Your Saturday evening forecast
Your Saturday evening forecast
Even world leaders who have previously allied with Trump — including UK's Boris Johnson and Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu — have congratulated Biden.
Indonesian police said Saturday that suspected militants killed four people and burned seven houses in a village in Central Sulawesi province. National Police spokesperson Awi Setiyono said they believe Friday's assault in Lemban Tongoa village of Sigi District was carried out by the the East Indonesia Mujahideen group. Ahmad Rifai, a Lemban Tongoa village officer, said that one of the buildings burned was a Christian house of worship.
The high-profile epidemiologist who led Sweden's no lock-down strategy in the spring appears to be being sidelined by the government after his prediction that greater immunity would mean a lighter second wave proved badly wrong. Anders Tegnell's biweekly press conference was on Thursday pushed into the shade by an overlapping press conference fronted by Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, where new scenarios prepared by the Public Health Agency were announced. "There's certainly a split, and I'm pretty sure that many in the government have rather lost faith in the Public Health Agency," said Nicholas Aylott, an associate politics professor at Stockholm's Södertorn University. "By some counts, we've now got exactly the same level of spread of the virus that we had in the spring, and that's about as clear a refutation of Tegnell's strategy as you could wish for." Dr Tegnell has always insisted that his Public Health Agency has never pursued a herd immunity strategy, but he repeatedly suggested in the summer that his counterparts in Norway, Finland and Denmark would face a tougher task over the winter because of lower levels of immunity in their populations. This month, though, the number of deaths in Sweden has again begun to soar above that of its Nordic neighbours, with 630 deaths so far registered as a result of Covid-19. That is about ten times the per capita death rate in Norway -- where just 30 Covid-19 deaths were registered between October 28th and November 25th.
Hundreds of handcuffed Salvadoran gang members were displayed before assembled reporters on Saturday, a vivid show of President Nayib Bukele's policy of confronting them and the violent crime they are accused of committing. In April, Bukele provoked the ire of rights groups when he published on social media jarring pictures of hundreds of semi-naked jailed gang members, pressed tightly together in rows, despite the raging pandemic. Security Minister Rogelio Rivas called the majority of the newly-detained "terrorists" in remarks after they were assembled in an open-air plaza by heavily-armed soldiers, nearly all the detainees wearing masks and with their faces, many tattooed, looking down.
Ousted cybersecurity official speaks out for first time since firing, saying president’s fraud claims are without basis
Ever out of step with the Catholic laity, bishops are considering denying Joe Biden communion. That would be a huge mistake.
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.
Noem, a Republican, has refused calls to issue a mask mandate, disputing their effectiveness even as cases in South Dakota surge.
The women "were well within their right to act in defense of their sister and daughter" and are not expected to face charges, authorities say.
After months of shadowboxing amid a tense and toxic campaign, Capitol Hill's main players are returning for one final, perhaps futile, attempt at deal-making on a challenging menu of year-end business. COVID-19 relief, a $1.4 trillion catchall spending package, and defense policy — and a final burst of judicial nominees — dominate a truncated two- or three-week session occurring as the coronavirus pandemic rockets out of control in President Donald Trump's final weeks in office. The only absolute must-do business is preventing a government shutdown when a temporary spending bill expires on Dec. 11.
Joe Biden has hired an all-female communications team for his administration, including naming veteran Democratic spokeswoman Jen Psaki as his White House press secretary. Ms Psaki will be one of seven women to fill the upper ranks of Mr Biden’s communications team, making it the first of its kind where all top aides tasked with speaking for a presidential administration will be female. “Honored to work again for @JoeBiden, a man I worked on behalf of during the Obama-Biden Admin as he helped lead economic recovery, rebuilt our relationships with partners (turns out good practice) and injected empathy and humanity into nearly every meeting I sat in,” Ms Psaki tweeted on Sunday following the announcement.
