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President-elect Joe Biden officially received enough electoral votes to become the next president after California became the latest state to certify its election results. California appointed its 55 electors for Biden, putting him over the 270 electoral college votes needed to win the presidency. President Donald Trump has not conceded the election and continues to contest the results in court.
The U.S. State Department said on Friday it has ended five cultural exchange programs with China, calling them "soft power propaganda tools." The Department said on its website it had "terminated" the Policymakers Educational China Trip Program, the U.S.-China Friendship Program, the U.S.-China Leadership Exchange Program, the U.S.-China Transpacific Exchange Program and the Hong Kong Educational and Cultural Program. It said that the programs had been set up under the auspices of the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act - a 1961 law signed by President John F. Kennedy and aimed at boosting academic and cultural exchanges with foreign countries.
Michel Barnier is accustomed to being universally praised on his regular tours of the EU's capitals to preach the gospel against Brexit. On Tuesday, he was in the unfamiliar position of coming under friendly fire for the first time in three years as the EU's chief negotiator. It was an uncomfortable moment for Mr Barnier, who was headquartered at the Hotel Conrad in Westminster and is enmeshed in intensive Brexit negotiations with his UK counterpart David Frost.
Tens of thousands of opposition supporters marched across the Armenian capital Saturday to push for the resignation of the ex-Soviet nation's prime minister over his handling of the conflict with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh. In six weeks of fierce fighting that ended with a Russia-brokered peace deal on Nov. 10, the Azerbaijani army reclaimed lands that Armenian forces have held for more than a quarter-century. Armenia's opposition parties warned Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan there would be civil disobedience across the country if he does not resign by noon on Tuesday.
Former White House advisor Kellyanne Conway said in an interview with The 19th that "it looks like Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will prevail." Conway's remarks go against President Donald Trump, who is still refusing to concede to Biden and continues to share claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election to undermine the results. With the comment, Conway joins a growing number of Republicans who are acknowledging Biden's victory.
Turkey has entered its first full weekend lockdown since May as deaths from coronavirus more than doubled in less than three weeks to hit record highs, with daily infections now among the highest numbers recorded globally. The daily death toll https://tmsnrt.rs/35LkG8h rose to a record high of 196 on Saturday, bringing the total since the beginning of the pandemic to 14,705. Opposition politicians have expressed scepticism however about whether the official death toll reflects the true picture in the country of 83 million people.
China is conducting "human testing" to create "biologically enhanced soldiers," the head of US intelligence has claimed as he warned that Beijing poses the biggest threat to America's national security. In an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, John Ratcliffe, the director of national intelligence, warned that the US must be prepared for an "open-ended" confrontation with China which he likened to the Cold War. Mr Ratcliffe, who oversees America's intelligence agencies, said he believed China's intention was to "dominate" the planet in every sense: economically, militarily and technologically.
"No, I don't think it should be mandatory. I wouldn't demand that it be mandatory, but I will do everything in my power, just like I don't think masks have to be made mandatory nationwide... I will do everything in my power as the President of the United States to encourage people to do the right thing," Biden said.
Kuwait voted Saturday for its National Assembly, the first election since the death of its longtime ruling emir and as the oil-rich nation faces serious economic problems under the coronavirus pandemic. This tiny country's hundreds of thousands of voters selected lawmakers for 50 seats in the parliament, the freest and most-rambunctious assembly in the Gulf Arab countries. However, Kuwait's parliament has tamped down on opposition to its ruling Al Sabah family since the 2011 Arab Spring protests that saw demonstrators storm the chamber.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) had enlisted Deloitte to advise it on the talks with privately-owned Sheffield Forgemasters, Sky News said, citing steel industry sources. An outright takeover of Sheffield Forgemasters, which traces its history back to a small blacksmith's forge in the 1750s, was only one of a number of options being considered, and that any agreement was likely to be several months away, Sky News said.
California certified its presidential election on Friday and appointed 55 electors pledged to vote for Democrat Joe Biden, officially handing him the Electoral College majority needed to win the White House. Secretary of State Alex Padilla's formal approval of Mr Biden's win in the state brought his tally of pledged electors so far to 279, according to a tally by The Associated Press. Although it's been apparent for weeks that Mr Biden won the presidential election, his accrual of more than 270 electors is the first step toward the White House, said Edward B. Foley, a law professor at Ohio State University.
Judge Nicholas Garaufis on Friday directed the Trump administration to fully restore the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals program, which was designed during the Obama administration to protect younger undocumented immigrants from deportation. Per The New York Times, the decision may be the "final blow" to President Trump's years-long quest to eliminate the program. The order requires the Department of Homeland Security to post a public notice by Monday that it will accept new DACA applicants for the first time since 2017, Bloomberg notes.
