United States Congress

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
Third member of US Congress tests positive for Covid-19 after Capitol lockdown
Brad Schneider
Brad Schneider Credit: Charles Edward Miller (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

A third member of Congress has tested positive for COVID-19 after the Capitol lockdown according to journalist Kyle Griffin. He quotes Democratic Rep. Brad Schneider: "I am now in strict isolation, worried that I have risked my wife's health and angry at the selfishness and arrogance of the anti-maskers."

Regional News • Americas • United States
US Congress approves Biden's election as president
US Congress approves Biden's election as president
Credit: Ashley Winkler for Pendect

After the US parliamentary seat was forcibly stormed, Congress officially confirmed the victory of Democrat Joe Biden in the presidential election.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Pro-Trump supporters enter the Capital while Congress debats the 2020 Electoral College Certification
Pro-Trump supporters enter the Capital while Congress debats the 2020 Electoral College Certification
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter

After breaching multiple layers of security, pro-Trump supports were able to gain access to the Capitol building. According to reports, protestors are now outside the Senate chamber.

Capitol security has asked people to lock all doors if able, seek shelter immediately, remain quiet, and wait for further direction. Matt Laslo, the managing editor of The News Station, reported on Twitter.

Senators were ushered to the Senate floor, and the chamber was locked, Mike Pence was seen being escorted out of chambers by Secret Service agents.

Regional News • Americas • United States
US Congress overrides Trump's defense spending bill veto
US Congress overrides Trump's defense spending bill veto
Credit: Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead

The US Congress voted to override President Trump’s veto of the $740bn National Defense Authorization Act, the first time that one of his vetoes was overturned since he took office. The Senate voted 81-13 for the defense spending bill, a two-thirds majority, ensuring that the measure becomes law.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Biden urges Trump to sign Covid-19 relief bill, warns of "devastating consequences" if blocked

US President-elect Joe Biden has released a statement Saturday, urging President Donald Trump to sign the Covid-19 relief bill that was passed by Congress earlier this week.

“It is the day after Christmas, and millions of families don’t know if they’ll be able to make ends meet because of President Donald Trump’s refusal to sign an economic relief bill approved by Congress with an overwhelming and bipartisan majority,” Biden said in the statement. "This abdication of responsibility has devastating consequences."

Regional News • Americas • United States
Trump asks for changes in Coronavirus relief bill passed by Congress, demands $2000 stimulus check
Trump asks for changes in Coronavirus relief bill passed by Congress, demands $2000 stimulus check
Credit: @SenSchumer via Twitter

President Donald Trump called the recently passed coronavirus relief bill a "disgrace" on Tuesday and has demanded changes, including $2000 stimulus checks instead of the proposed $600 and to get rid of "wasteful and unnecessary items".

"I'm asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2000 or $4000 per couple," Trump said in a video released on Twitter. "I'm also asking Congress to immediately get rid of the wasteful and unnecessary items in this legislation or to send me a suitable bill."

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer responded on Twitter: "We spent months trying to secure $2000 checks, but Republicans blocked it. Trump needs to sign the bill to help people and keep the government open, and we're glad to pass more aid Americans need. Maybe Trump can finally make himself useful and get Republicans not to block it again."

Regional News • Americas • United States
Republicans and Democrats in US Congress have agreed to nearly $900 billion in financial aid
Republicans and Democrats in US Congress have agreed to nearly $900 billion in financial aid
Credit: unsplash.com / Quick PS

Lawmakers in the U.S. Congress have agreed on a gigantic new aid package to ease the impact of the Corona pandemic.

