Connect with us

Latest News

Joe Biden takes oath of office to become America’s 46th president | US News



Joe Biden has become the 46th president of the United States, after taking his oath of office in a heavily scaled back inauguration ceremony in Washington DC.

He swore to preserve, protect and defend America to the sound of cheers and applause from former presidents both Democrat and Republican – though Donald Trump decided to break precedent by skipping the event.

It came minutes after new Vice President Kamala Harris took her oath, too.

Biden’s inauguration – follow live updates

Air Force One
The outgoing president was whisked to Florida in Air Force One

Mr Biden stressed the fairness of last November’s election result in the opening of his inaugural address by declaring: “This is democracy’s day. The will of the people has been heard and the will of the people has been heeded.

“We’ve learned again that democracy is precious, democracy is fragile and at this hour my friends, democracy has prevailed.”

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers his speech after he was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Mr Biden delivered his inaugural address facing the National Mall

Mr Biden promised to “press forward with speed and urgency” during a “winter of peril” to tackle the “once-in-a-century virus that silently stalks the country”, also vowing to confront white supremacy and terrorism.

He stressed his prevailing focus after a divisive election campaign will be on “uniting our nation”, adding: “With unity, we can do great things, important things – we can right wrongs.”

And he said he wanted to “make America once again a leading force for good in the world”, seemingly in a snub to Mr Trump commenting: “Let’s start afresh… all of us.”

Inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States
President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris during the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Kamala Harris was also sworn in as the new US vice president

Mr Biden urged people to “join forces, stop the shouting and lower the temperature”, for, he explained, without unity there will be “no nation, only a state of chaos”.

Speaking as he looked out on to the National Mall lit by a bright sunshine, Mr Biden continued: “Politics doesn’t have to be a raging fire destroying everything in its path.

First Lady Jill Biden places her hands on U.S. President Joe Biden during the 59th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2021. Kevin Dietsch/Pool via REUTERS
Dr Jill Biden celebrated with her husband

“Every disagreement doesn’t have to be a cause for total war and we must reject the culture in which facts themselves are manipulated and even manufactured.”

Repeating a motif from his victory speeches in the days after winning the Electoral College vote, Mr Biden promised to be “a president for all Americans”.

Winding up his address, he struck an optimistic tone, saying: “Together we shall write an American story of hope not fear, of unity not division, of light not darkness.”

He ended with: “May God bless America and may God protect our troops, thank you America.”

President Joe Biden is congratulated by First lady Jill Biden, after being sworn-in during the inauguration. Pic: Patrick Semansky/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
The new first family will later head to the White House

Lady Gaga, wearing a large dove broach on her top and clasping a golden microphone, had just performed a rousing rendition of the national anthem – and Jennifer Lopez followed with an “American musical selection”.

Former presidents Barack Obama, George W Bush and Bill Clinton attended the event at the Capitol – and Mr Biden was greeted by cheers and applause as he walked up to the stage.

Jennifer Lopez performs during the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan Mcdermid
Mike Pence, representing the outgoing administration, watched J-Lo’s performance

Mr Biden shared a fist-bump with Barack Obama before the pair took their seats, and then a series of speeches got underway – all sharing a theme of unity.

But as the new president prepared to take the oath of office, Donald Trump was landing in Florida.

Mr Trump is the first outgoing president since 1869 to skip an inauguration ceremony, but departing Vice President Mike Pence was in the audience.

As the inauguration ceremony took place in a chilly Washington DC, where it was trying to snow, the White House was getting a deep clean that was set to cost $500,000 (£366,000).

Shortly before the ceremony began, Mr Biden declared on Twitter: “It’s a new day in America.”

Mr Trump gave a parting message before boarding Air Force One, telling a small group of supporters and family members gathered on the tarmac of Joint Base Andrews that “we will be back in some form”.

“I wish the new administration great luck and great success,” he added, before boarding the plane, which took off to the booming soundtrack of Frank Sinatra’s My Way.

