They won’t return quietly. Today tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon, to protest Monday’s military coup. As factory workers and students chanted for a return to democracy and the leadership of Aung San Suu Kyi, the country’s internet was choked in an apparent attempt to close the world’s window on the unrest — and the military’s response. The regime tried to block Facebook and Twitter, but protesters used virtual private networks to circumvent the barrier. Riot police have restricted access to Yangon’s center, and protesters have been seen giving them roses and bottles of water.
Americans can’t wait. That was the message from President Joe Biden yesterday to Republicans who opposed a $1.9 trillion aid package aimed at relieving pandemic-induced economic distress. Citing Friday’s report of anemic job gains, Biden said Democrats will provide relief with or without GOP support. And on Friday, congressional Democrats demonstrated that, narrowly approving a budget blueprint in both the Senate and House with one Democrat’s opposition. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi predicted her chamber would pass a detailed bill in two weeks, while Republican Rep. Michael Burgess argued the “partisan process” would “drastically increase the deficit.”
It’ll be a show trial. Most Republicans see it as a chance for liberals to demonstrate their new power over former President Donald Trump, who was impeached on charges of inciting insurrection in a Jan. 13 House vote. But to Democrats putting Trump on trial Tuesday, it’s a way to show Americans how he damaged the nation by provoking the Jan. 6 Capitol assault — even with Trump refusing to testify and the possibility of no witnesses aside from legislators who experienced the attack. It’s likely to be short, both in time and votes to convict, so the nation can move on.
She’ll be tried as a juvenile. That’s because the 95-year-old German woman was under 21 when she worked as a secretary for the Stutthof concentration camp’s commandant in northeastern Poland. And while she has claimed she didn’t know about the 10,000 murders prosecutors say she’s complicit in, in the 1950s she testified that she saw all her boss’s correspondence. She’s one of the first women to be prosecuted in a Holocaust case in many years, as potential suspects are dying of old age. Memories are also fading, as new surveys show some two-thirds of young people don’t know that 6 million Jews died in the camps.
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5. Also Important …
Russia has expelled diplomats from Germany, Sweden and Poland, saying they participated in anti-government protests. Ardent Trump supporter Lou Dobbs has lost his Fox News show after election technology company Smartmatic sued the network for $2.7 billion for allegedly defaming the firm with baseless claims of election fraud. And an AP analysis has determined that the Trump administration’s insistence that federal executions be held during the pandemic created so-called superspreader events.
In the Week Ahead: On Sunday before the Super Bowl, CBS will broadcast President Biden’s first interview since taking office, in which he says his predecessor should be excluded from intelligence briefings because Trump’s “erratic behavior” suggests he might reveal sensitive information. On Monday, the Australian Open tennis tournament begins under pandemic restrictions. And Friday is the beginning of the Chinese Year of the Ox.
Meet an educational pioneer fighting to fix America’s achievement gap for Black and Latinx students. Dr. Danielle Moss, CEO of Oliver Scholars, shares insights into the professional journey that led her to become one of the most impactful education activists in the country. If Resetting America starts in the classroom, then this woman’s mission could be America’s shining light. Click here to watch now.
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While 62,000 fans cheered at last year’s Super Bowl in Miami, they didn’t know contagion was creeping around the country. On Sunday, a limited crowd of 25,000 fans, including 7,500 vaccinated medical workers, will be keenly aware of the Tampa event’s ominous context. That includes the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs’ quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, who nearly got his hair cut by a COVID-19-infected barber. The Kansas City players all appear to be uninfected, and their game with the Buccaneers will go on. Fans will receive PPE when they arrive, and after the big game, authorities can use all 32 NFL stadiums as inoculation centers.
2. ‘Sound of Music’ Actor Christopher Plummer Dies
He had a voice that “could polish mirrors.” Plummer, who died Friday at the age of 91 at his home in Connecticut, was best known for his role as Captain Von Trapp in 1965’s The Sound of Music. Despite that enduring classic and other popular film roles, the Toronto-born actor, who won two Tonys, two Emmys and an Oscar, was far more at home on the stage, playing Shakespearean roles like Henry V and Iago to James Earl Jones’ Othello. Plummer racked up some 200 credits over seven decades, including in The Last Station with Helen Mirren, who called him “a monument to what an actor can be.”
President Biden has said America is back and he’s going to defend democracy. But the events of this week could undermine those promises, argues OZY’s Butterfly Effect column. His threatened sanctions are likely to push Myanmar’s new military rulers, who staged a coup Monday, squarely into Beijing’s lap. It’s unlikely the U.S. will get much support, either: Japan and India have made investments in the country they’d be loath to give up if it means ceding influence to China. Biden might have a shot, though, if he can convince allies there’s a worthwhile endgame, like with Iran and the nuclear deal.
Rihanna seems to be capturing all the social media attention in India these days. But during the same farmer demonstrations she's addressing, Twitter has helped the government silence media, the AP reports. On Monday, the executive editor of investigative magazine The Caravan found its account blocked after a “valid legal request” by authorities. One internet freedom group called it a “chilling development for the press,” as journalists are being hit not just by digital restrictions but also by colonial-era sedition charges. Free speech groups say these prosecutions are growing, but they’re also imploring Twitter to provide a level playing field amid the clampdown.
She’s a cartographer who almost couldn’t find her way into the Vatican. But once inside, Molly Burhans convinced Pope Francis to let her map out the church’s vast holdings — which include oil wells and forests among an estimated 200 million acres of land — and suggest ways the world’s largest NGO can fight climate change. So secure in her faith she considered becoming a nun, Burhans has devoted her life instead to fighting global warming. That mission should be among Catholicism's solemn duties, she believes, because even if worldly matters aren’t the Holy See’s concern, protecting the millions of poor people who’ll be displaced certainly is.
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