VIDEO SHOWS: FILE FOOTAGE OF 2020 GIRO D'ITALIA ROUTE PRESENTATION, STILL PHOTOGRAPHS OF MITCHELTON-SCOTT CYCLISTS, STILL PHOTOGRAPHS OF JUMBO-VISMA RIDER, STEVEN KRUIJSWIJK AND TEAM SUNWEB RIDER, MICHAEL MATTHEWS, STATEMENTS FROM MITCHELTON-SCOTT, JUMBO-VISMA AND TEAM SUNWEB POSTED ON THEIR TWITTER PAGES SHOWS: MILAN, ITALY (FILE - OCTOBER 24, 2019) (RCS - NO USE ITALY) 1. GIRO D'ITALIA TROPHY ON STAGE AT PRESENTATION CEREMONY 2. VARIOUS OF CEREMONY IN PROGRESS INTERNET (OCTOBER 13, 2020) (SOCIAL MEDIA WEBSITE - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE) 3. STATEMENT WRITTEN ON MITCHELTON-SCOTT'S TWITTER PAGE, READING (ENGLISH): "#GIRO UPDATE: WITH THE HEALTH OF RIDERS & STAFF OUR PRIORITY, WE HAVE WITHDRAWN FROM THE @GIRODITALIA AFTER RESULTS OF THE REST DAY COVID-19 TESTING, OUR 3RD ROUND OF TESTING IN 3 DAYS, REVEALED POSITIVE RESULTS FOR SOME OF OUR STAFF." BAGNERES-DE-BIGORRE, FRANCE (FILE - JULY 18, 2019) (REUTERS PICTURES - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE) 4. STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF SIMON YATES CELEBRATING AFTER WINNING A STAGE OF THE TOUR DE FRANCE LIMOUX TO FOIX PRAT D'ALBIS, FRANCE (FILE - JULY 21, 2019) (REUTERS PICTURES - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE) 5. STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF YATES RACING 6. STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF YATES ON PODIUM 7. STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF YATES CYCLING IMOLA, ITALY (FILE - SEPTEMBER 25, 2019) (REUTERS PICTURES - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE) 8. STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF MITCHELTON-SCOTT'S EDOARDO AFFINI (BLUE KIT) COMPETING FOR ITALY IN ACTION DURING THE UCI WORLD CYCLING CHAMPIONSHIPS' MEN'S ELITE INDIVIDUAL TIME TRIAL SANDEFJORD, NORWAY (FILE - MAY 31, 2019) (NTB SCANPIX - NO USE NORWAY) (MUTE) 9. STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF AFFINI ON THE PODIUM AFTER WINNING STAGE FOUR OF THE 2019 TOUR OF NORWAY SAINT-PEE-SUR-NIVELLE TO ESPELETTE (FILE - JULY 28, 2018) (REUTERS PICTURES - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE) 10. STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF MITCHELTON-SCOTT RIDER MICHAEL HEPBURN RIDING IN THE STAGE 20 OF THE 2018 TOUR DE FRANCE - A 31-KILOMETRE INDVIDUAL TIME TRIAL SAINT-GIRONS TO FOIX, FRANCE (FILE - JULY 14, 2017) (REUTERS PICTURES - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE) 11. STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF AUSTRALIAN DAMIEN HOWSON AHEAD OF STAGE 13 OF THE 2017 TOUR DE FRANCE GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA (FILE - APRIL 10, 2018) (REUTERS PICTURES - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE) 12. STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF AUSTRALIAN CAMERON MEYER WAVING ON THE PODIUM AFTER WINNING GOLD IN THE COMMONWEALTH GAMES MEN'S INDIVIDUAL TIME TRIAL 13. STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF MEYER COMPETING IN THE TIME TRIAL INTERNET (OCTOBER 13, 2020) (SOCIAL MEDIA WEBSITE - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE) 14. STATEMENT WRITTEN ON TEAM JUMBO-VISMA'S TWITTER PAGE, READING (ENGLISH): "#GIRO @S_KRUIJSWIJK WILL NOT APPEAR AT THE START OF THE TENTH STAGE OF THE GIRO D'ITALIA. KRUIJSWIJK TESTED POSITIVE ON COVID-19 ON THE REST DAY. AS A RESULT, HE HAS TO LEAVE THE RACE." BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (FILE - JULY 4, 2019) (REUTERS PICTURES - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE) 15. STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF KRUIJSWIJK ON THE PODIUM DURING THE TOUR DE FRANCE TEAMS' PRESENTATION PAU, FRANCE (FILE - JULY 19, 2019) (REUTERS PICTURES - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE) 16. TWO STILL PHOTOGRAPHS OF TEAM JUMBO-VISMA RIDER STEVEN KRUIJSWIJK COMPETING IN STAGE 13 OF THE 2019 TOUR DE FRANCE - A 27.5-KILOMETRE INDIVIDUAL TIME TRIAL INTERNET (OCTOBER 13, 2020) (SOCIAL MEDIA WEBSITE - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE) 17. STATEMENT WRITTEN ON TEAM SUNWEB'S TWITTER PAGE, READING (ENGLISH): "TEAM SUNWEB'S @BLINGMATTHEWS WON'T START #GIROFLAG OF ITALY STAGE 10 TODAY AFTER TESTING POSITIVE FOR COVID-19" BINCHE, FRANCE (FILE - JULY 8, 2019) (REUTERS PICTURES - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE) 18. STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF TEAM SUNWEB RIDER MICHAEL MATTHEWS BEFORE THE START OF STAGE THREE OF THE 2019 TOUR DE FRANCE STORY: The Giro d'Italia was on the brink of cancellation on Tuesday (October 13) after five teams were hit by COVID-19 cases on the first rest day of the three-week grand tour with almost two weeks left until the finish in Milan. The Mitchelton-Scott team withdrew from the race after four staff members tested positive for the coronavirus following top rider Simon Yates pulling out last week. A rider from Jumbo-Visma, a Team Sunweb rider, one staff member from Ineos-Grenadiers and AG2R-La Mondiale also returned positive tests, organisers RCS said. RCS, in a joint statement with the International Cycling Union (UCI), said the teams' doctors had ordered "isolation measures". Sunweb said Australian Michael Matthews had tested positive and was asymptomatic, with Jumbo-Visma saying on Twitter their rider Steven Kruijswijk had returned a positive result and would leave the race. Mitchelton-Scott said the team were notified of the four positive results for staff members from tests done on Sunday. Yates, who like Kruijswijk had been among the pre-race favourites, withdrew on Saturday after testing positive for the virus. Kruijswijk was 11th overall, 1:24 behind race leader Joao Almeida of Portugal and 27 seconds behind double champion and fifth-placed Vincenzo Nibali of Italy. Riders in the Giro stay in a biosecure bubble when not on the road, just as they did for the Tour de France, which finished on Sept. 20. No riders tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 while on the French tour. On the Tour de France, two positive tests in a team within one week would have triggered the ejection of the outfit from the race but no such rule was put in place for the Italian grand tour, which started in Sicily on Oct. 3. Italy, which hosted the rescheduled world championships last month, has seen a recent rise in coronavirus cases, with a post-lockdown record 5,456 people infected registered last Saturday (October 10). Elite racing resumed in August after a four-and-a-half month hiatus, but the resurgence of COVID-19 in Europe has forced local authorities and organisers to cancel races, such as the Netherlands' Amstel Gold Race, which had been scheduled for Saturday (October 17), and Paris-Roubaix, the "Monument" classic that was due to be raced on Oct. 25. (Production: Tim Hart)
- Yahoo News
David Cohen, who helped spearhead CIA modernization efforts, could be Biden's pick for the agency's post-Trump future
Cohen is reportedly being considered as one of President-elect Joe Biden’s candidates for CIA director amid pushback from human rights experts and progressives opposed to Michael Morell, Biden’s original top choice.
- Yahoo News
Rep. Ilhan Omar proposed the legislation in April but concerns about an impending wave of evictions has continued to grow.
- Yahoo News 360
Media reports suggest President Trump is eyeing another bid for the White House in four years. Will Trump 2024 become a reality?
- Associated Press
The European Union’s aviation safety agency has extended a ban imposed on Pakistan's state-run airline this year barring it from flying to Europe after a plane crash that killed 97 people in the port city of Karachi, a spokesman said Friday. At the time — and while the probe into the May 22 Airbus A320 crash was still underway — authorities acknowledged that nearly a third of Pakistani pilots, 260 out of 860, had cheated on their pilot’s exams. Pakistan International Airlines subsequently grounded 150 of its pilots while a probe by the country’s Civil Aviation Authority into the other pilots is still ongoing.
Iran plans to install hundreds more advanced uranium-enriching centrifuges at an underground plant in breach of its deal with major powers, a U.N. nuclear watchdog report showed on Friday, a move that will raise pressure on U.S. President-elect Joe Biden. The confidential International Atomic Energy Agency report obtained by Reuters said Iran plans to install three more cascades, or clusters, of advanced IR-2m centrifuges in the underground plant at Natanz, which was apparently built to withstand aerial bombardment.