Mr Biden is only the second Catholic to hold the office of president.

His team have already announced he will sign a series of executive orders reversing several of Mr Trump’s policies, including on COVID-19, climate change and racial inequality.

Source link

Latest News

COVID-19 ‘vaccine diplomacy’: China, Russia and India cherry-picking the countries they help | World News



China, Russia and India have been accused of engaging in “vaccine diplomacy” as they cherry-pick nations to give their COVID-19 vaccines to in order to bolster their influence.

Sky News analysis has found 47 countries, plus the African Union which represents 55 nations, have made or been offered vaccine deals with India, China and Russia.

In 21 countries, their sole vaccine supplies up until 19 February were from Russia, China and India.

Subscribe to the Daily podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker

In another 16 countries, half or more of the doses agreed are from those three countries, data from science analytics company Airfinity shows.

Most of those vaccines are from China and Russia but some in Africa and Asia are from India.

However, the vast majority of the world’s COVID-19 vaccines are not from Russia, China and India, with just one in 10 doses from them. Their main purpose is to impose their influence, experts have said.

These are the countries that have accepted doses from Russia, India and China. But this is not just about helping allies, it is also about cherry-picking nations they can influence.

China and Russia quickly offered up their vaccines in South America.

“Latin America is a big prize because Russia and China don’t have much influence there. It’s also the US’ backyard so for Russia it’s also about how they can annoy the US”
Agathe Demarais, global forecasting director at the Economist Intelligence Unit

China’s Sinovac jab is part of Brazil‘s mass vaccination plan while other South American nations are welcoming Russia’s Sputnik V shot.

However, Beijing does not have good diplomatic relations with Paraguay so has not offered the Chinese vaccine but Russia has done a deal instead.

The continent presents an opportunity for China, especially, to expand its already considerable power in the region.

The region is highly reliant on COVAX, but the programme has yet to deliver any vaccines so China has been offering up its jabs to countries such as Egypt.

Russia has also swooped in and will provide the African Union, which represents 55 countries, with 300 million doses – 45% of the union’s secured doses.

The wealthy UAE is vaccinating its citizens – with Sinopharm’s jab – at the second fastest rate in the world after Israel.

“China is trying to make the UAE a logistical hub to get to the Middle East”
Ms Demarais said

Some eastern European countries have bought vaccines from both Russia and China, including Hungary who got fed up of waiting for the EU to agree a deal.

China already holds a lot of sway over several Asian nations, such as Indonesia, Laos and Cambodia.

But the number of doses China has secured of its own vaccines is unknown. We only know 63 million doses have been administered so far in China.

India is trying to use the vaccine to bolster its presence over China.

“There’s competition with China but Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh are three countries India feels are still up for grabs to try to control the neighbourhood,”
Dr Subir Sinha, a development expert from SOAS

For China, Russia and India, the COVID-19 vaccine has opened a door to countries they have not had influence over before, and to nations where they can boost their power further.

Agathe Demarais, global forecasting director at the Economist Intelligence Unit, told Sky News: “What Russia and China are trying to do is to bolster their global standing.

“They’ve been doing this for decades but both leaderships are seizing this opportunity to further their standing – it’s a brick in the whole ground plan.”

Ms Demarais, who is also a former French diplomat in Russia and the Middle East, added that it is a long-term strategy so whether they are rich or poor is not necessarily the most important issue, it is whether they can impose their influence.

“Bolstering long-term global presence will give them leverage over emerging countries, when you’re receiving vaccines from Russia and China, they will have small requests that you can’t say no to,” she added.

“Russia and China are presenting themselves as saviours but there’s a risk – they have had production issues, they’re struggling to vaccinate their own populations so there’s a big concern they will overpromise and underdeliver.”

China and Russia are not only providing vaccines to countries but they are also providing factories to make them and workers as part of their long-term strategy in some nations.

