Home » Biden Denounces Trump A Year On From Capitol Attack | First Thing

Biden Denounces Trump A Year On From Capitol Attack | First Thing

Good morning.

Joe Biden marked the anniversary of the Capitol attack with his strongest denunciation yet of his predecessor, accusing Donald Trump and his allies of placing a “dagger at the throat of American democracy”.

Condemning Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election as a “failed” pursuit, Biden underlined that the insurrection continues to endanger American democracy as the lies that led to the violence persist.

In a show of just how divided Washington remains, there were only two Republicans on the floor of the House of Representatives when speaker Nancy Pelosi presided over a moment of silence: the former vice-president Dick Cheney and his daughter, congresswoman Liz Cheney. Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, who was in Georgia for the funeral of a former colleague, issued a statement calling the attack “antithetical to the rule of law”.

  • The potential for a future stolen election is higher than ever, Sam Levine warns in his analysis of the continuing machinations. Since the insurrection, Republicans have powered ahead with efforts to undermine the processes of election administration and vote counting.

  • The forceful denunciation “cannot have been easy” for Biden, who favours bipartisanship and ran on a platform of national unity, writes David Smith in his analysis. It shows that Biden understands the “threat must be looked squarely in the eye”.

  • What did Trump say? He had planned to hold a news conference from Mar-a-Lago, but canceled under pressure from conservative allies. Neverthless, he issued a series of statements maintaining the “big lie”.

Real number of Covid deaths US likely undercounted

A person takes a picture of an installation remembering lives lost to Covid at the Green-Wood Cemetery in New York City. Photograph: Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

The true number of people lost to Covid in the US is likely to be higher than the official figure, experts have said, owing to the virus’s long-term effects and other fatal complications that have risen since the pandemic began.

Since February 2020, there have been an estimated 942,431 excess deaths in the US, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with Hispanic, Black and Native American and Alaska Native populations disproportionately affected.

But the CEO of insurance company OneAmerica, J Scott Davison, said the real death toll was likely to be higher, as the deaths that happen months after infection are not included in the figure. He said death rates among working-age people were up 40% over what they were pre-pandemic.

  • What else has contributed to climbing death rates? Drug overdoses and homicides have also risen during the pandemic.

  • Why are long Covid deaths difficult to tally? In some patients, the virus weakens organs or leads to new ailments – but may no longer be present at the time of death.

Thousands detained in Kazakhstan as president says order mostly restored

More than 3,000 people have been detained in the protests, according to interior ministry figures. Photograph: Vladimir Tretyakov/AP

Order has mostly been restored in Kazakhstan, president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has claimed following days of protest during which more than 3,000 people have been detained and 26 killed, according to interior ministry figures. In an address on Friday morning, he said he had personally given orders to open fire with lethal force against protesters he called “bandits and terrorists”.

The apparent end to the unrest comes a day after Russia sent “peacekeeping forces” numbering about 2,500 into Kazakhstan. Witnesses in the country’s largest city, Almaty, described chaotic scenes on Thursday, with government buildings stormed and torched.

However, many said the protests – triggered by a spike in fuel prices as well as longstanding political and economic dissatisfaction – had started peacefully earlier in the week, before tipping into violence following the government’s crackdown.

  • Why did Russia intervene? The Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) deployed troops within hours of Tokayev’s appeal. The move has been divisive, with some in Russia praising the action while other have compared it to the Soviet-era Warsaw Pact interventions.

In other news …

Police forces remove an SUV with bodies that were left by unknown assailants in front of the government palace, in Zacatecas, Mexico, on Thursday. Photograph: Reuters
  • Ten bodies were crammed into an SUV and left in front of the office of a Mexican state governor, officials have said. The vehicle was left before dawn in the main plaza of the capital of Zacatecas – a state that has become one of the country’s most violent due to turf wars.

  • Philadelphia deadliest fire in a century may have been caused by a five-year-old setting a Christmas tree alight, officials revealed on Thursday. The possibility is being considered as investigators seek to determine the cause of the blaze that killed 12.

  • Australia’s home affairs minister has rejected accusations that Novak Djokovic is being held “captive” in a Melbourne immigration hotel. The Australian Open champion is fighting his deportation in court after border force officials detained him.

Stat of the day: 37% of Gen Z have sought counseling

‘To have someone there to help us feel validated and to be there for our relationship, felt great.’ Photograph: Cavan Images/Getty Images/Cavan Images RF

More than a third (37%) of Gen Z have sought therapy, according to recent figures from the American Psychiatric Association, and millennials aren’t far behind, with 35% going for counseling. Therapists believe this prioritisation of mental health is behind the rising tide of young people pursuing couples therapy.

Don’t miss this: Tilda Swinton: ‘I am a proper capital F failure’

Tilda Swinton seen at Kingsteps Beach, with her Springer Spaniels: Snowbear, Dora and Rosy, near her home in Nairn, Scotland. Photograph: Murdo MacLeod/The Guardian

Tilda Swinton only ever intended to make one movie. “I love seeing people, I’m not interested in seeing actors at all,” she says. She went to university aiming to become a poet, and feels a “real dark shame” about not doing so. As Simon Hattenstone accompanies her for a walk with her dogs in the Scottish Highlands, she tells him about long Covid and considering a radical career change.

Climate check: searching for the ‘Asian unicorn’

The saola has been captured on camera only a handful of times. Photograph: AP

Nicknamed the ‘“Asian unicorn”, the saola was heralded as one of the 20th century’s most impressive zoological discoveries. Less than three decades on, however, its population has plummeted due to the indirect effects of commercial wildlife poaching. In 2001, the saola population was estimated to number 70 to 700 in Laos and several hundred in Vietnam; experts believe there are now fewer than 100 in existence.

Last Thing: Peruvian statue’s giant penis vandalized

The statue in Moche, the district named after the ancient culture. The vandals reportedly fired shots in the air as they fled. Photograph: AP

Tourists have flocked to take selfies with a newly erected statue of a man with a big grin, and an even bigger phallus, in northern Peru – but not all have been fans of the 9ft representation of the fertility symbol. Breaking in overnight, vandals smashed a hole in the phallus and reportedly fired shots as they left.