WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. national security adviser John Bolton said on Wednesday the Trump administration wants sanctions on Iran's crude exports to strain Tehran, but does not want to harm countries that depend on the oil. The United States is preparing to impose the new sanctions on Iran's oil industry after Washington withdrew from a nuclear deal between Tehran and other global powers earlier this year, but is also considering offering waivers to some allies that rely on Iranian supplies. "We want to achieve maximum pressure but we don't want to harm friends and allies either," Bolton said in a talk at the Hamilton Society. Bolton said the administration understands that a number of countries, some close geographically to Iran which he visited last week, and others "may not be able to go all the way, all the way to zero immediately." It was a more conciliatory tone about the sanctions from Bolton, a proponent of being tough on Iran and winding down its crude exports to zero. Still, Bolton said that consequences can already be seen in Iran including the collapse of the rial, its currency. "I think it's important that we not relax in the effort," he said. In a presidential memorandum addressed to secretaries of State, Treasury and Energy, Trump said he determined there was sufficient supply of petroleum and petroleum products elsewhere than Iran to permit a reduction in purchases from the Islamic Republic. Under the law, the U.S. president must periodically issue a "determination" on whether there is sufficient supply in the market from non-Iranian sources for countries to significantly cut their Iranian purchases. The administration's renewed sanctions are set to come into effect on Nov. 5. Under U.S. law, Washington can sanction the financial institutions of foreign countries that fail to significantly reduce their purchases of Iranian oil and petroleum products. The purpose of the law, which came into effect during the Obama administration, was to put pressure on Iran to curtail its nuclear program by forcing its major oil customers to reduce their purchases. Three of Iran's five largest buyers of crude - China, India and Turkey - have resisted calls by Washington to end their oil purchases outright. This week South Korea asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for "maximum flexibility" on its request for a waiver to prevent companies there from being hit by the sanctions. Other countries, including Iraq and Afghanistan, depend on some imports from Iran. The administration has said it is considering waivers on a case-by-case basis. (Reporting by Steve Holland, Timothy Gardner, Humeyra Pamuk, Arshad Mohammed and Lesley Wroughton; Editing by James Dalgleish)
- The Independent
New York governor Andrew Cuomo is facing calls to resign over allegations of sexual misconduct
- The Independent
Medical examiner is ‘awaiting toxicology results’ before releasing a report on the death
- The Independent
Dr Mary Trump thinks her uncle’s ego is too fragile to risk losing again - though he has much to gain by pretending he’ll run.
- The Independent
The storms may have abated, but the financial fallout is just beginning
- Business Insider
Biden refused to sanction MBS over Khashoggi's murder because he doesn't want his relationship with Saudi Arabia to get worse, officials say
A US intelligence report released on February 26 found that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman directly approved the 2018 killing of Jamal Khashoggi.
- Business Insider
As another stimulus package hangs in the balance, some programs like unemployment benefits are set to expire by the end of March
The current package includes $1,400 stimulus checks, $400 payments in federal unemployment benefits, and funds for coronavirus testing and vaccines.
- The Week
Manhattan DA investigators are reportedly focusing on the Trump Organization's chief financial officer
Investigators with the Manhattan District Attorney's office are taking a closer look at Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, as they continue a probe into former President Donald Trump and his family business, people with knowledge of the matter told The New York Times. They are investigating potential financial fraud, and whether Trump and the Trump Organization manipulated property values in order to receive loans and reduce property taxes, the Times reports. Weisselberg, 73, has worked for the Trump Organization for decades, starting at the company when it was helmed by Fred Trump, the former president's father. Two people familiar with the matter said prosecutors have been asking witnesses about Weisselberg, and spoke with one person about Weisselberg's sons — Barry, the property manager of Trump Wollman Rink in Central Park, and Jack, who works at Ladder Capital, one of Trump's lenders. None of the Weisselbergs have been accused of wrongdoing, and there is no indication Barry and Jack are a focus of the probe, the Times says. The investigation began more than two years ago, with the district attorney looking into hush money payments made to two women who said they had affairs with Trump. Michael Cohen, Trump's former personal lawyer and fixer, arranged the payments, and pleaded guilty to federal campaign finance charges. He testified before Congress that Weisselberg came up with a strategy to hide the fact that the Trump Organization was reimbursing Cohen for making payments to one of the women, pornographic actress Stormy Daniels. Trump has called the investigation "a witch hunt." More stories from theweek.comHistorian: Biden's support for Amazon workers voting to unionize is 'almost unprecedented'Trump is back. Did anyone miss him?The myth of the male bumbler
- The Daily Beast
