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President interrupts his allegations of a ‘rigged election’ to offer a message of support for Joe Biden
As two Islamic State militants faced a judge in Virginia last month, Diane Foley listened from home through a muffled phone connection and strained to make out the voices of the men prosecutors say kidnapped her son before he was murdered. Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh stand accused of belonging to an IS cell dubbed “the Beatles,” an incongruously lighthearted nickname for British citizens blamed for the jailing, torture and murder of Western hostages in Syria. After geopolitical breakthroughs and stalemates, military actions in Syria and court fights in London, the Justice Department’s most significant terrorism prosecution in years was finally underway.
It's been four months since Congress' coronavirus relief bill expired, and the Senate and House still seem no closer to agreeing on a new one.House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and the White House have debated for months over what to include in the next stimulus package, with Senate Republicans seeking a far smaller bill than Democrats. But McConnell said Monday that some Democrats are now willing to accept "half a loaf" rather than delay relief any longer, pushing the onus on Pelosi to bring a smaller package to the House.House Democrats passed a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill months ago, while Senate Republicans have refused to accept a price tag anywhere close to that. But McConnell said Monday that "there is no reason" Congress shouldn't pass something by the end of the year, especially since some Democrats seem willing to accept Republicans' slimmer proposals; Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), for example, said Monday that "both sides are going to have to compromise."Pelosi also doesn't have quite the negotiating power she had before the 2020 election given that Democrats ended up losing seats in the House, McConnell added. He failed to acknowledge that President-elect Joe Biden will be bringing his Democratic administration to the White House in less than two months.While boosted unemployment insurance expired with the CARES Act at the end of July, unemployment benefits for some Americans may disappear altogether if a new bill isn't passed soon. Federal unemployment programs for people who aren't covered by traditional jobless benefits, as well as extended benefits for those who have exhausted state unemployment, are set to expire at the end of the year, along with an eviction moratorium and other provisions.More stories from theweek.com Americans are choosing death over deprivation How camp explains Trump The Electoral College is only getting worse
Switzerland is emerging as a model for how the coronavirus can be contained without a national lockdown, after daily new infections halved since the start of November despite pubs, restaurants, gyms and sports remaining open in much of the country. The figures were hailed as a triumph for the “Swiss special way” by Swiss government doctors last week, and will be seen as evidence that regional tiers can work in the UK. Rather than ordering a general lockdown, Switzerland allowed regions to decide their own measures and only the worst-hit imposed tough restrictions. But critics have charged that the success came at too high a price, after the country experienced some of the highest death rates in Europe. Switzerland has been described as the “new Sweden” after it refused to follow the UK and other countries into a second lockdown this month. The Swiss government imposed only minimal restrictions at a national level, including a limit of ten on private gatherings, an 11pm curfew for restaurants and the compulsory use of facemasks in crowded areas.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam says she has to pile up cash at home as she has been unable to open a bank account in the global financial centre since Washington sanctioned her shortly after Beijing imposed a national security law on the city. Beijing circumvented Hong Kong's legislature and imposed a national security law on the former British colony on June 30, a move condemned by some foreign governments, business groups and rights groups. Hong Kong and authorities in Beijing said the law was necessary to restore stability after more than a year of anti-government protests.
