The comedian asks, what kind of election did we expect from the year 2020?
The comedian asks, what kind of election did we expect from the year 2020?
In a now-deleted tweet, Tim Murtaugh attempted to mock the media for projecting Joe Biden as president-elect by sharing a doctored headline declaring ‘President Gore’ in 2000
Dr. Joseph Varon, of Houston's United Memorial Medical Center, has worked 251 days in the COVID-19 ICU. He said the 'darkest days' are to come.
Turkey on Friday rejected a call by the European Parliament for sanctions against Ankara over President Tayyip Erdogan's recent visit to the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state in north Cyprus, calling the demand "disconnected from the realities". On Thursday, the European Union's parliament agreed a non-binding resolution in support of EU member Cyprus urging EU leaders to "take action and impose tough sanctions" against Turkey, a move likely to bolster support for France's push for sanctions on Ankara at an EU summit next month.
A South Korean court has sentenced the operator of a vast online sex trafficking ring to 40 years in prison in a case that outraged the nation. Cho Ju-bin, 25, oversaw a group of 38 accomplices who befriended and then blackmailed at least 74 women into sharing explicit videos that were then posted in pay-per-view internet chat rooms. Sixteen of the victims were less than 16 years old, the age of consent in South Korea. The Seoul Central District Court on Thursday found Cho guilty of violating laws to protect minors from sexual abuse and of making a profit from producing and selling abusive footage, Yonhap News reported. Indicted on 14 criminal charges, including inducing another person involved in the trafficking ring to rape a teenage girl and concealing more than £70,000 in criminal proceeds, prosecutors had initially demanded a life sentence on the grounds of the “irreperable damage” Cho had caused his victims. They had also requested that he be obliged to wear an electronic monitoring device for 45 years. In a petition to the court, one of the women said Cho, who had worked in an orphanage and adopted the online name “The Doctor”, was “evil” and deserved a 2,000-year prison term. Passing sentence, the judge said: “The accused has widely distributed sexually abusive content that he created by luring and threatening many victims.” Media reports have suggested that some of the video clips showed a group of men raping a teenage girl in a motel room, while others included images of the word “slave” cut into a woman’s body. One video showed girls “barking like dogs”, the Kookmin Ilbo newspaper reported. Cho operated the chat room on the Telegram messenger service, with at least 10,000 people accessing the site and paying as much as £1,000 for access. Authorities have been tracing people who used the site and have identified serving police officers and teachers as among the users. Cho’s arrest in March sparked fury across South Korea after prosecutors initially refused to name the suspect before his trial opened. Within days, more than 5 million people had signed petitions on the home page of Moon Jae-in, the South Korean president, demanding that the authorities withdraw his right to anonymity. A committee of senior judicial officials, a psychologist and a psychiatrist weighed the public’s right to know and took the unprecedented step of naming Cho. He was then brought out in handcuffs from a police station in central Seoul to face the public. “I apologise to those that I hurt”, Cho said. “Thank you for putting a brake on the life of a devil who could not be stopped.” South Korea’s Ministry of Justice has been the target of criticism for its failure to deal with the growing use of technology to carry out sex crimes, with one ministry official admitting that the case had been “a disaster” and apologising for its “lukewarm response” to online sexual abuse cases.
Democrats once dominated Koochiching County in the blue-collar Iron Range of northern Minnesota. “We’ve got to see if we can get the Democratic Party to moderate and accept the fact that rural Minnesota is not getting more conservative,” said Bakk, who announced last week that he would become an independent after serving 25 years as a Democrat. The party lost House seats in the Midwest, and Democratic challengers in Iowa, Kansas, Montana and North Carolina Senate races, all once viewed as serious threats to Republican incumbents, fell, some of them hard.
