The State Department ordered diplomats' families Sunday afternoon to depart the U.S. embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, amid heightened fears of a Russian attack on the country.
The embassy has also authorized non-emergency employees to depart, according to an internal cable obtained by ABC News.
In an updated travel advisory issued later Sunday, the State Department confirmed the drawdown and urged U.S. citizens in Ukraine to consider departing the country now using commercial flights.
Ukraine has been on the State Department's highest travel advisory -- Level 4: Do Not Travel -- for months because of COVID-19. Last month, the embassy updated that warning to say, "Russia is planning significant military action against Ukraine," which "would severely impact the U.S. Embassy's ability to provide consular services" to Americans.
A State Department spokesperson said Saturday that the U.S. will not evacuate Americans like in the operation conducted out of Afghanistan last August.
"American citizens should not anticipate that there will be U.S. government-sponsored evacuations. Currently commercial flights are available to support departures," the spokesperson said.
The United Kingdom's foreign secretary on Saturday night said the government has "information that indicates the Russian government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine."
“I can’t comment on specific pieces of intelligence. But we’ve been warning about just this kind of tactic for weeks and we’ve spoken to that publicly," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday. The Biden administration has said Russia is actively manufacturing a pretext for invasion and warned that Putin could use joint military exercises in Belarus as cover to invade from the north.
"Just last week we sanctioned four agents of Russia, Ukrainians in Ukraine, seeking to destabilize the government,” Blinken said on CNN's "State of the Union."
Blinken met on Friday with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva, and the chief U.S. diplomat said his counterpart once again assured him Russia has no intention of attacking Ukraine, but added: "We're looking at what is visible to all, and it is deeds and actions, not words, that make the difference."
Vladimir Putin is considering Yevhen Murayev, a former member of Ukraine's Parliament, "as a potential candidate," according to the Saturday release from the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
The Kremlin issued a denial on Sunday with Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova saying on the Telegram messaging app that the British Foreign Office is "spreading nonsense.”
Some 90 tons of US "lethal aid" has arrived in Ukraine, amid tensions over Russia's troop build-up on the border.
It was the first shipment of a recently approved package of US military aid for Ukraine, and included ammunition for "front-line defenders".
The delivery followed US Secretary of State Antony Blinken's visit to Kyiv this week, where he warned of a tough response if Russia was to invade.
Moscow has denied any plans to attack or invade Ukraine.
US President Joe Biden approved the $200m security support package in December.
The US embassy in Kyiv said the shipment demonstrated its "firm commitment to Ukraine's sovereign right to self-defense".
"The United States will continue providing such assistance to support Ukraine's Armed Forces in their ongoing effort to defend Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity against Russian aggression," it wrote on Facebook.
Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov thanked the US for the aid.
The government told people in areas of the Chinese capital deemed at high risk for infection not to leave the city after 25 cases were found in the Fengtai district and 14 elsewhere.
The ruling Communist Party is stepping up enforcement of its "zero tolerance" strategy aimed at isolating every infected person as Beijing prepares to open the Winter Games on Feb. 4 under intensive anti-virus controls.
On Sunday, Fengtai residents lined up on snow-covered sidewalks in freezing weather for testing.
The Chinese capital must "take the most resolute, decisive and strict measures to block the transmission chain of the epidemic," a city government spokesman, Xu Hejian, told a news conference.
"In principle, personnel in risk areas shall not leave Beijing," Xu said.
Nationwide, 56 new confirmed infections were reported in the 24 hours through midnight Saturday. The National Health Commission said 37 were believed to have been acquired abroad.
The House panel investigating the Jan. 6 riot has spoken to former Attorney General William Barr, committee Chairman Bennie Thompson said Sunday.
In an interview on CBS's "Face the Nation," host Margaret Brennan asked Thompson, D-Miss., whether the panel intends to speak with Barr about a draft executive order prepared for former President Donald Trump that appears to be among the files the committee has been seeking to obtain from the National Archives.
"We've had conversations with the former attorney general already. We have talked to Department of Defense individuals," Thompson said. "We are concerned that our military was part of this big lie on promoting that the election was false. So if you are using the military to potentially seize voting machines, even though it's a discussion, the public needs to know. We've never had that before."
