Next week, on Dec. 10, the US Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in three cases that put health insurers in the awkward position that the insured know all too well—wrangling with a seemingly intractable and massive entity for promised funds. The dispute stems from the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as “Obamacare.” The national health insurance initiative was created to cover millions of previously uninsured people, and the federal government sought to entice private insurers to participate by offering various risk-management measures to offset potential losses. One of these, the “risk-corridors program,” required the government to partially reimburse insurers if their costs rose unpredictably, while requiring companies to hand over part of any potential savings.
- Yahoo News
One day after President Trump was impeached for the second time and with less than a week to go before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, the Trump White House began cleaning out its desks on Thursday.
The man accused of throwing a fire extinguisher during the Washington, D.C. riots last week has been arrested. Robert Sanford, a retired Chester Fire Department firefighter, was arrested on Thursday and charged with assault on a police officer, among other offenses. Attorney Enrique Latoison argues Sanford went on a free bus to the rally for Trump at the Capitol, but he did not enter the government building.
- The Telegraph
Palestinian leaders have announced that they expect their first batch of coronavirus vaccines to arrive by March, as the West Bank and Gaza face an anxious wait to receive jabs while Israel presses ahead with its record-setting vaccination drive. This week the Palestinian Authority said it had secured a provisional agreement with AstraZeneca and was seeking doses from Moderna, as well as the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine. The Palestinians are also working with the World Health Organisation to receive free vaccines under the Covax scheme. It came as Palestinian officials accused Israel of “ignoring” its duties as an occupying power to assist them in protecting their people from the disease. “The search by the Palestinian leadership to secure the vaccines from various sources doesn’t exempt Israel from its responsibilities towards the Palestinian people in providing the vaccines,” the Palestinian foreign ministry said in a statement. Israel refutes this and says it has no legal obligation to provide vaccines for the West Bank and Gaza, as the Oslo peace accords state that this is the duty of Palestinian leaders. However, according to Israeli media reports, the Israeli government provided the Palestinian authorities with around 100 vaccine doses earlier this month as a “humanitarian gesture.” Israel has already given the first coronavirus jab to more than two million people - around 20 per cent of the population - as part of the world’s fastest vaccinations programme. The 1990s-era Oslo accords grant the Palestinian Authority limited self-rule in the West Bank while the Gaza strip is controlled by Islamist group Hamas. While the accords say Palestinian authorities should vaccine their own citizens, they also says both sides are required to “cooperate in combating” epidemics and contagious diseases. Arab-Israeli citizens, and Palestinians who live in East Jerusalem, are already able to receive vaccines from the Israeli programme. But human rights groups, such as Amnesty International, are putting pressure on the Israeli government to provide further assistance. In a recent statement, Amnesty’s deputy regional director for the Middle East, Saleh Higazi, accused Israel of “instutionalised discrimination.” “While Israel celebrates a record-setting vaccination drive, millions of Palestinians living under Israeli control in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip will receive no vaccine or have to wait much longer,” he said. Husam Zomlot, a senior Palestinian diplomat in London, described the situation as “vaccine apartheid” in a post on Twitter, a charge that Israel denies. Palestinian officials said on Wednesday that they had recorded 30 deaths from coronavirus in the past 24 hours, while more than 90 people are in intensive care units. To date, coronavirus has caused around 1,800 deaths in the Palestinian territories.
Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) has apologized to Black Oklahomans for challenging Joe Biden's Electoral College victory, saying he did not realize his actions would be seen as "casting doubt on the validity of votes" in predominantly Black cities like Atlanta, Philadelphia and Detroit.The big picture: Lankford was part of a group of 11 senators, led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who planned to object to the Electoral College certification unless Congress launched a commission to audit the election results. He later withdrew his objection after the pro-Trump siege of the Capitol.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.Between the lines: "Lankford has been more involved with Black Tulsans, and particularly the historic Greenwood District, than any statewide Republican officeholder in decades," Tulsa World writes. * However, after Lankford's comments on the Senate floor, several state Black leaders said he should be removed from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission, which is dedicated to educating communities about the massacre that killed 300 people. * Other Republicans involved in the election challenges, including Cruz and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) have faced massive backlash.What they're saying: "My action of asking for more election information caused a firestorm of suspicion among many of my friends, particularly in Black communities around the state," Lankford wrote in a letter addressed to "my friends in North Tulsa." * "I can assure you, my intent to give a voice to Oklahomans who had questions was never also an intent to diminish the voice of any Black American," he continued. * "I should have recognized how what I said and what I did could be interpreted by many of you. I deeply regret my blindness to that perception, and for that I am sorry."Go deeper: GOP Sen. Josh Hawley under fire after Electoral College challengeBe smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.
