Texas is still reeling from winter storms and for some, recovery could take months
Monica Ware, a mother of four, says the broken water pipes that flooded her Houston home
have destroyed nearly all of the family’s belongings. “We used everything we had on (a) hotel this week,” Ware told CNN affiliate
“After this, it’s like, where are we going to go?” While state officials work to turn the lights back on for the remaining Texas households still in the dark
some residents are faced with damage that could take weeks — or months — to recover from. “For many people in our city with means, with insurance, this week has been a significant inconvenience, but they have the means and ability to quickly transition and move forward,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a news conference late last week. “For many people in our city who are already on the margins ... and were fighting every day just to keep a roof over their head and food in their refrigerator, this past week has been a major, major event and has really disrupted their lives.” “For many of these individuals, many of these families, they will be in crisis mode for weeks and months to come,” Turner added. Turner announced the formation of the
to help residents of Houston and Harris County. “The fund is dedicated to filling the gaps that may not be met by other local and federal efforts,” Turner said. It will focus on those who need additional help to recover, supporting nonprofits that can help with home repairs and temporary housing. The Greater Houston Community Foundation and United Way of Greater Houston will administer the grants, the mayor added. As of early Monday morning, more than 15,700 people were without power across the state, according to
. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Sunday he expected all power to be fully restored to every house by late Sunday or Monday. Meanwhile some 8.7 million people — nearly a third of the state’s total population — were still having water disruptions Monday morning, according to Gary Rasp, media specialist for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
Biden administration rolls back Trump-era citizenship civics test
The Biden administration is rolling back the controversial Trump-era naturalization civics test, reverting to a prior version of the exam, according to a
published Monday. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which administers the test, announced it will go back to using a 2008 version. The agency had received thousands of comments on the Trump administration’s exam, as well as President Joe Biden’s executive order on restoring faith in the legal immigration system. In December, the Trump administration
, which made changes to test content, increased the number of questions for applicants to study, and updated the number of questions applicants had to answer correctly. At the time, immigration experts warned it could slow down the process and discourage people from seeking citizenship and legal immigration benefits.
Aurora Police did not have basis to stop, frisk or restrain Elijah McClain, investigation finds
The Aurora, Colorado, police officers involved in the fatal confrontation with
in August 2019 did not have a legal basis to stop him, frisk him or physically restrain him, according to an independent investigative report released Monday. The report also questions the officers’ statements about McClain’s “superior strength,” criticizes emergency medical responders’ rash decision to inject him with the sedative drug ketamine and admonishes the police department for failing to seriously question the officers afterward. “At the time of the (ketamine) injection, Mr. McClain had not moved or made any sounds for about one minute,” the report states. “In addition, EMS administered a ketamine dosage based on a grossly inaccurate and inflated estimate of Mr. McClain’s size.” On the whole, the 157-page report provides a critical view of Aurora’s police and fire rescue teams for their roles in McClain’s death. The 23-year-old Black man died three days after he was
. The attorneys for his mother, Sheneen McClain, released a statement Monday praising the investigative report and slamming the police department’s “sham investigation.”
