Gov. Chris Sununu announced a change to the state’s guidance on recreational travel outside of New England on Thursday, ahead of the holiday season.
Gov. Chris Sununu announced a change to the state’s guidance on recreational travel outside of New England on Thursday, ahead of the holiday season.
As Republicans in Georgia pleaded Tuesday with President Trump to stop making baseless claims about the election being stolen from him, GOP leaders in Washington remained silent about the avalanche of lies, conspiracy theories and open threats of violence made by the president’s allies.
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.
An international coalition of more than 150 parliamentarians has urged Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive, to guarantee a fair legal process for 12 young people who were detained in China in August after allegedly trying to flee the former British colony to reach Taiwan by sea. The open letter issued on Tuesday by 155 politicians from the UK, US, Australia, Canada, Japan, Myanmar and multiple European nations adds weight to a global campaign that has sprung up since the so-called “Hong Kong 12” were intercepted by the Chinese coastguard and jailed in the mainland city of Shenzhen. They were facing accusations of illegally crossing the border between Hong Kong and China. The group had tried to escape Hong Kong by speedboat, fearing political persecution amid an ongoing crackdown on pro-democracy activists and the introduction in June of a draconian national security law. The law punishes broadly defined crimes such as “secession” with up to life in prison. Beijing imposed the law to curb year-long anti-government protests. Hong Kong's Security Bureau has said all 12 were suspected of committing crimes including manufacturing or possessing explosives, arson and rioting in Hong Kong. The group consists of unnamed individuals aged 16 to 33. Signatories to the letter, who include Tom Tugendhat, the Foreign Affairs Committee Chair, and fellow MPs Iain Duncan Smith, Damian Green, Hilary Benn and John McDonnell, have appealed to Ms Lam to intervene to bring the group back to Hong Kong to face trial in local courts.
Georgia officials responded to a barrage of attacks by President Trump by saying they would continue to “follow the law” on counting votes and certifying the election results, which show a narrow win by President-elect Joe Biden.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador promised Monday that justice will be done in the case of a French restaurant owner who was found murdered over the the weekend. López Obrador compared the case to last year’s killings of nine U.S. dual-nationals in northern Mexico, claiming “practically all” of whose alleged killers in that attack have been arrested. Authorities said evidence indicates dual French-Mexican citizen Baptiste Jacques Daniel Lormand set out late last week to sell bottles of high-end wine or liquor, accompanied by a Mexican partner.
The United States imposed sanctions on Monday on Chinese firm China National Electronics Import & Export Corporation (CEIEC), accusing it of supporting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's efforts to undermine democracy. The U.S. Treasury Department said in a statement the Chinese company supported the leftist government of Maduro in its "efforts to restrict internet service and conduct digital surveillance and cyber operations against political opponents." "The United States will not hesitate to target anyone helping to suppress the democratic will of the Venezuelan people and others around the world," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the statement.
Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon rainforest has skyrocketed to a 12-year high in 2020. Government data released on Monday (November 30) showed more than 11,000 square kilometers have been wiped away, a patch that's roughly seven times the size of London taken out of the world's largest rainforest and that's up 10 percent from 2019. This year, fires have blazed through the Amazon and environmentalists have blamed the government. The devastation tracks with the time since President Jair Bolsonaro took office. Bolsonaro has weakened Brazil's environmental agency and called for more commercial farming and mining arguing it will lift the region out of poverty. Critics say this has encouraged illegal ranchers, miners and land grabbers to clear the forest. The rate of destruction means Brazil will miss its own target to stop deforestation that it set over a decade ago under a climate change law. It's not clear what consequences there will be for missing that goal, but federal officials say the latest figures are actually progress. Technically, 2019 saw a much higher jump in the rate of destruction from the year before, even though the amount of forest destroyed in 2020 is at decade highs. And on Monday, Vice President Hamilton Mourao said that was a sign efforts to fight deforestation were quote 'beginning to bear fruit.' The destruction of the Amazon has caused international outrage. As the world's largest rainforest, its protection is crucial for stopping climate change because of the vast amounts of carbon dioxide it absorbs.
