Posted on

Joe Biden’s ‘climate day’ of executive actions signals clean break with Trump | Joe Biden

Sign up for the Guardian’s First Thing newsletter

Joe Biden is to instruct the US government to pause and review all oil and gas drilling on federal land, eliminate fossil fuel subsidies and transform the government’s vast fleet of cars and trucks into electric vehicles, in a sweeping new set of climate executive orders.

The battery of executive actions, to be signed by the US president on Wednesday, will direct the Department of the Interior to pause new oil and gas leases on public lands and offshore waters and launch a “rigorous review of all existing leasing”, according to a White House planning document.

The directive opens up a path to the banning of all new drilling on federal land, a campaign promise made by Biden that has been widely praised by climate groups and caused outrage within the fossil fuel industry. Biden has called the climate crisis the “existential threat of our time” and the White House has said the new executive orders will help push the US towards a goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

“President Biden and his administration are taking an important step in the right direction by limiting oil and gas development on federal lands,” said Robert Howarth, professor of ecology at Cornell University, who added that the world “must rapidly transition away from fossil fuels” to avoid disastrous climate change.

Jesse Prentice-Dunn, policy director at the Center for Western Priorities, added that “Hitting pause on oil and gas leasing is a crucial first step toward reforming a rigged and broken system that for too long has put oil and gas lobbyists ahead of the American people.”

Around a quarter of the US’s planet-heating emissions comes from fossil fuel production on public lands and it is estimated a national ban on leasing would reduce carbon emissions by 280m tons a year. Donald Trump’s administration opened up almost all federally owned land to drilling, a move cheered as a job creator by industry but decried by environmentalists and Native American tribes.

“There has to be a balance point: people over money,” said Daniel Tso, a member of the Navajo Nation.”I welcome an end to federal fossil fuel leasing and the necessary transitions to more sustainable economies for the Navajo Nation.”

Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance, which represents oil and gas drillers in western states, has said her group will challenge the moratorium in court. “The environmental left is leading the agenda at the White House when it comes to energy and environment issues,” she said.

Biden’s new set of executive orders, dubbed “climate day” by environmental campaigners, adds up to one of the most wide-ranging efforts ever taken by a US president to tackle the climate crisis, building upon his decision last week to re-enter the Paris climate agreement.

Alongside the review of public lands, the Biden administration will install climate as an “essential element” of US foreign policy and national security, craft a strengthened national emissions reduction target and will set a new goal of conserving 30% of American land and oceans by 2030. The new emissions goal may well be presented at an international climate summit that Biden is planning for Earth Day, on 22 April.

The White House, for the first time, will have an office of domestic climate policy to coordinate Biden’s climate agenda alongside a national climate taskforce that will comprise of 21 government agency leaders to adopt a “whole of government” approach to reducing emissions. A review of scientific integrity practices will roll out.

The orders also establish an environmental justice interagency council to address the racial and economic inequities exacerbated by climate change and air and water pollution. Biden hopes to pass a $2tn clean energy package through Congress and he will direct that 40% of investments will be aimed at disadvantaged communities.

In all, the climate package is a strong repudiation of the Trump administration, which consistently sidelined or derided climate science, dismantled policies designed to lower emissions and withdrew from the Paris climate deal.

“This is the single biggest day for climate action in more than a decade, and what makes it all the better is that President Biden and Vice-President Harris are just getting started,” said Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters.

Posted on

Boeing 737 Max cleared to fly again by EU regulator | Boeing

Boeing’s 737 Max aircraft has been given the green light to return to the skies in the EU by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), after a 22-month grounding following two fatal crashes.

Marking a crucial step in its return to service, a modified version of the US company’s previously best-selling aeroplane has been given permission to fly again, although not until a package of checks and training is completed. The move does not apply to the UK after its departure from the EU on 1 January, and the UK regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority, will certify the plane separately.

The 737 Max was grounded globally in March 2019 after two plane crashes in the space of six months killed a total of 346 people.

