Medical schools are seeing a bump in applications like never before — a movement being referred to as the "Fauci effect."
- Yahoo News
With four days’ worth of early voting remaining, plus Election Day turnout, it seems all but certain that Georgia will surpass historical norms for a runoff election.
- NBC News
Kennedy Maxie was shot while Christmas shopping in the upscale Buckhead area, prompting city leaders to renew efforts for a private security force.
- National Review
Non-profit humanitarian agency World Vision United States improperly transacted with the Islamic Relief Agency (ISRA) in 2014 with approval from the Obama administration, sending government funds to an organization that had been sanctioned over its ties to terrorism, according to a new report.Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) recently released a report detailing the findings of an investigation his staff began in February 2019 into the relationship between World Vision and ISRA.The probe found that World Vision was not aware that ISRA had been sanctioned by the U.S. since 2004 after funneling roughly $5 million to Maktab al-Khidamat, the predecessor to Al-Qaeda controlled by Osama Bid Laden. However, that ignorance was born from insufficient vetting practices, the report said.“World Vision works to help people in need across the world, and that work is admirable,” Grassley said in a statement. “Though it may not have known that ISRA was on the sanctions list or that it was listed because of its affiliation with terrorism, it should have. Ignorance can’t suffice as an excuse. World Vision’s changes in vetting practices are a good first step, and I look forward to its continued progress.”The investigation was sparked by a July 2018 National Review article in which Sam Westrop, the director of the Middle East Forum’s Islamist Watch, detailed MEF’s findings that the Obama administration had approved a “$200,000 grant of taxpayer money to ISRA.”Government officials specifically authorized the release of “at least $115,000” of this grant even after learning that it was a designated terror organization, Westrop wrote.According to the Senate report, World Vision submitted a grant application to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to carry out its Blue Nile Recovery Program on January 21, 2014. The proposed program sought to provide food security, sanitation equipment, and health services to areas hard-hit by conflict in the Blue Nile region of Sudan.USAID awarded World Vision a $723,405 grant for the program. The next month, ISRA agreed to provide humanitarian services to parts of the Blue Nile Region for World Vision, according to the report. The two organizations had also collaborated on several projects in 2013 and 2014.World Vision only discovered ISRA was sanctioned after the Evangelical humanitarian non-profit discussed partnering with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on a separate humanitarian project in Sudan. In performing a routine vetting of World Vision and its partners, IOM discovered ISRA’s sanctioned status and reached out to the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Compliance Team to confirm.After receiving confirmation from OFAC, IOM rejected World Vision’s offer to collaborate, the report says.World Vision’s legal department was notified of ISRA’s potential status as a sanctioned entity in September 2014 and immediately halted all payments to the organization while it investigated.The non-profit sent a letter to OFAC on November 19, 2014, asking for clarification regarding ISRA’s status, and requesting that, in the event that ISRA was sanctioned, it be awarded a temporary license to finish out the organizations’ existing contract.Two months later, Treasury responded, confirming that ISRA is sanctioned and denying the request for a license to work with the organization, as that would be “inconsistent with OFAC policy.”One month later, World Vision submitted another request for a license to transact with ISRA to pay them $125,000 for services rendered, lest it face legal consequences and potential expulsion from Sudan.On May 4, 2015, the Obama administration’s State Department recommended OFAC grant World Vision’s request for the license to transact. The next day, OFAC granted the license to pay ISRA $125,000 for services rendered, and later sent the non-profit a “cautionary letter” making it aware that its collaboration with ISRA appeared to have violated the Global Terrorism Sanction Regulations.The report said the investigation “did not find any evidence that World Vision intentionally sought to circumvent U.S. sanctions by partnering with ISRA.”