Illinois officials announced a record 9,935 new COVID-19 cases and 97 additional deaths Thursday.
Illinois officials announced a record 9,935 new COVID-19 cases and 97 additional deaths Thursday.
Miami-Dade mayor Daniella Levine Cava calls decision ‘deeply frustrating’
A Turkish court sentenced several military and civilian personnel at an air base to life prison sentences Thursday, proclaiming them guilty of involvement in a failed coup attempt in 2016, the state-run news agency reported. A total of 475 defendants, including generals and fighter jet pilots at the Akinci air base, on the outskirts of the capital Ankara, were on trial for the past three years, accused of directing the coup and bombing key government buildings, including a section of the parliament building. The massive trial was one of two main trials against suspected members of a network led by U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara accuses of orchestrating the failed attempt.
The UK needs to recognise Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s detention in Iran as a state-sponsored hostage taking, her husband said Thursday, the day after Tehran released a jailed British-Australian academic in an apparent prisoner swap. Melbourne University lecturer Kylie Moore-Gilbert was released from Tehran’s Evin prison on Wednesday after serving over two years of a 10-year sentence for spying. Australia refused to confirm she was freed in a prisoner exchange, saying only that her release followed “diplomatic engagement with the Iranian government”. Thailand said Thursday it had repatriated three Iranians involved in a failed 2012 bombing targeting Israeli diplomats. While Thai officials declined to call it a swap, Iranian state television showed the garlanded men being hailed as returning heroes in the same segment showing Dr Moore-Gilbert departing Tehran airport. “It’s very certainly transactional from their point of view,” said Richard Ratcliffe, whose wife has been detained for four-and-a-half years in Iran. The British-Iranian mother of one from north London was jailed in 2016 on charges of trying to overthrow the government, something her and her employer Thomson Reuters Foundation strongly deny. But the 42-year-old’s release has been tied to repayment of a long-standing £400 million debt that London owes Tehran. The UK has acknowledged it owes the debt – which arose over non-delivery of 1,500 Chieftain tanks ordered and paid for by the Shah of Iran shortly before his 1979 overthrow – but says repayment must not breach sanctions. However Mr Ratcliffe said that the UK’s position of not linking repayment of the debt to the release of Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe ignored the reality of her case. “They picked her up for that money and they have made it increasingly clear about what that’s about,” he said. He called on the UK to acknowledge that Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe was a victim of hostage diplomacy and not simply a citizen in need of consular assistance. “I think it would protect her and protect others in the future to call Iran out for taking hostages,” he said. “Hostage taking and torture is no different than any other kind of abuse, you do not protect people from abuse by euphemising it away. You need a clear accountability so people do not do it with impunity.” But publicly at least, the UK has been reluctant to speak out forcefully. “I welcome news that Kylie Moore-Gilbert has been able to return to Australia and her family,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Wednesday. “I call on the Iranian government to release all the remaining dual British nationals arbitrarily detained and allow them to reunite with their loved ones.” Currently on temporary home release in Tehran, Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe will complete her sentence in March. But an Iranian court issued a new charge against her in September. “I would still take seriously the threat of a new prison sentence,” said Mr Ratcliffe. “I would expect if we wait long enough she will be sent back to prison again.” While the Foreign Office remains tight-lipped about efforts to free Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe, her husband said he was skeptical that their current approach is working. “The British government preference seems to be to wait for the other side to be less unreasonable, well we’ve been waiting a long time.” From Tehran’s perspective, its success in exchanging one prisoner for three jailed citizens may be encouraging. Michael Stephens, an associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, said: “I think what Kylie's release proves is that all along she was innocent, and that this was a cheap shot policy by Iran to get some of its captives out of jail. Ultimately it confirms that Iran has a policy of taking hostages and using them as leverage, and that it appears to get them what they want.” But for Mr Ratcliffe, the release of one prisoner means his wife’s release must be “a bit closer”. “It's a happy day for Kylie, one more family starts to heal again,” he said. “We’d like to be next.”
With communications largely cut to the Tigray region, both sides in the conflict are trying to control the narrative.
