email address Please enter a valid email address SIGN UP Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy notice Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy noticeOver the last week, three women have accused Mr Cuomo of unwanted advances, all of which he denies. It is my usually customary way of greeting,” Mr Cuomo said.
Republicans ‘increasingly irritated’ by Marjorie Taylor Greene’s repeated efforts to disrupt work of Congress, report says
       
A growing number of Republicans are siding with Democrats against Marjorie Taylor Greene’s repeated attempts to adjourn the US House of Representatives. Ms Greene requested the adjournment in protest at the House taking up the Democrats’ election and police reform bills this week. Irritation with Ms Greene’s protest is growing as 18 Republicans voted against her third request in a 182-222 vote on Wednesday morning. Please enter your email address Please enter a valid email address Please enter a valid email address SIGN UP Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy notice Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent.
Ronny Jackson: Ex-White House doctor denies drinking on the job
       
Mr Trump later nominated him to be his Veterans Affairs secretary, but Mr Jackson withdrew his name amid allegations that he created a hostile work environment, drank on the job and handed out prescription drugs like "they were candy".
Police tighten security amid fears of fresh plot to breach US Capitol
       
Police have ramped up security around the US Capitol after uncovering a "possible plot" to storm the building for a second time. Far-right conspiracy theorists have claimed for weeks, without evidence, that former US President Donald Trump will be reinstated on March 4. "We have obtained intelligence that shows a possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group on Thursday, March 4," Capitol Police said in a statement on Wednesday. QAnon followers believed that Trump would not leave office on January 20, but instead would announce mass arrests of Democrats and stop Joe Biden from becoming President. A number of individuals believed to be QAnon followers have been charged for their alleged involvement in the deadly insurrection on January 6.
Eight people are injured after 'terrorist' stabbing in Sweden, police say
       
Eight people have been injured in a suspected terrorist stabbings in Sweden. Police said a man in his 20s launched the attack just before 3pm on Wednesday in Vetlanda, a small town in the country's south. The assailant's motive remains unclear but police said they are treating it as a 'suspected terrorist crime.' 'Tonight I am thinking of those injured in Vetlanda and their relatives. The government minister said: 'Several people are seriously injured.
Biden 'comfortable' cutting off stimulus funds for Americans making more than $80,000
       
President Joe Biden is 'comfortable' cutting off stimulus checks to Americans who make more than $80,000, the White House indicated Wednesday, bowing to pressure from Senate moderates. The deal was made so that the Senate bill would maintain the $400-a-week unemployment benefit, a dollar amount that was etched out in the last COVID-19 stimulus package, passed under former President Donald Trump. The House version of the bill, which passed early Saturday, also phased out stimulus checks, but had a higher ceiling. The two other series of stimulus checks have also been tailored by income. The original $1,200 stimulus checks were given in full to adults who made under $75,000, but adults who made up to $99,000 were eligible to recieve some money.
Freedom House downgrades India to 'partly free'
       
"Rather than serving as a champion of democratic practice and a counterweight to authoritarian influence from countries such as China, Modi and his party are tragically driving India itself toward authoritarianism," Freedom House said in its annual report. Freedom House also pointed to the "ham-fisted" Covid-19 lockdown ordered by Modi in which massive numbers of workers who lacked resources were obliged to walk across the country to their villages. "The ruling Hindu nationalist movement also encouraged the scapegoating of Muslims, who were disproportionately blamed for the spread of the virus and faced attacks by vigilante mobs," it said. The United States remained classified as free following Donald Trump's turbulent presidency but Freedom House warned of the "parlous state of US democracy." Freedom House also highlighted the Trump administration's dismissal of inspector generals tasked with looking out for government misconduct as well as "disproportionate violence by police" against anti-racism protesters last year.
Far-right militia group plotting to ‘breach’ the US Capitol on March 4, police warn
       
“We have obtained intelligence that shows a possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group on Thursday, March 4,” the US Capitol police said in a statement on Wednesday. That security bulletin names the far-right militia the “Three Percenters” as posing a threat. Please enter your email address Please enter a valid email address Please enter a valid email address SIGN UP Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy notice Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. At a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing with Capitol security officials last week, Senator Angus King highlighted the dilemma facing members and those responsible for their safety.
Reports: Myanmar security forces kill at least 34 protesters
       
(AP Photo)YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Myanmar security forces dramatically escalated their crackdown on protests against last month’s coup, killing at least 34 protesters Wednesday in several cities, according to accounts on social media and local news reports compiled by a data analyst. Videos from Wednesday also showed security forces firing slingshots at demonstrators, chasing them down and even brutally beating an ambulance crew. As part of the crackdown, security forces have also arrested hundreds of people, including journalists. Ignoring that appeal, Myanmar’s security forces on Wednesday continued to attack peaceful protesters. Security forces are believed to single out medical workers for arrest and mistreatment because members of the medical profession launched the country’s civil disobedience movement to resist the junta.
Cuomo Refuses to Resign, Says He ‘Never Intended to Make Anyone Feel Uncomfortable’
       
At his first press conference since three women accused him of unwanted sexual advances, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo apologized while insisting he didn’t know his alleged actions—grabbing a woman’s face, bringing up an aide’s sexual assault, giving an aide a kiss on the cheek—made people uncomfortable. I never intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable. He said the face-grabbing and kissing-on-the-cheek was a greeting habit he picked up from his father, former New York Gov. “I am apologizing to the young woman who worked here who said I made her feel uncomfortable in the workplace,” Cuomo said.
House subcommittee probes Texas power grid operator
       
The House Oversight Subcommittee on Environment is launching an investigation into Texas’s power grid operator after the severe winter conditions caused power outages and deaths across the state in February. “The failures of ERCOT and the State of Texas were costly. “The risk of increased extreme winter weather events in the United States underscores the need for adequate preparation,” Khanna wrote. Magness previously said that the grid operator was “seconds and minutes” away from a total grid failure, and decided to go with controlled blackouts to manage high demand for electricity. Greg Abbott (R) asked the state legislature to investigate ERCOT last month, deeming the power outages “unacceptable."
AP journalist charged in Myanmar
       
An Associated Press reporter and five other journalists are facing up to three years in prison after authorities in Myanmar arrested and charged them with violating a public order law. The Associated Press reports that one of its journalists Thein Zaw, 32, was arrested while covering the anti-coup protests in Yangon, Myanmar's largest city. "AP decries in the strongest terms the arbitrary detention of Thein Zaw." Reporters from Myanmar Now, Myanmar Photo Agency, 7Day News, Zee Kwet online news and one freelance reporter were also arrested, according to the AP. "Myanmar must not return to the past dark ages where military rulers jailed journalists to stifle and censor news reporting."
EU vows legal response as UK moves unilaterally on Northern Ireland
       
BRUSSELS/LONDON (Reuters) - The European Union promised legal action on Wednesday after the British government unilaterally extended a grace period for checks on food imports to Northern Ireland, a move Brussels said violated terms of Britain’s divorce deal. The EU said European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic was holding a call with David Frost, the British minister responsible for ties with the EU, to express his concern. Prime Minister Boris Johnson reiterated a vow on Wednesday to leave nothing off the table to improve post-Brexit trade with Northern Ireland. Shortly afterwards, his Northern Ireland minister, Brandon Lewis, announced the extension of the grace period. Some in Northern Ireland and several leading Brexit supporters want Johnson to scrap the Brexit deal’s so-called Northern Ireland protocol.
Homosexuality can be called a mental disorder, rules Chinese court
       
A court in China has agreed with a textbook’s description of homosexuality as a mental disorder, upholding a ruling by a lower court. In 2016, Xixi had discovered a psychology textbook that described being gay as a mental disorder during her studies at the South China Agricultural University in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, reported the South China Morning Post. In 1990, the World Health Organisation declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder following which China followed suit and decriminalised homosexuality in 1997. Please enter your email address Please enter a valid email address Please enter a valid email address SIGN UP Thanks for signing up to the News newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy notice Thanks for signing up to the News newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent.
De Blasio: Mass vaccination sites add to disparity
       
De Blasio: Mass vaccination sites add to disparityNew York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the state's mass vaccination sites add to the disparity in getting communities of color vaccinated. De Blasio said grassroots sites in communities of color are in need of an "oversupply" of the vaccine.
Blinken vows US will avoid 'costly military interventions,' take new approach on trade
       
WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Antony Blinken promised the Biden administration would avoid "costly military interventions" and chart a new course on global trade in his first major foreign policy speech on Wednesday. Blinken defended that strike, even as he said Biden's use of military force would be guided by the "hard lessons learned" of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. "We will not promote democracy through costly military interventions or by attempting to overthrow authoritarian regimes by force," Blinken said. Admitting mistakes on tradeBlinken said trade is another area where previous American foreign policy has fallen short. 1 foreign policy priority, according to a February poll by Pew Research Center.
Comptroller Stringer calls on de Blasio to give up COVID-19 emergency powers
       
Mayor Bill de Blasio should practice what he preaches by scrapping the coronavirus emergency powers he invoked last year to fast-track billions of dollars in spending that “circumvented” oversight, city Comptroller Scott Stringer said Wednesday. Andrew Cuomo’s emergency pandemic powers and restoring local control over decision-making. The state Legislature has agreed to strip some of Cuomo’s emergency powers amid sexual harassment and nursing home scandals engulfing the governor. Stringer claimed de Blasio will look like a hypocrite if he doesn’t restore the comptroller’s review over spending projects. Andrew Cuomo’s emergency pandemic powers and restoring local control over decision-making — but wants his powers gone too.
Michael Cohen — disbarred former Trump fixer — gets COVID-19 vaccine
       
Michael Cohen, the now-disbarred attorney who served as former President Donald Trump’s go-to lawyer before turning state’s evidence, received his coronavirus vaccine on Wednesday. But Cohen said that by Wednesday, the process was smooth as silk. “It was flawless,” Cohen told The Post by phone. Michael Cohen said he qualified due to unspecified “health morbidities.”Once seen as Trump’s legal fixer, the pair’s relationship soured after Cohen implicated Trump while separately pleading guilty to lying during special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation on Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election. Michael Cohen, the now-disbarred attorney who served as former President Donald Trump’s lawyer.
BBC duped by man claiming to be Cory Booker, bluffs way into Khashoggi interview
       
A trickster claiming to be New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker bluffed his way into a BBC radio interview on the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to a red-faced apology from the British outlet and tweets from confused listeners. “In our Newshour radio programme on Friday, a man claiming to be Senator Cory Booker was interviewed in what appears to be a deliberate hoax,” the BBC said in a statement. “@CoryBooker did you do an interview today with the BBC discussing the Khashoggi killing?” tweeted one user on Feb. 26. “Someone sounding nothing like you and without your speech pattern was claiming to be you today.”The homepage of BBC “Newshour” features an apology for the broadcast interview. The real Booker did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Andrew Cuomo aide leaves COVID-19 task force amid gov’s sex-harass scandal
       
The governor’s aide whose wedding reception is at the center of the latest sexual-harassment allegation against Gov. Andrew Cuomo is leaving his COVID-19 task force. The move came just days after Anna Ruch, 33, became the third woman to accuse Cuomo, 63, of sexual harassment. It also came shortly before Cuomo was expected to hold his first news conference since the scandal erupted last week. The move came just days after Anna Ruch, 33, became the third woman to accuse Gov.
Sarbanes was his own campaign-finance guinea pig. The House weighs his bill Wednesday.
       
The public campaign-financing system Sarbanes envisions will go up for a vote as part of a sweeping campaign-finance and voting-access package he’s worked on for the better part of 15 years. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called Sarbanes the “godfather” of the legislation in a speech on the House floor Tuesday, crediting his “long-term dedication” to advancing democracy. A similar version of the bill was approved by the Democratic-majority House in 2019, but died in the Republican-controlled Senate. 1 through that chamber without a single Republican vote — a scenario that would require ditching the filibuster. 1, candidates would be able to opt into a six-to-one matching system for small-dollar donations.
CNN called out for tone shift on Biden reopening schools, compared to Trump coverage
       
CNN's tone on school reopening appears to have taken a different tone with President Biden leading the call for it, instead of former President Trump. Drew Holden, a conservative commentator, noted Biden was quoted in September by the CNN Politics account demanding Trump negotiate a deal for emergency school funding. CNN's Chris Cillizza wrote the same month on the "very clear dangers" of Trump trying to reopen schools. "'Normally, people don't play with kids' lives': Trump's push to reopen schools becomes another partisan fight," CNN wrote in another July news story. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last summer it would work with every school district to create safe environments for school reopening.
Andrew Cuomo aide leaves COVID-19 task force amid sex-harass scandal
       
The aide whose wedding reception was the venue that led to a sexual-harassment allegation against Gov. Andrew Cuomo is leaving the state’s COVID-19 task force, he said Wednesday. CUOMO SPEAKS AS NY LAWMAKERS CALL FOR RESIGNATION, IMPEACHMENT OVER SCANDALSThe move came just days after Anna Ruch, 33, became the third woman to accuse Cuomo, 63, of sexual harassment. It also came shortly before Cuomo was expected to hold his first news conference since the scandal erupted last week. Rhodes has regularly been among the Cuomo administration officials to join the governor at his briefings.
Biden’s post-inauguration honeymoon appears to be over, new poll suggests
       
A new national poll indicates that President Joe Biden’s approval rating has slipped during his first month in the White House. "It’s probably not a surprise that Biden’s honeymoon period has closed quickly," Monmouth University Polling Institute Director Patrick Murray highlighted. An average of all of the latest national polls that measured Biden’s approval rating – compiled by Real Clear Politics – put’s the president’s numbers at 55% approval and 40% disapproval. Ninety-one percent of Democrats questioned in the Monmouth survey approve of Biden’s performance – basically unchanged since January. CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPThe Monmouth poll used live telephone operators to question 802 adults nationwide.
Republicans want briefing from Mayorkas after DHS chief claims 'no' border crisis
       
EXCLUSIVE: House Republicans on the Border Security Caucus are requesting a briefing by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas about the escalating crisis at the southern border, and warning that Biden administration policies are fueling it -- days after Mayorkas denied that there was a crisis at all. Reps. Andy Biggs and Brian Babin, who are the heads of the Congressional Border Security Caucus, wrote to Mayorkas requesting a briefing on the administration’s plans to address what they see as a crisis. Meanwhile, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have been releasing migrants into the interior -- a practice ended by the Trump administration. REP. BIGGS, CO-CHAIR OF BORDER SECURITY CAUCUS, SAYS ISSUE IS UNITING CONSERVATIVESBut Mayorkas on Monday denied there was a crisis at all, instead describing it as a "challenge for the government, non-governmental organizations and border communities. The lawmakers request a meeting in-person with Mayorkas "as soon as possible to discuss the growing crisis at the southern border."
Shalanda Young pushed by House Dem leaders for Biden budget director after Tanden defeat
       
House Democratic leaders on Wednesday are pushing President Biden to tap Shalanda Young – his current pick for deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget – for director, after he withdrew the nomination of Neera Tanden for the post amid controversy over her past statements. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., issued a joint statement on Wednesday, recommending Biden tap Young to serve as director of the Office of Management and Budget. BIDEN’S FAILURE TO GET TANDEN CONFIRMED FOLLOWS OTHER ABORTED PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATIONS IN HISTORY"As longtime members of the Appropriations Committee, we take great pride in recommending Shalanda Young as director of the Office of Management and Budget," the Democratic leaders wrote. Young previously served as a staff director for the House Appropriations Committee. A statement from Biden released Tuesday night read: "I have accepted Neera Tanden’s request to withdraw her name from nomination for director of the Office of Management and Budget."
Pence rails against HR 1, laments Capitol riot prevented 'substantive discussion' on election integrity
       
Former Vice President Mike Pence offered harsh criticism for a Democrat-proposed voting reform legislation while condemning the Capitol protest on Jan. 6 that, he said, interrupted what would have been a worthwhile discussion of election integrity. In an op-ed for the Daily Signal published Wednesday, Pence said that H.R. Pence claimed that H.R. Meanwhile, he said lawmakers should be focused on improving election security and public confidence in the voting process. Pence cautioned that H.R.
Cuomo speaks as NY lawmakers call for resignation, impeachment over scandals
       
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that he will be holding a coronavirus briefing and making an "announcement" Wednesday afternoon, as he faces pressure from members of both parties to step down or face impeachment. At this point, nearly 30 Democratic and Republican New York lawmakers have stated that Cuomo should either resign or face impeachment. CUOMO 'FAILED' TO HOLD HIMSELF TO HIGH STANDARD IF ALLEGATIONS TRUE, NY ASSEMBLY'S DEM LEADER SAYSDemocratic New York State Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" on Wednesday that Cuomo should resign "for the good of the state." Lawmakers are also pushing towards stripping Cuomo of emergency powers he has had throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Senate panel ties on HHS nominee Becerra, advances USTR, Treasury nominees
       
Slideshow ( 3 images )The approval votes for USTR nominee Katherine Tai and Treasury nominee Wally Adeyemo send their nominations to the full Senate. Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden said he would report the 14-14 tie vote on Becerra to the Secretary of the Senate for a decision on how to proceed from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell. Democrats currently hold the advantage in Senate floor votes because Vice President Kamala Harris can cast a tie-breaking 51st vote. “His qualifications to be HHS Secretary seem to be minimal beyond suing HHS,” said Senator Bill Cassidy, a Louisiana Republican who is also a physician. Senator Mike Crapo, the top Republican on the panel, said he opposed Becerra because of his challenges on behalf of California to HHS authorities on contraception.
Senate trims parts of Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill before votes
       
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Joe Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill would phase out $1,400 payments to high-income Americans in a compromise with moderate Democratic senators, according to lawmakers and media reports. Before the bill hits the chamber floor, Democrats are negotiating limits to a measure Republicans have attacked as wasteful. Senate Democrats said the proposal, which would block Americans earning $80,000 per year or more and couples earning $160,000 or more from receiving the $1,400 payments, was a good solution. Before the legislation comes to a final vote, Democrats will have to sort out a welter of competing ideas as they seek to advance the bill. Once the Senate votes on the bill, the House would then have to sign off on the changes before Biden can sign it into law.
Some key aides jump ship as Cuomo scandals spiral
       
Deputy Superintendent & Special Counsel at NYS Department of Financial Services Gareth Rhodes speaks during the daily media briefing in New York City. | Jeenah Moon/Getty Images Some key aides jump ship as Cuomo scandals spiralALBANY, N.Y. — At least two top aides to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo are leaving his office as the governor faces allegations of sexual harassment from former aides and a federal probe into his administration’s handling of nursing home deaths. Rhodes has been in the Cuomo administration in various capacities since 2011. Prior to joining Cuomo’s Covid-19 task force last year, he was special counsel to the superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services in New York and Albany.
Bipartisan senators introduce bill to strip Biden of war powers
       
