Light snow dusted Salisbury, New Hampshire on January 21.Video taken by Paula Munier shows the snowfall and its accumulation.The National Weather Service had reported that the snow would move out of New Hampshire and into western Maine later on January 21. Credit: Paula Munier via Storyful
A pet duck caught some waves at a popular beach in Rainbow Bay, Gold Coast, on January 19.Sally Eeles filmed a video that shows a duck drifting calmly on the waves among staring onlookers.“Come on, Duck,” a woman can be heard speaking in the video.Eeles told Storyful that the duck, aptly named Duck, was “a popular sight at Rainbow Bay.” According to a news report, the duck was a pet of local residents Kate Mille and son Tom Thomson.“When he’s had enough of swimming, he’ll surf back to the beach on his own and wait on the sand for his ‘people’,” Eeles told Storyful. Credit: Sally Eeles via Storyful
An outspoken penguin brayed and bleated at the Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, Iowa, on January 20.Footage taken by the zoo shows the penguin, identified as Penguin 86, opening its mouth and emitting loud bellows.“Penguin 86 was braying up a storm this morning,” wrote Blank Park Zoo on Facebook. “Braying is a form of vocalization and is used as a way to communicate. Look closely to see the serrations in his mouth. They are useful for catching fish and guiding them down his throat.” Credit: Kelsey Anderson/Blank Park Zoo via Storyful
Light snow dusted Plymouth, New Hampshire, on January 21.Footage taken by meteorology student Gunnar Consol shows the snow. “Now that real January cold has finally set in, the Pemigewasset River in Plymouth, NH is beginning to freeze over,” Consol wrote.The National Weather Service had reported that the snow would move out of New Hampshire and into western Maine later on January 21. Credit: Gunnar Consol via Storyful
The Dow took a breather but the rest of Wall Street nudged up to record closing highs on optimism about future stimulus under the new Biden administration. Blue chips fizzled into the close to end down 12 points. The S&P 500 crept up 1 point and the Nasdaq jumped 73 points – enough for both to log new closing highs into the record books. Tech outperformed on Thursday as investors looked for a safe place to hide in a choppy session, says Terence Gabriel. He's the Stocks Buzz analyst at Thomson Reuters. "A lot's been built in, so it does seem to be a moment where certainly what have been the winners, some of these value stocks, financials, energy, small caps, they're stumbling where the market is rotating a bit back into some of those sort of bigger cap growth stocks that it feels may be a sort of safer area to concentrate on when you have suddenly uncertainty creeping back in here." Mixed economic news put a cap on any upside moves outside of tech. 900,000 new Americans signed up for jobless benefits last week, though that number was down slightly week-to-week, it's still way above the peak during the financial crisis. The elevated numbers raise the risk the U.S. could post a second straight month of net job losses. All-in-all, some 16 million Americans received some sort of government unemployment assistance during the first week of January. But on the bright side: permits for future home building projects surged last month to a 14-year high and manufacturing activity in the mid-Atlantic region accelerated this month, thanks to a boom in new orders. Investors also had to contend with mixed earnings. Shares of United Airlines tumbled nearly 6 percent after posting its fourth straight quarterly loss. Intel, the humbled chip giant, topped both sales and profit forecasts. It also guided current quarter estimates higher.
Facebook on Thursday said the decision on whether to indefinitely suspend the accounts of former U.S. President Donald Trump would be passed on to its independent oversight board. Trump will remain suspended while the board reviews the decision. The newly-formed 20 member group - made up of former prime ministers and Nobel Prize winners - will have a maximum of 90 days to make a ruling, and for Facebook to act on it. An Oversight Board spokesman said it would likely be sooner than that. The social media company blocked Trump's access to his Facebook and Instagram accounts following the storming of the U.S. Capitol by the former president's supporters earlier this month. In a interview with Reuters, Facebook's head of global affairs, Nick Clegg said suspending Trump was the right thing to do: "But I'm very confident that any reasonable person looking at the circumstances in which we took that decision and looking at our existing policies will agree. (flash) given the, in my view, sort of crystal clear link between the words of the former President Trump and the actions of people on the Capitol, we felt it really was. Was it a controversial decision because he was the president of the United States? It actually wasn't a particularly complicated one to take, given it was so obvious to us that that was contrary to the long standing policies we have in place." Clegg has also asked the Oversight Board to provide recommendations on when political leaders can or should be blocked. However, the board's recommendations are not binding.
