|Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus (Photo: Times of Israel)|
US State Department cancels all scheduled trips amid presidential transition
The US State Department has cancelled all planned travels scheduled for this week, including Secretary of State Michael Pompeo's visit to Europe, as it carried out work related to transition for the incoming administration of Joe Biden.
In an official statement, Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said, "We are expecting shortly a plan from the incoming administration identifying the career officials who will remain in positions of responsibility on an acting basis until the Senate confirmation process is complete for incoming officials."
"As a result, we are cancelling all planned travel this week, including the Secretary's trip to Europe," she added.
Earlier, President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency in Washington DC ahead of Biden's inauguration on January 20.
The declaration of emergency comes after riots broke out at the US Capitol where pro-Trump supporters wreaked havoc on January 6. At least five people died as a result of the chaos, including a US Capitol Police officer.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has warned about armed protests being planned in all 50 US state capitals, including the US Capitol building, in the final days leading up to Biden's inauguration, Sputnik reported.
Biden wants to mobilize the National Guard to distribute Covid-19 vaccine
The new Biden administration wants to mobilize the National Guard and the military to distribute vaccines, to promote the vaccination campaign in the US.President-elect Joe Biden's power transfer group has discussed with the governors and the US Department of Defense the use of the National Guard and the military for the new administration's Covid-19 vaccination effort.
As reported by Stream News, Biden also recently said that after taking office, one of the options his Covid-19 response team will choose to promote the Covid-19 vaccination campaign is to deploy the National Guard.
The United States started its vaccination campaign on December 14 and to date more than 9 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been used in the US, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The National Guard supported the Covid-19 response in Louisiana in March 2020 Photo: WBRZ.
North Korea's Kim urges stronger military capabilities as party congress ends
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called for maximum military power and greater nuclear war deterrence, state news agency KCNA reported on Wednesday, as a rare ruling party congress came to a close after eight days of policy discussions.
The Eighth Party Congress comes less than two weeks before U.S. President-elect Joe Biden takes office and amid a prolonged gridlock in talks aimed at ending the North’s nuclear and missile programmes in return for U.S. sanction relief.
“We must do everything we can to increase nuclear war deterrence even further as we build the strongest military capability,” KCNA quoted Kim as saying at the conclusion of the congress.
|North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called for maximum military power and greater nuclear war deterrence (Photo: Straits Times)|
Kim said last week he would expand military capabilities to better defend the country and called for “placing state defence capabilities on a much higher level”.
Separately, Kim Yo Jong, the leader’s sister and a member of the party Central Committee, criticised South Korea’s military for monitoring a parade in Pyongyang. The move was an expression of the South’s “hostile approach” towards the North, she said in a separate statement carried by KCNA.
Cold snap brings Spain lowest temperatures in 20 years
Much of Spain struggled Tuesday in the aftermath of a massive snowfall that hardened into ice amid a record cold snap that turned streets and roads into safety hazards in areas unaccustomed to extreme winters.
Overnight temperatures were the coldest since at least 2001 and dropped in some places to the lowest since 1982, according to the Spanish weather agency AEMET. Schools remained closed in Madrid and much of central Spain, and 11 of the country's 51 provinces and autonomous regions were at the highest weather alert level.
The town of Bello, in the northeastern Teruel province, registered a temperature of minus 25.4 degrees Celsius (minus 13.7 F), and the town of Molina de Aragón, in the central Guadalajara province, was only a tenth of a degree warmer, abc News reported.
|(Photo: The Journal Gazette)|
In Madrid and the capital's surrounding region, home to 6.6 million people, thermometers plummeted to up to minus 16 degrees Celsius (3.2 F).
Authorities urged people to stay at home unless absolutely necessary to prevent accidents that could further strain hospital emergency rooms. A military hospital in the capital saw a worrying uptick in trauma cases, Defense Minister Margarita Robles said late Monday.
Gold price forecast - gold markets continue to stablize
Gold has gone back and forth during the trading session on Tuesday as we continue to go sideways. This should end up being a good thing for the market.
Gold markets have gone back and forth during the course of the trading session on Tuesday as we continue to hug the 200 day EMA region. I think at this point it is obvious that the market is at least trying to stabilize after a massive selloff, and it is worth noting that the previous candlestick was a bit of a perfect hammer. This suggests to me that we are certainly trying to hang on to the uptrend, and therefore it does make quite a bit of sense that we would continue to see a lot of choppy volatility, as traders try to catch our breath after the massive selloff.
A lot of this comes down to the US dollar strengthening as of late, but it is more or less going to be thought of as a short-term bounce more than anything else. With that being the case, I would fully anticipate that gold will continue to grind higher, unless the interest rates in the 10 year note continue to rise, FX Empire said.
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