“Last week’s airstrikes in Syria show that the executive branch, regardless of party, will continue to stretch its war powers,” Kaine said. The Kaine-Young bill, though, only deals with the 1991 and 2002 measures, which are entirely focused on Iraq. | Leigh Vogel-Pool/Getty ImagesSenior Biden administration officials have begun briefing Congress this week about the Syria strikes, but they have yet to brief lawmakers directly. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) told POLITICO on Tuesday that he sat in on a staff-level briefing because the Biden administration had yet to schedule sessions for senators. The Biden administration published a long-secret intelligence report last week that blamed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for approving the operation that killed Khashoggi, but the administration declined to impose direct penalties on the crown prince.
Extremists discussed plans to 'remove Democratic lawmakers': FBI-Homeland Security bulletin
       
The bulletin, titled "National Capital Region Remains Attractive Target for Domestic Violent Extremists," warned that "Domestic Violent Extremists" or "Militia Violent Extremists" were emboldened by the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and therefore pose a higher overall threat. The bulletin said the militia violent extremists may "exploit public gatherings either formally organized or spontaneous to engage in violence," according to the description of the document. It also states that domestic violent extremists have a continued "perception of election fraud and other conspiracy theories associated with the presidential transition, which may contribute to (Domestic Violent Extremists) mobilizing to violence with little or no warning." The law enforcement official said the bulletin makes clear that "the threat did not begin or end on January 6." NBC News reported Tuesday that law enforcement agencies around Washington, D.C., were adding extra security out of concern of potential unrest.
D.C. Guard Chief Says It Took Over 3 Hours For Approval To Deploy National Guard On Jan. 6
       
Pentagon officials did not answer a request to deploy troops during the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 for more than three hours, the commanding general of the D.C. National Guard testified Wednesday. Maj. Gen. William Walker said the head of the Capitol Police asked for help during the insurrection, and that senior Pentagon officials did not approve deploying the National Guard until three hours and 19 minutes later. “Chief Sund, his voice cracking with emotion, indicated that there was a dire emergency on Capitol Hill and requested the immediate assistance of as many Guardsmen as I could muster.”Walker said he then went to Army leadership to ask for help. “Immediately after the 1:49 p.m. call with Chief Sund, I alerted the Army Senior Leadership of the request,” Walker said. “The approval for Chief Sund’s request would eventually come from the Acting Secretary of Defense and be relayed to me by Army Senior Leaders at 5:08 p.m. — three hours and 19 minutes later.”
Chicago mayor proposes new rules after botched police raid
       
FILE - In this Dec. 17, 2020, file photo, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks during a news conference at City Hall in Chicago. (Anthony Vazquez/Chicago Sun-Times via AP, File)FILE - In this Dec. 17, 2020, file photo, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks during a news conference at City Hall in Chicago. Lightfoot has come under intense criticism for the way she and the city responded to the botched raid at Young’s home. ADVERTISEMENT“If Ms. Young was the biggest drug kingpin we still should have treated her with dignity and respect,” he said. Last month, Young sued the city and 12 police officers , alleging that the officers engaged in a conspiracy to cover up civil rights violations.
Ethiopia now calls Axum massacre allegations ‘credible’
       
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Ethiopia on Wednesday said it is investigating “credible allegations of atrocities and human rights abuses” in its embattled Tigray region, including in the city of Axum, where The Associated Press and Amnesty International have separately documented a massacre of several hundred people. Some of those allied forces are from neighboring Eritrea, one of the world’s most secretive countries and long an enemy of the former Tigray leaders. Ethiopia’s government denies their presence, even as some of the government-appointed interim Tigray leaders acknowledge it and several witnesses have described the soldiers’ killing and looting. ADVERTISEMENTThe government-established Ethiopian Human Rights Commission is investigating allegations from Axum and elsewhere, and it has “signaled its willingness to collaborate with relevant U.N. agencies,” Ethiopia’s new statement said. The United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet last week said the office is ready to support the EHRC if its monitors are granted access to the Tigray region.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper receives COVID-19 vaccine
       
Roy Cooper received a COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday as the state expands eligibility this week with the arrival of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. “I’m proud to have received my first shot today and grateful for the health care workers who helped make it happen,” Cooper wrote on Twitter. Unlike Pfizer and Moderna, Johnson & Johnson vaccines can be administered with a single dose. Shortly before the federal government approved the J&J vaccine, North Carolina’s top public health, Dr. Mandy Cohen, told The Associated Press the third available vaccine would help remedy supply shortages and fill coverage gaps. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.
Reports: Myanmar security forces kill at least 33 protesters
       
(AP Photo)YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Myanmar security forces dramatically escalated their crackdown on protests against last month’s coup, killing at least 33 protesters Wednesday in several cities, according to accounts on social media and local news reports compiled by a data analyst. Videos from Wednesday also showed security forces firing slingshots at demonstrators, chasing them down and even brutally beating an ambulance crew. Their numbers have remained high even as security forces have repeatedly fired tear gas, rubber bullets and live rounds to disperse the crowds, and arrested protesters en masse. As part of the crackdown, security forces have also arrested hundreds of people at protests, including journalists. Ignoring that appeal, Myanmar’s security forces on Wednesday continued to attack peaceful protesters.
Ronny Jackson 'Bullied' Subordinates And Broke Alcohol Rules, Pentagon Report Finds
       
When the woman woke up and answered the door, Jackson told her, "I need you," according to the Pentagon report. After another staff member also came into the hallway, the report adds, Jackson insisted they all go to his hotel room. The Pentagon report was sparked by a raft of allegations that surfaced in 2018, when Trump nominated Jackson to be secretary of Veterans Affairs. The accusations led to today's Pentagon report — but they did not halt Jackson's political career: the Republican was elected to Congress last November, representing a district in the Texas Panhandle. As it issued its findings, the Pentagon inspector general's office cautioned that it had been prevented from handling the case as it normally would, citing interference from the White House.
Capitol Police Warns Of Another Possible Right-Wing Attack On Congress
       
Capitol Police Warns Of Another Possible Right-Wing Attack On CongressEnlarge this image toggle caption Jacquelyn Martin/AP Jacquelyn Martin/APThe U.S. Capitol Police says that it is aware of a threat by an unidentified militia group to breach the Capitol complex on Thursday. March 4 is a significant date for far-right conspiracy theorists who believe former President Donald Trump will return to power then. That was the original date for presidential inaugurations until 1937, after the adoption of the 20th Amendment to the Constitution. The threat comes nearly two months after extremist Trump supporters broke into the Capitol — forcing lawmakers and the vice president to flee moments ahead of an angry mob. Capitol Police was "aware of and prepared for any potential threats towards members of Congress or towards the Capitol complex," it said.
U.S. gets C- grade on its infrastructure report card
       
U.S. infrastructure has received an average grade of C minus, according to the 2021 report card released Wednesday by the American Society of Civil Engineers. “For the first time in 20 years, our infrastructure GPA is a C-, up from a D+ in 2017. “Five category grades — aviation, drinking water, energy, inland waterways, and ports — went up, while just one category — bridges — went down. But hopes for more infrastructure spending often have been dashed in recent years, turning “Infrastructure Week” into a joke in Washington. 3 House Democrat, Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, during an ASCE event on Wednesday tied to the group’s report card.
‘Document everything’: 3 women accused Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment — but what do you do if it happens to you?
       
Andrew Cuomo’s resignation in light of sexual misconduct allegations, it’s important to know how to handle workplace sexual harassment if it happens to you. Lindsey Boylan and Charlotte Bennett, two former aides to Cuomo, had earlier accused the governor of sexual harassment, including an unwanted kiss and inappropriate questions about sex. Learn about your company’s policies and procedures for filing a sexual harassment complaint, Brantner added. Remember that HR isn’t necessarily your friend“Their role is to protect the company and their role is to conduct what they believe to be an impartial investigation,” Brantner said. That way, “HR can’t come back and say, ‘We never talked about sexual harassment or discrimination,’” she said.
Supreme Court appears ready to uphold Arizona election measures in Voting Rights Act case
       
The justices heard arguments in the case as dozens of state legislatures consider changes to their election laws, including many that voting rights groups say could curb voter access. Video Transcript- The political and legal fight over election laws and the right to vote is getting more intense this morning. ED O'KEEFE: Republicans say it goes too far. Republicans say the changes address unsubstantiated concerns about alleged widespread election fraud. ED O'KEEFE: Democrats say they would disenfranchise minority voters.
Keith Olbermann's Hot Take On Texas Lifting COVID-19 Restrictions Goes Down In Flames
       
AxiosIn some of his most extensive remarks since Jan. 6, former Vice President Mike Pence wrote an op-ed Wednesday condemning House Democrats' sweeping election and anti-corruption proposal as an "unconstitutional power grab" by "leftists. Subscribe for free.The big picture: Writing in The Daily Signal, Pence repeated dubious claims that the 2020 election was "marked by significant voting irregularities. "Leftists not only want you powerless at the ballot box," wrote the former vice president, "they want to silence and censor anyone who would dare to criticize their unconstitutional power grab. He wrote that the bill "mandates the most questionable and abuse-prone election rules nationwide, while banning commonsense measures to detect, deter, and prosecute election fraud. "Go deeper: Democrats' sweeping reform bill Like this article?
Democrats Are Letting the Promise of a $15 Minimum Wage Slip Away
       
It doesn’t look like a $15 minimum wage is going to happen anytime soon. She deemed last week that raising the minimum wage doesn’t qualify. Even if Harris were to overrule the parliamentarian, all 50 Senate Democrats would need to vote for a relief bill featuring a measure to increase the minimum wage to $15 by 2025. “Eighty-one million people cast their ballots to elect you on a platform that called for a $15 minimum wage. Many of my colleagues and I believe we can and must deliver a $15 wage through reconciliation.
U.S. House to consider $15 minimum wage in 'near future,' leader says
       
Democrats and some Republicans have voiced support for the idea of raising the federal minimum wage, now at $7.25 an hour, for the first time since 2009, although they disagree on how much. Raising the hourly wage to $15 was a campaign promise of Democratic President Joe Biden. "The minimum wage as it now stands is immoral," Hoyer, a Democrat, told reporters. In the Senate, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, told reporters a minimum wage increase along the lines that Republican Senators Tom Cotton and Mitt Romney have proposed was "worth discussing," but not a hike to $15. So the House will bring the $15 wage proposal to the floor "in the near future," Hoyer said, without giving specifics.
White House agrees to reduce Americans eligible for checks in next COVID relief bill, reports say
       
The White House has signed off on a proposal from centrist Democrats in Congress to reduce the number of people receiving the next round of checks, per multiple reports. President Biden speaks at the White House on Tuesday. According to reports, the White House refused to lower the payments from $400 per week to $300 per week, as requested by moderate lawmakers. The White House counters that the $1,400 checks included in its current package comes out to $2,000 when it is added to the $600 checks passed by the last Congress in December. The survey also found that 58 percent supported raising the minimum wage — a provision that has been stripped from the current relief package, to the chagrin of progressives — compared with 31 percent who opposed doing so.
D.C. National Guard chief: Pentagon dragged its feet on Jan. 6 backup
       
Walker said he received Sund’s call for aid at 1:49 p.m. and raced to send the request to senior Pentagon officials. “Consequently, at 5:20pm (in under 20 minutes) the District of Columbia National Guard arrived at the Capitol,” Walker wrote. Flynn is the brother of former Trump national security adviser MIchael Flynn — a leading proponent for overturning the results of the election. Instead of seeking a robust National Guard presence in advance, those former Capitol security officials said they asked Walker to simply be ready should they need him. Also at issue is the intelligence assessment that led Capitol security officials to dismiss the need for preemptive National Guard support.
Democrats agree to narrow who gets $1,400 checks in COVID-19 relief bill
       
Under the House bill, payments phased out at $100,000 for individuals, $200,000 for couples and $150,000 for heads of households. The other most notable change from the House version will be removing language to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. After that comes a vote on the final Senate passage of the bill, expected sometime Friday or Saturday. Due to the Senate changes, the House will need to pass the revised version before sending it to Biden's desk. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.)
Far-right militia group plotting to ‘breach’ the US Capitol on March 4, police warn
       
“We have obtained intelligence that shows a possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group on Thursday, March 4,” the US Capitol police said in a statement on Wednesday. That security bulletin names the far-right militia the “Three Percenters” as posing a threat. The vague but ongoing threats of violence underscore the difficult decisions confronting officials at the Capitol for balancing security, government transparency, and patriotic tourism. At a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing with Capitol security officials last week, Senator Angus King highlighted the dilemma facing members and those responsible for their safety. We want security, but I would hate to see the US Capitol turned into a fortress.”Read MoreWhite supremacists on par with Isis as ‘top threat,’ FBI director says at Capitol riot hearingFive key takeaways from FBI director Wray’s grilling at Capitol riot hearingFeds oppose release of Arizona man who wore horns in riotThe Latest: FBI chief calls Capitol riot domestic terrorismFBI chief to face questions on extremism, Capitol riot
Anti-Asian slur spray-painted on couple’s car while they were at movie, Georgia cops say
       
A Georgia couple’s night at the movies was soured after they returned to find an anti-Asian slur scrawled across their car. Got in the car,” Bounphengsy told FOX 5 of the Feb. 26 incident. “I don’t have problems with nobody, my husband doesn’t have problems with nobody,” Siharath told WGCL-TV. Stop AAPI Hate, an organization that tracks hate crimes against Asian American Pacific Islander communities, said it received over 2,800 reports of hate incidents between mid-March and December 2020. Anyone with information on the incident in Suwanee is asked to contact the police department at 770-904-7627.
DC National Guard commander says it took more than 3 hours for Trump's Pentagon to tell him to send in troops to respond to the Capitol riot
       
National Guard troops assemble outside of the U.S. Capitol on January 16, 2021 in Washington, DC Photo by Eric Thayer/Getty ImagesThe DC National Guard commander says that the Pentagon dragged its feet responding to the Capitol riot. He said he did not receive approval to deploy troops to the Capitol until almost 3 hours after an initial request. The commander of the DC National Guard said Wednesday that it took military leaders in former President Donald Trump's Pentagon three hours from the time Capitol Police called for backup to tell him to send in troops to respond to the Jan. 6 assault on the US Capitol by a pro-Trump mob. Samuel Corum/Getty ImagesWalker said that he immediately relayed the request for National Guard support to senior Army leadership and quickly readied available forces. He did not get approval to deploy Guard troops from Army leadership until 5:08 pm, hours after the violent mob had breached the Capitol.
Capitol Police warn militia group may be planning to breach the Capitol on Thursday
       
Nearly two months after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol building, officials are warning a militia group may be plotting another breach. The U.S. Capitol Police said Wednesday it has obtained intelligence "that shows a possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group" on March 4. "Our department is working with our local, state, and federal partners to stop any threats to the Capitol," Capitol Police said. Officials previously said they would "enhance our security posture and staffing for a number of days, to include March 4," due to "concerning information and intelligence" surrounding that date, ABC News reports. Because of this, Pittman said it's necessary for Capitol Police to "maintain its enhanced and robust security posture," including fencing and National Guard presence.
Biden's COVID-19 relief bill includes billions in aid for states that don't need it
       
In fact, the analysis shows that 21 states saw positive revenue growth compared with last year. Now that Joe Biden is president and Democrats control both chambers of Congress, they're pushing forward with unfettered aid for state and local governments. The relief bill passed by the House last week includes $350 billion for the long-time goal, with $195.3 billion directed toward state governments and Washington, and $130.2 billion allocated for local governments. An additional $20 billion would be given to federally recognized tribal governments, while $4.5 billion would go to U.S. territories. GOP senators plan to introduce a slew of amendments to the bill during the "vote-a-rama" this week, including eliminating all of — or at least reducing — aid for state governments, Barrasso said.
International Criminal Court investigates alleged crimes in Palestinian territories
       
The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said Wednesday she has launched an investigation into alleged Israeli crimes in the Palestinian territories, plunging the court into the midst of one of the most fraught conflicts of the past half-century. Of course it doesn’t say a word against Iran and Syria, and other tyrannical regimes, frequently committing real war crimes,” he said. The investigation will likely also look into alleged crimes by Palestinian militants. Israel blames Hamas and other militant groups for Palestinian war casualties, saying the militants use residential areas as cover to launch rockets and leave the military no choice but to strike back. Human Rights Watch welcomed the court’s move as a step toward justice for Israeli and Palestinian victims.
Cuomo to speak publicly amid sexual harassment claims
       
Cuomo has avoided public appearances for days as some fellow Democrats call for him to resign. He’s set to speak at 1 p.m. Wednesday in a video briefing on the coronavirus outbreak, according to the governor’s press office. Andrew Cuomo is set to address the public for the first time in days in the wake of several sexual harassment allegations. His last media briefing on video was Feb. 19. AdvertisementHe hasn't spoken publicly since giving New York Attorney General Letitia James a referral to investigate claims that he sexually harassed at least two women in his administration.
Police uncover ‘possible plot’ by militia to breach Capitol on Thursday
       
Police were ill prepared for the mass of Trump supporters in tactical gear, some armed, and it took hours for National Guard reinforcements to come. WASHINGTON (AP) — Capitol Police say they have uncovered intelligence of a “possible plot” by a militia group to breach the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, nearly two months after a mob of supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the iconic building to try to stop Congress from certifying now-President Joe Biden’s victory. “The United States Capitol Police Department is aware of and prepared for any potential threats towards members of Congress or towards the Capitol complex,” the agency said in a statement. “We have obtained intelligence that shows a possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group on Thursday, March 4.” Police did not identify the militia group in the statement. He was impeached by the House after the Jan. 6 riot on a c harge of incitement of insurrection but was acquitted by the Senate.
Biden backs tighter limits on stimulus checks to speed COVID-19 relief bill
       
Lawmakers are heading toward the final phase of enacting Biden’s first signature legislative package, with the Senate taking up the relief bill the House passed last week. The Senate’s so-called managers’ amendment to the House bill is expected to keep the House’s figure, which is a $100-a-week increase from the current level through August. Biden met with nine moderate Democrats at the White House earlier this week as he sought their support in enacting his first signature piece of legislation. Indeed, GOP Senator Rob Portman of Ohio said Wednesday he’s working on vote-a-rama amendments to further target the bill. Schumer has pledged to complete the package in time to get it to Biden before the current extra jobless benefits expire on March 14.
Congress launches probe into Texas power outages
       
AUSTIN – A congressional oversight panel has launched an investigation into last month’s power outages in Texas, which left millions shivering in their homes without power as the state experienced freezing temperatures. The subcommittee also includes Texas Rep. Pat Fallon and New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who raised $4.7 million for Texans affected by the power outages and traveled to the state after the winter storms. The congressional review is the latest in a string of investigations surrounding last month’s power outages. The congressional probe increases pressure on Magness, ERCOT’s embattled leader, who state lawmakers have said should also resign from his post. Because those lessons were not learned, Khanna wrote, Texas was left “vulnerable to extreme winter weather again in 2021.”
Gov. Tony Evers suggests schools could start year early to help students catch up
       