“We also found no evidence that World Vision knew that ISRA was a sanctioned entity prior to receiving notice from Treasury,” the report adds. “However, based on the evidence presented, we conclude that World Vision had access to the appropriate public information and should have known how, but failed to, properly vet ISRA as a sub-grantee, resulting in the transfer of U.S. taxpayer dollars to an organization with an extensive history of supporting terrorist organization [sic] and terrorists, including Osama Bin Laden.”The report calls World Vision’s system for vetting prospective sub-grantees “borderline negligent” and says the organization “ignored elementary level investigative procedures.”World Vision spent weeks after being informed by IOM of ISRA’s sanction status investigating the claim and was unable to reach a conclusion, relying upon “what could only be described as flawed logic,” the report says.The report accuses World Vision of attempting to eschew blame, and notes that IOM “was able to quickly vet ISRA and determine their status as a sanctioned entity.” “Had World Vision employed the same due diligence and similar methods employed by IOM, taxpayer dollars would not have exchanged hands with an organization that is known to fund terrorist organizations,” it said. While World Vision has instituted additional screening methods, “the Finance Committee staff has reservations” about its ability to avoid similar situations in the future, the report says. “World Vision has a duty to ensure that funds acquired from the U.S. government or donated by Americans do not end up supporting terrorist activity,” it says. “Particularly concerning to this Committee is World Vision’s attempt to shift the blame to the federal government for their own inability to properly vet a subcontractor. A more robust and fundamentally sound system of screening and vetting is needed to restore the public’s trust that contributions made to World Vision are not funding illicit organizations.”“Moreover, although we find no reason to doubt World Vision’s assertion that the funds in their entirety were used by ISRA for humanitarian purposes, that money inevitably aids their terrorist activities,” it concludes.World Vision said in a statement that it “takes our compliance obligations seriously and shares Sen. Grassley and the committee staff's objective for good stewardship.”“We appreciate the acknowledgement that the committee staff’s report to the chairman 'found no evidence that World Vision knew that ISRA was a sanctioned entity prior to receiving notice from Treasury,’” it added. “Terrorism runs counter to everything World Vision stands for as an organization and we strongly condemn any act of terrorism or support for such activities.”
- Yahoo News
Rep. Louie Gohmert and other Republicans have filed a lawsuit against Vice President Mike Pence, arguing that the 1887 Electoral Count Act is unconstitutional and that Pence should be authorized to pick pro-Trump electors on Jan. 6.
- The Week
Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) on Tuesday became the fourth and final candidate in Georgia's looming Senate runoffs to endorse increasing individual COVID-19 stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000, a measure supported by President Trump.> President @realdonaldtrump is right — I support this push for $2,000 in direct relief for the American people. https://t.co/Al3USM7zPr> > — David Perdue (@Perduesenate) December 29, 2020Perdue's fellow incumbent Republican, Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), tweeted her support for the boosted direct payments shortly before Perdue, while their respective Democratic challengers, Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, were already on board. Ossoff called on Perdue to back the increase earlier Tuesday.> Democratic Georgia Senate candidate Jon Ossoff says his opponent Sen. David Perdue needs to “get with the program” and support $2,000 stimulus checks for Americans.> > “$600 is a joke,” Ossoff says. https://t.co/zReXsjNN4V pic.twitter.com/4m8A4RlCpB> > — New Day (@NewDay) December 29, 2020While the candidates' stances on the issue will likely have an effect on the tightly contested runoffs, Loeffler and Perdue are sitting senators who will vote on the measure if it's brought to the floor. They join Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) in supporting bigger checks, which means it's likely eight more GOP senators would have to join them to get the two-thirds majority required for passage.More stories from theweek.com $2,000 checks are good Republican senators reportedly start wavering on $2,000 stimulus checks Trump's $2,000 checks push costs him the WSJ editorial board
- NBC News
The Prince William County sheriff’s office announced the firing on Saturday after conducting an internal investigation.
- Yahoo News Video
Some 1,000 girls from religious minorities in Pakistan are forced to convert to Islam each year, according to reporting by the AP.
- Associated Press
In the days before he detonated a bomb in downtown Nashville on Christmas, Anthony Quinn Warner changed his life in ways that suggest he never intended to survive the blast that killed him and wounded three other people. Warner, 63, gave away his car, telling the recipient that he had cancer. A month before the bombing, he signed a document that transferred his longtime home in a Nashville suburb to a California woman for nothing in return.