French authorities have suspended police officers accused of assaulting and racially abusing a Black man in Paris, after CCTV footage of the incident was released and caused an outcry. The music producer, who has identified himself as Michel, was beaten at the entrance to his studio. French President Emmanuel Macron was quoted by France's BFM TV as being "very shocked" by the CCTV and mobile phone images, which were obtained by the LoopSider news outlet and made headline news on French channels. The officers involved were suspended pending investigation at the interior minister's request. Michel told reporters he'd been walking in the street without a face mask, against French COVID-19 rules. When he saw a police car he went into his studio to avoid getting a fine. But the police followed him inside and arrested him, violently. The video purports to show them kicking and beating him, and he says they hurled racial abuse at him too. They then leave, and throw a tear gas canister into the studio. As anger grew, French soccer stars added to the chorus of condemnation. Kylian Mbappe tweeted that the video was "intolerable" and his fellow Les Bleus striker, Antoine Griezmann wrote: "My France is hurting." The alleged attack on Michel risks inflaming racial tension, and fuelling criticism of a draft law that would limit journalists' ability to show images of French police officers at work. The prime minister's office said on Thursday (November 26) it would set up an independent commission to propose a new draft of the legislation. Some "BlackLivesMatter" protests broke out in Paris in June, a month after the killing of George Floyd by a white police officer in the United States. The movement resonates in France, in particular in deprived city suburbs, where rights groups say accusations of police brutality, often against people with immigrant backgrounds, remain largely unaddressed. And Paris police were already under fire this week after social media photos and videos showed officers hitting protesters as they cleared out an illegal migrants campsite in a central Paris square.
Men plead innocence following arrest in 2017 as State Department demands release
Saudi Arabia formally suspended imports of meat, eggs and other products from Turkey earlier this month, the Turkish exporters' union said, after a months-long informal boycott of Turkish goods over political tensions between the two regional rivals. Turkish exporters have reported increasing obstacles to trade in Saudi Arabia, as businessmen in the Gulf Arab state have led calls for bans on Turkish imports and as ties between the two countries deteriorated. Already strained by competing ambitions for regional influence, those relations plunged into crisis two years ago when Saudi agents killed prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
One of the first challenges Joe Biden will face as president is how to deal with Vladimir Putin, leader of the country that Biden has labelled the biggest threat to the United States. In contrast to the impetuous and inconsistent Donald Trump, Putin is generally seen as a resolute leader, who unflaggingly pursues his country's foreign policy goals, however malign. But the cases of three Americans who are currently detained in Russia belie this image of Putin, portraying instead a leader who is dysfunctionally beholden to the interests of his security services and the corrupt clans who form his power base.The case of American investor Michael Calvey, which should be decided by a Moscow court within the next few weeks, offers a particularly striking example of how Putin has allowed a corrupted legal and financial system to undermine Russia’s broader interests. Calvey, arrested along with five others in February 2019 on bogus fraud charges, founded the highly successful private equity firm Baring Vostok, which since 1994 has brought over $3.7 billion of capital into Russia. A fluent Russian-speaker with a Russian wife, Calvey always played by the rules, never criticizing Putin, and was highly respected in the Russian business community. As Leonid Bershidsky of Bloomberg News noted after the arrests: “Calvey became a legend in the Russian market, in part because of his reputed aversion to any kind of foul play and focus on industries and companies unlikely to attract the attention of Russia’s authorities.” Russian billionaire Leonid Boguslavsky said in an interview last week that Calvey had been his inspiration and teacher when he, Boguslavsky, was advancing his investment career in the 1990s.Americans Paul Whelan and Michael Calvey Are Not the Only ‘Hostages’ Held By The KremlinCalvey’s downfall came as a result of a 2017 merger between Vostochny Bank, in which Baring Vostok had a majority stake, and a bank called Uniastrum, owned by an avaricious 44-year-old businessman named Artem Avetisyan, who is a Putin favorite. When Avetisyan and