Biden unveils $1.9 trillion relief package – National & International News – FRI 15Jan2020 Pres. elect Joe Biden


Biden unveils $1.9 trillion relief package. House Dems worry some GOP colleagues involved in riot. US: Possible “genocide” by China against Xinjiang Muslims. That and more below.


Biden unveils $1.9 trillion relief package

President-elect Joe Biden has released a proposal for a huge COVID relief package he intends to introduce once he takes office. If Congress passes such a bill, it would set aside $1 trillion for households, including direct payments of $1,400 to all Americans. These $1400 stimulus checks would be in addition to the $600 checks already approved by Congress. The proposal also includes $415 billion to fight the virus and a further $440 billion in aid for small businesses.

In a Thursday night address, Biden said, “A crisis of deep human suffering is in plain sight and there’s no time to waste”. He added, “The very health of our nation is at stake. We have to act and we have to act now”.

Biden acknowledged there would be “stumbles”, but promised, “I will always be honest with you about both the progress we’re making and what setbacks we meet”.

The plan also includes $20 billion to aid in vaccination efforts. This includes setting up dedicated vaccination hubs and mobile units for remote areas.

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House Dems worry some GOP colleagues involved in riot

More details are emerging about the Capitol rioters’ deadly intentions, as well as military and law enforcement ties. An Associated Press investigation has revealed that an alarming number of the insurrectionists had military or police experience and training. Some have been identified as current active duty military and law enforcement personnel. Prosecutors have also pointed to new evidence that rioters intended to capture and kill certain members of Congress.

Democratic members of the House of Representatives have voiced concerns that some of their Republican colleagues might have been complicit or even helped plan the raid. 34 Democratic lawmakers signed a letter to officials responsible for securing the Capitol. The letter alleges that certain unnamed Republican Congress people were seen leading “suspicious-looking” groups around the Capitol the day before the riot. The signatories fear these GOP members were assisting the groups in surveillance and scouting of key areas of the Capitol ahead of the insurrection. These activities were apparently reported to Capitol Police at the time but were not acted upon.

Other Democratic lawmakers, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, reported feeling uncomfortable sheltering at secure points with lawmakers they feared would give their positions away to rioters. The lawmakers in question are alleged to have QAnon and white supremacist sympathies.

Perhaps the most disturbing revelation comes from Massachusetts lawmaker Ayana Pressley. Pressley and her staff say that panic buttons installed in her offices at the Capitol had been “torn-out” prior to the riot. No one in her office could explain how this could have happened.

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US: Possible “genocide” by China against Xinjiang Muslims

The bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) has stated its findings that China is engaged in systematic oppression and “possibly genocide” of its Muslim minority populations. The report cites evidence regarding the “re-education” camps where China has interred millions of Uighur Muslims. Many of the “graduates” of these internment camps are then pushed into forced labor. The CECC also accused China of harassing Uighurs residing in the US.

The report called for a formal US “determination on whether atrocities are being committed” in Xinjiang. CECC co-chair Jim McGovern described China’s campaign to crush human rights in the past year “shocking and unprecedented”. McGovern called on Congress and the incoming Biden administration to hold Beijing accountable for these atrocities.

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Growing concern about Brazil COVID variant

Experts are warning that the emergence of new COVID variants are going to become more commonplace. For now, the variants do not appear to be more deadly. Few scientists have expressed concerns that the current vaccinations will be less effective against them. However, as the virus continues to spread and evolve, there is no guarantee that this will continue to be the case.

Earlier this week, Japan announced it had detected another new COVID variant among travelers arriving from Brazil. The new mutation has sparked harder lockdowns and travel bans. Like the UK and South Africa variants before it, the Brazil variant appears to be more contagious than the original COVID-19 virus. Surges in infections in most countries have already overwhelmed hospitals. Officials worry that these new variants are likely to make matters that much worse.

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