By Kanupriya Kapoor CURUP, Indonesia (Reuters) - An Indonesian court on Thursday sentenced to death the leader of a gang of men and boys who raped and murdered a schoolgirl in a case that prompted the president to take steps to impose harsher punishments for attacks on children. The gang leader, Zainal, was sentenced to death in a court on Sumatra island. Four other men were jailed for 20 years for their roles in the April attack on the 14-year-old in the western island by a group of 14 males, including eight boys. Sexual violence against women and children is common in Indonesia but gang rape is unusual. The case shocked the world's fourth most populouscountry and prompted President Joko Widodo to sign a regulation allowing for harsher punishments for child rapists, including death and chemical castration. The regulation is pending approval in parliament. "Because of the sadistic nature of the crime ... the court sentences Zainal to death," said presiding judge Henny Faridha. The youngest member of the gang was 13 years old. They attacked the girl as she was on her way to school. Her battered body was found in a rubber plantation a few days later, after her parents reported her missing. Seven gang members were earlier jailed for 10 years, while one was ordered into a rehabilitation program for a year. One suspect is on the run, according to police. The victim's parents, who were in court, said the sentencing was inadequate. "They should all get the death penalty," Yana, the victim's mother, told reporters as she broke down in tears. The attack was reminiscent of a 2012 fatal gang rape of a female university student in India's capital, New Delhi, which provoked a national outcry and soul-searching about the treatment of girls and women in Indian society. (Reporting by Kanupriya Kapoor; Editing by Robert Birsel)
- National Review
President Biden will sign a fresh round of executive orders during his first full week in office, including actions loosening restrictions around abortion and immigration. Biden will issue and order to rescind the Mexico City policy, which prohibits U.S. funding for foreign organizations that perform or promote abortions. The administration also dodged last week on whether Biden plans to scrap the Hyde Amendment, which bars taxpayer funding of elective abortions under Medicaid. On immigration, Biden plans to establish a task force focused on reuniting migrant families who were separated as a result of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, according to a memo outlining the upcoming executive actions obtained by The Hill. Biden will order an immediate review of the public-charge rule, which denies U.S. entry to migrants considered likely to become dependent on the government. The president also plans to roll back Trump administration policies on asylum and take “other actions to remove barriers and restore trust in the legal immigration system, including improving the naturalization process.” At the same time, Biden will take a page from the Trump administration’s playbook and sign an order directing federal agencies to tighten requirements on buying goods and services made in America from American businesses. Trump signed a similar directive during his first months in office. The president will also sign orders related to racial equity, including establishing a commission on police and bringing back Obama-era rules on transferring military-style equipment to local law enforcement. Another order will direct the Justice Department to improve prison conditions and begin the process of eliminating private prisons. Biden may also sign an order reversing a ban on transgender troops serving in the military. On climate change, Biden is expected to sign an order installing regulations to “combat climate change domestically and elevate climate change as a national security priority.”
- Associated Press
A federal judge on Sunday blocked the release of a Tennessee man who authorities say carried flexible plastic handcuffs during the riot at the U.S. Capitol earlier this month. U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell for the District of Columbia set aside an order by a judge in Tennessee concerning the release of Eric Munchel of Nashville. After testimony at a detention hearing, U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Frensley for the Middle District of Tennessee determined Friday that Munchel wasn’t a flight risk and didn’t pose harm to the public.
- The Telegraph
Russian police detained Yulia Navalnaya, the wife of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, at a protest in Moscow on Saturday as demonstrations in support of the opposition leader swept across Russia. Authorities detained at least 1,600 people at unauthorised rallies in Moscow and dozens of cities across the country, with some reports of violent clashes between protesters and riot police. At least 10,000 people joined protests in Moscow, according to estimates, in a test to Vladimir Putin. Protests began in Russia’s Far East and Siberia on Saturday morning. Seven time zones east of Moscow, about 3,000 people marched across the city of Vladivostok on the Pacific Ocean, chanting “Navalny!” In Novosibirsk, chants “Putin is a thief” rang out in freezing minus 19 C temperatures as opposition supporters walked across the city to the main square.
A U.S. aircraft carrier group led by the USS Theodore Roosevelt has entered the South China Sea to promote "freedom of the seas", the U.S. military said on Sunday, at a time when tensions between China and Taiwan have raised concern in Washington. U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement the strike group entered the South China Sea on Saturday, the same day Taiwan reported a large incursion of Chinese bombers and fighter jets into its air defence identification zone in the vicinity of the Pratas Islands.
