- PoliticsThe Independent
Lindell equates getting coronavirus vaccine to receiving ‘mark of the beast’ pledging allegiance to the devil
- CelebrityAssociated Press
Prince Harry says the process of separating from royal life has been very difficult for him and his wife, Meghan. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Harry invoked the memory of his late mother, Princess Diana, who had to find her way alone after she and Prince Charles divorced. Diana was shown in a photo holding toddler Harry as he made the comments.
- NewsSouth China Morning Post
South China Sea: PLA starts month-long drill in push to modernise soldiers while resisting US operations
The People’s Liberation Army kicked off a month-long military exercise in the South China Sea on Monday, as the United States steps up reconnaissance operations and France sends military vessels to the region. The prolonged PLA drill comes as it intensifies joint operation exercises to help build the Chinese military to meet modern warfare requirements. China is conducting its military exercise in a zone with a radius of 5km (3.1 miles) west of the Leizhou Peninsula in Guangdong province, according to a navigation restriction notice released by the China Maritime Safety Administration on Friday. The notice warned that other vessels should not enter the area during March, but did not provide further details.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China. The naval exercises are taking place as China vows to firmly defend its territorial integrity. “We will not lose an inch of our land left to us by our ancestors,” the defence ministry said in a statement on Monday. “We are determined to maintain the peace and stability of the South China Sea. We oppose any nations creating tensions and stepping up military presence under the name of freedom of navigation.” In addition to the drill, state-run China Central Television reported that three theatre commands – the Northern, Eastern and Southern – staged joint operation naval exercises in the Yellow Sea, and East and South China seas in recent days. Without giving dates of the drills, CCTV broadcast video footage showing exercises taking place over several days and nights and including the use of missiles to hit target surface vessels and aircraft. The video showed armed helicopters attending accidents while delivering logistic support to Chinese bases, on reconnaissance missions and in operations to replenish ships on the high seas. The exercises come as the US has also been sending aircraft and naval ships to the South and East China seas. The PLA reacted with drills as “real combat scenarios”. “The US used to send spy jets every two days and now the PLA takes the visits of their American counterparts as usual operations,” Beijing-based military expert Zhou Chenming said. According to monitoring data released by the South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative, a Beijing-based think tank, the US sent reconnaissance various aircraft – including an MQ-4C maritime reconnaissance drone, an EP-3E spy plane and an RC-135U strategic reconnaissance aircraft – to the South China Sea on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. It sent the USNS Impeccable ocean surveillance ship to the region on Friday. Why France is flexing its muscles in the South China Sea Last month, France sent an amphibious assault ship and a frigate which are expected to transit the South China Sea twice for freedom of navigation operations. “The latest flying routine made by the RC-135U focused on the southeast air space of Taiwan, the hot site the PLA used to conduct frequent air and naval drills,” said Lu Li-Shih, a former instructor at Taiwan’s Naval Academy in Kaohsiung, adding the area was also the air-defence identification zone (ADIZ) of Taiwan. PLA aircraft flew nearly 40 sorties into the southwest of Taiwan’s ADIZ in February, according to the Taiwanese defence ministry. Zhou said the PLA was boosting drills, requiring soldiers to meet real combat and joint operation requirements. “All PLA officers and soldiers should pass the requirements as those are the standards of assessments that decide their promotion,” he said. The Central Military Commission, the PLA’s top brass chaired by President Xi Jinping, issued a draft of its PLA Operation Outlines in November, ordering the military to improve its fighting power by applying joint combat operation strategies and using precision, intelligence, stealth and unmanned weapons designed for modern warfare in routine exercises. Zhou said that since July 2020, when Beijing had Covid-19 under control, the PLA had held several rounds of military drills in the region, indicating it was a routine location for exercises. “This year will also be a busy training year for the PLA, as the new guideline requires them to do more tough and challenging training,” he said.More from South China Morning Post:South China Sea: how the French navy is charting its own course between China and the USSouth China Sea: why France is flexing its muscles in the contested watersSouth China Sea: PLA stages live-fire missile drill, US Navy on Paracels patrolThis article South China Sea: PLA starts month-long drill in push to modernise soldiers while resisting US operations first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
- PoliticsThe Daily Beast
Elijah Nouvelage/GettyHe was a one-term “loser.” He helped lose his party the White House, the Senate, and the House. He left office with a domestic body count in the hundreds of thousands, and an economy in the toilet.Just last month, he instigated a deadly riot on Capitol Hill that endangered the lives of senior members of his own party, as he sat back and smirked from the comfort and safety of the West Wing. And his administration ended in such a historically disastrous state of his own making that fellow leaders in the Republican Party were directly blaming him for the deaths and anti-democratic mob violence, and some of his former senior advisers were openly accusing him of attempting to stage a coup or pleading with him to disappear to Florida “and stay” there.But that was a whole month ago. On Sunday, former President Donald Trump re-emerged at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), held this year in his new home base of Florida, where he was greeted as the beloved, unequivocal leader in the GOP. Whatever blood there was on the 45th U.S. president’s hands, the Republican Party and conservative movement had already done their best to rinse it all away. And they were more than happy to try.