Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, areas already beat up from tropical systems, were hit hard again by Hurricane Zeta.
Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, areas already beat up from tropical systems, were hit hard again by Hurricane Zeta.
The dozens of attendees were all mask-less at Caligula, an illegal sex club, violating New York state COVID-19 regulations.
Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh on Monday criticized President Trump’s legal team over their chaotic press conference last week that failed to provide any evidence to back up their claims that the 2020 election was rigged.“You call a gigantic press conference like that — one that lasts an hour — and you announce massive bombshells, then you better have some bombshells,” Limbaugh said during his show on Monday. “There better be something at that press conference other than what we got…I talked to so many people who were blown away by it, by the very nature of the press conference. They promised blockbuster stuff and then nothing happened, and that’s just, it’s not good.”He added, “If you’re gonna do a press conference like that with the promise of blockbusters, then there has to be something more than what that press conference delivered.”He also questioned the role of lawyer Sidney Powell, who was present at the press conference but has since cut ties with Trump’s legal team.Though Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis said Powell is “not a member of the Trump legal team” or a personal lawyer to the president, Limbaugh argued it’s a “tough thing to deny she was ever part of it because they introduced her as part of it."“She was at that press conference last week,” he said.During the press conference on Thursday, Giuliani claimed to have evidence of a "national conspiracy" to steal the election for President-elect Joe Biden, though he said he could not yet release any evidence as the judges presiding over the campaign's lawsuit might object and because his witnesses might face retribution if their names became public. He said he had “at least ten” witnesses ready to describe instances of voter fraud, he couldn’t reveal them publicly because “they don’t want to be harassed.”
A Russian warship caught the U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain operating illegally in Russia's territorial waters in the Sea of Japan, but chased it off, Russia's defence ministry said on Tuesday. Moscow said that the Admiral Vinogradov, a Russian destroyer, had verbally warned the U.S. ship and threatened to ram it in order to force it to leave the area. The U.S ship had immediately returned to neutral waters after being warned off, the defence ministry said in a statement.
John Kerry, one of the leading architects of the Paris climate agreement, is getting one more chance to lead the fight against climate change after President-elect Joe Biden named the longtime senator and former secretary of state as climate envoy for national security. Biden's team gave little immediate detail on Monday about how he envisioned Kerry shaping the new job, which many on social media and on all sides of the climate-action spectrum were quick to dub “climate czar.”
President Trump has yet to concede the election, and New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman thinks his Monday evening tweet about what is in "the best interest of our country" is "the closest to a concession Trump is going to get."Trump wrote that he spoke to Emily Murphy, the head of the General Services Administration, and recommended that she "do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols," adding that he has "told my team to do the same." Murphy needed to ascertain the election in order to formally start the transition process, and after weeks of delays, she sent President-elect Joe Biden a letter on Monday telling him the transition can officially start.Haberman tweeted that she's been told some of Trump's advisers "had been urging him" to let the transition begin before Thanksgiving, "even if he never said the word 'concede.'" Between the Trump campaign and other Republicans, more than 30 lawsuits have been filed in six swing states, in an attempt to contest the election results, NBC News reports. Despite Trump and members of his legal team claiming there has been widespread voter fraud, no court has found a single piece of evidence.Trump's election legal team is being led by his longtime friend and personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City. Giuliani has been "key in stoking Trump's conspiracy theories," Haberman said, but people with knowledge of the matter told her that a recent court loss in Pennsylvania made Trump realize "Giuliani was not painting an honest picture" of his chances of actually changing the election results. Giuliani, she added, took control of Trump's legal team after the campaign dropped a lawsuit in Maricopa County, Arizona, and he warned Trump that "other advisers were lying to him."More stories from theweek.com The Secret Service is reportedly preparing for Trump's 'post-presidency life' Biden is stealing the spotlight. Trump can't stand it. I was wrong about Mitt Romney
