In this pandemic, we have established an honor system of sorts. You get tested. You quarantine. You wear masks. But what happens when people don't do the right thing? Could they face criminal charges? Could they be sued for damages in civil court?
In this pandemic, we have established an honor system of sorts. You get tested. You quarantine. You wear masks. But what happens when people don't do the right thing? Could they face criminal charges? Could they be sued for damages in civil court?
As Republicans in Georgia pleaded Tuesday with President Trump to stop making baseless claims about the election being stolen from him, GOP leaders in Washington remained silent about the avalanche of lies, conspiracy theories and open threats of violence made by the president’s allies.
Seattles is preparing to slash the city's police budget just as homicides in the city climb to their highest level in more than a decade.Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan is set to sign a city budget that includes an 18 percent cut to the Seattle Police Department, a move that comes after police reform activists demanded the police budget be reduced by half. Calls for police reform have abounded in cities across the country since May, when George Floyd died at the hands of police in Minneapolis.The city council voted last week to slash about $69 million in funding for officer training, salaries and overtime, and get rid of vacant positions in the police department as well as transfer parking officers, mental health workers, and 911 dispatchers out of the department. The goal is to ultimately reinvest in alternatives to police in situations such as mental health crises.Meanwhile, Seattle had seen 55 murders this year as of Monday, the highest level since at least 2008, the last year of data available. The troubled city is also suffering a spike in violent crime, with 8,418 burglary incidents, up from to 7,634 last year, according to police.The mayor, a Democrat, said last week that she believes the city is "laying the groundwork to make systemic and lasting changes to policing.""We have rightly put forward a plan that seeks to ensure SPD has enough officers to meet 911 response and investigative needs throughout the city, while acknowledging and addressing the disproportionate impacts policing has had on communities of color, particularly Black communities," Durkan said in a statement.Police Chief Carmen Best resigned over the summer amid disagreements with the city council over the cuts to the police budget.In June, rioters claimed and barricaded off several blocks in the city’s downtown Capitol Hill neighborhood, calling it the “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest” zone, or CHOP, after police abandoned their East Precinct to vandals and arsonists. Police agreed not to respond to calls from within the “autonomous zone” unless they were life-threatening.Later that month, however, Durkan, who previously predicted the autonomous zone would usher in a “summer of love” and said her decision to withdraw police from the area reflected her “trust” in protesters, announced the city would begin dismantling the zone, citing incidents of violence. A shooting inside the zone left a 19-year-old dead and another critically injured. Police said they were met by a violent crowd that blocked their access to the victims.
Egypt has embarked on a “horrifying execution spree”, carrying out at least 57 death sentences in the past two months, Amnesty International said on Wednesday. The estimate is nearly double the number of prisoners executed in all of 2019, though the actual number of executions is likely even higher, the UK-based rights group said. “The Egyptian authorities have embarked on a horrifying execution spree in recent months, putting scores of people to death, in some cases following grossly unfair mass trials,” said Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa director Philip Luther. “These executions are particularly appalling given the well-documented and systematic breaches of fair trial rights in Egypt, with courts often relying on torture-tainted confessions." Local advocacy group the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights criticised the increased use of capital punishment in November, shortly before three of its staff were detained and interrogated about their work. “Handing down and implementing wholesale death sentences, at this progressive pace, does not achieve justice and is not a deterrent to crime,” EIPR said. “On more than one occasion, the Egyptian Initiative called on the Egyptian government to retreat from this excessive use of capital punishment." The arrest of the EIPR staff could be linked to the organisation’s opposition to capital punishment, Amnesty believes. “Not only are the Egyptian authorities trampling on the right to life in shocking disregard for their obligations under international law, but they are also punishing the brave human rights defenders at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights documenting and speaking out about these violations,” Mr Luther said. The executed prisoners were found guilty of various offences including murder, rape and participation in political violence, Amnesty said. The organisation collected its figures through interviews with lawyers and relatives of prisoners, and reviewing media reports, legal documents and NGO publications. The actual number of executions was likely even higher, “as Egyptian authorities do not publish statistics on executions or the number of prisoners on death row; nor do they inform families or lawyers in advance of executions,” Amnesty said. It has been unable to verify a further 31 executions that were reported by pro-government Egyptian media in October and November. The increase in capital punishment followed an alleged prison break attempt at Cairo's Tora prison in Cairo on September 23 in which four prisoners on death row and four members of security forces were killed, Amnesty said. Egyptian authorities have maintained a sustained crackdown on dissent since the overthrow of Egypt’s first democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi in a popularly backed military coup in 2013. Since 2014, when former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi took power, courts have condemned over 3,000 people to death, according to the Arab Network for Human Rights Information, though most sentences are reduced on appeal. Fewer than 800 death sentences were issued in the six years prior, according to Amnesty.
