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While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Jan 17


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Biden plans 10-day executive order, legislation blitz to tackle crises

President-elect Joe Biden, inheriting a collection of crises unlike any in generations, plans to open his administration with dozens of executive directives on top of expansive legislative proposals in a 10-day blitz meant to signal a turning point for a nation reeling from disease, economic turmoil, racial strife and now the aftermath of the assault on the Capitol.

Biden’s team has developed a raft of decrees that he can issue on his own authority after the inauguration on Wednesday to begin reversing some of President Donald Trump’s most hotly disputed policies.

Advisers hope the flurry of action, without waiting for Congress, will establish a sense of momentum for the new president even as the Senate puts his predecessor on trial.

On his first day in office alone, Biden intends a flurry of executive orders that will be partly substantive and partly symbolic. They include rescinding the travel ban on several predominantly Muslim countries and rejoining the Paris climate change accord, among other things.


Heavily armed man arrested at Washington security checkpoint

A heavily armed man has been arrested in Washington at a security checkpoint near the US Capitol, where President-elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated next week, authorities said.

Wesley Allen Beeler, of Virginia, was taken into custody after police found him with a handgun and more than 500 rounds of ammunition, shotgun shells and a magazine for the gun, according to a police report obtained by AFP.

He had tried to pass through the checkpoint using fake inaugural credentials, CNN reported, citing a law enforcement source.


Portugal’s FM positive for Covid-19 after meeting top EU officials

Portugal’s Finance Minister Joao Leao has tested positive for the coronavirus, his office said on Saturday, a day after he took part in an in-person meeting in Lisbon with top EU officials including Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen.

The 46-year-old minister has so far shown no symptoms and will continue to work from home during a period of self-isolation, a statement from his ministry said.

Official images of the meeting (above) shared on the government website showed it took place in a large room and all participants wore face masks.


Nepal team claim first winter ascent of Pakistan’s K2

A team of Nepali climbers made history on Saturday after becoming the first to summit Pakistan’s K2 in winter, singing their country’s national anthem as they reached the top.

Dozens of mountaineers have been competing over the past few weeks to summit the world’s second highest mountain, the last peak above 8,000m to be topped in wintertime.

The team’s achievement was marred, however, by the death on K2 of renowned Spanish climber Sergio Mingote, who fell down a crevasse as he attempted to make his way down to Base Camp.


Football: Mason Mount winner buys Lampard time at Chelsea

Frank Lampard was relieved to get Chelsea back to winning ways as Mason Mount’s late strike broke the resistance of 10-man Fulham to earn a 1-0 victory in the West London derby on Saturday.

The Blues were languishing down in 10th at kick-off after a run of one win in six league games left Lampard fighting for his job.

But the former England midfielder was handed a gift by Antonee Robinson’s reckless challenge just before half-time that earned the American a straight red card.