Donald Trump’s defense lawyers are set to present evidence in the US Senate, denying charges he incited insurrection in the Capitol riots of 6 January. The team has indicated it may take up only four of its 16 hours, and so move the impeachment trial to a speedy end. Democrats spent two days putting their case, including video footage of the violence and arguing acquittal could see a repeat of the attack on Congress.
Russia said on Friday it would be ready to sever ties with the European Union if the bloc hit it with painful economic sanctions, a statement that Germany described as disconcerting and incomprehensible. Ties between Russia and the West, already at post-Cold War lows, have come under renewed pressure over the arrest and jailing of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.
Britain’s coronavirus-ravaged economy suffered its biggest crash in output in more than 300 years in 2020 when it slumped by 9.9 percent, but it avoided heading back towards recession at the end of the year and looks on course for a recovery in 2021. Official figures showed gross domestic product (GDP) grew 1.0 percent from October through December, the top of a range of economists’ forecasts in a Reuters poll.
The Australian state of Victoria will enter lockdown for a third time in a bid to suppress an outbreak of the UK strain of coronavirus. Officials this week found 13 cases stemming from a quarantine worker who became infected at a Melbourne hotel. The lockdown will begin on Friday midnight and end on Wednesday. However, the government has said the Australian Open tennis tournament would continue in the state’s capital, Melbourne.
The head of the Tokyo Olympics has announced his resignation over sexist comments. Yoshiro Mori had said women talk too much during an online meeting of the committee’s board of trustees earlier this month, where he also said women are driven by a “strong sense of rivalry”. The former Japanese prime minister, 83, had previously refused to step down.