Busy bulldozers on the outskirts of Beijing are in a race against time. They've got to build 11 pig farms by the end of the year. China is trying to add 200 million pigs to its nationwide herd over two years. That's after African swine fever swept across the country and left half its pigs dead in 2018. China is the world's biggest consumer of pork - and the disease sent prices soaring. You can see the Beijing skyline from this future lot. But building so close to a big city is something China stood against. That was before the fever. They campaigned for pigs to be housed in the countryside to prevent farm run-off from seeking into urban areas. Then, the hogs would be trucked into the city for slaughter. But the swine fever led to a ban on moving pigs to stop the disease from spreading. Prices surged to record highs. Now China wants the urban farms back. But the new campaign may still come at a high cost, both financially and environmentally. To prevent farm waste from polluting urban areas, pig farmers must spend extra on water and waste treatment facilities, deodorisers, and more.
- Yahoo News
Obama rallies for Ga. Democratic Senate candidates, says January election will 'determine ... the course of the Biden presidency'
Former President Barack Obama headlined a “Get Out the Vote” virtual rally Friday afternoon put on by Georgia Democrats to support the Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, the two Democrats in the U.S. Senate runoff races in Georgia.
- Yahoo News
Rep. Ilhan Omar proposed the legislation in April but concerns about an impending wave of evictions has continued to grow.
- Yahoo News 360
Media reports suggest President Trump is eyeing another bid for the White House in four years. Will Trump 2024 become a reality?
- Associated Press
The leader of a pro-gun group that stages armed protests against police violence has been charged with pointing a rifle at federal officers while in Kentucky for a demonstration. John F. Johnson, who calls himself “Grandmaster Jay,” is facing a federal charge of assaulting task force officers. A complaint filed in federal court in Louisville said Johnson pointed a rifle, which had a flashlight mounted to it, at officers who were on a roof in downtown Louisville on Sept. 4.
- USA TODAY
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has been a top official dealing with the pandemic.
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.
- Yahoo News
U.S. Rep. Denver Riggleman, R-Va., told the Yahoo News "Skullduggery" podcast that President Trump's supporters claiming voter fraud share a lot in common with the people searching for Bigfoot.
- Yahoo News Video
A federal judge in Michigan declined to reprimand President Trump's campaign for submitting a court document that opposing lawyers said was purposefully misleading.
- 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.
He is the first to be arrested under a controversial anti-conversion law passed last month.
- 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 What Trump is doing isn't politics. It's something much worse. The Donald goes down to Georgia 5 absurdly funny cartoons about Trump's desperate fraud claims
Turkey's lira briefly slipped on Friday after U.S. lawmakers included mandatory Turkish sanctions in a defence spending bill that moves Washington a step closer to punishing its NATO ally for buying Russian S-400 missile defences last year. The final version of the $740 billion annual U.S. defence spending legislation would oblige the White House to select from a list of sanctions over the S-400s, which Washington says are incompatible with NATO operations. U.S. President Donald Trump, who is set to step down next month, has said he will veto the bill over separate provisions.
- Associated Press
A council of Kentucky prosecutors said Friday it does not have the legal authority to appoint another special prosecutor in the police shooting of Breonna Taylor, despite a plea from Taylor's mother. Tamika Palmer had petitioned the Kentucky Prosecutors Advisory Council in October for a new special prosecutor to investigate police actions in her daughter’s death. In September, a grand jury declined to indict any Louisville police officers on charges connected to Taylor's shooting death during a warrant search.
- The Independent
Educator says she wants to keep on teaching when Joe Biden becomes president
- The Week
There appears to be growing support among Senate Republicans for a bipartisan coronavirus relief bill introduced earlier this week, reports The Washington Post.The $908 billion package — championed by moderate Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Susan Collins (D-Maine), and Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) — is in between what Democratic leadership is pushing for and what Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has suggested. The moderates suggested an unemployment boost and money for state governments, but no stimulus checks.While McConnell on Thursday continued to resist the bipartisan bill, pushing instead for his version, which the White House has endorsed, other Republican senators got on board with the package. Sens. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), John Cornyn (R-Tex.), and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) signaled they were open to the bipartisan bill.Democratic leaders said they believed the $908 billion package should be the basis for negotiations. Several Republicans echoed that, saying it wasn't exactly what they wanted but it made for a good starting point.McConnell didn't comment directly on the bipartisan proposal, but instead urged lawmakers to pull the trigger on his version, which he called "a serious and highly targeted relief proposal including elements which we know the president is ready and willing to sign into law."More stories from theweek.com What Trump is doing isn't politics. It's something much worse. The Donald goes down to Georgia 5 absurdly funny cartoons about Trump's desperate fraud claims
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.
- Associated Press
Israeli police said Friday they arrested a Jewish man after he poured out a “flammable liquid” inside a church near Jerusalem’s Old City, in what they described as a “criminal” incident. The police did not provide further details about the motive, but past attacks on churches in the Holy Land have been blamed on Jewish extremists. Friday’s incident took place at the Church of All Nations, a Catholic church built on the traditional site of the Garden of Gethsemane, where Christians believe Jesus was betrayed by Judas, one of his followers, and arrested by the Romans before being crucified.
- 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.
Philippine police on Friday threatened to cane people who violate social distancing protocols as the Southeast Asian nation fights the spread of the coronavirus during the festive season. The Philippines celebrates one of the world's longest Christmas seasons, starting as early as September, and crowds have started to flock to sprawling malls and shopping centres despite the pandemic. Police general Cesar Binag, commander of the coronavirus task force, told a news conference that police and soldiers would patrol in public areas in the capital Manila, the hotspot of COVID-19 cases, carrying 1 meter rattan sticks to measure distancing.