Biden news live: Latest updates as president salutes healthcare workers at Super Bowl

Biden news live: Latest updates as president salutes healthcare workers at Super Bowl


Biden news live: Latest updates as president salutes healthcare workers at Super Bowl

Biden news live: Latest updates as president salutes healthcare workers at Super Bowl

Related video: Biden acknowledges crisis facing nation’s school children amounts to ‘national emergency’

US president Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden praised the country’s frontline healthcare workers for their efforts in fighting the coronavirus pandemic prior to the Super Bowl on Sunday, instructing viewers of the NFL championship game to wear masks, practice social distancing and get vaccinated “when it’s your turn”.

“Before kickoff, we wanted to thank all of the frontline healthcare heroes, both at the game and watching across the country,” the first lady said. “You put yourself at risk to keep the rest of us safe. You and your families carried us through this year with courage, compassion and kindness. We couldn’t have made it without you. With all of our hearts, thank you.”

In an interview with CBS, the new president also pledged a strong stance on China that would differ from that of his predecessor, Donald Trump, expressing a wish to stay in “lockstep” with allies in standing up to the rival superpower while warning the US should expect “extreme competition” from Beijing.

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US to rejoin UN Human Rights Council

President Biden’s administration is set to announce that the US will rejoin the UN Human Rights Council on Monday to fight “injustice and tyranny” around the world.

The decision is the latest in a series of moves taken by Biden to reset US foreign policy since he assumed office last month and sees the superpower rejoin a panel President Trump deserted in 2018. 

The new president has already announced that the US will rejoin the Paris Agreement on climate change, as well as resuming American funding for the World Health Organisation, as he pledged to restore alliances and international collaborations that took a back seat during the Trump presidency.

Biden administration officials say secretary of state Antony Blinken and a senior US diplomat will make the announcement later on Monday in Geneva, Switzerland.

Mayank Aggarwal has this report.

Joe Sommerlad8 February 2021 10:35

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Biden says Covid school closures are ‘a national emergency’

In the same interview, Biden acknowledged the mass exit of women from the US labour force as well as ongoing school closures constitute a “national emergency” – as the Covid crisis enters its 11th month.

More than three million American women have left their jobs and are no longer looking for work, alarming new statistics from the federal government show, while parents have reported growing concern over their school children’s stunted learning, emotional growth and mental health over the last year as the pandemic has forced school buildings to shutter in favour of online classes.

“It is a national emergency. It genuinely is a national emergency,” Biden told O’Donnell.

Biden signed an executive order shortly after being sworn in on 20 January to prioritise reopening schools within his first 100 days in office, a goal he still hopes to achieve as parents across the country become increasingly desperate.

“Do you think it’s time for schools to reopen?” the reporter asked the president in his first network interview since taking office last month.

“I think it’s time for schools to reopen safely. Safely,” Biden answered, emphasising an all-important qualifier.

“You have to have fewer people in the classroom. You have to have ventilation systems that have been reworked.”

Griffin Connolly has more.

Joe Sommerlad8 February 2021 10:15

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President talks tough on Beijing and Tehran

As is customary, Biden gave an interview to broadcaster CBS ahead of the Super Bowl, expressing a hope to Norah O’Donnell that next year’s game could take place in front of a live audience.

He also took the opportunity to pledge a strong stance on China that would differ from that of his predecessor, Donald Trump, expressing a wish to stay in “lockstep” with allies in standing up to the rival superpower while warning the US should expect “extreme competition” from Beijing.

Similarly on Iran, Biden flat out refused to end sanctions before Tehran curbed its nuclear ambitions, even if doing so might bring an end to the current diplomatic impasse.

Relations between the two nations have been extremely tense since President Trump severed the 2015 nuclear accord, insisting it was “a bad deal”, before having the country’s Revolutionary Guard declared a terrorist organisation and ordering the assassination of top general Qassem Soleimani a year ago, risking reprisals.

Joe Sommerlad8 February 2021 09:55

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Bidens thank healthcare workers before Super Bowl

US president Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden praised the country’s frontline healthcare workers for their efforts in fighting the coronavirus pandemic prior to the Super Bowl on Sunday, instructing viewers of the NFL championship game to wear masks, practice social distancing and get vaccinated “when it’s your turn”.

“Before kickoff, we wanted to thank all of the frontline healthcare heroes, both at the game and watching across the country,” the first lady said. “You put yourself at risk to keep the rest of us safe. You and your families carried us through this year with courage, compassion and kindness. We couldn’t have made it without you. With all of our hearts, thank you.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki declined to say on Friday whether the president would be supporting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the Kansas City Chiefs, no doubt wisely.

Here’s Ben Burrows on the big game itself, in which Tampa’s star quarterback Tom Brady cemented his legacy.

Joe Sommerlad8 February 2021 09:35

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Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s rolling coverage of the Joe Biden administration.

Joe Sommerlad8 February 2021 09:22


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