Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: January 7, 2022

Biden accuses Trump of fueling Capitol attack with lies, Kazakhstan tells troops to use lethal force against protesters, and more

1

Biden says Trump lies fueled Jan. 6 Capitol attack

President Biden, marking the anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot, called the insurrection an attack on democracy. He accused his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, of fueling the violence by spreading a "web of lies" in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election results. "For the first time in our history, a president ... tried to prevent a peaceful transfer of power as a violent mob breached the Capitol," Biden said outside the House chamber. Thursday marked a year since a mob of Trump's supporters stormed the Capitol and tried to prevent lawmakers from certifying Biden's victory over Trump. The former president, who canceled a planned Jan. 6 press conference, said Biden was using "political theater" to distract from his own policy failures

2

Kazakhstan tells troops to use lethal force against protesters

Kazakhstan's president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, said in a televised address Friday that he had authorized police and soldiers to shoot to kill when confronting "terrorists" participating in violent anti-government protests in the former Soviet nation. "Those who don't surrender will be eliminated," Tokayev said. He dismissed calls for talks with protesters as "nonsense," saying it was impossible to negotiate "with criminals, murderers." Kazakhstan's Interior Ministry said 26 protesters had been killed as of Friday. Another 18 have been wounded and more than 3,000 people detained. Eighteen law enforcement officers reportedly have died in the unrest, and 700 have been injured. The demonstrations started over spiking fuel prices but reflect broad dissatisfaction with the government.

3

Ex-advisers urge Biden to shift approach to pandemic 

Six of President Biden's former health advisers on Thursday publicly called for revising the government's COVID-19 strategy to focus on living with the coronavirus instead of eliminating it. In three opinion articles published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the experts, who served on Biden's transition team, said the United States should avoid getting caught in "a perpetual state of emergency," and start approaching the coronavirus as one of several respiratory viruses to address together, with data tracking, testing, and goals on limiting hospitalizations. University of Pennsylvania bioethicist Ezekiel Emanuel, who coordinated the effort, told The Washington Post the experts were trying to outline "a national strategy … to find a new normal."

4

WHO confirms record 9.5 million COVID cases in last week

The World Health Organization on Thursday reported that a record 9.5 million COVID-19 cases were confirmed worldwide in the last week. The total marked a 71 percent jump compared to the previous week in what the United Nations health agency called a "tsunami" fueled by the highly infectious Omicron coronavirus variant. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the total of 9,520,488 new cases was probably an undercount, due to holiday delays. There were 41,178 coronavirus deaths in the same seven-day period, down from 44,680 the week before. "The tsunami of cases is so huge and quick that it is overwhelming health systems around the world," the WHO chief said in a news conference.

5

Supreme Court to hear arguments on Biden vaccine mandates

The Supreme Court is scheduled to review two challenges to President Biden's coronavirus vaccination requirements for private employers and health-care facilities on Friday. Biden has said the rules, which would affect nearly 100 million workers, will help make it safer for people to go to work by expanding protection against COVID-19. "Too many people remain unvaccinated for us to get out of this pandemic for good," he said in November when he announced the mandates. The measures were supposed to take effect on Jan. 4, but they have been put on hold while courts consider challenges by business and religious groups that argue they exceed the Biden administration's authority. The high court will decide whether to block the rules while the cases continue.

6

Stephanie Grisham: Trump 'gleefully' watched Capitol attack on TV

Former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Thursday that former President Donald Trump didn't just fail to quickly condemn last year's attack on the Capitol as it happened, he happily watched the situation unfold from the safety of the White House. "All I know about that day is that [Trump] was in the dining room, gleefully watching on his TV, as he often did, 'Look at all of the people fighting for me,' hitting rewind, watching it again," Grisham told CNN's John Berman. Grisham also revealed how a group of about 15 ex-Trump officials, including her, are planning to meet in the coming weeks to strategize ways to stop the former president and show those in the country that still believe in him "who he really is."

7

Politico: Harris was at DNC on Jan. 6, 2021, when pipe bomb was discovered 

Vice President Kamala Harris was at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021, when a pipe bomb was discovered outside the building, Politico reported Thursday, citing four people familiar with her activities that day. Capitol Police started investigating the pipe bomb at 1:07 p.m., and evacuated an unnamed "protectee" seven minutes later, according to an official Capitol Police timeline obtained by Politico. The four sources, including a White House official and a former law enforcement official, confirmed that Harris was the Secret Service protectee mentioned in the timeline. The DNC bomb threat was neutralized at 4:36 p.m., an hour after another pipe bomb was discovered at the Republican National Committee. No suspects have been arrested.

8

Mortgage rates rise to highest level since May 2020

U.S. mortgage rates jumped this week to their highest level since May 2020. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.22 percent in the seven-day period that ended Thursday, up from 3.11 percent the previous week. A year ago, the average 30-year rate was 2.65 percent, the lowest on record. Ultra-low interest rates have helped drive a housing boom since the pandemic started two years ago, as people who held onto their jobs and had savings took advantage of low borrowing costs to buy bigger houses as Americans shifted to working, studying, and socializing virtually, from home. Economists have expected rates to rise as the economy improves, inflation looms, and the Federal Reserve tapers its efforts to boost the recovery with asset purchases and low rates.

9

Moderna CEO says people might need a 4th vaccine shot next fall

Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said Thursday that people might need to get a fourth shot of the company's coronavirus vaccine in the fall to restore strong protection against COVID-19. Bancel said people who got booster shots last fall likely would get through the winter with adequate resistance to infection and severe illness, but that the vaccine's efficacy would wane in subsequent months. U.K. data found that Moderna and Pfizer's two-dose vaccines were just 10 percent effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 from the fast-spreading Omicron variant 20 weeks after the second dose. Protection was restored to 75 percent two weeks after a third booster shot, but efficacy declined to 40 percent to 50 percent 10 weeks later.

10

Peter Bogdanovich, who directed 'The Last Picture Show,' dies at 82

Oscar-nominated writer-director Peter Bogdanovich died early Thursday of natural causes at his home in Los Angeles, his daughter Antonia Bogdanovich told The Hollywood Reporter. He was 82. Bogdanovich catapulted to A-list status in 1971 with his second film, The Last Picture Show. The black-and-white drama set in a Texas town earned eight Academy Awards nominations — including directing and adapted screenplay (shared with Larry McMurtry) for Bogdanovich — and supporting acting awards for Cloris Leachman and Ben Johnson. Bogdanovich followed up with two more well-known films including What's Up, Doc? and Paper Moon. His later hits included 1985's Mask. Critic Matt Zoller Seitz reflected that with Bogdanovich's death, "one of the last remaining links to classic Hollywood is also gone."

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