United States

Regional News • Middle East
US ‘terrorist’ designation of Yemen’s Houthis comes into effect

Just days before the now-former President Donald Trump was set to leave office, his administration announced plans to label the Houthis a “foreign terrorist organization” – effectively barring US citizens and entities from interacting financially with the group.

The designation came into effect on Tuesday, just as the US Treasury Department released details of limited licensing exemptions to the restrictions. For months, international aid groups providing much-needed aid to civilians hard hit by a devastating conflict in Yemen have warned that their work could be disrupted by the US designation of the Houthis – and urged the Trump administration not to do it. But US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on January 10 said the measure aimed “to hold Ansarallah accountable for its terrorist acts, including cross-border attacks threatening civilian populations, infrastructure, and commercial shipping”.

Human rights and humanitarian groups, as well as US lawmakers, are also urging the recently inaugurated US President Joe Biden to rescind the designation. The United Nations’ humanitarian chief last week called for the US to reverse the decision, saying it could lead to “large-scale famine on a scale that we have not seen for nearly 40 years”.

Biden’s incoming national security adviser also recently criticized the move.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Trump has handed out last minute series of 143 pardons
Trump has handed out last minute series of 143 pardons

United States President Donald Trump has handed out 143 pardons shortly before leaving office. The list includes former advisor Steve Bannon, rappers Lil Wayne and Kodak Black (illegal gun possession), Kwame Kilpatrick the former mayor of Detroit (corruption), Elliott Broidy the ex-Vice-Chairman of the Republican Party (illegal lobbying for Malaysia), Solomon Melgen a prominent ophthalmologist and Trump's neighbour from Palm Beach, Florida (health insurance fraud against senior citizens) and Paul Erickson, conservative activist and ex-boyfriend of alleged Russian spy Maria Butina (money laundering).

Regional News • Americas • United States
Joe Biden has been sworn in as 46th President of the United States
Joe Biden has been sworn in as 46th President of the United States
Credit: Ashley Winkler for Pendect

Joseph Robinette „Joe“ Biden, Jr. has been sworn in as 46th President of the United States of America. He is succeeding President Donald Trump.

As the first woman of color, the first woman of South Asian descent Kamala Harris has also been sworn in to hold the office of Vice President of the United States.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Kamala Harris has been sworn in as Vice President of the United States

As the first woman of color, the first woman of South Asian descent Kamala Harris has been sworn in to hold the office of Vice President of the United States.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Capitol Hill mob was "fed lies" and "provoked" by Trump, Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell says
President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence walk with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senator Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Tuesday, March 10, 2020
President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence walk with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senator Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Tuesday, March 10, 2020 Credit: The White House from Washington, DC, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor that President Donald Trump helped provoke the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol, blaming the president directly for the attack on the Capitol.

"The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people," so McConnell.

Regional News • Americas • United States
President-elect Joe Biden leaves Blair House for a pre-inauguration church service

The soon to be United States President Joe Biden has left Blair House for a church service before the presidential inauguration in "The Beast," the presidential limo. Together with his wife Dr. Jill Biden and high-ranking politicians such as Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell he will attend a mass.

Business • Markets
Office Depot rejected a takeover attempt by office supply rival, Staples
Office Depot store
Office Depot store Credit: The ODP Corporation

However, the parent company of Office Depot said it is open to a different kind of a deal, such as selling its retail and e-commerce businesses to Staples or agreeing to a joint venture, according to the report.

In a letter, ODP Chairman Joseph Vassalluzzo wrote that a deal that's not a full takeover "could be executed more efficiently and with far greater certainty and less regulatory risk than your proposal." He wrote the letter to Stefan Kaluzny, the managing director of Sycamore Partners and a board member of USR Parent, the subsidiary over Staples.

This was the third attempt by Staples to acquire Office Depot.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Trump leaves the White House for the last time, hours before Biden's inauguration

Donald Trump has left the White House for the last time of his presidency, hours before President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration. Trump boarded Marine One accompanied by Melania Trump and left for the Joint Base Andrews where he's attending his departure ceremony.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Two members of National Guard have been removed from inauguration mission over ties to right-wing militias
Two members of National Guard have been removed from inauguration mission over ties to right-wing militias
Credit: unsplash.com / Chris Henry

Two members of the U.S. Army National Guard have been found to have ties to fringe right group militias. Consequently, they will be removed from the security mission to secure Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration.

No plot against Biden was found.

Regional News • Americas • United States
FBI is vetting National Guard ahead of Biden's inauguration amid fears of insider attack
FBI is vetting National Guard ahead of Biden's inauguration amid fears of insider attack
Credit: Georgia National Guard, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

All 25,000 National Guard troops tasked with securing the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on January 20 are being vetted by the Pentagon and the FBI amid fears of a coordinated insider attack.