- The Week
President Biden reeled in a record-breaking $145 million in so-called dark money from anonymous donors during his presidential campaign, topping the $113 million that went to Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) before his failed presidential bid in 2012, Bloomberg reports.It's not surprising that Biden set the mark given that the $1.5 billion he hauled in overall was the most ever for a challenger to an incumbent president, but it's notable in large part because Democrats have been at the forefront of a movement to ban dark money in politics since it means that supporters can back a candidate without scrutiny. Plus, Bloomberg notes, anonymous donors "will have the same access to decision makers as those whose names were disclosed, but without public awareness of who they are or what influence they might wield." As Meredith McGehee, the executive director of campaign finance reform advocacy group Issue One, told Bloomberg, "the whole point of dark money is to avoid public disclosure while getting private credit."Still, it seems the Democratic Party was willing to embrace the strategy in the hopes of defeating former President Donald Trump, who only brought in $28.4 million from anonymous donors. Read more at Bloomberg.More stories from theweek.com 5 scathingly funny cartoons about Biden's COVID-19 push Biden foolishly low-balls America's COVID response 7 brutally funny cartoons about Trump's White House exit
- Associated Press
A 34-year-old grizzly bear captured in southwestern Wyoming has been confirmed as the oldest on record in the Yellowstone region, Wyoming wildlife officials said. Grizzly bear 168 was captured last summer after it preyed on calves in the Upper Green River Basin area. Biologists learned of the bear’s longevity after euthanizing the bruin, which had preyed on cattle and then finally, calves.
- The Telegraph
The acrimonious split within Republican ranks widened over the weekend as Donald Trump made his foray back into politics, backing the re-election of a hard-line supporter as chair of the party in Arizona. His wholehearted support for Kelli Ward was seen by allies as the former president firing a warning shot across the bows of any Republican senators considering backing his impeachment.
India said it will administer homegrown coronavirus vaccine COVAXIN in seven more states from Monday as it seeks to inoculate 30 million healthcare workers across the country. The government this month gave emergency-use approval to the vaccine, developed by Bharat Biotech International Ltd and state-run Indian Council of Medical Research, and another licensed from Oxford University and AstraZeneca PLC that is being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.
- Yahoo News Video
It's a club Donald Trump was never really interested in joining and certainly not so soon: the cadre of former commanders in chief who revere the presidency enough to put aside often bitter political differences and even join together in common cause.
- Associated Press
New first lady Jill Biden took an unannounced detour to the U.S. Capitol on Friday to deliver baskets of chocolate chip cookies to National Guard members, thanking them “for keeping me and my family safe” during President Joe Biden's inauguration. “I just want to say thank you from President Biden and the whole, the entire Biden family,” she told a group of Guard members at the Capitol. “The White House baked you some chocolate chip cookies," she said, before joking that she couldn't say she had baked them herself.
A Colorado geophysicist who participated in the U.S. Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6 and allegedly assaulted a police officer, attempted to flee to Switzerland and attempted suicide. Jeffrey Sabol, 51, was held without bail on Friday and remains behind bars after being arrested at the Westchester Medical Center, according to The Associated Press. U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew Krause of White Plains said the allegations against Sabol were “very disturbing, deeply troubling” during a virtual hearing in White Plains Federal Court.
- The New York Times
It’s been less than two weeks since Reps. Peter Meijer, Tom Rice and Liz Cheney broke with nearly all of their Republican colleagues in the House and voted to impeach President Donald Trump, but in their home states, the backlash is already growing. In Michigan, a challenger to Meijer received a boost when Steve Bannon promoted him on his podcast. In South Carolina, a local Republican is getting so many calls urging him to run against Rice that he can’t keep his phone charged. Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York Times And in Wyoming, a state senator called Cheney, the No. 3 Republican in the House, “out of touch” with her home state as he announced his primary campaign against her. The 10 House Republicans who voted for impeachment are already facing a fleet of primary challengers, censures and other rebukes from their hometown Republican Party organizations, an indication that the battle over Trump will play a defining role in shaping the direction of the party during the next two years. “Trump might be gone, but Trumpism is virtually guaranteed to be a part of the 2022 elections,” said Ken Spain, a former senior official at the National Republican Congressional Committee. “The tectonic plates have shifted within the GOP, and now members are trying to figure out how to straddle the fault lines.” The impeachment votes are not only being framed as a loyalty test to Trump, they are also being used to tie the incumbents to Democrats like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who for more than a decade has been the central bogeywoman in Republican congressional campaigns, with mixed results. While some senior Republican officials in Washington, like Sen. Mitch