Sunday Morning Headlines - January 17, 2021
WASHINGTON (AP) - President-elect Joe Biden will deliver an appeal to national unity when he's sworn in Wednesday and plans immediate moves to combat the coronavirus pandemic and undo some of President Donald Trump's most controversial policies. That's according to his incoming chief of staff. Biden intends a series of executive actions in his first hours after his inauguration, an opening salvo in what is shaping as a 10-day blitz of steps to reorient the country without waiting for Congress. Aide Ron Klain tells CNN's "State of the Union" that Biden, in his address to the nation, will deliver "a message of moving this country forward. A message of unity. A message of getting things done."
WASHINGTON (AP) - When the incoming Biden administration takes charge of a Pentagon rocked by four years of leadership churn, it'll look mainly to one holdover to provide continuity. That'll be Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. President-elect Joe Biden will inherit Milley as his senior military adviser, and although Biden could replace him, Milley is likely to be retained. He's in the second year of a four-year term as the military's top officer. Milley's presence early in Biden's presidency would be a source of stability at a time of war and uncertainty on the international front. Biden's pick for defense secretary, Lloyd Austin, is awaiting confirmation by the Senate..
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) - The U.S. military says its troop withdrawal from Somalia is complete, in one of the last actions of President Donald Trump's presidency. Some experts have warned that the withdrawal comes at the worst possible time for Somalia, as the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab extremist group improves its bomb-making skills and continues to attack military and civilian targets even in the capital, Mogadishu. The withdrawal comes less than a month before Somalia is set to hold a national election. The U.S. personnel trained and supported Somali forces, including its elite special forces, in counter-terror operations. They are being moved to other African countries such as neighboring Kenya and Djibouti, home of the only permanent U.S. military base in Africa.
KENOVA, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia has emerged as an unlikely success in the nation's otherwise chaotic coronavirus vaccine rollout. It's largely a result of the state's decision to enlist mom-and-pop pharmacies to give the shots, rather than agreeing to a federal partnership with CVS and Walgreens. Now more shots have gone into people's arms per capita across West Virginia than in any other state. Federal data shows that at least 7.5% of the population has received the first of two shots. Republican Gov. Jim Justice is trumpeting the vaccine effort, saying it runs counter to preconceived notions about the state being backward.
OTTERLO, Netherlands (AP) - Police in Amsterdam have turned a water cannon on hundreds of demonstrators who were taking part in a banned protest against the Dutch government and its tough coronavirus lockdown. Police on horseback also moved in to break up the demonstration Sunday on a large square ringed by museums including the Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum. Amsterdam municipality says riot police took action to disperse the crowd because people weren't adhering to social distancing measures. By mid-afternoon, the square was empty apart from dozens of police, although some protesters remained in streets nearby.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Far-right media personality Tim Gionet, who calls himself "Baked Alaska," has been arrested by the FBI for his involvement in the riot at the U.S. Capitol. That's according to a law enforcement official who wasn't authorized to discuss the matter publicly before the release of a criminal complaint and spoke on condition of anonymity. The official says Gionet was arrested by federal agents in Houston on Saturday. Gionet had posted video that showed Trump supporters on Jan. 6 milling around and taking selfies with officers in the Capitol who asked them to leave the premises. The Trump supporters talked among themselves, laughed, and told the officers and each other: "This is only the beginning."
WASHINGTON (AP) - More than 125 people have been arrested so far on charges related to the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, where a Capitol police officer and four others were killed. Charges from the Jan. 6 riot range from curfew violations to federal felonies related to theft and weapons possession. From a man pictured kicking his feet up on a desk in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office to a far right-wing media personality known as "Baked Alaska" to the bare-chested guy sporting a furry hat with horns, here's a list in alphabetical order of some notable arrests and allegations made by authorities.
DALLAS (AP) - A third confirmed case of a variant of the coronavirus has been reported in Texas. Dallas County Health and Human Services reported Saturday that a Dallas man in his 20s with no history of travel outside the United States has tested positive for the variant that originated in the United Kingdom. Texas is among a handful of states with at least one known case of the new variant that appears to spread more easily, but state health officials say there is no evidence it causes more severe disease, and say current vaccines are expected to still be effective.
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - When her suburban Dallas high school was forced to move online last spring because of the coronavirus pandemic, Charvi Goyal realized that the schoolmates she'd been informally tutoring between classes would still need extra help but wouldn't necessarily be able to get it. So she took her tutoring online, as well. Goyal, a 17-year-old high school junior from Plano, roped in three classmates to create TutorScope, a free tutoring service run by high schoolers for other kids, including younger ones. What started with a handful of instructors helping friends' siblings has blossomed into a group of 22 tutors from Texas, Arizona, and Ohio that has helped more than 300 students from as far away as South Korea.