Capitol riot panel blames Trump for 1/6 ‘attempted coup’

Capitol riot panel blames Trump for 1/6 ‘attempted coup’
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A tweet by former President Donald Trump is displayed on a screen during a hearing on June 9, 2022, at the US Congress on the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol. (Getty Images/AFP)
Capitol riot panel blames Trump for 1/6 ‘attempted coup’
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Republican Rep. Liz Cheney gives her opening remarks as theHouse select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol holds its first public hearing on June 9, 2022. (AP)
Capitol riot panel blames Trump for 1/6 ‘attempted coup’
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Police Officer Caroline Edwards, who was injured in the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol, testifies on June 9 as the House select committee holds its first hearing on the attempted coup. (AP)
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Updated 10 June 2022

Capitol riot panel blames Trump for 1/6 ‘attempted coup’

Capitol riot panel blames Trump for 1/6 ‘attempted coup’
  • “President Trump summoned a violent mob,” said Rep. Liz Cheney, a Republican partymate of the eccentric former president
  • Trump, unapologetic, declared on social media that Jan. 6 “represented the greatest movement in the history of our country”

WASHINGTON: The House panel investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the US Capitol laid the blame firmly on Donald Trump Thursday night, saying the assault was hardly spontaneous but an “attempted coup” and a direct result of the defeated president’s effort to overturn the 2020 election.
With a never-before-seen 12-minute video of the deadly violence and startling testimony from Trump’s most inner circle, the House 1/6 committee provided gripping detail in contending that Trump’s repeated lies about election fraud and his public effort to stop Joe Biden’s victory led to the attack and imperiled American democracy
“Democracy remains in danger,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Mississippi, chairman of the panel, during the hearing, timed for prime time to reach as many Americans as possible.
“Jan. 6 was the culmination of an attempted coup, a brazen attempt, as one rioter put it shortly after Jan. 6, to overthrow the government,” Thompson said. “The violence was no accident.”
In a previously unseen video clip, the panel played a quip from former Attorney General Bill Barr who testified that he told Trump the claims of a rigged election were “bull— — .”
In another, the former president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, testified to the committee that she respected Barr’s view that there was no election fraud. “I accepted what he said.”




Insurrectionists loyal to President Donald Trump breach the Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021.(AP File Photo)

Others showed leaders of the extremist Oath Keepers and Proud Boys preparing to storm the Capitol to stand up for Trump. Testifying in person was one of the offices, Caroline Edwards, who suffered serious injuries as she battled the mob that pushed into the Capitol.
“President Trump summoned a violent mob,” said Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, the panel’s vice chair who took the lead for much of the hearing. “When a president fails to take the steps necessary to preserve our union — or worse, causes a constitutional crisis — we’re in a moment of maximum danger for our republic.”
There was an audible gasp in the hearing room, when Cheney read an account that said when Trump was told the Capitol mob was chanting for Vice President Mike Pence to be hanged, Trump responded that maybe they were right, that he “deserves it.”
Trump was angry that Pence, presiding in the House chamber, refused his order to reject the certification of Biden’s victory.
Police officers who had fought off the mob consoled one another as they sat in the committee room reliving the violence they faced on Jan. 6. Officer Harry Dunn teared up as bodycam footage showed rioters bludgeoning his colleagues with flagpoles and baseball bats.
Biden, in Los Angeles for the Summit of the Americas, said many viewers were “going to be seeing for the first time a lot of the detail that occurred.”
Trump, unapologetic, dismissed the investigation anew — and even declared on social media that Jan. 6 “represented the greatest movement in the history of our country.”
Repubicans on the House Judiciary Committee tweeted: “All. Old. News.”
The result of the coming weeks of public hearings may not change hearts or minds in politically polarized America. But the committee’s investigation with 1,000 interviews is intended to stand as a public record for history. A final report aims to provide an accounting of the most violent attack on the Capitol since the British set fire to it in 1814, and to ensure such an attack never happens again.
The riot left more than 100 police officers injured, many beaten and bloodied, as the crowd of pro-Trump rioters, some armed with pipes, bats and bear spray, charged into the Capitol. At least nine people who were there died during and after the rioting, including a woman who was shot and killed by police.
Emotions are still raw at the Capitol, and security will be tight for the hearings. Law enforcement officials are reporting a spike in violent threats against members of Congress.
Against this backdrop, the committee was speaking to a divided America, ahead of the fall midterm elections when voters decide which party controls Congress. Most TV networks carried the hearing live, but Fox News Channel did not.
Among those in the audience were several lawmakers who were trapped together in the House gallery during the attack.
“We want to remind people, we were there, we saw what happened,” said Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minnesota ”We know how close we came to the first non-peaceful transition of power in this country.”