The Electoral College is a political abomination. As I have written before, rather than protecting the influence of small states, it grants overwhelming power to a handful of states that randomly happen to have a close partisan balance, which are mostly fairly large. Worse, it allows popular vote losers to win — which has happened twice in the last 20 years. Indeed, theoretically a candidate could lose the popular vote four to one and still win the electoral vote.Moreover, since 2012 the divergence between the Electoral College and the popular vote has been steadily growing. As I'll show below, while Joe Biden won a clear victory in the popular vote, he just barely squeaked through in the Electoral College. This idiotic anachronism must be destroyed.Let's take a look at this over the last two decades. One way to examine this question is to look at the most "efficient" way that losing candidates could have won the Electoral College. In other words, if we add up the state totals for previous elections going back to 2000, how might the losers have won by flipping the least number of votes?Using data from U.S. Elections Atlas, and 2020 data from the The New York Times (including a rough extrapolation assuming Biden wins 80 percent of the mail-in votes that haven't been counted yet in New York state), I calculated how the popular vote losers could have won the Electoral College — or lost, in the case of George W. Bush in 2000 and Donald Trump in 2016.In 2000, of course, Bush officially "won" Florida by 537 votes, and therefore the presidency with 271 electoral votes, while Al Gore won the popular vote by about 550,000. (In reality, Gore probably would have won a fair recount in Florida if it hadn't been stopped by a conservative Supreme Court on nakedly partisan grounds, but I'm going to ignore that for the time being since it doesn't matter for this particular argument.) That means a flip of just 269 votes in one state from one candidate to the other would have changed the result. In 2004, Bush won re-election with a margin of about three million votes, and 286 electoral votes. John Kerry famously could have won if he had just flipped Ohio, where the margin was just 118,601 votes. However, it would have been slightly more efficient in vote terms to flip New Mexico, Iowa, Nevada, and Alaska, with a cumulative margin of 117,411. That means a flip of just 58,706 votes would have given Kerry the presidency.In 2008, Barack Obama steamrolled John McCain with a popular vote margin of over 9.5 million, and 365 electoral votes. But it would have taken relatively few vote changes to overturn even that landslide result. Obama won Florida, Colorado, Iowa, Rhode Island, Maine, New Mexico, Nevada, Vermont, Delaware, New Hampshire, Indiana, and North Carolina by a cumulative margin of just 1.436 million votes — therefore flipping just 718,138 would have given McCain an additional 97 electoral votes and victory. Similarly in 2012, Mitt Romney could have won by taking the nine closest states in terms of total votes, requiring only 384,188 flips. Then in 2016, Trump of course squeaked out an Electoral College victory with tiny margins in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania — just 38,868 flips would have given Clinton the win.That finally brings me to 2020. Biden won the popular vote easily, with a margin maybe in the neighborhood of 6.9 million or so (depending on what happens in New York.) But it would have taken just 33,139 flips in Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin to deliver a Trump second term.Bringing this all together: If we plot these minimum vote flips to change the Electoral College result as a percentage of the popular vote margin, we can get a sense of how badly it diverges from the principle of one person, one vote:Courtesy: U.S. Elections AtlasWhat this shows is that the Electoral College is routinely on the edge of handing the popular vote loser the presidency even when it doesn't happen — and it seems to be getting worse. In 2008 and 2012, it would have taken a flip of 7.5 percent and 11 percent of the popular vote margin (still not great), but in 2016, flipping just 1.3 percent of the margin would change the result. The 2020 election, meanwhile, is the worst result since 2000 — though Biden did win, a flip of a mere 0.48 percent of the popular vote margin (or something like 0.02 percent of the total vote) would have let Trump win. Moreover, while the 2008 flipping scenario outlined above relies on implausible large percentage swings in small states like Vermont, Biden's victory depended on razor-thin margins in three swing states.All this speaks for itself. But before Republicans get too smug about cooking up justifications for the Electoral College because it happens to help them at the moment, consider that in 2004, flipping just 1.9 percent of the popular vote margin would have delivered the presidency to the Democrat even though Bush got three million more votes. Because the Electoral College's rules are so goofy and arbitrary, it is very easy to imagine demographic trends handing the Dems a near-automatic victory every time — if Texas went solidly blue, for instance. It would be better and fairer for everyone if the presidency simply went to the candidate that got the most votes.More stories from theweek.com Americans are choosing death over deprivation Our parents warned us the internet would break our brains. It broke theirs instead. GOP Sen. Josh Hawley tries to explain how Democrats are both 'Marxists' and 'corporatists'
A Chinese woman who filed a sexual misconduct lawsuit against a TV host told dozens of cheering supporters at a courthouse Wednesday she hopes her case will encourage other victims of gender violence in a system that gives them few options to pursue complaints. Zhou Xiaoxuan spoke ahead of a trial for her lawsuit, which was delayed for two years and reflects the challenges Chinese women have in pursuing sexual misconduct complaints despite the spread of the global #MeToo movement. Zhou, 27, accuses Zhu Jun, a popular state TV host, of forcibly kissing her in 2014.
