Among the victims of a helicopter crash over the weekend that killed nine people, including former NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, was a former coach of a Cape Cod Baseball League team and members of his family.
Among the victims of a helicopter crash over the weekend that killed nine people, including former NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, was a former coach of a Cape Cod Baseball League team and members of his family.
First Read is your briefing from "Meet the Press" and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.
State employee spotted mysterious metal structure amid red rocks while counting bighorn sheep A mysterious monolith has been discovered in a remote part of Utah, after being spotted by state employees counting sheep from a helicopter.The structure, estimated at between 10ft and 12ft high, appeared to be planted in the ground. It was made from some sort of metal, its shine in sharp contrast to the enormous red rocks which surrounded it.Utah’s highway patrol shared images of both the sheep and the monolith.The helicopter pilot, Bret Hutchings, told local news channel KSLTV: “That’s been about the strangest thing that I’ve come across out there in all my years of flying.”Hutchings was flying for the Utah department of public safety, which was helping wildlife resource officers count bighorn sheep in the south of the state.“One of the biologists is the one who spotted it and we just happened to fly directly over the top of it,” Hutchings said. “He was like, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, turn around, turn around!’ And I was like, ‘What?’ And he’s like, ‘There’s this thing back there – we’ve got to go look at it!’”Hutchings said the object looked manmade and appeared to have been firmly planted in the ground, not dropped from the sky.“I’m assuming it’s some new wave artist or something or, you know, somebody that was a big 2001: A Space Odyssey fan,” Hutchings said.The monolith and its setting resembled a famous scene from Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film, in which a group of apes encounter a giant slab.> The @UtahDPS helicopter was assisting the @UtahDWR in counting bighorn sheep in remote southern Utah Wednesday when the crew encountered something entirely 'out of this world'...@KSL5TV KSLTV Utah > > Photojournalist: @Photog_Steve5 pic.twitter.com/f8P0fayDIS> > — Andrew Adams (@AndrewAdamsKSL) November 21, 2020After spotting the monolith, the helicopter crew landed to take a closer look. Video from the ground, obtained by KLTV, showed crew members climbing on each other’s shoulders to reach the top of the monolith.Hutchings said. “We were kind of joking around that if one of us suddenly disappears, then the rest of us make a run for it.”Bighorn sheep live in some of Utah’s most rugged and remote areas and survive in hostile climate conditions. Fearing amateur explorers might get stuck in the wilderness while seeking out the monolith, the flight crew have not revealed its exact location.
There's a growing likelihood that the first round of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine will be rolled out in just a few weeks. If and when that happens, only high priority groups, like health care workers, are expected to have access. Theoretically, the pool will grow over time, but children will probably have to wait a while. That's partly because younger people, though far from invulnerable to COVID-19, are less susceptible to severe cases, but it also has to do with the fact that the youngest people to receive Pfizer's candidate in trials were between 12 and 14 years old, Dr. Moncef Slaoui, the White House vaccine czar, told CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday.As things stand, there's no data about the vaccine's efficacy or safety for younger children, but Slaoui says the plan is to run trials at an expedited pace over the coming months, first with younger adolescents, then toddlers, and, finally, infants. If that goes well, Slaoui, expects most kids will be able to get vaccinated by the middle of next year, though infants may not be approved until the end of 2021. > Dr. Moncef Slaoui, the White House vaccine czar, tells @jaketapper that he expects children will be able to receive a coronavirus vaccine some time in the middle of next year. "We need to run those clinical trials on an expedited basis." CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/WlOUxKA3RN> > -- State of the Union (@CNNSotu) November 22, 2020More stories from theweek.com Reporter Carl Bernstein names 21 GOP senators who 'repeatedly expressed extreme contempt for Trump' There's a very simple, extremely plausible reason Trump won't admit Biden won Biden is stealing the spotlight. Trump can't stand it.
