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Chinese delegation meets Nepal PM amid political crisis – Al Jazeera English



Senior Chinese Communist Party leader holds talks with PM Oli and President Bhandari as the ruling communist party on the verge of split.

A Chinese delegation reportedly held talks with Nepali Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli and President Bidya Devi Bhandari in Kathmandu on Sunday in a first diplomatic step by the neighbouring power after the prime minister dissolved parliament a week ago.

The four-member delegation led by Guo Yezhou, a vice minister in the international department of the Communist Party of China, arrived in Kathmandu on Sunday to assess the political situation following the rift in the governing Nepal Communist Party (NCP).

China has poured millions of dollars into Nepal in recent years in aid and infrastructure investment as it incorporates the country in President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative project.

In the past few years, many Nepali communist leaders have visited China for “training programmes” amid growing engagements between the NCP and the Chinese Communist Party.

Hundreds of people have protested against the dissolution of parliament [Hemanta Shreshtha/EPA]

Sandwiched between China and India, politics in Nepal is also influenced by the priorities of its giant neighbours. India has been pushing back against Beijing’s growing clout in a country that New Delhi considers its own backyard.

Prime Minister Oli decided to dissolve the country’s parliament last Sunday and called for parliamentary election more than a year ahead of the schedule following a power struggle in the NCP. He had led an alliance with former Maoist rebels to a landslide victory in 2017.

The move triggered deep political unrest and street protests in the Himalayan nation as it grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic and left the ruling party on the verge of a split.

“I think the Chinese have come to assess the overall situation after the dissolution of parliament and virtual break-up of the Nepal Communist Party,” said Narayan Khadka, a senior leader of the opposition Nepali Congress party.

The Chinese Embassy in Nepal was not immediately available for comment.

Violation of the constitution

Earlier, Bishnu Rijal, a central committee member of the NCP, said the Chinese official was expected to meet Oli and his opponents.

Oli has said that internal squabbling and a lack of cooperation from his party paralysed decision-making, forcing him to seek a fresh popular mandate, but opponents say he rushed with the decision before exhausting all the options.

Prime Minister Oli has said that internal squabbling and a lack of cooperation from his party paralysed decision-making, forcing him to seek a fresh mandate [File: Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters]

On Friday hundreds of protesters including three former prime ministers sat on a road near Oli’s office against his sudden move. They say Oli had no power to dissolve parliament and that he had violated the constitution.

“We’ll organise stronger protests against this dissolution by an unrestrained prime minister,” said Pushpa Kamal Dahal or Prachanda, one former prime minister.

Oli has rejected their demands and pledged to press ahead with parliamentary elections next year, on April 30 and May 10.

The prime minister has lost support within his ruling party this year, with some senior members accusing him of sidelining them in decision making and key appointments, and calling for him to step down.

Nepal’s 2015 charter does not give the prime minister the prerogative to dissolve the parliament without exhausting alternatives, constitutional expert Bipin Adhikari said.

“It is unconstitutional at the first sight,” he said.

The Supreme Court is hearing more than a dozen petitions challenging the dissolution of parliament and calling of early elections. It has given the government until January 3 to provide reasons for the dissolution, said the Supreme Court spokesman Bhadrakali Pokharel.

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Blair says evidence — not politics — will decide whether the Proud Boys are named as a terrorist group –



Shortly after the House of Commons voted unanimously to call on the Trudeau government to identify the Proud Boys as a terrorist entity, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said he’ll listen to the intelligence collected by the country’s security agencies before deciding on next steps.

“To be clear: the decision to list any organization as a terrorist entity is based on intelligence and evidence collected by our national security agencies,” said the minister in a statement sent to CBC News last night.

“Terrorist designations are not a political exercise.”

Canadian authorities have been collecting information about the far-right Proud Boys group as part of a possible terrorist designation following reports about the organization’s role in this month’s deadly U.S. Capitol attack.

Multiple media reports have linked Proud Boys members to those who stormed Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., after a speech by then-U.S. president Donald Trump on Jan. 6. Last week, a self-described organizer for the Proud Boys was arrested for taking part in the siege.

The Canadian government has not said if the Proud Boys will be added to Canada’s formal list of terrorist groups. Such a move would come with immediate ramifications for the group; financial institutions would freeze their assets and it would become a crime to knowingly deal with the group.

