From what time Joe Biden becomes president to where Donald Trump will be, here’s what you should know.
WASHINGTON — President-elect Joe Biden’s nominees to lead his national security team promised a turnabout from the Trump administration’s approach to national security, saying Tuesday they would keep politics out of intelligence agencies, restore an emphasis on co-operating with allies, and push for a stronger American leadership role in the world. Antony Blinken, Biden's choice to be secretary of state, pledged to repair damage done to the State Department and America's image abroad over the past four years. He said he planned to restore career officials to prominent positions in the department and strive to promote inclusivity in the ranks for the diplomatic corps. "American leadership still matters,” he said in remarks prepared for his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “The reality is that the world doesn’t organize itself,” he added. "When we’re not engaged, when we don’t lead, then one of two things happen: either some other country tries to take our place, but probably not in a way that advances our interests or values. Or no one does, and then you get chaos. Either way, that does not serve the American people. Humility and confidence should be the flip sides of America’s leadership coin.” President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from a number of international agreements, disparaged NATO allies and questioned the need for multinational approaches to trade, security, economic and environmental issues. Biden is pushing for quick Senate confirmation of his nominees to lead the departments of State, Defence and Treasury, as well as Homeland Security and the intelligence community. Most are unlikely to be confirmed before Biden takes the oath of office at noon Wednesday, although protracted delays are not expected. Biden's nominee to lead the intelligence community, Avril Haines, promised to “speak truth to power" and keep politics out of intelligence agencies to ensure their work is trusted. Her remarks implied a departure from the Trump administration's record of pressuring intelligence officials to shape their analysis to the president's liking. “When it comes to intelligence, there is simply no place for politics — ever,” she told the Senate Intelligence Committee. Haines, a former CIA deputy director and former deputy national security adviser in the Obama administration, would be the first woman to serve as director of national intelligence, or DNI — a role created after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. She was given a mostly positive reception by committee Republicans and Democrats, suggesting likely confirmation by the full Senate. Sen. Mark Rubio of Florida, the committee chairman, seemed to allude to Haines’ confirmation as a sure thing, rattling off her eclectic career experiences and hobbies, and then joking, “I’m not sure what you’re going to do with the rest of your life and this new position.” In the opening hour of her hearing, questions focused on China as a potential adversary, Iran and prospects for containing its nuclear program, and an issue that has taken on added urgency in the weeks since Haines was nominated, namely, domestic extremist violence. Her answers were received with little sign of opposition from panel members. Haines said domestic extremism was mainly a matter for the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, but that the intelligence community, which is comprised of 18 intelligence agencies, including the CIA, has a support role in assessing the threat coming from domestic extremists. She said she expects that intelligence agencies would be involved in those discussions, particularly if there are connections between Americans and foreign-based extremist groups. She said she understand that such connections to international groups do exist, although she mentioned none by name. In prepared remarks, Blinken said he is ready to confront challenges posed by China, Iran, North Korea and Russia. Ahead of the Blinken hearing, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Robert Menendez of New Jersey, said he expects the committee to vote on the nomination on Monday. Blinken promised to bring Congress in as a full foreign policy partner, a subtle jab at the Trump administration and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who routinely ignored or bypassed lawmakers in policy-making. Also testifying Tuesday at his confirmation hearing was Alejandro Mayorkas, Biden’s nominee for secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. He would be the first Latino and first immigrant to lead the agency. Mayorkas faced questions from Sen. Rob Portman, the Ohio Republican who chairs the Homeland Security committee, about an inspector general's report that criticized his management of an investor visa program that he oversaw as head of the immigration services committee under President Barack Obama. The IG said that he created a perception of bias by overturning decisions on behalf of three investment projects backed by prominent Democrats. Mayorkas strongly defended his actions, saying he intervened in many decisions at the agency on behalf of Republican and Democrats in Congress when he felt that the action was legitimate and necessary to solve problems such as those with the investor program. “I learned of problems and fixed them,” Mayorkas said. Several senators said it was important to quickly confirm a new head of Homeland Security given the threats facing the nation from the pandemic, the massive SolarWinds cyber-hack that authorities suspect was carried out by Russia, and the rising threat of domestic extremists. Putting his national security team in place quickly is a high priority for Biden, not only because of his hopes for reversing or modifying Trump administration policy shifts but also because of diplomatic, military and intelligence problems around the world that may create challenges early in his tenure. The most controversial of the group may be Lloyd Austin, the recently retired Army general whom Biden selected to lead the Pentagon. Austin will need not only a favourable confirmation vote in the Senate but also a waiver by both the House and the Senate because he has been out of uniform only four years. Also facing confirmation hearings were Biden confidant Antony Blinken to lead the State Department, and Janet Yellen as treasury secretary, another first for a woman. Austin was testifying later Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee, but the panel will not be in position to vote until he gets the waiver. Republicans are expected to broadly support the Austin nomination, as are Democrats. Biden’s emerging Cabinet marks a return to a more traditional approach to governing, relying on veteran policymakers with deep expertise and strong relationships in Washington and global capitals. Austin is something of an exception in that only twice in history has a recently retired general served as defence secretary — most recently Mattis. Austin, who would be the first Black secretary of defence, retired from the military as a four-star general in 2016. The law requires a minimum seven-year waiting period. ___ Associated Press writers Ben Fox, Eric Tucker and Martin Crutsinger contributed to this report. Robert Burns, Lolita C. Baldor And Matthew Lee, The Associated Press
Twelve US Army National Guard members have reportedly been removed from their inauguration duties because of their ties to far right militias. A US Army official and a senior US intelligence official confirmed the decision to remove the 12 Guard members to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity due to Defense Department media regulations. No plot against the president-elect Joe Biden was found, reports the American news agency.