EASA said that each 737 Max aircraft will be required to undergo software upgrades, reworking of its electrical system, maintenance checks, operations manual updates and crew training before re-entering service.

As a result, each individual aircraft will have to undergo an updated airworthiness directive, which will be scheduled by the aircraft operators and overseen by the national aviation authority of each of the 27 EU member states, meaning it may be some time before the 737 Max takes off again in Europe.

EASA has followed in the footsteps of regulators in the US and Brazil in granting approval to the modified 737 Max.

The decision to give approval to the plane was “a significant milestone on a long road”, EASA’s executive director, Patrick Ky, said.

Ky insisted that the regulator had not come under any pressure from Boeing or others to give permission for the plane to resume flying.

“This assessment was carried out in full independence of Boeing or the Federal Aviation Administration and without any economic or political pressure – we asked difficult questions until we got answers and pushed for solutions which satisfied our exacting safety requirements,” Ky said.

Guardian business email sign-up

Ky stated that EASA has “every confidence that the aircraft is safe” and that it had conducted its own flight tests.

The agency will continue to closely monitor 737 Max operations when the planes return to the skies.

EASA said it had insisted that Boeing would continue its work to improve the aircraft over the medium term, to “reach an even higher level of safety”.

The 737 Max was grounded after crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia caused by a faulty sensor, which repeatedly triggered a system that pushed down the nose of the plane.

Posted on

Goldman Sachs cuts pay of chief executive David Solomon by $10m | Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs has cut the pay of its chief executive, David Solomon, by $10m (£7.3m) after the bank was forced to pay billions of dollars to settle an international investigation into its role in the 1MDB scandal.

Solomon was still granted a $15.5m bonus on top of his $2m annual salary, in light of the investment bank’s bumper performance last year. It left Solomon with a pay packet totalling $17.5m, compared with $27.5m in 2019.

Solomon’s pay is nearly half the size of the $31.5m package handed to JP Morgan’s chief, Jamie Dimon. Morgan Stanley’s boss, James Gorman, surpassed both rivals after receiving $33m.

A strong showing by Goldman’s investment division in 2020helped the bank beat expectations with a 12% rise in full-year profits to $9.5bn. The lender more than doubled its profits and reported record revenues in the fourth quarter.

Goldman announced in October that it was cutting executive pay by a combined $31m, after reaching a $2.9bn settlement with global regulators and the US Department of Justice over its alleged role in the 1MDB corruption scandal.

Months earlier, Goldman agreed to pay $3.9bn to the Malaysian government, after claims it allegedly failed to act while $4.5bn was looted from the country’s sovereign wealth fund. Goldman underwrote and arranged bond sales for the fund and earned $600m in fees for helping raise the cash, according to the DoJ.

In regulatory filings released overnight, Goldman Sachs explained that none of the current executives, including Solomon, were involved or aware of the bank’s participation “in any illicit activity” regarding the arranging of bond sales for 1MDB. However, the bank’s board said it “views the 1MDB matter as an institutional failure, inconsistent with the high expectations it has for the firm.”

Goldman’s president and chief operating officer, John Waldron, and its chief financial officer, Stephen Scherr, each had their pay reduced by $7m, leaving them with pay packets worth $18.5m and $15.5m respectively.

In total, the Wall Street bank is trying to claw back a total of $174m from a dozen current and former executives.

Posted on

First Thing: chance of Trump Senate impeachment dims | US news

Good morning.

The chance of Donald Trump being convicted in his impeachment trial in the Senate looks less likely as of Tuesday, when 45 Republicans attempted to dismiss the proceedings before they began. With 55 senators still supporting the trial, the Republicans’ objections were not enough to derail it, but to get a conviction 67 senators need to vote in favour. In practice, this means a dozen Republicans who just voted to end the trial would need to cross the aisle and vote in favour of impeaching Trump, which seems unlikely.

Rand Paul of Kentucky, who led the effort to cancel the trial, argued it was not legitimate since Trump is no longer president, a claim the Democratic majority leader, Chuck Schumer, said had been “completely debunked by constitutional scholars from all across the political spectrum”.