Barr, an ardent defender of Trump during his presidency, resigned in December 2020 amid lingering tension over Trump's false claims of election fraud.
A draft of an executive order prepared for Trump, obtained Friday by Politico, would have authorized the defense secretary to send National Guard troops to seize voting machines around the country in the weeks after the 2020 election.
Hageman won 59 votes, while Cheney only amassed six, according to the Star Tribune. The vote comes eight months ahead of the GOP contest. Although it has no bearing on the primary, it shows Cheney is still facing backlash from within her own party.
Cheney faced widespread criticism from Republicans after voting to impeach Trump and was ultimately removed from her leadership position in the House.
Only 71 of 74 members of the committee voted in the poll, three of which are Hageman’s family members, the Star Tribune noted.
What they're saying: "I think it’s a good sign," Hageman said of the vote, per the Star Tribune. "It’s not an endorsement, but these are the county activists."
"There will be lots of polls over the next eight months, and they will all show different things," Hageman said.
“The only elections that matter are in August and November,” said Cheney spokesperson Jeremy Adler.
“Republicans are laughing all the way to election day,” the Vermont senator told CNN’s State of the Union. “They have not had to cast one bloody vote which shows us where they’re at.”
But the Vermont progressive also confirmed that he will campaign against Manchin and Sinema, both Democrats, should they face viable primary challengers.
Manchin, from West Virginia, and Sinema, from Arizona, have blocked Democratic priorities including the Build Back Better spending plan and, this week, voting rights reform.
Their refusal to contemplate reform to the filibuster, the rule which requires 60-vote majorities for most legislation, meant two voting rights bills in answer to Republican attacks on voting in states were always doomed to fail.
But, Sanders insisted, “it’s not only those two. It is 50 Republicans who have been adamant about not only pushing an anti-democratic agenda but also opposing our efforts to try to lower the cost of prescription drugs, trying to expand Medicare … to improve the disaster situation in home healthcare, in childcare, to address the existential threat of climate change.
“You’ve got 50 Republicans who don’t want to do anything except criticise the president and then you have, sadly enough, two Democrats who choose to work with Republicans rather than the president, and it will sabotage the president’s effort to address the needs of working families in this country.”
Palin accused the Times of defaming her in a June 2017 editorial that linked her political action committee (PAC) to the 2011 mass shooting at an Arizona parking lot, which left six people dead and former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.) critically wounded. She is seeking unspecified damages and about $421,000 in damage to her reputation.
The editorial was published the same day a gunman opened fire at a baseball field where Republican lawmakers were practicing, leading to several people being wounded including Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), according to the Times.
The editorial in question was headlined “America’s Lethal Politics” and said "the link to political incitement was clear" in the 2011 shooting, noting the incident occurred after Palin’s PAC shared a map that put 20 Democratic lawmakers including Giffords in "stylized cross hairs.”
Palin took issue with language Bennett added to an earlier draft written by a colleague, saying the material conveyed a "preconceived narrative” and that an editor of Bennett's experience should have understood the seriousness of his words.
The Times corrected the editorial, saying it “incorrectly stated that a link existed between political rhetoric and the 2011 shooting."
Daniels' testimony is expected on Tuesday at the earliest, with opening statements set to begin Monday.
Prosecutors are expecting Daniels testimony to be pivotal in their effort to prove the former attorney engaged in wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, according to the AP.
Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, alleges that Avenatti cheated her out of $300,000 in proceeds from her book.
Daniels and Avenatti became household names in 2018 for their lawsuits against former president Trump, alleging that Trump's then-attorney Michael Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 in hush-money before the 2016 presidential election to not share her sexual encounter with Trump.
Cohen eventually pleaded guilty to charges including tax evasion and violating campaign finance laws, serving two years in prison before finishing his three-year prison sentence at home.
Avenatti, 50, has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, saying that he worked unpaid for Daniels with an agreement to receive a cut of her book proceeds, according to the AP.
A 27-year-old NYPD officer was clinging to life for a third day Sunday morning after he and another officer were shot in Harlem Friday evening while responding to a domestic violence call.
