Prince Andrew wants a trial by jury, President Putin wants Ukraine blocked from NATO, MPs want the prime minister out, and Stephen Breyer wants Biden to pick his replacement.
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LET'S CATCH UP
Prince Andrew has made a demand for a trial by jury in the civil sexual assault lawsuit he faces.
Worth noting: Prominent US lawyer Lisa Bloom pointed out this was really a 'PR move', saying Virginia Giuffre - the woman suing the prince - has already requested a jury trial. Bloom said Prince Andrew's request is "meaningless", as it was "Ms Giuffre's constitutional right to have a jury trial if she asked for one".
What else? According to multiple reports, the prince's team filed an 11-page document, where they also set out a number of reasons why they believe the lawsuit should be dismissed.
Like what? One example is about consent. While he has repeatedly denied ever having sex with Giuffre, Prince Andrew's legal team argue the following;
"Assuming, without admitting, that Giuffre has suffered any injury or damage alleged in the complaint, Giuffre's claims are barred by the doctrine of consent."
In the US, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer announced he is set to retire in June.
Why is this newsworthy? It's difficult to overstate the importance of the Supreme Court in the US in terms of its influence on American culture. It is made up of nine judges, who get nominated for the position by the sitting president, and then confirmed by the senate. While all of them are expected to be objective, often times they will interpret the law in a way that aligns with the policies of the president who nominated them - particularly on polarising issues such as gun control or abortions rights etc. At the moment, there is considered to be a 6-3 conservative majority on the court.
Worth noting: Justice Breyer is considered one of the three liberal justices, and was appointed by President Clinton in 1994.
Bigger picture: As many media outlets pointed out, by choosing to retire Breyer is giving President Biden the opportunity to choose a replacement. Many have also compared this to Ruth Bader Ginsburg - a liberal icon to many, who sat on the Supreme Court right up until her death in 2020. RBG died weeks before the 2020 election. At the time, polls showed Joe Biden would win the election, and RBG had expressed her desire for a replacement to be chosen after the November vote. However, Trump and the Senate quickly confirmed conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, leading to the 6-3 majority you see today.
The US has rejected demands made by Russia to make a commitment that Ukraine will never be permitted to join NATO.
Those demands were always considered improbable and were expected to be rejected. However, US Secretary of State responded to Russia saying there was an offer of a "serious diplomatic path forward", in a letter that will not be released to the public.
Separately, on Wednesday representatives from Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France met for talks in Paris which lasted eight hours. As BBC News noted, the group "is due to meet again in two weeks in Berlin".
Ever wondered why Ukraine joining NATO would be such a big issue for Russia? Read our latest in-depth piece 👇🏽
In other news on Ukraine: a Ukrainian soldier shot and killed five people and wounded five others when they opened fire on security guards at a military factory. The reasons for the shooting is not known, and police are currently searching for the soldier.
If you read one thing: What is SWIFT and why it might be the weapon Russia fears most. In recent weeks, there has been speculation over whether Western allies - in response to any invasion of Ukraine - would go as far as to remove the country from SWIFT, effectively cutting the country off from the global banking system.
Above is an incredibly helpful article in wrapping your head around what that could mean.
KEEPING AN EYE...
As Boris defiantly battles on and the wait for Sue Gray's report continues, The Guardian has suggested a group of senior backbench Conservative MPs are set to submit votes of no confidence in the prime minister.
According to the report, those who want Johnson out include "more than two dozen former ministers".
Worth noting: There has been speculation about this before, and really it all depends on what Sue Gray's report concludes. Also, these votes of no confidence are secret so it is difficult to speculate how many there actually might be. 54 are required in order to trigger a leadership battle.
ON TODAY'S AGENDA...
England today moves out of Plan B restrictions, and back to the Plan A of 'living with Covid'. Below is a helpful summary from Sky News on what that looks like.
International Holocaust Remembrance Day. During the Holocaust, it is estimated that more than 11 million people were murdered at a number of concentration camps under Nazi control. This included approximately six million European Jews.
Today specifically commemorates the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau on January 27 1945, the largest of the concentration camps.
- BBC News: Prince Andrew denies he was close to Maxwell
- The Guardian: Tory MPs poised to send letters of no confidence in PM after 'partygate' report
- The Financial Times: US stocks close lower in volatile session as investors weigh Fed moves
- Al Jazeera: Soldier opens fire, kills five guards at Ukraine military plant
- The Irish Times: Miriam Lord: Taoiseach's patience snaps as Mary Lou plays the elitism card
ON A LIGHTER NOTE...
Anyone else feel the same?