“We’re very mindful of ideologically motivated violent extremists, including groups like the Proud Boys. They’re white supremacists, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, misogynist groups. They’re all hateful, they’re all dangerous,” Blair told CTV News in an interview earlier this month.

“Our national security officials are very mindful of these individuals. They’re gathering intelligence. They bring that intelligence before me and I bring it before cabinet … We’re working very diligently to ensure that where the evidence is available, where we have the intelligence, that we’ll deal appropriately with those organizations.”

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh brought forward a motion Monday calling on the government “to use all available tools to address the proliferation of white supremacist and hate groups, starting with immediately designating the Proud Boys as a terrorist entity.” 

‘Pretty direct politicization of the process’

While the motion is non-binding, it has some national security experts troubled by what they see as the politicalization of the terror list.

“The issue I have is by including the call to list the Proud Boys, it is a call for the government to engage in a legal process and with a predetermined outcome,” said Leah West, a former Department of Justice lawyer and now a national security professor at Carleton University.

“I tend to have issues with parliamentarians asking for certain criminal law effects to take place on individuals in the House of Commons. I think that there should be a separation between parliamentarians and a process that, in this case, is not a typical criminal law process but is a legal process that could have a criminal effect.”

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair speaks in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ont., on June 16, 2020. Recommendations to add groups to the terrorist list are made to cabinet by the public safety minister, based on intelligence reports. (Blair Gable/Reuters)

West said she worries about setting a precedent. She pointed to statements by some MPs in early 2020 describing Indigenous-led rail blockades as terrorism and asking whether the groups protesting should be added to the terror list. 

“There’s nothing to stop a similar type of motion from being brought to the House floor around Indigenous or environmental protesters who arguably engage in activity that could give rise to meeting the threshold,” she said.

“I just want us to be careful [and avoid] approaching listing terrorist entities in the same way we saw with the Trump administration in the U.S., where basically [he] used terrorist listings as a way of condemning groups that were unfavourable, or his enemies, or that were critical of the government”

Jessica Davis, a former senior intelligence analyst with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service who now heads Insight Threat, called the vote “a pretty direct politicization of the process.”

“All of these MPs should know better in terms of how the process actually works. It’s been well-articulated. They have access to information about how these things happen,” she said.

“This motion is meant, I guess, to put pressure on the government to list a group, but we don’t even know yet if the group meets a technical threshold.”

A spokesperson for the NDP said the party isn’t trying to politicize the process, but argued the Proud Boys are an undeniable threat to the United States and Canada both.

“The rise of white supremacy and neo-Nazi [organizations] is an underestimated threat in Canada and people are scared. Canadians don’t want to see what happened in the U.S. happen here in Canada. We need actions and we need them, now,” said Melanie Richer.

Decision lies with minister 

According to the Department of Public Safety, the process of designating a terrorist group begins with a report from the RCMP and CSIS detailing “reasonable grounds to believe that the entity has knowingly carried out, attempted to carry out, participated in or facilitated a terrorist activity; or the entity is knowingly acting on behalf of, at the direction of or in association with, an entity involved in a terrorist activity.”

That report is reviewed by the minister of public safety. If the minister has reasonable grounds to believe that the group in question meets the threshold, the minister makes a recommendation to cabinet to place the entity on the list.

Davis said the process could use more transparency and clarity from the government about the criteria used to make a determination.

Created in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the terrorist designation list includes more than 50 organizations. Many of them are Islamist terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, Hezbollah and ISIS.

Two far-right groups — Blood & Honour, an international neo-Nazi network, and its armed wing, Combat 18 — were added in June 2019 under the public safety minister at the time, Ralph Goodale.

Where does the government draw the line?

“The activities that the groups are engaged in range really dramatically from al-Qaeda — who we know conducted many large-scale, high-impact attacks and inspired many others — to Combat 18, who seem to have committed one politically motivated assault and a firebombing,” said Davis. “There’s a lot of daylight between those two examples.

“So where is that criteria? Because if it’s closer to the Combat 18, I think that that’s more of a problem. It really allows a very expansive definition of terrorism in this country.”

West said the process is not above political influence but it has some safeguards in place.

“So it’s not that there is no politics involved in this, in that it is a cabinet decision. But it’s not unusual in the realm of national security for ministers to be making decisions like this,” said West.