One of the army officers behind an August coup in Mali was named on Saturday to lead a new transitional legislative body, a spokesman for the authorities said. The appointment boosts the number of military figures in key roles, something that has dismayed some political factions. After the ouster of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on Aug. 18, hopes of a civilian-led transition were dashed by the appointment of the junta's leader as vice president, while retired colonel Bah Ndaw became president.
The Airbus A330-800neo entered service with Kuwait Airways in November after being delivered in October as Airbus' newest passenger jet. It's the smaller variant of the A330neo family but still boasts an impressive range of 8,150 nautical miles and greater efficiency thanks to new Rolls-Royce engines. With only three airlines publicly placing orders for the aircraft, however, it's likely to be a flop.
Turkish fishermen have been called upon to rid the country's waters of poisonous toadfish, with a bounty on offer for each tail they bring ashore. The silver-cheeked toadfish, which can be fatal if eaten by humans, are an “invasive species” that poses a major threat to other fish in the Mediterranean and Aegean sea, according to Turkish officials. It marks a reversal in fortunes for Turkey's fishermen, who would usually toss away toadfish in disgust but can now cut off the tail and hand it to the authorities for a five lira (50p) bounty.
China and the United States need to proceed together with "good will" to improve relations, the Chinese ambassador to Washington said on Saturday, as ties remained fraught between the world's two biggest economic powers. On Friday, a Chinese state media editorial said ties are being shifted to "a dangerous path". "In order to put the relations on the right track, to have real improvement of the relations, both sides have to proceed with good will and good faith," Ambassador Cui Tiankai told the Annual Conference of the Institute for China-America Studies via video link.
A capsule containing the material was released by Japan's Hayabusa-2 spacecraft on Saturday morning (GMT), as it approached our planet. Hayabusa-2 grabbed the cosmic treasure trove from Ryugu, one of the primitive building blocks of our Solar System. Scientists say that studying the material from Ryugu could provide insights into how life itself began.
President Trump on Saturday called Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R), requesting that he call a special session of the state legislature to get lawmakers to override the presidential election results and appoint electors to vote for him instead of the winner, President-elect Joe Biden, a person familiar with the conversation told The Washington Post. Kemp declined on both accounts, the person said. A spokesman for the governor confirmed he spoke with Trump, and Kemp — who has traditionally been ally of the president, but has recently become a frequent target of his criticism — mentioned in a tweet that he talked to Trump on Saturday morning, adding that he's asked for a signature audit several times.
State surveys have spotted deer and other mammals already crowding onto canal banks and flood control levees that provide little shelter or forage. But wildlife managers say the high water also is benefiting wading birds, increasing the amount of fish they feed on, and also freshening up coastal areas in Florida Bay, which has been hammered by seagrass die-offs and algae blooms worsened by high salinity levels. There is concern that parts of the Everglades are too deep for some species to survive, and that flooding could hurt tree islands; but there is also some good news: flooding is creating good conditions for wading bird nesting in areas where we want them to be,” said Mark Cook, the lea...
Bahrain will not allow the import of Israeli goods produced in settlements in occupied Palestinian territory, state news agency BNA reported, disavowing comments made by the Gulf state's trade minister earlier this week. Bahrain's Industry, Commerce and Tourism Minister Zayed bin Rashid al-Zayani had voiced openness to settlement imports, adding that Manama would make no distinction between products produced in Israel or in the occupied West Bank and Golan Heights. "The minister's statement was misinterpreted and that the ministry is committed to the Bahraini government's unwavering stance regarding adherence to the resolutions of the United Nations," BNA said late on Friday, quoting an official source from the ministry of industry, commerce and tourism.
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A federal appeals court ruled Friday that a lower court was wrong to bar the Trump administration from taking $3.6 billion from military construction projects for a border wall. A panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said that El Paso County and the nonprofit Border Network for Human Rights did not have the standing to challenge President Donald Trump's redirecting funds from more than 100 military construction projects, including a $20 million road project at a base located in the city. The appeals court found that neither the county nor the Border Network proved it was directly harmed by Trump's move.
The Trump administration has blocked Joe Biden's transition team from meeting with officials at US intelligence agencies controlled by the Pentagon, current and former US officials have said. The president-elect's team had asked to meet with senior officials at military intelligence agencies within the Defense Department (DoD), which include the National Security Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency, but were not allowed to do so, the Washington Post reported. According to the report, the meetings were requested this week, and appeared to have been turned down, or delayed – although officials have since denied that was the case.
Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin, Elon Musk's SpaceX, and Dynetics are competing to land NASA astronauts on the moon. NASA awarded the companies a total of nearly $1 billion to produce initial lunar-lander designs for its Artemis 3 mission, which aims to land people on the moon in 2024. On Friday, Bezos announced that Blue Origin's lunar-lander rocket engine, the BE-7, completed its fourth successful test firing.
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“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.”