The bi-weekly news digest with stories from the US and around the world.
“No Tolerance” for Possible Inauguration Disruption
Although some Trump supporters say the storming of Capitol Hill was a long time in coming and say they plan on doing it again when January 20th comes, the Justice Department warns they will not tolerate anyone trying to disrupt the inauguration.
“I want to send a clear message to anyone contemplating violence, threats of violence or other criminal conduct. We will have no tolerance whatsoever for any attempts to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power on Jan. 20 that our Constitution calls for.”Acting AG Jeffery Rosen
Many law enforcement agencies have reaffirmed their commitment in ensuring the safety of Capitol Hill. There will also be a phalanx of 15,000 National Guard Troops at the ready.
Seniors in the Pentagon’s military leadership have labeled the breaching of Capitol Hill as “sedition and insurrection” and went on to tell their troops to remember their oaths to protect and defend the constitution.
Army Gen. Mark Milley signed a memo to all active duty and reserve troops and the security detail was instructed not to be “sympathetic to domestic terrorists”.
Biden Proposes Stimulus Plan
Calling the $900B relief plan a “down payment”, Biden has slated to flesh out a new and enormous stimulus and relief package of his own. The main goal of his plan is to tackle the economic fallout stemming from the lockdowns due to the pandemic.
It will be in the trillions of dollars.-President-Elect Joe Biden
He argues that more spending now will stem the long-term damage caused by the lockdowns and shutdowns. This was said after the Department of Labor reported a stalling of job creation in December and the loss of more than 9 million jobs in 2020 which was compared to the Great Depression of 1939.
After Trump asked for a $2k payment and only got $600 from the last package, Biden plans to add $1400 to it in order to reach the $2k mark.
He also added he would be accelerating vaccine distribution by allocating “billions of dollars”. He also mentioned “tens of millions” to reopen schools and “tens of billions” to assist local governments fund teachers, police officers, and health workers, but there were no firm numbers given to any of the promises. He also desires to extend unemployment insurance, rent relief, and give more aid to small businesses owned by minorities. He repeated his earlier want to raise the national minimum wage to $15 per hour, but did not state if that was part of the relief plan.
During his campaign, he touted tax increases on companies and upper-income households. This increase would include businesses and households earning more than $400,000, which is a small rollback of Trump’s corporate tax rate. The goal of the increases is to tackle economic inequality by rebalancing the tax code and fund the planned spending. Mr. Biden asserted spending in cases of emergency doesn’t need to have imposed spending cuts or offsetting tax increases. He believes it can be done through borrowing the funds needed.
This seems to have eased tensions and worry by left-leaning economists, which includes Janet Yellen-his choice for Secretary of the Treasury.
Some Democrats are not on board with with this plan. The left-of-center democrats urge Mr. Biden to see the unsustainability of the fiscal path he wishes to impose.
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Italy’s Prosecutor Under Armed Guard as He Takes Mafia Family to Court
Ndrangheta mafia, a family that eclipses the infamous Cosa Nostra from the 80s has a nemesis, Prosecutor Nicola Gratteri who has put 355 suspected gangsters on trial for an array of charges that include extortion, theft, and drug trafficking. It has gone on record as being the largest mob trial in Italy in three decades. Gratteri’s goal is to loosen the grip the mafia family has on Calabria and give the people back their hope and return their freedom.
A case this massive has not come easily as the prosecutor has to travel with an armed guard to ensure his safety since his first probe into Ndrangheta in 1989. Gratteri states he has not been to a movie theatre in over 30 years, out to eat in over 20, and his home has become a bunker. He is unfazed yet well aware that these precautions will not protect him from suffering the same fate as Falcone and Borsellino who were victims of bombings.
“I am trained to deal with fear. You look death in the face, you rationalize death, otherwise you cannot carry on doing this job for so many years.”Prosecutor Nicola Gratterid
Alexy Navalny Returns to Russian Under Threat of Prison
Alexey Navalny who has been in Germany recovering from exposure to a nerve agent he believes the Kremlin orchestrated, is planning on returning to Moscow on Sunday. This poses a challenge to President Vladimir Putin as Navalny is a Russian opposition leader. Alexey has called on his supporters to join him at a capitol airport when he arrives.
His return will add to the political tensions which are on the rise with the parliamentary elections around the corner and as support for the Kremlin drops amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The arrest could also cause problems with the incoming U.S. presidential administration which has pledged to aggressively deal with alleged Russian hacking of governmental bodies and the European Union.
English Hospital Waiting List Reaches Record Highs
In November, NHS reported a record 4.5 million people on hospital waiting lists for non-urgent treatment with the number going ever-higher for patients waiting more than a year.
“These figures are a stark reminder that the NHS is facing an exceptionally tough challenge,”-Stephen Powis, national medical director with the National Health Service
A more grim picture is painted when you look at emergency services. It is reported that 3,700 patients had to wait 12 hours or more in accident and emergency units before formal admissions could occur.
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‘It needed to happen’: Trump supporters defiant after Capitol attack, plan to do it again for Biden’s inauguration: USA today
‘No tolerance whatsoever’: Justice Department warns against efforts to disrupt Biden inauguration: USA Today
What Will Biden’s Covid-19 Stimulus Plan Look Like?: Wall Street Journal
The Finance 202: Biden to roll out trillion-dollar economic relief package amid fraught transition: The Washington Post
Italy targets violent clan in biggest mafia trial in decades: Reuters
Heavily guarded prosecutor takes on Italy’s mob powerhouse: Reuters
Alexey Navalny to Return to Russia This Week Despite Prison Threat: Bloomberg
Record 4.5 million people on English hospital waiting lists in November: Reuters