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Trump adviser Bannon indicted for refusing to testify in Capitol riot probe******
In this file photo taken on January 22, 2017, US President Donald Trump (left) congratulates Senior Counselor to the President Stephen Bannon during the swearing-in of senior staff in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC.。
Former US president Donald Trump's longtime adviser Steve Bannon was indicted on Friday for refusing to testify to the congressional committee investigating the Capitol riot, the Justice Department announced.。
A federal grand jury returned the indictment in a significant victory for the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack, which is battling efforts by Trump and top aides to use presidential privilege to block testimony and documents necessary for the probe.。
The indictment came hours after Trump's former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, declined to show up for an committee deposition after being subpoenaed, which could lead to similar charges of contempt.。
Investigators think Meadows and Bannon could have information on links between the White House and the Trump supporters who invaded the Capitol to prevent the certification of Joe Biden as winner of the November 2020 presidential election.。
Bannon, 67, was charged with two counts of contempt – for ignoring subpoenas to appear for a deposition and for failing to supply documents to the committee.。
Each count carries a penalty of one month to one year in jail.。
"Steve Bannon's indictment should send a clear message to anyone who thinks they can ignore the Select Committee or try to stonewall our investigation: No one is above the law," said committee Chair Bennie Thompson and Vice Chair Liz Cheney in a statement.。
According to CNN, Bannon plans to turn himself in to the Justice Department on Monday.。
Violent attack on the Capitol。
Bannon, 67 was among the first of dozens of people who have been called to testify on the violent attack to shut down Congress on Trump's baseless claims that Biden had won the election due to massive voter fraud.。
The attack, during which five people died, succeeded in delaying the joint House-Senate election certification session for several hours.。
The committee said Bannon has relevant information to understanding how the attack came about.。
It pointed to his presence on January 5 in activities focused on blocking the certification, when he said: "All hell is going to break loose tomorrow."
Bannon refused to testify based on Trump's own assertion of executive privilege to prevent a number of former aides from testifying and block the committee from obtaining documents from his administration related to the Capitol assault.。
On October 21, the House voted to refer contempt of Congress charges against Bannon to the Justice Department.。
Given the deep politics of the case, it was not clear the Justice Department would take action until Friday's grand jury indictment.。
"Since my first day in office, I have promised Justice Department employees that together we would show the American people by word and deed that the department adheres to the rule of law, follows the facts and the law and pursues equal justice under the law," Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.。
"Today's charges reflect the department's steadfast commitment to these principles," he said.。
The committee says it has already interviewed 150 people as part of the investigation.。
Powell renominated as Fed chair, disappointing Democratic progressives******
Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell (right) speaks as President Joe Biden listens during an announcement at the South Court Auditorium of Eisenhower Executive Office Building on November 22, 2021, in Washington, DC.。
US FederalReserve Chair Jerome Powell underscored his commitment toputting climate change at the center of the central bank'spolicymaking decisions during his conversations with PresidentJoe Biden, the White House said on Monday.。
Biden on Monday renominated Powell, a Republican, to anotherfour-year stint at the helm of the Fed, disappointing Democraticprogressives who had pushed the White House to name a tough newregulatory chief to crack down on banks on issues such asclimate change and fair lending.。
Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One, press secretaryJen Psaki said the Fed had taken important steps forward underPowell, including identifying climate change as a key risk thatneeds to be addressed, working with other central banks tomitigate climate change, and hiring a top climate economist.。
"He did reiterate his commitment to that during theirdiscussions," Psaki said.。
Psaki said Biden hopes to make decisions soon on how hewould like to fill the seats that remain open on the FederalReserve's Board of Governors.。
"He is hoping to make decisions soon," she said.。
Biden has three other Fed seats to fill, including the vicechair for supervision, and intends to pick those in earlyDecember, the White House said earlier on Monday.。
Critics fault Powell for not moving more decisively toaddress climate change in his first term.。
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who held the top Fed jobbefore Powell, told CNBC earlier the central bank was nowgearing up to include analysis of climate change as part of itsstress testing because it "poses a major risk to financialinstitutions."