his partners attempted to exercise an option on 9.9 percent of Vostochny Bank’s shares in 2018, Baring Vostok refused, because of evidence that assets worth billions of rubles had been withdrawn from Uniastrum Bank before the merger. Baring Vostok then filed claims of fraud against Avetisyan for 17.5 billion rubles (around $276 million) in the London International Arbitration Court.In apparent retaliation for the London lawsuit, Avetisyan’s partner Sherzod Yusupov went to the FSB in February 2019 with a claim that Calvey and five associates from Baring Vostok had defrauded Vostochny Bank of 2.5 billion rubles ($38 million at the time). According to the claim, Calvey and his colleagues had repaid a bank loan for that amount with shares from a Luxembourg company called IFTG that were worth only 600,000 rubles. In fact the transaction was approved by all the bank’s shareholders, including Avetisyan and Yusupov, and a September 2019 re-evaluation of the IFTG shares established their worth, with restrictions on them lifted, at more than 3 billion rubles. Significantly, officials from the Economic Security Department of the MVD (regular police) had earlier conducted an audit of the bank transactions that later formed the basis for the criminal case, but found no illegalities.After his arrest, which sent shockwaves throughout the Russian investment community, Calvey spent several weeks in Moscow’s notorious Matrosskaya Tishina Prison (where Sergei Magnitsky died) before being transferred to house arrest in April 2019. Two months later, a Russian arbitration court in the Far Eastern region of Amur forced Baring Vostok to sell 10 percent of Vostochny Bank stock to Finvision, a holding company owned by Avetisyan, thus awarding him and his partner Yusupov control of the bank, which has continued to show significant losses.Calvey and his partners had come up against a powerful lobby. Avetisyan, a skilled self-promoter, heads the New Business Division of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives, a Kremlin-sponsored project that puts him in regular contact with Putin, who chairs the agency’s advisory board, where Avetisyan serves. Also on the board is Putin's top economic advisor, Andrei Belousov, who in June 2020 was appointed first deputy prime minister of Russia. Although he and Avetisyan are known to have a close friendship, Belousov denied reports that he was Avetisyan’s go-between with Putin on the Calvey affair: “I have known Artem Avetisyan for a long time. He is my friend, we go to the mountains together…But over my long years of service, I have learned to separate personal and official relationships.”Also useful for Avetisyan is his close acquaintance with Dmitry Patrushev, son of former FSB chief Nikolai Patrushev, head of Putin’s National Security Council. Avetisyan served with Dmitry on the board of the Russian Agricultural Bank, which Dmitry ran prior to becoming Russian Minister of Agriculture in 2018. In addition to membership on the boards of several Russian companies, Avetisyan is a member of the FSB’s Public Advisory Council, an exclusive body that presumably gives him direct access to FSB officials.As if Avetisyan’s personal and business ties were not enough to promote his vendetta against Calvey and Baring Vostok, in June of this year, the media company bne Intellinews claimed to have obtained a tranche of letters that Avetisyan had sent to Putin, the FSB and the Russian Central Bank, in which he falsely accused Baring Vostok of a series of illegalities, including bribing a former chief of the Russian security services, Vadim Bakatin, a born-again Russian democrat who once served as adviser to the firm. Avetisyan did not respond to requests for comments about the letters.On Oct. 28, just after Deputy Prosecutor-General Viktor Grin approved the indictment against Calvey and his associates, Vostochny Bank and the defendants reached a settlement of their civil dispute. In exchange for a payment of 2.5 billion rubles by Baring Vostok, the bank agreed to drop the civil charges that give rise to the original criminal case. Presumably as a result of this settlement, the Supreme Court on Nov. 12, the date that the arrest orders expired, ordered the release (with some restrictions) of Calvey and the others from house arrest.Despite the hopes expressed by lawyers for Calvey, Russian legal experts doubt that the Calvey case, which is due to be heard sometime before Jan. 12, 2020, will end in an acquittal. “[Exonerating Mr. Calvey] would mean explaining to Putin the case was a mistake and nobody wants to do that,” a source who was involved in the legal negotiations said earlier this fall.According to one prominent lawyer, “in Russia, procedurally agreeing to compensate for damage does not mean that the defendant has admitted guilt. But in practice, courts and investigators often perceive it this way.” More likely