MADISON - Wisconsin schools could start the next school year early to help catch up students from an all but certain academic slide after learning virtually for months, Gov. Tony Evers suggested this week. The former state superintendent suggested schools could offer more summer courses or start the 2021-22 school year before the Sept. 1 date set in state law to help students who are behind because of the coronavirus pandemic. "At the end of the day, we really do need school districts to consider what we can do to catch kids up." The state's largest school districts, including Milwaukee Public Schools, are still providing virtual instruction with plans to bring back students this spring.
Selma Bridge Crossing Jubilee to honor civil rights icons
       
The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the youth civil rights arm, had sent two teams to scout out the city. This year’s Selma Bridge Crossing Jubilee will be the first without the towering presence of civil rights icons Congressman John Lewis, the Rev. It will feature performances and events honoring civil rights legends and also the “foot soldiers,” whose names are lesser known. The Selma commemoration is also a way for other people of color and allies to support the civil rights movement. And today our Selma is to expand voting rights, restore the Voting Rights Act fully, raise the minimum wage to a living wage and pass universal health care for all,” Barber said.
Myanmar police hold AP journalist in chokehold, video shows
       
YANGON, Myanmar — A video of the arrest of Associated Press journalist Thein Zaw as he was photographing Myanmar security forces charging at anti-coup protesters shows him being quickly surrounded and held in a chokehold as handcuffs are placed on him. Authorities have charged Thein Zaw and five other members of the media with violating a public order law that could see them imprisoned for up to three years. AP condemns the charge against Thein Zaw and his arbitrary detention.”The military ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi in a Feb. 1 coup. The group includes journalists working for Myanmar Now, Myanmar Photo Agency, 7Day News, Zee Kwet online news and a freelancer. In December 2017, two journalists working for the Reuters news agency were arrested while working on a story about Myanmar’s Rohingya minority.
$1,400 stimulus checks in COVID relief bill would phase out at $80,000 instead of $100,000, according to deal between Biden and Democrats
       
WASHINGTON – Senate Democrats reached a deal with President Joe Biden to limit the eligibility for $1,400 stimulus checks in his $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill, phasing the payments out for Americans earning over $80,000, according to two sources familiar with the deliberations not authorized to speak on the record. Joint filers would have their checks phase out starting at $150,000 and entirely at $160,000. Pressed on whether Biden agreed to more limited eligibility on the relief checks, Psaki added: "He is comfortable with where the negotiations stand." Some Senate Democrats signaled they would support the compromise. Manchin had originally pushed for the checks to phase out after $50,000 of income, though the House ultimately drafted a $75,000 threshold.
Biden health pick taking heat for support of abortion rights
       
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s pick for health secretary is taking heat from Republicans for his actions in support of abortion rights. It’s a test, too, for national groups opposed to abortion, trying to deny a president who favors abortion rights his choice to run the Department of Health and Human Services. Becerra is paying a price for defending, as California attorney general, some of the nation’s most liberal laws and policies on abortion rights. Becerra, 63, was a reliable Democratic vote for abortion rights during more than 20 years representing a Los Angeles-area district in the U.S. House. She disagrees with his support for abortion rights, but finds common ground elsewhere.
Pentagon hesitated on sending Guard to Capitol riot: General
       
Guard troops who had been waiting on buses were then rushed to the Capitol. That delay stood in contrast to the immediate approval for National Guard support granted in response to the civil unrest that roiled American cities last spring as an outgrowth of racial justice protests, Walker said. As local officials pleaded for help, Army officials raised concerns about the optics of a substantial National Guard presence at the Capitol, he said. Senators were eager to grill officials from the Pentagon, the National Guard and the Justice and Homeland Security departments about their preparations for that day. The hearing comes as thousands of National Guard troops are still patrolling the fenced-in Capitol and as multiple committees across Congress are launching investigations into mistakes made on Jan. 6.
Las Vegas police retirements up 36% in 2020
       
(Ellen Schmidt/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @ellenkschmidtttSteve Grammas is the president of Las Vegas Police Protective Association. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfayePolice officers mobilize in downtown Las Vegas on June 3, 2020, after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @benjaminhphotoA Las Vegas police officer shouts at a protester to back up as tension between police and demonstrators heightens on May 29, 2020 on the Las Vegas Strip. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @benjaminhphotoA Las Vegas police officer is struck on the shoulder by a water bottle during clashes with protesters from a Black Lives Matter march dedicated to George Floyd on Saturday, May 30, 2020 in Las Vegas. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Left_Eye_ImagesLas Vegas Metro Police are seen patrolling near the Bellagio hotel and casino fountains on the Las Vegas Strip, on Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020.
How to reach the Sun Sentinel’s reporters and editors
       
Here are the ways to contact the newsroom staff of the South Florida Sun Sentinel, which covers Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties as well as Florida statewide news:
Voter Guide: Candidates in the March 9 South Florida municipal elections
       
The South Florida Sun Sentinel surveyed candidates on the ballot for the March 9, 2021, municipal elections in Broward and south Palm Beach counties for this Voter Guide. Not all candidates responded to the questionnaire. Unopposed and write-in candidates are not included. Answers are shown in this guide as submitted by the candidate and unedited.
As attack ads fly in Delray Beach mayor’s race, an out-of-town PAC draws questions
       
Caruso also shares ties with People for Coastal Common Sense, another PAC. Caruso’s campaign treasurer, Michael Millner, also serves as the treasurer and chairperson for People for Coastal Common Sense, which is registered in Jensen Beach, according to campaign documents. The PAC contributed over $60,000 to the Florida Republican Party in 2020. Caruso’s husband Mike, who was recently re-elected as Delray Beach’s Republican state representative, also received contributions from the PAC during his congressional race.
Stimulus check updates: Biden, Senate Democrats agree to $80,000 income cap to get COVID-19 relief checks
       
“The politician standing in the way of change is Vice President Kamala Harris,” said the email, citing the possibility — already rejected by the White House — of her casting a tie-breaking Senate vote to overrule the parliamentarian. It said the organization will “hold her accountable if she decides to turn her back on essential workers.”
Sun Sentinel Editorial Board
       
The Republican Party was on trial along with Donald Trump. Both now stand convicted, if not by the Senate, then definitely in the eyes of the nation and the world.
$1,400 stimulus check: Democrats OK tighter income limits for COVID-19 relief
       
The COVID-19 relief measure Senate Democrats planned to unveil will also retain the $400 weekly emergency jobless benefits that were included in a House-approved version of the legislation, the official said. The Senate bill was expected to largely mirror the House-approved package, with the most glaring divergence the Senate’s dropping of language boosting the federal minimum wage to $15 hourly. Democrats’ push to include it in later legislation suggested an effort to satisfy progressives while avoiding jeopardizing the current package. Progressives, though, were still smarting over the virtual certainty that the Senate bill will lack the minimum wage boost, up from $7.25 hourly locked in since 2009. Opposition by moderates including Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., has left Democrats without the votes needed to salvage it.
A ‘possible plot’ by militia to breach the U.S. Capitol on March 4 has been discovered by the Capitol Police. It’s tied to a QAnon conspiracy theory
       
By MICHAEL BALSAMO, Associated PressWASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Capitol Police say they have intelligence showing there is a “possible plot” by a militia group to breach the U.S. Capitol on Thursday. The revelation was detailed in a statement from the Capitol Police. It comes at the same time the acting police chief is testifying before a House subcommittee. So far, about 300 people have been charged with federal crimes for their roles in the riot. Many of the accounts that helped promote and organize the Jan. 6 riots on platforms like Facebook and Twitter have since been suspended, making it more difficult for the groups to organize.
Cuomo to speak publicly amid sexual harassment claims
       
Andrew Cuomo is set to address the public for the first time in days in the wake of several sexual harassment allegations. He’s set to speak at 1 p.m. Tuesday in a video briefing on the coronavirus outbreak, according to the governor’s press office. Cuomo has avoided public appearances for days as some fellow Democrats call for him to resign. His last media briefing on video was Feb. 19. He hasn’t spoken publicly since giving New York Attorney General Letitia James a referral to investigate claims that he sexually harassed at least two women in his administration.
Police uncover ‘possible plot’ by militia to breach Capitol
       
Michael BalsamoAssociated PressWashington – The U.S. Capitol Police say they have intelligence showing there is a “possible plot” by a militia group to breach the U.S. Capitol on Thursday. The revelation was detailed in a statement from the Capitol Police. “The United States Capitol Police Department is aware of and prepared for any potential threats towards members of Congress or towards the Capitol complex,” the agency said in a statement. Capitol Police say that they have stepped up security around the Capitol complex since January’s insurrection, adding physical security measures such as the fencing topped with razor wire around the Capitol and members of the National Guard who remain at the complex. The statement said the agency was “taking the intelligence seriously” but provided no other specific details on the threat.
Video: Myanmar police hold AP journalist in chokehold
       
Associated PressYangon, Myanmar – A video of the arrest of Associated Press journalist Thein Zaw as he was photographing Myanmar security forces charging at anti-coup protesters shows him being quickly surrounded and held in a chokehold as handcuffs are placed on him. Authorities have charged Thein Zaw and five other members of the media with violating a public order law that could see them imprisoned for up to three years. AP condemns the charge against Thein Zaw and his arbitrary detention.”The military ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi in a Feb. 1 coup. The group includes journalists working for Myanmar Now, Myanmar Photo Agency, 7Day News, Zee Kwet online news and a freelancer. In December 2017, two journalists working for the Reuters news agency were arrested while working on a story about Myanmar’s Rohingya minority.
Voting company sues Fox, Giuliani over election fraud claims
       
MIAMI (AP) — A voting technology company is suing Fox News, three of its hosts and two former lawyers for former President Donald Trump — Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell — for $2.7 billion, charging that the defendants conspired to spread false claims that the company helped “steal” the U.S. presidential election. On Jan. 25, a rival election-technology company — Dominion Voting Systems, which was also ensnared in Trump's baseless effort to overturn the election — sued Guiliani and Powell for $1.3 billion. Unlike Dominion, whose technology was used in 24 states, Smartmatic's participation in the 2020 election was restricted to Los Angeles County, which votes heavily Democratic. Smartmatic's limited role notwithstanding, Fox aired at least 13 reports falsely stating or implying the company had stolen the 2020 vote in cahoots with Venezuela's socialist government, according to the complaint. This alleged “disinformation campaign” continued even after then-Attorney General William Barr said the Department of Justice could find no evidence of widespread voter fraud.
Voting company sues Fox, Giuliani over election fraud claims
       
MIAMI — A voting technology company is suing Fox News, three of its hosts and two former lawyers for former President Donald Trump — Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell — for $2.7 billion, charging that the defendants conspired to spread false claims that the company helped “steal” the U.S. presidential election. The 285-page complaint filed Thursday in New York state court by Florida-based Smartmatic USA is one of the largest libel suits ever undertaken. On Jan. 25, a rival election-technology company — Dominion Voting Systems, which wasalso ensnared in Trump’s baseless effort to overturn the election — sued Guiliani and Powell for $1.3 billion. Unlike Dominion, whose technology was used in 24 states, Smartmatic’s participation in the 2020 election was restricted to Los Angeles County, which votes heavily Democratic.
Pentagon deploys troops to fuel COVID-19 vaccine drive
       
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon will deploy more than 1,100 troops to five vaccination centers in what will be the first wave of increased military support for the White House campaign to get more Americans inoculated against COVID-19. President Joe Biden has called for setting up 100 mass vaccination centers around the country within a month. One of the five new military teams will go to a vaccination center opening in California. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has asked the Pentagon to supply as many as 10,000 service members to staff 100 centers. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin approved the initial five teams, but the others will be approved in separate tranches as FEMA identifies the other site locations.
Internet access restored as Myanmar coup protests grow
       
YANGON, Myanmar — As enthusiastic crowds of tens of thousands marched through the streets of Myanmar’s biggest city on Sunday to protest last week’s coup ousting Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government, their spirits were lifted by the return of internet services that had been blocked a day earlier. Separate protests that began in various parts of Yangon converged at Sule Pagoda, situated in the center of a roundabout in the city’s downtown area. Protesters chanted “Long live Mother Suu” and “Down with military dictatorship.” Protesters in other parts of the country echoed their calls. Authorities had cut access to the internet as the protests grew Saturday, fanning fears of a complete information blackout. On Sunday afternoon, however, internet users in Yangon reported that data access on their mobile phones had suddenly been restored.
Fully funding police popular with OKC council candidates, mask mandate not so much
       
Fully funding police popular with OKC council candidates, mask mandate not so muchOklahoma City's pandemic-fighting mask mandate generally was panned by candidates in Tuesday's city council primaries. One exception was retired Lt. Col. Susan Parisi, whose military career included service as the chief nurse of the 301st Medical Squadron of the U.S. Air Force Reserves. "We cannot, we will not, get out ahead of this deadly pandemic until people stop complaining about their personal rights being infringed upon and just help out your fellow human being and put on a mask," she wrote. Sixteen of the 18 candidates in Tuesday's primaries in Wards 1, 3 and 4 responded to questions on restoring last year's cuts to the police operations budget, reforms sought by critics of police violence and the mask mandate.
Trial highlights shadowy past of Spain's conservative party
       
MADRID (AP) — A high-stakes trial beginning Monday is bringing back a spotlight on the illegal kickbacks scheme that for years has haunted Spain's Popular Party, casting a long shadow on the country's main conservative party despite its pledges of regeneration. The proceedings at the National Court in Madrid are looking into whether the renovation of the party's headquarters in the Spanish capital more than a decade ago was paid for with an alleged slush fund largely built on bribes. The case is the latest in a legal saga that began when allegations of the party's decades-long shadowy accounting first emerged in 2013. The Popular Party, or PP, which has been a dominating presence during Spain's past four decades of democracy, has already paid a high political price for corruption scandals by its members or elected officials.
EU countries expel Russian diplomats in Navalny dispute
       
BERLIN — Germany, Poland and Sweden on Monday each declared a Russian diplomat in their country “persona non grata,” retaliating in kind to last week’s decision by Moscow to expel diplomats from the three European Union countries over the case of opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Russia had accused diplomats from Sweden, Poland and Germany of attending a demonstration in support of Navalny, President Vladimir Putin’s most high-profile political foe. “We have informed the Russian Ambassador that a person from the Russian embassy is asked to leave Sweden,” Sweden’s Foreign Minister Ann Linde wrote on Twitter. “This is a clear response to the unacceptable decision to expel a Swedish diplomat who was only preforming his duties.”Germany’s foreign ministry said Russia’s decision to expel the European diplomats “was not justified in any way,” insisting that the German Embassy staffer had been acting within his rights under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations to “inform himself about developments on site.”
Dems try to push through school funding
       
Democrats on the Education and Labor Committee say schools won’t be able to reopen safely until they get an infusion of federal funding to repair building ventilation systems, buy protective equipment and take other steps recommended by federal health officials. The plan faces opposition from Republicans who want to tie new school funding to reopening. The panel met Tuesday to craft its portion of a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that tracks with Biden’s plan for battling the pandemic and reviving a still staggering economy. Democrats hope to rush the bill to Biden for his signature by mid-March, using a special budget-related process allowing certain legislation to be approved by a simple majority. Rep. Bobby Scott, chair of the Education and Labor Committee, dismissed complaints from Republicans who objected to use of the process.
White House budget chief nominee apologizes for past tweets
       
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s choice to the lead the Office of Management and Budget apologized Tuesday for spending years attacking top Republicans on social media as she tried to convince senators she’ll leave partisan politics behind if confirmed. Neera Tanden also admitted to spending “many months” removing past Twitter posts, saying, “I deleted tweets because I regretted them.” But she refused to say she did so to help her nomination. “I know there have been some concerns about some of my past language on social media, and I regret that language and take responsibility for it,” Tanden, a former adviser to Hillary Clinton and the president of the center-left Center for American Progress, told a Senate committee. She later added, “I deeply regret and apologize for my language.”
GOP attacks Dems’ $1.9T COVID-19 relief bill from all angles
       
WASHINGTON — Republicans are attacking the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package as too costly, economically damaging and overtly partisan, an all-angles attempt to derail new President Joe Biden’s top priority as it starts moving through a Congress his party controls only narrowly. Four House committees worked Thursday on their pieces of sweeping legislation that would send $1,400 payments to many Americans. Democratic leaders hope for House passage later this month, with Senate approval and a bill on Biden’s desk by mid-March. “This is the moment,” said Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., citing the pandemic’s human and economic toll. As committees worked, Republicans proposed amendments spotlighting what they see as the legislation’s soft spots.
UK, EU meeting in bid to calm post-Brexit trade turbulence
       
LONDON — Breaking up is proving hard to do for Britain and the European Union, whose divorce deal is in choppy waters just six weeks after the U.K. made its economic split from the bloc. U.K. Brexit minister Michael Gove and European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic are meeting in London later Thursday to try to smooth out the problems, but few expect a quick resolution. The turbulence centers on Northern Ireland, whose complex status has been one of the trickiest issues in the U.K.-EU divorce. Michel Barnier, the bloc’s chief negotiator during years of Brexit talks, said both sides “must be conscious of their responsibilities” to Northern Ireland.
White House aide suspended for threatening reporter
       
WASHINGTON (AP) — White House deputy press secretary T.J. Ducklo has been suspended for a week without pay after he reportedly issued a sexist and profane threat to a journalist seeking to cover his relationship with another reporter. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday that Ducklo's conduct was “completely unacceptable.” Psaki said while she had not spoken about the incident with President Joe Biden, Ducklo and aides “at the highest levels” of the White House’s communications team had apologized for the incident. “No one wants anyone to feel uncomfortable, to be put in an uncomfortable position,” Psaki said. Psaki said in a statement earlier Friday that Ducklo had been suspended without pay with the approval of White House chief of staff Ron Klain. She said Ducklo “is the first to acknowledge this is not the standard of behavior set out” by Biden, and that Ducklo had sent the reporter in question “a personal note professing his profound regret.”
Biden: Governors, mayors need $350B to fight COVID-19
       
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden met with a bipartisan group of governors and mayors at the White House on Friday as part of his push to give financial relief from the coronavirus pandemic to state and local governments — a clear source of division with Republican lawmakers who view the spending as wasteful. As part of a $1.9 trillion coronavirus package, Biden wants to send $350 billion to state and local governments and tribal governments. While Republicans in Congress have largely objected to this initiative, Biden’s push has some GOP support among governors and mayors. “You folks are all on the front lines and dealing with the crisis since day one,” Biden said at the start of the Oval Office meeting. “They’ve been working on their own in many cases.”Republican lawmakers
Myanmar security forces intensify crackdown on protesters
       
YANGON, Myanmar — Security forces in Myanmar pointed guns toward anti-coup protesters and attacked them with sticks Monday, seeking to quell the large-scale demonstrations calling for the military junta that seized power this month to reinstate the elected government. The soldiers and police then attacked the protesters with sticks, and police could be seen aiming long guns into the air amid sounds that resembled gunfire. Local media reported that rubber bullets were fired into the crowd and that a few people were injured. Police also were seen pointing guns toward protesters. In the capital, Naypyitaw, protesters gathered outside a police station, demanding the release of a group of high school students who were detained while joining anti-coup activities.
Myanmar protests focus on junta’s economic support
       
