Some started dancing in the streets to the Diana Ross song "I'm Coming Out"
Some started dancing in the streets to the Diana Ross song "I'm Coming Out"
A weekend attack on farm workers in northeast Nigeria blamed on jihadists left at least 110 dead, the UN humanitarian coordinator in the country said on Sunday, the deadliest attack on civilians this year. The attack, in a state gripped by a jihadist insurgency for more than 10 years, took place the same day as long-delayed local elections in the state. "I am outraged and horrified by the gruesome attack against civilians carried out by non-state armed groups in villages near Borno State capital Maiduguri," Edward Kallon said in a statement. "At least 110 civilians were ruthlessly killed and many others were wounded in this attack," he added. Some locals blamed the attack on Boko Haram fighters, but Bulama Bukarti, an analyst with the Tony Blair Institute, said rival group the IS-affiliated Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) were more active in the area. "ISWAP is the likely culprit," he tweeted. Kallon, in his statement, said: "The incident is the most violent direct attack against innocent civilians this year. "I call for the perpetrators of this heinous and senseless act to be brought to justice," he added. The violence centred on the village of Koshobe near the Borno state capital Maiduguri, with assailants targeting farm workers harvesting rice fields. One pro-government anti-jihadist militia said the assailants tied up the labourers and slit their throats. Kallon said the assailants - "armed men on motorcycles" - also targeted other communities in the area. "Rural communities in Borno State are facing untold hardships," he added, calling for more to be done to protect them and to head off what he said was a looming food crisis there. Borno Governor Babaganan Umara Zulum attended the burial Sunday in the nearby village of Zabarmari of 43 bodies recovered on Saturday, saying the toll could rise after search operations resumed. The victims included dozens of labourers from Sokoto state in northwestern Nigeria, roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) away, who had travelled to the northeast to find work, it said. Six were wounded in the attack and eight remained missing as of Saturday. Kallon, citing "reports that several women may have been kidnapped", called for their immediate release. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari condemned the attack on Saturday, saying: "The entire country has been wounded by these senseless killings." Neither the president's statement nor Sunday's from the UN mentioned either Boko Haram or rival group ISWAP by name. But both groups have been active in Borno State, their attacks having forced the postponement of locations in Borno State, which finally took place Saturday.
China has provided North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his family with an experimental coronavirus vaccine, a U.S. analyst said on Tuesday, citing two unidentified Japanese intelligence sources. Harry Kazianis, a North Korea expert at the Center for the National Interest think tank in Washington, said the Kims and several senior North Korean officials had been vaccinated.
A triumphant Abiy Ahmed praised his troops in Ethiopia's parliament on Monday (November 30) for their victory in the country's northern Tigray region, even as the forces he claims to have defeated said they were still fighting. His soldiers captured Tigray's capital Mekelle at the weekend, prompting a declaration that a military operation in the region was completed. "The defense forces never killed a single person in a single town. No soldier from any country could display a better competence. We have disciplined heroic soldiers." Abiy said they had carried out a "special surgery" in Mekelle and not destroyed the city, nor killed a single civilian in the region. But in a conflict where information has been difficult to verify, the rebellious Tigrayan People's Liberation Front has a different version of events. It says Mekelle suffered heavy bombardment. It also says the war is far from over - and claims to have shot down a plane and retaken a town. In a text message, TPLF leader Debretsion Gebremichael said he was close to Mekelle, fighting the, quote, "invaders". Abiy's spokeswoman dismissed suggestions that fighting is still ongoing, saying the "many delusions of a disintegrating criminal clique" were not their focus. However Debretsion's defiance raises the specter of a drawn out insurgency against a battle-hardened TPLF that, from the days when it toppled Ethiopia's Marxist dictatorship nearly three decades ago, has known how to exploit its mountains and borders with Eritrea and Sudan. The violence, in which diplomats believe thousands have died, has also stirred ethnic rivalries. When he took office in 2018, Abiy pledged to unite Ethiopia's 115 million people, but ethnic clashes had killed hundreds and uprooted hundreds of thousands from their homes even before the latest bloodshed.