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.
A U.S. District judge sentenced former Maricopa County Assessor Paul Petersen to 74 months in federal prison for perpetrating illegal adoptions.
Pakistan’s top court on Tuesday resumed the hearing of an appeal from the family of American journalist Daniel Pearl against the acquittal of a British-born Pakistani man convicted over the 2002 beheading of the Wall Street Journal reporter. The key suspect in Pearl’s slaying, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, was sentenced to death and three others were sentenced to life in prison for their role in the plot. The acquittal is now being appealed separately by the government and Pearl’s family, a process that under Pakistani law could take years.
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.Overt racism in Russian state media is far from uncommon but nonetheless continues to be shocking. Tigran Keosayan—the husband of Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of the Kremlin-funded RT and Sputnik—took racist mockery to new lows on his program Mezhdunarodnaya Pilorama (“International Sawmill”). Keosayan described Barack Obama as “the dark page of American history,” while introducing a highly offensive sketch by an actress in blackface impersonating the former president, which was first reported by the Moscow Times.The purported portrayal of Obama was tasteless and crude, with the actress in a bandana gesticulating as a rapper and describing the former president as a “chocolate bunny.” The show, which aired on NTV—a network funded by state-owned gas company Gazprom, mocked “Black Lives Matter” and claimed that none of Obama’s relatives know how to write. The sketch concluded with a recommendation that rather than read Obama’s book, The Audacity of Hope, viewers should opt for “reading the label on the bathroom air freshener.”Facing worldwide condemnation for the latest racist episode, Margarita Simonyan—heralded as one of the most influential women in news media—attempted to backpedal, using her husband’s Armenian ethnicity as some kind of an excuse for his indefensible racism. She described the offensive sketch as a “parody of Obama” and disingenuously claimed, “As someone who is part of an ethnic minority in Russia, Tigran regularly makes fun, on the air, of his large 'ethnic' nose and his belonging to a 'Black' community (look it up if you don't know which ethnicities are referred to as 'Black' in Russia).”Despite Simonyan’s clumsy excuses, her husband is not the only one who considers himself somehow entitled to mock Black Americans. In June, RT’s editor-in-chief shared a despicably racist article from the Russian tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda, which made references to “muscular criminal Negroes,” described “twerking” as the “national Negro dance,” recommended the use of amphetamines, and encouraged violence and death.Russian state media outlets have long expressed their desire for civil unrest in the United States. The author of the article, Dmitry Steshin, urged, “Beat the whites until they turn Black.” Simonyan shared the article, describing it as a piece of “good advice from an international journalist to the negroes of Minnesota and the United States.”Simonyan’s husband followed up the obscene sketch on his program with a ludicrous assertion: “There is no racism in Russia.” It was no more believable than the notorious Soviet claim, “There is no sex in the USSR.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get 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.
President Trump threatened to veto a $740 billion defense spending bill if it doesn't repeal Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, an unrelated provision that grants broad legal immunity to social media and other internet sites. Unless the "dangerous and unfair Section 230" is "completely terminated," Trump said on Twitter, he will "unequivocally veto" the legislation. Section 230, which shields social media companies from legal liability for user content posted on their sites, is considered a foundational provision of the internet.Congress has passed the National Defense Authorization Act with bipartisan support for 59 years in a row, and "presidents from both parties have always signed them, even after issuing veto threats," The Wall Street Journal notes. "The Senate version passed 86-14, and the House version passed 295-125, more than the two-thirds supermajority needed to override a potential veto." Negotiators are currently working out the differences so the legislation can be cleared in the next few weeks. Trump has already threatened to veto this same bill over a provision to rename military bases honoring Confederate officers.There is bipartisan support to reform Section 230, though each party objects to different ways it affects social media. Democrats say Facebook, Twitter, and other sites should do more to weed out disinformation and dangerous content, while Trump has complained baselessly that the sites censor conservatives. The NDAA authorizes $740 billion in Pentagon and Energy Department spending, including a 3 percent raise for U.S. troops, and guides Pentagon policy decisions.Besides passing the NDAA, Congress hopes to push through a spending bill to keep the government running and a COVID-19 relief package before adjourning for the year.More stories from theweek.com George Floyd family lawyer Ben Crump recommends Kamala Harris' brother-in-law for attorney general Our parents warned us the internet would break our brains. It broke theirs instead. Americans are choosing death over deprivation