YANGON, Myanmar — State railway workers in Myanmar continued to strike Thursday despite a police rampage the previous night targeting them in a sign of the military junta’s concern over growing civil disobedience by public workers protesting the coup. Three-quarters of the country’s civil servants are on strike, all private banks are closed and the protests have weakened the economy significantly, said Tom Andrews, the independent U.N. human rights expert on Myanmar. Andrews said the protesters have weakened the economy significantly and are looking for the international community to act. The most important thing the international community can do now “is focused, targeted, tough economic sanctions and diplomatic pressure,” he said in an interview from Virginia, where he lives.
As Democrats take control, Sen. Jim Inhofe relinquishes gavel of Armed Services Committee
       
Sen. Jim Inhofe officially turned over the reins of the Armed Services Committee last week, and Sen. James Lankford relinquished control of the Ethics Committee as Democrats became the majority in the evenly split Senate by virtue of Vice President Kamala Harris’ position as president of the Senate. And freshman Rep. Stephanie Bice was assigned to the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, meaning she will serve on the same two panels as former Rep. Kendra Horn, whom Bice defeated in November. The Senate has 50 Republicans, 48 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the Democrats. The Jan. 20 inauguration of Harris effectively gave Democrats the majority, since Harris can vote to break ties. However, because of a conflict over the filibuster and procedures, an official organizing resolution wasn’t approved until last week.
Live politics updates: Historic second Trump impeachment trial begins
       
WASHINGTON – The second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump begins Tuesday with a debate over whether the proceeding is constitutional because Trump is no longer in office. The debate marks the beginning of a historic trial, not only because Trump is the first president to be impeached twice, but because he stands trial after he left office. The House impeached Trump nearly a month ago, charging him with inciting the deadly riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6. Senate leaders set aside four hours Tuesday to hear both sides debate the constitutional argument raised by Trump and Republicans. Follow live coverage of the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump here.
U.S. attorneys in Oklahoma resign as Biden moves to shape Justice Department
       
All three U.S. attorneys in Oklahoma plan to leave office at the end of February, as the Biden administration moves to put its stamp on the Justice Department. U.S. Attorney Timothy Downing, the lead federal prosecutor for the Western District, based in Oklahoma City; U.S. Attorney Trent Shores, of the Northern District, based in Tulsa; and U.S. Attorney Brian J. Kuester, of the Eastern District, based in Muskogee, have announced they will resign on Feb. 28. The announcements from the came after a call with acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson. “I wish everyone had an opportunity to witness as I did their fellow heroic Oklahomans who serve in law enforcement and protect our families and neighborhoods every single day,” said Downing, who has served since 2019. “Law enforcement partnerships are stronger today than ever before, and we have seen the positive impact it has had on public safety in our communities and district.”
Abortion foes rally at Capitol
       
Abortion abolitionists Cindy Roediger, of Alaska, writes a note to Sen. Adam Pugh during the annual rally at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021. Abortion abolitionists do not support "pro-choice"or "pro-life" causes.They look to abolishing abortion...
Oklahoma House Speaker wants legislative input on federal stimulus spending
       
Oklahoma’s House Speaker wants the state Legislature to have a say in how state government entities spend some federal stimulus funds. Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, filed legislation to prevent state agencies, boards, commissions or entities within the executive branch from spending federal stimulus funds on long-term or recurring costs without legislative approval. In an interview, McCall explained he doesn’t want the Legislature to be on the hook for funding new projects or positions that were initially covered through stimulus funds unless state entities and state lawmakers have a conversation about the expenses first. “We have to ensure … that we’re being prudent with taxpayer dollars, and that we’re planning,” he said. “We’re not just doing something today and worrying about how to pay for it tomorrow.”
Gov. Kevin Stitt signs fast-tracked virtual meetings legislation
       
Government boards, commissions, city councils and more can resume meeting virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic. Kevin Stitt on Wednesday signed legislation to temporarily modify the state's Open Meeting Act to allow public bodies to meet via teleconference or videoconference. In his first bill bill signing this year, Stitt signed Senate Bill 1031 by Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, and House Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City. "We had constituents, we had local school boards, we had state agencies all wanting this to be able to meet virtually," Stitt said in a signing ceremony with legislative leaders at the Oklahoma state Capitol.
4 takeaways from Tuesday's Oklahoma City Council primary elections
       
Runoffs for two city council seats representing Oklahoma City's far western border are now set for April 6. A candidate needed 50% plus one to win outright in Tuesday's primaries, but no hopeful in Ward 1 or Ward 3 exceeded 30%. In southwest Oklahoma City's Ward 3, Jessica Martinez-Brooks and Barbara Young advanced to the runoff. Megan Scott led the nine-way race in Ward 1 after absentee and early votes were counted but finished fifth. In Ward 4, Sam Wargin Grimaldo, a 33-year-old law student, trailed among absentee, early and day-of voters, finishing with 25.7%, as incumbent Todd Stone was re-elected.
Oklahoma election results: Jake Merrick, Molly Ooten win state Senate primaries, advance to April general election
       
Two political newcomers will face off for the chance to represent an Edmond-area state Senate seat. Republican Jake Merrick, of Yukon, and Democrat Molly Ooten, of Edmond, easily won their respective primary elections Tuesday for a chance to represent Senate District 22, the seat formerly held by U.S. Rep. Stephanie Bice. The district that includes parts of northern Oklahoma County, eastern Canadian County, Edmond and Yukon and leans heavily Republican. Merrick, 39, and Ooten, 31, will face off in a special general election on April 6.
Henry leads Lewis into runoff for Oklahoma City school board chair
       
A race to lead the Oklahoma City School Board has narrowed to a runoff between the incumbent and a sitting school board member. Neither Paula Lewis nor Charles Henry received more than 50% of the vote in Tuesday’s primary election for Oklahoma City Public Schools board chair. Lewis, the current chair, and Henry, who represents District 1 on the school board, will meet again in an April 6 runoff. A third challenger, Wilfredo Santos-Rivera, did not receive enough votes to stay in contention. Lewis had 43.78% and 2,042 votes.
Stone re-elected in Ward 4, runoffs set in western OKC's Wards 1 and 3
       
Stone re-elected in Ward 4, runoffs set in western OKC's Wards 1 and 3Todd Stone won a second term Tuesday on the Oklahoma City Council, taking 64.3% of the vote in a three-way race to represent the southeast side. Runoffs were set for the open seats in Wards 1 and 3 on Oklahoma City's western border after no candidate won more than 30% in Tuesday's primaries. With all 37 precincts reporting in Ward 4, Stone had 1,075 votes. Sam Wargin Grimaldo had 430 and Larry Hopper had 167. Stone, a small business owner, has built support through quiet community service, coaching youth sports and helping organize a project to build a bridge across a creek to give schoolchildren a safe way to reach Bodine Elementary School.
Inhofe meets with Biden at White House about transportation package
       
Sen. Jim Inhofe met at the White House on Thursday with President Joe Biden and others about improving the nation’s roads and other transportation systems, as the president contemplates a major package to modernize infrastructure. “It went very good, and one reason is I’ve known the president forever and we’ve worked on highway bills before,’’ Inhofe told reporters in Washington. Inhofe was one of four senators from both parties who met with Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris; Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg joined the conversation by phone. “I've been around long enough — and (Sen.) Tom (Carper) and Jim and all of us — that it used to be that infrastructure wasn't a Democrat or Republican issue,” Biden said at the outset of the meeting. “There are not many Republican or Democratic roads and bridges, and so on.
Trump acquitted, confusion over witnesses: Top takeaways from impeachment trial's last day
       
WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial closed on Saturday with an overwhelming party-line vote to acquit Trump, after the trial was thrown for a loop in the morning with confusion over potential witnesses. The Senate voted 57-43 to acquit Trump, with just seven Republicans siding with all Democrats and independents, falling short of the 67 votes needed to convict. The vote came after confusion on how to proceed after the Senate unexpectedly voted to call witnesses. The move would have lengthened the trial, but was reversed after both sides agreed to instead enter the congresswoman's statement into evidence. House impeachment managers and Trump’s lawyers argued their cases over three days, with the prosecution arguing there is clear evidence Trump incited the violent Capitol riot on Jan. 6 and the defense saying the president’s political speech was protected by the First Amendment.
Donald Trump impeachment trial ends: Senate votes not guilty, acquits former president
       
The Senate has acquitted Donald Trump of inciting the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, bringing his trial to a close and giving the former president a historic second victory in the court of impeachment. Trump is the first president to be impeached twice, and he is also now twice acquitted as the majority of Republicans defended his actions. Democrats argued that Trump had “obvious intent” as he egged on supporters they said were primed for violence. Trump’s lawyers argued that the trial was brought on by Democrats’ “hatred” of Trump and that it was unconstitutional because he had left office. And they argued that Trump was protected by freedom of speech and to convict him for something he said would set a dangerous precedent.
Chaos, confusion and anger: What you couldn’t see on the Senate floor
       
Chaos, confusion and anger: What you couldn’t see on the Senate floorWASHINGTON - Confusion overtook the Senate floor throughout Saturday afternoon as the chamber voted to allow the consideration of witnesses, a decision that was ultimately reversed hours later when a deal ensured no witnesses would be called. The moment marked one of the most divisive and chaotic in the chamber throughout former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, but it wasn’t alone. There were angry senators, and there were multiple disruptions. As House manager Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said on the Senate floor that he’d like Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., to testify as a witness in the trial, Sen. Lindsey Graham shook his head before putting his hand on his forehead.
Rush Limbaugh, conservative radio titan, has died of lung cancer at age 70
       
Rush Limbaugh, the talk titan who made right-wing radio financially viable in American media and himself a Republican kingmaker years before Fox News has died, after he revealed in 2020 that his lung cancer was terminal. His death was confirmed by his wife, Kathryn, at the beginning of Limbaugh's Thursday radio show, from which he's been absent for almost two weeks. A longtime cigar smoker who stocked the humidors in his homes and studios with the finest, Limbaugh succumbed to cancer after battling drug addiction and loss of hearing earlier in his career (he was deaf by the end and broadcast his daily show in spite of it). A Republican conservative and die-hard supporter of former President Donald Trump to the end, Limbaugh was among Trump's most important enablers of his failed effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election with baseless claims of voting fraud.
Gov. Kevin Stitt requests Oklahoma emergency declaration from federal government
       
Kevin Stitt has requested the federal government declare a state of emergency across Oklahoma due to severe winter weather. Stitt announced Wednesday he is seeking a disaster declaration for all of Oklahoma's 77 counties so localities can unlock federal aid to cover emergency costs. The request comes a day after Stitt spoke to President Joe Biden via phone. “Yesterday President Biden pledged the federal government’s support for Oklahoma when we spoke by phone,” Stitt said in a statement. “I am now urging the President and his administration to act quickly and deliver on our request to help Oklahomans recover from this historic storm.”
President Joe Biden approves Oklahoma emergency declaration
       
President Joe Biden on Tuesday declared a state of emergency exists in Oklahoma as a result of severe winter weather that has all but locked down the state. The declaration allows Oklahoma cities, counties and tribes to seek reimbursement for emergency expenses and authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency to assist the state. Direct federal assistance for emergency protective measures will be provided at 75% federal funding, according to a White House news release. Biden, a Democrat, approved Oklahoma's emergency request the same day Gov. Kevin Stitt sought the disaster declaration for the entire state.
Oklahoma House approves expanding nonresident medical marijuana licenses
       
The Oklahoma House on Thursday approved extending the length of medical marijuana licenses granted to out-of-state residents. On a vote of 52-32, the House approved legislation to extend nonresident medical marijuana licenses from 30 days to two years. House Bill 2022 from Rep. Scott Fetgatter, R-Okmulgee, would also open nonresident medical marijuana licenses up to residents from all 50 states. Currently, only medical marijuana license holders from other states with medical marijuana programs are eligible for a nonresident license to buy, use and grow medical marijuana in Oklahoma. "It does allow people in all 50 states to come to the state of Oklahoma for their medical needs," he said.
Why would anyone want a less effective vaccine?
       
Here’s a question from a reader: The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is reported to have an 85% protection rate against severe illness, with even lower efficacy in cases with moderate to lesser symptoms. That’s compared with a 94-95% protection rate across the board offered by the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Why would anyone want the less effective vaccine from J&J? And when it comes to preventing moderate disease, the J&J vaccine lagged even further behind, providing only 72% protection. The vaccine showed 85% efficacy against severe disease in all countries, including South Africa, where a rapidly spreading variant has shown the ability to escape some vaccines.
Oklahoma's GOP lawmakers aim to invalidate Joe Biden’s executive orders
       
Republican state legislators have signed onto legislation to challenge President Joe Biden’s authority to impose federal directives over the state of Oklahoma. More than 60 Oklahoma House Republicans support a bill that would allow Oklahoma to challenge orders from the federal government and declare those actions unconstitutional through a majority vote of the GOP-controlled state Legislature. Rep. Mark McBride, who authored House Bill 1236 with House Speaker Charles McCall, criticized the dozens of executive orders Biden has signed in his first month in office. Biden has signed 31 executive orders to, among other things, respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, undo some of former President Donald Trump’s mandates and require the United States to rejoin the World Health Organization and the Paris Climate agreement, according to orders filed with the Federal Register.
Gov. Kevin Stitt appoints two new cabinet secretaries
       
Kevin Stitt appointed two new cabinet secretaries this week. Stitt appointed Jennifer Grigsby to serve as secretary of economic administration and Susan Winchester to serve as secretary of licensing and regulation. Both are new positions within the governor's cabinet. Now, four women serve in the governor's cabinet made up of just over a dozen of Stitt's closest advisers. Grigsby will oversee more than 20 state agencies, including the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, Oklahoma Tax Commission, state auditor and inspector and state treasurer's office.
Lankford says he won't vote for Haaland for interior secretary
       
WASHINGTON — Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said Wednesday that he will vote for New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland to serve as interior secretary, clearing the way for her likely approval as the first Native American to head a Cabinet agency. However, Sen. James Lankford, after participating in his first hearing since joining the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said he would not support Haaland's confirmation. We must maintain reliable energy resources, especially for our coldest and hottest days," said Lankford, R-Oklahoma City. "Oklahomans need the Secretary of the Interior to advocate for reliable base power." I cannot support her nomination to serve as the Secretary of the Interior.”
Stitt administration defends federal coronavirus relief spending
       
Top state leaders on Thursday defended the Stitt administration’s spending of $1.26 billion in federal coronavirus relief funds and said there’s documentation to explain how every dollar was spent. Stitt administration officials in charge of Oklahoma's portion of federal CARES Act funds appeared before state lawmakers as the director of a legislative watchdog office detailed a report that raised questions about how the relief dollars were spent. John Budd, the state’s chief operating officer, said he’s confident all the CARES Act spending met the specific requirements outlined by the federal government and the CARES Forward team he led has provided more documentation to the Legislative Office of Fiscal Transparency to justify the spending. A LOFT report issued earlier this month criticized the Stitt administration’s record keeping of CARES Act spending and warned some projects may not meet strict federal standards for coronavirus relief spending.
Oklahoma attorney general hires outgoing US attorney
       
Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter announced he's planning to hire outgoing U.S. Attorney Tim Downing for a new position in his office. Hunter said Downing will serve as his associate attorney general, an advisory role that is part of the office's senior leadership team. Downing is a former Republican state legislator appointed by former President Donald Trump as the U.S. attorney based in Oklahoma City. He also previously worked in the state attorney general's office from 2011 to 2016. Downing announced earlier this month his plans to resign from his U.S. attorney post, which is considered customary when a new president is elected.
Gov. Kevin Stitt appoints new secretary of commerce and workforce development
       
Kevin Stitt has appointed a new secretary of commerce and workforce development. Scott Mueller will replace outgoing secretary Sean Kouplen, a Tulsa banker who has served in the role for more than two years. Mueller will oversee 30 agencies, including the Oklahoma Department of Commerce and the Governor’s Council for Workforce and Economic Development, according to a news release from Stitt's office. A veteran of Goldman Sachs in New York and Dallas, Mueller has served as the managing member of Texas-based 313 Holdings LLC since 2016. He has previously served as the chief financial officer of Arcadia Capital, AELP and businessman Aubrey McClendon's private companies and family office.
Oklahoma lawmakers vote against relief package
       
President Joe Biden on Saturday applauded House approval and said "we're one step closer to vaccinating the nation. We are one step closer to extending unemployment benefits for millions of Americans who are shortly going to lose them. "We are one step closer to helping millions of Americans feed their families and keep a roof over their head. We're one step closer to getting our kids safely back in school. And we're one step closer to getting state and local governments the money they need to prevent massive layoffs for essential workers."
Chicago mayor proposes new rules after botched police raid
       
CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago's mayor on Wednesday proposed changes in the way police serve search warrants, the latest move to regain public trust that was damaged when officers stormed into the wrong home and forced the woman living there to stand naked in handcuffs for several minutes. In a news release, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Police Superintendent David Brown outlined changes designed to prevent a repeat of the scene in February 2019 at the home of Anjanette Young, starting with a ban on all “no-knock” warrants except “in specific cases where lives or safety are in danger.”Also, search warrants that now require the approval of a lieutenant will have to be approved by someone ranked deputy chief or higher, and a female officer must be on the scene whenever search warrants are served. Under the proposed policy, officers will be required before a search warrant is executed to, according to the news release, “conduct a planning session ... to identify any potentially vulnerable people" who may be inside. Also, the policy will require an independent investigation to make sure the information used to obtain the warrant is accurate.
GOP takes aim at Biden's health care pick on abortion rights
       
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden’s pick for health secretary is taking heat from Republicans for his actions in support of abortion rights. The Senate Finance Committee deadlocked Wednesday along party lines on the nomination of Xavier Becerra, more of a speed bump than a stop sign. Under the rules, Democrats will take the nomination to a vote by the full Senate, and Becerra is expected to be approved. He is paying a price for defending, as California's attorney general, some of the nation’s most liberal laws and policies on abortion rights. By a show of force, they're trying to deny a president who supports abortion rights his choice to run the Department of Health and Human Services with the coronavirus pandemic untamed.
Cuomo to speak publicly amid sexual harassment claims
       
Andrew Cuomo is set to address the public for the first time in days in the wake of several sexual harassment allegations. He's set to speak at 1 p.m. Wednesday in a video briefing on the coronavirus outbreak, according to the governor's press office. It wasn't clear whether he intended to address the allegations or take questions from reporters. Cuomo has avoided public appearances for days as some fellow Democrats call for him to resign. His last media briefing on video was Feb. 19.
The Latest: Senate names new sergeant at arms after riot
       
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Wednesday that retired Lt. Gen. Karen Gibson will take charge of the chamber's administration and security. She'll head the first all-female leadership team at the Office of the Sergeant at Arms in its 223-year history. The Senate has named a veteran intelligence official as the new sergeant at arms, a crucial position after the Jan. 6 siege of the Capitol and the ouster of the previous official. Gibson will take over from Jennifer Hemingway, who temporarily filled the position after the resignation of Michael Stenger after the riot. Longtime Schumer aide Kelly Fado will become deputy sergeant at arms, and Hemingway will serve as the office’s chief of staff.
Police uncover ‘possible plot’ by militia to breach Capitol
       
