Even world leaders who have previously allied with Trump — including UK's Boris Johnson and Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu — have congratulated Biden.
Hundreds of handcuffed Salvadoran gang members were displayed before assembled reporters on Saturday, a vivid show of President Nayib Bukele's policy of confronting them and the violent crime they are accused of committing. In April, Bukele provoked the ire of rights groups when he published on social media jarring pictures of hundreds of semi-naked jailed gang members, pressed tightly together in rows, despite the raging pandemic. Security Minister Rogelio Rivas called the majority of the newly-detained "terrorists" in remarks after they were assembled in an open-air plaza by heavily-armed soldiers, nearly all the detainees wearing masks and with their faces, many tattooed, looking down.
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.
After facing strong condemnation, a Hungarian commissioner on Sunday begrudgingly retracted an article comparing American-Hungarian billionaire and philanthropist George Soros, a staunch critic of Hungary’s government, to Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. “Europe is George Soros’ gas chamber,” Szilard Demeter, ministerial commissioner and head of the Petofi Literary Museum in Budapest, wrote in an opinion Saturday in the pro-government Origo media outlet.
Ousted cybersecurity official speaks out for first time since firing, saying president’s fraud claims are without basis
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.
It was perhaps the world’s most expensive wedding; an extravaganza costing tens of millions of pounds with performances by Jennifer Lopez, Sting and Enrique Iglesias, a fleet of Rolls Royces to ferry the guests and a 20-year-old bride wearing a $1m dress and a $5m crown. The groom, Said Gutseriev, had grown up in London and been educated at Harrow School and at Oxford, and his father - one of Russia’s wealthiest oligarchs - could not have been prouder.
Los Angeles County will ban most social gatherings starting Monday for at least three weeks. That's as coronavirus cases continue to climb, crossing the threshold set for additional measures. The county will prohibit individuals from socializing with anyone outside their household. That’s on top of the overnight curfew imposed across most of the state last week by California Governor Gavin Newsom. Together, they’re among the most restrictive measures in effect nationwide. The county’s public health order issued Friday will affect some 20 million people living in and around the nation’s second largest city. The order extends to businesses as well. It lowers the maximum occupancy levels for “essential” retail businesses like groceries to 35% of capacity and non-essential businesses like indoor malls and nail salons to 20% of capacity. Arnold and Kristy Ontes own a small business. “I understand why they’re saying that. I just don’t know if it’s proven that that’s gonna help.” They're seeing many empty storefronts. “It’s very difficult to watch. Especially when you know people, like we do who own these businesses.” But the order will allow for religious services and protests under constitutionally protected rights. That’s an apparent nod to Wednesday’s Supreme Court decision that struck down a New York state order that had restricted the size of religious gatherings. Beaches, trails and parks will also remain open.
Noem, a Republican, has refused calls to issue a mask mandate, disputing their effectiveness even as cases in South Dakota surge.
After months of shadowboxing amid a tense and toxic campaign, Capitol Hill's main players are returning for one final, perhaps futile, attempt at deal-making on a challenging menu of year-end business. COVID-19 relief, a $1.4 trillion catchall spending package, and defense policy — and a final burst of judicial nominees — dominate a truncated two- or three-week session occurring as the coronavirus pandemic rockets out of control in President Donald Trump's final weeks in office. The only absolute must-do business is preventing a government shutdown when a temporary spending bill expires on Dec. 11.
Sincere Pierce, 18, was one of two teenage victims in the 13 November killing by a Brevard County deputy officer
Thailand was racing to track down about 200 people in its northern provinces on Monday to stop a potential coronavirus outbreak, after three Thai nationals entered the country illegally from Myanmar and tested positive days later. Three women bypassed immigration checks and entered via natural border crossings last Tuesday and Friday, skipping the mandatory quarantine for new arrivals, Chiang Rai provincial governor Prachon Pratsakul said. There were 356 people in Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai provinces potentially exposed, among them staff and customers of a hotel, shopping mall, cinema, restaurants and passengers in a van and taxi, Prachon told a news conference.