- Associated Press
Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard conducted a drill Friday that saw “suicide drones” crash into targets and explode, triangle-shaped aircraft that strongly resembled those used in a 2019 attack in Saudi Arabia that temporarily cut the kingdom's oil production by half. Iran has long denied launching the attack on the sites of Abqaiq and Khurais while Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels initially claimed the assault.
The group's leader in Afghanistan says the practice is "inviting criticism". It's also proving expensive.
What happened: The officer attended the riots in Washington D.C. and is accused of "penetrating" the Capitol, Click2Houston reports. During a press conference on Wednesday, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo discussed the officer in question. According to the New York Post, the officer — who was not named publicly by Acevedo — was placed on administrative leave.
The United States stands by Taiwan and always will, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft said following a call with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, who told her the island would continue to seek access to U.N. meetings. Craft had planned to visit Taipei this week, in the teeth of strong objections from China which views the island as its own territory.
- Associated Press
Iran fired cruise missiles Thursday as part of a naval drill in the Gulf of Oman, state media reported, under surveillance of what appeared to be a U.S. nuclear submarine dispatched to the region amid heightened tensions between the countries. Helicopter footage of the exercise released by Iran’s navy showed what resembled an Ohio-class guided-missile submarine, the USS Georgia, which the U.S. Navy last month said had been sent to the Persian Gulf — a rare announcement aimed at underscoring American military might in the region. Iran's navy did not identify the submarine, but warned the boat to steer clear of the area, where missiles were being launched from land units and ships in the gulf and the northern part of the Indian Ocean.
- The Independent
Local newspapers turn on Lauren Boebert as 68 state politicians demand investigation into Capitol riot role
Lauren Boebert is under fire for sharing details about the location of the House speaker during the Capitol riots
- Yahoo News Video
A racing pigeon has survived an extraordinary 13,000-kilometer (8,000-mile) Pacific Ocean crossing from the United States to find a new home in Australia. Now authorities consider the bird a quarantine risk and plan to kill it.
- Associated Press
Pakistani authorities sacked a local police chief and 11 other policemen for failing to protect a Hindu temple that was set on fire and demolished last month by a mob led by hundreds of supporters of a radical Islamist party, police said Friday. The 12 policemen were fired over “acts of cowardice" and “negligence" for not trying to stop the mob when it attacked the temple, with some having fled the scene. Another 48 policemen were given various punishments following a probe into the attack, the police statement said.
- The Telegraph
Officials investigating last Saturday's Boeing airliner crash in Indonesia are understood to be probing a possible link to the plane's prolonged grounding during last year’s Covid-19 lockdowns. The 27-year-old Boeing 737-500, which crashed into the sea off Jakarta with 62 people on board, spent nearly nine months out of service last year because of reduced flight timetables caused by the pandemic. While officials conducting the inquiry have not yet commented on the cause of the crash, experts are now speculating that it may be due to technical faults caused by the plane’s lack of regular use. “There’s a major problem starting to raise its head in terms of restoring these aircraft because while out of service for nine or 10 months, they need to be kept operating, otherwise they deteriorate,” said Hugh Ritchie, chief executive of Aviation Analysts International, an Australian air safety consulting firm. The Indonesian plane did not fly between March 23 and Dec 19 last year, and was then used 132 times after it resumed operating, according to aviation data provider Flightradar24.
