In Brief: January 24, 2021

Supporters’ words may haunt Trump at impeachment trial

WASHINGTON — The words of Donald Trump supporters who are accused of participating in the deadly U.S. Capitol riot may end up being used against him in his Senate impeachment trial as he faces the charge of inciting a violent insurrection.

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At least five supporters facing federal charges have suggested they were taking orders from the then-president when they marched on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 to challenge the certification of Joe Biden’s election win. But now those comments, captured in interviews with reporters and federal agents, are likely to take center stage as Democrats lay out their case. It’s the first time a former president will face such charges after leaving office.

“I feel like I was basically following my president. I was following what we were called to do. He asked us to fly there. He asked us to be there,” Jenna Ryan, a Texas real estate agent who posted a photo on Twitter of herself flashing a peace sign next to a broken Capitol window, told a Dallas-Fort Worth TV station.

Jacob Chansley, the Arizona man photographed on the dais in the Senate who was shirtless and wore face paint and a furry hat with horns, has similarly pointed a finger at Trump.

Chansley called the FBI the day after the insurrection and told agents he traveled “at the request of the president that all ‘patriots’ come to D.C. on January 6, 2021,” authorities wrote in court papers.

Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

LOS ANGELES — Larry King, the suspenders-sporting everyman whose broadcast interviews with world leaders, movie stars and ordinary Joes helped define American conversation for a half-century, died Saturday. He was 87.

King died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, his production company, Ora Media, tweeted. No cause of death was given, but a spokesperson said Jan. 4 that King had COVID-19, had received supplemental oxygen and had been moved out of intensive care. His son Chance Armstrong also confirmed King’s death, CNN reported.

A longtime nationally syndicated radio host, from 1985 through 2010 he was a nightly fixture on CNN, where he won many honors, including two Peabody awards.

With his celebrity interviews, political debates and topical discussions, King wasn’t just an enduring on-air personality. He also set himself apart with the curiosity he brought to every interview, whether questioning the assault victim known as the Central Park jogger or billionaire industrialist Ross Perot, who in 1992 rocked the presidential contest by announcing his candidacy on King’s show.

In its early years, “Larry King Live” was based in Washington, which gave the show an air of gravitas. Likewise King. He was the plainspoken go-between through whom Beltway bigwigs could reach their public, and they did, earning the show prestige as a place where things happened, where news was made.

Wuhan returns to normal as world still battling pandemic

WUHAN, China — A year ago, a notice sent to smartphones in Wuhan at 2 a.m. announced the world’s first coronavirus lockdown, bringing the bustling central Chinese industrial and transport center to a virtual standstill almost overnight. It would last 76 days.

Early Saturday morning, however, residents of the city where the virus was first detected were jogging and practicing tai chi in a fog-shrouded park beside the mighty Yangtze River.

Life has largely returned to normal in the city of 11 million, even as the rest of the world grapples with the spread of the virus’ more contagious variants. Efforts to vaccinate people for COVID-19 have been frustrated by disarray and limited supplies in some places. The scourge has killed more than 2 million people worldwide.

Traffic was light in Wuhan but there was no sign of the barriers that a year ago isolated neighborhoods, prevented movement around the city and confined people to their housing compounds and even apartments.

Wuhan accounted for the bulk of China’s 4,635 deaths from COVID-19, a number that has largely stayed static for months. The city has been largely free of further outbreaks since the lockdown was lifted on April 8, but questions persist as to where the virus originated and whether Wuhan and Chinese authorities acted fast enough and with sufficient transparency to allow the world to prepare for a pandemic that has sickened more than 98 million.

From wire sources

Judge: Kenosha shooter can’t associate with supremacists

KENOSHA, Wis. — An 18-year-old Illinois teen charged with fatally shooting two people during a protest in southeastern Wisconsin last year is prohibited from associating with known white supremacists under a judge’s recently modified bail conditions.

Kyle Rittenhouse was 17 during the Aug. 25 demonstration in Kenosha, Wisconsin, as hundreds were protesting the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man. Rittenhouse has been charged with multiple counts, including reckless and intentional homicide, endangerment and being a minor in possession of a firearm.

Prosecutors allege Rittenhouse, who is white, left his home in Antioch, Illinois, and traveled to Kenosha to answer a call for militia to protect businesses. Kenosha was in the throes of several nights of chaotic street demonstrations after a white officer shot Blake in the back during a domestic disturbance, leaving Blake paralyzed.