- The Week
President Trump reportedly needs no encouragement to start praising the dangerous, baseless QAnon conspiracy theory.The most pressing matter for federal Republicans right now is the upcoming Senate runoffs in Georgia, which will determine control of the body. But in a meeting with advisers and top Senate Republicans about that matter, Trump totally derailed the conversation by bringing up QAnon, people familiar with the discussion tell The Washington Post.Trump is reportedly not thrilled with Georgia and that fact that it flipped for President-elect Joe Biden, and is publicly upset with Republican leaders in the state who haven't somehow overturned the election for him. So even though Republican advisers say Trump's help is "key to convincing his die-hard supporters to vote for Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue" in the January runoff election, the president isn't thrilled about doing so, the Post reports. "Advisers say he has been frustrated at how some GOP senators have criticized him," leading Trump to appear "disinterested" when discussing Senate campaign plans, the Post continues.That was clear in a recent meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Sen. Todd C. Young (R-Ind.), and other aides. As they discussed Georgia's Senate races, Trump brought up the QAnon-supporting soon-to-be congressmember Marjorie Taylor Greene. Trump mispronounced the name of the group as "Q-an-uhn," and then said supporters of the theory that purports Democrats are a cannibalistic, pedophilic cabal "basically believe in good government," people familiar tell the Post. Everyone reportedly went silent until White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows mentioned he had "never heard it described that way," the Post reports.Trump has been asked to denounce QAnon several times, but usually gives the theory his tacit approval instead.More stories from theweek.com The Donald goes down to Georgia What Trump is doing isn't politics. It's something much worse. 5 absurdly funny cartoons about Trump's desperate fraud claims
- The Daily Beast
While Kyle Rittenhouse awaits trial for killing two people at a Kenosha, Wisconsin, Black Lives Matter protest this summer, his lawyers are in prosecutors’ crosshairs.From the start of the high-profile case, Rittenhouse’s lawyers have attracted nearly as much attention as he has. Now, the 17-year-old’s main lawyer, John Pierce, is off the case, after prosecutors argued that fundraisers for Rittenhouse could act as a “slush fund” for the embattled attorney. Another prominent attorney who has associated himself with Rittenhouse, Lin Wood, also appears to have pivoted away from the case in order to focus his efforts on overturning President Donald Trump’s 2020 election loss.Rittenhouse was charged with reckless homicide after he fatally shot two people and wounded a third person at the August protest. He has pleaded not guilty and says he acted in self-defense.The Lawyer Raising Money for Kyle Rittenhouse Nearly Sank His Own Law FirmPierce and Wood emerged as Rittenhouse champions shortly after his arrest. Earlier this year, the pair had banded together to launch the “FightBack” foundation, an organization with a nebulous set of missions, many of them apparently litigating right-wing grievances with the media. Some of the foundation’s funds were redirected to Pierce’s own law firm.FightBack’s launch came at a fortunate moment for Pierce. The law firm he leads has been sued by at least four payday lenders and one legal services company this year, all of them alleging unpaid bills, The Daily Beast previously reported. In April, another lender accused the firm of owing them $65 million. The debts, plus an unspecified rehab stint for Pierce earlier this year, aligned with a recent exodus of more than 60 lawyers from Pierce’s firm.Pierce and Wood advertised the FightBack foundation as a way for Rittenhouse’s fans—of which there are many on the right—to donate money to his defense. But in a Thursday court appearance, prosecutors argued that the money stream could act as a “slush fund” to pay off Pierce’s debts.Pierce had no income and monthly expenses of $49,481, prosecutors alleged in a motion. He was also approximately $1.2 million in debt and was being sued for allegedly violating the rental agreement on his $1.3 million home.“This creates a potential conflict of interest for attorney Pierce,” the motion read, as reported by The Chicago Tribune. “Given his own substantial personal debts, his involvement with an unregulated and opaque ‘slush fund’ provides ample opportunity for self-dealing and fraud. The more that the Foundation raises in donations, the more he may personally benefit. Money that should be held in trust for the defendant may instead be used to repay attorney Pierce’s numerous creditors.”Pierce denied those allegations in an email to The Daily Beast. “The allegations you reference are ludicrous,” he wrote. “All of the funds are controlled by Kyle’s mother Wendy. In addition, I have no affiliation whatsoever with that foundation.” (In fact, Pierce was affiliated with FightBack until September, when he stepped down the day after a Daily Beast report revealing its contributions to his law firm.)Prosecutors also claimed Pierce had broken rules about attorney conduct, accusing him of potentially influencing future jurors with complaints about the district attorney overseeing the case. On Twitter, Pierce stoked ire against District Attorney Michael Graveley, claiming he was “in active (and weirdly familiar) texting communication with main BLM activist for six weeks prior to, during and after the riots.”This Gun Coffee Brand Was MAGA Royalty. Then It Turned on Kyle Rittenhouse. Pierce and another Rittenhouse defense attorney, Andrew Calderon, announced Thursday that they would withdraw from the case, shortly after prosecutors filed motions to disqualify them.Pierce told The Daily Beast that the withdrawal “was always the plan.”