Frank Lampard and Chelsea face a test of character this evening as they travel to take on Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester City. Chelsea’s form nosedived over the festive period to leave Lampard facing serious questions about his future. The Blues have won their last two games, though a 4-0 FA Cup win over League Two Morecambe and an unconvincing 1-0 League victory at 10-man Fulham were results to delay talk about the manager’s immediate fate, rather than quash it altogether.
NHS aims to vaccinate all-remaining residents and staff by Sunday in ‘race against deaths’
Mr Trump requests military-style sendoff that Republican leaders choose to skip
Trump administration becomes first to use the language about Xinjiang human rights abuses
President’s daughter says she is feeling ‘blessed and excited for the next chapter’
Schumer's son, Gene, clearly didn't get the message.
DNA evidence belonging to a Tennessee death row inmate has been found on part of a knife used in the killings of a mother and daughter 33 years ago, but DNA from an unknown man also was found on the murder weapon, an attorney for Pervis Payne said in a Memphis court Tuesday. Attorney Kelley Henry presented a report on DNA tests on the knife and other evidence ordered by Shelby County Criminal Court Judge Paula Skahan in September. Henry and the Innocence Project hope results of the tests could exonerate Payne in the 1987 fatal stabbings of Charisse Christopher and her 2-year-old daughter, Lacie Jo.
President-elect celebrates his hometown: ‘You were with me my whole career, through the good times and the bad’
US tariffs on Scotch whisky and cashmere remain in place as UK fails to reach deal with Washington.
Celcuity to Present at the B. Riley Oncology Investor Conference
Short of robbing the All-Clad factory itself, you will not find its stainless steel cookware for cheaper than this.
33 Conservatives defied the government’s order to vote down the Lords amendment
AppHarvest — an indoor farming company backed by Martha Stewart — thinks the agriculture sector is ripe for disruption. And now, its tomatoes are ripe for eating. The Morehead, Kentucky-based company said Tuesday it has begun shipping beefsteak tomatoes to Kroger, Walmart, Publix and other grocers. Eventually, AppHarvest plans to ship 45 million pounds of tomatoes each year from its 60-acre indoor farm in Morehead. AppHarvest is one of many players in the fast-growing field of indoor farming. Others include New York-based Gotham Greens, which has eight urban greenhouses across the U.S., and Plenty, a vertical farming startup in San Francisco. In a recent global survey, Agritecture Consulting — which works with urban farmers — found that at least 74 indoor farming companies were founded in 2020 alone. The industry is getting a boost from high-tech farming techniques developed in the highly profitable cannabis industry, said Evan Lucas, an assistant professor at Northern Michigan University who heads its indoor agriculture program. Falling costs for LED lighting have also helped decrease the cost of operating indoor farms, he said. Greenhouses have been around for decades, but not until recently have they grown into such large-scale facilities. At the same time, consumers are increasingly looking for better-tasting, sustainably produced food, Stewart said. AppHarvest uses no chemical pesticides and says its tomatoes are bred for flavour, not long-haul travel, unlike tomatoes grown in Mexico. “We know how flavourless and devoid of nutrients tomatoes are when they are picked a month ago,” said Stewart during a video news conference Tuesday. “I think that we all need and want better food for us, for our families, for our friends.” Stewart also wants organic produce to be more affordable and accessible. She said she was shocked when she went to the grocery last Saturday and had to pay $98 for a small cart full of organic vegetables. AppHarvest says its Morehead greenhouse, which houses 720,000 tomato plants over the equivalent of 45 football fields, is one of the largest single-story buildings in the world. Its tomato plants will be harvested continually and can grow to 45 feet high, helping achieve 30 times the yield of a traditional farm. Founder and CEO Jonathan Webb, a Kentucky native, said Appalachia is ideal because of its heavy rainfall. AppHarvest uses only recycled rainwater to water its plants. But Webb said AppHarvest is also keen to invest in an economically depressed region which has long depended on coal. Webb said the Morehead farm’s 350 employees all make at least $15 per hour and have health benefits. The company received more than 10,000 applications for those spots, he said. In addition to Stewart, “Hillbilly Elegy” author J.D. Vance is a member of AppHarvest’s board. Vance’s venture capital fund, Narya, is an investor in AppHarvest, which plans a public stock listing this year. AppHarvest is currently building a 60-acre facility in Richmond, Kentucky, and a 15-acre facility to grow