Call for Capitol riots commission; Myanmar situation tense

Asian stocks rise, US winter storms, new WTO chief’s warning, fatal Congo river accident, fire on place d’Armes, and why kissing strangers could be a thing of the past. Delano’s breakfast briefing.

Independent commission to seek “truth” on Capitol assault

Democrats and some Republicans have backed the creation of an independent commission to investigate the “facts and causes” of the deadly assault on the US Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump on 6 January. House speaker Nancy Pelosi made the announcement on Monday. She also said that a study of security at the Capitol in the wake of the riots had concluded that extra funding was required to “provide for the safety of members”. Pelosi said the independent commission would be styled on that which reviewed the 9/11 attacks. “We must get to the truth of how this happened,” she said. The GuardianCNBC and CNN have more.

Fresh footage from 6 January

Meanwhile, new police radio dispatches and security footage from the Capitol on 6 January show what CNN calls a “coordinated attack” with insurrectionists displaying “little fear of the police”.

Tension rises in Myanmar

Myanmar’s military rulers have again shut down the country’s internet access as protests against the coup they initiated on 1 February show no signs of abating. The BBC reports that dozens of students were arrested and later released after a protest in the capital, Nay Pyi Taw. Security forces firing rubber bullets, and maybe even live rounds, to disperse crowds in Mandalay. Aljazeera reports that the military has been employing divide-and-rule tactics to entice rival ethnic political parties into the new administration. The FT cites Norwegian telecoms executive Sigve Brekke from Telenor, which has invested heavily in Myanmar, saying that a cyber security bill the junta is trying to impose fails to consider human rights.

Asian stocks rise

As mainland China markets remain closed for the Lunar New Year holiday, stocks on exchanges in Hong Kong and Tokyo continued to rise amid optimism about global economic recovery and expectations of low interest rates. Oil prices also hit a 13-month high as the winter storms affecting the southern United States drove up demand and also threatened production in Texas. Reuters and CNBC report.

Winter storms worsen in US states

More than 150 million Americans are now under winter storm warnings as Texas was placed under a state of emergency on Monday and freezing conditions hit Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama, Oregon and Oklahoma. Even Mexico is suffering as four million homes and businesses lost power early on Monday, the BBC and CNN report.

Incoming WTO chief warns of vaccine nationalism

Former Nigerian finance minister and senior World Bank executive Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has told Reuters that “vaccine nationalism…just will not pay” as she prepares to take over the reins of the World Trade Organization on 1 March. Citing studies that show the global economy would lose $9 trillion in potential output if poor countries were prevented from a full vaccination programme, Okonjo-Iweala said that making “vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics accessible in an equitable and affordable fashion” was a top priority for the WTO.

60 dead in Congo river accident

At least 60 people have died after a boat carrying some 700 passengers and crew capsized on the Congo River on Monday. Only 300 survivors have so far been found on the stretch of river in Mai-Ndombe province in the west of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Aljazeera and The Guardian have details.

Luxembourg extends and expands business relief

Small and medium size business minister Lex Delles (DP) on Monday announced a series of measures to help new start-ups and existing businesses affected by the pandemic. The new rules mean that businesses established in 2020 can benefit from aid for costs not covered. In addition, the aid will be extended to June 2021 for existing business if they were legally obliged to close because of lockdown rules. Delano has the details.

Fire on place d’Armes

Two people were taken to hospital for check ups following a fire on the 5th floor of a building on the place d’Armes on Monday evening. Some 50 firefighters were called to the scene at around 7pm and had the fire under control by 9.30pm. RTL has pictures and video.

No snogs please, it’s covid

Kissing a stranger, sharing drinks, using make-up samples in a store and posing for a group photo could be a thing of the past if the results of a new survey are to be believed. The OnePoll study of 2,000 adults for UK optical retailer Vision Direct details the different social interactions that people will be thinking twice about after lockdown. The Sun has details, while The Guardian gives the study its snarky Pass Notes treatment.