Author: gbaddy

Donald Trump pardons ex-aide Bannon but not himself or family

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump granted clemency to former White House aide Steve Bannon as part of a wave of pardons and commutations issued in his final hours in office, a senior administration official said, but did not pardon himself, members of his family or lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
Trump leaves office on Wednesday, when Joe Biden is sworn in as the nation’s next president. White House officials had argued to Trump that he should not pardon himself or his family because it might look like they are guilty of crimes, according to a source familiar with the situation.
Trump also pardoned Elliott Broidy, a former top fundraiser for Trump who pleaded guilty last year to violating foreign lobbying laws, and former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who was serving a 28-year prison term on corruption charges, a senior administration official said. Rappers Lil Wayne and Kodak Black who were prosecuted on federal weapons offenses, were also granted pardons.
Bannon, who was a key adviser in Trump’s 2016 presidential run, was charged last year with swindling Trump supporters over an effort to raise private funds to build the president’s wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. He has pleaded not guilty.
White House officials had advised Trump against pardoning Bannon. The two men have lately rekindled their relationship as Trump sought support for his unproven claims of voter fraud, an official familiar with the situation said.
Giuliani, who has been at the forefront of unsuccessful efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, has not been charged with a crime, but investigators have been probing his activities in Ukraine.
PROMINENT ALLIES
Bannon, 67, is the latest prominent political ally to receive clemency from Trump, who has often used the powers of the executive branch to reward loyalists and punish his enemies.
Trump previously pardoned former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn for lying to the FBI about his conversation with the former Russian ambassador, and he commuted the prison term for Roger Stone, who was convicted of lying to Congress during its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Bannon can still be charged in state court in New York, where a pardon would not help him, said Daniel R. Alonso, a former prosecutor now at the Buckley law firm. Fraud prosecutions are frequently brought by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, Alonso said.
Broidy, who was a top fundraiser for Trump during the 2016 campaign, pleaded guilty in October to violating lobbying laws by attempting to influence the administration on behalf of Chinese and Malaysian interests.
Lil Wayne, 38, whose real name is Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., pleaded guilty in federal court in December to illegally possessing a firearm and faced up to 10 years in prison. He has expressed support for Trump’s criminal justice reform efforts.
Kodak Black, 23, who was born Bill Kahan Kapri, is in federal prison for making a false statement in order to buy a firearm.

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India’s Covid-19 caseload rises to 1,05,95,660; recovery rate at 96.7% | India News

NEW DELHI: With 13,823 infections reported in a day, India’s Covid-19 caseload rose to 1,05,95,660, while the recoveries surged to 1,02,45,741, the Union health ministry said on Wednesday.
The death toll due to the disease increased to 1,52,718 in the country as 162 new fatalities were recorded, the ministry data updated at 8 am showed.
The total number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 1,02,45,741, pushing the national Covid-19 recovery rate to 96.70 per cent.
The Covid-19 case fatality rate stands at 1.44 per cent, it said.
The active caseload remained below 3 lakh. There are 1,97,201 active coronavirus infections in the country, which comprises 1.86 per cent of the total caseload, the data stated.
India’s Covid-19 tally had crossed the 20 lakh-mark on August 7, 30 lakh on August 23, 40 lakh on September 5 and 50 lakh on September 16. It went past 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11, 80 lakh on October 29, 90 lakh on November 20 and surpassed the one crore-mark on December 19.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), 18,85,66,947 samples have been tested till January 19, with 7,64,120 samples being tested on Tuesday.
The 162 new fatalities include 50 from Maharashtra, 26 from Kerala, 11 from West Bengal, nine from Karnataka, and 10 each from Delhi and Chhattisgarh.
Out of the total 1,52,718Â deaths in the country, 50,523 deaths were reported from Maharashtra followed by 12,281Â from Tamil Nadu, 12,181 from Karnataka, 10,764 from Delhi, 10,074 from West Bengal, 8,584 from Uttar Pradesh and, 7,142 deaths from Andhra Pradesh.
The health ministry stressed that more than 70 per cent of the deaths occurred due to comorbidities.
“Our figures are being reconciled with the ICMR,” the ministry said on its website, adding that state-wise distribution of figures is subject to further verification and reconciliation.

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Motorola Edge S Powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 SoC Confirmed to Launch on January 26


Motorola Edge Plus. Image used for representation.

Motorola Edge Plus. Image used for representation.