“Actually you know, [the Democrats] just lost the White House,” Trump said—obviously incorrectly—on stage early Sunday evening. “Who knows? I might decide to beat them for a third time,” he added, dangling a potential 2024 presidential run.Much of the former president’s CPAC speech was a lazy, predictable retread of grievance and his perennial whining. “They’re the biggest fakers there are,” he alleged, bashing his enemies in the press. “Never let [Democrats and the Biden administration] take the credit” for the coronavirus vaccines, Trump said, regurgitating his concerns dating back to November that a President Joe Biden would get credit for ending the COVID-19 crisis in the United States. He again took his shots at foes like Dr. Anthony Fauci and Biden, yet again accusing the latter of having mental difficulties.Trump harangued trans women for competing in sports as women. He kept peppering his speech with lies that he triumphed in the 2020 election. He used those lies to call on Republicans to enact more and more restrictions on legitimate voting, and did so to rapturous applause from the audience. He repeatedly trashed the U.S. Supreme Court—which has a sizable conservative majority of his presidency’s creation—for lacking the “courage” to obliterate democracy at his behest last year. He baselessly alleged that the Democratic Party was trying to bring on “communism.” He bleated over and over about “cancel culture” and Big Tech. He rattled off a list of Republican lawmakers (Liz Cheney, Mitt Romney, Adam Kinzinger, and so on…) whom he found insufficiently subservient to him and his ego.And he had the nerve to claim that “Trumpism” means “no riots in the streets.”In the days of the conference prior to Trump’s address, the content and mood of the annual gathering reflected the sentiment pervading the national GOP, its base of voters, Republican honchos in Washington, D.C., state parties, and the influential hubs of conservative media: that this twice impeached president, as well as Trumpism, are the dominant present and future of American conservatism. And for this, they’re enthusiastically frontloading many of Trump’s policy and messaging priorities.For instance, much of this year’s CPAC was devoted to pushing Trump’s lie that he actually won the 2020 presidential contest against Biden, an election Trump clearly lost. That lie fueled Trump and Republicans’ months-long legal crusade during the presidential transition period to groundlessly throw out countless votes in key states, in a failed effort to overturn the will and decision of the electorate. Top Trump allies publicly flirted with the concept of martial law, and other authoritarian power-grabbing ideas that thankfully went nowhere, despite Trump’s sustained attempts. This broad push culminated in the bloody Jan. 6 riot.And yet various major players in the Republican Party still refuse to admit publicly that Biden won, and Trump himself has privately said he’d prefer the candidates and primary challengers he supports in the future to publicly back the Big Lie—both rhetorically and in the writing of laws and crackdowns on voting—to his satisfaction.And as Trump charts the path of his post-presidency, he’s keen on snuffing out dissent to the devotion to his cult of personality that is now the most integral element of his party. In recent weeks, the former president, tucked away at his Palm Beach club of Mar-a-Lago, has repeatedly complained about several prominent Republicans who had crossed him (even mildly) over the Jan. 6 riot, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Nikki Haley, Trump’s one-time ambassador to the United Nations. Trump has told multiple confidants that if Haley runs for the presidency in 2024, he wants to ensure she is crushed and humiliated in the GOP primary, according to three people familiar with the matter.This despite Haley’s attempts earlier this month to execute some damage control and to reconnect with Trump. Even others who have more aggressively sought to crawl back to Trump following the riot haven’t been spared the ex-president’s suspicions or trash talk. A month ago, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) visited Trump in Florida, on a mission to preserve party unity, as they gear up for the 2022 midterm elections. Prior to that he’d already jumped on the phone with Donald Trump Jr., solidifying his deference to the Trump brand and family, ahead of the former president’s second Senate impeachment trial.Still, in recent days Trump has privately told some of those close to him that he’s not sure if he can trust McCarthy in the long run, two of the sources said. One of the things that Trump has griped about during his post-presidency is McCarthy’s public acknowledgement that Biden indeed won the election, following weeks of McCarthy cheering on or excusing Trump’s months-long endeavor to cling to power.But at CPAC on Sunday night, the ex-president and current leader of the Republican Party had the courtesy to, for now at least, take one tactic for keeping the GOP in line off the table. “I am not starting a new party,” Trump said on stage, affirming his continued support for the party that once made him leader of the free world.And why should he? The party and movement keep showing him, again and again, since Biden’s inauguration that the GOP remains a willing and wholly owned subsidiary of the Trump brand name.And soon after he left the stage, Trump’s political operation was back to doing what it does best: milking his supporters for big money, often by deceptive means. “Pres. Trump: Did you miss me? I just finished my CPAC speech! My team’s handing me the 1ST donor list in 1 HR. Can I count on you? Donate,” the Trump team texted supporters on Sunday evening.During the 2020 campaign, the Trump campaign would often ask supporters to donate, alleging that doing so could give small-dollar donors a chance at getting their names in front of an appreciative Trump. Several sources familiar with the practice say that this was so often done with absolutely zero intention of bothering Trump with any lists of his faceless fans’ names.Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
- EntertainmentUSA TODAY Entertainment
Sia's "Music" has outraged the autism community, for both the casting of neurotypical actress Maddie Ziegler and for scenes showing use of restraint.
Prince Harry, Meghan Markle open up on 'unbelievably tough’ split from royal life, on Oprah Winfrey special
In an excerpt from an upcoming TV special with Oprah Winfrey, Prince Harry also discussed his mother's departure from the Royal Family three decades ago.