US jobless claims rise to three-month high

Source: Yahoo! Finance

“Weekly new jobless claims unexpectedly jumped last week by the most since October, with some renewed virus-related disruptions at least temporarily impeding the labor market’s recovery. The Labor Department released its latest weekly jobless claims report Thursday at 8:30 a.m. ET. … Initial unemployment claims rose for a third straight week, coming in near the 300,000 level. This represented some backsliding from recent progress in the trajectory of jobless claims. Claims had reached a 52-year low of 188,000 in December, as many employers attempted to keep their existing workforces in the face of widespread labor shortages. Continuing claims also came in higher-than-expected in the most recent data. These claims, which tracks filers still collecting regular state unemployment benefits, rose by more than 1.6 million in mid-January. Still, continuing claims had come in at the lowest level since 1973 just a week earlier.” (01/20/22)

Germany: Report on sexual abuse in diocese faults Benedict XVI

Source: Seattle Times

“A long-awaited report on sexual abuse in Germany’s Munich diocese on Thursday faulted retired Pope Benedict XVI’s handling of four cases when he was archbishop in the 1970s and 1980s. The law firm that drew up the report said that Benedict strongly denies any wrongdoing. The findings, though, were sure to reignite criticism of Benedict’s record more than a decade after the first, and until Thursday only, known case involving him was made public. The archdiocese commissioned the report from law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl nearly two years ago, with a mandate to look into abuse between 1945 and 2019 and whether church officials handled allegations correctly.” (01/20/22)

Blinken: Nuclear talks with Iran at “decisive moment”

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

“U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday that talks with Iran over its nuclear program are at a ‘decisive moment,’ and warned that Washington and its allies may change tactics if a deal isn’t reached in the coming weeks. Blinken said that the longer Iran fails to comply with the 2015 Vienna accord (intended to rein in Tehran’s nuclear program) the closer it would get to being able to build an atomic weapon. ‘We are indeed at a decisive moment,’ Blinken told reporters in Berlin after meeting senior diplomats from Germany, France and Britain. He added that he believed modest progress had been made during the ongoing round of talks in the Austrian capital. ‘But we are not where we need to be. And if we don’t get there very soon, we will have to take a different course.'” (01/20/22)

Grisham: Disgraced former president held secret meetings in days before Capitol riot

Source: The Guardian [UK]

“The former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham told the House select committee investigating the Capitol attack that Donald Trump hosted secret meetings in the White House residence in days before 6 January, according to two sources familiar with the matter. The former senior Trump aide also told House investigators that the details of whether Trump actually intended to march to the Capitol after his speech at the Ellipse rally would be memorialized in documents provided to the US Secret Service, the sources said. … The secret meetings were apparently known by only a small number of aides, the sources said. Grisham recounted that they were mostly scheduled by Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and that the former chief usher, Timothy Harleth, would wave participants upstairs, the sources said.” (01/20/22)

Federal court rules California regime’s gun store shutdowns illegal

Source: Seattle Times

“Two California counties violated the Constitution’s right to keep and bear arms when they shut down gun and ammunition stores in 2020 as nonessential businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday. Officials in Los Angeles and Ventura counties had separately won lower court decisions saying gun stores were not exempt from broader shutdown orders aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus early in the pandemic. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected both lower court rulings. The Second Amendment ‘means nothing if the government can prohibit all persons from acquiring any firearm or ammunition,’ Judge Lawrence VanDyke wrote. ‘But that’s what happened in this case.'” [editor’s note: Unusual for the 9th Circuit, but nice! – TLK] (01/20/22)

Pollster says Biden news conference earned “D” and “F” grades from independents

Source: Fox News

“Polling expert Lee Carter revealed Thursday American voters’ reactions to President Biden’s first formal press conference in over 300 days. While Democrats generally reacted favorably to the president’s speech, Carter predicted his approval rating won’t see a drastic change based on the real-time reactions of independents. Biden was pressed by Fox News’ Peter Doocy on his policies that are trending to the left. Biden responded by highlighting his efforts to combat COVID-19 and the successful bipartisan infrastructure bill. Democrats supported his message, but independents and Republicans both gave the president an ‘F’ grade. ‘They said he seems so out of touch – what he said is simply untrue,’ Carter told Ainsley Earhardt. ‘They’re just simply not buying his message.'” (01/20/22)

Liberia: At least 29 dead after stampede at church service

Source: New York Daily News

“A stampede during an open-air church service in Liberia has left several people injured and nearly 30 dead — including 11 children and one pregnant woman — officials said. The incident happened Wednesday night after a group of armed robbers stormed into a Pentecostal service in New Kru Town, outside the capital Monrovia. … The meeting, known as a crusade, was organized by a well-known pastor known as Apostle Abraham Kromah, who runs the Word of Life Outreach International church, the BBC reported. Hundreds of worshipers were at the scene. Kromah is said to be cooperating with the police in the investigation. President George Weah declared a three-day period of national mourning.” (01/20/22)

Report: Millions are dying from drug-resistant infections

Source: BBC News [UK state media]

“More than 1.2 million people died worldwide in 2019 from infections caused by bacteria resistant to antibiotics, according to the largest study of the issue to date. This is more than the annual death toll from malaria or Aids. Poorer countries are worst affected but antimicrobial resistance threatens everyone’s health, the report says. Urgent investment in new drugs and using current ones more wisely are recommended to protect against it. The overuse of antibiotics in recent years for trivial infections means they are becoming less effective against serious infections. People are dying from common, previously treatable infections because the bacteria that cause them have become resistant to treatment. UK health officials recently warned antimicrobial resistance (AMR) was a ‘hidden pandemic’ that could emerge in the wake of Covid-19 unless antibiotics were prescribed responsibly.” (01/20/22)

France: Appeals court rules Twitter must reveal measures for fighting hate speech

Source: France 24 [French state media]

“A Paris court on Thursday ruled that Twitter must reveal its measures for fighting hate speech, in one of several cases thrashing out whether the French justice system has jurisdiction over the US social media giant. Ireland-based Twitter International had appealed a July decision ordering it to share documents and details about its French moderation team and data on their activities against hate speech. That case had been brought by several anti-discrimination groups over what they said was the company’s longstanding failure to properly moderate posts. The appeals court on Thursday confirmed the first judgement and further ordered Twitter to pay 1,500 euros ($1,700) to the groups, including SOS Racisme, SOS Homophobie and the International League against racism and anti-Semitism (Licra).” (01/20/22)

US regime sanctions four Ukrainians it alleges were working with Russian regime to destabilize Ukraine

Source: CBS News

“The U.S. government on Thursday issued sanctions on four Ukrainians who it said were engaged in Russia-backed ‘influence activities to destabilize Ukraine,’ as Western powers continued signaling to Moscow that any further aggression against Ukraine would result in punitive economic and political consequences. … Two of the four individuals are current members of the Ukrainian parliament, and are accused of working at the direction of Russian intelligence services to ‘create instability in advance of a Russian invasion,’ including by undermining pro-Western politicians and ‘laying the groundwork for a new, Russian-controlled government in Ukraine.'” [editor’s note: In English, the US regime and the US-coup-installed Ukrainian regime don’t like their politics – TLK] (01/20/22)