Schumer pledges 'real accountability' in Trump impeachment trial – video
Schumer pledges ‘real accountability’ in Trump impeachment trial – video

YouTube extended Trump’s ban indefinitely on Tuesday, citing “concerns about ongoing potential for violence”. The video-sharing website had announced an indefinite ban on Trump’s account on 12 January, six days after the siege on the Capitol that left five dead, senators cowering, and the building looted and smashed. After revisiting the issue, it decided to keep the suspension in place.

Meanwhile, Fox News has been accused of hypocrisy after several presenters said the media had been “gushing” over Joe Biden and “not hiding their excitement”. The network has long been accused of blind loyalty to Trump, and as Adam Garrett puts it, spent four years “largely functioning as an extension of Donald Trump’s White House”.

  • Larry Kudlow, a former economic adviser to Trump, is getting a Fox News show, the network said. Following rumours that the former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany had also been hired, Fox clarified she had not but said the network was “open” to doing so in the future.

  • Rudy Giuliani is annoyed about someone suing him for defamation, after himself threatening to sue someone for defamation. Trump’s personal lawyer claimed a $1.3bn lawsuit brought against him by Dominion Voting Systems over false allegations that their machines were involved in election fraud was “censorship”, but had threatened to sue the New York Post for defamation in 2001.

Biden ramps up vaccine rollout and pushes policies on racism and immigration

Biden announces 'wartime' boost in vaccine supply – video
Biden announces ‘wartime’ boost in vaccine supply – video

Joe Biden pledged to ramp up the coronavirus vaccine rollout in the US, to ensure that most of the population has been vaccinated by the end of the summer or start of fall. Speaking at a White House briefing, Biden said there would be “enough vaccine to fully vaccinate 300 million Americans” by that time, with the new administration exercising an option to buy another 200m doses from Pfizer and Moderna.

Biden signed four more executive orders aimed at promoting racial equality on Tuesday, relating to housing and criminal justice. Speaking before signing the orders, he referenced the death of George Floyd as a turning point for the US, saying it “stirred the consciousness in millions of Americans”.

Biden signs four executive orders aimed at promoting racial equity – video
Biden signs four executive orders aimed at promoting racial equity – video

The government also rolled back Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy that resulted in the separation of thousands of families at the US-Mexico border, a move which is as symbolic as it is practical. More than 5,500 children have been separated from their parents as a result of the policy. However, it was not all good news for the Biden team. In a federal court in Texas, a judge blocked the government from enforcing a 100-day ban on deportations – a key priority of the new president.

  • Portland’s mayor pepper-sprayed a maskless resident who confronted him about coronavirus rules following a meal out. After the man followed Wheeler to his car, the mayor pepper-sprayed the man due to concerns for his “personal safety”.

Biden and Putin have first phone call

The then vice-president shakes hands with Vladimir Putin in Moscow in 2011. Photograph: Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

The US and Russia have agreed to extend an arms control treaty that puts a limit on their deployed nuclear warheads, following Biden’s first phone call as president with Vladimir Putin. The Biden administration is attempting to take a tougher stance on Russia’s violations of human rights and international law, while also making progress on arms control.

During the call, Biden challenged Putin on Russia’s treatment of the opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, interference in the US election and cyber-attacks on government systems, and expressed his support for Ukraine against Russian “aggression”.

  • The US has a “moral imperative” to pursue the use of AI weapons because they are expected to make fewer mistakes than humans in battle so can reduce casualties, a government-appointed panel has said in a draft report for Congress.

In other news …

The most popular action to fight the climate crisis was the protection and restoration of forests, followed by renewable energy and green farming.
The most popular action to fight the climate crisis was the protection and restoration of forests, followed by renewable energy and green farming. Photograph: RBG Kew/PA
  • Two-thirds of people think the climate crisis is a “global emergency”, according to a UN poll, the biggest ever on the environment. Younger people showed the greatest concern, with 69% agreeing, but 58% of those over 60 also agreed, so perhaps the green generation gap is slimmer than we thought.