Dr. Scott Atlas, the controversial White House coronavirus adviser, left federal employ much the same way he entered it: with an appearance on Fox News.
In 2018, Crystal Mason was sentenced to five-years for voting in the 2016 election. The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas is now working with her to appeal the verdict. Mason had no idea she was not allowed to vote in 2016 when she cast her provisional ballot due to the fact that she was on federally supervised release.
Republicans attempting to undo President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in Pennsylvania asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday to take up their lawsuit, three days after it was thrown out by the highest court in the battleground state. In the request to the U.S. Supreme Court, Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly of northwestern Pennsylvania and the other plaintiffs are asking the court to prevent the state from certifying any contests from the Nov. 3 election, and undo any certifications already made, such as Biden’s victory. Biden beat President Donald Trump by more than 80,000 votes in Pennsylvania, a state Trump had won in 2016.
The European Union's Brexit negotiator told the 27 national envoys to Brussels on Wednesday that differences in UK trade talks persisted, according to a senior EU diplomat who was present at the closed-door briefing. "Differences still persist on the three main issues," the diplomat said, when asked for the overall thrust of Barnier's update to EU member states on the latest in Brexit trade talks.
Russian investigators claim to have caught the notorious “Volga maniac” who is suspected of murdering 26 elderly women nearly a decade ago. The Russian Investigative Committee on Tuesday identified one of Russia’s most prolific serial killers as Radik Tagirov, a 38-year-old plumber who is believed to have robbed and killed 26 women in 2011 and 2012 across central Russia, the Volga region and even the Ural mountains. The plumber targeted women, aged between 75 and 90, who lived alone in dilapidated housing, according to local media. He would meet some of them in the street and offer to help them with their heavy bags. In other cases, he showed up at his victims’ doorstep, impersonating a social worker or a plumber. He would strangle the victims with anything at hand such as a bathrobe belt and take valuables. The investigators, however, said that the pattern of his behaviour showed that he was not killing the women for the sake of material gain. Mr Tagirov, who was convicted of theft in 2009, reportedly killed his first victim in his hometown of Kazan but later expanded his reach to other cities on the Volga River hundreds of kilometres away, which earned him the nickname “the Volga maniac.” Police nearly caught the man in September 2011 when a victim’s son walked in on the scene of the crime but the killer escaped through a window. One of Mr Tagirov’s victims managed to survive but she was unable to describe the killer as she was blind. The murders had stopped by 2013, which led police to believe that the perpetrator had died or was arrested on an unrelated charge. Police offered £29,000 for any information leading to his arrest and spent years trying to link the killings by taking DNA samples from the crime scenes as well as shoe prints and other evidence. It took 10,000 genetic tests and countless cross-references to the police database to pin the crimes on Mr Tagirov, the investigators said on Tuesday. Mr Tagirov has already confessed and is awaiting a court hearing to rule on his possible arrest.
Chinese special operators are getting more resources and going through more training, but there are something you can't teach.
