Coronavirus In Maryland: November 10, 2020, P.M. Edition
Coronavirus In Maryland: November 10, 2020, P.M. Edition
Ousted cybersecurity official speaks out for first time since firing, saying president’s fraud claims are without basis
The president-elect will probably have to wear a medical boot for several weeks, his doctor says.
A weekend attack on farm workers in northeast Nigeria blamed on jihadists left at least 110 dead, the UN humanitarian coordinator in the country said on Sunday, the deadliest attack on civilians this year. The attack, in a state gripped by a jihadist insurgency for more than 10 years, took place the same day as long-delayed local elections in the state. "I am outraged and horrified by the gruesome attack against civilians carried out by non-state armed groups in villages near Borno State capital Maiduguri," Edward Kallon said in a statement. "At least 110 civilians were ruthlessly killed and many others were wounded in this attack," he added. Some locals blamed the attack on Boko Haram fighters, but Bulama Bukarti, an analyst with the Tony Blair Institute, said rival group the IS-affiliated Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) were more active in the area. "ISWAP is the likely culprit," he tweeted. Kallon, in his statement, said: "The incident is the most violent direct attack against innocent civilians this year. "I call for the perpetrators of this heinous and senseless act to be brought to justice," he added. The violence centred on the village of Koshobe near the Borno state capital Maiduguri, with assailants targeting farm workers harvesting rice fields. One pro-government anti-jihadist militia said the assailants tied up the labourers and slit their throats. Kallon said the assailants - "armed men on motorcycles" - also targeted other communities in the area. "Rural communities in Borno State are facing untold hardships," he added, calling for more to be done to protect them and to head off what he said was a looming food crisis there. Borno Governor Babaganan Umara Zulum attended the burial Sunday in the nearby village of Zabarmari of 43 bodies recovered on Saturday, saying the toll could rise after search operations resumed. The victims included dozens of labourers from Sokoto state in northwestern Nigeria, roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) away, who had travelled to the northeast to find work, it said. Six were wounded in the attack and eight remained missing as of Saturday. Kallon, citing "reports that several women may have been kidnapped", called for their immediate release. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari condemned the attack on Saturday, saying: "The entire country has been wounded by these senseless killings." Neither the president's statement nor Sunday's from the UN mentioned either Boko Haram or rival group ISWAP by name. But both groups have been active in Borno State, their attacks having forced the postponement of locations in Borno State, which finally took place Saturday.
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.
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.
Fred Eshelman filed a lawsuit against True the Vote, claiming it failed to find evidence of voter fraud in the presidential election as promised.
Leslie Van Houten has spent nearly five decades in prison since she was arrested for 1969 killing spree.
Five leaders of Thailand’s pro-democracy movement reported to police Monday to acknowledge charges that they defamed the king, the most serious of many offenses of which they stand accused. The five are part of the student-led movement that for several months has been campaigning for Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and his government to step down, the constitution to be amended to make it more democratic and the monarchy be reformed to make it more accountable. The protest movement has nevertheless emphasized reform of the monarchy as a key demand, and made it the theme of several of its protest rallies, which have attracted thousands of people.
Europe must stand up for its values in its dealings with China, but given the country's sheer population and economic importance, there will always be a trade-off between the EU's values and its interests, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said. "We must define our own European interests, and this also includes common ground (with China) on foreign policy, on economic policy and digital policy and many more," she said.