McConnell, now the minority leader, have begun trying to create some distance between the party and Trump, there is little indication that would-be Republican primary voters are interested in a political divorce. Nearly all of the House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump have either already been formally censured by local branches of the GOP, face upcoming censure votes or have been publicly scolded by local party leaders. Efforts across the country to punish these lawmakers offer vivid illustrations of the divisions cleaving a party that has been shut out of power. There are already multiple Republicans in South Carolina angling to challenge Rice, a conservative from a Trump-friendly district whose vote to impeach shocked his colleagues and drew a rebuke from the chair of the South Carolina Republican Party. “I am 100% sure that Tom Rice is going to be primaried,” said Ken Richardson, school board chair in Horry County, who is leaning toward running against Rice himself. He said he has had to charge his phone three times a day to keep up with the nonstop calls and texts urging him to enter the race. “I don’t know what he was thinking. I’m sure he’s got his reasons for why he voted the way he voted,” Richardson added. “If there’s ever been a Trump country, we live in Trump country.” Another potential challenger to Rice, former Mayor Mark McBride of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, said he believed Trump was the rightful winner of the 2020 election (he is not), and has collected several hundred signatures on a petition calling for Rice’s resignation. “The president didn’t instigate it,” McBride said of the riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6. “The idea of the impeachment trial going to the Senate, Tom Rice created a foundation for it to continue on.” Tom Norton, a Michigan businessman and Army veteran who lost a 2020 primary to Meijer, said the congressman called him to give him a heads-up the day he voted to impeach Trump. Norton immediately filed paperwork to mount another campaign against Meijer in 2022. Norton said he believed Meijer made a mistake in blaming Trump for inciting the riot. “We have a lot of people with a lot of passion, and we can’t control everybody,” he said, before going on to exaggerate the pockets of unrest that took place alongside last year’s largely peaceful protests for racial justice. “Blaming President Trump is the same thing as blaming Kamala Harris and Joe Biden for all the riots that antifa did last summer.” Rep. John Katko of Central New York, who was the first GOP lawmaker to back impeachment, is one of the few remaining Republicans who represents a Democratic-leaning district. Some Republicans in his district were outraged by his vote. “‘Not very happy’ would be the politest way to say it,” said Fred Beardsley, chair of the Oswego County Republican Committee. “We’re very upset. I’m tremendously upset.” “I think Mr. Katko crossed a line,” he continued. “He double-crossed us.” For Katko and Reps. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, David Valadao of California, and Fred Upton and Meijer of Michigan, all Republicans who voted for impeachment and hail from states likely to lose seats in this year’s redistricting process, the shapes of the districts they may seek to represent in 2022 have yet to be determined. Democratic state legislators in New York and Illinois could draw Katko and Kinzinger into districts represented by fellow incumbent Republicans, potentially cutting off a path for a Trumpian insurgent, while commissions will determine district lines in California, Michigan and Ohio. Gene Koprowski, a conservative filmmaker who filed to run against Kinzinger, said he did so to start raising money but he is waiting for the Illinois Legislature to redraw its congressional district maps before formally beginning a campaign. Challengers to Cheney, who represents the single at-large Wyoming district, don’t face the same calculation. Anthony Bouchard, a state senator, announced his campaign Wednesday as President Joe Biden was being inaugurated. By Thursday night, he was a guest on Newsmax TV and Laura Ingraham’s program on Fox News. “Liz Cheney’s longtime opposition to President Trump and her most recent vote for impeachment shows just how out-of-touch she is with Wyoming,” Bouchard said in his announcement. “Wyoming taxpayers need a voice in Congress who will stand up to Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats, and not give them cover.” Many of the 10 Republicans who voted for impeachment have survived challenging races before. In California, Valadao won his 2016 race by 13 percentage points while Hillary Clinton carried his district by 16 points. He lost to a Democrat by less than 1,000 votes in 2018 before winning the seat back in November, even though Biden won the district by 10 points. Indeed, a number of those Republicans have strong personal brands at home, which may complicate the efforts of potential primary challengers. Gonzalez, for example, was a star on the Ohio State University football team. And at least some party leaders, shaken by the violence at the Capitol, say the lawmakers who voted to impeach should be granted leeway. “If he was here with us now I’d probably shake his hand and congratulate him for his conviction,” Jim Dicke, Republican national committeeman for Ohio, said of Gonzalez. “There’s a lot to criticize in the process, but if you’re an elected official and you’re asked to vote, you can either say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ or abstain. You’re not allowed to say, ‘Wait, I don’t like the process.’” In New York, Katko has twice survived being the target of Democrats trying to oust him from a Democratic-leaning district. “We can’t be doing our own form of ‘cancel culture,’ whether it’s Liz Cheney or Katko,” said