Rittenhouse opened fire with an assault-style rifle during the protest, killing Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and wounding Gaige Grosskreutz, authorities said. Rittenhouse has pleaded not guilty to all counts and argued he fired in self-defense. Conservatives have rallied around him, generating enough money to make his $2 million cash bail.

According to online court records, a Wisconsin judge modified Rittenhouse’s conditions of release on Friday to note Rittenhouse “shall not knowingly have conduct with any person or group of persons known to harm, threaten, harass or menace others on the basis of their race, beliefs on the subject of religion, color, national origin, or gender.”

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The Latest: N.Y. seniors, churches to get vaccine prep kits

NEW YORK — New York will be sending more vaccination preparation kits to senior housing complexes and churches in an effort to ensure fairness in vaccine distributions, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday.

The kits include syringes, vials, room dividers, privacy curtains, cleaning supplies, personal protective gear and other items. They also include instructions on how to set up a vaccination site.

New York deployed the first kits last week to five New York City Housing Authority senior citizen complexes and eight churches and cultural centers where nearly 4,200 people eligible to receive the vaccine were vaccinated, Cuomo said.

Kits are now being sent to four additional New York City senior complexes and eight other churches statewide, with plans to vaccine another 3,000 people at those locations by Tuesday. Locations in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Nassau County, Suffolk County, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, and Buffalo will be receiving the kits.

The kits are part of an effort to ensure vaccinations in Black, Latino and other communities where COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact, the governor said.

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3,000 arrested at protests demanding Navalny’s release

MOSCOW — Russian police arrested more than 3,000 people Saturday in nationwide protests demanding the release of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, the Kremlin’s most prominent foe, according to a group that counts political detentions.

The protests in scores of cities in temperatures as low as minus-50 C (minus-58 F) highlighted how Navalny has built influence far beyond the political and cultural centers of Moscow and St. Petersburg.

In Moscow, an estimated 15,000 demonstrators gathered in and around Pushkin Square in the city center, where clashes with police broke out and demonstrators were roughly dragged off by helmeted riot officers to police buses and detention trucks. Some were beaten with batons.

Navalny’s wife Yulia was among those arrested.

Police eventually pushed demonstrators out of the square. Thousands then regrouped along a wide boulevard about a kilometer (half-mile) away, many of them throwing snowballs at the police before dispersing.

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Michigan Mega Millions ticket wins $1.05 billion jackpot

DETROIT — Someone in Michigan bought the winning ticket for the $1.05 billion Mega Millions jackpot, which is the third-largest lottery prize in U.S. history.

The winning numbers for Friday night’s drawing were 4, 26, 42, 50 and 60, with a Mega Ball of 24. The winning ticket was purchased at a Kroger store in the Detroit suburb of Novi, the Michigan Lottery said.

“Someone in Michigan woke up to life-changing news this morning, and Kroger Michigan congratulates the newest Michigan multimillionaire,” said Rachel Hurst, a regional spokeswoman for the grocery chain. She declined to comment further.

The Mega Millions top prize had been growing since Sept. 15, when a winning ticket was sold in Wisconsin. The lottery’s next estimated jackpot is $20 million.

Friday night’s drawing came just two days after a ticket sold in Maryland matched all six numbers drawn and won a $731.1 million Powerball jackpot.

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Aaron’s death prompts call to change name: Braves to Hammers

ATLANTA — As his adopted hometown mourned Hank Aaron’s death, some fans called on the Atlanta Braves to change their name to the Hammers in his honor.

“Hammerin’ Hank” died Friday at age 86, drawing praise from all segments of society — including the current and former presidents — for his Hall of Fame career and providing inspiration to Black Americans by overcoming intense racism in his pursuit of baseball’s home run record.

The governors of both Georgia and Alabama ordered flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of Aaron — the Hammer was born in the port city of Mobile and called Atlanta home for much of his life.

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The NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, Major League Soccer’s Atlanta United and Georgia Tech’s football team all announced they would retire Aaron’s trademark No. 44 for their 2021 seasons. The number was long ago retired by the Braves.

“May generations of Georgians continue to be inspired by his groundbreaking career and tremendous impact on our state and nation,” Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said.

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