Just one day after President Trump left the White House, the financial strain of his family business is coming into focus. Not even the resort properties of the former president were spared from the fallout of decreased travel and state lockdowns during the health crisis last year. According to financial documents filed Wednesday - his final day in office - most of his properties took a hit last year. His Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C. saw revenues in 2020 and the first three weeks of 2021 plunge 63 percent, compared to his 2019 disclosure. And the Trump property in Las Vegas saw a 61 percent drop in sales, while the Trump National Doral golf course in Florida saw a 43 percent fall in sales. The only bright spot: Mar-a-Lago, the Florida property where he is expected to spend most of his time as a private citizen. Revenue at that property actual saw a 13 percent annual gain. That, of course, is the place where Trump played host to political allies and foreign dignitaries. Trump was required to file the regular financial disclosures before leaving office, and with no tax returns to scour, this is the fullest glimpse into his finances. Besides the drop in activity at his properties, the disclosure also revealed Trump’s debt. The Trump business has five separate lines of credit worth at least $50 million each …most of that debt comes due within the next four years.
Fences were dismantled in Washington on Thursday, January 21, following Joe Biden’s inauguration the previous day.Heavy security measures, including the deployment of thousands of National Guard troops and stretches of protective fencing, were put in place for Inauguration Day following the storming of the United States Capitol on January 6.Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser said on Thursday that crews had begun removing fencing and barriers on major streets, a process that could take up to 36 hours. Local media reported that an enhanced security posture remained, including keeping the city on high alert for potential threats.RawsMedia shared this footage on Thursday of workers taking down fencing and barricades in Washington. Credit: RawsMedia via Storyful
A cheetah at the Cincinnati Zoo in Cincinnati, Ohio, channeled his inner house cat as he stretched out and purred in his enclosure.Video of the cheetah, named Redd, shows him laying on his side and purring in a deep rumble. Credit: Cincinnati Zoo via Storyful
A whale shark was spotted off the coast of Stuart, Florida, on January 17.A photographer with Single Fin Photo captured this footage of the filter-feeder shark calmly swimming near Stuart. Single Fin Photo said the shark was estimated to be about 30 feet long and was swimming about 600 feet from the beach.“This morning was quite incredible, biggest fish in the sea decided it was time to cruise past the shore,” Single Fin Photo said on Instagram.Whale sharks, the largest species of sharks, only eat microscopic plankton. The docile fish can grow to more than 40 feet long and weigh over a ton, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.The fish usually migrate to the Caribbean in the winter, according to reports. Credit: Single Fin Photo via Storyful
Soldiers of the 228th Combat Support Hospital at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait received their first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on January 18, according to DVIDS.“The hope is to flatten the curve and try to eliminate this, at least for soldiers here in Kuwait,” said Col Deborah Mahar Garcia, deputy commander for nursing.Mahar Garcia clarified that the doses administered on January 18 were “only for people who touch patients,” including doctors, nurses, and other staff in patient care. Credit: DVIDS via Storyful
Police in Portland used crowd control munitions and declared an unlawful assembly as protesters vandalized the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) building and Democratic Party headquarters following the inauguration of Joe Biden on January 20.Local news reported that the protesters chanted “abolish ICE” and decried President Biden and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler.Police said crowd control munitions were deployed after protesters threw rocks and eggs. Other local reports said that tear gas had been used.During the unrest, police made several arrests after the Oregon Democratic Party headquarters in Portland was vandalized.This clip shows protesters running as tear gas is deployed. Credit: Tuesday Longway via Storyful
(SOUNDBITE) (French) CO-FOUNDERS OF THE 'COVID BOYS,' EDOUARD DE VOS, 27, AND OSCAR BRIOU, 26, SAYING:DE VOS: "Hello, I am Edouard."BRIOU: "Hello, I am Oscar." Location: Brussels, Belgium Edouard de Vos and Oscar Briou have reinvented themselves as unofficial patrolmen of public health after losing their jobs during Belgium’s lockdown (SOUNDBITE) (French) CO-FOUNDERS OF THE 'COVID BOYS,' EDOUARD DE VOS, 27, AND OSCAR BRIOU, 26, SAYING, TO PASSERS-BY: BRIOU: "Sorry to disturb. Please do not forget to wear your masks." DE VOS "And above the nose. It's compulsory in this area. A big thank you. We'll make it through all together." PASSER-BY: "Yes, you're right. It's true. Sometimes we do forget." The two have been disinfecting public surfaces and encouraging social distancing and mask wearing (SOUNDBITE) (French) CO-FOUNDER OF THE 'COVID BOYS', EDOUARD DE VOS, SAYING: "We used to party all the time. We spent the first lockdown drinking and messing around. At one point something happened to us and things became clear. 'That's enough. Where am I? I am at home with a thousand desires: this and that'. But, in reality, we didn't have jobs and we did nothing all day. As simple as that! And at that point, we started organizing ourselves. 'Let's go. We'll come together, buy coveralls, we come together with our sense of humor and youthful energy, and tell people to put on their masks so they don't get fined. We disinfect. We're trying something."