The Motorola Edge S is said to be the Motorola Nio smartphone that has been in the news since some time.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: January 20, 2021, 11:05 IST
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Qualcomm yesterday announced its latest Snapdragon 870 SoC, which comes as a successor to last year’s Snapdragon 865 chipset. Alongside Qualcomm’s announcement, a couple of brands like OnePlus and Xiaomi confirmed that they will use the Snapdragon 870 chipset in their upcoming smartphones. Apart from Xiaomi and OnePlus, Motorola has also announced a smartphone that will be unveiled with the new Qualcomm chipset on January 26, the Motorola Edge S. Motorola announced the smartphone in an official post on Weibo.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 SoC has the fastest clock speed in any chipset at the moment, running at up to 3.2GHz. The Snapdragon 870 is built on TSMC’s 7nm process and has 8 cores. The Motorola Edge S, on the other hand, is expected to come with a 6.7-inch full HD+ OLED display, which is rumoured to have a 150Hz refresh rate. Further, the smartphone is reported to come with a 64-megapixel primary camera. The smartphone will be launched in China initially and it is being said that the smartphone will be the Motorola Nio that has been in the news since some time. It is also being reported that the Moto Edge S could come with similar specifications to the Motorola Edge+ that has a 5,000mAh battery.

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 870 SoC was launched on Tuesday as the successor to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 SoC that was used on most flagship smartphones in 2020. The new chipset marked the first time that Qualcomm has pulled off two flagship grade chipset launches in one year, as the American chipmaker announced its Snapdragon 888 in late 2020.

Qualcomm also confirmed that the Snapdragon 870 5G SoC will feature in commercially available devices before March 2021, and OEMs that are making smartphones based on this chipset include Motorola, iQoo, OnePlus, Oppo and Xiaomi.



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Thane traffic department starts page on Facebook, Instagram | Thane News – Times of India

Representative image

THANE: In an attempt to spread awareness on diversions, congestions, road works and to take complaints from motorists and commuters, the traffic department in Thane has started their page on social media platforms on Monday.
The ‘Thane Traffic Branch’ page was opened on Facebook and Instagram.
“People are active on these platforms and when they have any complaints or suggestions, they can directly get in touch with us. Also, we tend to have diversions, if a road is shut, we can easily post videos or messages regarding it, which will reach to more people,” said Balasaheb Patil, deputy commissioner of police, traffic.
The authorities stated that as of now, they are not starting a twitter handle and will be focusing on these two platforms as most youths are active here.

FacebookTwitterLinkedinEMail

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Germany to extend Covid-related restrictions until Feb 14: Merkel

BERLIN: Germany will extend and strengthen the coronavirus-related restrictive measures until February 14, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.
“Today we held talks again and agreed to introduce new measures… We are doing this as a precautionary measure for the sake of citizens’ health, as well as for the sake of the economy and labor market,” Merkel said.
“We agreed that all measures that were scheduled until January 31 should be extended until February 14,” she said.
Merkel said the number of new coronavirus infections in Germany was gradually reducing, and this was encouraging.
She said the scale of the presence of the ‘ UK‘ coronavirus strain in Germany was unclear yet, but there was the threat of a rapid spread of the disease.
Overall, since the start of the pandemic, Germany has recorded more than 2 million confirmed cases of COVID-19. Over 47,000 people have died.

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Malwarebytes Says Some Of Its Emails Were Breached By SolarWinds Hackers


WASHINGTON: Cybersecurity company Malwarebytes said on Tuesday that some of its emails were breached by the same hackers who used the software company SolarWinds to hack into a series of U.S. government agencies.

In a statement, the Santa Clara, California-based company said that while it did not use software made by SolarWinds, the company at the center of the breach, it had been successfully targeted by the same hackers who were able to sneak into its Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Azure environments.

Malwarebytes said the hack gave the spies access to “a limited subset of internal company emails.” But it found no evidence of unauthorized access or compromise of its production environments – which could have had a potentially catastrophic impact because the company’s security products are used by millions of people.

“Our software remains safe to use,” the company’s statement said.

The disclosure was the latest in a series of announcements by digital security firms that they were either compromised or targeted by the hackers, who the U.S. government has judged to be “likely Russian in origin.”

The SolarWinds hackers have previously been accused of stealing hacking tools from cybersecurity firm FireEye, accessing an unspecified number of source code repositories at Microsoft and hijacking digital certificates used by email defense firm Mimecast.

Cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike said late last month that it too had recently discovered an unsuccessful attempt to steal its emails. The company did not identify the hackers involved but two people familiar with its said they were the same suspected Russian hackers accused of breaching SolarWinds.

Russia has denied any involvement in the hacking spree.

In a message posted to Twitter, Malwarebytes’ Chief Executive Marcin Kleczynski said the hacking campaign “is much broader than SolarWinds and I expect more companies will come forward soon.”