Multinational corporations including Nike and Coca-Cola are lobbying to water down legislation that would ban products made with forced labor in China's Xinjiang province, the New York Times reported on Sunday.China has attempted to cement state power over millions of Muslim citizens in Xinjiang, mostly Uyghur Muslims along with Kazakhs and other minorities. The ruling Communist Party has placed Uyghurs in so-called reeducation camps that attempt to erase their attachment to Islam, and has also embarked on a campaign of forced sterilization of Uyghur women.Numerous global supply chains are based in Xinjiang, including for cotton and coal, and China has employed forced Uyghur labor for various factories. The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which passed the House 406-3 in September and is currently under consideration in the Senate, would ban imports of good from Xinjiang unless U.S. customs officials could verify that the goods were not produced using forced labor.However, multinational companies are lobbying against the legislation, saying that while they do not support use of forced labor, the bill could have a detrimental impact on their supply chains. Along with Nike and Coca-Cola, tech giant Apple is also pushing to weaken some restrictions, the Washington Post reported last week.Coca-Cola "strictly prohibits any type of forced labor in our supply chain" and employs third-party auditors to enforce the policy, the company said in a statement to the Times. Nike said it "did not lobby against" the legislation but had "constructive discussions" with congressional aides on keeping its supply chain free of forced labor.Pro-business groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have also joined the lobbying efforts.A report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute in March of this year concluded that at least 80,000 Uyghurs have been sent away from their homes to labor in factories in other parts of China.
President-elect Joe Biden has seen a 6 percentage point jump in his favorability rating since the Nov. 3 election, with 55 percent of U.S. adults viewing him favorably, Gallup reported Monday. President Trump, whose Gallup favorability rating peaked at 49 percent in April, lost 3 points since Election Day, now clocking in at 42 percent. This is Biden's highest Gallup rating since February 2019, before he entered the presidential race. His jump in favorability was fueled by a 6-point bump among Republicans, to 12 percent, and a 7-point jump among independents, to 55 percent.> Biden's Favorability Rises to 55%, Trump's Dips to 42%, per @Gallup : https://t.co/xkyxen3TAs pic.twitter.com/0CyaXOnidW> > — John McCormick (@McCormickJohn) November 30, 2020Trump's post-election slump was also powered by a 6-point drop among Republicans, to 89 percent. Biden's jump in popularity is pretty normal for presidents-elect. "Since 2000, the winning presidential candidate's favorability ratings have increased slightly after the election," Gallup explained. "Additionally, since 2000, the winner's postelection favorability reached the majority level in every election except 2016, when Trump was the most personally unpopular presidential candidate in Gallup polling history."Trump's 2020 dip is less normal; Republican candidates Mitt Romney and John McCain saw their favorability ratings jump 4 points and 14 points, respectively, after losing to President Barack Obama. Hillary Clinton's rating was unchanged after the 2016 election.Gallup also found that Americans view the Democratic Party and Republican Party with roughly the same level of favor — 45 percent like Democrats, 43 percent approve of the GOP — though among independents, 41 percent view Democrats favorably and 33 percent see Republicans in a positive light.Gallup conducted its survey Nov. 5-19 among a random sample of 1,018 adults from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and the margin of sampling error is ± 4 percentage points.More stories from theweek.com Americans are choosing death over deprivation GOP Sen. Josh Hawley tries to explain how Democrats are both 'Marxists' and 'corporatists' Our parents warned us the internet would break our brains. It broke theirs instead.
New Zealand authorities filed safety violation charges on Monday against 10 organizations and three individuals after a volcanic eruption at White Island last year killed 22 people. The island had been a popular tourist destination before the Dec. 9 eruption. The names of those charged are being kept secret for now by authorities under New Zealand legal rules.
The U.S. Senate on Monday confirmed two of President Donald Trump's picks for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), in a move that could secure a Republican majority on the panel through June. The Senate passed Mark Christie, a Republican, and Allison Clements, a Democrat, by voice vote to FERC, an independent panel of the Energy Department.