Senator Rob Portman said Monday that he sees no evidence of voter fraud sufficient to overturn Joe Biden's presidential victory and called on the Trump administration to begin cooperating with the former vice president's transition team."I have supported the Trump campaign’s right to count every lawful vote, request state recounts and pursue lawsuits regarding election fraud or other irregularities," Portman wrote in an op-ed published Monday in the Cincinnati Enquirer.The Ohio Republican said there were "instances of fraud and irregularities in this election, as there have been in every election," and while it is good that such wrongdoing has been exposed, "there is no evidence as of now of any widespread fraud or irregularities that would change the result in any state."Portman, who served as a co-chair of the Trump campaign in Ohio, said he voted for the incumbent and believes Trump's policies would be better for Ohio and the country."But I also believe that there is no more sacred constitutional process in our great democracy than the orderly transfer of power after a presidential election. It is now time to expeditiously resolve any outstanding questions and move forward," the senator wrote.Portman also called on the administration to begin cooperating with Biden's transition team, which the General Services Administration, the agency responsible for overseeing a presidential transition, has been stonewalling since the election. The transition preparations involve the administration releasing millions of dollars to the Biden team and providing access to federal agencies and office space in Washington.Biden should also be granted intelligence briefings and briefings on the coronavirus vaccine distribution plan, Portman recommended. Biden has said he is currently not receiving the daily classified briefing on security threats that a president-elect is typically given."In the likely event that Joe Biden becomes our next president, it is in the national interest that the transition is seamless," Portman said.Portman is the latest of a growing group of Republican senators who have called on the administration to accept the election results as Trump's legal team suffers defeats in battleground states that were called for Biden and the December 8 "safe harbor" deadline for states to certify their electors approaches.Senator Mitt Romney last week criticized one of Trump’s recent strategies to overturn the election results that relies on appealing to Republican legislators in swing states to appoint loyal electors in defiance of the election results. Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse, another Republican critical of Trump’s approach, urged the public to tune out the noise and look at the actual claims the president’s lawyers have made, which do not include widespread fraud.
A firearms-toting congresswoman-elect who owns a gun-themed restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, has already asked Capitol Police about carrying her weapon on Capitol grounds, her office has acknowledged. The practice is allowed for lawmakers, with some limitations, under decades-old congressional regulations. The public is barred from carrying weapons in the Capitol, its grounds and office buildings.
Hamza "Travis" Nagdy, a young protest leader during Louisville's movement for racial justice in 2020, was killed in a shooting, his family says.
Outgoing Republican Steve King has long history of offensive remarks
I live in a democracy. But as Thanksgiving approaches, I find myself longing for the type of freedom I am seeing in China. People in China are able to move around freely right now. Many Americans may believe that the Chinese are able to enjoy this freedom because of China’s authoritarian regime. As a scholar of public health in China, I think the answers go beyond that.My research suggests that the control of the virus in China is not the result of authoritarian policy, but of a national prioritization of health. China learned a tough lesson with SARS, the first coronavirus pandemic of the 21st century. How China flattened its curveBarely less than a year ago, a novel coronavirus emerged in Wuhan, China, with 80,000 cases identified within three months, killing 3,000 people. In late January 2020, the Chinese government decided to lock down this city of 11 million people. All transportation to and from the city was stopped. Officials further locked down several other cities in Hubei Province, eventually quarantining over 50 million people.By the beginning of April, the Chinese government limited the spread of the virus to the point where they felt comfortable opening up Wuhan once again. Seven months later, China has confirmed 9,100 additional cases and recorded 1,407 more deaths due to the coronavirus. People in China travel, eat in restaurants and go into theaters, and kids go to school without much concern for their health. Juxtapose that to what we are experiencing in the U.S. To date, we have confirmed over 11 million cases, with the last 1 million recorded in just the last one week alone. In September and October, friends from China sent me pictures of food from all over the country as they traveled around to visit friends and family for the mid-autumn festival and then the seven-day National Day vacation week. I envied them then and envy them even more now as Americans prepare and wonder how we will celebrate Thanksgiving this year. What China learned from SARSWe Americans are told that the freedoms Chinese now enjoy come at the expense of being subject to a set of draconian public health policies that can be instituted only by an authoritarian government. But they also have the experience of living through a similar epidemic.SARS broke out in November of 2002 and ended in May of 2003, and China was anything but prepared for its emergence. It didn’t have the public health infrastructure in place to detect or control such a disease, and initially decided to prioritize politics and economy over health by covering up the epidemic. This didn’t work with such a virulent disease that started spreading around the world. After being forced to come to terms with SARS, China’s leaders eventually did enforce quarantine in Beijing and canceled the week-long May Day holiday of 2003. This helped to end the pandemic within a few short months, with minimal impact. SARS infected approximately 8,000 worldwide and killed about 800, 65% of which occurred in China and Hong Kong. The Chinese government learned from SARS the important role public health plays in protecting the nation. Following SARS, the government improved training of public health professionals and developed one of the most sophisticated disease surveillance systems in the world. While caught off guard for this next big coronavirus outbreak in December 2019, the country quickly mobilized its resources to bring the epidemic