“This decision is also reviewable by a federal court to ensure that that the minister’s decision is reasonable and compliant with the statutory requirements set out in the Criminal Code.”

Davis said the process is inherently political because it’s a cabinet decision — but bringing a multi-party committee into the process could remove at least some of the political taint.

“I think there are lots of good options for reducing that political impact. So a bipartisan committee, for instance, could be struck, or you could have bureaucrats strike a committee that makes the ultimate decision,” she said.

“So there’s a number of ways to move that ministerial responsibility, but at the same time, I think that it is important that the government be responsible for this list.”

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Politics live updates: Senate upholds constitutionality of Trump impeachment trial; senators take oath – USA TODAY



Maureen Groppe

Bart Jansen

Savannah Behrmann

Nicholas Wu

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House sends Trump impeachment to Senate for second time

House Democrats have sent the impeachment charge of “incitement of insurrection” to the Senate, kicking off the trial process.


President Joe Biden announced the U.S. is working to purchase an additional 200 million coronavirus vaccines, doubling the nation’s vaccine supply with enough to fully vaccinate 300 million Americans by the end of this summer.

Biden, who outlined the new purchase in remarks on the COVID-19 pandemic Tuesday evening, is also expected to announce an increase in the weekly vaccine allocation to states, tribes and territories from 8.6 million doses to a minimum of 10 million doses for the next three weeks, according to the official.

The 1.4 million federal boost will primarily be supplied by Moderna’s vaccine, one of two authorized for emergency use in the United States. Pfizer, which makes the second authorized vaccine, announced earlier Tuesday it was ahead of schedule on fulfilling the 200 million doses the U.S. purchased last year.

Each of the vaccines require two doses. A second shot should be administered about three or four weeks after the first, depending on the vaccine given.

The Department of Health and Human Services is also planning to provide states, tribes and territories with allocation estimates for the upcoming three weeks instead of the one week look-ahead they previously received, Biden said.

“These estimates will be updated on a running basis so that every state has at least three weeks notice to help them plan for their vaccination distribution and administration,” the an administration official said.

The announcement comes after several states have reported vaccine and supply shortages while tens of thousands of people who managed to get appointments for a first dose have complained of cancellations.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters earlier Tuesday that administration officials were making calls to brief governors on the updated plans for vaccination distribution and coordinate a further rollout.

— Courtney Subramanian

The Senate voted Tuesday to uphold the constitutionality of the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, but the vote suggested a lack of support for convicting him on the charge of inciting insurrection.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., forced the vote with a point of order arguing that Trump couldn’t be tried as a private citizen – and if he were tried, that Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts should preside.

Instead, the longest-serving member of the Democratic majority, Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, will preside. The Constitution calls for the chief justice to preside only over a trial of a sitting president.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Paul’s argument “has been completely debunked by constitutional scholars from all across the political spectrum.”

“The theory that the impeachment of a former official is unconstitutional is flat-out wrong by every frame of analysis,” Schumer said.

The Senate voted 55-45 to reject Paul’s motion. The vote revealed more than one-third of the chamber opposing the trial. A two-thirds majority is required to convict Trump.

The vote signaled that more than one-third of the Senate – and the vast majority of Republicans – found the trial unconstitutional. “We’re excited about it,” Paul said after the vote. “It was one of the few times in Washington where a loss is actually a victory.”

Mark Meadows, who was Trump’s White House chief of staff, said the vote showed the case is “dead on arrival.”

“If today’s Senate vote is any sign, the Democrats’ ridiculous impeachment of former President Trump will fail – again – by a long shot,” Meadows said in a tweet. “Dead on arrival.”

Paul had argued that the trial is a “kangaroo court” that will stoke partisan division. But the Senate has tried a former Cabinet official and former judges after leaving office.

Impeachment is typically used to remove someone from office, but the sentence upon conviction could also bar an official from holding future office.

Republican Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania joined Democrats in killing Paul’s motion.

Collins said the vote indicated Trump would likely be acquitted.

“I do the math, but I think that it’s extraordinarily unlikely the president will be convicted,” she said.

— Bart Jansen

Senators took their oaths Tuesday as jurors in the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, setting the stage for oral arguments to begin Feb. 9.

The ceremonial start to the trial also formally installed Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the longest-serving member of the Democratic majority, as the presiding officer. Some Republicans argued that Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts should preside, but the Constitution calls for the chief justice only in trials of a sitting president.