CNNChris Cuomo opened his primetime CNN show Monday night by acknowledging the growing sexual harassment scandal surrounding his brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and telling viewers why he “obviously” would not be covering it. “Before we start tonight, let me say something that I’m sure is very obvious to you who watch my show,” the host began. “And thank you for that. You’re straight with me, I’ll be straight with you.”“Obviously, I’m aware of what’s going on with my brother,” Cuomo continued. “And obviously I cannot cover it, because he is my brother. Now, of course CNN has to cover it. They have covered it extensively and they will continue to do so.”>> @ChrisCuomo at the top of @CuomoPrimeTime tonight: "Obviously I am aware of what is going on with my brother. And obviously I cannot cover it because he is my brother. Now, of course CNN has to cover it. They have covered it extensively and they will continue to do so." pic.twitter.com/G49mZYTG4D— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) March 2, 2021 “I have always cared very deeply about these issues and profoundly so,” Cuomo added, declining to elaborate or name which “issues” he was talking about. “There’s a lot of news going on that matters also, so let’s get after that.”The host was speaking at the end of a day in which a third woman accused the New York governor of inappropriate sexual behavior. But as New York Times reporter Annie Karni posted on Twitter in response, while it may make sense for Cuomo to recuse himself from covering his brother, “What never made sense to me was Chris Cuomo covering him when things were going well for Andrew Cuomo.”Especially during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Cuomo was a frequent guest on his brother’s show, where they would joke around together about calling their mom and memorably performed a playful comedy sketch with a giant test swab at the same time the governor’s office was underreporting nursing home deaths. 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 mixed messages risk sowing confusion across the country as the nation enters the second year of the pandemic.
- National Review
The Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans is asking Catholics to avoid the recently-approved Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, which it says is “morally compromised” by its “extensive use of abortion-derived cell lines.” In a statement on Friday, the archdiocese noted that while deciding whether to receive the vaccine is an individual choice, that “the latest vaccine from Janssen/Johnson & Johnson is morally compromised as it uses the abortion-derived cell line in development and production of the vaccine as well as the testing.” While a number of COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers have used cells originally derived from an aborted fetus in the 1970s, the archdiocese argues that Johnson & Johnson “extensive use” is worse than that of Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, which used the cells lines only to test their vaccines, according to Religion News Service. This makes the “connection to abortion … extremely remote,” in the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, the statement argues, recommending that Catholics choose one of those instead, if provided a choice. While the archdiocese claims the decision is in line with guidance from the Vatican, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the National Catholic Bioethics Center, none of the three have issued statements denouncing the new vaccine. In December, the Vatican issued general guidelines regarding vaccines in which the Holy See said it was “morally acceptable” for Catholics to receive shots that used the HEK293 cells for research. While the HEK293 cells are reportedly originated from an aborted fetus from the 1970s, ethicists have said that the cells and similar cell lines are clones and not the original fetal tissue. The Vatican has made the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine available for all Vatican City residents. Pope Francis reportedly received the shot in January. The Archdiocese of New Orleans’ statement comes after leaders of the USCCB and leaders from other religious organizations sent a letter to the commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last spring regarding ethical concerns over the COVID-19 vaccines. “We are aware that, among the dozens of vaccines currently in development, some are being produced using old cell lines that were created from the cells of aborted babies,” the letter read. “For example, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has a substantial contract from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and is working on a vaccine that is being produced using one of these ethically problematic cell lines.” However, a USCCB memo written by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, who chairs the USCCB’s Committee on Doctrine, and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, who chairs the organization’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, argued that the vaccines are moral.
- Fort Worth Star-Telegram
A group of Democratic senators is urging President Joe Biden to go beyond the $1,400 payment included in his COVID relief package.
The baby was born nearly sixth months after Hilaria Baldwin gave birth to her son Eduardo "Edu" Pao Lucas.
A week after Alex Smith said Washington didn't want him during his incredible return from a scary leg injury, the team is expected to cut him
Alex Smith is reportedly set to hit the free agent market this offseason and keep his career going over two years after suffering an injury that some thought was career-ending.