One person was shot dead and four others injured after police in Henderson, Nevada, say a man and woman fired at people while driving on Thanksgiving.
Hundreds of women have put themselves forward to be potential Conservative candidates in the past two weeks, as the party's co-Chairman Amanda Milling says the party is heading towards it’s third female prime minister. A year after Boris Johnson committed to equal gender representation amongst all Tory candidates, Ms Milling said a new outreach “mission” to encourage women to stand had led to an influx of interest. Buoyed by the success of the campaign, she argued that the Conservative Party will “probably” have a third Prime Minister by the time Labour gets its first. “That’s the way that we're going. We've done so much better than the Labour Party in getting females to the top of Government,” she admitted. Last year the Prime Minister described women making up half of Conservative candidates as an "ambition" and has recently pledged his support for an equal split amongst MPs too. However, the Tory party still has some way to go to catch up with Labour - more than half of all Labour MPs are women compared to a quarter of Conservative members. Ms Milling confirmed that the party would not be adopting all-female shortlists to reach its targets. She said:“ I don’t believe in all women shortlists. Because actually, what you need to ensure is that you've got the pipeline so that you find the best candidates and nurture them as they move through the system. “It's important that the most talented people, the right people get selected for seats and run regardless of who they are.” Instead, Ms Milling has overseen “the biggest review of the candidates process since the early 2000s”. Firstly, the party hopes to widen the “pipeline” process. Next year the co-Chairman will host a raft of roadshows across the country - with a particular focus on “Blue Wall” seats - to attract more female talent. The Government has also completely reviewed its assessments process by measuring up potential candidates against a “raft” of competencies and reintroducing psychometric testing. While the system to encourage candidates appears to be working there are undoubted deterrents to standing for political office. Abuse has intensified in recent years, with some female MPs claiming death and rape threats are "a daily occurrence”. Ms Milling admits that abuse has increased “across the board” and notes that women “have been experiencing more of it”.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has returned to his Washington office two weeks after he tested positive for COVID-19, his team announced Monday.While Grassley wasn't the first lawmaker to contract the virus, many people were concerned about the diagnosis because the senator is 87. It turned out, however, that he remained asymptomatic throughout the course of his infection and was able to keep working remotely.Still, Grassley didn't let his fortunate situation reshape his stance on the severity of the pandemic. In a statement, he noted that the disease "affects people differently" and "more than a thousand Americans are dying every day and many more are hospitalized." So, Grassley said, he'll "continue to wear a mask and practice social distancing."He also repeated his previous calls for Congress to pass a "long overdue," bipartisan relief bill to "help families, businesses, and communities get through this crisis." Tim O'Donnell> Grassley, 87, is back at the Senate today after testing positive for Covid-19. His office says he was asymptomatic the entire time. pic.twitter.com/qJImIJl8ZC> > -- Andrew Desiderio (@AndrewDesiderio) November 30, 2020More stories from theweek.com Americans are choosing death over deprivation GOP Sen. Josh Hawley tries to explain how Democrats are both 'Marxists' and 'corporatists' Our parents warned us the internet would break our brains. It broke theirs instead.
The 2014 Afghan presidential election involved accusations of fraud, recounts, and threats of violence. Eventually there was peace. Sound familiar?
Noem, a Republican, has refused calls to issue a mask mandate, disputing their effectiveness even as cases in South Dakota surge.
