Illinois continues to smash coronavirus records on a near-daily basis, with more than 15,000 new cases reported on Friday. Hospitalizations and testing also hit record levels. Katie Johnston reports.
- Yahoo News
The U.S. special representative for Iran said that new sanctions on Tehran’s government put in place by the Trump administration did not represent an effort by the outgoing president to box in President-elect Joe Biden when it comes to Iran policy.
- Yahoo News
Rep. Ilhan Omar proposed the legislation in April but concerns about an impending wave of evictions has continued to grow.
Tokyo prosecutors are considering a summary indictment of two officials in former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's office for alleged violation of political funding laws, the daily Asahi reported on Friday. Prosecutors believe the officials failed to report income and expenditures totalling some 30 million yen ($289,000) related to cherry blossom viewing parties held for Abe supporters when he was in office, the Asahi report said. Under Japanese law, a summary indictment would mean the officials avoid a full court trial process.
- Associated Press
The European Union’s aviation safety agency has extended a ban imposed on Pakistan's state-run airline this year barring it from flying to Europe after a plane crash that killed 97 people in the port city of Karachi, a spokesman said Friday. At the time — and while the probe into the May 22 Airbus A320 crash was still underway — authorities acknowledged that nearly a third of Pakistani pilots, 260 out of 860, had cheated on their pilot’s exams. Pakistan International Airlines subsequently grounded 150 of its pilots while a probe by the country’s Civil Aviation Authority into the other pilots is still ongoing.
- Yahoo News
If it takes a miracle for Trump to stay in office, evangelicals like Michele Bachmann are fine with that
As the inevitability of President Trump’s loss became apparent even to his acolyte Kellyanne Conway in recent days, his supporters increasingly pinned their hopes for a second term on a last-ditch appeal, not to the Supreme Court, but to the one power that can outvote it: God.
The "ambitious" target for 2030 would see the UK move faster than any major economy, the PM says.
- The Week
President-elect Joe Biden has settled on a team to lead the U.S. through its biggest ongoing crisis, two people familiar with the decision tell Politico.Jeff Zients, who headed the National Economic Council under former President Barack Obama and is co-chair of Biden's transition team, will reportedly be named the White House's COVID-19 coordinator. Vivek Murthy, the surgeon general under Obama, will reportedly return to his role with more responsibilities, and Biden's coronavirus advisory board co-chair Marcella Nunez-Smith will get a special role focused on health disparities.Zients "isn't a health care guru, and he's the first to say that," one source close to Biden told Politico. But his managerial experience is seen as an asset as the U.S. prepares to roll out a vaccine and combat the coronavirus-induced economic crisis — "he's essentially playing that role with the transition now," the source said. Zients will reportedly be paired with health experts including Murthy, who has already been a part of Biden's coronavirus plans. Nunez-Smith, a Yale University associate professor of medicine, will meanwhile help address how COVID-19 and other health care issues disproportionately affect people of color.The left wing of the Democratic party isn't expected to be thrilled with Zients' selection, The New York Times reports. Progressive groups such as Revolving Door Project and Justice Democrats have already pointed out his corporate record, and the fact that an anesthesia company managed under the investment firm Zients ran had poor reviews. Under Obama, "his role was essentially to be a management consultant for the executive branch: cutting costs, finding efficiencies and looking at things like a businessman," Revolving Door said in a document about Zients' background.More stories from theweek.com 5 absurdly funny cartoons about Trump's desperate fraud claims What Trump is doing isn't politics. It's something much worse. The Donald goes down to Georgia
- Associated Press
A cargo ship traveling past Yemen in the Gulf of Aden came under attack in unclear circumstances, maritime authorities said Saturday. The Gulf of Aden is a crucial route for global trade and has seen attacks attributed to Yemen’s Houthi rebels as its civil war rages on. The ship ended up off the small port city of Nishtun in Yemen's far east after coming under attack early Saturday morning, according to an alert from the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Organization that is overseen by Britain's Royal Navy.
Russia protested on Friday after Latvia charged several journalists from the Rossiya Segodnya news agency with violating European Union sanctions. The journalists were charged because of their association with Dmitry Kiselyov, who heads Rossiya Segodnya, said Sputnik Latvia, a subsidiary of Rossiya Segodnya. The Kremlin media mogul was sanctioned by the EU for his role in Russia's seizure of the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine in 2014.
- USA TODAY
Five executions are scheduled before Joe Biden, who opposes capital punishment, takes office. Ninety current and former law officials want a halt.