  • Chinese miners rescued after being trapped underground for two weeks have spoken of their joy and relief. After a mine blast on 10 January in east China, 22 men were stuck hundreds of meters underground, with no food for the first nine days. Eleven of the group were pulled out alive.

  • Amazon is trying to force unionizing workers to vote in person rather than by mail, in an attempt to fight off staff organization. If they are successful, Amazon workers in Bessemer, Alabama, would be the first Amazon warehouse in the US to unionize.

Stat of the day: 84 countries are unlikely to reach mass immunization until 2024

Most poor countries will not achieve mass Covid-19 immunity until at least 2024, and some may never, due to inequality in the distribution of the vaccine, a forecast has said. It said wealthier countries such as the US would probably achieve “widespread vaccination coverage” by late 2021, but 84 of the world’s poorest countries will not receive enough of the vaccine to inoculate their populations for some time.

Don’t miss this: the long history of the manicure

Did you know that nail art dates back to ancient Egypt? Funmi Fetto explores the millennia-long history of the manicure, and what it tells us about social practice and cultural appropriation. She also looks at the modern-day nail industry and the sinister price of this “cheap luxury”.

Last thing: declassified CIA memo reveals some bizarre Russian experiments

An extrasensory perception (ESP) experiment taking place at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland in 2005
An extrasensory perception (ESP) experiment taking place at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland in 2005. Photograph: Murdo MacLeod/The Guardian

A recently declassified CIA memo reveals agents in 1991 discussing two Russian scientists who were conducting experiments on extrasensory perception – the ability to gain information and influence objects using only your mind. According to the memo, one scientist had “perfected” his methods. One such experiment included putting a volunteer between two concave mirrors and trying to transmit “psychic energy” to them.

Sign up

Sign up for the US morning briefing

First Thing is delivered to thousands of inboxes every weekday. If you’re not already signed up, subscribe now.

Posted on

Biden turns attention to climate crisis with new executive orders today – live updates | US news

Joe Biden will address the nation about the climate crisis later today, and sign further executive orders aimed at environmental impacts. Those directives include spelling out how US intelligence, defense and homeland security agencies should address the security threats posed by worsening droughts, floods and other natural disasters under global warming. Biden’s appearance is due at 1:30pm EST (6:30pm GMT).

Before that, White House press secretary Jen Psaki will also hold an event, joined by climate envoy John Kerry and White House national climate advisor Gina McCarthy.

Kerry has already been laying the ground for today’s environmental announcements since taking up his role. Ellen Knickmeyer writes for the Associated Press that he has been trying to make clear that the US isn’t just revving up its own efforts to reduce oil, gas and coal pollution but that it intends to push everyone in the world to do more, too.

Joe Biden introducing John Kerry as his special envoy for the climate crisis back in November. Photograph: Joshua Roberts/Reuters

Kerry’s diplomatic efforts match the fast pace of domestic climate directives by the week-old Biden administration, which created the job Kerry now holds.

At 77, Kerry is working to make a success out of the global climate accord that he helped negotiate in Paris as president Barack Obama’s secretary of state and that he then saw rejected by president Donald Trump

Success for Kerry is hardly assured. At home, he faces pushback from the oil and gas industry and loud Republican concerns that jobs will be lost.

Tim Murtaugh

In the end, Biden will have killed thousands of jobs with just this one action.

If only someone had warned that Biden would be an enemy of the energy industry and kill jobs at the behest of the radical, environmental left.

January 26, 2021

Internationally, there’s uncertainty about whether Biden’s climate commitments can survive the United States’ intensely divided politics, let alone the next presidential transition. Meanwhile, environmentalists are pushing Kerry to be more aggressive – demonstrating outside his house on his first full day on the job.

Already Kerry has spoken virtually with US mayors, foreign presidents and premiers, government ministers and others. His message is: put your big one-off Covid economic recovery funding into projects that boost cleaner energy. Get green projects going fast in Republican-leaning U.S. states to prove renewable energy can mean jobs and build needed political support. Get everyone to talk to China about things like stopping the building of dirty-burning coal-fired power plants.