Oregon Governor Kate Brown is encouraging residents to call the police on any neighbors who flout state COVID-19 restrictions, which include limiting in-home gatherings to a maximum of six people.“This is no different than what happens if there's a party down the street and it's keeping everyone awake,” Brown said in an interview Friday. “What do neighbors do [in that case]? They call law enforcement because it's too noisy. This is just like that. It's like a violation of a noise ordinance.”Last week the Democratic governor instituted a new round of restrictions aimed at mitigating the spread of coronavirus in the state via executive order, including a two-week “freeze” limiting indoor and outdoor gatherings to no more than six people from no more than two households just ahead of Thanksgiving. Residents are also prohibited from eating out at restaurants and going to the gym, though faith-based gatherings of up to 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors are allowed.Violators can face up to 30 days in jail, $1,250 fines or both. The Marion County Sheriff’s office said in a statement on Friday that it believes “we cannot arrest or enforce our way out of the pandemic.”“We believe both are counterproductive to public health goals.”Brown pushed back, calling criticisms of the new restrictions "irresponsible."“This is about saving lives and it's about protecting our fellow Oregonians,” she said. “We have too many sporadic cases in Oregon. We can't trace these cases to a particular source. We have to limit gatherings and social interactions.”On Sunday, new COVID-19 cases reached a record high in the state for the third straight day, with 1,517 new infections recorded, bringing the state total to 65,170.
Large crowds of retirees staged a protest in the Belarusian capital on Monday to demand the resignation of the country's authoritarian leader who won his sixth terms in office in a disputed election. Over 2,000 pensioners marched down a central avenue in Minsk in what has turned into a regular Monday rally, carrying red and white flags that have become the main symbol of the country's protests. Mass protests gripped Belarus since official results from the Aug. 9 presidential election gave President Alexander Lukashenko a landslide victory over his widely popular opponent Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya.
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
Conspiracy, illegal gambling, loansharking and drug trafficking among charges unsealed, U.S. attorney says.
Facebook will promote vaccine and climate change information in a bid to please the Biden administration, sources told the Financial Times.
The Donald Trump phenomenon is purported to have divided friendships, families, and even marriages. I can attest to this fact in my own suburban Washington household, for this perhaps peculiar professional reason: It has occasioned my wife, the longtime sufferer of all my hot takes, to ask approximately one-thousand times whether I finally feel bad about all the mean things I said about Mitt Romney.The short answer is, yes!Romney, now the junior senator of Utah, has displayed rare courage and integrity throughout this hell-year. Alone among Republican senators (indeed, alone among any senator in history), he crossed party lines to vote to convict President Trump on the charge of abusing his power by pressuring a foreign government to interfere in our election. And — not alone, exactly, but hardly in plentiful company — he has forthrightly condemned the president for stonewalling the Biden transition and undermining our democracy.These actions have taken real guts. If I were wearing a cap, I would doff it; if I were to meet Romney in person, I would thank him. With this virtual pen in hand, I am applauding him.However: The long answer to the above question is … Heck no!Let me explain why I’m torn.First, it’s essential to remember how radically different our political landscape looked in the Before Times. The outright bigotry and racism of the 2016 Trump campaign had not yet been contemplated, let alone assimilated; for decades, those things were hinted at, dog-whistled, wink-winked — but they were not, in any overt sense, options on the menu given to Republican primary voters. Consequently, it needs to be said that it’s silly to retroactively credit figures in the party for not behaving that badly.So, what was it that bugged me so badly about mainstream, milquetoast Mitt?In 2007 and 2008, Romney, then the moderate one-term governor of Massachusetts (as well as the son of a famously moderate governor of Michigan) ran a primary campaign that was, I still maintain, preposterous. It was predicated on the notion that frontrunner John McCain (who, after a tumultuous summer in ’07, eventually won the GOP nomination) was too moderate. He compromised too often with Democrats (with Russ Feingold on campaign finance reform; with Ted Kennedy on immigration; with Joe Lieberman on climate change).I understand the imperatives of strategy in winning a primary, when you must appeal to the base before pivoting to the center. But — as I said then and will say again now — I refuse to listen to such an appeal from mainstream milquetoast Mitt. He did not play the Mr. Conservative act lightly; he played it, as he plays everything, stiffly. The act failed. It deserved to fail.Then came 2012. Romney was now something of a frontrunner. He had lost the 2008 primary — but so had McCain, badly, in the general election against President Obama. It was now, in the sequential custom of Republican politics, “Mitt Romney’s turn.” So now he was the one who had to beat back attempts to protect his right flank. Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee (am I forgetting anyone? It feels like I’m forgetting someone!) — they all took their shots at Romney; they all exposed weaknesses or wounded him; and they all, one after the other, failed as he had four years before.Without aid of Google, I remember calling Romney a “rancid imposter” (yikes!). With aid of Google, I see that I called his 2012 campaign “breathtakingly cynical, borderline nihilistic” (I hadn’t seen nothin’ yet!). I haven’t forgotten about the catastrophic 47 percent video. And I sure haven’t forgotten about the way Romney comported himself in the first innings of the Benghazi fiasco (reminder: He really was breathtakingly cynical).But, with the benefit of both hindsight and five years of Donald Trump, here’s what I’ve come to appreciate about Mitt Romney, a man of obvious high character and basic decency, that wasn’t clear to me then, but should have been: He was trying to hold together a party that was morally coming apart at the seams. Indeed, Romney could see for himself that it was thirsting for a demagogue very like Trump (whose endorsement, it must be noted, Romney accepted). “It’s very easy to excite the base with incendiary comments,” he said in February 2012. “We’ve seen throughout the campaign that if you’re willing to say really outrageous things that are accusatory and attacking President Obama that you’re going to jump up in the polls. You know, I’m not willing to light my hair on fire to try and get support. I am who I am.”It took guts to say that then. I didn’t acknowledge it at the time. I should have.When the notional threat of Trump became a reality in 2016, Romney, again, took a stand. In March of that fateful year, Romney warned against nominating a “con man, a fake.” Every word of the speech was born out by the reality of the Trump administration. Not just the bits about Trump’s warped character — but the red flags over Trump’s desire for a trade war and his embrace of prodigious debt.Of course, Romney being Romney, he sullied his righteous stand by agreeing to dine with Trump during the transition, under the guise of possibly being nominated for secretary of state. Predictably, Romney was humiliated. But that was the last time.Very much on his own shingle, Romney won a Senate seat in Utah. From there, he has become one of the bravest and most constructive voices in Republican politics. And while I may regret the excessive tone of some of my criticisms of Mitt Romney’s past, I can say that I look forward to applauding him more often in the future.“Sorry, Mitt”? Not quite.Instead: Go, Mitt, go!More stories from theweek.com The Secret Service is reportedly preparing for Trump's 'post-presidency life' Biden is stealing the spotlight. Trump can't stand it. Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon get why Trump's legal team couldn't steal Biden's presidency
Buried beneath the laundry pile of new left-wing regulations the Biden administration hopes to push is a previously obscure idea whose time may, regrettably, have come: the federal corporate charter. For decades, anti-capitalist legal theorists have advocated national licensing requirements for corporations — charters that government officials could revoke for alleged misbehavior. We may soon see what that idea looks like in practice.With President-elect Biden moving quickly to staff his new administration, many observers are wondering how radical his appointees are going to be. We may not see Senators Elizabeth Warren (D., Ma.) and Bernie Sanders (I, Vt.) in the cabinet (if for no other reason than their Senate replacements would be named by Republican governors), but we will likely see many new senior federal officials in their mold. CNN reported this week that “Elizabeth Warren's fingerprints are all over the Biden transition, much to Wall Street's dismay.” Our friends on the Street are wise to be dismayed.We can get a good idea of what Warren-style officials would want by looking at the senator’s own Accountable Capitalism Act, an admittedly aspirational piece of legislation introduced in August 2018 as Warren herself was preparing to run for the Democratic nomination for president. The very first item that Warren’s office listed in its press release on the bill is the provision for a federal corporate charter, which would cover any American company with more than $1 billion in annual revenue.The Accountable Capitalism Act would require such corporations to