WASHINGTON (AP) — Capitol Police say they have uncovered intelligence of a “possible plot” by a militia group to breach the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, nearly two months after a mob of supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the iconic building to try to stop Congress from certifying now-President Joe Biden's victory. The threat appears to be connected to a far-right conspiracy theory, mainly promoted by supporters of QAnon, that Trump will rise again to power on March 4. Police were ill prepared for the mass of Trump supporters in tactical gear, some armed, and it took hours for National Guard reinforcements to come. “The United States Capitol Police Department is aware of and prepared for any potential threats towards members of Congress or towards the Capitol complex,” the agency said in a statement. “We have obtained intelligence that shows a possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group on Thursday, March 4.” Police did not identify the militia group in the statement.
Legislative leaders move to expel North Dakota House member
       
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Republican and Democratic legislative leaders were finalizing a resolution Wednesday to expel a North Dakota House member accused of threatening and sexually harassing women at the state Capitol. House Majority Leader Chet Pollert told The Associated Press that the resolution to expel GOP Rep. Luke Simons will be introduced on the House floor Thursday. Republican Rep. Emily O'Brien issued a statement last week saying that his harassment was so pervasive that she switched desks to get away from him. Pollert and Democratic House Minority Leader Josh Boschee said they worked together over the recess to craft the expulsion resolution. Pollert said lawmakers on Wednesday will discuss the process outlining the potential removal of Simons.
Police uncover ‘possible plot’ by militia to breach Capitol on Thursday
       
The announcement comes as the Capitol police and other law enforcement agencies are taking heat from Congress in contentious hearings this week on their handling of the Jan. 6 riot. Police were ill prepared for the mass of Trump supporters in tactical gear, some armed, and it took hours for National Guard reinforcements to come. “The United States Capitol Police Department is aware of and prepared for any potential threats towards members of Congress or towards the Capitol complex,” the agency said in a statement. “We have obtained intelligence that shows a possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group on Thursday, March 4.” Police did not identify the militia group in the statement. He was impeached by the House after the Jan. 6 riot on a c harge of incitement of insurrection but was acquitted by the Senate.
Germany seeks to improve oversight of firms' delivery chains
       
BERLIN (AP) — Germany's Cabinet on Wednesday approved legislation that seeks to make big companies ensure environmental rules and human rights are respected throughout their delivery chains. It would apply initially to companies with 3,000 or more employees, and from 2024 to companies with 1,000 employees. The intention is to evaluate it after that to see whether more firms should be included. Companies are supposed to keep an eye on their delivery chains and, when they find evidence of abuses, work to remedy them. That might include a temporary suspension of business relations while “efforts to minimize risk” take place.
The Latest: WH: Insurance companies help vaccinate elderly
       
New Zealand currently has a supply of about 200,000 doses. The country has been slower than many to begin its vaccination campaign but is seen as lower risk after eliminating community spread of the virus. ———WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is directing states to prioritize vaccinating all teachers during the month of March, and announced that the federal government will help in the effort through its partnership with retail pharmacies. To achieve this, Biden announced that qualifying individuals will be able to sign up this month to be vaccinated at a pharmacy near them. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
Thousands in new rally to demand Armenian PM's resignation
       
The country's top investigative agency said Wednesday it has accused the 75-year-old Manukyan, who served as prime minister in 1990-91 when Armenia was still part of the Soviet Union and served as defense minister when it became independent, of making calls for the seizure of power and violent change of the constitutional order. The prime minister's order to dismiss the chief of the General Staff is subject to approval by Armenia’s largely ceremonial president, Armen Sarkissian, who has refused to endorse it. Some legal experts argued that the order would take effect automatically following Sarkissian's failure to contest it in the nation's high court, but others pointed to legal caveats that could allow the top military officer to stay on. Manukyan, the opposition leader, warned that if Pashinyan manages to force the military chief out, the army would likely disobey the prime minister. As part of maneuvering to defuse the political crisis, Pashinyan offered to hold a snap parliamentary vote later this year but rejected the opposition's demand to step down before the vote and let a caretaker successor take the helm.
Fired Arizona Senate aide seeks $500,000 in harassment case
       
.......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... ..........PHOENIX — An aide who was fired by Republican state Sen. Wendy Rogers on Wednesday filed a $500,000 claim against the state for wrongful termination and harassment he says were caused by the senator. He was fired by the Senate on Jan. 14, the day he said Rogers yelled and cursed at him. “Michael was bullied, harassed, and humiliated during his employment by Sen. Rogers,” the claim says. Polloni’s attorney, Adam Kwasman, said what Rogers and the state did to his client will impact him for years. “The Ethics committee report plainly revealed more than sufficient evidence demonstrating … wrongful behavior by the State of Arizona and Sen. Rogers,” Kwasman said in a statement.
Biden agrees to more targeted $1,400 stimulus payments in concession to moderate Dems
       
"Joe is put in a hard position because he's got people beating up on him all across the board," Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said Tuesday when asked about Biden's role. "He is more inclined to let the process work and I appreciate that." Aides close to the process tell CNN that it's not entirely finished yet, but the expectation is that there will be additional funding for broadband infrastructure in the bill. One of the challenges of increasing any funding streams is that every single committee only has so much money they can spend under the reconciliation instructions. If you go over, you lose your ability to pass this bill with 51 votes.
Wednesday evening UK news briefing: Four ways to beat Rishi Sunak's Budget tax raid
       
If you want to receive twice-daily briefings like this by email, sign up to the Front Page newsletter here. Five years of tax pain set out in Rishi Sunak's BudgetRishi Sunak braced the public for five years of tax pain as he announced hikes in corporation tax, duties and freezes in personal allowances. Read everything the Chancellor announced and use our tax calculator to work out if you are a winner or loser from his fiscal plan. If you may struggle, read on for four ways to beat Mr Sunak's tax raid. Read on for details as James Crisp and Harry Yorke analyse how Lord Frost has wasted no time in ruffling Brussels' feathers.
Scramble on to replace Neera Tanden after nomination met perfect storm
       
Tanden added that she appreciated “how hard you and your team at the White House has worked to win my confirmation”. Sanders, the chairman of one of the committees charged with handling Tanden’s nomination, also questioned large corporate and foreign donations to the Center for American Progress. Senator Bernie Sanders, chair of the Senate budget committee, cited Neera Tanden’s ‘vicious attacks against progressives’. Biden’s chief of staff, Ron Klain, said the White House was “fighting our guts out” to get Tanden confirmed and the US Chamber of Commerce backed her as well. Whoever the White House nominates is poised to have an easier confirmation process than Tanden.
BBC apologizes for interview with man impersonating US senator Cory Booker
       
The BBC has issued a correction and apology on its website for airing an interview with a man who claimed to be the US senator Cory Booker but was actually someone impersonating the Democratic politician from New Jersey. The BBC said that the interview “has not appeared elsewhere”, and no audio clips or videos are circulating online, though one Twitter user heard the interview on New York’s WNYC public radio station and could tell something was amiss. “Listening to the @bbcworldservice Newshour on @wnyc and trying to figure out how they did an entire interview with someone they introduced as Senator Cory Booker, who I’m pretty sure was definitely not Senator Booker, and didn’t realize it,” wrote Twitter user Amy Eason. Tyresse Horne, another Twitter user, tweeted to Booker saying, “did you do an interview today with the BBC discussing the Khashoggi killing? I Googled to see if there was a different Cory Booker,” tweeted another user, Charles Clarkson, after learning of the BBC’s correction.
Sofia Vergara wins legal battle as court rules her ex cannot use their embryos without her consent
       
Sofia Vergara’s ex-fiancé Nick Loeb has been permanently blocked from using their frozen embryos without the actress’s consent, according to reports, marking the Modern Family star’s latest victory in the years-long legal battle. According to the outlet, the latest ruling barrs Loeb from using the embryos for his own purposes, with the order requiring Loeb receive Vergara’s consent “for anything having to do with the embryos”. After the couple separated in 2014, Loeb filed a lawsuit for custody of the frozen embryos, which was later dropped. Read our privacy notice INDY/ LIFE Newsletter Be inspired with the latest lifestyle trends every week Thanks for signing up to the INDY/LIFE newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy noticeIn 2017, Vergara filed legal documents in California in the hopes of blocking her ex from being able to use the embryos without her consent.
Tim Allen says he liked that Trump ‘p***ed people off’: ‘It was fun to not say anything’
       
Tim Allen says he “liked” Donald Trump’s ability to “p*** people off” during his presidency. I’ve never liked taxes. I don’t like that, ‘we should do this’ or ‘we should do that’.”Chuckling, he went on: “Once I realised the last president p***ed people off, I kind of liked that. Read our privacy notice Independent Culture Newsletter The best in film, music TV & radio straight to your inbox every week Thanks for signing up to the Independent Culture newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Following the insurrection at the US Capitol in January 2021, Allen called the event “horrible, embarrassing, and shameful” in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.
Line of Duty’s Martin Compston labels Scottish Conservatives leader ‘utter disgrace’ after he calls for Sturgeon resignation
       
Sturgeon has faced calls to resign after the publication of previously secret legal advice relating to an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against Alex Salmond. The documents relate to Salmond’s successful legal challenge of the government’s harassment complaint procedure. Therefore, the government ended up paying Salmond’s legal fees of more than £500,000, as well as its own cost. Independent Culture Newsletter The best in film, music TV & radio straight to your inbox every week Please enter your email address Please enter a valid email address Please enter a valid email address SIGN UP Thanks for signing up to the Independent Culture newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy notice Independent Culture Newsletter The best in film, music TV & radio straight to your inbox every week Thanks for signing up to the Independent Culture newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent.
Florida men scream ‘1950s KKK-style abuse’ at Black fisherman in shocking video
       
A video has captured the moment a Black fisherman came under verbal attack from other fisherman off the Florida coast. In the video, the men aboard the other boat approach Mr Bustamante and the two crew members, one of whom was Black, and repeatedly scream slurs – both racist and homophobic. Please enter your email address Please enter a valid email address Please enter a valid email address SIGN UP Thanks for signing up to the News newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy notice Thanks for signing up to the News newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. They start circling the boat Mr Bustamante is aboard, destroying any progress made with their fishing.
Cops arrest mother of girl who was found wandering on a street corner in Bronx and not claimed for days
       
Police have arrested the mother of a young girl found wandering the streets of a New York neighborhood alone. Sadeekah Abdul Salaam, 32, is accused of abandoning the youngster on a street corner in the Bronx last weekend. NYPD had released surveillance video footage of the four-year-old girl being led by a woman through the Bronx, minutes before she was found abandoned. Please enter your email address Please enter a valid email address Please enter a valid email address SIGN UP Thanks for signing up to the News newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy notice Thanks for signing up to the News newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent.
Creator of CPAC golden Trump statue admits it was made in China, after saying Mexico
       
The golden Donald Trump statue that appeared at last week’s conference for the country’s conservatives was actually made in China — rather than Mexico — the creator reportedly admitted. Artist Tommy Zegan told reporters last week that the six foot statue of the former US president was assembled in Mexico — a country routinely belittled by Mr Trump. Please enter your email address Please enter a valid email address Please enter a valid email address SIGN UP Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy notice Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. "Two years ago, when I saw all those statues of naked Trump and Trump on a toilet, I said, 'You know what?
‘Psychopath’: Keith Olbermann faces backlash after saying vaccines shouldn’t be ‘wasted’ on Texas
       
“Why are we wasting vaccinations on Texas if Texas has decided to join the side of the virus?” the political commentator tweeted Tuesday night. Please enter your email address Please enter a valid email address Please enter a valid email address SIGN UP Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy notice Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. But many felt that Olbermann had blurred the distinction between Texas’ governor and its people. “Texas’ GOVERNOR made a decision today, not every Texan.”“You’re totally right,” another wrote sarcastically.
‘These lies almost got you lynched’: Mike Pence criticised after breaking silence to oppose voting rights law
       
Mike Pence has broken his silence for the first time since he left office on 20 January by writing an article in which he opposes voting rights legislation being considered by Congress. Please enter your email address Please enter a valid email address Please enter a valid email address SIGN UP Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy notice Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. It would also mandate independent redistricting to lessen the influence of gerrymandering, increase election security, and require presidential candidates to release their tax returns, among other measures to increase transparency. Both Donald Trump and Joe Biden subsequently received a record number of votes, 74 million and 81 million respectively.
Rush Limbaugh’s wife says he was ‘just shy of a president’ in on-air tribute to broadcaster
       
Kathryn Limbaugh, the widow of conservative firebrand and powerful radio host Rush Limbaugh, said that her late husband was “just shy of a president,” in her opinion. Mr Limbaugh died on 17 February after a battle with lung cancer at the age of 70. Please enter your email address Please enter a valid email address Please enter a valid email address SIGN UP Thanks for signing up to the News newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy notice Thanks for signing up to the News newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. ? Rush Limbaugh given Medal of Freedom by Melania Trump during State of the Union
White House urges Texas and Mississippi residents to follow CDC mask guidance after states drop mandates
       
Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves, both Republicans, announced that their states will drop mandates for their residents to wear masks to combat the transmission of Covid-19. Read more: Follow live updates from the Biden administrationThe states also will remove all other coronavirus-related restrictions on businesses, allowing businesses including restaurants to open at full capacity. Please enter your email address Please enter a valid email address Please enter a valid email address SIGN UP Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy notice Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Louisiana, which sits between those states on the Gulf Coast, has not dropped restrictions.
Myanmar coup: Singapore PM Lee says situation 'tragic'
       
Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has condemned the use of violence by Myanmar's security forces against unarmed civilians protesting against last month's coup. Singapore is the biggest foreign investor in Myanmar and has called the use of lethal force against protestors "inexcusable" previously. Speaking to the BBC's Karishma Vaswani, Mr Lee urged the military to release Aung San Suu Kyi, the country's democratically elected leader. His comments came as the security forces again used tear gas and stun grenades against people in Myanmar's biggest city, Yangon. Read more on if Asia can help Myanmar find a way out of the coup crisis.
US police uncover 'possible plot' by militia group to breach Capitol on Thursday
       
Police say they have intelligence showing a “possible plot” by a militia group to breach the US Capitol on Thursday. A US Capitol Police statement did not name the organisation but called it "an identified militia group". "We have obtained intelligence that shows a possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group on Thursday March 4." AdvertisementThe statement said the agency was "taking the intelligence seriously" but provided no other specific details on the threat. So far, around 300 people have been charged with federal crimes for their roles in the riot and five people, including Brian Sicknick a Capitol Police officer, died.
'Bloodiest day': At least 38 anti-coup protesters killed in Myanmar, says UN envoy
       
Security forces killed at least 38 protesters in Myanmar on Wednesday, as they dramatically escalated their crackdown on protests against last month’s military coup. It is the highest daily death toll since the military takeover on February 1, which led to widespread protests in a number of cities in the country. The death toll was reported by United Nations envoy to the country, Christine Burgener, who said “today was the bloodiest day” since the start of the coup. Videos from Wednesday showed security forces firing slingshots at demonstrators, chasing them down and even brutally beating an ambulance crew. It's not yet clear if Wednesday's soaring death toll could change the dynamic.
Golden Trump statue at CPAC was actually made in China
       
The golden statue of former President Donald Trump that was rolled into last weekend's Conservative Political Action Conference was made in China - not Mexico. Mendoza said Zegan's name was used because 'no one is going to buy "Jose" stuff, at least not a Donald Trump statue.' The golden Trump is holding up a magic wand, which former President Barack Obama once said would be needed to bring back manufacturing jobs, an idea Trump ridiculed while in office. A number of people online saw parallels between the golden Trump statue and the Biblical story of the golden calf, which teaches Christians not to worship idols. 'Idol worship isn’t conservative,' tweeted Rep. Adam Kinzinger, linking to an article about the Trump statue.
Row in Spain after king's sisters get virus jab in UAE
       
Juan Carlos, who abdicated in 2014, moved to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in August amid growing questions over his financial dealings. It is the first time that an anti-monarchy party has been in power since Spain returned to democracy in the 1970s. The payment caused outrage in Spain, with Sanchez saying he shared the "rejection" which the "majority" of Spaniards feel towards what he called Juan Carlos' "uncivic behaviour". The country's former intelligence chief, Felix Sanz Roldan, also received the coronavirus vaccine in Abu Dhabi during a visit to Juan Carlos, according to Spanish media reports. Spain's chief of defence staff resigned in January after it was revealed that he got the coronavirus jab in Spain despite not being on a priority list.
Florida Republicans want to change vote-by-mail laws. First up: Require voters to request ballots more frequently
       
“This is clearly going to reduce vote-by-mail in Democratic counties. … And so, I can’t support this. I’m sorry that I even have to take it there, but it’s disheartening to look at this for what I see it is,” Bracy said.
Biden's Cabinet, hailed for diversity, slow to be confirmed
       
Among Mr. Biden’s 23 nominees with Cabinet rank, just 13 have been confirmed by the Senate, or a little over half. And among the 15 core nominees to lead federal agencies, 10 have been confirmed, or two-thirds. According to the Center for Presidential Transition, about a month into their first terms, the previous four presidents had 84% of their core Cabinet picks confirmed. That must change.”The Biden administration has prioritized confirming those nominees who are key to national security, the economy, and public health decisions. The Biden administration has not been completely hamstrung by the slow pace of confirmations, however.
Trump's White House physician drank on duty, sexually harassed staff, says Pentagon watchdog report
       
The Inspector General's investigation, launched in 2018, reviewed official documents and interviews with 78 witnesses, corroborating allegations that date back to Jackson's service under the Obama administration. According to CNN, which has obtained the IG's report, Jackson "established a workplace where fear and intimidation were kind of the hallmarks of him, his command, and control of his subordinates." Advertisement:In one instance, a witness recounted Jackson banging on the door of a female staffer's hotel room. The IG's report also notes that President Trump's White House Counsel insisted on being present throughout all of the watchdog's interviews with White House Medical Unit staff, which may have had a "potential chilling effect" on those who gave testimony. Back in 2018, Jackson withdrew his nomination as the secretary of Veterans Affairs over similar allegations of abuse and intoxication.
Van Jones and Meghan McCain’s Centrist Manifesto Doesn’t Have Answers
       
Back in 2011, Politico asked its readers to nominate and vote on independent candidates ahead of the upcoming presidential election. “The public has had it with Washington and conventional politics,” VandeHei and Allen began, continuing:It has lost trust and respect in the conventional governing class. Though independent presidential candidates rarely enjoy any success, there was definitely something to the general spirit of this statement. Which brings us to The Reunited States, a new documentary directed by Ben Rekhi and co-produced by CNN pundit Van Jones and daytime TV heel Meghan McCain that debuted earlier this month. Nevertheless, the disparate nature of its various plotlines and the relentless way it pummels the same bland idea render The Reunited States a decidedly less than enjoyable sit.
State lawmaker refers to LGBTQ people as having “deviant sexuality” during hearing
       
