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UK PM aims to relax COVID rules amid threat to position

Al Jazeera - 14 hours 34 min ago
Reports say support for no-confidence vote in Boris Johnson could be reached on Wednesday.
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Smartmatic sues Mike Lindell for defamation, saying he is 'crazy like a fox' and alleging he 'intentionally stoked the fires of xenophobia and party-divide for the noble purpose of selling his pillows'

Businessinsider - 14 hours 41 min ago
MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell is facing yet another lawsuit. Voting machine company Smartmatic filed a defamation lawsuit against the pillow CEO on Tuesday, alleging that he pushed conspiracy theories to sell pillows.
  • Voting company Smartmatic filed a defamation lawsuit against MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell on Tuesday.
  • "Crazy like a fox. Mike Lindell knows exactly what he is doing, and it is dangerous," Smartmatic said.
  • Smartmatic claims Lindell is pushing conspiracy theories to seize a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" to sell pillows.

Voting machine company Smartmatic filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell and the company, alleging that he spread conspiracy theories about the 2020 election to sell pillows. 

"Crazy like a fox. Mike Lindell knows exactly what he is doing, and it is dangerous," Smartmatic alleges in its lawsuit, which includes Lindell's company, MyPillow, as one of the defendants.

The voting machine company sued both Lindell and MyPillow for defamation and deceptive trade practices. Smartmatic is asking for an unspecified amount of monetary compensation and for Lindell to retract claims he made that they and other voting machine companies switched votes from former President Donald Trump to President Joe Biden in 2020.

"He knows voting machines did not switch votes from former President Trump to now-President Biden. These facts do not matter to Mr. Lindell because he knows he can sell," reads Smartmatic's lawsuit. "He knows he can sell a preconceived story about voting machines stealing democracy by stealing votes from a president who is incredibly popular with millions of Americans. And, of course, Mr. Lindell — 'the MyPillow Guy' — knows he needs to sell pillows to keep and increase his fortune." 

In its filing, the voting machine company further alleged that Lindell was taking advantage of a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" to make money by pushing baseless voter fraud claims.

"Mr. Lindell intentionally stoked the fires of xenophobia and party-divide for the noble purpose of selling his pillows," read Smartmatic's complaint, adding that the MyPillow brand was placed "conveniently" and "strategically" during Lindell's media appearances. 

"Mr. Lindell's message was as dangerous as it was factually inaccurate," Smartmatic continued. 

When reached for comment on Tuesday night, Lindell told Insider that he was "excited" about the Smartmatic lawsuit because it would allow him to present evidence that he says he has on them.

"They're guilty. They've attacked us and were part of the biggest crime in history against our country. And they're going to all go to prison," Lindell told Insider when asked for comment about Smartmatic's lawsuit against him. "The reason I'm going after Smartmatic and Dominion is because they helped commit one of the biggest crimes against the American people, and my grandchildren deserve a future in this country." 

"It's kind of hilarious when I've lost over $80 million from the box stores, retailers, and shopping channels dropping me. And I poured over $30 million into this election crimes that these guys committed and Smartmatic helped commit," Lindell told Insider. "Also, I was selling pillows long before the election."

Lindell previously told Insider that he had spent more than $25 million on voter-fraud claims, adding that the breakdown included $10 million that he said he spent building Frank Speech, the social media platform from which he broadcasts nightly.  

This lawsuit is the latest in a string of legal troubles for the pillow CEO. He is also facing a lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems. The company filed a defamation suit against Lindell for $1.3 billion, and MyPillow is counter-suing Dominion for $1.6 billion.

Read the original article on Business Insider
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‘Scarred for life’: Australia COVID wave heaps pressure on nurses

Al Jazeera - 14 hours 51 min ago
Healthcare workers say Omicron-driven wave of hospital admissions has exacerbated longstanding staffing problems.
Categories:

Fanta Bility: US officers charged with fatally shooting girl

BBC News - World - 14 hours 52 min ago
Prosecutors drop charges against two teens who were accused of provoking the police to open fire.
Categories:

Skelsættende afgørelse: Derfor dumper Google Analytics på GDPR

Version2 - Seneste nyheder - 14 hours 53 min ago
Det er slut med at bruge Google Analytics, hvis det står datatilsynet i Østrig. Tech-gigantens foranstaltninger kan nemlig ikke sikre data mod at ende i hænderne på de amerikanske myndigheder.
Categories: IT

January 6 committee obtains phone records of Eric Trump and his brother's fiancé, Kimberly Guilfoyle, through subpoenas

Businessinsider - 15 hours 8 min ago
Eric Trump speaks with Donald Trump Jr's fiancé Kimberly Guilfoyle during a "Keep Iowa Great" press conference in Des Moines, IA, on February 3, 2020.
  • Both Eric Trump and Kimberly Guilfoyle spoke at Donald Trump's rally preceding the Capitol riot.
  • Phone records obtained by the committee contain logs of texts, as well as incoming and outgoing calls.
  • Guilfoyle claimed in texts that she raised $3 million for the rally, according to ProPublica.