is that the judge will consider the paid compensation as a mitigating factor and impose a more lenient sentence (the maximum being 10 years) so that with the time served, the defendants will be released.Barron’s recently quoted a top Russia financial analyst on the Calvey case: “This has been one of the most damaging events in Russia's economic history and has directly led to foreign investment decisions in Russia being cancelled or suspended.” Many members of the Russian business elite, including Kirill Dmitriev, head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, Yandex CEO Arkady Volozh and Anatoly Chubais, head of a state technology fund, have spoken out strongly in Calvey’s defense. Billionaire Boguslavsky called the prosecution of Calvey and his partners “a case of blatant injustice and cruelty” that should be stopped immediately.In fact, what happened to Calvey happens to Russian businessmen on a regular basis. Just in October, Mikhail Khabarov, first deputy chairman of Trust Bank, was arrested for large-scale fraud following a complaint by a former partner. The phenomenon of “raiding” (reiderstvo)—whereby entrepreneurs are criminally charged and forced to relinquish their assets to other businessmen, with law-enforcement officers getting a cut—has become so widespread that Putin has even complained about it publicly. But he has done nothing to stop it.In contrast to Calvey, former U.S. Marines Paul Whelan and Trevor Reed face the possibility of years behind bars in Russia. Whelan, who was arrested by the FSB in his Moscow hotel room on espionage charges in December 2018, is an unlikely CIA spy. Not only was he dishonorably discharged from the Marines in 2008 for theft, he had for years openly pursued a close friendship with a Russian, Ilya Yatsenko, who worked for the FSB. (Last week, in his first interview since his arrest, Whelan insisted that his friend Yatsenko worked for the border guard, not the FSB. Whelan was apparently unaware that the Russian border guard has been an integral part of the FSB since 2003.) After accepting a thumb drive from Yatsenko that allegedly contained FSB secrets—Whelan thought it was holiday photographs—he was tried and sentenced to 16 years in a strict regime penal colony located 300 miles east of Moscow, in Mordovia, home of the former Stalinist gulag.Reed, 29, was arrested during a May 2019 visit to Moscow to see his Russian girlfriend. After Reed got uncontrollably drunk at a party, his friends called the police because they were worried about his safety. He was later accused, with no proof, of assaulting two police officers on the way to station. (It is unclear whether the police had handcuffed Reed or had a video camera in their car.) In July of this year, Reed was sentenced to nine years imprisonment—an extremely harsh sentence by any standards. The Moscow City Court is currently considering an appeal against the sentence that Reed filed in late October. Russia’s aim in what appears to be blatant hostage-taking of these two Americans is apparently to get the U.S. to agree to a prisoner exchange for two Russians in U.S. prisons—the notorious arms trader Viktor Bout, currently serving a 25-year sentence for terrorism, and Konstantin Yaroshenko, who was sentenced in 2010 to 20 years behind bars for drug smuggling.In his recent interview with ABC from his prison camp, Whelan expressed optimism that he would soon be released as part of a swap, which his captors have suggested might happen. (This may be one reason why prison authorities allowed Whelan this unprecedented interview.) But although Trump has reportedly urged Putin to release Whelan and Reed, along with Calvey, there has been no progress. Whelan’s Russian attorney, Vladimir Zherebenkov, said in October that no decisions would be made until after the U.S. elections, so clearly the Kremlin will be recalculating its position now that Biden has been elected president.Putin has pretended to remain above the fray. In a March 2020 interview with TASS, he said of the Calvey case: “We need to proceed from our country’s legislation and the supremacy of Russian law… I cannot say if he is guilty or not until there is a well-founded [court decision].” But Putin is doubtless consulted before any key decisions are made. According to a top Putin aide, Calvey’s French partner, Philippe Delpal, was transferred from prison to house arrest in August 2019 because of upcoming talks between Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron. And the release of Calvey and the other defendants from house arrests just days after U.S. presidential elections suggest that Putin might have been extending an olive branch to Biden.Russian Media Is Angry and Desperate Over Biden WinA source familiar with the Calvey case told me that “having Trump tweet or ask Putin for a favor would not be helpful.” But Biden, who has criticized Trump for not speaking out about the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, has a more clear-eyed view of Putin. With Antony Blinken, a known advocate of a tough stance against Russia, as his secretary of state, Biden will be in a strong position to negotiate successfully with the Kremlin over the detained Americans. (Russia’s Kommersant reported Tuesday that foreign policy experts in Moscow have been sending each other the link to Blinken’s 2017 interview with PBS, in which he accused Putin of establishing a kleptocracy.)As former U.S. ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul said last April, it would set a dangerous precedent if Washington would agree to exchange either Bout or Yaroshenko for Whelan or Reed: “There’s a real asymmetry swapping an innocent American for a real convicted criminal who just happens to have Russian citizenship.” And such an exchange might encourage the FSB to engage in further entrapments of innocent foreigners in Russia.But the Biden administration would have other strategies available to address the three cases, including threatening the Kremlin with harsher economic sanctions. Although sanctions against Russia are often criticized for being ineffective, they have been a powerful tool when used in coordination with European allies. Also, in addition to Russian officials who are directly responsible for the Kremlin’s misdeeds, sanctions could target, with travel bans and asset freezing, more of those wealthy Russian businessmen who gain financially from Putin's corrupt system. Calvey’s enemy Avetisyan might be first on the list. In a 2011 interview, Avetisyan said he could not imagine living abroad because he had a strong “Russian mentality.” But that has not stopped him from acquiring over 20 million Euros worth of luxury properties in Tuscany, along with an Italian residence permit.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.
Iran blamed Israel for the killing of one of its top Iranian nuclear scientists in an assassination near Tehran yesterday that threatens to provoke a military confrontation during the final months of the Trump presidency. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh succumbed to injuries in hospital after gunmen fired on his car in Damavand county, Iranian media reported. Western and Israeli intelligence had long identified Mr Fakhrizadeh, 59, as the head of a covert Iranian project to develop a nuclear weapon that was shelved in 2003. He was subject to UN sanctions and named by the International Atomic Energy Agency in its 2015 "final assessment" of questions about Iran's nuclear programme. There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the attack but Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said there were “serious indications” of Israeli involvement. “Terrorists murdered an eminent Iranian scientist today,” he tweeted. “This cowardice—with serious indications of Israeli role—shows desperate warmongering of perpetrators.” He called on the international community and particularly the European Union to condemn the killing "as an act of state terror".
‘This defendant terrorised an entire family by threatening to kill African American parents and their four children’
Turkish prosecutors launched an investigation Friday into the search of a Turkish commercial freighter by the crew of a German frigate participating in a European Union mission to enforce an arms embargo on Libya. Turkey has protested the incident on the Mediterranean Sea, insisting personnel from the German frigate Hamburg illegally searched the Libya-bound freighter Rosaline-A on Nov. 22.. Germany has rejected Turkey’s complaints, arguing the frigate's crew acted correctly.
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he will leave the White House if the Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden, the closest he has come to conceding the Nov. 3 election, even as he repeated unfounded claims of massive voter fraud. Speaking to reporters on the Thanksgiving holiday, Republican Trump said if Democrat Biden - who is due to be sworn in on Jan. 20 - is formally declared the winner by the Electoral College, he will depart the White House.
Miami-Dade mayor Daniella Levine Cava calls decision ‘deeply frustrating’
France and the U.N. will host a new conference next week about aid to Beirut after its devastating port explosion in August, amid political deadlock and a worsening economic crisis in Lebanon, the French presidency said Friday. Thousands of Lebanese are struggling to repair homes damaged in the blast, and there is no government initiative to rebuild what has been destroyed. French President Emmanuel Macron and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will co-preside over the video conference Dec. 2, which will also include Lebanese nongovernmental groups and other organizations seeking to help, according to Macron’s office.