Rioting supporters of President Donald Trump are confronted by US Capitol Police officers outside the Senate Chamber in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (AP File Photo)

The committee chairman, civil rights leader Thompson opened the hearing with sweep of American history. saying he heard in those denying the stark reality of Jan. 6 his own experience growing up in a time and place “where people justified the action of slavery, the Ku Klux Klan and lynching.”
Republican Rep. Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, outlined what the committee has learned about the events leading up to that brisk January day when Trump sent his supporters to Congress to “fight like hell” for his presidency as lawmakers undertook the typically routine job of certifying the previous November’s results.
Among those testifying was documentary maker Nick Quested, who filmed the Proud Boys storming the Capitol — along with a pivotal meeting between the group’s then-chairman Henry “Enrique” Tarrio and another extremist group, the Oath Keepers, the night before in nearby parking garage.
Court documents show that members of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers were discussing as early as November a need to fight to keep Trump in office. Leaders both groups and some members have since been indicted on rare sedition charges over the military-style attack.
In the weeks ahead, the panel is expected to detail Trump’s public campaign to “Stop the Steal” and the private pressure he put on the Justice Department to reverse his election loss — despite dozens of failed court cases and his own attorney general attesting there was no fraud on a scale that could have tipped the results in his favor.
The panel faced obstacles from its start. Republicans blocked the formation of an independent body that could have investigated the Jan. 6 assault the way the 9/11 Commission probed the 2001 terror attack.
Instead, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ushered the creation of the 1/6 panel through Congress over the objections of Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell. She rejected Republican-appointed lawmakers who had voted on Jan. 6 against certifying the election results, eventually naming seven Democrats and two Republicans.
House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, who has been caught up in the probe and has defied the committee’s subpoena for an interview, echoed Trump on Thursday. He called the panel a “scam” and labeled the investigation a political “smokescreen” for Democrats’ priorities.
The hearings are expected to introduce Americans to a cast of characters, some well known, others elusive, and to what they said and did as Trump and his allies tried to reverse the election outcome.
The public will learn about the actions of Mark Meadows, the president’s chief of staff, whose 2,000-plus text messages provided the committee with a snapshot of the real-time scramble to keep Trump in office. Of John Eastman, the conservative law professor who was the architect of the unsuccessful scheme to persuade Vice President Pence to halt the certification on Jan. 6. Of the Justice Department officials who threatened to resign rather than go along with Trump’s proposals.
The Justice Department has arrested and charged more than 800 people for the violence that day, the biggest dragnet in its history.
 