- Business Insider
The White House says it never wants an assassination like Khashoggi's again, but won't punish MBS for ordering the killing
Biden's White House has essentially leaned on the importance of the diplomatic relationship with Saudi Arabia in defense of its actions.
- Business Insider
Some people might prefer Johnson & Johnson's shot because it was tested on variants, has milder side effects, and is easier to get.
- USA TODAY
Trump and Melania got vaccinated in January; US officials 'deeply concerned' as 29 states see virus cases rise: Latest COVID-19 updates
"We cannot be resigned to 70,000 cases per day, 2,000 daily deaths," the CDC's Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Monday. Latest COVID-19 news.
- The Daily Beast
Middletown PoliceAn Ohio mother who police say tried to abandon her 6-year-old son at a local park, dragged him along the pavement when he tried to get back into the car, then dumped the boy’s lifeless body in a river the following day, confessed to killing the child but has shown little remorse, the Middletown police chief revealed Monday.Brittany Gosney, 29, is charged with murder, abuse of a corpse, and tampering with evidence. Cops say Gosney’s two other children—both of whom are second-graders—were in the car at the time of the killing, but were not harmed. They have since been placed in foster care, according to authorities.“This has really touched my soul and my heart,” Police Chief David Birk said at a Monday press conference. “My kids are older, but my youngest is 16, but I’m just sitting there, you know, the poor six-year-old has no idea what’s going on and what’s happening, and for the other kids to go through this too. It’s just heartbreaking.”Birk said Gosney indicated that she had planned to abandon the other two, as well. Gosney reportedly lost custody of a fourth child who has been under the state’s care since before the 6-year-old’s killing.An arrest report provided to The Daily Beast by the Middletown PD says Gosney “admitted to taking her son, James Robert Hutchinson, to Rush Run Park in Preble County, where she placed him outside of her vehicle.” After forcing him out of the car, Gosney told Detective John Hoover that the boy “attempted to get back in the vehicle and she drove off at a high rate of speed, dragging the child for a distance. The defendant then left the park and returned approximately 30 to 40 minutes later finding the child in the middle of the parking lot with a head injury.”Gosney then took her son’s remains back home, and placed the body in an upstairs bedroom.“The following day she drove to the Ohio River and disposed of the child’s body in the river,” the report says.Gosney’s boyfriend, James Russell Hamilton, 42, is accused of helping Gosney dump her son’s body after the fact. He is facing charges of abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence. Bail for Gosney was set at $1 million cash; Hamilton’s was set at $105,000. Both remain in custody, Middletown Police Department spokesperson Shelby Quinlivan told The Daily Beast.Gosney and Hamilton showed up at the police station around 10:15 a.m. Sunday morning to report her son missing, said Birk. He sensed something was wrong from the start, because the two couldn’t get their stories straight. Birk described the situation as “just red flags all over,”A few hours later, the two allegedly confessed. The child’s body has not yet been recovered.“I’m so heartbroken I don’t care if I had a million dollars I would not get her out but he is involved more than what’s being said he should get the same,” a man identified as Gosney’s stepfather posted to his Facebook page on Monday.In a letter to families of children at Rosa Parks Elementary School, where James Hutchinson attended first grade, Principal Tracy Neely wrote: “We are all mourning the loss of our friend James today. James was a happy and joyful soul who loved school. On the days he was in class, he would give hugs to all his teachers as he walked into school. A fun memory I have is the way his face would light up when he won the lucky lunch tray! First graders can find the joy in just about anything. I will always remember his bright joy.”The school will hold a celebration of life for James Hutchinson at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday. Gosney and Hamilton are due back in court on March 8.Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet 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.
- Business Insider
The filibuster means that 60 votes are needed to pass most legislation in the Senate.
- LA Times
Trevor Bauer pitched two scoreless innings in his Dodgers debut and Kenley Jansen threw nine straight pitches in the strike zone Monday in a 10-0 spring training win over the Colorado Rockies.
- Associated Press
The plane laden with vaccines had just rolled to a stop at Santiago’s airport in late January, and Chile’s president, Sebastián Piñera, was beaming. The source of that hope: China – a country that Chile and dozens of other nations are depending on to help rescue them from the COVID-19 pandemic. China’s vaccine diplomacy campaign has been a surprising success: It has pledged roughly half a billion doses of its vaccine to more than 45 countries, according to a country-by-country tally by The Associated Press.