President Trump said the other day that he’d leave office if he loses the vote of the Electoral College on December 14.This is not the kind of assurance presidents of the United States typically need to make, but it was noteworthy given Trump’s disgraceful conduct since losing his bid for reelection to Joe Biden on November 3.Behind in almost all the major polls, Trump stormed within a hair’s breadth in the key battlegrounds of winning reelection, and his unexpectedly robust performance helped put Republicans in a strong position for the post-Trump-presidency era. This is not nothing. But the president can’t stand to admit that he lost and so has insisted since the wee hours of Election Night that he really won -- and won “by a lot.”There are legitimate issues to consider after the 2020 vote about the security of mail-in ballots and the process of counting votes (some jurisdictions, bizarrely, take weeks to complete their initial count), but make no mistake: The chief driver of the post-election contention of the past several weeks is the petulant refusal of one man to accept the verdict of the American people. The Trump team (and much of the GOP) is working backwards, desperately trying to find something, anything to support the president’s aggrieved feelings, rather than objectively considering the evidence and reacting as warranted.Almost nothing that the Trump team has alleged has withstood the slightest scrutiny. In particular, it’s hard to find much that is remotely true in the president’s Twitter feed these days. It is full of already-debunked claims and crackpot conspiracy theories about Dominion voting systems. Over the weekend, he repeated the charge that 1.8 million mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania were mailed out, yet 2.6 million were ultimately tallied. In a rather elementary error, this compares the number of mail-ballots requested in the primary to the number of ballots counted in the general. A straight apples-to-apples comparison finds that 1.8 million mail-in ballots were requested in the primary and 1.5 million returned, while 3.1 million ballots were requested in the general and 2.6 million returned.Flawed and dishonest assertions like this pollute the public discourse and mislead good people who make the mistake of believing things said by the president of the United States.Elected Republicans have generally taken the attitude that the president should be able to have his day in court. It’s his legal right to file suits, of course, but he shouldn’t pursue meritless litigation in Hail Mary attempts to get millions of votes tossed out. This is exactly what he’s been doing, it’s why reputable GOP lawyers have increasingly steered clear, and it’s why Trump has suffered defeat after defeat in court.In its signature federal suit in Pennsylvania, the Trump team argued that it violated the equal-protection clause of the U.S. Constitution for some Pennsylvania counties to let absentee voters fix or “cure” their ballots if they contained an error while other counties didn’t. It maintained that it was another constitutional violation for Trump election observers not to be allowed in close proximity to the counting of ballots. On this basis, the Trump team sought to disqualify 1.5 million ballots and bar the certification of the Pennsylvania results or have the Pennsylvania General Assembly appoint presidential electors.By the time the suit reached the Third Circuit, it had been whittled down to a relatively minor procedural issue (whether the Trump complaint could be amended a second time in the district court). The Trump team lost on that question, and the unanimous panel of the Third Circuit (in an opinion written by a Trump appointee) made it clear that the other claims lacked merit as well. It noted that the suit contained no evidence that Trump and Biden ballots or observers were treated differently, let alone evidence of fraud. Within reason, it is permissible for counties to have different procedures for handling ballots, and nothing forced some counties to permit voters to cure flawed absentee ballots and others to decline to do so.Not that it mattered. The court pointed out that the suit challenged the procedures to fix absentee ballots in seven Democratic counties, which don’t even come close to having enough cured ballots to change the outcome in the state; the counties might have allowed, at most, 10,000 voters to fix their ballots, and even if every single one of them voted for Biden, that’s still far short of Biden’s 80,000-plus margin in the state.The idea, as the Trump team stalwartly maintains, that the Supreme Court is going to take up this case and issue a game-changing ruling is fantastical. Conservative judges have consistently rejected Trump's flailing legal appeals, and the justices are unlikely to have a different reaction.Trump’s most reprehensible tactic has been to attempt, somewhat shamefacedly, to get local Republican officials to block the certification of votes and state legislatures to appoint Trump electors in clear violation of the public will. This has gone nowhere, thanks to the honesty and sense of duty of most of the Republicans involved, but it’s a profoundly undemocratic move that we hope no losing presidential candidate ever even thinks of again.Getting defeated in a national election is a blow to the ego of even the most thick-skinned politicians and inevitably engenders personal feelings of bitterness and anger. What America has long expected is that losing candidates swallow those feelings and at least pretend to be gracious. If Trump’s not capable of it, he should at least stop waging war on the outcome.
