The US House of Representatives has impeached President Donald Trump for “incitement of insurrection” at last week’s Capitol riot.
He is the first president in US history to be twice impeached – to be charged with crimes by Congress.
Trump, a Republican, will now face a trial in the Senate, where if convicted he could face being barred from ever holding office again.
The impeachment measure passed largely along party lines.
Trump is due to leave office on January 20, following his election defeat last November to Democrat Joe Biden.
After several hours of impassioned debate on Wednesday, the Democratic-controlled House voted.
Six Republicans said beforehand they would side with Democrats to impeach the president.
However, 10 Republicans eventually voted in support of the impeachment.
A total of 232 voted for the impeachment while 197 Republicans expressed their opposition in obvious demonstration of loyalty to Trump.
But it is unlikely Trump will have to leave the White House before his term in office ends in one week as the Senate was not expected to convene in time.
Last week, 139 Republicans voted against accepting the result of the 2020 election and Trump’s defeat.
Impeachment charges are political, not criminal. The president was accused by Congress of inciting the storming of the Capitol with his January 6, speech to a rally outside the White House.
Following Trump’s remarks, his supporters broke into the Capitol, forcing lawmakers to suspend certification of election results and take shelter.
The building was placed on lockdown and five people died.
The article of impeachment stated that Trump “repeatedly issued false statements asserting that the presidential election results were fraudulent and should not be accepted”.
It says he then repeated these claims and “willfully made statements to the crowd that encouraged and foreseeably resulted in lawless action at the Capitol”, leading to the violence and loss of life.
“President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of government, threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of government.”
The House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, said on the House floor: “The president of the United States incited this insurrection, this armed rebellion against our common country.
“He must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love.”
Most Republicans did not seek to defend Trump’s rhetoric, instead arguing that the impeachment had bypassed the customary hearings and calling on Democrats to drop it for the sake of national unity.
“Impeaching the president in such a short time frame would be a mistake,” said Kevin McCarthy, the House’s top Republican.
“That doesn’t mean the president’s free from fault. The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters.”
World Bank To Fund Scheme To Provide COVID-19 Vaccines For Lebanon
The World Bank said yesterday it had approved the deployment of 34 million
dollars to provide Lebanon with coronavirus vaccines, as the country faces a major surge in COVID-19 cases compounded by an economic crisis.
The World Bank Group President, David Malpass, said this in a statement.
“This is the first World Bank-financed operation to fund the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines. The financing will provide vaccines for more than two million individuals,” Malpass said.
“Fair, broad, and fast access to COVID-19 vaccines is critical to protecting lives and supporting economic recovery,” Malpass said.
The vaccines are expected to arrive in Lebanon by early February, according to the bank.
Lebanon, a country of about 6 million people, has recently seen a spike in COVID-19 cases that have reached more than 5,000 per day.
The country has declared a health emergency and entered an 11-day total lockdown last Thursday.
The Lebanese government and the National Defence Council, led by President Michel Aoun yesterday extended the lockdown
measures until Feb. 8, the council said in a statement.
The move is aimed at limiting the spread of the virus and easing pressure on Lebanon’s ailing health sector.
Some hospitals in Lebanon have already started to refuse patients with COVID-19 due to a lack of beds, according to Lebanese media.
Firass Abiad, the Head of the Rafik Hariri University Hospital, a major facility treating coronavirus patients, said there were two reasons to extend the lockdown for two more weeks.
“First, intensity of the community transmission of the virus; second, the current capacity of the health care system,” Abiad wrote on Twitter.
Lebanon has so far recorded more than 264,000 virus cases resulting in 2,084 deaths.
Four Dead After Madrid Gas Explosion Destroys Six-Storey Building
The number of people killed in a powerful gas explosion in the Spanish capital Madrid has risen to four, Spanish state broadcaster RTVE reported yesterday.
A priest who had suffered severe burns in the explosion that destroyed a six-storey building died in hospital, said the report.
At the time of the explosion, he had been with the technician who had tried to repair the building’s gas heating.
The priest and two other people died as well, and at least 10 people were severely injured.
The blast occurred around 3p.m (1400 GMT) on Wednesday and could be heard from several kilometres away, frightening thousands of people in the city.
Pictures broadcast on Spanish television showed the facade of the building at 98, Calle de Toledo about 700 metres south of Plaza Mayor had almost entirely collapsed.
Debris flew through the air from the detonation and hit nearby premises of a school. One child was slightly injured by glass from a broken window.
The explosion was caused by a gas leak during repair works, the Interior Ministry said.
The building, an accommodation and office building for priests, is to be torn down as the works already began.
US Envoy, John Kerry, Wants Climate Change Measures Scaled-Up
United States Special Climate Envoy, John Kerry said yesterday that measures to tackle climate change needed to be ramped up significantly to achieve net zero global carbon emissions by 2050.
He said that achieving net zero carbon emission would require radical transformation of the economy.
“Failure at the COP (Climate Conference) in Glasgow is not an option,” Kerry said in an online event organised by a business forum linked to Italy’s presidency of the G20.
New Democratic President Joe Biden named former Secretary of State Kerry as special climate envoy back in November, a sign that he was putting climate change at the centre of his foreign policy.
Kerry said coal needed to be phased out five times faster than is the case at present while renewable energy needed to be ramped up six times faster and electric car roll-out 22 times.
“We must move from the dirtier options much faster … we have to reach a much faster path of decarbonisation … it is doable,” he said.
Biden, who was sworn in as president on Wednesday, has promised to put the U.S. on a track to net-zero emissions by 2050 with climate change one of his key priorities.
On Wednesday, he re-committed to rejoining the 2015 Paris climate accord that his predecessor Donald Trump withdrew from, claiming it was too costly to the U.S. economy.
“In the last 4 years the leader of our country chose to pull out of the agreement and engage in reckless behaviour with respect to the future of people all over the world,” Kerry said.
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