— From wire reports
world & nation
The Supreme Court cleared the way for a New York prosecutor to obtain former President Donald Trump’s tax returns, dealing a massive loss to Trump who has fiercely fought to shield his financial papers from prosecutors. The documents will be subject to grand jury secrecy rules that restrict their public release. The ruling is a bitter loss for Trump, even if the tax records are shielded from public disclosure, after he consistently argued that the subpoena issued by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance was overbroad and issued in bad faith. It means that the grand jury investigation into alleged hush money payments and other issues will no longer be hampered by Trump’s fight to keep the documents secret. The district attorney’s office is expected to have access to the records within the next few days, according to people familiar with the matter. Monday’s ruling was issued without comment or noted dissent. Vance celebrated the order, saying in a tweet, ”The work continues.” The subpoenas span documents from January 2011 to August 2019, including his tax returns, from Mazars. The documents relate to the Trump Organization’s employment of Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen and hush money payment Cohen allegedly made to two woman who claimed to have had extramarital affairs with Trump. Although Trump’s personal lawyers may continue to fight their appeal in the case, the fact that the documents will be released by Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars, effectively ends the dispute. In a statement, the former President said the Vance investigation “is a continuation of the greatest political Witch Hunt in the history of our Country.” He added: “The Supreme Court never should have let this ‘fishing expedition’ happen, but they did.” Mazars, in a statement, says it is “committed to fulfilling all of our professional and legal obligations.” The company adds: “Due to our industry’s professional obligations Mazars cannot discuss any clients, or the nature of our services we provide for any client, in a public forum without client consent or as required by law.” Last July, the Supreme Court, voting 7-2, rejected Trump’s broad claims of immunity from a state criminal subpoena seeking his tax returns and said that as president he was not entitled to any kind of heightened standard unavailable to ordinary citizens. The justices sent the case back to the lower court so that the president could make more targeted objections regarding the scope of the subpoena. In October, a federal appeals court said “there is nothing to suggest that these are anything but run-of-the-mill documents typically relevant to a grand jury investigation into possible financial or corporate misconduct.”
Supreme Court allows release of Trump tax returns to NY prosecutor
A tiny message hidden in Edvard Munch’s famous painting “The Scream” was written by the artist himself, a new investigation of the work has found, finally resolving one of modern art’s most enduring mysteries. The message “Can only have been painted by a madman,” scrawled and barely visible in the top left-hand corner of the painting, has been the subject of debate for decades and was widely believed to have been an act of vandalism by a viewer of the piece. But extensive research by the National Museum of Norway has revealed that Munch wrote the phrase himself. The Expressionist masterpiece is one of the most celebrated works of modern times, heralded as a timeless depiction of human anxiety. The subject’s anguished face has become so familiar that it was recently given its own emoji. Curators used infrared technology to analyze the message, which was added on top of the finished painting, comparing it with Munch’s notes and letters and studying events around the time of the work’s first public showing. “The writing is without a doubt Munch’s own,” Mai Britt Guleng, the museum’s curator, concluded. “The handwriting itself, as well as events that happened in 1895, when Munch showed the painting in Norway for the first time, all point in the same direction.” The work has been undergoing extensive conservation at the museum ahead of a public showing. It has rarely been exhibited since it was briefly stolen in 2004, and damage to the piece has become more apparent in recent years. After its first public unveiling, some critics dismissed the unnerving painting and there was frenzied discussion about Munch’s mental state, lending credence to the idea that an outraged third party scribbled their own damning review onto the work itself. But curators said that reaction is probably what caused Munch to make the addition, with the artist upset about the critical response to the painting when he showed it in his hometown of Kristiania (now Oslo) for the first time. “At a discussion night at the Students Association, where Munch is believed to have been present, the young medical student Johan Scharffenberg questioned Munch’s mental health claiming that his paintings proved he was not of sound mind,” the museum said. “It is likely that Munch added the inscription in 1895, or shortly after in response to the judgment on his work.” They added that Munch was hurt by the accusation and referred to it again in his own diary entries. “The Scream” is understood to have been inspired by a walk Munch took through the city while in a state of mental and physical unease. A pastel version of the painting fetched nearly $120 million from an anonymous buyer at a Sotheby’s auction in New York in 2012 — at that time a world record for a work of art sold at auction.