The measures include sending checks for $600 each to family members in households hit particularly hard by the crisis, opposition Democratic parliamentary leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer announced. The new package also includes aid for the unemployed of $300 per week each, according to opposition leaders. In the spring, this special aid had been $600 a week. 25 billion dollars are intended according to Pelosi and Schumer for the housing sector. This is intended to prevent financially distressed tenants from having to move out. There is also to be aid of almost a hundred billion dollars for schools and daycare centers.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Trump halts Covid-19 budget stimulus relief talks, reverses course shortly after and urges Congress to approve relief measures
Trump halts Covid-19 budget stimulus relief talks, reverses course shortly after and urges Congress to approve relief measures
Credit: @realDonaldTrump via Twitter

President Donald Trump has halted negotiations with Democratic lawmakers over a Covid-19 relief bill until after the election.

"I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business," Trump announced on Twitter. The US stocks fell by more than 2% after the announcement.

Shortly after, Trump tweeted he "was ready to sign right now" if "sent a Stand Alone Bill for Stimulus Checks ($1,200), they will go out to our great people IMMEDIATELY."

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
The UK admits bill to change Brexit agreement would "break international law"
European Flag at Downing Street
European Flag at Downing Street Credit: Frederick Tubiermont

The United Kingdom minister for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis, announced to the Parliament Tuesday that the government would be willing to "break international law in a very specific and limited way" by ignoring terms of the Brexit agreement with the European Union.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Union Commission, said tweeted: "Very concerned about announcements from the British government on its intentions to breach the Withdrawal Agreement. This would break international law and undermines trust. Pacta sunt servanda = the foundation of prosperous future relations."

US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated: "If the U.K. violates that international treaty and Brexit undermines the Good Friday accord, there will be absolutely no chance of a U.S.-U.K. trade agreement passing the Congress."

Regional News • Americas • United States
Michael Cohen paints Trump as a "master manipulator" in tell-all memoir, White House calls it "fan fiction"
Cover of "Disloyal: A Memoir: The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump"
Cover of "Disloyal: A Memoir: The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump" Credit: Skyhorse Publishing, via Amazon

Michael Cohen's tell-all book "Disloyal: A Memoir: The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump" paints President Donald Trump as a "master manipulator" and someone who has "low opinions on Black folks" but an admiration for "President Vladimir V. Putin’s willingness to treat Russia like a personal business."

The White House has since called the book "fan fiction" and White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement that "Michael Cohen is a disgraced felon and disbarred lawyer who lied to Congress [...] and it’s unsurprising to see his latest attempt to profit off of lies."

Cohen's book will be released on September 8.

"He shows Trump’s relentless willingness to lie, exaggerate, mislead, or manipulate. Trump emerges as a man without a soul—a man who courts evangelicals and then trashes them, panders to the common man, but then rips off small business owners, a con man who will do or say absolutely anything to win, regardless of the cost to his family, his associates, or his country," so the book's summary.

Health
AstraZeneca to distribute 2 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccine at no profit
AstraZeneca Manufacturing
AstraZeneca Manufacturing Credit: AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca, which will produce the promising Covid-19 vaccine developed by the University of Oxford, announced Tuesday that it will distribute 2 billion doses at cost.

The announcement was made by Menelas Pangalos, executive vice president of the company, in a virtual meeting before an investigative subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee of the US Congress.

Regional News • Americas
Members of Congress write open letter to Canada calling for re-opening of border
Members of Congress write open letter to Canada calling for re-opening of border
Credit: Twitter via Brian Higgins

The Canadian Public Safety Minister Bill Blair has been addressed by 29 bipartisan members of the United States Congress in a call to plan the re-opening of the US-Canadian border.

In the letter, the members of Congress ask "that the United States and Canada immediately craft a comprehensive framework for phased reopening of the border based on objective metrics and accounting for the varied circumstances across border regions" stating that they "understand the importance of prioritizing the safety of our communities as we all navigate the complex calculation of minimizing public health risks and resuming economic activity. However, the social and economic partnership between our two nations necessitates a clear pathway forward".

Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland has responded with a statement that the "absolute priority" is the health and safety of Canadians adding that "Decisions about Canada's border are made by Canadians, for Canadians".