Indonesia has nearly 130 active volcanoes, more than any other country, and while many show high levels of activity it can be weeks or even months before an eruption. Raditya Jati, a spokesman for the agency, said in a statement that the eruption from the Mt. Ile Lewotolok volcano had caused panic among those living nearby. Muhammad Ilham, a 17-year-old who witnessed the eruption, told Reuters that resident nearby were "panicked and they're still looking for refuge and in need of money right now". Indonesia's Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Centre said on its website that the area near the volcano is likely to be inundated with "hot clouds, lava stream, lava avalanche, and poisonous gas".
The women "were well within their right to act in defense of their sister and daughter" and are not expected to face charges, authorities say.
A human rights group in Belarus says over 300 people have been detained during Sunday protests against the country’s authoritarian president, who won his sixth term in office in a vote widely seen as rigged. The protests took place in Minsk, the capital, and other cities and attracted thousands of people. In Minsk, large crowds gathered in different parts of the city despite the snowy weather for what has been dubbed as the Neighbors' March, blocking the roads in some areas.
New Zealand's workplace regulator has filed charges against 13 parties following an investigation into a volcanic eruption on White Island in 2019 which killed 22 people. A surprise eruption on the White Island, also known by its Maori name of Whakaari, on Dec 9 last year, killed 22 people and injured dozens. Majority of them were tourists from countries like Australia, the United States and Malaysia who were part of a cruise ship that was travelling around New Zealand.
He may have been a Founding Father, but John Adams could be every bit as petty as President Trump.Like Trump, Adams was turned out of the presidency after serving a single term; voters in the 1800 election instead selected his archrival, Thomas Jefferson. Adams skipped Jefferson's inauguration, and his Federalist Party allies rammed a series of last-minute judicial appointments through the Senate. Jefferson was understandably unhappy with the situation, and upon taking office ordered Secretary of State James Madison not to deliver the commissions that would allow some of the new "midnight judges" to take office. One of those appointees, William Marbury, brought a lawsuit. He ultimately lost. But the case, Marbuy vs. Madison, is remembered today as a key milestone in American history — the moment when the Supreme Court asserted its power to declare a law unconstitutional.There are two takeaways from this story. Despite the pride Americans have in the country's unbroken streak of peaceful presidential transitions, the handover of power from one chief executive to another has been a fraught affair from the earliest days of constitutional government. And messy transitions can sometimes alter the country's path in fateful ways.Those lessons may be more relevant than ever in 2020. After all, we don't really expect Trump to conduct himself with more decorum than John Adams, do we?Sure enough, Trump administration officials are doing everything they can to make life difficult for their successors when President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated in January. While Trump himself refuses to concede that Biden won the election, his allies are pushing through new environmental regulations to hobble Biden's anti-pollution agenda, moving pandemic stimulus money out of Biden's reach, and racing to strip civil service protections from almost 90 percent of the federal workforce.That last item could be the most serious, as it potentially would give Trump the power to fire thousands of federal workers in the next few weeks — effectively sabotaging the new administration before it takes over.Trump "should not be making these changes, period, and certainly not changes this dramatic on [his] way out," Max Stier, president and chief executive of the Partnership for Public Service, told The Washington Post.These problems were inevitable. As I wrote a few weeks ago, now that networks have declared Biden the winner of the election, Trump has little to lose by behaving badly. The country is at the mercy of an outgoing president who knows how to make trouble.Logistics are partly to blame. The machinery of American government is huge, a multi-trillion dollar operation with millions of employees. Shifting power from one administration to the next is almost always a logistical nightmare. There are two-and-a-half months between Election Day and Inauguration Day, and new administrations typically need every minute of that time to get up-and-running. A same-day transition, as happens in the United Kingdom, may not be possible here. In the meantime, the outgoing president remains in power until January — even if, like Trump, he has been repudiated by voters.This doesn't have to be a problem, even when the White House is shifting from one party to the other. The seamless shift from George W. Bush to Barack Obama, for example, has been referred to as the "gold standard" of presidential transitions. But it does require the outgoing president to respect his successor, and the will of the American people. Clearly, that is not the case with Donald Trump and Joe Biden.It might be time to take a fresh look at how America does its presidential transitions. There is some historical precedent for this: The Great Depression prompted passage of "the Lame Duck Amendment" to the Constitution, moving the new president's inauguration from March to January. The process was refined, with an eye on national security, after the 9/11 attacks. There is room for further improvement. Even if transitions cannot be instantaneous, it is worth examining whether they can be shorter. And in the meantime, Congress might consider the possibility of banning "midnight rulemaking" by outgoing administrations after Election Day.Any changes will come too late to help Biden, which is a shame. Transitions are difficult, even in the best of times and with the best of departing presidents. Right now, neither condition applies in America.More stories from theweek.com The Electoral College is only getting worse Is Mnuchin trying to sabotage the economy? How camp explains Trump
If you live in a snowy region and you own a lawn tractor or zero-turn-radius riding mower, you may have thought about attaching a plow or snow blower to your mower—especially when the snow falls ...
