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Pakistan's Prime Minister, Imran Khan, said he will seek a vote of confidence from parliament on Saturday after the finance minister lost his bid for a Senate seat. Khan and his government had been expected to win the indirect election on the seat, given their coalition's numerical superiority in the lower house of parliament, the electoral college for the vote. "I'm going to seek a confidence motion a day after tomorrow," Khan said in a televised address to the nation on Thursday.
- The Telegraph
Boris Johnson has accused Brussels of endangering global efforts to combat the covid-19 pandemic, as France signalled it could follow Italy and block AstraZeneca vaccines leaving the EU. Downing Street suggested the European Commission had reneged on previous assurances it had made, after it approved Italy’s request to stop 250,000 jabs destined for Australia from leaving the country. A “frustrated” and “disappointed” Australia has also demanded a review of the decision, and has sought assurances from Brussels that future vaccine shipments will go ahead. The blockade is the first time that EU-wide export controls, which require manufacturers to seek permission from the national authorities and Commission to export vaccines outside the bloc, have been used. It has already led France to threaten similar action, as member states seek to catch up with other nations which have surged ahead in their vaccination programmes. Defending the move on Friday the Commission’s chief spokesman said that it was necessary to send a “message” to AstraZeneca over its failure to hit its contractual targets with the bloc. He added: “The EU continues to be a leading provider of vaccines around the world. During the period from 30 January to 1 March, 174 requests for exports requested in the context of the Regulation have been approved by the Member States.”
- The Independent
Biden news: White House defends ‘Neanderthal’ slur of GOP states, as Trump shifts blame for Senate loss
Live updates from the White House
- The Daily Beast
MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEVRussian state TV program 60 Minutes played the clip of former U.S. President Donald Trump asking CPAC: “Do you miss me yet?” The co-host Olga Skabeeva eagerly replied: “Yes, we do!”Other experts on the Rossiya-1 network nodded and concurred. Trump’s departure has sucked the joy out of pro-Kremlin propagandists, with a host of new problems looming on the horizon for Russia. Instead of jolly boasts about “owning” America’s president, Russian state TV shows are now filled with gloomy experts, and discussions about the impending flood of U.S. sanctions are so tense they leave the pundits on the verge of coming to blows.During the Trump years, state-media mouthpieces, tightly controlled by Russian President Vladimir Putin, put on a happy face and followed his lead in exclaiming that they wanted Trump to be elected solely because he promised to improve the U.S.-Russian relations. Appearing on domestic talk shows and news programs, experts are now slipping up and admitting that they preferred Trump’s presidency mainly because he was so devastatingly bad for the United States and its allies. After President Joe Biden was elected—despite Russia’s efforts to the contrary—all pretense faded into oblivion.During his nightly program The Evening With Vladimir Soloviev this Tuesday, prominent state TV host Vladimir Soloviev exclaimed: “Why would America think that we’re interested in changing or improving our relations with them?” He added: “What makes them think we’re interested in a reset?” Soloviev predicted a “harsh and asymmetrical response” to Biden’s first round of sanctions that will include further hostilities in Ukraine, long seen in Moscow as one of the main battlegrounds in Russia’s fight against the collective West.The Biden administration announced sanctions against seven Russian officials on Tuesday in response to the attack on Navalny, which was ignored by Trump.Across Russian state-media platforms, hosts and experts concurred that Russia is in a new Cold War with the United States, with far-ranging consequences for Ukraine and other countries neighboring Russia. In February, Putin held a video conference meeting with heads of Russia’s largest media outlets, convened behind closed doors. Prior to the summit, the head of RT, Margarita Simonyan, traveled to east Ukraine and publicly argued that “Mother Russia must take Donbas home.” After the conference, Simonyan quoted Putin as saying to her: “We will never abandon Donbas. Ever.” She also admitted that America was a topic of discussion, but didn’t go into further detail.Experts and pundits across Russian state media outlets repeatedly asserted that the United States always was and will always remain Russia’s sworn enemy. Appearing on The Evening With Vladimir Soloviev, Semyon Bagdasarov, director of the Moscow-based Center for Middle Eastern and Central Asian Studies, exclaimed: “A war is being waged against us. Let’s call things for what they are. They are our enemies. They want to destroy us.” Some went even further. During the same show, Dmitry Kulikov, member of Zinoviev Club, instituted by the