Follow the latest updates
Robert O'Brien's airplane crew was also not allowed to enter Vietnam and had to spend the night in Thailand, Bloomberg reported.
Kim Jong Un has also banned fishing and salt production at sea to prevent seawater from being infected with the virus, lawmakers were told.
1.President Trump said Thursday he will "certainly" leave the White House if the Electoral College, as expected, casts its votes for President-elect Joe Biden on Dec. 14, formalizing his victory. Taking questions from reporters for the first time since the election after addressing U.S. troops stationed around the world on Thanksgiving, Trump was asked if he would depart on his own accord. "Certainly I will, and you know that," he said. The Washington Post notes it was the first explicit commitment Trump has made about vacating the White House, although his advisers have maintained he would for some time. That said, Trump remains determined to expose widespread voter fraud in swing states, despite there being no evidence. "It's going to be a very hard thing to concede," he said. [The New York Times, The Washington Post] 2.For the first time since the pandemic began, the number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 in the United States surpassed 90,000, The Wall Street Journal reports, and the U.S. hit a hospitalization record for the 17th straight day, per CNN. The number of people in intensive care units was also at an all-time high of 17,802 on Thursday. Infections recorded over the last 24 hours did drop sharply Thursday to around 110,000, data compiled by Johns Hopkins University showed, but a lack of reporting on Thanksgiving is likely behind the dip. That trend could continue throughout the weekend before heading back up, the Journal notes. Still, individual states, like Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Arkansas all reported record numbers, while New York hit its highest mark since April 25, when the state was the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak. [The Wall Street Journal , CNN] 3.A Venezuelan judge found six American executives guilty Thursday, sentencing them to lengthy prison terms three years after they were arrested on corruption charges. The defendants are all employees of the Houston-based refining company Citgo, which is owned by Venezuela's state oil company, PDVSA. They maintain their innocence. Five of the men, all U.S. citizens —Gustavo Cárdenas, Jorge Toledo, Jose Luis Zambrano and Alirio Zambrano — were sentenced to eight years and 10 months, while Jose Peireira, a permanent resident of the U.S., received 13 years. In November 2017, the so-called Citgo 6 arrived in Caracas for what they told was a business meeting. Once they were in the boardroom, however, Venezuelan military intelligence officers entered, demanded their passports, and arrested them. They were charged with embezzlement tied to a never-executed proposal to refinance $4 billion of Citgo bonds, NPR notes. Appeals will be made for the defendants. [AP News, NPR] 4.Black Friday is taking a different shape this year amid the coronavirus pandemic. Several retailers like Saks and Macy's that closed during the spring have since reduced their inventories, which has led them to scale back on the traditional discounts associated with the post-Thanksgiving shopping event. Health and safety measures will also be in place at many stores. Best Buy, for instance, is employing contactless self-checkout and doubled the number of parking spots available for its pick-up service. When all is said and done, though, sales are expected to be made. The National Retail Federation expects November and December sales, excluding autos, gasoline, and restaurants, to rise somewhere between 3.6 and 5.2 percent. Last year, sales jumped 4 percent, and the average year-over-year increase the past five years is 3.5 percent. Online sales are expected to shoot up from 20 percent to 30 percent. [Reuters, The Wall Street Journal] 5.South Korea's National Intelligence Service reportedly briefed the country's lawmakers on actions North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has taken amid the coronavirus pandemic. The intelligence account, which could not be independently verified by news organizations, included claims that Kim oversaw the executions of a high-profile money changer in Pyongyang last month after holding the person responsible for a falling exchange rate, as well as a government official in August for violating regulations restricting goods brought from abroad. North Korea has also reportedly banned fishing and salt production to prevent seawater from being infected with the coronavirus, and several areas, including Pyongyang, have reportedly been placed under lockdown, although Kim's government maintains the country is COVID-19-free. Additionally, one of the South Korean lawmakers briefed by the NIS said North Korea unsuccessfully tried to