The gun battle left Officer Jason Rivera, 22, dead. According to multiple senior officials with direct knowledge of the investigation, the accused shooter, Lashawn McNeil, has a history of increasingly rabid belief in anti-government conspiracy theories. Officials are also looking into the possibility that McNeil continued firing after the officers were down, and before he charged down a hallway and was shot himself.
Wilbert Mora, 27, was badly injured. The NYPD confirmed Sunday that he was being transferred from Harlem Hospital, where he was initially taken Friday, to NYU Langone Medical Center.
Rivera, Mora and another uniformed officer responded to a domestic disturbance call around 6:15 p.m. on West 135th Street by a mother who said she was fighting with her son, according to police. She did not mention any injuries, or any weapons, on the call.
After officers arrived, they went to a rear bedroom, where the suspect fired multiple times as they approached the door. The man then tried to run from the apartment, but was confronted by the third officer, who shot him twice. In addition to the gun he was firing, sources say another weapon was found under his bed. Sources previously said McNeil's mother had told police she was not aware he had guns in the apartment.
Milwaukee police are investigating the deaths of five people found near North 21st and West Wright streets as homicides, the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's office said Sunday evening.
Around 3:45 p.m. Sunday, Milwaukee Police responded to the 2500 block of North 21st Street to assist with a welfare check at a residence, Assistant Chief Paul Formolo of the Milwaukee Police Department said during a Sunday evening news conference.
"Citizens of our community had concerns with the occupants that resided there," Formolo said. "It's a normal call for us to respond to. We do it all the time."
After entering the residence, four men and one woman were found dead. The victims' identities are pending.
The motive and information regarding any suspects is unknown at this time, Formolo said.
Fans at the Australian Open were asked by security to remove T-shirts featuring the slogan "Where is Peng Shuai?" which references the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the Chinese former tennis player's well-being and whereabouts.
In November, Peng, the former world No. 14 singles player and part of a No. 1 doubles tandem, took to social media platform Weibo and accused Chinese Communist Party member Zhang Gaoli of pressuring her into sex. In the weeks following the post, Peng disappeared from social media, sparking concerns over her safety and ability to communicate freely with the rest of the world.
On Saturday, a TikTok user uploaded a video in which fans at the Australian Open were approached by security and asked to remove the shirts with the slogan on them. A banner was also seen in the hands of a member of security.
In the video, police later arrived at the scene and confirmed the security crew's position. An officer is heard saying: "The Australian Open does have a rule that you can't have political slogans ... it's a rule that it's a condition of entry.
"Tennis Australia does set the rules, and regardless of what you're saying -- and I'm not saying you can't have those views -- but I am saying that Tennis Australia sets the rules here.
"[Security is] allowed to confiscate the shirts and the banner."
The video received widespread attention on the posting platform Reddit and was viewed 52,000 times on TikTok.
In a statement provided to ESPN from Tennis Australia, the organization said its "primary concern" is the safety of Peng Shuai, but added that fans are not allowed to bring onto the grounds or display political statements at the tournament.
He just didn't think he would have to start contemplating it so soon. But when the San Francisco 49ers upset the top-seeded Packers in the NFC divisional playoff round Saturday, it meant the hourglass flipped for Rodgers, who took his share of the blame for the offensive ineptitude in the 13-10 loss at Lambeau Field.
"I'm still supercompetitive, still know I can play at a high level, so it's going to be a tough decision," Rodgers said during a 17-minute session with reporters after the game. "I have a lot of things to weigh in the coming weeks. But man, just so much gratitude for this city and this organization and such a long, long career here that I'm proud of and really thankful for all the men and women that work here, the men I've gotten to cross paths with, coaches and players over the years."
The Packers made one thing clear: They're not ready to move on from Rodgers, who is the favorite to win his fourth NFL MVP and his second in a row.
"Certainly we want him back here," said Packers coach Matt LaFleur after he failed to reach the Super Bowl with the No. 1-seeded team for the second straight year. "I think we'd be crazy not to want him back here. He's going to be the two-time MVP. This guy does so much for our football team, not only what you guys see on Sunday's or every game day, but what he does in that locker room, how he leads. I know what he puts into this thing, and certainly I'm extremely disappointed in that we couldn't get over the hump for not only him, but for everybody in that locker room."