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@POTUS resets as Twitter juggles presidential accounts

WASHINGTON: It’s a Twitter user’s worst nightmare: Wake up to find most of your followers gone.
But that’s exactly what will happen on Wednesday to the official presidential accounts on Twitter.
No, not @realDonaldTrump – he’s already been banned for life. This is the fate awaiting lesser-known accounts such as @POTUS, @WhiteHouse, @FLOTUS and @VP.
POTUS is the official acronym for President of the United States; FLOTUS refers to the First Lady.
These institutional accounts don’t belong to any particular individual – they’re reserved for official government use by those in the current administration. Twitter will transfer them to President-elect Joe Biden once he is officially inaugurated on Wednesday. Minus, that is, most of their followers.
That’s unlike the previous Twitter transition, when then-President Barack Obama‘s official accounts were transferred to President Donald Trump with followers intact.
This time, these accounts stand to lose tens of millions of followers at Twitter’s dictate. People dropped by these accounts, in addition to those who follow “relevant Biden and Harris accounts” such as @KamalaHarris, will receive notifications that they can follow them.
Biden’s current account – @PresElectBiden – will transform into @POTUS once Biden himself becomes POTUS.
Biden’s team does not appear happy about this. The President-elect’s digital director, Rob Flaherty, tweeted last week that the follower reset is “Absolutely, profoundly insufficient.”
In Twitter’s view, the reset gives users the choice on whether or not to follow the new accounts.
The company says it has not made a decision on whether it will now take this approach during transfers of power. But spokesman Nick Pacilio said it is the policy in other countries.
As for Trump’s @POTUS account? It will be archived as @POTUS45, just as the Obama administration’s account was archived as @POTUS44.
That’s not the case for @realDonaldTrump, though. While it’s been extensively archived by other platforms and researchers, it has vanished from Twitter itself.
That alone has raised criticisms from academics and others who believe it should also be part of the public record, easily searchable and accessible to anyone.
Facebook, meanwhile, is sticking to its previous policy of “duplicating” all 11 million followers of the official White House Facebook and Instagram accounts to the new administration.
Trump’s POTUS and related accounts, meanwhile, will be archived and Biden will get a new one.

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Congress’ Raj Bhavan gherao turns tense

A gherao planned by the Congress at Raj Bhavan to express the party’s solidarity with the farming community protesting on the outskirts of Delhi against the three new controversial farm laws for nearly two months now turned out to be tense with police obstructing party leaders’ march at different places and also arresting them.

The protest was taken up by the State Congress in response to a call given by the All India Congress Committee. The police did not allow some Congress leaders including AICC secretary and former legislator S.A. Sampath Kumar to come out of their residences making it their ‘house arrest’ literally.

Police were deployed in large numbers at Raj Bhavan and at several places leading to it including at Panjagutta crossroads, Khairatabad crossroads, Lumbini Park and at Secretariat to prevent the Congress leaders’ march towards Raj Bhavan. The arrested those on a march towards Raj Bhavan at different places stating that the protest planned by the Congress has no permission.

Congress workers also came out on to the roads at a few places including at Nampally, Lumbini Park and others but were obstructed and bundled into the waiting police vans. The police arrested Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) president N. Uttam Kumar Reddy, working president A. Revanth Reddy, CLP Leader M. Bhatti Vikramarka, senior leaders Komatireddy Venkat Reddy, T. Jayaprakash Reddy and others near Lumbini Park. Besides, the police also held senior legislators T. Jeevan Reddy, D. Sridhar Babu former TPCC president Ponnala Lakshmaiah, former APCC president V. Hanumantha Rao, former Union Minister Balaram Naik, AICC leaders Bose Raj and Srinivas and several others near Secretariat. A jostling also took place between the police and the Congress workers at Lumbini Park from where several senior leaders planned to march towards Raj Bhavan.

Speaking after his arrest Mr. Uttam Reddy said the Congress and other parties would mount pressure on the State government to continue with procurement operations. He also sought to know why the prices of petrol and diesel were increasing in the country.

Accusing the TRS of making a U-turn on the farm bills, Mr. Revanth Reddy said the BJP government at the Centre was playing with the lives of the farming community.

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PM Modi pays homage to Guru Gobind Singh on his ‘Parkash Purab’ | India News

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday paid homage to Guru Gobind Singh on his birth anniversary and said the 10th Sikh Guru’s life was devoted to create a just and inclusive society.
“I bow to Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji on the pious occasion of his Parkash Purab. His was a life devoted to creating a just and inclusive society,” Modi said in a tweet on the occasion of the 354th birth anniversary of the Sikh Guru.

