1/ George Santos reportedly scammed a disabled veteran out of $3,000 by using a fake animal charity to raise money for the veteran’s service dog’s cancer treatment. In May 2016, a veterinary technician connected U.S. Navy veteran Richard Osthoff with someone named Anthony Devolder, who ran a pet charity called “Friends of Pets United,” to set up a GoFundMe for his service dog Sapphire. Anthony Devolder, however, is an alias that Santos used for years before entering politics in 2020. After raising $3,000 for Sapphire’s lifesaving surgery, Osthoff says “Devolder” made excuses and became uncooperative before disappearing with the funds. Sapphire died Jan. 15, 2017. When asked for a comment, Santos replied: “Fake. No clue who this is.” (Patch.com / Semafor / CNN)
2/ Immigration records contradict George Santos’s claim that his mother died on Sept. 11, 2001 in New York City. Fatima Devolder applied for a U.S. visa in February 2003. She had not been in the U.S. since 1999. She died Dec. 23, 2016, after which Santos solicited donations to pay for her funeral. Nevertheless, Santos’s campaign website claimed “George’s mother was in her office in the South Tower on Sept. 11, 2001 […] She survived the tragic events on September 11th, but she passed away a few years later when she lost her battle to cancer.” Kevin McCarthy, meanwhile, insisted that he “always had a few questions” about George Santos’s resume, but “the voters made the decision, and he has a right to serve here.” In early 2021 a Santos aide was caught impersonating McCarthy’s chief of staff while soliciting campaign contributions. (Forward / Washington Post / ABC News)
3/ Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis rejected an AP African-American Studies course on the grounds that it violates state laws against the teaching of critical race theory. On Jan. 12, Florida Department of Education’s Office of Articulation informed the College Board, which runs the SAT test and the Advanced Placement (AP) program, that “as presented, the content of this course is inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value,” adding: “in the future, should College Board be willing to come back to the table with lawful, historically accurate content, FDOE will always be willing to reopen the discussion.” Florida’s Stop WOKE Act was signed into law last April and set new rules banning critical race theory, an academic framework for examining systemic racism. (Daily Beast / National Review)
4/ Ron DeSantis called on the Republican-controlled Legislature to permanently ban Covid-19 health measures, like mask mandates and vaccine requirements. The proposal, dubbed “Prescribe Freedom,” would indefinitely extend existing bans DeSantis signed in 2021, which imposed fines on businesses requiring Covid-19 vaccinations, prohibited mask requirements in schools, and banned vaccine mandates as a condition to travel. The coronavirus has killed more than 84,000 people in Florida. (NBC News / Politico / CNN / The Hill / USA Today)
5/ Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign asked Facebook to reinstate his account, arguing that his ban has “dramatically distorted and inhibited the public discourse” and that a continued ban would be a “deliberate effort by a private company to silence Mr. Trump’s political voice.” Trump was initially banned indefinitely from Facebook on Jan. 7, 2021 after the attack on the Capitol by his supporters. The House impeached Trump on a charge of incitement of insurrection. Facebook later shortened the suspension to two years and said it would assess whether the risk to public safety had subsided enough to restore his account. (NBC News / Washington Post / Bloomberg)
6/ Parts of Greenland are now hotter than at any time in the past 1,000 years and that the decade between 2001 and 2011 was the warmest in the entire period. Scientists reported that through 2011, the ice sheet in central-north Greenland was on average 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than it was during the 20th century, and that the rate of melting has increased with these changes. Greenland’s melting ice sheet is “a massive contributor to global sea level rise” and if carbon emissions continue unmitigated, the ice sheet is projected to contribute up to 19 inches of global sea level rise by 2100. In total, Greenland holds enough ice that it could lift global sea levels by roughly 24 feet if it all melted. (Washington Post / Nature / CNN / USA Today)
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