5 things to know for February 10: Impeachment, Covid-19, White House, India, climate
Here's what you need to know to get up to speed and on with your day.
The first day of former President Trump’s impeachment trial focused on the constitutionality of trying a president who’s no longer in office and also revisited the wounds of last month’s Capitol siege. House managers prosecuting Trump opened with a harrowing and emotional video montage of Trump egging on supporters, some of whom soon became rioters. Lead impeachment manager Jamie Raskin tearfully recalled the terror and bloodshed of that day, saying, “This cannot be the future of America.” Trump’s lawyers responded by saying Democrats were trying to disenfranchise Trump voters. However, the performance of Trump’s lead impeachment defense attorney Bruce Castor, whose arguments at times seemed rambling and disjointed, drew criticism from GOP senators and Trump himself. Ultimately, six Republicans joined Democrats in voting that the trial was constitutional and should proceed. Things pick back up again today around noon ET.
About 1 in 10 Americans, or nearly 32.9 million people, have gotten their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. That sounds promising, but challenges remain, including supply shortages, inequitable access and the looming threat of new variants. And this may not be a one-off deal. The CEO of Johnson & Johnson says he thinks people will need an annual Covid-19 vaccination for years to come. In Wuhan, the World Health Organization experts who were looking into the origins of the novel coronavirus have wrapped up and concluded that an “intermediary host species” is probably how Covid-19 was introduced to humans, but other scenarios like transmission via frozen food products are also possible. China is claiming vindication, and the Biden administration is getting flak from at least one WHO investigator for saying it supports the findings but will rely on US intelligence to evaluate the WHO report.
3. White House
Congress and the Biden administration have a lot on their plates besides the impeachment trial. A key House committee has proposed a bill for the stimulus package that would make more people eligible for Affordable Care Act subsidies for two years, fulfilling President Biden’s campaign promise to expand health care options. Biden’s Cabinet picks are also progressing, with attorney general nominee Merrick Garland set for a confirmation hearing February 22. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, who came under fire for monthslong mail delays before the 2020 election, says he’d like to stay in his post, though Biden faces pressure from Democrats to remove him. Finally, the Senate Intelligence Committee wants the Biden administration to designate a leader to address the US government response to the massive SolarWinds hack that targeted public agencies and private companies.
India is cracking down on dissent amid unrest over the government’s farm laws. As a result, big tech companies like Twitter are finding themselves in a difficult position. In the last 10 days, the Indian government has asked Twitter to suspend hundreds of accounts. Initially, the company did suspend some but reversed its decision after public outcry and claims of suppression. Now, India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has hit the company with a noncompliance notice. India has previously clashed with platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp and has proposed regulations that would expand its ability to police content online. The Modi government has also resorted to shutting down the internet altogether in parts of the country to curb protests.
More than 8 million people around the world die each year as a result of breathing polluted air that contains particles from fossil fuels, a new study published in the journal Environmental Research has found. That means about 1 in 5 global deaths is due to this kind of pollution. Fossil fuels don’t just cause climate change, researchers explained. They also release tiny poisonous particles that can aggravate respiratory conditions like asthma and can lead to lung cancer, coronary heart disease, stroke and early death. This link has been known, but the toll, as calculated by the study, is much higher than previously thought. Research has also found a link between higher levels of long-term pollution and more deaths from Covid-19.
There’s a new way to shop on Facebook and Instagram
Oh yay, more ways to blow money!
Aunt Jemima finally has a new name
Fare ye well, Ms. Jemima. Hello, Pearl Milling Company.
Are eggs good or bad for you? The truth may be somewhere in between
The question is, how will this news impact your breakfast?
More than 650 silver Roman coins found in a jug in Turkey
Hyundai’s latest concept ‘car’ walks to places it can’t drive
This thing is incredible. One minute you’re in a normal car, the next minute you’re in an intrepid robot spider.
PROFILES IN PERSEVERANCE
February is Black History Month, and every day we’re highlighting Black pioneers in American history. Learn more here.
Constance Baker Motley, attorney, 1921-2005
Motley’s brilliant legal career was born when a philanthropist heard one of her speeches and was so impressed he paid for her to attend NYU and Columbia Law School. Motley eventually became the lead trial attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and was the first Black woman to argue before the Supreme Court. Over the years she successfully represented Martin Luther King Jr., Freedom Riders, lunch-counter protesters and the Birmingham Children Marchers.
That’s how many “monetizable daily active users” Twitter had to end 2020 (that is, users who can view ads). That’s up 27% from the prior year but still less than what Wall Street analysts were expecting. Twitter says it’s in part because of efforts to tackle election misinformation and says the trade-off for potential users was worth it.
“I’m sorry for the needless pain that I put you through.”
Michael Cohen, Trump’s former fixer, who apologized to Stormy Daniels on an episode of his podcast, “Mea Culpa.” Cohen is serving a three-year sentence (now in home confinement) in part because he paid Daniels hush money on behalf of the ex-President. Daniels, an adult film actress, alleges she had an affair in 2006 with Trump, who has denied it.
Abandon all hope, ye who enter here
Listen as scientists explore and describe the toxic environment of a brine pool in the Gulf of Mexico, which they poetically call a “Jacuzzi of despair.” Lovely! (Click here to view.)
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