The U.S. State Department has approved the potential sale to Kuwait of Apache helicopters and spare parts for the Patriot missile system in two separate deals that could have a value of $4.2 billion, the Pentagon said on Tuesday. Kuwait's government had asked to buy eight AH-64E Apache Longbow Attack Helicopters and the upgrade of 16 of their current AH-64D Apache Longbow Attack Helicopters to the AH-64E configuration, the Pentagon said.
- The Week
The Senate faces an "uphill battle" in passing legislation that would increase direct COVID-19 relief payments for individuals from $600 to $2,000, but Republican lawmakers are facing more pressure to back the measure, Axios reports.The House on Monday narrowly reached the two-thirds majority needed to pass the proposal -- which is separate from a larger $900 billion relief bill approved by both chambers of Congress last week and subsequently signed into law by President Trump after a few days deliberation Sunday -- but it's unclear if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will even let it come to a vote in the upper chamber.Its passage similarly requires a two-thirds majority vote in the Senate, and while most Democrats are seemingly on board, many Republicans have appeared more hesitant because of concerns about mounting debt. But with Trump and their constituents calling for larger checks, there's a chance enough GOP senators will wind up backing the proposal, Republican sources told Axios. One source said if McConnell does bring the measure to the floor, "it might get 60" votes.Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) made it clear Monday night he will vote for the increase despite concerns about the debt, so a handful of like-minded colleagues would turn the tide. Read more at Axios.> I am concerned about the debt, but working families have been hurt badly by the pandemic > > This is why I supported $600 direct payments to working families & if given the chance will vote to increase the amount https://t.co/EciB6TszTY> > -- Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) December 28, 2020More stories from theweek.com $2,000 checks are good Trump's $2,000 checks push costs him the WSJ editorial board Bernie Sanders, Ed Markey call out Congress for supporting 'bloated' defense bill while blocking stimulus check increase
- NBC News
A woman falsely accused the 14-year-old son of jazz musician Keyon Harrold, who is Black, of stealing her iPhone in a NYC hotel.
The Air Force has just signed off on a new flag exercise that brings together large weapons and capabilities under one event.
MANILA (Reuters) -The Philippines will ban travellers from 19 countries and territories until mid-January as a measure to keep out a new variant of the coronavirus, its transport ministry said on Tuesday. The regulation will be in effect from midnight of Dec. 29 to Jan. 15 and covers Filipinos and foreigners arriving from the "flagged countries", the transport ministry told reporters in a group text message. The Philippines previously imposed and later extended a flight ban from Britain until mid-January as the more contagious variant of the COVID-19 virus was first detected in England.
- Architectural Digest
Unsurprisingly, you invested in sleeping, cleaning, and organizingOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- Associated Press
Prosecutors have charged a 17-year-old Illinois teen accused of shooting three people during a protest in southeastern Wisconsin this summer with violating curfew that night. Kyle Rittenhouse was charged in August with multiple counts, including reckless and intentional homicide, endangerment and being a minor in possession of a firearm. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that prosecutors added violating curfew the night of the shootings to the list of charges on Monday.
