With vaccines and a new administration, the pandemic will be tamed. But experts say the coming months "are going to be just horrible."A critical period of transition »
Dr. Scott Atlas, the controversial White House coronavirus adviser, left federal employ much the same way he entered it: with an appearance on Fox News. It was the Stanford neuroradiologist's interviews on President Trump's former favorite source of information that led to his August appointment to a position for which he seemed to have little experience. After resigning, Atlas spoke to Fox News primetime host Tucker Carlson, casting himself as a victim of conventional wisdom.
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. It was unclear which company had supplied its drug candidate to the Kims and whether it had proven to be safe, he added.
Joe Biden's personal tragedies have shaped his career, from policy to politicking, learning to mourn as a public figure and relying on his history of loss to reach out to voters, including his campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee. In December 1972, the former vice president — then a 30-year-old senator-elect from Delaware, weeks away from being sworn into office — lost his first wife Neilia and 13-month-old daughter Naomi in a car accident. In a statement following his death, his father wrote: “Beau Biden was, quite simply, the finest man any of us have ever known.”
As two Islamic State militants faced a judge in Virginia last month, Diane Foley listened from home through a muffled phone connection and strained to make out the voices of the men prosecutors say kidnapped her son before he was murdered. Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh stand accused of belonging to an IS cell dubbed “the Beatles,” an incongruously lighthearted nickname for British citizens blamed for the jailing, torture and murder of Western hostages in Syria. After geopolitical breakthroughs and stalemates, military actions in Syria and court fights in London, the Justice Department's most significant terrorism prosecution in years was finally underway.
Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Lisa Murkowski (R-Ala.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) — are pushing a $908 billion stimulus plan that would provide more pandemic relief to Americans. The price tag is similar to the shot-down $1 trillion package put forth by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in July but the new framework, Romney said in a Tuesday press conference, would repurpose funds from the CARES Act, meaning that less than half the total figure is new money.
Hamas's Gaza leader, Yehya Al-Sinwar, has tested positive for COVID-19, a spokesman for the Islamist militant group, which runs the Palestinian territory, said on Tuesday. Sinwar, 58, is "following the advice of health authorities and taking precautionary measures", spokesman Hazem Qassem said, without disclosing whether the Hamas chief was in quarantine. Sinwar, a former head of Hamas's security apparatus, became the movement's Gaza leader in 2017, six years after he was freed in a prisoner swap with Israel after more than 20 years in jail.
Allies of President Donald Trump want a federal court in Michigan to force state leaders to set aside election results and award its 16 electoral votes to the president. A separate conservative group also wants the Michigan Supreme Court to invalidate the results that show President-elect Joe Biden won the state. The latest lawsuit, filed in the Eastern District of Michigan and before the state's highest court, rely on unfounded allegations of widespread fraud and misconduct that judges in the state and across the country have previously rejected.
Amid the long-raging deadly strife in Indian-controlled Kashmir, another conflict is silently taking its toll on the Himalayan region's residents: the conflict between man and wild animals. According to official data, at least 67 people have been killed and 940 others injured in the past five years in attacks by wild animals in the famed Kashmir Valley, a vast collection of alpine forests, connected wetlands and waterways known as much for its idyllic vistas as for its decades-long armed conflict between Indian troops and rebels. The Himalayan black bear is at the heart of this trouble.
Hong Kong's yachts and rented party boats are the latest target for Covid-19 restrictions after police warned waterborne revelry risked spreading the coronavirus. Nightclubs and karaoke bars have already been closed, leaving some to switch to hosting parties onboard vessels. “Whilst scheduled premises such as bars, bath houses and party rooms have been closed according to the law, the police noticed that a number of vessels have been hired for social gathering,” the police said in a statement, according to Bloomberg.
Vietnam reported two more coronavirus cases on Tuesday linked to a rare domestic infection in its commercial hub Ho Chi Minh City, while the government urged public vigilance and tighter enforcement of health measures. The Southeast Asian nation is back on high alert after confirming on Monday the country's first community infection in 89 days, prompting the closure of several places in the densely-populated southern city. The latest cases have been traced back to a flight attendant, who had been kept inside a quarantine facility for five days before being released to self-isolate at home.
Trump campaign lawyer Joe diGenova said former top US cybersecurity official Christopher Krebs should be "taken out at dawn and shot" and "drawn and quartered". Krebs was fired by Trump last month after saying that the November 3 election was "the most secure in American history" and dismissed the outgoing president's baseless allegations of widespread voter fraud. DiGenova's comments come after Rudy said Giuliani in a recent interview with Fox News that someone should "cut the head off" the Democratic Party while making a throat-slashing gesture.
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.
Iran's parliament on Tuesday approved a bill that would suspend U.N. inspections of its nuclear facilities and require the government to boost its uranium enrichment if European signatories to the 2015 nuclear deal do not provide relief from oil and banking sanctions. The vote to approve the bill, which would also require approval by the Guardian Council, a constitutional watchdog, was a show of defiance after the killing of a prominent Iranian nuclear scientist last month. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has the final say on all nuclear policies.