In a surprise news conference on Thanksgiving Day, President Trump took questions from the press for the first time since losing re-election—but he doubled down on his “rigged” election claims and appeared to deny the reality that his presidency is ending, saying it will be “very hard” for him to concede to Joe Biden.“I think it’s not right he’s trying to pick a Cabinet,” Trump complained after railing against the supposed “massive fraud” that he claims gave Biden victory.Reiterating his claims of voter fraud in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Georgia despite the fact that state authorities have already certified the election results in those states, Trump appeared to become combative when asked if he would concede if the Electoral College votes for Biden on Dec. 14. Although he eventually did say he would exit the White House if the vote were not in his favor, that answer came after he first repeatedly cast doubt on the Electoral College and election in general. “It’s going to be a very hard thing to concede. Because we know there was massive fraud,” he said when first asked if he would concede. Pennsylvania Certifies Biden as Winner, Driving Stake in Trump’s Legal Effort“Time isn’t on our side … this was a massive fraud, this should never take place in this country, we’re like a third-world country,” he said, suggesting that faulty vote-counting machines gave Biden millions of extra votes.Asked a second time if he would concede if the Electoral College votes for Biden, Trump responded, “Well if they do they made a mistake,” before saying it’s a “possibility” and scolding a reporter who pressed him on the issue: “Don’t talk to me that way, you’re just a lightweight.”Asked by another reporter if he would “leave this building” if the Electoral College elects Biden, he said, “Certainly, I will.”While Trump and his legal team have repeatedly looked to throw out votes in states that Joe Biden carried, none of their challenges have proved successful.Key states such as Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia—all of which Trump carried in 2016, before flipping blue this year—certified their results this week, ensuring they will send a Democratic slate of voters to the Electoral College. Wisconsin and Arizona, two more states that flipped to Biden, are set to certify their results next week.“Massive fraud has been found. We’re like a third world country,” Trump said, before launching back into allegations of voter fraud that have been repeatedly rebuffed in court and by state election officials of both parties.“I did so well ... that they didn’t know what to do,” he said at one point of election results in Georgia, claiming that ballots for him were “thrown away.”“I don’t know what is going to happen. I know one thing, Joe Biden did not get 80 million votes. And I got 74 million but there were many ballots thrown away, so I got much more than that. But I got 74 million, 74 million is 11 million more than I got last time. … And it’s millions more than Hillary Clinton got.”Underneath all of the bravado, Trump at one point slipped up and blasted “the Biden administration,” apparently inadvertently recognizing Biden’s win.While Trump has refused to concede and maintained that somehow, he would win states he had already lost, his administration has relented behind the scenes.Earlier this week, Emily Murphy, the head of the General Services Administrations—a Trump appointee—signed off on a letter officially allowing the presidential transition to begin. Murphy had previously refused to do so, a partisan move from a historically non-partisan agency.Even Trump appeared to have a moment of clarity Thursday regarding a potential COVID-19 cure and his future (or lack thereof) in the White House.“Don’t let Joe Biden take credit for the vaccine,” he said.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.
Russia should consider revising the terms of its participation in the International Space Station, a Russian space industry executive said on Thursday, because it wants to focus on forming its own orbiting outpost after 2024. The Russian space agency, Roscosmos, has said it will remain part of the ISS until 2024 and that it is open to extending its participation beyond then. "We have to reconsider the terms of further participation in the (ISS) programme and focus on the implementation of orbital station programmes," Vladimir Solovyov, deputy head of Rocket and Space Corporation Energia, was quoted as saying by the Scientific Russia internet portal.
This was the first time Trump took questions from reporters since he lost the presidential election.
Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed with leaders of Germany's 16 federal states to extend and tighten measures against the coronavirus until at least Dec. 20 and they are likely to extend them into January, she said on Wednesday. "This is absolutely not the time to sound the all-clear," she told journalists, after the number of deaths from the virus reached a daily record. Germany imposed a month-long "lockdown lite" on Nov. 2 to rein in a second wave that is sweeping much of Europe.
A former gymnast is thought to have jumped across the border fence undetected to flee to the South.
Group offered man $1m not to sue them
Trump campaign recount team member Chris Prudhome provides insight.
The contact between Fauci and Biden's team comes as the US may be entering the darkest stage yet of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Brazilian man who previously confessed to killing Hitomi Akamatsu in Brazil's Goiás state has admitted that he also raped the Japanese woman, according to a statement from local police. Police identified the 18-year-old killer as Rafael Lima da Costa, who claimed during his first interrogation that he used Akamatsu's blouse to strangle her, and hadn't said that he raped her. Akamatsu moved to the city of Abadiania to seek treatment for her skin cancer after she survived a nuclear accident in Japan.
Azerbaijan's parliament called on Thursday for France to be stripped of its mediation role in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to punish the French Senate for adopting a resolution backing the region's independence. The French resolution adopted on Nov. 25 followed a Russia-brokered ceasefire ending weeks of fighting in the mountain enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, part of Azerbaijan mainly populated by ethnic Armenians.