- The Week
Democrats still have a chance to retake the Senate -- but the body's leadership has reportedly all but given up.Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock are challenging Georgia GOP Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in races that will determine the outlook of the Senate. But as Ossoff and Warnock scramble to match Republicans' fundraising efforts, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has stopped meeting with donors altogether, a source tells NBC News.Over the past two months, Ossoff and Warnock have each brought in more than $100 million, largely via grassroots donations. Their fundraising totals beat out the Republicans' efforts during the same periods, but outside Republican groups are winning in terms of big-dollar TV ad spending, NBC News reports. This leaves the GOP with plenty of resources to engage in direct voter contact and encourage new or unlikely voters to turn out on their behalf on Jan. 5 -- something Warnock and Ossoff's campaign managers called "essential" in a campaign memo obtained by NBC News. "To win this election in 8 days, we need to continue our historic efforts to turn out every single voter -- but we won't be able to do that if our fundraising revenue continues to fall," the managers wrote.Outside Democratic donors did spend big during the 2020 election cycle in an effort to overturn the Republicans' Senate majority. But after Democrats failed to decisively do so, Schumer has reportedly stopped asking for more support. Despite the fact that President-elect Joe Biden flipped the state for the first time in decades, Schumer is "pessimistic" about Ossoff and Warnock's chances and is no longer meeting with donors to avoid ruining relationships for years to come, the source tells NBC News. But as Ossoff and Warnock's campaigns see it, donations focused on boosting turnout have never been more important. Read more at NBC News. Update 2:30 p.m. ET: A spokesperson for Schumer said NBC News' reporting is "absolutely not true." The representative, Justin Goodman, added that "Schumer has diligently made calls and fundraised for both Georgia candidates and is optimistic about their chances in January."More stories from theweek.com $2,000 checks are good Republican senators reportedly start wavering on $2,000 stimulus checks Trump's $2,000 checks push costs him the WSJ editorial board
- The Independent
Rommell Broom, who is only the second inmate to survive a modern execution, died on Monday
An array of Palestinian militant groups launched rockets into the Mediterranean Sea off the Gaza Strip on Tuesday at the start of what they called their first-ever joint exercise, which Israeli media described as a show of force organised by Iran. Gaza is run by Hamas and also home to other militant groups, including Islamic Jihad.
- Associated Press
Five female family members found dead Christmas Day in a northwest Arkansas home died in a murder-suicide, law enforcement said Monday. Evidence collected at the scene in Atkins, about 65 miles (105 kilometers) northwest of Little Rock, led to the determination that the two women and three girls died by murder-suicide, Pope County Sheriff Shane Jones said in a statement. The Arkansas State Crime Lab and medical examiner confirmed the results of the investigation, Jones said.
- The Week
Congress signals it will mostly ignore Trump's post-signing demands on $2.3 trillion spending package
President Trump abruptly reversed course Sunday night and signed a $2.3 trillion package to provide economic relief during the COVID-19 pandemic and fund the federal government though September. Republican lawmakers had spent the weekend publicly and privately urging Trump to reconsider his implicit veto threat, issued after the legislation had passed Congress early last week.Specifically, Trump called for the $600 COVID-19 payments suggested by his negotiator, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, to be increased to $2,000, and for cuts in foreign aid from the $1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill. Trump "wants to be remembered for advocating for big checks, but the danger is he'll be remembered for chaos and misery and erratic behavior if he allows this to expire," Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said on Fox News Sunday.Trump, spending the holidays at his resort and golf club in southern Florida, did not entirely give up on his demands. "In a statement he issued after signing the law, Trump released a long list of false claims and grievances," The Washington Post reports. "He said he would be sending a 'redlined' version of the bill back to Congress 'insisting that those funds be removed from the bill.'"Trump also said Congress agreed to vote on upping the stimulus checks to $2,000 — something the House already planned to do Monday and the Senate is unlikely to consider — and start work soon on ending legal protection for tech companies and examine his claims of voter fraud. One person who interacted with Trump in Palm Beach in recent days told the Post that the president had discussed neither the unemployment benefits he allowed to lapse or the looming government shutdown, but instead "has been far more focused on his failed effort to reverse the election result, lashing out at Republicans in Congress and members of his own administration for not joining him in the fight.""The current Congress ends in six days," Politico notes, and Trump leaves office in three weeks. House Democrats and Senate Republicans immediately suggested or stated that Congress will ignore Trump's demands.Trump said he will hold up the foreign aid funds, passed at levels he had already approved in his budget and in many instances requested, using the Impoundment Control Act of 1974, The Wall Street Journal reports. But he can only freeze the funds for 45 days, at which point President-elect Joe Biden will be in the White House.More stories from theweek.com $2,000 checks are good Republican senators reportedly start wavering on $2,000 stimulus checks Trump's $2,000 checks push costs him the WSJ editorial board