Nearly half of Ethiopia’s Tigray faces ‘severe’ lack of food: WFP

Nearly half of Ethiopia’s Tigray faces ‘severe’ lack of food: WFP
Updated 20 August 2022

Nearly half of Ethiopia’s Tigray faces ‘severe’ lack of food: WFP

Nearly half of Ethiopia’s Tigray faces ‘severe’ lack of food: WFP
  • Around 47 percent “of the surveyed households are classified as... severely food insecure,” the report said, compared to nearly 40 percent of the population according to a WFP assessment published in January this year

ADDIS ABABA: Nearly half of the population in Ethiopia’s war-torn region of Tigray is suffering from a severe lack of food, with conditions “set to worsen as people enter peak hunger season,” the UN’s World Food Programme warned Friday.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government has been locked in a conflict with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) rebel group since November 2020, leaving Ethiopia’s northernmost region in the grip of a serious humanitarian crisis.
In its latest assessment covering November 2021 — June 2022, the WFP said that 89 percent of Tigray’s six million population was food-insecure or lacking consistent access to food.
Around 47 percent “of the surveyed households are classified as... severely food insecure,” the report said, compared to nearly 40 percent of the population according to a WFP assessment published in January this year.
“Hunger has deepened, rates of malnutrition have skyrocketed, and the situation is set to worsen as people enter peak hunger season until this year’s harvest in October,” according to WFP.
The dire assessment comes despite a humanitarian truce in March allowing the resumption of desperately needed international aid convoys to the stricken region’s capital Mekele, with fuel shortages making it difficult to distribute supplies.
“Although humanitarian partners have increased supplies to Tigray... with 6,105 trucks having arrived in Mekelle as of 26 July 2022, this is yet to translate into increased humanitarian assistance, as other challenges remain, such as limited access to fuel,” the report said.
Malnutrition among children aged between six to 50 months has soared to alarming levels, with six percent of screened children diagnosed with severe acute malnutrition.
“Out of the surveyed children, 65 percent had not received nutritional support for over a year,” the report said.
Since the conflict broke out 21 months ago, Tigray has had limited access to food and basic services such as electricity, communications and banking.
Abiy sent troops to topple the TPLF, the region’s former ruling party, saying the move came in response to rebel attacks on army camps.
The rebels mounted a comeback, recapturing Tigray and expanding into Afar and Amhara, before the war reached a stalemate.
On Wednesday, Abiy’s government called for a formal cease-fire agreement to be reached as soon as possible to enable the resumption of basic services to Tigray.
But the TPLF insists that basic services would have to be restored to the region before dialogue can begin, with both sides blaming each other for the impasse.

 


Putin to allow inspectors to visit Russia-occupied nuclear plant

Putin to allow inspectors to visit Russia-occupied nuclear plant
Updated 20 August 2022