India, which is only producing vaccines in India, is targeting neighbouring countries and is trying to beat China to them, development expert Dr Subir Sinha from The School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London said.

He belives there is another strand of vaccine diplomacy for India in that the prime minister, Narendra Modi, wants to be seen on the world stage as a man of “great generosity”.

However, with the roll-out within India going slowly and some states refusing to administer the Indian-made Covivax vaccine due to efficacy concerns, there is a question over how far India’s vaccine diplomacy can go.

COVAX, the initiative aimed at ensuring all countries get the vaccine fairly, does not have any deals with Russia, China or India yet, but China has said its three developers have applied to supply their vaccines to the programme and is waiting to see if they are approved.

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, the deputy chief medical officer, will be on Sky News from 9am on Wednesday morning to answer your COVID questions.

Send the question you want answering on email or a video clip to and we’ll put it to him.

Source link

Continue Reading

Latest News

US Capitol riot: Ex-police chief says he did not see FBI report warning of ‘war’ in Washington | US News



The former US Capitol Police chief says he only found out this week that his officers were warned just hours before the 6 January riot that extremists could commit “war” in Washington that day.

Steven Sund was giving evidence to Congress in the first public hearing over the last month’s siege that saw dozens of Donald Trump supporters storm the Capitol building to disrupt confirmation of his presidential election defeat to Joe Biden.

The head of the FBI’s office in Washington has said that once he received the 5 January warning from the Virginia office, the information was quickly shared with other law enforcement agencies through the joint terrorism taskforce, including the Capitol Police.

Mr Sund said an officer on the joint terrorism taskforce received the FBI’s memo and forwarded it to a sergeant working on intelligence for the Capitol Police, but the information was not put forward to any other supervisors.

Former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund is sworn in before a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs & Senate Rules and Administration joint hearing on Capitol Hill, Washington, U.S., February 23, 2021, to examine the January 6th attack on the Capitol.
Steven Sund is sworn in before the hearing on Capitol Hill

Mr Sund said he was not aware of the report, but added he did see an intelligence report created within the Capitol Police force warning that Congress could be targeted on 6 January.

That report warned extremists were likely to attend and there were calls for people to travel to Washington armed.

Also, a senior security official said he was “stunned” over the delayed response to a request for National Guard help during the mob riot at the Capitol.

More from Us Capitol Riots

Acting Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee III told the joint Senate hearing the former police chief was “pleading” with army officials to deploy Guard troops as the violence rapidly escalated.

The District of Columbia’s Metropolitan Police officers had joined to help US Capitol Police during the attack.

Mr Contee said officers “were out there literally fighting for their lives” but the officials on the call appeared to be going through a “check the boxes” exercise.

He said there “was not an immediate response”.

Mr Sund, and a number of other senior officers, resigned in the wake of the violence which prompted Mr Trump’s second impeachment trial.

Source link

Continue Reading

Latest News

Tiger Woods ‘lucky to be alive’ after suffering ‘multiple open fractures’ in car crash | US News



Tiger Woods suffered “multiple open fractures” to his right leg in a serious car crash in Los Angeles, according to a surgeon at the hospital treating him.

In a statement posted on the golfer’s official Twitter account by his TGR foundation, Anish Mahajan, chief medical officer at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center where the sportsman has undergone emergency surgery by orthopaedic trauma specialists, said Woods suffered “significant” injuries “to his right lower extremity”.

“Comminuted open fractures affecting both the upper and lower portions of the tibia and fibula bones were stabilised by inserting a rod into the tibia,” he said.

The golfer had to be pried from the car through the windscreen
The golfer had to be pried from the car through the windscreen

“Additional injuries to the bones of the foot and ankle were stabilised with a combination of screws and pins.

“Trauma to the muscle and soft tissue of the leg required surgical release of the covering of the muscles to relieve pressure due to swelling.”

TGR added that the 45-year-old is “currently awake, responsive and recovering in his hospital room”.

