'Fortnite' maker and game publishing giant Epic Games announced it plans to transform the 980,000 square foot and 87-acre Cary Towne Center into the company's new campus by 2024.
- Yahoo News
The first time a Black woman served as the main voice of the presidency came in 1991, when Judy Smith stepped behind the podium as a deputy press secretary for President George H.W. Bush.
- The Week
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) was one of the more notable names, along with Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who were absent from the list of GOP senators planning to object to the Electoral College certification next week. On Sunday, Graham addressed his colleagues's decision and didn't seem convinced it was the right move.While not as forceful in his criticism as Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), and Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Graham said it appears the call for an investigation into unfounded allegations of widespread voter fraud is "more of a political dodge than an effective remedy" to the situation, especially at such a late stage.The senator said he looks forward to hearing the arguments from his colleagues, including Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and Josh (R-Mo.), among others, adding that he'll "listen closely," but "they have a high bar to clear." For Graham to be convinced it's worth challenging President-elect Joe Biden's victory, Republican lawmakers will need to provide evidence of their charges of voter fraud, as well as proof that state and federal courts should have acted on election fraud claims and that those actions could have changed the outcome of the presidential election in certain states. > They will also need to show that the failure to take corrective action in addressing election fraud changed the outcome of these states' votes and ultimately the outcome of the election.> > -- Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) January 3, 2021More stories from theweek.com It didn't even take an hour into the 117th Congress for drama to unfold on the House floor Fears rise over Indonesia's Jurassic Park Former FDA commissioner suggests 'dual strategy' to expedite COVID-19 vaccinations
- NBC News
More uncertainty was added on Saturday after 11 Republican senators said they'd reject electors from certain states unless a commission is established to investigate the results.
- Reuters Videos
Japan is considering issuing a new emergency declaration to tackle the country’s record surge in COVID-19 cases. The head of Japan’s pandemic response on Saturday said the government needs to consult with health experts before deciding on another declaration. As an interim measure, Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nakamura said restaurants and karaoke parlors in the Tokyo area would be asked to close at 8 PM, businesses serving alcohol - 7 PM. All this in response to a meeting he held earlier Saturday with the governors of Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures. The governors urged a new state of emergency declaration. Tokyo raised its COVID-19 alert level to its highest notch on December 17. On Thursday, new infections in the capital rose to a record 1,337 cases, and the country set a record with more than 4500 new cases. But Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has so far resisted calls to reinstate a national state of emergency.
The U.S. government is considering giving some people half the dose of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine in order to speed vaccinations, a federal official said on Sunday. Moncef Slaoui, head of Operation Warp Speed, the federal vaccine program, said on CBS' "Face the Nation" that officials were in talks with Moderna and the Food and Drug Administration about the idea.
- Associated Press
The Palestinian Health Ministry said Saturday a youth is suffering from paralysis a day after he was shot in the neck by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank. The man, Haron Abu Aram, 24, was left quadriplegic, the ministry said. Witnesses said the incident was triggered when Israeli forces tried to stop Palestinians building a house in a village in southern Hebron and seized an electricity generator belonging to Abu Aram.
- The Telegraph
The coronavirus variant circulating in South Africa could be resistant to the vaccine, a leading expert has suggested but stressed that it could take just six weeks to develop a new jab if one was needed. Sir John Bell, regius professor of Medicine at the University of Oxford, said his "gut feeling" was that the vaccines already on stream would be effective against the new UK strain, which was first identified in Kent. But he added: "I don't know about the South African strain – I think that's a big question mark." South Africa was put into lockdown last week after President Cyril Ramaphosa said the new variant, 501.V2, appeared to be "more contagious" than the virus that circulated in the first wave. Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, said on December 23 that two cases of the South African strain had been identified in the UK. The cases and their contacts were quarantined, and the Government placed strict restrictions on travel from South Africa.