Phone records of Eric Trump and Kimberly Guilfoyle have been obtained by the select House select committee investigating the Capitol riot, marking the first time the panel has issued subpoenas to family members of former President Donald Trump, CNN reported.

On Tueday, CNN special correspondent Jamie Gangel broke the story to "The Situation Room" anchor Wolf Blitzer. 

"As far as we know, this is the first time the committee has issued a subpoena targeting one of the Trump children, and it really underscores just how aggressive the committee is willing to be in its investigation," Gangel said.

Obtained from communication companies, the records disclose logs of incoming and outgoing calls, as well as their time, length, and date, according to CNN. The records also contain a log of text messages but do not disclose their content.

Both Eric Trump and Guilfoyle, who is engaged to Donald Trump Jr., spoke at a January 6 rally held by Donald Trump hours before the Capitol riot and made baseless claims about the 2020 election being stolen. Guilfoyle, a fundraiser for the former president, claimed in text messages two days prior that she raised $3 million for the rally, according to a ProPublica report.

The announcement follows the issuance of additional subpoenas on Tuesday to other members of Donald Trump's inner circle, including Rudy Giuliani, Jenna Ellis, Sidney Powell, and Boris Epshteyn.

Read the original article on Business Insider
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US probing Alibaba cloud unit for security risks: Sources

Al Jazeera - 15 hours 17 min ago
Review said to examine how the e-commerce giant stores US clients' data, including personal information and IP.
Categories:

The White House is setting up a plan to give out free N95 masks through pharmacies and community sites, a new report says

Businessinsider - 15 hours 37 min ago
A medical assistant wears an N95 mask on January 4, 2022.
  • President Joe Biden's administration plans to give out free N95s, Politico reported. 
  • The White House is expected to announce the plan on Wednesday. 
  • According to Politico, the masks will be given out at pharmacies and community sites. 

The White House plans to announce an initiative to distribute hundreds of millions of free N95 masks through pharmacies and community sites on Wednesday, Politico reported. 

President Joe Biden's administration will use masks from the government's Strategic National Stockpile, three sources familiar with the initiative told Politico. 

The initiative comes at a time when public health experts are urging Americans to swap their cloth masks for the more protective N95s in light of the more transmissible Omicron variant. 

"While all masks and respirators provide some level of protection, properly fitted respirators provide the highest level of protection," according to new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued Friday

Dawn O'Connell, assistant secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services' Preparedness and Response division, said there were 737 million N95 masks in the Strategic National Stockpile, according to the Politico report.

The effort is meant to help Americans access affordable and safe masks — something the Biden administration has been lobbied on in recent weeks, Politico reported. 

The White House has also required private health insurance companies to cover the cost of up to eight at-home COVID-19 tests a month for each covered individual. Additionally, on Tuesday, the government launched a site where each American household could order four free at-home COVID-19 rapid tests. The program is expected to launch on Wednesday. 

The White House did not respond to Insider's email request for comment. 

Read the original article on Business Insider
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Ingrid Betancourt: Former Farc captive announces presidential bid

BBC News - World - 15 hours 39 min ago
Ex-Senator Ingrid Betancourt spent six years as a Farc captive after being kidnapped in 2002.
Categories:

Tonga says it is facing ‘unprecedented disaster’, many missing

Al Jazeera - 16 hours 42 min ago
In first official statement on Saturday's volcanic eruption and tsunami, government confirms at least three dead.
Categories:

Fair trial doubts as Kem Sokha treason case resumes in Cambodia

Al Jazeera - 16 hours 49 min ago
Opposition leader back in court after almost two years during which the government continued its crackdown on critics.
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Covid: WHO warns pandemic not over amid Europe case records

BBC News - World - 16 hours 54 min ago
France reports nearly half a million new daily cases, with records also broken in Italy and Denmark.
Categories:

