Daily News Roundup

February 15, 2021

 

MONDAY, February 15

Former US president Donald Trump, fresh from his impeachment acquittal, has hinted he might return to public life to rally for the Republican Party sooner than you might think.

In a statement after the vote, Mr Trump offered few clues, but was defiant as he told supporters their movement “has only just begun”.

“In the months ahead I have much to share with you, and I look forward to continuing our incredible journey together to achieve American greatness for all of our people,” he said.

While Mr Trump has not signalled his long-range political plans, he has publicly hinted at another run for the White House, and is reportedly keen to help primary challengers to Republicans in Congress who voted to impeach or convict him.

That leaves Republicans in a precarious position as they try to forge a winning coalition in the 2022 midterm elections for control of Congress and a 2024 White House race that might include Mr Trump as a candidate.

“It’s hard to imagine Republicans winning national elections without Trump supporters anytime soon,” said Alex Conant, a Republican strategist and aide to Senator Marco Rubio during his 2016 presidential primary race against Mr Trump.

“The party is facing a real Catch 22: it can’t win with Trump but it’s obvious it can’t win without him either,” he said.

Mr Trump remains popular among the Republican base.

But never before have so many members of a president’s party — seven Republican senators, in his case — voted for their removal in a Senate trial.

Senator Mitch McConnell voted to acquit Mr Trump but delivered a scathing denunciation of the former president.(Reuters: Yuri Gripas)

Some may work to counter efforts by Mr Trump to support extreme candidates in next year’s congressional primaries.

Undeterred, friends and allies expect Mr Trump to resume friendly media interviews after weeks of silence.

They said he has met with political aides to discuss efforts to help Republicans try to take control of the House and Senate in the 2022 midterms elections.

He also remains fixated on exacting revenge on Republicans who supported his impeachment or resisted his efforts to overturn the results of the November election won by Democrat Joe Biden.

“I imagine you’ll probably be hearing a lot more from him in the coming days,” senior adviser Jason Miller said.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who spoke with Mr Trump on Saturday night local time, acknowledged that Mr Trump is “mad at some folks”, but also “ready to move on and rebuild the Republican Party” and “excited about 2022”.

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Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, are expecting their second child, a spokesperson for the couple says.

Their first son, Archie, was born in 2019.

“We can confirm that Archie is going to be a big brother,” the spokesperson said.

“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are overjoyed to be expecting their second child.”

The baby will be eighth in line to the throne.

The announcement was accompanied by a black and white photograph of the duchess, visibly pregnant, lying on grass with one hand on her stomach and her head resting on the prince’s leg.

The photo was taken by long-time friend and photographer Misan Harriman.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, Prince Charles and the entire royal family were “delighted” by the news and wished the couple well.

The duke and duchess stepped back from royal duties in January 2020 and moved with their first child to Southern California to live a more independent life and escape the UK media.

Since ending their royal duties, the duke, 36, and duchess, 39, have continued to perform charity work while also signing TV and other media deals.

They also launched a podcast in December.

Last year, the duchess revealed she had a miscarriage, in an extraordinarily personal disclosure coming from a high-profile member of the royal family.

The couple married in a glittering ceremony at Windsor Castle in 2018.

Their relationship with the UK press swiftly soured, however, with the couple launching legal cases against several newspapers.

Last week, the duchess won a privacy claim against the Mail on Sunday newspaper for printing extracts of a letter she wrote to her father.

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A Liberal Party staffer has alleged she was raped at Parliament House in Defence Minister Linda Reynolds’ ministerial office by a colleague, and claims she felt forced to choose between reporting it to the police or keeping her job.

In explosive allegations detailing the Morrison Government’s handling of the incident, media adviser Brittany Higgins has told news.com.au that she spent the last two years “internalising the trauma”.

She has also revealed that she was brought to a formal employment meeting about the incident in the room where she was allegedly raped — a decision the Morrison Government has now accepted was an error by the then Defence Industry Minister Linda Reynolds.

Ms Higgins was just 24 at the time of the incident and only months into her “dream job” of working at parliament.

She said the horror night quickly emerged as a crisis to be managed by her successive chiefs of staff, cabinet ministers and even staff in the Prime Minister’s office.

Brittany Higgins claims she was raped by a colleague in Parliament House.Source:Supplied

The alleged sexual assault occurred on the evening of March 23, 2019, just weeks before Prime Minister Scott Morrison called the election on April 10, 2019.

After a night of drinking with colleagues, Ms Higgins alleges she was assaulted in her own office by another Liberal staffer who she says was regarded as a “rising star” in the party.

She remembers the man buying “lots of rounds of drinks” at the event before it was suggested he lived in the same direction and his taxi could drop her home on the way.

Instead, he took her to Parliament House.

“I didn’t have a pass. I was in a cocktail dress,” she said.

“At that point I was very intoxicated. I thought, ‘Well, I am well and truly done. I need to go.’ And so there were only four of us left. We were going the same way.”

Ms Higgins said she was so affected by alcohol and did not have her security pass that the Liberal staffer needed to sign her in with security officers.

From that moment, CCTV vision tracked the pair’s every move in Parliament House towards Senator Reynolds’ office.

After arriving at the office, Ms Higgins said she remembers sitting on a window ledge that overlooked the Prime Minister’s courtyard.

She began to feel unwell and lay down on the couch. It was then she woke up to the Liberal staffer having sex with her

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When it came to finding venues to host Britain’s enormous COVID-19 vaccine rollout, the UK government had to get creative.

To meet its target of vaccinating 15 million Britons in just two months, it would need to enlist not just GP surgeries and hospitals, but large sites capable of accommodating around 1,000 people a day, te ABC reports.

The vaccination sites would also have to be well-ventilated, with wide entrances and exits, spacious rooms that could be easily transformed into safe waiting areas and, in an ideal world, have plenty of parking.

These stringent requirements have led to slightly surreal scenes of 95-year-olds queueing to get into nightclubs, football stadiums and the Epsom Downs racecourse for their jabs. Churches, with their soaring ceilings and large footprints, have been another natural choice.

For the Dean of Salisbury in Wiltshire, England, whose 800-year-old cathedral is best known for having the UK’s tallest church spire and an original copy of the Magna Carta, offering up the church as a vaccination centre was an easy decision.

Salisbury Cathedral is now being used by Sarum South Primary Care Network two or three days a week, depending on vaccine supplies, and the Very Reverend Nicholas Papadopulos couldn’t be happier about it.

“The cathedral, like any church building, has two purposes. One is to give glory to God, and one is to serve the people of God,” Reverend Papadopulos said.

“It just so happens that in this phase of the crisis, where the imperative is to deliver a vaccine as efficiently as possible, our best way of serving the people of God has been by opening our doors for that purpose.”

Of course, the UK’s vaccination sites have also required lots of staff trained to administer the vaccines, hundreds of them volunteers, like Delia Sharrock Clarke.

After almost 50 years as a nurse, Sharrock Clarke, 66, of Leigh in Greater Manchester, was looking forward to retiring in March last year.

But when the pandemic took hold in the UK, she stayed on for a extra few months to help fight the public health crisis of a lifetime, and is now a volunteer at her local vaccination centre at the Leigh Sports Village arena.