NATIONAL NEWS BRIEFS
A 7-foot fence is going up around the Capitol grounds
WASHINGTON - At a news conference Thursday, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said the military was erecting a 7-foot fence around the Capitol grounds in the wake of the storming of the building by supporters of President Donald Trump.
“Yesterday was a horrible and shameful day in our history,” McCarthy said of the takeover of the Capitol.
Around 6,200 National Guard troops from Washington, D.C., and six states have been mobilized to help police provide security in the capital. All of the military personnel will reach the capital by the weekend, he said.
“These personnel and these security measures will be in place for no less than the next 30 days,” McCarthy said.
He made the remarks at a news conference with Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser. He said city officials did not ask the Pentagon for military assistance until Wednesday afternoon, after the mob had broken through the police security cordon around the Capitol.
“When they called us over at the Pentagon we started getting awareness yesterday afternoon about the breach within the Capitol,” McCarthy said, adding that he “quickly worked to move our resources forward.”
Under federal law, McCarthy controls the Washington, D.C., National Guard — unlike Guard units in the states, which are under control of governors unless mobilized for federal missions.
McCarthy said 850 Guard members were at the Capitol on Thursday. - Los Angeles Times
Michelle Obama says she has 'been feeling so many emotions since yesterday'
Former first lady Michelle Obama took to Twitter to say that she woke up Wednesday "elated" by the news that the Rev. Raphael Warnock had won his Senate race, but that her "heart had fallen harder and faster than I can remember" as violent supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol.
"The day was a fulfillment of the wishes of an infantile and unpatriotic president who can't handle the truth of his own failures," she continued.
She called the mob as a "gang" and described how they waved the Confederate flag, "desecrated the center of American government" and then were mostly led out of the building freely.
"It all left me with so many questions - questions about the future, questions about security, extremism, propaganda, and more. But there's one question I just can't shake: What if these rioters had looked like the folks who go to Ebenezer Baptist Church every Sunday? What would have been different?"
She continued: "And for those who call others unpatriotic for simply taking a knee in silent protest, for those who wonder why we need to be reminded that Black Lives Matter at all, yesterday made it painfully clear that certain Americans are, in fact, allowed to denigrate the flag and symbols of our nation. What do all those folks have to say now?" - Los Angeles Times
Texas confirms state's first case of COVID-19 variant
FORT WORTH, Texas - Texas has confirmed its first case of the COVID-19 B.1.1.7 variant in a patient near Houston.
Harris County Public Health and the Texas Department of State Health Services are investigating the case, according to a release by the DSHS.
The adult male has no travel history and was recently diagnosed with COVID-19. DSHS said the results of genetic sequencing earlier this week showed “that infection was caused by the variant.”
“The fact that this person had no travel history suggests this variant is already circulating in Texas,” DSHS commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt said. “Genetic variations are the norm among viruses, and it’s not surprising that it arrived here given how rapidly it spreads. This should make us all redouble our commitment to the infection prevention practices that we know work: masks any time you’re around people you don’t live with, social distancing, and personal and environmental hygiene.”
The variant was first identified in the United Kingdom several months ago and “appears to spread much more easily from person to person than most strains of the coronavirus,” according to DSHS. - Fort Worth Star-Telegram