- The Week
U.S. officials are reportedly privately worried Russia stole blueprints for U.S. blackout restoration
In public, American officials have said they do not believe Russia's SVR intelligence agency "pierced" classified systems and stole sensitive communications and plans during an alleged cyberattack on what may have been hundreds of networks in the United States, The New York Times reports. But privately, per the Times, those same officials reportedly say they still aren't sure exactly what was or was not taken.There are concerns that the SVR — which the U.S. intelligence agency and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are confident was behind the breach, despite President Trump suggesting China may have been involved instead of Moscow — was able to get its hands on delicate, albeit unclassified information from victims like the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. For example, it's reportedly possible the hackers accessed Black Start, the detailed technical blueprints for how the U.S. would restore power if there was a major blackout. If that was indeed the case, Russia would theoretically have a list of systems it could target to keep power from turning back on.The Times report sheds more light on the cyberattack, which may not be fully understood for months or even years. Some of the revelations include the fact that the hack appears to have been much broader in scope than originally thought and that the hackers "managed their intrusion from servers inside" the U.S. by "exploiting legal prohibitions on the National Security Agency." Read more at The New York Times.More stories from theweek.com It didn't even take an hour into the 117th Congress for drama to unfold on the House floor Skeptical Lindsey Graham suggests GOP Electoral College challenge is 'a political dodge' Fears rise over Indonesia's Jurassic Park
- The Independent
Trump demanded Georgia’s secretary of state ‘find’ him votes to overturn election result in hour-long harangue
Brad Raffensperger told president that his loss to Joe Biden was ‘fair and accurate’
China has rebuffed the latest offer of talks from Taiwan, saying the government was engaging in a "cheap trick" and provocation by seeking confrontation with China at every turn. Taiwan is ready to have "meaningful" talks with China as equals as long as they are willing to put aside confrontation, President Tsai Ing-wen said on Friday, offering another olive branch to Beijing in her New Year's speech. China views the democratic and self-governed island as its own territory, and cut off a formal talks mechanism in 2016 after Tsai was first elected, viewing her as a separatist bent on a formal declaration of independence.
- The Telegraph
Republicans have condemned a Democrat plan to eliminate gender-specific pronouns such as "he" and "she" from the rules of the US House of Representatives. Nancy Pelosi, the Democrat Speaker of the House, announced the proposal as a "bold and future-focused" move, and said it would make the lower chamber of Congress the "most inclusive in history" for transgender and nonbinary people. The move would do away with any gender-specific references, such as "man", "woman", "husband" or "wife" in the 45-page text of the rules that will govern the House during the 117th Congress, which convenes on Sunday. Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader in the House, wrote on Twitter: "This is stupid. Signed - A father, son, and brother". Kelly Loeffler, the Republican senator standing for re-election in Georgia on Tuesday, added: "The far-left’s priorities, everyone. If you’d like to still be able to call yourself a father, daughter, mother or son, vote for me on Tuesday. Sincerely, A Proud Daughter." Democrats said the aim was to "ensure we are inclusive of all members and their families - including those who are nonbinary." References to "father" and "mother" would be replaced by "parent", while "son' and "daughter" would become "child". Mentions of "brother" and "sister" would become "sibling". Aunts and uncles would be changed to "parent's sibling". Other changes would include altering "submit his or her resignation" to "resigns", "chairman" becoming "chair", and "seaman" being changed to "seafarer". The proposal was put forward by the Democrat-led House rules committee, which is sometimes known as the "traffic cop of the House", and backed by Ms Pelosi.
- Associated Press
A small plane flying from Georgia crashed into a house in southeastern Michigan, killing the pilot and two family members. The victims were David S. Compo, the former president of the Home Builders Association of Southeastern Michigan, his wife Michele and their son Dawson, the association said in a news release. The Federal Aviation Administration said a single-engine Piper PA-24 Comanche crashed in a residential area at 3:47 p.m. Saturday, roughly half a mile from Oakland Southwest Airport, according to preliminary information.
