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.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador promised Monday that justice will be done in the case of a French restaurant owner who was found murdered over the the weekend. López Obrador compared the case to last year’s killings of nine U.S. dual-nationals in northern Mexico, claiming “practically all” of whose alleged killers in that attack have been arrested. Authorities said evidence indicates dual French-Mexican citizen Baptiste Jacques Daniel Lormand set out late last week to sell bottles of high-end wine or liquor, accompanied by a Mexican partner.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) suggested Monday that he might oppose President-elect Joe Biden's nomination of Janet Yellen as Treasury secretary because Biden's Cabinet picks are "a bunch of corporate liberals and warmongers." Over the summer, The Bulwark's Tim Miller pointed out, Hawley told Fox News host Tucker Carlson that the Democratic Party "in thrall" to "the Marxist left.""Hawley could have ignored the criticism — after all, it’s not like his target audience is going to complain that he attacked the Democrats in two mutually exclusive ways," Jonathan Chait noted at New York. But Hawley, "a prep school kid with degrees from Stanford and Yale" who "still craves the respect of elites," evidently "felt compelled to show that he is not just a glib demagogue mouthing slogans." So this is how he reconciled his contradictory accusations:> Let me explain this to you. Corporate liberals are woke capitalists. The corporatists love critical race theory and all the other warmed-over Marxist garbage. They sell out working Americans and sneer at them at the same time. That’s the New Left https://t.co/pOrG5NdXsq> > — Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) November 30, 2020If that doesn't make much sense to you, get in line. Some critics pointed out that Hawley's policies and fat donations from corporate interests aren't all that helpful to "working Americans," while others delighted in the word-salad incoherence of his explanation:> Tell us more about the corporate liberal Marxist capitalist critical-race-theorist socialist Wall Street leftist corporatist antifa fascist communists> > — Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) December 1, 2020> This is the kind of answer on an exam in high school where the teacher would say quit using a bunch of words you read or heard somewhere without putting anything together in a paragraph that makes sense.> > — Matthew Dowd (@matthewjdowd) November 30, 2020"Big corporations do not like Marxists who want to discredit and destroy the system," and "Marxists do not support uses of the American military," Chait summarized. But "the most precious line Hawley's lecture to Miller is 'Let me explain this to you.' As if any fool can see the obvious congruity of his two attacks on Biden. Only the elites can't spot the obvious. Just ask any regular hardworking Missouri farmer, and he'll explain that neoliberal corporate warlords are working hand in glove with Marxists to use critical race theory in order to advance Janet Yellen's candidacy for Treasury secretary."More stories from theweek.com Americans are choosing death over deprivation Our parents warned us the internet would break our brains. It broke theirs instead. How camp explains Trump
The South Carolina Supreme Court on Monday stayed the execution of a death row prisoner after corrections officials said they couldn’t obtain the necessary lethal injection drugs in time. Richard Bernard Moore had been scheduled to be put to death on Friday. The court scheduled the execution earlier this month after Moore exhausted his federal appeals.
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.
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.
Democrats and Republicans have been at an impasse for months, unable to progress despite the mounting damage to businesses and people around the US.
An international human rights group has asked Sri Lanka to conduct an impartial investigation into prison unrest and the use of live ammunition by guards that resulted in the death of 11 inmates and injuries to more than 100 others. Amnesty International said authorities should examine the underlying causes of the unrest at Mahara prison, which began Sunday evening and continued into Monday. “Yesterday’s incident reflects the anxiety among prisoners about the threat of COVID-19 within severely overcrowded prisons and the inadequate measures in place to protect them," said David Griffiths, director of the Office of the Secretary General at Amnesty International.
The United States imposed sanctions on Monday on Chinese firm China National Electronics Import & Export Corporation (CEIEC), accusing it of supporting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's efforts to undermine democracy. The U.S. Treasury Department said in a statement the Chinese company supported the leftist government of Maduro in its "efforts to restrict internet service and conduct digital surveillance and cyber operations against political opponents." "The United States will not hesitate to target anyone helping to suppress the democratic will of the Venezuelan people and others around the world," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the statement.
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.
Thousands of protesters met at various locations, mostly in remote residential areas of the capital, and marched through the streets demanding the resignation of President Alexander Lukashenko, a witness said. Police did not immediately answer calls seeking comment. Belarus has been in crisis since a presidential election in August that the opposition says was rigged, something Lukashenko, who has been in power for 26 years, denies.
Despite a government ban and arrests of hundreds of activists, Pakistani opposition supporters rallied in a central city on Monday, calling on Prime Minister Imran Khan to resign over alleged bad governance and incompetence. The rally in the city of Multan was held a day after police, on orders from the government, carried out the arrests and banned the gathering, defending the move as necessary to combat the coronavirus pandemic in Pakistan. Authorities in Multan also switched off the area's mobile phone network.
Since Election Day, President Trump's political operation has raised more than $150 million, with much of the money coming from small-time donors who tend to get fired up when they believe Trump is under attack, people with knowledge of the matter told The Washington Post. In the wake of the election, the Trump campaign has sent roughly 500 pitches to donors, the Post reports, with the messages including demands to end voter fraud and a plea from Vice President Mike Pence to join the "Election Defense Task Force." The Trump campaign's website states that the Official Election Defense Fund is soliciting the money, but this account doesn't exist, the Post says, and the fundraising requests are actually coming from the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, a joint fundraising committee benefiting the Trump campaign and Republican National Committee.As of Nov. 18, a third entity is also receiving money from the joint fundraising committee: Save America, Trump's new leadership PAC. In the fine print of the most recent fundraising letters, it says 75 percent of every contribution will go to Save America, with the remaining 25 percent going to help with the RNC's operating expenses. Trump set up Save America in early November, and will be able to tap into its funds when he is out of office, the Post reports. There aren't many limitations as to how leadership PAC money can be spent, and Trump could use it for events at his properties or to pay for travel and personal expenses, the Post says.The Trump machine is raising more money now than ever before — the Trump Make America Great Again Committee's previous best month was September, when it brought in $81 million — and that's too much for some GOP donors, like Dan Eberhart. "Trump is making hay while the sun is shining," Eberhart told the Post. "He's taking advantage of all the free media coverage to pay off his campaign debt and fill his coffers for whatever comes next. I would rather give to Romney 2012 than Trump 2020 at this point."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.
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.