China on Monday said it is sanctioning leaders of U.S. government-affiliated bodies that promote democracy around the world in response to what it calls practices that “blatantly meddle in Hong Kong affairs.” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said the measures would cover the senior director for Asia at the National Endowment Democracy, John Knaus, the regional director for the Asia-Pacific at the National Democratic Institute, Manpreet Singh Anand, and two of the institute’s officials responsible for Hong Kong. Hua gave no details and the institute said in a news release that it had no further information but that it “remains steadfastly committed to these core principles and to continuing our work in support of democracy worldwide.”
As Nov. 3 approached, President Trump and most of his team had become convinced he would defy expectations and win re-election, but then Fox News called Arizona for Joe Biden and Trump "was yelling at everyone," a senior administration official tells The Washington Post, which pieced together the 20 days between the election and the Trump administration's reluctant approval of Biden's transition by speaking with 32 senior administration officials, campaign aides, and legal and other advisers to Trump.Even when it became clear Biden won, Trump still "refused to see it that way," the Post reported Sunday, adding:> Sequestered in the White House and brooding out of public view after his election defeat, rageful and at times delirious in a torrent of private conversations, Trump was, in the telling of one close adviser, like "Mad King George, muttering, 'I won. I won. I won.'"> > However cleareyed Trump's aides may have been about his loss to President-elect Joe Biden, many of them nonetheless indulged their boss and encouraged him to keep fighting with legal appeals. They were "happy to scratch his itch," this adviser said. "If he thinks he won, it's like, 'Shh . . . we won't tell him.'" The result was an election aftermath without precedent in U.S. history. [The Washington Post]The Post's detailed account of "one of the final chapters in Trump's presidency" found that it mirrored much of Trump's tenure, including "a government paralyzed by the president's fragile emotional state; advisers nourishing his fables; expletive-laden feuds between factions of aides and advisers; and a pernicious blurring of truth and fantasy." The account covers Trump's election night war room, Rudy Giuliani's "hostile takeover" of Trump's legal effort — and the resulting humiliations and court losses — and the president's failed efforts to convince GOP lawmakers to help him steal the election. It ends with Trump telling Pennsylvania Republicans via a scratchy cellphone connection last Wednesday that "if you were a Republican poll watcher, you were treated like a dog" — and the Post's aside that while "like a dog" is one of Trump's favorite put-downs, "many people treat dogs well, like members of their own families." Read the entire account at The Washington Post.More stories from theweek.com The Electoral College is only getting worse The case for shortening the presidential transition Is Mnuchin trying to sabotage the economy?
The gun was mounted on a Nissan truck that self-destructed after the hit on Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was complete, the semiofficial Fars news agency said.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is assisting an inquiry into an alleged adverse reaction during AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine trial, but has found no reason to recommend halting it, a senior official at the regulator said on Sunday. A 40-year-old man said in a complaint seen by Reuters that he had suffered serious "neurological and psychological" symptoms after receiving the vaccine in a trial being run by the British drugmaker's partner Serum Institute of India (SII). "There was no immediate cause of concern at this stage," Samiran Panda, head of Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases at the ICMR, the research body involved in trials, told Reuters.