A New Hampshire representative referred to LGBTQ people as having a “deviant sexuality” on Monday, derailing debate on a bill sought out by LGBTQ rights groups. Marston, no member is able to speak of someone’s ‘deviant sexuality’ like that,” Abbas said. House Bill 238 would bar people from using someone’s perceived gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation as a criminal defense in a manslaughter case. Marsten, meanwhile, argued the state Constitution already protects every citizen, calling the bill a “carve-out” for LGBTQ residents. Marsten’s remarks set off angry responses from top Democrats and LGBTQ rights advocates, including Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley, who is gay, and the New Hampshire Stonewall Democrats, a gay rights group.
Senate bill will narrow income eligibility for $1,400 stimulus checks
       
Washington (CNN) President Joe Biden has agreed to a compromise with moderate Democrats to narrow the income eligibility for the next round of $1,400 stimulus checks that are included in a bill the Senate is expected to take up this week, a Democratic source told CNN Wednesday. But the same households will receive the full payment of $1,400 per person, including children. Individuals earning less than $75,000 and couples earning less than $150,000 will -- just as in the House bill. Then, the payments will phase out faster for those earning more. Unlike the previous two rounds, adult dependents -- including college students -- are expected to be eligible for the payments.
Frustration is growing over the obstacles Biden's nominees of color are facing
       
But now the slow and contentious process of getting some of his top picks confirmed is leading progressive groups to question whether his nominees of color are facing a higher level of scrutiny than White male nominees of past administrations. But there is a growing sense of frustration about the obstacles that some of these nominees are facing. As women, we're exhausted by this, and as women of color, we see this consistently." attorney general, is being Two women of color whom Biden has nominated for top posts at the Justice Department are also facing intense scrutiny. 'It just smacks of a different standard'Advocates say these nominees are facing heightened scrutiny.
BART expansion nicknamed 'Pelosi's Subway' axed from Senate COVID bill
       
Manuel Balce Ceneta/APGood news for Rep. Kevin McCarthy, and Sens. Tom Cotton and Marsha Blackburn: The BART expansion congressional Republicans branded as "Pelosi's Subway" will not be receiving federal funds in the Senate COVID-19 relief bill. On Tuesday evening, Pelosi spokesperson Drew Hammil sent news outlets a statement announcing that Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough — who also nixed the Democrats' proposal for a $15 federal minimum wage — had ruled that the BART extension into Silicon Valley is a "pilot project" and, therefore, cannot be included in the package. Democrats had hoped to use budget reconciliation to pass the package with 50 votes and bypass the 60-vote threshold required for new legislation.
Biden agrees to limit number of people who will get checks in Covid relief plan
       
Under the lower chamber's bill, individuals making up to $100,000 (and joint filers earning up to $200,000) would have received some amount. Asked Wednesday about whether Biden supports the proposal, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said "he is comfortable with where the negotiations stand." Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty ImagesThe changes come as moderate Senate Democrats call to limit the scope of the checks included in the legislation. To pass the relief bill under budget reconciliation, party leaders cannot lose a single vote among the 50 members of the caucus. The Senate plan is set to keep the same unemployment insurance supplement passed by the House.
Watchdog: Pentagon wasted millions on Italian planes later sold as scrap, no one held accountable
       
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force wasted $549 million on faulty Italian-made cargo planes for the Afghan government and no one involved in the deal has been held to account, according to a new report by a government watchdog. The program was suspended and the planes were destroyed and turned into scrap metal in 2014, selling for $40,257, according to the report. “Unfortunately, no one involved in the program was held accountable for the failure of the G222 program,” the report said. The Air Force Office of Special Investigations, along with officials from the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the FBI, launched an investigation of the project. “Fortunately, the Afghanistan G222 program was terminated before any lives were lost,” it said.
John Kerry Tells Big Oil to Stop Resisting Energy Transition or "You’re Going to End up on the Wrong Side of This Battle."
       
This week witnesses one of the most influential and largest oil industry conferences take place, called CERAWeek. Normally, the crème de la crèmeof the oil industry descend on Houston for a pro-fossil fuel frenzy. “The tone is different: There’s one theme that permeates the entire conference and that is energy transition,” CERAWeek Founder Dan Yergin, vice chair of IHS Markit told Reuters. Another speaker, Andy Jassy of Amazon, said the industry is better off helping to shape the energy transition than wishing it away. Yesterday leading energy experts outlined how renewable energy could also be the sole source for the world’s heating, cooling, and transport industries by 2035.
'Madness': In Cave to Right-Wing Dems, Biden Agrees to Further Limit Eligibility for Direct Payments
       
In the face of pressure from a faction of conservative Senate Democrats, President Joe Biden reportedly agreed Wednesday to limit eligibility for direct relief payments by accelerating the phase-out of $1,400 checks proposed in the emerging $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. The House bill proposes (pdf) ending the phase-out at $100,000 in yearly income for individuals and $200,000 for couples. Among the Senate Democrats who pushed for the quicker phase-out were Sens. Under the House relief bill, the IRS would be directed to base eligibility for the payments on 2020 income for those whose returns are on file. "This is not targeting," Matt Bruenig, founder of the People's Policy Project, said last month of earlier efforts to restrict eligibility.
'Endangers the Entire Country and Beyond': Grave Warnings as Texas Gov. Abbott Lifts Covid Restrictions
       
Pointing out that Texas has vaccinated less than 7% of its population, Texas Democratic Party chair Gilberto Hinojosa called Abbott's order "extraordinarily dangerous" and warned, "This will kill Texans." "Make no mistake: opening Texas prematurely will only lead to faster Covid spread, more sickness and overcrowding in our hospitals, and unnecessary deaths. Wicker said she intends to continue requiring customers to wear masks while other businesses—including the grocery chain H-E-B—indicated in response to Abbott's order that they will drop such mandates. Noting that "Covid spread isn't neatly contained by state borders," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) warned Tuesday that Abbott's order could have far-reaching implications for the fight against the pandemic. "Explosions in Covid cases can increase the likelihood of new Covid variants to develop or spread to new places."
'A Test of Our Humanity': Ilhan Omar Unveils Bill to Sanction Saudi Crown Prince Over Khashoggi Murder
       
The legislation would also render bin Salman "ineligible to receive a visa or other immigration benefit" and revoke his current visas. "This is a test of our humanity," Omar (D-Minn.) said of the push to hold the crown prince accountable. Today, I introduced legislation to place sanctions on the Crown Prince for his role in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. "The notion of sanctioning Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman... was never really on the table." https://t.co/nWFsBFGnuv — Abukar Arman (@Abukar_Arman) March 2, 2021Omar introduced her legislation as Reporters Without Borders filed a lawsuit accusing the Saudi crown prince of committing "crimes against humanity" by greenlighting the Khashoggi murder and other attacks on journalists.
The Joy of Tax: An Economy for the Common Good
       
CorporationIt can be used to reverse a decade of growing inequality and to force fossil fuels out of our economy. There’s a reason why the phrase 'the joy of tax' has become popular in radical circles, because tax is one of the most powerful levers governments can use to adjust the way the economy works. The argument about tax should not be about good or bad but about how it can be used strategically to manage an economy for the common good. The first and most important is a high and rising carbon tax: we propose £100 now, rising to £500 by 2030. Our carbon tax proposal is matched by a proposal to ensure that the money generated is returned to compensate citizens as fossil fuels companies increase their prices to absorb the cost of the tax.
March 3, 2021 – Consortiumnews
       
This is the largest crime against humanity ever committed. It is being committed in front of us. And, with few exceptions, we are willfully being herded like sheep to the slaughter. Read more ?
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to be stripped of pandemic emergency powers; resignation ahead?
       
NPR’s Noel King reported this morning that three-term New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is going to be stripped of the emergency powers granted to him to deal with the pandemic. This has also focused attention on the long history of Cuomo maintaining a toxic work environment while engaging in bullying behavior. Clark explained the powers allowed Cuomo to create and suspend any laws related to the pandemic without having to go through the legislature. Political observer Dr. Alan Chartock at NPR station WAMC predicts — barring further developments — that Cuomo will not resign. There were expectations Andrew Cuomo planned to run for a fourth term — but that’s not until 2022.
Pence would literally sell his soul to the Devil to have Trump ordain him as successor
       
This is where Mike Pence published “Election Integrity Is a National Imperative.” I'd expected a former Vice President to have an essay like this published in a mainstream publication. Does anybody have any doubt that Pence would do anything to get Trump to ordain him as the next in line to succeed him? In reality it is merely an excuse for Pence to interject himself into the public discourse and ingratiate himself to Trump. So Pence succeeded in getting a lot of coverage when he broke his silence on a website most people don’t read. He uses the word fraud five times:The PollTo what degree do you think Pence really "worships" Trump vs.
Jeff Sessions reemerges to claim he regrets separating families (he doesn't)
       
Attorneys that prosecution of family unit adults would be swift and would be followed by immediate reunification of the separated family,” the report also said. During an appearance on right-wing host Laura Ingraham’s show at the height of media attention on the policy, Sessions openly said that he hoped the intentional cruelty scared away other asylum-seeking families. “General Sessions, is this policy in part used as a deterrent?” Ingraham asked her fellow anti-immigrant racist. Worried about the traumatic effects of family separation and the lack of immediate bed space for these children, ORR staffers took their concerns to superiors. Other staffers found out about the family separation policy not from the administration, but from the news.
These 19 House districts flipped parties in the 2020 presidential election
       
Unlike four years ago when Trump flipped many districts with large populations of white voters without a college degree, the two districts that Trump picked up this time both have large populations of Latino voters, a demographic that shifted sharply back toward Republicans in 2020 after giving Clinton historically high levels of support four years earlier. Texas’ 23rd stands out in particular because it flipped twice over the last decade, having supported Mitt Romney in 2012. Five districts, meanwhile, showcased the opposite pattern, going for Barack Obama, then Trump, then Biden: Minnesota’s 2nd, Nevada’s 3rd, New Hampshire’s 1st, and New York’s 18th and 19th. In addition to the traditional map above, we have also created a cartogram below that shows every district as the same size so that dense populated districts in urban areas aren’t obscured and rural districts aren’t over-emphasized. You can find the election results for House and president for every district in our 117th Congress guide spreadsheet here, along with a whole host of other demographic statistics on both the districts and the members who represent them.
Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 3
       
Welcome to the Daily Kos Elections Live Digest, your liveblog of all of today's campaign news. Please note: The Live Digest is a 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primary-free space. It’s also a place to discuss elections, not policy. Sign up here to receive the Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest in your inbox each weekday.
Biden's COVID-19 relief plan gives Senate Democrats fighting chance to maintain control in 2022
       
1 pick for a flippable seat is the open seat in the Keystone State. North Carolina's open seat is also in the top five, and then there's Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio clocking in at No. Wisconsin: GOP Sen. Ron Johnson (most vulnerable GOP incumbent)4. Arizona: Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly6. Nevada: Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto7.
My February Articles: Xtian Nationalism, Jan 6, Voter Suppression, Bozell, Pence, Ammon Bundy
       
It seems to me that the QAnon and pro-political violence caucus in Congress had two choices after Donald Trump incited the January 6 Save America crowd to storm the Capitol. His son, L. Brent Bozell, Jr., became a flaming anti-communist, a supporter of Senator Joseph McCarthy and The John Birch Society. Perhaps he’s worried that the “Hang Mike Pence” chants that were heard at the Capitol, will resound once again. An obedient toady during the reign of President Donald Trump? A purveyor – up until the very last moments – of The Big Lie that Donald Trump won the 2020 presidential election?
Biden Day Forty-two: First One Hundred Days
       
Threat March 4 on social media of violence. National Guard alerted. An excellent panel led by Sen. Peters of Homeland Securities. General Michael Flynn was last in line for OKing the deployment of the National Guard which was according to Congressman Eric Swalwell a conflict of interest as he was related to Flynn whom Trump pardoned. As for the three hours, the chain of command took to release troops who were watching insurrection on TV as well as President Trump who did nothing to help, it was a bureaucratic sham.
An Oklahoman Vaccination. What I Saw, Shocked Me
       
I really thought they were going to botch this. So I live in a red state, a really red state : Oklahoma. The first thing you do to get vaccinated in Oklahoma is to go to vaccinate.oklahoma.gov . I was absolutely flabbergasted that there were over 90 state vaccination sites within 50 miles. They filled out a CDC Covid-19 Vaccination Record Card and told me to go into the next room.
'Q' is for Quisling
       
You might be a quisling if...For those that are unfamiliar with/unsure of the meaning. Quisling: Traitor or Collaborator Synonyms : traitor, turncoat, betrayer, informer, back-stabber, double-crosser, double-dealer, renegade, defector, deserter, apostate, Judas, snake in the grass, fifth columnist Origin Second World War from the name of Major Vidkun Quisling (1887–1945), the Norwegian army officer and diplomat who ruled Norway on behalf of the German occupying forces (1940–45). Notable Quislings GQP: Grand Quisling Party, formally known as the GOP. Oaf Keepers, Proud Boys, White Suprematists etcYou might be a Quisling if: You try and violently overthrow a legitimate election just because your guy lost. To try and maintain power you engage in gerrymandering.
Trumpists believe something, something... 19th POTUS* on March 4 because Hayes-Tilden
       
https://t.co/UQmeDZZyhUThe idiots of QAnon and their Sovereign Citizens fellow travelers want America to be more like Myanmar. The Trump DC hotel has tripled its rates for the dates of and around March 4, because grifting. And at the right time, they’re going to be restoring the republic with Trump as president,” one woman said. "Many of the justifications for those dates stem from worn-out theories that can be traced back to the sovereign citizen movement." (The sovereign citizen movement is an extremist right wing anti-government idea that believes they are not subject to most U.S.
Spring is Coming and Biden is Bringing the Sunshine
       
? Musical Opener ?President Joe Biden Continues to Make Us ProudAs Michael Tomasky said in his column last week, President Joe Biden’s first 30 days has been “staggeringly good”, and he will continue to show us why he is the man for this moment in history. pic.twitter.com/2lzbyyii1g — President Biden (@POTUS) March 1, 2021Biden urges Senate Dems to rally behind $1.9T virus bill, Alan Fram, AP News, March 2, 2021. With Democrats having no margin for error in the evenly split 50-50 Senate, Biden was expected to urge them on by conference call. Raimondo, a Democrat tapped by President Joe Biden, will oversee the Commerce Department and its bureaus, which have about 46,000 employees. ??Perspective; FDR, Johnson and Joe Biden: Democrats Are Learning Fast Why Being in Power Can Suck, Michael Tomasky, The Daily Beast, March 2, 2021.
This week on The Brief: Mike Espy, turning Mississippi purple, the dangers of a third party
       
Now, he sees a similar kind of promise in the traditional Southern GOP stronghold state of Mississippi:I actually think Mississippi is on that similar trajectory. With regard to Democrats winning in Mississippi and this red state’s potential to turn purple:I think the difference is just not being organized enough. We got a lot of rural votes because we focus on rural issues. Sometimes people think, ‘Well, maybe you can split the Republican Party by having this little faction,’ but that’s not what really happens. It’s not as if you form some sort of center-right party that it automatically breaks off from the conservative coalition.
Morning Digest: Rhode Island has a new governor, but a hard fight looms if he wants to say in office
       
McKee, though, came close to losing renomination in 2018 to progressive state Rep. Aaron Regunberg. There has also been speculation that state House Minority Leader Blake Filippi could also campaign for governor. ? LA-02: Both Democratic state senators competing in the March 20 all-party primary for this safely blue seat received a notable endorsement over the last few days. Mayors? Hialeah, FL Mayor: Republican Mayor Carlos Hernandez is termed-out this year as leader of Hialeah, a longtime GOP bastion that's home to the highest proportion of Cuban Americans in the country, and a familiar name is running to succeed him. ? Minneapolis, MN Mayor: Former state Rep. Kate Knuth announced Tuesday that she would challenge her fellow Democrat, Mayor Jacob Frey, in the November instant-runoff election.
Supreme Court takes up Trump admin. petition punishing Puerto Rico that Biden promised to end
       
At issue is about $2.3 billion in annual SSI payments that could be going to more than 300,000 poor, blind, and disabled citizens in Puerto Rico. It later extended the program to the Northern Mariana Islands, but not to other territories including Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico gets roughly $36 million for AABD, as well as other adult assistance programs, a figure that hans't changed since fiscal year 1997. Others have chimed in, including the heads of U.S. and Puerto Rico Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, United Church of Christ, Christian (Disciples) and Evangelical churches, and leaders of the National and Puerto Rico Council of Churches, Catholic Charities, the General Bible Society and Jubilee USA Network. Having to provide these benefits to the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico, Trump's Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall wrote, could make Puerto Rico residents think they could get more federal benefits, like money for a school lunch program and Medicaid.
Republicans plot their poison pills to delay critical COVID-19 relief from reaching Americans
       
One of the things those Democrats wanted to secure by making cuts elsewhere was more funding for broadband infrastructure. The negotiations could push that back, though, if it appears Majority Leader Chuck Schumer won't have a finalized bill by Thursday. They are still dramatically misreading the moment, thinking they can use the same kind of tactics to poison this bill that they used on Obamacare a decade ago. Through climbing infection rates and death tolls, a plurality of Republicans have remained "not concerned at all" about the spread of the disease. He can introduce the final amendment that would strip out any of those amendments, and do it with simple majority support.
House Dems Demand Harris Advance $15 Minimum Wage
       
In a new letter, nearly two dozen House Dems are pressing Vice President Kamala Harris to ignore the Senate parliamentarian and fulfill her minimum wage promise. “Eighty-one million people cast their ballots to elect you on a platform that called for a $15 minimum wage. We urge you to keep that promise,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Harris and President Joe Biden, pressing the White House to raise the wage for workers as part of Biden’s American Rescue Plan. “We must act now to prevent tens of millions of hardworking Americans from being underpaid any longer.”
Aw, A New York Times Survey Rejected Me for My Obsolescence!
       