The news that former Vice President Joe Biden would become the next president of the United States was met in Russia with grim resignation, bordering on despair. Experts on Russian state television have described Biden’s presidency as “Obama’s third term” and predicted a slew of new sanctions dreaded by the Kremlin. This anticipation revived the wave of racist attacks against former President Obama, which were commonplace during his administration.Overt racism in Russian state media is far from uncommon, but nonetheless continues to be shocking. Tigran Keosayan—the husband of Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of the Kremlin-funded RT and Sputnik—took racist mockery to new lows on his program Mezhdunarodnaya Pilorama (“International Sawmill”). Keosayan described Barack Obama as “the dark page of American history,” while introducing a highly offensive sketch by an actress in blackface impersonating the former president, which was first reported by the Moscow Times.The purported portrayal of Obama was tasteless and crude, with the actress in a bandana gesticulating as a rapper and describing the former president as a “chocolate bunny.” The show, which aired on NTV—a network funded by state-owned gas company Gazprom, mocked “Black Lives Matter” and claimed that none of Obama’s relatives know how to write. The sketch concluded with a recommendation that rather than read Obama’s book, The Audacity of Hope, viewers should opt for “reading the label on the bathroom air freshener.”Facing worldwide condemnation for the latest racist episode, Margarita Simonyan—heralded as one of the most influential women in news media—attempted to backpedal, using her husband’s Armenian ethnicity as some kind of an excuse for his indefensible racism. She described the offensive sketch as a “parody of Obama” and disingenuously claimed: “As someone who is part of an ethnic minority in Russia, Tigran regularly makes fun, on the air, of his large 'ethnic' nose and his belonging to a 'Black' community (look it up if you don't know which ethnicities are referred to as 'Black' in Russia).”Despite Simonyan’s clumsy excuses, her husband is not the only one who considers himself somehow entitled to mock Black Americans. In June of this year, RT’s editor-in-chief shared a despicably racist article from the Russian tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda, which made references to “muscular criminal Negroes,” described “twerking” as the “national Negro dance,” recommended the use of amphetamines, and encouraged violence and death.Russian state media outlets have long expressed their desire for civil unrest in the United States. The author of the article, Dmitry Steshin, urged: “Beat the whites until they turn Black.” Simonyan shared the article, describing it as a piece of “good advice from an international journalist to the negroes of Minnesota and the United States.”Simonyan’s husband followed up the obscene sketch on his program with a ludicrous assertion: “There is no racism in Russia.” It was no more believable than the notorious Soviet claim, “There is no sex in the USSR.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Republicans have indicated that Joe Biden's prospective nomination of Neera Tanden to the Office of Management and Budget would not pass the Senate with a GOP majority.Tanden, a former Hillary Clinton aide and current president of left-wing think tank Center for American Progress, has a history of comments criticizing various Republican senators, whose approval she would need to head OMB."Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell [R., Ky.] has broken the Senate, he has broken the Supreme Court, and in conjunction with President Donald Trump, he has broken our democracy," Tanden wrote in a statement during the confirmation process for Justice Amy Coney Barrett. Tanden also criticized Senator Susan Collins (R., Maine) during the confirmation hearings for Justice Brett Kavanaugh.> Neera Tanden, who has an endless stream of disparaging comments about the Republican Senators’ whose votes she’ll need, stands zero chance of being confirmed. https://t.co/f6Ewi6OMQR> > -- Drew Brandewie (@DBrandewie) November 30, 2020"Neera Tanden, who has an endless stream of disparaging comments about the Republican Senators’ whose votes she’ll need, stands zero chance of being confirmed," Drew Brandewie, spokesman for Senator John Cornyn, wrote on Twitter on Monday."There’s the sacrifice to the confirmation gods…" commented Josh Holmes, former chief of staff to McConnell.Tanden is the first prospective cabinet nominee to generate considerable resistance among Republicans. Moderate senators Collins, Mitt Romney (R., Utah), and Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska) have indicated that they will support Biden's cabinet picks as long as they are "mainstream." The nominees so far include Clinton aide Jake Sullivan for national security adviser, and Antony Blinken for secretary of state.Among Democrats, Tanden has drawn criticism for her apparent hostility to the progressive wing of the party. Tanden was an informal adviser to the Clinton campaign in 2016, which held off progressive challenger Bernie Sanders in the primary only to be defeated by Donald Trump in the general election.
The Navy said Monday that it will decommission a warship docked off San Diego after suspected arson this summer caused extensive damage, making it too expensive to restore. Fully repairing the USS Bonhomme Richard to warfighting capabilities would cost $2.5 billion to $3 billion and take five to seven years, said Rear Adm. Eric H. Ver Hage of the Navy Regional Maintenance Center. The amphibious assault ship burned for more than four days in July and was the Navy’s worst U.S. warship fire outside of combat in recent memory.