Man arrested after Australian child found dead in barrel

BBC News - World - 17 hours 3 min ago
A man has been charged with murder after a five-day search for a girl near Sydney, police say.
Categories:

US Capitol riot committee issues subpoena to Rudy Giuliani

BBC News - World - 17 hours 11 min ago
The former Trump lawyer is among four aides slapped with subpoenas by the congressional inquiry.
Categories:

3 Florida men were arrested in connection with Capitol riot, including former underwear model accused of throwing a traffic cone at police officers

Businessinsider - 17 hours 12 min ago
Alan Fischer is seen at the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021.
  • Three Florida men were arrested last week in connection with the Capitol riot.
  • Prosecutors say one man threw chairs at police officers, while another man deployed pepper spray.
  • The third man was carrying a sledgehammer throughout the day, according to charging documents.

Three Florida men were arrested last week in connection to the Capitol riot, including a former underwear model accused of throwing chairs and a traffic cone at police officers, as well as two men accused of carrying pepper spray.

The men — Alan "AJ" Fischer III, 28, of Tampa; Zachary Johnson, 33, of St. Petersburg, and Dion Rajewski, 61, of Largo — face a slate of charges related to the siege, including civil disorder, disorderly conduct, and engaging in physical violence. Fischer and Johnson are also charged with assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers with a dangerous weapon.

All three men were arrested Thursday, though Johnson and Rajewski are charged together in a federal indictment separate from Fischer.

Prosecutors say Fischer joined members of the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group, to march to the Capitol on January 6. Security footage from the scene shows Fischer pushing against law enforcement officers on the West side of the Capitol with a mob of other rioters, according to charging documents. Fischer was also caught on camera displaying a hand gesture associated with the Proud Boys, prosecutors said.

Later in the afternoon, investigators said security footage shots Fischer picked up an orange traffic cone and a chair and walked toward an area outside the Capitol where law enforcement officers were stationed. Moments later, he threw the traffic cone and the chair toward officers, prosecutors said.

Less than two minutes later, security footage shows Fischer walking back towards the area with a pole in his hand, which he then threw at the line of authorities. According to charging documents, Fischer returned once again, this time with another chair, which he also threw toward officers standing nearby.

Online sleuths previously identified Fischer, in part, by matching photos of him at the riot with a past picture of him modeling underwear on a catwalk. 

—#SeditionHunters (@SeditionHunters) January 14, 2022

 

An attorney for Fischer told Insider that he would pleading not guilty to all charges.

Johnson and Rajewski are both accused of possessing pepper spray during the riot, which prosecutors said Johnson used against police officers. Investigators also said Johnson was armed with a sledgehammer throughout the day. A judge on Friday released both men on a $50,000 signature bond each, and ordered Johnson placed on home detention, according to The Tampa Bay Times. Both men will also be required to forfeit any firearms they own and cannot travel without permission, the outlet reported. 

Neither Rajewski, nor Johnson immediately responded to Insider's request for comment. 

More than 750 people have been arrested in connection to the Capitol riot and more than 175 have pleaded guilty. 

Read the original article on Business Insider
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Inside the secretive training that US Green Berets give to troops who may have to take on Russia or China

Businessinsider - 17 hours 19 min ago
US Army Special Forces soldiers and Nepalese soldiers practice evacuating casualties in Nepal, February 18, 2020.
  • US special-operations troops have for decades deployed overseas to train partners.
  • Such training makes those partners better fighters and helps establish long-term relationships.
  • Foreign internal defense, as it is known, is one of the most important special-ops mission, a US Green Beret said.

In October, news reports highlighted the presence of US special operators in Taiwan, training their local counterparts on the skills necessary to fend off a Chinese invasion.

But this is nothing new. Indeed, US special-operations units have been working in scores of countries for decades, teaching local units how to become better fighters and win conflicts.

This military diplomacy strengthens US presence worldwide and creates valuable alliances and partnerships that can be leveraged in a time of need.

A US soldier trains a Chadian soldier during an exercise, in Chad, February 22, 2015.

The roughly 70,000 members and supporting troops attached to US Special Operations Command and its more secretive subunit Joint Special Operations Command have global responsibilities and can conduct a wide range of mission sets.

An Army Ranger platoon may conduct a direct-action operation to take down an Al Qaeda target in Iraq. A Marine Raider team may do a strategic-reconnaissance mission to observe an Al Shabaab outpost in Kenya and gather intelligence. Army Green Berets may conduct an unconventional-warfare operation by linking up with local guerrillas to take on Taliban fighters.