Sincere Pierce, 18, was one of two teenage victims in the 13 November killing by a Brevard County deputy officer
Monday's Late Show was all Stephen Colbert's interview last week with former President Barack Obama, and Obama took his share of needling.Many Americans missed Obama during President Trump's tenure, Colbert included, he said. "Did you miss you? Did you ever look at something going on in the news and go, 'You know what this situation needs? A little Barack Obama.'" Obama laughed and said he'd only want another turn as president if he could call the shots from his basement. "I found the work fascinating," he said. "But I do not miss having to wear a tie every day." Colbert also poked at Obama's cadence, telling him that if you listen to his audiobook recording at double speed, "you can't tell that it's actually going faster," because it's "normal human talking speed." In another interview, Obama swatted back, telling Colbert, "If that was an imitation of me, that was terrible."Colbert threw in some questions he believed Obama had never been asked, including: "How does Dolly Parton not have a Presidential Medal of Freedom?" "That's a mistake -- I'm shocked," Obama replied. "That was a screw-up. I'm surprised. I think I assumed that she had already got one, and that was incorrect. She deserves one. I'll call Biden."They also discussed more serious topics, like how Obama and his family stayed relatively grounded in Washington and amid their "outsized fame," and the downsides of president-elect Joe Biden facing a Senate led by "sand in the gears" Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). "Look, I experienced divided government and I will tell you that gridlock and dysfunction is a recipe for not only not solving big problems but also growing cynicism among the electorate that further polarizes folks," he said. "I think that Joe's presidency will help lower the temperature" and he'll "have some success in building back social trust," but "we're going to have a larger challenge in figuring out what to do about this splintered media landscape" and its assault on shared facts.Obama also ruminated on the temptations and weight of drone warfare. "The problem with the drone program was not that it caused an inordinate amount of civilian casualties -- although even one civilian casualty is tragic," he said. "The problem is it starts giving you the illusion that it is not war." More stories from theweek.com Americans are choosing death over deprivation GOP Sen. Josh Hawley tries to explain how Democrats are both 'Marxists' and 'corporatists' Our parents warned us the internet would break our brains. It broke theirs instead.
President Donald Trump may only have seven weeks left in office, but he’s given his top advisers the green light to batter the Iranian regime—anything that doesn’t hazard a full-on war before Joe Biden is inaugurated.According to multiple U.S. officials familiar with the matter, in recent weeks Trump has taken a more passive role in personally overseeing Iran policy for the critical final months until Inauguration Day. One White House official last week described Trump as mostly “checked out” on this major foreign policy issue, having become consumed by his bumbling legal effort to steal the 2020 election amid the coronavirus pandemic, as well as by other his pet grievances of the moment.But Trump has given some of his most hawkish administration officials, particularly his top diplomat, Mike Pompeo, carte blanche to squeeze and punish the Islamic Republic as aggressively as they wish in the coming weeks. All Trump asks is that they don’t risk “start[ing] World War III,” as the president has specifically put it in several private conversations with Pompeo and others, according to two senior administration officials.That has left a host of options at the outgoing administration’s disposal—among them, a suffocating sanctions regime and a studied silence in the face of the assassination of Iranian nationals. Two officials who spoke to The Daily Beast said the administration is set to announce new sanctions on regime-linked companies and individuals in the coming weeks to solidify a years-long effort to paralyze Tehran’s economy.Iran: Israel Killed Top Nuclear Scientist With Remote-Control Machine GunKnowledgeable sources say those actions are designed to help fulfill various Trump officials’ long-brewing desire to make it more difficult for the Democratic president-elect to rekindle negotiations with Tehran and re-enter a nuclear deal. And it’s a scenario for which Biden lieutenants and allies have long prepared, having already factored into their Iran strategy that current U.S. officials would do nearly everything they could to undermine a revival of Obama-era relations between the adversarial nations.Trump administration officials who spoke to The Daily Beast frequently point to Pompeo and Elliott Abrams, special representative for Iran, as the leaders of the administration’s last-ditch attempt at pummeling the regime.Secretary Pompeo has been particularly forward leaning in the administration’s efforts to inflict damage on the Iranian government. In a recent trip to the Middle East, Pompeo met with leaders from Israel, the UAE, and Bahrain on ways all three countries could work together on countering the Islamic Republic. The trip followed on the heels of an announcement by the State Department that it had recently approved a massive sale of F-35 jets to the UAE. The deal has been widely viewed as a way to get Dubai to cooperate with Jerusalem on deterring Iran. And on Friday, Pompeo announced additional Iran-related sanctions, this time targeting