Kremlin-controlled media giant Russia Today, argued that Americans should be perceived as a whole other class of beings, “the others.” Anyone who aligns with the United States—from Russian dissidents to European allies—will undoubtedly be painted with the same brush.Russian propaganda operations are expanding, both internationally and domestically, with larger budgets being allotted for state-media outlets like RT and RIA Novosti. Internally, the state media will attempt to unite Russians against the collective West, headed by the United States. Internationally, Russian state media and aligned troll farms will continue their effort to inflame divisions and chip away at NATO alliances.One of the consequences of President Biden’s election was the renewed commitment to trans-Atlantic unity, an unwelcome side effect for the Kremlin. Skabeeva of Russia’s 60 Minutes bitterly described the coordination of the latest package of the U.S. and European sanctions against Russia for the attempted poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny as an example of “unity that was unheard of under Trump.” Appearing on Russia-1, the deputy dean of world politics at Moscow's State University, Andrey Sidorov held out hope that the trans-Atlantic alliances were damaged to the point of no return. He pointed out: “Trump will forever remain in the minds of U.S. allies as an example of how they could be dealt with by the next administration. They will always remember that.”Without a hint of irony, Sidorov described the alleged intent of the United States to interfere in Russian elections as “the third phase” of the Cold War. By that token, Russia has been engaged in “the third phase” of the Cold War against the United States for years, having “interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion,” as outlined in the findings of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller.Pro-Kremlin experts anticipated the upcoming cybermeasures that would target Russia in retaliation for its malign activities against the U.S. Appearing on 60 Minutes, Alexei Naumov from the Russian International Affairs Council said: “We’ve been laughing at Americans about how easily all of their systems have been hacked, perhaps by our hackers. But Americans have very strong cyber forces, offensive cyber forces. They can represent a threat for us.” Co-host Skabeeva coldly chimed in: “At the same time, we elected their president and they weren’t able to elect ours, so it’s an open question whose cyber forces are stronger.”Russian cyberwarfare will undoubtedly continue to include influence operations targeting the United States. During his evening broadcast on Wednesday, host Soloviev chuckled: “Will there be an inauguration of Trump on March the 4th?” Other panelists laughed and acknowledged their familiarity with the bizarre conspiracy theory spawned by QAnon. During the broadcast of 60 Minutes, Deputy Speaker of the Russian State Duma Pyotr Tolstoy said: “Here in Russia, we always have an asymmetrical response. It’s a scary one... and it’s classified.” Threatening retaliation for the latest set of U.S. sanctions, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova urged the United States “not to play with fire.” Co-host Olga Skabeeva asked Zakharova whether Russia was ready to respond to American sanctions. She smirked: “There will be a response. Don’t you even worry about that.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
- The Independent
QAnon predicted Trump’s re-inauguration on 4 March. Congress braced for an assault. Neither happened
Two months after Capitol attack, embittered conspiracy cult holds out for last-ditch effort to revive former president – but law enforcement warns that the insurrection was not an isolated event
- The Independent
Obama administration greatly expanded the use of drone strikes before later imposing checks
- Business Insider
Boris Johnson has yet to appoint a successor to his adviser on ministerial standards, more than three months after the resignation of Sir Alex Allan.
- Associated Press
Pakistan’s prime minister said Thursday he will seek a vote of confidence from the National Assembly this weekend to prove that he still has the support of majority lawmakers in the house despite the surprising and politically embarrassing defeat of his ruling party’s key candidate in Senate elections. Prime Minister Imran Khan made the announcement in a televised address to the nation, alleging that some lawmakers from his ruling Tehreek-e-Insaf party had been bribed by the opposition to vote for former Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani in the Senate elections on Wednesday. Gilani defeated Hafeez Sheikh, the finance minister in Khan's Cabinet, in the vote, which was seen as a test for Khan who came to power in the 2018 parliamentary elections.
- Business Insider
An anonymous source who is familiar with an FBI cellphone data report says there was communication between the two.
Inaugural poet Amanda Gorman said a security guard followed her and told her she 'looked suspicious' when entering her own building
"This is the reality of black girls: One day you're called an icon, the next day, a threat," Gorman said in a tweet about the incident.