President-elect Joe Biden has made it clear he believes he can reach the other side of the aisle during his presidency. His first priority, he told The New York Times' Thomas Friedman, will be to push a major pandemic relief package through Congress, even before he gets into office. But that may be difficult while Republicans hold the Senate, which will be the case unless both Democratic candidates win their respective George Senate runoffs.Biden, though, is optimistic, for two reasons. On the one hand, he thinks he has a solid enough working relationship with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to get deals done, citing his days in the Senate and as vice president as precedent. "Let me put it this way," he told Friedman. "There are a number of things that when McConnell controlled the Senate that people said couldn't get done, and I was able to get them done with [him]. I was able to get them to, you know, raise taxes on the wealthy. I think there are trade-offs, that not all compromise is walking away from principle. He knows me. I know him. I don't ask him to embarrass himself to make a deal."But the president-elect also doesn't think holding the majority means McConnell will have all the leverage. If the GOP stymies a relief bill just to prevent his administration from notching a win, Biden said, that could lead to trouble for the party at the voting booth in the 2022 midterms. Biden argued that layoffs, shuttered business, vaccine distribution issues, and bankrupt states will make it challenging for Republican lawmakers to block legislation for too long. Read more at The New York Times.More stories from theweek.com Our parents warned us the internet would break our brains. It broke theirs instead. The election was almost entirely peaceful. What happened? Americans are choosing death over deprivation
A final tally of absentee ballots has confirmed that Republican Nicole Malliotakis has defeated U.S. Rep. Max Rose, denying the Democrat a second term representing one of the few conservative-leaning parts of New York City. Malliotakis, a New York State Assembly member, opened a big lead over Rose on Election Day in a district that includes all of Staten Island and part of Brooklyn.
An Alabama soldier was charged with reckless murder after allegedly forcing his girlfriend's unruly 5-year-old son to get out of a car at night along a road where the boy was hit and killed by another vehicle, authorities said.
The New Georgia Project, a voter registration group formerly led by Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Raphael Warnock, is under investigation for allegedly sending ballot applications to non-residents, the Georgia secretary of state said Monday.Warnock was CEO of the group, which was originally founded by failed gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, until February. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced the group, and three others, are under investigation for improper registration activities.While Raffensperger, a Republican who has been vocal in debunking President Trump’s claims of election fraud, said that he has not seen signs of widespread, systemic fraud, there is evidence of "third-party groups working to register people in other states to vote here in Georgia."Raffensperger said the New Georgia Project "sent voter registration applications to New York City," in a potential violation of state law."Voting in Georgia when you are not a resident of Georgia is a felony," Raffensperger said. "These third-party groups have a responsibility to not encourage illegal voting. If they do so, they will be held responsible."Warnock served as CEO of the group, which describes itself as a “nonpartisan effort to register and civically engage Georgians” from 2017 until February 21, 2020, according to the Washington Free Beacon. He has said he organized voter mobilization drives for the New Georgia Project, including an effort to register 80,000 new minority voters in 2014.The group says it has registered "nearly 400,000 people from underrepresented communities to vote in Georgia.”Warnock, who is competing against incumbent senator Kelly Loeffler (R., Ga.) in a runoff race that could decide party control of the Senate, had called past voter fraud probes against the group “alarmist.”In 2014, the secretary of state's office conducted an investigation into the New Georgia Project after contractors working for the group were accused of forging voter registration applications. The case was referred to law enforcement three years later, though no charges were ever brought.Warnock claimed in 2017 that "using the word voter fraud is alarmist, and it was totally unnecessary." He argued that the New Georgia Project had "excellent internal controls and that we have followed the law," as evidenced by the lack of charges brought against the group.Three other voter registration groups are also under investigation, Raffensperger said, including America Votes, which allegedly sent "absentee ballot applications to people at addresses where they have not lived since 1994."Vote Forward allegedly registered a dead Alabama voter in Georgia while Operation New Voter Registration Georgia is accused of recommending college students temporarily change their residency for the purpose of voting in the state.
Both model Salma El-Shimy and her photographer were arrested and were accused by one lawyer of "insulting the great Pharaonic history."
Carlos Rojas Rodriguez confronted then-candidate Joe Biden about deportations in 2019. Here's what Rodriguez wants to see from the president-elect.
A speeding van carrying passengers crashed into a bus in foggy weather in eastern Pakistan on Monday, killing 13 people and injuring 17 others, a government official and rescuers said. The accident took place in the town of Narang Mandi in eastern Punjab province, said government official Mohammad Asghar Joya. Deadly road accidents are common in Pakistan due to poor road infrastructure and a disregard of traffic laws.
