Discord in the Party – OZY

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell splits with Republican leaders to call the Capitol riot a “violent insurrection.” French President Emmanuel Macron is getting mixed messages about Russia’s plans for Ukraine. Canada’s “freedom convoy” continues to wreak havoc in Ottawa. And the Oscar nominations are out, but not everyone feels like a winner. All this and more in today’s APB.

IMPORTANT

1 – Mitch steps out of line

Senate GOP leader at odds with Republican National Committee

Last week, the RNC censured House Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for participating in the Democrat-led investigation into the Capitol riot, describing the Jan. 6 attack as “legitimate political speech.” . Yesterday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell disagreed with the move, calling the attack a “violent insurrection…to prevent the peaceful transfer of power”. His surprise opposition highlights a divide within his party: Should Republicans rally their base with talks of January 2021, as former President Donald Trump is doing, or should they confront the Biden administration before the November half-terms? McConnell, at least, seems to have made up his mind. (Sources: AP, The Hill)

2 – Lost in miscommunication

French and Russian leaders offer different accounts of Ukraine talks

French President Emmanuel Macron may have been too quick to count his chickens. Yesterday he confidently told reporters that ahead of his meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy he had ‘obtained assurances that there will be no deterioration or escalation’ from Russian President Vladimir Putin. But Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied such a deal, saying any suggestion of a guarantee was “not fair”. This kind of miscommunication is concerning given the tenuous nature of unity among Western allies in the face of Russia’s potential invasion of Ukraine. As for Zelenskyy, he says he looks beyond words in favor of “concrete steps” from Russia. (Source: BBC)

3 – Trucking always

Canada’s ‘Freedom Convoy’ vaccine protests escalate and spread

The Ambassador Bridge connecting Detroit, Michigan, to Windsor, Ontario — one of the busiest border crossings between the United States and Canada — was temporarily closed Tuesday amid protests by truckers over vaccination mandates. Meanwhile, Canada’s capital Ottawa remains under a state of emergency after nearly two weeks of protests against pandemic restrictions. Dozens of protesters have already been arrested and police have set up a hate crime hotline in response to concerns about racist abuse, harassment and violence. Authorities estimate that up to 25% of the vehicles involved in the protests contain children, who could be in danger during the operations. (Source: BBC, Axios)

4 – Crisis averted?

US House aims to avoid closure with bridge funding

US government funding is due to expire on February 18, but yesterday the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan interim bill to extend that deadline until March 11. The bill — one of many short-term fixes Congress has passed in trying to reach a full one-year funding deal — must be approved by the Senate and signed by President Joe Biden to become law. . Yesterday, House leaders were optimistic that a funding deal could be reached by the week of March 7, and both sides agree that amid the pandemic and with tensions rising with Russia, a fully funded government is crucial. (Source: CNN)

5 – Briefly

Right here are some things you should know today:

Families of victims of the Bronx fire last month are suing building owners. They allege a ‘reckless disregard’ of safety rules after the fire killed 17 people. (Source: Al Jazeera) Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff was evacuated from high school following a bomb threat. Emhoff was visiting Dunbar High School in Washington, DC, for Black History Month when the school was evacuated. (Source: NBC News) A deadly landslide hits Colombia. At least 14 people have been killed and dozens are hospitalized as rescuers search the mud for survivors. (Source: BBC)

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INTRIGUING

1 – Oscars released

Meet the Nominees for the 94th Annual Academy Awards

Leading the pack for this year’s Oscars is Jane Campion The power of the dog, a western drama that garnered 12 nominations. Behind was that of Dennis Villeneuve Dunes with 10 nominations – but none in the directing or acting categories. West Side Story, Belfast and King Richard have also been highly nominated, although the Academy has avoided blockbusters like Spider-Man: No Coming Home and no time to die. Lady Gaga fans slammed her snub for her role in Gucci House, while Denzel Washington extended his record as the most nominated black actor in history. The ceremony returns on March 27 after last year’s disruption. (Sources: Variety, Hollywood Reporter, People)

2 – college blues

Study suggests college will no longer provide help

For low-income families, a college degree has long been touted as the key to escaping the cycle of poverty. But sociology researcher Byeongdon Oh of Portland State University has published a new study that suggests college graduates from low-income families are more likely to carry higher student loan debt than their peers from lower-income families. higher income families. Oh argues that policies such as the one-time student loan forgiveness that have been considered by the Biden administration would have little impact because rising college tuition will only put families in debt later on. low income. (Source: The Hill)

3 – Bitcoin bandits behind bars

New York Couple Arrested, $3.6 Billion in Cryptocurrency Seized

In 2016, a bitcoin exchange called Bitfinex was hacked and $71 million worth of cryptocurrency was stolen. Since then, the value has skyrocketed to $4.5 billion. Justice Department prosecutors believe the cryptocurrency was deposited in a virtual wallet belonging to Ilya “Dutch” Lichtenstein. He and his wife, Heather Morgan, allegedly laundered the money through a series of small, complex online transactions. Federal agents arrested the couple on Tuesday in Manhattan. The $3.6 billion seizure — the largest ever by the DOJ — is a direct result of the new National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team specializing in cracking down on crypto crimes. (Source: NPR)

4 – Climb uphill

Struggling Peloton cuts jobs and ousts CEO

John Foley, who co-founded the exercise company and served as chief executive for the past 10 years, is stepping down to become executive chairman. He will be replaced by former Spotify and Netflix CFO Barry McCarthy. Peloton, under pressure from activist investor Blackwell Capital, also plans to cut 2,800 jobs, 20% of positions in the company. It’s sobering news for a brand that boomed during the pandemic, only to crumble as sales dwindled and publicity turned negative. In January 2021, Peloton was valued at $50 billion: today it’s at $9 billion – and that’s after a boost amid takeover speculation. (Sources: The Guardian, WSJ (subtitle))

5 – Chen again

American figure skater Nathan Chen dominates Beijing short program

At the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, Chen was one of the favorites to win gold, but he caved under the pressure and fell during his short program. This year in Beijing, there is no sign of his old nerves. On Tuesday, the 22-year-old set the highest short program record in figure skating history at 113.97 when he perfectly executed two quadruple jumps and a triple axel. Now only Thursday’s free skate — and Japan’s Yuma Kagiyama and Shoma Uno, ranked second and third after the short program — stand between Chen and Olympic gold. (Source: ESPN)

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Cathy W. Howerton