almost to a halt inside its borders within three months. What can the US learn from China?Knowing that there were no safe or proven treatments or an effective vaccine, China relied on proven nonpharmaceutical interventions to conquer the epidemic. First and foremost was containing the virus through controlling the sources of infection and blocking transmission. This was accomplished through early detection (testing), isolation, treatment and tracing the close contacts of any infected individual. This strategy was aided by the three field hospitals (fancang) the government built to isolate patients with mild to moderate symptoms from their families. Strict quarantine measures were also central to preventing the spread of this epidemic, as it was with the SARS epidemic in 2003. This was paired with compulsory mask-wearing, promotion of personal hygiene (hand-washing, home disinfection, ventilation), self-monitoring of body temperature, universal compulsory stay-at-home orders for all residents, and universal symptom surveys conducted by community workers and volunteers. What else could the US have done to be prepared?SARS exposed serious weaknesses in China’s public health system and prompted its government to reinvent its public health system. COVID-19 has exposed similar shortcomings in the U.S. public health system. To date, however, the current administration has taken the exact opposite approach, devastating our public health system. The Trump administration made major cuts to the budgets of the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The last budget submitted by the Trump administration in February 2020, as the pandemic was beginning, called for an additional reduction of US$693 million to the CDC budget. This affected our ability to prepare for a pandemic outbreak. In the past, this preparation included international partnerships to help detect disease before it reached our shores. For example, the CDC built up partnerships with China following the SARS epidemic, to help contain the emergence of infectious disease coming from the region. At one point the CDC had 10 American experts working on the ground in China and 40 local Chinese staff, who mostly concentrated on infectious disease. Trump started slashing these positions shortly after taking office, and by the time COVID-19 broke out, those programs were whittled down to a skeleton staff of one or two. [Research into coronavirus and other news from science Subscribe to The Conversation’s new science newsletter.]The Declaration of Alma Ata guaranteed health for all, and not just health for people governed under a specific type of bureaucratic system. The U.S. has been, and can be, just as dedicated to protecting the health of its people as China under its authoritarian government. We demonstrated this during the Ebola epidemic, with the launch of a whole government effort coordinated by Ron Klain, who has been appointed White House chief of staff under President-elect Biden.This effort, which included a coordinated response with both African nations and China, improved preparedness within the U.S. and ultimately helped to save hundreds of thousands of lives around the world. A reduction in funding for our public health infrastructure, under the Trump administration, was a divestment in the health of the American people and should not have happened. A new administration that places public health at the helm, once again, will I hope prove to us that health is not just something that can be protected under an authoritarian government, but is in fact a right for all.This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts. It was written by: Elanah Uretsky, Brandeis University.Read more: * Poor US pandemic response will reverberate in health care politics for years, health scholars warn * Experts agree that Trump’s coronavirus response was poor, but the US was ill-prepared in the first placeElanah Uretsky does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
A two-star Navy admiral overseeing U.S. military intelligence in the Asia-Pacific region has made an unannounced visit to Taiwan, two sources told Reuters on Sunday (November 22). Neither Taiwan nor the United States has officially confirmed the trip. Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said China "resolutely opposes" any form of exchanges between U.S. and Taiwanese officials or the two having military relations. China urges the United States to fully recognise the extreme sensitivity of the Taiwan issue, Zhao told a news briefing. "The Chinese side will, according to how the situation develops, make a legitimate and necessary response," he said, without elaborating.
President-elect Joe Biden is expected to announce Linda Thomas-Greenfield as his nominee for ambassador to the United Nations and Jake Sullivan as his national security adviser, several people familiar with the matter told The Washington Post. Thomas-Greenfield spent 35 years in the Foreign Service, retiring in 2017. She served as assistant secretary of state for African affairs and was ambassador to Liberia during the Obama administration. She is now a senior counselor with the Albright Stonebridge advisory firm.Sullivan was one of Biden's national security advisers during his time as vice president and was also a deputy chief of staff to Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state. Antony Blinken, Biden's reported pick to be his secretary of state nominee, also served as one of Biden's national security advisers while vice president.More stories from theweek.com Reporter Carl Bernstein names 21 GOP senators who 'repeatedly expressed extreme contempt for Trump' There's a very simple, extremely plausible reason Trump won't admit Biden won Biden is stealing the spotlight. Trump can't stand it.
The incident was caught on video.
“Investigators are working tirelessly to identify and apprehend the suspect from yesterday’s shooting at Mayfair Mall,” the Wauwatosa Police Department said in a tweet Saturday. Chief Barry Weber gave no motive for the attack at the Mayfair Mall during a briefing Friday evening. “Investigators are working on determining the identity of that suspect.”
Anthony Sabatini’s comment sparks demands for his resignation
We rounded up a mix of gifts that help others, keep folks healthy, and add a little something-something to the home Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest
Tension between Australia and China has been driven by incorrect assumptions shaped by rivalry between China and the United States but Australia has its own interest and independent views, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday. Australia's relationship with China soured in 2018 when it became the first country to publicly ban China’s Huawei from its 5G network, and worsened this year when Australia called for an enquiry into the origins of the novel coronavirus.
