Don Bell reports.
Don Bell reports.
The allegations, provided without credible evidence of widespread fraud or misconduct, have been rebuffed in courts in other states.
China has provided North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his family with an experimental coronavirus vaccine, a U.S. analyst said on Tuesday, citing two unidentified Japanese intelligence sources. Harry Kazianis, a North Korea expert at the Center for the National Interest think tank in Washington, said the Kims and several senior North Korean officials had been vaccinated.
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.
There were no visible wounds to the body and a cause of death hadn't yet been determined for the 26-year-old, police said.
Trans children should not receive controversial puberty blockers unless they understand the risks, according to a landmark High Court ruling, as judges warn that most teenagers cannot give their consent. The ruling means that children who wish to undergo gender reassignment can now only legally consent to taking puberty blockers if they are able to understand the “long-term risks and consequences of the administration of” the drugs. The case had been brought against Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust, which runs the UK’s only gender identity development service (GIDS) for children, by Keira Bell, a 23-year-old woman who began taking puberty blockers when she was 16 before “detransitioning”. She said the clinic should have challenged her more over her decision to transition to a male as a teenager. The legal challenge was also brought by a woman who can only legally be identified as ‘Mrs A’, the mother of a 15-year-old autistic girl who is currently on the waiting list for treatment. At a hearing in October, their lawyers said children going through puberty are “not capable of properly understanding the nature and effects of hormone blockers”. They argued that there is “a very high likelihood” that children who start taking hormone blockers will later begin taking cross-sex hormones, which they say cause “irreversible changes” and that the NHS Trust offers "fairytale" promises to children because they are unable to give their consent to the sex-change process. However in the judgement handed down on Tuesday, Dame Victoria Sharp, sitting with Lord Justice Lewis and Mrs Justice Lieven, said that children under 16 needed to understand “the immediate and long-term consequences of the treatment” to be able to consent to the use of puberty blockers. The judges said in their ruling: “It is highly unlikely that a child aged 13 or under would be competent to give consent to the administration of puberty blockers. “It is doubtful that a child aged 14 or 15 could understand and weigh the long-term risks and consequences of the administration of puberty blockers.” They added: “In respect of young persons aged 16 and over, the legal position is that there is a presumption that they have the ability to consent to medical treatment. “Given the long-term consequences of the clinical interventions at issue in this case, and given that the treatment is as yet innovative and experimental, we recognise that clinicians may well regard these as cases where the authorisation of the court should be sought prior to commencing the clinical treatment.” During the High Court hearing in October, the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust - as well as University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust, to which Tavistock refers children and young people experiencing gender dysphoria - argued that taking puberty blockers and later cross-sex hormones were entirely separate stages of treatment. But, in its ruling, the High Court said: "It is said therefore the child needs only to understand the implications of taking puberty blockers alone ... in our view this does not reflect the reality. "The evidence shows that the vast majority of children who take puberty blockers move on to take cross-sex hormones." The court added that both treatments were "two stages of one clinical pathway and once on that pathway it is extremely rare for a child to get off it". Speaking outside the Royal Courts of Justice after the ruling, Keira Bell said she was "delighted" with the High Court's ruling, adding that “common sense has prevailed”. "This judgment is not political,” she said, “it's about protecting vulnerable children." A statement was also read on behalf of her fellow claimant, Mrs A, which said: "I'm relieved to hear the court have understood and agreed with our concerns about... treating children and young people with puberty blockers." Their solicitor Paul Conrathe said the ruling was "an historic judgment that protects children who suffer from gender dysphoria". He added: "Ultimately this case was decided on the facts that were known by the Tavistock. "Ironically - and as matter of serious concern - despite its international reputation for mental health work, this judgment powerfully shows that a culture of unreality has become embedded in the Tavistock. "This may have led to hundreds of children receiving this experimental treatment without their properly informed consent." In response, a spokesperson for the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust said: “The Trust is disappointed by today’s judgment and we understand that the outcome is likely to cause anxiety for patients and their families. “Our first duty is to our patients, particularly those currently receiving hormone blocking treatment and we are working with our partners, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, to provide support for patients concerned about the impact on their care. “The Trust is seeking permission to appeal the judgment, and in the meantime, confirms its ongoing support for the review commissioned by NHS England being led by Dr Hilary Cass. “We will update our statement once we know the outcome of today’s further court proceedings.” Lui Asquith, from the trans children's charity Mermaids, said the ruling was a "devastating blow for trans young people across the country”. “We believe very strongly that every young person has the right to make their own decisions about their body and that should not differ because somebody is trans. "The court today has decided to treat trans young people differently to every other child in the country. "We believe that we're entering a new era of discrimination, frankly. We see day in, day out at Mermaids the positive impact hormone blockers can have on some trans young people - in all honesty, they can save lives. "They allow some young people to be able to go outside, engage in society, go to school, and we're now in a position whereby those young people are not necessarily going to be able to access it. "We're entering a new era of experimentation, that experiment being what happens to trans young people who need hormone blockers who can't get them."
