Recent reports have overshadowed this week’s congressional hearings on the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, which highlighted authorities’ unpreparedness. On Thursday the FBI arrested Frederico Klein, whom former President Donald Trump appointed as a State Department aide, on charges that he joined the riot. Yesterday it emerged that both Roger Stone, a confidante of then-President Donald Trump, and another unnamed person linked to the White House communicated with the Proud Boys in the runup to their overrunning Congress. Revealed through interviews and communications data, these links could prompt new probes to discover what Trump knew — and when.
Will it be the “trial of the century”? No court proceeding has the potential to reopen America’s racial wounds as much as that of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Scheduled to begin Monday, his trial may be postponed because of Friday’s state appeals court ruling that a lesser third-degree murder charge should be reinstated against Chauvin, whose knee on George Floyd’s neck for nine minutes in May appears to have killed him. Chauvin’s lawyer says he’s unprepared to defend against a new count in addition to the second-degree murder charge his client already faces and may appeal, delaying a national reckoning.
They might as well call it the Manchin Bill. West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and fellow centrist Democrats forced a number of compromises to the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill Friday, like cutting weekly unemployment benefits to $300 and stopping them in September, not October. But the horse-trading appears to have paid off, as 50 senators seem prepared to vote yes today, allowing Vice President Kamala Harris, as Senate president, to cast the deciding 51st vote. There also won’t be a minimum wage hike and fewer Americans from higher tax brackets will receive $1,400 direct payments.
If the game is to make everyone hate America, it’s working. President Joe Biden is under fire from the left and right for his Middle East moves, observes OZY’s Butterfly Effect column. He’s revealed the Saudi crown prince’s assassination complicity, but refused to sanction him. He’s seeking talks with Iran, to no avail, and he’s held Israel’s leader at arm’s length. It’s like the triple chess game in The Queen’s Gambit, but look closer, and you’ll see some subtlety missing from past administrations’ moves. Clear lines have been drawn, challenging each rival regime to do the right thing, and reap a reward from Washington.
In a historic meeting fraught with personal risk, Pope Francis has met Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani — a top Shiite Muslim authority — in Iraq’s holy city of Najaf. Microsoft says Beijing-linked hackers have gained access to its Exchange email and calendar server program, prompting U.S. authorities to order government agencies to update software to patch the vulnerability. And after the deaths of a protester and an official from the deposed Myanmar government yesterday, a UN envoy urged the body’s Security Council to put Burmese military leaders “on notice.”
To cap off The Carlos Watson Show’s week of The Rulebreakers — change-makers who break barriers and defy the odds, actress, activist and model Jameela Jamil joins Carlos and claps back at her haters. She doesn't give a "flying f***" what you think about her. The outspoken The Good Place star discusses why COVID has given her hope, her activism and the unique relationship she has with Meghan Markle. What's her surprising opinion about AOC? Watch now.
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The nation is being “Islamized.” Or so say supporters of Switzerland’s proposed “burqa ban,” set to go to voters tomorrow. It’s the latest example of how things can play out when much of a nation’s laws are decided by plebiscite. The face veil that many Muslim women wear in observance of their faith’s call for modesty is also seen as a threat to Swiss society. If passed, it would prohibit anyone from covering their face in public, but in practice it might have little effect: Among the 380,000 Muslims in the country, estimates a Swiss researcher, fewer than 40 women actually wear such coverings.
It’s never been easy. But prospective parents who’ve had bad luck with adoption agencies have increasingly turned to social media, especially Facebook, to forge direct links with expectant mothers — experiencing a waking nightmare, Wired reports. They’ve faced everything from people looking for a quick buck to “emotional scammers” who gin up hopes, then reveal there’s no baby coming. And then there are anti-adoption trolls hurling expletives and “human trafficking” accusations. Facebook says it removes bullying posts, but they persist, illuminating a vocal movement made up of regretful birth mothers, unhappy adoptees and others who see misery in a process that brings joy to childless couples.
About 1,000 schools in Massachusetts are testing more than 300,000 students and staff weekly in one of the biggest U.S. experiments in pandemic-era learning. To make it more affordable, the schools are pooling kids’ tests, saving money on negative lab tests, then testing individual samples for groups that show positive results. But like so many attempts at living with the threat of COVID-19, the program is facing criticism, including that even with the savings, only well-heeled schools can afford it, and, from one of the tests’ creators, that it wasn’t meant to be used that way.
4. Kenyan Police Aiming for Hearts and Minds on Twitter
Next, on Law & Order, Nairobi: Kenya’s Directorate of Criminal Investigations is entertaining civilians with its exploits, like protecting the son who stabbed his father, then bringing him to justice, told in flowery prose on Twitter. Why? “Police have been thought of as killers,” admits the DCI’s director, inspiring anyone facing law enforcement to flee. And why shouldn’t they? Some 20 people were killed during enforcement of a pandemic curfew, and half of Kenyans see police as a threat. So the office is burnishing its image, 280 characters at a time, showing the public “we are not all like that. We do work for them.”
No harm, no foul. Pro football now has its first Black female official, with the NFL announcing Friday that it has signed Maia Chaka to its staff of penalty callers. She’s the second woman to hold such a position, joining Sarah Tomas, who’s in her sixth season and worked during the Super Bowl last month. Chaka, whose day job is teaching health and physical education in Virginia, started in the NFL’s officiating development program in 2014 and has already worked at the college level. She said her accomplishment was not simply personal, but “an accomplishment for all women, my community and my culture.”
If you missed them the last time around, the sneakers we can’t get enough of are back — and just in time for spring! These all-season low-tops are OZY’s favorite look for dressing up or down. But don’t wait around — these comfy kicks fly off the shelves and won’t be here for long.