Putin to allow inspectors to visit Russia-occupied nuclear plant

Putin to allow inspectors to visit Russia-occupied nuclear plant

ODESSA: Russian President Vladimir Putin has agreed that independent inspectors can travel to the Moscow-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, the French presidency said Friday, as fears grow over fighting near the site.
The apparent resolution of a dispute over whether inspectors travel via Ukraine or Russia came as a US defense official said Ukraine’s forces had brought the Russian advance to a halt.
“You are seeing a complete and total lack of progress by the Russians on the battlefield,” the official said, speaking on grounds of anonymity.
According to French President Emmanuel Macron’s office, Putin had “reconsidered” his demand that the International Atomic Energy Agency travel through Russia to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear site.
The UN nuclear watchdog’s chief, Rafael Grossi “welcomed recent statements indicating that both Ukraine and Russia supported the IAEA’s aim to send a mission to” the plant.
Meanwhile, UN chief Antonio Guterres urged Moscow’s forces occupying Zaporizhzhia not to disconnect the facility from the grid and potentially cut supplies to millions of Ukrainians.
A flare-up in fighting around the Russian-controlled nuclear power station — with both sides blaming each other for attacks — has raised the spectre of a disaster worse than in Chernobyl.
The Kremlin said that Putin and Macron agreed that the IAEA should carry out inspections “as soon as possible” to “assess the real situation on the ground.”
Putin also “stressed that the systematic shelling by the Ukrainian military of the territory of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant creates the danger of a large-scale catastrophe,” the Kremlin added.
The warning came just a day after Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Guterres, meeting in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, sounded the alarm over the fighting, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged the United Nations to secure the site.
“This summer may go down in the history of various European countries as one of the most tragic of all time,” Zelensky said in his Friday evening address.
“No instruction at any nuclear power plant in the world provides a procedure in case a terrorist state turns a nuclear power plant into a target.”
During his visit to the southern port of Odessa on Friday, the UN secretary general said that “obviously, the electricity from Zaporizhzhia is Ukrainian electricity. This principle must be fully respected.”
“Naturally, its energy must be used by the Ukrainian people,” he told AFP in separate comments.
On Thursday, Moscow said Kyiv was preparing a “provocation” at the site that would see Russia “accused of creating a man-made disaster at the plant.”
Kyiv, however, insisted that Moscow was planning the provocation, and said Russia’s occupying forces had ordered most staff to stay home Friday.
Guterres visited Odessa as part of an effort to make more Ukrainian grain available to poor countries struggling with soaring food prices, after a landmark deal with Russia last month to allow its export.
The deal, the only significant agreement between Russia and Ukraine since Moscow invaded in February, has so far seen 25 boats carrying some 600,000 tons of agricultural products depart from three designated ports, Kyiv has said.
Guterres is expected to head to Turkey after Odessa to visit the Joint Coordination Center, the body tasked with overseeing the accord.
The grain deal has held, but brought little respite along the sprawling front lines after nearly six months of fighting between US-supplied Ukrainian forces and the Russian military.
The United States on Friday announced a new $775 million arms package, including more precision-guided missiles for Himars systems that enable Ukraine to strike Russian targets far behind the front lines.
The primary tool of Moscow’s forces has been artillery barrages, and recent bombardments over the eastern Donetsk region — which has been partially controlled by Russian proxies since 2014 — left several dead.
The Ukrainian head of the region, Pavlo Kyrylenko, said on social media Friday that Russian strikes had killed five people and wounded 10 more in three settlements.
Strikes early Friday in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, left one person dead and damaged a school and a private business, the head of the region said.


Greece: 71 migrants aboard boat reaching southern island

Greece: 71 migrants aboard boat reaching southern island
Updated 20 August 2022

Greece: 71 migrants aboard boat reaching southern island

Greece: 71 migrants aboard boat reaching southern island
  • Some 170 people, the vast majority from Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran, had arrived at Kythera on another two sailing boats on Wednesday

ATHENS: Greek authorities on Friday raised to 71 the number of migrants aboard a sailboat that reached the southern island of Kythera a day earlier, the third crammed vessel to do so in two days.
The boat, a sailing catamaran, was located in the early hours of Thursday off Kythera’s western coastline.
The coast guard said seven women and 12 minors were among the 71 people aboard.
Nine were from Iran and the rest from Iraq.
On Thursday, the coast guard had said initial indications were that the boat had been carrying 67 people.

Humanitarianism is very important, but the people who wish to come to the EU due to the inequalities that exist in the world are hundreds of millions.