former Rep. Peter King, a moderate Republican who represented a Long Island district for 28 years before retiring last year. King floated the idea that Katko run for governor. “It would be so foolish to go after John Katko,” he said. “He’s one of the best we have. And if we can’t accept difference of opinion, then we’re no different than the other guys.” In fact, Republicans have long battled one another over perceived purity tests, and in recent years the most powerful litmus test in the eyes of primary voters has centered on fealty to Trump. “President Trump enjoys a high approval rating within the Republican Party, and his supporters are loyal,” said Joel Mattila, Republican chair in Clark County, Washington. His committee has already issued a warning to Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, a Republican who voted to impeach. “She’s going to face a primary challenge, based on what I’m hearing,” he said. “It seems like, as people are stewing on it and as time is passing, the intensity level is definitely increasing.” Spain, the former House Republican campaign official, said it would fall to the corporate donors that typically support Republicans to provide financial support to the 10 who voted to impeach Trump. Michael McAdams, the NRCC’s communications director, said that the committee does not engage in primaries. That applies to incumbents in contested races, too. “I would hope,” Spain said, “that members of the business community who are standing on principle and refusing to support Republicans who voted against certifying the election results would focus their energy and resources toward helping those members who did stand up on behalf of the American democratic process.” This article originally appeared in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company
A billion-dollar Mega Millions jackpot that has been building for four months will be up for grabs on Friday, available to whoever can beat the one-in-302 million odds. "We generally see a lot of the sales occur on the day of the drawings," Mega Millions spokesman Seth Elkin, of the Maryland State Lottery and Gaming Control Agency, said by telephone. The selection of the six numbers will be the 37th semi-weekly drawing since the last grand prize winner was picked on Sept. 15, the longest jackpot dry spell Mega Millions has ever had, Elkin said.
- Associated Press
A Federal Aviation Administration employee and QAnon follower from California who had been on the FBI's radar is facing federal charges after he confessed to taking part in the siege of the U.S. Capitol, according to court documents released Friday. Kevin Strong, 44, of Beaumont, surrendered to authorities on Friday and appeared in a federal court in Riverside, where a judge ordered him held on $50,000 bond, said Laura Eimiller, spokeswoman for the FBI in Los Angeles. It wasn't immediately clear whether Strong had raised the bond.
- Business Insider
Barely any time has passed since President Biden's inauguration, and Republicans have already returned to their bag of shenanigans.
- Associated Press
The words of Donald Trump supporters who are accused of participating in the deadly U.S. Capitol riot may end up being used against him in his Senate impeachment trial as he faces the charge of inciting a violent insurrection. At least five supporters facing federal charges have suggested they were taking orders from the then-president when they marched on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 to challenge the certification of Joe Biden's election win. Jacob Chansley, the Arizona man photographed on the dais in the Senate who was shirtless and wore face paint and a furry hat with horns, has similarly pointed a finger at Trump.
- NBC News
"I couldn't believe it, it was like an animal. That's the only way I can put it, it was like an animal," the woman said of the assault in Harlem.
- The Telegraph
China ramped up its pressure on democratic Taiwan over the weekend, with an unusually large number of fighter jets approaching the island in a "test" for the new administration of US President Joe Biden. On Sunday, 12 Chinese fighter jets entered Taiwan’s air defence identification zone, along with a reconnaissance aircraft and two anti-submarine aircraft, Taiwan’s defence ministry said. A day earlier, China sent eight bomber planes capable of carrying nuclear weapons and four fighter jets to the same area to the southwest of the island, as well as one reconnaissance aircraft. On both occasions, Taiwan sent up aircraft, issued radio warnings to the Chinese aircraft, and deployed air defence missile systems to monitor their activity. Beijing claims self-governing Taiwan as part of its territory, and has been angered by a show of increased US support for Taiwan during Donald Trump’s administration. In recent months, China has carried out frequent, at times daily, incursions aimed at pressuring President Tsai Ing-wen’s government to accept Beijing’s demand that it recognise Taiwan as part of China. These incursions have usually consisted of just one or two reconnaissance planes in recent weeks, rather than the warplanes seen over the weekend.
- Associated Press
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said Israel will be closing its international airport to nearly all flights, while Israeli police clashed with ultra-Orthodox protesters in several major cities and the government raced to bring a raging coronavirus outbreak under control. The entry of highly contagious variants of the virus, coupled with poor enforcement of safety rules in ultra-Orthodox communities, has contributed to one of the world's highest rates of infections. It also has threatened to undercut Israel's highly successful campaign to vaccinate its population against the virus.
- FOX News Videos
The Judge highlights the agenda of the new Biden presidency