1. Biden Doctrine: No Yemen War, No Kremlin Kowtowing
“This war has to end.” So said U.S. President Joe Biden in his first major foreign policy speech, saying he was ending American military support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen — though not defensive support or intelligence-sharing with Riyadh. He also pledged to increase aid to refugee and LGBTQ communities worldwide, an attempt to restore “moral leadership” on the global stage. In yet another stark break with his predecessor’s policies, Biden also vowed to stop “rolling over in the face of Russia’s aggressive actions” throwing down the gauntlet after former President Trump repeatedly ignored election meddling and major cyberattacks against the U.S. government linked to the Kremlin.
2. Navalny Supporters Showing Red as His Doctor Dies
They feel her pain. Alexei Navalny’s supporters have been posting photos of themselves wearing red — the color the dissident’s wife, Yulia, wore in court when her husband flashed her a heart sign Tuesday after he was sentenced to 32 months in prison. Due back in court to face libel charges today, Navalny yesterday urged Russians to liberate their nation from “a bunch of thieves.” Meanwhile, the 55-year-old doctor who treated Navalny’s August poisoning in Omsk died “suddenly,” with no cause given. The recovered politician’s chief of staff wouldn’t rule out foul play, but said under such poor health care, “it’s not uncommon for doctors of his age to suddenly die.”
It’s a precedent that “will ultimately be dangerous.” That’s what GOP Rep. Tom Cole said about the Democratic-majority vote to remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who’s promoted assassination, racism and conspiracy theories on social media, from two committee seats. It’s a modern first, as normally only a member’s own party decides such sanctions. While not apologizing, Green expressed regret for her statements and recanted past denials, saying 9/11 and school shootings were “absolutely real.” Eleven Republicans joined Democrats in the 230-199 vote against Greene, who enjoys former President Trump’s support. The Georgia legislator warned that to “crucify” her would cause a “big problem.”
Everybody’s got a plan. Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, a Republican, wants $3,000 payments for children. West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin says the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion pandemic stimulus package could be approved quickly, if it’s capped to $1 trillion. And more substantively, the Senate foreclosed on the legislation’s $15-per-hour federal minimum wage provision, passing by a voice vote a measure by Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst to prohibit such hourly increases “during the global pandemic.” Meanwhile, Wall Street was impressed with the stimulus effort, with investors yesterday driving up stocks to put major indexes on track for their best week this year.
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We Heard You! Responding to our question about COVID-19 vaccinations for prisoners, Mary W. of New York State said inoculating prisoners helps protect other populations: “The prisons and other similar institutions become petri dishes for the virus. If we don’t inoculate the prisoners and staff, it will mutate and spread.”
6. Today on ‘The Carlos Watson Show’
Carlos laughs harder than he has in 20 years. Don’t miss this hilarious episode with stand-up comedian Jo Koy. Hear him talk about his breakthrough on The Tonight Show, how his mom’s struggles as an immigrant helped make him funny, and the impressive class of comedians he came up with. Fall in love with Jo Koy just like Carlos does. Click here to watch now.
our electric future is now
The start button to an all-electric future has been pushed. Introducing the revolutionary Ultium platform, engineered for range, power and flexibility. General Motors will offer 30 new EVs globally by 2025. Everybody In — learn more at GM.com.
In a tribute to a lost talent, Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman, who died of cancer last year, received a record four nominations from the Screen Actors Guild yesterday. He was named for lead performances and with ensembles in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Da 5 Bloods. SAG awards, to be handed out April 4, are considered the best gauge of Oscar potential. But the guild isn’t the place for former President Trump, who yesterday resigned his membership after it moved to expel him. Noting his appearances in movies such as Home Alone 2 and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, his response was: “Who cares!”
Call it a brew d’etat. Reacting to Monday’s military coup in Myanmar, Japanese beer giant Kirin Holdings announced today that it’s severing ties with two breweries in the country that are partly owned by the military. The company, which also makes San Miguel and Tooheys beer, said it invested in the country in 2015, thinking it could “contribute positively to the people and the economy” of a newly democratic Myanmar. But human rights groups have been urging Kirin to exit in the wake of allegations of genocide led by the military against the Rohingya people. Now it’s “deeply concerned by the recent actions of the military,” which leaves “no option” but to urgently terminate its joint venture.
There’s contagion all around, and you want to live with strangers? The surprising answer, OZY discovered, is yes. Given up for dead at the onset of COVID-19, co-living has actually taken off. While there are about 7,800 co-living spaces in the U.S., there are more than 54,000 in development. In spite of the need to socially distance, many are seeking out the community that this living alternative provides. It’s required adjustments, like setting schedules for shared kitchen use, but it’s proven to be an attractive choice for single people who don’t want to be locked down alone.
You won’t find this on the label. But investigators from a House oversight subcommittee reported Thursday that many baby foods contain “dangerously high” levels of toxic heavy metals. Popular brands such as Beech-Nut and Gerber shared records showing arsenic, lead and cadmium in their products — something Trump administration regulators knew about, but did not act on, the report charges. It also says some producers don’t test for other harmful metals such as mercury, and urged closer oversight. Companies responding to the report questioned the information, calling it outdated in some cases and pledging to cooperate with authorities to assure product safety.
Must the show go on? The Australian Open is set to begin in Melbourne Monday, but there will be masks and half-capacity crowds after a hotel worker tested positive for COVID-19 this week. That threw 500 players and support staff into isolation pending a negative test, which nearly all have reportedly had. But locals worry the tournament will inject the virus back into a country that’s largely controlled the contagion. Meanwhile, the Kansas City Chiefs seem to have shrugged off a positive test for a barber who’s been cutting players’ hair. This raises questions about whether the NFL would postpone the nation’s biggest sporting event, scheduled for Sunday, over pandemic protocols.