If China and the US, as the world’s No. 1 and 2 top carbon emitters, don’t spell out exactly how they will curb climate-damaging emissions more quickly, “we’re all going to lose credibility,” Kerry told an online gathering of American mayors last weekend.

The US has to have the “credibility to go to the table, show people what we’re doing and push them to do more,” Kerry said then. “So everybody can can understand it’s not fake, it’s not a phony, empty promise it really is getting real. They’re not going to believe it when we just say it. We have to do it.”

Posted on

45 Republican senators vote to dismiss impeachment of Donald Trump – video | US news

Donald Trump’s hopes of avoiding conviction by the US Senate were strengthened on Tuesday when 45 Republicans tried to dismiss his impeachment trial before it even began.

After they were sworn in and signed the oath book – each using a different pen owing to coronavirus precautions – Rand Paul of Kentucky challenged the legitimacy of the trial.

Chuck Schumer, the Democratic majority leader, dismissed Paul’s theory as ‘flat-out wrong’

Posted on

German consumer confidence falls as markets await Fed decision – business live | Business

Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.

Microsoft released stellar results last night as the Covid-19 pandemic sparked a boom in PC sales and video gaming and drove higher usage of the company’s cloud services. The Xbox and PC maker posted a 17% increase in revenues to $43.1bn between October and December, which beat forecasts, sending its shares to a record high.

Today, Facebook, Tesla and Apple are due to release earnings after Wall Street closes.

Apart from the tech results, the main event is the US Federal Reserve’s policy decision at the end of its two-day meeting – the first in 2021. It is expected to leave policy unchanged and stick to its ultra-loose stance: i.e. near zero interest rates and $120bn of bond purchases every month and other liquidity relief measures to help the Covid-ravaged American economy.

Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote Bank, says:

And there will certainly be no hint of a policy tightening, or tapering in the foreseeable future, given that the health crisis has not been losing speed with the mutation of the virus and delay in vaccine distributions across the globe. It appears that Joe Biden has been too optimistic about getting anyone who wants vaccinated by the end of spring. It is now said that end-of-summer is a more realistic target, if all goes well with the production and the distribution of doses.

Speaking of that, the unconsidered scarcity in vaccine doses may turn the trade tensions between the US and Europe that emerged under Trump administration into a vaccine war, as Germany now threatens to retaliate over the US trade restrictions by limiting AstraZeneca’s vaccine exports. No one saw that coming.

As such, the latest developments around the vaccine are bad enough to keep the Fed doves in charge.

Consumer confidence in Germany has fallen for a fourth month heading into February, not surprising given that the country is in another coronavirus lockdown. Chancellor Angela Merkel and state leaders agreed last week to extend the lockdown until mid-February.

The GfK research institute said its consumer sentiment index, based on a poll of 2,000 Germans, fell to -15.6 points from a revised -7.5 in January. It is the lowest reading since June. GfK researcher Rolf Bürkl said confidence was likely to remain muted into March.

Asian markets are mostly higher after a choppy session, with Japan’s Nikkei closing 0.31% higher while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 0.1% and the Australian stock market fell 0.72%. We are expecting a mixed open for European markets.

The World Economic Forum’s annual meeting – digital Davos – continues today. This afternoon there are a series of sessions devoted to discussing net zero and climate change, including one with the former Bank of England governor Mark Carney, now a UN special envoy for climate and finance, and Al Gore, the former US vice president and environmentalist. Carney has also joined the Canadian fund manager Brookfield Asset Management to spearhead environmental and social investing.