“Now that we have successfully gotten Kyle bailed out and have built an amazing criminal defense team in Wisconsin,” he said, “I am turning my attention to the massive tasks of preparing Kyle’s defamation and other civil claims as well as orchestrating our new fundraising efforts to ensure we have the resources to get through trial.”Those fundraising efforts might be in flux, however, as the FightBack foundation turns its attention from Rittenhouse and toward overturning Trump’s 2020 loss.“For the foreseeable future, FightBack will be focusing on exposing fraud in the November 3 election,” Wood tweeted last week. (He is currently involved in long-shot lawsuits challenging the election results, and peddled false voter fraud theories in a press conference this week.) “Going forward, anyone who wishes to make donations for Kyle should contact his criminal defense attorney, John Pierce.”Neither Wood nor Pierce answered questions on Friday about Pierce’s relationship with fundraising now that he is no longer Rittenhouse’s attorney.Wood’s tweet also signaled that he was pulling away from Rittenhouse’s case. “Lin has withdrawn from representing Kyle,” Pierce confirmed to The Daily Beast.Because Wood, who mostly handles defamation cases, was never officially Rittenhouse’s criminal attorney, his exact relationship with Rittenhouse’s legal team is unclear.“I am not and have never been a criminal lawyer for Kyle. I am a civil trial lawyer,” Wood told The Daily Beast. He added that Pierce was no longer associated with FightBack, which prosecutors had argued was a potential Pierce slush fund.“John Pierce is not affiliated with my foundation,” Wood said. “I understand Mark Richards is the criminal lawyer for Kyle in Wisconsin.”Richards, a Racine, Michigan, defense attorney confirmed that neither of the other two lawyers was representing Rittenhouse in the homicide case.“I am representing Kyle in th criminal matter atty’s pierce & wood are not,” he wrote The Daily Beast in an email. “We are very thankful for all the support from both individuals, the foundation & the prople who have donated.” [sic]Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
- Associated Press
The Army Corps of Engineers reversed course on an Obama-era proposal to charge for water drawn from reservoirs the Corps manages, North Dakota’s attorney general said Friday. Attorneys general from a dozen Western and Plains states sent a letter last year to the Trump administration asking that the proposal be withdrawn. Republican North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem headed the effort, which was backed by attorneys general from Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
Russia protested on Friday after Latvia charged several journalists from the Rossiya Segodnya news agency with violating European Union sanctions. The journalists were charged because of their association with Dmitry Kiselyov, who heads Rossiya Segodnya, said Sputnik Latvia, a subsidiary of Rossiya Segodnya. The Kremlin media mogul was sanctioned by the EU for his role in Russia's seizure of the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine in 2014.
As 300 UK troops arrive in Mali, the BBC's Frank Gardner looks at the role of Islamist militants across Africa.
- Associated Press
The Tennessee Supreme Court on Thursday indefinitely postponed the execution of death row inmate Byron Black. Black was convicted by a Nashville court of murdering his girlfriend Angela Clay and her daughters Latoya, 9, and Lakesha, 6, at their home in 1988. Black’s lead attorney, Kelley Henry, filed the petition for a second delay last month after contracting COVID-19 during a visit to a federal prisoner she is representing in Texas.
- The Week
There appears to be growing support among Senate Republicans for a bipartisan coronavirus relief bill introduced earlier this week, reports The Washington Post.The $908 billion package — championed by moderate Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Susan Collins (D-Maine), and Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) — is in between what Democratic leadership is pushing for and what Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has suggested. The moderates suggested an unemployment boost and money for state governments, but no stimulus checks.While McConnell on Thursday continued to resist the bipartisan bill, pushing instead for his version, which the White House has endorsed, other Republican senators got on board with the package. Sens. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), John Cornyn (R-Tex.), and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) signaled they were open to the bipartisan bill.Democratic leaders said they believed the $908 billion package should be the basis for negotiations. Several Republicans echoed that, saying it wasn't exactly what they wanted but it made for a good starting point.McConnell didn't comment directly on the bipartisan proposal, but instead urged lawmakers to pull the trigger on his version, which he called "a serious and highly targeted relief proposal including elements which we know the president is ready and willing to sign into law."More stories from theweek.com The Donald goes down to Georgia What Trump is doing isn't politics. It's something much worse. 5 absurdly funny cartoons about Trump's desperate fraud claims
A Chinese official's tweet of an image of an Australian soldier that sparked a furious reaction from Canberra was amplified across social media by unusual accounts, of which half were likely fake, an Israeli cybersecurity firm and Australian experts said. The digitally altered image of an Australian soldier holding a bloodied knife to the throat of an Afghan child was tweeted by China's foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian on Monday. Twitter declined Australia's request to remove the tweet.