"The Fed has made considerable strides on bringingevaluation of how climate risks affect the banks it supervises.It's doing very good work on that, and is gearing up ... to doscenario analysis of the risks facing the banks and to use it insupervision," Yellen said.。
UN chief joins world leaders in calling for investment to end pandemic this year****** United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addresses the virtual launch of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-Accelerator) advocacy campaign for 2022 in New York, on Feb. 9, 2022. Guterres on Wednesday joined world leaders in calling for urgent investment to end the COVID-19 pandemic this year. (Eskinder Debebe/UN Photo/Handout via Xinhua)
UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday joined world leaders in calling for urgent investment to end the COVID-19 pandemic this year.
The pandemic could be defeated this year but "only if vaccines, tests and treatments are made available to all people," the UN chief said.
The top UN official was among some world leaders calling for 23 billion U.S. dollars to support the ACT-Accelerator, the landmark collaboration that makes these goods accessible to everyone globally.
"Vaccine inequity is the biggest moral failure of our times - and people are paying the price," said Guterres, underlining the urgency to act now.
"Until and unless we can ensure access to these tools, the pandemic will not go away, and the sense of insecurity of people will only deepen."
The ACT-Accelerator was established in April 2020, just weeks after the pandemic was declared, to speed up development and access to COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines. The global vaccine solidarity initiative COVAX is one of its four pillars.
The partnership brings together governments, scientists, philanthropists, businesses, civil society and global health organizations such as GAVI, the vaccine alliance; the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and the UN's health agency, World Health Organization (WHO).
The campaign launched on Wednesday aims to meet a 16 billion dollar financing gap, and nearly 7 billion dollars for in-country delivery costs, in the bid to end the pandemic as a global emergency this year.
The co-chairs of the ACT-Accelerator Facilitation Council, which provides high-level political leadership to advocate for resource mobilization, recently wrote to more than 50 rich countries to encourage "fair share" contributions.
The financing framework is calculated on the size of their national economies and what they would gain from a faster global economic and trade recovery.
As Guterres put it: "If we want to ensure vaccinations for everyone to end this pandemic, we must first inject fairness into the system."
The funding will help to curb coronavirus transmission, break the cycle of variants, relieve overburdened health workers and systems, and save lives, world leaders said, warning that with every month of delay, the global economy stands to lose almost four times the investment the ACT-Accelerator needs.
Financing will be used to procure and provide lifesaving tools, and personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers, to low and middle-income countries.
It will support measures that include driving vaccine rollouts, creating a Pandemic Vaccine Pool of 600 million doses, purchasing 700 million tests, procuring treatments for 120 million patients, and 100 percent of the oxygen needs of low-income countries.
"The longer inequitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments persists, the longer the pandemic will persist," said President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, who co-chairs the Facilitation Council together with Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store.
The UN and partners continue to warn against the dangers of inequity three years into the pandemic.
Although more than 4.7 billion COVID-19 tests have been administered globally so far, WHO report only around 22 million, a paltry 0.4 percent, were administered in low-income countries.
Furthermore, only 10 percent of people in these nations have received at least one vaccine dose.
Since its inception, the ACT-Accelerator has funded vital research and development of new therapeutics, vaccines, and diagnostics, and delivered over a billion vaccine doses through COVAX, among other achievements.
The mechanism has an overall budget of 23.4 billion dollars and donors are urged to contribute 16.8 billion dollars. They have already pledged 814 million dollars, leaving the 16 billion dollars funding gap. It is expected that the remaining 6.5 billion dollars will be self-financed by middle-income countries.
Separate to the budget, another 6.8 billion dollars is required for in-country delivery of vaccines and diagnostics.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated that the rapid spread of the Omicron variant has underlined the urgent need to ensure tests, treatments and vaccines are distributed equitably globally.
"If higher-income countries pay their fair share of the ACT-Accelerator costs, the partnership can support low and middle-income countries to overcome low COVID-19 vaccination levels, weak testing, and medicine shortages," he said.
"Science gave us the tools to fight COVID-19; if they are shared globally in solidarity, we can end COVID-19 as a global health emergency this year."
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