Joe Biden marks over 500,000 Covid deaths in the US: ‘We have to resist becoming numb to the sorrow’
President Joe Biden led a sombre address to the nation on Monday as the US hit the “heartbreaking” milestone of 500,000 coronavirus deaths, as Donald Trump’s team dismissed news of a rift with his former vice-president Mike Pence.
Mr Biden observed a minute’s silence outside the White House alongside vice-president Kamala Harris and their partners during a candle-lit vigil and urged Americans to “fight this together as one people.”
He described hitting the 500,000 number as a “truly grim, heartbreaking milestone” and noted that the number of US death’s from the pandemic is now higher than the death toll from World War One, World War Two and the Vietnam War combined.
It comes as Mr Trump’s advisers have denied that the former president refused to share a stage with Mike Pence at the conservative annual political conference in Florida and played down talk of a dispute between the pair.
Mr Trump’s senior aide Jason Miller said: “This story is patently false, and these ‘anonymously sourced’ attacks designed to create division are why people distrust the media.”
“No such demand or request was ever made by President Trump, and in fact, President Trump and Vice President Pence had a great call last week!” he added.
US Supreme Court to hear cases on abortion and immigration
The Supreme Court said it will take up challenges to controversial Trump administration policies affecting family-planning clinics and immigrants.
The justices agreed to hear appeals over the Trump policy that keeps taxpayer-funded clinics from referring women for abortions and the “public charge” rule that could deny permanent residency status to immigrants because of their use of food stamps, Medicaid, housing vouchers or other public benefits.
Adam Liptak has the latest
Joe Middleton23 February 2021 11:06
Niagara Falls freezes over as storms continue to engulf US
Parts of Niagara Falls froze over on Monday as brutal winter storms continued to batter areas of the US.
After temperatures fell to -2F (-18C) in Niagara, New York State, last week, tourists gathered to witness the ice which had formed at the top of the famous waterfall over the weekend and on Monday, writes The Independent’s James Crump.
It comes after multiple states have suffered from freezing temperatures and storms over the last few weeks, with Texans particularly badly affected by mass power and water outages.
Joe Middleton23 February 2021 10:43
Biden ‘prepares Russia sanctions’ after Navalny jailing
President Biden is reportedly planning sanctions on Russia in response to the poisoning and imprisonment of Kremlin-critic Alexei Navalny.
The move would be in conjunction with European allies in the coming weeks, but the exact parameters of the response have not yet been revealed.
A senior official told Politico that the Biden administration is “considering available policy options.”
“Suffice it to say, we won’t stand by idly in the face of these human rights abuses,” they added.
Joe Middleton23 February 2021 10:24
Joe Biden’s full speech after the US Covid death toll reached 500,000
President Joe Biden led Americans in a moment of silence to mourn 500,000 COVID-19 deaths from the White House on Monday.
“Today we mark a truly grim, heartbreaking milestone – 500,071 dead. That’s more Americans who have died in one year in this pandemic than in World War One, World War Two and the Vietnam War combined,” Mr Biden said in emotional remarks.
“But as we acknowledge the scale of this mass death in America, we remember each person and the life they lived. They are people we knew.”
Mr Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, first lady Jill Biden and second gentleman Doug Emhoff marked a moment of silence around 6:15 p.m (2315 GMT) outdoors at the White House after the president’s…