WHO team arrives in Wuhan as China reports first Covid-19 death since May

WHO team arrives in Wuhan as China reports first Covid-19 death since May (Source france24.com)

A team of experts from the World Health Organization arrived in Wuhan on Thursday to start a highly politicised probe into the origins of the coronavirus, as China reported its first death from Covid-19 in eight months. The 10 scientists, who must complete a two-week quarantine in Wuhan before starting their work, arrived for their much-delayed mission to examine the origins of the pandemic. The virus was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019 and has since billowed out across the world killing nearly two million people so far, infecting tens of millions and eviscerating the global economy. State broadcaster CGTN showed the plane carrying the team arrive from Singapore to be met by Chinese officials in full hazmat suits. Their trip comes as more than 20 million people are under lockdown in the north of China and one province has declared an emergency, with Covid-19 numbers climbing after several months of being relatively static. China had largely brought the pandemic under control through strict lockdowns and mass testing, hailing its economic rebound as an indication of strong leadership by the Communist authorities. But another 138 infections were reported by the National Health Commission on Thursday—the highest single-day tally since March last year.

Feds warn that racist extremists, anti-government militias were emboldened by Capitol breach

Feds warn that racist extremists, anti-government militias were emboldened by Capitol breach

(Source theweek.com)

Federal authorities on Wednesday issued a joint intelligence bulletin cautioning that last week’s assault on the Capitol will be a “significant driver of violence” for white supremacists and armed militia groups. The bulletin, dated Jan. 13 and sent by the National Counterterrorism Center and the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, warns that extremists looking to trigger a race war or civil war “may exploit the aftermath of the Capitol breach by conducting attacks to destabilize and force a climatic conflict in the United States.” Racist extremists and anti-government militias “very likely pose the greatest domestic terrorism threats in 2021,” the agencies said. The breaching of the Capitol is emboldening extremists, the bulletin warns, and baseless conspiracy theories from QAnon will likely inspire some to “engage in more sporadic, lone-actor, or small-cell violence against” racial, ethnic, and religious minorities, government officials, and law enforcement. Additionally, individuals who have accepted President Trump’s false claims that the election was “stolen” may also “adopt the belief that there is no political situation to address their grievances and violent action is necessary.” 

Harrison selected as Biden’s DNC chair

Harrison selected as Biden’s DNC chair

(Source politico.com) President-elect Joe Biden is tapping former South Carolina Democratic Party chair Jaime Harrison to lead the Democratic National Committee, according to three people familiar with the decision, a major victory for state party heads and the powerful House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn. Harrison, a current associate chair and senior counselor at the DNC, will be charged with leading the Democrats through the tumultuous 2022 midterms and keeping the party’s warring factions together if party members formally elect him as expected this month. Biden is also throwing his weight behind an all-star slate of vice chairs: He wants Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth and Texas Rep. Filemón Vela for the roles, according to multiple sources. For state party officials, many of whom continue to harbor resentment over the DNC’s diminishment during the Barack Obama administration, the selection of Harrison came as a relief.

A guide to the new COVID-19 testing rules for travel to the US

A guide to the new COVID-19 testing rules for travel to the US (Source foxbusiness.com) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has ordered that all travelers flying to the U.S. from abroad will have to show proof of negative Covid-19 tests before boarding their flight starting Jan. 26. The CDC said preflight testing is necessary as Covid-19 cases continue to soar and new, more contagious strains of the virus emerge around the world. The order applies to everyone traveling to the U.S. on international flights, including U.S. citizens. You will need to show negative test results even if you are flying on a private jet or charter flight. There are exceptions for children under age 2, airline crews, and federal law-enforcement agents and members of the military traveling for duty. All of them. Passengers need to show proof of a negative test when traveling to the U.S. from any country, including Mexico and the Caribbean. Airlines can seek temporary waivers for certain countries where testing supplies are inadequate, but carriers haven’t yet said which countries might fall into this category.

Marijuana Stocks Jump On Democratic Senate

Marijuana Stocks Jump On Democratic Senate

(Source investors.com) Marijuana stocks rallied after the Democrats took control of the Senate, opening up the possibility of friendlier pot laws on a federal level. Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff in January defeated their Republican rivals in two Senate runoff elections in Georgia.

Their victories will give the Democrats 50 Senate seats, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris acting as the tie-breaking vote. With Biden’s win in November, hopes have increased for looser restrictions on cannabis, which is still federally illegal in the U.S. Last month, the Democrat-led House voted to pass the MORE Act. That bill would decriminalize marijuana federally but let states decide their own cannabis policy. Biden has said he supports federal marijuana decriminalization.