Rodgers failed to throw a touchdown pass in a playoff game for the first time since the 2010 NFC Championship Game and lost to the 49ers for the fourth time in the postseason. His Total QBR of 19.3 was the worst of his playoff career.
Bitcoin, the world’s most valuable cryptocurrency by market value, tumbled about 8% on Saturday to trade just above $35,000. The coin hit a record high of $69,000 in November.
Meantime, ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, sank nearly 10% to trade around $2,400.
The losses came on the heels of a Thursday dip in the stock market. Cryptocurrencies and traditional stocks have been falling in tandem this month, with investors concerned about how anticipated Federal Reserve interest-rate increases will affect the market.
A common investment case for bitcoin is that it serves as a hedge against rising inflation as a result of government stimulus, but analysts are saying the risk is that a more hawkish Fed may take the wind out of the crypto market’s sails.
There’s also concern U.S. regulators will further crack down on digital currencies.
In the latest edition of his Power On newsletter, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman explains that he’s been told Apple is saving a number of its announcements for the fall. These announcements range from completely redesigned MacBook Air to a new iPad Pro and more:
To that end, I’m told that Apple is readying the widest array of new hardware products in its history this fall. That makes sense: My back-of-the-envelope list includes four new iPhones, a low-end MacBook Pro, an updated iMac, the new Mac Pro, a revamped MacBook Air, an AirPods Pro upgrade, three Apple Watches, a low-end iPad and iPad Pros.
Gurman also doubles down on his previous reporting that Apple will hold its first event of the year sometime in March or April, with the iPhone SE being one the products announced here. According to today’s report, we shouldn’t expect Apple to unveil its redesigned iPad Pro during the spring event. “Given the more significant changes in the pipeline for this year, I’d expect the new iPad to come later than the spring,” Gurman says.
With this in mind, Gurman expects Apple’s spring event to focus on the iPhone SE 3, a new iPad Air, and potentially a new higher-end Mac of some sort. “I’d imagine Apple wants to bring the M1 Pro chip to another Mac in the first half of this year. That could mean a higher-end Mac mini or iMac,” he writes.
After a brief hiatus to let another movie sell a few tickets, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” has unseated “Scream” and reclaimed the top spot on domestic box office charts. Now in its sixth weekend of release, Sony’s comic book sequel added another $14.1 million from 3,705 North American venues this weekend, enough for first place.
It’s rare for any film to secure the No. 1 slot in its sixth outing, though “Spider-Man: No Way Home” didn’t have much in the way of competition. In fact, you would be forgiven if you’d never even heard of this weekend’s two new nationwide releases — Universal’s faith-based romantic drama “Redeeming Love” and the Gravitas Ventures fantasy adventure “The King’s Daughter,” which was filmed eight years ago (and not in a Richard Linklater/ “Boyhood” way). Neither film managed to make a dent at the box office.
On this day in 2003, the Department of Homeland Security began operations. The department incorporated 22 agencies into a single Cabinet-level structure. Its creation marked the largest reorganization move by the federal government in the five decades since the formation of the Department of Defense in the aftermath of World War II.
In response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, President George W. Bush established the Office of Homeland Security as an arm of the White House. Its stated mission was to coordinate all “homeland security” efforts. Tom Ridge, a former Republican governor of Pennsylvania, headed the office, assuming the title of assistant to the president for homeland security. Ridge began his duties on Oct. 8, 2001.
In 2002, Congress passed the Homeland Security Act, which called for assuming and expanding the functions of the White House office under the umbrella of a new department. Bush signed the bill into law on Nov. 25, 2002, and nominated Ridge to serve as its secretary.
Agencies that operate under the DHS umbrella include those that deal with customs, border protection, immigration, citizenship, transportation security, cybersecurity and disaster response. The U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Secret Service are also under the department’s wing.
In fiscal year 2017, Congress allocated DHS $40.6 billion. With more than 240,000 employees, DHS is the third-largest Cabinet department, after the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.
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