Guru Gobind Singh was unwavering when it came to upholding his principles, he said.
“We also recall his courage and sacrifices,” the prime minister said and tagged a video of his address in the past highlighting Guru Gobind Singh’s efforts for creating an inclusive society and his valour.
“The Guru Sahibs have a special Kripa on me that the 350th Parkash Purab of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji took place during the tenure of our Government. I recall the grand celebrations in Patna, where I also had the opportunity to go and pay my respects,” Modi said.

He also tweeted his messages in Punjabi.
Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru, was a spiritual master, warrior, poet and philosopher.

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Joe Biden leads observance of America’s 400,000 COVID-19 dead on eve of inauguration

Ceremonies spearheaded by Mr. Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris from the base of the Lincoln Memorial marked the federal government’s first official nod to the staggering death toll from the pandemic.

President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday led a national memorial observance on the eve of his inauguration to honour the 400,000 Americans who have perished from COVID-19 during the 11 months since the novel coronavirus claimed its first U.S. life.

The sundown commemoration came hours before President Donald Trump was due to leave the White House for the last time and hand over a country racked by the greatest public health crisis in a century, economic devastation and violent political upheaval.

Ceremonies spearheaded by Mr. Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris from the base of the Lincoln Memorial marked the federal government’s first official nod to the staggering death toll from the pandemic.

“To heal, we must remember. It’s hard sometimes to remember,but that’s how we heal. It’s important to do that as a nation,” Mr. Biden said to kick off a tribute that included observances in cities across the country.

As he spoke, 400 electric lamps lining the sides of the memorial’s Reflecting Pool were illuminated to honour the lives lost, followed by gospel star Yolanda Adams’ performance of the song “Hallelujah,” then a moment of silence.

Michigan hospital nurse Lori Marie Key sang “Amazing Grace” before Mr. Biden took the podium. After he spoke, about 6.5 km away, the bells of the National Cathedral tolled 400 times.

“Though we may be physically separated, we the American people are united in spirit,” Ms. Harris said before introducing Ms. Key. “My abiding prayer is that we emerge from his ordeal with anew wisdom — to cherish simple moments, to imagine new possibilities and to open our hearts just a little bit more to one another.”

The United States on Tuesday surpassed 24 million known COVID-19 infections and 400,000 lives lost since the nation’s first documented COVID-19 death in February of 2020, according to a Reuters tally. The country has averaged more than 200,000 new cases and 3,220 deaths a day over the past week, and has the highest COVID-19 death toll in the world.

The unrelenting loss of life has placed a particular strain on medical professionals in the trenches of the pandemic.

“You’re just surrounded by all of this horrible illness that you can’t fix — all the time,” said Dr. Mangala Narasimhan, who oversees ICU teams for Northwell Health hospitals, New York State’s largest healthcare provider.

“It’s really a huge mental toll on the intensive care workforce, doing this day in and day out for almost a year now,” she told Reuters.

Biden’s top priority

Officials from Miami to San Diego planned special lighting displays of prominent buildings for Wednesday’s ceremony.

Among the participating landmarks were the Empire State building in New York City and the Space Needle in Seattle, Biden’s inaugural committee said. The committee said it was encouraging Americans to light candles in their windows and churches to ring their bells in a show of unity.

Mr. Biden has pledged to make coronavirus relief a top priority upon taking office on Wednesday under unprecedented security measures in the nation’s capital.

Many of his policy plans fly in the face of the Trump administration’s approach to the pandemic, which critics have called disjointed and ineffectual. Mr. Biden’s plans include a mask mandate that would apply to federal properties, planes and buses and a recommitment to the World Health Organisation after Mr. Trump’s withdrawal from the agency.

Mr. Biden also faces the daunting task of overseeing the nation’s COVID-19 vaccine campaign, the largest and most complex immunisation effort in U.S. history. He has vowed to vaccinate100 million Americans in his first 100 days in office.

States have lamented a lack of funding and support from the federal government for their role in the campaign, and say supplies are failing to meet demand among healthcare workers, elderly citizens and others designated as first in line for vaccines.

The mayors of New York City and San Francisco warned on Tuesday they expect to run out of vaccine doses this week unless new shipments arrive.

California, which has emerged as the U.S. epicenter of the pandemic in recent weeks, offered a glimmer of optimism on Tuesday. State Health Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said hospitalisation rates were levelling off in a sign that a surge of cases spurred by the year-end holiday was beginning to ease.

The COVID hospitalisations also have declined nationwide over the past week, according to data compiled by Reuters.

Steeply rising infections have pushed hospital emergency rooms, intensive care units, ambulance bays and morgues to overflowing during the past month, especially in and around Los Angeles. Dr. Ghaly said caseloads are expected to keep rising over the next two weeks but less quickly as officials had feared,evidence that restrictions on business and social activities were working.

“There are rays of hope shining through,” he said in a briefing with reporters.

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