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has declared military operations in the country’s northern Tigray region “completed’ and claimed that his federal forces had captured the crucial regional capital of Mekele. Due to an almost complete communications black out in Tigray, it was impossible to independently verify his statement. The announcement on Saturday night came just hours before at least six rockets from northern Tigray hit Eritrea, according to diplomats, suggesting the prime minister's claims were premature. Catastrophic fighting was expected over the weekend in Mekele when the Ethiopian army said it was surrounding the city of half a million people with tanks and artillery and warned civilians to stay inside. International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) staff visited government-run Ayder Referral Hospital yesterday, where they said approximately 80 per cent of patients were suffering from trauma injuries and basic supplies were dwindling. "The hospital is running dangerously low on sutures, antibiotics, anticoagulants, painkillers, and even gloves," said Maria Soledad, ICRC’s head of operations in Ethiopia. It is thought that forces loyal to the powerful regional government, the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), may have tactically retreated into the nearby mountains days ago to avoid heavy clashes. The TPLF is thought to command as many as 200,000 fighters, some of whom fought in the bloody Eritrea-Ethiopia war from 1998 to 2000. Because of these old hostilities with neighbouring Eritrea, Tigray is home to some of the largest stores of weapons in the country. The US embassy in the Eritrean capital Asmara reported early Sunday “six explosions” caused by rockets from Tigray region had occurred in the city “at about 10:13 pm” on Saturday night. The strikes marked the third time that Asmara has been shot at since fighting began on November 4. The TPLF has only claimed responsibility for the first rocket attack two weeks ago but has frequently accused Eritrea of siding with Ethiopian federal forces. Eritrea, Africa’s most totalitarian state, has not commented on the strikes. The conflict began when Mr Abiy, last year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, announced that he was sending federal troops into Tigray in response to attacks by pro-TPLF forces on national army camps. The move marked a dramatic escalation of tensions between the federal government and the TPLF, which dominated Ethiopian politics for nearly three decades before anti-government protests swept Mr Abiy to office in 2018. Thousands have died in the conflict so far, with tens of thousands of refugees streaming across the border into Sudan. Each side has accused the other of grave crimes and mass killings.
Louisiana Pastor Tony Spell openly violated the governor's order prohibiting gatherings larger than 10 people, hosting services that totaled 1,000.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly flew to Saudi Arabia last week for a secret meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Saudi Crown prince Mohammed bin Salman in the hopes of striking a deal that would normalize relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel. But he came home empty handed after Prince Mohammed backed out, The Wall Street Journal reports.His reasoning, Saudi advisers and U.S. officials told the Journal, was President-elect Joe Biden's victory over President Trump in the U.S. general election. Although the Trump administration was a factor in the recent so-called Abraham Accords, which normalized relations between Israel and both the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, Prince Mohammed reportedly wants to build ties with Biden and was reluctant about following suit while Trump is still in office, although the chances of that happening reportedly aren't impossible.Negotiating normalization agreements between Israel and other Arab nations is one Trump policy Biden seems likely to keep pursuing, but the president-elect has taken a tougher stance on Saudi Arabia than Trump, especially after the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, the Journal notes, so reviving talks with the new administration may be Prince Mohammed's best chance "to repair its image in Washington," a U.S. official said. Read more at The Wall Street Journal.More stories from theweek.com Is Mnuchin trying to sabotage the economy? 5 witheringly funny cartoons about Trump's sort-of concession Close adviser compares Trump's election reaction to 'Mad King George' muttering 'I won. I won. I won.'
Cardinal George Pell, who was convicted and then acquitted of sexual abuse in his native Australia, reflects on the nature of suffering, Pope Francis’ papacy and the humiliations of solitary confinement in his jailhouse memoir, according to an advance copy obtained by The Associated Press. “Prison Journal," which recounts the first five months of Pell’s 404 days in solitary lockup, also provides a play-by-play of Pell’s legal case and gives personal insights into one of the most divisive figures in the Catholic hierarchy today. To his supporters and even some detractors, Pell is a victim of a terrific perversion of justice; to his critics, he is the symbol of everything that has gone wrong with the Catholic Church’s wretched response to clergy sexual abuse.
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.
A senior Syrian official denied asylum in France due to concerns of possible involvement in war crimes was spirited out of the country with help from the Israeli secret service Mossad to Austria, where he was helped to start a new life, a top judicial source has told The Telegraph. Brigadier General Khaled al-Halabi, who was chief of Syrian intelligence in Raqqa from 2009 until 2013, is also the target of a legal complaint for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity, a Telegraph investigation can reveal. During his time in charge of the Raqqa facility, prisoners were allegedly murdered, tortured and sexually assaulted, according to the complaint filed in a Western country and which has been sent to the Paris prosecutor. Mr Halabi vehemently denies any wrongdoing. In spite of human rights concerns about his unit, France’s spy agency, Direction Générale de la Ssécurité Extérieure, (DGSE), helped the general secretly leave Syria and travel to France in 2014 at a time when Syria’s war against rebel forces was in the balance, it is alleged. He was, however, then denied asylum in France due to concerns that his senior position in the Syrian regime meant he could have been involved in criminal acts, The Telegraph has learned. That prompted the French War Crimes Unit to launch a preliminary investigation in 2017. In spite of this, he was then mysteriously exfiltrated from France by Israeli intelligence agents to Austria, where he was successfully granted asylum, according to the judicial source and French and Austrian media. The agencies involved allegedly believed Mr Halabi could play an important role in the future of Syria. “It's clear he is a big fish,” said one senior French judicial source. “We wanted to quiz him about all the testimonies we have gathered. It is very frustrating as he was a top target."