But one of the least known but most promising mission sets in the US Special Operations Command's arsenal is foreign internal defense.

Teaching others how to fightAn instructor explains patrol procedures to Iraqi special-operations soldiers during foreign internal defense training in central Iraq, August 19, 2019.

The Department of Defense defines foreign internal defense as civilian and military agencies of one government participating in any "action programs taken by another government or other designated organization to free and protect its society from subversion, lawlessness, and insurgency."

"Foreign internal defense is one of the important tools in our toolbox, and that is why we place so much focus on it," a Green Beret assigned to a National Guard unit told Insider.

When conducting foreign internal defense, special operators link up with foreign military forces and train them, the idea being that it's easier and a better use of resources to teach a foreign force to fight for itself.

"There is a specific reason why the Q course leans heavily on the foreign internal defense skill set," the Green Beret added, referring to the Special Forces Qualification Course.

Soldiers at the US Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School speak with indigenous role players during training, June 16, 2021.

"On top of the tactical component, we learn how to transmit knowledge very well. This is where the cultural and linguist training" that Green Berets receive "really shines," the Green Beret said. "I may think I am the best SUT [small-unit tactics] instructor out there, but if I can't transmit that knowledge succinctly and effectively, then I am no real instructor."

When US trainers speak the language and know the customs of the host-nation force, "then it is way easier to bond with him and make him understand what you are teaching," the Green Beret added.

With the instruction provided through foreign internal defense, US special operators can reduce or eliminate the assistance partner forces would need in the event of a conflict.

That instruction can range from basic small-unit tactics to advanced close-quarters battle, among many other skills, "but the goal is always to enable [host nation] forces to conduct their own unilateral operations. If we don't have that end-goal in mind, then we will be there forever," said the National Guard Green Beret.

Building long-term relationshipsLithuanian troops and US Army Special Forces soldiers conduct mission planning during an exercise, September 8, 2018.

Foreign internal defense is also about building long-term relationships with foreign militaries or even specific units.

"FID can establish and refine capabilities. It is a very diverse mission set that can address different needs and truly be a force-multiplier. In many ways, FID is the first line of defense," a former Army Special Forces officer told Insider.

"FID also has an interesting evolutionary aspect," the former officer said. "We can go in a country and establish a special-operations or conventional unit and go back there a few years later and train them up on a specific insertion capability," such as combat diving or free-fall parachuting.

"In a lot of ways, FID never ends, and we often end up building successful longterm partnerships with some units," said the former officer, who like the National Guard Green Beret was not authorized to speak to the press. "But we get something out of it too. Years or decades after, when we revisit X country, they are now experienced, and they get to teach us stuff too. FID can be a mutually beneficial arrangement that increases our experience and combat effectiveness in the long-term."

Although foreign internal defense is a specialty of Army Green Berets, the intense operational demand created by the global war on terror forced other units — which were competing for deployment opportunities and funding — to put more emphasis on that mission set.

Even the most elite special-mission units, such as Delta Force and the unit formerly known as SEAL Team 6, have had to do foreign internal defense on occasion as a way to get missions.

Stavros Atlamazoglou is a defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate.

Read the original article on Business Insider
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Winter Olympics: Snowboard company Burton defends working in Xinjiang

BBC News - World - 17 hours 24 min ago
Watch as Burton China's chief executive is quizzed on operating in the troubled region.
Categories:

Progressives want to unseat Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, and Rep. Ruben Gallego, a Latino and veteran, is emerging as a favorite

Businessinsider - 17 hours 26 min ago
Arizona Democrat Rep. Ruben Gallego, is a Harvard educated Marine Corp combat veteran whose political future is being watched closely.
  • Democrats are furious at Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. Some want to draft a primary challenger.
  • Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona is frequently mentioned as a 2024 challenger.
  • Gallego has not said if he's running for Senate but has been a vocal critic of Sinema recently.

Growing Democratic frustration at Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema has led progressives in her home state to clamor for a primary challenger to take her on from the left. And one particular name keeps popping up on her critics' wish lists: Rep. Ruben Gallego.

Gallego, a Marine who was elected to Congress in 2014 to represent the reliably blue Phoenix area, is not exactly quashing rumors of a challenge. He was hard to miss on cable news on January 14, when "Primary Sinema" rhetoric reached a frenzy shortly after her speech on the Senate floor declaring she wouldn't nix the filibuster. In an appearance on CNN, Gallego left the door wide open for a run for higher office. In fact, he was already on the attack.

