Federal judges appointed by both Republican and Democratic presidents have struck down every Trump campaign allegation of widespread voter fraud.'The right thing' »
The US Department of Justice investigated an attorney for Jared Kushner in connection with an alleged bribery-for-pardon scheme, The New York Times reported. As Business Insider reported, a US judge released documents this week showing that federal investigators were concerned about an alleged "bribery conspiracy scheme" to obtain a presidential pardon. According to The Times' reporting, the suspected scheme involved a billionaire real estate developer, Sanford Diller, who sought to secure clemency for a man named Hugh Baras, who had been convicted of tax evasion.
The European Union's aviation safety agency has extended a ban imposed on Pakistan's state-run airline this year barring it from flying to Europe after a plane crash that killed 97 people in the port city of Karachi, a spokesman said Friday. At the time — and while the probe into the May 22 Airbus A320 crash was still underway — authorities acknowledged that nearly a third of Pakistani pilots, 260 out of 860, had cheated on their pilot's exams. Pakistan International Airlines subsequently grounded 150 of its pilots while a probe by the country's Civil Aviation Authority into the other pilots is still ongoing.
A bilateral trade deal between Taiwan and the United States would reinforce U.S. support for the democratic island in the face of "unrelenting intimidation" from China, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said on Friday. Taiwan, claimed by China as its own territory, has long angled for a trade deal with its most important diplomatic and military backer, and in August Tsai announced a relaxation on imports of U.S. pork and beef, removing a stumbling block. In a recorded message to the American Legislative Exchange Council, having received its International Pioneer Award for Leadership, Tsai said that with Taiwan's reliance on trade, the island had to strengthen economic ties with trading partners.
Ghislaine Maxwell's federal prison has been hit with a major Covid outbreak and her lawyers are expected to use it to reapply for bail for Jeffrey Epstein's alleged sex trafficking accomplice. Cases at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York, have reportedly spiked as the virus surges across the US. The federal prison had seen just 25 cases since March but as of Tuesday had a total of 80, said the Bureau of Prisons.
Israeli police said Friday they arrested a Jewish man after he poured out a “flammable liquid” inside a church near Jerusalem's Old City, in what they described as a “criminal” incident. The police did not provide further details about the motive, but past attacks on churches in the Holy Land have been blamed on Jewish extremists. Friday's incident took place at the Church of All Nations, a Catholic church built on the traditional site of the Garden of Gethsemane, where Christians believe Jesus was betrayed by Judas, one of his followers, and arrested by the Romans before being crucified.
President-elect Joe Biden said when it comes to the Department of Justice, he is "not going to be telling them what they have to do and don't have to do." Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris were interviewed by CNN's Jake Tapper on Thursday, and the discussion turned to reports that President Trump is contemplating preemptively pardoning his adult children, son-in-law Jared Kushner, and personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Biden said this "concerns me in terms of what kind of precedent it sets and how the rest of the world looks [at] us as a nation of laws and justice."
As a pair of critical Senate runoff races approach on Jan. 5, Georgia Republican leaders find themselves in a conundrum, trying to balance indulging President Trump's baseless claims of voter fraud with supporting state GOP election officials. Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, a Republican, is frustrated with the misinformation about the election process in his state. I'm actually embarrassed at the amount of misinformation that continues to show up on Twitter feeds and Facebook posts and blogs that takes literally 10 seconds to debunk,” Duncan told Yahoo News.
Philippine police on Friday threatened to cane people who violate social distancing protocols as the Southeast Asian nation fights the spread of the coronavirus during the festive season. The Philippines celebrates one of the world's longest Christmas seasons, starting as early as September, and crowds have started to flock to sprawling malls and shopping centres despite the pandemic. Police general Cesar Binag, commander of the coronavirus task force, told a news conference that police and soldiers would patrol in public areas in the capital Manila, the hotspot of COVID-19 cases, carrying 1 meter rattan sticks to measure distancing.
The Tennessee Supreme Court on Thursday indefinitely postponed the execution of death row inmate Byron Black. In a brief order issued on Thursday, the court wrote that Black's execution is stayed pending a further order by the court “because of the multiple issues caused by the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. Black was convicted by a Nashville court of murdering his girlfriend Angela Clay and her daughters Latoya, 9, and Lakesha, 6, at their home in 1988.
As the Trump administration continues to put economic and political pressure on China, Beijing's state media has warned that some of the damage done to relations between the two countries may now be "beyond repair". Regardless of the stance president-elect Joe Biden takes from January, some of the impacts of four years of Donald Trump in the White House may never be healed and the US and China remain on a “dangerous path”, the newspaper China Daily said in an editorial. "Even if the incoming administration has any intention of easing the tensions that have been sown, and continue being sown, some damage is simply beyond repair, as the sitting US president intends," it said.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Thursday he would not replace his outgoing chief-of-staff Alfonso Romo and will close down his office in order to save money. Lopez Obrador said on Wednesday that Romo, a longtime ally and millionaire entrepreneur known for his outreach to business groups, would step down after two years in the job. The leftist president said Romo would continue to act as a go-between for the government and the private sector, a role that has often been strained over Lopez Obrador's skepticism about private sector involvement in areas such as energy.
Authorities in Bangladesh on Friday sent the first group of more than 1,500 Rohingya refugees to an isolated island despite calls by human rights groups for a halt to the process. The 1,642 refugees boarded seven Bangladeshi naval vessels in the port of Chittagong for the trip to Bhashan Char, according to an official who could not be named in accordance with local practice. After about a three-hour trip they arrived at the island, which was once regularly submerged by monsoon rains but now has flood protection embankments, houses, hospitals and mosques built at a cost of more than $112 million by the Bangladesh navy.