Lew Wallace, the former territorial governor of New Mexico (and author of Ben Hur), once said, “Every calculation based on experience elsewhere fails in New Mexico.”In so many ways Wallace was prescient about this beautiful, poor, and unique state in the American Southwest. One “calculation” about modern politics that would especially perplex him is the fact that a relatively poor but oil-rich Western state elects politicians that are so directly at odds with its economic best interest.After Texas and North Dakota, New Mexico is the third-largest oil-producing state in the U.S. The oil and gas industries combine to generate roughly 40 percent of its annual budget. Furthermore, New Mexico’s oil and gas resources are heavily concentrated on lands managed by the federal government. The central role of energy, especially energy extracted within the state’s borders and controlled by federal policy-makers, might lead one to believe that New Mexicans would vote for pro-energy Republicans in federal elections.Instead, New Mexico has become a safely blue state. It narrowly went for George W. Bush in 2004 but since then has gone for Democrats by wide margins. The situation is even more stark at the state level, where Democrats have had “trifectas” (total control of both houses and the governor’s mansion) for 60 of the past 90 years. The GOP hasn’t had such governing authority in the state for a single year since 1931 and, despite significant turnover, has not elected a Republican to the U.S. Senate since Pete Domenici retired in 2009.In 2020 Biden won the state 54.3 percent to 43.5 percent despite the fact that President Trump’s pro-energy policies have been a boon to the New Mexico economy and that the Biden administration’s energy policies are a dagger aimed at the heart of New Mexico’s economy.That “dagger” comes in the form of the numerous -- sometimes clear, often conflicting -- statements that candidate Biden made during the campaign. It is unclear what Biden will do about hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” which enables oil and gas producers to access previously inaccessible oil and gas sources. He backed away from an outright nationwide ban late in the campaign. However, Biden has clearly stated that he would ban new gas and oil permits -- including fracking -- on federal lands.Targeting federal lands would devastate New Mexico’s oil and gas industry and its economy, because of the state’s large federal estate. According to the Institute for Energy Research, 34.7 percent of the land in New Mexico is federal. In fiscal year 2019, New Mexico received energy-related disbursement (from the federal Bureau of Land Management) of $1.17 billion, the highest payment made in any state (Wyoming was next, with $641 million, and then Colorado, with $108 million). This was the highest payment from the bureau in the state’s history and compares with $455 million in FY 2017. A vast majority of this increased revenue is a result of fracking.Furthermore, data from the Global Energy Institute indicate that if energy production on federal lands were banned, New Mexico would lose 24,300 jobs (10,000 direct, 14,300 indirect and induced), a significant hit for a state with a workforce of around 900,000. Making matters worse, a good number of the “direct” jobs lost are good-paying -- something that is not easy to find in New Mexico, a state that consistently ranks among the poorest in the nation and has been hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Closing New Mexico’s federal lands to energy production entirely would cost the state $496 million in annual royalty collections, representing 8 percent of the state’s total General Fund Revenues.Biden’s proposed fracking ban is even too much for New Mexico’s Democratic governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, who has said that she’ll ask for an exemption from any future drilling ban. Acknowledging the tax-revenue contributions to education funding, Grisham explained to the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association conference in Santa Fe last October that “without the energy effort in this state, no one gets to make education the top priority.”To be sure, Lujan Grisham is broadly supportive of Biden’s energy policies. (She’s even on the president-elect’s short list for administration positions.) Both of them have stated that they would like to “transition out of fossil fuels” despite New Mexico’s financial dependence on the industry.But Biden’s aggressive anti-fossil-fuels stance as it relates to federal land not only puts him at odds with Lujan Grisham, it puts him far to the left of President Obama on the issue. In a 2012 presidential debate, Obama stated, “We’ve opened up public lands. We’re actually drilling more on public lands than the previous administration. . . . And natural gas isn’t just appearing magically; we’re encouraging it and working with the industry.”President Obama was of course considered an environmentalist by political opponents and supporters alike. His support for natural-gas right isn’t difficult to reconcile with his environmental track record. That’s because (when used in a new power plants), natural gas emits 50 to 60 percent less CO2 than a typical new coal plant.Obama understood the vast benefits of natural gas, including the fact that it was appropriate to drill for it on federal lands. During his tenure, natural-gas production rose some 35 percent, from approximately 