"I've known Senator Sinema since we were both in our mid-20s and starting out in politics here in Arizona," Gallego said. "The only consistency about Senator Sinema's roles and positions is inconsistency."

"2024 is a long time from now. I'm focusing on 2022. I never say no to the future," he said. But, he added, "I think at this point right now she is really disappointing a lot of Arizonans."

Sinema has stood firm against her party in refusing to vote to end the filibuster, which would help pave the way for Democrats to pass two high-priority voting-rights bills. The senator said she believed removing the filibuster would worsen partisanship in an already divided chamber.

On Tuesday, Emily's List, one of the largest pro-woman, pro-choice PACs in the country said it was withdrawing support for Sinema over her refusal to support changes to the filibuster that would allow Democrats to pass voting rights legislation.

With Sinema not up for re-election until 2024, a primary challenger may not emerge for some time. But progressives are already taking the prospect seriously. On Tuesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont Independent, told reporters at the Capitol he was open to primary challenges against his colleagues who did not support ending the filibuster. 

—Christian Hall (@christianjhall) January 18, 2022

 

A spokesman for Gallego said in an email to Insider that the lawmaker will keep listening to Arizonans and fighting for "democratic values today, tomorrow, and no matter what position" he holds.

"As Rep. Gallego has said before, he never rules anything out, but right now he is focused on running for re-election to the House and helping hold a Democratic majority there," the spokesperson said.

Gallego joined the Marines after college and found himself deployed to Iraq with the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, Lima Company, which experienced many casualties in combat, including Gallego's best friend. In 2021, the congressman released a book about his experience, "They Called Us 'Lucky': The Life and Afterlife of the Iraq War's Hardest Hit Unit.

Gallego has held public office for more than a decade in his home state. He was elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in 2010 and became assistant minority leader in 2012. He won his bid for Congress in 2014 to represent Arizona's 7th district. 

Chuck Rocha, a Democratic strategist working to boost Latino candidates and one of Gallego's most vocal backers, said he believed the congressman's military experience would make him one of the most viable challengers to Sinema in 2024.

"Arizona is a special place with lots of Latinos, lots of moderates," said Rocha. "You need a unique candidate."

Rocha launched the "Run, Ruben, Run" campaign to raise money for Gallego should he jump into the race, although he would not disclose how much money the group had raised. Two other groups, the Primary Sinema Project and the Primary Sinema Pledge, have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars but have not yet backed a candidate.

Rocha said that Gallego could "easily" beat Sinema in a primary, but winning a general election in a truly purple state like Arizona requires someone who could appeal to conservatives. 

Democrats are the smallest number of registered voters in Arizona, with just 1,372,884 registered as of October 2021, according to the Arizona Secretary of State's office. They lag behind the state's 1,504,990 registered Republican voters and the 1,435,129  who identify as "Other". But the state has a large and growing Latino population and went for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in 2020.

"There's not any other progressive in the state of Arizona who could get Republicans and moderates to vote for him in great numbers," Rocha said. "No one else could do that except a Latino combat veteran who has served his country in uniform."

Sinema's office did not respond to Insider's request for comment. She's not up for re-election until 2024 and in politics, a lot can happen in two years. But for now, Sinema maintains a more conservative stance than fellow Democrats in Congress. 

Democrats, who hadn't held a Senate seat in Arizona since 1995 until Sinema defeated a Republican incumbent Martha McSally in 2018, would need someone who can appeal to voters in a state that Joe Biden won with thin margins.

"Arizona is not a blue state. We should be clear on that," said Steven Slugocki, former chairman of the Maricopa County Democrats, and said he would support Gallego in a primary. "The challenge of going against a sitting senator is that she is very popular with independents. She has shown she can win this state. She has a history of winning elections in a very tough state."

Gallego backers acknowledge it won't be easy to unseat Sinema.

"However, if there is somebody who could do it," Slugocki said, "I think Ruben would be a very strong, viable alternative that quite a bit of people would get behind."

Read the original article on Business Insider
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The women put on sale on Clubhouse for their views

BBC News - World - 17 hours 27 min ago
The women say right-wing trolls in India targeted them for criticising Narendra Modi and his government.
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Should bad science be taken off social media?

BBC News - World - 17 hours 30 min ago
A Royal Society report recommends against censoring scientific misinformation online.
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