(Image by New York Times) Details DMCAOrdinarily, I do not take surveys. With those pieces of information, I had completed three percent of the survey. Remember the Dick Tracy cartoon strip that had the hero using "two-way wrist-radio" and "two-way wrist TV" way back in the last century? I am no expert on the current cash flows the Times and other opinion-leader newspapers now employ to remain profitable. Even without a pandemic, American schools went digital years ago.
Blaring Quiet Part Out Loud, GOP Lawyer Admits to Supreme Court That Easier Voting Puts Republicans at 'Competitive Disadvantage'
       
"I mean we all knew this, but didn't think they would say it out loud," tweeted Arizona state Rep. Reginald Bolding (D). The Arizona Republican Party appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court, which agreed to take up the case. During oral arguments in the case on Tuesday, the Supreme Court's conservative majority appeared ready to rule in favor of keeping the discriminatory restrictions in place, potentially spelling further disaster for the Voting Rights Act. "In its most important voting rights case in almost a decade, the court for the first time considered how a crucial part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 applies to voting restrictions that have a disproportionate impact on members of minority groups," the New York Times reported. In an appearance on MSNBC late Tuesday, Ari Berman of Mother Jones said that "it's hard to be optimistic" about the fate of the Voting Rights Act "with this court that already gutted the Voting Rights Act."
Sanders’s Staff Talked to White House Nearly Every Day When Pushing for $15 Wage
       
When Sanders was fighting for the $15 federal minimum wage to be included in the latest stimulus package, his staff talked to the White House nearly every day. And, when he was trying to keep it alive after the Senate parliamentarian shot it down from the stimulus, the White House gave him space to do so, reports Barrón-López. When Biden backed Amazon workers’ union drive on Monday, the White House made sure Sanders’s team knew about it. Barrón-López writes that the White House staff and Sanders’s staff are carefully wording statements in order to project a level of peace and harmony among the Democrats and progressives. The White House has “been very good at tending the garden,” Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) told Politico last month.
Australian government under siege as sexual assault allegations escalate
       
Ever-widening allegations of rape involving government ministers or staff members are being used to destabilise the already faction-wracked Liberal-National Coalition government. Liberal Party Senator Sarah Henderson also referred to the Australian Federal Police a complaint she said she had received about a historic sexual allegation relating to a Labor Party shadow minister. Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull asserts that he and his wife Lucy were sent the allegations in 2019. Labor Party foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong and Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, among others, received them last week through anonymous letters sent to their offices. Certainly, the hand of Washington was seen in Turnbull’s removal, as it was in the 2010 backroom Labor Party coup that ousted Kevin Rudd.
FBI Director Wray confirms coordinated planning by pro-Trump far-right terrorists in January 6 attack
       
(AP Photo/John Minchillo)In his testimony Wray confirmed that:Militia “extremists” coordinated and pre-planned the assault on Congress. FBI intelligence reports were disseminated to the Capitol Police and the Metro D.C. Police prior to January 6. The FBI failed to issue a “threat assessment” prior to January 6. Durbin began his questioning of Wray by expressing his “surprise” that the FBI failed to issue a threat assessment in advance of January 6. Indeed, as Klobuchar well knows, the press has reported, citing 2014 court documents, that Proud Boys Chairman Tarrio has himself served as an FBI informant.
Poll: Americans are more interested in getting stimulus than in seeing bipartisanship support for bill
       
WASHINGTON – Americans would rather have stimulus checks in hand quickly than see bipartisan support for President Joe Biden's COVID-19 legislation, according to a new poll from Monmouth University. Exclusive:Defeated and impeached, Trump still commands the loyalty of the GOP's votersMore than two-thirds of Americans (68%) said that $1,400 stimulus checks should remain in the stimulus package even if it meant the bill had no support from the opposite party. Democrats have proposed a $1.9 trillion relief package that includes $1,400 stimulus checks; some Republicans have complained that that amount for checks, and the total cost of the bill, are too large. Republicans critical of the stimulus bill have claimed that the proposal would disproportionately aid Democratic-leaning states and claimed the bill would have some effect on when states and local governments could reopen their economies. While the upcoming stimulus package does not include a provision that would cancel student debt, the poll found that 61% of Americans support canceling up to $10,000 in college debt for anyone with outstanding federal loans.
Pence attacks Democratic voting bill, 2020 election integrity in op-ed
       
Former Vice President Mike Pence is lending his voice to the conservative outcry against Democratic voting reform proposals. Rioters, many of whom believed Pence had the power to unilaterally overturn the election results, were recorded chanting "Hang Mike Pence" and "Bring out Mike Pence" during the violence. Allegations of widespread voter fraud in the election are unfounded. "HR 1 mandates the most questionable and abuse-prone election rules nationwide, while banning commonsense measures to detect, deter, and prosecute election fraud," Pence argued in his column. Proponents argue the drastic steps are meant to curb voter fraud, while voting rights advocates have said the efforts will cause voter disenfranchisement, especially among minority voters.
Michelle Obama has first interview on 'Good Morning America' since Biden's inauguration
       
Michelle Obama has first interview on 'Good Morning America' since Biden's inaugurationFormer first lady Michelle Obama spoke with ABC's "Good Morning America" anchor Robin Roberts in her first interview since Joe Biden's inauguration.
Myanmar security forces kill at least 33 protesters
       
YANGON, Myanmar — At least 33 protesters were killed by Myanmar security forces on Wednesday, the highest number since a Feb. 1 military coup, according to a compilation of local reports, as authorities extended their lethal crackdown. Videos from various locations showed security forces on Wednesday firing slingshots at demonstrators, chasing them down and even brutally beating an ambulance crew. Security forces have also arrested hundreds of people at protests, including journalists. Videos from various locations showed security forces on Wednesday firing slingshots at demonstrators, chasing them down and even brutally beating an ambulance crew. Ignoring that appeal, Myanmar’s security forces on Wednesday continued to attack peaceful protesters.
Watchdog finds G.O.P. congressman harassed staff and recklessly drank while serving as White House physician.
       
The report, which was obtained by The New York Times, shed light on a number of rumors that had dogged Dr. Jackson beginning in 2018, after former President Donald J. Trump nominated him to lead the Veterans Affairs Department. After allegations emerged that Dr. Jackson had improperly distributed prescription drugs, created a hostile work environment, and had problems with drinking, the White House withdrew his nomination. Dr. Jackson went on to win a crowded Republican primary race to represent a district in northeastern Texas and was elected to Congress in 2020. The 37-page report, first described by CNN, painted a picture of a physician who engaged in reckless and sometimes threatening behavior, creating an uncomfortable environment for subordinates. A majority of the 60 witnesses interviewed by investigators said that Dr. Jackson had created a negative work environment, and nearly all of them said they had either personally witnessed, experienced, or heard from colleagues about Dr. Jackson “screaming, cursing, or belittling subordinates.”
NY state Sen. James Skoufis calls on Andrew Cuomo to resign
       
Andrew Cuomo’s refusal to publicly address sexual harassment allegations “lends further credibility” to his accusers and should lead him to resign in disgrace, a Democratic state senator said Wednesday. State Sen. James Skoufis joined a handful of Democrats — including US Rep. Kathleen Rice of Long Island — demanding that Cuomo quit amid the widening scandal. Governor Cuomo must resign,” he said. Skoufis added that Cuomo’s “refusal to appear before the public over this past week lends further credibility to the allegations brought forward by the three women — and counting.”Gov. Cuomo has been accused by three women of sexually inappropriate behavior.
Andrew Cuomo to hold first news conference since sexual harassment scandal broke
       
Andrew Cuomo is expected to hold a news conference on Wednesday that will mark his first public appearance since becoming engulfed in a widening sexual harassment scandal, sources familiar with his plans told The Post. Cuomo is in the state Capitol in Albany preparing for the briefing, the sources said. The Post also spotted Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, who has joined Cuomo at his briefings since the COVID-19 pandemic struck last year. Cuomo last took questions from reporters during an audio-only phone conference call on Feb. 22, two days before a series of women — including two former aides — publicly accused him of sexual harassment. And, obviously, part of that is responding to the concerns of the public expressed through the media,” he said.
108 illegal immigrants in Texas who tested positive for COVID reportedly released
       
?More than 100 illegal immigrants who tested positive for the coronavirus — after their arrival in Texas ??since late January — have been released by the Border Patrol into the Lone Star State ?and are free to travel to other parts of the US, according to reports. “Right now we were tested for COVID and they separated us … because we were positive,” Izaguirre told news site. ??Other migrants, who tested positive, said they plan to travel to North Carolina, Maryland and New Jersey. Felipe Romero said migrants who tested for COVID-19 are being told to quarantine and remain socially distanced. “Really, I don’t feel anything.”?The immigrants said they didn’t receive any documentation that they had tested positive.
Biden agrees to new cap on stimulus checks, axing funds for earners over $80K
       
President Biden has agreed to lower the income cap for stimulus checks as part of his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, The Post has confirmed. Adults who earn less than $75,000 per year will still get the full $1,400. But rather than a sliding scale for earners between $75,000 and $100,000, smaller checks will only go to people earning up to $80,000. People who earn more than $80,000 will get nothing under the Biden-approved plan, the source said. Those funds also are phased out for earners over $75,000 or joint filers above $150,000.
Republicans condemned Trump after the Capitol attack. Now they are opening the door to him as the future of the party.
       
That was less than two weeks after saying that Trump was derelict in his duty as president. But many Republicans who initially criticized Trump for the attack have since demurred or recommitted themselves to him when asked about his role in the party. One week after the attack, McCarthy said Trump bore “responsibility” for it. The shifts by Republicans on Trump are perhaps not surprising considering his support within the party. But unlike 2016, the current criticism of Trump follows the worst attack on the Capitol in more than two centuries and the most bipartisan impeachment vote in history for Trump’s role in that attack.
Live updates Biden to host bipartisan meeting on battling cancer in preview of post-pandemic health agenda
       
Walker, among the witnesses appearing before a pair of Senate committees on the breach of the Capitol, said that he received a “frantic call” at 1:49 p.m. from Steven Sund, then the chief of the Capitol Police. “He informed me that the security perimeter at the Capitol had been breached by hostile rioters,” Walker said. “We already had Guardsmen on buses ready to move to the Capitol. Consequently, at 5:20pm (in under 20 minutes) the District of Columbia National Guard arrived at the Capitol. We helped to re-establish the security perimeter at the east side of the Capitol to facilitate the resumption of the Joint Session of Congress.”
Former White House physician, now congressman Ronny Jackson bullied staff, made sexual remarks, report says
       
ADJackson, a retired two-star Navy rear admiral, “established a workplace where fear and intimidation were kind of the hallmarks of him, his command, and control of his subordinates,” one witness told investigators. ADJackson denied misconduct in a statement Wednesday, describing the report and the allegations that underpin them as partisan attacks. The allegations publicly surfaced in April 2018 following President Donald Trump’s nomination of Jackson as secretary of Veterans Affairs. “Three years ago I was the subject of a political hit job because I stood with President Trump. ADJackson began work as a White House physician in the mid-2000s and was named the top presidential physician in 2013, serving as President Barack Obama’s doctor and then President Donald Trump’s.
Honoré's ‘offensive’ comments should disqualify him from Capitol security review, Republicans tell Pelosi
       
Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee are telling House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that "offensive" comments made by her choice to lead the investigation into the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol should disqualify him. Pelosi appointed retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré to lead the investigation into the security infrastructure, interagency processes and command and control during the riot. But a number of Republicans have raised alarm about past comments he has made. These statements are deeply offensive and should be disqualifying for anyone to lead a serious and objective review of the Capitol’s security," the Congress members say. "This is somebody who has no business, no business, leading a security review," he told Carlson.
'Squad' member Rep. Bowman claims standardized testing is racist
       
Freshman Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., attacked standardized testing as racist on Tuesday. Bowman, a new member of the progressive "Squad," claimed in a tweet that standardized testing is "a pillar of systemic racism." Bowman also shared a link to the National Education Association (NEA) website about the "racist beginnings of standardized testing." Standardized testing is not uniquely American by any means. "Standardized testing is actually horrible for a number of reasons but this isn't one of them," conservative columnist Matt Walsh wrote.
Democrat assemblyman says Gov. Cuomo should resign: 'Pattern of abuse of power'
       
New York State Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara is calling on Gov. REP. ANGELO SANTABARBARA: [On revoking emergency powers] "This is something we need to do. This is about much more than just emergency powers at this point. This is a governor that has a pattern of abuse of power, and it’s clear that it’s going to continue. DEMOCRATIC NEW YORK LAWMAKER CALLS ON CUOMO TO RESIGN 'FOR THE GOOD OF THE STATE'We just see a pattern here.
Capitol Police increase security amid 'possible' militia group plot to breach Capitol
       
U.S. Capitol Police are increasing security after obtaining intelligence to suggest a "possible plot" by a militia group to breach the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, March 4. "The United States Capitol Police Department is aware of and prepared for any potential threats towards members of Congress or towards the Capitol complex," they said in a statement Wednesday. "We have obtained intelligence that shows a possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group on Thursday, March 4." Capitol Police said it is working with "local, state and federal partners to stop any threats to the Capitol." The Jan. 6 Capitol riot left five people dead, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer.
Senate Finance Committee split on HHS nominee Becerra in tie vote
       
The Senate Finance Committee did not make a determination on the nomination of President Biden's pick for Health Human Services Secretary, Xavier Becerra, after a vote on the nomination resulted in a tie, split along party lines. The vote took place at an executive session of the finance committee Wednesday morning. Committee Chairman Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. announced that the tie vote will be reported to the secretary of the Senate. He noted that it is up to the Senate majority or minority leader to bring a motion to discharge the nomination for a vote by the full Senate. This was in stark contrast to concerns from some Republicans over the California attorney general's lack of relevant health care experience.
Biden’s failure to get Tanden confirmed follows other aborted presidential nominations in history
       
BIDEN WHITE HOUSE PULLS TANDEN'S EMBATTLED NOMINATION AS BUDGET DIRECTORThe long history of nominations that crashed and burned dates back to the earliest years of the republic. And failed nominations at the beginning of a presidency ended up having sometimes serious implications. "The personal behavior of nominees became a new standard for nominees," Troy noted. CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPFast-forward to this week and Tanden’s nomination sank due in part to her long history of biting tweets about both Republicans and Democrats, which made her a polarizing figure to many in the Senate. Troy predicted that "Tanden's failed nomination will definitely create the 'Twitter test’ for nominees, but it may also have other implications that we cannot yet predict."
Pentagon confirms 10 rockets struck Iraqi base housing U.S. troops
       
The Pentagon on Wednesday confirmed that nearly a dozen rockets struck an Iraqi base hosting U.S. troops. Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said that no U.S service members were injured in the attack. The Pentagon has deferred the investigation to the Iraqi military. We stand by as needed to assist our Iraqi partners as they investigate," the statement read. The Biden administration had hinted at retaliation in a news conference on Feb. 17.
House Democratic leaders back Shalanda Young for OMB director after Tanden nomination withdrawal
       
Shalanda D. Young, nominee to be deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, is sworn into her Senate Budget Committee confirmation in Dirksen Building on Tuesday, March 2, 2021. House Democratic leaders endorsed Shalanda Young on Wednesday for director of the Office of Management and Budget. Young is Biden's pick for deputy budget director and a former top Democratic aide on the House Appropriations Committee. In a Senate Budget Committee hearing Tuesday, Young received praise from Democrats and Republicans alike as Tanden's nomination appeared increasingly unlikely. "You may be more than deputy," Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., said during the hearing.
Britain unilaterally extends grace period for agrifood checks to Northern Ireland
       
LONDON (Reuters) - Britain extended a grace period on Wednesday for some checks on goods heading to Northern Ireland until Oct. 1, moving unilaterally to change part of an agreement with the European Union to try to ease post-Brexit trade with the province. Prime Minister Boris Johnson reiterated a vow on Wednesday to leave nothing off the table to improve post-Brexit trade with Northern Ireland. Shortly afterwards, his Northern Ireland minister, Brandon Lewis, announced the extension of the grace period. Some in Northern Ireland and several leading Brexit supporters want Johnson to scrap the Brexit deal’s so-called Northern Ireland protocol. Johnson said Northern Ireland’s place in the UK’s market was “rock solid and guaranteed”.
Britain unilaterally extends grace period for agrifood checks to Northern Ireland
       
LONDON (Reuters) - Britain extended a grace period on Wednesday for some checks on goods heading to Northern Ireland until Oct. 1, moving unilaterally to change part of an agreement with the European Union to try to ease post-Brexit trade with the province. Prime Minister Boris Johnson reiterated a vow on Wednesday to leave nothing off the table to improve post-Brexit trade with Northern Ireland. Shortly afterwards, his Northern Ireland minister, Brandon Lewis, announced the extension of the grace period. Some in Northern Ireland and several leading Brexit supporters want Johnson to scrap the Brexit deal’s so-called Northern Ireland protocol. Johnson said Northern Ireland’s place in the UK’s market was “rock solid and guaranteed”.
Top House Democrats urge Biden to nominate Shalanda Young to head budget office
       
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The three top Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday urged President Joe Biden to nominate former House staffer Shalanda Young to head the White House budget office after his decision to pull the nomination of Neera Tanden. Young, whom Biden had tapped to be No. 2 at the Office of Management and Budget, had already won the backing of the Congressional Black Caucus to replace Tanden.
Senate panel advances USTR, Treasury nominees; ties on HHS nominee Becerra
       
Slideshow ( 3 images )WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday voted to approve President Joe Biden’s nominees for U.S. Trade Representative and Deputy Treasury Secretary, but voted in a tie on Health and Human Services nominee Xavier Becerra. The approval votes for USTR nominee Katherine Tai and Treasury nominee Wally Adeyemo sends their nominations to the full Senate. But the Finance Committee Chairman said he would report the tie vote on Becerra to the secretary of the Senate for a decision by the Senate’s majority and minority leaders.
Police warn of possible bid by militia group to attack U.S. Capitol
       
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The police force that guards the U.S. Capitol said on Wednesday it has obtained intelligence pointing to a possible plot by a militia group to breach the building on Thursday, an alleged plan with echoes of the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. The Capitol Police statement noted that the department already has made “significant security upgrades” at the Capitol, home to the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. There was no indication that the Senate or House would alter their legislative activities on Thursday. On Tuesday, Acting House Sergeant at Arms Timothy Blodgett notified all members of Congress of a possible security threat spanning Thursday through Saturday. Since Jan. 6, National Guard troops have been dispatched to the Capitol grounds and tall fencing has been erected to extend the security perimeter of the Capitol.
Russia brands Navalny-linked medical trade union a 'foreign agent'
       
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia’s Ministry of Justice said on Wednesday it had added a medical trade union with ties to jailed opposition politician Alexei Navalny to its list of “foreign agents,” a move that could complicate its activities. The “foreign agent” label, which carries negative Soviet-era connotations, subjects non-governmental organisations deemed to receive foreign funding for political activity to increased bureaucratic scrutiny and spot checks. It also requires them to regularly report on their funding and spending, and attach the “foreign agent” label to their publications. Police arrested Vasilyeva in January for breaching COVID-19 restrictions at an unauthorised rally in support of the opposition politician. “Does this mean that ‘foreign agents’ help our doctors while the authorities steal money?” Navalny’s team wrote on Twitter.
U.S. bomber flies over Baltic states in show of solidarity: U.S. Air Force
       
Slideshow ( 4 images )VILNIUS/OSLO (Reuters) - A nuclear-capable, long-range U.S. bomber flew over the capitals of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia on Wednesday in a show of solidarity with NATO allies, the U.S. Air Force said, amid Western concerns over a more assertive Russia. “This mission sends a clear message that our commitment to our NATO allies is unshakeable,” Gen. Jeff Harrigian, U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa commander said in a statement. “We’re in this together.”Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia were once ruled from Moscow but are now part of both NATO and the European Union. The bomber that flew on Wednesday is one of four deployed to Norway on Feb. 22 to operate in the strategically important Arctic region for several weeks. It is the first time this type of plane has been deployed in Norway and was accompanied by some 200 U.S. Air Force personnel.
Millions in farm subsidies at stake as EU looks to boost workers’ rights
       