21 million cubic feet to more than 28.4 million cubic feet.If he truly cares about the environment, Biden would be wise to follow his predecessor’s playbook. According to the EPA, U.S. net greenhouse-gas emissions went down by 10 percent from 2005 to 2018, and much of the contribution to that decline in recent years was “due to an increasing shift to use of less carbon dioxide-intensive natural gas for generating electricity and a rapid increase in the use of renewable energy in the electric power sector.” But if natural-gas prices rise -- and a ban on federal leasing is likely to contribute to higher prices -- these positive developments could go into reverse. The Energy Information Administration recently projected that higher natural-gas prices would cause coal’s share of power generation to increase from 18 percent to 22 percent in 2021.Obama also signed into law legislation that ended the U.S. government’s restrictions on crude-oil exports back in 2015.During the campaign, Biden faced tremendous pressure from the left wing of his political base to come out for policies such the Green New Deal and bans on fracking and other fossil-fuel-based energy production. Biden has never been associated with such hard-Left stances against economic policy and growth in the past. Remember, even Obama is to the right of where Biden campaigned.Let's hope that President Biden has a more realistic approach to energy than did candidate Biden. New Mexico’s economic future is certainly at stake, but so is the recovery of our nation’s virus-hobbled economy.Rather than instituting a blanket ban on production of oil and gas on federal lands, a better approach would be to recognize the benefits and work to make sure that any production is handled responsibly and safely. The growing American energy sector and American energy independence have delivered wins for the environment, for consumers, and for the U.S. and state economies such as New Mexico’s. Let’s keep it that way.
The woman, 39, was wounded Saturday as loved ones were gathered at the grave of her son, Sincere Pierce, to say goodbye.
Attorney General William Barr revealed Tuesday that he had secretly given U.S. Attorney John Durham special counsel status in October, explaining that the designation assured Durham and his team "that they could complete their work, without regard to the outcome of the election." The decision was news to President Trump, The New York Times reports. But Trump wasn't satisfied, Axios adds.Trump and his allies are "piling extreme pressure" on Barr to release Durham's findings on the FBI's investigation of Trump and Russia, and they view Durham's special counsel designation "as a smokescreen to forestall the release of the so-called Durham report, which senior administration officials believe is already complete," Axios says. "Trump has been ranting about the delay behind the scenes and mused privately about replacing Barr with somebody who will expedite the process."Democrats view Durham's criminal investigation as motivated entirely by politics and revenge, and Barr's move was widely seen as a way to ensure it will continue after President-elect Joe Biden takes office Jan. 20. Trump abruptly pushed out all U.S. attorneys appointed by his predecessor soon after he took office, but special counsels can only be removed by an attorney general under a narrow set of documented criteria. Barr used a work-around with Durham, though, and that would apparently make it much easier for Biden to end the investigation.> This is a very good point from @steve_vladeck. The appointment itself does not comply with the regs. If Barr can appoint someone pursuant to his general statutory appointment authority and apply the regs, it is very likely that the next attorney general can rescind the order. https://t.co/UTOWOt7MZH> > — Benjamin Wittes (@benjaminwittes) December 1, 2020A Justice Department official told The Washington Examiner that "attorneys general have often appointed prosecutors to act as special investigators, either under the special counsel regulations or outside them," so Durham's appointment wasn't so unusual. But because Durham, the current U.S. attorney for Connecticut, "was not appointed pursuant to the special counsel regulation, it is possible the next attorney general could rescind Mr. Barr's directive that special counsel rules would apply to him, then end his inquiry without any finding of misconduct," the Times reports."I suppose the calculation is that there is a political cost" for doing so, Duke University law professor Samuel Buell told the Times. But Barr's move is an "odd" use of the special counsel provision.More stories from theweek.com Our parents warned us the internet would break our brains. It broke theirs instead. The election was almost entirely peaceful. What happened? Americans are choosing death over deprivation
China on Wednesday rejected U.S. accusations it is weakening its enforcement of U.N. sanctions against North Korea, but said more efforts are needed toward reaching a political settlement and greater attention should be paid to the impact of the sanctions on ordinary North Koreans. Foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying was responding to comments by the State Department’s deputy envoy for North Korean affairs, Alex Wong, in which he said China was no longer even attempting to enforce many of the sanctions, including a requirement to expel North Korean contract workers.