The arrests began early. By the time Moscow awakened, thousands of protesters in Russia’s eastern time zones were already in the streets, and nearly 200 were arrested today while protesting the government of President Vladimir Putin and expressing support for his tenacious rival, Alexei Navalny. Despite nearly dying in August of poisoning, which he blames on the Kremlin, Navalny returned to Moscow Sunday to immediate arrest. Authorities have clamped down in the capital, even to the point of scheduling university exams to distract young people. Meanwhile Navalny, in a note from jail, said he has no plans to commit suicide — sometimes listed as the cause of other Kremlin critics’ deaths.
2. Story of the Week: America’s Hostile Transition
There were fireworks. There were entertainers singing patriotic songs. And there was even a parade of sorts. But what happened Wednesday was the least peaceful transition of U.S. leadership ever recorded, with tens of thousands of National Guard troops deployed and concern that a major violent act — even from troops loyal to former President Donald Trump — could disrupt the proceedings. But peace prevailed, perhaps because the inspiration for the Jan. 6 Capitol attack retreated to Florida that morning. But after the songs, the poems and the oaths, American democracy remains wounded, with an uncertain prognosis.
It’s clear that a president who wanted to overturn certified election resultsegged on rioters who staged a deadly assault on the heart of American democracy Jan. 6. But faced with multiple other crises, Republican and Democratic congressional leaders, encouraged by President Biden, agreed late Friday to delay until Feb. 9 the Senate impeachment trial of former President Trump for alleged incitement of insurrection. While 10 House Republicans voted Jan. 13 to impeach, conviction will require 17 GOP senators to vote with Democrats against the man who dispatched disloyal Republicans by turning his base against them. If they do, senators could then bar Trump from seeking office again.
It’s a double-edged sword. When then-President Trump sought to weaken the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency set up by Congress to combat abusive banking practices while insulated from politics, he fired its director and the Supreme Court backed him up. This week President Biden forced that director out and named a replacement, Rohit Chopra, who helped create the bureau with progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren. But, as a Wall Street Journal editorial argues, that ignores the bureau’s autonomy. Conservatives will likely sue, possibly allying Biden with Trump-appointed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who supports broad presidential powers and has ruled on bureau leadership accordingly.
Coming Up: Today is the first anniversary of the start of the first coronavirus lockdown in Wuhan, China. On Sunday Portugal holds its initial presidential election round. And also that day, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will play the Green Bay Packers and the Buffalo Bills will meet the Kansas City Chiefs in NFL conference championship games that will decide the Super Bowl matchup.
We Heard You! In response to our question about online privacy vs. law enforcement and child abuse, Frank C. of Florida responded that the Bill of Rights is not absolute, and that “Sexual, child, and spousal abuse are such heinous personal and societal events that law enforcement of it should override social media privacy.”
Carlos turns the tables on his When Katty Met Carlos co-host, Katty Kay. The BBC World News America presenter shares stories from her nomadic childhood, which took her everywhere from Saudi Arabia to Japan, and reveals how her “nosiness” has helped her become the journalist she is today. But perhaps most important to her is her work helping women recognize their capability and shifting gender dynamics. Subscribe now for tips from this essential voice in journalism.
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They’re not so proud anymore. A group once offered cryptic “stand back and stand by” instructions by President Trump as he debated Joe Biden isn’t sure what it wants. Its leader, implicated in the Capitol attack, has been arrested, and some members have called Trump a “total failure.” Even conspiracy theorist QAnon adherents puzzled this week over their beloved president’s last-day pardons for rappers and swamp politicians. Worst of all, there was no “Great Awakening,” with arrests of pedophile “deep state” officials. Now it’s up to authorities, some with their own divided loyalties, to determine who among these extremists isn’t content to “stand by.”
There’s no prescription for this. President Biden inherited one of America’s most vexing foreign policy issues, made even thornier by his predecessor, writes former CIA Deputy Director John McLaughlin for OZY. It was hard crafting the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement and easy for former President Trump to cast it off. The hardest nut, though, will be returning to the agreement. Among the obstacles is Tehran’s furor over the assassination of a top Iranian general last year, U.S. allies in the Persian Gulf wanting in on talks and the upcoming expiration of some of the original accord’s provisions. But the biggest hurdle comes in June, when a hard-liner is likely to prevail in presidential elections.
3. Where Pervasive Surveillance Doesn’t Stop Crime
It’s North America’s largest city, and it has a secret weapon: video surveillance like nowhere else on earth. Mexico City’s vaunted C5 system has more than 30,000 cameras, along with 15,000 panic buttons to assist city residents in need of help. But almost no crime is ever solved by the system, writes journalist Madeleine Wattenbarger. The system appears to be more to reassure tourists than residents, who are often asked for bribes to secure footage known to disappear when it might expose corruption. Her findings? No matter how sophisticated the tech, it’s only as good as the humans at the controls.
You can’t read this. At least not if it’s written or published in Germany or by a local journalist who must answer to the country’s judicial system. BuzzFeed, Vice and even trade periodicals have been legally forced to remove stories about a pioneering HIV/AIDS doctor accused of sexual misconduct by dozens of men. But as he hasn’t been convicted, and German laws governing privacy and legal proceedings strictly prohibit identifying suspected criminals, the doctor succeeded in forcing the publications to comply — just as alleged victims, worried they’d be denied life-saving medicines, claim they felt compelled to do.
He said he tried to play baseball “the way it was supposed to be played.” Atlanta Braves slugger “Hammerin’ Hank,” who died Friday of undisclosed causes, has rarely been emulated. Enduring racist threats, he broke Babe Ruth’s record of 714 home runs in 1974 and retired two years later, with 755. That record wasn’t broken until 33 years later, by a steroid-tainted Barry Bonds. And Aaron still holds records for runs batted in (2,297), extra-base hits and total bases. In one of many tributes, fellow Georgian Stacey Abrams praised Aaron, a longtime civil rights champion, for “investing in progress, in people and in dreams.”
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