The early reactions to President-elect Joe Biden's pick for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, is that it's a purposefully "boring" choice, which analysts don't necessarily consider a bad thing.> Antony Blinken (State) > Michèle Flournoy (Defense) > Jake Sullivan (NSC)> > All boring picks who, if you shook them awake and appointed them in the middle of the night at any time in the last decade, could have reported to their new jobs and started work competently by dawn> > — Graeme Wood (@gcaw) November 23, 2020> You can competently execute a bad policy, of course (or incompetently execute a good one). But these Biden appointees are—as predicted—not going to be making things up as they go along, and that’s a big difference from most of the Trump people.> > — Graeme Wood (@gcaw) November 23, 2020Writes Axios, the predictable choice is representative of Biden's emphasis on "stability" and his "penchant for sticking with comfort foods when it comes to people, policies, and political techniques." Blinken, after all, is a longtime Biden aide dating back to his Senate days who served as his national security adviser during his vice presidential days.While one source told Axios that Biden is approaching his Cabinet selection "like an experienced mechanic intent on repairing something that's badly broken," Foreign Policy suggests Blinken is not only a departure from Trump's choices for the role, but also former President Barack Obama's. Blinken is well-respected in Washington, but keeps a low profile, in contrast to the globally-recognized figures who served under Obama — Hillary Clinton and John Kerry — "who may have had their own power bases."More stories from theweek.com Reporter Carl Bernstein names 21 GOP senators who 'repeatedly expressed extreme contempt for Trump' There's a very simple, extremely plausible reason Trump won't admit Biden won Biden is stealing the spotlight. Trump can't stand it.
Three prominent Hong Kong activists are facing jail after pleading guilty on Monday to inciting an "illegal assembly" outside the city's main police station during last year's huge pro-democracy protests.
Authorities arrested a 23-year-old man in an attack at a Nebraska fast food restaurant in which two employees were shot and killed, two were wounded and officers responding to a report of a possible bomb inside a moving truck in the parking lot arrived to find the vehicle on fire. Roberto Carlos Silva Jr., of Omaha, was booked into Sarpy County jail early Sunday on suspicion of first-degree murder and first-degree arson in Saturday night's attack at a Sonic Drive-in restaurant in Bellevue, the Omaha World-Herald reported. In a news release early Sunday, Lt. Andy Jashinske said Bellevue police received a call at 9:23 p.m. Saturday about a possible bomb in a U-Haul truck parked outside of the restaurant in the Omaha suburb.
A federal court has thrown out the Trump campaign’s lawsuit in Pennsylvania, which challenged presumptive President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the commonwealth. In so doing, district judge Matthew Brann refused the campaign’s eleventh-hour attempt to file a new complaint that would have reinstated election fraud claims the Trump campaign had abandoned a few days earlier. (I outlined the lawsuit here, and explained the Trump campaign’s last-ditch effort to amend it here.)Judge Brann’s 37-page opinion sets forth a variety of reasons for dismissing the case. Most of them are directed toward the complaints of two individual plaintiffs — voters who claimed that their ballots had been improperly discounted. By contrast, the court found that the Trump campaign had no standing to sue, having posited no evidence that President Trump was harmed in any cognizable way by the manner in which the election was conducted in Pennsylvania.At bottom, though, the court found that the fatal flaw in the case is the one that we have repeatedly stressed: The mismatch between the harm alleged and the remedy sought.As the judge explained, even if one accepted the dubious premise that the two voters in question were improperly denied the right to vote while others similarly situated were not, the commensurate relief would be for their votes to be counted.That, however, was not the remedy they sought. Instead, supported by the Trump campaign, the two voters petitioned the court to stop Pennsylvania from certifying — on Monday as state law requires — the commonwealth’s election result, which had Biden winning by 83,000 votes. Brann countered:> Prohibiting certification of the election results would not reinstate the Individual Plaintiffs’ right to vote. It would simply deny more than 6.8 million [Pennsylvanians] their right to vote. “Standing is measured based on the theory of harm and the specific relief requested.” It is not “dispensed in gross: A plaintiff's remedy must be tailored to redress the plaintiff's particular injury.” Here, the answer to invalidated ballots is not to invalidate millions more. [Footnotes omitted.]As we detailed on Friday, the case was in a strange posture.In filing its original complaint on November 9, the Trump campaign claimed extensive vote fraud, relying mainly on the allegation that Republican poll-watchers had been denied a meaningful opportunity to observe the canvassing of ballots. But, as Brann notes (and we discussed here), on November 13, the federal appeals court for the Third Circuit (which has binding effect on Brann’s district court) issued its opinion in Bognet v. Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Though not directly connected to the campaign’s case, Bognet’s reasoning substantially undercut its claims.The campaign reacted by amending its complaint, reducing the case to the narrow claim that Trump voters’ equal-protection rights (and, derivatively, the campaign’s rights) had been violated by an allegedly skewed procedure: Mail-in voters in Biden-friendly counties had been permitted to cure defects in the ballots they’d submitted, while voters in Trump-friendly counties were not. Brann rejected this claim, accepting Pennsylvania’s argument that Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar had encouraged ballot curing all over the state. Thus the state government was not at fault if not all counties availed themselves of this opportunity.That is largely beside the point, though. Even if there had been a violation of the voters’ rights, the remedy would be to count their votes. Instead, as the court observed,> Plaintiffs seek to remedy the denial of their votes by invalidating the votes of millions of others. Rather than requesting that their votes be counted, they seek to discredit scores of other votes, but only for one race [i.e., the presidential race, not the other contests down-ballot]. This is simply not how the Constitution works. [Emphasis added.]Moreover:> Granting Paintiffs’ requested relief would necessarily require invalidating the ballots of every person who voted in Pennsylvania. Because this Court has no authority to take away the right to vote of even a single person, let along millions of citizens, it cannot grant Plaintiffs’ requested relief.Brann concluded that the Trump campaign had no standing to sue based, derivatively, on the harm alleged by the two voters, particularly after the Bognet ruling. He specifically rejected both of the campaign’s main equal-protection complaints: (1) that its poll-watchers were discriminatorily excluded from observing the canvass, and (2) that the opportunity for voters to cure defective ballots was deliberately done in counties the state knew to favor Biden.On the former, Brann held that this was not, as the Trump campaign maintained, an equal-protection issue. The campaign was not claiming that Trump observers were treated differently from Biden observers. On the latter, Brann concluded that the campaign was misinterpreting Bush v. Gore, and, in any event, was not claiming that Boockvar’s guidance on curing ballots differed from county to county.Most significantly, Brann denied the Trump campaign’s dilatory attempt to amend its complaint yet again late this past week, in order to reinstate claims from their original complaint, which they’d withdrawn last weekend. The court reasoned that this would “unduly delay resolution of the issues” in light of the fact that Monday, November 23, is the deadline for Pennsylvania counties to certify their election results to the state government — a necessary prelude to appointing the slate of electors who will cast the commonwealth’s Electoral College votes.In reaction to the ruling, the Trump campaign lawyers issued a statement asserting that, though they disagreed with the decision by “the Obama-appointed judge,” it was actually a boon to “our strategy to get expeditiously to the U.S. Supreme Court.”It is true that Brann was appointed by former President Barack Obama, but he is a Republican and Federalist Society member who was sponsored by the state’s Republican senator Pat Toomey — a common situation when a state’s two senators are from different parties, and an administration has to horse-trade on appointments.Trump lawyers added that the ruling denied them “the opportunity to present our evidence at a hearing.” They described that as “censorship” of “50 witnesses” who would have testified that state election officials denied the “independent review” required by Pennsylvania law. This is an apparent reference to the campaign’s claim that its poll-watchers were not given a meaningful opportunity to observe the canvass, which the lawyers say, “resulted in 682,777 ballots being cast illegally.” The campaign did not mention that it had dropped this charge from its original complaint. Nor did it allude to Brann’s conclusion that the allegation was not a cognizable equal-protection claim under federal law.The campaign says it will seek an expedited appeal to the Third Circuit — the tribunal that just decided the Bognet case, the precedent that appears to have induced the campaign to withdraw the claims it is now seeking to revive. In any event, it is anything but clear that the Supreme Court, which has thus far declined to act on Pennsylvania election-law claims relevant to the 2020 election, would agree to hear the campaign’s case — even assuming that the Third Circuit grants expedited appeal and, as even the campaign plainly expects, rules against the campaign.
U.S. national security adviser Robert O'Brien on Monday assured the Philippines and Vietnam, countries both locked in maritime rows with China, that Washington has their backs and would fight to keep the Indo-Pacific region free and open. "Our message is we're going to be here, we've got your back, and we're not leaving," said O'Brien, on a visit to the Philippines after concluding a trip to Vietnam on Sunday. Vietnam and the Philippines have been the most vocal regional opponents to what they see as Chinese overreach in the South China Sea and its disregard for boundaries outlined in international maritime law.