January 18, 2021
Here is the latest news from The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. defense officials say they are worried about an insider attack or other threat from service members involved in securing President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. That concern is prompting the FBI to vet all 25,000 National Guard troops coming into Washington for the event. The massive undertaking reflects the extraordinary security concerns that have gripped Washington following the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump rioters. And it underscores fears that some of the very people assigned to protect the city over the next several days could present a threat to the incoming president and other VIPs in attendance.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea’s president has urged the incoming Biden administration to build upon the achievements and learn from the failures of President Donald Trump’s diplomatic engagement with North Korea. Moon Jae-in lobbied hard to help set up Trump’s three summits with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, but the the diplomacy stalemated. North Korea has a history of staging weapons tests and other provocations to test new U.S. presidents, and Kim vowed to strengthen his nuclear weapons program in recent political speeches that were seen as aimed at pressuring the incoming Biden administration. The South Korean leader has been desperate to keep alive a positive atmosphere for dialogue. He claimed Kim still had a “clear willingness” to denuclearize.
JERUSALEM (AP) — The Israeli military says its aircraft struck targets in the Gaza Strip in response to two rockets fired from the Palestinian territory. It says fighter jets hit Hamas military targets early on Monday, including sites for digging underground tunnels, some of which stretch into Israel. There were no immediate reports of injuries from the airstrikes. There were also no reports of damage or injury from the rockets launched. Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since the Islamic militant group seized power of the coastal enclave in 2007. There’s been no major confrontation since 2014 but there are often cross-border skirmishes between the sides.
UNDATED (AP) — World markets have gotten off to a slow start for the week following a retreat last week on Wall Street, despite news that the Chinese economy grew 2.3% in 2020. Shares fell in Paris, London and Tokyo but advanced in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Most U.S. markets are closed Monday for a national holiday. Investors appear to have grown increasingly wary, with reports showing deepening economic devastation from the pandemic. The S&P 500 fell 0.7% Friday and other benchmarks also declined. Overall, stocks seem to have run out of steam since setting records recently on optimism over COVID-19 vaccines and more stimulus from Washington.
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Extreme cold and snow have hit much of Europe, with freezing temperatures cracking railroad tracks in Poland and snow blanketing most of the Turkish city of Istanbul. Temperatures dropped to minus 28 degrees Celsius (minus 18 Fahrenheit) in some areas of Poland overnight, the coldest night in 11 years. Many trains were delayed Monday after rail tracks at two Warsaw railway stations cracked. Warsaw authorities also urged people to stay indoors, as smog spiked from the burning of coal for heating. In Istanbul, traffic was brought to a halt by the layer of snow covering the city. The flurries were forecast to continue throughout the day.