WEF sessions:

  • 1pm GMT: on Net Zero with Mark Carney and Al Gore
  • 3pm GMT: on Climate change with Alok Sharma, president for COP 26, and Shell CEO Ben van Beurden
  • 5pm GMT: on Net Zero aviation with UK transport secretary Grant Shapps
  • 6pm GMT: Carbon markets with Bill Gates, Mark Carney and Standard Chartered CEO Bill Winters

The Agenda

  • 1:30pm GMT: IMF Global Financial Stability Report
  • 1:30pm GMT: US Durable goods orders for December (forecast: 0.9%)
  • 7:00pm GMT: US Federal Reserve interest rate decision
  • 7:30pm GMT: Fed Press conference
Posted on

Jigsaw puzzles make you smarter – and I’m living proof | Hobbies

If you looked at my Google search history (which I would obviously never let anyone do), an alarming percentage of it would consist of variations of: “Is X actually good for you?” With X being whichever bad habit I’m engaged in. The amazing thing about the internet is that you can always find a random study that justifies anything. Is binge-watching Netflix actually good for you? Why yes, experts have said that it’s a healthy way of destressing. Is being a night owl who hits the snooze button 15 times every morning a sign you’re a genius? Why yes, a 2009 study has found intelligent children are more likely to grow up to be nocturnal adults.

My latest adventures in confirmation bias are centred on jigsaw puzzles. At the beginning of the pandemic, everyone got obsessed with 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzles; they were flying off the shelves like toilet paper. Losers, I thought at the time. Why would anyone over the age of eight and under the age of 108 bother piecing together a stupid picture? You know what comes next: I reached the stage of pandemic despair where I became addicted to puzzles. My idea of a wild night is now crouching over a table, rummaging through a cardboard box and going “Ooh!” when I locate the right piece. Depressingly, I also seem to have reached an age where it is possible to strain a neck muscle from overenthusiastic puzzling.

So, is my latest hobby a complete waste of time? My partner says yes; science says no. Research suggests puzzles can help increase concentration and sharpen your memory. And, according to one study, doing jigsaws “recruits multiple visuospatial cognitive abilities and is a protective factor for visuospatial cognitive ageing”. I have no idea what that means, but it sounds like a great excuse to order another puzzle.

Posted on

‘The music stopped’: Kobe Bryant remembered on anniversary of death | Sport

Kobe Bryant wasn’t in the bubble with the Los Angeles Lakers last October when they won the NBA championship. He wasn’t at the All-Star weekend in Chicago where half the players wore his number on their uniforms, the other half wearing his daughter’s jersey number. He wasn’t there to hear the Basketball Hall of Fame announced that his career was worthy of enshrinement.

Yet his presence was so clearly felt in each of those moments.

“Everything stopped,” Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters last week. “The music stopped. The players stopped. Nobody said a word. A lot of guys dropped to the floor and started crying. Nothing happened for 10 minutes. We all just sat there in silence. It was one of the worst moments of all our lives.”

“Jarron Collins came over to me and whispered the news in my ear. I think it was the same thing where a couple people on our staff whispered it to a couple players on our team. We were all like a deer in the headlights, you know? We just froze and all tried to absorb the news and everything stopped.”

Bryant, his daughter Gianna and the other seven people who climbed aboard that helicopter on a Sunday morning in southern California have been gone for exactly one year now – Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives.

Tears have been shed. Stories have been told. Tributes have been made.

And if there was any doubt about what kind of legacy Bryant – a five-time NBA champion, still the No 4 scorer in NBA history, a 20-year veteran of the league – left behind, it has been erased now. He still resonates, maybe more than ever.

“God rest his soul, God rest the soul of Gigi and the seven others that perished,” said Miami assistant coach and former NBA player Caron Butler, who was close with Bryant for years. “The legacy that he left, man, he did it all. He inspired. When you think about being better, embracing the storm, having the right mentality and perspective about life and always trying to be better, he embodied it all and that’s why his legacy will live forever.”

Bryant is gone, but that doesn’t mean Butler is wavering on a promise he made. Butler famously had a longtime affinity for Mountain Dew, even drinking it during games when others thought he was having Gatorade. When Butler played for the Lakers, Bryant strongly urged him to kick the habit.

Butler was taping an ad last year for Mountain Dew. He took a sip for the cameras. He then spit the drink out.

“Out of respect to my brother,” Butler said.