reject the traditional obligation — and long-standing legal precedent — to maximize value for shareholders and instead embrace a “stakeholder” model that “obligates company directors to consider the interests of all corporate stakeholders,” including “communities in which the company operates.” The bill would also create the Office of United States Corporations at the Department of Commerce, which would have the authority to punish any company deemed insufficiently solicitous to stakeholder interests.The legislation invites state attorneys general to petition the director of the Office of Corporations with the names of firms that they consider unworthy. The director would then have it in her power to revoke the charter of any corporation, giving the company in question one year until its ability to operate expires. The only escape from the verdict of the Office of Corporations would, apparently, be a direct appeal to Congress. Warren’s office describes the process by which a company would use its one-year countdown-to-destruction “to make the case to Congress that it should retain its charter.” This special act of Congress, setting aside a particular charter revocation, would be a sort of reverse Bill of Attainder for the corporation in question.Proponents of this “corporate death penalty” assure us that it is not a radical or untested method of regulating business, pointing back to the early days of the republic, when corporate charters were more limited in issuance and duration, and throughout the 19th century, when they were much more frequently revoked by state officials. There was a time, they remind us, when being allowed to form a corporation at all was a special privilege that monarchs and legislatures extended only to enterprises that were judged to be “beneficial to the public interest,” rather than to any old group of investors seeking to pool their resources.Left-wing critics are certainly correct that it was more difficult to form a corporation in the 18th and early 19th centuries, but returning to such a system would hardly be an improvement. One of the many things that we can be proud of in American history is the gradual move away from an economy in which citizens have to beg the government for preference and permission and toward a system in which citizens are generally allowed to conduct their peaceful business as they see fit. During the 19th century we shifted from a system under which the grant of a corporate charter was a one-off special favor, and adopted what was, in effect, a “shall issue” presumption that allowed people to form and operate corporations — as the legal phrasing goes — for “any legal purpose.” Turning the clock back would be social regress, not reform.Senator Warren’s legislation would put the continued existence of every large corporation in the country in the hands of a single sub-cabinet-level political appointee, empowered to determine whether a firm’s “misconduct” had “caused significant harm” to customers, employees, shareholders, or business partners. That last item seems like an odd inclusion, and it could be the worst. Any company that does business with your company and doesn’t like your latest terms could attempt to haul you before the federal Office of Corporations firing squad as a way of playing hardball. Even if unsuccessful, such a review could torpedo the share price of the target company.What price would a company pay if its very existence were on the line? Almost anything short of being legally dissolved suddenly becomes plausible, which is why a future Director of the Office of Corporations would quickly become more powerful than the Department of Justice’s antitrust division, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and even the President himself. The ability to bend the corporate titans of Wall Street and Silicon Valley to your will with the mere suggestion of a charter review would make the ring-makers of Mordor blush: It would permanently institutionalize regulation by shakedown and eliminate due process for shareholders.Suppose, for example, that a left-wing Office of Corporations director decides that ExxonMobil has caused “significant harm” to the global environment by contributing to climate change. Say goodbye to the $150 billion of wealth owned by Exxon’s shareholders. But don’t stop there: Who is to say that the director of President Josh Hawley’s Office of Corporations won’t decide that Apple has done “significant harm” to national security by collaborating with Communist officials in China? There goes another $2 trillion. Hope you weren’t planning to retire anytime soon.The Accountable Capitalism Act isn’t going anywhere in Mitch McConnell’s Senate, but runoff elections in Georgia and a challenging 2022 map for Republicans could change that. Even if the GOP manages to maintain a majority in the upper chamber, supporters of a free and growing economy need to mobilize now to head off ideas like this before they get the “pen and phone” treatment from an incoming administration that has already telegraphed its willingness to make policy without the agreement of Congress.