The move to apply so-called "social conditionality" to the reformed CAP could mean slashing lavish subsidies to wealthy farm bosses found to be exploiting vulnerable workers in Europe's fields. Parliament pushThe issue of food workers' rights sparked debate in Brussels after massive coronavirus outbreaks at German slaughterhouses last summer. EU diplomats deny that the proposal is intended to stymie the push for workers' rights. "If the conditionality principle rightly applies for the environment and animal welfare standards, we do not understand why it cannot apply to protect workers’ rights," Bragason said. "It must be clear that workers’ rights are not red tape and that social conditionality can apply easily."
Congressman introduces legislation related to January 6 attack
       
Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., is set to introduce three new bills related to the January 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol.
Senate panel deadlocks on advancing Biden's pick for health secretary
       
But he and other Republicans criticized Becerra's lack of health policy expertise in arguing he was the wrong pick to lead the sprawling federal health department during a pandemic. "Being HHS Secretary should not be a learn-on-the-job position," said Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.). Finance Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) accused the Republicans of "twisting reality" and warned that further delays on Becerra's nomination puts the country's Covid-19 response at risk. Republican lawmakers and conservative outside groups continue to ramp up pressure campaigns surrounding the nomination. Other anti-Becerra ad campaigns from Sen. Tom Cotton's PAC and anti-abortion groups Susan B. Anthony List and Students for Life are also underway.
Pipe bomb found, safely detonated at Iowa polling location
       
Voting was interrupted for about three hours Tuesday when a pipe bomb was found outside an Iowa polling location. Authorities lifted the evacuation order and voting resumed after the device was safely detonated, but no arrests were made in connection with the incident. The bomb "could have been any amount of days and not necessarily election related," Fitzgerald said in a statement. "I’m deeply concerned to learn that a pipe bomb was found at a polling place in Ankeny earlier today," she said Tuesday in a tweet. I’m deeply concerned to learn that a pipe bomb was found at a polling place in Ankeny earlier today.
Facebook took down fake Iranian, Russian networks pushing political messages around the globe
       
WASHINGTON — Facebook announced Wednesday it recently took down separate networks of fake Iranian and Russian accounts attempting to promote pro-regime messages at home and stoke division inside targeted countries like Israel, underscoring the persistence of foreign influence campaigns on U.S.-based social media platforms. One of the Iranian networks used fake accounts to target audiences in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel and the United Kingdom, posting memes, political cartoons and other content in Arabic, English, Pashto and Hebrew about news and domestic politics, Facebook said. FacebookFor profile pictures, Facebook said, the Russian accounts used celebrity or computer-generated photos, and the accounts appeared to have been created in bulk and purchased from a third-party broker. Facebook removed this post as part of a wider crackdown on fake Iranian and Russian accounts attempting to stoke political division. FacebookThe fake accounts were quickly detected by Facebook's automated systems and shut down, Nathaniel Geicher, Facebook's head of cybersecurity policy, told NBC News.
International Crime Court prosecutor to open formal probe into war crimes in Palestinian Territories
       
THE HAGUE — The International Criminal Court prosecutor said on Wednesday her office will open a formal investigation into war crimes in the Palestinian Territories which will examine both sides in the conflict. Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda at the International Court in The Hague, Netherlands, in 2016. She named both the Israeli Defense Forces and armed Palestinian groups such as Hamas as possible perpetrators. When the court ruled on jurisdiction, he said: "When the ICC investigates Israel for fake war crimes, this is pure antisemitism." The Palestinian Authority welcomed the prosecutor's investigation.
DHS, FBI send warning that groups 'discussed plans' for another Capitol attack soon
       
The Department of Homeland Security and the FBI sent a joint intelligence bulletin that there is the possibility of another Capitol attack happening as early as March 4. NBC News' Julia Ainsley reports that certain groups could be planning to storm the Capitol again as part of an unfounded conspiracy that former President Donald Trump will be inaugurated on March 4.
Biden backs lower income cap for direct payments in Covid relief package
       
NBC's Garrett Haake reports that multiple Democratic sources have said that President Biden has signed off on a change to lower the income cap for those who will receive $1,400 relief checks in from the Covid-19 relief package Congress is working to pass.
Biden, Senate Democrats agree to limit eligibility for $1,400 checks
       
WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats plan to give $1,400 checks to fewer people under a deal struck with President Joe Biden, according to two sources familiar with it. But rather than zeroing out at $100,000 earnings, as the House's Covid-19 relief bill does, the Senate bill will cut off payments at $80,000, the sources said. But rather than zeroing out at $200,000, the Senate bill will cut off payments at $160,000 in earnings. But it maintains the crucial $1,400 topline number for the bulk of recipients, a campaign promise that Biden was determined to keep. The Democratic-controlled Senate is expected to proceed to the $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill as early as Wednesday, with a final vote possible by the end of the week.
Police uncover ‘possible plot’ by militia to breach Capitol
       
FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, file photo, rioters storm the Capitol, in Washington. Capitol Police say they have intelligence showing a “possible plot” by a militia group to breach the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, nearly two months after a mob of supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the iconic building to try to stop Congress from certifying now-President Joe Biden's victory. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, file photo, rioters storm the Capitol, in Washington. Capitol Police say they have intelligence showing a “possible plot” by a militia group to breach the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, nearly two months after a mob of supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the iconic building to try to stop Congress from certifying now-President Joe Biden's victory. It took hours for reinforcements to come and by then Trump supporters had roamed the halls of the U.S. Capitol for hours.
Projects GOP tied to Pelosi, Schumer dropped from virus bill
       
WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans opposing a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that passed the House have pointed to two transportation projects as examples of pork that would politically benefit Democrats leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. Now those projects are out of the bill. The project was set to receive about $141 million under the bill that passed in the House. The subway extension was described as “Speaker Pelosi’s pork subway project” even though it is located 50 miles away from her district. The Senate bill is expected to largely mirror the House-approved package, with the most glaring divergence the Senate’s dropping of language boosting the federal minimum wage to $15 hourly.
Selma Bridge Crossing Jubilee to honor civil rights icons
       
The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the youth civil rights arm, had sent two teams to scout out the city. This year’s Selma Bridge Crossing Jubilee will be the first without the towering presence of civil rights icons Congressman John Lewis, the Rev. ADVERTISEMENTOrganizers, activists and civil rights leaders say this year’s event, to be held Friday through Sunday, will honor the memory of civil rights legends and marchers and serve as a rallying cry and reminder that the fight for racial equity must continue. It will feature performances and events honoring civil rights legends and also the “foot soldiers,” whose names are lesser known. And today our Selma is to expand voting rights, restore the Voting Rights Act fully, raise the minimum wage to a living wage and pass universal health care for all,” Barber said.
DOD Took Hours To Approve National Guard Request During Capitol Riot, Commander Says
       
DOD Took Hours To Approve National Guard Request During Capitol Riot, Commander SaysEnlarge this image toggle caption Pool/Getty Images Pool/Getty ImagesFormer President Donald Trump's Defense Department did not approve D.C.'s National Guard to intervene in the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection for several hours after the initial request was made, the commanding general of the outfit told senators on Wednesday. Consequently, at 5:20 p.m. (in under 20 minutes) the District of Columbia National Guard arrived at the Capitol. He said 155 guardsmen were ready hours earlier and he said their assistance "could have made a difference" in pushing back the crowd. Former Capitol security officials testified last week that they did not receive the intelligence they needed to adequately prepare. and was impeached by the House of Representatives for inciting the riot, though the Senate later acquitted him of the charge.
Myanmar security forces kill at least 33 protesters
       
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — At least 33 protesters were killed by Myanmar security forces on Wednesday, the highest number since a Feb. 1 military coup, according to a compilation of local reports. Their numbers have remained high even as security forces have repeatedly fired tear gas, rubber bullets and live rounds to disperse the crowds, and arrested protesters en masse. According to the U.N. Human Rights Office, security forces killed at least 18 protesters Sunday. Security forces have also arrested hundreds of people at protests, including journalists. Ignoring that appeal, Myanmar’s security forces on Wednesday continued to attack peaceful protesters.
Nancy Pelosi, other top Democrats back Shalanda Young for Biden's budget chief
       
Top House Democrats on Wednesday said in a statement that they "take great pride in recommending Shalanda Young as Director of the Office of Management and Budget." The statement from Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn comes after President Joe Biden's first choice to head OMB, Neera Tanden, bowed out late Tuesday. Young is Biden's nominee for OMB deputy director.
Police uncover possible militia plot to breach Capitol this week
       
The revelation was detailed in a statement from the Capitol Police. “The United States Capitol Police Department is aware of and prepared for any potential threats towards members of Congress or towards the Capitol complex,” the agency said in a statement. The announcement comes as the Capitol police and other law enforcement agencies are taking heat from Congress in contentious hearings this week on their handling of the Jan. 6 riot. It took hours for reinforcements to come and by then Trump supporters had roamed the halls of the U.S. Capitol for hours. He was impeached by the House after the Jan. 6 riot on a charge of incitement of insurrection but was acquitted by the Senate.
Mike Pence comes out of hiding to nod towards Trump's election lies
       
Former Vice President Mike Pence broke his silence Wednesday with an op-ed in The Daily Signal, criticizing congressional Democrats for their voter reform push and giving new life to former President Donald Trump's baseless claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. He said he shares "the concerns of millions of Americans" about its integrity, suggesting he still hasn't fully broken with Trump on the matter. That said, Pence's op-ed didn't outright call the 2020 vote fraudulent. Pence called the bill "an unconstitutional power grab" with the sole goal of giving "leftists a permanent, unfair, and unconstitutional advantage in our political system." More stories from theweek.com7 scathingly funny cartoons about Trump's CPAC appearanceGermany's vaccine rollout has a healthcare.gov problemThe biggest jazz star you've never heard of
9 of the Best Outdoor Rugs That Literally Ground Any Space
       
National ReviewSenate GOP Whip John Thune (R., S.D.) “And she’s got, as any senator does, particularly through the nomination process, quite a bit of leverage.” “It’s been fluid,” Thune added. He also said the Alaska senator has “concerns about the economy” in her state. However, Senators Susan Collins (R., Maine) and Mitt Romney (R., Utah) signaled last week that they would not support the confirmation either, making Murkowski’s vote crucial to Tanden’s confirmation. The Alaska senator met with Tanden on Monday but said she had not yet decided whether to support her confirmation.
Capitol Police warns of attack by "an identified militia group" on March 4
       
But the leak also demonstrates how the radical group has recruited from a broad swath of Americans, not just military and law enforcement. There has been a particular focus on the militia movement after the 6 January attack on the Capitol in Washington DC, in which a rampaging pro-Trump mob included militia members and others from far-right organizations. He joined the breached AP3% website with thesales email address of the group’s merchandise website. Dr Balog was another AP3% member who responded to requests for comment on the website leak. Jennifer Delane Hinson, a dental assistant in Pontotoc, Mississippi, was also a member of the AP3% Facebook group, along with groups like the “Mississippi Minute Man Militia” and “III% Militia national Contingency”, all under the alias, Jenny Plunk.
Capitol Police warns of "possible plot to breach the Capitol"
       
It narrows the liability provision to cover only third-party “speech,” instead of the catchall term “information” in the original law. That would amend Section 230 to ensure federal civil rights laws apply to tech companies’ targeted advertisements in an effort to stop the spread of hate speech online. Companies would be required to issue quarterly reports, including data on content that’s been removed, demonetized, or deprioritized. In the House, Representative Jan Schakowsky, a Democrat from Illinois, is expected to introduce the Online Consumer Protection Act within weeks. As chair of a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee overseeing consumer protection issues, Schakowsky would lead any effort to reform how Section 230 impacts consumer safety.
Police uncover ‘possible plot’ by militia to breach Capitol on Thursday
       
The U.S. Capitol Police say they have intelligence showing there is a “possible plot” by a militia group to breach the U.S. Capitol on Thursday. The revelation was detailed in a statement from the Capitol Police. “The United States Capitol Police Department is aware of and prepared for any potential threats towards members of Congress or towards the Capitol complex,” the agency said in a statement. Capitol Police say that they have stepped up security around the Capitol complex since January’s insurrection, adding physical security measures such as the fencing topped with razor wire around the Capitol and members of the National Guard who remain at the complex. The statement said the agency was “taking the intelligence seriously” but provided no other specific details on the threat.
Becerra’s nomination to lead Health agency heads to Senate floor
       
Gen. Xavier Becerra’s nomination to become the nation’s first Latino secretary of Health and Human Services is headed to the Senate floor after the Finance Committee deadlocked Wednesday in a party-line vote. Senate rules now allow Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) to bring the nomination to the full Senate. After two hearings failed to stymie Becerra’s progress or convince Democrats not to support him, he appeared on track for approval. Conservative groups pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into ads to pressure moderate Democrats not to support him. Gen. Becerra,” committee chairman Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said.
Column: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is definitely icky. But should he resign?
       
What is there to say about the awful behavior of a man like Democratic New York Gov. Lindsey Boylan, a former Cuomo aide who is running for Manhattan borough president, told the New York Times that she was informed in January 2016 by her boss that Cuomo “had a crush” on her. In December 2016, she wrote, Cuomo summoned her to his office in the state Capitol in Albany, where he showed her a cigar box given to him by former President Clinton. He also told her, according to the New York Times, he was open to a relationship with a woman in her 20s. Advertisement“I didn’t have a choice in his physical dominance over me at that moment,” Ruch told the New York Times.
Watchdog finds GOP congressman harassed staff, drank while serving as White House physician
       
After allegations emerged that Jackson had improperly distributed prescription drugs, created a hostile work environment and had problems with drinking, the White House withdrew his nomination. AdvertisementJackson went on to win a crowded Republican primary race to represent a district in northeastern Texas and was elected to Congress in 2020. The 37-page report, first described by CNN, painted a picture of a physician who engaged in reckless and sometimes threatening behavior, creating an uncomfortable environment for subordinates. Jackson had previously recounted to witnesses that he found that rule to be “stupid,” investigators found. Former subordinates interviewed by investigators additionally raised the concern that Jackson took Ambien, a powerful sleep-aid medication, to help him sleep during long overseas travel.
CDC chief and White House decry Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to lift COVID restrictions
       
WASHINGTON -- The White House and the nation’s top infectious disease experts expressed disappointment Wednesday at Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to end all pandemic-related restrictions in Texas, warning that it’s premature and could lead to resurgence of COVID-19. Andy Slavitt, White House senior advisor for COVID-19 Response, called masks “critically important,” noting the emphasis President Joe Biden has put on mask-wearing. “We know that it can save tens of thousands of lives if people do this, and we strongly encourage people to continue to wear masks. I would still encourage individuals to wear masks, to socially distance, and to do the right thing to protect their own house.”
Democratic Senate leader Janet Bewley says voters in her district are 'not smart' to reject sales tax increase to improve essential services
       
Later, she issued a statement expressing regret and saying she meant the comment about voters' intelligence sarcastically. Tony Evers' plan to allow counties and some municipalities to raise the sales tax to fund their operations. Bewley said they hadn't yet, adding that voters would likely reject the idea if it were presented to them. "The reference to Walworth County didn’t go over real well with me," she said. After it was played, Bewley issued a statement saying she hadn't used the right words.
Police uncover ‘possible plot’ by militia to breach Capitol
       
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Capitol Police say they have intelligence showing there is a “possible plot” by a militia group to breach the U.S. Capitol on Thursday. The revelation was detailed in a statement from the Capitol Police. “The United States Capitol Police Department is aware of and prepared for any potential threats towards members of Congress or towards the Capitol complex,” the agency said in a statement. Capitol Police say that they have stepped up security around the Capitol complex since January’s insurrection, adding physical security measures such as the fencing topped with razor wire around the Capitol and members of the National Guard who remain at the complex. ___Associated Press writers Nomaan Merchant, Colleen Long and Alan Fram in Washington and Amanda Seitz in Chicago contributed to this report.
International Criminal Court investigates alleged crimes in Palestinian territories
       
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said Wednesday she has launched an investigation into alleged Israeli crimes in the Palestinian territories, plunging the court into the midst of one of the most fraught conflicts of the past half century. Of course it doesn’t say a word against Iran and Syria, and other tyrannical regimes, frequently committing real war crimes,” he said. The investigation will likely also look into alleged crimes by Palestinian militants. Israel blames Hamas and other militant groups for Palestinian war casualties, saying the militants use residential areas as cover to launch rockets and leave the military no choice but to strike back. Human Rights Watch welcomed the court’s move as a step toward justice for Israeli and Palestinian victims.
US contractor dies in rocket attack at Iraq base: Pentagon
       
WASHINGTON — A U.S. contractor died Wednesday when at least 10 rockets slammed into an air base housing U.S. and other coalition troops in western Iraq, the Pentagon said. “Coalition forces are in Iraq to fight Daesh at the invitation of the Iraqi government,” he tweeted, using the Arabic acronym for IS. “Despicable attacks against Ain al-Asad base in #Iraq are completely unacceptable,” Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod tweeted. The Danish armed forces said two Danes who were at the base at the time of the attack are unharmed. After that attack, the Pentagon said the strike was a “proportionate military response.”Marotto, the coalition spokesperson, said the Iraqi security forces were leading an investigation into the attack.
Poll shows majority of Nevadans support Sisolak’s handling of COVID-19 pandemic
       
Steve Sisolak and President Joe Biden are leading the state and nation, with more than half supporting Sisolak’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @csstevensphotoPresident Joe Biden, left, and Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak, right. Steve Sisolak and President Joe Biden are leading the state and nation, according to results of The Nevada Poll released Tuesday. More than half of those surveyed supported Sisolak’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. More than half (53 percent) of respondents approved of Sisolak’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
‘Possible plot’ by militia to breach Capitol Thursday uncovered by police
       
In a Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, file photo, rioters storm the Capitol, in Washington. The group includes people linked to the Oath Keepers militia group who have been indicted on charges that they planned and coordinated with one another in the attack. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)WASHINGTON — Capitol Police say they have intelligence showing a “possible plot” by a militia group to breach the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, nearly two months after a mob of supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the iconic building to try to stop Congress from certifying now-President Joe Biden’s victory. It took hours for reinforcements to come and by then Trump supporters had roamed the halls of the U.S. Capitol for hours. He was impeached by the House after the Jan. 6 riot on a charge of incitement of insurrection but was acquitted by the Senate.
Dems OK tighter income limits for COVID-19 relief: official
       
The COVID-19 relief measure Senate Democrats planned to unveil will also retain the $400 weekly emergency jobless benefits that were included in a House-approved version of the legislation, the official said. But under Wednesday’s agreement, those checks would end for individuals making $80,000 and couples earning $160,000, the official said. The Senate bill was expected to largely mirror the House-approved package, with the most glaring divergence the Senate’s dropping of language boosting the federal minimum wage to $15 hourly. Progressives, though, were still smarting over the virtual certainty that the Senate bill will lack the minimum wage boost, up from $7.25 hourly locked in since 2009. Opposition by moderates including Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., has left Democrats without the votes needed to salvage it.