Monday US briefing: Trump threatens national emergency over wall – The Guardian
Good morning, happy new year – and welcome back to the daily briefing. I’m Tim Walker with today’s essential news and features from the US and beyond.
Top story: Wall standoff continues as shutdown enters third week
Donald Trump has said he is prepared to declare a national emergency over immigration in the “next few days” to bypass Congress and build his coveted wall on the US border with Mexico. As the partial government shutdown enters its third week, triggered by the president’s demands for $5.6bn to fund the wall, there has reportedly been little progress in negotiations between the White House and House Democrats, who have staunchly refused to pass a spending bill that includes wall funding.
Unilateral action. The president can take unilateral action in times of crisis. But under the 1976 National Emergencies Act, Congress retains the power to contest such attempts.
Against the wall. Trump said the 800,000 federal staff furloughed or forced to work without pay during the shutdown “want to see the border taken care of”, despite public polling showing a majority of Americans oppose the wall.
Donald Trump Jr faces legal jeopardy as Democrats take charge of House
Donald Trump Jr and his father’s longtime political adviser, Roger Stone, are both at heightened risk of perjury charges, with newly empowered congressional Democrats preparing to hand over evidence to Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, which could show the two men lied to Congress during closed-door interviews with the House’s intelligence committee. The committee has interviewed dozens of witnesses for its own investigation, including Trump Jr, Stone, Jared Kushner and Michael Cohen.
Cohen. Trump’s former personal lawyer has already pleaded guilty to perjury for lying to Congress over attempts to reach a deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.
Adam Schiff. The incoming Democratic chairman of the House intelligence committee could ultimately pose a greater threat to the president than Mueller, reports Tom McCarthy.
Bolton says US troops to stay in Syria until Isis defeated
Trump’s shock announcement the US would pull its 2,000 remaining troops out of Syria led to the resignation of his defense secretary, James Mattis, last month. Now the US national security adviser, John Bolton, has rowed back on the withdrawal plan, insisting the US will only leave Syria once Isis has been conclusively defeated and America’s Kurdish allies protected – conditions that could take years to achieve.
Now or never? Trump claimed in December that Isis was beaten and US troops were “all coming back, and they’re coming back now”. On Sunday, he said: “We’re going to be removing our troops. I never said we’re doing it that quickly.”
Bohemian Rhapsody wins big at ‘questionable’ Golden Globes
The Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody and the racially charged road trip comedy Green Book unexpectedly scooped the top film awards at the Golden Globes in LA on Sunday, winning drama and comedy respectively. The results – which some critics have called “questionable” in the TV and film categories alike – have upended an awards season in which more critically adored films, such as A Star is Born, were expected to triumph. Some categories did follow the form book, with Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma winning best foreign film and Cuarón himself named best director.
Oscar race. The battle for best actress now seems likely to be between Olivia Colman (The Favourite) and Glenn Close (The Wife), who won Globes in the comedy and drama categories respectively.
Breaking ground. Sandra Oh became not only the first person of Asian heritage to host the Globes, but also the first woman of Asian heritage to win multiple Globes, taking a prize for her role in Killing Eve.
Asian shares rose early on Monday as US and Chinese officials resumed talks in China amid hopes of resolving the ongoing trade confrontation between the world’s two largest economies.
Soldiers in Gabon attempted a coup to overthrow the west African nation’s president, Ali Bongo, who is recovering from a stroke. Soldiers appeared on state television saying they had seized control of the government “to restore democracy” but have since been detained.
A 20-year-old Houston man, Eric Black Jr, has been charged with the murder of Jazmine Barnes, the seven-year-old girl who was killed when a man fired into her family’s car last weekend.
The Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has broken the record for the most retweeted message in Twitter history after offering “one million yen ($9,200) in cash to 100 people” who shared a tweet about his fashion retailer’s recent sales figures.
Listen to Today in Focus: the anti-vaccine movement
The disgraced doctor Andrew Wakefield has returned to prominence, buoyed by vaccine scepticism among rightwing populists. After a spate of measles outbreaks across the EU, the Guardian’s health editor, Sarah Boseley, explains how Wakefield dented faith in the MMR vaccine.
How Bird Box became Netflix’s biggest hit
Critics saw the Netflix horror thriller Bird Box, starring Sandra Bullock, as a retread of the “more deft and terrifying” A Quiet Place, released earlier in 2018. However, viewers have made it Netflix’s most successful original feature to date, not to mention, a meme magnet, writes Benjamin Lee.
Baghdad dreams of stability as it nears megacity status
The Iraqi capital remains a profoundly damaged city, but as its population nears 10 million and it prepares to join the ranks of the world’s megacities, Baghdad is beginning to feel more stable, and even vibrant, reports Peter Beaumont.
The problem with the keto diet
High on fat, low on carbs, the ketogenic diet flies in the face of conventional nutritional advice, yet it is fast becoming the most popular diet fad on the planet. Nutritionist Laura Thomas asks how long it can last.
Syrian who lived in airport on his new life in Canada
The refugee Hassan al-Kontar was stranded at Kuala Lumpur arrivals for eight months in 2018 before Canada granted him asylum. He tells Kate Hodal how he is adjusting to a new life amid the “nature, fresh air, wonderful people and beautiful snow” of Whistler, British Columbia.
Google has wormed its way into every corner of our lives, from heating to the health system, yet it remains relatively untroubled by the recent tech backlash. The answer to its monopolistic power, John Harris argues, is a wholesale reconceptualisation of what the internet is, and should be.
Pay attention to the people who are talking about a new, decentralised internet – AKA Web 3.0 – and the possibility of data being returned to the control of the people who generate it.
The Chargers held off a resurgent Baltimore, while the Bears missed a crucial late field goal that let the Eagles scrape a win in the NFL’s wildcard round this weekend.
The former Barcelona midfielder Andrés Iniesta has been cricitised for posting a photo on social media in which he posed with people in blackface as part of Spain’s Three Kings Day celebration.
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Source : Tim Walker Link