Outgoing Republican Steve King has long history of offensive remarks
President Trump’s efforts to undermine the results of the November election in Georgia will “absolutely” hurt Republicans in two U.S. Senate runoff races there, an election official in the state said Monday. “We’ve crossed a tipping point where ... there may be some Republicans who don’t trust the outcomes of the system at all, and say, ‘Why bother to vote,’” Gabriel Sterling, Georgia’s voting system implementation manager, told Yahoo News.
An officer revealed Monday Canadian police obtained the security code to Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou's Vancouver house -- not merely passcodes to her electronic devices, which defense lawyers allege violated her rights.
President Donald Trump gave some ground on Monday to allow Joe Biden's transition to the presidency after the ranks grew of prominent Republicans calling for Trump to end efforts to overturn his election defeat. Twenty days after Election Day, most members of Trump's party still refused on Monday to refer to Biden as president-elect, or question Trump's insistence - without evidence - that he only lost on Nov. 3 because of fraud. Trump gave the go-ahead for federal funds to start flowing to Biden so that he can carry out his transition duties before his Jan. 20 inauguration as the 46th U.S. president.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took a private jet to Neom, Saudi Arabia, on Sunday for a secret meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Israeli media and The Wall Street Journal report. Two Saudi government advisers tell the Journal that in their first known face-to-face meeting, Netanyahu and bin Salman discussed Iran and normalizing relations, but no substantial agreements were reached. Yossi Cohen, the director of Israeli spy agency Mossad, was also on the trip, Israel's Army Radio reports.Flight data showed a Gulfstream IV private jet Netanyahu likes to use traveling from Tel Aviv to Neom, a Saudi resort city being developed on the Red Sea.> MBS and Pompeo were at NEOM at the time. https://t.co/bc2H4hETk8> > — avi scharf (@avischarf) November 23, 2020"Pompeo traveled with an American press pool on his trip throughout the Mideast, but left them at the Neom airport when he went into his visit with the crown prince," The Associated Press reports. The Trump administration has recently helped broker deals to normalize relations between Israel and several Gulf Arab states, including Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates. and Sudan. "Saudi Arabia is seen as the ultimate prize in the high-stakes diplomatic campaign," the Journal notes."The Saudi government, under the direction of King Salman, has so far balked at formal ties with Israel so long as its conflict with the Palestinians remained unresolved," the Journal reports. "But Saudi Arabia's king has been at odds with his son, Prince Mohammed, over embracing the Jewish state. The king is a longtime supporter of the Arab boycott of Israel and the Palestinians' demand for an independent state, while the prince wants to move past what he sees as an intractable conflict to join with Israel in business and align against Iran."Benny Gantz, Israel's alternate prime minister under a power-sharing agreement with Netanyahu, and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi were in the dark about the meeting, Haaretz reports. "Israel has long had clandestine ties to Gulf Arab states that have strengthened in recent years as they have confronted a shared threat in Iran," AP adds.More stories from theweek.com The Secret Service is reportedly preparing for Trump's 'post-presidency life' Biden is stealing the spotlight. Trump can't stand it. I was wrong about Mitt Romney
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.