- FOX News Videos
Progressive ‘Squad’ blasts former President Obama on 'Defund the police' statement; Fox News political analyst Gianno Caldwell with reaction.
- Business Insider
President-elect Joe Biden's coronavirus team met with Dr. Anthony Fauci for the first time Thursday.
- Associated Press
Turkey’s recent moves to de-escalate a clash with Greece and Cyprus over east Mediterranean energy reserves are “unconvincing” and European Union leaders need to take action that will prompt Ankara to heed international law, Greece’s foreign minister said on Friday. Nikos Dendias said Turkey opted not to seize an opportunity that European Union leaders offered it in October to ease tensions in the region so that the 27-member bloc could start reshaping its fraught relations with Ankara.
Philippine police on Friday threatened to cane people who violate social distancing protocols as the Southeast Asian nation fights the spread of the coronavirus during the festive season. The Philippines celebrates one of the world's longest Christmas seasons, starting as early as September, and crowds have started to flock to sprawling malls and shopping centres despite the pandemic. Police general Cesar Binag, commander of the coronavirus task force, told a news conference that police and soldiers would patrol in public areas in the capital Manila, the hotspot of COVID-19 cases, carrying 1 meter rattan sticks to measure distancing.
- The Week
President-elect Joe Biden said when it comes to the Department of Justice, he is "not going to be telling them what they have to do and don't have to do."Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris were interviewed by CNN's Jake Tapper on Thursday, and the discussion turned to reports that President Trump is contemplating preemptively pardoning his adult children, son-in-law Jared Kushner, and personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Biden said this "concerns me in terms of what kind of precedent it sets and how the rest of the world looks [at] us as a nation of laws and justice."Biden promised that he is "not going to be saying, 'Go prosecute A, B, or C,' I'm not going to be telling them. That's not the role, it's not my Justice Department, it's the people's Justice Department. So the persons or person I pick to run that department are going to be people who are going to have the independent capacity to decide who gets prosecuted, who doesn't."Harris, who once served as California's attorney general, added that the administration will assume that "any decision coming out of the Justice Department ... should be based on the law, it should not be influence by politics, period."More stories from theweek.com The Donald goes down to Georgia What Trump is doing isn't politics. It's something much worse. 5 absurdly funny cartoons about Trump's desperate fraud claims
- The Telegraph
China is conducting "human testing" to create "biologically enhanced soldiers," the head of US intelligence has claimed as he warned that Beijing poses the biggest threat to America's national security. In an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, John Ratcliffe, the director of national intelligence, warned that the US must be prepared for an "open-ended" confrontation with China which he likened to the Cold War. Mr Ratcliffe, who oversees America's intelligence agencies, said he believed China's intention was to "dominate" the planet in every sense: economically, militarily and technologically. He claimed that US intelligence showed China has "conducted human testing on members of the People’s Liberation Army in hope of developing soldiers with biologically enhanced capabilities". "There are no ethical boundaries to Beijing’s pursuit of power," he said. Mr Ratcliffe said his unique vantage point on the current security threats facing the US had led him to conclude that "the People’s Republic of China poses the greatest threat to America today, and the greatest threat to democracy and freedom world-wide since World War II". He went on to outline in granular detail China's strategy of economic espionage, which he framed as: “rob, replicate and replace.” “China robs US companies of their intellectual property, replicates the technology, and then replaces the US firms in the global marketplace,” he said.
- Associated Press
A Hong Kong pro-democracy activist and former lawmaker who is visiting Denmark said Thursday he is going into exile and will soon move to Britain. “I hereby announce that I will go into exile and will withdraw my membership in the Democratic Party of Hong Kong to leave Hong Kong,” Ted Hui said in a statement to The Associated Press. It was not clear when he would travel to Britain which, in response to a crackdown on opposition in Hong Kong, has extended residency rights for up to 3 million Hong Kongers eligible for British National Overseas passports, allowing them to live and work there for five years.