Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi holds a news conference on the day after a violent attack on the US Congress, Jan. 7, 2021.

Multinational corporations freeze political funding after Capitol attack; Malaysia declares state of emergency; India’s top court suspends farm laws after mass protests

Multinational companies are scrambling to distance themselves from the GOP and the radical far-right white supremacist groups embedded in the chaos by freezing or reassessing political donations.

The World

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As the House speeds forward with impeachment, charging Donald Trump with the incitement of a violent insurrection on the US Capitol on Jan. 6, multinational companies are scrambling to distance themselves from the GOP and the radical far-right white supremacist groups embedded in the chaos by freezing or reassessing political donations.

And, big tech companies including Google, Apple, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Tik-Tok and Twitch have all taken swift actions to prevent the spread of mis- and disinformation and plans for more violence, with Twitter banning Trump permanently from the platform. Google, Apple and Amazon all pulled the far-right site Parler from their stores and YouTube banished close Trump ally and adviser Steve Bannon’s “War Room” channel. While many applauded the move, others warned it could simply strengthen an “alt-tech” ecosystem.

Several corporations announced plans to pull their campaign funding from their political action committees to Trump and other GOP lawmakers who objected to certifying the election such as Marriott International, Coca-Cola, Ford, AirBnB and JP Morgan, among many others. AT&T, the single-largest donor to the GOP last year, also said it would halt contributions specifically to the 147 Republican lawmakers who tried to overturn the state-certified election results. With PAC donations capped at $5,000 per candidate per year, the move is largely symbolic but signals snowballing outrage over the GOP’s persistence in perpetuating false election claims.

What the world is following

As countries rush to vaccinate against the coronavirus, Malaysia has declared a state of emergency to halt the spread of the virus that will extend through at least Aug. 1, suspending all parliamentary activities, including a general election, which will keep the embattled Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin in power. In a televised speech, Muhyiddin assured citizens that the emergency was “not a military coup and a curfew will not be enforced,” despite an imposed two-week lockdown for millions in the capital, Kuala Lumpur. Critics say the emergency is politically motivated to keep Yassin in power.

And in India, after tens of thousands of farmers held 45 days of mass protests against new farm laws, India’s top court declared a suspension of these reforms and ordered an independent committee to investigate. Farmer unions rebuked negotiations, however, demanding a full repeal of the market-oriented laws that they say would hurt their livelihoods. After eight failed talks with the government, the farmers say they will not back down until the laws are scrapped, in a defiant stance against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

From The World

Former FBI agent: ‘Major intelligence failure’ of US Capitol breach requires 9/11-style commission

“There is going to have to be a reconstruction of events and find out who dropped the ball and why,” said legal and security analyst Asha Rangappa, a former FBI special agent.

US Capitol attack has ‘elements of a civil conflict’

Fiona Hill, a key witness in the previous impeachment proceedings,  was US President Donald Trump’s top Russia adviser from 2017 to 2019, and also served on the National Security Council. She told The World’s host Marco Werman that the idea to storm the Capitol didn’t come out of the blue.

“A lot of people are saying, ‘Oh, it couldn’t possibly have been a coup. It didn’t succeed, the military wasn’t out on the streets, the president wasn’t using his formal powers.’ Or ‘It just didn’t happen. You know, this was just a mob and an insurrection,'” Hill noted.

“But it’s important to lock down all of these elements because — just because it didn’t have a high likelihood of succeeding in a classic coup fashion doesn’t mean it wasn’t an attempt and this wasn’t real. So, as I’m saying, we’re not out of the woods yet.”


A pandemic and schools disrupted

A group of young students are shown wearing face masks and back packs as they wait in liine.
A young student wearing a face mask with the Greek flag, waits to enter his classroom at a primary school in Athens. Primary schools and kindergartens in Greece reopened have as the country has extended a two-month lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus, Jan. 11, 2021.Thanassis Stavrakis/AP

The coronavirus pandemic has forced school systems around the world to piece together a patchwork of in-person, remote and hybrid learning programs. What’s the latest science on children and COVID-19?

The World’s Elana Gordon will take your questions and moderate a discussion with Harvard education expert Meira Levinson, and epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch, streaming live here on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, at 11:00 a.m. Eastern.

Bright spot

Inspectors at the Holland ferry terminal in the Netherlands are putting their foot down to enforce the rules governing what foods people can bring into the European Union in a post-Brexit environment … including ham sandwiches from truck drivers.

Local Dutch TV footaged showed a driver with sandwiches wrapped in tin foil asking if he could perhaps hand over the meat but keep just the bread.

“No, everything will be confiscated. Welcome to Brexit, sir, I’m sorry,” a customs officer replied.

In case you missed it 

Listen: World on edge after attack on US Capitol

The stone facade of the US Capitol dome is shown in the distance through the branches of a tree without leaves.
The US Capitol dome stands above bare tree branches in Washington, Jan. 9, 2021.Patrick Semansky/AP

US President Donald Trump’s remaining days in office have the nation — and the world — on edge. Even with all the available images of the storming of the US Capitol, it’s still hard to comprehend. Many are asking how the attack was even possible and what national security concerns the US faces as a result. Also, Guinness World Records has confirmed that Stig Severinsen has broken the world distance record for swimming with fins with just one breath.

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