- The Week
The Trump administration executed Corey Johnson on Thursday night, after the Supreme Court lifted stays on both Johnson's execution and another one scheduled for Friday. Both Johnson and the other inmate, Dustin Higgs, tested positive for COVID-19, and their lawyers had argued that the execution drug pentobarbital would cause excruciating pain on the COVID-infected lungs. Johnson's lawyers also pointed to evidence that he was severely mentally disabled. The court's three liberal justices voted to halt the execution.Johnson was convicted of killing seven people in a bloody 1992 drug war in Richmond, Virginia. He was pronounced dead at 11:34 p.m., The Associated Press reports, and reporters heard clapping and whistling from a room reserved for the relatives of his victims. What sounded like praying was heard in a room for Johnson's family members. His last words, aimed in their direction, were "love you." He apologized to his victims and their families in a separate statement.Johnson is the 12th federal inmate put to death since President Trump and former Attorney General William Barr ended a 17-year halt on federal capital punishment in July. President-elect Joe Biden, who will be inaugurated in less than a week, is opposed to capital punishment and has pledged to reinstate the moratorium.Higgs' fate is still up in the air due to another legal dispute involving a federal law that requires inmates to be executed using the techniques approved in the states where they were sentenced. Maryland, which convicted Higgs in 2000 for the 1996 killings of Tamika Black, Tanji Jackson, and Mishann Chinn, abolished the death penalty in 2013. An appellate court has scheduled a hearing to consider the legal quandary for Jan. 27, a week after Biden is sworn in. The Justice Department has asked the Supreme Court to step in and overrule that court so Trump can get his 13th and final execution.More stories from theweek.com Do Democrats realize the danger they are in? America's rendezvous with reality What 'Blue Lives Matter' was always about
- Architectural Digest
When it came to the lighting in his home, Pardo drew inspiration from the insides of fruits, nuts, and seeds, as well as sea creatures and machine parts.Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest
Harrison was a successful fundraiser as a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate in South Carolina, amassing a stunning $109 million war chest for his 2020 campaign before ultimately losing his bid to unseat Republican Senator Lindsey Graham. In November's election, Democrats held their majority, although reduced, in the U.S. House of Representatives, and gained razor-thin control of the U.S. Senate after winning two runoff elections last week in Georgia.
- Associated Press
A Florida waitress who noticed bruises on an 11-year-old boy flashed him a handwritten note asking him if he needed help, and when he nodded yes, she called the police, authorities said. Orlando police credited Flaviane Carvalho, a waitress at Mrs. Potato Restaurant, with coming to the boy's aid on New Year's Eve when the child’s parents weren’t looking. Police took the boy to a hospital where doctors found bruises on his face, earlobes and arms.
- The Telegraph
Wearing a giant furry hat, black leather jacket and a beaming smile, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un introduced “the world’s strongest weapon” – a new submarine-launched ballistic missile – at a nighttime parade on Thursday in Pyongyang. The display of North Korea’s military might followed a rare congress of the ruling Workers' Party, during which leader Kim denounced the United States as his country's “foremost principal enemy” and vowed to strengthen the North’s nuclear war deterrent. On Friday, the reclusive regime’s state media released 100 photos of a mass celebration of the national armory, including tanks and rocket launchers, all flanked by rows of marching soldiers, noticeably not wearing masks. Military aircraft were illuminated by LED lights as they flew overhead in formation. “They’d like us to notice that they’re getting more proficient with larger solid rocket boosters,” tweeted Ankit Panda, a North Korea expert and author of ‘Kim Jong Un and the Bomb’, as the parade unfolded in Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung square. As the spectacle reached its climax, the military rolled out what analysts said appeared to be new variants of solid-fuel short-range ballistic missiles – which are more quickly deployed than liquid-fuelled versions - and four Pukguksong-class submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs).
Ukraine will do everything in its power to hold to account those accused of meddling in elections in the United States, Andriy Yermak, the head of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's office, wrote on Twitter on Wednesday. The United States on Monday imposed sanctions on several Ukrainian individuals and entities, accusing them of U.S. election interference and associating with a pro-Russian Ukrainian lawmaker linked to efforts by President Donald Trump's allies to dig up dirt on President-elect Joe Biden and his son. "For the sake of clarity - regardless of party affiliation, this administration will do everything in its power to hold those responsible for meddling in U.S. elections," Yermak said.
- Associated Press
NASA declared the Mars digger dead Thursday after failing to burrow deep into the red planet to take its temperature. Following one last unsuccessful attempt to hammer itself down over the weekend with 500 strokes, the team called it quits. "We’ve given it everything we’ve got, but Mars and our heroic mole remain incompatible,” said the German Space Agency's Tilman Spohn, the lead scientist for the experiment.