Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: March 1, 2021

Trump rejects forming new party and hints at 2024 run, Cuomo revises sexual-harassment inquiry plan after criticism, and more

1

Trump says he won't start new party, hints at 2024 run

Former President Donald Trump indicated on Sunday at the Conservative Political Action Conference that he was considering running for president again in 2024, but would not form a third party. Trump said instead he would stick with the Republican Party and work to support its efforts in the 2022 midterms and beyond, essentially declaring that he planned to remain a dominating force in the GOP. "We began it together four years ago and it is far from being over," Trump said of his assumption of leadership in the party in 2016. "Let there be no doubt we will be victorious and America will be stronger and greater than ever before." Trump attacked President Biden, as expected, saying that the Democrat has had "the most disastrous first month of any president in modern history."

2

Cuomo revises plan for sexual-harassment inquiry, apologizes

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) dropped his plan to have a former judge investigate allegations of sexual harassment by Cuomo that have been made by two women who used to work for him. Cuomo had faced criticism for his initial plan because the judge, Barbara Jones, worked for one of his close allies and longtime advisers, Steven Cohen, after leaving the bench. Some of Cuomo's fellow Democrats questioned whether an investigation by Jones would be accepted as impartial. Cuomo said Sunday that he would instead ask New York Attorney General Letitia James and Janet DiFiore, chief judge of the state's highest court, to collaborate on choosing someone to conduct the inquiry. Cuomo apologized, saying he had "teased people about their personal lives and relationships," and now understands "that my interactions may have been insensitive or too personal."

3

Protests continue in Myanmar despite crackdown that left 18 dead

The death toll from a crackdown on protesters by Myanmar security forces rose to 18 on Sunday in the deadliest day since a Feb. 1 coup. Military forces used tear gas, stun grenades, rubber bullets, and live rounds on crowds demonstrating against the military junta that seized power from the country's elected government, making allegations of election fraud disputed by independent observers. Security forces used deadly force in the main city of Yangon for the first time, with the United Nations' human rights office saying people were killed in the country's largest city "as a result of live ammunition fired into crowds." The U.N. agency condemned the crackdown, saying: "Use of lethal force against non-violent demonstrators is never justifiable under international human rights norms." Crowds returned to the streets on Monday despite the threat of further violence.

4

CDC director clears J&J vaccine for distribution

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signed off on the emergency use of Johnson & Johnson's single-dose COVID-19 vaccine for adults. The federal government is preparing to distribute millions of doses, which could start reaching vaccine sites as soon as Tuesday. Walensky's decision came after an advisory panel unanimously recommended use of the shots. "Today marks an encouraging step toward an end to the #COVID19 pandemic," Walensky tweeted. "I have now signed CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices' (ACIP) recommendation that endorsed the safety and effectiveness" of the vaccine. J&J Vice President of Medical Affairs Dr. Richard Nettles told lawmakers last week that the company would ship nearly four million doses immediately, and 20 million by the end of March, potentially providing a significant boost to the nation's vaccine supply.

5

Iran rejects EU effort to arrange talks with U.S.

Iran has rejected an offer by the European Union to set up direct talks with the United States on reviving a nuclear deal with Tehran, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday, citing two Western diplomats. Tehran is demanding guarantees that the U.S. will lift some of its sanctions against Iran before the country will agree to show up for a meeting. The Biden administration had said it would participate in the discussions, but refused to promise to provide any sanctions relief before the talks. Iran's decision to reject the proposed meeting was expected to escalate tensions between the two countries even though both the Biden administration and Iran say they want to restore the 2015 nuclear deal that former President Donald Trump withdrew from.

6

Navalny moved to penal colony outside Moscow

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been moved to a penal colony outside Moscow to serve his more than 2-1/2-year prison sentence, the Moscow Public Monitoring Commission said Sunday. Navalny, 44, was arrested when he returned to Russia after receiving treatment abroad for poisoning. Ruslan Vakhapov of the prisoners' rights group Jailed Russia said the conditions at the prison facility where Navalny, an outspoken Kremlin critic, is housed are severe. "In short, it's a bad colony," Vakhapov told Reuters, adding that prisoners there must keep a strict daily schedule and are tightly controlled by the administration with help from other inmates. "If there is a need to prevent Navalny from communicating with others, nobody would talk to him," the activist said. "(If anything happens), he wouldn't be able to ask for help until his lawyer arrives."

7

Biden backs Amazon workers voting on unionizing

President Biden on Sunday expressed support for Amazon workers in Alabama as they try to organize, saying they had the right to decide whether to form a union. "Workers in Alabama — and all across America — are voting on whether to organize a union in their workplace. It's a vitally important choice — one that should be made without intimidation or threats by employers," Biden tweeted. "Every worker should have a free and fair choice to join a union." About 6,000 workers at Amazon's Bessemer, Alabama, facility are voting on unionizing this month. Biden's decision to weigh in on such a high-profile labor showdown marked a break with tradition, signaling his commitment to keeping a campaign promise to be "the most pro-union president you've ever seen."

8

Khashoggi's fiancée calls for punishing Saudi crown prince

Hatice Cengiz, the fiancée of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, called Monday for punishing Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman "without delay" after the U.S. released an intelligence report that concluded he approved Khashoggi's killing. "If the crown prince is not punished, it will forever signal that the main culprit can get away with murder which will endanger us all and be a stain on our humanity," Cengiz tweeted. Khashoggi wrote opinion columns for The Washington Post. He was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. After the release of the intelligence report the Biden administration imposed sanctions on some of the people involved, but not on the prince. President Biden, facing criticism for taking no direct action against Prince Mohammed, said another announcement would be made Monday.

9

Netanyahu accuses Iran of attacking Israeli-owned cargo ship

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday said it was "clear" that Iran was behind an attack in the Gulf of Oman last week that targeted an Israeli-owned cargo ship, although he did not cite specific evidence to support the claim. "Iran is the greatest enemy of Israel," Netanyahu told the Israeli public broadcaster Kan. "I am determined to halt it. We are hitting it in the entire region." An explosion rocked the Helios Ray on Friday as it headed to Singapore. No one on the crew was injured, but U.S. defense officials said the ship, which was carrying cars, sustained damage above the waterline. The Helios Ray arrived in Dubai on Sunday for repairs.

10

Nomadland, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm make Golden Globes history

The 2021 Golden Globes on Sunday were like none other, with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler co-hosting from separate locations and honorees staying at home due to the pandemic. It was also an eventful ceremony, with several movies and directors making history. Nomadland, directed by Chloé Zhao, won Best Motion Picture — Drama, becoming the first movie directed by a woman to ever win this award. Zhao also took home the Best Director trophy, going into the history books as the first Asian woman — and just the second woman ever — to win the award. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, an Amazon Studios release, won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture — Musical of Comedy, and it was the first time that one of the top two best picture Golden Globes went to a streaming service's film.

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