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has declared military operations in the country’s northern Tigray region “completed’ and claimed that his federal forces had captured the crucial regional capital of Mekele. Due to an almost complete communications black out in Tigray, it was impossible to independently verify his statement. The announcement on Saturday night came just hours before at least six rockets from northern Tigray hit Eritrea, according to diplomats, suggesting the prime minister's claims were premature. Catastrophic fighting was expected over the weekend in Mekele when the Ethiopian army said it was surrounding the city of half a million people with tanks and artillery and warned civilians to stay inside. International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) staff visited government-run Ayder Referral Hospital yesterday, where they said approximately 80 per cent of patients were suffering from trauma injuries and basic supplies were dwindling. "The hospital is running dangerously low on sutures, antibiotics, anticoagulants, painkillers, and even gloves," said Maria Soledad, ICRC’s head of operations in Ethiopia. It is thought that forces loyal to the powerful regional government, the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), may have tactically retreated into the nearby mountains days ago to avoid heavy clashes. The TPLF is thought to command as many as 200,000 fighters, some of whom fought in the bloody Eritrea-Ethiopia war from 1998 to 2000. Because of these old hostilities with neighbouring Eritrea, Tigray is home to some of the largest stores of weapons in the country. The US embassy in the Eritrean capital Asmara reported early Sunday “six explosions” caused by rockets from Tigray region had occurred in the city “at about 10:13 pm” on Saturday night. The strikes marked the third time that Asmara has been shot at since fighting began on November 4. The TPLF has only claimed responsibility for the first rocket attack two weeks ago but has frequently accused Eritrea of siding with Ethiopian federal forces. Eritrea, Africa’s most totalitarian state, has not commented on the strikes. The conflict began when Mr Abiy, last year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, announced that he was sending federal troops into Tigray in response to attacks by pro-TPLF forces on national army camps. The move marked a dramatic escalation of tensions between the federal government and the TPLF, which dominated Ethiopian politics for nearly three decades before anti-government protests swept Mr Abiy to office in 2018. Thousands have died in the conflict so far, with tens of thousands of refugees streaming across the border into Sudan. Each side has accused the other of grave crimes and mass killings.
Louisiana Pastor Tony Spell openly violated the governor's order prohibiting gatherings larger than 10 people, hosting services that totaled 1,000.
Cardinal George Pell, who was convicted and then acquitted of sexual abuse in his native Australia, reflects on the nature of suffering, Pope Francis’ papacy and the humiliations of solitary confinement in his jailhouse memoir, according to an advance copy obtained by The Associated Press. “Prison Journal," which recounts the first five months of Pell’s 404 days in solitary lockup, also provides a play-by-play of Pell’s legal case and gives personal insights into one of the most divisive figures in the Catholic hierarchy today. To his supporters and even some detractors, Pell is a victim of a terrific perversion of justice; to his critics, he is the symbol of everything that has gone wrong with the Catholic Church’s wretched response to clergy sexual abuse.
President-elect Joe Biden chose more senior aides to lead his administration's efforts to defeat the coronavirus and rebuild the U.S. economy, and his office confirmed on Sunday he would begin receiving classified briefings that are an essential step toward taking control of national security. As the Democratic former vice president prepared for his move to the White House, Republican President Donald Trump pledged to maintain his legal fight to overturn the result of the Nov. 3 vote even while indicating in comments to Fox News that he was growing resigned to leaving office on Jan. 20. On Monday, Biden will begin receiving the classified presidential daily briefing, after weeks of the Trump administration refusing to provide it.
It was perhaps the world’s most expensive wedding; an extravaganza costing tens of millions of pounds with performances by Jennifer Lopez, Sting and Enrique Iglesias, a fleet of Rolls Royces to ferry the guests and a 20-year-old bride wearing a $1m dress and a $5m crown. The groom, Said Gutseriev, had grown up in London and been educated at Harrow School and at Oxford, and his father - one of Russia’s wealthiest oligarchs - could not have been prouder.