A triumphant Abiy Ahmed praised his troops in Ethiopia's parliament on Monday (November 30) for their victory in the country's northern Tigray region, even as the forces he claims to have defeated said they were still fighting. His soldiers captured Tigray's capital Mekelle at the weekend, prompting a declaration that a military operation in the region was completed. "The defense forces never killed a single person in a single town. No soldier from any country could display a better competence. We have disciplined heroic soldiers." Abiy said they had carried out a "special surgery" in Mekelle and not destroyed the city, nor killed a single civilian in the region. But in a conflict where information has been difficult to verify, the rebellious Tigrayan People's Liberation Front has a different version of events. It says Mekelle suffered heavy bombardment. It also says the war is far from over - and claims to have shot down a plane and retaken a town. In a text message, TPLF leader Debretsion Gebremichael said he was close to Mekelle, fighting the, quote, "invaders". Abiy's spokeswoman dismissed suggestions that fighting is still ongoing, saying the "many delusions of a disintegrating criminal clique" were not their focus. However Debretsion's defiance raises the specter of a drawn out insurgency against a battle-hardened TPLF that, from the days when it toppled Ethiopia's Marxist dictatorship nearly three decades ago, has known how to exploit its mountains and borders with Eritrea and Sudan. The violence, in which diplomats believe thousands have died, has also stirred ethnic rivalries. When he took office in 2018, Abiy pledged to unite Ethiopia's 115 million people, but ethnic clashes had killed hundreds and uprooted hundreds of thousands from their homes even before the latest bloodshed.
Japanese intelligence officials told a US expert that Kim Jong Un received a trial COVID-19 vaccine from China within the last few weeks.
A car bombing in the Afghanistan's central province of Ghazni killed at least 30 Afghan security force members on Sunday, officials said, and casualties could increase given the intensity and location of the blast. Baz Mohammad Hemat, director of the provincial hospital in Ghazni, said 30 bodies and 24 injured people had been transported there. "All of the victims are security personnel," he said.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has returned to his Washington office two weeks after he tested positive for COVID-19, his team announced Monday.While Grassley wasn't the first lawmaker to contract the virus, many people were concerned about the diagnosis because the senator is 87. It turned out, however, that he remained asymptomatic throughout the course of his infection and was able to keep working remotely.Still, Grassley didn't let his fortunate situation reshape his stance on the severity of the pandemic. In a statement, he noted that the disease "affects people differently" and "more than a thousand Americans are dying every day and many more are hospitalized." So, Grassley said, he'll "continue to wear a mask and practice social distancing."He also repeated his previous calls for Congress to pass a "long overdue," bipartisan relief bill to "help families, businesses, and communities get through this crisis." Tim O'Donnell> Grassley, 87, is back at the Senate today after testing positive for Covid-19. His office says he was asymptomatic the entire time. pic.twitter.com/qJImIJl8ZC> > -- Andrew Desiderio (@AndrewDesiderio) November 30, 2020More stories from theweek.com Americans are choosing death over deprivation How camp explains Trump The Electoral College is only getting worse
Arizona certified its presidential election results in favor of President-elect Joe Biden on Monday as Rudy Giuliani urged Republican state legislators at a hearing in Phoenix to override the certification.Arizona’s Secretary of State Katie Hobbs commended her state for conducting “easily the smoothest” and “most secure election in recent history” even amid the coronavirus pandemic.“Despite the unprecedented challenges, Arizonans showed up for our democracy,” Hobbs, a Democrat, said.“This election was conducted with transparency, accuracy and fairness in accordance with Arizona’s laws and elections procedures, despite numerous unfounded claims to the contrary,” she added.The certification gives Biden 11 Electoral College votes. According to projections by the Associated Press, Biden will receive 306 electoral votes to President Trump’s 232 votes.Republican Governor Doug Ducey praised the state’s election as well, saying “the system is strong, that’s why I have bragged on it so much.”“This is America, and no voter should be disenfranchised,” Ducey said. “The votes have been tabulated, all 15 counties have certified their results.”Also on Monday, Giuliani and other members of Trump’s legal team attended a scheduled hearing with the Arizona State Legislature on the integrity of the 2020 election.Trump’s team continued to push a number of unproven claims of election fraud at the hearing and called on Republican state legislators to appoint pro-Trump electors in defiance of the popular vote.“What is the right count, or how can we get as close to the right count as possible? If we can, then have the courage to select that person to get the electors, because that person won the honest vote,” Giuliani said.“In history, I swear to God, you will be heroes,” he said. “If you can’t make a determination, then don’t certify.”Wisconsin is expected to certify its election results for Biden on Monday as well.
