Tuesday morning news: January 19, 2021

FBI vetting national guard troops ahead of inauguration » The FBI is taking a very close look at thousands of National Guard troops arriving in Washington for tomorrow’s inauguration to guard against any possibility of an insider attack.  

Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said after some of the Capitol rioters were found to have military ties, he’s leaving nothing to chance.

MCCARTHY: We’ve also been vetting them through the FBI, getting support from the Federal Bureau of Investigation to continue the vetting of every man and woman that comes here. 

McCarthy said he has warned commanders to be on the lookout for any problems within their ranks. He said Guard members are also getting training on how to identify potential insider threats.

But so far, he and other leaders say they have seen no evidence of any threats.

As many as 25,000 troops will help provide security for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Biden, Harris honor MLK » Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris took a break from inaugural prep on Monday to mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Harris told reporters…

HARRIS: When we look at where we are as a country today, when we look at recent events, we know that the fight that Dr. King was engaged in is still a fight in America. 

Both took part in service projects. Biden and his wife, Jill, joined an assembly line with an organization that distributes food to people in need. 

Many ceremonies to honor King have gone virtual this year amid virus concerns. 

COVID-19 hospitalizations dip in United States » The number of Americans filling hospital beds after testing positive for COVID-19 reached its lowest point in more than two weeks on Sunday.

Hospitalizations now stand at about 124,000. That’s down from a record high of 132,000 on January 6th.  

In at least 10 states, fewer people contracted the virus in recent days. The decline comes as some states are beginning to see the holiday surge of new cases level off. 

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday…

CUOMO: Yes, the numbers are coming down today. If we have a second wave by a new strain, you’ll see that number go back up. 

Health officials are concerned about new strains of the virus taking hold. 

Dr. Amesh Adalja with Johns Hopkins University says he believes a new, more contagious variant from the U.K. will eventually dominate.

ADALJA: We have a little window of opportunity now to get as much vaccine as possible in people’s arms to protect them. And then we have to really double down on how well we follow the common sense recommendations of wearing a mask, washing our hands, and trying to avoid crowded places to keep this variant at bay. 

Cases are still on the rise in most states, with hospitals overflowing in some areas as states race to distribute vaccines. 

Azar: Vaccine rollout going well in most states » And outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says that race is going well in most states. 

Some governors have blamed a lack of federal leadership for a bumpy rollout in some places. But Azar on Monday said most governors, Democrat and Republican, say the vaccination effort is going well.

AZAR: They’re working well with us. It’s the natural scale up. You’ve got some governors, who are frankly the ones who are failing, who have administered 50 percent or less of the vaccines that have been shipped to them. That’s places like Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan. They’re failing and they’re just looking for somebody else to blame here. 

The five most efficient states so far in administering vaccines  are North Dakota, West Virginia, South Dakota, Connecticut, and Texas. 

The five slowest rollouts so far are in the states of Alabama, Georgia, Virginia, Idaho, and California. 

Russian judge rules Navalny must remain in jail for 30 days » A Russian judge on Monday ordered that opposition leader Alexei Navalny remain behind bars for 30 days. 

Authorities arrested Navalny at a Moscow airport on Sunday immediately after he arrived from Germany. He is a loud critic of the Kremlin and President Vladimir Putin. 

And Russian political analyst Maria Lipman said Navalny knew this was coming. 

LIPMAN: During the days leading to his return, the government made it clear that he would be arrested right upon arrival. But that failed to intimidate him. He will continue to be a problem behind the bars or not. 

A crowd of Navalny supporters outside the precinct shouted “Shame!” as the judge announced the ruling. U.S. and European officials have also heavily criticized his arrest. 

Navalny spent months recovering in Germany after being poisoned by a Soviet-era nerve agent. 

In a video statement released after the ruling, Navlany told Russians—quote— “Don’t be afraid, take to the streets. Don’t come out for me, come out for yourselves and your future.”

130 dead after violent clashes in Darfur » Well over a hundred people are dead in Darfur after violent tribal clashes in Sudan’s western region. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The death toll from tribal conflicts between Arabs and non-Arabs in Sudan now stands at about 130 people, including women and children. 

That according to a doctors committee with the Sudanese Professionals Association.  

The latest bout of violence in Darfur started when a fistfight broke out Friday at a camp for displaced people. It then escalated and lasted until Sunday.

Nearly 200 others suffered injuries, including newborn babies. 

The committee called the violence “unprecedented” and said the death toll is likely to grow. It added that “The scale of the crisis in West Darfur is unimaginable,” and that “The transitional government should bear its responsibilities and declare the province a disaster area.”

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon) Flags are placed on the National Mall, with the U.S. Capitol behind them, ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021, in Washington. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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