President Trump claimed Sunday that he has had other world leaders call him to "say how messed up" the U.S. presidential election was.The comment came during a phone interview with Fox News' Maria Baritromo, during which Trump -- without much pushback from Bartiromo -- continued to allege President-elect Joe Biden defeated him in the general election with the help of widespread voter fraud, despite there being no evidence of any.It's unclear who Trump was referring to, if he has indeed received such calls. Most world leaders, including those whom Trump enjoys friendly relationships with like Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, have publicly offered their congratulations to Biden.Russian President Vladimir Putin and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro have kept quiet on Biden's win, but there's no proof they've explicitly expressed sympathy for Trump by deriding the U.S. electoral process either. Regardless, the White House hasn't read out any calls with foreign leaders since October. > Trump just claimed that foreign leaders are calling him to say "that's the most messed up election I've ever seen." The White House has read out zero phone calls with foreign leaders since the end of October. Nearly every major US ally has called Joe Biden to congratulate him.> > -- Kevin Liptak (@Kevinliptakcnn) November 29, 2020More stories from theweek.com Americans are choosing death over deprivation Biden's favorability rating jumped 6 points since the election, is already higher than Trump ever hit How camp explains Trump
Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon rainforest has skyrocketed to a 12-year high in 2020. Government data released on Monday (November 30) showed more than 11,000 square kilometers have been wiped away, a patch that's roughly seven times the size of London taken out of the world's largest rainforest and that's up 10 percent from 2019. This year, fires have blazed through the Amazon and environmentalists have blamed the government. The devastation tracks with the time since President Jair Bolsonaro took office. Bolsonaro has weakened Brazil's environmental agency and called for more commercial farming and mining arguing it will lift the region out of poverty. Critics say this has encouraged illegal ranchers, miners and land grabbers to clear the forest. The rate of destruction means Brazil will miss its own target to stop deforestation that it set over a decade ago under a climate change law. It's not clear what consequences there will be for missing that goal, but federal officials say the latest figures are actually progress. Technically, 2019 saw a much higher jump in the rate of destruction from the year before, even though the amount of forest destroyed in 2020 is at decade highs. And on Monday, Vice President Hamilton Mourao said that was a sign efforts to fight deforestation were quote 'beginning to bear fruit.' The destruction of the Amazon has caused international outrage. As the world's largest rainforest, its protection is crucial for stopping climate change because of the vast amounts of carbon dioxide it absorbs.
Turkey's seismic exploration vessel Oruc Reis returned to port on Monday from disputed Mediterranean waters, less than two weeks before a European Union summit where the bloc will evaluate possible sanctions against Ankara. NATO members Turkey and Greece have conflicting claims to continental shelves and rights to potential energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean. Tensions flared in August when Ankara sent Oruc Reis to map out energy drilling prospects in waters also claimed by Greece.
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.”
"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 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.
The Electoral College is a political abomination. As I have written before, rather than protecting the influence of small states, it grants overwhelming power to a handful of states that randomly happen to have a close partisan balance, which are mostly fairly large. Worse, it allows popular vote losers to win — which has happened twice in the last 20 years. Indeed, theoretically a candidate could lose the popular vote four to one and still win the electoral vote.Moreover, since 2012 the divergence between the Electoral College and the popular vote has been steadily growing. As I'll show below, while Joe Biden won a clear victory in the popular vote, he just barely squeaked through in the Electoral College. This idiotic anachronism must be destroyed.Let's take a look at this over the last two decades. One way to examine this question is to look at the most "efficient" way that losing candidates could have won the Electoral College. In other words, if we add up the state totals for previous elections going back to 2000, how might the losers have won by flipping the least number of votes?Using data from U.S. Elections Atlas, and 2020 data from the The New York Times (including a rough extrapolation assuming Biden wins 80 percent of the mail-in votes that haven't been counted yet in New York state), I calculated how the popular vote losers could have won the Electoral College — or lost, in the case of George W. Bush in 2000 and Donald Trump in 2016.In 2000, of course, Bush officially "won" Florida by 537 votes, and therefore the presidency with 271 electoral votes, while Al Gore won the popular vote by about 550,000. (In reality, Gore probably would have won a fair recount in Florida if it hadn't been stopped by a conservative Supreme Court on nakedly partisan grounds, but I'm going to ignore that for the time being since it doesn't matter for this particular argument.) That means a flip of just 269 votes in one state from one candidate to the other would have changed the result. In 2004, Bush won re-election with a margin of about three million votes, and 286 electoral votes. John Kerry famously could have won if he had just flipped Ohio, where the margin was just 118,601 votes. However, it would have been slightly more efficient in vote terms to flip New Mexico, Iowa, Nevada, and Alaska, with a cumulative margin of 117,411. That means a flip of just 58,706 votes would have given Kerry the presidency.In 2008, Barack Obama steamrolled John McCain with a popular vote margin