- NBC News
At least 43 staff members tested positive for the virus after a staff member wore an inflatable costume on Christmas to cheer up patients.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. Senator Ted Cruz on Saturday said he will spearhead a drive by nearly a dozen Republican senators to challenge President-elect Joe Biden’s victory when Electoral College results are tallied in Congress on Jan. 6 – a largely symbolic move that has virtually no chance of preventing Biden from taking office. Cruz's effort is in defiance of Senate Republican leaders, who have argued that the Senate's role in certifying the election is largely ceremonial and had been looking to avoid an extended debate on the floor about the outcome.
Republican Senator Mitch McConnell’s home in Louisville, Kentucky was vandalized on Saturday morning. The incident comes after McConnell blocked a vote to increase coronavirus stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000 even after President Donald Trump publicly backed the increase. McConnell argued that a standalone bill for $2,000 stimulus checks for Americans had “no realistic path to quickly pass the Senate.”
- The Telegraph
Chinese billionaire Jack Ma, who hasn’t been seen in public for several weeks after criticising China’s financial regulatory system, has now disappeared as a judge on a TV talent show that he created. Mr Ma was absent from the final of “The Apprentice”-style “Africa’s Business Heroes”, a show that offers budding African entrepreneurs the chance to compete for a share of US$1.5 million (£1.1 million) in prize money. Mr Ma was originally due to be part of the panel that judged contestants’ business ideas. But he was replaced as a judge by an executive from Alibaba, the ecommerce company that he founded, in the November final. His photograph has also been taken down from the judging webpage and he was left out of a promotional video, according to the Financial Times, which also reported that broadcast of the final has been delayed until the spring. The paper cited a spokesperson for Alibaba as saying that Mr Ma could no longer be part of the judging panel “due to a schedule conflict”. One of China’s most successful entrepreneurs, Mr Ma appears to have fallen foul of its leaders after he criticised the country’s regulators and its state-owned banks in late October. In a speech in Shanghai, he called for reform of the regulatory system, which he said was stifling innovation. About a week later, the Shanghai Stock Exchange ordered a US$37 billion initial public offering of Ant Group, a financial technology firm co-founded by Mr Ma, to be suspended. Mr Ma reportedly hasn’t been seen in public since then. In late December, Chinese authorities announced an investigation into Alibaba for suspected monopolistic behaviour, and ordered Ant Group to restructure its operations to meet regulatory guidelines. Chinese authorities are trying to tighten oversight of the country’s financial sector, but are also seen as wanting to rein in the huge influence of private tech giants. Mr Ma is a popular figure in China, and one of the country’s best-known businesspeople abroad. Formerly an English teacher, he founded Alibaba in 1999, which became China’s biggest online ecommerce company. He stepped down as the company’s chairman in 2019, but is still one of its largest shareholders.
- Associated Press
Iran said Saturday it plans to enrich uranium up to 20% at its underground Fordo nuclear facility “as soon as possible,” pushing its program a technical step away from weapons-grade levels as it increases pressure on the West over the tattered atomic deal. The move comes amid heightened tensions between Iran and the U.S. in the waning days of the administration of President Donald Trump, who unilaterally withdrew America from Tehran’s nuclear deal in 2018.
- NBC News
The shooting occurred Sunday morning at Starrville Methodist Church, about 100 miles east of Dallas.