Russia came under renewed pressure Monday to explain the nerve agent attack on opposition figure Alexei Navalny as the annual meeting of the global chemical weapons watchdog got underway amid measures aimed at reining in the spread of coronavirus. Navalny fell ill on Aug. 20 during a domestic flight in Russia, and was flown to Germany for treatment two days later. Tests carried out by labs in Germany, France and Sweden and by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons established that Navalny was exposed to a Soviet-era Novichok nerve agent.
Leslie Van Houten has spent nearly five decades in prison since she was arrested for 1969 killing spree.
"The Iranians are going to be in a position where they have to retaliate. I don't see any way around it," retired Adm. William McRaven said.
The bodies of Timothy Eugene Francis and Christina Lynn Francis were found in their Maryland home Friday. The bodies of 50-year-old Timothy Eugene Francis and Christina Lynn Francis, 41, were found in their Waldorf, Maryland home on Friday.
Republicans indicated they would try to block one of Joe Biden's proposed key economic advisers in what could be the first major confirmation battle of his administration. Mr Biden on Monday nominated Neera Tanden, 50, as the first woman of colour to be director of the Office of Management and Budget. Ms Tanden has for the last decade headed a liberal think tank, and is a former close aide to Hillary Clinton. She has been a vocal critic of Republican senators including leader Mitch McConnell, accusing him of "breaking our democracy". A spokesman for Republican senator John Cornyn accused her of "an endless stream of disparaging comments," and said she "stands zero chance of being confirmed". Mr McConnell's former chief of staff said Ms Tanden would be a "sacrifice to the confirmation gods". It came as Mr Biden received the Presidential Daily Brief for the first time, giving him an update on classified intelligence. That would be expected to include the latest US intelligence assessments of the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. The president-elect also revealed his economic team, including confirmation that he was nominating Janet Yellen, the former Federal Reserve chair, as treasury secretary. He also named an all-female senior White House communications team with Jen Psaki as press secretary. Ms Psaki worked in Barack Obama's administration, and has been a contributor to CNN. The confirmation of Ms Tanden looked set to depend on who wins two Senate run-off races in Georgia on January 5. If Democrats win both races they will take control of the Senate from Republicans, easing the confirmation process for Biden officials. As the battle in Georgia heated up its secretary of state Brad Raffensperger opened investigations into left-wing groups trying to sign up new voters. He said some groups had been encouraging people who lived outside Georgia to register to vote in the state. Ms Tanden is also unpopular with some on the left wing of the Democratic party. Last year Bernie Sanders accused her of "maligning my staff and supporters and belittling progressive ideas".
When Turkey changed the way it reports daily COVID-19 infections, it confirmed what medical groups and opposition parties have long suspected — that the country is faced with an alarming surge of cases that is fast exhausting the Turkish health system. In an about-face, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government this week resumed reporting all positive coronavirus tests — not just the number of patients being treated for symptoms — pushing the number of daily cases to above 30,000. No country can report exact numbers on the spread of the disease since many asymptomatic cases go undetected, but the previous way of counting made Turkey look relatively well-off in international comparisons, with daily new cases far below those reported in European countries including Italy, Britain and France.
The recent Armenia-Azerbaijan war, a result of failed diplomacy, has thrown up a new victor and paved the way for Turkey to extend its influence.