Chinese and Russian entities for transferring sensitive technology and items to Iran’s missile program.Both Pompeo and Abrams, officials say, are supportive of harsh measures, including the quiet backing of covert actions carried out by other actors. One other senior administration official pointed to Central Intelligence Agency Director Gina Haspel as being intimately involved in the administration’s clandestine strategy as it relates to Iran.The president has repeatedly told his advisers that one of his priorities is to avoid a confrontation with Iran in which American military personnel would die. But Trump is comfortable letting Israel take the lead in targeting, or even slaying, Iranian regime figures in the closing weeks of his presidency, officials said. That includes Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the country’s top nuclear weapons scientist, who was killed Nov. 27 while traveling in a convoy in the northern part of the country.Two senior Trump administration officials said Israel was behind the attack, confirming global suspicions. One of those same officials, while they did not detail the level of involvement from the U.S., noted that America’s intelligence agencies often share information with Israel on Iran-related matters.“There’s obviously a close working relationship between Mossad chief Yossi Cohen and Haspel,” said Mark Dubowitz, the CEO of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a right leaning think tank that’s advised the Trump administration on Iran.Some of the president’s confidants have urged him not to draw too much attention to the killing. The administration has chosen to remain mostly tight-lipped regarding the scientist’s death. A source close to Trump said they had counseled the president in the past few days to avoid gratuitously tweeting about the assassination. Not only would it be a “bad look,” according to this source, it would likely undermine the administration’s public position of keeping the operation at arm’s length, if not farther away.The two senior administration officials said discussions about taking more active measures to limit Biden’s administration on negotiating a new deal with Iran ramped up this summer and coincided with several of Israel’s covert operations, including the killing of al Qaeda deputy leader Abu Muhammed in Iran, and Israel’s planting of a bomb in one of Iran’s centrifuge facilities.“The Israelis understand that between now and Jan. 20 they will need to inflict maximum damage on the regime,” Dubowitz said.The Trump strategy over the next few weeks is clear, one of the senior administration officials said: Continue to use sanctions as a deterrence tool while providing intelligence to regional allies such as Israel that have a mutual goal of damaging the Iranian regime.That plan isn’t so different from the one the Trump administration has put into action over the past four years. Since Trump took office in 2017, a cohort of top officials, advisers, and external advocacy groups have helped craft and implement a “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran that has relied primarily on the implementation of more than 1,000 sanctions on regime-linked officials and companies while also covertly targeting Tehran’s assets overseas.The only difference now, officials say, is that the administration not only wants to punish Iran, it also wants to pen in President-elect Biden.Individuals involved in the crafting of the Trump administration’s Iran policy believe the maximum pressure campaign will limit Biden’s ability to get back on track with Tehran, namely because some of the sanctions may be difficult to lift, especially those focused on human-rights and terrorism. Dubowitz and Trump administration officials familiar with Iranian sanctions said multinational corporations may be so risk averse to doing business with Iran now, following thousands of financial designations, that even if Biden lifts sanctions they will not engage in normal trade relations with Tehran.Individuals familiar with Team Biden’s thinking say the president-elect has a clear strategy for dealing with Iran and sanctions come January. That plan rests heavily on Biden’s desire to return back to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—the nuclear deal negotiated during the Obama administration—if Iran comes back into compliance.How Trump Twisted Iran Intel to Manufacture the ‘Four Embassies’ Threat“If Iran takes the bait, which is clearly the intention behind [the Farikhzadeh assassination], then it probably makes it impossible to return to the JCPOA and diplomacy,” said Jarrett Blanc, the former coordinator for Iran nuclear implementation in the Obama State Department. “If Iran doesn’t take the bait… I don’t know that it really changes the choices that confront the Biden team or Iran in January.”Any negotiations between a Biden administration and Iran would include conversations about the lifting of some sanctions, two individuals familiar with the Biden team’s thinking on Iran said. But those sanctions would likely only be lifted if and when Tehran complies with a deal.“Iran says it is prepared to come back in compliance and reverse some of the decisions it’s made. And the U.S. says it would lift some of the sanctions. [There’s] no legal bar to reverse them. Many of them were imposed for political reasons,” said one former senior Obama administration official. “It’s likely going to be a two-step approach for Biden—getting back in and then perhaps renegotiating a different, better deal.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet 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.