Biden picks ex-UN ambassador Samantha Power to head US aid agency
WASHINGTON - President-elect Joe Biden has named Ambassador Samantha Power to head the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Biden also announced he would make the post part of the National Security Council, a signal his administration will emphasize the role of development in maintaining security around the world.
In addition to Power, Biden added three other people to the NSC. He restored some roles and established a new position of deputy national security adviser for cyber and emerging technology, which will be filled by Anne Neuberger. She currently leads National Security Agency’s cybersecurity mission.
In her tenure as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations during the Obama administration, Power marshaled efforts to fight an Ebola epidemic and mitigate climate change.
“I know firsthand the unparalleled knowledge and tireless commitment to principled American engagement she brings to the table, and her expertise and perspective will be essential as our country reasserts its role as a leader on the world stage,” Biden said in a statement.
Power is an immigrant from Ireland who began her career as a journalist reporting from Bosnia and other war-torn countries.
The Biden transition also announced that Elizabeth D. Sherwood-Randall will be homeland security adviser and deputy national security adviser. She previously served as deputy secretary at the U.S. Department of Energy.
In addition, Biden named Russ Travers as deputy homeland security adviser. He is the acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center. - Bloomberg News
COVID-19 outbreaks aren’t driven by in-person classes, CDC says
The return to in-person classes in nearly two-thirds of the U.S. hasn’t led to a rash of community outbreaks, federal scientists said in a study of 2.87 million cases among those under age 24.
Disease rates in counties where in-person learning is available for school-aged children and adolescents is similar to areas where classes are entirely online, according to a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It concludes schools should be the last to close, and the first to re-open.
Meanwhile, young adults ages 18 to 24, who led the country in infections during the summer and fall, may have contributed more to community transmission, the agency said in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
“CDC recommends that K-12 schools be the last settings to close after all other mitigation measures have been employed and the first to reopen when they can do so safely,” according to the report.
The scientists also noted that COVID-19 transmission in children associated with reopening child care centers and elementary schools “might be lower than that for reopening high schools and institutions of higher education.”
The only way to safely launch in-person learning is for the broader community to strictly follow social distancing measures, particularly steps like wearing masks, which will reduce the risk to children and older residents, the agency said. - Bloomberg News
Olympic gold medalist Klete Keller charged in connection with Capitol riot
LOS ANGELES - Klete Keller, the two-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer from USC, was charged Wednesday in connection with the riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, the criminal complaint charges Keller with knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building, disorderly conduct in the Capitol building and impeding law enforcement.
A video posted on social media by a journalist with Townhall Media captured Keller in the Capitol rotunda wearing a U.S. Olympic team jacket in the midst of the riot.
“At approximately fourteen minutes and thirty-eight seconds, PERSON 1 is still in the Rotunda, and the back of his jacket is again visible. PERSON 1 stands taller than a number of individuals around him and can clearly be seen as law enforcement officers repeatedly attempt to remove him and others from the Rotunda,” the complaint said.
It added: “Additional open-source research revealed that media outlets such as SwimSwam, a news organization that covers competitive swimming and other related sports, identified this individual as possibly KLETE DERIK KELLER. Your affiant has confirmed this identification.”
Keller, 38, won gold at the 2004 Olympics in Athens as part of the 800-meter freestyle relay and did the same at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. He also won a silver medal and two bronze medals during his Olympics career.
He attended USC from 2000 to 2001, then later returned to the school to finish his bachelor’s degree and train with the Trojan Swim Club. - Los Angeles Times