In a new set of unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud, Roger Stone, a longtime friend and a former adviser to President Donald Trump on Thursday said that North Korea interfered in the US presidential elections. Appearing on far-right radio programme The Alex Jones Show, Mr Stones claimed that there was “incontrovertible evidence” that the votes were brought into the US through Maine. "I just learned of absolute incontrovertible evidence of North Korean boats delivering ballots through a harbour in Maine, the state of Maine," he said.
China has executed the next stage of its Chang'e-5 Moon mission, blasting into orbit samples gathered on the lunar surface. Right on cue, at 15:10 GMT, an ascent vehicle lit its engine to head up to a service module that will shepherd home the rock and dust materials. It's more than 40 years since lunar samples were last brought back to Earth.
Two coronavirus vaccine candidates developed by China's Clover Biopharmaceuticals triggered strong immune responses in an early-stage human trial and appeared to be safe, the company said on Friday. The vaccine candidates, one containing an adjuvant from GlaxoSmithKline and the other from Dynavax, induced strong immune responses including neutralizing antibodies and cell-mediated immunity in a Phase 1 clinical trial, Clover said. Adjuvants are ingredients that can boost immune responses.
WASHINGTON – President-elect Joe Biden said he would publicly take a vaccine when it's available to encourage the public to get vaccinated, joining three former presidents who recently pledged to do the same. Biden said he'd "be happy" to join former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton in getting the vaccine in public to prove it is safe. "When Dr. Fauci says we have a vaccine that is safe, that's the moment in which I will stand before the public," Biden said during an interview on CNN Thursday night.
A Hong Kong pro-democracy activist and former lawmaker who is visiting Denmark said Thursday he is going into exile and will soon move to Britain. “I hereby announce that I will go into exile and will withdraw my membership in the Democratic Party of Hong Kong to leave Hong Kong,” Ted Hui said in a statement to The Associated Press. It was not clear when he would travel to Britain which, in response to a crackdown on opposition in Hong Kong, has extended residency rights for up to 3 million Hong Kongers eligible for British National Overseas passports, allowing them to live and work there for five years.
Zhou Xiaoxuan, 27, more widely known by her nickname Xianzi, became a pioneer of China's #MeToo movement in 2018, when she accused Zhu Jun of groping and kissing her in a dressing room in 2014. Despite police warnings, pressure on her family, online censorship and harassment, Zhou has persisted — one of the few to make it into court on claims of sexual misconduct, which China did not recognize as grounds for legal recourse until last year. A young woman pulled out her lipstick to write #MeToo on another woman's mask.
Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said on Friday a resolution to a bitter dispute with Qatar seemed "within reach" after Kuwait announced progress towards ending a row that Washington says hampers a united Gulf front against Iran. The United States and Kuwait have worked to end the dispute, during which Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt have imposed a diplomatic, trade and travel embargo on Qatar since mid-2017. "We have made significant progress in the last few days thanks to the continuing efforts of Kuwait but also thanks to strong support from (U.S.) President (Donald) Trump," Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud told a Rome conference via videolink.
A game of "cat-and-mouse" between the European Union and Turkey needs to come to an end, European Council President Charles Michel said on Friday, in reference to a dispute over natural gas resources in the eastern Mediterranean. "The game of cat and mouse must end," Michel told a news conference, as Turkey again withdrew an exploration vessel from disputed waters ahead of an EU summit on Dec. 10 that is set to discuss possible sanctions on Turkey. "In October, we defined a positive agenda, we reached out our hand," said Michel, who chairs EU summits.
Japanese space agency officials said Friday the Hayabusa2 spacecraft is on its intended trajectory as it approaches Earth to deliver a capsule containing samples from a distant asteroid that could provide clues to the origin of the solar system and life on Earth. The spacecraft left the asteroid Ryugu, about 300 million kilometers (180 million miles) away, a year ago. Hayabusa2 is flying smoothly according to plan, Yuichi Tsuda, project manager at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, said at a briefing ahead of the critical separation of the capsule from the spacecraft on Saturday.
Where has Vice President Mike Pence been for the past month? As COVID-19 infections and deaths continue to surge nationally, I've been looking for Pence, the man tasked with guiding America through this public health crisis as head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Sure, I've seen him honor our nation's fallen soldiers during a Veterans Day ceremony.
A Supreme Court judge in Australia's Victoria state on Friday dismissed submissions from news media organizations and journalists that there is no case to answer on charges they breached a gag order on reporting about Cardinal George Pell's sex abuse convictions in 2018. More charges were tossed out in the case against Australian media outlets prosecuted over reporting of Pell's abuse convictions. But the judge refused to throw out the bulk of the 87 charges of contempt of court for stories published after the cardinal's guilty verdict.
The US's top intelligence official has issued a warning to Americans, saying China is the biggest threat to democracy and freedom since the Second World War and it intends to “dominate” the US along with the rest of the world. John Ratcliffe, who serves as Donald Trump's director of national intelligence, said China was stealing US secrets and looking to replace American companies in the global market. “If I could communicate one thing to the American people from this unique vantage point, it is that the People's Republic of China poses the greatest threat to America today, and the greatest threat to democracy and freedom world-wide since World War II,” wrote Mr Ratcliffe in an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal.
“This metastasizing debt crisis has had tremendous social costs. An entire generation has been set back.”
“It is not the government’s job to step in and rescue those who took on more debt than their future incomes would support.”
“Many student-borrowers need relief, but well-off borrowers who are thriving — thanks to their college degrees — do not.”
“It will stimulate the lagging economy. And though not everyone will directly benefit, the country as a whole will improve.”
“Canceling student debt would cost billions of dollars each year and would exacerbate, not lessen, economic inequalities.”