- The Telegraph
China is conducting "human testing" to create "biologically enhanced soldiers," the head of US intelligence has claimed as he warned that Beijing poses the biggest threat to America's national security. In an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, John Ratcliffe, the director of national intelligence, warned that the US must be prepared for an "open-ended" confrontation with China which he likened to the Cold War. Mr Ratcliffe, who oversees America's intelligence agencies, said he believed China's intention was to "dominate" the planet in every sense: economically, militarily and technologically. He claimed that US intelligence showed China has "conducted human testing on members of the People’s Liberation Army in hope of developing soldiers with biologically enhanced capabilities". "There are no ethical boundaries to Beijing’s pursuit of power," he said. Mr Ratcliffe said his unique vantage point on the current security threats facing the US had led him to conclude that "the People’s Republic of China poses the greatest threat to America today, and the greatest threat to democracy and freedom world-wide since World War II". He went on to outline in granular detail China's strategy of economic espionage, which he framed as: “rob, replicate and replace.” “China robs US companies of their intellectual property, replicates the technology, and then replaces the US firms in the global marketplace,” he said.
- Christian Science Monitor
Both countries must address feelings of humiliation over past actions. A window of opportunity opens next year to do just that.
- Associated Press
The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered a lower federal court to reexamine California restrictions on indoor religious services in areas hard hit by the coronavirus in light of the justices' recent ruling in favor of churches and synagogues in New York. The high court's unsigned order, with no noted dissent, leaves the California restrictions in place for now. Last week, the Supreme Court split 5-4 in holding that New York could not enforce certain limits on attendance at churches and synagogues.
Iran plans to install hundreds more advanced uranium-enriching centrifuges at an underground plant in breach of its deal with major powers, a U.N. nuclear watchdog report showed on Friday, a move that will raise pressure on U.S. President-elect Joe Biden. The confidential International Atomic Energy Agency report obtained by Reuters said Iran plans to install three more cascades, or clusters, of advanced IR-2m centrifuges in the underground plant at Natanz, which was apparently built to withstand aerial bombardment.
- Business Insider
A 20-year-old campaign staffer for Sen. Kelly Loeffler died in a car crash before Pence held a campaign event in Georgia
Mike Pence announced the death of Harrison Deal in a car crash during his speech in Savannah, calling the aide "a truly wonderful young man."
- Yahoo News Video
As a pair of critical Senate runoff races approach on Jan. 5, Georgia Republican leaders find themselves in a conundrum, trying to balance indulging President Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud with supporting state GOP election officials. Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, a Republican, is frustrated with the misinformation about the election process in his state. “I’m actually embarrassed at the amount of misinformation that continues to show up on Twitter feeds and Facebook posts and blogs that takes literally 10 seconds to debunk,” Duncan told Yahoo News. “Anybody could debunk it, but because they’ve let themselves get to a point where they’re more worried about flipping an election result than they are following the truth, that’s how we’ve gotten here.”
- The Telegraph
Brexit trade talks reached stalemate on Friday night after the EU was accused of making a "ridiculous" demand for 10 years of unfettered access to Britain's fishing waters as the price of a deal. Boris Johnson paused talks for a "stock take" of whether an agreement can still be salvaged. A senior Government source said: "Their new offer was frankly laughable. They know we can't possibly accept it. It's ridiculous. If they think we will just cave in, they have made a massive miscalculation." Mr Johnson will speak to Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president, on Saturday in an attempt to break the deadlock. He could also make a personal plea to Emmanuel Macron, the French president, blamed for "destabilising" the talks by making unreasonable demands on fishing and state aid. Mr Macron is under pressure from other EU member states to give ground, with Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, on Friday urging "compromise" from both sides to get the deal over the line.
- The Week
President-elect Joe Biden said when it comes to the Department of Justice, he is "not going to be telling them what they have to do and don't have to do."Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris were interviewed by CNN's Jake Tapper on Thursday, and the discussion turned to reports that President Trump is contemplating preemptively pardoning his adult children, son-in-law Jared Kushner, and personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Biden said this "concerns me in terms of what kind of precedent it sets and how the rest of the world looks [at] us as a nation of laws and justice."Biden promised that he is "not going to be saying, 'Go prosecute A, B, or C,' I'm not going to be telling them. That's not the role, it's not my Justice Department, it's the people's Justice Department. So the persons or person I pick to run that department are going to be people who are going to have the independent capacity to decide who gets prosecuted, who doesn't."Harris, who once served as California's attorney general, added that the administration will assume that "any decision coming out of the Justice Department ... should be based on the law, it should not be influence by politics, period."More stories from theweek.com 5 absurdly funny cartoons about Trump's desperate fraud claims What Trump is doing isn't politics. It's something much worse. The Donald goes down to Georgia
A Chinese official's tweet of an image of an Australian soldier that sparked a furious reaction from Canberra was amplified across social media by unusual accounts, of which half were likely fake, an Israeli cybersecurity firm and Australian experts said. The digitally altered image of an Australian soldier holding a bloodied knife to the throat of an Afghan child was tweeted by China's foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian on Monday. Twitter declined Australia's request to remove the tweet.
- Yahoo News Video
AG Bill Barr said DOJ found no evidence of voter fraud, and now Trump won't say if he has confidence in him
While speaking to the press in the Oval Office on Thursday, President Trump hedged on saying if he had confidence in Attorney General William Barr. “Ask me that in a number of weeks from now," Trump said. "They should be looking at all this voter fraud.” Barr said in a recent interview that the Justice Department had found no evidence of widespread voter fraud.