Earlier, authorities investigating the car crash said there was no evidence he was impaired at the time.

“I will say that it’s very fortunate that Mr Woods was able to come out of this alive,” said Carlos Gonzalez, the deputy from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department who was the first on the scene.

The crash happened on the border of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes on Tuesday morning.

Police officers look over the damaged car. Pic: AP
Authorities said the car was travelling at a ‘relatively greater speed than normal’. Pic: AP

The sheriff’s office said Woods was the only person in the car, and authorities later confirmed his injuries were not life-threatening but said he was in a “serious” condition.

The golfer sustained “serious injuries to both legs” during the crash, according to Los Angeles County Fire Department chief Daryl Osby.

Speaking at a news conference, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said investigators at the scene “did not see any evidence of impairment” although there were indications the car was travelling at a “relatively greater speed than normal”.

The golfer had to be pried from the car through the windscreen
The golfer had to be pried from the car through the windscreen

Aerial footage showed the car on its side, with its front end heavily damaged and its airbags deployed.

Despite huge damage to the 2021 Genesis SUV, the interior “remained more or less intact, giving [Woods] the cushion to survive what would have otherwise been a fatal crash”, Mr Villanueva said.

It was found 213 metres (700ft) from the central divider at the intersection, having hit a kerb and then a tree before rolling several times, the sheriff added.

Woods was “alert and talking” when paramedics arrived at the scene, according to NBC News correspondent Jennifer Bjorklund.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Tiger Woods ‘seemed calm and lucid’ after crash

Reports suggested jaws of life were used to extricate Woods from the car, but Mr Osby clarified other equipment including an axe had been used to pry the golfer free through the vehicle’s windscreen.

An investigation into the crash is likely to take “several weeks”, Mr Villanueva said, adding that there are frequent accidents on the stretch of road, which has a “downward slope”.

Woods’s agent Mark Steinberg told Golf Digest in a statement: “Tiger Woods was in a single-car accident this morning in California where he suffered multiple leg injuries.

“He is currently in surgery and we thank you for your privacy and support.”

Tiger Woods car crash. Pic: AP
The cause of the crash is being investigated. Pic: AP

Sky News sports correspondent Martha Kelner said Woods spent Monday giving a private golf lesson to NBA legend Dwyane Wade.

He was due to be hosting a second day of celebrity lessons on Tuesday.

“As if his body hasn’t endured enough,” said world number two Jon Rahm from the WGC-Workday Championship in Florida.

“I just hope he can get out of the hospital after recovery and he can still play with his kids and have a normal life.”

Speaking at a news conference ahead of the event, world number three Justin Thomas added: “I’m sick to my stomach.

“You know, it hurts to see one of your… now one of my closest friends get in an accident. Man, I just hope he’s alright. Just worry for his kids, you know. I’m sure they’re struggling.”

Jack Nicklaus, whose record of 18 major titles has been one of Woods’s biggest goals, wrote on Twitter: “Barbara and I just heard about Tiger’s accident, and like everyone else, we are deeply concerned.

“We want to offer him our heartfelt support and prayers at this difficult time.”

Former world number one Justin Rose wrote on Twitter: “@tigerwoods, just seen the awful news.

“We know how tough you are, we’ve seen it a hundred times. Hoping and praying you’re ok my friend.”

The PGA Tour said in a statement: “On behalf of the PGA Tour and our players, Tiger is in our prayers and will have our full support as he recovers.”

And former US alpine ski racer Lindsey Vonn, an ex-girlfriend of Woods, tweeted: “Praying for TW right now.”

The car crash is the latest setback for Woods, who at times has looked unstoppable on the golf course with his 15 major championships and record-tying 82 victories on the PGA Tour.

He has not played since December, when he took part in the PNC Championship in Orlando with his son, Charlie, who turned 12 earlier this month.

On 23 December he had his fifth back surgery and said last weekend that he was unsure whether he would be able to play in the Masters Tournament in April.

Source link

Continue Reading