Dems, some GOP move towards impeachment – National & International News – WED 13Jan2021

Trump defiantly refused to express any remorse for his role in last week's raid on the Capitol.
January 13th, 2021     Today's News Summary

Dems, some GOP move towards impeachment. Ex-Michigan governor charged over Flint water crisis. Turkish sex cult leader sentenced to 1000 years in prison. That and more below…


Dems and some GOP move towards impeachment

Vice President Mike Pence has rejected calls to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office over his role in the Capitol riot. As a result, the Democrat-controlled House is convening today to vote on articles of impeachment against Trump. 

It is unclear at present how much support there is for impeachment among Republicans. Leading House Republican Liz Cheney has said that she will back impeachment. The House earlier voted 223-205 in favor of a resolution calling on Pence to invoke the 25th, with just 5 Republicans joining the majority Democrats.

What happens next?

Presuming the House passes articles of impeachment by a simple majority, it then falls to the Senate to decide the outcome.

There is some disagreement among as to when House leaders will send articles of impeachment to the Senate. Some favor sending them immediately upon passage in the House. Others favor waiting until Biden has had a chance to seat his Cabinet after Jan. 20.

Once case is heard in the Senate, a two-thirds majority of Senators must then vote to convict Trump. If the entire chamber is seated at the time of the vote, that would mean 17 Republicans would have to vote to convict.

Republican leaders in both houses have shied away from instructing their colleagues to vote against impeachment or conviction. While it is unlikely there would be enough defections to convict, numerous prominent Senate Republicans have condemned the President’s role in last Wednesday’s violence. Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is reportedly delighted about the impeachment, saying it will make it easier to purge Trump from the GOP.

It might seem pointless to convene on impeachment just as Trump is about to leave office or even after he’s already left. However, if he’s convicted, a simple majority in the Senate could bar Trump from ever holding office again. Trump has expressed interest in running for the Presidency again in 2024

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Ex-Michigan governor charged over Flint water crisis

Michigan state prosecutors have announced the are charging former Governor Rick Snyder and others in an investigation of the 2014 Flint water crisis. The problem began when the state approved a change of water source for the city of Flint as a cost-saving measure as a pipeline was being built to Lake Huron. However, the water in the Flint River, the new water source, proved corrosive to the city’s old lead piping. This led to a rash of lead poisonings among the city’s 100,000 majority black residents as well as an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease.

Prosecutors have not yet announced what the charges are against Gov. Snyder. Others being charged in the investigation include former health department director Nick Lyon and others who were in his administration. Rich Baird, a friend of Snyder’s who served as the governor’s key troubleshooter is also being investigated.

The Flint water crisis went down as one of the most catastrophic failures of governance in US history. Since then, the people of Flint continue to face purity issues and higher than normal instances of death from pneumonia. Experts are still tabulating the number of deaths from the lead poisoning, Legionnaire’s and pneumonia. There is no fixed figure, but it could well be in the hundreds.

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Chinese Huawei patent mentions use of Uighur-spotting tech

Chinese mobile tech giant Huawei has denied in the past that has created racial-profiling technology to aid China’s surveillance of its Uighur population. Now IVPM, a US video surveillance research group has unearthed a patent for such technology from Huawei and other Chinese tech companies. IVPM had previously discovered a “confidential” document on Huawei’s website which referenced work on a “Uighur alert” system. Huawei claimed that this pertained to a test rather than a real-world application.

The Uighurs are China’s largest majority Muslim ethnic minority. Ethnically they are Turkic and so physically distinct from the majority Han Chinese. In recent years, China has been interring millions of Uighurs in “re-education” camps, many of whom are also engaged in forced labor. Recently, a Dutch researcher discovered that as many as half a million “graduates” of the camps are being forced to pick cotton in China’s Xinjiang province. Xinjiang is one of the world’s largest suppliers of cotton, which is widely used in the fashion industry.

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Turkish sex cult leader sentenced to 1000 years in prison

A Turkish court has sentenced flamboyant sex cult leader Adnan Oktar to one thousand years in prison. The convictions range from numerous sexual offenses, including some against children, as well as political and military espionage and fraud. A further 200 people involved in the camp were arrested and charged along with him. Oktar, 64, promoted his cult on his conservative Islamic TV channel and was known to surround himself with scantily clad women, whom he called his “kittens”.

During the trial, the court heard testimony from numerous victims of sexual abuse at Oktar’s hands. These included one woman who joined the cult at 17. She and other women claimed that after being raped by Oktar, he would force them to take contraceptives. Police found 69,000 contraceptive pills in a raid on Oktar’s house. Oktar claimed these were for treating skin disorders and mental health issues. Oktar denied the sexual assault charges. Instead he insists that he had around 1,000 “girlfriends” due to his “overflowing of love in my heart for women” and his being “extraordinarily potent”.

Oktar was also condemned for supporting Muslim cleric Fatullah Gulen. Gulen is a former ally of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan but is now considered a political enemy. Erdogan has accused Gulen, who now resides in the US, of backing the failed coup attempt against Erdogan in 2015. Oktar has denied any connection to Gulen and claims his prosecution was the result of a British intelligence operation.

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