Notis Mitarachi, Migration minister

Some 170 people, the vast majority from Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran, had arrived at Kythera on another two sailing boats on Wednesday.
The coast guard said five people were arrested on suspicion of migrant smuggling — three Turkish nationals who had been on board the first vessel, and two Russian nationals on the second.
Located off the southern tip of the Peloponnese, Kythera isn’t a target destination for the thousands of people fleeing conflict and poverty in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.
Most attempting to make it into the EU cross from the Turkish coast to nearby Greece’s eastern Aegean islands.
But with Greek authorities increasing patrols in the area and facing persistent reports of push-backs — summary and illegal deportations of new arrivals back to Turkey without allowing them to apply for asylum — more people are attempting a much longer and more dangerous route directly to Italy.
Greek authorities deny they carry out pushbacks.
On Friday, Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi said on Greece’s Skai radio that migration flows into Greece were at their lowest in a decade last year, with 8,500 people arriving in the country in 2021.
Skai radio quoted him as saying that 2022 was expected to see the second-lowest number of arrivals in the past 10 years, with around 7,000 people having arrived so far.
Greece has been widely criticized by aid groups, asylum seekers and some European politicians for using heavy-handed tactics, particularly pushbacks, to keep arrival numbers down.
“Humanitarianism is very important, but the people who wish to come to the EU due to the inequalities that exist in the world are hundreds of millions,” Skai quoted Mitarachi as saying.
“We’re not speaking of a closed Europe, but nor of a Europe in which traffickers decide who gets in.”
Mitarachi repeated that a 38-km fence along Greece’s northeastern land border with Turkey would be extended by another 80 km.
Greek authorities came under withering criticism last week over a group of mainly Syrians who had been trapped for days on an islet in the Evros River that runs along the Greek-Turkish border in Greece’s northeast.
Greek officials insist the islet is on the Turkish side of the border.
Police on Monday said they found 38 people on the Greek side of the border, away from the river.
The group told authorities a five-year-old girl had died of a scorpion sting on the islet during the ordeal.
Mitarachi said earlier this week that Greece would work with the International Red Cross and Red Crescent for the recovery of the child’s body.


France’s Macron assails Putin’s ‘brutal attack’ on Ukraine

France’s Macron assails Putin’s ‘brutal attack’ on Ukraine
Updated 19 August 2022

France’s Macron assails Putin’s ‘brutal attack’ on Ukraine

France’s Macron assails Putin’s ‘brutal attack’ on Ukraine
  • Putin is seeking to impose his “imperialist will” on Europe: French president

PARIS: Hours after talking with Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday accused the Russian leader of launching a “brutal attack” on Ukraine in an imperialist, revanchist violation of international law.

Macron, who tried tirelessly but unsuccessfully to prevent the invasion and long vaunted the importance of dialogue with Putin, has grown increasingly critical of the Russian president as the war bears on.

He warned French citizens that the resulting energy and economic crisis confronting Europe isn’t over, calling it “the price of our freedom and our values.”

“Since Vladimir Putin launched his brutal attack on Ukraine, war has returned to European soil, a few hours away from us,” Macron said in a speech commemorating the 78th anniversary of the Allied landing in Nazi-occupied southern France during World War II.

Macron said Putin is seeking to impose his “imperialist will” on Europe, conjuring “phantoms of the spirit of revenge” in a “flagrant violation of the integrity of states.”

Earlier Friday, Macron spoke more than an hour with Putin to urge Russia to accept Ukraine’s conditions to allow UN nuclear inspectors to visit Europe’s largest nuclear plant. There are growing international concerns about security at the Zaporizhzhia plant, which is occupied by Russian forces and at the heart of the war.

The leaders also discussed efforts to get grain and other food commodities out of Russia. EU sanctions aimed at ending the war make exceptions for food.

It was their 20th conversation this year but their first in three months.


FDA asks Pfizer to test second Paxlovid course in patients with COVID rebound

FDA asks Pfizer to test second Paxlovid course in patients with COVID rebound
Updated 19 August 2022

FDA asks Pfizer to test second Paxlovid course in patients with COVID rebound

FDA asks Pfizer to test second Paxlovid course in patients with COVID rebound
  • The regulator said a formal plan for the clinical trial is expected to be finalized this month

DUBAI: The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ordered Pfizer Inc. to test the effects of an additional course of its antiviral Paxlovid among people who experience a rebound in COVID-19 after treatment, the regulator said on Friday.
The drugmaker must produce initial results of a randomized controlled trial of a second course of the antiviral by Sept. 30 next year, the FDA told Pfizer in a letter dated Aug. 5.
The regulator said a formal plan for the clinical trial is expected to be finalized this month.
Pfizer is “working with the FDA to finalize a protocol to study patients who may be in need of retreatment,” and will provide details when available, a company spokesperson said.