The longest-serving Republican in the chamber, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, administered the oath to the longest-serving member of the Democratic majority, Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont.

Leahy then administered the oath to the 99 other senators, to serve as jurors in the trial.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., raised a point of order challenging the constitutionality of trying a president who is already out of office. He didn’t expect to win the vote, but to demonstrate that the necessary two-thirds of the Senate wouldn’t vote to convict Trump.

Senators were sworn in after House prosecutors, who are called managers, carried over Monday the article of impeachment that charges Trump with inciting the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

A clerk handed each senator a different pen as a health precaution during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., signed with a quill pen.

The trial will pause while sides in the trial prepare written arguments about the case. Senators will resume debating confirmation of President Joe Biden’s Cabinet nominees and legislation to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

House managers now have until Feb. 2 to provide the Senate with written arguments in the case. Trump’s defense team will have until Feb. 8 to file written arguments. Then oral arguments begin the next day.

— Bart Jansen

President Joe Biden had his first phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin since being sworn into office last week – a conversation that came amid heightened US-Russia tensions.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Biden called Putin on Tuesday to discuss renewing an expiring US-Russia nuclear arms control agreement and to press the Russian leader on a batch of more nettlesome issues.

Biden used the call to “reaffirm our strong support for Ukraine sovereignty in the face of Russia’s ongoing aggression,” she said, and to raise questions about Russia’s alleged role in the massive SolarWinds cyberattack, the country’s meddling in US elections, and reports that it offered bounties to militant extremists in Afghanistan to kill American soldiers.

“His intention was also to make clear that the United States will act firmly in defense of our national interests in response to malign actions by Russia,” Psaki said.

She said the president also pressed Putin on allegations that the Kremlin tried to poison Alexei Navalny, a Russian opposition leader, and then engaged in a widespread crackdown against protesters who demanded Navalny’s release from prison in demonstrations over the weekend.

Putin’s spokesman has denied playing a role in Navalny’s poisoning.

Even though Tuesday’s call focused on several flashpoints between the two countries, a readout from the White House suggested the U.S. and Russia would be able to work together on renewing the New START treaty for five years. That arms control agreement expires next week, so it’s an urgent issue, but Putin and Biden have both expressed support for a long-term extension. 

“They also agreed to explore strategic stability discussions on a range of arms control and emerging security issues,” the White House said in its readout of the conversation.

While this is Biden’s first call as U.S. president with Putin, the two men have a long history of engagement – much of it frosty.

In 2011, for example, Biden was in Russia for a meeting with Putin when Biden made a startling remark about Putin’s character.

“Mr. Prime Minister, I’m looking into your eyes, and I don’t think you have a soul,” Biden recalled in an interview with Evan Osnos, whose biography of Biden was published in October. “And he looked back at me, and he smiled, and he said, ‘We understand one another.’ ”

The comment was a play on former President George W. Bush’s warmer assessment of Putin in 2001, when Bush called the Russian strongman “very straightforward and trustworthy.”

Putin was among the last major world leaders to recognize Biden’s win in the 2020 election. He had a seemingly cozy relationship with President Donald Trump, who often downplayed Russia’s malign actions.

— Deirdre Shesgreen

The Senate overwhelmingly confirmed Antony Blinken to be the nation’s 71st secretary of State on Tuesday, as lawmakers scrambled to approve President Joe Biden’s Cabinet nominees before impeachment proceedings begin.

In a strong show of bipartisan support, the final Senate tally was 78 to 22 and included “yes” votes from several top Republicans.

Blinken will become America’s top diplomat as the world confronts a confluence of threats: the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and a great-power competition that increasingly pits the U.S. against China on trade, technology and other issues.

Read the full story.

— Deirdre Shesgreen

President Joe Biden on Tuesday will take steps to address what the administration calls systemic racism in housing and criminal justice, including ending the federal government’s use of private prisons.

Biden will sign four new executive orders, building on steps taken in his first week as part of his campaign promise to create a more equitable society.

Biden will also lay out his agenda to address racial inequity, which a senior Biden administration official said will be substantially an economic agenda,

The official also stressed that the actions aimed at creating a more equitable society are not aimed solely at communities of color and stressed that helping the disadvantaged will help the entire society.