The day after he single-handedly delayed the U.S. Senate's debate on President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill for 11 hours, Republican Senator Ron Johnson said on Friday that he could retire from office when his term expires. The 65-year-old Republican, who was first elected to the Senate during the Tea Party surge in 2010, had pledged to spend only two terms in the Senate.
- Business Insider
Cuomo skipped sexual harassment training - that he himself mandated - by having a staffer complete it for him, accuser says
When asked by a reporter Wednesday if he had taken the sexual harassment training, Cuomo said, "Short answer is yes."
Kim Kardashian calls out tabloids for comparing her to a whale and shaming her on a 'weekly basis' during her 1st pregnancy
The 40-year-old "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" star reshared several offensive magazine covers about her pregnancy weight gain in 2013.
- The Daily Beast
Camden County JailA prominent Lake of the Ozarks real estate agent and self-described “cheer mom” has been arrested for allegedly trying to put a hit out on her former mother-in-law. Prosecutors in Camden County say Leigh Ann Bauman, 43, offered to pay $1,500 to people in St. Louis to make her former mother-in-law’s death “look like an accident.” She was reportedly concerned about the woman causing problems with her relationship with her kids.Bauman was recorded discussing the scheme, according to a press release from the Camden County prosecutor’s office. She was given multiple opportunities to change her mind when asked by a witness-turned-informant if she was sure she wanted to carry out the killing, prosecutors said, but she moved ahead with it, at one point acknowledging that she was a Christian but noting she could always ask for forgiveness later.The realtor also is said to have made no secret about her alleged plans. After sending a text message to her daughter that said, “Your grandmother will die,” Bauman allegedly plowed ahead with the plan and pushed for her former mother-in-law to be killed in the small town of Hermann.Her alleged murder-for-hire plot fell apart when an attorney for a person who was solicited to hire people to carry out the killing contacted the Missouri Highway Patrol. She was arrested on Thursday and charged with conspiracy to commit murder and is currently being held without bond in the Camden County Jail.“We’re very appreciative of what the witness did in this case,” Camden County Prosecutor Caleb Cunningham said Friday. “We encourage anyone to contact law enforcement if there’s a crime or suspected crime.” “A local realtor had several political connections and the witness was aware of these political connections,” Cunningham said. “Out of an abundance of caution, DDCC was used to avoid any hint of impropriety,” he said, referring to the Missouri Highway Patrol Division of Drug and Crime Control.Bauman, who describes herself as a realtor, an artist, an entrepreneur, and a “cheer mom” on her Facebook page, frequently posted online about her “track record of success.” While she was most well-known as a realtor, with nearly 20 years in the industry, she also apparently set a world record in a boating race last year. Her LinkedIn account also mentions work in pharmaceutical sales and an acting and modeling career, with appearances on Days of Our Lives and in Nike commercials.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Charles Barkley lost weight because he was worried about being lifted in a chair for the traditional Jewish hora at his daughter's wedding
"Listen, I need all Jewish people on deck, brother," Chuck told Jimmy Kimmel about the chair lift. "Cause I can only get so skinny by Saturday, man."
Nicolas Cage, 57, tied the knot with Riko Shibata, 26, in Las Vegas on February 16.
A teenage girl wearing 'Everything will be OK' T-shirt was shot in the head on Myanmar's bloodiest day of protests yet
Nineteen-year-old Kyal Sin had proudly cast her first vote last year in the very elections Myanmar's military has tried to annul with its ongoing coup.
- Business Insider
NASA's Perseverance rover just went for its first drive on Mars, then spotted its own wheel tracks in the dirt
Perseverance's six-wheel drive leaves quite an imprint in its path. Those wheels are ready to carry the rover over an ancient river delta.
- Associated Press
NASA’s newest Mars rover hit the dusty red road this week, putting 21 feet on the odometer in its first test drive. The Perseverance rover ventured from its landing position Thursday, two weeks after setting down on the red planet to seek signs of past life. “This is really the start of our journey here,” said Rich Rieber, the NASA engineer who plotted the route.
- USA TODAY
Live stimulus updates: Senate extends $300 weekly unemployment benefit in Biden's COVID stimulus bill
Biden and Democratic leaders are pushing for passage before March 14 when unemployment benefits approved under an earlier relief bill expire.