leafy greens in Berea, Kentucky. The company plans to build a total of 12 indoor farms across Appalachia by 2025. The company has a long way to go before it makes a dent in the tomato market. In 2015, for example, the U.S. produced 2.7 billion pounds of fresh tomatoes, mostly in Florida and California. But that production only fed around 40% of demand. The rest was made up by imports from Mexico and Canada, according to a report by the University of Florida. Fresh tomato production in the U.S. has been declining over the last two decades, the report said, partly because of drought. Webb believes AppHarvest can help reverse that trend and expand it, eventually, to many varieties of fruit and vegetables. “That’s where agriculture, as a whole, is moving," he said. Dee-Ann Durbin, The Associated Press
The model and socialite died of an accidental drug overdose on Jan. 17, 2021. Look back at his life in pictures
Carolina Panthers have a shot at landing the Houston quarterback, according to Vegas.
LANSING, Mich. — Attorneys for former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder are striking back, telling prosecutors Tuesday that the Flint water case should be dismissed because he was charged in the wrong county. Snyder was charged last week with two misdemeanour counts of wilful neglect of duty. He was indicted by a Genesee County judge who sat as a grand juror and considered evidence presented by prosecutors. “Neither of these allegations of non-feasance, or failure to act, occurred while the former Governor was in the City of Flint. At all times set forth in the Indictment, our client was the presiding governor of the State of Michigan with the Executive Office of the Governor located at the Romney Building in downtown Lansing,” attorney Brian Lennon said in a letter to prosecutors. The letter was attached to a request for documents and other evidence possessed by prosecutors, a typical step by the defence in a criminal case. Lennon indicated in the letter that he soon would formally ask Judge William Crawford to dismiss the case against the Republican former governor. A hearing took place Tuesday in Snyder’s case. The next hearing was scheduled for Feb. 23. “The reason we didn't file a motion to dismiss is we're trying to give the government an opportunity to recognize this mistake and voluntarily dismiss the indictment against Gov. Snyder,” Lennon told the judge. Assistant Attorney General Bryant Osikowicz sought time to see and respond to the pending dismissal motion. A spokeswoman for the attorney general's office declined to comment on the venue issue. Snyder was one of nine people charged in a new investigation of the Flint water crisis, including former state health department director Nick Lyon. The catastrophe in the impoverished, majority-Black city has been described as an example of environmental injustice and racism. The city, under Snyder-appointed emergency managers, used the Flint River for drinking water in 2014-15 without properly treating it to reduce corrosion. Lead from old pipes contaminated the system. Separately, the water was blamed by some experts for an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, which killed at least 12 people in the area and sickened dozens more. Lyon and former state chief medical executive Eden Wells face nine counts of involuntary manslaughter. Snyder's lawyer said the defence will soon seek grand jury records. It also wants potentially millions of documents and hundreds of electronic devices that were seized, and to know if steps were taken to ensure investigators did not have access to attorney-client communications or other privileged materials. As it did during the old criminal probe, the state will cover the legal expenses of former state officers and employees who face charges. But in a change, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's administration will cap costs. The maximum hourly rate for attorneys cannot exceed $225. Some lawyers were paid two to three times that previously. The state also will impose a “ceiling” of $175,000 for a defendant's legal services before and during a trial, which can only be raised if a contract administrator recommends it. The goals are to ensure consistent treatment across the defendants' former departments and to control costs to ensure accountability, the governor's office said. Jim Haveman, a former state health director who supports Lyon, criticized the new policy. Legal fees and expenses in the first case against Lyon totalled $1.6 million over 19 months, he said. In an email, he called on Whitmer and lawmakers to “correct this capping injustice and to assure all defendants have the best defence possible.” ___ White reported from Detroit. Ed White And David Eggert, The Associated Press
Cineplex Inc. (TSX:CGX) stock has started well in 2021. It needs a few things to break right in the coming months to stage a comeback. The post 3 Ways Cineplex (TSX:CGX) Stock Can Soar in 2021 appeared first on The Motley Fool Canada.