One person was shot dead and four others injured on Thanksgiving after police in Henderson, Nevada, say a man and woman fired at people while driving in the city. "It is believed that the suspects were driving around the city randomly shooting at citizens with no apparent motive," Henderson police said in a news release. Henderson police officers responding to the Thursday shooting at the 800 block of East Lake Mead Parkway found a 22-year-old man, who had died from an apparent gunshot wound, and a 23-year-old woman, an 18-year-old man, a 53-year-old man and a 41-year-old man, all suffering from apparent gunshot wounds, according to a news release.
The news that former Vice President Joe Biden would become the next president of the United States was met in Russia with grim resignation, bordering on despair. Experts on Russian state television have described Biden's presidency as “Obama's third term” and predicted a slew of new sanctions dreaded by the Kremlin. This anticipation revived the wave of racist attacks against former President Barack Obama, which were commonplace during his administration.
Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar said Tuesday efforts to resolve Cyprus' ethnic division should start fresh and aim to achieve a two-state deal, because decades of negotiations for a federation-based agreement have got nowhere. Tatar said a regional “new state of affairs” that takes into account the discovery of significant gas deposits off Cyprus creates the need for a two-state accord, under which equally sovereign Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots can live “side by side.” The Greek Cypriots reject the two-state idea.
Indian ministers and representatives of thousands of protesting farmers failed to break a deadlock over a set of new farm laws at a meeting on Tuesday, but both sides were set to meet again on Thursday, a farmers' leader and the government said. Growers from India's big northern farming states have been camped outside Delhi for nearly a week, demonstrating against laws they fear could pave the way for the government to stop buying grain at guaranteed prices, leaving them at the mercy of private buyers. The demonstrations have also led to a diplomatic row between India and Canada after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke of the protests in a video message on Monday, saying his government had reached out to Indian authorities.
China has accused Australia of trying to "deflect public attention" from alleged war crimes by its soldiers in Afghanistan after Canberra expressed outrage over a "repugnant" tweet. Australia wants China to apologise for sharing a fake image of an Australian soldier killing an Afghan child. Beijing has now said that Australia was trying to "blame China for the worsening of bilateral ties".
Indonesian authorities are closely monitoring several volcanoes after sensors picked up increased activity in recent weeks, prompting the evacuation of thousands of people. Hot ash tumbled as far as 3,000 meters (9,800 feet) down the slopes of Mount Semeru early Tuesday, triggering panic among villagers, said Raditya Jati, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman. The 3,676-meter (12,060-feet) mountain in Lumajang district is the highest volcano on Indonesia's most densely island of Java.
Australia has demanded Beijing apologize and take down the fake image, posted on Twitter by a senior Chinese official on Monday (November 30), marking another downturn in deteriorating relations between the two countries. Tiny, trade-focused New Zealand has stayed clear of the growing feud between China and Australia, and has long-standing diplomatic, trade and political interests with both countries. The Pacific island nation has a shared history, close cultural ties, geographic proximity and a strong economic relation with Australia, while China is its largest trading partner, with two-way trade exceeding NZ$33 billion.
First responders and frontline workers being challenged by the deadly coronavirus pandemic are highlighted in White House Christmas decorations that also give a special nod to Melania Trump's redesigned Rose Garden. It's the final Christmas in the White House for the Trump family, although the president continues to insist — despite evidence to the contrary — that he won the Nov. 3 election. President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn into office on Jan. 20.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr said on Tuesday the Justice Department had found no evidence of widespread voter fraud in last month's election, even as President Donald Trump kept up his flailing legal efforts to reverse his electoral defeat. "To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election," Barr, a Trump appointee widely seen as loyal to the Republican president, told the Associated Press. Barr told federal prosecutors last month to pursue investigations into credible allegations of election fraud, but warned them to avoid probes into "fanciful or far-fetched claims."
I'm Winston Gieseke, philanthropy and special sections editor for The Desert Sun in Palm Springs, with the latest California news to jump-start your week. Governor warns of stay-at-home order if statewide COVID-19 trends continue Now that Thanksgiving travel has come and gone — but with Christmas travel looming — Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday warned of prolonged stay-at-home orders for counties with the most widespread coronavirus transmission if the state continues to see a surge of new cases. Unless there is a drastic change, public health officials are projecting that 78% of the state's hospital beds could be occupied by Christmas Eve.
Brazil's Indigenous affairs agency on Tuesday launched an expedition that activists fear could endanger a large protected area for isolated people in the Amazon region that has been targeted for development by ranchers, miners and other land-hungry interests. The mission went forward even though prosecutors in the city of Altamira this week warned the National Indian Foundation that officials could face legal sanctions unless they called off the expedition, which potentially could lead to decertification or reduction of the Ituna-Itata reserve. It's been at least 35 years — when military rule ended — since any designated Indigenous territory in Brazil has been eliminated or reduced in size.
The Navy said Monday that it will decommission a warship docked off San Diego after suspected arson this summer caused extensive damage, making it too expensive to restore. Fully repairing the USS Bonhomme Richard to warfighting capabilities would cost $2.5 billion to $3 billion and take five to seven years, said Rear Adm. Eric H. Ver Hage of the Navy Regional Maintenance Center. The amphibious assault ship burned for more than four days in July and was the Navy's worst U.S. warship fire outside of combat in recent memory.
“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.”