The executive actions Biden will sign include:

  • Directing the Housing Department to address racially discriminatory federal housing policies.
  • Not renewing the Justice Department’s contracts with private prisons.
  • Recommitting federal respect for tribal sovereignty
  • Directing federal agencies to mitigate xenophobia and violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

On Biden’s first day in office, he signed an order launching a government-wide initiative directing every federal agency to review its state of racial equity and deliver an action plan within 200 days to address any disparities in policies and programs.

The administration said Biden’s “comprehensive mandate” to embed racial equity throughout everything being done is unprecedented.

— Maureen Groppe

Sen. Rand Paul plans to force a vote Tuesday challenging the constitutionality of the impeachment trial for former President Donald Trump – a move he doesn’t expect to win, but one to demonstrate the unlikelihood of conviction.

Paul, R-Ky., called the trial “a sham impeachment” if the chief justice doesn’t preside. “It’s just a partisan farce,” he told reporters.

The Senate is scheduled to be sworn in at 2:30 p.m. to serve as jurors in the trial, after the House delivered a charge that Trump incited insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Paul plans to raise a point of order during that ceremonial start to the trial to challenge its constitutionality. He doesn’t expect to win in a chamber controlled by Democrats. But because a two-thirds majority is required for conviction in the 100-member Senate, Paul said if the vote could demonstrate that Trump won’t be convicted.

“I think it’ll be enough to show that, you know, more than a third of the Senate thinks that the whole proceeding is unconstitutional, which will show that ultimately they don’t have the votes to do an impeachment,” Paul said.

Paul and some other Republicans contend the trial is unconstitutional because Trump left office Jan. 20. A Cabinet member and judges have been tried after leaving office, but never a president. 

“The Constitution says you can only impeach the president, and it says if you impeach the president, the chief justice shall preside,” Paul said.

The result of prosecuting a former president is that Chief Justice John Roberts won’t be presiding, as he did at Trump’s first impeachment trial. The Constitution calls for the chief justice to preside at the trial of a sitting president, but is silent on who presides for a former president. 

Instead, Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the longest-serving member of the Democratic majority, will preside, as happens in the impeachment of judges or executive branch officials. Leahy has insisted he will be impartial in overseeing the proceedings.

Paul called the trial a “kangaroo court” that would further divide the country. He argued both that Trump can’t be tried as a private citizen and that if he were tried, the chief justice should preside.

“Democrats brazenly appointing a pro-impeachment Democrat to preside over the trial is not fair or impartial,” Paul said on the Senate floor. “Hyper-partisan Democrats are about to drag our great country down into the gutter of rancor and vitriol, the likes of which has never been seen in our nation’s history.”

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., called Trump’s rhetoric at a rally near the White House on Jan. 6, before a violent mob stormed the Capitol, “inflammatory” and “irresponsible.” But Hawley called the trial unconstitutional for pursuing a former president without the chief justice presiding.

“I think it’s clearly unconstitutional,” Hawley said. “To me, this is an incredibly abusive process.”

At least one Republican senator said he wouldn’t support Paul’s motion. Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, the only Republican to vote for Trump’s conviction in the first impeachment trial, said most opinion supports the constitutionality of trying a former president.

“The preponderance of opinion with regards to the constitutionality of a trial of impeachment of a former president is saying that it is a constitutional process,” Romney said.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, also said the trial was constitutional.

“My review of it has led me to conclude that it is constitutional in recognizing that impeachment is not solely about removing a president, it is also a matter of political consequence,” Murkowski said.

— Bart Jansen

A Senate panel recommended confirmation Tuesday of Alejandro Mayorkas to become secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, where he would be the first immigrant and the first Latino to lead the department.

The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee voted 7-4 to recommend his confirmation by the whole Senate. 

President Joe Biden had asked for the Senate to confirm Mayorkas and three other top posts quickly. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was confirmed last week, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen was confirmed Monday, and Secretary of State nominee Antony Blinken has a confirmation vote scheduled Tuesday.

Mayorkas has faced the most contentious confirmation hearing of Biden’s Cabinet so far. Republicans posed pointed questions about Biden’s proposals to create a path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants and to suspend construction of the wall along the southern border with Mexico. 

Republicans also questioned him about an inspector general’s report that found an appearance of favoritism in how he handled visas associated with business investments during a previous stint with the Democrat. But Mayorkas said he was trying to fix problems in a complicated bureaucracy, and Democrats called the report an attempt to smear him.

