He can still make headlines. As President Donald Trump’s final day in office dawned, focus fell on his potential pardons for wealthy rappers and corrupt politicians — and yesterday, while the nation celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Trump issued the racially divisive “1776 Report,” which defends slave owners as conflicted and skims over how the Civil War ended slavery. A new Gallup poll showed Trump, the only president who never hit 50 percent approval, at his lowest point: 34 percent. Meanwhile, helicopters buzzed over Florida’s Mar-a-Lago resort, where citizen Trump is expected to relocate, as moving trucks began unloading.
It’s a tale of two cities: One a militarized zone preparing for a belligerent president’s departure at noon tomorrow, the other setting up for a new one. Today the Senate will hold confirmation hearings for top posts including secretaries of State, Treasury and Defense, which were delayed by the Capitol riot and partisan gridlock, though impeachment could also delay confirmations well past Inauguration Day. President-elect Joe Biden’s latest policy announcements include immigration reforms giving undocumented residents an eight-year path to citizenship, which comes as Mexico urges such changes and Guatemala holds thousands of northbound migrants at bay.
It’s a “catastrophic moral failure,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization, noting the world’s wealthier nations have administered 39 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, but almost exclusively to their own people. The global agency has released a report criticizing its own efforts, along with those of many nations, for responding slowly and badly to the pandemic. In the U.S., President-elect Biden says he opposes a move by President Trump to allow travel from Brazil, Britain and Europe to resume Jan. 26, citing the spread of highly contagious variants of the coronavirus.
You have to spend money to make money. How far that axiom goes after U.S. debt has grown $7 trillion to $21.6 trillion in four years is uncertain. But Treasury Secretary-nominee Janet Yellen plans to tell her Senate confirmation hearing today that America’s pandemic-scarred economy needs further stimulus spending. That means going past 100 percent of gross domestic product — on par with Greece’s infamous ledger — despite her years advocating for a balanced budget during the Clinton administration and as Federal Reserve chair. Wall Street seems to like her plan, with stock prices rising in anticipation.
This former CIA deputy director claims he’s no 007, but John McLaughlin is a diplomacy expert with advice for the incoming Biden administration: Understand China's power as a competitor and go head-to-head with Russia in hybrid warfare. Subscribe now and don't miss his unexpected take on foreign interference at the Capitol.
There’s still time for a pardon. That might be the only logic behind an avowed Maryland white supremacist’s storming of the Capitol while wearing his court-mandated electronic ankle bracelet. Convicted burglar Bryan Betancur also reportedly described his Jan. 6 activities to his parole officer, despite being permitted to leave Maryland only to distribute Bibles for Gideon International. Investigators say he’s shared “homicidal ideations,” talking about shooting up a school or running down protesters with a car. Even without the tracker, there were clues to his whereabouts: An Instagram selfie in front of the Capitol.
It’s too painful to keep ignoring. French netizens are coming forward with shocking tales of sexual abuse by family members in the wake of published accusations against political scientist Olivier Duhamel. Grandfathers, “cool uncles” and others have been denounced on Twitter — accounts feminist organization #NousToutes says “confirm what child protection professionals have been saying and repeating for many years.” In a new book called La Familia Grande, Duhamel’s stepdaughter Camille Kouchner claims he abused her twin brother when they were 14 years old. Duhamel dismissed her account as “personal attacks,” but French authorities are investigating.
What better way to awaken? Middle Eastern women are breaking into coffee, and not just as baristas: They’re roasting experts, business developers and entrepreneurs in the aromatic, ubiquitous sector, OZY reports. Women like Raha Shahsavar, an Iranian roaster and quality controller in Dubai, who convinced skeptical relations that “being a coffee professional is not just pushing buttons.” And Sara Al Ali, a coffeepreneur who’s winning awards with her Turkish brews. She’s training other Saudi women in the caffeinated arts, but she’s getting some surprising pushback from men — because they want to learn from her too.
4. ‘The Terminal’ Plot Comes to Chicago Airport IRL
It’s life imitating art imitating life. The 2004 Tom Hanks film was inspired by a man who lived in a Paris airport for years. But a real-life sequel occurred at Chicago’s O'Hare Airport, where a California man secretly lived in secure areas for three months. Authorities charged Aditya Singh with felony trespass after airline staff discovered him Saturday. A prosecutor said he arrived Oct. 19 from Los Angeles, but remained in the airport, saying he feared contracting COVID-19 if he flew back. “It’s really remarkable,” said one transportation expert, “that in this day and age and security, this occurred.”
“The virus doesn't treat you specially, so neither do we." That’s what Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews had to say about quarantine complaints from the world’s top tennis players. Ahead of the Australian Open in Melbourne, world No. 13 Roberto Bautista Agut called quarantine “like being in a jail.” But strict rules are credited with keeping the country’s COVID-19 under control, with very few local infections in recent days, not including at least nine among Open arrivals. Even an Australian, Ellen Perez, was affected: A runny nose kept her off a flight home from Dubai, so she may not have time to quarantine before the tournament starts Feb. 8.
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