The current closure and measures are set to expire on July 21st.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Roger Stone commuted by Trump, no prison time
Roger Stone
Roger Stone Credit: Victoria Pickering (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The president of the United States Donald Trump has commuted his long time ally Roger Stone days before he was scheduled to go to prison.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany has stated that "Roger Stone is now a free man" adding that there allegedly was "never any collusion between the Trump Campaign, or the Trump Administration, with Russia". Stone was sentenced to prison as a part of the investigation of Russia's interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign over lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstruction.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Senator announces that United States have officially withdrawn from World Health Organization

The United States Senator Bob Menendez has announced via his Twitter account that the United States Congress has been informed that the President of the United States Donald Trump has officially withdrawn the United States from the World Health Organization.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Anthony Fauci warns of severe rise in Covid-19 cases if country doesn't take action
Anthony Fauci warns of severe rise in Covid-19 cases if country doesn't take action
Credit: The White House from Washington, DC (Public Domain)

Dr Anthony Fauci warned Congress on Tuesday that, if the country doesn't take any action quickly against the current rise of Covid-19, the situation in the United States "could get very bad."

"We're going in the wrong direction," so Fauci. "We are now having 40-plus thousand new cases a day. I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around."

Fauci attributes the surge in new cases to people not following guidelines as well as lifting restrictions too soon and too quickly. He further urges younger people to not think that they are "invulnerable" to the disease.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Nancy Pelosi demands answers for "congress and the country" on Russian bounty operation
Nancy Pelosi at #ProtectOurCare, 2019
Nancy Pelosi at #ProtectOurCare, 2019 Credit: Senate Democrats / CC BY (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

On Monday, Nancy Pelosi has asked the Trump administration to brief all members of the House on recent reports that Russia offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Trump has denied he had any knowledge of the Russian bounty operation.

In her letter, Pelosi wrote that both "Congress and the country need answers now" and that "Congress needs to know what the intelligence community knows about this significant threat to American troops and our allies and what options are available to hold Russia accountable."

According to Kayleigh McEnany, White House press secretary, members of the congress will be briefed on Monda,y but it's uncertain whether the brief would be open to all members.

Regional News • Americas • United States
United States congressman launches investigation on why Nigel Farage was at Trump rally despite Covid-19 travel ban
Screenshot of Nigel Farage's Tweet, announcing his arrival in the United States
Screenshot of Nigel Farage's Tweet, announcing his arrival in the United States Credit: @nigel_farage via Twitter

The former member of the European Parliament and former leader of the UK Independence Party Nigel Farage has attended the Donald Trump Rally in Tulsa. United States congressman Bennie G Thompson who chairs the committee on homeland security has now requested all documents and information on why the politician has been allowed to travel to the United States despite the ban on all travel from the United Kingdom due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Farage had gotten an exception under the "national interest" clause.

Technology • Internet & Web
IBM announces that it will stop working on facial recognition technology

The IBM CEO Arvind Krishna has announced in a letter to the US Congress that IBM will no longer offer software for general-purpose facial recognition and analysis. In addition to not selling the software, IBM will stop developing or researching such technology. In the letter, Krishna stated that "IBM firmly opposes and will not condone uses of any technology, including facial recognition technology offered by other vendors, for mass surveillance, racial profiling, violations of basic human rights and freedoms, or any purpose which is not consistent with our values and Principles of Trust and Transparency"

Regional News • Americas • United States
Fires near White House in third night of D.C. protests
George Floyd protests in Washington DC, Lafayette Square on May 30
George Floyd protests in Washington DC, Lafayette Square on May 30 Credit: Rosa Pineda / CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

As the protests in Washington, D.C. entered into the third night, multiple fires were set near the White House. A fire was started in the lobby of the AFL-CIO, American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, and on two locations at Lafayette Square. Police have also responded to further fires across the city. Earlier D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has announced a citywide curfew. Protestors have also damaged buildings and cars. 

In response to the ongoing nearby protests, the White House turned off its external lights.