Butler and Bryant were brothers in the teammate sense. Tony Altobelli lost his actual brother, John Altobelli, in the crash. Alyssa Altobelli was a teammate of Gianna Bryant; she was on the helicopter along with John, her father, and mother Keri.

Anthony Calderon and Dontate Matthews leave flowers to pay their respects at a makeshift memorial on Tuesday at the site of the helicopter crash a year ago that killed nine people including Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna. Photograph: Patrick T Fallon/AFP/Getty Images

John Altobelli was the baseball coach at Orange Coast College in southern California. Tony Altobelli is the sports information director at that school; sports information directors are tasked with promoting their teams, in good times and bad, always trying to find a positive way to tell a story. And somehow, even for a story this painful, Tony Altobelli has managed to do that.

His brother died with Kobe Bryant. That’s how the world got to know who his brother was.

“It’s nice to see his memory, and just his way of his life being celebrated by people far beyond our area,” Tony Altobelli said. “It takes a little bit of the sting off what happened. I’ve kind of jokingly said if it had to happen, I’m glad a global figure was with him when it happened because now the whole world knows about my brother, my sister-in-law and my niece. And I think that’s pretty cool.”

Christina Mauser died in the crash as well; she was one of the coaches at Bryant’s academy. Tony Altobelli and Mauser’s husband, Matt, have become friends in the last year; they didn’t know each other before 26 January 2020. Matt Mauser has organized a concert to honor those who died in the crash and to serve as a benefit for the foundation he started in his wife’s memory ; it streams Tuesday night.

Sarah Chester and her 13-year-old daughter Payton, another of the players along with Gianna and Alyssa, also were on board. Also killed was the pilot, Ara Zobayan. The Lakers were in the air when the news broke, flying home from a game in Bryant’s hometown of Philadelphia.

The Lakers are not planning any formal marking of the day, nor is the NBA. It is not a day for celebration. It is a day for remembrance, not that it’s needed.

Bryant’s legacy lives on. He won’t be forgotten. Nor will 26 January 2020.

“I don’t think any of us will ever forget that day,” Kerr said.

Posted on

YouTube extends ban on Trump amid concerns about further violence | US news

Donald Trump is suspended from posting to YouTube indefinitely after the video platform’s parent company Google extended a ban put in place this month.

“In light of concerns about the ongoing potential for violence, the Donald J Trump channel will remain suspended,” a YouTube spokesperson said. “Our teams are staying vigilant and closely monitoring for any new developments.”

YouTube had announced on 12 January, following the insurrection at the Capitol, that it would suspend Trump’s account indefinitely. After revisiting the issue it has decided to keep that suspension in place, CNet first reported.

Under the suspension, Trump’s account will remain online but the former president will not be able to post new videos. Comments under existing videos will remain disabled, a YouTube spokesperson told the Guardian. The company did not give any indication as to when the suspension would be lifted.

YouTube is one of several major tech platforms that took action against Trump in early January, citing a risk his messages could incite violence.

Twitter on 8 January banned Trump permanently from its platforms in all capacities. It suspended Trump’s personal Twitter account and cracked down on other accounts Trump attempted to tweet from to evade the ban, including the official presidential account @POTUS and his campaign account @TeamTrump. After Trump left office, @POTUS was turned over to Joe Biden.

Trump remains suspended from Facebook and Instagram pending a decision from the platform’s Oversight Board. The board comprises 30 officials from around the world who work as Facebook’s “supreme court”, meant to have a more objective final say on the social network’s moderation decisions. It has not yet announced when the board will take up the issue.

Critics of Facebook, including a group calling itself the “Real Facebook Oversight Board”, objected to Facebook’s decision to defer to the board regarding Trump’s suspension, saying that the platform’s action against the account was too little, too late. “The Oversight Board is no substitute for real and responsible moderation of content nor is it an acceptable replacement for truly independent, democratically accountable regulation,” the group said in a statement.

“If they can’t take up a case until after there’s been an attempted insurrection, what’s the point?” it added. “Whether or not Trump is banned for good, the real question needs to be: what is Facebook doing to keep hateful and violent content off their platforms to begin with?”