Leaders Call for Suu Kyi’s Release | A ‘Cancer’ on the GOP


1. US Threatens Sanctions Over Myanmar Coup

Did they miscalculate? Myanmar’s military, now firmly in control after arresting elected officials Monday, faces growing calls to release the country’s leader, tarnished Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. U.S. President Joe Biden threatened sanctions for thwarting “the will of the people,” while Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy demanded her release, as well as acceptance of the November election results that the military cited as justification for the coup. Meanwhile, a dance instructor in Naypyidaw has gone viral with a workout video that inadvertently showed military vehicles charging Myanmar’s Parliament complex in the background.

Sources: BBCThe GuardianNYT

2. McConnell Calls Greene a ‘Cancer’ on GOP

But is it operable? “Loony lies and conspiracy theories are cancer for the Republican Party and our country,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said yesterday when asked about Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. The freshman Georgia congresswoman, who responded that “weak Republicans” are the “real cancer,” still enjoys former President Donald Trump’s support. Democrats want to block Greene — a QAnon supporter who’s previously agreed with calls for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s assassination and called 9/11 and school shootings hoaxes — from committee assignments. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is expected to meet with her this week.

Sources: The HillNBC

3. Snowy Nor’easter Stymies Travel, Vaccinations

Snow days aren’t what they used to be. A massive snowstorm paralyzed much of the northeastern U.S. Monday, closing schools, grounding flights and dropping some 30 inches of snow on parts of New Jersey. In New York City, surface transit came to a stop and vaccination efforts were disrupted. The National Weather Service warned that the snowfall, which grew out of Midwestern and Atlantic storms converging, will continue in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic today, creating dangerous conditions for those who venture out, while Mainers can expect another foot or two to blanket their state.

Sources: CNNNYT

4. GOP-Biden Relief Talks Kick Off Rancor-Free

It’s a start. Republican senators presented their budget-conscious version of pandemic relief to President Biden yesterday, with Maine Sen. Susan Collins calling it a “good exchange of views” leading to further discussions. The gulf between Democrats’ $1.9 trillion package and Republicans’ $618 billion alternative is wide, but Democrats would have to rewrite Senate rules to get around a 60-vote requirement to pass theirs without GOP support. That presents a perfect opportunity for Biden to show he’s a uniter — as well as a danger that if it fails, divisions will become even more stark.

Sources: Washington PostFox News

5. Also Important …

Supporters of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, who is making a court appearance today in Moscow, have gathered outside the courthouse amid a heavy police presence. A bushfire near Perth in Western Australia has destroyed 56 houses and forced evacuations during a COVID-19 lockdown. And U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, while explaining the trauma of the Capitol attack, revealed that she is a sexual assault survivor.

Coronavirus Update: New research suggests that COVID-19 survivors may only need one dose of a two-shot vaccine for full protection. The Tokyo Olympics may face a second postponement over pandemic concerns. And January was the deadliest pandemic month for the U.S., with more than 95,000 fatalities.

6. Today on ‘The Carlos Watson Show’

Real Housewife Cynthia Bailey takes Carlos behind the curtain of the literal overnight fame that she earned on reality TV. The model and actress tells her story from being her school’s first Black homecoming queen to becoming one of Atlanta’s most recognizable faces. Find out the secrets to her success — and find out when the show drops by subscribing to The Carlos Watson Show on YouTube.

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1. Elon Musk Plans All-Civilian Space Flight

In space, there is no help desk. The SpaceX founder said yesterday that he’s planning to launch four civilians on the world’s first amateur space flight later this year. “You have to have pioneers,” Musk told NBC, saying with increased launches, space “becomes less expensive and more accessible.” The flight leader is Jared Isaacman, the founder of Shift4 Payments and a terrestrial pilot, and three unnamed others whose undisclosed fare Isaacman is covering. Meanwhile, the pros were hard at work, with two NASA astronauts floating outside the International Space Station yesterday to complete a four-year battery upgrade project.

Sources: NBCPBS

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2. Now Netflix Is Cashing In on GameStop

The digital stock market revolution is already heading for digital entertainment. Not just by putting the short squeeze on movie theater stock, but by dramatizing the story of GameStop investors bringing Wall Street titans to their knees. Days after the real-life drama, when Reddit-organized day traders juiced a seemingly worthless stock exponentially, Netflix is negotiating with Zero Dark Thirty screenwriter Mark Boal to put the story on screens. Assuming the project stays on track, it might need continual script updates: Regulators are still deciding what, if anything, needs to be done about the David-vs.-Goliath phenomenon.

Sources: DeadlineAP

3. Sand, Blood and Votes in Maharashtra

It’s ubiquitous and cheap, but worth fighting over, OZY reports. India’s sand miners help meet the construction industry’s ravenous demand for concrete, a mixture of cement and sand, but a recent report suggests illegal sand mining has caused at least 193 deaths since 2019. And they weren’t all accidents: Activists, journalists and revenue officials demanding accountability have all been targeted, while criminal organizations fund political parties, essentially buying votes. In the southern state of Tamil Nadu alone, the industry generates $3 billion a year, meaning efforts to regulate it are likely to sift through the cracks.

Sources: OZY

4. ‘Mark Twain’ Actor Hal Holbrook Dies at 95

With a voice conveying wisdom and authority, Holbrook, whose Jan. 23 death was confirmed Monday, played presidents Lincoln and Adams, plus the shadowy “Deep Throat” who leaked Nixon’s secrets and urged reporters to “follow the money” in All the President’s Men. But the Cleveland native’s signature role, spanning nearly seven decades, was Mark Twain Tonight!, a one-man show he wrote and starred in, which won him an Emmy and a Tony. Holbrook’s final TV roles came in 2017, including appearances on Bones and Grey’s Anatomy — after he became the oldest supporting actor nominee for the 2007 film Into the Wild.

Sources: VarietyTHR

5. Nepal Combats Fake Everest Summits

Keen-eyed Sherpas looked into the goggles of two Indian climbers and concluded they were lying. There were no reflections of snow or mountains in photos they submitted to verify their 2016 summit of Mount Everest. It initially fooled Nepalese authorities, who certified the feat, but they’re now considering banning the climbers. It’s just the tip of the glacier: Dozens of claims are contested each year, causing the removal of five people from the official 2019 summit list. Indian mountaineers, often rewarded by local governments for their feats, praised the probe, saying it would put a chill on fakers.

Sources: NYT