Edvard Munch wrote a hidden message on ‘The Scream’
Iran reaches deal with global nuclear watchdog for inspections
The International Atomic Energy Agency has struck a deal with Iran that will give its inspectors continued access to verify and monitor nuclear activity in the country for the next three months, potentially laying the ground work for Washington and Tehran to kick-start nuclear talks. IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi said Sunday that the two sides had reached the temporary “technical understanding” following his trip to Iran, which had recently signaled plans to scale back cooperation with the global nuclear watchdog. Iran announced last week it would stop implementing the IAEA’s
effectively limiting which facilities nuclear inspectors could scrutinize and when they could access them, making it harder for experts to determine if Tehran is attempting to develop nuclear weapons. The interim deal reached Sunday would alleviate the impact of Iran pulling out of the additional protocol, Grossi said. “What we agreed to is something that is viable, it’s useful to bridge this gap that we are having now, salvages the situation now,” he said. Oil spill leads Israel to close beaches as it faces one of its ‘most severe ecological disasters’ Israeli authorities are trying to locate the source of a suspected oil spill that has been described as one of the most severe ecological disasters to hit the country, threatening wildlife, forcing beaches to close and prompting a mass cleanup. Blobs of sticky tar started washing up on the country’s Mediterranean shores last week. Images posted on official government accounts showed sea birds and turtles covered in tar and sticky oil. “The enormous amounts of tar emitted in recent days to the shores of Israel from south to north caused one of the most severe ecological disasters to hit Israel,” the country’s
Sunday. The extent of the pollution is so bad, Israel’s Ministry of Interior issued an advisory Sunday urging people to stay away from the country’s beaches. A massive cleanup is underway but the Nature and Parks Authority said it would take a long time to make the marine area safe again. It has established a registration and information center for volunteers who wish to help. “According to field assessments, it is evident that these complex and strenuous operations will be required to continue over a long period of time,” the Nature and Parks Authority said. It warned that the spill had not yet been contained as tar continues to wash up on the country’s beaches. “Out of 190 kilometers (119 miles) of beach in Israel, 170 kilometers (105 miles) were hit by the ecological disaster,” the authority said on its Facebook page Sunday.
— From wire reports
Daft Punk, the influential French dance music duo, are splitting up after 28 years
are splitting up after nearly three decades, the French dance duo’s longtime publicist confirmed to CNN on Monday. Kathryn Frazier told CNN that reports the pair were retiring were true but gave no reason for the split. The Grammy Award-winning act are known for using computerized vocals and wearing robot headgear in public and in all of their music videos. They started the week by sharing a typically enigmatic video, titled “Epilogue.” In the eight-minute film, the duo — Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo — are seen walking in a desert in their signature space-age helmets and leather jackets. One of the pair removes his jacket, revealing a detonator on his back. The other presses a button on the detonator. His companion walks away, and eventually explodes. Formed in Paris in 1993, Daft Punk are credited for bringing the French underground house scene to the charts. They are considered one of the most influential electronic acts of all time, with hits including “Da Funk,” “One More Time” and “Around the World.” Brooke Shields says she broke her leg, learning how to walk again
is staying positive after breaking her leg. The former supermodel shared a video on Instagram of herself walking through the hospital on crutches. Shields did not say how she got hurt. “Broke my femur,” she wrote in the caption. “Beginning to mend. No matter what your challenge is, make a positive choice, for yourself, to move forward. #BeginningisNow.” Glenn Close wrote, “Brooke! So sorry! Courage ... it’s in your blood. Sending love.”
Stevie Wonder is moving to Ghana
is moving to Ghana. The iconic, award-winning performer spoke to Oprah Winfrey in an
explaining his decision, citing the political turmoil in the United States. “I wanna see this nation smile again. And I want to see it before I leave to travel to move to Ghana because I’m going to do that.” Winfrey then asked, “You’re going to permanently move to Ghana?” “I am,” replied the singer, known for such hits as “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” and “I Just Called to Say I Love You.” He added, “I don’t want to see my children’s children’s children have to say, ‘Oh please like me. Please respect me, please know that I am important, please value me.’ What is that?” This isn’t the first time he has said he was considering moving to Ghana. In 1994, he said he felt there was “more of a sense of community” than in the U.S.
— From wire reports
A tiny message hidden in Edvard Munch’s famous painting “The Scream” was written by the artist himself.
Shoppers are seen wandering next to near-empty shelves in a supermarket in Houston, Texas.
President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference at the White House July 28, 2020 in Washington, D.C.