Biden tears into Trump on anniversary of ‘insurrection’
US President Joe Biden on Thursday savaged Donald Trump’s “lies” and attempt to overturn the 2020 election, vowing on the first anniversary of the January 6 Capitol riot that he would let no one put a “dagger at the throat of democracy”. Biden described Trump as a cheat whose ego wouldn’t let him accept defeat and whose supporters almost shattered US democracy when they stormed Congress to prevent certification of the election. “This was an armed insurrection,” Biden said in a speech from Statuary Hall inside the Capitol. “For the first time in our history, a president not just lost an election. He tried to prevent the peaceful transfer of power,” Biden said, adding, that Trump’s backers “held a dagger at the throat of America”. Trump reacted by releasing three statements continuing to air his grievances and conspiracy theories about how the 2020 election was stolen from him, while calling for the nation to “rise up” against the Biden administration over vaccine mandates.
Global COVID cases up by 71% to hit record 9.5 Million
The World Health Organisation has said that a record 9.5 million COVID-19 cases were tallied over the last week as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus swept the planet – a 71% increase from the previous seven-day period that the UN health agency likened to a “tsunami”. However, the number of weekly recorded deaths declined. WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said the Omicron variant was “ crushing health systems around the world” with “hospitals becoming overcrowded and with a reduced staff”. At the current pace of vaccinations, 109 countries will miss the goal of completing the vaccination cycle for 70% of the population by the beginning this July.
Peru: pandemic leaves 98,000 orphans
In what is being considered as the highest death rate of children in the world, the COVID-19 epidemic has left some 98,000 children orphans in Peru. The calculation was based on data published by the medical journal The Lancet. The government is currently paying a pension of about €50 to more than 18,000 families, but the number of beneficiaries is expected to expand, as it intends to provide it to a total of 83,664 orphaned children and adolescents, as well as psychological and educational support. Peru, which has 33 million inhabitants, has the highest death rate in the world from COVID-19: 202,900.
Italy: up to €1,500-fine for ‘no vax’
The decree introducing the vaccination obligation for over 50s provides for a one-off penalty of €100 for all those who will not comply as of February 1. For public and private workers and unvaccinated freelancers there is also a penalty of between €600 to €1,500. Workers over 50, who will be without a Green Pass, will also be considered unjustified absent.
Further overnight violence in Kazakhstan
There has been further violence overnight in Almaty, Kazakhstan’s economic capital, as security forces try to quell an uprising against the government. Russia said its first military unit, sent to support the Kazak authorities had arrived in the country. Russia’s Sputnik news service reports police forces were seen firing live rounds while military personnel regained control of the main airport. Dozens of demonstrators were reported dead earlier in the day after dissatisfaction over higher gas prices. The BBC reports internet services were blocked, ATMs have run out of cash and some were unable to buy food or charge their phones.
UK: Higher cost of Living to hit over 65’s
The squeeze on household budgets is the lead story of several of Friday’s UK national papers. The Daily Express says the rising cost of living will hit the over-65s hardest. The paper cites new figures showing pensioners are already paying twice as much on average for heating and other bills than those under 30. It quotes a warning from Labour’s Rachel Reeves: “Millions are feeling the pinch”.
Peter Bogdanovich of ‘Paper Moon’ dead at 82
The death has been announced of Peter Bogdanovich, director of 1970s black-and-white classics like “The Last Picture Show” and “Paper Moon”. He was 82. Considered part of a generation of young “New Hollywood” directors, Bogdanovich was heralded as an auteur from the start, with the chilling lone shooter film “Targets” and soon after “The Last Picture Show” from 1971, his evocative portrait of a small, dying town that earned eight Oscar nominations, won two (for Ben Johnson and Cloris Leachman) and catapulted him to stardom at the age of 32. He followed “The Last Picture Show” with the screwball comedy “What’s Up, Doc?”, starring Barbra Streisand and Ryan O’Neal, and then the Depression-era road trip film “Paper Moon” which won 10-year-old Tatum O’Neal an Oscar as well.