"This type of vetting often takes place by law enforcement for significant security events. However, in this case the scope of military participation is unique. The DC National Guard is also providing additional training to service members as they arrive in DC that if they see or hear something that is not appropriate, they should report it to their chain of command," so Christopher Miller, the acting defence secretary.

Regional News • World
Biden to not lift international travel restrictions
An officer with U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations welcomes and clears international travelers arriving at Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Va., March 13, 2020.
An officer with U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations welcomes and clears international travelers arriving at Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Va., March 13, 2020. Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Jen Psaki, President-elect Joe Biden’s press secretary, dismissed Donald Trump's order to lift the ban on travellers from Europe and Brazil that has been in place since March 2020, instead announced plans to "strengthen public health measures around international travel."

"With the pandemic worsening, and more contagious variants emerging around the world, this is not the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel," Psaki tweeted. "On the advice of our medical team, the Administration does not intend to lift these restrictions on 1/26. In fact, we plan to strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19."

Regional News • Americas • United States
US study shows: greater use of force against left-wing demonstrations
US study shows: greater use of force against left-wing demonstrations
Credit: unsplash.com / Andrew "Donovan" Valdivia

A study by the US Crisis Monitor based on around 13,000 demonstrations across the US since April 2020 shows that the police use force three times more often on left than right-wing demonstrators.

Barack Obama used this data in a statement to justify why Trump supporters were not stopped at the Capitol: The use of police force against predominantly white demonstrators is now demonstrably significantly reduced.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Adam Schiff: Trump should be denied daily intelligence briefings
Adam Schiff: Trump should be denied daily intelligence briefings
Credit: Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff said Sunday that President Donald Trump should be barred from receiving daily intelligence briefings after he leaves office.

"There's no circumstance in which this president should get another intelligence briefing, not now, not in the future," Schiff told on CBS’ in an interview. "I don't think he can be trusted with it now and in the future, he certainly can't be trusted."

Regional News • Americas • United States
Man found living in an airport for 3 months over Covid fears

A man too afraid to fly due to the pandemic lived undetected in a secure area of Chicago's international airport for three months, US. He reportedly found the staff badge in the airport and was "scared to go home due to Covid"

Regional News • Americas • United States
All 50 US states prepare for possible violence ahead of Biden's inauguration
All 50 US states prepare for possible violence ahead of Biden's inauguration
Credit: The National Guard / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

After the FBI issued a warning of potential violence in all 50 state capitals ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on January 29, state officials are preparing for potentialyl armed and violent protests. National Guard forces have been activated in California, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Florida. Washington, DC is bracing for further violent protests following the attack on the US Capitol earlier this month.

Technology • Internet & Web
Twitter temporarily suspends account of Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene
Twitter temporarily suspends account of Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter

Twitter has on Sunday temporarily blocked the account of Republican Congresswoman and "QAnon" supporter Marjorie Taylor Greene.

Greene had violated company rules on multiple occasions, the online platform said. The congresswoman had written on Twitter that voter fraud had occurred in the Senate elections in Georgia. According to U.S. broadcaster CNN, Greene had spread several conspiracy myths and false reports at once in a lengthy thread.

The congresswoman's Twitter messages were then flagged with a notice that their content was controversial. A few hours later, the online network decided to suspend Greene's account for twelve hours.

Regional News • Americas • United States
FBI checks National Guards for Biden inauguration security risks
FBI checks National Guards for Biden inauguration security risks
Credit: unsplash.com / Ian Hutchinson

The FBI is also investigating US military personnel in preparation for Joe Biden's inauguration. The US military authorities cannot rule out that an attack on the President-elect may come from within its own ranks. All 25,000 National Guards transferred to Washington would have to undergo a security clearance.

The inauguration will take place after the events around January 6th under the strictest security measures.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Biden announces that United States will re-join the Paris climate agreement

Immediately after his inauguration, future U.S. President Joe Biden plans to implement about a dozen measures that also represent his promised departure from Donald Trump's course. Among other things, Biden will reverse Trump's entry ban on citizens from several predominantly Muslim countries on Wednesday and lead the U.S. back into the Paris climate agreement, future White House chief of staff Ronald Klain said Saturday.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Music
Phil Spector: Pop producer jailed for murder dies at 81

Spector, who transformed pop with his "wall of sound" recordings, worked with the Beatles, the Righteous Brothers and Ike and Tina Turner. "California Health Care Facility inmate Phillip Spector was pronounced deceased of natural causes at 6:35 p.m. on Saturday, January 16, 2021, at an outside hospital. In February 2003, actress Lana Clarkson was found dead at his house in Alhambra, California with a bullet wound to her head.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Kamala Harris to resign as senator on Monday
Kamala Harris to resign as senator on Monday
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter

Harris plans to leave her post as senator on Monday, two days before she is to be sworn in as the new vice president in Washington. That was announced by staff in her office. She is to be succeeded in office by California Democrat Alex Padilla.

Padilla will be California's first senator with Latino roots. He will take Harris' post for the remaining two years