That seemingly didn't go according to plan.President-elect Joe Biden picked up 257 votes in Wisconsin's Milwaukee County on Friday after the Trump campaign demanded a recount there. President Trump did pick up some votes, as well, but the 125 he received gives Biden a net gain of 132.Biden won Wisconsin by around 20,000 votes, which was close enough for the Trump campaign to call for recounts, and a separate one in Dane County is expected to finish Sunday, so the president could still decrease his deficit. But Dane County is also Democratic-leaning, so it's unlikely the recount will significantly alter the results either way.The Trump campaign's efforts, which are grounded in unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud, cost $3 million.Trump's lawyers are still expected to mount a legal challenge of the overall vote in Wisconsin, The Guardian notes, but the state is on track to certify its results Tuesday. Read more at The Guardian and Business Insider.More stories from theweek.com Is Mnuchin trying to sabotage the economy? 5 witheringly funny cartoons about Trump's sort-of concession Close adviser compares Trump's election reaction to 'Mad King George' muttering 'I won. I won. I won.'
Andrew Cuomo thinks he can limit the capacity of churches and synagogues to ten people in areas besieged by COVID-19 -- while other, more “essential” activities face no limit at all. The Supreme Court quite rightly disagrees.Legally, the Court’s recent decision in Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo only pauses the enforcement of these rules against the litigants who’ve challenged them -- including the eponymous diocese and Agudath Israel of America -- while the case proceeds. But a majority of the Court thinks the restrictions cross the line.Under longstanding precedent, states typically may enact religiously neutral, generally applicable laws without running afoul of the First Amendment, even if those laws sometimes burden religious practices. But if a law that burdens religion is not generally applicable, it must satisfy “strict scrutiny”: It must be narrowly tailored to promote a compelling government interest using the least restrictive means available. Cuomo’s restrictions in areas classified as “orange” or “red” (in terms of COVID-19 prevalence) are neither generally applicable nor narrowly tailored.Within these areas, different types of establishments are treated differently, with houses of worship facing some of the strictest rules. Religious services are limited to ten people in red areas, for example, while many nearby businesses, including acupuncture clinics and liquor stores, are deemed “essential” and may admit as many customers as they want.This policy was clearly not tailored to minimize damage to religious observance. It doesn’t even allow higher attendance in bigger buildings. As the Court noted, some churches in New York can seat more than 1,000 people while others accommodate far fewer, yet none could host more than 25 people in orange areas and ten people in red.The Court’s ruling is neither surprising nor alarming. Cuomo’s rules discriminate against religious services and thereby run afoul of the Constitution. And to fix the problem, Cuomo would not need to exempt houses of worship from the law everyone else follows, but merely ensure that churches aren’t relegated to second-class status. One approach may be to classify churches as essential and to assign all essential activities a capacity limit that takes establishment size into account. Another would be to simply let the hard capacity limits go, since houses of worship in orange and red areas are still required to keep to a low proportion of their total capacity (a third and a quarter respectively) -- and because the areas at issue in the lawsuit aren’t classified as orange or red anymore anyway.Going forward, the question is how the Court should treat less egregious restrictions, as the Court’s opinion is rather vague as to where the line is. In a concurrence, Justice Brett Kavanaugh writes that whenever a policy creates a preferred, less regulated category -- “essential” businesses, in this case -- states must either include religion in that category or carry the burden of justifying churches’ exclusion. This strikes us as fair, though it goes somewhat beyond existing precedent.Perhaps the thorniest issue here, though, is exactly what it should take to justify different sets of restrictions in different circumstances. As two dissenting justices point out, religious services often involve people congregating in groups for protracted periods and singing; this creates different risks from, say, running into a store to pick up a bottle of wine. It is absurd to nearly shutter religious activities, even those following strict rules to prevent COVID-19 spread, while liquor stores face no capacity limit at all. But in future cases the Court will have to draw its lines carefully to avoid micromanaging the states’ COVID responses.In the current decision, however, all the Court does is reiterate the law. Americans have a right to worship as they see fit, and the government may encroach on that right only in limited circumstances, which don’t include targeting churches for unjustifiably poor treatment the way Cuomo’s rules do.