WEDNESDAY, February 10
The US Senate has voted that the second impeachment trial against former US president Donald Trump is constitutionally valid and will continue.
The vote followed four hours of arguments from Mr Trump’s lawyers and Democratic impeachment managers.
It passed with 56 votes to 44, meaning six Republicans voted in favour of the motion.
The defeated former president stands charged by the House with inciting the deadly mob attack on the Capitol on January 6 to overturn the election in what prosecutors argue is the “most grievous constitutional crime”.
Mr Trump was impeached one week before he left office and one week after he told his supporters to “fight like hell” before they laid siege on the Capitol.
The rioting resulted in five deaths.
Impeachment managers — who act as the prosecutors — argued Mr Trump incited insurrection, and that a former president must be held to account for all conduct in office, regardless of whether that conduct occurred in his final week.
“There is no January exception to the impeachment power, that presidents can’t commit grave offences in their final days and escape any congressional response,” Democrat Joe Neguse said.
Democrats cited legal scholars and precedent from a secretary of war’s 1876 impeachment to detail both the historical precedent and the violence of the rioting to argue that the trial was constitutional.
David Cicilline, a Rhode Island Democrat, told senators that the argument the Senate didn’t have jurisdiction to try Mr Trump rested on a “purely fictional” legal premise.
Mr Cicilline said: “The Senate can and should force [former] president Trump to stand trial.”
Jamie Raskin, the lead House impeachment manager, grew emotional as he spoke about his personal experience in the Capitol on January 6.
He had been joined there by family members that day, which was the day after he buried his son, who took his own life in December.
His daughter and son-in-law were in an office in the Capitol.
They hid under a desk, where they sent what they thought were their final texts.
Mr Raskin said: “They thought they were going to die.”
Separated from them in the House chamber, Mr Raskin described people around him calling to say goodbye to their families, and members removing their congressional pins to try to evade detection.
He said he heard the rioters “pounding on the door like a battering ram”, a sound he said he would “never forget”.
He choked up as he recounted his daughter telling him she never wanted to return to the Capitol again.
Through tears, Mr Raskin said: “This cannot be the future of America.”
Mr Trump’s defence lawyers said the impeachment must be ruled unconstitutional, because it was not a power to be used against a former president who was now a private citizen.
A device that vaporises liquid into fine mist is thought to be behind the cluster of coronavirus cases at a Melbourne quarantine hotel.
Chief health officer Brett Sutton made the stunning revelation as the state government officially announced the Holiday Inn quarantine site would close immediately after three local cases were linked to the site.
“(The) working hypothesis for the Holiday Inn is the three cases are related to an exposure event that involved a medical device called the nebuliser and it vaporises medication or liquid into a fine mist,” Professor Sutton said.
He said when it was used for medication and someone was infectious, the device could cause fine particles to be suspended in the air.
“We think the exposures are related to that event, this nebuliser whereby the … virus was carried out into the corridor and exposed the authorised officer, the food and beverage service worker and also the other resident,” Prof Sutton said.
“That makes sense in terms of the geography and it makes sense in terms of the exposure time.”
He said it was a risk authorities needed to be acutely aware of and meant everyone who was on that floor had possibly been exposed to the virus.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews also revealed hyper-infectious mutant strains beginning to escape from hotel quarantine into the community are proving very difficult for authorities to contain.
“This is a wicked enemy, made more challenging by the fact that it is changing, it is a moving target,” Mr Andrews said.
“These mutant strains are highly infectious, hyper-infectious, really, and it is a very significant cause for concern, not just for us but I think for every government and public health official across the country.
“These hyper-infectious strains are proving very difficult to contain and that’s a real challenge. “Not just for today but indeed for the weeks and months ahead as we move towards vaccinating the elderly, the frail and those who have been most susceptible to this virus.”
Mr Andrews said authorities would redouble their efforts to respond to the unique challenges of the mutant strains.
Meanwhile, an international team of experts investigating the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic in China say it is “extremely unlikely” the virus came from a lab — and it is likely to have originated in an animal other than bats.
Dr Peter Ben Embarek said the World Health Organisation team’s findings suggest “that the laboratory incident hypothesis is extremely unlikely to explain introduction of the virus into the human population”.
The team said the virus was likely circulating for several weeks before it was detected in December 2019, as they delivered a summary of their findings on COVID-19 in Wuhan on Tuesday night.
Eugenie, the 10th in line to the British throne and younger daughter of the queen’s third child Prince Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, and her son are both doing well, the palace said.
Born weighing 8lbs 1oz, or 3.6 kilograms, the baby is the ninth great-grandchild for the 94-year-old queen and The Duke of Edinburgh.
“The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Duke of York, Sarah, Duchess of York, and Mr and Mrs George Brooksbank have been informed and are delighted with the news,” the palace said.
Eugenie — who married Mr Brooksbank at Windsor Castle in 2018 — announced the news on her Instagram account with a picture of the new parents holding the newborn’s hand.
This is Eugenie and Mr Brooksbank’s first child, The Duke of York and Sarah, Duchess of York’s first grandchild
Mary Wilson, the longest-reigning original member of The Supremes, has died aged 76.
Wilson died at her home in Las Vegas on Monday night, publicist Jay Schwartz said.
The cause was not immediately clear.
The Supremes began in 1959 when Wilson, Diana Ross, Florence Ballard and Betty McGlown formed a group called the Primettes, a sister act to the male group the Primes.
Barbara Martin replaced McGlown in 1960, a year before they joined the Motown record label and became The Supremes.
Martin left in early 1962, leaving Wilson, Ross and Ballard.
Ballard was replaced by Cindy Birdsong in 1967 and died of a heart attack in 1976 at the age of 32.
Ross left to pursue a solo career in 1970 and Birdsong departed in 1972, but Wilson stayed through further line-up changes until 1977. After she left, the group officially disbanded.
The group’s first number one, million-selling song, Where Did Our Love Go, was released on June 17, 1964.
Touring at the time, Wilson said there was a moment when she realised they had a hit song.
“I remember that instead of going home on the bus, we flew,” she told The Associated Press in 2014.
“That was our first plane ride. We flew home. We had really hit big.”
The group also recorded the hit songs You Can’t Hurry Love, Up the Ladder to the Roof, and Stop! In the Name of Love.
In 1986, Wilson’s first autobiography, Dreamgirl: My Life As A Supreme, made her a New York Times best-selling author, as did her second memoir Supreme Faith: Someday We’ll Be Together in 1990.
The Supremes are America’s most successful vocal group with 12 number one singles on the Billboard Hot 100 and they have been credited with making it possible for future African American R&B and soul musicians to find mainstream success.
“I was extremely shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of a major member of the Motown family, Mary Wilson of the Supremes,” said Motown founder Berry Gordy in a statement on Monday night, according to Variety.
“The Supremes were always known as the ‘sweethearts of Motown’.”
In 1988, The Supremes were inducted into the Rock of and Roll Hall of Fame.
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