January 23, 2021 WASHINGTON (AP) — Newly confirmed Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will have to contend not only with a world of security threats and a massive military bureaucracy but also with a challenge that hits closer to home: rooting out racism and extremism in the ranks. Austin took office Friday as the first Black defense chief, in the wake of the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, where retired and current military members were among the rioters touting far-right conspiracies.
January 22, 2021 THE HAGUE - The European Union will not introduce a "coronavirus passport", with which people who have been vaccinated against the virus can travel freely again, caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte said to NOS after meeting with the EU leaders. Countries like Greece and Portugal asked for such a passport because their economies are very dependent on tourism. But according to Rutte there are still too many questions, including ethical ones, regarding the use of such a passport. The Netherlands asked the Health Council for advice on such a document. "I don't want to make a hasty decision now."
January 20, 2021 THE HAGUE - Enough vaccines have been purchased for the Caribbean islands of the Kingdom to vaccinate everyone. The Dutch Undersecretary for Health Paul Blokhuis wrote this in a letter to the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament on Monday. The actual implementation and precise timeline are determined by the approval and delivery of the different types of vaccines. But Blokhuis sees no objections. He, therefore, assumes that vaccination on the islands can start from mid-February.
January 23, 2021 WASHINGTON (AP) — It’s taken only days for Democrats gauging how far President Joe Biden’s bold immigration proposal can go in Congress to acknowledge that if anything emerges, it will likely be significantly more modest. As they brace to tackle a politically flammable issue that’s resisted major congressional action since the 1980s, Democrats are using words like “aspirational” to describe Biden’s plan and “herculean” to express the effort they’ll need to prevail.
January 21, 2021 SCHIPHOL - The mandatory rapid Covid-19 tests for travelers from abroad means that KLM will likely stop operating long-haul flights from Saturday. As things currently stand, hundreds of freight and passenger flights will be canceled per week, unless the government exempts KLM crew from this testing requirement, the Dutch airline said, NOS reports.
January 20, 2021 WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Kamala Harris broke the barrier Wednesday that has kept men at the top ranks of American power for more than two centuries when she took the oath to hold the nation’s second-highest office. Harris was sworn in as the first female U.S. vice president — and the first Black woman and person of South Asian descent to hold the position — in front of the U.S. Capitol by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
January 16, 2021 LOS ANGELES (AP) — True to form, Betty White has something impish to say about her birthday Sunday. “Since I am turning 99, I can stay up as late as I want without asking permission!” she told The Associated Press in an email. White’s low-key plans include feeding a pair of ducks that regularly visit her Los Angeles-area home. Her birthday meal will be a hot dog and French fries brought in — along with a bouquet of roses — by her longtime friend and agent, Jeff Witjas. The actor’s TV credits stretch from 1949’s “Hollywood on Television” to a 2019 voice role in “Forky Asks a Question,” with “The Golden Girls” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” among the enduring highlights.
January 15, 2021 NEW YORK (AP) — Philip J. Smith, who rose from box office treasurer at the Imperial Theatre on Broadway to chairman and co-CEO of the theatrical giant Shubert Organization, has died from complications from COVID-19, according to his daughters. He was 89. In a career that spanned 63 years, Smith worked in every department of the Shubert Organization and was named general manager of all Shubert Theatres in 1964. The Shubert Organization owns and operates 17 Broadway theatres and six off-Broadway venues. Smith “influenced every aspect of the professional theater and earned the respect and admiration of everyone from the stage doormen to the greatest performers and creative talents of our time,” Robert E. Wankel, chairman and CEO of The Shubert Organization, said in a statement.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Peter Mark Richman, a character actor who appeared in hundreds of television episodes and had recurring roles on “Three’s Company” and “Beverly Hills 90210,” has died. He was 93. Richman died Thursday at his home in the Woodland Hills area of Los Angeles of natural causes, publicist Harlan Boll announced. Born in Philadelphia, Richman was a pharmacist but turned to acting. He joined the Actors Studio and in 1953 he starred on stage in the play “End as a Man.” He appeared on Broadway in “A Hatful of Rain” and “Masquerade.” He also portrayed Jerry in more than 400 New York performances of Edward Albee’s “The Zoo Story,” Boll said.
January 14, 2021 -Joanne Rogers, an accomplished concert pianist who celebrated and protected the legacy of her husband, the beloved children’s TV host Mister Rogers, has died in Pittsburgh. She was 92. Rogers died Thursday, according to the Fred Rogers Center. No cause of death was given. The center called her “a joyful and tender-hearted spirit, whose heart and wisdom have guided our work in service of Fred’s enduring legacy.” Joanne and Fred Rogers were married for more than 50 years, spanning the launch and end of the low-key, low-tech “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” which presented Fred Rogers as one adult in a busy world who always had time to listen to children. His pull as America’s favorite neighbor never seemed to wane before his death in 2003.