The top Republican on the committee, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., said Tuesday he would not support Mayorkas’ nomination, citing “serious issues” in his background like the inspector general report, but Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, who also serves on the panel, said Mayorkas had acknowledged his previous errors and supported his nomination heading to a full Senate vote.   

Mayorkas has previously been deputy secretary of the department and headed its citizenship agency. He arrived with his parents from Cuba as refugees from Fidel Castro’s regime in 1960.

— Bart Jansen and Nicholas Wu

Biden to outline racial equity agenda

After focusing his first few days on the coronavirus pandemic, President Joe Biden is turning the spotlight on another top priority: racial inequality.

Biden plans to outline on Tuesday has agenda for fighting racial inequality, one of the four “converging crises” he has said is facing the nation.

“The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer,” Biden said in his inauguration speech.

Officials have said that addressing inequality will be a focus across all issues. For example, Biden has emphasized the need to help minority communities hit harder by the health and economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

But the administration is also putting a standalone emphasis on the initiative.

Susan Rice, the head of Biden’s Domestic Policy Council, is expected to talk about the efforts at Tuesday’s White House press briefing.

On Monday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the administration is speeding up a move stalled under President Donald Trump to put abolitionist hero Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill.

Psaki said it’s important the nation’s currency “reflect the history and diversity of our country.”

Also on Monday, Vice President Kamala Harris administered the oath of office to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

“The first Secretary of Defense in history to be sworn in by an African American @VP…is an African American Secretary of Defense,” tweeted Ron Klain, Biden’s chief of staff.

– Maureen Groppe

More: Amid calls for unity, President Biden and Republicans don’t agree what that looks like

Senate to take oath for second Trump impeachment trial

Senators on Tuesday will be sworn in as jurors in the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, who is charged with inciting the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6 that left five dead.

The formal oath-taking comes after House prosecutors walked the article of impeachment Monday across the Capitol, which some have called the scene of the crime.

Trump has said his rally speech near the White House questioning the results of the 2020 election was “appropriate.” But Democrats contend he exhorted a violent mob to lay siege to the Capitol, which interrupted the House and Senate while counting Electoral College votes.

House prosecutors, who are called managers, will present their written arguments to the Senate by Feb. 2. Trump’s defense team will then present written arguments in the case to the Senate by Feb. 8. Oral arguments begin the next day.

–Bart Jansen

More: The second Trump impeachment trial is set for February. What happens next?

More: As Trump impeachment trial begins, he lacks star lawyers, full Republican backing

Vice President Harris to get second dose of COVID vaccine Tuesday

Vice President Kamala Harris will receive her second dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday evening, according to her office.

Harris received her first dose in December before live television cameras as part of a concerted effort to convince the public the inoculations are safe.

Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, will receive the second dose in front of the news media at the National Institutes of Health.

President Joe Biden received his second dose of the coronavirus vaccine on Jan. 11. 

Biden’s and Harris’ vaccinations were staggered at the recommendation of medical and national security experts. 

–Savannah Behrmann

Secretary of State nomination moving forward

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee greenlighted Antony Blinken’s nomination to be secretary of State in a bipartisan vote on Monday. The 15-to-3 vote sends Blinken’s nomination to the full Senate, which could take up his confirmation as early as Tuesday. 

Also on Tuesday, the Senate Commerce Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for Gina Marie Raimondo, Biden’s nominee to head the Commerce Department.

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Tasha Kheiriddin: The pandemic is already changing the future of Canadian politics – National Post



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What a difference a year makes. On Jan. 25, 2020, the first COVID case was identified in Canada. At the time, our country’s leaders were grappling with a different crisis: blockades of rail lines and supply chains by Indigenous protesters in support of the hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwe’ten First Nation. For most Canadians, COVID-19 was a matter for China, a minor headline, possibly just another bad flu.

Until, of course, it wasn’t.

Today, the pandemic has upended every facet of our lives. Sadly, communities which were already disadvantaged have borne the brunt of the impact. This week, Cree doctor Marlyn Cook, who works in Moose Factory, Ont.told CTV News “One of the biggest things COVID-19 is bringing out, is the racism within the health-care system.” Meanwhile, other trends have emerged as well: a growing urban-rural exodus, and a nosedive in trust in our elected officials.

What does this new reality portend for Canadian politics? How will it shape issues in the elections to come? Here are three possible issues and the impacts they could have.

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