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Nancy Pelosi re-elected as US House speaker amid political uncertainty

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(Last Updated On: January 4, 2021)

Nancy Pelosi was narrowly re-elected speaker of the US House of Representatives on Sunday, as a new Congress took office amid political uncertainty, with Senate control undecided and a Republican fight looming over presidential election results.

Reuters reported that the House voted 216-209 to reinstate Pelosi, after Democrats lost 11 seats in the November elections to command a narrower 222-212 majority.

Five Democrats chose not to support her – two voted for Democratic lawmakers who were not running, while three others simply voted “present.”

“As we are sworn in today, we accept a responsibility as daunting and demanding as any that previous generations of leadership have faced. We begin the new Congress during a time of extraordinary difficulty,” Pelosi said in a floor speech that noted the deaths of more than 350,000 Americans from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Now is a time for our nation to heal. Our most urgent priority will continue to be defeating the coronavirus. And defeat it, we will,” she added, pledging that further aid would follow the latest $892 billion package that Congress passed in December.

The Senate remains Republican run ahead of twin elections in Georgia on Tuesday, giving its members a platform to again air President Donald Trump’s baseless claims that his loss to Democratic President-elect Joe Biden was the result of fraud, Reuters reported.

Multiple state and federal reviews have found no evidence of the sort of widespread fraud Trump claims, but Republican senators and House members plan to challenge the election result when Congress certifies it on Wednesday.

A Republican push led by Senator Ted Cruz for an emergency 10-day audit of election results in contested battleground states drew criticism on Sunday from Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a staunch Trump ally.

“It appears to be more of a political dodge than an effective remedy,” Graham said in a statement. “I will listen closely. But they have a high bar to clear.”

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Trump’s impeachment trial to start in two weeks

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(Last Updated On: January 23, 2021)

Former US President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial will begin in two weeks, the Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said.

This will be the first such trial to take place after a president has left office. Donald Trump meanwhile also became the first president in US history to be impeached twice.

Schumer said late Friday that Trump’s impeachment trial will begin in the week of February 8.

“The Senate will conduct a trial of the impeachment of Donald Trump. It will be a full trial. It will be a fair trial,” Schumer said.

The top Democratic leader in the Senate announced the schedule after reaching an agreement with Republicans, news agencies reported.

According to the timeline, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will send the article of impeachment to the Senate on Monday, triggering the start of the former president’s trial on the charge of “incitement of insurrection” over the deadly riot at the US capitol on January 6.

The initial proceeding will begin Tuesday, and Trump’s legal team will have time to prepare the case before opening arguments begin in February.

The timeline amounts to a two-week delay and allows the Senate to conduct normal business as a new administration takes charge.

Trump was impeached for inciting a mob of his angry supporters who ransacked the US Capitol building in an attempt to overturn the results of the presidential election, which Trump falsely claimed was “stolen.”

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Twitter bans account linked to Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei

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(Last Updated On: January 23, 2021)

Twitter permanently banned an account believed to be linked to Iran’s supreme leader Friday after it posted a threatening image that included former President Donald Trump, NPR reported.

According to The Associated Press, the account, @khamenei_site, was linked to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s website and the same account had previously posted portions of Khamenei’s speeches and official content.

However, a Twitter spokesperson told the AP that the account was fake, without elaborating on how it determined that.

The image that resulted in the ban, Trump playing golf in the shadow of what appears to be an aircraft, is captioned “Revenge is certain,” written in Farsi.

The same image can be found on Khamenei’s English website. Below the picture is a quote from Khamenei from last month: “Soleimani’s murderers and those who ordered his murder must face revenge. … Both the murderers and those who ordered it should know that revenge may come at any time.”

Trump and other administration officials have said the US targeted Qassem Soleimani — a powerful Iranian general and a key strategist against the U.S. — who was killed in an airstrike last year.

Trump’s social media presence was all but silenced after he was accused of inciting violence at the US Capitol on January 6. As a result, both Twitter and Facebook moved to ban him permanently from their platforms.

“After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them — specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter — we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” a Twitter statement said.

Trump was also banned from the @POTUS account for the last days of his term and from his reelection campaign account.

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New US president tells Americans ‘we will get through this together’

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(Last Updated On: January 20, 2021)

Joe Biden was sworn in as America’s 46th President on Wednesday in Washington DC.

Biden will preside over a deeply polarized electorate, with millions of voters still believing defeated Trump’s false claims of election fraud, and a divided Congress, where gridlock looms as the default and success will come only by compromise, Reuters reported.

Few presidents have taken power in circumstances such as these: a still-raging pandemic claiming lives, a continuing threat of armed insurrection and a defiant former president who faces a Senate trial charged with encouraging an attack on his country’s capital.

Speaking at his inauguration, Biden said:” “We will get through this together! Together!.

He said the world is watching today and that America has been tested but it has come out stronger for it.

He also said the US will lead by the power of example.

He also called for a moment of silence for all those who died from COVID-19 in the past year.

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