Decorating mansion will be her final official act as first lady
One of Britain's most prolific paedophiles, who targeted at least 500 children, would not have been caught under Facebook's proposed end-to-end encryption plans, according to the National Crime Agency (NCA). Appearing at Ipswich Crown Court on Monday, labourer David Nicholas Wilson, 36, admitted 96 sex abuse offences against 51 boys aged four to 14, whom he conned into sending him sexual images or blackmailed into abusing their younger siblings or friends. The NCA investigation uncovered evidence that Wilson, who pretended to be multiple teenage girls online, managed to persuade 500 boys to send sexual abuse images to his fake identities and had approached more than 5,000 boys globally. The NCA found 250,000 messages communicating with boys in his Facebook, Snapchat, Google and Instagram accounts after obtaining access to them through an International Letter of Request to the US authorities. However, his web of abuse would not have been exposed without Facebook providing 90 referrals of suspect accounts linked to Wilson – evidence that would not be available if the social media giant goes ahead with its encryption plans, said Rob Jones, the NCA director of threat leadership. Mr Jones said: "It's chilling to think Wilson wouldn't have been caught if Facebook had already implemented their end-to-end encryption plans which will entirely prevent access to message content. The NCA, wider law enforcement and child safety groups are clear that the [encryption] move will turn the lights out for policing and effectively provide cover for offenders such as Wilson. "Facebook Messenger is already protected by strong encryption that still enables the company to detect grooming and known abuse images. It was Facebook's initial identification of Wilson's accounts in June and July 2017 which provided the intelligence that started this investigation. "Content obtained from Facebook Messenger conversations was also crucial throughout the operation. Had that content been end-to-end encrypted, there is a real risk that justice would not have been served and Wilson would still be abusing victims today." It follows calls by Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, and her counterparts in the "Five Eyes" intelligence network of countries for Facebook to allow law enforcement agencies lawful access to suspects communications rather than blanket encryption which means even it cannot access messages. Wilson was told by judge Rupert Overbury on Monday that he faces a lengthy prison term when he is sentenced on January 12. Using unregistered phones, Wilson sent sexual images of young women from the internet in exchange for the boys sending him videos and images of themselves. He built up trust with his victims before blackmailing them into sending him more extreme footage of themselves – and in some cases, of them abusing younger siblings or friends. On some occasions, he then distributed the images to victims' friends. He showed no compassion even when some victims begged him to stop, according to the NCA. Some of the children were so distressed that they spoke of wanting to end their lives. His activities were first detected in summer 2017 when Facebook identified 20 accounts of boys ranging from 12 to 15 years old, who had sent indecent images of themselves to an account seemingly belonging to a 13-year-old girl. The material was forwarded to the NCA for investigation by NCMEC – the US National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children – which receives industry referrals before disseminating them to law enforcement agencies to investigate. It was forwarded to the NCA, which found IP addresses used to commit the offences linked to Wilson’s address, CCTV footage of him buying a top-up voucher for a phone number linked to one of the accounts and the phone used to commit some of the offences hidden in his bedroom. Tony Cook, NCA head of CSA operations, said: “David Wilson is a prolific offender who has caused heartbreaking suffering to some of the boys and their families in this case. “He was able to gain the boys’ trust and exploit their use of social media using well practiced techniques to convince them he was genuinely a young female who was interested in them. “He then manipulated or forced them to send images of themselves or other children which he craved. “He knew the anguish victims were suffering but ignored any pleas from them to stop until he got what he wanted from them. “Wilson retained material the children had sent and used the threat of sharing it among their friends to control them. “I commend the victims and their families for their bravery in helping the prosecution and our investigators for painstakingly and tenaciously proving Wilson was responsible. “Wilson is an example of adult sexual offenders who use the internet to hide their real identities, using plausible online personas to exploit children. “We know children are increasingly sharing personal material on social media sites but I would implore them to think carefully about their interactions online and be aware of the hurt and long-term damage manipulative offenders like Wilson cause.” A Facebook spokesman said: “Child exploitation and grooming have no place on our platforms. Facebook has led the industry in developing new ways to prevent, detect, and respond to abuse and we will continue to work with law enforcement to combat criminal activity. "End-to-end encryption is already the leading technology used by many services to keep people safe and we will build on our strong anti-abuse capabilities at WhatsApp when we roll it out on our other messaging services. For example, through a combination of advanced technology and user reports, WhatsApp bans around 250,000 accounts each month suspected of sharing child exploitative imagery.”