1. QAnon Believers Prep for Second Coming of Trump
Washington, D.C., is on high alert today after the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security warned of possible extremist plots to once again breach the Capitol, following the Jan. 6 riot by supporters of former President Donald Trump. The House went as far as changing its Thursday voting schedule in light of the threat. Followers of the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory believe March 4, the country’s original Inauguration Day prior to 1932, will see Trump return to the White House. Confusingly, some QAnon followers also believe he’s already there, having swapped bodies with President Joe Biden.
In the deadliest clashes with police since last month’s coup, 38 people were killed in Myanmar Wednesday when security forces opened fire on protesters demanding the release of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The U.N. special envoy on Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, described the events as “shocking” and urged member states to act, asking, “How can we watch this situation longer?” Video footage shows police using submachine guns on protesters — at least one of whom is seen being shot at close range despite not resisting arrest — and brutally attacking an ambulance crew.
Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives have passed a major voting rights act with no Republican backing, seeking to counter GOP attempts to limit ballot access. The act, which is unlikely to pass in the Senate, would allow early voting and same-day registration, as well as restoring voting rights to former convicts. It would also limit state gerrymandering. The measure passed 220-210 after Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Democrats, “Everything is at stake.” Voting rights were a contentious issue in the November election, with former President Trump and his allies making unsubstantiated claims of fraud.
4. AOC Criticizes Biden’s Amended Coronavirus Relief Bill
President Biden has narrowed the criteria for Americans who can receive $1,400 stimulus checks, capping it at those earning $80,000 a year. Biden agreed to “some small compromises” in the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill under pressure from moderate members of his party on Wednesday. About 280 million Americans would still be eligible for the payments under the new system, but liberal lawmakers have criticized the changes. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez responded, “I don’t understand the political or economic wisdom in allowing Trump to give more people relief checks than a Democratic administration.”
At least eight people were injured in Sweden after a possible terror attack by an ax-wielding man. The “incel”-inspired man who killed 10 people in an April 2018 van attack in Toronto has been found guilty. And a Chinese porcelain bowl bought at a Connecticut yard sale for just $35 has been discovered to date back to the Ming dynasty and is worth as much as half a million dollars.
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. Today, the story of two enterprising brothers from Wichita, Kansas, Dan and Frank Carney, whose iconic franchise helped turn a little-known Italian dish into the single most popular food in the world. Do you know what it was?
Here’s a tale to get you feline good. The Thai navy has rescued four cats from a burning ship at sea — a bit more extreme than the old “fireman rescues kitten stuck in tree” headline. After a vessel caught fire off the coast of the island of Koh Adang, the navy saved the crew and then returned to check for a possible oil spill. That’s when they discovered the stowaways left behind: four ginger cats perched on a wooden beam. A sailor swam out to the boat and, with cats clinging to his back, ferried them to safety. Imagine the scratches!
2. Kafka on the Shirt? Murakami Partners With Uniqlo
Japan’s reclusive king of magical realism, Haruki Murakami, may be the last author you’d expect to go into business with a major fashion brand, but he’s partnering with Uniqlo to produce a range of shirts that fans of his novels will love. The eight graphic T-shirts go on sale next week and all reference Murakami’s books or love of music, with illustrations of some of his favourite things, like cats, records and birds. Despite the collaboration, the author said his own sartorial choices are pretty minimalist: “I try to wear plain clothes, the simpler the better.”
It was a short-lived success for Elon Musk’s Starship rocket. The SN10 soared over Boca Chica, Texas, after blastoff and landed back on the ground, but exploded a few minutes later. Both previous test flights of the SN10, a prototype for SpaceX’s Starship Mars rocket, have ended in fireballs, though Wednesday’s was the first to land successfully. Musk, who also heads Tesla, aims to fly to the moon by 2023 and hopes to make space travel affordable and common. The South African-born billionaire seemed undeterred following the mishap, tweeting, “RIP SN10, honorable discharge.”
Fans of Netflix’s The Crown are in for a treat. It’s not a new season, but some real-life palace intrigue from Oprah Winfrey’s upcoming interview with royal rebels Harry and Meghan. In a teaser the Duchess of Sussex slams “The Firm,” saying Buckingham Palace is “perpetuating falsehoods” about her and her husband. Last year the couple stepped back from royal life and moved to California to avoid the intense scrutiny of the British press. In a twist worthy of a TV script, The Times recently reported Meghan is accused of bullying staff while she was a working royal.
5. International Spectators May Be Banned From Tokyo Olympics
It looks like only people living in Japan might be able to attend the pandemic-postponed Tokyo Olympics in July, as the government tries to balance keeping its citizens safe from COVID-19 and throwing a successful international sporting event. Seiko Hashimoto, president of the Tokyo Games organizing committee, told reporters that safety is her “top priority” and promised to make a decision later this month on whether to allow international spectators. Some 900,000 tickets have already been sold outside Japan, according to reports.
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