- The Week
Phone recording reveals Trump pleading with Raffensperger to 'find' thousands of Georgia ballots for him
President Trump has been going at it with Georgia's Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger for weeks now over the latter's refusal to give credence to unfounded allegations of widespread voter fraud in the state, and on Saturday, the pair aired it out over the phone. The Washington Post obtained a recording of the conversation in which Trump continues to push conspiracy theories and repeatedly calls on Raffensperger to find some way to overturn President-elect Joe Biden's victory in the state. Raffensperger, for his part, held firm.At one point during the call, Trump, who claims he won Georgia "by hundreds of thousands of votes," told Raffensperger he just wants "to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have." He also suggested to Raffensperger that "there's nothing wrong with saying ... that you've recalculated" and warned that unless "this can be straightened out before" Georgia's upcoming Senate runoffs, a lot of Republicans won't go to the polls "because they hate what you did to the president."But there was no sign Trump's pleas or talk of criminal charges swayed Raffensperger even slightly — he told Trump the data he was arguing was incorrect and primarily based off social media posts, while his office's legal counsel, Ryan Germany, shot down Trump's conspiracies about voting machine tampering and ballot shredding.Legal experts told the Post the phone call puts Trump in "legally questionable territory" since it could be construed as an attempt to get Raffensperger to doctor Georgia's election results, but ultimately they believe the "clearer transgression is a moral one." Read more at The Washington Post.More stories from theweek.com It didn't even take an hour into the 117th Congress for drama to unfold on the House floor Skeptical Lindsey Graham suggests GOP Electoral College challenge is 'a political dodge' Fears rise over Indonesia's Jurassic Park
- The Guardian
Squatters reportedly belonging to one family claim site of 5,000 year-old ruins was given to them in the 1970sIllegal squatters have invaded the ruins of the oldest city in the Americas, and made death threats against Ruth Shady, the celebrated Peruvian archaeologist who discovered the 5,000 year-old civilization.The threats came via telephone calls and messages to various workers at the archeological site at the height of Peru’s Covid-19 pandemic. They followed reports to the police and prosecutors about the invasions of the ancient ruins of Caral.“They called the site’s lawyer and said if he continued to protect me they would kill him, along with me, and bury us five metres below the ground,” said Shady, 73.“Then they killed our dog as a warning. They poisoned her, as if to say, look at what will happen to you,” she said.It is not the first time Shady has been threatened or attacked. In 2003, she was shot in the chest during an assault on the 626-hectare (1,546-acre) archaeological complex which was declared a Unesco world heritage site in 2009.After nine invasions of the sacred city during the pandemic period, Shady and her team repeatedly asked the authorities to intervene.“There is a feeling that there is no authority dedicated to the protection and defence of our heritage. It’s a huge worry,” she said.Caral mapIn July, squatters using a heavy digger knocked down adobe walls and tore up the ground destroying ancient ceramics, tombs containing mummies, textiles and household remains, before police and the site’s staff were able to stop them.As a result of Shady’s pleas, a police car now patrols the archeological site day and night but nothing has been done to punish or evict the land invaders.The squatters are believed to belong to a single extended family, and claim the land was given to them in the 1970s during Peru’s controversial agrarian land reform which was pushed through by a leftist military dictatorship.Shady denies the claim: “They do not have a single land title. The owner of the land is the Peruvian state.”A planned eviction of one of the squatters was thwarted in December when a local prosecutor and official failed to give the order to proceed despite having the support of police officers, Shady said.Land prices in the area have risen from around $5,000 per hectare to as much as $50,000 per hectare, as outsiders rush to buy land around the prestigious archaeological site which is surrounded by a 56 sq mile buffer zone.Shady, who was named on the BBC’s 100 Women list last year, first visited Caral in 1978. But it was not until 1994 that she discovered the ancient city and began to properly excavate the site, which is situated on a dry desert terrace overlooking the Supe river valley nearly 200km (124 miles) north of Lima.What she uncovered was the “oldest centre of civilization in the Americas” which Unesco describes as “exceptionally well-preserved” with a complex architectural design with “monumental stone and earthen platform mounts and sunken circular courts”. Organic material found at the site has been carbon-dated back to 2627 BCEShady and her team continue to investigate and excavate a dozen former settlements, half of the 24 situated in the Supe valley which form part of the Caral-Supe civilization. Their findings have revealed musical instruments such as flutes made of animal and bird bones and evidence of the cultivation of multi-coloured cotton used in textiles.“We can’t allow archeological sites to continue being invaded and destroyed because it is an unwritten history and we recover that history through our investigation,” said Shady. “If we can’t do that it is like burning a book which no one will ever read.”“I hope we can continue to investigate and continue to recover our history because it has such an interesting message,” she added. “It was a very, very peaceful society. We have not found even a single walled settlement.”“There is message there that we, human beings, should live in harmony between ourselves and nature,” Shady concluded. “We are living through this pandemic, in part, due to our mistreatment of nature.”