of over 9.5 million, and 365 electoral votes. But it would have taken relatively few vote changes to overturn even that landslide result. Obama won Florida, Colorado, Iowa, Rhode Island, Maine, New Mexico, Nevada, Vermont, Delaware, New Hampshire, Indiana, and North Carolina by a cumulative margin of just 1.436 million votes — therefore flipping just 718,138 would have given McCain an additional 97 electoral votes and victory. Similarly in 2012, Mitt Romney could have won by taking the nine closest states in terms of total votes, requiring only 384,188 flips. Then in 2016, Trump of course squeaked out an Electoral College victory with tiny margins in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania — just 38,868 flips would have given Clinton the win.That finally brings me to 2020. Biden won the popular vote easily, with a margin maybe in the neighborhood of 6.9 million or so (depending on what happens in New York.) But it would have taken just 33,139 flips in Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin to deliver a Trump second term.Bringing this all together: If we plot these minimum vote flips to change the Electoral College result as a percentage of the popular vote margin, we can get a sense of how badly it diverges from the principle of one person, one vote:Courtesy: U.S. Elections AtlasWhat this shows is that the Electoral College is routinely on the edge of handing the popular vote loser the presidency even when it doesn't happen — and it seems to be getting worse. In 2008 and 2012, it would have taken a flip of 7.5 percent and 11 percent of the popular vote margin (still not great), but in 2016, flipping just 1.3 percent of the margin would change the result. The 2020 election, meanwhile, is the worst result since 2000 — though Biden did win, a flip of a mere 0.48 percent of the popular vote margin (or something like 0.02 percent of the total vote) would have let Trump win. Moreover, while the 2008 flipping scenario outlined above relies on implausible large percentage swings in small states like Vermont, Biden's victory depended on razor-thin margins in three swing states.All this speaks for itself. But before Republicans get too smug about cooking up justifications for the Electoral College because it happens to help them at the moment, consider that in 2004, flipping just 1.9 percent of the popular vote margin would have delivered the presidency to the Democrat even though Bush got three million more votes. Because the Electoral College's rules are so goofy and arbitrary, it is very easy to imagine demographic trends handing the Dems a near-automatic victory every time — if Texas went solidly blue, for instance. It would be better and fairer for everyone if the presidency simply went to the candidate that got the most votes.More stories from theweek.com Americans are choosing death over deprivation GOP Sen. Josh Hawley tries to explain how Democrats are both 'Marxists' and 'corporatists' Our parents warned us the internet would break our brains. It broke theirs instead.
The president-elect will probably have to wear a medical boot for several weeks, his doctor says.
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.
'Their tough-guy acts and f***-your-feelings s***-talk have become a furious whine of complaints’
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.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) warned on Monday that if the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations continues to quickly rise, projections show the state's intensive care units could reach capacity by mid-December.Because of the risk of overwhelming parts of the state's health care system, Newsom said, he may soon have to impose a "more dramatic" and "arguably drastic" stay-at-home order for certain areas, so California can get its coronavirus numbers back down. The state, he said, will not "just sit back" and plans to "improve upon our existing efforts."There are 7,733 ICU beds in California, and 75 percent of them are now occupied. Newsom said 1,812 of the ICU beds are filled by coronavirus patients, the Los Angeles Times reports. As of Sunday, there were 7,787 coronavirus patients hospitalized in California, an increase of about 89 percent from two weeks ago. Over the last week, California has averaged 13,937 new cases per day, nearly a 75 percent increase from two weeks ago. More than 19,100 Californians have died from the coronavirus.Los Angeles County has placed new capacity limits at stores and banned most gatherings of people not from the same household, and this had to be done because "we are at the most difficult moment in the pandemic," L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said. "We don't really have any choice but to use all the tools at hand to stop the surge. Until there is a vaccine, each of us needs to protect all of those around us — both those we know and those we don't. The virus is running rampant through almost every part of our county."More stories from theweek.com Americans are choosing death over deprivation GOP Sen. Josh Hawley tries to explain how Democrats are both 'Marxists' and 'corporatists' Our parents warned us the internet would break our brains. It broke theirs instead.
“No,” Jill Biden, then clad in a bikini, wrote in Sharpie across her stomach and then marched through a strategy session in which advisers were trying to talk her husband into challenging Republican President George W. Bush. Protecting Joe stands out among Jill Biden's many roles over their 43-year marriage, as her husband's career moved him from the Senate to the presidential campaign trail and the White House as President Barack Obama's vice president. Now, with her husband on the brink of becoming the 46th president, Jill Biden is about to become first lady and put her own stamp on a position that traditionally is viewed as a model of American womanhood — whether that means hewing to old ways or finding new, activist ones, in the manner of Eleanor Roosevelt, Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama, for example.
President launches attacks on his own party despite two decisive Senate races in Georgia next month
Japanese intelligence officials told a US expert that Kim Jong Un received a trial COVID-19 vaccine from China within the last few weeks.