A caller played a prank on US President Joe Biden by mocking Biden in his chat room during a Christmas event at the White House. Mr. Biden and First Lady Jill Biden hosted the festive appeal for families when a father said to the president, “Let’s go, Brandon.” Apparently unawareContinue Reading

South Africa’s government, buoyed by encouraging data showing that infections from the Omicron variant aren’t as severe, has dropped quarantine restrictions for all but symptomatic people. That includes allowing people who have tested positive but show no symptoms to gather with others, so long as they wear a mask andContinue Reading

Millions of people are facing travel disruptions and increased Covid restrictions at Christmas as flights are canceled and safety limits tightened in the emerging Omicron version. Italy, Spain and Greece have once again made it mandatory to wear a face mask outdoors. A night curfew has been imposed in CataloniaContinue Reading

SUBSCRIBER+ EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW — Over the weekend, Ukraine said its forces were encircling Bakhmut. Russia, meanwhile, congratulated its troops for taking the embattled Ukrainian city. It is precisely these types of conflicting accounts that policymakers need clarity on. And they often turn to the CIA to provide it. Helping toContinue Reading

President Biden will remove the ban on travel between the United States and countries in southern Africa at midnight on Dec. 31, a senior administration official said on Friday, reversing restrictions imposed last month to combat the spread of the Omicron variant. The region’s leaders had denounced the ban asContinue Reading

CIPHER BRIEF REPORTING – With world attention focusing in on Turkey’s presidential run-off election, where incumbent Recep Tayyip Erdogan is locked in what is perhaps the most serious challenge of his career, global interest is homing in on a relative political outsider who could reshape a key, albeit complicated, NATO member. KemalContinue Reading

From left, Glen Pine, Jay Nugent and Vic Ruggiero of the Slackers perform at Fawcett Hall in Washington state in December. (Keith Johnson) The Slackers’ annual December show is something of a company holiday party for New York ska fans, drawing folks from throughout the tri-state area to dance toContinue Reading

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday urged the West to comply immediately with Russia’s demand, accusing the United States and its allies of maintaining a military presence on the doorstep of our home. The Kremlin said on Friday that it expected the United States to respond next month to Moscow’sContinue Reading

The news comes a month after another K-pop megastar, Lalisa Manoban, 24, of Blackpink, better known as Lisa, also tested positive for the coronavirus. The other members of Blackpink — Jennie, Jisoo and Rosé — tested negative for the virus, the production company, YG Entertainment, said in an emailed statementContinue Reading

A fresh push by Britain and the Netherlands to provide Ukraine with F-16 fighter planes has exposed the latest fault line among Western allies who have wrangled repeatedly over sending powerful weapons of war, once again pitting a reluctant United States against some of its closest European partners. Several EuropeanContinue Reading