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3 Supreme Court justices skip Biden’s inauguration over coronavirus concerns

The three senior Supreme Court justices did not attend President Joe Biden’s inauguration due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

Judge Stephen G. Breyer, 82; Clarence Thomas (72) and Samuel A. Alito (70) did not come to their colleagues in the Capitol on this historic day.

“You have decided not to attend the inauguration ceremony given the public health risks posed by the COVID pandemic,” Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathleen Arberg said in an email.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. fulfilled his duty to take the oath of office to Biden. Judge Sonia Sotomayor took the oath to Vice President Kamala Harris.

All nine Supreme Court justices typically attend the inaugurations and sit behind the outgoing administrators. Some have chosen not to attend the previous Presidents’ annual speeches on the state of the Union. Former President Donald Trump in particular also decided not to attend the inauguration.

The Supreme Court building has been closed to the public for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

– Los Angeles times

Surgeon General Jerome Adams resigns when Biden takes over the presidency

Surgeon General Jerome Adams resigned Wednesday at the request of President Joe Biden as the new administration tried to take a clean break from former President Donald Trump’s botched response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Adams, whose reputation was suffering from his association with Trump’s mercury leadership, tried to take the main street on the way to the door as the nation’s best doctor.

“I hope in 2021 and beyond we can focus more on what unites us and rise above what divides us,” said Adams, who was the second black in history to serve as surgeon general. “Americans who work together can overcome any obstacle or adversary.”

Biden’s transition team told Adams that the new president intends to ask for his resignation on Wednesday.

The new administration wants to signal an entirely new approach to fighting the pandemic after more than 400,000 Americans died on Trump’s watch.

Adams tried to defend his role as the public face of Trump’s failed policies. This included dramatically downplaying the threat posed by the virus by refusing to ask Americans to take reasonable health precautions.

“I have tried to communicate the rapidly developing science about this deadly adversary and to equip people with the knowledge and tools they need to stay safe,” wrote Adams. “I have always made a genuine effort to speak to everyday Americans and address the terrible health inequalities that this virus has exposed.”

Adams is a former Indiana health commissioner anesthetist and a close ally of former Vice President Mike Pence.

– New York Daily News

NRA says it’s “don’t be afraid” of NY lawsuit, will keep fighting

The National Rifle Association of America is “not afraid” of a lawsuit that is threatened with liquidation in New York and stands ready to continue litigation despite filing for bankruptcy, a group lawyer said in court.

The gun rights group “is in no way trying to evade regulatory oversight,” said Patrick Neligan, the NRA bankruptcy attorney, in his first post Chapter 11 hearing on Wednesday. “It’s just wrong” for the NRA to run away from the New York litigation, he said.

When the NRA went bankrupt on Friday, it said in a statement that filing Chapter 11 would facilitate its plans to “drain New York” and get out of its “toxic political environment”. Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s chief executive officer, said in a letter the same day, “We are leaving the state of an attorney general who swore a few months ago that he would abuse legal and regulatory powers to put us in business. ”

The New York attorney general’s office is “very concerned” with the statements, said James Sheehan, chief of the state’s charities, at the hearing, which was held via videoconference. Attorney General Letitia James has sued the NRA on charges of fraud, and the NRA plans to argue in the New York State Court to dismiss the lawsuit Thursday.

Rather than escaping the New York litigation, filing for bankruptcy is a way to “centralize” a wide variety of current and potential litigation the NRA is facing, Neligan said. He cited an unlawful death lawsuit, insurance disputes, and actions by various government agencies.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that the NRA, like many other companies that previously filed Chapter 11, needs the breathing spell that Chapter 11 provides,” said Neligan.

– Bloomberg News

UN: At least 43 dead after a migrant boat capsized off Libya

CAIRO – At least 43 people drowned after a migrant boat capsized in Europe off Libya, the United Nations Migration Agency said on Wednesday.

The incident occurred on Tuesday in poor sea conditions after the boat left the Libyan coastal city of Zwara, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said.

Ten people were rescued and taken to the Mediterranean coast, the agency said.

The survivors reported that all men from West African countries were killed, IOM said. It is not yet clear how many people were on board the boat.

Libya has become an important transit route for migrants trying to reach Europe by sea since chaos erupted in the North African country following the 2011 uprising that overthrew longtime dictator Moamer Gaddafi.

For years, the United Nations and rights groups have repeatedly warned that migrants in Libya risk torture, sexual abuse and human trafficking.

IOM Wednesday warned that the situation for migrants and refugees in Libya remains extremely precarious.

“Arbitrary arrests and detentions under the worst conditions continue. Many are harassed and exploited by traffickers and smugglers, held as ransom, tortured and abused,” the agency said in a statement.

– dpa, Berlin

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