House impeachment managers prosecuting former President Donald Trump showed harrowing new footage yesterday in the second day of his trial, juxtaposing Trump’s statements with those of legislators being rushed out of the Capitol Jan. 6. One segment showed Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman warning Sen. Mitt Romney to retreat from an oncoming mob of Trump supporters, seen shouting “Hang Mike Pence” in other clips. While odds of conviction are nearly nil, GOP Sens. John Thune and Susan Collins called the case “compelling” and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told Republican colleagues that the decision is one of “conscience,” not party.
In his first call with Chinese President Xi Jinping since taking office, U.S. President Joe Biden diverged little from paths set by his predecessor. While Biden said he doesn’t seek a protracted trade war, he told Xi he won’t soon drop existing tariffs — and warned he’ll push back on Beijing’s human rights abuses and military expansionism. Meanwhile, the two nations clashed on the pandemic’s origin. Beijing said the U.S. should invite World Health Organization investigators to probe America’s outbreak after Washington asked to independently review WHO’s findings from Wuhan. China has suggested the pandemic started in another country.
A “lion of a lady.” That’s how advocates described women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul following her release from a Saudi prison Wednesday, after spending more than 1,000 days jailed on what critics called trumped-up charges. Some believe Riyadh may be trying to win points with Washington, where President Biden has promised to take a stronger stand against human rights abuses and has already withdrawn U.S. military support for the war in Yemen. But much more will need to be done to make things right: Al-Hathloul says she was tortured and sexually abused while imprisoned.
4. Uber Reports Billions in Losses, Promises Profitability
The ride-hailing behemoth reported $6.8 billion in 2020 losses as rapid growth in its food delivery business couldn’t outpace the dip in driving demand during the pandemic. Yet that deficit was an improvement on 2019, when Uber leaked $8.5 billion, leading CFO Nelson Chai to declare that they were still on track to turn a profit in 2021. That will likely depend on whether international vaccine rollouts can get people moving again — and whether consumers’ appetite for Uber Eats continues after growing by 130 percent during the pandemic.
India and China have agreed to pull troops back from a Himalayan lake today, easing tensions elevated by a bloody June clash along the disputed Ladakh region border. Lucasfilm has dropped actress Gina Carano, who played rebel soldier Cara Dune on The Mandalorian, following her tweet comparing contemporary Republicans to Holocaust victims. And Hustler magazine publisher and free speech litigant Larry Flynt has died at the age of 78.
Coronavirus Update: U.S. public health experts say people who are fully vaccinated don’t need to quarantine even after exposure to the virus. A British researcher says genetic surveillance predicts that the highly contagious U.K. strain is “going to sweep the world.” And federal authorities in the U.S. are investigating an operation that reportedly sold fake N-95 masks to hospitals and stores.
Based on the HISTORY channel documentary series, OZY and HISTORY are proud to bring you your new podcast obsession: The Food That Built America. Hear about the bold visionaries behind some of the most recognizable brands on the planet. We start with chemical genius and opium addict John Pemberton and brilliant pharmacist-turned-promoter Asa Candler, who transformed an obscure soda tonic into one of the most recognizable brands on the planet: Coca-Cola. Listen now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever else you get your podcasts.
And it’s not even March. It would‘ve been apropos to have an international and interplanetary confab in the month that shares a namesake with the red planet, but this is when the planets are aligned. Last night, China’s Tianwen-1 slowed down and inserted itself into Mars orbit, just hours after the United Arab Emirates’ Hope orbiter did the same following its seven-month journey. NASA’s Perseverance rover, carrying the first Martian helicopter, will join them in seven days and attempt a Martian landing — a trick that 60 percent of missions fail.
2. Beached Trio Survives a Month on Rats, Coconuts
It wasn’t the Caribbean vacation we dream of. Rather it was more like Castaway, without Wilson the affable volleyball. Three Cubans whose boat capsized swam to a deserted island and were stuck for 33 days, surviving on coconuts, rats and shellfish. The U.S. Coast Guard spotted the two men and one woman waving handmade flags on Monday, dropped supplies and returned to airlift them out Tuesday. “I was amazed they were in such good shape,” said Lt. Justin Dougherty. The three were taken to the Florida Keys to be checked out by doctors.
You can’t drink, drive and advertise cars. Jeep has pulled its buzzy Super Bowl ad featuring the rocker after news emerged yesterday that he was busted in November for driving under the influence. The company said it’ll pause the ad, which urged Americans to unite and not give in to fear, until the “actual facts” are established. Springsteen’s blood alcohol level was reportedly one-fourth of the legal limit when he was arrested in a New Jersey park, but Jeep said “drinking and driving can never be condoned.” The 71-year-old singer will answer the charges in federal court later this month.
While the pandemic-afflicted West saw its streets awash in Amazon delivery vans, Africa was another world. The retail behemoth won’t operate there for lack of such conveniences, OZY reports. But its competitors on the continent have a secret weapon: motorcycles. In many cities, motorbike taxi services were banned under social distancing rules, so companies like Nigeria’s Gokada pivoted to delivering online shopping orders. If not for e-commerce, the pandemic would have been a big blow for such services, but now providing last-mile deliveries has inoculated the $80 billion motorcycle transport sector.
5. Indian Officials Threaten to Jail Twitter Execs
Twitter jail, meet real jail. The Indian government asked the platform to remove 1,178 accounts for posting “inflammatory content” about the long-running farmer protests against agricultural reforms. But when the social media site only banned about half of them, India’s tech minister told Twitter executives today that they could be arrested if they don’t fully comply. The company, which has refused to take action against the accounts of “news media entities, journalists, activists, and politicians” on free speech grounds, has expressed concern for the safety of its India-based staff as the standoff continues.
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