‘Joints For Jabs:’ This Group Wants to Give You Weed With Your Covid Vaccine

‘Joints For Jabs:’ This Group Wants to Give You Weed With Your Covid Vaccine (Source vice.com) ‘Jabs for Joints’ is one D.C. activist group’s solution to encourage COVID-19 vaccines and legalize cannabis legislation. Some COVID-19 vaccines administered in Washington D.C. this spring may come with a party favor: weed. Cannabis reform activist group DC Marijuana Justice (DCMJ) announced in a press release Monday that, come spring 2021, if vaccines are widely available to the public, they will hand out free bags of cannabis at some vaccination sites in the district. Cannabis is legal to use recreationally and for medical purposes in D.C.  “To celebrate this momentous occasion and thank people for getting vaccinated, dozens of D.C. home growers will lawfully distribute free bags of cannabis outside vaccination centers as soon as the general public is able to get vaccinated,” the release said

FBI warns of plans for nationwide armed protests next week

FBI warns of plans for nationwide armed protests next week (Source politico.com)

The FBI is warning of plans for armed protests at all 50 state capitals and in Washington in the days leading up to President-election Joe Biden’s inauguration, stoking fears of more bloodshed after last week’s deadly siege at the U.S. Capitol. An internal FBI bulletin warned that, as of Sunday, the nationwide protests may start later this week and extend through Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration, according to two law enforcement officials who read details of the memo to The Associated Press. Investigators believe some of the people are members of some extremist groups, the officials said. The bulletin was first reported by ABC. “Armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitols from 16 January through at least 20 January, and at the U.S. Capitol from 17 January through 20 January,” the bulletin said, according to one official. The officials were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

Biden unveils $1.9 trillion ‘rescue plan’ including direct payments and extra $400 in unemployment benefits

Biden unveils $1.9 trillion ‘rescue plan’ including direct payments and extra $400 in unemployment benefits (Source Yahoo Money)

President-Elect Joe Biden unveiled a $1.9 trillion stimulus package that includes direct payments to Americans, a $15 minimum wage, aid to small businesses, and a national vaccination program, among many other provisions. “While Congress’s bipartisan action in December was a step in the right direction, it was only a down payment. It fell far short of the resources needed to tackle the immediate crisis,” according to the statement accompanying the details of the plan. “We are in a race against time, and absent additional government assistance, the economic and public health crises could worsen in the months ahead.” The $1.9 trillion legislation includes $1,400 stimulus payments on top of the $600 being distributed, the extension of key unemployment programs that are set to expire in the spring, aid to small businesses, $350 billion to state and local governments, increase in tax credits for low- and middle-income families, and $160 billion for a national program on vaccination and testing.

China’s state media says Pompeo ‘crossed a dangerous red line’ with latest Taiwan move

China’s state media says Pompeo ‘crossed a dangerous red line’ with latest Taiwan move

(Source rt.com)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Saturday that he is lifting “self-imposed restrictions” on contacts between American diplomats and their Taiwanese counterparts, ending a practice that was in place to appease China. The United States, like most countries, doesn’t have official relations with Taiwan, which China claims as its territory, but the Trump administration has “ramped up” its support for the self-ruled, democratic country over the years, Reuters notes, and Pompeo’s latest move appears to be part of an effort to “lock in a tough approach” to Beijing before the White House transition takes place later this month. Taiwan’s government welcomed the decision, but Chinese state media was unsurprisingly critical. One piece of commentary published by CGTN, the English-language channel of state broadcaster CCTV, called it a “cowardly act of sabotage” that “crossed a dangerous red line.” And Hu Xijin, the editor of China’s state-owned Global Times, warned — in a since-delated tweet — that Taiwan could face repercussions for Pompeo’s actions, The Associated Press reports. 

US dollar demise will soon be attributed to bitcoin rise

US dollar demise will soon be attributed to bitcoin rise (Source rt.com) The millions of investors betting on bitcoin, including big guns such as Paul Tudor Jones and BlackRock, don’t have to fear their investment being extinguished by financialization, unlike the gold and bond “vigilantes,” Max Keiser said. “I predict that, very soon, you’ll start to see headlines in Bloomberg, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal that say, ‘US dollar is down today because of bitcoin going up,’” he said, as he explained why the power of central banks is waning. “Once that connection is made… you’re gonna see a crack up in the bitcoin price and the total collapse in the dollar price.” Precious-metals analyst Craig Hemke joined the show and predicted that the greenback, which finished 2020 in decline against major currencies, would drop further this year.