Indonesia has nearly 130 active volcanoes, more than any other country, and while many show high levels of activity it can be weeks or even months before an eruption. Raditya Jati, a spokesman for the agency, said in a statement that the eruption from the Mt. Ile Lewotolok volcano had caused panic among those living nearby. Muhammad Ilham, a 17-year-old who witnessed the eruption, told Reuters that resident nearby were "panicked and they're still looking for refuge and in need of money right now". Indonesia's Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Centre said on its website that the area near the volcano is likely to be inundated with "hot clouds, lava stream, lava avalanche, and poisonous gas".
Andrew Cuomo thinks he can limit the capacity of churches and synagogues to ten people in areas besieged by COVID-19 -- while other, more “essential” activities face no limit at all. The Supreme Court quite rightly disagrees.Legally, the Court’s recent decision in Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo only pauses the enforcement of these rules against the litigants who’ve challenged them -- including the eponymous diocese and Agudath Israel of America -- while the case proceeds. But a majority of the Court thinks the restrictions cross the line.Under longstanding precedent, states typically may enact religiously neutral, generally applicable laws without running afoul of the First Amendment, even if those laws sometimes burden religious practices. But if a law that burdens religion is not generally applicable, it must satisfy “strict scrutiny”: It must be narrowly tailored to promote a compelling government interest using the least restrictive means available. Cuomo’s restrictions in areas classified as “orange” or “red” (in terms of COVID-19 prevalence) are neither generally applicable nor narrowly tailored.Within these areas, different types of establishments are treated differently, with houses of worship facing some of the strictest rules. Religious services are limited to ten people in red areas, for example, while many nearby businesses, including acupuncture clinics and liquor stores, are deemed “essential” and may admit as many customers as they want.This policy was clearly not tailored to minimize damage to religious observance. It doesn’t even allow higher attendance in bigger buildings. As the Court noted, some churches in New York can seat more than 1,000 people while others accommodate far fewer, yet none could host more than 25 people in orange areas and ten people in red.The Court’s ruling is neither surprising nor alarming. Cuomo’s rules discriminate against religious services and thereby run afoul of the Constitution. And to fix the problem, Cuomo would not need to exempt houses of worship from the law everyone else follows, but merely ensure that churches aren’t relegated to second-class status. One approach may be to classify churches as essential and to assign all essential activities a capacity limit that takes establishment size into account. Another would be to simply let the hard capacity limits go, since houses of worship in orange and red areas are still required to keep to a low proportion of their total capacity (a third and a quarter respectively) -- and because the areas at issue in the lawsuit aren’t classified as orange or red anymore anyway.Going forward, the question is how the Court should treat less egregious restrictions, as the Court’s opinion is rather vague as to where the line is. In a concurrence, Justice Brett Kavanaugh writes that whenever a policy creates a preferred, less regulated category -- “essential” businesses, in this case -- states must either include religion in that category or carry the burden of justifying churches’ exclusion. This strikes us as fair, though it goes somewhat beyond existing precedent.Perhaps the thorniest issue here, though, is exactly what it should take to justify different sets of restrictions in different circumstances. As two dissenting justices point out, religious services often involve people congregating in groups for protracted periods and singing; this creates different risks from, say, running into a store to pick up a bottle of wine. It is absurd to nearly shutter religious activities, even those following strict rules to prevent COVID-19 spread, while liquor stores face no capacity limit at all. But in future cases the Court will have to draw its lines carefully to avoid micromanaging the states’ COVID responses.In the current decision, however, all the Court does is reiterate the law. Americans have a right to worship as they see fit, and the government may encroach on that right only in limited circumstances, which don’t include targeting churches for unjustifiably poor treatment the way Cuomo’s rules do.
Sincere Pierce, 18, was one of two teenage victims in the 13 November killing by a Brevard County deputy officer
When Wu Chi-wai, chairman of Hong Kong’s largest pro-democracy party, decided to serve an extended term in the city’s legislature, he did not expect to resign two months later. All 15 lawmakers in the pro-democracy camp have tendered their resignations to protest a Beijing resolution in early November that led to the disqualifications of four of their colleagues. The resignations came at a fraught time for Hong Kong, as Beijing tightens control over the semi-autonomous city.