An artist in Costa Mesa, California, said he’s hoping to complete a Kobe Bryant tribute mural in time for the anniversary of the helicopter crash that killed the basketball icon on January 26, 2020.Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others were killed in the helicopter crash near Calabasas last January. Other victims of the crash included baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife, Keri, and their daughter Alyssa; Sarah and Payton Chester, a mother and daughter; basketball coach Christina Mauser; and pilot Ara Zobayan.Paul Ortega said he filmed this timelapse footage on January 16, 2021, showing progress on the Bryant mural being painted at his Costa Mesa home.“It started off as practice but I’ll probably cut the drywall out and take it with me if I move,” Ortega told Storyful. Credit: @paulortegadesigns via Storyful
BATH MASSEUR, ISSA SAYING: "We start with this motion on the stomach, then we move to the chest, them we move to the sides and then the neck." Location: Najaf, Iraq Iraqis are returning to public steam baths to get a scrub and relax Mehdi is a regular at the ‘Popular Hammam’ one of the two only traditional bathhouses still operating in Najaf NAJAF RESIDENT, MEHDI, SAYING: "We used to come to the bath every week, every four or five days, the masseur would massage us and scrub us."
A kayaker from the Manchester suburb of Chorlton took advantage of inclement weather on January 21 to take his vessel out for a paddle at the local sports fields.In footage captured by Iain Henshaw, a local resident Henshaw says is named Roger can be seen using the flooded football pitch at the Turn Moss facility for his own purposes.Speaking to Storyful, Henshaw said, "We’ve had two days of torrential rain and the river levels last night were close to bursting the banks and flooding the area.“People who have lived here for 30-plus years have told me they’ve never seen the river run so high,” Henshaw added.Local media said thousands of people had to be evacuated from their homes in the area after Storm Christoph caused significant flooding.“I took a walk this morning to see if the levels had subsided and whilst crossing the Turn Moss playing fields I spotted someone canoeing across what was a football pitch,” Henshaw said. Credit: Iain Henshaw via Storyful
Italy dedicates a new coin to health workers The €2 coin shows two frontline workers wearing masks with "thank you" written above them Location: Rome, Italy (SOUNDBITE) (Italian)MINT'S COIN DESIGNER CLAUDIA MOMONI SAYING: ''The Ministry decided to issue a commemorative coin to thank all health workers who have worked and are working so hard for our health and for us. That's why this coin is so very dear to me. It was important for me to thank these people.'' Three million commemorative coins will be distributed in May or June and a few thousand of the original copies will be available to buy as collector's items
Amazon.com has offered to use its operational muscle to help the Biden administration deliver the COVID-19 vaccine to more Americans, according to a letter addressed to President Biden, seen by Reuters. In the letter, Dave Clark, the head of Amazon's worldwide consumer better, said, "We are prepared to leverage our operations, information technology, and communications capabilities and expertise to assist your administration's vaccination efforts." The offer comes as Biden tries to make good on a pledge to delver 100 million doses of the vaccine in his first 100 days of office. The effort has already been stymied as states like New York recently warn they already face the risk of running out of the vaccine. At the same time, the outbreak shows no sign of slowing down. COVID-19 has infected more than 24 million people in the U.S., with the death toll exceeding 400,000 since the pandemic started a year ago. Amazon has had troubles of its own during the pandemic. With more than 800,000 employees in the U.S., America's second-largest employer faced criticism from workers, who complained the tech giant was not doing enough to safeguard their health. More than 19,000 Amazon employees have contracted the virus as of September. Amazon is planning its own employee vaccination plan in conjunction with a healthcare provider, the company also told the White House.
The Croatian wine at Biden’s inauguration Location: Orebic Dingac, Croatia A Croatian red wine produced by a family that’s been in the business for 12 generations was served at inauguration day They hope the presidential spotlight will be a boon to the country's small wine industry (SOUNDBITE) (Croatian) DIRECTOR OF THE BENMOSCHE FAMILY WINERY, BORIS MRGUDIC, SAYING: "This news will certainly contribute to the promotion of the Croatian wines which is very important as Croatia is a small wine producer, very specific, and still not very competitive on the global markets. We have been present in the global market for many years now and we have the experience, but I can say that quality is the most important. If the quality is good, the market will recognize that sooner or later."