hack into the network of a South Korean company developing a coronavirus vaccine. [The Washington Post, The Associated Press] 6.The Supreme Court issued a ruling late Wednesday blocking New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) from limiting attendance at religious services to 10 or 25 people during the coronavirus pandemic. The court divided 5-4, mostly along ideological lines, with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the three liberal justices. Earlier this year, the court narrowly rejected challenges to virus-related restrictions on churches in California and Nevada, so the latest ruling is perhaps a sign of a rightward shift after Justice Amy Coney Barrett replaced the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Politico suggests. The majority opinion argued New York's restrictions violated religious freedom and singled out houses of worship while many businesses did not face similar limits. Roberts, in his dissent, said the injunction was unnecessary at this time because the plaintiffs no longer face those restrictions and can hold up to 50 percent capacity. [NBC News, Politico] 7.Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed continues to dismiss mediation efforts as the federal government remains mired in conflict with the northern region of Tigray. Envoys from the African Union on Friday met with Abiy, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, in the hopes of ending the hostilities, but he said he was only willing to strike up dialogue with representatives "operating legally" in Tigray. Both governments consider the other illegitimate. Abiy told the AU envoys he appreciated their concern, but if his government failed to enforce the rule of law in Tigray it would "nurture a culture of impunity with devastating cost to the survival of the country." People continue to flee Tigray's capital city, Mekele, as the Ethiopian army allegedly marches toward it. [The Associated Press] 8.Despite confusion over the results of the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine trial, the United Kingdom is moving forward with its plans for a potential rollout of the candidate. The government, which has secured 100 million doses of the vaccine, asked the Medicine and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency to assess the vaccine, which was described as a "significant first step" in getting it "approved for deployment." AstraZeneca is amending its study after accidentally discovering that the vaccine appeared most effective when patients were given a half dose before a full dose, as opposed to two full doses. The 90 percent rate, however, applied to only 2,741 volunteers, a fraction of the full trials that showed similar numbers for Moderna and Pfizer. The full dosing regimen was only 62 percent effective, although that is still above the United States' 50 percent threshold, and the European Union will not set a minimum efficacy level. [BBC, Reuters] 9.Diego Maradona, the Argentine soccer legend, died after suffering a heart attack, his agent confirmed Wednesday. He was 60. On Thursday, tens of thousands people, many displaying great amounts of emotion, filed past his publicly-displayed coffin in Buenos Aires over the course of several hours. He was then buried in a private ceremony. Maradona is considered one of the greatest soccer players of all time, known for leading Argentina's national team to the 1986 World Cup title in Mexico. En route to the final, he scored a goal that has become known as the "Hand of God," in which he punched the ball into the net with his fist against England in the quarterfinals. He remained beloved in Argentina in his post-playing days, during which he dealt with numerous health issues and drug and alcohol abuse. [The Associated Press] 10.Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has tested positive for COVID-19, ESPN reports. The Ravens are experiencing one of the worst outbreaks in an NFL locker room since the season began. After Jackson and three other players received positive results Thursday, the team now has at least a dozen players who have contracted the virus this week, as well as multiple staff members. Baltimore was scheduled to play Thanksgiving night against their division rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers, but the NFL postponed the game to Sunday. That too looks to be in jeopardy, especially after Ravens head coach John Harbaugh told players they would not be allowed back to the team facility until Monday at the earliest. Still, the league has not made an official announcement. [ESPN]More stories from theweek.com South Korean intelligence believes North Korea is nervous about dealing with Biden administration Make America Laugh Again 8 movies to watch instead of the ones that won't be released this holiday season
Three Mormon women and six of their children were killed in the Sonoran desert last year.