In four years, Donald Trump overturned decades of U.S. policy in the Middle East. But how much of that is likely to survive now that there’s a new president in the White House? Joe Biden is likely to want to undo many of Trump’s changes - but his freedom for manoeuvre will be limited. Biden's choice for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, has signalled that countering Iran would be key. "When it comes to Iran, a couple of things: First, President-elect Biden is committed to the proposition that Iran will not acquire a nuclear weapon.” But he also admitted the U.S is “a long way” from rejoining the 2015 Iran nuclear deal - designed to restrain Tehran’s nuclear programme. Trump Heights, Trump Square, Trump train terminal...the former U.S. president certainly left his stamp on Israel, where he is widely admired for his staunch support of the country. His administration recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and accepted the Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. But in the Palestinian territories, no U.S. president was so openly reviled. At his Senate confirmation, Blinken signalled the Biden administration would return to pre-Trump, diplomatic norms. "... the only way to ensure Israel's future as a Jewish democratic state and to give the Palestinians the state to which they are entitled is through the so-called two-state solution.” Biden has vowed to restore Palestinian ties cut by Trump through resuming aid and pushing back on Israeli settlement expansion. But Trump legacies are likely to remain - like the U.S. embassy’s location in Jerusalem. Eitan Gilboa is an Israeli political science expert and says Trump’s most important achievement were normalization agreements signed between Israel and the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco. “These agreements have changed the international and regional landscape of the Middle East because for the first time in years, an opportunity emerged for a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace ... Prime Minister Netanyahu and Trump have established very close and intimate relationship. This represent an aberration in Israeli American relations that will not continue with the Biden administration. The diplomatic deals are likely to remain as they have bipartisan support in Washington, and brought a strategic realignment of Middle East countries against Iran.
The number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits last week dropped slightly to a still-elevated 900,000, laying bare the challenge U.S. President Joe Biden faces as he inherits a job market battered by the health crisis. Jobless claims, released by the Labor Department on Thursday, remain at extraordinarily high levels by historical standards. At the height of the Great Recession, weekly unemployment claims peaked at 665,000. The latest claims report comes as the health crisis disrupts operations at businesses like restaurants, gyms and other establishments where crowds tend to gather, reducing hours for many workers and pushing others out of employment. Consumers are also hunkering down at home, leading to a weakening in demand.Part of the elevation in claims reflects people re-applying for benefits following the government's recent renewal of a $300 unemployment supplement until March 14. Biden, who took the oath of office on Wednesday, has pitched a plan to pump an additional $1.9 trillion into the struggling economy. If approved by Congress, it would provide $400 per week in supplementary unemployment benefits through September, aid for state and local governments and direct payments of $1,400 to individuals, on top of the $600 approved in December.
Glastonbury, the UK festival that’s the biggest greenfield music event in the world, has been canceled for a second year running, organizers said on Thursday (January 21). The festival’s founder, Michael Evis, announced the decision on Twitter, with the global health crisis again the reason why it needed to be called off. He said "In spite of our efforts to move Heaven and Earth, it has become clear that we simply will not be able to make the Festival happen this year. We are so sorry to let you all down." This edition would have been Glastonbury's 50th anniversary, and was due to feature former Beatle Paul McCartney as its headline act. More than 135,000 tickets had sold out in just 34 minutes for the event held on Eavis's dairy farm in the southwest of England. All of those who’d previously paid the £50 or $68 deposit for a ticket will now have the opportunity to roll that over to next year, when it’s hoped Glastonbury can return.
A Severe Flood Warning was in place for parts of the Welsh county of Wrexham on January 21 after Storm Christoph brought several inches of rain to the region.Video here shows cars driving through floodwater on Ruthin Road in Wrexham.The flooding caused a number of road closures, and residents in Bangor-on-Dee had to be evacuated overnight.Flood Alerts and Warnings remained in effect for other parts of Wales.Large parts of England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland remained under rain and snow warnings on January 21 in the wake of the storm. Credit: Kenneth W Pratt via Storyful
Videos and photographs released by the Al Ma'wa for Nature and Wildlife rescue centre showed tigers and bears taking a curious look around their enclosures blanketed by falling snow. Providing a regional solution for rescued wildlife, the centre is home to different animals rescued from several cities including Mosul, Aleppo and Gaza, according to the Al Ma'wa for Nature and Wildlife website.
A “major incident” was declared in Derbyshire, England, on January 20 as Storm Christoph battered the county.The UK’s Environment Agency issued a total of 40 warnings for the area as of Thursday, local news reported.This footage, posted on Twitter by @WildlifePrecey, shows the River Derwent churning in Belper, Derbyshire.Forecasters said that river levels were expected to remain high until at least January 22. Credit: @WildlifePrecey via Storyful